Top Astro Stories 2013

My choice for top ten astronomy stories of 2013.

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Top Astro Stories 2013

Top Astro Stories 2013

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Fireball over Chelyabinsk 2013-02-15. (Frame grab from a video by Aleksandr Ivanov) ©Mona Evans, "Asteroid Facts for Kids) www.bellaonline.c...

Watch NOVA’s “Meteor Strike”

Orbits of all the known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs), numbering over 1,400 as of early 2013. Shown here is a close-up of the orbits overlaid on the orbits of Earth and other inner planets. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

▶ Meteor over Chelyabinsk. This video contains highlights from a number of the videos taken on February 15, 2003.

China's Chang'e-3 Lunar Probe Launch. Chang'e is a Moon goddess from Chinese folklore. The previous two missions were orbiters, but this one is carrying a lunar rover Yutu (jade rabbit).

An artist's depiction of China's Yutu rover being deployed on the moon by the Chang'e 3 lunar lander is shown in this still image from a state-run CNTV TV broadcast. Chang'e 3 landed on the moon on Dec. 14, 2013.Chang'e 3 delivered the Yutu rover to the moon with its successful landing. (Credit: CNTV)

Landing site of Chang'e-3. (Photos and graphics: David Dickinson) It missed Sinus Iridum, but landed nearby in Mare Imbrium (Sea of Showers).

Artist's concept of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE). It's shown orbiting near the surface of the moon.

"A Perfect Circle" by Dhruv Arvind Paranjpye. Winner of Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2010. It shows an annular solar eclipse. The Moon's disk doesn't quite cover the Sun, leaving a ring of sunlight around it. It is quite startling to see the perfect circle amidst the dark clouds. ©Mona Evans, “Royal Greenwich Observatory Photography 2010” www.bellaonline.c...

Hybrid solar eclipse 2013-11-03. A montage of images of the total eclipse seen from Gulu, Uganda. (Credit: Balraj Chauhan)

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A partially eclipsed setting Sun as seen from Dallas, Texas on May 20th, 2012. This weekend's eclipse will offer U.S. East Coast residents a similar sunrise view. (Credit: Jason Major/Lights in the Dark).

Solar Eclipses: An Observer's Guide (Infographic) - When the moon covers up the sun, skywatchers delight in the opportunity to see a rare spectacle.

NASA - Curiosity Rover's Self Portrait at 'John Klein' Drilling Site. (Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS) A mosaic of images taken on the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013). ©Mona Evans, “Mars Facts for Kids” www.bellaonline.c...

Curiosity's First Sample Drilling. Here is the hole in a rock called "John Klein" where on 2013-02-08 the rover made its first sample drilling. (The smaller hole on the right was just a test.) (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Two Different Aqueous Environments. Rocks seen by Opportunity and Curiosity on two different parts of Mars. On the left (Opportunity) a sandstone that probably partly formed & cemented in the presence of water, but in a highly acidic environment. But on the right, Curiosity found fine-grained sediments from a habitable environment with low salinity and a neutral pH. (Images have been white-balanced to show what they might look like on Earth.) (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/MSSS)

Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) is an astronomical interferometer of radio telescopes in the Atacama desert of northern Chile. It consists of 66 12-meter and 7-meter diameter radio telescopes observing at millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelengths. ALMA is an international partnership between Europe, the United States, Canada, East Asia and the Republic of Chile. It has been fully operational since 2013-03-13.

Infographic: How the huge ALMA radio telescope works. (Credit: Karl Tate)

Antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two companion galaxies to our own Milky Way galaxy, can be seen as bright smudges in the night sky, in the centre of the photograph. (Credit: ESO/C. Malin)

2013-10-23. More than 1,000 exoplanets have been confirmed and cataloged. (PHL @ UPR Arecibo) Mona Evans, "Searching for Extrasolar Planets" www.bellaonline.c...

In the first three years of Kepler data, more than 3,500 exoplanet candidates have been named. Since the January 2013 update the number of candidates increased by 29 percent. The largest increase of 78 percent was for the Earth-size category. (Credit: NASA) Mona Evans, "Hunting for Extrasolar planets" www.bellaonline.c...

Kepler-78b compared to Earth. It's 1.2 times the size of Earth and 1.7 times more massive, giving it the same density. It's probably also mostly rock and iron, but it orbits its star every 8.5 hours. Its star is slightly smaller and less massive than the sun and is located about 400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. Mona Evans, "Hunting for Extrasolar planets" www.bellaonline.c...

From the Kepler data we're finding new planets all the time. Many are more earthlike in size and some are in the habitable zones of their stars. This doesn't mean there is any kind of life on them. There are many other factors that could make them uninhabitable. Mona Evans, "Searching for Extrasolar Planets", www.bellaonline.c...

JPL Waves at Saturn. On July 19, 2013 the Cassini spacecraft turned its imaging cameras towards Earth. People around the world waved at Saturn, including scientists, engineers and visitors at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) Mona Evans, "Cassini MIssion and Website" www.bellaonline.c...

Two Views of Home, July 19, 2013. On the left is the Earth and Moon taken by Cassini on the far side of Saturn. The one on the left was taken on the same day by the MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting Mercury. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute and NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington) Mona Evans, "Cassini MIssion and Website" www.bellaonline.c...

Earth Waves at Cassini on July 19, 2013. From more than 40 countries and 30 U.S. states, people around the world shared more than 1,400 images of themselves as part of the Wave at Saturn event organized by NASA's Cassini mission. The Cassini team created this image collage as a tribute to the people of Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/People of Earth)

Saturn has rings. And how! in my absolute favorite Cassini probe picture. We are looking inwards towards an eclipsed Sun from the night side of Saturn. Yet light reflected from the ring system is lighting up the dark side of the planet. Click the image to enlarge & look beyond the bright central rings, just inside the next ring out on the left hand side, and find the small dot. That's Earth. ©Mona Evans, "10 Amazing Facts about the Solar System" www.bellaonline.c...