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Blog Archive

 

Shining Up A Telescope

Bruce Betts • March 21, 2014

A 0.81m telescope in northern Italy is well on its way to being wide eyed and shiny thanks to a 2013 Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grant, which will enable it to make better near Earth object observations to help protect our planet from asteroid impact.

Mars Express team readies for Siding Spring

ESA Mars Express Team • February 26, 2014

On Sunday, 19 October 2014, at around 18:30 UTC, comet C/2013 A1 – known widely as 'Siding Spring' after the Australian observatory where it was discovered in January 2013 – will make a close fly-by of Mars.

Intro Astronomy Class 3: Telescopes, the Moon

Bruce Betts • February 21, 2014

Explore optical, radio, and space telescopes and the Moon in the video of class 3 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Super-close supernova in M82

Emily Lakdawalla • January 22, 2014

The astronomy world is all a-twitter this morning over the discovery of a new supernova in M82, a galaxy that's in our astronomical backyard, "only" 12 million light-years away. And early word is that it appears to be a Type Ia supernova, the kind that's used as a standard candle to measure the expansion of the universe.

Planetary Radio: The Gemini Planet Imager

Mat Kaplan • January 14, 2014

It's very nice to infer the existence of planets circling other stars. It's even better to see them. This new instrument has just become the most powerful exoplanet viewer yet created.

Shaping the Search for Life

Jason Davis • January 14, 2014

A short film on the Giant Magellan Telescope, which could revolutionize exoplanet research and shape the search for life in the Universe.

A case of the measles for Jupiter?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 26, 2013

Amateur astronomer Christopher Go has found Jupiter to be putting on a fun show for observers: it's sprouting little red spots "like it has a measles attack!"

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.

Why does ISON look green?

Matthew Knight • October 29, 2013

You may have noticed that Comet ISON appears to have a green halo in some recent images, but in other images acquired at about the same time, it doesn’t. Thanks to the beautiful new spectrum posted earlier today by Christian Buil, it’s relatively easy to understand why.

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.

Our Improved Optical Search for ET

Bruce Betts • October 08, 2013

The Planetary Society Optical SETI (OSETI) Telescope was successfully upgraded and fully tested, and is now fully operational looking for aliens. Here are some updates on the performance and progress. In summary, the upgraded telescope is performing just as hoped and is scanning the skies.

Making mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope

Jason Davis • September 02, 2013

A video on the Giant Magellan Telescope and its third mirror, which was cast on August 24, 2013 at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab in Tucson, Ariz.

Book review: Europe to the Stars, by Govert Schilling and Lars Lindberg Christensen

Emily Lakdawalla • August 16, 2013

The world's great telescopes capture stunning photographs of stars, nebulae, and other sky phenomena. In Europe to the Stars, authors Govert Schilling and Lars Lindberg Christensen share many such photos. But the real stars of this book are the great telescopes of the European Southern Observatory.

Comet ISON lives on! (we think...)

Karl Battams • August 13, 2013

For several weeks now, ground-based observers have been blind to Comet ISON as our local star was sitting directly between us and the comet. I am delighted to share two pieces of good news: first, that ISON is still alive and well, and secondly that it has been recovered.

The Peak of Discovery

Mat Kaplan • July 16, 2013

This week's Planetary Radio goes on tour at the Mount Wilson Observatory with descendants of its founder.

Planetary Society Hangout: Arkyd Telescopes, Planetary Resources, Chris Lewicki

Bruce Betts • June 27, 2013

We talked to Chris Lewicki, President of Planetary Resources, about their upcoming Arkyd telescopes including one for the public, asteroid mining, and more. Hosted by Bruce Betts with Jennifer Vaughn.

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.

Checking in on Jupiter

Emily Lakdawalla • March 12, 2013

We don't have any spacecraft at Jupiter right now, which is a pity. Until we do, we have to rely upon Earth-based astronomers to monitor the changing face of the largest planet.

Sea Salt

Mike Brown • March 06, 2013

Ever wonder what it would taste like if you could lick the icy surface of Jupiter’s Europa? The answer may be that it would taste a lot like that last mouthful of water that you accidentally drank when you were swimming at the beach on your last vacation.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: Studying Asteroids from Earth with Andy Rivkin

Emily Lakdawalla • February 28, 2013

Emily Lakdawalla's guest this week was Applied Physics Laboratory asteroid astronomer Andy Rivkin. We talked about the menagerie of rocks in the asteroid belt, how many of them travel in pairs and triples, how some of them are surprisingly wet, and how much you can learn about asteroids using Earth-based telescopes.

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