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The Osirian Asteroid Family

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/07/28 02:04 CDT

The asteroid community recently gathered in Helsinki, Finland for the 12th Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors Conference. As this meeting showed, one of the hottest topics in asteroid science is the study of asteroid families.

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On the masses and motions of mini-moons: Pandora's not a "shepherd," but Prometheus still is

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/04 12:04 CDT | 4 comments

As Cassini celebrates 10 years at Saturn, we're beginning to see its long-term observations of Saturnian moons bear fruit. A surprising new result: While Prometheus exerts control over the F ring and Atlas, Pandora -- long thought to be a shepherd of the F ring -- does not.

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Hubble to the rescue! The last-ditch effort to discover a Kuiper belt target for New Horizons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/17 11:59 CDT | 5 comments

Will New Horizons have a mission after Pluto? Ground-based searches have failed to turn up anything that New Horizons can reach. Now Hubble is joining the search, but time is running out: a discovery must be made within the next two months.

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The OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Mission

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/06/12 06:18 CDT

This week the OSIRIS-REx team gathered at the Lockheed Martin facility in Denver to perform a “Design Reference Mission (DRM)” walkthrough. The DRM is basically the battle plan for OSIRIS-REx for accomplishing our goal of returning pristine samples from asteroid Bennu.

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How CRISM picks the pixels that guide Opportunity's travels

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/06/05 03:29 CDT | 4 comments

How scientists are working with CRISM, an aging but still exceptional spectrometer on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, to find the rocks where Opportunity's work will tell the story of ancient water on Mars.

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A GRB in M31...or not

Posted by Philip Evans on 2014/05/28 11:21 CDT

The Twittersphere has been alive with speculation about a Gamma Ray Burst in the nearby galaxy M31. The problem is, there was never a claim of such an event, and it turns out that the tentative result that triggered this story was overstated.

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Will we find signs of tectonics on Pluto? And what would that mean?

Posted by Joseph O'Rourke on 2014/05/26 09:45 CDT | 1 comment

Joseph O’Rourke summarizes a recently submitted paper on tectonic activity on Pluto after the Charon-forming impact.

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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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Complete 2014 Astronomy Course Online

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/05/19 11:05 CDT | 6 comments

Bruce Betts has completed the lectures for his online 2014 Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy Course at CSUDH: all are online and you can earn a Certificate of Achievement for watching them.

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What’s Seeping on Mars? Recurring Slope Lineae

Posted by Matthew Chojnacki on 2014/05/13 09:53 CDT | 13 comments

HiRISE team member Matt Chojnacki tells us about the discovery and formation of these mysterious features forming on Mars in the present day.

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Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 13: Galaxies, the Universe, Life

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/05/08 01:17 CDT

Discover the Universe including the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, galaxies, life and more in this video of class 13 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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A Martian analemma

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/05/06 01:31 CDT | 4 comments

A Mars year's worth of Sun images from Opportunity demonstrates Mars' orbital motions as reflected in the changing apparent position of the Sun: the analemma.

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Asteroid Workshop Streamed Public Lectures This Week

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/05/05 09:25 CDT | 1 comment

There is an asteroid threat and space debris workshop in Scotland this week that Planetary Society support helped lead to, and that will include two public lectures you can tune into live.

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How Weird Is Our Solar System?

Posted by Jaime Green on 2014/05/05 10:54 CDT | 6 comments

Earth and its solar system compatriots all have nearly circular orbits, but many exoplanets orbit their stars on wildly eccentric paths. Is our home system strange? Or is our sense of the data skewed?

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Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 12: The Sun and Stars

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/05/01 05:31 CDT

Explore the physical characteristics and inner workings of the Sun and then learn all about Stars and Stellar Evolution in this video of class 12 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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When will we know which is bigger, Pluto or Eris?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/30 12:11 CDT | 7 comments

We don't currently know whether Pluto is the biggest thing in the Kuiper belt or not. When will New Horizons give us the answer?

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Green Bank Telescope Helps Out an Old Friend

Posted by Tania Burchell on 2014/04/28 09:26 CDT

The Green Bank Telescope has been called into emergency service to play radar ping-pong on a close-by asteroid with Arecibo Observatory’s 100-meter William E. Gordon radio telescope.

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Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 11: Exoplanets and Solar System Origin and Formation

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/25 04:30 CDT

Learn about the formation and origin of the Solar System and go beyond our neighborhood to investigate exoplanets (planets around other stars) in this video of class 11 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Spitzer Space Telescope Observations of Bennu

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2014/04/24 10:06 CDT

What can studying the thermal emission of Bennu with the Spitzer Space Telescope tell us about its physical properties?

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Forensic Ballistics: How Apollo 12 Helped Solve the Skydiver Meteorite Mystery

Posted by Philip Metzger on 2014/04/21 09:33 CDT | 7 comments

What can a 45-year-old mission to the Moon tell us about a "meteorite" flying past a skydiver on Earth?

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