astronomy

China’s Chang’e-3 lander and Jade Rabbit rover land on moon

China’s Chang’e-3 lander and Jade Rabbit rover land on moon

China's "Long March to the Moon" has placed a lander and a rover on the moon. The Chang'e-3 lander and her accompanying Yutu or "Jade Rabbit" rover arrived inside the right eye of the "Man in the Moon" this evening at 9:00PM Beijing time. This marks the first time in more than 40 years anyone has performed a soft lunar landing. All sources point to a successful deployment for the robot visitors.

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Comet ISON declared dead by scientists

Comet ISON declared dead by scientists

Astronomers and sky watchers around the world watched in anticipation in late November and early December as comet ISON made its close pass around the sun. The prediction was that if the comet survived its close encounter with the sun, it would be one of the brightest comets in centuries. Sadly, when the comet went behind the sun, it didn’t emerge as hoped.

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NASA Van Allen probes confirm Earth as giant particle accelerator

NASA Van Allen probes confirm Earth as giant particle accelerator

The NASA Van Allen twin probes launched last year have revealed that the Earth is a giant particle accelerator. Recently it was reported that particles in the magnetosphere sometimes accelerate across distances of a few hundred meters. But the newer discovery shows the acceleration can occur across hundreds of thousands of kilometers. The data will be helpful to to scientists helping satellite operators and the International Space Station to predict and prepare for the destructive tendencies of the seemingly random fluctuations that can occur in the magnetosphere.

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GOCE gravity-measuring satellite gives in to gravity

GOCE gravity-measuring satellite gives in to gravity

The GOCE satellite we reported to be falling to Earth has finally succumbed to gravity entirely, breaking up into dozens of remnants weighing 20-25% of its original one ton, reports the BBC. It didn't strike any populated areas as it showered down this Sunday afternoon. Interestingly, the extremely low-orbiting observation satellite was designed in 2009 to run out of orbit-maintaining fuel right about now and fall, just, you know, anywhere. No big deal.

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