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A selection of the latest astronomy news and blog posts.

The sky this week for August 17 to 26 Venus lies 46° east of the Sun today, its greatest elongation for this evening apparition. You might think the planet would likewise reach peak altitude today, but you'd be wrong - Venus stands only 7° high an hour after sunset.

How the Pioneer anomaly was solved Like their successors, the Voyagers and New Horizons, both Pioneers are past the orbit of Pluto and will continue speeding outward from the center of the solar system.

Videos: "Space to Ground" ISS report - Aug.17.2018 Here is this week's Space to Ground report from NASA on activities related to the International Space Station:. And here is the latest This Week @NASA report:.

Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to Get a $5.8 Million Antenna Upgrade ALPACA will not replace the telescope's main 96-foot antenna, called the "line feed," which broke off during the hurricane. That antenna still hasn't been repaired, and it could take a couple of years before it's up and running again, Wired.com reported in June.

Rocket On! These Cool Student Experiments Just Launched to Space Dozens of students got to see their experiments travel from school to space. A sounding rocket soared from a NASA rocket facility in Virginia Tuesday, carrying several student experiments under the RockSat-X program, in collaboration with the Colorado Space Grant Consortium.

Arecibo Observatory: Watching for Asteroids, Waiting for E.T. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico, damaging the Arecibo Observatory. The Category 4 storm killed hundreds of people and caused widespread power outages that lasted for months. Power to the observatory was restored on Dec. 9, 2017.

ESOcast 174 Light: Elegancia elíptica Las propiedades de rastreo únicas del VST revelan exquisitos detalles de la galaxia elíptica NGC 5018 y las delicadas corrientes de gas y estrellas que la rodean. Descubre más en este episodio de ESOcast Light. Este vídeo está disponible en 4K UHD.

China's Chang'e 4 Lunar Lander to Far Side of the Moon Will Launch in December HELSINKI - China will launch its Chang'e 4 lander and rover mission in December in what will be the first ever attempt at a soft landing on the far side of the moon, authorities said Aug. 15.

NASA Says RS-25 Engine Test for New Megarocket a Success Despite Ending Early 15 statement from Stennis about the test made no mention of the planned or actual duration of the test. "All test objectives were met during the hot fire," the center's statement noted. Stennis spokesperson Valerie Buckingham confirmed Aug. 15 that the test was cut short.

Hundreds of Midsize Black Holes Found by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory COSMOS characterizes these galaxies based on data from Chandra and other telescopes, which detect X-ray emissions coming from the centers of the dwarf galaxies - "a telltale sign" that a black hole is present, according to the NASA statement.

Was a Muppet Just Spotted on Mars? Dotting the surface of the Red Planet's southern pole is, apparently, a geological formation that looks just like the balloon-eyed, scarlet-maned science Muppet, Beaker. Astronomers at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory shared a photo of the cartoonish formation on Twitter early Monday morning.

Plasma Scientists Created Invisible, Whooping 'Whistlers' in a Lab It's called a "whistler." And now, scientists have observed bursts like this in more detail than ever before. Whistlers, typically created during certain lightning strikes, usually travel along Earth's magnetic-field lines.

This Week's Sky at a Glance, August 17 - 25 - Once again, four bright planets remain in view as twilight fades all week. From right to left, they're Venus very low in the west-southwest, Jupiter in the southwest, Saturn in the south about as high as Jupiter, and bright Mars lower in the southeast.

More news and views from the edge of the universe……. I am endlessly fascinated by the range and quality of images that are analysed and put out in the public domain from Hubble and other sources. We have come to see them as works of art as well as giving us insights into the origins of phenomena in space.

MoCA team finds first baby planet Come on down to AstroLight and chat to the team that discovered the first baby planet! The Monash Centre for Astrophysics sighted the new planet forming in data from the ALMA telescope in Chile. The image models a baby planet forming in disc of gas and dust.

Magnetic Field Lines I would like to see more of this. Actually I'd also like to see this done from a more distant perspective. Good work though. The dark areas by the way are a source of solar winds which are probably not not cause earthquakes here on Earth; we start hearing that because the "other" cause are sunspots and solar flares.

How to Safely Watch a Total Solar Eclipse The Sun has been moving behind the Moon for the past 50 minutes. Soon, the Sun will appear as a thin sliver, like a slender crescent Moon. In a minute, even this gets reduced in size. You look at the ground around you; it's getting darker.

A new way to supersize baby black holes Just last year, three American physicists shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for their role in the historic detection of gravitational waves. The signals came from cosmic ripples in space-time created by some of the most violent events in the universe: colliding black holes.

China's mission to the far side of the Moon will launch in December Longjiang-2, one of two microsatellites launched along with the Queqiao relay satellite in May, is still functioning in an elliptical orbit around the Moon, with amateur radio enthusiasts using the 47-kilogram spacecraft for experiments.

National Academies: NASA needs a plan for Mars But NASA is barely able to shoulder that effort, constraining itself to exploring "lean" return efforts that may eschew new science instrumentation at Mars in the 2020s.

UTA student wins prestigious fellowship from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Marialis Rosario-Franco, a doctoral student in physics at The University of Texas at Arlington, has been awarded a prestigious fellowship to continue her doctoral studies in exomoons - moons which orbit planets located in other stellar systems.

Japan's Interstellar Technologies Goes Full Throttle Toward Small Orbital Rocket LOGAN, Utah - Japanese startup Interstellar Technologies is developing the main engine for an orbital rocket designed to carry 100 kilograms and slated to conduct its initial test flight in 2020.

NASA Has a Wild Idea to Weigh Asteroids with a Swarm of Mini Probes So, NASA is considering a new spacecraft that would take a novel approach to the problem, enlisting miniature probes to skim past small asteroids. That's the idea behind OpGrav, a project that NASA and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab are testing.

Video: Cosmonauts throw student CubeSats into orbit during ISS spacewalk On Wednesday, Russian flight engineers Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev made a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Their initial tasks included hurling four student-built smallsats into orbit: Spacewalkers toss nanosatellites into orbit, hook up bird migration monitor - Spaceflight Now.

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