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Destination: Europa!

Steve Vance • December 16, 2013

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!

The Plumes of Europa

Leigh Fletcher • December 12, 2013

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.

Neptune: The new amateur boundary?

Christophe Pellier • November 07, 2013

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.

Uranus Awaits

Geraint Jones • October 18, 2013

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • September 05, 2013

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.

Hubble captures time-lapse of comet ISON

Jason Davis • July 05, 2013

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

Lesser-known views of Uranus and Neptune

Emily Lakdawalla • May 28, 2013

Despite the fact that Voyager 2 returned relatively few high-resolution images from either Uranus or Neptune, there are many more photos in the archives than regularly make it to public view.

Astronomy Enters a New Era

Mat Kaplan • May 26, 2013

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

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

Emily Lakdawalla • April 11, 2013

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?

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

Emily Lakdawalla • February 18, 2013

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • February 14, 2013

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 08, 2013

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....

Crowdsourcing the Andromeda Galaxy

Jason Davis • December 11, 2012

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

Exploring the XDF: The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field

Mat Kaplan • October 09, 2012

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

New spots on Uranus

Emily Lakdawalla • August 22, 2012

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

Salacia: As big as Ceres, but much farther away

Emily Lakdawalla • June 26, 2012

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.

More Venus transits in 2012

Jay Pasachoff • June 07, 2012

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.

NRO gives NASA two hand-me-down telescopes

Jason Davis • June 07, 2012

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • June 04, 2012

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • March 27, 2012

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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