October 23, 2017

30.03.11: Welcome to Mercury!

Brave New World; The extreme northern plains of Mercury. (Credit: NASA/JPL).

   A new resident has taken up orbit around the solar system’s inner most-world. Fresh from orbital insertion earlier this month, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft opened its eyes and began relaying images that have been a web sensation over the past 24 hours. Messenger is currently 6 light minutes from Earth; its looping orbit takes it from a periapsis of about 200 km to apsis at 1,500 km. [Read more...]

25.05.10- Ad-Hoc Imaging and the Tale of Copland Crater.

Copland Crater as imaged by Messenger. (Credit: NASA/JPL/Messenger).

Copland Crater as imaged by Messenger. (Credit: NASA/JPL/Messenger).

 

   Oh, how far we’ve come… time was when the family portrait of the solar system included blurry images snapped from world class observatories. Fast forward to the 21st century, and amateur astronomers now routinely delete pristine images from memory cards for tiny flaws that would have been the envy of astronomy text books a decade ago. Professional and amateur astronomers have always run a technological arms race of sorts, and the tale of the planet Mercury over the past decade is a good case in point. [Read more...]