astronomy

NASA/Bill Ingalls

The Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight and tomorrow, offering a dazzling display of shooting stars. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports on how to watch.

Bonnie Stevens / KNAU file photo

Mars is getting crowded. Eight working spacecraft currently explore its surface or orbit above it; and this summer three new missions are headed for the Red Planet. One of those is an orbiter called Hope, the first-ever Mars mission launched by the United Arab Emirates. It’s carrying an instrument built by scientists at Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with NAU’s Christopher Edwards about his hopes for the latest addition to the Mars fleet. 

Amanda Bosh, Lowell Observatory

A comet with a spectacular fan-like tail is crossing the evening skies this week, making its closest approach to Earth on Thursday night. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports on how to see it.


NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Roman Tkachenko

A year ago NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew past a strange snowman-shaped object in the Kuiper Belt, far beyond Pluto. Named Arrokoth, it’s the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft.  Scientists say it’s offered up several surprises, including clues into how planets formed in the early days of the solar system. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Lowell Observatory’s Will Grundy about the new findings published in Science.

Victoria Girgis/Lowell Observatory

SpaceX launched 60 new Starlink satellites into orbit last week, in their quest to expand Internet access across the globe. The company hopes to have 1500 in orbit by the end of the year, and other companies are planning launches, too. That could mean tens of thousands of new satellites in the sky, which is bad news for astronomers. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Lowell Observatory director Jeff Hall about how these “satellite constellations” threaten astronomical research.

Melissa Sevigny: Are they brighter than the usual satellite up there?

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