News

Mars 2020 rover on track for launch next July

31 July 2019 Stephen Clark

The launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is less than a year away, and the steady pace of work inside the craft’s pristine assembly hall in California is keeping the mission on schedule for liftoff from Cape Canaveral next July, despite growing costs, according to mission managers.

Observing

More Jupiter events to enjoy in August 2019

31 July 2019 Ade Ashford

Jupiter is two months past opposition on 10 August, so you need to be looking low in the southern sky of the British Isles around sunset if you wish to catch the solar system’s largest planet at its best. If you time it right and the weather obliges, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot makes multiple appearances while the planet’s Galilean moons play hide and seek. Welcome to our August 2019 Jovian observing guide.

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NASA’s Mars 2020 rover looking more and more like a rover

28 July 2019 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, scheduled for launch on 17 July 2020, is rapidly maturing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where engineers recently tested the spacecraft’s multi-joint robot arm as critical instruments and other systems are installed and tested.

Observing

Seek out some fine summer multiple stars

28 July 2019 Ade Ashford

Observers in the British Isles can rejoice that summer astronomical twilight all night is drawing to a close. But if Jupiter and Saturn are currently too low to view, you’re blighted by light pollution, or moonlight robs you of nebulae, why not seek out some of the many beautiful double and multiple stars on show?

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Up and over a spiral galaxy

27 July 2019 Astronomy Now

A sharply angled perspective, such as the one shown in Hubble Space Telescope image of the spiral galaxy NGC 3169, can make it seem as if we, the viewers, are craning our necks to see over a barrier into the galaxy’s bright centre.