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2017 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year

On September 14, 2017 the Royal Observatory Greenwich announced the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards. The Guardian writes of the awards, “Awe-inspiring views of the Universe were celebrated at the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 awards ceremony, held at the Royal Greenwich Observatory.” The competition inspired entries from all over the globe and this is the first year entries included images of the furthest planet in our solar system and asteroids streaking through the images. Of the over 3,800 entries competing in the 9 categories an overall winner has been chosen and the images simply speak for …

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Giant, Scorching-Hot Alien Planet Is Darker Than Asphalt

Artist’s illustration showing the exoplanet WASP-12b, which is as black as fresh asphalt in optical wavelengths. Exoplanets come in pretty much all colors, including pitch black. The huge, blistering-hot alien world WASP-12b has a reflectance, or albedo, of just 0.064 at most, a new study reports. “This is an extremely low value, making the planet darker than fresh asphalt!” lead author Taylor Bell, a master’s student in astronomy at McGill University in Montreal, said in a statement. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets] For perspective, the moon’s albedo on the same scale is 0.12, and Earth’s is 0.37. The icy Saturn satellite …

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Webcast Replays: NASA Looks Back on Cassini’s Saturn Mission

The Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn today, ending its historic 13-year study of the ringed planet and its moons. NASA TV is streamling replays of amazing Saturn discoveries by the historic mission to the ringed planet. Our Main Story: RIP, Cassini: Historic Mission Ends with Fiery Plunge into Saturn Complete Coverage: Cassini’s Saturn Crash 2017: A ‘Grand Finale’ at the Ringed Planet A post-mission news conference at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will air at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT). 360-degree View Inside Cassini’s Mission Control at NASA’s JPL  [embedded content] Live View Inside Mission Control without audio From NASA: “On Sept. 15, NASA’s …

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Incredible photos from the best space photographers of 2017

M63: Star Streams and the Sunflower Galaxy – Galaxies Winner A bright, spiral galaxy, Messier 63 looks like a star necklace in which the stars have crashed outwards from the galaxy’s centre, producing this fantastic long train. The ghostly star arcs of the Sunflower galaxy had long been an elusive target for the photographer, but upon deciding to take the image in one of the darkest places in Europe – the Rozhen Observatory in the Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria – he successfully captured the astronomical object. Despite a warm winter and an early spring, there were snow drifts more than one …

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Here’s The Winner Of The Insight Astronomy Photographer Of 2017

The winners of the 2017 edition of the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year award have been crowned. The title and cash prizes have been awarded in 11 categories, including “Skyscapes”, “People and Space”, and “Stars and Nebulae”. The overall winner of the competition is Russian photographer Artem Mironov, who won in the Stars and Nebulae category, with a breathtaking image of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex, a nebula 400 light-years away. The picture was snapped over three nights from a farm in Namibia. “There’s an astonishing richness of colour and structure in this gorgeous image,” Dr Marek Kukula, Royal Observatory public astronomer …

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Image of the Day

Monday, July 31, 2017: NASA astronaut Jack Fischer tweeted this gorgeous image taken on the International Space Station featuring sunrise on Earth. “What do you need to start a Monday morning off right?” he wrote. “1. Floating coffee. 2. A pretty sunrise. Check and check!” Fischer has more people to share the sunrise with now; with three new arrivals Friday, there are now six crewmembers aboard the space station crew. — Sarah Lewin More interesting Articles from

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Accompany Cassini on Its Final Dive into Saturn with Mobile Apps

On the morning of Sept. 15, 2017, NASA will end the Cassini spacecraft’s mission by sending it into Saturn’s atmosphere (depicted in the inset). With the SkySafari 5 app, you can fly alongside Cassini from its launch in 1997 to its final moments. In the hours before its fatal plunge, the spacecraft will drop toward the sunlit side of the planet while transmitting its final data to Earth (top center). This Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, the long and successful Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moons will come to an end when the spacecraft plunges into Saturn’s cloud tops. NASA …

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Titanic Asteroid Vesta May Host Buried Ice

New research suggests that the asteroid Vesta could host ice beneath its surface. Large smooth patches of terrain suggest that impacts could have brought up buried ice that melted, flattening the surface. The giant asteroid Vesta may possess ice buried under its surface, a new study finds. Vesta is the second-largest asteroid in the solar system, a 330-mile-wide (530 kilometer) titan in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter that is sometimes visible to the naked eye on Earth. The only larger asteroid is Ceres, which is also classified as a dwarf planet. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft orbited Vesta from 2011 …

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James Webb Space Telescope will hunt for signs of life in the solar system

The soon-to-launch James Webb Space Telescope will turn its powerful eye on two of the solar system’s top candidates for hosting alien life: the icy moons Enceladus and Europa, the agency confirmed in a statement this month. Both Europa (a moon of Jupiter) and Enceladus (a moon of Saturn) are thought to possess subsurface oceans of liquid water beneath thick outer layers of ice. Both moons have also shown evidence of enormous plumes of liquid shooting up through cracks in the surface ice; these plumes could be caused by subsurface geysers, which could provide a source of heat and nutrients …

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Astronomy Chat with Emily Martin

Chat with planetary geologist Emily Martin as we celebrate the Cassini–Huygens mission to Saturn, which ends on September 15th. Ask questions about the mission, Saturn and its moons, and what it is like to be a planetary geologist. Emily Martin is a planetary geologist at the National Air and Space Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies. In the event of inclement weather, the program may be moved or postponed. Check @SIObservatory for updates or call (202) 633-2517. Accessibility: The Observatory dome and Museum galleries are accessible. More interesting Articles from

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