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I've been asteroided! (274860) Emilylakdawalla

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/16 07:22 CDT | 13 comments

What a great piece of news to receive upon returning home from vacation! There is now a small piece of the solar system named for me: asteroid 274860 has been formally named "Emilylakdawalla" by the International Astronomical Union. Here is everything I've been able to learn about my namesake asteroid.

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Voyager 3 Project

Posted by Peter Rosén on 2014/07/08 02:15 CDT | 3 comments

In 1979, the Voyager 1 probe took a stunning series of images on its final approach to Jupiter. Thirty-five years later, almost to the day, a group of seven Swedish amateur astronomers set out to replicate this odyssey, but with images taken with their own ground-based telescopes.

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Opposition time for Mars, and several months of dancing with the stars

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/04/08 08:47 CDT | 1 comment

The Mars Express team showcases some of the best viewing opportunities of Mars in 2014, including how to spot Comet Siding Spring when it flies past Mars this October.

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Shivering in Paradise: An Alaskan Aurora Adventure

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2014/03/14 06:14 CDT | 1 comment

Mat Kaplan checks an item off his bucket list: Seeing the aurora in Alaska.

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Pretty Picture: Three Wanderers

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/12 12:34 CDT

With all the excitement happening on missions criscrossing the solar system, I often forget to enjoy the views of our solar system that we can achieve from home. Amateur astronomers don't make the same mistake. Here's a lovely photo that Stuart Atkinson sent me, captured last night from Kendal, England, showing four special wanderers.

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Eyes and stopwatch are all that are needed to help measure an invisible asteroid

Posted by Ted Blank on 2014/03/03 01:04 CST | 1 comment

Would you like to be part of one of the largest citizen-science efforts in the history of astronomy? The International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) invites you to join in the campaign to observe and time the best and brightest asteroid occultation ever predicted to occur over a populated area – and no telescope is required!

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Intro Astronomy Class 3: Telescopes, the Moon

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/02/21 04:35 CST

Explore optical, radio, and space telescopes and the Moon in the video of class 3 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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A new comet observing campaign for C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)
You thought you were rid of us...but we're baa-aaack!

Posted by Karl Battams on 2014/01/27 11:22 CST | 1 comment

You thought you were rid of us...but we're back! Following the spectacular and, quite frankly unprecedented, success of the Comet ISON Observing Campaign, we are launching a similar venture for another unique cometary encounter that's happening this year. In October 2014, comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass extremely close to Mars.

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Planetary Radio: NEOWISE PI Amy Mainzer
NEOWISE has reawakened to discover more asteroids and comets. The mission leader thanks the amateur astronomers who follow up.

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2014/01/01 12:56 CST | 1 comment

NEOWISE has reawakened to discover many more asteroids and comets. The mission leader thanks the amateur astronomers who follow up on these discoveries.

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A case of the measles for Jupiter?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/26 03:09 CST | 1 comment

Amateur astronomer Christopher Go has found Jupiter to be putting on a fun show for observers: it's sprouting little red spots "like it has a measles attack!"

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Comet ISON Enters the Final Countdown

Posted by Karl Battams on 2013/11/19 03:12 CST | 6 comments

We're now less than two weeks away from comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) reaching perihelion and, if we’re honest, we are still none the wiser as to how the situation might play out!

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Neptune: The new amateur boundary?

Posted by Christophe Pellier on 2013/11/07 05:39 CST | 3 comments

Can features on Neptune be observed by amateur astronomers? For years, the Hubble Space Telescope and some professional terrestrial observatories have been revealing incomplete belts and spots on the surface of Neptune. Now, spots have been imaged by amateurs.

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Asteroid Telescope First Light

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/08/16 03:04 CDT | 5 comments

Using a Shoemaker NEO Grant a new telescope is operating in Illinois to do asteroid tracking.

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Comet ISON lives on! (we think...)

Posted by Karl Battams on 2013/08/13 01:31 CDT | 1 comment

For several weeks now, ground-based observers have been blind to Comet ISON as our local star was sitting directly between us and the comet. I am delighted to share two pieces of good news: first, that ISON is still alive and well, and secondly that it has been recovered.

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Found a Killer Asteroid? Who Ya Gonna Call?
Tim Spahr of the Minor Planet Center on Planetary Radio

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/07/08 04:19 CDT

Astronomer Timothy Spahr directs the Minor Planet Center, the global clearinghouse for asteroids, comets and other relatively small objects in the solar system, including moons. He also coordinates the Society's Shoemaker NEO grant program.

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Checking in on Jupiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/12 01:57 CDT | 2 comments

We don't have any spacecraft at Jupiter right now, which is a pity. Until we do, we have to rely upon Earth-based astronomers to monitor the changing face of the largest planet.

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Saturn's Hexagon Viewed from the Ground

Posted by Leigh Fletcher on 2013/02/01 05:49 CST | 2 comments

For the first time, amateur astronomers are capturing spectacular images of Saturn's bizarre north polar hexagon.

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Shoemaker Winner Hug Discovers Near Earth Asteroid 2013 AS27

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/01/10 04:43 CST | 8 comments

Using a Planetary Society provided camera, Gary Hug in Kansas, USA discovered Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2013 AS27 on Jan. 7, 2013. Shoemaker winner Bob Holmes provided the first follow up observations of this 140m-310m wide asteroid.

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Comet ISON: 30% chance of awesome, 60% chance of that being wrong

Posted by Bill Gray on 2012/09/25 12:15 CDT | 10 comments

A very interesting comet has recently been discovered -- interesting because it will nearly graze the Sun in August 2013 and then approach Earth closely the following December. Whether it will turn out to be a great comet is impossible to know.

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Saving the World: Established 1997
The Shoemaker NEO Grants at 15

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/09/21 01:00 CDT | 2 comments

The Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO grants celebrate their 15th anniversary of helping to find and track near Earth asteroids. Here's a quick review of the program, and updates on our four multiple-grant winners.

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