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Snapshots from Space

by Emily Lakdawalla

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Emily Lakdawalla

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Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!

Looking Back at MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • February 08, 2019 • 1

A crescent view of MU69 reveals its bizarre shape. Let's look at lots of other fun-shaped space crescents.

Why are there no stars in most space images?

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2019 • 6

Look up at space at night from a dark location and you can see innumerable stars. Why, then, do photos of so many things in space show black space, devoid of stars?

A few new images of MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2019 • 4

New Horizons is back in action after going quiet for a period of solar conjunction following the 1 January flyby of 2014 MU69 (informally nicknamed "Ultima Thule"). The spacecraft is returning new data, as exemplified by these images.

MU69 appears as a bi-lobed baby comet in latest New Horizons images

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2019 • 8

The latest images downlinked from New Horizons show MU69 to be a textbook example of a contact binary. How do contact binaries form? Updated with images released on 3 January.

Happy New Year! The New Horizons flyby was successful!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 01, 2019 • 2

New Horizons has "phoned home" as expected, 4 hours after its closest approach to 2014 MU69. Its brief transmission contained no science data, but gave the scientists welcome news: New Horizons has successfully pulled off the most distant flyby ever.

New Horizons fast approaching 2014 MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2018 • 3

Unaffected by the shutdown of the U.S. government, New Horizons is still on course for its New Year’s encounter with 2014 MU69 (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”). This post collects the latest images from New Horizons' approach to the tiny Kuiper belt object and will be updated regularly.

What to Expect When New Horizons Visits 2014 MU69, Ultima Thule

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2018 • 5

New Horizons is rapidly approaching its New Year’s encounter with the most distant world ever visited, 2014 MU69. Closest approach will be at a distance of 3,500 kilometers at about 05:33 on 1 January UTC.

OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons catch first sight of their targets

Emily Lakdawalla • August 29, 2018 • 3

Both OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons achieved first light on their still-distant targets this week. Between now and the end of 2018, Bennu and 2014 MU69 will turn from points of light into places.

Sketching a science meeting

Emily Lakdawalla • March 02, 2018 • 3

The Planetary Society has always enjoyed the connections between science and art, so when I saw Leila Qışın's sketches pop up on her Twitter feed during the recent New Horizons team meeting, I knew I had to share them with you.

New Horizons prepares for encounter with 2014 MU69

Emily Lakdawalla • January 24, 2018 • 7

Throughout 2018, New Horizons will cruise toward its January 1 encounter with 2014 MU69. Preparations for the flyby are nearly complete.

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