How to See Upcoming Meteor Showers: Summer 2016 Edition

With warmer weather and longer days comes equally awaited summer nights.  Arguably one of the most beautiful spectacles in astronomy, annual meteor showers- when the earth passes through the dust or debris of comets or asteroids orbiting the sun- give great reason to take a few nights and escape to …

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The Relationship Between Easter and the Full Moon

Full "Harvest Moon" and corn stalks in October.

Whether you receive an Easter basket in late March or April depends not on Peter Cottontail, but rather the lunar cycle.  The date of Easter, according to the Christian Bible, must fall on the Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal- or spring- equinox. Some years, Easter seems …

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Beautifully Destructive Nacreous Clouds

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Sightings of colorful nacreous (or polar stratospheric) clouds are well above average in the UK and Ireland.  Common during the winter in northern regions such as Scandinavia and Canada, many who witnessed the phenomena for the first time mistakenly reported the clouds as aurora borealis (the northern lights).  However, the …

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Icebergs on Pluto’s Sea of Frozen Nitrogen

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  Data from NASA’s New Horizons mission continues to answer mysteries surrounding Pluto.  Since the spacecraft’s flyby last summer, scientists are analyzing large amounts of data being sent back to earth. Scientists suspect mountainous icebergs of water float across an area within Pluto’s heart-shaped region known as Sputnik Planum.  According …

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NASA’s New Planetary Defense Office Is Open for Business

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As technology advances, NASA is becoming aware of an increasing number of near-Earth objects (NEOs).  In an effort to coordinate defense against possible future collisions, NASA just established the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). The goal of this program is to identify as many NEOs as possible, determine if they …

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Evidence of Mysterious Planet Nine

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Astronomy textbooks may have to be written again to include nine planets as Planet Nine emerges to be a near truth. Through mathematical modeling and computer simulations, researchers at Caltech believe a ninth planet orbits 20 times further away from the sun than Neptune, allowing for an orbital period of …

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NASA’s New Frontiers’ Race Just Received Two Major Nominees

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Titan and Enceladus, two of Saturn’s potentially habitable moons, were added as possibilities to NASA’s next billion-dollar planetary exploration mission, the New Frontiers program. Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, qualifies as one of the few Earth-like worlds in our solar system.  Titan’s surface pressure measures slightly greater than Earth, with a …

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Curiosity’s Unique Snapshots of Mars

Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo

On December 19th, NASA’s Curiosity Rover photographed what might be one of the most incredible visuals of the Martian landscape.  The color photograph features a portion of the Namib Dune and a self-portrait of the rover. Using the Mastcam 34 mm camera, Curiosity takes extremely high resolution color photos of …

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The Official Beginning of Winter

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The solstice is upon us, and for readers in the Northern Hemisphere, this means winter is coming. If only it felt like it. If you’re currently on the east coast of the United States, then you’re probably all too familiar with the Seattle-like weather pattern sweeping the north-eastern seaboard; that …

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