Tomorrow before dawn – November 29, 2015 – it’ll be hard to miss the planets Venus and Jupiter blazing away in the sky before sunrise. In the predawn hours, you can also catch Spica, the constellation Virgo’s brightest star, near Venus. After you spot Venus and Spica, think of this. For the rest of your life – every 8 Earth-years (every 13 Venus-years) – Venus and Spica will meet up in this same place in the morning sky.
We know that dinosaurs laid eggs, but did they bury their nests as crocodiles do, or leave them open and exposed, like birds? New research has some answers.
Here are some awesome new images of views across Mars’ Gale Crater – now being explored by NASA’s Curiosity rover. In these black-and-white images, the rover is using its NavCams (Navigational Cameras), which obtain a wide-angle view of the terrain, but don’t shoot in color as the rover’s 34mm and 100mm MastCams do. Look inside for more images, which include selfies of the rover!
Here’s your FAQ for this Friday ….
Light is the fastest-moving stuff in the universe. It travels at an incredible 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second. That’s very fast. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. How far is that?
Catch up with all the news you can fit into outer space with EarthSky.org’s Deborah Byrd, LIVE on Slooh Wednesdays at 4 PM ET (2100 UTC). Or watch right here!
The idea of fine-grained streams of dark matter stems from theoretical calculations done in the 1990s. Now a JPL astronomer, Gary Prézeau, has carried the idea a step further by running computer simulations of what would happen if a dark matter stream encountered Earth or another planet. His work suggests that streams of dark matter – passing through Earth – would emerge as ultra-dense filaments or “hairs” and that there should be many dark matter hairs sprouting from Earth and the other planets in our solar system.
A record snowfall fell in Wisconsin over this past week. Phil Koch captured an image and wrote to EarthSky:
And so winter begins in Wisconsin.
A global fire alert from space, FireSat sensors would be able to detect a fire anywhere on Earth within 15 minutes of its start and notify area emergency responders.
Tonight and tomorrow night – November 27 and 28, 2015 – before going to bed, look for the moon in your eastern sky. It’ll be a bright waning gibbous moon, and you might notice two bright stars in its vicinity. These stars are noticeable for being both bright and close together on the sky’s dome. They are Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini.
Mars’ large moon Phobos is slowly falling toward the planet. In 20-40 million years, it’ll shatter, and its pieces will form a Saturn-like ring around Mars.