Latest Astronomy on Mars Stories
As the Perseid meteor shower becomes visible in all its glory on 13 August, natural fireworks will fill the sky.
Mark your calendar: On March 3, 2007, the Moon will turn red during a total lunar eclipse visible from parts of all seven continents, including the eastern half of the United States.
By CLAIR WOOD In his book on the Leonid meteor showers, "The Heavens on Fire," Mark Littmann writes that the Leonid meteor storm of 1833 was so intense, estimated from records to be in excess of 72,000 an hour, that terrified viewers thought the world was coming to an end.
This 360-degree view, called the "McMurdo" panorama, comes from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. From April through October 2006, Spirit has stayed on a small hill known as "Low Ridge."
Like the fabled tortoise that, in the race with the hare, moves slowly yet accomplishes much, Spirit and Opportunity have continued to make progress little by little, while essentially running in place.
These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show the fast-moving shadow of the moon Phobos as it moved across the Martian surface.
Mars is ready for another close-up. For the second time in nearly 60,000 years, the Red Planet will swing unusually close to Earth this weekend, appearing as a yellow twinkle in the night sky.
The Perseids come every year, beginning in late July and stretching into August. Sky watchers outdoors at the right time can see colorful fireballs, occasional outbursts and, almost always, long hours of gracefully streaking meteors. Among the many nights of the shower, there is always one night that is best. This year: August 12th.
The eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on May 5th and 6th. The best time to look, no matter where you live, is during the hours before local sunrise on both days.
Viewing both the inner and outer planets with a telescope may promise some of the best views during January, particularly as the Saturn-Earth distance closes near the scheduled January 14th descent of the Huygens probe towards the surface of Titan.
Positional Astronomy -- Positional astronomy is the study of the positions of celestial objects. This is the oldest branch of astronomy and dates back to antiquity. Observations of celestial objects are important for religious and astrological purposes, as well as for timekeeping. Ancient structures associated with positional astronomy include: -- Chichn Itz -- The Medicine Wheel -- The Pyramids -- Stonehenge -- The Temple of the Sun The unaided human eye can...
Perseids Meteor Shower -- Like most meteor showers, the Perseids are caused by comet debris. As comets enter the inner solar system, they are warmed by the sun and peppered by the solar wind, which produces the familar tails that stretch across the night sky when a bright comet is close to Earth. Comet tails are made of tiny pieces of ice, dust, and rock which are spewed into interplanetary space as they bubble off the comet's nucleus. When Earth encounters these particles on its...
The Moon -- The Moon is the largest satellite of the Earth, and is occasionally called Luna (Latin for moon) to distinguish it from the general use of the word "moon". The Moon is distinguished from the satellites of other planets by its initial capital letter; the other moons are described in the natural satellite article. The words moon and month come from the same Old English root word. The Moon makes a complete orbit of the celestial sphere about every four weeks. Each hour the...
The Planet Mars -- in astronomy, 4th planet from the sun, with an orbit next in order beyond that of the earth. Physical Characteristics Mars has a striking red appearance, and in its most favorable position for viewing, when it is opposite the sun, it is twice as bright as Sirius, the brightest star. Mars has a diameter of 4,200 mi (6,800 km), just over half the diameter of the earth, and its mass is only 11% of the earth's mass. The planet has a very thin atmosphere consisting...
Mars' Moon Phobos -- in astronomy, innermost moon, or natural satellite, of Mars. Phobos orbits Mars at a distance of only 9,378 km (5,627 mi), closer to its planet than any other moon in the solar system. In fact, it is so close that the force of Mars's gravity is stronger than the force keeping the moon in its orbit, so the radius of Phobos's orbit is decreasing at the rate of about 1.8 m (about 6 ft) per century. In 40 million years, Phobos will either break apart into a ring...
- A political dynamiter.
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