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Earthshine used to test life detection method
...By imagining the Earth as an exoplanet, scientists observing our planet's reflected light on the Moon with ESO's Very Large Telescope have demonstrated a way to detect life on other worlds...
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Solid buckyballs discovered in space
...Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have detected a particular type of molecule, given the nickname “buckyball”, in a solid form for the first time...
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Steamy water-world gets the Hubble treatment
...Hubble Space Telescope observations of a 7 Earth-mass planet find an unusual water-rich world swathed in a thick, steamy atmosphere...
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Mars rover sees Earth as brilliant evening star
BY STEPHEN CLARK
ASTRONOMY NOW

Posted: 13 February 2014


Reminiscent of the iconic pale blue dot photograph from the Voyager 1 space probe, the Curiosity Mars rover has sent home another cosmic postcard showing the Earth hanging over the rugged Martian horizon as an evening star.


Earth and the moon are seen by the Curiosity Mars rover. See full version. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU
 
With magnification, the moon is visible in the image as a dimmer dot below Earth.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which operates the Mars rover, says the picture was taken Jan. 31 about 80 minutes after sunset. Earth was about 99 million miles from Mars at the time of the photo, according to JPL.

"A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright evening stars," officials wrote in a caption accompanying the image.

Earth was the brightest object in the Martian night sky when Curiosity captured the photo, according to scientists.


Earth and the moon as seen in October 2007 by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
 
Curiosity's snapshot of Earth is not the first picture of our home planet from the surface of Mars. The Spirit rover beamed back a photo of Earth in the predawn Martian sky in 2004, but the latest image is the first to show both Earth and the moon from the surface.

NASA orbiters at the red planet have captured sharper views of Earth, including a spectacular image recorded in 2007 by the high-resolution telescope on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The Planets
From tiny Mercury to distant Neptune and Pluto, The Planets profiles each of the Solar System's members in depth, featuring the latest imagery from space missions. The tallest mountains, the deepest canyons, the strongest winds, raging atmospheric storms, terrain studded with craters and vast worlds of ice are just some of the sights you'll see on this 100-page tour of the planets.
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Hubble Reborn
Hubble Reborn takes the reader on a journey through the Universe with spectacular full-colour pictures of galaxies, nebulae, planets and stars as seen through Hubble's eyes, along the way telling the dramatic story of the space telescope, including interviews with key scientists and astronauts.
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3D Universe
Witness the most awesome sights of the Universe as they were meant to be seen in this 100-page extravaganza of planets, galaxies and star-scapes, all in 3D!
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