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Liftoff of the unmanned Chang'e 5 T1 lunar spacecraft atop a Long March-3C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China on Oct. 24, 2014, BJT (Oct. 23 EDT).  Credit: Xinhua/Jiang Hongjing

Liftoff of the unmanned Chang’e-5 T1 lunar spacecraft atop a Long March-3C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China on Oct. 24, 2014, BJT (Oct. 23 EDT). Credit: Xinhua/Jiang Hongjing

China launched a robotic mission to the Moon today (Oct. 23 EDT/Oct. 24 BJT) that will test a slew of key technologies required for safely delivering samples gathered from the Moon’s surface and returning them to Earth later this decade for analysis by researchers.

Today’s unmanned launch of what has been dubbed “Chang’e-5 T1” is a technology testbed serving as a precursor for China’s planned [click to continue…]

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The partial solar eclipse of October 23, 2014, with a giant sunspot visible. Credit and copyright: Derek Mellott.

The partial solar eclipse of October 23, 2014, with a giant sunspot visible. Credit and copyright: Derek Mellott.

“The Sun looks like it has a bite taken out of it!” said one enthusiastic viewer of the partial solar eclipse on October 23. Although I only had my paper plate pinhole projector that I shared with a crowd of folks (you can see an image of it near the bottom of the images here), the funny-looking Sun projected onto the plate definitely looked like a cookie with bite out of it or a clipped fingernail. But thankfully, as the Moon moved in front of the Sun today, legions of astrophotographers were out to take fantastic images of the eclipse. And the gigantic sunspot named AR 2192 made a cameo appearance as well. Enjoy the gallery below!

Thanks to everyone who uploaded images to our Flickr page or shared their images on Twitter.

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Here comes another asteroid! 2014 SC324 will miss Earth by 1.5 times the distance to the Moon early Friday afternoon October 24, 2014. Credit: Gianluca Masi / Software Bisque

Here comes another asteroid! 2014 SC324 will miss Earth by 1.5 times the distance to the Moon early Friday afternoon October 24, 2014. Credit: Gianluca Masi / Software Bisque

What a roller coaster week it’s been. If partial eclipses and giant sunspots aren’t your thing, how about a close flyby of an Earth-approaching asteroid?   [click to continue…]

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This Rosetta image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows spectacular jets erupting from the small body on Sept. 10, 2014. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

This Rosetta image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows spectacular jets erupting from the small body on Sept. 10, 2014. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Jet! The comet that the Rosetta spacecraft is visiting is shedding more dust as machine and Solar System body get closer to the Sun.

While activity was first seen at the “neck” of the rubber-duckie shaped comet a few weeks ago, now scientists are seeing jets spring from across the comet.

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Astronomy Cast Ep. 354: Mars vs Comet Siding Spring

Visit the Astronomy Cast Page to subscribe to the audio podcast!

We record Astronomy Cast as a live Google+ Hangout on Air every Monday at 12:00 pm Pacific / 3:00 pm Eastern. You can watch here on Universe Today or from the Astronomy Cast Google+ page.

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