astronomy

NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/Univ. of Arizona

A new study co-authored by a Flagstaff researcher deepens the mystery of what happened to Mars’ ancient atmosphere.

Christopher Edwards of the U.S. Geological Survey is the lead author of the study. He examined the idea that Mars once had a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide that eventually ended up buried, or “sequestered,” underground. His research shows that hypothesis is unlikely.

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

Tomorrow NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make its closest approach to Pluto and collect the first-ever close-up images of the dwarf planet. In Flagstaff, where Pluto was discovered, scientists will be waiting to analyze those photographs and other data. But they’re not the only ones. Artists are creating their own interpretations of Pluto, and they’ll use New Horizons for inspiration. 

Lowell Observatory

A celestial event last week is helping astronomers from Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff study Pluto’s atmosphere. The ground-based data gives a clearer picture of the ninth classical planet.

Kaibab Paiute Nation

Northern Arizona is now home to the world’s first "dark sky nation." As Arizona Public Radio’s Melissa Sevigny reports, the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians has been recognized for its efforts to preserve the night sky.

The Arizona Senate has voted to allow companies to erect lighted billboards along state highways. Billboard companies asked the Legislature to change the law after a recent decision by the Arizona Court of Appeals that bans electronic billboards along freeways. And astronomers are not happy with the bill. 

Astronomers say the billboards threaten the dark skies needed for their work, which they argue is a big industry for Arizona. 

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