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What's up in the solar system in April 2011

Emily Lakdawalla • March 31, 2011

April 2011 will see MESSENGER begin the science phase of its orbital mission at Mercury, and should, I think, also see the start of Dawn's approach observations of Vesta. At Mars, Opportunity is back on the road again, rolling inexorably toward Endeavour. At Saturn, Cassini will continue its focus on Saturn and Titan science.

What's up in the solar system in March 2011

Emily Lakdawalla • February 28, 2011

I don't think there's any question what the big event of this month will be: MESSENGER is finally, finally entering orbit at Mercury on March 18 at 00:45 UTC (March 17 at 16:45 for me).

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

Emily Lakdawalla • February 18, 2011

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.

Snapshots from Space: Voyager views of the Great Red Spot, Björn Jönsson

Emily Lakdawalla • February 10, 2011

I've got a new column in the Planetary Society's member magazine, The Planetary Report, called "Snapshots from Space," highlighting really cool amateur-processed images. I'm excited to have the opportunity to help these people get their work published!

Io and Jupiter from Voyager 1

Emily Lakdawalla • January 31, 2011

Here's an image I've been meaning to post for months, a new mosaic from Voyager 1 by Ted Stryk of Io crossing Jupiter's terminator as it neared closest approach.

Uranus and Challenger

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2011

In the past week there have been 25th anniversaries of two events in 1986, one great, one terrible: the closest approach of Voyager 2 to Uranus on January 24, and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger upon liftoff on January 28.

Door 8 in the 2010 advent calendar

Emily Lakdawalla • December 08, 2010

Time to open the eighth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this nearly flat plain?

Final set of Voyager Mission Status Bulletins: The Voyager 2 Neptune flyby and beyond

Emily Lakdawalla • November 24, 2010

I'm surprised no one's emailed me demanding the last batch of Voyager mission status bulletins! Well, here they are.

An awesome animation of Jupiter's clouds

Emily Lakdawalla • November 09, 2010

Ready to see something beautiful? Here's a team effort by Björn Jónsson and Ian Regan to create a really mesmerizing view of the motions of Jupiter's clouds.

Voyager Mission Status Bulletins: Jupiter and Saturn

Emily Lakdawalla • September 24, 2010

Last week I posted a stack of Voyager Mission Status Bulletins, which were once the main resource for space enthusiasts to follow the dramatic events and photos of an in-flight space mission.

The Voyager Mission Updates

Emily Lakdawalla • September 14, 2010

We take for granted now the ability to get detailed mission updates in a timely fashion via the Web. But How did people get their mission status before the Web?

Possibly the best view of the Great Red Spot ever

Björn Jónsson • September 01, 2010

This is a new, big mosaic of Voyager 1 images, this time showing the Great Red Spot at high resolution.

Jupiter's swirling storms from Voyager 1

Emily Lakdawalla • August 26, 2010

Amateur image mage Björn Jónsson has recently turned his attention back to Voyager 1's close-up images of Jupiter.

The August 20, 2010 Jupiter fireball -- and the March 5, 1979 one

Emily Lakdawalla • August 24, 2010

Following up on the story I first posted on August 22, the Jupiter impact fireball first noticed by Japanese amateur astronomer Masayuki Tachikawa has been independently confirmed by two other Japanese astronomers.

Exposing Io's true colors

Jason Perry • August 20, 2010

Thanks to its active volcanic activity and sulfur-rich surface, Io is one of the most colorful worlds yet seen in the Solar System, save the Earth of course

Voyager at Saturn, one year later

Emily Lakdawalla • July 27, 2010

Here are two newly processed portraits of Saturn, showing the planet just after its equinox.

Volcanism across the solar system: Io

Emily Lakdawalla • July 20, 2010

Three months ago, grandiosely, I announced that I was going to survey volcanism across the solar system, and I began the journey on Earth. Then I failed to follow up.

Voyager 2's flipped bit fixed

Emily Lakdawalla • May 21, 2010

A happy ending to this story: JPL reported yesterday evening that the flipped bit in Voyager 2's flight data system software has been successfully toggled back to its correct value.

Voyager 2 status update: Yep, it was a flipped bit

Emily Lakdawalla • May 17, 2010

Voyager 2's engineers have confirmed that the problem with the spacecraft was indeed the result of a single flipped bit in its software, as they predicted.

Update on Voyager 2 status

Emily Lakdawalla • May 13, 2010

Good old Voyager 2; she takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

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