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Mars vs the comet

Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) and Mars, at 18h11 UTC, 19 October 2014.  Image Credit: Allen VersfeldLate last year, word started spreading through the local astronomical community that an exciting event was coming up: An Oort cloud comet named C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) would be passing so close by Mars that there was a chance it might hit.  If it did, we on Earth would be treated to a spectacularly rare astronomical display of a comet slamming into a rocky planet.  The planetary science community were simultaneously excited about what they could learn from the resulting multi-megaton blast, and frightened for the possible loss of all their various robotic missions exploring the red planet.

Allen Versfeld's picture

Carnival of Space #376

Carnival of SpaceWhat a weekend... I've had family visiting, a fire on the farm, and a once-in-a-lifetime encounter between a planet and Mars to photograph. Oh, and a Carnival of Space to publish. Something had to give, and unfortunately it was the Carnival. Sorry about that! But you didn't come here to read my excuses, you came for the latest and best writing on space science and astronomy, so if you just keep reading, I'll make sure that that's what you get.

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Will the Blood Moon harm my unborn baby?

Blood MoonDear Urban Astronomer

I am pregnant, and am worried that all these Blood Moons are harming my baby. I have asked around in my community, but everybody has their own scary story about what will happen to my baby if I go outdoors during the blood moon. Please let me know what precautions I must take.


Hypothetical Reader



Okay so nobody actually mailed this question to me.  But at the time of writing, my wife is pregnant and spends a lot of time online in pregnancy forums and facebook groups and she sees people asking it all the time, which seems odd since neither my wife nor I had ever heard of such fears.  So what's it all about?


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