Howdy readers! Well, it’s a Friday afternoon and I thought I’d share some of the amazing astronomy related things I have enjoyed this week. I have interesting news, stunning photographs and other mind expanding goodies for you to feast your enquiring minds on.
First up, our understanding of the planet Mercury, one of our closest neighbours, has been changed forever. Once thought to be a dead, uninteresting lump of rock, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft is re-writing the textbooks on this moon-like little world. Volcanism is cool, but magnetic tornadoes are awesome… read on for more.
Possibly the most exciting recent astronomy news is the salt found in a geyser on Enceladus (a Saturnian moon). NASA’s intrepid Cassini spacecraft flew through the geyser and provided the tantalising hint of large oceans of liquid water under the moon’s surface.
A near Earth asteroid in a retrograde orbit (it orbits the sun in a direction opposite Earth’s own orbit). This is only the 20th asteroid to be found in a retrograde orbit and it is special because it comes closer to our home planet than any other near earth object.
To finish up, The Big Picture provides spectacularly beautiful photographs of Saturn, it’s rings and moons, as returned by the Cassini space probe. Number 15 is my favorite 🙂
Have a lovely weekend