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Landslides and avalanches keep comets active

Landslides and avalanches on comets might keep them active, when closest to the sun, much longer than expected. They might even bring some dormant comets back to life!

Best pics of the comet as it swept safely past

Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner came closer to Earth this week than it had in 72 years. Favorite photos here, from the EarthSky community. Plus info on comet Wirtanen, which might become visible to the eye alone later this year.

What is the Hypatia Catalog?

The Hypatia Catalog uses “big data” – extremely large data sets – hopefully to reveal patterns, trends, and associations that might lead to finding distant worlds harboring life.

What is a parsec?

Why do professional astronomers speak of distances in the universe not in terms of light-years, but in terms of parsecs, a distance of 3.26 light-years? Explanation here.

Stand on Mars, look around

Of course you can’t really stand on Mars. But you can do the next best thing with this cool new 360-degree interactive panorama from NASA’s Curiosity rover. Notice the settling dust!

How black holes bring white dwarfs back to life

White dwarfs are the dead remnants of larger, once-active stars like our sun. But black holes can reignite them.

Asteroid Itokawa gives up its secrets

Itokawa is the 1st asteroid from which samples were obtained and returned to Earth. From these samples, scientists have figured out Itokawa’s true age and geologic history.

Watch online, as asteroid 2018 RC sweeps past

Asteroid 2018 RC will sweep past at about half the moon’s distance during the night of September 8, according to clocks in the Americas. Learn how to see it online.

Hear the sounds of the sun

Listen to the vibration of the sun. “It has a warmth to it. It’s just enough where I can almost feel the sound on my skin.”

Saturn’s famous hexagon towers above cloudtops

As wide as 2 Earths – like nothing seen on any other world – Saturn’s hexagon was thought to be a feature of the lower atmosphere, where Saturn’s weather happens. Now there’s evidence it extends high above the cloudtops.