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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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My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/12/18 04:26 CST | 9 comments

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

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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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Hunting Asteroids from a Field in Kansas

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/06/15 06:33 CDT

TPS Shoemaker NEO Grant Winner Gary Hug hunts near Earth objects from his back yard in Kansas. NPR's Morning Edition picked up on this fascinating story.

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What Saturn's moons can tell us about comets (Notes from LPSC 2012)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/03 05:20 CDT

My notes on a two-part presentation by collaborators Jim Richardson and David Minton about the sizes of things in the Kuiper belt, a story they told by looking at Saturn's moons. How does that work? What connects Saturn's moons to the Kuiper belt is craters.

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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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A recap of Comet Lovejoy

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/12/22 10:45 CST | 1 comment

A timeline of one of the most memorable solar events in recent memory: the observations by six Sun-observing spacecraft of Comet Lovejoy making its perihelion passage.

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Video: Comet Lovejoy entered SOHO's LASCO C3 field of view this morning!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/14 09:37 CST

An animation of comet Lovejoy entering the field of view of one of SOHO's Sun-monitoring cameras.

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Sungrazing with Lovejoy's Comet

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/12/06 10:42 CST

Observations of the newly sighted Kreutz sungrazer comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) from the ground and from SOHO (a joint NASA/ESA satellite) and STEREO (NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory).

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Brief notes from Day 2 of the DPS-EPSC meeting

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/04 11:18 CDT

It's been a very full day at the DPS-EPSC 2011 joint meeting. My day was less full than it might have been, because I overslept and missed most of the morning's session. I really needed the rest though so I think it was probably for the best!

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Meeting today: The infelicitously named "SBAG"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/25 01:45 CDT

NASA funds regular meetings of scientists who work on different parts of the solar system to provide scientific input into NASA's future plans. These "analysis groups" are known by their acronyms, all of which sound kind of horrible, but none has quite as terrible-sounding an acronym as "SBAG," usually pronouced "ess-bag," the Small Bodies Assessment Group.

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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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Rosetta has entered its long sleep

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/14 12:25 CDT

One big space event that I missed while I was on vacation was Rosetta's entry into hibernation. Rosetta is the biggest interplanetary spacecraft that has been launched by ESA, and it has the groundbreaking goal of entering orbit around a comet and dropping a lander onto it.

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The scale of our solar system

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/02 11:26 CDT

Space.com has taken advantage of the infinitely scrollable nature of Web pages to produce a really cool infographic on the scales of orbital distances in the solar system.

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LPSC 2011: Kirby Runyon on Mars, the Moon, Hartley 2, and Ganymede

Posted by Kirby Runyon on 2011/03/15 01:57 CDT

Kirby Runyon, a second-year grad student at Temple University, offered to send me some writeups of selected presentations from last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, and I enthusiastically agreed.

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LPSC 2011: Day 3: Deep Impact at Hartley 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/10 01:17 CST

Wednesday's sessions at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) on the Deep Impact flyby of Hartley 2 were one of two that I was most looking forward to, the other being this morning's talks on Hayabusa's samples from Itokawa, about which I don't yet have any notes. I am again grateful to Franck Marchis and Andy Rivkin for sending me their notes on Hartley 2.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Stardust at Tempel 1

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/28 11:45 CST

Yesterday the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Stardust at Tempel 1: The First Second Trip to a Comet.

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Stardust update: last image taken today

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/24 05:50 CST

According to the Stardust website, the spacecraft has continued taking navigational camera images of Tempel 1 since last Monday's flyby. But "This will end with a Navcam calibration that will take place [today]. This will be the end of the official Tempel 1 encounter activities. Planning is under way for the decommissioning of the spacecraft."

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Sounds of Stardust, and a cool morphed Tempel 1 video

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/18 01:26 CST

Here's two more items from Tuesday's flyby of comet Tempel 1 by the Stardust spacecraft to add to my previous roundup of Tempel 1 data. The first represents data from a dust counting instrument, portrayed as sound, and the second is a terrific morph animation of the flyby produced by Daniel Macháček.

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Some early scientific impressions of Stardust's Tempel 1 flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/16 03:20 CST

I've spent a day with the Stardust images from Tempel 1, and had a chat with co-investigator Jessica Sunshine, so here are a bunch of images with some preliminary scientific commentary.

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