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Blog Archive


Jupiter Weather Report: 2014/15 Apparition

Posted by Leigh Fletcher on 2015/11/05 01:44 CST

A summary of Jupiter's changing face as seen from Earth during its 2014/2015 apparition.

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A moon with atmosphere

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/04/08 01:27 CDT | 10 comments

What is the solar system moon with the densest atmosphere? Most space fans know that the answer is Titan. A few of you might know that Triton's is the next densest. But what's the third? Fourth? Do any other moons even have atmospheres? In fact, they do; and one such atmosphere has just been discovered.

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An internal ocean on Ganymede: Hooray for consistency with previous results!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/03/12 07:25 CDT | 8 comments

A newly published paper confirms a subsurface ocean at Ganymede. An ocean there was already suspected from its magnetic field and predicted by geophysics; new Hubble data confirms it, and even says it is in the same place we thought it was before. Such consistency is rare enough in planetary science to be worth celebration.

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Some Recent Views of Mars from Hubble

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2014/11/26 04:50 CST

Ted Stryk showcases some of his processed versions of recent Hubble Space Telescope views of Mars.

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Mars Orbiter Mission delivers on promise of global views of Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/09/29 11:15 CDT | 18 comments

Ever since I first learned about the capabilities of Mars Orbiter Mission's small payload of science instruments, I have been anticipating one type of data in particular: global color views of Mars captured in a single 2000-pixel-square frame. Just days after entering orbit, Mars Orbiter Mission has delivered on that promise.

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

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/05/08 01:17 CDT | 1 comments

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

Posted by ESA Mars Express Team on 2014/03/31 05:46 CDT

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.

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Intro Astronomy Class 3: Telescopes, the Moon

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/02/21 04:35 CST

Explore optical, radio, and space telescopes and the Moon in the video of class 3 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Predicting Pluto's moons and moondust

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/02/19 01:39 CST | 2 comments

Why didn't we discover Pluto's moons until more than a decade after Hubble launched? Mark Showalter helps me answer this question.

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Super-close supernova in M82

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/22 11:31 CST | 8 comments

The astronomy world is all a-twitter this morning over the discovery of a new supernova in M82, a galaxy that's in our astronomical backyard, "only" 12 million light-years away. And early word is that it appears to be a Type Ia supernova, the kind that's used as a standard candle to measure the expansion of the universe.

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Snow balls in space

Posted by Mike Brown on 2013/12/29 02:45 CST | 4 comments

I don’t get much snow in southern California, but I do spend a lot of my time thinking about college snowball experiences and about the snowball fights that have made the objects of the outer solar system.

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Destination: Europa!

Posted by Steve Vance on 2013/12/16 01:36 CST | 5 comments

It's time to reassess Europa exploration, past, present and future. The Destination Europa! session at AGU, inspired by the eponymous website and movement, didn't take exactly that message as its theme, but it's what I got from the presentations. What an ELECTRIFYING meeting this has been for Europa exploration!

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The Plumes of Europa

Posted by Leigh Fletcher on 2013/12/12 12:01 CST | 12 comments

2013 has been a rather exciting year for Europa scientists. Today's exciting news: the Hubble Space Telescope discovery of water vapor plumes from the south pole of this icy moon.

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Neptune: The new amateur boundary?

Posted by Christophe Pellier on 2013/11/07 05:39 CST | 3 comments

Can features on Neptune be observed by amateur astronomers? For years, the Hubble Space Telescope and some professional terrestrial observatories have been revealing incomplete belts and spots on the surface of Neptune. Now, spots have been imaged by amateurs.

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Uranus Awaits

Posted by Geraint Jones on 2013/10/18 11:23 CDT | 3 comments

It’s been a long time since anyone paid Uranus a visit. The Uranus system is, however, fascinating, as evidenced by the wealth of topics covered by the diverse group of planetary scientists who gathered to discuss it last week at the Paris Observatory.

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In his own words: Mike Massimino on how he "nearly broke" Hubble

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/05 11:14 CDT

In an enthralling article for Esquire magazine, astronaut Mike Massimino writes about nearly failing to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, and how the people of Earth came to his rescue.

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Hubble captures time-lapse of comet ISON

Posted by Jason Davis on 2013/07/05 04:28 CDT | 2 comments

The Hubble Space Telescope captured a series of images showing Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) plunging toward the sun.

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