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Astrophotographers Capture Dramatic Photos of Comet Siding Spring Approaching Mars

Astrophotographer Damian Peach shares this spectacular image of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring approaching Mars taken just hours ago.  The faint comet shows a small, condensed coma and bent tail against the glaring orange glow of the brilliant planet. Most photos of comets passing by a planet or deep sky object are lucky line-of-sight pairings with the comet in the foreground […]

A Compendium of Universe Today Comet Siding Spring Articles: January 2013 – October 2014

We present here a compendium of Universe Today articles on comet Siding Spring. Altogether 18 Universe Today stories and counting have represented our on-going coverage of a once in a lifetime event. The articles beginning in February 2013, just days after its discovery, lead to the comet’s penultimate event – the flyby of Mars, October 19, […]

Watch Live as Comet Siding Spring Flys By Mars

Comet Siding Spring will pass close to Mars today, Sunday, October 19, at 18:32 UTC. The comet will come within 139,500 km (87,000 miles) of the Red Planet, which is sixteen times closer to Mars than any known comet has ever come to Earth. About 100 minutes after the closest approach, the densest part of […]

Mysterious Military X-37B Space plane Lands after Nearly Two Years in Orbit – Video

The US Air Force’s unmanned, X-37B military space plane made an autonomous runway landing on Friday, Oct. 17, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., concluding an orbital test flight nearly two years in duration on a record breaking mission whose goals are shrouded in secrecy. (...)Read the rest of Mysterious Military X-37B Space plane Lands […]

Here’s a Look at Comet Siding Spring Two Days Before its Encounter with Mars

The excitement continues to build as Comet Siding Spring rapidly approaches the Red Planet, and here’s the latest view of the comet from prolific astrophotographer Damian Peach. While Comet Siding Spring’s encounter with Mars on October 19 will not be visible from Earth with the unaided eye, skywatchers in mid-northern latitudes, can now view the […]

Weekly Space Hangout – Oct. 17, 2014: Comet SidingSpring & Dark Matter

Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain) Guests: Morgan Rehnberg ( / @cosmic_chatter) (...)Read the rest of Weekly Space Hangout – Oct. 17, 2014: Comet SidingSpring & Dark Matter (219 words) © Fraser for Universe Today, 2014. | Permalink | 3 comments | Post tags: Apollo, comet, Dark Matter, Hydrogen, Jupiter, KOI-1299b, Mars, MAVEN, Moon, rosetta, Saturn, Siding […]

Balloon launcher Zero2Infinity Sets Its Sights to the Stars

Clearly, the sky is not the limit for balloon launcher Zero2Infinity. Based in Barcelona, Spain, the company announced this week their plans to launch payloads to orbit using a balloon launch system. The Rockoon is a portmanteau, as Lewis Carroll would have said: the blend of the words rocket and balloon. The launch system announced […]

Hawking Radiation Replicated in a Laboratory?

Dr. Stephen Hawking delivered a disturbing theory in 1974 that claimed black holes evaporate. He said black holes are not absolutely black and cold but rather radiate energy and do not last forever. So-called “Hawking radiation” became one of the physicist’s most famous theoretical predictions. Now, 40 years later, a researcher has announced the creation of […]

A Ghastly Green Shade On The Space Station Evokes Hallowe’en Spirit

Woah, is that home to six people in space now some sort of a ghoul? Here is a video of the International Space Station in an odd shade of … green. And no, it’s not because astronauts secretly painted the hull during their spacewalk this week. (...)Read the rest of A Ghastly Green Shade On […]

Solar ‘Bombs’ And Mini-Tornadoes Spotted By Sun-Watching Spacecraft

My, the Sun is a violent place. I mean, we knew that already, but there’s even more evidence for that using new data from a brand-new NASA spacecraft. There’s talk now about tornadoes and jets and even “bombs” swirling amid our Sun’s gassy environment. A huge set of results from NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph […]

Spacecraft Watched the Lunar Eclipse from Mercury

Last week's lunar eclipse wasn't just a show for Earthlings, NASA's MESSENGER mission was also watching from Mercury, 66 million miles away.

Mars-Bound Comet: Photos of Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring (Gallery)

See photos and images of the Mars-bound comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, which will buzz the Red Planet on Oct. 19, 2014. Comet Siding Spring was discovered in January 2013. Its pass through the inner solar system will be closely watched by Mars probes.

Comet Siding Spring's Rare Mars Flyby: Full Coverage

A comet is due to make a close flyby of Mars Sunday (Oct. 19), allowing scientists an unprecedented look at the comet as it flies by the Red Planet.

WATCH LIVE @ 8:30 pm ET: Comet Siding Spring at Mars 2nd Slooh Webcast

The Slooh Community Observatory will broadcast a double feature about Comet Siding Spring's close pass by Mars on Sunday (Oct. 19). The first webcast will start at 2:15 p.m. EDT (1815 GMT).

Comet Buzzes Mars in Once-in-a-Lifetime Flyby

Comet Siding Spring came within just 87,000 miles of the Martian surface at 2:27 p.m. EDT today — about one-third of the distance between Earth and the moon. The comet barreled by at 126,000 mph relative to the Red Planet, NASA officials said.

Comet Flies By Mars Today in Rare Encounter: Watch It Online

A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system is due to give Mars a close shave on Sunday (Oct. 19), and you can watch the flyby live online.

Sun Blasts X-Flare - Spacecraft's Multiple Wavelength Views | Video

An large sunspot (AR2192) emitted a X1-class solar flare on October 19th, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the fireworks. The blast site was not Earth-directed.

Comet's Mars Buzz - NASA Scientist's 'Need To Know' | Exclusive Video

NASA scientist Dr. Michelle L Thaller tells's @MiriKramer what you need to know about comet Siding Spring's fly-by, its implications for the Red Planet and how humans will be able to observe it. Full Coverage:

Secretive X-37B Space Plane Lands At Vandenberg AFB | Video

The unmanned, reusable space plane landed at the Air Force Base in Californoa on October 17th, 2014. The Orbital Test Vehicle mission 3 (OTV-3) spent 22 months in space on a secret mission. Full Story:

Comet Siding Spring at Mars: How a Rare Celestial Event Was Discovered

Comet Siding Spring — unknown and undiscovered until 2013 — will zoom past the Red Planet Sunday afternoon (Oct. 19) in an encounter that could help scientists better understand how the solar system came to be.

Photos: Secretive X-37B Space Plane's 3rd Mission for the US Air Force

See photos of the third mission flown by the US Air Force's secret space plane, the X-37B.

Mysterious X-37B Military Space Plane's Landing in Photos

The U.S. Air Force landed its mysterious X-37B space plane at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 17, 2014. See photos of the X-37B spacecraft's landing here.

Your Help Wanted to Name Rosetta Mission's Comet Landing Site

ESA officials are asking the public to come up with a better name for the spot on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko where the Rosetta mission will drop a lander during a historic, unprecedented maneuver on Nov. 12.

Tiny Cubesats May Hitchhike on Mission to Europa

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, has selected proposals from 10 universities to begin investigating the possible use of cubesats as auxiliary components to missions to Europa and beyond.

Virgin Galactic Will Fly Rocket-Powered SpaceShipTwo Test Flights Soon

The private spaceflight company Virgin Galactic will soon begin a new round of rocket-powered test flights of the commercial spaceliner SpaceShipTwo to prepare for eventual passenger flights to space.

X-37B Military Space Plane Lands After Record-Shattering Secret Mission

The X-37B touched down at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday (Oct. 17), ending a space mission that kicked off in December 2012 and saw the unmanned vehicle circle Earth for an unprecedented 675 days.

Moon to Meet Jupiter in Early Saturday Morning Sky

Jupiter and the moon are set to meet up in the early morning sky on Saturday (Oct. 18).

NASA Probe Zapped by Saturn Moon's Static

A spacecraft exploring the Saturn system was zapped by static electricity sent out one of the ringed wonder's many moons in 2005, a new study suggests.

Comets - 2014 News on Probes, Missions and Encounters

See news, images and videos about comets, icy wanderers in the solar system.

WATCH LIVE NOW: Comet Siding Spring NASA Interviews

See NASA scientists discuss the flyby of Comet Siding Spring past Mars during live interviews today (Oct. 17) from 6 a.m. EDT to 11:30 a.m. EDT.

Comet's Close Encounter with Mars Explained (Infographic)

In a rare celestial event, a comet will pass closer to Mars than the moon is from Earth on Oct. 19, 2014. See how the Comet Siding Spring flyby of Mars works in this infographic.

Comet's Mars Flyby Sunday Has Scientists Abuzz

Comet Siding Spring will zoom within 87,000 miles of Mars at 2:27 p.m. EDT on Sunday (Oct. 19). Scientists will observe the flyby using the fleet of spacecraft already at Mars, studying the comet and any effects its dust has on the planet's atmosphere.

Apollo Astronaut's Anniversary Patch Recalls 'Flight of the Phoenix'

Forty-six years ago this week, NASA's first Apollo astronauts to launch into space were circling the Earth, just as the crew's mission patch depicted. The official insignia though, was not what the crew initially envisioned as representing their flight.

Ariane 5 Rocket Launches 2 Commercial Satellites to Orbit

An Ariane 5 launcher fired into space Thursday (Oct. 16) from French Guiana, hauling two commercial satellites destined to broadcast television to Latin America for Intelsat, DirecTV and Argentina's national telecom company.

Comet Siding Spring's 'Mars Buzz' Animated

Comet Siding Spring C/2013 A1 will fly within 87,000 miles of the surface of the Red Planet, causing NASA to alter the positions of their satellite fleet to evade the debris.

Sierra Nevada Files Suit To Reinstate Hold on NASA Commercial Crew Contracts

Sierra Nevada Corp. filed suit in federal court Oct. 15, seeking to overturn a NASA decision to lift a stop-work order on contracts it awarded to Boeing and SpaceX.

Could Alien Life Exist Around Red Dwarf Stars? Watch Debate in Webcast Tonight

Experts will debate whether or not life is likely to exist on planets orbiting red dwarf stars during a live event tonight. Watch it here at

NASA Probe Finds Nanoflares and Plasma 'Bombs' on Sun

A NASA probe has peered into the sun's atmosphere and found 'bombs' of plasma, jets that affect solar wind and nanoflares that rapidly accelerate particles.

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Mimas Is Weird Inside

There's something strange going on below the surface of Saturn's Death Star-looking moon Mimas, a new study suggests.

A Peek Into Hell: Sun’s Chromosphere Of Plasma | Video

Instruments aboard NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft have delivered imagery of super heated plasma and jets in a hard-to-study region of the Sun's atmosphere.

India Launches Third Satellite for Regional Navigation Constellation

India on Oct. 16 successfully launched the third of seven planned satellites for its Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), which is expected to be fully operational in 2015.

Amazing Video Of Passing Space Station Lit By Green Laser

ESA's Optical Ground Station (OGS) at the Teide Observatory in Spain, shot a 3.6 Watt 532-nm laser at the ISS, giving a a greenish glow. The laser was used to test optical communication tech.

China Moving Forward with Big Space Station Plans

Space travelers from around the globe recently got a firsthand sense of China's blossoming plans to explore Earth orbit and beyond.

How to Safely Watch Next Week's Partial Solar Eclipse

Millions of people across North America will have a chance to observe a partial solar eclipse next week, weather permitting.

Hurricane Gonzalo Threat Delays US Private Rocket Launch for NASA

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft was scheduled to launch on a cargo run to the station on Oct. 24. But that liftoff has been delayed until at least Oct. 27, because Hurricane Gonzalo could affect a tracking station for Cygnus' Antares rocket.

Private Mars Colony Project May Not Be Feasible, Study Suggests

A new analysis has pinpointed a few purported problems with the blueprint laid out by the Netherlands-based nonprofit Mars One, which aims to land four people on the Red Planet in 2025 as the vanguard of a permanent settlement.

Partial Solar Eclipse of October 2014: Visibility Maps

Find out what the partial solar eclipse of Oct. 23, 2014 might look like from around North America using these sky maps and images.

Is Space Still Awesome? (Op-Ed)

World Space Week is one of a series of events co-ordinated by the UN to celebrate the global nature of space exploration. It was established in 1999.

Colorful Motion of Stars | Space Wallpaper

This vivid space wallpaper resembles an abstract painting, or perhaps a contemporary stained-glass window. But it is actually an unusual view of a galaxy taken with the new MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope.

Hurricane Gonzalo Snapped By Satellite | Time-Lapse Video

The NOAA Goes-East satellite has beamed down imagery of the Category 4 storm moving over the Atlantic Ocean. On October 15th, the National Hurricane Center reported winds reaching 130 mph coming from the storm.

First Photos of Water Ice on Mercury Captured by NASA Spacecraft

The images, taken by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, suggest that the ice lurking within Mercury's polar craters was delivered recently, and may even be topped up by processes that continue today, researchers said.

Comet Will Buzz Mars Sunday: How to See It in Telescopes

A comet is on course for a super-close approach with the planet Mars this Sunday (Oct. 19) in a rare celestial encounter. If you have a moderate-size telescope, you might be able to spot the icy wanderer as it nears the Red Planet, weather permitting.

Photos: Europe's Rosetta Comet Mission in Pictures

In August 2014, ESA's Rosetta Spacecraft will rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and deploy the Philae lander. See photos from the Rosetta comet probe.

NASA Astronauts Beat Clock, Wrap Up Spacewalk

Two NASA astronauts working outside the International Space Station raced against the clock during a spacewalk today (Oct. 15).

Hubble Telescope Spots Post-Pluto Targets for New Horizons Probe

Hubble has spotted three objects that the New Horizons probe could potentially visit after completing its Pluto flyby in July 2015. One of these newly identified bodies is definitely reachable, while the other two require further study.

Spacewalk Photos: NASA Astronauts Work Outside Space Station (Oct. 15, 2014)

See photos of NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Barry "Butch" Wilmore taking a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Oct. 15, 2014.

Latest Photos of Mercury from NASA's Messenger Probe

NASA's Messenger spacecraft is the first dedicated to orbiting Mercury, the solar system's innermost planet.

Indian Mars Orbiter Captures Phobos Transit | Video

The Indian Space Research Organization's Mars Orbiting Mission (MOM) captured imagery of the tiny moon transiting the Red Planet In October 2014.

Galaxies in the Early Universe Were Less-Than-Stellar Star Makers

Star formation in the early universe may not have been as plentiful as it is today.

Amazing Selfie with Comet Snapped by European Spacecraft (Photo)

With an icy comet lurking just over its shoulder, a far-flung European spacecraft snapped a selfie in outer space.

Space News From SpaceDaily.Com

Mars Odyssey Orbiter Watches Comet Fly Near

Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 20, 2014
The longest-lived robot ever sent to Mars came through its latest challenge in good health, reporting home on schedule after sheltering behind Mars from possible comet dust. NASA's Mars Odyssey was out of communications with Earth, as planned, while conducting observations of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring on Sunday, Oct. 19, as the comet flew near Mars. The comet sped within about 88,000 m

MAVEN Studies Passing Comet and Its Effects

Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 20, 2014
NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars today and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere. The MAVEN spacecraft - full name Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution - reported back to Earth in good health after about three hours of precautions against a possible collision with high-velocity du

"Houston: We Have A Problem...But No Worries, Our Virtual Therapist Is On It"

Washington DC (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
Hiking in the mountains or lying on the beach are good ways to relieve stress on Earth, but on spaceflights there's no way to get back to nature. Astronauts feeling stressed on long-duration flights, however, may soon find computerized solace in the form of a virtual reality-based relaxation system being developed by Dartmouth researchers and their colleagues. Since 2001, Dartmouth, Harvar

NASA Soil Moisture Mapper Arrives at Launch Site

Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 20, 2014
A NASA spacecraft designed to track Earth's water in one of its most important, but least recognized forms - soil moisture - now is at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, to begin final preparations for launch in January. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft arrived Wednesday at its launch site on California's central coast after traveling from NASA's Jet Propulsion Labo

Cosmic jets of young stars formed by magnetic fields

Dresden, Germany (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
Astrophysical jets are counted among our Universe's most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space. Now, for the first time ever, an international team of researchers has successfully tested a new model that explains how magnetic fields form these emissions in young stars. Scientist

Curious signal hints at dark matter

Leicester, UK (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
Space scientists at the University of Leicester have detected a curious signal in the X-ray sky - one that provides a tantalising insight into the nature of mysterious Dark Matter. The Leicester team has found what appears to be a signature of 'axions', predicted 'Dark Matter' particle candidates - something that has been a puzzle to science for years. In a study being published in the Mon

NASA Tool Helps Airliners Minimize Weather Delays

Washington DC (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
In the heat of a summer afternoon, a line of thunderstorms develops in the skies over North Texas and threatens to wreak havoc with the timely flow of air traffic headed toward or away from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. One look at the weather radar tells the grim story: airlines will lose money as jets burn extra fuel to avoid the storms and aggravated passengers will miss conn

NASA Begins Sixth Year of Airborne Antarctic Ice Change Study

Washington DC (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
NASA is carrying out its sixth consecutive year of Operation IceBridge research flights over Antarctica to study changes in the continent's ice sheet, glaciers and sea ice. This year's airborne campaign, which began its first flight Thursday morning, will revisit a section of the Antarctic ice sheet that recently was found to be in irreversible decline. For the next several weeks, research

Europe secures new generation of weather satellites

Paris (ESA) Oct 20, 2014
Contracts were signed last week to build three pairs of MetOp Second Generation satellites, ensuring the continuity of essential information for global weather forecasting and climate monitoring for decades to come. MetOp-SG is a cooperative undertaking between ESA and Eumetsat, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. These new satellites offer enhanced

ADS signs MetOp-SG prime contract with ESA

Paris (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
Airbus Defence and Space has signed the formal contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA) to design and build the second generation of Meteorological Operational (MetOp-SG) satellites. Covering the design and build of six spacecraft, these contracts are worth a total of 1.3 billion euros. The contracts, today inked in Paris in the presence of Genevieve Fioraso, French Secretary of Stat

Probing the past

Washington DC (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have made what may be the most reliable distance measurement yet of an object that existed in the Universe's formative years. The galaxy is one of the faintest, smallest and most distant galaxies ever seen and measuring its distance with this accuracy was possible due only to the incredibly detailed mapping of how giant galaxy clusters warp t

Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass

Washington DC (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a tiny, faint galaxy - one of the farthest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away. This galaxy offers a peek back to the very early formative years of the universe and may just be the tip of the iceberg. "This galaxy is an example of what i

LockMart Team Delivers Lightning Mapper Instrument For Weather Satellite

Palo Alto CA (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
A Lockheed Martin team delivered the first Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) instrument that will provide earlier alerts of severe storms and contribute to more accurate tornado warnings. The sensor will fly on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) missions, known as the GOES-R Series.

Sophisticated Sensor Will Give NOAA Earlier Warnings of Severe Storms

Palo Alto CA (SPX) Oct 20, 2014
A Lockheed Martin team delivered the first Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) instrument that will provide earlier alerts of severe storms and contribute to more accurate tornado warnings. The sensor will fly on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) missions, known as the GOES-R Series.

Molten metals in spin cycle on ESA's centrifuge

Paris (ESA) Oct 20, 2014
The experimenters stared through bulletproof glass at the whirling 8 m-diameter centrifuge. Never mind the shaking or stirring of drink cocktails - what happens when you spin a cocktail of molten metal? ESA's Large Diameter Centrifuge provides research teams with easy access to hypergravity. Based at ESA's technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, it can spin at up to 67 revolutions