Voyager 1’s Famous Long-Distance Valentine

If you’re in love with space then you’ll fall head over heels for this: it’s a picture of Earth taken from the Voyager 1 spacecraft after it passed the orbit of Pluto back in 1990—on Valentine’s Day, no less. That image of our planet from almost 4 billion miles away inspired Carl Sagan to write his famous…

Pale Blue Dot: Our Valentine from Voyager 1

If you’re in love with space exploration then you’ll fall for this: a picture of Earth (and five other planets) taken from the Voyager 1 spacecraft after it passed the orbit of Pluto in 1990, 26 years ago today. That image of our planet from almost 4 billion miles away inspired Carl Sagan to write his…

Voyager’s Valentine Turns 25 Today

If you’re in love with space exploration then you’ll fall for this: it’s the picture of Earth taken from the Voyager 1 spacecraft after it passed the orbit of Pluto in 1990. That image of our planet from almost 4 billion miles away inspired Carl Sagan to write his famous “Pale Blue Dot” passage, and…

New Global Map of Triton Shows Neptune’s Moon Like Never Before

This Monday will mark the 25th anniversary of Voyager 2’s visit to Neptune, its historic close approach to the distant ice giant having been made back on Aug. 25, 1989. To mark the occasion, the Lunar and Planetary Institute has released a newly-restored, high-resolution map of Triton, Neptune’s largest moon and the last solid body to…

Voyager’s Long-Distance Valentine

This is from a post I originally published in 2010. I’ll keep trotting it out until it’s not cool anymore. (Which I don’t think will ever happen.) On February 14, 1990, after nearly 13 years of traveling the solar system, the Voyager 1 spacecraft passed the orbit of Pluto and turned its camera around to…

The Frightful Fallacy of “False Color”

I rarely ever reblog posts, but this is an excellent criticism on the term “false color” and its oft-maligned perception by the modern public, and also a support of coloration techniques used in astronomy to produce the beautiful — and scientifically valuable — space images we have all come to enjoy (and expect!) By Dr….

A New Moon for Neptune!

Big, blue, and blustery, distant Neptune is the outermost “real” planet in our solar system — a frigid gas giant nearly 3 billion miles from Earth orbiting the Sun with a handful of faint ring segments and a retinue of 13 moons… um, on second thought, better make that 14.

A Backwards Moon

At 1,680 miles across, the frigid and wrinkled Triton is distant Neptune’s largest moon. It orbits the planet backwards – that is, in the opposite direction that Neptune rotates – and is the only moon one of only two moons in our solar system to do so. This leads many astronomers to believe that Triton is…

A New Look at Neptune

Ok, ok… it’s not “new” (it’s from a HubbleNews article released in 2005) but since I just came across it myself, it’s new to me! So maybe it’s new to you too. 🙂 The video above was created from images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, showing distant Neptune (we’re talking four and a half…

From the LITD Archives: Voyager’s Valentine

On February 14, 1990, after nearly 13 years of traveling the outer solar system the Voyager 1 spacecraft passed the orbit of Pluto and turned its camera around to take a series of photos of the planets. The image above shows those photos, isolated from the original series and labeled left to right, top to…

A Sense of “Scale”

Here’s a very cool animation by motion designer Brad Goodspeed, showing what our night sky might look like were some of the other planets in our solar system at the same distance from us as the Moon. (About 240,000 miles / 384,000 km.) Wait for Jupiter to make quite an entrance… While watching the video…

Blast from the Past

This photo of Neptune’s largest moon Triton was taken by Voyager 2 on August 24, 1989…nearly 21 years ago! With a resolution of about six miles per pixel it reveals the rugged mountainous terrain of this frozen moon in the far reaches of our solar system, including its signature “cantaloupe terrain” seen here in the…