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meteor
A meteor viewed from above in the International Space Station. (ISS/NASA)
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Orionid Meteor Shower Versus the Moon

The nearly full moon will probably interfer with viewing the Orionid meteor shower the next two nights, but take a look anyway.

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voyager I
An artist's rendition of Voyager I in interstellar space. (Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)
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Voyager Has Left the Building

NASA announced in a Science journal article this week that the Voyager 1 spacecraft is the first human-made object reach interstellar space.

The spacecraft is 12 billion miles away from us and our space agency thought it was at the edge of the solar system, where the Sun can still influence it, but it actually has been in "the space between the stars" for about a year

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meteors
Meteors. (Istockphoto.com)
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My Favorite Meteor Shower is Happening Right Now

I don't do as much stargazing as I used to, but I always try to catch the Perseids meteor shower every autumn. The best time to see 'em - this weekend from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. each night.

The shower is associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which leaves debris when it passes through the orbital path of Earth every 166 years

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Sun in X-ray
An X-ray vision of the Sun on Friday July 12. (NOAA/SWPC Boulder CO)
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NOAA Predicts a Chance for Aurora Display This Weekend

The Aurora Borealis might be visible in Montana July 13 and July 14, according to forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Sun has released what is called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), which is expected to hit our planet's magnetic field this weekend

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solar flare
An M2 class Flare from AR1777 on the Sun. (NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory)
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Sun Releases a Flare on the Solstice

At about 3 in the morning on the Summer Solstice (most amount of daylight hours of the year on Earth), the Sun popped off a little fireworks.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught a video of this M2 Class flare in the extreme ultraviolet (that's why the Sun doesn't look like our red-orange ball of fire in the photo)

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saturn
The planet Saturn will be a good viewing target this summer. (NOAO/AURA/NSF)
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See the Night Sky at UM’s Blue Mountain Observatory this Summer

The University of Montana is opening up the Blue Mountain Observatory again this summer for public observing nights.

In a news release, UM's Department of Physics and Astronomy noted that the telescope will be pointed toward planets, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies during the eight free viewing nights

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Nate McCrady
Nate McCrady. (UM Photo)
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Astronomer Wins UM Award for ‘Teaching Across the Curriculum’

If you've been to the Blue Mountain Observatory recently, you might've met Nate McCrady, a University of Montana assistant astronomy professor.

According to a UM news release, McCrady has won the first University of Montana College of Arts and Sciences Award for Teaching Across the Cucciculum

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high altitude
High altitude from a balloon. (UM-BOREALIS Photo)
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UM Students Win Student Research Symposium Awards

Ed Kleinsasser, a University of Montana junior in physics, tied with a Montana State University student for Best Undergraduate Talk from a Research Institution at an April 19 symposium in Bozeman.

Kleinsasser, from Valier, MT, talked about his project "Ripple Mark Mapping - Camas Prairie Project

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Planck view of universe
A view of the universe by the Planck space observatory. (ESA/NASA)
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Scientists Use New Satellite to ‘Fine Tune’ Age of the Universe

The Planck space observatory was launched in 2009, and already has allowed astronomers and physicists a better view of the universe.

The European Space Agency has been deciphering the data of the cosmic microwave background to examine the leftover signs of what is called "The Big Bang," which is the prevailing theory on how the universe was formed

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Comet Pan-STARRS
A recent photo of Comet PanSTARRS from Mount Dale, Western Australia. (Astronomy Education Services/Gingin Observatory)
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A Comet Passes By and We Might Be Able to See It from Montana

As I write this, clouds are rolling in over the Bitterroot Mountains and I can only guess if we'll have clear skies at sunset March 12 and March 13.

Those are the two best times to catch a glimpse of a comet that has been visible from the southern hemisphere of planet (Australia, for instance

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