The young waxing crescent moon, Saturn and the star Antares will be tough to spot on October 25, 2014 for N. Hemisphere observers as dusk ebbs toward darkness. Easier from the S. Hemisphere! By October 26 and 27, the moon will be moving upward in the west after sunset, and it’ll soon sweep near Mars.
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope composite image captures the positions of Comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet. The close encounter took place at 2:28 p.m. EDT October 19, 2014. The comet passed by Mars at approximately 87,000 miles, or about one-third of the distance between Earth and the moon! At that time, the comet and Mars were approximately 149 million miles from Earth.
At yesterday’s solar eclipse, the moon’s shadow brushed Earth. But what about Earth’s shadow? You can see it any clear evening. Just like you or me, Earth casts a shadow. Earth’s shadow extends millions of miles into space, in the direction opposite the sun.
Deneb Kaitos ranks as the most brilliant star in the constellation Cetus the Whale. This star shines on par with Polaris the North Star. There is a famous variable star also in Cetus, called Mira. And Mira might sometimes brighten up enough to match Deneb Kaitos, though only extremely rarely. Mira typically remains much too faint to see with the unaided eye while, as seen from mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, Deneb Kaitos soars highest in the southern sky in autumn.
October 24, 1946. Were you alive at a time when we’d never seen Earth from space? Not many of us were, and it’s hard to imagine. But if you can imagine it, think how you’d have felt seeing this first-ever photograph of Earth from outer space, taken on today’s date in 1946. On this date, a group of soldiers and scientists in the New Mexico desert launched a V-2 rocket – fitted with a 35-millimeter motion picture camera – to a suborbital altitude of 105 kilometers (65 mi). The camera was destroyed after being dropped back to Earth, but the film survived.
Favorite photos of the beautiful partial solar eclipse on October 23. Thank you to all who submitted to EarthSky.org or posted at EarthSky Facebook or G+.
Have you seen this image? It’s a fake.
The Hindu festival of Diwali celebrates the victory of Good over the Evil and Light over Darkness. It also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. Lighting lamps, candles, and fireworks are a big part of Diwali. It’s a celebration of light! But can you see those celebratory lights from space? The answer is no.
On January 22, 2009, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected rapid-fire, high-energy blasts from a magnetar – a neutron star with an exceedingly strong magnetic field. On October 21, 2014 – at the Fifth Fermi International Symposium in Nagoya, Japan – astronomers spoke of their work analyzing data from the 2009 event. They said they found underlying signals that might indicate a starquake on this magnetar that caused it to “ring like a bell.”
Get out your 3D glasses and watch a flyover of the weird landforms on Mars know as chaotic terrain.