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Blogs

Emily Lakdawalla's blogs from 2009

Saturn shadows shift with the seasons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/19 03:39 CDT

So many goodies on the Cassini raw images website lately! I am especially excited when Cassini takes photos through red, green, and blue filters so that it's possible to create views that look roughly like what you'd see with your own eyes.

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Fun for Sunday: Titan and Tethys pas de deux

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/18 05:08 CDT

Checking in on Cassini's raw images this weekend, there are several nice shots to play with, including the many frames from which I tossed together this cute animation.

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Here comes Rosetta!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/16 02:43 CDT

Heads up! ESA's Rosetta comet-chasing mission is going to buzz by Earth again in less than a month.

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Opportunity's world of dunes and rock

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/16 01:28 CDT

Opportunity's been making tracks lately, with brief stops to check out a couple of meteorites. I thought this view of its surroundings on sol 2,034 (a couple of days ago) was neat.

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A brief word on Saturn's radius

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/15 06:44 CDT

I've had two people write in to correct my Phoebe ring post from yesterday.

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Rhea, Enceladus, Mimas, and Tethys, oh my!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/15 03:23 CDT

With the last Titan flyby on October 12, Cassini came back to an orbit that's nearly in the equatorial plane, and immediately rewarded us with some fine views of several of the icy moons. Here are a bunch of images of those moons.

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Netherlands fireball

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/14 05:58 CDT

I was debating whether to write anything about a reported fireball that streaked across the sky in the Netherlands at roughly 19:00 local time (17:00 UTC) yesterday, October 13, but seeing this image ended my internal debate.

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The Phoebe ring

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/14 04:06 CDT

Last week, planetary astronomers Anne Verbiscer, Michael Skrutskie, and Doug Hamilton published a paper in Nature succinctly titled "Saturn's Largest Ring." In the paper, they announce the discovery, using the Spitzer infrared space telescope, of a gargantuan, previously unseen ring around Saturn, encompassing the orbit of Phoebe.

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That psychedelic M-cubed Moon movie explained

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/13 05:50 CDT

Advance warning: this entry may be a little technical for some.

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AMASE 2009: Testing future Mars surface instruments in the Arctic

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/13 01:56 CDT

I have just posted four more blog entries from Juan Diego Rodgriguez-Blanco detailing the work conducted during this year's Artic Mars Analogue Svalbard Expedition (AMASE).

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OMG! Aurora!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/12 10:43 CDT

Unmannedspaceflight.com member Astro0 was fiddling around with an interesting-looking sequence of Cassini images when he discovered their purpose -- they were gathered in order to see if Cassini could catch aurorae flaring into being near Saturn's north pole. Cassini sure did!

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Video from Palomar Observatory on LCROSS impact night

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/10 04:47 CDT

The Palomar Observatory adaptive optics image of the crater Cabeus remains the best I've seen from ground-based telescopes of the LCROSS impact site.

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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner detection of LCROSS impact

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/09 05:08 CDT

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner team just released some preliminary views of their data taken during the LCROSS impact, which clearly shows the thermal signature from the crash into the Moon.

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Graphics from the LCROSS press briefing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/09 03:59 CDT

It's been a little difficult to get a hold of the graphics that they used at this morning's press briefing.

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LCROSS: A "morning after" wrapup

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/09 12:17 CDT

So the big drama on LCROSS is over.

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LCROSS visible spectrometer data showing impact flash

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/09 10:57 CDT

This plot just shows the aggregate radiance in ultraviolet and visible wavelengths -- all wavelengths -- seen by one of LCROSS' spectrometers after the Centaur hit the Moon.

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Palomar image of crater Cabeus after LCROSS impact

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/09 10:43 CDT

Here's the sharpest optical image shown today of the Moon, from Palomar Observatory.

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MMT image of the plume and its shadow?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/09 10:02 CDT

I am pretty sure this image shows the LCROSS impact plume and its shadow as seen from the MMT observatory in Arizona, but as Alan Boyle just pointed out, the time stamps indicate the photos were all taken before the nominal impact time.

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LCROSS impact recap, with animations

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/09 08:46 CDT

Quite a night! I set my alarm for 3:15 am in order to get up and watch LCROSS crash into the Moon.

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Screen caps of NASA TV LCROSS camera images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/09 06:54 CDT

I am having issues with TwitPic this morning, so will occasionally post new images from the LCROSS camera to this blog entry.

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Gorgeous Kaguya image of Cabeus crater; where to watch impact

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/09 06:16 CDT

I'm back online and ready to watch LCROSS smash into the Moon this morning!

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LCROSS Centaur separation and braking burn successful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/08 10:55 CDT

LCROSS and its Centaur upper stage have separated successfully, and the LCROSS shepherd spacecraft has braked in order to follow behind the Centaur when both impact the Moon tomorrow.

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LROC nabs image of the Apollo 14 S-IVB impact site

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/08 06:33 CDT

As a reminder that we've been crashing stuff into the Moon for decades, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team released today a photo of the crater made by the spent upper stage of the Saturn rocket that lofted the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon.

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A couple of helpful visualizations of LCROSS impact

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/08 05:25 CDT

The visualization studio at Goddard Space Flight Center has just posted some handy simulations of what we can expect the LCROSS impact to look like.

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LCROSS impact preview

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/08 03:19 CDT

Way early tomorrow morning, LCROSS and its Centaur upper stage will crash into the lunar south pole.

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MESSENGER is fine

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/07 04:11 CDT

The caption to today's image release from the MESSENGER team concerns their long-term campaign to study Mercury's brightness through a range of phase angles.

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DPS: The amazing wound-up C ring, by Josh Colwell

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/07 03:07 CDT

DPS: The amazing wound-up C ring, by Josh Colwell

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App review: Moon Globe and Mars Globe: Five stars!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/07 02:23 CDT

App review: Moon Globe and Mars Globe: Five stars!!

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A podcast, a space carnival, and a New Horizons Planetary Radio Q and A

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/07 01:54 CDT

A podcast, a space carnival, and a New Horizons Planetary Radio Q and A

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Changes in Titan's southern lakes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/06 05:19 CDT

Today's science press release out of the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting concerns changes in lakes near Titan's south pole observed during Cassini's mission. In brief, repeat Cassini RADAR observations of the same spots during different Titan flybys turned up places where there appeared to be dark lakes in earlier images and dry lakes in later images.

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The September-October 2009 issue of The Planetary Report is out

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/06 02:48 CDT

The September-October 2009 issue of The Planetary Report is out

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Prizes for Steve Squyres, Toby Owen, Kelly Beatty, and Sarah Stewart-Mukhopadhyay

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/06 12:50 CDT

Prizes for Steve Squyres, Toby Owen, Kelly Beatty, and Sarah Stewart-Mukhopadhyay

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2008 TC3: One year later (a 365 Days of Astronomy podcast)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/05 05:53 CDT

2008 TC3: One year later (a 365 Days of Astronomy podcast)

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Another possible piece of evidence for a Rhea ring

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/05 02:30 CDT

Another possible piece of evidence for a Rhea ring

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Massive MESSENGER Mercury Mosaic

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/05 02:13 CDT

Massive MESSENGER Mercury Mosaic

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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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It would appear that Opportunity has stumbled upon another meteorite

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/02 12:58 CDT

I wonder if this came from the same original body as Block Island, or if Meridiani is the kind of slowly deflating landscape that accumulates meteorites at its surface, like the ANSMET meteorite hunting spots in Antarctica?

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What's up in the solar system in October 2009

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/01 10:04 CDT

What's up in the solar system in October 2009

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Another lunar lander photographed: Surveyor 1!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/30 05:40 CDT

Another lunar lander photographed: Surveyor 1!

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Third Time's No Charm: MESSENGER's Third Gravity Assist Successful, But "Safe Mode" Interrupts Science

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/30 02:05 CDT

Third Time's No Charm: MESSENGER's Third Gravity Assist Successful, But "Safe Mode" Interrupts Science

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MESSENGER went into safe mode before closest approach

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/30 10:14 CDT

MESSENGER went into safe mode before closest approach

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Opportunity on the move

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/29 11:49 CDT

Opportunity rover is driving, driving, driving. It departed the meteorite named Block Island on sol 2,004 and has routinely clocked 70 meters per driving day (with drives every other day).

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A little drama during the MESSENGER Mercury flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/29 07:18 CDT

A little drama during the MESSENGER Mercury flyby

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MESSENGER just passed closest approach!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/29 05:58 CDT

MESSENGER just passed closest approach!

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MESSENGER's latest Mercury image

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/29 07:13 CDT

MESSENGER's latest Mercury image

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Now it's Cabeus, not Cabeus A, for LCROSS

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/28 04:19 CDT

Now it's Cabeus, not Cabeus A, for LCROSS

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Dawn, now with 33% more Vesta

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/28 03:27 CDT

Dawn, now with 33% more Vesta

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Carnival of Space #122

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/28 03:27 CDT

Carnival of Space #122

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Planetary Radio Q and A: Who sees better, Hubble or ground-based scopes with adaptive optics?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/28 12:07 CDT

Planetary Radio Q and A: Who sees better, Hubble or ground-based scopes with adaptive optics?

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Fifty-five hours from Mercury

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/28 09:52 CDT

Fifty-five hours from Mercury

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My Tweets this week

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/26 05:07 CDT

My Tweets this week

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The "Water on the Moon" Hoopla, Part 2: The murkier part of the story

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/25 05:02 CDT

How much water is there on the Moon, and is it in a form that human explorers could use? This part of the story has many more questions and many fewer definite conclusions.

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The "Water on the Moon" Hoopla, Part 1: There's water on the Moon!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/25 02:32 CDT

For a couple of weeks now, I've been hearing rumors about an upcoming announcement concerning Chandrayaan-1 Moon Mineralogy Mapper ("M3") discovery of "lots of" water on the Moon.

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Here comes Mercury

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/25 12:30 CDT

Here comes Mercury

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Planetary Society Statement on Water on the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/24 02:31 CDT

Planetary Society Statement on Water on the Moon

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The Moon as seen by Cassini VIMS, processed by an amateur

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/24 01:17 CDT

The Moon as seen by Cassini VIMS, processed by an amateur

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An ALMA antenna journeys to its pad

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/24 12:40 CDT

An ALMA antenna journeys to its pad

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Beautiful 3D animation of Spirit's environs in Gusev Crater

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/23 08:14 CDT

Doug Ellison has done it again: he's created a spectacular overflight of Gusev crater based upon digital elevation models of the terrain produced by the United States Geological Survey from HiRISE data.

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Looking forward to MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/23 05:30 CDT

Looking forward to MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury

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MESSENGER's Final Flyby of Mercury: Old Territory, New Science

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/23 09:00 CDT

MESSENGER is fast approaching the third and final Mercury flyby during its seven-year journey to the innermost planet.

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Planetary Radio Q and A: Boom-boom!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/22 05:11 CDT

Planetary Radio Q and A: Boom-boom!

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More Saturn equinox image goodies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/22 12:04 CDT

More Saturn equinox image goodies

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Saturn equinox image goodies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/21 06:11 CDT

Saturn equinox image goodies

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No more rumors: It's now fact that Phobos-Grunt will be delayed to 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/21 01:00 CDT

No more rumors: It's now fact that Phobos-Grunt will be delayed to 2011

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Venus looks more boring than you think it does

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/21 12:54 CDT

Venus looks more boring than you think it does

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A piece of an asteroid returns to the telescope that discovered it

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/20 11:50 CDT

A piece of an asteroid returns to the telescope that discovered it

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Two weeks of Tweets

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/18 04:58 CDT

Two weeks of Tweets

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Some more Friday fun: How many planets?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/18 03:46 CDT

Some more Friday fun: How many planets?

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Just for fun: the spacecraft bulletin board at JPL

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/17 05:53 CDT

Just for fun: the spacecraft bulletin board at JPL

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Some first results from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (or, I love LOLA)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/17 02:09 CDT

Some first results from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (or, I love LOLA)

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How does Hubble compare?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/16 06:13 CDT

How does Hubble compare?

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LCROSS: Hitting those tantalizing purple pixels

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/16 12:32 CDT

LCROSS: Hitting those tantalizing purple pixels

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Planetary Radio Q and A: Moonquakes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/15 05:15 CDT

Planetary Radio Q and A: Moonquakes

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Opportunity's highway, and a tour of Block Island

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/15 12:35 CDT

Just a cool image to start the morning: after a 70-meter drive yesterday, Opportunity's following not one but two sets of its own tracks.

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Interpreting a crater on the Moon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/14 01:11 CDT

The images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera or LROC are absolutely stunning.

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LCROSS Mission Selects Crater Cabeus A As Target for October 9 Impact

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/11 03:26 CDT

LCROSS Mission Selects Crater Cabeus A As Target for October 9 Impact

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A rare view of Iapetus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/11 12:57 CDT

A rare view of Iapetus

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Two new blogs to follow: 3D planets and image treasures

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/10 04:12 CDT

Two new blogs to follow: 3D planets and image treasures

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New Hubble images: News story with lots of pics now posted

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/09 08:07 CDT

New Hubble images: News story with lots of pics now posted

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New Hubble images!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/09 11:49 CDT

New Hubble images!

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Planetary Radio Q and A: How do you know which way a star rotates?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/08 02:54 CDT

Planetary Radio Q and A: How do you know which way a star rotates?

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Carnival of Space #119 is here at The Planetary Society Blog

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/07 12:40 CDT

Carnival of Space #119 is here at The Planetary Society Blog

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A week of Tweets

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/06 07:56 CDT

A week of Tweets

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Continuing the Search for Mars Polar Lander

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/04 02:35 CDT

Continuing the Search for Mars Polar Lander

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Happy Saturn ring plane crossing day!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/04 11:40 CDT

Happy Saturn ring plane crossing day!

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Apollo 12 and Surveyor 3!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/03 02:47 CDT

Apollo 12 and Surveyor 3!

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New HiRISE image of Spirit at Home Plate

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/03 01:43 CDT

There's a lovely new color HiRISE image of Spirit at Home Plate. It was captured on July 16 (sol 1,968), and Spirit is firmly entrenched at Troy, on the western side of Home Plate.

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Dust storm update: Skies clearing for Spirit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/02 12:25 CDT

For a while, Mars was beating Spirit while she was down, throwing a dust storm at the rover where it's bogged up to its hubcaps in fluffy soil When lots of dust is lofted into the sky, the hazard is that when it comes down, it may come down on the rover and its solar panels. But it appears things on Spirit are still pretty clean.

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Station fire update: Mount Wilson safe, ready for "another hundred years" of science

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/02 11:55 CDT

Station fire update: Mount Wilson safe, ready for "another hundred years" of science

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Cassini goodies: Telesto, Janus, Prometheus, Pandora, F ring

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/01 12:40 CDT

Cassini goodies: Telesto, Janus, Prometheus, Pandora, F ring

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Planetary Radio Q and A: How do you make a mark on a planet made of gas?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/01 11:00 CDT

Planetary Radio Q and A: How do you make a mark on a planet made of gas?

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What's up in the solar system in September 2009: MESSENGER's 3rd Mercury flyby coming up!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/31 04:53 CDT

What's up in the solar system in September 2009: MESSENGER's 3rd Mercury flyby coming up!

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Carnival of Space #118

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/31 12:59 CDT

Carnival of Space #118

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Station Fire update: Mount Wilson Observatory still there, but still under threat

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/31 11:59 CDT

Station Fire update: Mount Wilson Observatory still there, but still under threat

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The Station Fire is near JPL and even closer to Mt. Wilson

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/29 08:34 CDT

The Station Fire is near JPL and even closer to Mt. Wilson

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Chandrayaan-1 lost

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/29 10:29 CDT

Chandrayaan-1 lost

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My Tweets this week

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/28 05:01 CDT

My Tweets this week

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"WISE Guys"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/27 02:58 CDT

"WISE Guys"

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Updates from the Arctic Mars Analogue Svalbard Expedition (AMASE)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/26 05:45 CDT

Updates from the Arctic Mars Analogue Svalbard Expedition (AMASE)

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Happy 3rd anniversary of the Spirit landing!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/26 02:03 CDT

"Third anniversary?" some of you may be asking. "Hasn't it been more like five years since Spirit landed?" Five Earth years, yes. But today is the third anniversary of the landing, measured in Mars years.

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