News

Live coverage: Europe’s Mars mission launches

14 March 2016 Stephen Clark

A powerful Proton booster launched at 0931:42 GMT Monday with the first part of a multibillion-dollar Mars mission led by the European Space Agency. The Mars orbiter and lander will search for signs of methane on the red planet, and demonstrate technologies to be used on a future European Mars rover.

Equipment

Explore Scientific 2″ Push-fit dielectric diagonal

12 March 2016 Steve Ringwood

Steve Ringwood casts his expert eye over and into a 2-inch push-fit dielectric mirror diagonal for refractors and catadioptrics from Explore Scientific. This star diagonal delivers optical fidelity since it has a mirror that has been honed to 1/12th wave and reflects 99 percent of incoming light to the eyepiece.

News

Ten years of discovery by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

10 March 2016 Astronomy Now

On 10 March 2006, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) entered into orbit around the Red Planet. A decade later, with its six science instruments all still operating, MRO has delivered huge advances in knowledge about Mars, revealing in unprecedented detail a world that held diverse wet environments billions of years ago and remains dynamic today.

Picture This

The Saturnian sisters

10 March 2016 Astronomy Now

Similar in many ways, Saturn’s moons Tethys and Rhea (left and right, respectively) even share a discoverer: Giovanni Cassini, namesake of the NASA spacecraft that captured this view. Although somewhat different in size, Rhea (949 miles across) and Tethys (660 miles) are both composed largely of ices and are generally thought to be geologically inactive today.

Eclipse

Highlights of 9 March total solar eclipse from Micronesia

9 March 2016 Astronomy Now

Although thick cloud in parts of Indonesia spoiled the view for some along the path of totality, tens of millions more were greeted to spectacular views of the 9 March total solar eclipse. NASA, in partnership with the Exploratorium Science Center, hosted live coverage of the event from the coral island of Woleai in the Pacific Ocean.