Sunday, October 5, 2008

MESSENGER's 2nd Mercury fly-by - in a few hours - highlight of this month

With few celestial highlights, this month will probably be dominated by space events - and while normally launches are not listed here for good reason, given frequent delays (just witness the sudden slip of the HST SM4!), exceptions are in order since since the four science spacecraft on the launch pads or approaching those are pretty unique. The first event is inevitable:In other news dwarf planet king Mike Brown is no longer hunting, but there could be a few more large bodies out there. • A rare image of comet 17P/Holmes of October 2! • The recent outburst of comet 29P has triggered lots of observations: Here are a crude light curve and views of Oct. 4, Sep. 29 and Sep. 28. • 2007 N3 and 205P on Oct. 2, a new Boattini and yet another one, with low excentricity. Plus many comets on Oct 4. • Is this the sharpest ground-based Jupiter, with high-end adaptive optics in the NIR? Compare this to, e.g. these or these amateur images of Jupiter with a vastly smaller scope. Plus motions of the Jovian moons.

• The now-famous wide-angle image of the Aug 1. TSE also shows a faint distant Coronal Mass Ejection (clarified in the caption). There are also a new super-high resolution image (detail) and a view from a different location (also with higher magnification). • While another activity region has appeared on the Sun, a NASA story on the current minimum has caused widespread confusion (see also here, here and here) - using the statistical method described here would have avoided the troublesome 'spotfree' definition issue. Meanwhile a cool prominence was seen - and RHESSI data show minute variations in the Sun's oblateness with the cycle.

• There is a faint nova in Aquila, R CrB remains at 14.5 mag. in a long minimum, and Kasatochi's effects are still there now & then. • Here is a cool video of the ATV's reentry of which also some stills exist. The trash transporter was imaged in hi-res on Sep. 27 (another view), while the ISS & a Progress were caught on Sep. 25. • Finally some impressions from Mauna Kea - and the whole Universe in one cartoon, logarithmically ...

2 comments:

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cing said...

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