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Blog Archive

 

Arecibo saves us from another potentially hazardous asteroid

Emily Lakdawalla • April 29, 2010

That's a bit of an overdramatic title, but it's true that the most efficient way for us to reduce the risk we face from asteroids that have a very small chance of hitting Earth in the future is to determine their orbits more precisely.

Updates on Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients

Bruce Betts • March 18, 2010

Our past Shoemaker NEO grant recipients have once again shown themselves to be a hardworking and enterprising group.

Propose for a Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grant

Emily Lakdawalla • March 17, 2010

Are you a serious amateur astronomer who enjoys the challenge of following up on the discoveries of faint near-Earth objects?

Inside the U.N.'s Near Earth Object Working Group

Bruce Betts • February 15, 2010

This week Bruce Betts is attending a U.N. meeting in Austria, in particular the parts focused on international considerations of the near-Earth object threat.

Planetary Society Researcher Max Rocca Discovers Largest Impact Crater in South America

Amir Alexander • February 13, 2010

It was January of 2004 when the elegant curve of the Vichada first caught the attention of geologist Max Rocca of Buenos Aires. Could the course of the river have been shaped by the circular outlines of an impact crater? Rocca decided to find out.

WISE bags its first near-Earth object, 2010 AB78

Emily Lakdawalla • January 22, 2010

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) just took its lens cap off on December 29, and posted its "first light" image on January 6. Now, just two weeks later, WISE has bagged its first near-Earth object.

ESA mission analyst suggests 2010 AL30 might be Venus Express rocket

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2010

2010 AL30 zipped past us harmlessly about five hours ago. Because of its one-year orbital period, many people speculated it might be a manmade object, but 2010 AL30 might, in fact, be artificial.

Goldstone detects "STRONG" radar echoes from 2010 AL30

Emily Lakdawalla • January 12, 2010

Radio scientist Lance Benner posted to the Minor Planets Mailing list this evening the following message: "We have detected STRONG radar echoes from 2010 AL30 at Goldstone."

2010 AL30: Watch out for low-flying asteroids

Emily Lakdawalla • January 12, 2010

In less than 24 hours, a newly discovered asteroid known as 2010 AL30 will be zipping past Earth at an altitude of approximately a third the Earth-Moon distance. There's no chance it'll hit us, but it's generating a lot of excitement in the community of amateur and professional near-Earth asteroid observers.

Planetary Society Advent Calendar for December 19: Eros

Emily Lakdawalla • December 19, 2009

Not quite ten years ago, the Near Earth Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft arrived at the near-Earth asteroid Eros. NEAR accomplished many firsts.

Near Earth Objects and Planetary Defense

Emily Lakdawalla • November 26, 2009

Could a space rock hit Earth and cause widespread devastation? What could we do if we found an asteroid or comet on a collision course with Earth?

Triple asteroid 1994 CC rotation animation

Emily Lakdawalla • August 06, 2009

From the "just plain cool" department. I love animations of planetary images and I love radar images of asteroids -- so this animation is doubly cool.

Updates on the 2007 Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients

Bruce Betts • April 27, 2009

Our 2007 Shoemaker NEO Grant winners have been extremely busy over the past two years. Take for example Quanzhi Ye of Guangzhou, China: He was only 18 when he received the award but already the principal investigator of the sky survey at the Lulin Observatory in Taiwan.

LPSC: Thursday: Rovers, Titan, Mars, Venus Express, Neptune

Ted Stryk • March 14, 2008

I spent a large portion of the day at the Lunar and Planetary Institute's library and presented my own poster during the poster sessions, so my coverage of Thursday's sessions is limited.

Updates from Past Recipients of the Shoemaker NEO Grants

Bruce Betts • March 01, 2007

Update as of March 4, 2007 Thanks to The Planetary Society Shoemaker Grant, the 1.06-meter KLENOT telescope optics was completed at the Klet Observatory. Regular observations of the KLENOT project started in March 2002 under the new IAU/MPC code 246, so we can now present results covering 5 years of this work.

Updates from Past Recipients of the Shoemaker NEO Grants

Bruce Betts • July 18, 2006

Update as of July 13, 2006 Using the Shoemaker NEO Grant funds, Minor Planet Research has purchased a 1.7-terabyte data server for our Asteroid Discovery Station (ADS) education outreach program Through the generosity of Dr. Philip Christensen, this server is housed at the Mars Space Flight Facility (MSFF) at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Updates from Past Recipients of the Shoemaker NEO Grants

Bruce Betts • August 17, 2005

Update as of July 28, 2005 Following last year's Potentially Hazardous Asteroid and a few other non-main-belt discoveries, I looked into what improvements I could make to more efficiently image the sky. The major advance involved the design of a 3-lens corrector comprising 2 stock lenses and a custom lens I made myself.

Astronomers Revise Torino Scale Asteroid Advisory System

A.J.S. Rayl • April 20, 2005

Astronomers have revised the Torino scale, the color-coded advisory system to assess the threat of asteroids and other near-Earth objects (NEOs) to make it easier for the public to understand.

Close Your Left Eye, Then Your Right: Simultaneous Observations of Asteroid 4179 Toutatis from Two Chilean Telescopes Demonstrate Parallax

Emily Lakdawalla • September 29, 2004

This morning, asteroid 4179 Toutatis was so close to Earth that simultaneous observations from two telescopes in the same country could show parallax that is obvious even to the least experienced observer. The two telescopes belong to The European Southern Observatory and are located at La Silla and Paranal in Chile

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