Join Donate

Blog Archive


#DPS2017: Progress report on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring

Emily Lakdawalla • October 20, 2017

Three years ago, on October 19, 2014, comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring passed within 138,000 kilometers of Mars. At the 2017 meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, we heard a progress report on Mars orbiter imaging of the comet's nucleus.

In total eclipse of a star, New Horizons' future flyby target makes its presence known

Emily Lakdawalla • July 19, 2017

The team reported two weeks ago that the first attempts at observing 2014 MU69 were unsuccessful. But in their third try, on July 17, astronomers in Argentina saw the telltale sign of MU69's presence: a stellar wink.

Geology on Mars: Using stratigraphic columns to tell the story of Gale Crater

Heidi Stauffer • May 15, 2017

Stratigraphic columns are a basic tool in geology, used on both Earth and Mars to tell the story of a location. But what are they really?

Radar in Earth and Planetary Science, Part 2

Heather Hunter • May 12, 2017

Heather Hunter brings us the next installment in her series on radio detection and ranging.

Radar in Earth and Planetary Science: An Intro

Heather Hunter • February 24, 2017

Heather Hunter explains how radar works and what it's used for on Earth and beyond.

Subsurface Water Ice in Utopia Planitia, Mars

Cassie Stuurman • November 22, 2016

Martian radar expert Cassie Stuurman explains how the SHARAD instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was used to detect buried ice deposits.

DPS/EPSC update on New Horizons at the Pluto system and beyond

Emily Lakdawalla • October 25, 2016

Last week's Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Science Congress meeting was chock-full of science from New Horizons at Pluto.

DPS/EPSC update: 2007 OR10 has a moon!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 19, 2016

The third-largest object known beyond Neptune, 2007 OR10, has a moon. The discovery was reported in a poster by Gábor Marton, Csaba Kiss, and Thomas Mueller at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society (DPS/EPSC) on Monday.

Rosetta spacecraft may be dying, but Rosetta science will go on

Emily Lakdawalla • September 29, 2016

The Rosetta mission will end tomorrow when the spacecraft impacts the comet. ESA took advantage of the presence of hundreds of members of the media to put on a showcase of Rosetta science. If there’s one thing I learned today from all the science presentations, it’s this: Rosetta data will be informing scientific work for decades to come.

Gaia's first galaxy map

Emily Lakdawalla • September 14, 2016

The astronomy world is abuzz today because of ESA's announcement of the first release of data from the Gaia mission. Gaia is a five-year mission that will eventually measure the positions and motions of billions of stars; this first data release includes positions for 1.1 billion of them, and proper motions for 2 million.

Let’s be careful about this “SETI” signal

Franck Marchis • August 30, 2016

Several readers have contacted me recently about reports that a group of international astronomers have detected a strong signal coming from a distant star that could be a sign of a high-technology civilization. Here’s my reaction: it’s interesting, but it’s definitely not the sign of an alien civilization—at least not yet.

Proxima Centauri b: Have we just found Earth’s cousin right on our doorstep?

Franck Marchis • August 24, 2016

What began as a tantalizing rumor has just become an astonishing fact. Today a group of thirty-one scientists announced the discovery of a terrestrial exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri. The discovery of this planet, Proxima Centauri b, is a huge breakthrough not just for astronomers but for all of us. Here’s why.

Gullies on Mars: Wet or Dry (Ice)?

Tanya Harrison • August 17, 2016

Martian gullies were in the spotlight last week thanks to a NASA press release stating they were "likely not formed by liquid water" based on spectral results. But how does this stack up against their morphology?

Oppositions, conjunctions, seasons, and ring plane crossings of the giant planets

Emily Lakdawalla • July 07, 2016

When are the solstices and equinoxes on the giant planets, and when are they best positioned for view from Earth? I ask these questions a lot as I write about Earth photos of giant planets, and I finally decided to gather the answers to those questions in a single post.

Atmospheric Waves Awareness: An Explainer

Anna Scott • April 20, 2016

There are two types of atmospheric waves that are critically important on Earth and other planets: gravity waves and planetary waves.

Favorite Astro Plots #4: Classifying Exoplanets

Jingjing Chen • April 15, 2016

Until just a few years ago, a plot of mass versus size of other worlds would have looked pretty sparse and uninformative. But thanks to the tireless efforts of exoplanet astronomers, we now know fairly precise masses and radii for hundreds of distant worlds.

Fog Detection from the Surface of Titan: New Findings From Old Data

Brittney Cooper and Christina Smith and John Moores • April 07, 2016

Huygens may have landed on Titan over a decade ago, but a group of researchers from York University were able to make a new and unexpected discovery with this older dataset.

LPSC 2016: So. Much. Ceres.

Emily Lakdawalla • March 30, 2016

At last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, I enjoyed a large number of talks about Ceres. Now in its Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit, Dawn is showering scientists with high-resolution, color data.

Clouds and haze and dust, oh my!

Sarah Hörst • March 24, 2016

What types of aerosols do we find in the atmospheres around the Solar System, and why does what we call them—clouds vs. haze vs. dust—matter? Sarah Hörst explains.

Dinosaurs & Space— and Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Planets: These are a Few of Our Favorite Things

Bill Nye • March 15, 2016

One of my favorite times of the year is upon us: the national conference of the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA). For the last couple of—er… decades, I’ve given lectures at this conference to support science teachers and find out what’s on their minds this school year.

Items 1 - 20 of 364  12345678910Next
astronaut on Phobos
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today


LightSail 2 will launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Be part of this epic point in space exploration history!


You are here: