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Parts of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks , also in California, closed Monday because of overflowing trash and traffic jams, The Associated Press reported . Joshua Tree, which covers more than 792,000 acres of national park from Palm Springs north to the town of Joshua Tree, will remain open during the shutdown.
  • Finland marks winter solstice, longer days on the horizon

    Finland marks winter solstice, longer days on the horizon

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    Starting Saturday, daylight will gradually extend each day until the summer solstice in June. The word "solstice" is derived from the Latin term, solstitium , which means "the sun stands still". The solstices and the equinoxes mark the four-yearly astronomical turning points as the earth makes it way around the sun. In December, the Earth's North Pole turns away from the Sun, giving the Southern Hemisphere the most sunlight.
  • Today is the shortest day of the year

    Today is the shortest day of the year

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    Rather, northern midlatitudes will experience the winter chill partly, because they'll get about 9 hours of daylight in the weeks following the solstice, compared with the roughly 15 hours of daily sunlight they get around the summer solstice, Live Science reported in 2012.
  • The Winter Solstice Arrives Today; Here's What That Means

    The Winter Solstice Arrives Today; Here's What That Means

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    In Somerset, hundreds gathered at Glastonbury Tor to mark the winter solstice - which will this evening also see the longest night of the year. A snowy Google Doodle on Friday marked the 2018 winter solstice, the shortest day of the year when the Earth is farthest from the Sun.
  • Winter trifecta: Solstice, full moon, meteor shower on Friday, Saturday

    Winter trifecta: Solstice, full moon, meteor shower on Friday, Saturday

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    The first day of winter, Friday, Dec. 21, will not be your typical winter solstice. What is the winter solstice? This happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. The crowds await chance to see the sunrise light up the ancient passage tomb. At Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, people similarly come together to watch the sun being cast over the famous prehistoric monument.
  • Did You See The Bright Light In The Sky?

    Did You See The Bright Light In The Sky?

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    The scheduled 5:44 p.m. launch of the Delta IV Heavy rocket in Southern California was scrubbed, or canceled , leaving many wondering what was in the sky. "When meteoroids hit our atmosphere and burn up, they leave behind a haze of tiny particles suspended 70 km (43.5 miles) to 100 km (62 miles) above Earth's surface", NASA said.
  • Elon Musk's SpaceX Postpones Launch of First Air Force Mission

    Elon Musk's SpaceX Postpones Launch of First Air Force Mission

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    It is set to take off from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and the satellite will be deployed an hour and 56 minutes after liftoff. Elon Musk's SpaceX was poised on Wednesday to launch a long-delayed navigation satellite for the USA military, trying for a second day to complete its first designated national security mission for the United States.
  • Branson plans to reopen bookings for space flights after successful test

    Branson plans to reopen bookings for space flights after successful test

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    As predicted , Virgin Galactic's supersonic plane VSS Unity took off for a test flight on Thursday, touching the edge of space before safely returning to Earth. Virgin celebrated the vessel's first encounter with space, but the company is using the loosest definition of "space". The next flight test is expected within the next couple of months, depending on data analysis from Thursday's flight, Virgin Galactic said.
  • Saturn is eating away its icy rings

    Saturn is eating away its icy rings

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    Why is this happening? "We estimate that this " ring rain " drains an amount of water products that could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool from Saturn's rings in half an hour", lead study author James O'Donoghue, a NASA fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement .
  • Astronomers discover solar system's farthest object

    Astronomers discover solar system's farthest object

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    Or to put it in Big Lebowski terms : "It's far out, man; far f%^#ing out". According to Carnegie, the second-most-distant observed Solar System object is Eris , at about 96 AU, noting that " Pluto is now at about 34 AU, making 2018 VG18 more than three-and-a-half times more distant than the Solar System's most-famous dwarf planet".
  • US Still Not Intending to Participate in Paris Climate Deal

    US Still Not Intending to Participate in Paris Climate Deal

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    Anticipating the need for more debate, organizers prepared to extend the meeting, which was supposed to end Friday, until Sunday. It said the COP's refusal to take the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report on 1.5C seriously undermines the Paris Agreement .
  • Poacher ordered to repeatedly watch 'Bambi' after 100s of deer killed

    Poacher ordered to repeatedly watch 'Bambi' after 100s of deer killed

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    Lawrence County conservation agent Andy Barnes said the exact number of deer the suspects illegally hunted over the past several years was unknown, but felt comfortable saying that the number was upward of several hundred. According to court records, Berry's predicament stretches back to 2016, when he was busted for illegally killing wildlife in Lawrence County and charged with a misdemeanor.
  • ‘Brightest Comet’ set to pass by Earth on Sunday

    ‘Brightest Comet’ set to pass by Earth on Sunday

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    Paul Chodas , manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. That's about 30 times the distance to the moon. Look up with a pair of binoculars between twilight and sunrise. The live feed here is provided by the Virtual Telescope Project , and will begin at 5 p.m.
  • Branson's Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space

    Branson's Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space

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    The test flight is scheduled to depart from Mojave, California at 1000 Eastern Time (1600 CET) on Thursday. The spacecraft was piloted by Mark Stucky and former NASA astronaut Frederick "CJ" Sturckow. These flights aren't the same as an orbital flight to space - which involves actually sending people around the Earth before coming back home. Branson has said he wants to be one of the first on board.
  • Virgin Galactic tourism rocket reaches space

    Virgin Galactic tourism rocket reaches space

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    Bringing NASA on as a customer made Thursday's flight the first revenue-earning mission for Virgin Galactic. Two pilots, a mannequin named Annie as a stand-in for a passenger and four research payloads for NASA were on board the flight.
  • Look up: Geminid meteor shower on display December 13

    Look up: Geminid meteor shower on display December 13

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    As it travels it leaves a trail, and when Earth passes through that trail each year in December, the bits stream through the Earth's atmosphere and create what's known as the Geminid meteor shower . But whether it was the weather, or the battle to stay awake until the 2:00 peak that accounted for you missing this spectacle, there's no need to fret.
  • Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: When and How to Watch

    Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: When and How to Watch

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    Initially spotted over three decades ago, they are called Geminids because the shower seems to begin from the constellation "Gemini". The Geminid meteor shower will peak from midnight until daybreak on 13 and 14 December. The shower, or Geminids, occurs every year when Earth passes through a massive trail of debris from an object called 3200 Phaeton. From 50 to over 100 meteors may be visible per hour.
  • Spacewalking Astronauts Check Site Of Mysterious Capsule Leak

    Spacewalking Astronauts Check Site Of Mysterious Capsule Leak

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    The module, built by Russian company Energia, arrived at the International Space Station in June and has been the subject of a galactic detective mystery ever since. The extravehicular activity (EVA) was the 213th spacewalk in support of assembly and maintenance in the 20-year history of the space station. The Soyuz spacecraft will be used to return astronauts Sergey Prokopyev , Alexander Gerst, and Serena Auñón-Chancellor to Earth in eight days.
  • Virgin Galactic celebrates as tourism rocket ship reaches space

    Virgin Galactic celebrates as tourism rocket ship reaches space

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    These flights aren't the same as an orbital flight to space - which involves actually sending people around the Earth before coming back home. Since then, the world's space agencies have relied on Russian Soyuz rockets to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.
  • The year's most spectacular meteor shower is this weekend

    The year's most spectacular meteor shower is this weekend

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    Named after the Gemini constellation, where the meteors are believed to be originating, the Geminid meteor shower is also called the " rock comet ". That's when the meteor shower is supposed to peak. Bundle up, pack some hot cocoa, get as far away as possible from city lights, and most important of all, be patient.
  • How to Watch the 2018 Leonid Meteor Shower This Weekend

    How to Watch the 2018 Leonid Meteor Shower This Weekend

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    The best time for people in the Northern Hemisphere to head outside should be at around 3 a.m. ET, when moonlight won't interfere too much with viewing the shower, according to NASA . Be sure to check online to see when it will be visible in your part of the country. But on Sunday the skies should generally be clear in the early hours.
  • Russian Cosmonauts Will Spacewalk to Inspect ISS Hole

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    During a seven-hour, 45-minute outing, spacewalkers Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev made their way from the station's Pirs docking compartment to the side of the Soyuz with the aid of a Russian-made inspection boom. For today's spacewalk, Kononenko and Prokopyev will be inspecting the external surface of the capsule in the area around the hole. Kononenko was wearing a spacesuit with red stripes and designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1)-the lead spacewalker-while Prokopyev ...
  • China’s Lunar Rover Is Heading To The Dark Side Of The Moon

    China’s Lunar Rover Is Heading To The Dark Side Of The Moon

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    The far side of the moon always faces away from the Earth and is sometimes called the dark side of the moon, though it's not always dark there. It was successful back in December 2013 with the Chang'e-3 lander and Yutu rover mission. Why is the farside crust thicker? These include; a terrain camera, a Low Frequency Spectrometer (LFS), and a Lunar Lander Neutrons and Dosimetry (LND) developed by Kiel University in Germany.
  • NASA's Voyager 2 reaches interstellar space

    NASA's Voyager 2 reaches interstellar space

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    The news conference will stream live on the agency's website. At its current rate, it would take more than 300 years for Voyager 2 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud , which acts as the assumed boundary of our solar system. Their observations complement data from NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), a mission that is remotely sensing that boundary. "I often get asked, 'Is this it for Voyager?'" said Nicky Fox, director of the heliophysics division at NASA Headquarters.
  • China launched a mission to the dark side of the moon

    China launched a mission to the dark side of the moon

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    Ten experiments - six from China and four from overseas - include planting potatoes and other seeds. The unprecedented mission to attempt a landing on the far side of the Moon lifted off atop an enhanced Long March 3B launch vehicle at 18:23 UTC Friday (02:23 Beijing time Saturday).
  • The first sound from Mars captured by NASA lander

    The first sound from Mars captured by NASA lander

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    InSight isn't exactly a recording studio on Mars, but an air pressure sensor inside the lander and a seismometer on the lander's deck were both able to pick up wind vibrations . InSight is created to study the interior of Mars like never before, using seismology instruments to detect quakes and a self-hammering mole to measure heat escape from the planet's crust.