Benjamin Burress has been a staff astronomer at Chabot Space & Science Center since July 1999. He graduated from Sonoma State University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in physics (and minor in astronomy), after which he signed on for a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, where he taught physics and mathematics in the African nation of Cameroon. From 1989-96 he served on the crew of NASA’s Kuiper Airborne Observatory at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. From 1996-99, he was Head Observer at the Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer program at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.
Ben Burress's Latest Posts
A collaboration between NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Poland's Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) project has recently discovered one of the most distant extrasolar planets known to date.
Intensive exploration of Mars by NASA spacecraft continues to pay tantalizing dividends in our quest for signs of liquid water, and the potentially life-friendly environments it could offer.
The number of planets we have found orbiting other stars has snowballed in recent years, thanks to discoveries by the Kepler spacecraft. Now, NASA's next missions toward understanding the Milky Way's abundant worlds are preparing for launch.
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft is soon to end its 10-year mission in a fiery touchdown on the surface of the planet Mercury--but not before giving us our most up-close look yet at this little understood and elusive world.
Far beneath the icy crust of Saturn's small moon Enceladus, hydrothermal activity may be at work, activity similar to what is found in some life-friendly environments on Earth.
Space exploration has suffered its share of setbacks and disappointments over the decades, but few of them stung as much as the 2013 mechanical failure of the Kepler spacecraft, a space telescope designed to accomplish one of the most exciting explorations of space ever: the search for potentially Earth-like planets orbiting other stars.
On March 6, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will become our first encounter with a dwarf planet when it arrives at Ceres.
Only 84 years after its discovery in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, it is the eve of our first-ever close-up look at everyone’s favorite dwarf planet, Pluto. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make a fly-by on July 14th, after a high-speed, nine-year voyage.
After several months of analysis of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft has yielded some intriguing, and maybe, unexpected results. The data is refueling a long-running debate in the scientific community about a matter closer to home: the origin of Earth's oceans.
NASA announced that Mars' Gale Crater was once the site of a vast lake that appears to have filled up, dried out and filled up again repeatedly over a much longer period than wet conditions were believed to have persisted.
Ten years after arriving at Saturn, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is still able to send us delightful surprises from a billion miles away. Most recently, it cruised by the large moon Titan and caught a flash of sunlight reflecting off the liquid surface of one of the moon's hydrocarbon seas, Kraken Mare.
Yesterday morning, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft successfully launched the landing probe, Philae, to a landing on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a historic first.
After 10 years of travel and three months orbiting the comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft is poised to deliver its landing probe, Philae, to the comet's surface -- a first in history.
NASA's latest mission to Mars, MAVEN (Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution), entered Martian orbit less than a month ago on September 21. It's already rewarded us with revealing insights into the disappearance of Mars' atmosphere.
In the wee morning hours of Wednesday, October 8, a total lunar eclipse will occur, delighting anyone of the lucky side of the Earth willing to set their alarms extra early.
Curiosity has reached the base of Mount Sharp, its primary mission goal. It's a 3-mile-high mound of sediment that preserves a geologic record of Mars going back billions of years.
On September 21, NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft will go boldly where no one has gone before: to the very top of the Martian atmosphere!
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta has reached its target -- the Comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko -- becoming the first spacecraft in history to rendezvous with a comet.
One of NASA's most senior and still-operational spacecraft reached a milestone: the rover Opportunity completed its first 25 miles traveling across the surface of Mars!