Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Libra the Scales
Lying between Virgo and Scorpius in the zodiac, Libra is an ancient constellation. The stars now represent a weighing scale, as they did four thousand years ago in Babylon. But how did its brightest stars come to have names related to a scorpion's claws?
*NASA retires Kepler*
NASA made this announcement today:
After nine years in deep space collecting data that indicate our sky to be filled with billions of hidden planets – more planets even than stars – NASA’s Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel needed for further science operations. NASA has decided to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 planet discoveries from outside our solar system, many of which could be promising places for life.
*Opportunity silent for over four months*
Another fantastic and long-standing mission will also probably end soon. NASA expects soon to end efforts to contact the Opportunity Mars rover, silent after a major dust storm. But they will continue to listen for signals from the spacecraft for months to come. Opportunity, which has been on Mars since January 2004, last contacted Earth June 10. A powerful globe-spanning dust storm blocked the sun and deprived the rover of solar power, putting it into a low-power mode.
Please visit https://www.bellaonline.com/site.asp?name=astronomy for even more great content about Astronomy. I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum https://forums.bellaonline.com/ubbthreads.php/forums/323/1/Astronomy or in response to this email message. I welcome your feedback!
Do pass this message along to family and friends who might also be interested. Remember it's free and without obligation.
I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor