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Hubble spies a comet’s rotating jet

s/2016/14/image/a/format/web_print/View full Hubble image. | A narrow, well-defined jet of dust extending from the icy, fragile nucleus of Comet 252P/LINEAR, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope during one of the closest encounters between a comet and our planet.

A rotating jet of dust extending from the icy, fragile nucleus of Comet 252P/LINEAR. The jet is pointed toward about 10 o’clock in the first image, and about 8 o’clock in the second.

In March, Comet 252P/LINEAR passed exceedingly near the Earth. These images show the closest celestial object Hubble has observed, other than Earth’s moon.

Coming to know Corvus the Crow

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One of my favorite constellations, little squarish Corvus the Crow, can be found in the south after sunset at this time of year. It’s not far from the bright star Spica – brightest light in the constellation Virgo the Maiden.

Man-eating crocodiles captured in Florida

Nile crocodile. Nile crocodiles, Crocodylus niloticus, were responsible for at least 480 attacks on people and 123 fatalities in Africa between 2010 and 2014. Image © mariswanepoel / Fotolia

Nile crocodiles were responsible for at least 480 attacks on people and 123 fatalities in Africa between 2010 and 2014. Image © mariswanepoel / Fotolia

Monster Nile crocodiles might be Florida’s newest invasive species.

Astronomy events, star parties, festivals, workshops

Jim Elliott of Powell, Ohio, contributed this photo. He wrote: “The moon over Jupiter over Columbus, Ohio, at the OSU planetarium star party. April 16, 2016.”

Jim Elliott of Powell, Ohio, contributed this photo. He wrote: “The moon over Jupiter over Columbus, Ohio, at the OSU planetarium star party. April 16, 2016.”

Summertime star parties! We just added many new events to this list of astronomical events throughout the U.S. and Canada. Find one near you, join in and have fun!

Ancient tsunamis on Mars?

he Valles Marineris region on Mars, where astronomers examined tsunami-affected shorelines from meteor impacts. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech

he Valles Marineris region on Mars, where astronomers examined tsunami-affected shorelines from meteor impacts. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech

A study suggests that 2 large meteorites hit Mars billions of years ago and triggered mega-tsunamis in Martian water oceans.

Is Europa’s ocean like Earth’s?

This image shows a view of the trailing hemisphere of Jupiter's ice-covered satellite, Europa, in approximate natural color. Long, dark lines are fractures in the crust, some of which are more than 3,000 kilometers (1,850 miles) long.   Image via Galileo spacecraft in 1996.

Jupiter’s ice-covered satellite, Europa, in approximate natural color. Image via Galileo spacecraft in 1996.

New research finds the ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa could have the necessary balance of chemicals for life, even without active volcanoes.

Have you seen Mars?

Greg Hogan caught this shot of the full moon and Mars on the night before Mars opposition, May 21, 2016. Thanks, Greg!

Greg Hogan caught this shot of the full moon and Mars on the night before Mars opposition, May 21, 2016. Thanks, Greg!

Best photos of Mars near the moon this weekend. Plus photos of Mars throughout May, 2016, near the planet Saturn and star Antares. Beautiful!

Close and far Martian oppositions

What's really cool is that you can use the brilliant planet Mars as you guide

What’s also cool is that you can use the brilliant planet Mars in 2016 as your guide “star” to the planet Saturn and the star Antares.

Tonight – May 23, 2016 – we’re just one day past Mars once-in-26-months opposition. In other words, yesterday Earth flew between Mars and the sun. What a wonderful event! However, 2016’s opposition of Mars – although good – doesn’t bring Mars as close to Earth as the extremely close opposition of 2018. Find out about close and far Martian oppositions, inside…

Brightest Mars in 10 years

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The May 22 opposition of Mars presents Mars at its closest to Earth in over 10 years, or since the opposition of November 7, 2005. Super-close oppositions of Mars recur in periods of 15 to 17 years. The last super-close Martian opposition happened on August 28, 2003, and the next one will occur on July 27, 2018. Extra-close oppositions happen when we go between Mars and the sun around the time Mars is closest to the sun. Makes sense, right?

Mars oppositions 2010 – 2022

Diagram by Roy L. Bishop.  Copyright Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Used with permission.  Visit the RASC estore to purchase the Observers Handbook, a necessary tool for all skywatchers.

Diagram by Roy L. Bishop. Copyright Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Used with permission. Visit the RASC estore to purchase the Observers Handbook, a necessary tool for all skywatchers.

Here’s why 2016 is an awesome year for Mars, and why 2018 will be even better.