Author Archives: Kelly Beatty

Kelly Beatty

About Kelly Beatty

J. Kelly Beatty, S&T's Senior Contributing Editor, joined the staff of Sky Publishing in 1974 and specializes in planetary science and space exploration. Learn more about him here.

This image shows an artist concept of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN)  spacecraft, which reached the Red Planet on September 21, 2014.Lockheed Martin

MAVEN Makes It to Mars

On September 21st, after a 33-minute-long rocket firing, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft slipped into orbit around the Red Planet.

InOMN logo

A Worldwide Night of Moonwatching

International Observe the Moon Night is an event that encourages people to "look up" and enjoy our nearest neighbor. This year's InOMN is Saturday, September 6th. Here's a quiz: What astronomical object looks amazing no matter what the magnification, never looks exactly the same no matter how often you view it, and can be...

Autumn sky sights near Vega

Tour September’s Sky: Farewell to Saturn

The astronomical calendar says autumn arrives on September 22nd. It's a season of transition, with plenty of celestial comings and goings in the evening sky. September’s equinox takes place on the 22nd at 10:29 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. At that moment the Sun shines directly overhead as seen from the equator. Days and nights...

Pleiades

Resolving the Pleiades Distance Problem

A new measurement, made using radio interferometry, argues that the distance to the Pleiades star cluster measured by ESA's Hipparcos satellite really is wrong — and that ground-based astronomers had it right all along.

Two planets colliding

Three New Findings About the Moon

Researchers have announced interesting news concerning the Moon, especially about how and when it formed, and why the "Man in the Moon" constantly stares at us whenever the lunar disk is fully lit.

Comet-chasing spacecraft ISEE 3

35-year-old ISEE 3 Craft Phones Home

Although its scientific work for NASA ended in the early 1980s, the International Sun-Earth Explorer never quite died — and this week it was revived by a team of volunteers intent on letting it continue exploring interplanetary space.

Bright (and rare) Camelopardalid

First Reports: Camelopardalids Disappoint

Dynamicists had predicted that Comet 209P/LINEAR would create an active meteor display in the early morning of May 24th. But reports from observers across the U.S. and Canada suggest that the Camelopardalid meteor shower was weak at best.

Path of April 29th's annular solar eclipse

April 29th’s “No Show” Annular Solar Eclipse

The first and only annular solar eclipse of 2014 has a path that just clips Antarctica, at a location so remote that no one on Earth will get to see the event. Update: Partial phases of April 29th's solar eclipse were widely seen across the southern part of Australia. See the bottom of this...

Why is Jupiter's Great Red Spot shrinking?

Jupiter’s Not-So-Great Red Spot

Astronomers don't know why Jupiter's iconic Great Red Spot has been gradually shrinking since the 1800s — or why the downsizing has accelerated during the past two years. Update: On May 15th, NASA released newly taken images of the Great Red Spot (at bottom below) to show its declining size since 1995. Thanks to...

Milky Way from Arches National Park

It’s International Dark-Sky Week!

In 2002, high-school student Jennifer Barlow had a simple idea: let's take some time to appreciate the beauty of the cosmos and consider ways to reduce the spread of light pollution. Here's how you can join the celebration! Have you ever stepped outside to take in a view of the starry sky overhead —...