A mysterious object discovered in September is currently a new mini-moon for Earth. NASA confirmed on Tuesday, December 2, that the object is a lost-and-found 60s-era rocket from the Surveyor 2 moon mission, launched from Earth more than 50 years ago.
. | This 1964 photograph shows a Centaur upper-stage rocket before being mated to an Atlas booster. A similar Centaur was used during the launch of Surveyor 2 two years later and could now be the object known as 2020 SO ... a new temporary mini-moon for Earth. Image via NASA
China’s robotic Chang’e 5 launched successfully last week atop a Chinese Long March 5 rocket. Now it’s reported to have landed on the moon. It’s scheduled to bring back moon rocks later this month.
China’s Chang’e 5 moon lander and ascent vehicle separated from the orbiter early on Monday, December 1, 2020, ahead of its landing in the moon’s Ocean of Storms
. Image via CCTV/ South China Morning Post
Where did the famous mystery Wow! signal, detected in 1977, come from? Astronomer Alberto Caballero might have pinpointed the host star. It’s a sunlike star 1,800 light-years away, in the direction of the center of our Milky Way.
2MASS 19281982-2640123, a sun-like star 1,800 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. It is the best candidate found so far for the origin of the Wow! signal. Image via PanSTARRS/ DR1/ Discover.
November 30 marked the official end of the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, although more storms are still possible. Why did 2020 have so many storms? And what does climate change have to do with it?
Image via NOAA https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dd/Paulette%2C_Rene%2C_Sally%2C_Teddy_and_Vicky_2020-09-14_1550Z.jpg
Asteroid 2000 WO107 passed Earth safely on November 29, at 11 times the moon’s distance. Astronomers at Goldstone bounced radar signals from its surface and discovered it’s 2 asteroids that touched, and stuck.
Another radar image of contact binary asteroid 2000 WO107 obtained by NASA's Goldstone Radar in California. Image via NASA/JPL/Goldstone
The waning gibbous moon falls between full and last quarter. See it best from late night through early morning.
Desic Ilija Photography in Belgrade, Serbia caught the waning gibbous moon with seagulls on the morning of September 28, 2018.
The telescope has been inoperable since August, when a major cable broke. In November, a second cable broke and multiple engineering companies declared that safety in and around the telescope could not be guaranteed. Now astronomers’ fears for Arecibo have come to pass. No one was injured.
This satellite image provided by 2020 Maxar Technologies shows the damaged radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2020. Image via Phys.org
Orange-hued Schedar is the brightest star in the distinctive W-shaped northern constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.
Schedar, as imaged by the Palomar Observatory Schmidt telescope. Image via DSS/ Mikulski Archive
December 2020 will show you 3 bright planets as soon as darkness falls: Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Venus, the brightest planet, is in the east before sunrise. On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will have their once-in-20-years conjunction in our sky, appearing closer than they have for centuries, only 1/5 of a moon-diameter apart.
View larger. | V. Srinivasagopalan caught both Venus (below) and Jupiter on September 22, 2018 from Bangalore, India. Remember, Venus is going into the sunset in October, 2018. Watch for it soon!