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The Planetary Report • March Equinox 2016

The Blog Issue

On the Cover: Colorful and stunningly beautiful images of the cosmos have become a part of our everyday lives. Some viewers take them for granted as a natural outcome of our increasing technical prowess. But others ask, “Is that real?” In “Colors In Planetary Imaging,” astronomer and astrophotographer Travis Rector describes the processes that lead to these breathtaking—and very real—views of our universe. This portrait of the Horsehead Nebula was taken with the National Science Foundation’s 0.9-meter telescope on Arizona’s Kitt Peak using the National Optical Astronomy Observatory’s Mosaic CCD camera.
T.A. Rector (NOAO / AURA / NSF) and Hubble Heritage Team (NASA / STScI / AURA)


5 Curiosity Stores from AGU: Emily Lakdawalla shares two surprising reports from the American Geophysical Union conference.

10 Surveyor Digitization Project: Jason Davis visits the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory to watch history rescued from decades-old film.

13 The Solar System at 1 Kilometer Per Pixel: Emily's pop quiz on planetary surfaces.

14 What in the World(s) are Tholins? Sarah Hörst demystifies the complex gunk that makes Pluto red.

17 Colors in Planetary Imaging: Travis Rector discusses how scientists give us beautiful images of the cosmos.

21 The Solar System at 1 Kilometer Per Pixel: Emily provides the answers to her quiz.

23 Do You Vote for Space? Casey Dreier encourages Society members to use their voting power this election year.


4 Your Place in Space Bill Nye reflects on our efforts to inspire generations of explorers.

22 What’s Up? Mercury transits the Sun.

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Bill Nye and people
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