You are here
News Solar System Spacecraft and Space Missions 

Is This Schiaparelli’s Crash Site on Mars?

A pair of high-resolution images taken from high above Mars appears to show the impact site of ESA’s Schiaparelli lander. Schiaparelli, a demonstration module intended to test technologies for landing on Mars, was supposed to thump onto the Red Planet two days ago, then relay images and weather data back to Earth. But engineers at the European Space Agency’s mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany, feared the worst when none of those data came through. Now they’re closer to having answers thanks to a pair of images taken October 19th…

Read More
News Solar System 

Big Kuiper Object 2007 OR10 Has a Moon

Hubble images reveal a satellite orbiting one of the Kuiper Belt’s biggest objects. An interesting trend has emerged concerning the largest objects in the distant Kuiper Belt: they have moons. Most notable is Pluto, with five. Haumea has two. Eris, Orcus, Quaoar, and Makemake each have one. In fact, of the eight largest known trans-Neptunian objects, only Sedna and yet-to-be-named 2007 OR10 were considered moonless — and now it’s just Sedna. Little is known about the moon of Kuiper Belt object 2007 OR10, seen here in a Hubble Space Telescope…

Read More
News Solar System Spacecraft and Space Missions 

ExoMars Orbiter Reaches Red Planet

After a 7-month journey from Earth and a 139-minute rocket burn, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has settled in around its new home. An artist’s concept of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter firing its braking rocket.ESA / ATG medialab It was tense day at the European Space Agency’s main control center in Darmstadt, Germany. Some 87 million km away, two spacecraft dispatched from Earth together last March atop a Russian-built Proton rocket were attempting to get to their respective destinations. The main ExoMars craft, called the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO),…

Read More
News Observing Sky Tour Podcasts - Discover the Night Sky 

Tour July’s Sky: Planets on Parade

Sky & Telescope’s astronomy podcast takes you on a guided tour of the night sky. In early evening look for Jupiter in the southwest, with Mars and Saturn embedded in Scorpius toward south. For us northerners, July is a time of long, hot days. Yet on July 4th Earth reaches aphelion, the point in its orbit most distant from the Sun. On that date we’re 1.7% farther away than on average. Throughout July you can find three easy-to-spot planets adorning the evening sky. Soon after the Sun sets, look for…

Read More