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Space (or outer space) describes the vast empty regions between and around planets and stars. The study of these, and other, astronomical objects is called astronomy, one of the oldest sciences. It is often said that space exploration began with the launch of Sputnik 1, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth. Then, in an almost unbelievable feat of human achievement, in 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin travelled to the Moon and set foot on the surface during the Apollo 11 mission. Recently, it has become clear that the possibility of space colonization may no longer be exclusively reserved for science-fiction stories, and many controversial issues surrounding space have come to light, including commercial spaceflight, space laws and space weapons.

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Ceres is the smallest identified dwarf planet in the Solar System and the only one in the asteroid belt. It was discovered on 1 January 1801, by Giuseppe Piazzi, and for half a century it was classified as the eighth planet. It is named after Ceres, the Roman goddess of growing plants, the harvest, and motherly love. With a diameter of about 950 km (590 miles), Ceres is by far the largest and most massive body in the asteroid belt, and contains a third (32%) of the belt's total mass. Recent observations have revealed that it is spherical, unlike the irregular shapes of smaller bodies with lower gravity. The surface of Ceres is probably made of a mixture of water ice and various hydrated minerals like carbonates and clays. Ceres appears to be differentiated into a rocky core and ice mantle. It may harbour an ocean of liquid water underneath its surface. From the Earth, Ceres' apparent magnitude ranges from 6.7 to 9.3, and hence at its brightest it is still too dim to be seen with the naked eye. The unmanned Dawnspacecraft, launched on 27 September 2007 by NASA, is expected to be the first to explore Ceres after its scheduled arrival there in 2015.

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Animation showing apparent retrograde of Mars
Credit: Eugene Alvin Villar

Animation of the night sky showing the apparent retrograde motion of the planet Mars in August and September of 2003 in the constellation Aquarius. The time period depicted spans from June 15, 2003 to November 18, 2003 in 2-day increments where each day is at 00:00 UTC. All stars brighter than 5.0 magnitude are shown and labelled. The animation period also encompasses the time that Mars was at its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years.

Space news

Wikinews Space Portal
  • November 3: Astronomers report dwarf star with unexpectedly giant planet
  • September 6: Peggy Whitson, record-breaking 'American space ninja', returns to Earth
  • July 17: Sun's mood swings not so strange after all, say scientists
  • July 14: Astronomers discover smallest known star
  • June 8: Astronomers reveal discovery of the hottest gas giant exoplanet known yet
  • June 4: Curiosity Rover analysis suggests chemically complex lake once graced Mars's Gale crater
  • May 18: Simulations show planet orbiting Proxima Centauri could have liquid water
  • March 27: President Trump tells NASA to aim for Mars
  • January 18: Former NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan dies aged 82
  • October 3: Twelve-year journey of Rosetta ends; spacecraft crashes into comet
  • July 6: Final panel added to China's FAST radio telescope
  • July 6: NASA's Juno spacecraft enters Jupiter orbit

Upcoming spaceflight launches

The next scheduled launch is of the Progress 67P on a Soyuz-2.1a Rocket to resupply the ISS, Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome is scheduled for 14th of June 2017, 9:20 AM GMT.
The next scheduled manned launch is of Soyuz MS-07 on a Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying three Expedition 54 crew members to the International Space Station. Launch from Baikonur Site 1/5 is scheduled for 17 December 2017.
For a full launch schedule see 2017 in spaceflight

Astronomical events

3 December, 15:47 Full moon
4 December, 08:52 Moon at perigee
13 December, 01:48 Mercury at inferior conjunction
14 December, 03:00 Geminids peak
18 December, 06:30 New moon
19 December, 01:43 Moon at apogee
21 December, 16:28 Earth at southern solstice
21 December, 21:00 Saturn at conjunction

Space-related portals

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