Icebergs on Pluto’s Sea of Frozen Nitrogen

  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

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

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

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

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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Rare Christmas Gift: A Full Moon

  On December 25th, those who celebrate Christmas will receive the gift of a full moon.  The moon will officially peak at 6:11am. A full moon on Christmas is particularly rare, only occurring approximately once every 19 years.  However, a full moon on Christmas hasn’t happened in almost four decades, …

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The Official Beginning of Winter

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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Taurid Meteor Shower Peaks Beginning of November

Unlike much of what happens on Halloween, there is no need to feel scared with this event.  In the upcoming weeks, Earth is expected to encounter the Taurid meteor shower. Otherwise known as the “Halloween fireballs” (fireballs refer to very bright meteors), this meteor shower extends through October 20th to …

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Stunning Blue Haze Discovered Surrounding Pluto

The New Horizons mission reveals a stunning blue haze encompassing Pluto.  The particles-known as tholins- responsible for the interesting coloration are formed from various sunlight-initiated chemical reactions of methane and nitrogen. This coloration on Pluto tells us much about the particle composition of the planet’s upper atmosphere.  Like on Earth, …

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Upcoming Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

On September 27th, 2015, much of the Americas, Europe, Africa, areas of the eastern Pacific, and parts of West Asia will witness a rare event, a total lunar eclipse during a supermoon.  Lasting 1 hour and 11 minutes, the eclipse begins at 8:11p.m. EDT and peaks at 10:47 p.m. EDT. …

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