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Latest Planetshine Stories

2012-05-04 09:17:34

The North Star, the Pole Star, the Guiding Star, Polaris: Its many names reflect the many centuries humans have gazed northward to it for guidance. However, recent studies have shown that the North Star is losing mass at a significant rate. Will Polaris, steadfast beacon for early sailors and adventurers alike, vanish from the night sky? Hilding Neilson of the Argelander Institute of Astronomy at the University of Bonn in Germany thinks that he and his colleagues have unlocked the answer...

Image 1 - Earth's Reflection From Moon Helps Search For Life Outside Our Solar System
2012-03-01 05:28:12

[ Video 1 ] | [ Video 2 ] An international team of astronomers has found evidence of life in the Universe — right here on Earth — after pointing one of the world´s largest telescope at the Moon.  While the observation might seem trivial, it has helped perfect a technique that could lead to future discoveries of life outside our solar system. The researchers used the European Southern Observatory´s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to look at Earthshine reflected from...

The Night After Christmas Sky Show
2011-12-24 05:24:07

T'was the Night after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring ... ...because everyone was outside watching the planets align? It's true. On Dec. 26th, the night after Christmas, Venus and the slender crescent Moon will gather for a jaw-dropping conjunction in the western sky. The action begins shortly before sunset. Around 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm local time, just as the sky is assuming its evening hue, Venus will pop into view, glistening bright in the deepening...

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2010-05-14 06:40:00

This weekend, Venus and the crescent Moon are gathering in the western sky for a spectacular conjunction, and they're not alone. The International Space Station and, very likely, space shuttle Atlantis will join them for a rare four-way meeting of spaceships and planets over many locations. The show begins at sunset when Venus and the Moon emerge from the twilight in close proximity to one another. The Moon will be exquisitely slender, a 5% crescent on Saturday, May 15th (sky map), and a...

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2009-04-26 14:40:00

On Sunday evening, April 26, the crescent Moon, Mercury and the Pleiades star cluster will gather for a three-way conjunction in the western sky. It's a must-see event. The show begins before the sky fades to black. The Moon pops out of the twilight first, an exquisitely slender 5% crescent surrounded by cobalt blue. The horns of the crescent cradle a softly-glowing image of the full Moon. That is Earthshine"”dark lunar terrain illuminated by sunlight reflected from Earth. If the show...

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2009-04-15 10:25:00

Earthshine "“ sunlight reflected from the Earth toward the Moon "“ may provide a way for researchers to seek out oceans on other planets, according to researchers. Last week, researchers from the University of Melbourne and Princeton University reported finding that the difference in reflection of light from the Earth's landmasses and oceans can be seen on the dark side of the moon. Sally Langford, from the University of Melbourne's School of Physics, said the brightness being...

2009-04-09 12:28:38

An Australian-led study shows, for the first time, differences in light reflection from Earth's land masses and oceans can be seen on the moon's far side. The researchers, led by Sally Langford of the University of Melbourne and including scientists from Princeton University, said the phenomenon, known as earthshine, might be used to view the physical makeup of planets too small to allow an image to be made of their surface. Langford said the brightness of the reflected earthshine varied as...

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2009-04-07 10:45:00

Researchers from the University of Melbourne and Princeton University have shown for the first time that the difference in reflection of light from the Earth's land masses and oceans can be seen on the dark side of the moon, a phenomenon known as earthshine. The paper is published in this week's edition of the international journal Astrobiology. Sally Langford from the University of Melbourne's School of Physics who conducted the study as part of her PhD, says that the brightness of the...

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2009-02-26 15:50:00

Be careful, this sort of thing can cause an accident. On Friday evening, Feb. 27th, the 10% crescent Moon will glide by Venus, forming a gorgeous and mesmerizing pair of lights in the sunset sky. Moon-Venus conjunctions are not unusual, but this conjunction has some special qualities: (1) Venus is at maximum brightness: magnitude -4.6. The planet is twenty times brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. It is so luminous that it can actually shine through thin clouds and cast...

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2008-11-25 09:25:00

This story ends with the best sky show of the year--a spectacular three-way conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon. It begins tonight with a sunset stroll. At the end of the day, when the horizon is turning red and the zenith is cobalt-blue, step outside and look southwest. You'll see Venus and Jupiter beaming side-by-side through the twilight. Glittering Venus is absolutely brilliant and Jupiter is nearly as bright as Venus. Together, they're dynamite. Add another stick of TNT...