Space

Comet to pass Earth in close flyby tomorrow morning

Comet to pass Earth in close flyby tomorrow morning

If you missed today's comet flyby, don't fret -- there will be a second one tomorrow morning, and it'll be even closer than today's (though there is no danger, NASA is sure to warn). This flyby will involve comet P/2016 BA14, and it’ll pass by our planet at 2.2 million or so miles. While that’s a great distance away, relatively speaking, it’ll be the third closest comet flyby since 1983. Tomorrow’s event follows this morning’s flyby of comet 252P/LINEAR.

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New Horizons yields more questions about Pluto than answers

New Horizons yields more questions about Pluto than answers

Last year, humanity achieved an important milestone. The New Horizons probe flew by Pluto in history's closest approach to the dwarf planet in the outermost zone of our solar system. The initial batch of photos were already revealing but that is almost literally just the tip of the iceberg. Scientists involved in the New Horizons studies have just published a paper that reveals even more findings gathered since the probe's first data dump, painting a picture of a planet that is more mysterious than we could have imagined.

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Ceres’ mystery spots are dimming, brightening daily

Ceres’ mystery spots are dimming, brightening daily

Ceres' bright spots entertained astronomers and enthusiasts for most of 2015, but ultimately ended as we'd expected all along -- all signs point toward them being shiny salt patches reflecting the sun's light. Enter 2016 and a new plot twist no one anticipated -- the dwarf planet's bright spots are randomly changing in intensity, growing brighter and dimmer throughout the day in a way that doesn't fully line up with the planet's rotation.

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ExoMars 2016 is Go as rocket blasts off for Martian mission

ExoMars 2016 is Go as rocket blasts off for Martian mission

The European Space Agency's mission to Mars has successfully begun, though it'll be seven months before the Proton rocket reaches the red planet. ExoMars 2016 aims to sift through the Martian atmosphere in search of methane and other trace gases which, the scientists suggest, might indicate that there are active biological or geological processes underway on the distant planet.

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Mars probe departs this week on joint European-Russian study

Mars probe departs this week on joint European-Russian study

As part of the ExoMars 2016 mission, a new unmanned spacecraft will be departing for Mars on Monday thanks to collaboration between the space agencies of Europe and Russia. The European Space Agency (ESA) notes that the probe is heading to the red planet to study its atmosphere and dust storms, and to get there it will be riding atop a Russian Proton rocket.

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NASA Mars InSight mission set for May 2018 launch

NASA Mars InSight mission set for May 2018 launch

NASA has announced the new launch date that it is targeting to send the Mars InSight mission into the heavens on course to the Red Planet. The InSight mission was originally set to launch in March 2016, but was delayed. NASA is now targeting InSight for launch on May 5, 2018 with landing scheduled for November 26, 2018.

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How to watch the solar eclipse tonight

How to watch the solar eclipse tonight

This year will prove fun for astronomers and star-gazers alike, as it'll bring both a solar eclipse and, in a couple weeks, a lunar eclipse. The solar eclipse is happening tonight, and you won't have to worry about weather blocking your view -- the eclipse will mostly only be visible in Indonesia and to passengers on select commercial flights. Thanks to our increasingly connected world, though, you'll still have an option for watching the solar eclipse live as it happens no matter where you're located.

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Mercury’s dark surface due to carbon from the planet itself

Mercury’s dark surface due to carbon from the planet itself

Being the closest to the sun, you'd think Mercury would shine the brightest among the inner planets of the solar system. In truth, however, it reflects even less light than our own moon. Scientists have long speculated on why that is so and what leads to Mercury's very dark facade. Thanks to data gathered by the dearly departed MESSENGER probe, they confirm that carbon is indeed to blame. But interestingly enough, the carbon didn't come from outside forces but right from the planet's crust itself.

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Alaska Airlines to delay flight so travellers can see solar eclipse

Alaska Airlines to delay flight so travellers can see solar eclipse

Some Alaska Airlines customers are in for a treat tomorrow -- the airline has tweaked the takeoff time for one of its flights so passengers can see tomorrow's total solar eclipse from a rare vantage point, according to a new report. Most people on Earth won't get to see the solar eclipse from their meager land-bound positions, though, as it'll only be visible in parts of Indonesia.

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NASA’s New Horizons reveals snow-covered mountains on Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons reveals snow-covered mountains on Pluto

New Horizons, the NASA spacecraft that studied Pluto with a number of flybys last summer, continues to send its data back to Earth, often with new discoveries. Just last week the space agency shared photos of giant frozen canyons in the former planet's North Pole region, and now NASA believes there are mountain peaks covered in methane snow on the surface as well. New high-resolution photos of the southern hemisphere's Cthulhu region, known for its reddish hue, reveal mountains with brightly colored tops.

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SpaceX rocket launches satellite, but misses landing yet again

SpaceX rocket launches satellite, but misses landing yet again

Private space agency SpaceX was finally able to complete the latest launch of its Falcon 9 rocket on Friday afternoon, after more than a week of delays and difficulties. The Elon Musk-founded company had been commissioned by SES to send a communications satellite into orbit, a mission it was able to successfully complete. However, on SpaceX's longer term goal of landing re-usable rockets, this latest attempt was another bust.

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Hubble spies most distant galaxy ever discovered

Hubble spies most distant galaxy ever discovered

Scientists from NASA and the ESA have pushed the Hubble Space Telescope to a new distance record. The record comes as the team of researchers has broken the cosmic distance record by measuring the distance to the most distant galaxy ever seen in the Universe. According to scientists, the galaxy they measured existed only 400 million years after the Big Bang.

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