Interview: Scott Sheppard and his Pluto Fly-By Predictions


At its closest approach on 14 July 2015, the New Horizons mission spacecraft will fly by Pluto within about 8000 miles, making it the first spacecraft to visit and photograph the distant dwarf planet.

DTM Astronomer Scott Sheppard is heading a project that is obtaining the deepest and widest survey ever obtained for distant solar system objects. Recent discoveries from the survey range from finding a dwarf planet on the fringe of the solar system to discovering one of the most distant comets to show activity. He took time to discuss this historical visit to Pluto and his predictions for what the new images taken during the fly-by could reveal this week.


Former NASA and DTM Associate Nader Haghighipour Elected President of the International Astronomical Union's Division F


Former NASA and DTM Associate, Nader Haghighipour (2001-2004), has been elected as the President of Division F (Planetary Systems and Astrobiology) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The elections for the IAU Division Steering Committees for 2015-2018 were held in late June.


Pluto before Pluto


With the New Horizons historic flyby of Pluto next week, imagine how excited we were a few weeks ago to unearth a set of plates from 1925 in our vault that include Pluto--five years before Pluto was discovered. This unexpected find led to a bit of historical detective work to uncover the story of these unusual astronomical plates. 

This short video tells the tale of our digging, and what we learned from it, and highlights the amazing work done by astronomers of an earlier, pre-digital era. You never know what you might find in your own archives!


Inaugural Broad Branch Road Poster Gathering

BBR Poster Session

June 26, 2015 marks the inaugural Geophysical Laboratory (GL) and DTM poster gathering at Carnegie's Broad Branch Road (BBR) campus. The event was planned, organized and promoted by the Geophsyical Laboratory's Charles Le Losq, Ileana Perez-Rodriguez and Zachary Geballe. 

The session itself was comprised of 37 original posters from GL and DTM participants; including postdoctoral associates, staff scientists, collaborators from the University of Maryland, alumni and support staff. The Tuve dining hall was buzzing as participants and attendees mingled from poster to poster, discovering all of the different facets of science that are taking place on campus.


DTM at the Gordon Conference, "Origins of the Solar System"


DTM will be attending the Gordon Conference on "Origins of the Solar System" that will take place in Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA, from June 28-July 3, 2015. 

This conference brings together a diverse group of scientists to discuss research at the frontier of understanding how planets and planetary systems form. Speakers will include astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmochemists, planetary scientists, and geochemists.


Spiral arms cradle baby terrestrial planets

Alan Boss

New work from Carnegie’s Alan Boss offers a potential solution to a longstanding problem in the prevailing theory of how rocky planets formed in our own Solar System, as well as in others. The snag he’s untangling: how dust grains in the matter orbiting a young protostar avoid getting dragged into the star before they accumulate into bodies large enough that their own gravity allows them to rapidly attract enough material to grow into planets.