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The discoveries Opportunity gave to mankind

After an almost 15-year run, Mars rover Opportunity finally wrapped up its historic leg of exploration a day before Valentine’s.

“No response has been received from Opportunity since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), amid a planet-encircling dust storm on Mars,” NASA said in its log.

Sol, which is short for Solar day, is the measurement NASA used to tell the time it takes Mars to revolve once around its own axis.

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ASTRO LOG: Your February Sky Treats

February opens with the gradual exit of the Moon from the night sky, which means observers will start the second month with a trove of prominent bright winter constellations such as Orion, Taurus, Auriga and Gemini and spring constellations like Ursa Major, Leo and Virgo after midnight.

Several deep-sky objects such as the Orion Nebula, Flame and Horsehead Nebula, Crab Nebula, Messier 53 and Pinwheel Galaxy can also be observed under relatively clear, moonless and dark skies.

Planets Mars and Uranus are going to be a regular sight right after sunset, while the bright planets Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn will be gracing the night sky in the early morning hours until sunrise.

Meanwhile, there will be barely or no sighting at all of planets Mercury and Neptune because of their nearness to the Sun as seen in the sky.

Days are still long, with late sunrises from 6:46 to 7:04 in the morning and early sunsets from 6:04 P.M. to 6:24 in the evening.

For more serious sky watching,Al Sadeem Astronomy has prepared below a calendar for February’s sky events.All dates and times were given in UAE Local Time (UTC+4).

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ASTRO LOG: What to Watch Out for This January 2019

As the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) coldest month ushers in, a number of well-known winter constellations and deep-sky objects will spruce up the January sky.

The Orion nebula, Perseus cluster, Andromeda galaxy, and the brilliant open star cluster of Pleiades known as the “Seven Sisters” in Taurus (The Bull), will be more prominent in the winter sky, and can be seen as early as 7:30 P.M.

Notable star patterns, or astronomical asterisms, like the Winter Triangle and Winter Hexagon, will also adorn January winter nights.

Planets Mars and Uranus, meanwhile,will be visible after sunset until an hour before midnight. The brighter planets Venus and Jupiter can be observed at 4:30 in the morning until sunrise.

For Mercury fans (not the singer), as well as those of Saturn and Neptune, January will not be a favorable month to observe these planets because of their significant nearness to the Sun.

Expect even shorter days in January with late sunrises from 7:04 to 7:06 in the morning and early sunsets from 5:45 P.M. to 6:07 in the evening.

For more serious sky watching,Al Sadeem Astronomy has prepared below a calendar for January’s sky events.All dates and times were given in UAE Local Time (UTC+4). read more

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Geminids Wowed Skywatchers at Al Sadeem Observatory

More than 300 visitors gathered at the Al Sadeem Observatory in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi last Thursday, December 13, to witness the peak of this year’s best meteor shower.

The Geminid meteor shower is a much-awaited yearly event for astronomy enthusiasts, because it boasts an average of 40 meteors per hour—the highest rate for any perennial meteor shower. read more

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Comet 46P/Wirtanen Graces the December Night Sky

Before 2018 comes to a close, the last comet of the year will make its nearest approach to Earth.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen, one of the three comets discovered in 1948 by American astronomer Carl Wirtanen, will be as bright as a third (3rd) or fourth (4th) magnitude star—which means it will be visible enough to be seen with the naked eye, especially in completely dark skies. read more

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WHAT’S UP IN THE SKY THIS DECEMBER 2018?

This wonderful year 2018 is about to end soon as nights becoming longer and colder further. With the upcoming holidays, there will be more time to spend chilling out and have bonding moments with family and friends. Wondering what’s going to be up at the sky for the final month of 2018? The following is a list of astronomical events for December 2018. All dates and times were given in UAE Local Time.

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WHAT’S UP IN THE SKY THIS NOVEMBER 2018?

Let’s give up a warm welcome to November. Winter season is indeed imminent. Expect cooler nights ahead. Wondering what’s going to be up at the sky for the new month? The following is a list of astronomical events for November 2018. All dates and times were given in UAE Local Time.

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THE PACMAN NEBULA (NGC281)

NGC281 known as the Pacman Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory October 12, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. 2.5 hours total exposure time, stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy)

NGC281, also known as the Pacman Nebula is an emission nebula located about 9200-9500 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cassiopeia (the queen). It is also called IC 11 or Sh2-184 using the IC and Sharpless sky catalogues respectively. Specifically, it is a bright HII region,spans about 96 light-years in diameter (a region in space where interstellar atomic hydrogen is ionized signifying active star formation) within the Milky Way’s Perseus Spiral Arm. read more

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THE WITCH’S BROOM NEBULA (NGC6960)

NGC6960 known as the Western Veil Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last July 21, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. 2 hours total exposure time, stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy)

NGC6960, known as the Western Veil Nebula, is a diffuse nebula located about 1470 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus (the swan). It has multiple other designations such as the Witch’s Broom Nebula, Filamentary Nebula, Finger of God Nebula, Lacework Nebula (based on its shape resemblance) or Caldwell 34. It is a western portion of the Veil Nebula or the Cygnus Loop placed at the right wing of the swan. read more

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THE WIZARD NEBULA (NGC7380)

NGC7380 known as the Wizard Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last September 22, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. Stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy)

NGC 7380, known as the Wizard Nebula, is an emission nebula located about 7200 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cepheus (the king). It was discovered by William Herschel’s sister Caroline, in 1787. In fact, it is a open star cluster associated with nebulosity in which the orientation of the stars, stellar dust and gas created a shape resembling to a fictional medieval sorcerer. read more