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Blog Archive

 

Memo to early risers: Look up!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/02 11:46 CDT

There is a traffic jam of planets on the eastern horizon in the early morning right now and for the next several weeks, a prize for those of you who have to rise before dawn.

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The scale of our solar system

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/02 11:26 CDT

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.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's up in the second quarter of 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/07 11:16 CDT

Regular readers of this blog will find the content of today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast familiar, because it's an update on what the solar system exploration spacecraft are up to, based on my monthly "what's up" updates.

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LPSC 2011: Day 3: Moon, Mars, and Venus

Posted by Ted Stryk on 2011/03/10 11:11 CST

Wednesday morning included some interesting conversations. Notably, I spoke with Pamela Gay, who is responsible for the MoonZoo citizen science program and who is presently working on developing a site through which the public will be able to help search for potential Kuiper belt objects for the New Horizons mission to encounter after the Pluto flyby.

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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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IKAROS: self-portrait with Venus; primary mission complete

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/26 11:18 CST

JAXA posted a report today stating that IKAROS "has completed its regular operations."

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Two possible futures for Akatsuki

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/05 12:02 CST

There are two intriguing possibilities being discussed in the Japanese media for what to do with Akatsuki, a space probe in orbit near Venus with a fully functional, highly capable suite of cameras but a damaged main engine.

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Door 23 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/23 02:56 CST

Time to open the twenty-third door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this oozing wound?

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Door 16 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/16 01:40 CST

Time to open the sixteenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this widespread fan?

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Come back, Venus.....

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/09 10:04 CST

This image is so, so beautiful, and so, so sad.

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Akatsuki enters orbit at Venus today!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/06 12:30 CST

In just a few hours, Venus will have a second orbiter. Japan's Akatsuki is due to start firing its orbit insertion engines on December 7.

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Door 5 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/05 05:45 CST

Time to open the fifth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this meandering river?

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Venus: Not so neat and tidy as we thought

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/23 12:12 CDT

Pioneer Venus discovered a stable "dipole" near Venus' north pole, and Venus Express found the same thing near Venus' south pole. Except now Venus Express has found it's not as stable as once thought.

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Special report by Bill Nye from the VEXAG Meeting

Posted by Bill Nye on 2010/09/02 04:01 CDT

Is Venus the forgotten planet, or just one that's hard to figure out?

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One month, one journal, so many missed space stories!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/24 10:53 CDT

Or: Emily reads you the table of contents of Icarus.

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Hubble turns 20

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/23 03:02 CDT

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.

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Venus Express evidence for recent hot-spot volcanism on Venus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/09 04:51 CDT

Venus? What? Somebody still studies that planet? Yes, and in fact there's an active spacecraft there: Venus Express, the poor little sister to Mars Express.

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LPSC: Venus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/10 02:16 CST

Despite the fact that I began my career in science doing research on Magellan images of Venus, I've often avoided Venus sessions at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference because they've tended to be pointlessly contentious. But I decided to attend the one this year to see how things went.

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MESSENGER gets two planets for the price of one

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/02 12:49 CDT

Here's a pretty shot of Mercury taken by MESSENGER on approach...but wait, what's that tiny little speck in the lower left corner of the photo?

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Exciting Times Ahead: 2010 Will Sizzle, and 2011 Will Really Cook!

Posted by Alan Stern on 2009/05/18 03:56 CDT

Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.

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