Nine years ago this week Pluto lost its status as a planet. The International Astronomical Union, the organization that names astronomical objects and defines terms, determined Pluto did not meet its new definition of a planet.
Every year in mid-August, the Earth intersects the orbit of the Swift-Tuttle comet. When Earth intersects the comet’s orbit, it enters a debris field created from the rocks and dust released by the comet as it melts when it passes near the sun.
This NASA spacecraft was launched on Jan. 19, 2006, and has been traveling to Pluto for the last 9½ years. It’s traveling too fast to go into orbit around Pluto, but on the morning of July 14 it will pass by 7,000 miles from the surface at nearly 8.6 miles per second.
Eye to the Sky-, Science & Tech-Scott - Mars rover Curiosity takes break as sun comes between it, Earth
The Earth and Mars will be on opposite sides of the sun for most of the month of June, an alignment called Mars solar conjunction.
You can explore the solar system on a nice day in Walla Walla by taking the Planet Walk.
Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun, is the gem of the solar system because of its icy white ring system.
Now is one of the best times this year to view the planet Jupiter — not because of the calendar, but because of the positions of Jupiter and the Earth in their orbits around the sun.
The European Space Agency has a satellite orbiting a comet, and NASA is planning a mission to an asteroid. I often get asked, What is the difference between a comet and an asteroid?
If you found Orion on the few clear nights we’ve had this month, then finding its neighbor, the constellation Taurus, will be easy.
The winter solstice — the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere — occurred last Sunday at 2:57 p.m. local time. This is good news and bad news for astronomers.
You may have noticed the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. You may have also noticed the sun appears to be moving south, getting closer to the southern horizon each day.
The European Space Agency is about to pull off a first — landing a spacecraft on the nucleus of a comet.
In the past few weeks I’ve been asked several questions about the northern lights, also called the aurora borealis. In this month’s column I will answer some of these questions and introduce you to this mysterious and unpredictable display of light in the night sky.
When you see images and hear reports from NASA missions, do you ever wish that you could be part of the team? If so, your wish may be coming true.
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