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.

See the Brightest Mars in Six Years

Contact: Alan MacRobert, Senior Editor     617-864-7360 x2151, Note to Editors/Producers: This release is accompanied by high-quality graphics; see the end of this release. This month we’re closer to Mars than Earth has come for almost 6½ years. The Red Planet appears brighter and bigger in the evening sky than it has since December...

Orbits of 2012 VP113 and Sedna

New Object Offers Hint of “Planet X”

Astronomers have kicked around the idea of a distant "Planet X" for decades. But the recent discovery of 2012 VP<sub>113</sub>, located in an orbital "no man's land" roughly twice as far away as Pluto, has stoked the possibility that it really exists.

Cosmos Studios logo

Dawn of a New Cosmos

A big-budget television series about astronomy &mdash; a much-anticipated sequel to the iconic 1980 original &mdash; debuts this weekend in 174 countries and 47 languages.

Oldest zircon grain

New Record for Oldest Earth Rock

No rocks on Earth are as old as the planet itself. But a tiny grain of zircon from Western Australia shows that <em>terra firma</em> existed within about 160 million years of the solar system's formation.


Cosmos Reborn

Beginning Sunday evening, March 9th, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey will air on the Fox television network, the rebirth of Carl Sagan's classic Cosmos. In the cover story of our April 2014 issue, contributing editor J. Kelly Beatty reveals a behind-the-scenes look at the new series. (All of the images here are courtesy of Fox...

Apollo 14 retroreflectors

Pesky Problems for Lunar Reflectors

For more than 40 years, astronomers have been firing lasers at specially-designed reflectors left on the lunar surface. But over time they've gotten dusty &mdash; and especially finicky whenever there's a full Moon.

John Dobson

John Dobson, 1915-2014

Ask any long-time stargazer who has had the greatest impact on amateur astronomy, and the name of this barnstorming, telescope-making revolutionary will surely come up.

Solar-wind prediction for Jan. 9, 2014

Auroras in Our Future?

UPDATE: No significant auroras were reported Thursday morning following the Sun's whopper coronal mass ejection on January 7th. But there's still some chance of a mid-latitude light show as the hours go by.