Thursday August 27th 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

Peering into space, the surface of Mercury appears dark and unreflective, an observation that has long puzzled planetary scientists due to the planet’s very low surface abundance of iron (less than 2 percent). Iron is an important darkening material in airless bodies like the moon and asteroids. While the intense space weathering environment on Mercury, which efficiently converts the small [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

This spring, our Sun and Moon happen to be so aligned that first the Moon’s shadow falls on the Earth and then, two weeks later, the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon. The result: sky-watchers are being treated to both a solar and a lunar eclipse. The total solar eclipse, which occurred on March 20 (by coincidence, that date was also the spring equinox), was visible along a path of totality [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A team composed of astronomers and biologists has measured the multicolored “chemical fingerprints” of 137 different species of microorganisms in order to help future astronomers recognize life on the surface of exoplanets (planets outside our solar system). Some of the microorganisms hail from the most extreme environments on Earth; taken together, the samples should allow for a [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has become the first to achieve orbit around a dwarf planet. The spacecraft was approximately 38,000 miles from Ceres when it was captured by the dwarf planet’s gravity at about 4:39 a.m. PST Friday, March 7. Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California received a signal from the spacecraft March 7 that Dawn was healthy and [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that could metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of Cornell University researchers. Taking a simultaneously imaginative and rigidly scientific view, chemical engineers and astronomers offer a template for life that could thrive in a harsh, cold world—specifically Titan, the giant moon of Saturn. A [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Most of the laws of nature treat particles and antiparticles equally, but stars and planets are made of particles, or matter—not antiparticles, or antimatter. That asymmetry, which favors matter over antimatter by a very small degree, has puzzled scientists for many years. New research by UCLA physicists, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, offers a possible solution to the [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Astronomers have identified the closest known flyby of a star to our solar system: a dim star that passed through the Oort Cloud about 70,000 years ago, coming within 0.8 light years of the Sun. A group of astronomers from the U.S., Europe, Chile and South Africa have determined that a recently discovered dim star is likely to have passed through the solar system’s distant cloud of comets, [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Google Inc. has given $1 million to the University of California’s Lick Observatory in what astronomers hope is the first of many private gifts to support an invaluable teaching and research resource for the state. The unrestricted funds, spread over two years, will go toward general expenses, augmenting the $1.5 million the UC Office of the President gives annually to operate the [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A new image taken with European Southern Observatory’s VISTA survey telescope reveals the famous Trifid Nebula in a new and ghostly light. By observing in infrared light, astronomers can see right through the dust-filled central parts of the Milky Way and spot many previously hidden objects. In just this tiny part of one of the VISTA surveys, astronomers have discovered two unknown and very [...]

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 [...]

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