Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
If you live in the Western US or Canada, you'll be getting a nice view of today's partial solar eclipse. However if you happen to live somewhere else on Earth, you can enjoy the partial eclipse online via, where there is a special three-hour webcast about the partial solar eclipse with updates from Arizona's Prescott Solar Obsevatory and other telescopes. The webcast starts at 21:00 GMT.

European observers won't have to wait long for a partial solar eclipse, as the next one visible in Europe, Northern Africa, Middle-East and Russia will occur on March 20th, 2015

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Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
See the Earth through the eyes of NASA's Earth observing satellites in this video and learn more about how and why observing Earth from space is important.

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Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
Watch the comet Siding Spring fly by Mars tonight live on Slooh here.

The live show will start at 18:15 UTC, comet will be it's closest to Mars at about 18:28. About a hundred minutes later Mars will pass through the densest part of the comet's tail.

Comet Siding Spring C/2013 A1 as seen by Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA, ESA, and J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute)

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Posted on Friday, October 17, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
The comet Siding Spring will have a close encounter with the red planet Mars on Sunday, October 19th.
The comet was discovered by Robert H. McNaught at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia in 2013.

The comet will be at it's closest approach to mars at 18:28 UT on Sunday getting as close as 139,300 km from the centre of Mars. Although the diameter of the nucleus of the comet is unknown, the diameter of the coma surrounding it has been estimated to be almost 20,000 km across and it will take Mars several hours to pass though the coma.

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Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
The Power of Stars by Bryan E. Penprase

There are many books that tell the different stories and myths of planets and constellations and how the Universe formed in ancient cosmologies. However there aren't too many that if you keep reading books on the same topic wouldn’t get repetitive, however the author of The Power of Stars has managed to do just that –although you might have read about it all somewhere else it still feels fresh and is very engaging.

This book is a treasure trove for those who work in a planetarium setting or give lessons about constellations and the Solar System – the beginning of the book is a great introduction to the star and planet lore –and it’s extensive enough to be a serious competitor to James W. Olcott’s classic “Star Lore”

Although the book is just under 350 pages long, while reading, it feels as if it were longer, as there’s so much of interest in there – for example about both ancient and modern timekeeping – how and why were calendars in various regions in Earth different and how does modern timekeeping work and why is it even important to know the right time anyway? It is fascinating to read about Sir Cloudley Shovel for example, whose ship’s clock was inaccurate and since he used the time on the clock for calculating his longitude, caused the catastrophe where four ships and 2000 men perished in 1707.

The Power of Stars takes on many topics –all related to stars of course – showing how in some way stars and planets have had an effect on human culture or life, be it a calendar or a temple erected in celebration of a heavenly body. It’s an interesting twist in the book to show how some future archeoastronomers might see our ruins of modern cities or skyscrapers as having some relation to astronomy and maybe a clue towards worshiping a planet or a star.

Although some of the topics do get a more in-depth look in some other books (that can be found in the references of The Power of Stars), combining all of them in a book that is more accessible and adds interesting facts and stories makes it a wonderful read that won’t leave the person who reads the whole book just wondering how things work nowadays, but rather it gives an overview of the past and present – and it is so with cosmology as well – although in the beginning of the book you find creation myths, it ends with modern cosmology and what we know about the Universe and the objects within.

It's a highly recommended read!

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Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
As ESA's Rosetta mission is getting ready for the first landing on a comet, Art Chmielewski, Manager of the US Rosetta Project, gave a lecture about comets as part of the Von Karman Lecture Series at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

You can watch the whole lecture here:

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Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2014
By VJ Karthik |
Using the CIVA camera on Rosetta's Philae lander, the spacecraft have snapped a "selfie" at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from a distance of about 16 km from the surface of the comet.

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

The image was taken on 7th October and captures the side of the Rosetta spacecraft and one of Rosetta's 14 m-long solar wings, with the comet in the background.

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