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A selection of the latest astronomy news and blog posts.

The Stars of the Triangulum Galaxy Like grains of sand on a cosmic beach, stars of the Triangulum Galaxy are resolved in this sharp mosaic from the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The inner region o…

Space transport roundup - Feb.22.2019 Another sampling of items related to traveling to and through space:. ** SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo Mission passes review - NASA and SpaceX held a flight readiness review today to determine if the Falcon 9/Crew Dragon combo is ready for the first test flight to the ISS.

Exclusive: New Horizons' mission head on new discoveries at Ultima Thule New Horizons recently flew by the most distant body ever explored. Alan Stern, who led the mission, discusses what we've learned so far.

Astronomy: March of giants As winter surrenders to spring, March night skies offer a showcase of the largest stars yet discovered. Moments before the sun sets, millions of skywatchers everywhere are deeply impressed by the size of this star. It goes without saying that the sun, rendered huge on the canvas of the western horizon, is incredibly big.

The Sky This Week from February 22 to March 3 Mercury puts on its best evening show of 2019. In the morning sky, a waning crescent Moon passes Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus. Surface details stand out on the innermost planet in this view from NASA's orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft.

NASA selects experiments to send to the Moon this year Following on the heels of its announcement to return to the moon this year, NASA announced Thursday the first batch of science projects and technology demonstrations they want to send skyward in 2019, assuming their commercial partners can launch on time.

Virgin Galactic sets new milestones on second flight to edge of space in 10 weeks Here is a press release from Virgin Galactic about today's SpaceShipTwo flight to space:. Virgin Galactic Makes Space for Second Time in Ten Weeks with Three On Board, Reaching Higher Altitudes and Faster Speeds, as Flight Test Program Continues. Flight Follows December's Fourth Rocket-Powered Flight and First Space Flight.

Video: "Space to Ground" ISS report - Feb.22.2019 Here is the latest episode of NASA's weekly Space to Ground report on activities related to the International Space Station:. ** A recent interview with ISS crew member Anne McClain:.

AASWomen Newsletter for February 22, 2019 Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter. During 2018 the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy began an effort to gather information about what are seen by our communities as the areas of key importance beyond scientific research that the AAS, its divisions, and its relevant committees should focus on as we move into the 2020s.

Shooting stars or North Star? I've just been browsing a beautifully-illustrated DK book about stars and the night sky. And am trying to retain some of the amazing facts that I have unearthed. What an incredible universe we live in! And, nestled in the Milky Way galaxy as we are, how infinitesimally tiny we are, compared to the 100 billion+ galaxies beyond!

New Genetic Alphabet - "Could Life Have Taken a Different Path Elsewhere in the Universe?" DNA is spelled out with four letters, or bases. On Thursday, a team of scientists reported that they have in effect doubled the genetic alphabet to a system with eight letters that don't exist in nature which may hold clues to the potential for life elsewhere in the universe.

"Global Cooling" - Shock of Rapid Climate Change Ended Dinosaur Epoch But it leaves unclear to what degree the two catastrophes contributed to the near-simultaneous mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and many other forms of life.

Photo of the Week As a constellation, Monoceros gets lost in the shuffle, surrounded by the bright lights of the winter sky. And yet, it's home to the Rosette Nebula-one of the season's most popular astrophotography targets. But the dim constellation also holds another, less frequently imaged treasure, the Cone Nebula.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo just made its second trip to space On Friday, Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo flew in space for the second time, taking off from Mojave, California, after days of weather delay. SpaceShipTwo took off at 8:07 a.m. PST carrying two pilots, a crewmember, and a nearly full weight of science projects from NASA.

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo test flight - Feb.22.2019 12:08 pm EST: The SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity is back saf…

Space policy roundup - Feb.22.2019 A sampling of links to recent space policy, politics, and government related space news and resource items that I found of interest:. Webcasts:. ** "Watch This Space with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine with the latest from the Moon" - NASA update by the administrator.

Radio Survey Maps Hundreds of Thousands of New Galaxies The LOFAR survey, based in The Netherlands, has released a bonanza of new sources. And with only 2% of the sky covered so far, this is only the beginning. A unique sky survey at low radio frequencies has turned up more than 300,000 new sources, many of which are radio galaxies and quasars in the distant universe.

See Mercury make its best appearance in the evening sky after sunset Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, is starting to make its best appearance in the evening sky for observers at northern latitudes. Because it lies near the Sun, Mercury never strays far from it in the sky. That means it can only usually be seen soon after sunset or shortly before sunrise, depending on which side of the Sun it lies.

Space settlement roundup - Feb.22.2019 A sampling of items related to human settlements off earth:. Using state of the art robotics and their proprietary polymer, AI SpaceFactory is contending for the final top prize of $500,000 given to the highest scoring team to print a sub-scale habitat in the third and final phase of the construction competition.

Prelude to galactic catastrophe When it happens, the gravity of each galaxy grapples with the other, distorting their shapes, drawing out tens-of-thousands-of-light-years-long streamers of gas and stars, stretching toward each others like the yearning of a lover's arms.

Israeli Lunar Lander Heads to the Moon Israel's Beresheet lunar lander was carried to space last night on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, headed for a soft landing on the Moon in April. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up the night skies over Florida's Space Coast on the evening of Thursday, February 21st.

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Hidden Gems Award-winning astrophotographer Adam Block shares of his latest views of our universe.

This Week's Sky at a Glance, February 22 - March 2 - Winter still has a month to go, but a preview of spring stars awaits you if you step outside after about 11 p.m. By then tonight, the waning gibbous Moon will have risen in the east. Look for Spica to its lower right by about 7°. Four times farther to the Moon's upper left shines brighter Arcturus, pale yellow-orange.

Beresheet has launched! SpaceIL's Beresheet spacecraft is on its way to the Moon following a successful launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Florida. Liftoff occurred as scheduled on 22 February at 01:45 UTC. You can watch a replay of SpaceX's launch broadcast here.

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