The Nightly News
An Astronomy blog by Joe Bauman, Salt Lake City
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  1. Blog 70: A beautiful green comet
    07 Dec, 2018
    Blog 70: A beautiful green comet
    Friday night was a great one for comet peepers and conditions should only improve throughout the next week. Comet 46P/Wirtanen has reached naked-eye visibility from dark sites in the northern hemisphere. The short-period comet is approaching closer than usual to Earth, brightening by the night on its orbit, and should be  most easily seen on December 16, according to NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. On December 16, the comet will be only 7.2 million miles away. It should be simple to find,
  2. Blog 66: Comets, Part 2
    27 Oct, 2018
    Blog 66: Comets, Part 2
    Of the comets I've seen, no two were alike, ranging from a monster that, counting its coma of particles, was the biggest thing in the solar system, to a puny streak that -- once it had dipped out of view from the northern hemisphere -- turned into a dazzling spectacle with multiple tails. As NASA points out, comets are "dirty snowballs" that coalesced when the solar system formed about 4.6 billion years ago, mostly "ice coated with dark organic material." The agency also describes them as
  3. Blog 65: Comets, Part 1
    17 Oct, 2018
    Blog 65: Comets, Part 1
    Earthlings should be treated to a beautiful holiday surprise in December, Comet Wirtanen 46P. Dr. P. Clay Sherrod, the researcher, educator and author whose Arkansas Sky Observatories are renowned as "America's oldest private research science and observatory facility," wrote, "As this comet is slowly closing in on perihelion this December 16 (closest pass by the sun) it will also swing closely by Earth four days later in December and it perhaps might be as bright as 3rd magnitude, or even a bit
  4. Blog 39: The Hypatia Stone
    27 Jan, 2018
    Blog 39: The Hypatia Stone
    By definition, anything superlative is the most-whatever of its type; the coldest winter, the greatest rainfall, the highest mountain. It's unique, untouchable among its kind. The tiny Hypatia Stone is such an object. It's the strangest rock on Earth. In December 1996, Aly A. Barakat, a researcher with the Geological Survey of Egypt, was in the southwestern section of his country participating in an Egyptian-Italian expedition to the site of "Lybian desert glass." The glass is an unusual

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