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How to See Mars and the Moon Align This Weekend

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Photo: Jose Luis Stephens (Shutterstock)
 

If you’ve gotten used to having something to look at up in space during weekends this summer, don’t worry—there’s something to see tonight. Last weekend we were treated to NASA’s live coverage of the SpaceX crew returning to Earth. This weekend, we have to opportunity to see Mars and the moon align and rise together. Here’s what you need to know.

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How to watch the moon and Mars align

As Forbes senior science contributor Jamie Carter explains, Mars is currently in the process of moving towards opposition in October. Opposition is the point during the planet’s orbit when it comes closest to Earth, meaning that it’s more visible than any other time of the year. But we don’t have to wait until October to get a decent look at the Red Planet: Carter says that it’s already getting “visibly bigger and brighter with every passing night.”

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This also means that Mars is rising earlier each evening, and this weekend it will be in the sky before midnight, alongside a 65% illuminated waning gibbous moon. (That just means that 65% of the moon will be visible, compared with 100% during a full moon.) This is known as a “conjunction”—an event when two celestial bodies appear to pass close to one another.

Tonight’s conjunction will be most visible in North America around 4 a.m. EST (which yes, is technically Sunday morning). But if that’s after your bedtime, you can also try to catch a glimpse of the alignment at moonrise. First, figure out exactly what time moonrise is happening where you live, using this moon calculator. As an example, tonight’s moonrise in New York City will be at 10:50 p.m. If you look just north of the moon, you may be able to Mars at this time too. It’ll be the one brighter than any of the stars.

Source: – Lifehacker

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Bus-size asteroid to zoom by Earth, ducking below satellites – CTV News

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. —
An asteroid the size of a school bus is headed our way, but NASA says the space rock will zoom safely past Earth on Thursday.

The newly discovered asteroid will come within 13,000 miles (22,000 kilometres) of Earth, well below many of the communications satellites orbiting the planet, scientists said this week. The closest approach will occur Thursday morning over the southeastern Pacific Ocean.

Once it’s gone, the asteroid won’t be back to Earth’s neighbourhood until 2041.

Scientists estimate the asteroid is between 15 feet and 30 feet (4.5 metres to 9 metres). By asteroid standards, that’s considered puny. Asteroids of this size hit Earth’s atmosphere and burn up once every year or two, said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. There could be as many as 100 million of these little asteroids out there.

The real threat are considerably bigger asteroids. The good news is that these are easier to spot much sooner than just a few days out.

Asteroid 2020 SW, as it is known, was discovered last Friday by the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Launch date for Tom Cruise's space mission confirmed – Belleville Intelligencer

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Tom Cruise attends the ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Press Conference at The Ancestral Temple on August 29, 2018 in Beijing, .

Emmanuel Wong / (Credit too long, see caption)

Tom Cruise has been given a launch date for his mission to space.

The action man will become the first star to actually film in space while he’s onboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon trip to the International Space Station – and now he has a countdown to prepare for.

He’ll take off with astronauts and fellow wannabe spacemen and women in October 2021, according to the 2020-2023 ISS official manifest, obtained by TMZ.

The Mission: Impossible star will be joined in space by his Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman.

Tom will also be working with SpaceX boss Elon Musk and NASA experts on the ambitious movie, the title of which has not yet been announced.

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ISS forced to move to avoid collision with space junk – Sky News

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Astronauts aboard the International Space Station had to carry out an “avoidance manoeuvre” to prevent it from being hit by space junk, NASA has said.

Its trajectory was changed to move it further away from the “unknown piece of space debris”, the US space agency wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

The three crew members – two Russians and an American – relocated to their Soyuz spacecraft attached to the ISS during the operation, so they could evacuate if necessary.






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Experts expected the space junk to pass within “several kilometres” of the ISS, but decided to move it “out of an abundance of caution”.

Russian and US flight controllers worked together to adjust the station’s orbit in an operation which took minutes.

The crew were able to continue with their regular activities after the manoeuvre was complete.

NASA said the crew were not in danger at any time.

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“Maneuver Burn complete. The astronauts are coming out of safe haven,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Twitter.



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Southern lights (and UFOs at the end?)

It is the third time this year the International Space Station (ISS) has had to manoeuvre to avoid space debris, he said.

He tweeted: “In the last 2 weeks, there have been 3 high concern potential conjunctions. Debris is getting worse!”

Astronomer Jonathon McDowell, at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted the unknown object was a part of a 2018 Japanese rocket which broke into 77 pieces last year.

The ISS is orbiting around 260 miles (420km) above the Earth, travelling at a speed of about 17,130mph (27,568km/h).

At this velocity, even a small object has the ability to cause serious damage to the space station.

NASA has said these kinds of manoeuvres occur on a regular basis, with 25 having occurred between 1999 and 2018.

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