The Daily Galaxy 24 Jul 2017, 23:33 UTC As NASA's Cassini spacecraft makes its unprecedented series of weekly dives between Saturn and its rings, scientists are finding—so far—that the planet's magnetic field has no discernable tilt. This surprising observation, which means the true length of Saturn's day is still unknown, is just one of several early insights from the final phase of Cassini's mission, known as the Grand Finale. Other recent science highlights include promising hints about the structure and composition of the icy rings, along with high-resolution images of the rings and Saturn's atmosphere. Cassini is now in the 15th of 22 weekly orbits that pass through the narrow gap between Saturn and its rings. The spacecraft began its finale on April 26 and will continue its dives until Sept. 15, when it will make a mission-ending plunge into Saturn's atmosphere. "Cassini is performing beautifully in the final leg of its long journey," said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Its observations continue to surprise and delight as we squeeze out every last bit of science that we can get." Cassini scientists are thrilled as well—and surprised in some cases—with the observations being made by the spacecraft in the finale. "The ...
The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 24 Jul 2017, 21:45 UTC You might be used to hear this, but we are happy to say it again: the galactic nova ASASSN-17hx is still rising, now shining at mag. 8.8 on our CCD images! So, we were right, last time, to bet on this. Really, now you cannot miss it: go out there and see this exploding star with very simple equipment.
io9 Space 24 Jul 2017, 20:30 UTC It’s easy to feel small and insignificant in the grandiose scope of the universe, because we are. At the same time, as Carl Sagan once reminded us, we’re made of the same “star stuff” as the cosmos. All too often, we forget how random, ridiculous, and resplendent it is to part of the stellar sorority of the universe. That’s why art, specifically movies like Eliza McNitt’s Fistful of Stars, is important—it reacquaints us with humanity’s small and stupid and somehow very special place in the cosmos.
Scientific American 24 Jul 2017, 17:00 UTC It may seem that Mars was once a much more exciting planet. True, there are dust storms and possible water-seeps occurring today, but billions of years ago it was a dramatic place with huge volcanoes, a giant canyon system and branching river valleys being formed.
SPACE.com 24 Jul 2017, 11:37 UTC