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Blog Archive


Favorite Astro Plots #1: Asteroid orbital parameters

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/10/01 03:42 CDT | 3 comments

This is the first in a series of posts in which scientists share favorite planetary science plots. For my #FaveAstroPlot, I explain what you can see when you look at how asteroid orbit eccentricity and inclination vary with distance from the Sun.

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Proposals to Explore the Solar System’s Smallest Worlds

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/07/27 12:14 CDT | 10 comments

Van Kane rounds up some of the latest NASA Discovery mission proposals aiming to explore our solar system's smallest bodies.

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A second ringed centaur? Centaurs with rings could be common

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/01/27 12:43 CST | 3 comments

Chiron, which is both a centaur and a comet, may also have rings.

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Hangout on Air: Why yesterday was a good day for Solar System Science

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/03/27 11:52 CDT

On Wednesday, March 26, two important discoveries in the outer solar system were announced: the discovery of the second confirmed member of the Inner Oort Cloud (2012 VP113) and the discovery of rings around the planetesimal Chariklo. In a Hangout on Air, a rag-tag group of planetary scientists and astronomers active on Twitter talked about the discoveries.

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A Centaur’s shadow reveals bright rings

Posted by Alex Parker on 2014/03/27 09:28 CDT | 7 comments

Yesterday, a team of astronomers announced that they discovered a set of planet-like rings around Chariklo, an asteroid-like body that currently resides in the unstable region between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus.

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2011 HM102: A new companion for Neptune

Posted by Alex Parker on 2013/04/30 04:20 CDT | 2 comments

This month my latest paper made it to print in the Astronomical Journal. It's a short piece that describes a serendipitous discovery that my collaborators and I made while searching for a distant Kuiper Belt Object for the New Horizons spacecraft to visit after its 2015 Pluto flyby.

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Planetary Society Weekly Hangout: Being WISE about asteroids, comets, and brown dwarfs with Amy Mainzer

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/03/14 02:00 CDT

This week I'll be talking with NEOWISE principal investigator Amy Mainzer about moving objects that the WISE mission has spotted both inside and outside our solar system.

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Kuiper Belt Objects Submitted to Minor Planet Center

Posted by Alex Parker on 2013/01/25 03:30 CST | 2 comments

Recently, several of the Kuiper Belt Objects our team has discovered while searching for New Horizons post-Pluto flyby candidates have been submitted to the Minor Planet Center and their orbital information is now in the public domain.

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Citizen "Ice Hunters" help find a Neptune Trojan target for New Horizons

Posted by Alex Parker on 2012/10/09 12:15 CDT | 1 comments

2011 HM102 is an L5 Neptune Trojan, trailing Neptune by approximately 60 degrees. This object was discovered in the search for a New Horizons post-Pluto encounter object in the Kuiper Belt.

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Where are the big Kuiper belt objects?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/16 05:35 CST | 8 comments

Earlier today I wrote a post about how to calculate the position of a body in space from its orbital elements. I'm trying to get a big-picture view of what's going on in trans-Neptunian space.

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Meeting today: The infelicitously named "SBAG"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/25 01:45 CDT

NASA funds regular meetings of scientists who work on different parts of the solar system to provide scientific input into NASA's future plans. These "analysis groups" are known by their acronyms, all of which sound kind of horrible, but none has quite as terrible-sounding an acronym as "SBAG," usually pronouced "ess-bag," the Small Bodies Assessment Group.

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2008 LC15, the first Trojan asteroid discovered in Neptune's L5 point

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/08/13 10:52 CDT

Congratulations to Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo for identifying the first known L5 Trojan asteroid of Neptune!

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