The best of 2012: From Mars to Space Ex to millions of diverse exoplanets!


This year, “Curiosity” rover arrived safely on Mars and is making its way to the stream beds of Mt. Sharp, looking for life-supporting environmental conditions of the distant past. All points to years of data and discoveries; the success of the Space Ex delivery points at a vigorous collaboration between commercial ventures and NASA. Also space telescopes continue to chip away at reaching the most distant observations possible, finding the biggest black holes.

Perihelion (the point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid or comet where it’s nearest to the sun) is Wednesday January 2 at midnight. It’s 3 million miles closer than in July. Latest sunrise? Tomorrow Jan. 1 – 7th or so.. 7:23 a.m. Days will officially be gaining more minutes of sunlight from Saturday on.

Also this week , Jupiter will be visible between Arcturus in Taurus and the Pleiades; Venus is closer to the eastern horizon at 6:15, Saturn up higher, Mercury too close to the sun now.

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