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Looking down on a shooting star

Emily Lakdawalla • August 15, 2011

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.

A fourth moon for Pluto

Emily Lakdawalla • July 20, 2011

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

Hubble's Millionth Observation

Bill Nye • July 05, 2011

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

The scale of our solar system

Emily Lakdawalla • May 02, 2011

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.

So far, no moons found at Ceres or Vesta

Emily Lakdawalla • April 15, 2011

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.

Saturn's storm: A quick turnaround from Hubble

Emily Lakdawalla • March 28, 2011

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.

Orcus and Vanth

Emily Lakdawalla • January 11, 2011

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.

Happy 2011, and an end to the 2010 advent calendar

Emily Lakdawalla • January 01, 2011

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • November 17, 2010

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • October 25, 2010

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.

Seeing Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • September 20, 2010

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

An unusual Hubble photo of Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • September 17, 2010

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.

Neptune from two slightly different perspectives

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2010

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

How to Recognize Titan from Quite a Long Way Away

Emily Lakdawalla • August 09, 2010

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.

Hubble turns 20

Emily Lakdawalla • April 23, 2010

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.

Quaoar: A rock in the Kuiper Belt

Emily Lakdawalla • April 01, 2010

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • March 25, 2010

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

Hubble sees both of Saturn's aurorae

Emily Lakdawalla • February 12, 2010

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

New maps of Pluto show pretty amazing amounts of surface change

Emily Lakdawalla • February 04, 2010

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.

Spectacular Hubble view of the aftermath of an asteroid collision

Emily Lakdawalla • February 02, 2010

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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