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Juno spacecraft reaches Jupiter – In the news

John Kerr posted in on July 5th, 2016.

After five years travelling across the solar system, the NASA spacecraft Juno has begun its final descent into orbit around Jupiter to collect data. From a unique polar orbit, Juno will repeatedly dive between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation, coming only about 5,000 kilometers from the cloud tops at closest […]

Pluto photos captivate the public

John Kerr posted in on July 16th, 2015.

From mountains to moons, new photos from Pluto have been splashed across mainstream media. Released this week, the images were collected by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it drifted past the dwarf planet on the edges of our solar system. “Pluto New Horizons is a true mission of exploration showing us why basic scientific research […]

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How many other ‘Earths’ are out there?

John Kerr posted in on April 4th, 2013.

New Zealand researchers are proposing a new method for identifying and recording Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars, anticipating there could be 100 billion such planets in the Milky Way alone. Dr Phil Yock from the University of Auckland and colleagues are proposing to combine data from the NASA Kepler space telescope with a technique called […]

Kiwis’ ‘Rogue’ planets capture otherworldy attention

John Kerr posted in on May 19th, 2011.

New Zealand astronomers and astrophysicists have helped identify a collection of Jupiter-sized free-floating planets that do not orbit stars, but instead drift through space. This first-of-its-kind discovery has captured the attention of the news media. The discovery of the exoplanets differs from those observed in the last 15 years, as these lonely planets are not […]

Planets sighted around distant star

Dacia Herbulock posted in on November 14th, 2008.

In astronomical news this week: For the first time, images have been captured of a planetary system orbiting another star. Extra-solar planets have been discovered before (notably by New Zealand’s own MOA group). But the techniques used have involved inferences such as gravitational wobbles or subtle dimming of the stars’ brightness, rather than direct imaging […]

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