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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 comment

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

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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 comment

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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Happy 2011, and an end to the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/01 11:43 CST

Welcome 2011! I can't wait for what this year has in store. The prize for all of you who have enjoyed opening each door in the Planetary Society's 2010 advent calendar is one of the best views we can get of one of the biggest objects in the asteroid belt, Vesta.

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DPS 2010: Pluto and Charon opposition surges, Nix and Hydra masses, Pluto and Eris compositions

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/10/25 11:18 CDT

An awful lot of the talks in the Pluto session on Tuesday morning, October 5, at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting spent more time focusing on how bad weather conditions were during the astronomers' attempts to view Pluto as it occulted background stars than they did on any measurements or science that came out from the data.

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Quaoar: A rock in the Kuiper Belt

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/01 12:48 CDT

The paper I'm writing about today, "Quaoar: a Rock in the Kuiper Belt," is based upon seven sets of Hubble Space Telescope WFPC2 observations of Quaoar and its recently-named moon, Weywot.

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New maps of Pluto show pretty amazing amounts of surface change

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/04 02:17 CST

I just posted my writeup of today's press briefing on a new map of Pluto produced from Hubble images. The main conclusion was that Pluto has shown an astonishing amount of changes across its surface between 1994 and 2002 -- more, in fact, than any other solid surface in the solar system.

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Farewell to Hubble, Obama Calls, Astronauts Testify to Congress as Shuttle is Set to Land

Posted by Ken Kremer on 2009/05/22 05:13 CDT

Farewell to Hubble, Obama Calls, Astronauts Testify to Congress as Shuttle is Set to Land

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