An opportunity in 2019 lays the groundwork for balloon-borne detectors on Venus, working to unravel a key mystery.
The skies of Venus may become a busy place in the coming decade, using technology field-tested here on Earth.
A team out of NASA JPL-Caltech hypothesized that terrestrial earthquakes should also produce low-frequency infrasonic sound waves, which would be transmitted from the ground through the atmosphere as changes in barometric pressure. These sound waves, while difficult to detect, should be measurable via highly sensitive barometers carried aloft.
Continue reading “Balloon Mission May Also Work to Detect Quakes on Venus”
A close pass of Comet Wirtanen in 2018 offered researchers an unprecedented opportunity.
Comets are full of surprises. Not only do they often under- or very occasionally over- perform versus expectations, but they also offer a glimpse of the remnants of the very early solar system. In December 2018, astronomers had an unprecedented opportunity to study one of these relics of the early solar system up close as Comet 46P/Wirtanen sped by Earth just 30 times the Earth-Moon distance (7.1 million miles away) on its closest passage for this century.
Continue reading “Tales of a ‘Drunken Comet’- Astronomers Detect Alcohol Leaking From 46P/Wirtanen into Space”
There’s an old adage that says there is ‘nothing new under the Sun…’ but that doesn’t apply when it comes to solar eclipse science.
Beyond just providing an awesome celestial spectacle, astronomers have often taken advantage of the brief moments afforded by solar totality to explore the Sun and its environs. To this end, total solar eclipses have historically offered chances to carry out scientific experiments in the past, and continue to do so today.
Continue reading “Modern Solar Eclipse Science: Huge Coronal Mass Ejection Caught in Action”
Now’s the time to catch Nova Herculis 2021, before it fades from view.
…And then, there were two. Fresh off of the eruption of Nova Cassiopeiae 2021 early this year, another galactic nova made itself known earlier this past weekend, as a ‘new star’ or nova flirted with naked eye visibility in the constellation Hercules the Hero on its border with Aquila the Eagle.
Continue reading “Catch New Galactic Nova Herculis 2021 in Hercules the Hero”
The only annular eclipse of 2021 will produce a fine spectacle across most of North America and Europe.
Got those solar glasses handy from 2017? If skies are clear on the morning of Thursday June 10th, you may once again find good use for them, as an annular ‘ring-of-fire’ eclipse crosses northeastern Canada into the Arctic.
Continue reading “Solar Horns at Sunrise: Our Guide to the June 10th Annular Solar Eclipse”
The Moon turned a ruddy hue during this morning’s total lunar eclipse, in one of the top astronomical events of the year.
What a celestial show. Depending on your time zone, you either got up early, stayed up late, or pulled an all-niter last night, all in hopes of catching today’s total lunar eclipse. This event favored the Pacific region, with western North American observers catching the eclipse at sunrise/moonset, and Australia, new Zealand and eastern Asia seeing totality transpiring at moonrise/sunset.
Continue reading “Amazing Views of Wednesday Morning’s Total Lunar Eclipse”
The first total lunar eclipse of 2021 occurs early next week and features the largest Full Moon of the year.
Ready for the lunar eclipse drought to come to an end? It’s been a while since we’ve watched the Moon pass through the Earth’s dark inner shadow, to be sure. 2020 featured four lunar eclipses… all of which were faint penumbrals. In fact, you have to go all the waaaaay back to January 21st, 2019 (remember 2019?) to remember the last total lunar eclipse. But that wait ends next Wednesday morning on May 26th, with a very short total lunar eclipse, centered on the Pacific region.
Continue reading “‘Super-Blood Moon’ Total Lunar Eclipse Set For May 26th”
The May Moon Meets Venus and Mercury, at dusk en route to eclipse season and more.
Wonder where all the solar system action is hiding? While the dusk sky may seem devoid of planets (save for Mars), that’s all about to change this evening. The watch-phrase for astronomy in May 2021 is to ‘follow the Moon’ as it makes several spectacular planetary passes, then kicks off the first eclipse season of the year.
Continue reading “Following the Moon for Amazing May Astronomy”
The coming weeks are a great time to catch comet C/2020 R4 ATLAS… while you can.
Looking to do some springtime astronomy? With temperatures warming up in the northern hemisphere in April through May, galaxy season is upon us. At dusk, the area in the Bowl of Virgo asterism rising in the east is rife with clusters of galaxies that spill over into the adjacent constellations of Coma Berenices and Boötes…
But this May, keep an eye out for a fuzzball interloper that is not a galaxy: Comet C/2020 R4 ATLAS.
Continue reading “Catch Comet R4 ATLAS as it Nears Earth”
A new study turns modern ‘deep learning’ techniques on Galileo’s early sketches of the Sun.
It’s a fascinating thought to consider.
What exactly did the Sun look like, centuries ago? What would we see, if astronomers back in the time of Kepler and Galileo had modern technology monitoring the Sun across the electromagnetic spectrum, available to them?
Continue reading “Galileo Sunspot Sketches Versus Modern ‘Deep Learning’ AI”