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A selection of the latest astronomy news and blog posts.

The Leonids The annual Leonids meteor shower is due to peak over the weekend between 17 and 18th November 2018. Although the waxing gibbous Moon will diminish conditions somewhat it will still be more than worthwhile heading out somewhere dark to observe them. Over the peak as many as 10-15 meteors per hour may be visible.

What Does Sunrise on Mars Sound Like? Listen Here. Sound experts wanted a new way to depict the 4,999th sunrise on Mars, as seen by NASA's Opportunity rover.

These Organic-Inspired Planetary Landers Could Help NASA Reach Other Worlds Organically inspired landers could help NASA reach interplanetary targets.

The UFO Problem For Astronomers "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" -Carl Sagan. This infamous statement I would later become known as the Sagan standard and often used by astronomers as a failsafe when presented with celestial objects which are unidentifiable by currently accepted standards.

Space Weather - Coronal Holes Here is a look at the coronal hole providing an increase in solar wind and the sporadic aurora. There is a sunspot group now too; called Sunspot 2726 it is about centered on the solar disk and a plage in the northern mid-latitudes starting to rotate around the disk.

Supernova Imagine looking up at the night sky, and seeing the vast, dark sea of midnight blue and the scatter of a few stars here and there. It's endless and infinite, with millions of possibilities. Thirty minutes later, when you glance up again, you notice a particularly bright star that shines and glimmers with a bright intensity.

Astronomer: Use Lasers as Earth's "Porch Light" to Attract Aliens By MIT News - Re-Blogged From WUWT. Via MIT News and the "Astronomers with frickin' laser beams on their heads" department comes this odd idea.

Experience the sound of a martian sunrise Scientists have turned the Opportunity rover's 5,000th sunrise on Mars into a unique two-minute track of music. What does a martian sunrise sound like? Now you can find out, as researchers have "sonified" an image of the Opportunity rover's 5,000th sunrise on Mars.

The Small Magellanic Cloud is running out of gas - fast The new view has allowed them to see that the tiny galaxy is quickly losing hydrogen - and with it, its ability to form new stars.

Devastation from Deadly Camp and Woolsey Fires Seen from Space According to The New York Times, the Camp and Woolsey fires combined have killed at least 44 people and destroyed 6,400 homes and 217,000 acres of land. Smaller fires are also still burning: Cal Fire, California's firefighting center, is tracking 16 uncontrolled fires in the state.

The Case of the Vanishing Nebula McNeil's Nebula in Orion has disappeared, thanks to a drastic reduction in brightness from the protostar that usually provides illumination. There's an intriguing class of objects out there known as variable nebulae, the most famous of which is probably Hubble's Variable Nebula.

Common Knowledge "It's amazing. Ancient astronomers could calculate all that. They knew thousands of years ago when Mars would be so tantalizingly near and magnificently bright." And then I sighed. The night sky can make me do that sometimes. "Wizards could too, ya know," my acquaintance, Vladly, said.

Mars: Insight landing on Nov.26, ESA ExoMars landing site selected, + Pits and Caves NASA's Insight lander is set to settled down on the Mars surface on November 26th. Emily Lakdawalla gives a preview of the event from : What to Expect When InSight Lands on Mars - The Planetary Society. InSight's will be a throwback landing, simpler than Curiosity's and identical to Phoenix's.

Scientists Clash with Corporations in a Battle for the Soul of Mars Mars the planet is a unique world: a little like Earth, a little like the Moon, but entirely a world unto itself. Mars the television show is similarly one of a kind, an unusual amalgam of scripted science fiction and serious science documentary.

A Decade of Commercial Space Travel - What's Next? In many industries, a decade is barely enough time to cause dramatic change unless something disruptive comes along - a new technology, business model or service design. The space industry has recently been enjoying all three. But 10 years ago, none of those innovations were guaranteed.

'How to Live in Space': A Q&A with Author Colin Stuart People are going to space all the time. The aborted Soyuz launch to the space station in October was the first Soyuz failure in a long time, and it reminds us, especially, that space travel is dangerous and there is always inherent risk in it.

How Life Could Help Atmospheric Tides Slow a Planet's Rotation His findings suggest that the effect is enhanced for a planet with an atmosphere that has been oxygenated by life, and the resulting "atmospheric tides" could even act as a biosignature. Tides can distort a planet's mass, which in turn affects its rotation.

The Hubble Telescope Has Found a Smile in Space to Warm Your Heart The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a stunning smile in deep space, a trick of gravity that offers an optical illusion.

Space Weather If you are out and about after dark and you are in higher latitudes northern and southern hemisphere and have clear skies keep an eye out for an aurora. We have had sporadic aurora over the past couple days thanks to a coronal hole on the Sun. Disturbances in the geomagnetic field due to strong earthquakes may be another possible aurora source.

Dark matter hurricane Right this second, it's passing over Earth. And this fast-moving stream could reveal major details about dark matter, a new study finds. The dark matter is traveling in what is known as the S1 stream. Scientists think that streams like this one are the cosmic debris leftover when small galaxies stray too close to the Milky Way.

The Phaethon-Pallas Connection 3200 Phaethon, the bizarre rock responsible for the Geminid meteor shower, may have split from a much greater asteroid millions of years ago. 3200 Phaethon is a rocky object with a strange blue hue whose origin continues to puzzle researchers. But astronomers like Nataša Todorović are on the case.

Are the laws of the universe fine-tuned for life? Humans have often looked at the night sky and wondered if there's anyone else out there. But stare into that darkness long enough, and many wonder instead: how did we get here? What were the odds, in a universe so enormous and chaotic, that humans should have come to exist at all?

Capitalism on Mars? Nat Geo's 'Mars' Season 2 Premiere Parallels Frontier Struggles on Earth Tonight, National Geographic’s "Mars" series returns for a second season with a captivating premiere. This first episode reflects the real-life issues that may arise when private corporations try to turn a profit on the Red Planet.

This Week's Sky: November 12 - 19 The usual, prominent surface markings, the bright southern pole cap and the planet's gibbous phase are all on display-but you'll need to be patient and wait for moments of steady seeing. That's when you can pile on the magnification and enlarge the Martian disc sufficiently to glimpse these features.

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