Mars big as the moon on August 27?

We can’t believe it. One of the most popular articles at EarthSky this week is the one asking, will Mars be as big as the moon on August 27? Short answer … no. This hoax has been circulating since 2003.

Meandering channel shapes on brown and grey terrain, with white highlights.

Could ice sheets, not rivers, have formed the channels on Mars?

New research suggests that many of Mars’ ancient channels, thought to have been carved by flowing surface water, were formed instead by meltwater beneath glacial ice sheets.

Perseverance rover parachute test, seen from below.

Mars landings: ‘7 minutes of terror’

To celebrate the 8-year anniversary of Curiosity rover’s arrival on Mars, here’s a video on the final 7 minutes of its chilling descent on August 5-6, 2012.

Full-globe, very detailed view of Mars from orbit.

Is there life below the Martian surface?

Galactic cosmic rays are high energy particles from explosive events like supernovae, zinging through our solar system, constantly bombarding both Earth and Mars. A researcher suggests they supply enough energy to make subsurface life on Mars possible.

Satellite orbiting reddish Mars.

Can other gases help explain Mars methane mystery?

The European Space Agency’s Trace Gas Orbiter has unexpectedly detected carbon dioxide and ozone in Mars’ atmosphere where the elusive methane should be, researchers in the UK and Russia have announced. The two gases may be hindering the probe’s methane detections.

Successful splashdown for SpaceX Crew Dragon in Gulf of Mexico

The SpaceX Crew Dragon splashdown into the Gulf of Mexico today was the first splashdown in 45 years.

Two balls illuminate from the bottom.

Return of an extremely elongated cloud on Mars

A mysteriously long, thin cloud has again appeared over the Arsia Mons volcano on Mars.

Grayish sphere with curved white grid lines, on black background.

Juno’s new images reveal Ganymede’s north pole

These are the first spacecraft images yet acquired of the north pole of Ganymede, largest moon of the giant planet Jupiter. NASA’s Juno spacecraft – now orbiting Jupiter – obtained them.

The year's third and final conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto takes place on December 12, 2020.

Jupiter gives us Pluto in 2020

Call it serendipity or synergy – or what you like – the spectacular alignment of the king planet Jupiter with the dwarf planet Pluto doesn’t get much better than in 2020.

Spacecraft launch.

Blast off! Perseverance, newest Mars rover, launched as planned

It was a picture-perfect launch this morning for the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, with good weather and no major hitches. The rover lifted off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Telescopes on ground with bright curved light trails in the sky.

How astronomers rediscovered a ‘lost world’

And why this rediscovery of a lost world – called NGTS-11b – bodes well for finding habitable exoplanets.

Towering plumes of gas and dust with stars in background.

The awesome beauty of the Eagle Nebula

The Eagle Nebula – aka Messier 16 or M16 – is home to several well-known cosmic structures, including the stunning Pillars of Creation and Stellar Spire.

A long exposure photo of a star field. The asteroid, which is moving in front of the stars, appears as a dot. An arrow points to it.

Small asteroid passed extremely close July 28

The Mt. Lemmon survey discovered the asteroid on July 26. It was labeled near-Earth asteroid 2020 OY4. The asteroid then passed at about 11% of the moon’s distance early in the day on July 28. The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome captured its image.

How to see Comet NEOWISE

A few observers in the Southern Hemisphere are beginning to capture Comet NEOWISE, too. Charts here for seeing the comet in late July and early August.

Artist's depiction of a yellow sun in the center, with circular green lines representing the 2 giant exoplanets' orbits.

1st direct image of 2 giant exoplanets orbiting a sunlike star

For the 1st time ever, astronomers have photographed more than one giant exoplanet orbiting a sunlike star. The planetary system is similar to our solar system, but younger.

Telescope floating in space.

James Webb Space Telescope launch date delayed

NASA is delaying the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope for another 7 months, from March 2021 to October 31, 2021, due to, among other factors, work stoppages during the coronavirus pandemic.

A circle surrounding a black dot, on a field of stars.

Astronomers ponder Odd Radio Circles in space

Scientists in Australia have discovered a strange new phenomenon in deep space – “Odd Radio Circles” – that appear in radio telescope images as mysterious circles or rings.

A sun-centered view of the planets in July 2020.

Planetary alignment? Increase in volcanoes?

The book called “The Jupiter Effect” suggested an alignment of planets in 1982 would cause earthly catastrophes, including a great earthquake on California’s San Andreas Fault. There’s another planetary alignment, of sorts, going on now. Will it cause volcanic eruptions? Charts, and info, from Guy Ottewell.

A rotating globe of Venus with red and white dots marked.

Looks like Venus has dozens of active volcanoes

“This study significantly changes the view of Venus from a mostly inactive planet to one whose interior is still churning and can feed many active volcanoes,” one scientist said.

Watch ISS spacewalk July 21

On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, 2 NASA astronauts will perform the 2nd in a pair of International Space Station (ISS) spacewalks, to finish a 3.5-year effort to upgrade the station’s power system. How to watch.