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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)

10 hours agoAcademics / Astronomy : Astroblog

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

I missed the Occultation of Lambda Aquarii by Venus, but Tom Harradine didn't

I jinxed myself by not getting my travelling box of lenses and guff out of the cupboard and putting it on the bench the night before. But hey, I said, I'm not driving, so I have plenty of time to open the cupboard and walk to the back yard. Show More Summary

Partial Solar Eclipse, April 29 2014

Partial Eclipse as seen from Brisbane near maximum eclipse, 5:00 pm AEST. Simulated in Celestia. Click to embiggen Partial Eclipse as seen from Sydney near maximum eclipse, 4:55 pm AEST. Simulated in Celestia. Click to embiggen Partial Eclipse as seen from Melbourne near maximum eclipse, 5:00 pm AEST. Show More Summary

Intel community willing to allow higher resolution commercial imagery

For the last few years, commercial satellite remote sensing company DigitalGlobe (and, before its merger with DigitalGlobe, GeoEye) has been lobbying the government to allow it to sell sharper satellite imagery that it’s currently allowed. DigitalGlobe is currently restricted to selling imagery with resolution no sharper than 0.5 meters per pixel, but has been pushing [...]

The Truth is Out There … isn’t it?

Its disconcerting reading/watching the news from Ukraine. Not just because of the fear of decades of war to come, but the temptation to slide into relativism. Statements and stories from various quarters vary from the vaguely inconsistent to the baldly contradictory. Its tempting to think “well, they are all lying”, or “hmm.. it all depends […]

NASA Mars Orbiter spies rover near Martian Butte

Scientists using NASA's Curiosity Mars rover are eyeing a rock layer surrounding the base of a small butte, called "Mount Remarkable," as a target for investigating with tools on the rover's robotic arm. read more

The Birth of the Wanderers

How did planets originate? This is a question that has puzzled scientists for centuries, but one which they have been able to tackle directly only in the last few decades, thanks to two major developments: breakthroughs in telescope technology and ever-increasing computing power.

Don't Forget, Venus Occults Lambda Aquarii Morning April 17, 2014

The bright star Lambda Aquarii about to exit from the dark side of Venus at 4:04 AEST as seen from Brisbane. Most other Australian locations that see the occultation will see similar views, although Venus will be closer to the horizon. Show More Summary

GAO report offers good news, but also warnings, about performance of NASA programs

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released on Tuesday its annual assessment of “large-scale” NASA projects. The good news of the report was that NASA, by and large, is doing well in terms of cost and schedule performance of its major programs: an average cost growth of 3% and launch delay of 2.8 months for 14 [...]

ISEE-3: An old friend visits Earth

From 1978 to 1984, the satellite was the first to orbit a point called the Lagrangian 1 (L1), which lies between Earth and the sun, where the solar wind rushes by on its way to collide with the outskirts of the giant magnetic bubble surrounding Earth, called the magnetosphere. Show More Summary

Observing circles on Saturn

Saturn's winds race furiously around the planet, blowing at speeds in excess of 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) per hour at the equator. read more

The End of Opportunity and the Burden of Success

The Opportunity rover and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are both zeroed out in NASA's 2015 budget. Learn why these missions face the axe and why the White House is forcing NASA to choose between existing missions and starting new ones.

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 17 to Thursday April 24

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday April 22. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky, visible in the early evening. Mars is prominent in the late evening sky. Saturn rises higher in the evening sky, the Moon is close to Saturn on the 17th. Show More Summary

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