A meteoroid recently slammed into the side of a hillside on Mars, exploding on impact, destabilising the slope and triggering a long avalanche. The crater only measures about five meters (16 feet) across, but the avalanche left a dark trail of dry dust stretching a full kilometre (0.62 miles) down the side of a slope in a hilly region of the red planet. The image was captured by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment – HiRISE – aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.
In the bright evening twilight of 14, 15 and 16 July, observers in the British Isles and Western Europe can see the waxing gibbous Moon pass by Mars, first-magnitude star Antares in Scorpius, then Saturn. This series of conjunctions occurs very low in the southern sky for UK-based astronomers, while Australasian observers are ideally placed to view the spectacle almost overhead.
If clear skies persist, observers in the UK can view four naked-eye planets between now and the end of the month. Brightest planet Venus is visible low in the west some 45 minutes after sunset, while the waxing Moon is your celestial pointer to Jupiter, Saturn and Mars between 21 and 28 July at midnight.