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Snapshots From Space: NASA's Treasure Trove of Unprocessed Images

Mat Kaplan • February 27, 2012

The second episode of Emily Lakdawalla's new video series reveals the gigantic library of solar system images captured by NASA spacecraft, and explains why we've seen so few of them. Emily says they're all online, waiting for space geeks to turn them into gold.

This is how far human radio broadcasts have reached into the galaxy

Emily Lakdawalla • February 24, 2012

There is an ever-expanding bubble announcing Humanity's presence to anyone listening in the Milky Way.

Iapetus' peerless equatorial ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • February 22, 2012

A new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets by Dombard, Cheng, McKinnon, and KayI claims to explain how Iapetus' equatorial ridge formed. Cool!

NASA Budget Cuts Do Not Make Business Sense

Garry Hunt • February 22, 2012

Garry Hunt brings a distinctive perspective to the now-raging debate over the cuts to NASA's science program proposed in the Administration's fiscal year 2013 budget.

Space, Available

Jim Bell • February 22, 2012

Recent deep funding cuts by the Administration and Congress for NASA's space exploration programs are turning the final frontier into an ever-receding dream. "To boldly go" is quickly becoming "to cheaply dink around."

Pretty picture: A sunset postcard and a special shadow from Opportunity

Emily Lakdawalla • February 21, 2012

It took Don Davis many hours of meticulous labor to assemble this beautiful postcard from Mars.

Emily's New Video Series: Snapshots From Space

Mat Kaplan • February 20, 2012

This is the first episode of editor Emily Lakdawalla's new video series exploring the solar system.

Adventures in urban astrophotography

Jason Davis • February 20, 2012

Just because you live in an urban area with skyglow doesn't mean you can't have fun with astrophotography. How to capture the planets, constellations and the ISS.

More Dawn Vesta approach images: First color views

Emily Lakdawalla • February 17, 2012

On June 30, Dawn stopped thrusting for a full Vestian day -- five hours and 20 minutes -- and just watched the asteroid rotate. But unlike the previous observations, they used all of Dawn's color filters to acquire the best-ever color photos of the lumpy world.

Discouraging the search for Mars Polar Lander

Emily Lakdawalla • February 17, 2012

I'm not encouraging people to search individual images for the Mars Polar Lander anymore, for three reasons.

The Scale of the Universe, by Cary and Michael Huang

Emily Lakdawalla • February 16, 2012

Cary and Michael Huang present a basic "powers of ten" visualization starting at human scale from which you can scrub downward smaller than quarks or upward to the scale of the entire universe.

Where are the big Kuiper belt objects?

Emily Lakdawalla • February 16, 2012

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.

Figuring out orbital positions from orbital elements

Emily Lakdawalla • February 16, 2012

A few times a year I find myself confronting a table full of numbers describing the orbits of things in the solar system, and cursing at myself because I've forgotten, again, what all these numbers mean and how to manipulate them to get the particular numbers I want.

Big Bend designated International Dark Sky Park

Neil Patrick Stewart • February 16, 2012

Last week, I received a press release with the headline "Big Bend National Park Designated As International Dark Sky Park." I asked my brother Neil to write something about this announcement for me.

Dawn images of Vesta! Released!! For everyone!!!

Emily Lakdawalla • February 14, 2012

Some time in the last few days, the Dawn team made public the first preliminary version of the first release of their data from the Vesta phase of their mission.

Infographic: Viewing our universe's colors

Emily Lakdawalla • February 14, 2012

An infographic explains in what "colors" of electromagnetic radiation we been able to observe our universe, over the length of the space age.

First Astronomy Course Lecture Posted Online

Bruce Betts • February 14, 2012

I gave the first lecture of my Introduction to Astronomy and Planetary Science course last Wednesday, starting with a tour of the solar system. The course is Physics 195 at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Visiting the San Diego SpaceUp Unconference

Mat Kaplan • February 14, 2012

Emily Lakdawalla and I drove down to the 3rd annual San Diego SpaceUp Unconference on February 4. We had great fun hanging out with the other space geeks.

NASA Budget Pushes Science to the Brink

Bill Nye • February 13, 2012

Today, NASA announced its budget for its fiscal year 2013. As you might imagine, there are large budget cuts. But, the planetary science program has been cut disproportionately. NASA's allocations are out of balance.

Comparing Chang'e 2 and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter maps of the Moon

Phil Stooke • February 13, 2012

How does the LRO lunar map compare with the new Chinese product from Chang'e 2?

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