Science News

Lunar Probe Experiences Lunar Eclipse

17 April 2014
On 15 April 2014, a total eclipse of the Moon was visible in most of the Western Hemisphere, including the Americas, the Pacific Ocean, east Australia, and New Zealand.

Coming Celestial Showpiece: Meteor Shower

16 April 2014
Meteor showers are among the most favorite and most exciting astronomical phenomena. They occur when Earth passes through a stream of space debris, called meteoroids, tiny dust particles shed by comets or minor planets, which penetrate our atmosphere, at enormous speeds, and glow as meteors or shooting stars. Strong meteor showers are known as meteor storms or outbursts.

Moon Meets Mars in the Evening Sky

13 April 2014
On the evening of 14 April 2014, the Moon, almost full, will shine close to Mars, the Red Planet. When two or more celestial objects appear close together in the sky, they are said to be in conjunction. Lunar conjunctions, featuring the Moon and a bright planet or a bright star, are among the most beautiful heavenly sights that can viewed with the unaided eye.

A Ringed Minor Planet

03 April 2014
Astronomers using telescopes in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, have discovered a ring system around a minor planet known as Chariklo. Before the discovery of the rings of Chariklo, the four giant Jovian planets were the only known ringed members of the solar system. This discovery is really surprising, as it has been thought that small solar system objects cannot retain ring systems. It is speculated that the presence of small unseen moons around Chariklo may help preserve these rings.

Rosetta Spacecraft Glimpses Its Target Comet

01 April 2014
The comet-bound Rosetta spacecraft, of the European Space Agency (ESA), has relayed the first images of its ultimate target, Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, also known as 67P. Rosetta is scheduled to arrive at Comet 67P, in August 2014. It will orbit 67P, for 17 months, to conduct the most detailed study of a comet ever. It has been in a long space hibernation interval, which lasted 957 days, ending on 20 January 2014, when the project’s scientists reactivated its onboard computers

Three Astronauts Launch to the International Space Station

27 March 2014
On 25 March 2014, a Soyuz spacecraft launched toward the International Space Station (ISS), from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying onboard three astronauts, the Expedition 39 crew. The space trio consists of Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov (commander) and flight engineers Oleg Artemyev (Latvia) and Steve Swanson (United States). The ISS is the largest spacecraft ever flown into space. It orbits Earth at an altitude of about 350 km

Spacecraft Completes Mapping the Surface of Mercury

20 March 2014
The US space agency, NASA, has released the first complete map of Mercury, the innermost and smallest planet. NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, which has been orbiting Mercury since March 2011, has ultimately imaged the entire surface of the planet. The map has been produced from thousands of MESSENGER’s images.

An Extragalactic Wonder: The Sculptor Galaxy

16 March 2014
The Sculptor Galaxy, also known as NGC 253, is a beautiful nearby spiral galaxy, visible in the southern constellation Sculptor. Interestingly, it is very rich in cosmic dust, an important ingredient for star formation. It is undergoing a “burst” of star formation, showing unusually high rates of star birth. Galaxies which form stars vigorously are called starburst galaxies.

Saturn’s Dynamic Ring

10 March 2014
There are four ringed planets in the solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Saturn’s rings, however, are the largest and most magnificent, as the other planetary rings are faint and smaller in size. The Saturnian rings consist of icy particles, ranging in size from as tiny as dust grains to as large as boulders. The ring particles orbit Saturn, as very tiny moons. The rings also contain numerous smaller ringlets.

Cosmic Rock Buzzes Earth!

20 February 2014
On 18 February 2014, a small asteroid (up to 270 meters across), known as 2000 EM26, flew by Earth, passing about 3 million km, or nine times the average Earth-Moon distance, from our planet.

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