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How Big Is The Big Dipper?

The Big Dipper is big. Come on, it’s right there in the name. But how big is the Big Dipper if you could see it from all angles?
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Mercury Pierces the Zodiacal Light at Dawn this Weekend

Credit: Stellarium

Mercury as seen from latitude 30 degrees north on November 1st, 40 minutes prior to sunrise. Credit: Stellarium.

Psst! Ever spy the planet Mercury? The most bashful of all the naked eye planets makes its best dawn appearance of 2014 this weekend for northern hemisphere observers. And not only will Mercury be worth getting up for, but you’ll also stand a chance at nabbing that most elusive of astronomical phenomena — the zodiacal light — from a good dark sky sight. [click to continue…]

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NASA WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, VA – Barely a day ago I witnessed the sudden and utter destruction of an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket being consumed in a totally unexpected devastating fireball moments after blastoff from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia at 6:22 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 28. [click to continue…]

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This Dark Nebula Looks Like it is Writhing in Agony

LBN 438 is a dark nebula and can be found in the constellation Lacerta. Credit and copyright: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona.

LBN 438 is a dark nebula and can be found in the constellation Lacerta. Credit and copyright: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona.

We’ve got at least one scary night ahead with Halloween falling on Friday. Adam Block, manager at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter at the University of Arizona sent us this image of the nebula LBN 438, explaining that this dark cloud of dust glows eerily both from scattered starlight and extended red emission due to the radiation of a nearby star.

“My mind alternates between something dancing in ecstasy or writhing in torture,” Adam said. “Either way, very spooky…”
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Double Disc Found Feeding Each Other In Binary Star System

This wide-field view shows the sky around the young multiple star system GG Tauri, which appears very close to the centre of this picture. This view also shows a dust cloud and evidence of star formation near the top of the picture.   Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2.  Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin

This wide-field view shows the sky around the young multiple star system GG Tauri, which appears very close to the centre of this picture. This view also shows a dust cloud and evidence of star formation near the top of the picture. Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin

Deep within the Taurus Dark Cloud complex, one of the closest star-forming regions to Earth has just revealed one of its secrets – an umbilical cord of gas flowing from the expansive outer disc toward the interior of a binary star system known as GG Tau-A. According to the ESO press release, this never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disc of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago. [click to continue…]

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