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.

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 —...

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

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.