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Astronomy

101 must-see cosmic objects: M87

M87 is another elliptical Messier galaxy in the Virgo cluster, 55 million light-years distant and some 120,000 light-years wide. It lies about 3½° northwest of Rho Virginis. But M87 surpasses M84 and M86 in terms of mass: it has at least…

Astronomy & Astrophysics 101: Comet

This ground image of Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was taken on July 16, 2020 from the Northern Hemisphere. The inset image, taken on August 8, 2020, by the Hubble Space Telescope, reveals a close-up of the comet after passing through the Sun.…

101 must-see cosmic objects: M104

Dust is a common component of spiral galaxies. Astronomers believe this dust is carbon- or silicate-rich and no more than 0.25 microns wide. This does not greatly affect the brightness of galaxies, except in cases where they appear almost…

Save the Earth… and space

The historic under-regulation of the Earth's atmosphere and the orbital space around it has brought the astronomy and space communities to a critical point where action is needed to move towards a sustainable future. .…

What is a dwarf planet?

Could life exist on a dwarf planet? Three things are necessary for life: liquid water, a source of energy, and organic molecules, that is to say molecules containing carbon. More than 100 miles (161 kilometers) below Pluto's surface, a…

Space missions to watch in 2022

Everybody goes to the moon Putting a rocket into orbit around the Earth is a technical feat, but it only takes half a day's journey. Fifty years after the last person was on Earth's nearest neighbor, 2022 will see a crowded list of lunar…