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StarDate: The Brick

The center of the Milky Way is already crowded with stars. But in a few million years, tens of thousands more could flare to life in a region known as the Brick. It’s a vast cloud of cold, dark gas and dust that’s shaped like a brick.

07/28/2014

The NASA Spitzer Space Telescope (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images)

StarDate 7/25/2014: Logging Star Clusters In Sagittarius

One of the first items on almost any amateur astronomer’s “to-do” list is completing the Messier marathon — looking at all 110 objects cataloged by Charles Messier. Messier himself began the first marathon 250 years ago.

07/25/2014

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StarDate 7/23/2014: Visiting The Cool Mountains Of Venus

There’s nothing like a trip to the mountains to escape the summer heat — whether you’re here on Earth or on Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor.

07/23/2014

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StarDate: ‘New’ Stars

At Christmas of 1934, a bright “new” star exploded to life in Hercules. For a few days, it was one of the brightest stars in the night sky. It made the front pages of newspapers, and astronomers tracked it for months as it slowly faded from sight.

07/18/2014

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StarDate 7/17/2014: The Night Of The Living Dead Stars

A white dwarf sounds harmless enough. It’s the small, dead core of a once-normal star like the Sun. But to a close companion star, a white dwarf is anything but harmless.

07/17/2014

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StarDate 7/16/2014: Cosmic Missiles Slam Into Jupiter

Our solar system can be a dangerous place. The most striking evidence of that came 20 years ago today, when the first fragment of a shattered comet blasted the planet Jupiter.

07/16/2014

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StarDate: Magellanic Collision

FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS McDONALD OBSERVATORY, AS HEARD ON KCBS RADIO WEEKDAYS @ 9:52 A.M., 7:35 P.M. & 2:52 A.M STARDATE 07/15/2014: Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is a giant, encompassing every individual […]

07/15/2014

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StarDate: Venus and Mercury

Mercury and Venus, the Sun’s closest planets, team up in the eastern sky at dawn the next few mornings. Venus is the “morning star,” so it’s an easy target. Mercury is fainter, but it’s not far to the lower left of Venus, which will help you pick it out.

07/11/2014

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StarDate 7/10/2014: Mars And Spica

A bright star and a brighter planet are staging a beautiful encounter in the evening sky. They’re quite close together tonight, and will pass even closer over the next few nights.

07/10/2014

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StarDate 7/9/2014: A Glittering Test Subject In The Summer Sky

Over the decades, when astronomers wanted a subject for testing new techniques for studying the stars, they frequently turned to Vega, the brightest star of Lyra, the harp.

07/09/2014

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