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Rosetta completes another rocket burn, spies decreasing activity on comet

Emily Lakdawalla • June 19, 2014

Rosetta has now completed its three largest rendezvous burns as it approaches ever closer to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Beginning on July 2, Rosetta will now conduct weekly burns, through August 6. Meanwhile, the cometary activity of April and May has quieted again, leaving the comet looking smaller than it did before.

Deep Impact's last images

Emily Lakdawalla • May 27, 2014

Today I received an email notification of new public releases of some image data sets. I always love seeing new public space image data, but this notification was bittersweet: it included the first public release of the very last image data returned to Earth by Deep Impact, of a distant comet ISON.

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

Bruce Betts • May 22, 2014

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.

Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 10: Trans Neptunian Objects including Pluto, KBOs, Comets

Bruce Betts • April 18, 2014

Explore the worlds beyond Neptune including Pluto, Kuiper Belt Objects and comets in this video of class 10 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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

ESA Mars Express Team • April 08, 2014

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.

Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Cosmic bully spotted by ESA and NASA

ESA Mars Express Team • March 31, 2014

Hubble has taken some great new images of our 'friend,' Comet Siding Spring, due to pass by Mars at less than 136,000 km on October 19 – less than half the distance between Earth and our moon.

Comet spotted! Rosetta's first sight of Churymov-Gerasimenko since wakeup

Emily Lakdawalla • March 27, 2014

Rosetta has turned on its cameras and sighted its comet for the first time since waking from hibernation. Next activity: waking the Philae lander.

Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Ya gotta have a little ‘tude

ESA Mars Express Team • March 24, 2014

In the latest update on how the Mars Express flight control team is planning to deal with Comet Siding Spring is all about attitude -- and hiding behind the biggest guy in the fight.

Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: How to determine the orbit of a comet?

ESA Mars Express Team • March 12, 2014

In the quest to track Comet Siding Spring, the Mars Express team tells us how computing the orbit of a comet isn't as straightforward as science fiction would have us believe.

The Very Large Telescope sights Rosetta's comet target, sees activity beginning

Emily Lakdawalla • March 10, 2014

Rosetta's comet target, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has emerged from behind the Sun as seen from Earth, and the Very Large Telescope has photographed it. The new images show that cometary activity has already begun as Rosetta approaches for its August rendezvous.

Hypervelocity Cratering and Riding Out the Risk

ESA Mars Express Team • March 06, 2014

Today's update from the Mars Express team contains the realisation that, for some of the risks associated with October's Siding Spring flyby, there may not be much the team can do.

Space is really, really big – except sometimes it isn’t

ESA Mars Express Team • March 04, 2014

Here's the next installment in the continuing story of how the Mars Express team is preparing for Comet Siding Spring flyby, 19 October 2014. This week: introducing the spacecraft's subsystems and structure – and wondering how we can absorb impacts.

Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: Why orienting Mars Express is the heart of the challenge

ESA Mars Express Team • February 28, 2014

Today's post continues where we started last week with an update from the Mars Express Flight Control Team at ESOC on their preparations for the 19 October Comet Siding Springs flyby. Today: defining the challenge!

Mars Express team readies for Siding Spring

ESA Mars Express Team • February 26, 2014

On Sunday, 19 October 2014, at around 18:30 UTC, comet C/2013 A1 – known widely as 'Siding Spring' after the Australian observatory where it was discovered in January 2013 – will make a close fly-by of Mars.

Intro Astronomy Class 1: Tour of the Solar System

Bruce Betts • February 11, 2014

Take a tour of the Solar System in the video of class 1 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

A new comet observing campaign for C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)

Karl Battams • January 27, 2014

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.

Planetary Radio: NEOWISE PI Amy Mainzer

Mat Kaplan • January 01, 2014

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

Planetary Radio: Comet ISON, Rest in Pieces

Mat Kaplan • December 10, 2013

Karl Battams of NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign is our guest on this week's show. He explains how ISON really did become the comet of the century for scientists.

Comet ISON Wrap Up

Bruce Betts • December 05, 2013

Comet ISON captivated our world, and many of our world’s robotic emissaries for many months. But, alas, poor ISON is dead -- again. Here I wrap up our enthusiastic coverage of this multi-morphing zombie comet that tried to survive and re-survive as it came within one solar diameter of the Sun.

Comet ISON live blog

Emily Lakdawalla and Bruce Betts • December 05, 2013

Comet ISON reached perihelion at 18:25 UT (10:25 PT) on November 28. It's an event that's was watched around the world, accompanied by tons of commentary and streams of photos. We will update this blog entry periodically with links to all the resources that we hear of for following the comet's progress.

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