AstroBlog Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles For 2012-01-27

Revisiting the

In 1995, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope took an iconic image of the Eagle nebula, dubbed the “Pillars of Creation,” highlighting its finger-like pillars where new stars are thought to be forming. Now, the Herschel Space Observatory has a new, expansive view of the region captured in longer-wavelength infrared light. Continue reading

AstroBlog Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles For 2011-12-23

Do Newfound Alien Planets Need Better Names?

Astronomers on Tuesday (Dec. 20) announced the discovery of the first two Earth-size alien planets – a historic find for sure, but the newfound worlds didn’t exactly receive historic names. The two alien planets are officially known as Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, a nod to the instrument that detected them, NASA’s prolific Kepler space telescope. Continue reading

AstroBlog Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles For 2011-12-09

Course Excellent, Adjustment Postponed: Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

Excellent launch precision for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission has forestalled the need for an early trajectory correction maneuver, now not required for a month or more. That first of six planned course adjustments during the 254-day journey from Earth to Mars had originally been scheduled for 15 days after… Continue reading

AstroBlog Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles For 2011-09-09

The retirement of the space shuttle has sparked a debate about the value of human spaceflight. Some see it as a waste of resources. Robots are better, cheaper alternatives, they say – and robotic missions don’t risk human lives. Others see the ability to fly humans into space as being tied up with national prestige, influence, and soft power. Continue reading

How Planets in Alien Star Systems Stack Up [Infographic]

Alien Solar Systems

The following infographic is a comparison of three alien star systems with our own solar system. It shows the distance at which all the known planets orbit around their stars. As of August 10, 2011, 573 extra-solar planets have been identified, but so far the three systems illustrated below are the record holders for having the most planets. Continue reading