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Blogs

Emily Lakdawalla's blogs from 2010

Door 31 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/31 09:41 CST

Time to open the thirty-first (and next-to-last) door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these dark-rimmed craters?

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Bye bye, Kodachrome, but "Kodak moments" will live on in space

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/31 08:04 CST

This week is the end for Kodachrome film. It's a casualty of the digital revolution.

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Door 30 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/30 03:39 CST

Time to open the thirtieth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this ridged crater?

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The Year in Pictures: 2010

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/30 03:28 CST

I've just posted my annual roundup of significant images from planetary exploration in 2010.

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What's up in the solar system in January 2011 - and the rest of the year in preview

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/30 02:53 CST

Ready for the New Year? It's going to be an exciting one.

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Door 29 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/29 12:25 CST

Time to open the twenty-ninth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this fractured flowing ice?

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A unique look inside the SOFIA telescope and other cool stuff

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/29 12:14 CST

Did you know that before Bill Nye was the Planetary Guy or even the Science Guy he was an aerospace engineer, designing components for the Boeing 747?

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SOHO's 2000th comet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/29 11:36 CST

SOHO was launched more than 15 years ago to study the Sun, primarily; but a side benefit of its constant observation of the Sun has been its ability to notice "sungrazers," comets that are on deadly close approaches to our star.

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Door 28 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/28 08:37 CST

Time to open the twenty-eighth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this cratered and streaked surface?

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Small Worlds

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/27 03:56 CST

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Small Worlds, about the smaller denizens of the solar system visited in the past year, and due to be visited in the next.

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Door 27 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/27 03:48 CST

Time to open the twenty-seventh door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this flat-floored depression?

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1000 Akatsukis; "Faulty valve caused Akatsuki failure"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/27 03:27 CST

In a move that's kind of hard to understand in the wake of the immense public outreach success of the Hayabusa mission, JAXA is closing JAXA i, its public information center in Tokyo today (December 28 in Japan).

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Door 26 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/26 02:00 CST

Time to open the twenty-sixth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this rayed crater?

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Door 25 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/25 12:25 CST

Time to open the twenty-fifth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these conjoined craters?

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Door 24 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/24 04:28 CST

Each day until the New Year, I'll be opening a door onto a different landscape from somewhere in the solar system. Where in the solar system are these squirrely spots?

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Door 23 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/23 02:56 CST

Time to open the twenty-third door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this oozing wound?

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Door 22 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/22 03:32 CST

Time to open the twenty-second door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these degraded craters?

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Mimas wanders in to view

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/21 02:53 CST

Cassini's busy downlinking photos from yesterday's close pass by Enceladus, including some neat shots of Dione and this one where Mimas skipped briefly in to the field of view.

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Door 21 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/21 12:48 CST

Time to open the twenty-first door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this rumpled blanket?

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Akatsuki update: more detail on first failure report

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/20 01:27 CST

Ordinarily it's not my thing to do so many updates on a mission that failed to arrive in orbit, but I know that it's difficult for English-speaking readers to locate information on Asian missions so I'm keeping up the reporting on Akatsuki.

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Door 20 in the 2010 advent calendar (special news update)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/20 11:07 CST

Time to open the twentieth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this diffuse blob and stripy sea?

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Lunar eclipse tonight, mid-eclipse at 08:17 Dec 21 UT

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/20 10:55 CST

Unless you live under a rock you probably know that there is a total lunar eclipse tonight, one that should be particularly favorable for viewing from North America but which will be at least partially visible to viewers in South America, Europe, and easternmost Asia and Australia too.

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Door 19 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/19 08:51 CST

Time to open the nineteenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these folded rocks?

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Door 18 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/18 04:32 CST

Time to open the eighteenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this brush-stroked surface?

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Updates on Hayabusa and Akatsuki: second chamber opened, possible engine nozzle breakage

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/17 10:44 CST

The Hayabusa update is brief: having opened the first Hayabusa sample return chamber (compartment A) last month, JAXA has now opened compartment B, and they found nothing inside.

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Door 17 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/17 10:16 CST

Time to open the seventeenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these strange promontories?

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Door 16 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/16 01:40 CST

Time to open the sixteenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this widespread fan?

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Help to hunt for planets!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/16 01:38 CST

The Planet Hunters website, like Zooniverse's other projects, is very, very easy to get up and running.

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Door 15 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/15 03:51 CST

Time to open the fifteenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this cratered world?

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Opportunity drives within 20 meters of Santa Maria, spots alligator's tail

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/15 02:40 CST

Today Opportunity has driven to within 20 meters of Santa Maria crater, and the blocks around it are really, really cool-looking. This one is a dead ringer for the severed tail of an alligator.

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Phobos Photobomb

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/15 12:48 CST

Don't blink when you play the video below -- it's only 15 seconds long, but it's so cool.

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Door 14 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/14 05:01 CST

Until the New Year, I'll be opening a door each day onto a different landscape from somewhere in the solar system. Where in the solar system are these red freckles?

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Opportunity: "So close we can taste it" to Santa Maria

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/14 01:18 CST

Opportunity is on a kilometers-long eastward road trip across Meridiani Planum toward the rim of a large ancient crater named Endeavour; it'll be many months yet before she gets there.

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IKAROS flew past Venus on December 8

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/14 10:22 CST

Just after Akatsuki missed entering orbit, another spacecraft, IKAROS, quietly passed by Venus.

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Talk at AGU today: "Snapshots from Space"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/13 04:11 CST

I had planned to be in San Francisco today to present at the 2010 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, in an Education and Public Affairs session.

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Door 13 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/13 03:33 CST

Time to open the thirteenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these parallel gouges?

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Door 12 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/12 05:39 CST

Time to open the twelfth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this trapezoidal mountain?

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Door 11 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/11 02:35 CST

Time to open the eleventh door in the advent calendar. Until the New Year, I'll be opening a door onto a different landscape from somewhere in the solar system. Where in the solar system are these sinuous ridges?

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Akatsuki update: Failure to enter orbit due to insufficient fuel pressure

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/10 05:26 CST

An English-language article in the December 11 Yomiuri Shimbun summarizes the news from the Akatsuki press briefing held at 11:00 December 10 JST (last night, my time). It's succinct and clear so I'm reposting it here.

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NanoSail-D Mission Status Update

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/10 04:47 CST

Here's the latest from the NASA site about NanoSail-D.

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I'll be presenting at the American Geophysical Union Meeting next week

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/10 04:10 CST

I'm going to just one day of the enormous annual American Geophysical Union meeting next week, and I am actually presenting a talk!

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Door 10 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/10 03:40 CST

Time to open the tenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this jumble of bouldery fissures?

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Come back, Venus.....

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/09 10:04 CST

This image is so, so beautiful, and so, so sad.

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Door 9 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/09 03:07 CST

Time to open the ninth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this jumble of boulders and fissures?

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Enjoy a year in space

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/09 12:11 CST

Every year, The Planetary Society and Starry Messenger Press collaborate on a "Year in Space" desk calendar, where each week is accompanied by a gorgeous space image.

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Akatsuki update, two days later

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/09 12:03 CST

I've got two more pieces of information to share on Akatsuki further to what I posted yesterday. The first one is a worrying detail about what went wrong during orbit insertion.

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Door 8 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/08 05:03 CST

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

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SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9; orbits, returns Dragon capsule

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/08 12:07 CST

"Falcon 9 nailed it!" said Bill Nye said this morning, congratulating SpaceX on what has looked like a flawless launch, orbit, and return of the Dragon capsule aboard its Falcon 9 rocket.

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Akatsuki update, a day after the failure to enter orbit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/08 11:45 CST

JAXA held two press briefings about Akatsuki yesterday. Reports in both English and Japanese based on these press briefings have cleared up some, but not all, of the mystery about what happened and what is to happen with Akatsuki.

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Book reviews: Killing Pluto; Stars Above; Jars to Stars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/08 10:50 CST

I meant to get these posted weeks ago, along with my reviews of kids' space books, but better late than never!

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Akatsuki has failed to enter Venus orbit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/07 07:15 CST

There is a press briefing happening right now in Japan, and it's terrible news: Akatsuki failed to enter Venus orbit.

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Door 7 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/07 12:56 CST

Time to open the seventh door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this icy bridge?

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Akatsuki update: safe mode, still talking to Earth, but slowly

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/07 11:01 CST

A press release (PDF) was posted in Japanese on the Akatsuki website this morning with some official information on the mission status. Here is a translation of the text.

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Something has not gone right with Akatsuki, but they have communications

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/06 09:07 CST

I was unable to follow Akatsuki's entry into Venus orbit in real time due to family obligations. Checking in now, about four hours after it was to have entered orbit, it seems that something did not go correctly, but not much information is available.

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Door 6 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/06 12:48 CST

Time to open the sixth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these snowy slopes?

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Akatsuki enters orbit at Venus today!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/06 12:30 CST

In just a few hours, Venus will have a second orbiter. Japan's Akatsuki is due to start firing its orbit insertion engines on December 7.

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Door 5 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/05 05:45 CST

Time to open the fifth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this meandering river?

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Door 4 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/04 02:03 CST

Time to open the fourth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this crater-specked mound?

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Door 3 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/03 04:20 CST

Time to open the third door in the advent calendar. Until the New Year, I'll be opening a door onto a different landscape from somewhere in the solar system. Where in the solar system is this wispy terrain?

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Best "Arsenic and Odd Life" coverage

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/03 10:03 CST

Last night I asked via Twitter for recommendations for articles that did the best job explaining the significance of the work, by people who actually read the relevant paper in Science.

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Door 2 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/02 03:28 CST

Time to open the second door in the advent calendar. Until the New Year, I'll be opening a door onto a different landscape from somewhere in the solar system. Can you guess where this crater-scarred surface lies?

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Carnival of Space #179, Kids in Space, Lou's View

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/01 02:25 CST

Wander over to Weird Sciences for the 179th Carnival of Space! Every week, a different webmaster or blogger hosts the Carnival, showcasing articles written on the topic of space.

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Door 1 in the Planetary Society Blog 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/01 11:05 CST

December really has arrived, and that means that the year is racing to a close. Continuing last year's tradition, I'm counting the days to the New Year with an advent calendar, where each "door" opens onto a global image of a different world in the solar system.

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What's up in the solar system in December 2010

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/30 05:11 CST

What's up in the solar system in December 2010

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What's the significance of this unremarkable spot on the Moon?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/29 08:38 CST

What's the significance of this unremarkable spot on the Moon?

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A few Mars Express Phobos goodies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/26 02:13 CST

A few Mars Express Phobos goodies

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/25 11:54 CST

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/24 06:37 CST

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

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ESA commits to extending 11 missions' space operations for 3 years

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/23 07:41 CST

ESA commits to extending 11 missions' space operations for 3 years

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Two signs we're living in the 21st century: SpaceX and Stardust

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/22 04:18 CST

Two signs we're living in the 21st century: SpaceX and Stardust

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Stars Above, Earth Below Calendars and other space gifty goodies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/22 04:09 CST

Stars Above, Earth Below Calendars and other space gifty goodies

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Jupiter's outbreak is spreading

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/22 11:03 CST

Jupiter, always a pretty sight in the sky, is now worth visiting every day; the "outbreak" that heralds the return of Jupiter's formerly red, now fadedsouth equatorial belt is expanding and multiplying.

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Reviews of Ten Space-themed Books for Kids

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/19 04:38 CST

Reviews of Ten Space-themed Books for Kids

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Miscellany

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/18 05:31 CST

Miscellany

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Deep Impact at Hartley 2: Two weeks after the flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/18 01:52 CST

Deep Impact at Hartley 2: Two weeks after the flyby

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Asteroids and comets to scale, including Hartley 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/18 10:52 CST | 1 comments

Asteroids and comets to scale, including Hartley 2

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A little more information on the Hayabusa samples from Itokawa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/17 04:36 CST

A little more information on the Hayabusa samples from Itokawa

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A message from Bill Nye

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/17 04:34 CST

A message from Bill Nye

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's in a Science Meeting?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/17 10:39 CST

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's in a Science Meeting?

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I can't wait for MAHLI to land on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/16 03:39 CST

I can't wait for MAHLI to land on Mars

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JAXA announcement: Itokawa sample return successful!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/15 09:03 CST

JAXA announcement: Itokawa sample return successful!

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Five amazing engineering camera videos from Chang'E 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/14 03:26 CST

I couldn't believe these videos when I first saw them: five views from engineering cameras of important events in the Chang'E 2 spacecraft's journey to the Moon.

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First pictures from Chang'E 2 released

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/12 10:57 CST

First pictures from Chang'E 2 released

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The Disturbance is Starting

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/11 10:48 CST

Jupiter's faded belt may be coming back.

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DPS 2010: Centaurs and Trans-Neptunian objects

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/11 09:13 CST

I attended all day Tuesday of the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting on October 5. The afternoon session on Tuesday was a grab bag about different small objects in the outermost solar system.

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Opportunity bags a few craters

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/10 04:46 CST

In the last few days, Opportunity's passed by several craters, and the rover drivers took advantage of the chance encounters for what they call "drive-by shooting" (a phrase I can't say I'm particularly fond of, but they didn't ask me).

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WISE's first brown (green?) dwarf

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/09 05:05 CST

WISE's first brown (green?) dwarf

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An awesome animation of Jupiter's clouds

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/09 02:18 CST

An awesome animation of Jupiter's clouds

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In which I finally write up last week's Deep Impact Hartley 2 press briefing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/09 01:13 CST

In which I finally write up last week's Deep Impact Hartley 2 press briefing

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Eris might be smaller than Pluto after all (but it's still more massive)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/08 04:48 CST

Several astronomers pointed their telescope at Eris to watch it pass in front of a background star. Occultations permit precise measurement of the diameters of distant, faint objects, and it turned out that Eris was much smaller than previously thought, so much so that its diameter may turn out to be the same as, or even smaller than, Pluto's.

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Fly over Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/08 11:19 CST

Fly over Mars

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Hartley 2 compared to other comets, and in motion 3D

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/05 06:17 CDT

Hartley 2 compared to other comets, and in motion 3D

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Hartley 2's jets

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/04 04:44 CDT

Hartley 2's jets

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Animation of the five closest-approach Hartley 2 images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/04 11:24 CDT

Animation of the five closest-approach Hartley 2 images

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Five close-approach images of Hartley 2 by Deep Impact, with commentary

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/04 10:58 CDT

Five close-approach images of Hartley 2 by Deep Impact, with commentary

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Close approach images of Hartley 2!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/04 10:24 CDT

Close approach images of Hartley 2!

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Deep Impact successfully passed closest approach, signal reaquired, data downlinking

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/04 09:16 CDT

Deep Impact successfully passed closest approach, signal reaquired, data downlinking

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Deep Impact's encounter with Hartley 2 is beginning; flyby in 17 hours

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/03 03:39 CDT

Deep Impact's encounter with Hartley 2 is beginning; flyby in 17 hours

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Carnival of Space #176 and Lou's View

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/03 03:02 CDT

Carnival of Space #176 and Lou's View

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Deep Impact movies of outbursts from Hartley 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/01 10:38 CDT

Deep Impact movies of outbursts from Hartley 2

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