An unidentified substance has killed or injured hundreds of birds so far.
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
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!
Europe's Rosetta mission is poised to add another extraterrestrial landfall to a very short list, and top a new list as it becomes the first mission to land a probe on a comet.
A decade ago, NASA's Cassini spacecraft, the largest and most complex robotic probe yet built, arrived in the Saturn system to begin a marathon exploration of the gas giant, its famous and awe-inspiring rings and what has turned out to be a collection of some of the most eye-opening moons in the solar system.
Will the generation that is coming into the world today know more than eight, more than nine, solar planets? Some recent observations make this prospect sound like a strong possibility.
How big can an Earth-like planet be? Astronomers thought they had a pretty good handle on this question but have just been given a fresh example of how nature never ceases to outpace our imaginations and show us something unexpected.
Recently, a major milestone in space exploration was reached: a planet was captured in a picture! The big deal is that the planet captured in this shot, a gas giant planet named Beta Pictoris b, is 63 light years away--over 100,000 times farther away than even Pluto.
Two years ago, a solar coronal mass ejection of possibly the greatest recorded strength in history blasted by Earth's orbit. Had it impacted Earth's protective magnetic field, we could have experienced major disruptions in communication, brilliant aurora displays at tropical latitudes, damage to orbital satellites and possibly even major power blackouts.
Recently, NASA administrator Charles Bolden rephrased the "Moon, Mars and Beyond" mission plan to better align the steps toward Mars with budgetary realities and to balance human space programs with more cost-effective robotic missions.
Modern explorers have found a previously unknown ocean -- but this one's on Saturn's moon Enceladus. Learn more from Chabot Space & Science Center's Ben Burress at KQED Science.