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ohstarstuff:

What You Need to Know About Mars Comet Siding Spring

  • On Sunday, October 19th, Comet C/2013 A1, aka Siding Spring, will pass within about 87,000 miles of the Red Planet.

  • The distance the comet will be from Mars is less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth.

  • Siding Spring, whose core is 0.5 to 5 miles wide, probably formed somewhere between Jupiter and Neptune about 4.6 billion years ago — just a few million years after the solar system began coming together. Scientists believe Siding Spring had a close encounter with one of these planets and was booted out into the Oort Cloud

  • A million years ago or so, a star passing by the Oort Cloud is thought to have jolted the comet’s orbit again, sending it on its first-ever trip into the inner solar system.

  • Comets from the Oort cloud are both ancient and rare. Since this is Comet Siding Spring’s first trip through the inner solar system, scientists are excited to learn more about its composition and the effects of its gas and dust on the Mars upper atmosphere.

  • NASA does not think the comet hit the Red Planet, but comets spew out a trail of dust and gas, and that could damage the fleet of spacecraft orbiting Mars. Just to be safe, NASA will move the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and the new Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) to the other side of the planet as the comet approaches.

  • The Mars orbiters will take pictures and collect data on the comet as it flys by. Several Earth-based and space telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, also will take pictures. Here is the full list of NASA assets observing Siding Spring

  • The comet was first discovered in January 2013 by Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

  • Great article from Space.com on how to view the comet from Earth 

(Source: mars.nasa.gov)

Patriots and Bruins and Revs, oh my!

sportbygettyimages:

A Royal Celebration

The Kansas City Royals celebrate their sweep of the Orioles to win the ALCS. The franchise is heading back to the World Series for the first time in 29 years.

See all the photos from the 2014 MLB Postseason