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Astronomy Enters a New Era
Join us for a live webcast about thrilling new tools that will come online in the next decade.

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/05/26 08:45 CDT | 3 comments

A live conversation about just a few of the powerful new instruments that will revolutionize our knowledge of the cosmos once again.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: The Ice Giants, with Heidi Hammel

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/04/11 02:00 CDT | 5 comments

My guest this was Planetary Society Board vice president Heidi Hammel. We discussed two planets near and dear to our hearts, Neptune and Uranus. What's new on these icy worlds since Voyager 2 passed by, and what are the prospects for their future exploration?

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When will New Horizons have better views of Pluto than Hubble does?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/18 04:22 CST | 8 comments

Last week, I posted an explainer on why Hubble's images of galaxies show so much more detail than its images of Pluto. Then I set you all a homework problem: when will New Horizons be able to see Pluto better than Hubble does? Here's the answer.

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Why can Hubble get detailed views of distant galaxies but not of Pluto?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/14 12:37 CST | 22 comments

How come Hubble's pictures of galaxies billions of light years away are so beautifully detailed, yet the pictures of Pluto, which is so much closer, are just little blobs? I get asked this question, or variations of it, a lot. Here's an explainer.

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Report from AAS: Exoplanets (and exo-asteroids, and exo-comets) everywhere

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/01/08 06:52 CST | 7 comments

This year's American Astronomical Society meeting featured tons and tons of news on exoplanets. They're everywhere! And not just planets, but also asteroids, comets, and more....

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Crowdsourcing the Andromeda Galaxy

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/12/11 06:29 CST | 1 comments

Scientists would like your help starting at high-resolution images of the Andromeda Galaxy captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

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Exploring the XDF: The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field
Sometimes Radio Just Isn't Enough!

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/10/09 11:55 CDT | 1 comments

The newly-released eXtreme Deep Field takes us even further back into the history of our universe than the Ultra Deep Field or UDF.

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New spots on Uranus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/22 05:42 CDT | 5 comments

New Hubble photos show that Uranus has both dark and bright spots!

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Salacia: As big as Ceres, but much farther away

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/06/26 12:27 CDT | 10 comments

A newly published paper shows trans-Neptunian object Salacia to be unexpectedly large; it's somewhere around the tenth largest known thing beyond Neptune. It has a companion one-third its size, making it appear similar to Orcus and Vanth.

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More Venus transits in 2012

Posted by Jay Pasachoff on 2012/06/07 04:44 CDT | 3 comments

A transit of Venus as seen from Jupiter may be observed by Hubble on September 20 and a transit of Venus as seen from Saturn will be observed by Cassini on December 21.

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NRO gives NASA two hand-me-down telescopes

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/06/07 08:28 CDT | 4 comments

The National Reconnaissance Office has donated two, partially-completed space telescopes to NASA, revealed at a National Academies' Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics meeting this week.

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Artist's views of a night sky transformed by a galaxy merger

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/06/04 12:25 CDT | 2 comments

A measurement of the Andromeda galaxy's proper motion shows it's coming directly at us, and will collide with the Milky Way in 4 billion years. The event will transform the appearance of our night sky.

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Hey amateurs! ESA's running an image processing contest: "Hubble's Hidden Treasures!"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/03/27 04:26 CDT

Here's a newly announced contest that is right up my alley and, I hope, of interest to regular readers of this blog. ESA has just announced "Hubble's Hidden Treasures," a contest to encourage what I've been trying to get people to do for years: trawl through the Hubble archives to find unappreciated tresures of photos and make them pretty for public consumption. They have two categories, one for newbies (who can use image processing tools provided on ESA's website) and one for more serious amateurs (who can use other software).

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Looking down on a shooting star

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/15 06:19 CDT

This photo is making the rounds of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and whatever other social network you care to name today. It was shot by astronaut Ron Garan from the Space Station, and it's a meteor seen from above. Way cool.

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A fourth moon for Pluto

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/20 01:38 CDT | 2 comments

That's right: Hubble observations have yielded the discovery of a third small body orbiting Pluto and Charon.

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Hubble's Millionth Observation

Posted by Bill Nye on 2011/07/05 05:15 CDT

The Hubble Space Telescope has recorded its millionth observation. The planet is designated HAT-P-7b.

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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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So far, no moons found at Ceres or Vesta

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/15 02:37 CDT

Since the Galileo mission discovered tiny Dactyl circling Ida in 1993, quite a lot of asteroid systems have been found to be binary; there are even a few triples. So it's quite reasonable to guess that two of the biggest asteroids, Ceres and Vesta, might also have satellites.

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Saturn's storm: A quick turnaround from Hubble

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/28 04:13 CDT

Saturn's raging northern storm has been watched since it began by amateur astronomers, and now Cassini is getting in to the act too. Presumably once astronomers realized the magnitude of what was going on, some of Earth's great observatories were also occasionally pointed at the ringed planet to watch the storm grow.

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Orcus and Vanth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/11 01:49 CST | 1 comments

As part of a big, ongoing project to make a comparison chart of the dimensions and physical properties of solar system objects I've spent the morning tackling the difficult problem of summarizing the physical characteristics of the biggest things that are out there beyond Neptune.

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