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Blog Archive


Two JAXA mission updates: Akatsuki Venus orbit entry and PROCYON Earth flyby coming up!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/19 05:51 CST

Akatsuki is finally approaching its second attempt to enter Venus orbit, on December 7; let's all wish JAXA the best of luck! And PROCYON, whose ion engines have failed, is still an otherwise perfectly functional spacecraft that is taking photos of Earth and the Moon as it approaches for a flyby.

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A Sky Full of Stars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2015/03/09 08:03 CDT | 3 comments

In pictures of the planets, the stars aren't usually visible. But when they do appear, they're spectacular.

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Surveyor Digitization Project Will Bring Thousands of Unseen Lunar Images to Light

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/10/24 02:03 CDT | 4 comments

A team of scientists at the University of Arizona plan to digitize 87,000 vintage images from the surface of the moon, of which less than two percent have ever been seen.

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From Mercury orbit, MESSENGER watches a lunar eclipse

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/10/10 10:07 CDT | 3 comments

Watch as our enormous moon -- a quarter the diameter of the planet -- just winks out as it passes into Earth's long shadow, in an animation captured from more than 100 million kilometers away.

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A new Earthrise over the Moon from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's pushframe camera

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/05/13 11:53 CDT

Earth's brilliant colors shine above the drab lunar horizon in this new "Earthrise" photo from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. An animation that accompanied the image release helped me to write an explainer on how pushframe cameras like Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's Wide-Angle Camera works.

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Another Day in the Solar System

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/05/12 09:56 CDT | 1 comments

One day, five worlds.

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Looking Backward: Curiosity gazes upon the setting Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/02/05 11:58 CST | 10 comments

A few days ago, Curiosity looked westward after sunset and photographed Earth setting toward the mountainous rim of Gale crater.

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New version of panoramic view from Chang'e 3

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/21 05:02 CST

A higher-resolution version of the Chang'e 3 lander's panoramic view of the lunar surface has appeared on the Web, and artist Don Davis has cleaned it of artifacts to make a beautiful, seamless view. In other news, the mission has been reorganized to accommodate a possibly year-long adventure on the lunar surface.

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Finally, some high-quality photos from Chang'e 3!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/10 11:37 CST | 8 comments

A pile of Chang'e 3 photos has been released to the Web, and they are much, much better than what I've seen before. They include, for the first time, photos of Earth from the lander.

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First image from India's Mars Orbiter Mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/20 11:17 CST | 6 comments

Here, for your enjoyment, is the first image of Earth taken by the mission's Mars Colour Camera.

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Juno is in Safe Mode again, but still okay
All Earth flyby data on the ground, including JunoCam images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/16 06:59 CDT | 6 comments

After entering safe mode last week during its Earth flyby, Juno returned to normal operations and downlinked all engineering and science instrument data. It entered safe mode again on Sunday night, but it is expected to re-resume normal operations late next week.

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Pretty picture: Looking backward

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/23 05:03 CDT | 15 comments

Here it is: the view from Saturn of our Earthly home, one and a half billion kilometers away. We see Earth and the Moon through a thin veil of faintly blue ice crystals, the outskirts of Saturn's E ring. Earth is just a bright dot -- a bit brighter than the other stars in the image, but no brighter than any planet (like Saturn!) in our own sky.

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Earth and Moon from MESSENGER

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/22 05:03 CDT | 3 comments

A new picture of the Earth-Moon system from MESSENGER, taken the same day we were told to "Wave at Saturn." Updated with a neat photo taken from much closer to Earth from a similar perspective.

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Return of the Pale Blue Dot
Join the Wave at Saturn (and Mercury)!

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/07/18 11:27 CDT | 4 comments

You can be part of a planetwide group photo as Cassini and MESSENGER turn their cameras Earthward on July 19.

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Messages of Wonder

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/03/18 04:22 CDT

Some lovely, rarely-seen images from the MESSENGER mission.

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Pretty picture: a moon transit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/02/21 05:52 CST | 5 comments

A reader comment inspired me to dig up an oldie but a goodie: a sequence of photos of the Moon transiting Earth, seen from a very long way away,

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A solar eclipse - as viewed from the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/05/28 11:19 CDT | 3 comments

A solar eclipse isn't just a spiffy sight to Earthlings; it looks pretty cool to lunar dwellers as well.

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Pretty picture: Earth and Moon from JunoCam

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/30 11:53 CDT

It's always awe-inspiring to see our great world as just a tiny spot within vast space. The latest spacecraft to get such a view of Earth and the Moon is the Jupiter-bound Juno.

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The Solar System from the Inside Out - and the Outside In

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/18 02:27 CST

Space probes grant us perspective, the ability to see our place within the vastness of the solar system. But opportunities to see all of the solar system's planets in one observation are rare. In fact, there's only been one opportunity on one mission to see the whole solar system at once, until now.

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Five amazing engineering camera videos from Chang'E 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/14 03:26 CST

I couldn't believe these videos when I first saw them: five views from engineering cameras of important events in the Chang'E 2 spacecraft's journey to the Moon.

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