May 29, 2015

Happy 85th to Pluto!

An artist’s conception of New Horizons

passing Pluto and Charon.

Credit: NASA/JHU APL/SwRI/Steve Gribben

Where were you in 1930?

If you were American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, you were announcing the discovery of a curious object caught moving through the constellation Gemini just the month prior. [Read more...]

2015: The Year We See Pluto Up Close

An artist’s conception of New Horizons at Pluto. Credit: NASA.

The late American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh got a birthday present yesterday when NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft released an image of Pluto and its moon Charon.

Born in 1906, Mr. Tombaugh would’ve been 109 this year. And although yesterday’s image snapped by New Horizon’s LORRI navigational camera wasn’t a spectacular one, expect that to improve drastically as the NASA spacecraft heads towards its historic July encounter. [Read more...]

Life in the AstroBlogosphere: February 2014-How Many Space Relics Are Out There?

An artist’s conception of Pioneer 10 drifting silently around the galaxy.

(Credit-NASA).

The Drake Equation may be due an overhaul.

Its fun to sit and think how many extraterrestrial civilizations might be out there.  First expressed by astronomer Frank Drake in 1960, the Drake Equation frames the question of how many civilizations might in our galaxy for us to potentially communicate with in mathematical terms. [Read more...]

26.07.11: Naming P4; A Humble Proposal.

The many worlds of Pluto! (Credit: NASA/HST/SETI Institute).

By now, you’ve heard the news and read the tweets; Pluto has a fourth moon to accompany Charon, Nix, & Hydra. The discovery announcement came last week from a team of astronomers led by the SETI Institutes’ Mark Showalter utilizing the Hubble Space Telescope. The observation campaign is part of an ongoing effort to survey the environs of Pluto in anticipation of NASA’s New Horizons flyby in July of 2015. [Read more...]

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...]