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Astro Bob

Visit A Lonely Planet / Sweet Success For Japan’s Asteroid Probe

23 Feb 2019, 17:33 UTC
Visit A Lonely Planet / Sweet Success For Japan’s Asteroid Probe
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Mercury gleams through twilight haze over Duluth, Minn. earlier this week. Bob King
Just a couple quick updates. Have you tried to spot Mercury at dusk yet? I can report it’s easier to see than I thought. Several nights ago, I found it about a fist high in the west 40-50 minutes after sunset. It looked so lonely there, shining all by itself in the orange haze. Another reader also reported that it was easy to spot. We’ve got about a week left tops for easy viewing before Mercury goes back in hiding near the sun.
This photo was taken by the spacecraft shortly after landing on Ryugu to gather a surface sample. The view is from about 100 feet (30 meters) up and shows Hayabusa’s shadow and dark markings probably made by the craft’s thrusters. JAXA
I thought you’d also like to know that the first Hayabusa 2 attempt to sample asteroid Ryugu appears to have gone off without a hitch. Data analysis showed that the craft made a pinpoint landing on the surface, fired a bullet into the gravel and collected rock and powder in its funnel-like horn. The samples will be carefully sealed away into a canister ...

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