Stories tagged amateur astronomy

This cool timelapse of Comet Lovejoy rising in the morning skies over Western Australia was created by Colin Legg. The comet's dust tail and secondary plasma tail can be seen rising out of the treetops in the lower right of the frame. You can see more of Legg's meteorological videos on his Vimeo link below.

Universe Today
More videos by Colin Legg

Planetary aberation: The goddess Venus helps point out the strange spot discovered on her namesake planet.
Planetary aberation: The goddess Venus helps point out the strange spot discovered on her namesake planet.Courtesy ESA/MPS and edwin.11 via Flickr
An American amateur stargazer discovered an unusual bright spot in the atmosphere of the planet Venus recently. Frank Melillo of Holtsville, New York made his discovery last month on the same day another amateur astronomer in Australia reported finding a dark spot on the planet Jupiter.

While Jupiter’s bruise is attributed to a collision with an asteroid or comet, scientists aren’t yet sure what caused the atmospheric aberration on Venus. A similar collision with a meteor or comet isn’t completely out of the question, but a volcanic eruption on the planet’s surface or a solar discharge interacting with Venus’s upper atmosphere are more likely suspects.

Astronomers are waiting to study more images taken by the European Space Agency’s Venus Express which is currently in orbit around the planet.

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The Cassini spacecraft that is currently studying Saturn recently discovered a new moonlet in the planet's rings. The moonlet, designated S/2005 S1 but yet officially unnamed, is about 7 kilometers in diameter. The first "S" in the designation stands for "satellite" followed by the year in which it was discovered. The second "S" and the number "1" indicate that it was the first new satellite discovered orbiting Saturn in 2005. Once the International Astronomical Union verifies the moon it is assigned a permanent number and the discoverer of the moon is encouraged to help name it. If you found a new moon in orbit around Saturn, what would you name it?

This discovery brings the number of planet orbiting satellites around Saturn to 35, second only to Jupiter's 61.

The Cassini spacecraft is a cooperative effort between three space agencies: NASA, the European Space Agency,, and the Italian Space Agency.

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