Now that planet Saturn is effectively lost in the dusk twilight for UK-based observers, you may be wondering what has happened to the other four bright naked-eye planets. Far from disappearing, they have just transferred to the morning sky. From 8—11 October, the waning crescent Moon acts as a guide to Venus, Mars, Jupiter then Mercury in the eastern dawn sky.
Earth-like planets orbiting close to small stars probably have magnetic fields that protect them from stellar radiation and help maintain surface conditions that could be conducive to life, according to research from astronomers at the University of Washington just published in the journal Astrobiology.
A new Gemini Observatory image reveals the remarkable “fireworks” that accompany the birth of stars. The picture captures in unprecedented clarity the fascinating structures of a gas jet complex emanating from a stellar nursery at supersonic speeds. Researchers believe they have also found a collection of runaway (orphan) stars that result from all this activity.
The origin of of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s double-lobed form has been a key question since Rosetta first revealed its surprising shape in July 2014. By studying the layers of material seen all over the nucleus, scientists have shown that the shape arose from a low-speed collision between two fully fledged, separately formed comets.
New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious darkish streaks that appear to ebb and flow over time are seen on the Red Planet.
It is a sad fact that overcast skies will spoil parts of this supermoon total lunar eclipse for some of you, but remain optimistic that your home sky will be clear! However, don’t despair if you’re clouded out — you can watch it online here! NASA will live stream the event from at least 1am—4:30am BST on Monday, 28 September, which is 8pm—11:30pm EDT on 27 September.