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An Asteroid Occultation

Bosman Olivier and Allen Versfeld, Patientia occultationLast Sunday, 20 July 2014, a small group of amateur astronomers sat in wait around a collection of small, jury-rigged telescopes, monitoring a faint nameless star in the constellation Virgo.  At about 7:18pm, with no drama or prelude, it winked out.  Eleven seconds later, it reappeared, shining steadily and dimly as before.  And yet only a handful of people could have seen this - observers anywhere else on Earth would have seen nothing out of the ordinary.   So what happened to the star, catalogue number HIP 65106, that caused it to vanish to some witnesses yet not to others? Read more about An Asteroid Occultation

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Maker Camp 2014

Maker CampUrban Astronomer is an astronomy website.  We don't cover general science, or engineering news.  But this is cool, and valuable, and since they've sent a 3D printer to the ISS to allow for in situ manufacturing of spare parts, there's a convenient space angle.  So...

Do you like making things, or tinkering with them to see how they work?  Are your favourite TV characters inventors and scientists?  Do you wish you were one of those clever people who design and build the thousands of machines and gadgets we all rely on every day?  Then why not join the Maker Camp, a six week virtual event sponsored by Google Plus and Make Magazine and take part in some of the 30 brilliant DIY projects.

Read more about Maker Camp 2014

Allen Versfeld's picture

What lies within an asteroid

A schematic view of the strange peanut-shaped asteroid Itokawa. Credit:  ESO. Acknowledgement: JAXAWhen we think about asteroids, we imagine a large potato-shaped rock covered in craters. But a new analysis of data from Hayabusa, the plucky Japanese spacecraft that could, reveals a more interesting picture. It seems that asteroid Itokawa is not a simple space rock, but has a complex structure, with different internal regions having different densities. Read more about What lies within an asteroid


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