Monday September 1st 2014
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Publisher and Editor - Judith Martin-Straw

The Skinny - Amy Brunell

LOCALmotion - Jozelle Smith

Looking Up - Bob Eklund

Ruth's Truths - Ruth Morris

Looking Up by Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

A comet that has caused a lot of excitement is racing toward a close encounter with the Sun on Thanksgiving Day. Comet ISON will pass about 700,000 miles above the Sun’s surface before whipping around and heading back toward deep space—if it survives. If it does, the comet might be visible to the unaided eye before dawn for a few weeks after the encounter. For a high-resolution [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Astronomers viewing our solar system’s asteroid belt with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have seen for the first time an asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust radiating from it like spokes on a wheel. Unlike all other known asteroids, which appear simply as tiny points of light, this asteroid, designated P/2013 P5, resembles a rotating lawn sprinkler. Astronomers are puzzled over the [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

One in Five Stars Has Earth-Size Planet in Habitable Zone -- Scientists from University of California, Berkeley, and University of Hawaii, Manoa, have statistically determined that twenty percent of Sun-like stars in our galaxy have Earth-size planets that could host life. The findings, gleaned from data collected from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft and the W. M. Keck Observatory, now satisfy [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin teamed up to detect the most distant galaxy ever found—one created only 700 million years after the Big Bang. Their research is published in the Oct. 24 edition of the journal Nature. The galaxy, known by its catalog name z8_GND_5296, was observed as it was 13 billion years ago. That’s the time it took for the [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

The European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing for a November 20 launch of its “Gaia” space observatory, designed for a five-year mission to map and study one billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Gaia will be launched from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on the South American coast. Gaia’s main goal is to create a highly accurate 3D map of our Milky Way Galaxy by [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

An international team of astronomers has discovered an exotic young planet that is not orbiting a star. This free-floating planet, dubbed PSO J318.5-22, is just 80 light-years away from Earth and has a mass only six times that of Jupiter. The planet formed a mere 12 million years ago—a newborn in planet lifetimes. It was identified from its faint and unique heat signature by the Pan-STARRS 1 [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

On Oct. 9, NASA’s Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft made a quick pass by Earth to get a gravity boost and slingshot the probe towards its destination. The time of closest approach was 12:21 p.m. PDT, when Juno passed about 350 miles over South Africa. As the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter grabbed most of the mass leftover after the Sun formed. Dr. Scott Bolton of Southwest Research [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

During the nearly 14 months that it has spent on the red planet, Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, has scooped soil, drilled rocks, and analyzed samples by exposing them to laser beams, X-rays, and alpha particles using the most sophisticated suite of scientific instruments ever deployed on another planet. One result of this effort was evidence that ancient Mars could have [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

After almost 9 years in space that included an unprecedented July 4th impact and subsequent flyby of a comet, an additional comet flyby, and the return of approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects, NASA’s Deep Impact mission has ended. The project team at JPL has reluctantly pronounced the mission at an end after being unable to communicate with the spacecraft for over a month. The [...]

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched their first Epsilon Launch Vehicle (Epsilon-1) with the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A) onboard at 2:00 p.m. on September 14 from the Uchinoura Space Center. An hour and 49 minutes after launch, deployment of its solar array paddles was confirmed, and the satellite is currently in good [...]

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