September 24, 2017

26.04.11: New Horizons and the Hunt for KBO’s.

Artist’s Concept of New Horizons at a KBO. (Credit: Dan Durda SwRI/NASA/JPL).

A sky survey has begun this month for a very special mission. In July 2015, NASA’s New Horizons mission will whiz past the Pluto-Charon system on its way out of the solar system. Scientists will collect data on the pair for a frenzied few days…and then what? [Read more...]

23.04.11: A Plutonian Atmosphere.

New Horizons at Pluto, an Artist’s Conception. (Credit: NASA/JPL/Johns Hopkins). 

As the New Horizons spacecraft approaches the distant world, Pluto is beginning to seem more planet-like by the day. Recently a team including astrobiologist Jane Graves used time on telescopes perched atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea complex to reveal an intriguing constituent of the Plutonian atmosphere; carbon monoxide. [Read more...]

The Discovery of Eris & its Implications

Eris & Dysnomia as seen from Hubble. (Credit: NASA/HST/ESA M.Brown).

As 2010 draws to a close, a quiet discovery was made recently about a fascinating solar system object. January 5th, 2011 will mark the six year anniversary of the discovery of 2003 UB313, which became provisionally known as the planet Xena and then later demoted to the dwarf planet Eris. [Read more...]

Review:Redshift 7: The Ultimate in Astronomy Software.

Redshift

Availble from Maris technologies! (Credit: Redshift).

Desktop-based planetarium programs have really come into their own in the past few years. From their early evolution in the 1980′s with computer programs written in Basic that would show you stick figure constellations, planetarium programs are now full fledged sky simulators that allow you not only to control your telescope and plan your observing sessions more effectively, but allow you to travel through space as well as time. [Read more...]

Are you a Planet? A humble proposal.

Here’s a fun proposal. Next time you find yoursef bored, go into the science department of your local university and just casually pose the question “gee, maybe Pluto should/shouldn’t be a planet.” Then stand back and watch the slide rules fly (yes real science geeks still pack slide rules, for when the apocalyspe comes!)

[Read more...]

Is Pluto a Planet? by David Weintraub

The issue of planet-hood has become a hot button topic in the astronomical community as of late.

In is “Pluto a Planet?” Author David Weintraub tackles the thorny issue that has plagued astronomers and school children alike.  [Read more...]