Web Pages for some of NASA's current Solar System and Exoplanet Missions:
MESSENGER - NASA
For the status of and information about NASA's MESSENGER Mission to Mercury, which has obtained the
first images of some portions of Mercury's surface that we had never seen before.
Cassini - NASA
The Cassini spacecraft is continuing to study Saturn and its rings and satellites. Multiple fly-bys of both Enceladus (which may
have a liquid water ocean under its surface ice) and Titan occurred in 2008.
Also see http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm.
New Horizons - NASA
The home page of the New Horizons Mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt offers a report on what the spacecraft
saw when it flew past Jupiter in 2007, and information on its intended future activities.
Kepler - NASA
Home page of the Kepler mission, just launched, on March 6, 2009, which will search for transiting planets as
small as the Earth, around other stars.
PlanetQuest - NASA
An umbrella web page for exoplanet-related projects and research coordinated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Try some of the links, for example
which reviews the
main planet-finding methods.
Up-to-Date Information on Exoplanets - California & Carnegie Planet Search Team Home Page
Maintained by one of the most active exoplanet search groups, this web site includes a complete
Catalog of Nearby Exoplanets, as well as feature stories on some recent exoplanet discoveries.
Scale of the Universe
Powers of Ten - video comparing the scales of structures in the universe
This is the original, classic version (created in 1977 by IBM) of the cosmic "zoom" from human scales up to the
Universe at large, and then down to subatomic scales. it runs for over 9 minutes. Due to copyright restrictions, it
is posted on a secure website for which the password will be given in class.
Powers of Ten - the unofficial version
A rather blurry and shaky version of the original, substituting spooky background music for the narration of Philip Morrison. Also
available at this posting, the 1-minute "Simpsons" spoof.
This Week's Sky
This Week's Sky at a Glance - Sky & Telescope
This page shows the configuration of bright objects (Moon, planets, stars) in the sky this week.