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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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One Night Only, a New Meteor Shower that May Be Spectacular?

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/05/22 04:36 CDT | 3 comments

A new meteor shower, the Camelopardalids, will be peaking Friday night/Saturday morning (May 23/24). Especially if you are in North America, you are well positioned to see what may (or may not) be a spectacular show. In either case, scientists will learn about a comet’s history, and you can have a fun night looking at the sky.

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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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Pretty picture: Two crescents: New moon, old Venus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/02 03:21 CST | 6 comments

A baby Moon and aging Venus crescents are positioned close in the sky today, and lots of people are taking beautiful photos.

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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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Astrophotographer captures 'Heavenly Palace' transiting the Sun

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/06/24 10:56 CDT | 1 comment

Astrophotographer Thierry Legault captured a striking image set of Chinese spacecraft Tiangong 1 and Shenzhou 10 transiting the Sun.

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A Little Moonlight

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/06/19 01:33 CDT | 1 comment

From far away, or from so near you could almost touch it, the moon is beautiful.

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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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Astrophotos making the web - the good, the bad and the ugly ...

Posted by Daniel Fischer on 2012/10/10 04:18 CDT | 2 comments

Space blogger Daniel Fischer writes about the problem of composited astrophotos being distributed through social media channels by people unaware that they are artworks, not documentary photographs.

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Adventures in urban astrophotography

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/02/20 01:55 CST

Just because you live in an urban area with skyglow doesn't mean you can't have fun with astrophotography. How to capture the planets, constellations and the ISS.

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Checking up on Jupiter and Saturn

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/10 01:51 CST

It's amateur astronomers, not professionals, who are shouldering the burden of constant monitoring of the weather on Jupiter and Saturn. What's going on these days in the outer solar system?�

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Lovely Lovejoy pictures

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/27 10:34 CST

Just a few of the amazing photos of Comet Lovejoy that have been taken from the southern hemisphere over the last few days. Comet Lovejoy is the first Kreutz sungrazer to have been discovered from the ground in 40 years, and after its surprising survival of its passage close to the Sun, it has been putting on a spectacular show in southern skies.

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Comet Garradd in 3D (sort of)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/12 12:52 CDT

Amateur astronomer Patrick Wiggins sent me this neat little animation of comet Garradd moving against background stars through an hour's worth of observing. I'm not any kind of astronomer but if I were I think I would get a kick out of looking at things that appear to move within one night of watching -- asteroids, comets, Jupiter's spots. I'm impatient that way.

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Jupiter's southern belt is coming back

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/01 09:34 CDT

In a story that I've been following for quite a while, Jupiter's southern equatorial belt, having faded to white in 2009, is now well on its way back to its former red glory.

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Lovely giant full Moon photo

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/01 03:08 CDT

Here's a photo worthy of hanging on the wall: a gorgeous, 4000-pixel-square portrait of the full Moon captured by Rolf Hempel from Germany on the night of the "Supermoon."

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