Marty Scott

Marty Scott is the astronomy instructor at Walla Walla University, and also builds telescopes and works with computer simulations. He can be reached at

Recent Stories

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Solar wind shapes, colors northern lights

In the past few weeks I’ve been asked several questions about the northern lights, also called the aurora borealis. In this month’s column I will answer some of these questions and introduce you to this mysterious and unpredictable display of light in the night sky.

Mars rover survives glitches, slippery sand to destination

Curiosity has reached the base of Mount Sharp. The Mars rover’s wheels are now on material that is part of the mountain, material different from the type Curiosity landed on two years ago.

Website offers launchpad for volunteer astronomers

When you see images and hear reports from NASA missions, do you ever wish that you could be part of the team? If so, your wish may be coming true.

Sol by sol, rover makes way to Mars mountain

Curiosity still has the pedal to the metal on its journey to Mount Sharp, the layered mountain amid the crater where the Mars rover landed

Two more supermoons will brighten summer nights

If you missed the supermoon on July 12, you’ll get second and third chances to see one on Aug. 10 and Sept. 9.

Mars rover discovers curiosities on way to buttes

Mars rover Curiosity is making steady progress toward Murray Buttes, at the base of Mount Sharp. The science lab on wheels will cross the basaltic sand dune field at Murray Buttes and begin the final approach to the layered, clay-rich rocks of Mount Sharp.

Stars serve as Earth’s timekeeper

All objects in the sky appear to rise in the east and set in the west. The stars are not really moving; it is the rotation of the Earth from west to east that causes this apparent clockwise motion. The speed of this rotation is so constant that it can be used to keep time.

Rover probes Mars sandstone to examine wet process that created it

The rock at Kimberley, a science stop for the Mars rover Curiosity enroute to Mount Sharp, is sandstone. Sandstone is usually formed in a two-step process.

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Clear summer nights offer stories in constellations

As summer approaches, the nights will be getting clearer and we will have better chances to view the stars. This is a good time to learn some of the stellar constellations.

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Photos give scientists panoramic view on Mars

Curiosity is currently at Kimberly, a science stop on the way to Mount Sharp. In charting the route to Mount Sharp, mission planners saw this spot as the best science stop along the way.

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