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Dark Sky Events April 20-29

Dark skies are something we appreciate in the outback, when the full canopy of glittering stars are drawn over us. For those of us in suburbs and cities, the experience of dark skies is becoming rarer and rarer as light pollution encroaches.International...Show More Summary

The 2014 Australian Lyrid Meteor Shower, Morning 23 April

The morning sky looking north as seen from Brisbane at 5:00 am AEST on April 23. The Lyrid radiant is marked with a yellow cross. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at an equivalent local time the radiant will be higher in northern Australia, and lower in southern Australia (click to embiggen). Show More Summary

Bolden defends NASA’s exploration plans, but warns big budgets aren’t on the horizon

In a conference speech Tuesday, NASA administrator Charles Bolden warned against trying to redirect NASA’s exploration plans, while also cautioning that those plans have to fit in an environment where Apollo-era budgets aren’t realistic. “We made a decision. Some people in this room don’t like it. But we’re on our way, and you can either [...]

Upcoming public appearances: me, Bill Nye, and Planetary Radio Live in Washington and Los Angeles

I have a spate of several public appearances coming up; I hope some of you can come out and see me and other Planetary Society folks, including Bill Nye and two, count them, two Planetary Radio Live events!

Rosetta update: Instrument commissioning going well; Philae cameras activated

Rosetta and Philae have very nearly completed a six-week phase of spacecraft and instrument checkouts to prepare the mission to do science. Recently, the lander used its cameras for the first time since hibernation, producing some new photos of Rosetta in space.

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 24 to Thursday May 1

21 hours agoAcademics / Astronomy : Astroblog

The New Moon is Tuesday April 29. There is a partial solar eclipse visible on the afternoon of the 29th. Jupiter is the brightest object in the early evening sky, visible in the early evening. Mars is prominent in the evening sky. Saturn rises higher in the evening sky. Show More Summary

WSJ editorial criticizes California tax break bill that benefits SpaceX

Earlier this month, the California Senate approved AB 777, legislation that would exempt space companies from paying taxes on certain property related to spaceflight, including an “orbital space facility, space propulsion system, space vehicle, launch vehicle, satellite, or space station of any kind,” as well as components of such systems. The bill is slightly different [...]

Am I a dog? Vote Now

When I wasn’t trying to solve the fiendishly difficult Easter Clue Hunt my kids set for us, I spent a pleasant hour or two re-discovering the original wiki, started by Ward Cunningham in 1995. It still feels fun and anarchic and useful. Another day I will start a rant on what is and isn’t a […]

For an immune cell, microgravity mimics aging

Telling someone to “act your age” is another way of asking him or her to behave better. Age, however, does not always bring improvements. Certain cells of the immune system tend to misbehave with age, leaving the elderly more vulnerable to illness. Show More Summary

Forensic Ballistics: How Apollo 12 Helped Solve the Skydiver Meteorite Mystery

What can a 45-year-old mission to the Moon tell us about a "meteorite" flying past a skydiver on Earth?

A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range from cosmic near neighbours to objects seen in the early years of the Universe. Show More Summary


Kepler 168f has been the subject of substantial media coverage over the past week. This newly confirmed planet orbits a red dwarf with roughly half the mass and radius of the Sun, receives about 27% of the insolation that the Earth receives, and, assuming that it has a terrestrial density, is about 40 to 50% […]

Carnival of Space #350 is Here!

Carnival of Space #350 is now up at CosmoQuest. There's the first true Earth-sized world in a habitable zone around another star, planet formation, a new Moon for Saturn, sobering statistics on asteroid impacts and lots, lots more. Take a spin on over and have a read.

Aurora Watch issued for April 20-21 (Easter Sunday-Monday)

The Australian IPS has issued both a geomagnetic alert and an Aurora Watch for April 20-21. Tasmania, Southern New Zealand, and possibly southern Victoria, southern WA and the North Island should be on the lookout for Aurora from around astronomical twilight (and hour and a half after sunset) on the 20th until twilight on the morning of the 21st. Show More Summary

Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 10: Trans Neptunian Objects including Pluto, KBOs, Comets

Explore the worlds beyond Neptune including Pluto, Kuiper Belt Objects and comets in this video of class 10 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Bolden and Holdren reaffirm support for asteroid mission as the next step to Mars

The head of NASA and the President’s science advisor told the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) this week that the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) remained the next logical step of a long-term strategy to eventually send people to Mars, despite the protestations of some in Congress as well as “outside fan clubs.” “The FY15 budget [...]

New Earth-sized planet could host alien life

This is a post from Skymania News - Space and astronomy news and advice Planet-hunters have made a major breakthrough by discovering the first Earth-sized rocky world that lies in its home star's habitable zone. New Earth-sized planet...Show More Summary

NASA's Kepler discovers first Earth-size planet in the 'habitable zone' of another star

Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. read more

NASA Rover Opportunity's selfie shows clean machine

In its sixth Martian winter, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity now has cleaner solar arrays than in any Martian winter since its first on the Red Planet, in 2005. Cleaning effects of wind events in March boosted the amount of electricity available for the rover's work. read more

Saturn’s rings reveal how to make a moon

Writing in the journal Icarus this week, Professor Carl Murray from Queen Mary’s Astronomy Unit reports that recently discovered disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's outer bright A ring result from a small icy object that formed within the ring and which may be in the process of migrating out of it. They have nicknamed the object, ‘Peggy’. read more

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