Planets

 Cosmic Tribune

Meanwhile, on Mars it’s just another day, but where does Curiosity go for a tire change?

Meanwhile, on Mars it’s just another day, but where does Curiosity go for a tire change?

[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION, NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS] Where is NASA’s rover Curiosity going on Mars? Its geographical goals are on the slopes of Mount Sharp, whose peak is seen in the background on the right. A key scientific goal, however, remains to better assess when and where conditions on Mars were once suitable […]

 Cosmic Tribune

After 14-year dance with Saturn, Cassini prepares for grand finale

After 14-year dance with Saturn, Cassini prepares for  grand finale

[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION, Cassini Imaging Team, SWRI, JPL, ESA, NASA] Cassini, a robot spacecraft launched in 1997 by NASA, became close enough in 2002 to resolve many rings and moons of its destination planet: Saturn. At that time, Cassini snapped several images during an engineering test. Several of those images were combined […]

 Cosmic Tribune

Planetary dawn spectacular

Planetary dawn spectacular

[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION, Yuri Beletsky (Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory, TWAN)] Planet Earth’s horizon stretches across this recent Solar System group portrait, seen from the southern hemisphere’s Las Campanas Observatory. Taken before dawn it traces the ecliptic with a line-up familiar to November’s early morning risers. Toward the east are bright planets Venus, […]

 Cosmic Tribune

Salt Lake sky

Salt Lake sky

[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION, Michael Wilson] This was a sky to show the kids. All in all, three children, three planets, the Moon, a star, an airplane and a mom were all captured in one image near Great Salt Lake in Utah, USA in early September of 2005. Minus the airplane, this busy […]

 Cosmic Tribune

Scientists awed by surface detail from Pluto images: Flowing glaciers, ‘Hillary’ mountains

Scientists awed by surface detail from Pluto images: Flowing glaciers, ‘Hillary’ mountains

In its final farewell to Pluto, New Horizons … [sent] an image of exotic ice across the dwarf planet’s surface, revealing signs of recent geologic activity — something scientists hoped to find but didn’t expect. ‘We’ve only seen surfaces like this on active worlds like Earth and Mars,’ said mission co-investigator John Spencer of SwRI. […]

 Cosmic Tribune

From Pluto with love: Towering ice mountains on a heart-shaped plain

From Pluto with love: Towering ice mountains on a heart-shaped plain

[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION / NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ. / APL, Southwest Research Inst. A 50 mile (80 kilometer) trip across Pluto would cover the distance indicated by the scale bar/ The close-up of the icy world’s rugged equatorial terrain was captured when the New Horizons spacecraft was about 47,800 miles (77,000 kilometers) […]

 Cosmic Tribune

Fastest ever spaceship blasted off in 2006, passed the moon in 9 hours and took a decade to reach Pluto

Fastest ever spaceship blasted off in 2006, passed the moon in 9 hours and took a decade to reach Pluto

[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION], Ben Cooper Destination: Pluto. The New Horizons spacecraft [atop a powerful Atlas V rocket] roared off its launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA in 2006 toward adventures in the distant Solar System. The craft is the fastest spaceships ever launched by humans, having passed the Moon only […]

 Cosmic Tribune

Excitement builds as Pluto flyby nears, a decade after launch

Excitement builds as Pluto flyby nears, a decade after launch

[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION] There’s a near-perfect heart shape on Pluto’s rusty red surface which scientists are seeing for the first time as a piano-sized NASA spacecraft, New Horizons, hurtles toward the distant body on its way toward a historic flyby on July 14. … Pluto [was] once considered the farthest planet in […]

 Cosmic Tribune

Saturn with moons Dione and Enceladus, courtesy of a Cassini fly-by

Saturn with moons Dione and Enceladus, courtesy of a Cassini fly-by

[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute] [This is] Dione, and it’s a moon of Saturn. The robotic Cassini spacecraft took the featured image during a flyby of Saturn’s cratered Moon last month. Perhaps what makes this image so interesting, though, is the background. First, the large orb looming behind Dione […]

 Cosmic Tribune

The stars are aligned: Jupiter and Venus, closer and closer . . .

The stars are aligned: Jupiter and Venus, closer and closer . . .

Kelly Beatty, Sky and Telescope The two brightest planets are gliding closer together in the early evening sky, and their celestial dance culminates with an ultra-close pairing on June 30th. Anyone who pays even cursory attention to the evening sky has surely noticed that the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, have been drawing closer […]