Earth Portraits from Cassini and Messenger Released

The portrait of Earth taken from the Cassini during the world wide Wave At Saturn event last Friday has been released! In addition, over the weekend, a similar portrait from the Messenger spacecraft was taken of the Earth-Moon system. Official images are shown below. Click on the images below for the official photos and other content. Continue reading “Earth Portraits from Cassini and Messenger Released”

Smile for the #Cassini, and don’t forget to #WaveAtSaturn

This Friday is a very special day for Saturn fans everywhere, and especially those who follow the Cassini mission, because the Cassini spacecraft will take a picture of our home world from 1.44 billion kilometers away. Citizens of the planet Earth are invited to “Wave at Saturn” during this rare photo opportunity. Also in view will be the beautiful planet Saturn as it eclipses the sun, allowing Cassini to view our beautiful world from afar. The portrait will be taken this Friday at 2:27pm PDT. For more information, including viewing times in your time zone and links to the event’s Facebook page, click here. Continue reading “Smile for the #Cassini, and don’t forget to #WaveAtSaturn”

Kepler Down But Not Out, ESO Nabs a 7 Planet System, and the Search for Earth Like Worlds

Exoplanetary research is booming these days.  It is a truly exciting field that is generating even more exciting results.  Several ground based and space based observatories around the world are actively engaged in the pursuit of earth like planets orbiting their respective stars at just the right distance to allow for the possibility of liquid water, know as the habitable zone. Continue reading “Kepler Down But Not Out, ESO Nabs a 7 Planet System, and the Search for Earth Like Worlds”

Fingerprinting Exoplanets by Direct Observation

Our ability to probe the cosmos, particularly for planets around other stars, is accelerating at an incredible rate.  As I have mentioned before, the Kepler space telescope has given us a view into the cosmos that will change our view of the universe forever.  Recently, further advancements by Project 1640, an effort to directly observe the spectra of distant worlds, bring the real possibility of detecting an Earth like planet to within our grasp. Continue reading “Fingerprinting Exoplanets by Direct Observation”

Kepler and the Billions and Billions of Pale Blue Dots

Carl Sagan famously spoke of the Pale Blue Dot photo taken from the Voyager I spacecraft, referring to it as a symbol hope and humility that would change our perspective as a species. That all of humanity and all of our world’s history is contained on a tiny speck in the Cosmos. Continue reading “Kepler and the Billions and Billions of Pale Blue Dots”