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Pluto: The Magnificent And Gigantic Comet

    Pluto: The Magnificent And Gigantic Comet By Judith E Braffman-Miller Ephemeral and fragile, comets that come streaking inward towards the melting heat and light of our Star are the wandering refugees from a distant twilight region of ice. There, in our Solar System’s deep freeze, myriad comet nuclei dance around our Sun beyond the orbit of Neptune–the outermost…

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Snowball Planets

    Snowball Planets By Judith E Braffman-Miller Today, Earth is located comfortably within the inner edge of our Star’s habitable zone, where conditions are favorable for the emergence and evolution of life as we know it. However, this has not always been the case. Indeed, some astronomers propose that in the early days of our Solar System, our planet…

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Europa: Everything Old Is New Again

    Europa: Everything Old Is New Again By Judith E Braffman-Miller In the cold twilight of our Solar System’s outer limits, the banded behemoth Jupiter reigns supreme. Jupiter is by far the largest of our Sun’s planetary offspring–and it is an enormous world that may well have become a binary stellar companion to our Sun, making life on Earth…

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An Asteroid “Weirdo” In The Kuiper Belt

    An Asteroid “Weirdo” In The Kuiper Belt By Judith E Braffman-Miller Asteroids and their comet-cousins are the relics of a bygone era when our Sun and its familiar family of objects were still in the process of forming. During this very ancient time, our Solar System was a “cosmic shooting gallery”, where relatively small and primitive primordial bodies–called…

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Earth’s Moist And Mysterious Moon

    Earth’s Moist And Mysterious Moon By Judith E Braffman-Miller Earth’s Moon is our planet’s closest neighbor in space, but it is remarkable how even neighbors can keep secrets from each other. For years, astronomers thought that Earth’s Moon was barren of water and other volatile compounds, but this notion began to change in 2008, when a team of…

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Mysterious Moon-Birth Within A Primordial Cloud

    Mysterious Moon-Birth Within A Primordial Cloud By Judith E Braffman-Miller Bewitching, beguiling, and bewildering, Earth’s Moon gleams like a light-reflecting mirror as it glistens high above us–the largest object in our sky on clear dark nights. Even though our Moon is Earth’s closest companion in space–and the only world beyond Earth that we have walked upon–it still has…

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The Rover “Opportunity” Reaches Its 5,000th Martian Dawn

    The Rover “Opportunity” Reaches Its 5,000th Martian Dawn By Judith E Braffman-Miller No other major planet in our Solar System has captured the collective imagination of our species more than the Red Planet Mars. This is because it has traditionally been considered the most likely abode of life beyond our Earth–where “little green men” frolic on a rust-red…

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The Moon Is Distancing Itself From Earth

    The Moon Is Distancing Itself From Earth By Judith E Braffman-Miller Long ago, when our Solar System was still forming, our lovely lunar companion was much closer to Earth than it is now. Today, Earth’s Moon is the largest object suspended in our sky after sunset, and for eons it has captivated humans with its reflected silver-golden glow…

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Asteroid 2002 AJ129 to Fly Safely Past Earth Super Bowl Sunday

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make a close approach to Earth on Super Bowl Sunday, February 4, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. PST. At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. 2002 AJ129 is an intermediate-sized near-Earth asteroid, somewhere between 0.3 miles and 0.75 miles across. It was…

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