What’s Jupiter Hiding? Astronomy Technology 

What’s Jupiter Hiding?

By Steven Spence @TheStevenSpence Juno: Aptly named The Juno spacecraft currently orbiting Jupiter is appropriately named. In Roman mythology, Jupiter created a veil of clouds to hide his escapades with Io from his wife, Juno, but Juno was able to peer through the clouds and foil his plan. The Juno spacecraft, currently on its 11th science orbit[1] of Jupiter, is designed to see through Jupiter’s clouds, revealing secrets of the planet’s atmosphere and interior. Boldly going on a five-year mission Juno launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral aboard…

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Astronomy What We're Reading 

Adventure Through the Universe from Your Telescope

Title: See It With a Small Telescope: 101 Cosmic Wonders, Including Planets, Moons, Comets, Galaxies, Nebulae, Star Clusters, and More  Shared by: Will Kalif for GotScience.org, a Science Connected publication. Text adapted from See It With a Small Telescope. Author: Will Kalif  Publisher: Ulysses Press On sale: November 2017 Best for: Astronomy buffs, telescope owners, and readers interested in popular science and space.  The night sky is a deep, rich field of stars. Under normal dark sky conditions, when there is a new moon, there are approximately six thousand objects…

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Solar Eclipse: Who? What? Where? When? and How? Astronomy 

Solar Eclipse: Who? What? Where? When? and How?

Total Solar Eclipse On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights—a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere, the corona, can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. Who Can See It? Lots of people! Everyone…

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Telescope Accessories: What Do You Really Need? Astronomy Technology 

Telescope Accessories: What Do You Really Need?

By Luigi Papagno @f1telescopes As an amateur astronomer getting started with your first telescope, you could easily fall into a trap of collecting more accessories than you really need. Or, worse, you could get telescope accessories that are redundant and leave you feeling frustrated and unsatisfied. Many people may not know what the essential accessories are and what characteristics these accessories need to have. This article will help clarify what makes quality eyepieces and filters, as well as which types and how many of each you need. Eyepieces When it…

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Two Perseid meteors from western NC (Emily Willoughby) Astronomy 

Discovered: Nearby Planets that Could Host Life

MIT researchers found three potentially habitable planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star The study, released today in Nature, located the planets just 40 light years away from Earth. While scientists continue to explore the potential of life on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, the newly-discovered planets represent the most likely so far to host life outside our solar system. The study’s lead author, Julien de Wit, tells us why the discovery was a stroke of luck and how we’ll be able to assess their habitability within the next five to ten years.  …

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Hubble Space Telescope Got the GOODS! Astronomy 

Hubble Space Telescope Got the GOODS!

By Steven Spence The Hubble Space Telescope has been conducting a deep-sky survey called “Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey North,” or GOODS North. The GOODS data has enabled astronomers to extend their view of galaxies back 150 million years further than any previously identified galaxy. The distant galaxy GN-Z11 was in the first generation of galaxies to form in the universe. Scientists estimate that it formed only 400 million years after the Big Bang. In fact, GN-Z11 formed at a time when the universe was mostly clouds of cold hydrogen…

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This artist's conception shows a blazar -- the core of an active galaxy powered by a supermassive black hole. The VERITAS array has detected gamma rays from a blazar known as PKS 1441+25. Researchers found that the source of the gamma rays was within the relativistic jet but surprisingly far from the galaxy's black hole. The emitting region is about five light-years away. Courtesy of M. Weiss/CfA Astronomy 

Gamma Rays from a Galaxy Far, Far Away

After traveling for about half the age of the universe, a flood of powerful gamma rays from a distant galaxy slammed into Earth’s atmosphere in April 2015. The gamma rays met our atmosphere and formed a cascade of light that fell onto the waiting mirrors of the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) in Arizona. The resulting data have given astronomers a unique look into that faraway galaxy and the black hole engine at its heart. What Are Gamma Rays? Gamma rays are photons of light with very…

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Humans to Mars by 2030 Astronomy 

We May Send Humans to Mars by 2030

Our partners at ResearchGate recently spoke with Alfonso Davila from SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, about what draws us to explore the red planet and beyond. Interested in Mars? Don’t miss this other article about the Martian atmosphere.  ResearchGate: What motivates you to explore living conditions – and possible life – on Mars? Davila: The motivation is twofold. On the one hand there is this nagging drive to understand life at the most fundamental levels (the “what is life?” question), and on the other hand there is this obsessive curiosity about the possibility of life elsewhere…

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Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2, photographed on 22 Feb. 2015 by Fabrice Noel Astronomy 

Comet Lovejoy Delivers Free Alcohol

By Kate Stone Comet Lovejoy recently released large amounts of alcohol and sugar into space, according to new observations by an international team. This is the first time we have found ethyl alcohol, the same type in alcoholic beverages, in a comet. The finding adds to the evidence that comets could have been a source of the complex organic molecules necessary for the emergence of life. Cocktails in Space “We found that comet Lovejoy was releasing as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during…

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Spectacular view of the Perseid Meteor Shower over the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (Image credit ESO) Astronomy Citizen Science 

Perseid Meteor Shower 2015 and More

By Steve Beyer August’s main sky event promises to be our annual encounter with the tenuous trail of debris left in solar orbit by comet 109/P Swift-Tuttle. As Earth plows through this veil of mostly small grains and dust, we can see comet fragments appear as swift light traces of Perseid meteors. View the Perseid Meteor Shower 2015 The Perseid Meteor Shower is the night of August 12th and 13th. It peaks for viewers in the eastern United States during predawn hours of Thursday August 13 and the show should be better…

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