asteroid

Bryan Cashion 2017

Mid December nights are cold and often snowy on the Western Slope.  But, here’s an observing challenge:  Catch the peak of this year’s Geminid Meteor Shower on the night of December 13th to 14th.

NASA

Some say that we now live in the golden age of solar system exploration.  In 2016 there are more than 15 active, interplanetary probes from the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, India, and Russia.  These are exploring Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Earth’s Moon, comets, asteroids, the distant Kuiper Belt, and the even more distant, interstellar medium.  

September 8th marked the beginning of NASA’s launch window for OSIRIS-Rex, a mission to study an asteroid called Bennu and return a sample of the asteroid’s surface material to Earth for further analysis. This mission is particularly exciting because it will not only give us a peek back in time towards the beginnings of our planet and our solar system as a whole, but also might provide clues as to how life began here on Earth. (Ed.