Thursday, February 7, 2008

Deeply partial: first eclipse pictures from the South Pole in!

The zone of annularity didn't include the South Pole, but at the Amundsen-Scott Station the weather was good and deep partial phases could be photographed under chilly conditions - one of many images now appearing on SpaceWeather. More partial images here, here, here, here and here, while two news accounts from NZ are here and here. This new moon also marks the Chinese New Year, but contrary to one Malaysian story there will not be a total solar eclipse 2 weeks after this annular one ...

In other news the transient in CMi has, after fading to 16th mag., rebrightened to 13 mag., strengthening the case that it's a WZ Sge-type system. Impressive images of Mercury's sodium tail have been obtained from the ground. Photometry of the strange and large Kuiperoid 2003 EL61 can only be explained by a weird albedo pattern. Ice clouds over Antarctica have recently been observed in parallel with the AIM satellite.

The Astronomical Unit might need a new definition (and many constants are problematic in physics). The public is invited to name the GLAST satellite. And some details of the orbital decay of USA 193 alias NRO L-21 are now available.

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