The planet Uranus is usually relatively calm when compared to its other companion gas giants in our solar system. Up until recently if you aimed a telescope at the distant planet you would have just observed a bland and hazy blue-green looking body without a whole lot going on. However, lately several extremely bright and large storms have been erupting around the northern hemisphere, and 7 years later than its closest approach to the Sun when astronomers would expect any activity to occur. Some of theses features are now even bright enough to be visible to amateur astronomers with a telescope, and this unusual activity has now sparked great interest in the unusual planet. It is now an active topic of research to understand these new phenomena since these wild storms were first discovered by astronomer, Dr. Imke de Pater, of the University of California, Berkeley.
Read more about it here:
European Space Agency – ESA
This unusual view takes a side-on look down the smaller lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and onto the smoother terrain of the ‘neck’ region. In the background, cliffs of the comet’s large lobe rise from the shadows, adding to the dramatic feel to this image.
This single-frame NAVCAM image measures 1024 x 1024 pixels. It was captured from a distance of 9.8 km from the centre of the comet (7.8 km from the surface) at 22:04 GMT on 23 October 2014. At this distance, the image resolution is 83.5 cm/pixel and the size of the image is 855 x 855 m.
European Space Agency – ESA
To see all of the amazing photos from Philae lander visit http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2014/11
Scientists have confirmed contact with the Philae lander after its release. You can now watch the footage as it unfolds now:
Tomorrow, Nov. 12, may mark the first time humans have soft-landed on a comet. If this is successful it will be courtesy of The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft which is currently orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it speeds through space. Rosetta will release a lander, called Philae, down to the comet’s surface tomorrow while three different space-focused organizations host Rosetta webcasts for all to watch.
The Gaia Satellite was launched on December 19 of last year. It’s mission: to chart a 3D map of the Milky Way Galaxy by surveying more than 1 billion stars. Even though that’s just 1 percent of the stars in the galaxy, its goal is to make the largest, most precise map of where Earth dwells by observing the position of these stars 70 times over five years. Among other things, this could result in the discovery of up to 70,000 additional alien planets.
Today, Oct. 23rd, most of the United States and Canada will be able to view the partial solar eclipse that will start at about 6pm EST. An eclipse, of course, is when an astronomical body is obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or having another body pass between it and the viewer . To mark the occasion I thought it would be interesting if we looked at some other moons in our solar system. So here are ten quick facts about all those moons that orbit the planets.
In the evening hours of this Thursday October 23, 2014 a partial solar eclipse will be visible here in Baton Rouge, weather permitting. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. On Thursday, the center of the Moon’s shadow will miss the Earth, but a partial eclipse will be visible before sunset across most of North America. If you want to see a total eclipse you’ll have to wait a few more years.
On Wednesday, Oct. 8th, there will be a unique spectacle in the sky: a lunar eclipse.
Let’s take a look at how lunar eclipses occur, why the moon appears to turn red, and the best way to photograph it for ourselves.