Creating Universes

Enabling Dome Explorations Occasionally I switch hats from being a writer of astronomy and space science “stuff” to being a “creator” of other worlds and galaxies. This week is one of those times. I’m taking software training in some packages that help animators create worlds, stars, galaxies, and nebulae, and … Continue reading

Kepler in Search of Distant Earths

A artist's concept of Kepler-452b, a near-Earth-sized planet discovered by the Kepler space telescope. Courtesy NASA/Kepler

A Near-Earth-size Planet Isn’t Necessarily JUST Like Earth The news last week that the Kepler telescope had found a close “cousin” of Earth circling a sun-like star really brought out the speculation among people who don’t actually study planets for a living. The press, of course, ran with the story, calling … Continue reading

Exploring the Mountains of Pluto

A newly discovered mountain range lies near the southwestern margin of Pluto’s Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region), situated between bright, icy plains and dark, heavily-cratered terrain. This image was acquired by New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14, 2015 from a distance of 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers) and received on Earth on July 20. Features as small as a half-mile (1 kilometer) across are visible. Courtesy NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Pluto’s Surface Has Changed Over Time So, Pluto has a second set of mountains along one edge of Tombaugh Regio (the heart-shaped region). The planet continues to stun all of us with amazing views sent back by New Horizons, and the mountains are just the latest in a long string … Continue reading

Pluto is Geologically Active

pluto_heart_of_the_heart_03

A Primer on Planetary Geology It’s great news that Pluto is geologically active, based on the fantastic images from New Horizons. I was hoping it would be, but the level of activity just simply implied in these images is amazing. The New Horizons team has its collective hands full with … Continue reading