02 - Full Moon
at 19:14 UT
05 - Taurid
(south) meteor shower peaks. Active
between 25 Sept and 25 Nov.
Associated with Comet 2P/Encke.
09 - Moon near
Mars (morning sky) at 14h UT. Mag. +0.3.
12 -Taurid (north) meteor
shower peaks. May produce the occasional
17 -Leonid meteor shower
peaks at 9h UT. Arises from debris ejected
Comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1533. Expect about 25
to 30 meteors per hour under
dark skies. Predictions of enhanced activity
between 21-22h UT on 17 Nov
(favours sky watchers in Asia).
21 -Alpha Monocerotid meteor
shower peaks at 15:25 UT. A usually minor
shower active 15-25 Nov. Radiant is near Procyon.
Predictions of enhanced
activity this year. Timing favours Far East
Asia, Australia and across the
Pacific to Alaska.
00 0 0
0 0 0//
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Friday, July 02, 2004
Postcards from Cassini!
Another newsletter from NASA I received today. Waw, Cassini has finally sent postcards to us here, just one day after the succesfull orbit insertion! Thanks to NASA for giving us a chance to get upclose-and-personal of our lord of the Rings! A few images reveals a remarkable view of the Saturn's rings, that never documented before by any other spacecrafts in unprecedented details!
To my excitement, I share you the links to the page where you can view the images. So, give them a whirl on these links! :)
Cassini's first picture of the F ring [link]
Rippling rings [link]
Two Waves in One Spectacular Image of Saturn's Rings [link]
Rings Full of Waves [link]
Wide View of Saturn's F Ring [link]
Pan Found! [link]
A voyage of discovery finally accomplished. At 4.15 p.m, I received a newsletter from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory informing me that Cassini has entered the correct orbit of Saturn. That means the engine burn completed in excellent performance. Cheers to all engineers who worked hard to make this succesfull mission happen.
Donald Savage (202) 358-1727
NASA Headquarters, Washington
News Release: 2004-168 June 30, 2004
Cassini Spacecraft Arrives At Saturn
The international Cassini-Huygens mission has successfully entered orbit around Saturn. At 9:12 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, flight controllers received confirmation that Cassini had completed the engine burn needed to place the spacecraft into the correct orbit. This begins a four-year study of the giant planet, its majestic rings and 31 known moons.
"This is a tribute to the team at NASA and our partners at the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, to accomplish this feat taking place 934 million miles [1.5 billion kilometers] away from Earth," said Dr. Ed Weiler, associate administrator for space science at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. "What Cassini-Huygens will reveal during its tour of Saturn and its many moons, including Titan, will astonish scientists and the public. Everyone is invited to come along for the ride and see all this as it is happening. It truly is a voyage of discovery."
Members of the Cassini-Huygens mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., broke into cheers and high-fives as NASA's Deep Space Network confirmed receipt of the signal indicating successful entry into orbit.
"We didn't expect anything less and couldn't have asked for anything more from the spacecraft and the team," said Robert T. Mitchell, program manager for the Cassini-Huygens mission at JPL. "This speaks volumes to the tremendous team that made it all happen."
Dr. Charles Elachi, JPL director and team leader on the radar instrument onboard Cassini, said, "It feels awfully good to be in orbit around the lord of the rings. This is the result of 22 years of effort, of commitment, of ingenuity, and that's what exploration is all about."
The mission will face another dramatic challenge in December, when the spacecraft will release the piggybacked Huygens probe - provided by the European Space Agency - which will plunge through the hazy atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.
"This was America's night. This was NASA doing it right," said Dr. David Southwood, director of scientific programs for the European Space Agency. "They really gave those of us in Europe a challenge. We've got six months to go until we land on Titan. We're just praying that everything will go as well."
Julie Webster, Cassini-Huygens spacecraft team chief, said, "The spacecraft has been an incredible joy to fly. We stand on the shoulders of people who had 40 years of experience building and designing spacecraft."
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun. It is the second largest planet in our solar system, after Jupiter. The planet and ring system serve as a miniature model of the disc of gas and dust surrounding our early Sun that eventually formed the planets. Detailed knowledge of the dynamics of interactions among Saturn's elaborate rings and numerous moons will provide valuable data for understanding how each of the solar system's planets evolved.
Cassini traveled nearly 3.5 billion kilometers (2.2 billion miles) to reach Saturn after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on Oct. 15, 1997. During Cassini's four-year mission, it will execute 52 close encounters with seven of Saturn's 31 known moons.
The first images are expected to return Thursday morning. Science measurements gathered Wednesday are the closest ever obtained of Saturn. Those measurements may reveal details of the gravitational and magnetic fields that tell scientists about Saturn's interior.
Today 11.07 a.m, I found out that Cassini has passed the gap between G and F rings. A signal has been received from Cassini indicating that it survived the first ring plane crossing of the evening - between the F and G rings. Subsequent signals have confirmed that the spacecraft has begun its 96 minute SOI (Saturn Orbit Insertion) engine burn. (confirmed by: nasawatch.com)
Yes! The first obstacle has been passed perfectly well. I'm still now waiting for the confirmation whether the engine burn also works like a charm or not (the mission will be doomed to total failure if otherwise, hopefully not!) The engine burn will take place for 96 minutes. The goal of engine firing is to brake the spacecraft speed when entering the Saturn orbit. When the speed is reduced then it's a greater chance for the spacecraft to be captured by Saturn gravity. Hence, orbit insertion will not be so difficult afterwards. Due to great distance between Saturn and Earth, the signals take 84 minutes travelling to Earth. So we have to wait for 84 minutes to get a confirmation of this happening.
Oort cloud, is a postulated spherical cloud
of comets situated about 50,000 to 100,000 AU from
the Sun. This is approximately 1000 times the distance
from the Sun to Pluto or roughly one light year, almost
a quarter of the distance from the Sun to Proxima
Centauri, the star nearest the Sun. The Oort cloud
would have its inner disk at the ecliptic from the
Kuiper belt. Although no direct observations have
been made of such a cloud, it is believed to be the
source of most or all comets entering the inner solar
system (some short-period comets may come from the
Kuiper belt), based on observations of the orbits
of comets. Source: Wikipedia