• What would it be like to fly over the asteroid Vesta? Animators from the German Aerospace Center recently took actual images and height data from NASA’s Dawn mission currently visiting Vesta to generate such a virtual movie. The above video begins with a sequence above Divalia Fossa, an unusual pair of troughs running parallel over heavily cratered terrain. Next, the
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  • Many spiral galaxies have bars across their centers. Even our own Milky Way Galaxy is thought to have a modest central bar. Prominently barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672, pictured above, was captured in spectacular detail in image taken by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. Visible are dark filamentary dust lanes, young clusters of bright blue stars, red emission nebulas of
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  • Two stars within our own Milky Way galaxy anchor the foreground of this cosmic snapshot. Beyond them lie the galaxies of the Hydra Cluster. In fact, while the spiky foreground stars are hundreds of light-years distant, the Hydra Cluster galaxies are over 100 million light-years away. Three large galaxies near the cluster center, two yellow ellipticals (NGC 3311, NGC 3309)
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  • The Super Moon wins, by just a little, when its apparent size is compared to the Sun in this ingenious composite picture. To make it, the Full Moon on May 6 was photographed with the same camera and telescope used to image the Sun (with a dense solar filter!) on the following day. Of course, on May 6 the Moon
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  • It was really not about superheroes as on May 6 the much touted Super Moon, the largest Full Moon of 2012, rose over this otherwise peaceful harbor. And no supervillains were present either as boats gently rocked at their moorings near the checkerboard La Perdrix lighthouse on the coast of Brittany, France. But the rise of the Super Moon was
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  • What’s that in the background? Two famous New York City icons stand tall in the above photo taken last week. On the left looms the Statue of Liberty, a universal symbol of freedom, while on the right rises the Empire State Building, now the second largest building in the city. What’s unique about this once-in-a-lifetime photograph, though, is the third
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  • What’s moving? Time lapse videos of the sky can be quite spectacular when they last long enough for stars, planets, aurora, and clouds to appear to move in just a few seconds. Pictured above, however, astrovideographer Daniel López not only treats us to several inspiring time lapse videos of the night sky, but shows us how he used sliders and
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  • Did you see that full Moon Saturday night? Dubbed a supermoon, the latest fully illuminated moon appeared slightly larger than usual because it occurred unusually near the closest point in its orbit to Earth. Pictured above, the supermoon was captured Saturday night rising behind the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Of course, the angular extent of the
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  • In the depths of the dark clouds of dust and molecular gas known as the Omega Nebula, stars continue to form. The above image from the Hubble Space Telescope‘s Advanced Camera for Surveys shows exquisite detail in the famous star-forming region. The dark dust filaments that lace the center of Omega Nebula were created in the atmospheres of cool giant
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  • Rising as the Sun sets, tonight’s Full Moon could be hard to miss. Remarkably, its exact full phase (May 6 03:36 UT) will occur less than two minutes after it reaches perigee, the closest point to Earth in the Moon’s orbit, making it the largest Full Moon of 2012. The Full Perigee Moon will appear to be some 14 percent
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  • p> Exploring the cosmos at extreme energies, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope orbits planet Earth every 95 minutes. By design, it rocks to the north and then to the south on alternate orbits in order to survey the sky with its Large Area Telescope (LAT). The spacecraft also rolls so that solar panels are kept pointed at the Sun for
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  • Close to the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and surrounded by the stars of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici), this celestial wonder was discovered in 1781 by the metric French astronomer Pierre Mechain. Later, it was added to the catalog of his friend and colleague Charles Messier as M106. Modern deep telescopic views reveal it to be an island universe: a
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  • Although its colors may be subtle, Saturn’s moon Helene is an enigma in any light. The moon was imaged in unprecedented detail last June as the robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn swooped to within a single Earth diameter of the diminutive moon. Although conventional craters and hills appear, the above image also shows terrain that appears unusually smooth and streaked.
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  • What is all this fuss about the Higgs boson? The physics community is abuzz that a fundamental particle expected by the largely successful Standard Model of particle physics may be soon be found by the huge Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Europe. The term boson refers to a type of fundamental particle with similarities to the photon, while
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  • It was all lined up even without the colorful aurora exploding overhead. If you follow the apex line of the recently deployed monuments of Arctic Henge in Raufarhöfn in northern Iceland from this vantage point, you will see that they point due north. A good way to tell is to follow their apex line to the line connecting the end
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