Tuesday June 30th 2015
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Staff

Publisher and Editor - Judith Martin-Straw

The Skinny - Amy Brunell

Looking Up - Bob Eklund

Ruth's Truths - Ruth Morris

Special Features - T. S. Owen

LOCALmotion - Jozelle Smith

Looking Up by Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Astronomers at the Leiden Observatory (The Netherlands) and the University of Rochester (USA) have discovered that the ring system that they see eclipse the very young Sun-like star J1407 is of enormous proportions, much larger and heavier than the ring system of Saturn. The ring system—the first of its kind to be found outside our solar system—was discovered in 2012 by a team led by [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A strange phenomenon has been observed by astronomers right as it was happening—a “fast radio burst.” The eruption is described as an extremely short, sharp flash of radio waves from an unknown source in the universe. Over the past few years, astronomers have occasionally observed this new phenomenon—a brief burst of radio waves lasting only a few milliseconds. It was first found by [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up  – Bob Eklund

Comet Lovejoy, already being tracked by backyard astronomers worldwide, is entering its best and brightest two weeks for viewing. From about January 7 through 24, the comet is predicted to be glowing at 4th magnitude—bright enough that skywatchers with clear, dark skies might be able to just glimpse it by eye, without optical aid. And the early-evening sky during this time will be dark and [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

How many stars like our Sun host planets like our Earth? NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope continuously monitored more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system, and to date has offered scientists an assortment of more than 4,000 candidate planets for further study—the 1,000th of which was recently verified. Using Kepler data, scientists reached this millenary milestone after validating that [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has entered an approach phase in which it will continue to close in on Ceres, a Texas-sized dwarf planet never before visited by a spacecraft. Dawn launched in 2007 and is scheduled to enter Ceres orbit in March 2015. Dawn recently emerged from solar conjunction, in which the spacecraft is on the opposite side of the Sun, limiting communication with antennas on Earth. [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

The European Space Agency’s Venus Express has ended its eight-year mission after far exceeding its planned life. The spacecraft exhausted its propellant during a series of thruster burns to raise its orbit following the low-altitude aerobraking earlier this year. Since its arrival at Venus in 2006, Venus Express had been on an elliptical 24-hour orbit, traveling 66,000 km above the south [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill. “This temporary increase in methane—sharply up and then back down—tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” said Sushil Atreya of the University [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A team of scientists, led by Dr. Sebastian Hoenig from the University of Southampton, has measured the distance to the NGC 4151 (“Eye of Sauron”) galaxy with unprecedented accuracy, using the W. M. Keck Observatory Interferometer in Hawaii. The team employed a new technique they developed, which allows them to measure distances to galaxies tens of millions of light-years away with 90 [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA’s best view of Jupiter’s ice-covered moon, Europa. The mosaic of color images was obtained in the late 1990s by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. This is the first time that NASA is publishing a version of the scene produced using modern image processing techniques. The image features many long, curving and linear fractures in the [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

With the Philae lander’s mission complete, Rosetta will now continue its own extraordinary exploration, orbiting Comet 67P/Churymov–Gerasimenko during the coming year as the enigmatic body arcs ever closer to our Sun. Last week, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft delivered its Philae lander to the surface of the comet for a dramatic touchdown. The lander’s planned mission ended after about 64 [...]

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