On Monday, far beyond the orbit of Mars, an alarm clock went off and a robot began the slow process of waking up after a long, cold sleep. The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is now approaching the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which it will catch up with this May.
Comet ISON is gone, Comet Lovejoy remains and a sun-grazing asteroid, 3200 Phaeton, is showing comet-like behavior. An interesting December to say the least.
There's been a great deal of anticipation surrounding Comet ISON—and a great deal of debate about whether it will become a Comet of the Century, or fizzle out like so many other comets of the century have in the past. ISON is now visible in binoculars, which may bode well for a good sky show in the coming weeks.
Maybe a week before it passes closest to the sun, the dark side of Comet ISON is expected to begin turning into the sunlight. The sudden exposure to the intense radiation could cause a strong outburst of gases into the coma--like a celestial popcorn kernel suddenly bursting.
A comet named ISON has been hailed as a possible "comet of the century." But scientists aren't sure yet if it will survive a hairpin turn around the sun.
It's time to enjoy the annual Perseid meteors, the Old Faithful of meteor showers that lights up the August night and thoroughly delights those sleepy souls willing to stay up past midnight for one of nature's original fireworks shows.
Envision the Earth plunging through space and passing a sign that warns, “Watch for falling rocks.” Now, what are we going to do deflect a catastrophic collision from space?