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There’s a new comet in the sky

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If you’re willing to get up early this week, you’re in for a magnificent sight: an early morning comet.

Comet NEOWISE, named for the space telescope that discovered it on March 27, was at first only visible through powerful telescopes. But it has recently brightened enough to be seen through binoculars.

At the moment it’s only visible in the early morning. But the good news is, this won’t be the case for long.

The comet formally known as C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) rises in the northeast around 3:30 a.m. local time and climbs until sunrise.

You can find it by looking northeast toward the constellation Auriga.

 

The comet can be found in the early morning sky just before sunrise, near the constellation Auriga. (Stellarium)

 

The comet will eventually sink below the early morning horizon and return to view in the evening sky on July 12 — just after sunset, roughly 10 degrees above the northwest horizon. Look to the bowl of the Big Dipper and follow it toward the horizon.

Over time, the comet will continue rising. On July 20 it will be roughly 20 degrees above the horizon at around 10 p.m., when the sky will be significantly darker, though not completely dark.

 

NEOWISE will move to the evening sky on July 12, visible just after sunset. (Stellarium)

 

There’s a word of warning, however: All this hinges on whether the comet at least maintains its current brightness and stays together.

As comets round the sun, they become brighter as they warm, causing ice to sublimate (going directly from a solid to a gas) and releasing other trapped gases. This is what gives comets their tails.

 

 

 

But there’s a chance the warming will cause a comet to break apart, as was most recently witnessed with Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). That comet was discovered in December 2019 and continued to brighten until March. It then began to dim and was found to have broken apart into more than a dozen pieces.

As for Comet NEOWISE, it will make its closest approach to Earth on July 22 at a distance of 103 million kilometres.

 

 

 

Source:- CBC.ca

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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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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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