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Comet Hale-Bopp blazed in the night sky.

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Comet Hale-Bopp.
Comet Hale-Bopp blazed in the night sky.

Spirit rover Closes in on Columbia Hills.

NASA's Spirit rover took some new panoramic images of the "Columbia Hills", still a distant 2 kilometres, and 52 days away. Once Spirit reaches the base of the hills, operators will have the rover analyze the composition of the terrain and then decide whether to have Spirit actually climb one of the mountains and look for exposed outcroppings of rock. These areas would offer scientists a series of windows into the processes that shaped the formation of this part of Mars.

Comets make an appearance.

It's been seven years since Comet Hale-Bopp blazed in the night sky; now two comets are about to make an appearance. They're called Comet LINEAR and Comet NEAT, both of which were discovered by robotic telescopes. Starting around May 5, Comet NEAT will be just above the southwest horizon as a fuzzy dot with a tail. Over the next two weeks it will get higher in the sky, but also get dimmer. LINEAR should be much brighter, and make an appearance May 26th; look to the west-southwest horizon just as twilight fades. Both comets will probably be visible with the naked eye, but you'll definitely be able to see them with a pair of binoculars.

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