The Sky Tonight Update: Neptune at Opposition, Sept. 3

This Sept. 3rd, the blue giant planet Neptune will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long.  This happens because when Neptune lies opposite the Sun in the sky, the solar system is lined up so that Neptune, the Earth and the Sun form a straight line with the Earth in the middle, on the same side of the Sun as Neptune.

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Proxima Centauri B – Closest Planet with Potential for Life?

The planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, is seen in an undated artist's impression released by the European Southern Observatory August 24, 2016. ESO/M. Kornmesser/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Recently, we began hearing rumors that an Earth-like planet had been found within the habitable zone of the next-nearest star to us, Proxima Centauri. According to the European Southern Observatory and other institutions, those statements have been confirmed.  Yes, there is a new planet, like Earth, within its star’s habitable zone, and relatively close to us.
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10 Little Known Facts About the Juno Mission

little known facts about juno

Juno is the second spacecraft designed under NASA’s New Frontiers Program and left Earth on August 8, 2011 for a journey to Jupiter.  July 4, 2016 it finally entered Jupiter’s orbit and will now orbit the massive gas giant 37 times in a span of 20 months.  Its mission: to collect data on the planetary core, map the magnetic field, and measure the amount of water and ammonia in the atmosphere.
That’s the gist of the mission, but here are some little known facts you may not already know.

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The Sky Tonight Update: Saturn at Opposition, June 2-4

This June 3rd, the ringed planet Saturn will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This happens because when Saturn lies opposite the Sun in the sky, the solar system is lined up so that Saturn, the Earth and the Sun form a straight line with the Earth in the middle, on the same side of the Sun as Saturn.

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The Sky Tonight Update: Blue Moon & Mars at Opposition, May 20-23

This May 21st, the Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be fully illuminated. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance. This moon has also been known as the Full Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. Since this is the third of four full moons in this season, it is known as a blue moon. This rare calendar event only happens once every few years, giving rise to the term, “once in a blue moon.” There are normally only three full moons in each season of the year. But since full moons occur every 29.53 days, occasionally a season will contain 4 full moons. The extra full moon of the season is known as a blue moon. Blue moons occur on average once every 2.7 years.

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