Tuesday February 9th 2016
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Publisher and Editor - Judith Martin-Straw

The Skinny - Amy Brunell

Looking Up - Bob Eklund

Ruth's Truths - Ruth Morris

Special Features - T. S. Owen

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Get Smart - Jamie Wallace

Looking Up by Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

New Year’s Day, 1801, the dawn of the 19th century, was a historic moment for astronomy, and for a space mission called Dawn more than 200 years later. That night, Giuseppe Piazzi pointed his telescope at the sky and observed a distant object that we now know as dwarf planet Ceres. Today, NASA’s Dawn mission allows us to see Ceres in exquisite detail. From the images Dawn has taken over [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A team of astronomers in the UK, USA, and Australia have found a planet, until now thought to be a free-floating or lonely planet, in a huge orbit around its star. Incredibly the object, designated as 2MASS J2126, is about 1 trillion kilometers from the star, or about 7,000 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. In the last five years a number of free-floating planets have been found. [...]

Looking Up (Extra) – Bob Eklund

Looking Up (Extra) – Bob Eklund

Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the distant solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the Sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the Sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Globular star clusters are extraordinary in almost every way. They’re densely packed, holding a million stars in a ball only about 100 light-years across on average. They’re old, dating back almost to the birth of the Milky Way. And according to new research, they also could be extraordinarily good places to look for space-faring civilizations. “A globular cluster might be the first [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

In 2013, Chang’e-3, an unmanned lunar mission from China, touched down on the northern part of the Moon’s Imbrium Basin, one of the most prominent of the lava-filled impact basins visible from Earth. It was a beautiful landing site, said Bradley L. Jolliff, PhD, the Scott Rudolph Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, who is a participant in an [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

The fantasy creations of the “Star Wars” universe are strikingly similar to real planets in our own Milky Way galaxy. A super-Earth in deep freeze? Think ice-planet Hoth. And that distant world with double sunsets can’t help but summon thoughts of sandy Tatooine. The most recently revealed exoplanet possessing Earth-like properties, Kepler-452b, might make a good stand-in for [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A thrilling chapter in the exploration of the solar system will soon conclude, as NASA’s Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft makes its final close flyby of the ocean-bearing moon Enceladus. Cassini flew past Enceladus at a distance of 3,106 miles on Saturday, Dec. 19. Although the spacecraft will continue to observe Enceladus during the remainder of its mission (through September 2017), it [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A team of Spanish astrophysicists has obtained precise measurements for the innermost region of a disc of matter in orbital motion around a supermassive black hole in the lensed quasar known as Einstein’s Cross (Q2237-0305). It constitutes the most precise set of measurements achieved to date for such a small and distant object. The researchers used microlensing to resolve the distorted [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A long time ago in a galaxy half the universe away, a flood of high-energy gamma rays began its journey to Earth. When they arrived in April, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope caught the outburst, which helped two ground-based gamma-ray observatories detect some of the highest-energy light ever seen from a galaxy so distant. The observations provide a surprising look into the environment [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Dwarf planet Ceres reveals some of its well-kept secrets in a study published in the journal Nature, thanks to new data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. They include highly anticipated insights about mysterious bright features found all over the dwarf planet’s surface and especially in the crater Occator. Ceres has more than 130 bright areas, and most of them are associated with impact [...]

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