Visit the USGS Home Page Go to the Astrogeology Research Program Home Page USGS Astrogeology Research Program

Skywatchers: See Two Asteroids with Binoculars!

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

The number of known asteroids has skyrocketed in recent years, but very few of these tiny bodies ever come within easy reach of the simplest optical aid. This year we have a somewhat unusual situation, for skywatchers can track down two of them, Ceres and Melpomene, as soon as the sprawling constellation Cetus, the Whale, climbs sufficiently high in the east...

More: Sky & Telescope - Ceres and Melpomene in Binoculars

Orionid Meteor Showers

Monday, October 21, 2002

Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through the orbit of a comet, allowing tiny particles of comet debris to burn up in the planet's atmosphere. During the next two weeks, we will experience the Orionid Meteor shower with peak activity October 21-22. The Orionid Meteors are named after the constellation Orion which marks the celestial location of the meteors. Brew some coffee and plan to stay up late for a great show!

More: Science@NASA - Meteor Storm Forecase

A Cold New World

Tuesday, October 8, 2002

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope measured the largest object in the solar system seen since the discovery of Pluto 72 years ago. The icy world 2002 LM60, dubbed "Quaoar" by its discoverers, measures 1300 kilometers wide - approximately half the size of Pluto. Just a curious point of light until recently, Quaoar lies a billion kilometers beyond Pluto.

More: Science@NASA - A Cold New World