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Blog Archive


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 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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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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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's in a Science Meeting?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/17 10:39 CST

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, What's in a Science Meeting?, about what scientists do at big meetings like the Division of Planetary Sciences.

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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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Seeing Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/20 04:32 CDT

I've been itching to get back to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to get a good look at Curiosity, the next Mars rover.

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An unusual Hubble photo of Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/17 05:20 CDT

Amateur image magician Ted Stryk dug up this lovely view of Mars, captured on May 9, 2003 by the Hubble Space Telescope. This photo is unusual for its relatively high phase.

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Neptune from two slightly different perspectives

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/06 10:39 CDT

Coincidentally, two new images of Neptune were posted today, from two very different sources.

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How to Recognize Titan from Quite a Long Way Away

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/08/09 05:16 CDT

You know, I could fill this blog almost entirely with the amazing images that Gordan Ugarkovic locates, processes into prettiness, and uploads to his Flickr account.

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Hubble turns 20

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/23 03:02 CDT

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. It's hard to believe it's been going strong for so many years.

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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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In which I dip my toes into an ocean of Hubble data

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/25 02:21 CDT

I am just drowning in data right now, and I couldn't be happier.

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Hubble sees both of Saturn's aurorae

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/12 01:01 CST

Yesterday, the European wing of the Hubble PR machine released this cool image of Saturn and its aurorae, with an associated video.

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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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Spectacular Hubble view of the aftermath of an asteroid collision

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/02/02 01:25 CST

Hubble has caught an astonishing view of something that's never before been observed, the aftermath of a collision between two asteroids in the main belt.

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Two cool discoveries today: icy-hot exoplanet and smallest ever Kuiper Belt object

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/16 01:01 CST

There are two cool stories circulating today on the theme of discovering new places in the cosmos.

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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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