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  • DIANA FERNANDA

    A moon for Mercury… (or not!) (Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University/APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington). Spurious moons are apparently the “low-hanging fruit” of astronomical April Fools’ pranks.  In 2012, an image of a purported moon of the planet Mercury’s as discovered by the MESSENGER spacecraft appeared in the JPL Photojournal. The captioning declared the moon had been named Caduceus and was 70 metres in diameter. Perhaps such a prank is appealing because there’s nothing immediately outlandish about the idea. New moons get discovered periodically on first reconnaissance missions past planets. For a brief time in 1974, Mariner 10 project scientists did indeed think they had discovered a Mercurial moon.   Reading on through the press release, however, revealed that a collision course of MESSENGER with the moon was set to cause it to “arrive at Earth by 2014.”  The “moon” also bared a suspicious resemblance to the asteroid 243 Ida as seen by the Jupiter-bound Galileo spacecraft in 1993.Some April Fools’ hoaxes have presented ideas that have actually gained scientific traction in reality over the years. On March 31st, 2005, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day website contained the teaser “Water on Mars!” for its next presentation to follow on the next day. A flurry of discussion followed; was there a discovery from the Spirit & Opportunity rovers forthcoming? We should’ve checked the calendar first. The next day, APOD featured water… in a glass, sitting atop a Mars bar. What’s ironic is that recent announcements from the Mars Science Laboratory support the idea of ancient water on the Red Planet, so the MSL may well have had the last laugh.

  • Angel Ramos

    NASA - Mooning Mercury (April Fool's Day)

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Happy April Fool's Day from APOD. Suiting Up for the Moon: Robert Nemiroff (Michigan Tech. U.): How will cows survive on the Moon? Lunar Grazing Module (LGM), a multi-purpose celestial bovine containment system.

Chris Hadfield's grand April Fools' Day finale shows him posing with an alien that just stopped by the station to say hi.

NASA's Messenger Satellite Captures Spectacular Color Mosaic of Mercury

~~Supernova remnant G266.2-1.2 (NASA, Chandra, 10/28/13) | NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center~~

Saturn's Iapetus: Painted Moon- Vast sections of this strange world are dark as coal, while others are as bright as ice. The composition of the dark material is unknown, but infrared spectra indicate that it possibly contains some dark form of carbon. A leading hypothesis is that the dark material is mostly dirt leftover when relatively warm but dirty ice sublimates.

Ka-Booooooom! by NASA: A solar eruption and the blast of particles. Here is the link to the video. tinyurl.com/837f6qy #Solar_Eruption #Astronomy #NASA

Arches Cluster is the densest known star cluster in the Milky Way, and is located about 100 ly away from the center of our galaxy, in the constellation Sagittarius. The radius of the cluster is approx. 1 ly. It contains about 150 young, very hot stars - many times larger & more massive than our Sun. NASA Hubble.

"NGC 3603 also contains some of the most massive stars known. These huge stars live fast and die young, burning through their hydrogen fuel quickly and ultimately ending their lives in supernova explosions."

~~Trifid Nebula As Viewed From the Spitzer Infrared Telescope by NASA Public Domain~~

And God began calling the light Day, but the darkness he called Night... - Genesis 1:5

Ready For Your Closeup, Ceres? NASA Spacecraft Gets Closer To Dwarf Planet Read more: www.universetoday...