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'Planet Collectors,' This Is Your Week

5 planets—Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, and Mars—will be lining up, with best viewing Tuesday

(Newser) - Keep an eye to the sky this week for a chance to see a planetary hangout. Five planets—Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, and Mars—will line up near the moon, per the AP . More details:
  • Where and when can you see them? The best day to catch the whole group

Rare Planetary Event to Grace Night Skies in June
Ever See 5 Planets
Lined Up Before?
Here's Your Chance

Ever See 5 Planets Lined Up Before? Here's Your Chance

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn will all be aligned in June

(Newser) - Get ready for a planetary sky show not seen since "Hey Ya!" topped the charts and Mark Zuckerberg was launching Facebook out of his college dorm room. Throughout the month of June, those on the US mainland will be able to see, sans telescope, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter,...

Mercury Puts on Rare Show For Us Next Week
Mercury Making a Rare Trip.
Here's How to Watch

Mercury Making a Rare Trip. Here's How to Watch

It's currently making a transit across the sun

(Newser) - Mercury is in the middle of a rare trip across the sun, and almost everyone in the US should be able to catch at least a glimpse—with modest gear and safety protections. The official term is a "transit," and Mercury showed up as a small black dot...

It's True: The Closest Planet to Every Planet Is ... Mercury
It Turns Out Venus Is
Not Our Closest Neighbor
new study

It Turns Out Venus Is Not Our Closest Neighbor

On average, that is

(Newser) - File this one away for bar trivia night: The planet closest to Earth is not Venus. So say researchers in a paper in Physics Today touting the new mathematical method they devised that spit out the true nearest neighbor when distance is averaged over time: Mercury. And here's the...

7-Year Trip to Mercury to Begin
7-Year Trip to
Mercury to Begin

7-Year Trip to Mercury to Begin

Twin probes scheduled to reach planet in 2025

(Newser) - Final preparations are underway for the launch of a joint mission by European and Japanese space agencies to send twin probes to Mercury, reports the AP . An Ariane 5 rocket is scheduled to lift the uncrewed spacecraft into orbit from French Guiana shortly before midnight Friday, the start of a...

Mercury to Make Rare Trip Across the Sun

It happens about 13 times per century

(Newser) - What one astronomer calls a "rare astronomical phenomenon" will play out on Monday. For more than seven hours beginning at 7:12am ET, Mercury will appear as a tiny black dot passing directly in front of the sun, reports National Geographic . Viewers across much of the globe, including North...

Finally, an Explanation for Mercury's Dark Surface

Comets didn't carry in the carbon, but rather disrupted what was already there

(Newser) - Mercury's mysterious surface darkness has baffled scientists: Though it's far closer to the sun than our moon, the latter reflects more sunlight. Last year, it was proposed that the root cause is carbon. As Patrick Peplowski of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory tells the Christian Science ...

Mission Over: Space Probe Slams Into Mercury

Messenger's 11-year journey is done

(Newser) - Mercury has a new crater, courtesy of NASA. As expected , the space probe Messenger crashed into the planet this afternoon after running out of fuel, reports AP . The crash at a speed of nearly 9,000mph left a hole about 52 feet wide and brought to an end an epic...

NASA Probe Will Smash Into Mercury Today

Messenger will soon become a crater

(Newser) - The first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury is about to become the first spacecraft to smash into the planet. NASA says the Messenger probe will conclude its hugely successful mission when it crashes at 8,750mph into the side of the planet facing the sun today at 3:26pm EDT....

California Sees Outbreak of Skin Cream Poisoning

State warns people against unmarked products

(Newser) - If someone tries to sell you unmarked or homemade skin cream, just walk away. That's the message the California Department of Health is sending to consumers, after identifying at least 60 cases over the past four years of state residents getting mercury poisoning from such creams, the San Francisco ...

Mercury Is Getting Smaller
 Mercury Has Been Shrinking 

Mercury Has Been Shrinking

Slow cooling has created stunning features

(Newser) - The solar system's smallest planet is getting even smaller, but there's not much danger of Mercury disappearing completely: The planet has shrunk as many as 8.6 miles in diameter over the last 4 billion years, according to new research , making its current diameter roughly 3,032 miles....

Mercury Harbors Lots of Ice
 Mercury Harbors Lots of Ice 

Mercury Harbors Lots of Ice

Frozen water confirmed at planet's north pole

(Newser) - Just in time for Christmas, scientists have confirmed a vast amount of ice at the north pole—on Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. The findings are from NASA's Mercury-orbiting probe, Messenger, and the subject of three scientific papers released today by the journal Science. The frozen water...

Scientists Rank Livable Worlds

Saturn moon, exoplanet top lists

(Newser) - Looking for extraterrestrials? You might want to start with Saturn’s moon Titan. Scientists have ranked it the alien world most capable of supporting life, according to a “Planetary Habitability Index,” the BBC reports. The index takes into account the planet or moon’s surface, the presence of...

Probe Unlocks Mercury's Secrets

Messenger data surprising scientists

(Newser) - Mercury is anything but the boring "burnt-out cinder" scientists once believed it was, say researchers analyzing data from NASA's Messenger orbiter. The spacecraft has now spent 88 days—one Mercurian year—circling the planet, and has sent back about 20,000 new pictures that strongly suggest that ice...

Glenn Beck's GBTV: Yours for $9.95 a Month

GBTV will appeal to fans of '24' and 'Daily Show,' Beck says

(Newser) - Glenn Beck fans are going to have to shell out at least $4.95 a month to watch him online after he leaves Fox at the end of this month . Beck plans to introduce a Netflix-style subscription plan for GBTV, his new online TV venture . Beck and his staffers admit...

Four Planets Align This Month
 Four Planets Align This Month 

Four Planets Align This Month

Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter in rare convergences

(Newser) - This month, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter will take part in a series of what calls "celestial summit meetings." The four planets will converge twice to form a "trio," defined as an instance when three planets fit in a circle with a minimum 5-degree...

NASA Snaps First Shots of Mercury From Orbit

Future photos to reveal planet's unseen regions

(Newser) - A NASA spacecraft has captured the first photo of Mercury taken from orbit. The first of yesterday’s 363 images, shown at left, show the planet’s south pole. The gray surface is covered with craters, including a 53-mile-wide one known as Debussy. Other photos from the $464 million Messenger...

Spacecraft Orbiting Mercury for First Time

NASA's Messenger probe slips into orbit after 4.9B-mile journey

(Newser) - After a 4.9 billion-mile journey that required six years and some very tricky moves, NASA has put a spacecraft into orbit around Mercury for the first time ever. Researchers are eagerly awaiting their first extensive look at the solar system's smallest planet, AP reports. The Messenger probe will begin...

Ford to Kill Mercury Brand
 Ford to Kill Mercury Brand 

Ford to Kill Mercury Brand

CEO convinces Ford family to dump 71-year-old line

(Newser) - Ford CEO Alan Mulally has convinced members of the Ford family to let him kill off one of the company's oldest brands, the 71-year-old Mercury. Mulally will soon seek official approval from Ford's board to pull the plug, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . Mercury was created in 1939 by...

Surprise: Mercury Has a Personality

(Newser) - Mercury's not such a dull planet after all. A new batch of papers in Science spells out evidence of a busy volcanic past and describes an unusual impact crater that would stretch from Boston to DC, reports Wired. The papers, which draw from the October flyby of NASA's Messenger craft,...

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