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Monday, 31 May 2010

"This Week In Space:FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND SATELLITE LAUNCHED INTO SPACE//ATLANTIS RETURNS TO EARTH WHERE IT COULD STAY FOREVER

     NEWSALERT: Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 1425 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
         The latest news from Spaceflight Now


===========================================
Looking for a job out of this world?
The top jobs and the best talents in
the space industry are on Space Careers.

http://www.space-careers.com/?id=sfn

Space Careers, a one-stop reference source
for employment in the space industry.
===========================================



FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND SATELLITE FOR GPS LAUNCHED INTO SPACE
-------------------------------------------------------
A new era for the Global Positioning System rocketed into orbit Thursday
night, beginning a concerted effort to sharpen the precision capabilities
beaming from the world's foremost space-based navigation network.

http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/d349/status.html.


LAUNCH DATE FOR FALCON 9 ROCKET UP IN THE AIR
---------------------------------------------
SpaceX says their Falcon 9 rocket launch has been pushed back to no
earlier than June 4 to give the Air Force and FAA more time to review
documentation on the vehicle's flight termination system.

http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/001/status.html


ATLANTIS RETURNS TO EARTH WHERE IT COULD STAY FOREVER
-----------------------------------------------------
Space shuttle Atlantis safely returned to the homeport Wednesday after the
final planned voyage in its quarter-century of spaceflight. The vehicle's
rich history included 294 days in space, 4,648 orbits of the planet and
120 million miles traveled during 32 flights. Whether NASA gives Atlantis
one more mission next year remains unknown, meaning this landing could
have been the orbiter's last before retirement.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/status.html

SEE OUR MISSION ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/

STS-132 VIDEO ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php?k=STS-132&s=date

HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO COVERAGE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/sts132/


+++
GET OUR LIVE UPDATES FROM TWITTER!
Sign up to Spaceflight Now's Twitter feed
and get text message updates on your cell phone.
http://twitter.com/spaceflightnow/
+++
 
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

SPA ENB No. 289

                ***********************************
                 The SOCIETY for POPULAR ASTRONOMY
                ***********************************
        ===================================================
         Electronic News Bulletin No. 289      2010 May 30
        ===================================================

Here is the latest round-up of news from the Society for Popular
Astronomy.  The SPA is Britain's liveliest astronomical society, with
members all over the world.  We accept subscription payments online
at our secure site and can take credit and debit cards.  You can join
or renew via a secure server or just see how much we have to offer by
visiting  
http://www.popastro.com/



PLANETS
By Andrew Robertson, SPA Planetary Section Director

Venus, quite high and bright in the west as the Sun sets, is slowly
increasing in angular diameter while its gibbous phase is gradually
decreasing.  Jupiter is a morning object but at present is visible
only in a bright sky whilst still low down.  Its South Equatorial Belt
(SEB) has almost disappeared, as happens from time to time -- there is
now only a trace of it, but it may return at any time so it is worth
watching out for.  I observed Jupiter on May 19 at 4am BST when it was
only 8 degrees above the horizon in a brightish sky and of course the
seeing was dreadful.  The NEB was very strong with a ruddy brown tint,
and the SEB had indeed almost disappeared.  Peter Grego made an
excellent sketch showing just a trace of the SEB on May 25 -- I've
posted it on the Planetary Section's web page:
http://popastro.com/planet/jupiters-missing-seb/


HELIUM PAIR IN VIOLENT FLARE-UPS
RAS

Astronomers at Armagh Observatory have observed violent eruptions from
an interacting pair of stars that orbit around one another every 25
minutes.  Unusually, these outbursts take place at regular and
predictable intervals, erupting every two months.  The new
observations were made with the robotic Liverpool Telescope sited in
the Canary Islands and the orbiting Swift observatory.  The stars are
both helium-rich white dwarfs, the compact remnants that are the end
state of stars like our Sun.  The system is known as KL Dra and the
stars are separated by a distance equivalent to just half that between
the Earth and Moon, close enough for the more massive partner to
accrete helium lost by its companion.  The stream of helium travels
from one white dwarf and eventually reaches the other at a speed of
about 2000 km/s.  Most of the time the material accumulates in a disc
orbiting around the accreting companion, with only a trickle landing
on the star itself, causing it to glow quietly at optical, ultraviolet
and X-ray energies.  However, every two months the material in the
disc gets suddenly released in a giant eruption that causes the
stellar system to shine dozens of times more brightly than before.

The binary is one of very few known systems transferring helium.  The
hydrogen which was originally in both stars has long been converted
into helium and heavier elements.  Almost all other interacting binary
systems so far discovered transfer hydrogen.  Since helium is heavier
and has properties differing from those of hydrogen, the eruption
properties of KL Dra could be expected to differ from those of the
more familiar hydrogen binaries.  As KL Dra erupts regularly and
predictably, scientists can plan detailed and sensitive observations
with a range of telescopes when it is in outburst.  Such observations
will potentially have wide-ranging implications since the same general
process of accretion takes place in many astrophysical systems,
ranging from young stars in the process of forming, to massive black
holes found at the centres of galaxies.  The team of astronomers
obtained complementary observations of KL Dra with the Swift
observatory, which showed that the eruption was seen very strongly in
ultraviolet light.  Surprisingly, unlike the hydrogen binaries, there
was no change in the system's brightness in X-rays during the
eruption.


RUNAWAY STAR SPEEDING FROM 30 DORADUS
STScI

A massive runaway star is rushing away from a star-forming region at
more than 100 km/s.  The object is the most extreme case known of a
massive star that has been thrown out of its cluster by a group of
even-more-massive members.  The star is on the outskirts of the 30
Doradus nebula, a dynamic star-formation centre in the Large
Magellanic Cloud.  30 Doradus, also called the Tarantula Nebula, is
roughly 50,000 parsecs away (1 pc = 3.26 l-y).  Observations from
three observatories, including the Hubble telescope, suggest that the
star may have travelled more than 100 pc from its suspected home, a
star cluster called R136 in the core of 30 Doradus.  R136 contains
several stars believed to exceed 100 solar masses each.

Runaway stars can occur in two ways.  A star may encounter one or two
more-massive ones in a massive, dense cluster and get ejected through
exchanges of momentum.  Or, a star may get a kick from a supernova
explosion in a binary system, with the more massive star exploding
first.  It is generally accepted that R136 is sufficiently young (1 to
2 million years old) that even its most massive stars have not yet
exploded as supernovae.  That implies that the runaway star must have
been ejected through dynamical interaction.  It is an exceptionally
hot, massive blue-white star and relatively far from any cluster in
which such stars are usually found.

Ultraviolet spectroscopic observations, made with the Hubble telescope
last July, showed that the star has one of the most powerful stellar
winds known, a clear sign that it is extremely massive, perhaps as
much as 90 times the mass of the Sun.  Therefore it too must be very
young, about 1 to 2 million years old, because extremely massive stars
live only a few million years.  An optical image of the star taken by
Hubble in 1995 shows that it is at one end of an egg-shaped cavity.
The cavity's glowing edges stretch behind the star and point in the
direction of its origin in 30 Doradus.  Another spectroscopic study,
from the VLT, showed the star's velocity to be constant and not a
result of orbital motion in a binary system.  Its velocity corresponds
to an unusual motion relative to its surroundings, evidence that it is
a runaway star.  The study also confirmed that the light from the
runaway is from a single massive star rather than the combined light
of two lower-mass stars. In addition, the observation established that
the star is about 10 times hotter than the Sun, a temperature that is
consistent with a high-mass object.  Two other extremely hot, massive
stars have been observed beyond the edges of 30 Doradus.  Astronomers
suspect that those stars, too, may have been ejected from the cluster.


X-RAYS POINT TO LOCATION OF MISSING MATTER
Chandra X-ray Center

Astronomers using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and XMM-Newton have
detected a reservoir of intergalactic gas about 120 Mpc (megaparsecs)
away. The discovery is seen as evidence that the 'missing matter' in
the 'nearby' Universe is located in a web of hot, diffuse gas.  The
missing matter, which is different from dark matter, is composed of
baryons, particles such as protons and electrons, that are found on
Earth, in stars, gas, galaxies, and so on.  A variety of measurements
of distant gas clouds and galaxies has provided an estimate of the
amount of 'normal' matter present when the Universe was only a few
billion years old.  However, an inventory of the much older 'nearby'
Universe has turned up only about half as much normal matter, an
embarrassingly large shortfall.  The new work supports ideas that it
is mostly found in a web of hot, diffuse gas known as the Warm-Hot
Intergalactic Medium (WHIM).  Some people think that the WHIM is
material left over after the formation of galaxies, which was later
enriched by elements blown out of galaxies.

To look for the WHIM, the researchers examined X-ray observations of a
rapidly growing super-massive black hole known as an active galactic
nucleus (AGN).  The AGN, which is about 600 Mpc away, generates a lot
of X-rays as it pulls matter inward.  Lying along the line of sight to
the AGN, at a distance of about 120 Mpc, is the 'Sculptor Wall', which
is a diffuse structure stretching across many Mpc and contains
thousands of galaxies and potentially a significant reservoir of the
WHIM if the theoretical simulations are correct.  The WHIM in the wall
should absorb some of the X-rays from the AGN as they travel across
intergalactic space to the Earth.

In the new data, absorption of X-rays by oxygen atoms in the WHIM has
clearly been detected.  The characteristics of the absorption are
consistent with the distance of the Sculptor Wall as well as the
predicted temperature and density of the WHIM.  The result gives
scientists confidence that the WHIM will also be found in other
large-scale structures.  Several previous claimed detections of the
hot component of the WHIM have been controversial because the
detections had been made with only one X-ray telescope, and the
statistical significance of many of the results had been questioned.
In addition to having corroborating data from both Chandra and
XMM-Newton, the new study also removes another uncertainty from
previous claims.  Because the distance of the Sculptor Wall is already
known, the statistical significance of the absorption detection is
greatly enhanced over previous 'blind' searches, which attempted to
find the WHIM by observing bright AGN at random directions on the sky
in the hope that their lines of sight intersected previously
undiscovered large-scale structures.


SCIENTISTS DETERMINE MASS OF ABELL 3827
Gemini Observatory

A newly discovered gravitational lens in a relatively 'nearby' galaxy
cluster suggests that the cluster has the most massive galaxy known in
our 'local' Universe.  The study also reaffirms that galactic merging
is one reason that that galaxy is so massive, at up to 3 times 10*13
solar masses.  The super-massive galaxy is located at the core of the
cluster called Abell 3827, which lies about 400 Mpc away.  Although
the galaxy, ESO 146-IG 005, dominates the core of Abell 3827, its
magnitude had not been fully appreciated.  New Gemini observations
have shown for the first time the effects of gravitational lensing
near the core of ESO 146-IG 005.  Light from a background galaxy, in
this case two galaxies, that is passing by the lensing object is
deflected from its original path.  From our perspective, we see the
background galaxies' light re-shaped as a ring-like structure that arcs
around the lensing object.  Arcs from both galaxies are clearly
visible in the Gemini images.  The gravitational lens allowed
astronomers to estimate the mass of the lensing galaxy.  The inferred
mass is a factor of 10 greater than previous estimates derived from
X-ray observations.


MARS ROVERS SURPASS LONGEVITY RECORD
Science Daily

The Mars Exploration Rover Project passed a longevity record on May
20.  The Opportunity rover will surpass the duration record set by the
Viking 1 Lander of six years and 116 days operating on the surface of
Mars.  The effects of favourable weather could also help the rovers
generate more power.  Opportunity's twin rover, Spirit, began working
on Mars three weeks before Opportunity.  However, Spirit has been out
of communication since March 22.  If it awakens from hibernation and
resumes communication, that rover will attain the Martian-surface
longevity record.  Unless dust interferes, which is unlikely in the
coming months, the solar panels on both rovers should gradually
generate more electricity.  Operators hope that Spirit will recharge
its batteries enough to awaken from hibernation, start communicating
and resume scientific tasks.  Unlike recent operations, Opportunity
will not have to rest to regain energy between driving days.  The
gradual increase in available sunshine will eventually improve the
rate of Opportunity's progress across a vast plain toward its
long-term destination, Endeavour Crater.  The record for the longest
working lifetime by a spacecraft at Mars belongs to Mars Global
Surveyor, which operated for more than 9 years after arriving in 1997.
Mars Odyssey, in orbit since in 2001, has been working at Mars longer
than any other current mission and is on track to take the Mars
longevity record late this year.


(c) 2010 the Society for Popular Astronomy


--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

Saturday, 29 May 2010

[BAA 00497] BAA Exhibition Meeting 2010

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletin No. 00497            
http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================

BAA Exhibition Meeting
Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Exhibition Meeting website (URL below) has been updated with information
on exhibitors, and events and activities throughout the day. Further details
will be added in due course.

Lorraine Crook
Exhibition Meeting Organiser

http://www.britastro.org/exhibition
E-mail : lorraine@hamal.demon.co.uk
Mobile : 07964759278

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletins service.      E-mail:
circadmin@britastro.org
Bulletin transmitted on Thu May 27 05:29:14 BST 2010
(c) 2010 British Astronomical Association    
http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera

--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

Friday, 28 May 2010

ISS Transits the Sun

ISS Transits the Sun

Thilo Kranz, a staff member at DLR, the German Space Agency, took this image of the transit of the International Space Station ISS with Space Shuttle Atlantis during the STS-132 mission.

Kranz photographed "the ISS as it passed across the solar disk in just 0.51 seconds ... At this time, preparations for undocking of space shuttle Atlantis during its final mission, STS-132, were ongoing. You can see the still docked shuttle in the 11 o'clock position. Also, you may recognise the solar panels and the large radiators. In the full resolution version of this image, you can also see the Soyuz capsule. Close to the centre of the sun, a group of sunspots is visible."

Visit the
DLR News Blog for more information.

Image Credit: Thilo Kranz/DLR

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

Charts-info Astrosite Groningen (May 27, 2010)

Dear comet observers,
 
We have prepared the following new charts for our homepage:
 
  
 *  C/2009 K5  (McNaught) : 
  • two 5.0x6.6 degrees charts for the period 29 May - 15 June 2010.
  • a 3x4 degrees chart for the period 15 - 21 June 2010.
*  C/2009 R1  (McNaught) : 
  • a 20x26 degrees chart for the period 28 May - 12 June 2010.
  • 29/5/2010: I'll be looking for this one early this morning...
 
These new charts can now be downloaded from the charts section of our mainpage:
 
 
Here you can also download charts from earlier updates....
 
Reinder Bouma/Edwin van Dijk.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera

--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

Delta 4 rocket launched GPS / Mulling shuttle future

     NEWSALERT: Thursday, May 27, 2010 @ 2022 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
         The latest news from Spaceflight Now


++++++++++
AGI Users' Conference: We're Coming to You!

AGI is taking its technology on the road in 2010. We'll be making stops in
18 states around the U.S. Each free, one-day event includes hands-on
software demos, virtual expert sessions, developer kiosks and user
discussions. Register today at
http://uc.agi.com
++++++++++


DELTA 4 ROCKET TO LAUNCH NEXT GPS SATELLITE TONIGHT
----------------------------------------------------
Now that the space shuttle Atlantis mission has successfully concluded,
full attention turns to Cape Canaveral's Complex 37 launch pad where a
Delta 4 rocket will try again tonight to get into orbit and deploy an
advanced Global Positioning System satellite. Liftoff time is 11:00 p.m.
EDT (0300 GMT).

LIVE COVERAGE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/d349/status.html
 
29/5/2010: Safely launched and put into orbit
-----------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESS, WHITE HOUSE MULL EXTRA SPACE SHUTTLE FLIGHT
-----------------------------------------------------
A key NASA supporter in Congress is beginning a formal push for an extra
space shuttle flight, as NASA officials prepare to present options to top
Obama administration officials next month.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1005/27nelsonsts135/


ATLANTIS RETURNS TO EARTH WHERE IT COULD STAY FOREVER
-----------------------------------------------------
Space shuttle Atlantis safely returned to the homeport Wednesday after the
final planned voyage in its quarter-century of spaceflight. The vehicle's
rich history included 294 days in space, 4,648 orbits of the planet and
120 million miles traveled during 32 flights. Whether NASA gives Atlantis
one more mission next year remains unknown, meaning this landing could
have been the orbiter's last before retirement.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/status.html

SEE OUR MISSION ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/

STS-132 VIDEO ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php?k=STS-132&s=date

HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO COVERAGE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/sts132/


AIR FORCE SAYS WAVERIDER SCRAMJET TEST IS SUCCESSFUL
----------------------------------------------------
The first of four X-51 Waverider scramjet test flights was an "unqualified
success" Wednesday, shattering the previous endurance record for scramjet
engine operations, the U.S. Air Force said in a statement.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1005/27waverider/


HOW DOES NASA TRAIN PILOTS TO LAND THE SPACE SHUTTLE?
-----------------------------------------------------
Landing the space shuttle is the pinnacle of the piloting profession.
Commanders go to great lengths to practice for their five minutes of
glory, when astronauts take over manual control of the unpowered shuttle
and perform a one-shot approach and landing with a dead stick.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/100525landing/


REVIEWS SHOVE FALCON 9 ROCKET DEBUT TO JUNE
-------------------------------------------
The earliest the Falcon 9 rocket could blast off from Cape Canaveral is
June 2, as the Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration continue
reviewing the vehicle's flight termination destruct system.

http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/001/status.html


+++
GET OUR LIVE UPDATES FROM TWITTER!
Sign up to Spaceflight Now's Twitter feed
and get text message updates on your cell phone.
http://twitter.com/spaceflightnow/
+++

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Secret Space Plane Sighted in the Night Sky

Space Weather News for May 25, 2010
http://spaceweather.com

X-37B SIGHTINGS: Amateur satellite watchers have spotted a US Air Force space plane similar in appearance to NASA's space shuttle circling Earth in a heretofore secret orbit.  Known as the "X-37B," it can be seen in the night sky shining about as brightly as the stars of the Big Dipper. Flyby predictions and more information may be found at http://spaceweather.com .

Would you like to turn your iPhone into an X-37B tracker?  There's an app for that:
http://simpleflybys.com .

AURORA WATCH:  A magnetic filament on the sun erupted yesterday (May 24th), and the blast hurled a coronal mass ejection in the general direction of Earth.  High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras around May 27th when the advancing cloud is likely to deal a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field.
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera

--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/

--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

Interview with SpaceX CEO / Peek at where new Mars rover is going

      NEWSALERT: Monday, May 24, 2010 @ 1533 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
          The latest news from Spaceflight Now


===========================================
Looking for a job out of this world?
The top jobs and the best talents in
the space industry are on Space Careers.

http://www.space-careers.com/?id=sfn

Space Careers, a one-stop reference source
for employment in the space industry.
===========================================


THIS WEEK IN SPACE
------------------
An exclusive interview with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, hear David Letterman's
reaction to his first space shuttle launch, Japan heads for Venus and
NASA's oil spill research effort.

http://spaceflightnow.com/twis/


A SNEAK PEEK AT POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS FOR MARS ROVER
-----------------------------------------------------
NASA has set the target launch date for the Mars Science Laboratory next
fall, but the Curiosity rover's landing site is still being debated by a
team of researchers walking a tightrope between science and safety.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1005/24mslsites/


ASTRONAUTS CHECK ATLANTIS HEAT SHIELD ONE MORE TIME
---------------------------------------------------
The Atlantis astronauts completed a final inspection of the shuttle's
carbon composite nose cap and wing leading edge panels Monday to make sure
the ship's most critical heat shield components were not damaged by
orbital debris of micrometeoroids since a similar inspection the day after
launch.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/100524fd11/index2.html

STS-132 VIDEO ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php?k=STS-132&s=date

HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO COVERAGE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/sts132/


FLAWLESS SHUTTLE VISIT TO STATION A THING OF BEAUTY
---------------------------------------------------
Atlantis undocked from the space station Sunday, leaving after a week of
intensive work to advance the orbiting laboratory. The astronauts expanded
the outpost by installing a new Russian module, and did it using an
untried and uncertain method that ultimately worked without a hitch. A
trio of spacewalks also occurred for the betterment of the station,
renewing the oldest section of the electrical power system by replacing a
half-dozen giant batteries and creating a backup route of communications
with the ground by mounting a sizable antenna atop the complex.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/status.html

SEE OUR MISSION ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/


DELTA 4 ROCKET READY TO LAUNCH NEW ERA FOR GPS
----------------------------------------------
The debut launch for a new generation of Global Positioning System
spacecraft aboard a Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral was delayed Friday
by a technical problem. The launch is rescheduled for tonight's from Cape
Canaveral at 11:13 p.m. EDT.

LIVE COVERAGE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/d349/status.html


+++
GET OUR LIVE UPDATES FROM TWITTER!
Sign up to Spaceflight Now's Twitter feed
and get text message updates on your cell phone.
http://twitter.com/spaceflightnow/
+++

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

Monday, 24 May 2010

Earth's Horizon

Earth's horizon and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for Atlantis' aft section while it was docked with the International Space Station during the STS-132 mission.

Image Credit: NASA

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera

--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

LIVE: Delta 4 launch tonight / Spacewalkers install battery 6-pack

NEWSALERT: Friday, May 21, 2010 @ 2228 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The latest news from Spaceflight Now


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
UNRIVALED VIDEO COVERAGE OF ATLANTIS' MISSION

An extensive video archive of Atlantis'
final planned mission is available for
Spaceflight Now+Plus premium service users.
http://www.spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php

And see our High Definition video too!
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/sts132/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


DELTA 4 ROCKET READY TO LAUNCH NEW ERA FOR GPS
----------------------------------------------
The first satellite in a new generation for the Global Positioning System,
years in the making and built with enhancements users eagerly want, awaits
blastoff into orbit atop a Delta 4 rocket. Tonight's liftoff time from
Cape Canaveral is 11:25 p.m. EDT.

LIVE COVERAGE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/d349/status.html


SPACEWALKERS GIVE STATION NEW SIX-PACK OF BATTERIES
---------------------------------------------------
Astronauts Mike Good and Garrett Reisman performed the final spacewalk of
shuttle Atlantis' mission today, finishing the laborious job of replacing
the International Space Station's decade-old solar array batteries with a
half-dozen fresh power packs.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/status.html

SEE OUR MISSION ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/


ARIANE 5 ROCKET LAUNCHES FOR FIRST TIME SINCE DECEMBER
-------------------------------------------------------
Europe's workhorse commercial launcher blasted off at 2201 GMT (6:01 p.m.
EDT) for the first time since December. Arianespace halted launches of the
Ariane 5 rocket to conduct quality control reviews after last-minute
glitches plagued recent missions.

http://spaceflightnow.com


LAUNCH SENDS JAPANESE ORBITER ON THE WAY TO VENUS
-------------------------------------------------
A $275 million robotic mission to Venus launched from southern Japan
aboard an H-2A rocket at 2158 GMT (5:58 p.m. EDT), kicking off a six-month
journey through the inner solar system. The Akatsuki orbiter will study
the Venusian atmosphere when it arrives in December.

http://spaceflightnow.com/h2a/akatsuki/status.html


MARS ROVERS SURPASS RED PLANET ENDURANCE RECORD
-----------------------------------------------
The Opportunity rover broke a 28-year-old Mars duration record Thursday,
surpassing the Viking 1 lander to become the longest-lived spacecraft to
ever operate on the Red Planet, at least until the identical Spirit rover
awakes from a winter snooze.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1005/20marsrecord/


+++
GET OUR LIVE UPDATES FROM TWITTER!
Sign up to Spaceflight Now's Twitter feed
and get text message updates on your cell phone.
http://twitter.com/spaceflightnow/
+++

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

[BAA 00496] Jupiter reappears without one of its major belts

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletin No. 00496            
http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================

Jupiter reappears without one of its major belts

Now that Jupiter is rising in the dawn skies, it looks very different from its
familiar appearance.  The South Equatorial Belt has almost completely
disappeared, and is now perceptible in images only as faint yellowish and
bluish bands.  Meanwhile the Great Red Spot has intensified to become an
isolated orange oval, surrounded by a bright white 'moat' (at longitude
L2=148). These changes began last year, and have proceeded as predicted.  This
type of 'SEB fading' last occurred in 2007, but this year it has proceeded
much further so the belt has almost disappeared, as last seen in 1990 and
1993.  The revival of the belt will occur in a spectacular outburst of storms
and vortices, as it always does, and this could start at any time this year or
next.  So observers are urged to keep watching the planet, especially looking
for any new bright or dark spot in the SEB. The North Equatorial Belt is in
the opposite phase of its cycle: Last year a 'NEB broadening event' began, and
this has now been completed, so the belt extends substantially further north
than before.  Within it are a bright oval (the long-lived white spot Z, at
L2=115), adjacent to a dark brown oval ('barge'). We can expect more such
ovals to appear during this year, as a late sequel to the broadening event;
the belt could also change colour.

Visual observations are still very welcome, including good drawings, and
systematic colour estimates of the belts and zones. It is important to have a
record of the visual appearance of the planet so as to compare present-day
events with those recorded in the past.  In recent years the planet has been
dismally low for British observers, but this year it will climb much higher,
so I hope this this will be the year that BAA members turn your attention back
to Jupiter. Our web pages include guidelines for observers, and interim
reports:

       
http://www.britastro.org/jupiter

Recent images of Jupiter from all around the world are posted by the
ALPO-Japan:
       
http://alpo-j.asahikawa-med.ac.jp/Latest/Jupiter.htm


John Rogers
BAA Jupiter Section Director
jhr11 (at)
cam.ac.uk 2010 May 18

======================================================================
BAA electronic bulletins service.      E-mail:
circadmin@britastro.org
Bulletin transmitted on Wed May 19 22:45:42 BST 2010
(c) 2010 British Astronomical Association    
http://www.britastro.org/
======================================================================
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Lat' 52.418056N Long' 1.719722E (Chimney Pot)
--
Elev: 38ft/11.5824 Meters above sea level
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information: http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra
--
Blog: http://lyrandgyastronomers.blogspot.com/
--
astrocomera@googlemail.com (this main email address)
jupitermoon@tiscali.co.uk (alternative email address)
stella.comans@yahoo.co.uk (alternative email address)
astrocomet@bushinternet.com (old email address)
strobecrystal@bushinternet.com (old email address)

Spacewalker give station new batteries / Falcon 9 slips further

      NEWSALERT: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 @ 2050 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
          The latest news from Spaceflight Now

++++++++++
AGI Users' Conference: We're Coming to You!

AGI is taking its technology on the road in 2010. We'll be making st ops
in 18 states around the U.S. Each free, one-day event includes hands-on
software demos, virtual expert sessions, developer kiosks and user
discussions. Register today at
http://uc.agi.com
++++++++++


SPACEWALKERS REPLACING STATION'S AGING POWER PACKS
--------------------------------------------------
Astronauts Steve Bowen and Mike Good took a seven-hour spacewalk today,
the first of two devoted to replacing six of the International Space
Station's oldest solar array batteries. They also untangled a cable on
Atlantis' inspection boom sensor and finished deploying the station's new
Ku-band communications antenna.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/status.html

STS-132 VIDEO ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php?k=STS-132&s=date

HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO COVERAGE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/sts132/


LAUNCH OF FALCON 9 ROCKET WILL WAIT ANOTHER WEEK
------------------------------------------------
Air Force officials say SpaceX will launch its first Falcon 9 rocket no
earlier than May 27, but the planned landing of the shuttle Atlantis next
week will likely push the long-awaited blastoff to at least May 28. Safety
officials continue reviewing the private booster's destruct mechanism.

http://spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/001/status.html


NEW MODULE SUPPORTS SCIENCE AND SPACECRAFT
------------------------------------------
The International Space Station expanded Tuesday when the shuttle
Atlantis' astronauts successfully installed Rassvet, a new module doubling
as a docking compartment for receiving Russian spacecraft and a mini
laboratory for science. The robotic arm plugged the 18,000-pound payload
into the Zarya module at 8:19 a.m. and the docking mechanism permanently
secured Rassvet at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/status7.html


SES WILL SHUFFLE SATELLITES TO AVOID ZOMBIE SPACECRAFT
------------------------------------------------------
A wayward out-of-control Intelsat broadcasting satellite is forcing a
rival operator to change the position of two spacecraft to ensure U.S.
television viewers continue receiving high-definition programming in late
May and early June.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1005/18interference/


WEATHER CAUSES SCRUB OF JAPANESE ROCKET LAUNCH
----------------------------------------------
Bad weather at the Tanegashima Space Center forced the Japanese space
agency to postpone Monday's scheduled launch of the Akatsuki orbiter to
Venus. Liftoff has been rescheduled for Thursday (U.S. time).

http://spaceflightnow.com/h2a/akatsuki/status.html


+++
GET OUR LIVE UPDATES FROM TWITTER!
Sign up to Spaceflight Now's Twitter feed
and get text message updates on your cell phone.
http://twitter.com/spaceflightnow/
+++

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

Atlantis crew thrilled with mission so far / Venus launch today

      NEWSALERT: Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 1651 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
          The latest news from Spaceflight Now


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
UNRIVALED VIDEO COVERAGE OF ATLANTIS' MISSION

An extensive video archive of Atlantis'
final planned mission is available for
Spaceflight Now+Plus premium service users.
http://www.spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php

And see our High Definition video too!
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/sts132/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


ASTRONAUTS THRILLED WITH PROGRESS OF SHUTTLE MISSION
----------------------------------------------------
The commander of the shuttle Atlantis says his crew is "elated" with the
progress of their mission to the International Space Station, including
two complex-but-successful spacewalks and the problem-free attachment of a
new Russian module.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/100520fd7/index2.html

SEE OUR MISSION ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/


SMOOTH SPACEWALK TACKLES PLANNED WORK AND MORE
----------------------------------------------
Astronauts Steve Bowen and Mike Good logged a seven-hour spacewalk
Wednesday, the first of two devoted to replacing six of the International
Space Station's oldest solar array batteries. They also untangled a cable
on Atlantis' inspection boom sensor and finished deploying the station's
new Ku-band communications antenna.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/status8.html


JAPANESE ORBITER TO BEGIN VOYAGE TO VENUS TODAY
-----------------------------------------------
Three days after thick clouds forced a last-minute launch scrub, an H-2A
rocket is again being prepped for launch from Japan's island spaceport
Thursday evening. Liftoff is set for 2158:22 GMT (5:58 p.m. EDT).

http://spaceflightnow.com/h2a/akatsuki/status.html

SOLAR SAIL WILL HARNESS SUNLIGHT DURING TEST FLIGHT
---------------------------------------------------
Packed inside the H-2A rocket scheduled to launch Thursday is a low-cost
Japanese solar sail that could transform humanity's ability to reach the
stars, assuming the spacecraft's tricky deployment goes as planned and
scientists' theories hold up in real life.

http://spaceflightnow.com/h2a/akatsuki/100520ikaros/


DELTA 4 ROCKET READY TO LAUNCH NEW ERA FOR GPS
----------------------------------------------
The first satellite in a new generation for the Global Positioning System,
years in the making and built with enhancements users eagerly want, awaits
a Friday night blastoff into orbit atop a Delta 4 rocket.

http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/d349/status.html

+++
GET OUR LIVE UPDATES FROM TWITTER!
Sign up to Spaceflight Now's Twitter feed
and get text message updates on your cell phone.
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+++

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Lat' 52.418056N Long' 1.719722E (Chimney Pot)
--
Elev: 38ft/11.5824 Meters above sea level
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra
--
Blog:
http://lyrandgyastronomers.blogspot.com/
--
astrocomera@googlemail.com (this main email address)
jupitermoon@tiscali.co.uk (alternative email address)
stella.comans@yahoo.co.uk (alternative email address)
astrocomet@bushinternet.com (old email address)
strobecrystal@bushinternet.com (old email address)

Atlantis and the ISS Transit the Sun

Space Weather News for May 23, 2010
http://spaceweather.com

SOLAR TRANSIT: Yesterday in Switzerland, Thierry Legault photographed the International Space Station and space shuttle Atlantis passing directly in front of the sun, not far from new sunspot 1072. The veteran astrophotographer calls the image his "best ever of a solar transit," and indeed the silhouette of the docked spaceships backlit by "solar fire" is a must see.  It is featured on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.

DOUBLE FLYBY ALERT:  Atlantis is scheduled to undock from the  ISS on Sunday, May 23rd, at 11:22 am EDT, setting the stage for double flybys over many towns and cities around the world.  Need a flyby prediction?  There's an app for that:
http://simpleflybys.com .

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Lat' 52.418056N Long' 1.719722E (Chimney Pot)
--
Elev: 38ft/11.5824 Meters above sea level
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information: http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra
--
Blog: http://lyrandgyastronomers.blogspot.com/
--
astrocomera@googlemail.com (this main email address)
jupitermoon@tiscali.co.uk (alternative email address)
stella.comans@yahoo.co.uk (alternative email address)
astrocomet@bushinternet.com (old email address)
strobecrystal@bushinternet.com (old email address)

Friday, 21 May 2010

Charts-info Astrosite Groningen (May 18, 2010)

Dear comet observers,
 
We have prepared the following new chart for our homepage:
 
  
 *  C/2009 R1  (McNaught) : 
  • a 10.0x13.3 degrees chart for the period 19 - 28 May 2010.
This new chart can now be downloaded from the charts section of our mainpage:
Here you can also download charts from earlier updates....
 
Reinder Bouma/Edwin van Dijk.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web: http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information: http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra
--
Blog: http://lyrandgyastronomers.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Spacewalk underway right now / Japan launching to Venus today

      NEWSALERT: Monday, May 17, 2010 @ 1444 GMT
---------------------------------------------------------------------
          The latest news from Spaceflight Now


===========================================
Looking for a job out of this world?
The top jobs and the best talents in
the space industry are on Space Careers.

http://www.space-careers.com/?id=sfn

Space Careers, a one-stop reference source
for employment in the space industry.
===========================================


SPACEWALKERS GIVING SPACE STATION EXTERNAL UPGRADES
---------------------------------------------------
Atlantis astronauts Garrett Reisman and Steve Bowen are taking a
six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk today to install a backup high-speed dish
antenna on the International Space Station, along with an equipment
mounting platform for Canada's Dextre robot. LIVE COVERAGE:

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/status.html

STS-132 VIDEO ARCHIVE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/index.php?k=STS-132&s=date

HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO COVERAGE:
http://spaceflightnowplus.com/hd/sts132/


THIS WEEK IN SPACE
------------------
Join Miles O'Brien, David Waters and astronaut Leroy Chiao at the Kennedy
Space Center for a complete wrap up of the final scheduled launch of space
shuttle Atlantis.

http://spaceflightnow.com/twis/

SCRAMJET TESTS TO PROPEL GLOBAL STRIKE, NEW SPACE LIFT
------------------------------------------------------
The first hypersonic X-51 scramjet powered long-duration flights to give
the Pentagon a new "Prompt Global Strike" capability that ties atmospheric
and space propulsion will begin as early as May 25 at Edwards Air Force
Base, Calif.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1005/16waverider/


WEATHER SATELLITE READY FOR LAUNCH TO VENUS
-------------------------------------------
Japan plans to launch a $275 million mission toward Venus on Monday to
obtain the most detailed views ever captured of the planet's blistering
atmosphere, search for active volcanoes and snap pictures of elusive
lightning strikes.

http://spaceflightnow.com/h2a/akatsuki/status.html

SPACE STATION'S HARMONY PORT RECEIVES ATLANTIS
----------------------------------------------
Sailing in orbit on its retirement voyage Sunday, Atlantis arrived at the
International Space Station for one final visit to help build a bigger,
better outpost. The space shuttle is delivering a new Russian module,
communications antenna and fresh power packs for the electrical grid.

http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts132/100516fd3/index2.html


+++
GET OUR LIVE UPDATES FROM TWITTER!
Sign up to Spaceflight Now's Twitter feed
and get text message updates on your cell phone.
http://twitter.com/spaceflightnow/
+++

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

Monday, 17 May 2010

NEW NASA VIDEO ON THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE

Forwarded From John perring:
 
Hello LYRA members, I thought you might like to see this interesting video. Hubble – 20 years on plus many others if you choose to select them.
 
To: John Perring
Subject: NEW NASA VIDEO ON THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE
 
you will want to see this.....
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJmADQkhUeo

--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra

SPA ENB No. 288

                ***********************************
                 The SOCIETY for POPULAR ASTRONOMY
                ***********************************
        ====================================================
         Electronic News Bulletin No. 288       2010 May 16
        ====================================================


Here is the latest round-up of news from the Society for Popular
Astronomy.  The SPA is Britain's liveliest astronomical society, with
members all over the world.  We accept subscription payments online
at our secure site and can take credit and debit cards.  You can join
or renew via a secure server or just see how much we have to offer by
visiting  
http://www.popastro.com/

Astronomica is sponsoring the SPA Electronic News Bulletin.


LYRIDS
By Alastair McBeath, SPA Meteor Section Director

As discussed in ENB 286 (archived at:
http://snipurl.com/w9p9b ), the
Lyrid maximum was due on April 22 this year, sometime between
09h-21h UT. Indications are the highest Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR)
reached ~20 +/- 4, so roughly normal, around 17:00-21:30 UT that
evening, judging by the International Meteor Organization's (IMO's) "live"
Lyrids page, at:
http://www.imo.net/live/lyrids2010/ , detected despite the
late-setting waxing gibbous Moon (which set only after the start of
morning twilight for much of Britain).

Disappointingly few people were able to report-in positively from the
shower to the SPA. British sky conditions seem to have been their usual
frustrating mixture, and things elsewhere were not ideal. There are some
notes on how some people fared in parts of Britain on the UK Weather
World's Space Weather Forum for example, at:
http://snipurl.com/wa0tw  .
The IMO-reported maximum's timing was very poor for Europe and
North America, from where most SPA contributors typically observe.
European observations reaching the Section directly, including those from
the UK, suggested activity around 00h-03h UT on April 21-22 was
around 10 +/- 3, perhaps a little higher towards dawn. Although based
on very few results, this was in-line with the IMO's preliminary findings.

Examining the data in Radio Meteor Observation Bulletin 201 (for April
2010; see:
http://www.rmob.org ) showed little clear sign of the Lyrids
this time, hardly surprising for the European systems especially, given that
the shower's radiant was about at its lowest elevation for the day, or
indeed below the horizon for some, during the probable peak. Western
North American observers had somewhat better conditions initially then,
but with a declining to setting radiant generally. However, a majority of
North American systems did find distinctly elevated echo counts from
roughly 12h-15h UT, plus-or-minus an hour at either end of this interval,
likely part of the rising activity towards the Lyrid maximum. One or two
European systems suggested modestly enhanced activity above normal
from about 04h-10h UT that day, which was perhaps still present through
to around 04h-05h UT on April 23, though this was inconclusive as so
few systems detected it. One far-west North American set-up recorded
a notably stronger peak from 18h-20h UT on the 22nd, nicely in-time to
the visual findings at least, if again unconfirmed elsewhere.

Our contributing observers active over the Lyrid epoch were as follows,
including information from the North American Meteor Network
(NAMN; see
http://www.namnmeteors.org ), kindly provided by
Network leader Mark Davis, and RMOB 201 helpfully submitted by
editor Chris Steyaert. In the list, "R" means radio and "V" visual results
came from that individual:

Salvador Aguirre (Mexico; NAMN; V), Enric Algeciras (Spain; RMOB;
R), Orlando Benitez (Canary Islands; RMOB; R), Michael Boschat
(Nova Scotia, Canada; RMOB; R), Jeff Brower (British Columbia,
Canada; R; some data also in RMOB), Willy Camps (Belgium; RMOB;
R), Johan Coussens (Belgium; RMOB; R), Gaspard De Wilde (Belgium;
RMOB; R), John Drummond (New Zealand; NAMN; V), Franky
Dubois (Belgium; RMOB; R), David Entwistle (England; RMOB; R),
Kurt Fisher (Utah, USA; RMOB; R), Karl-Heinz Gansel (Germany;
RMOB; R), Dave Hancox (Scotland; V), Ken Hodonsky (Illinois, USA;
NAMN; V), Conor McDonald (Northern Ireland; V), Mike Otte
(Illinois, USA; RMOB; R), J├╝rgen Rendtel (Germany; V), Steve Roush
(Arizona, USA; RMOB; R), Wayne Sanders (British Columbia, Canada;
RMOB; R), Andy Smith (England; RMOB; R), Chris Steyaert (Belgium;
RMOB; R), Dave Swan (England; RMOB; R), Rich Taibi (Maryland,
USA; V), Istvan Tepliczky (Hungary; RMOB; R), Felix Verbelen
(Belgium; RMOB; R).

Many thanks go to everyone involved for their efforts, and commiserations
to those who were unlucky with the weather. Any additional Lyrid results
would be most welcome!


APRIL FIREBALLS UPDATE
By Alastair McBeath, SPA Meteor Section Director

As regular followers of the Section's webpages may be aware, there have
been problems and delays in updating the "Recent Fireball Sightings" page
in recent weeks (at:
http://snipurl.com/w9p6d ). The notes here
summarize the fresh information received on already-reported British
fireballs, and new events, since ENB 287.

A third observation of the magnitude -10 or so fireball at 20:15 +/- 5
minutes UT on April 9-10 has arrived, from the western Highlands of
Scotland. The estimated possible overflight zone for the object is still as
reported in ENB 287, however.

Several additional sightings have come in from April 16-17, but not all
were of the very bright, green fireball seen near 22:00 UT. New sightings
of that meteor have arrived from Kent and western France, bringing the
total to six, although without refining the possible area of its occurrence as
yet. The extra events included: a magnitude -5 meteor seen to the
northwest, heading north from Kent, at some time probably between
21:30-21:45 UT; another bright green meteor, which was also close to
22:00 UT, but observed to the east-southeast from Norfolk, meaning it
must have been a different meteor to the multiple-observer event near the
same time; and a third bright green fireball near 23:55 UT, as spotted
from Hertfordshire. Preliminary notes on this latter event can be found on
the SPA's Observing Forum topic for the ~22h UT meteor, at:
http://snipurl.com/wagm0  .

April 17-18 brought another bright, green-white fireball for a lucky
witness in Gloucestershire around 23:00 UT, followed by a magnitude -3
meteor at about 22:00 UT on April 23-24, as seen from Suffolk. Notes
on this fireball also can be found among the comments regarding the
April 16-17 fireballs on the Observing Forum.

April 27-28 produced a very bright meteor within ten minutes of
20:15 UT, as witnessed from three sites in southern England - Kent,
Wiltshire and Shropshire. The Shropshire observer indicated a probably-
associated sonic boom had been heard as well, while the other viewers
noted the object had fragmented during its flight. No information
regarding its possible trajectory is yet available, but if the sonic boom was
linked to the meteor, it may have passed over or near southern Shropshire.

More news has come from the USA regarding the April 14 Midwestern
fireball as well, commented upon last time. Regular Section contributor
and correspondent Jeff Brower in southwestern Canada noted it was
featuring almost nightly on the TV news there, and that 2.3 kg of
meteorites had been recovered by April 26, the first just a day after the
fireball flew over. The timing has been refined to 22:07 local, 03:07 UT,
while the observer tally has continued to grow, with the American
Meteor Society's fireball webpage (off the
http://www.amsmeteors.org
homepage ) indicating it was seen from twelve states across the American
Midwest and Great Lakes regions. Witnesses in Wisconsin and Iowa
heard sonic booms as the object detonated, showering Wisconsin with
meteorites in and near the town of Livingston. Numerous additional video
recordings have been collected since the ENB 287 notes, many from
security cameras, catching the late flight. The meteorites were detected
by weather radar during their lower-atmosphere flight too. (Additional
notes on this meteor were from the April issue of the IMO's journal
WGN, Vol. 38, No. 2, p. 49, in the Editorial by Javor Kac.)

Observations of fireballs (meteors of magnitude -3 and brighter) seen
from the British Isles and places nearby are always welcomed by the
Meteor Section. For advice on what information to send (including an
e-mail report form), see the "Making and Reporting Fireball Observations"
page of the SPA website, at:
http://snipurl.com/u8aer .


LUNAR FEATURE OF THE MONTH - MAY 2010
By Peter Grego, SPA Lunar Section Director

A mighty cliff: Rupes Recta, the 'Straight Wall'

On 21 May the Moon's sunrise terminator rolls back to reveal a
remarkable feature near the southeastern shore of Mare Nubium (the
Sea of Clouds) -- one of the Moon's most magnificent cliffs, Rupes
Recta, the so-called 'Straight Wall', a feature caused by crustal faulting.
Tension in the Moon's crust following the cooling of the lavas which filled
Mare Nubium around three billion years ago pulled the crust apart. The
crust eventually cracked under such stresses, and the force of gravity
produced a horizontal displacement between the two separated blocks
of crust, the crust in the west dropping down relative to the eastern side
of the fault; the exposed edge is a cliff known as a fault scarp.

Rupes Recta is by far the best example of a normal fault on the Moon.
The fault scarp has a rather gentle gradient of around seven degrees and
runs north south for 126 km from the Stag's Horn Mountains to the
small crater Birt D, in a very slight curve. The Straight Wall is best seen
just after First Quarter phase, as on 21 May, when it throws a prominent
broad shadow westward onto the relatively flat mare floor, so bold as to
be easily visible through binoculars. The cliff's shadow gradually recedes
over the next day or two and is virtually invisible at high illuminations
when no shadows are cast. However, around Last Quarter phase as the
evening terminator approaches Mare Nubium, the cliff face brightens and
shows up clearly as a bright narrow line. 35km west of Rupes Recta,
and lying parallel to it, is a narrow cleft – a channel carved by running
lava -- known as Rima Birt which connects the small craters Birt E and
Birt F. An 80mm refractor will just about resolve Rima Birt on a fine night
and under favourable conditions of illumination.


PLANETS
By Andrew Robertson, SPA Planetary Section Director

VENUS is now moderately high in the west after the Sun has set.  You
can't miss this beacon of our skies.  A thin crescent Moon joins the
scene on Sunday evening.

MARS is still a very noticeable red at mag +0.9 on the borders of
Cancer & Leo, but at less than 7" diameter little can be seen on its
surface, although you may notice its phase of 90% if a high power is
used.

SATURN is well past opposition now but still fairly high in the south
just after sunset.  Its rings are at about their narrowest of 2
degrees at present.  In subsequent years they will start widening
again, so it is worth having a look at in this rare view.  It is
feasible to see transits of its moons when the rings are close to
edge-on.  The easiest to see are Titan's but none is visible from the
UK this apparition.  The next easiest are Rhea, Dione and Tethys, but
you will need a moderate to large telescope (preferably optimised for
high contrast) and excellent seeing, when you may glimpse a shadow
transit.  Seeing the actual moons themselves in transit is very
doubtful.

JUPITER is a morning object, rising just before 3.30am BST, but by the
time the Sun has risen (5am) it has only reached an altitude of 15
degrees.  However, Jupiter's South Equatorial belt has disappeared, so
it has an unfamiliar look about it, so worth trying to get a view if
you can.


ICE FOUND ON ASTEROID
NASA

Scientists have detected water-ice and carbon-containing compounds on
the surface of an asteroid.  A seemingly sweeping generalisation from
the discovery of those substances on *one* large asteroid has resulted
in a suggestion that some asteroids, along with comets, were the water
carriers for the primordial Earth.  The discovery is a result of seven
observations, the first of which was made in 2002, of asteroid 24
Themis by astronomers who were using an infrared telescope.  The
findings are surprising because it was believed that Themis, orbiting
at 479 million kilometres, was too close to the Sun to carry ice left
over from the Solar System's origin 4.6 billion years ago.


GALACTIC STAR FORMATION IS SLOWING
ESA

Astronomers using the Herschel infrared telescope have shown that the
formation of new stars in galaxies like the Milky Way has declined
fivefold in the last three billion years.  Observing in the infrared
has allowed scientists to see galaxies, mainly spiral ones like the
Milky Way, that were previously hidden from view by cosmic dust
clouds.  The Herschel telescope, launched a year ago to study star
formation, is the biggest ever sent into space, and is orbiting at a
distance of 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth.


BLACK HOLE THROWN OUT OF GALAXY
RAS

Astronomers who have been comparing positional catalogues of X-ray
sources and of galaxies have found what appears to be a super-massive
black hole leaving its home galaxy at high speed.  The material that
falls into black holes heats up dramatically on its final journey and
often causes black holes to be strong X-ray sources.  X-rays are also
able to penetrate the dust and gas that obscures the centre of a
galaxy, giving astronomers a clear view of the region around the black
hole, with the bright source appearing as a starlike point.  Looking
at one galaxy in the catalogue, researchers noticed that the point of
light was offset from the centre and yet was so bright that it could
well be associated with a super-massive black hole.  The black hole
appears to be in the process of being expelled from its galaxy at high
speed.  Since such objects can have masses equivalent to 1 billion
Suns, it takes a special set of conditions to cause that to happen.
It is being speculated that the newly-discovered object may have
resulted from the merger of two smaller black holes.  Models suggest
that the merged hole that results is shot out at a high speed, that
depends on the direction and speed at which the two black holes rotate
before their collision.


MOST DISTANT CLUSTER OF GALAXIES
IPMU, Japan

Galaxies seem not to be uniformly distributed in the Universe, but to
be arrayed in filamentary structures that form a gigantic cosmic
spider web.  Clusters of galaxies are often located at knots in the
filaments.  The most distant cluster known until now is about 9.2
billion light-years away.

The expansion of the universe shifts the light of distant objects
away from visible wavelengths, towards the infrared.  Observing in the
infrared may therefore enable astronomers to see more distant
objects.  On the other hand, clusters of galaxies tend to contain a lot
of matter heated to extreme temperatures, at which the emitted light
is of such short wavelengths that even despite the redshift it appears
as X-rays.

A team of astronomers from Japan and Germany has used an infrared
camera on the Japanese Subaru telescope in Hawaii to discover the most
distant cluster of galaxies observed up to the present, 9.6 billion
light-years away.  The team also used the orbiting X-ray observatory
XMM-Newton, and detected a clear signature of hot gas in the cluster.


ENGINEERS WORKING ON VOYAGER 2 DATA SYSTEM
ScienceDaily

Engineers have shifted the Voyager 2 spacecraft into a mode that
transmits only spacecraft health and status data while they try to
correct an unexpected change in the pattern of returning data.
Preliminary engineering data received on May 1 show that the
spacecraft is basically healthy, and that the trouble is with the
flight data system, which formats the data to send back to Earth.  The
first changes in the return of data packets from Voyager 2 appeared on
April 22.  Engineers got their first chance to send commands to the
spacecraft on April 30.  It takes nearly 13 hours for signals to reach
the spacecraft and the same for signals to come back to the Earth.

Voyager 2 was launched on 1977 August 20, about a fortnight before its
twin spacecraft, Voyager 1.  The two spacecraft are the most distant
man-made objects, out at the edge of the heliosphere, the bubble that
the Sun creates around the Solar System.  Voyager 2 is about 13.8
billion kilometres away, Voyager 1 about 16.9 billion kilometres.
Mission managers expect Voyager 1 to leave the Solar System and enter
interstellar space in the next five years or so, with Voyager 2 to
follow shortly after.  Voyager 1 is in good health and performing
normally.  Voyager 2's initial mission was a four-year journey to
Saturn, but as part of a mission extension it also flew past Uranus in
1986 and Neptune in 1989, taking advantage of a once-in-176-years
alignment to take a grand tour of the outer planets -- and it is still
returning data 33 years after launch.



(c) 2010 the Society for Popular Astronomy

 
--
Good Clear Skies
--
Astrocomet
--
Colin James Watling
--
Profile:
http://www.google.com/profiles/astrocomera
--
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
--
Web:
http://lyra.freewebsites.com/
--
Information:
http://www.clubbz.com/club/2895/LOWESTOFT---3054/Lowestoft%20And%20Great%20Yarmouth%20Regional%20Astronomers%20(Lyra