compiled by Arlene & David Kaplan

Jupiter, Saturn Will Look Like Double Planet Just after sunset on the evening of December 21,  2020,  Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together in Earth’s night sky than they have been since the Middle Ages, offering people the world over a celestial treat to ring in the winter solstice…more




SpaceX Crew Docks at the International Space Station The Crew Dragon spacecraft, a privately built and operated vessel carrying four astronauts, successfully arrived at the International Space Station on Monday night.  “Docking confirmed — Crew Dragon has arrived at the @space_station!”…more


The dazzling Blue Ring Nebula puzzled scientists for 16 years Researchers may have finally figured out a nebula puzzle. Using the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, researchers found that the blue ring is actually the base of a cone-shaped cloud of glowing molecular hydrogen that extends away from the central star, toward Earth…more

-Walton et al, 2020

New transient ultraluminous X-ray source detected An international team of astronomers has identified a new ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) in the galaxy NGC 7090. The object, designated NGC 7090 ULX3, was found using NASA’s Swift spacecraft. The finding is detailed in a paper published November 17 on the arXiv pre-print repository….more

-NASA, Daniel Rutter

 Galaxy survives black hole’s feast—for now Black holes are thought to gobble up so much surrounding material that they put an end to the life of their host galaxy. In that process they create a highly energetic object called a quasar which was previously thought to halt star birth…more


Japan spacecraft carrying asteroid soil samples nears home A Japanese spacecraft is nearing Earth after a yearlong journey home from a distant asteroid with soil samples and data that could provide clues to the origins of the solar system, a space agency official said…more


 Space worms experiment reveals gravity affects genes Living at low gravity affects cells at the genetic level, according to a study of worms in space. Genetic analysis of Caenorhabditis elegans worms on the International Space Station showed “subtle changes” in about 1,000 genes…more

-ÖWF/Florian Voggeneder

Conscientiousness key to team success during space missions NASA is working toward sending humans to Mars by 2030. If all goes according to plan, the flight crew’s return trip to the red planet will take about two-and-half years. That’s a long time to spend uninterrupted with co-workers. But imagine if the astronauts don’t get along with each other….more


Earth faster, closer to black hole in new map of galaxy Earth just got 7 km/s faster and about 2000 light-years closer to the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that our planet is plunging towards the black hole. Instead the changes are results of a better model of the Milky Way Galaxy based on new observation data, including a catalog of objects observed over the course of more than 15 years by the Japanese radio astronomy project VERA…more

-Pol Bordas and Xiying Zhang, 2020

Observations unveil jet-like structures from the pulsar PSR J1135–6055 Using NASA’s Chandra spacecraft, astronomers from the University of Barcelona, Spain, have investigated a pulsar wind nebulae (PWN) around the pulsar PSR J1135–6055. The observations detected jet-like structures from this source. The finding is reported in a paper published November 17 on arXiv pre-print server….more

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