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A New Dimension for Mercury

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/07/15 01:42 CDT | 3 comments

There's a cool new way to explore the first planet.

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Say "hi!" to asteroid -- actually, asteroids -- (285263) 1998 QE2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/30 06:51 CDT | 8 comments

A large asteroid is passing reasonably close to Earth in a few hours, and astronomers at the great radio telescopes at Goldstone and Arecibo are zapping it. The latest discovery: QE2, like many asteroids, is a binary.

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Why don't we have any photos of asteroid 2012 DA14 if it came so close?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/19 03:13 CST | 2 comments

A frequently-asked question last week was: if asteroid 2012 DA14 is coming so close to Earth, why hasn't anyone taken any pictures of it? Now that 2012 DA14 has whizzed past us, we do finally have some radar pictures of it, but they still may not satisfy everyone.

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Arc of Ice and Light

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/02/18 10:20 CST | 2 comments

When the sunlight catches it just right, Saturn's F Ring is something to see.

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The Earth is a Planet: Why We Explore Space

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/02/11 10:50 CST

Why spend effort and scarce resources on space exploration when we have so many problems here at home? Turns out, there are some pretty good reasons.

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Venerable Deep Impact spacecraft has photographed comet ISON

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/05 05:24 CST | 6 comments

Deep Impact has made the first space-based observations of comet ISON.

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Pretty picture: Jupiter photo from an unusual source

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/26 01:02 CST | 4 comments

A recently launched Earth-observing satellite is using the stars to practice its pointing, and caught a neat animation of Jupiter.

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That amazing image of Saturn's north pole just got better: now, it moves!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/28 11:27 CST | 2 comments

Remember the amazing photo of Saturn's north pole that I posted yesterday? Now, thanks to an amateur image processor, it moves, and the motions of the individual clouds within the belts are mesmerizing.

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Nifty animation: Dust in the air for Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/21 11:21 CST

An animation of Curiosity photos shows changes in the weather.

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Happy Cassini PDS Release Day!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/08 01:00 CDT | 2 comments

It's a quarterly feast day for me: the day that the Cassini mission delivers three months' worth of data to NASA's Planetary Data System. Here's a few images processed from the October 1, 2012 data release.

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Curiosity catches sunspots along with Phobos and Deimos transits

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/03 07:15 CDT | 2 comments

Curiosity has been shooting photos of the Sun as Phobos and Deimos cross its face, and -- as far as I can tell -- captured sunspots as well.

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Chang'e 2: The Full Story

Posted by Bill Gray on 2012/08/25 10:55 CDT | 4 comments

An update on China's second lunar orbiter, Chang'e 2, which is now heading for asteroid Toutatis.

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First look at Curiosity MARDI's descent animation (WOW WOW)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/06 07:09 CDT | 5 comments

Even a preliminary, low-resolution, low-frame-rate version of Curiosity's descent imager animation of the arrival on Mars contains almost more awesome than I can stand.

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Pretty pictures from Cassini's weekend flybys of Enceladus and Tethys

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/16 03:11 CDT

Cassini flew past both Enceladus and Tethys on April 14. Here's a cool animation of its approach to Enceladus' plumes, and a pretty global picture of Tethys.

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Mariner 9 approaching Mars: a movie!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/09 01:32 CST

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Mariner 9's November 13, 1971 arrival at Mars, Daniel Macháček has produced a morphed animation of the images that Mars' first orbiter took while approaching the planet.

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First-ever high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar image of Enceladus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/01 07:22 CST

On the November 6, 2011 flyby of Enceladus -- the third such flyby in just a few weeks -- the Cassini mission elected to take a SAR swath instead of using the optical instruments for once. So here it is: the first-ever SAR swath on Enceladus. In fact, the only other places we've ever done SAR imaging are Earth, the Moon, Venus, Iapetus, and Titan.

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Bye-bye, Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/29 09:35 CST

A few fortunate (and forward-thinking) skywatchers looked upward in the hours after Curiosity's launch and were able to see the spacecraft leaving Earth.

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Our friendly neighborhood asteroid, 2005 YU55 (an animation)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/16 02:58 CST

Last week JPL released two animations of asteroid 2005 YU55 made from the radar data acquired by Goldstone's 70-meter radio dish.

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Pretty pictures & movies: Eye candy from two recent Cassini Enceladus flybys

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/20 12:35 CDT

Cassini has completed two very close flybys of Enceladus in less than three weeks, one of them just this morning, and the images from that encounter have already arrived on Earth.

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Pretty pictures: Dancing moons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/28 12:28 CDT

Since Cassini currently orbits Saturn within the plane of Saturn's rings, it has lots of chances to catch two or more moons in the same photo. One such "mutual event" happened on September 17, featuring four moons: Titan, Dione, Pan, and Pandora.

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