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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #90 on: Sep 4th, 2008, 02:12am »

Can't believe I didn't post this back in july...



Heres a nifty article

WILL THE SPACE ELEVATOR RISE?
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MOVIE! You gotta watch this..

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If space elevators work out the way the idea's advocates hope, sending payloads into orbit would become as routine as, say, sending a shipment on a freight train - except that the train would travel straight up for hundreds or thousands of miles, powered by laser beams.

But will such a "railroad to the sky" ever be built? That's the big question hanging over the 2008 Space Elevator Conference, taking place this weekend on Microsoft's Seattle-area campus. And considering that this is an event primarily attended by elevator enthusiasts, you may find some of the answers surprising.

One of the biggest advocates of the concept, the late science-fiction seer Arthur C. Clarke, said back in 1979 that the first space elevator would be built "about 50 years after everyone stops laughing."

There wasn't much laughing to be heard as the talks got under way today at Microsoft's Redmond conference center (which happens to be a five-minute walk from my newsroom at msnbc.com, a Microsoft-NBC Universal joint venture). Instead, there was a long day's worth of serious talks about way-out subjects such as orbital debris threats and power-beaming lasers.

And there were a lot of predictions: On one end of the scale, Bradley Edwards, president of New York-based Black Line Ascension and one of the pioneers of the space elevator movement, said creating a space elevator would require much less time than 50 years - as long as you had $7 billion to $10 billion to spend.

"It's really a cost issue," he told me. "If you could get the money, you could have one up in probably 12 years, 15 years."

On the other end of the scale was Tom Nugent, project manager for Seattle-based LaserMotive, who said the space elevator would never be built, due to technical and safety concerns.

"We don't believe in the space elevator," Nugent told me. The way he sees it, all the activities spawned by the concept merely provide "a useful way to demonstrate our laser power beaming technology."

In between those extremes, there's a Japanese technological road map that calls for building a space elevator and a space solar power system by 2030, and a NASA projection that the elevator would take shape in 200 years or so.

Ted Semon, who presides over the Space Elevator Blog, sized up the potential players and concluded that the builder of the first space elevator would likely be either a U.S. industry consortium supported by the federal government - or an alliance involving the governments of Dubai and India.

"Dubai could fund it just like that," he told me. "And India would love to jump at the chance to leapfrog China."

Even if you scoff at the starry-eyed vision of riding a ribbon to outer space on a laser-powered lift, the technologies that form the foundation of that vision are far more down to earth - and likely to produce profits long before the space elevator sees the light of day. That's what Nugent and many of the conference's other attendees are going after.

The technological road ahead
The two main technologies behind the concept are super-strong, ultra-lightweight materials and power-beaming systems.

A working space elevator would require tethers or ribbons of synthetic material that would extend from Earth's surface up to an altitude of perhaps 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers). Carbon nanotube fibers are the most popular candidates for the job.

The tethers would be sent into orbit aboard a conventional launch vehicle. One set of tethers would be lowered down from the orbiting craft for connection to an "attach point" on Earth's surface - for example, a floating platform in an area of the ocean that's relatively unaffected by weather. Counterbalancing tethers would spool out spaceward.

Those tethers would serve as the "rails" for robots climbing up and down to the orbital transfer station. Proponents say such robots could carry payloads at a cost of $100 per pound or less - compared with current orbital launch costs that range from $2,000 to $60,000 a pound, depending on what is launched and how high it goes. Other types of robots would build up the system and keep it in repair.

You can't really fuel up a robot for this kind of trek to space, so you'd need to find a wireless, tankless way to transmit power hundreds or thousands of miles. That's where the power-beaming systems come in: Laser light from below would be focused on photoelectric cells to keep the robots running, perhaps supplemented by solar power from above.

If those technologies come together, then what? "There are lots of things we want to do in space, but part of the problem is getting there," Edwards said.

Cheaper access to space could open the way for space solar-power satellite systems that can beam energy back down to Earth. Elevator operators could send people and payloads to orbital hotels, and then onward to the moon and Mars. The elevators might even revolutionize garbage disposal, Edwards said.

"There has been a lot of discussion about using space elevators to take radioactive waste and get rid of it by throwing it into the sun," he said.

Where are those technologies today?
The technological hurdles facing elevator enthusiasts are every bit as high as their hopes. This weekend's conference provided a progress report on how close the reality is coming to the dream.

Edwards pointed to advances in carbon nanotube fabrication, which he saw as essential for space elevator construction. "That's the only thing that's strong enough," he said. He hailed advances that have brought new records for nanotube length as well as new methods for spinning nanotube fibers.

"Some of the work being done is now becoming a business," Edwards said. Nanotubes are already being woven into the marketing hype for bikes as well as golf clubs, and Edwards predicted that a technological tipping point could come sometime in the next year.

Are nanotubes safe? A recent study raised health questions about the stuff but Edwards said the safety concerns were not as serious as some have made them out to be, particularly for space applications.

Ben Shelef, director of the Spaceward Foundation, was hopeful that the nanotube hurdle would be overcome sooner than the skeptics think. "While we're definitely not there, we're not a factor of 50 away. We're a factor of 10 away," he said.

Shelef previewed Spaceward's plans for the fourth annual Space Elevator Games, a double-header competition that focuses on super-strong tethers as well as power beaming. This year, NASA is offering $4 million in prizes for the winners of the games' ambitious contests, and Spaceward is organizing the contests on NASA's behalf.

To take the top tether prize, the winning team will have to develop a material that can take more stress than the other competitors' offerings, and also best a "house tether" that has a 50 percent weight advantage.

Eleven teams have signed up for the power-beaming competition, which involves sending a beam-powered robot up a 0.6-mile-long (1-kilometer-long) tether suspended from a helicopter.

If the robot completes the required length with an average speed of 6 feet (2 meters) per second, it would be in the running for a $900,000 prize. If the average speed reaches 16 feet (5 meters) per second, the prize rises to $2 million.

Shelef said the tentative plan is to conduct the games at Arizona's Meteor Crater in mid-October, but the timing and the venue are still subject to change. So far, none of the teams has satisfied any of the requirements for a prize, and as a result NASA hasn't paid out any money in the Space Elevator Games. That may change this year, Shelef said.

"This is going to be the first year, I think, where [each] team's main enemy is the other teams," he said.

Just this week, LaserMotive announced that it satisfied the power-beaming contest's requirements in a treadmill test. However, the company is expected to face stiff competition from last year's favorites, including the University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team.

If a viable power-beaming system could be developed, it would find almost immediate application. The U.S. military has talked about using beam power to energize balloon-based observation platforms or robotic drone aircraft. Point-to-point power beaming could cut down on risky fuel resupply missions in combat zones.

Beyond the battlefield, NASA could conceivably use power-beaming stations to boost rovers or bases on the moon or Mars. And beaming power down to Earth is key to the space solar power systems I've already mentioned.

So ... will it ever rise?
Even if these technologies bear fruit on Earth, the space elevator's success is not assured. Speakers weren't shy about raising additional questions during today's sessions:

* Will nanotube tethers ever be tough enough to endure buffeting by atmospheric winds? How long can they be expected to stand up to exposure to the elements as well as space radiation?

* Would the Earth stations for space elevator systems become prime targets for terrorism? Who will pay the cost of defending them from earthly threats?

* Will there be an acceptable safety margin for space elevator operations? Nugent said that if the space elevator is held to the same safety standards that other industries have to meet, the concept would clearly become financially untenable.

* Can space elevator systems be designed to stand up to collisions with orbital debris?
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #91 on: Sep 4th, 2008, 02:14am »

Ivan Bekey, president of Virginia-based Bekey Designs, said that last point was a potentially fatal flaw for the space elevator concept. "We've got a very fundamental problem for which I have seen no engineering or cost analysis to solve," he said.

Edwards said there were potential solutions to the debris-collision problem, such as repositioning the elevator's Earth station, which would in turn move the system's tether out of the path of the occasional piece of space junk. However, he conceded that more analysis was needed.

"There's no funding," he said, "and this is a real falling-down for the entire program."

Edwards said several new initiatives were in the works to pool together information and raise public awareness, including a Space Elevator Wiki and a Japanese movie titled "Space Elevator: The Future as Foreseen by Scientists." You can watch a trailer for the movie (in Japanese) as well as a mini-interview with Edwards (in English).

Edwards also hopes to see the rise of a Florida theme park celebrating the space elevator concept. Visitors to the attraction would take a ride on a virtual space elevator to a virtual space station, all enclosed within a 10-story-high structure. Edwards said the land has already been selected for the facility, outside Orlando, and he's working on getting the first $300,000 in seed capital by Nov. 30.


The 2008 Space Elevator Conference continues through Sunday, July 20, at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Wash. For updates, check in with Ted Semon's Space Elevator Blog. The conference is sponsored by Microsoft Corp., Black Line Ascension and Industrial Nano.



To skeptics..

Well its only 30 some miles UP to an area that could be called space so the idea is solid. Power companys and communication companys have hundreds of thousands of miles of cables criss crossing the ocean connecting the mainlands to each other. The only problem with cables going into space is how to build them strong enough. New technology is making that possible. The "nano tube" is what they will be building the cables out of. Here is some info on nano tubes.

here is the basic concept:



To build “an elevator to the stars,” you start building from a location on the Earth’s equator ... rising vertically until you reach “geosynchronous orbit” -- some 22,300 miles out. Then, you send payloads up and down this structure via “climber cars” -- which would be electrically powered and, on their ascent, being also accelerated by the increasing centrifugal forces of rotation of the planet with increasing height, would ultimately achieve tangential velocities above 22,300 miles capable of launching payloads directly into orbit (below) ….



Or, as science fiction writer Robert Heinlein once remarked, “Once you’re in Earth orbit … you're half way to anywhere!”

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Compared to current, highly primitive methods of getting off this planet – expendable rockets, the Space Shuttle, etc., which can cost up to $10,000 per pound of payload launched! – Arthur Clarke once calculated that one could send a fully grown man to geosynchronous orbit (and his “22 pounds of carry-on luggage …”) via such an elevator, for about “a dollars’ worth of electricity …” -- a saving of ten thousand fold over current rocket-based propulsion systems (not counting the ~ $10 billion-dollar development costs …)!

The original incarnation of this idea for a “tower into space” (below) can be traced back to the great Russian space pioneer, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, in 1895:





… on the tower, as one climbed higher and higher up it, gravity would decrease gradually; and if it were constructed on the Earth's equator and, therefore, rapidly rotated together with the earth, the gravitation would disappear not only because of the distance from the center of the planet, but also from the centrifugal force that is increasing proportionately to that distance. The gravitational force drops. . . but the centrifugal force operating in the reverse direction increases. On the earth the gravity is finally eliminated at the top of the tower, at an elevation of 5.5 radii of the earth [22,300 miles] ….





Because of the stupendous mass of such a “tower,” the strength of existing materials -- even alloyed steels – would soon crush under their own weight, making it impossible to envision actually building such a structure above a height of about 4 miles (but even so, that’s a helluva skyscraper ..!).



Even if composed of 100% diamond (if one could afford it …), calculation proves that the strongest naturally known material is far too weak to support itself above about 10 miles ….



Then, in 1960, another Russian – an engineer in Leningrad, Yuri N. Artsutanov -- published in Pravda a radical “innovation on the innovation” (below).

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Artsutanov suggested constructing Tsiolkovsky’s space tower not as a “tower” at all … but as a literal “skyhook”: starting it in space -- at a “geosynchronous” satellite distance of 22,300 miles out (the distance whereby a satellite circles the world in exactly the time it takes the Earth to rotate once on its own axis underneath), and then lowering the supporting structure (this time, a cable …) the 22,300 miles down to Earth … to an anchor point located on the equator, directly underneath the orbiting satellite. Another cable, extended in the opposite direction (beyond geosynchronous orbit) would support the necessary “counterweight mass” via centrifugal force … required to hold up the lower cable’s mass against the Earth’s gravitational attraction.



And, Artsutanov calculated, if the cables were tapered – starting out quite thick at the geosynchronous height (where the tension forces would be the greatest), narrowing in both directions as they approached the Earth and extended in the opposite direction -- suddenly even ordinary materials (if you could lift enough tonnage into space via other means, like rockets! ...) became strong enough for use … even in this extraordinary context!



Or, to quote from Arthur Clarke’s own views on this revolutionary concept, presented to the Thirtieth International Astronautical Congress back in 1979:



… with a stepped, or tapered, cable it would be theoretically possible to construct the space elevator from any material, however weak. You could build it [out] of chewing gum [!], though the total mass required would probably be larger than that of the entire universe. For the scheme to be practical we need materials with a breaking length a very substantial fraction of escape length. Even Kevlar 29's 200 km is a mere 25th of the 5000 km goal; to use that would be like fuelling the Apollo mission with damp gun powder, and would require the same sort of astronomical ratio [emphasis added] ….


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This startlingly simple series of Artsutanov innovations – building the “elevator” in space, making it a tapered cable … then, lowering it to the ground from orbit -- suddenly made the whole, “impossible” Tsiolkovsky’ idea … make sense.



Naturally, space engineers really wanted something a bit stronger than “Arthur’s chewing gum” to work with. And, in the quarter century since his address, they’ve finally found it—



Carbon nanotubes ….



The material that will allow the construction of the world’s first practical Space Elevator … and a host of other “impossible” things … turns out to be based on a simple tetrahedral molecule … composed of carbon: the “carbon nanotube.”

Carbon nanotubes are extremely tiny (the prefix “nano” comes from their dimensions, about a billionth of a meter -- one nanometer -- wide), rolled-up, three dimensional carbon tubes, made of a hexagonal graphite lattice -- first cousin to two other forms (“allotropes”) of carbon (below): the well-known diamond … and something relatively new, called a “Buckminsterfullerene.

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The latter -- also known as “buckyballs” – are C60 molecules discovered serendipitously by a team at Rice University, led by Dr. Richard Smalley (Nature 318, 162) in 1985 (below). Named after R. Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome (discussed in “Moon with a View” - Part 2), the “fullerene’s” 60 carbon atoms (!) are arranged spherically, as 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons (below), in the most symmetrical molecular form known.

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Then, six years after fullerenes were first synthesized in Smalley’s Texas laboratory, the “nanotube” version of this fascinating molecule was independently discovered -- by Sumio Iijima, in Japan in 1991.



Extensive laboratory work around the world since these serendipitous discoveries, exploring the physical parameters of these newest forms of carbon, has confirmed truly extraordinary properties. According to a 1999 report from the University of Michigan—

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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #92 on: Sep 4th, 2008, 02:14am »

… nanotubes are [nothing more than] giant linear fullerenes. A fullerene, by definition, is a closed, convex cage molecule containing only hexagonal and pentagonal faces. (This definition intentionally leaves out possible heptagons, which are responsible for the concave parts and are treated as defects.) Like any simple polyhedron, a fullerene cage or a nanotube satisfies Euler's theorem (earlier proved by Descartes) relating the number of vertices (here, carbon atoms), edges (covalent bonds), and faces: v - e + f = 2. If the number of pentagons is p, and the other (f - p) faces are all hexagonal, then the doubled number of edges (each edge belongs to two faces) is 5p + 6(f - p), which also equals the tripled number of vertices (each trivalent carbon is shared by three adjacent faces).



A simple accounting then yields p = 12, and therefore a nice, defectless nanotube must have exactly 12 pentagons, the same dozen as in the buckyball! The strict rules of topology impose this family trait on all fullerenes. An even more obvious trait the nanotubes inherit from another ancestor, graphite, is a hexagonal pattern on their walls. Figure 4 illustrates this by showing two possible ways of constructing a nanotube from a precursor form of carbon [emphasis added] ….

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condensed wiki version


About the cost, thats not really an issue. It would not require a huge tower to space just a small wire and you could send things up into space with it. The cost would nearly be non existent compared to the millions of dollars it takes to send up a rocket. However the issue you brought up about threats imo IS the biggest problem. Who would police it? It would have to be built on the equator. So who would protect it? the UN? It seems that this could really only work if.. *activates conspiracy mode* there was a world government and they protected it. But if this thing was ever built it would usher in a new age of space exploration. Getting things into space would only take a few bucks. It would be awesome.. However protecting it.... That would be a problem...
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #93 on: Sep 14th, 2008, 8:11pm »

Been a while since an update, heres whats happened:

Dust Devils Photographed in Martian Arctic
story

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Search for Magical Dark Matter Gets Real
Story
Also related to the LHC!




Naked-Eye Gamma-ray Burst Aimed Directly at Earth
Story
Sept. 10, 2008: Astronomers announced today that a remarkable gamma-ray burst visible to the human eye earlier this year came from an explosive stellar jet aimed almost directly at Earth.
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Above: GRB 080319B makes a brief appearance among the stars of Bootes in a movie made by Pi of the Sky, a Polish group that monitors the sky for afterglows and other short-lived phenomena.



NASA to Explore 'Secret Layer' of the Sun
story
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Researchers call it "the transition region." It is a place in the sun's atmosphere, about 5000 km above the stellar surface, where magnetic fields overwhelm the pressure of matter and seize control of the sun's gases. It's where solar flares explode, where coronal mass ejections begin their journey to Earth, where the solar wind is mysteriously accelerated to a million mph.

It is, in short, the birthplace of space weather.


Now this one is pretty cool..
New Partial Rings Discovered Around Saturn
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NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found two new, partial rings around Saturn that each accompany a small moon, shedding light on what determines whether a partial or complete ring forms with the moon.

The partial rings, called ring arcs, extend ahead of and behind the small Saturnian moons Anthe and Methone in their orbits.

Both Anthe and Methone orbit Saturn in locations called resonances, where the gravity of the nearby larger moon Mimas disturbs their orbits. Mimas provides a regular gravitational tug on each moon, which causes the moons to skip forward and backward within an arc-shaped region along their orbital paths, said Nick Cooper of Queen Mary, University of London an a member of the Cassini imaging team.

"When we realized that the Anthe and Methone ring arcs were very similar in appearance to the region in which the moons swing back and forth in their orbits due to their resonance with Mimas, we knew we had a possible cause-and-effect relationship," Cooper said.

Scientists believe that the faint ring arcs likely consist of material knocked off the small moons by micrometeoroid impacts. The material doesn't spread all the way around Saturn to form a complete ring because the interactions of the moons with Mimas confine the material to a narrow region along the moons' orbits.

The recent Cassini images were the first detection of arc material near Anthe. The images confirmed the presence of the Methone arc, which was previously detected by Cassini's Magnetospheric Imaging Instrument.

Previous Cassini images have also shown faint rings connected with other small moons within or near the outskirts of Saturn's main ring system, such as Pan, Janus, Epimetheus and Pallene. Cassini has also previously observed an arc in the G ring, one of Saturn's fain, major rings.

"This is probably the same mechanism responsible for producing the arc in the G ring," said Matthew Hedman of Cornell University and another Cassini imaging team member.

Hedman and his colleagues previously determined that the G-ring arc is also formed by gravitational resonance with Mimas.

"Indeed, the Anthe arc may be similar to the debris we see in the G-ring arc, where the largest particles are clearly visible," Hedman said. "One might even speculate that if Anthe were shattered, its debris might form a structure much like the G ring."

The material that orbits with Pallene, Janus and Epimetheus, however, isn't subject to the same powerful resonant forces and is free to spread out around the planet, forming a complete ring.



THIS RAWKS. IMO of course.. *coughs* (pun intended)

Rosetta probe makes asteroid pass
Steins: A diamond in the sky
full story and watch the movie!
larger video

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http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Rosetta/index.html

6 September 2008
The first images from Rosetta’s OSIRIS imaging system and VIRTIS infrared spectrometer were derived from raw data this morning and have delivered spectacular results.

"Steins looks like a diamond in the sky," said Uwe Keller, Principal Investigator for the OSIRIS imaging system from the Max Planck Institut Fuer Sonnensystemforschung, Lindau.

Visible in the image are several small craters on the asteroid, and two huge ones, one of which is 2 km in diameter, indicating that the asteroid must be very old.

The images are 50 to 60 pixels in diameter, enough to characterise the shape and other characteristics of the body of the asteroid.

Rita Schulz, Rosetta Project Scientist, said, "In the images is a chain of impact craters, which must have formed from recurring impact as the asteroid rotated. The impact may have been caused by a meteoroid stream, or fragments from a shattered small body."

The chain is composed of about 7 craters. To determine the age of the asteroid, a count of the craters on the asteroid’s surface has been started (the more the number of craters, the older the asteroid). So far, 23 craters have been spotted.

From the images, scientists will try and understand why the asteroid is unusually bright, and how fine grains of the surface regolith are. This will tell them more about how the asteroid formed.

Gerhard Schwehm, Mission Manager for Rosetta said, "It looks like a typical asteroid, but it is really fascinating how much we can learn from just the images. This is our first science highlight; we certainly have a lot of promising science ahead of us. I’m already looking forward to encountering our next diamond in the sky, the much bigger Lutetia."


The OSIRIS imaging system's Wide Angle Camera (WAC) worked perfectly through the fly-by.

The OSIRIS team expects that the images that they will retrieve from the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) will be of comparable resolution. This will add to the detailed colour information and hence to knowledge of the surface composition.

Science team members noted that the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) appears to have switched to safe mode a few minutes before closest approach, but switched back on after a few hours. The software is programmed to switch to safe mode when certain parameter thresholds are crossed to protect the camera. The team will concentrate investigating the reasons for this anomaly once the science data has been analysed.

After analysis of the Rosetta data, Steins will be one of the best-characterised asteroids so far.

more stories



THEN
High Res Camera FAILURE at critical moment with asteroid fly by.
YEA RIGHT! *doesn't buy the story*




Closest Look Ever at the Edge of a Black Hole

Full story



In Solar News (our sun) No sunspots and solar wind is at a minimum. Things are looking pretty good!
(There was a small sunspot last Thursday but dissolved with in a day)



My last update today is a wild one.. Its LONG so I'll refrain from posting the whole thing but I urge you to read it if your curious about Mars and the Phoenix Mission. Its kinda ODD that regular news updates kinda STOPPED after the announcement of WATER & ICE ON MARS. After it could no longer be disputed, just about all pictures (save for those posed up there with the dust devils) have just stopped. This is after the fact that over a month ago NASA said "we are getting ready for a major news announcement next week and we have already talked to Washington about it. This is big." Then nothing.. If you think something is odd with that, then read this article.

World-Class Astrobiologist Says "NASA's Hiding Current Life on Mars!"


-Jack
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #94 on: Sep 24th, 2008, 02:16am »

Time for some news..
This may be the last bit of news for a while... I'll be moving next week. So lets get all we can in here!



First up..

YIKES! Looks like a scene from that cheesy movie "Armageddon" with Bruce Willis.

Space shuttle moved to launch pad as rescue ship
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Space shuttle Atlantis on pad 39A, left, and space shuttle Endeavour on pad 39B stand ready at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday, Sept. 19, 2008. Atlantis is scheduled for an Oct. 10 launch on mission STS-125 to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Endeavour will be on standby in the unlikely event that a rescue mission for the Atlantis's crew would be necessary. It is the first time since 2001 - when flights were more closely spaced - that both of NASA's shuttle pads have been occupied. And it will probably be the last. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Full Story
Interesting story! Mission to Save the Hubble!





Stars Migrate Through Galaxies, Study Suggests
Full Story
Unfortunately , this article is oddly claiming our Sun came from the Milky Way, (read earlier posts of exact origin of our Sun)All stars in the Milky Way are Massive, our Sun is a speck compared to normal stars of Milky Way, However there is a trail of Stars that are nearly the same size as ours and they lead to the Dwarf Galaxy Sagittarius

Still a neat story though.




PLANET DEBATE GETS GREATER
LOL, Kinda neat story about all the planets, dwarf planets, plutoids...and waffles..


Well color me surprised!
Scientests name the ODD BALL (err egg shaped) Plutoid Better than its old name "2003 EL61" or something to that effect.. Haumea is better..




WOW!
Japan hopes to build the SPACE ELEVATOR!
Go Japan!



Ok now the SUN


Odd as this sounds, our Sun is gradually going into a Solar Maximum (to peak on 2012) However... Its DOWN much lower than normal in activity.. As strange as this sounds, the sun seems to be kicking out less power this year. Perhaps it will pick up though.

SOLAR WIND LOSING POWER:
In a briefing today at NASA HQ, solar physicists announced that the solar wind is losing pressure, hitting a 50-year record low for the Space Age. This development has repercussions across the solar system. Get full story here


We got a sunspot!! Oh wait, there it goes.... damn.. :rolleyes:
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FADING SUNSPOT: A small sunspot emerges, flickers, and fades away in less than 48 hours, gathering attention once reserved for Jupiter-sized behemoths. Welcome to solar minimum.

The real excitement about sunspot 1002 is not its size or duration--but rather its polarity. The orientation of the sunspot's magnetic field identifies it as a member of new Sunspot Cycle 24. Because the year 2008 has brought so many blank suns, some observers have wondered if we are ever going to climb out of the ongoing deep solar minimum. Sunspot 1002 is an encouraging sign that the 11-year solar cycle is indeed progressing, albeit slowly.



And finally..

Fatal Error for Jules Vern..
The ship the European Space Agency was so excited about, the automated computer controlled UNMANNED ship that flew up on its own and docked with the ISS at the beginning of this year... Has had a fatal error. It was sent back to earth to resupply and on entry it skewed its path and it is now unsavable. You CAN see this thing though for the next week in all its glory.

Just put your zip code in here and it will give you the time and location of the fireball of the doomed ship

Thats all for now..

<S>

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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #95 on: Nov 22nd, 2008, 10:02am »



Lets just jump right in to RECENT news. I'll attempt to go backwards and show a bit of past 2 months news at a time so it won't get so over whelming. So pay attention to the dates on the news so it wont get confusing.

So first up!

SOLAR WIND RIPS MARS: The solar wind appears to be ripping big chunks of air from the atmosphere of Mars. This could help solve a longstanding mystery about the Red Planet: full story.

BTW, The Phoenix mission is over, its batteries failed and its now destroyed... or so they say... More on that later... But man, that lander sure found out a LOT of info!






LEONID OUTBURST: Just as predicted, the Leonid meteor shower surged during the early hours of Nov. 17th. "Earth passed through a filament of debris shed by parent comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle in the year 1466," says forecaster Jérémie Vaubaillon of Caltech. The result was a sharp flurry of meteors numbering almost 90 per hour. "In Slovakia, we saw many bright and quick Leonids during the peak," reports Roman Piffl. Here is one of them over the town of Marianka:
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AURORA WATCH: On Nov. 9th, flying photographer Brian Whittaker was 35,000 feet over the Arctic Circle when he looked out the window of his airplane and saw this:
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"For several hours I had experienced a good display of dynamic green auroras," says Whittaker. "The best view was when we neared the coast of Greenland. Snow-capped peaks and glaciers were easily visible in the bright moonlight while auroras danced overhead."

It's time to book another flight. On Nov. 24th or 25th, a solar wind stream will hit Earth and probably spark a new round of Northern Lights. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.
Gallery

Being Moon from the ISS?
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:haha:



If you remember before I mentioned about an alignment that may trigger a large quake
Well, heres a bit more info on the alignment.

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On the 12th the moon will be full, should be quite nifty to see this alignment on the first though! Be sure to pop out side just after sun set and look west.




OK OLD NEWS POST NOW!

DISINTEGRATED ASTEROID: Asteroid 2008 TC3 was discovered on Oct. 6, 2008, and a day later it hit Earth. The 3 meter-wide space rock disintegrated in the atmosphere, producing a fireball about as bright as a full Moon. Although the time and location of impact were predicted with some precision, few people saw it because it happened over a remote area of northern Sudan.

Now, for the first time, a ground-based photo has come to light:
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This is a single frame from a video taken by Mr. Mohamed Elhassan Abdelatif Mahir and communicated by Dr. Muawia H. Shaddad of the University of Karthoum. It shows the fireball's aftermath--a smoky trail of debris twisted by high-altitude winds and illuminated by the rising sun. Researchers hope publication of this photo will encourage other photographers to come forward and submit their images of the debris or, better yet, the fireball itself.


Thats all for today!





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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #96 on: Nov 22nd, 2008, 11:46pm »

Update:

ORBITING TOOLBAG: When Endeavour astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped her toolbag during a spacewalk on Nov. 18th and it floated away, mission controllers probably figured they'd seen the last of it. Think again. Last night, Nov. 22nd, veteran satellite observer Kevin Fetter video-recorded the backpack-sized bag gliding over his backyard observatory in Brockville, Ontario. "The star in the video is 4th-magnitude eta Pisces," he says. The toolbag, he estimates, was "8th-magnitude or brighter"--invisible to the naked eye but a fine target for small telescopes.

LMAO Video





CORONAL HOLE: Japan's Hinode spacecraft is monitoring a dark hole on the sun--a coronal hole:
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Coronal holes are places in the sun's atmosphere where the magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. In images taken by X-ray telescopes, such as the one Hinode uses, coronal holes appear dark because the hot glowing gas which would otherwise fill them has spilled out in the solar wind. A stream of gas flowing from this particular hole is heading for Earth. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras when it arrives on or about Nov. 25th.





3D BEHEMOTH: It masses 300,214 kg, has wings almost as wide as a football field, occupies 12,626 cubic feet of living space--and now it's jumping out of your computer screen. Put on your 3D glasses and behold in the International Space Station:

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Graphic artist Patrick Vantuyne of Belgium created the anaglyph using photos taken from space shuttle Endeavour on Nov. 16th. Endeavour was hovering near the ISS for a mutual inspection prior to docking hours later. When Endeavour did link up, it added about 110,000 kg of mass and 23 meters of wingspan to the complex. If only a third spacecraft had been present to take photos of that....

Docked together, Endeavour and the ISS are circling Earth and flying over many towns and cities after dark. They're bright, eye-catching, and if you look at them through a telescope

Tracker
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #97 on: Nov 24th, 2008, 12:25am »

Fireball in Canada seen
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #98 on: Nov 24th, 2008, 11:35pm »

URGENT!
---------------

EXPLOSION IN PROGRESS: An explosion is underway on the sun. The source of the blast lies out of sight somewhere over the sun's western limb, but the ejecta is visible as it billows into space:

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A coronagraph onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is monitoring the progress of the expanding CME. The cloud is not directed at Earth and should cause no geomagnetic activity on our planet. It is, however, a promising "sign of life" on the sun. Slowly but surely, solar minimum is coming to an end.

Solar wind
speed: 408.8 km/sec
density: 6.4 protons/cm3

All I can say is thank goodness this was pointed away from us. Had this been facing us it would have been called a "Full Halo" and we would have gotten the full force of the solar flare. That aint good..... srsly..
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #99 on: Dec 1st, 2008, 01:31am »

THE OTHER CONJUNCTION: While all eyes are on Venus and Jupiter in the evening sky, another conjunction is taking place at high noon. Mars and Mercury are having a close encounter of their own within 3o of the sun:
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The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) took the picture on Nov. 30th. SOHO's onboard coronagraph blocked the glare of the sun to reveal the planets and first-magnitude star Antares nearby.

As for the OTHER conjunction.

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Almost there, tomorrow they should align as much as possible.. which might trigger a quake, however on the 12th is a full moon and the moon will be exactly opposite these planets. Which might also trigger a quake. Either way, if no quake happens it certainly is pretty to look at!

Movie... amazing.. wow.
New Moon is aligned with Pluto making its final transition from Sagittarius to Capricorn. According to this.. the Moon is also aligned with Pluto.. I missed that..
shocked





November 30, 2008 - Shuttle Endeavour Landed
At Edwards AFB Today.
At 2:25 PM Pacific, the Space shuttle Endeavour
and the STS-126 crew landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California,
after completing a mission to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV.



November 29, 2008 - Canadian Fireball Fragments Found.
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Full story
Meteorite fragment weighing 250 grams from November 20, 2008,
explosion near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada, was found by University
of Calgary researchers south of Lloydminster in an area called Buzzard Coulee.
Image © 2008 by Bruce Edwards, Edmonton Journal.


On Thursday, November 27, 2008, University of Calgary student, Ellen Milley, was traveling south of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, with meteorite expert, Alan Hildebrand, when she discovered a 250-gram piece of dark space rock lying atop a frozen pond. A dozen meteorite pieces have now been found in the Ian Mitchell ranch near the Battle River valley on frozen ponds where the dark space rocks are more clearly seen.

If I failed to post the video of the asteroid earlier, here it is.



November 26, 2008 - Canadian Fireball A 10-Ton Space Rock
“At least half a dozen infrasound stations ranging from Greenland to Utah,
including Canada's Lac Du Bonnett, Manitoba and Elgin Field, Ontario stations,
recorded energy from the fireball's explosions. The indicated energy is approximately
one third of a kiloton of TNT.” - Peter Brown, Ph.D., Univ. of Western Ontario


On Thursday, November 20, 2008, at 5:26:40 to 5:26:45 PM Mountain,
this 5-second fireball came in at a steep 60-degree-angle from the horizon, exploding
as it fell, with the largest explosion at 5:26:44 PM. The location was NNE of Lloydminster,
Saskatchewan, Canada, traveling SSE towards the Battle River valley. The fireball was recorded
on all-sky and security cameras across Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada, and was witnessed by
thousands of people. Image source SkyNews. Also see Devon, Alberta,

Full Story

Video

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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #100 on: Dec 4th, 2008, 9:52pm »

Update!


GREAT CONJUNCTION: Postulate: One moon + two planets = the sky show of the year. The proof may be found in this photo submitted by Jamie Russell from the United Kingdom's Isle of Wight:
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He opened the shutter of his Canon 300D on the evening of Dec. 1st moments after Venus emerged from behind the Moon. Meanwhile, Jupiter looked on from above. Together, the ensemble beamed down on St. Catherine's Lighthouse, built 170 years ago atop the Niton Undercliffe. "It was a lovely scene," he says.

All around the world, sky watchers watched with pleasure as Venus, Jupiter and the Moon gathered in one tiny patch of sky and then dispersed again. But was it really the sky show of the year? Browse the gallery and decide for yourself:

Gallery







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Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope




PROTO-SUNSPOTS: Magnetic fields are pushing through the surface of the sun today, producing a pair of planet-sized dipoles with the potential to form sunspots. Circles denote their locations in this SOHO magnetic map of the sun:
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The high-latitude and magnetic polarity of these "proto-sunspots" identify them as members of new Solar Cycle 24. Even if they fail to coelesce into truly dark-cored sunspots, they are still significant. They remind us that Cycle 24 is approaching and the eerie quiet of solar minimum won't last forever. Readers, if you have a solar telescope, target the proto-sunspots for a sign of things to come.



RETURN OF THE LEONIDS:
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Astronomers from Caltech and NASA are predicting a near-storm of meteors in 2009 based on a surprising outburst of Leonids just a few weeks ago. Get the full story from Science@NASA.
Full story here




Dec. 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Name:2008 WY94 LD:3.2 Magnitude:19 Size:35M
Solar Map










Heres a neat one:

Invisible Lights on Mars Mapped
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Source

Quote:
Mars' ultraviolet auroral lights have been mapped for the first time. The map could in turn shed light on the way the red planet interacts with electrically charged particles spit out by the sun.

The aurorae on Mars were discovered in 2004 with the SPICAM ultraviolent and infrared atmospheric spectrometer on the Mars Express orbiter, which is still circling the planet. The phenomenon is not visible in regular light, so there are no photos.

Using the SPICAM and other instruments aboard Mars Express, a group of scientists have observed nine new auroral emission events, which allowed them to make a crude map of planet's auroral activity.

Prettier on Earth

On Earth, aurorae are more commonly known as the northern and southern lights. They are confined to the polar regions of the planet and shine brightly in the visible as well as the ultraviolet wavelengths. They produce spectacular shows now and then for anyone living near the Arctic Circle.

Similar aurorae are known to exist on Jupiter and Saturn. They occur wherever a planet's magnetic field channels electrically charged particles into the atmosphere.

Mars lacks the large-scale internal mechanism to generate a planetary magnetic field. Instead, Mars has small pockets of magnetism where areas of rocks in the crust are themselves magnetic -- essentially, Mars has many magnetic pole-type regions all over its surface.

Mars Express' observations suggest that like the aurorae of other planets, Mars' aurorae are caused by charged particles, likely electrons, colliding with molecules in the atmosphere. (These electrons almost certainly come from the sun, which constantly blows them out into space, a phenomenon known as the solar wind.)

The spacecraft's instruments showed that the aurorae seem to be located near regions where the Martian magnetic field is strongest. The findings were detailed recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Mystery remains

Just how the electrons are accelerated to sufficiently high energies to spark aurorae on Mars is still a mystery.

"It may be that magnetic fields on Mars connect with the solar wind, providing a road for the electrons to travel along," said study team member Francois Leblanc of the Service d'Aeronomie IPSL/CNRS in France.

Unfortunately, Mars' aurorae won't give any future visiting astronauts a spectacular light show.

"We're not sure whether the aurorae will be bright enough to be observed at visible wavelengths," Leblanc said.

The molecules responsible for the visible light show on Earth -- molecular and atomic oxygen and molecular nitrogen -- are not abundant enough in the Martian atmosphere to spark the spectacular visible displays seen on Earth.










Has an alien comet infiltrated the solar system?
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Source









Planet Found Orbiting Puffed-Up Star
Source

Quote:
A planet outside of the solar system has been discovered orbiting a dying, puffed-up star called a red giant.

The finding could help astronomers learn more about the fate of our solar system.

The newly discovered exoplanet is nearly six times the mass of Jupiter and orbits the red giant star HD 102272, which is located 1,200 light-years away in the constellation Leo. To date, about 20 red giants are known to support planets.

The researchers suspect another world is orbiting farther out in the system. If confirmed, the system would be the first red giant star known to support more than one planet...



Here is another one I like..

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Pages 3 through 15 are coming in the next month or so. Supposedly theres an awesome picture taken on board an Air Force refueling jet in the desert.

Stay tuned!

*edit*

Found a new one.

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Smiley Face! :smile:



update:
An enormous filament of plasma is swirling over the eastern limb. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) took this picture just hours ago:
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This plasma-filled filament of magnetism popped up yesterday and it could collapse again just as rapidly. When a filament abruptly collapses and hits the sun's surface, it can produce a rare type of explosion called a "Hyder flare." Could one be in the offing? Stay tuned!
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #101 on: Dec 6th, 2008, 11:18pm »


Just speaking off the top of my head. Does anyone know what happened to the Hubble? I know its fixed now, but right before we moved they had 2 space shuttles on the launch pad (posted some where here, maybe page 4) and were getting ready to launch a mission to fix the Hubble. As far as I know, that mission never took place but lo-and-behold, Hubble is fixed and no one seemed to ask "How". I'll research this, just found it odd.



Anyway, heres the news! (boy, theres a lot of it this week!)




AURORA WATCH: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight. A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth's magnetic field, sparking Northern Lights as far south as Michigan:
Gallery

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Shawn Malone,
Marquette, Michigan







Got another explosion in the sky! Although not as cool as the one in Canada last month!

COLORADO SUPERBOLIDE: Last night, Dec. 6th at 1:28 a.m. MST, a meteor of stunning brightness lit up the skies of Colorado. Astronomer Chris Peterson photographed the event using a dedicated all-sky meteor camera in the town of Guffey, near Colorado Springs:
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"In seven years of operation, this is the brightest fireball I've ever recorded," says Peterson. "I estimate the terminal explosion at magnitude -18, more than 100 times brighter than a full Moon."

Fireballs this bright belong to a rare category of meteors called superbolides. They are caused by small asteroids measuring a few to 10 meters in diameter and massing hundreds of metric tons. Superbolides trigger seismic detectors on the ground, produce waves of infrasound that can travel thousands of miles, and they are tracked by military satellites scanning Earth for nuclear explosions. Recent examples include the El Paso fireball of 1997 and the Slovenian Superbolide of 2007.

Last night's fireball is on the low end of the superbolide scale. Nevertheless, it was still a beauty and likely peppered the ground with meteorites when it exploded. Sighting reports are welcomed; they could help guide the tracking and recovery of debris.







TUMBLING TOOLBAG: The space station's famous sidekick, the ISS Toolbag, is circling Earth and producing flashes of light bright enough to record using off-the-shelf digital cameras. Peter Rosén sends this report from downtown Stockholm, Sweden:

"I photographed the toolbag when it passed above the moon on Dec. 3rd. It was invisible to the naked eye, but my camera (a Canon 40D) detected it in a series of 4 second exposures. The toolbag must be rotating as the light seems to flash and disappear.

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Larger image

He combined 26 images to create this composite. "The other paths are from airplanes; the short interruptions in their lights are caused by the lag between shots." Longer "black-outs" in the path of the toolbag appear to be genuine, a result of tumbling and flashing.



Readers, the toolbag and the ISS are making a series of evening passes over Europe and North America this weekend. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.




**Edit**
More conjunction pix!

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Kinda looks like Darth Vader, Luke and Chewy! lol


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My fav one so far..
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Makes a nice desktop . cheesy

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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #102 on: Dec 12th, 2008, 02:07am »

BIGGEST FULL MOON OF THE YEAR: Tonight's full Moon is the biggest of the year, as much as 14% wider and 30% brighter than lesser Moons earlier in 2008. An astronomer would say this is a "perigee Moon" because it occurs at perigee, the side of the Moon's elliptical orbit closest to Earth. Go outside tonight and soak up some moonlight. There's plenty of it: full story.

Last night's 99% full Moon was already impressive: "Boy... the Moon was very bright and BIG!" says Ron Hodges of Midland, Texas. "Watching it through my scope was actually exciting." For the record, he took this picture using a Canon 300D:

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*wonders if it will cause a quake..*

More info coming soon on other solar news. Got the flu and haven't felt like updating much! Sorry folks! I'll get back on it!
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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #103 on: Dec 17th, 2008, 01:36am »

I'll get back in the groove of posting. First I gotta catch up on the past week or so.


COLOR-CODED SUNSPOTS: According to one leading solar physicist, the sun is turning blue. David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is using red and blue to tag sunspots of the old and new solar cycles. When he plots the color-coded sunspot numbers, it's clear a change is taking place:

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"New Solar Cycle 24 is on the upswing while old Solar Cycle 23 is decaying," he says. The sun is still in the pits of a deep solar minimum, he points out, but the little blue bars in Hathaway's plot show that it won't last forever. An increasing number of new-cycle sunspots in the months ahead should propel the sun out of the doldrums, eventually leading to a full-fledged Solar Max around 2012.

Feeling blue? Now you know why. Stay tuned for updates.





GEMINID METEOR SHOWER
Gallery
Movie





This picture is kinda neat. How often do you see the space shuttle flying above you head?
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Thats exactly what happened here, only it was getting a piggy back ride from a modified 747. This picture was taken outside a Texas Airport and the jet was headed for California.



**editing last weeks news** Archive site is currently down.. grr..

Ocean worlds may be dying stars' last haven for life
Neat story, also contains some interesting links IN the story about surviving when the sun goes into its red giant mode.


Study Illuminates Star Explosion from 16th Century[16th Century
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Hubble Finds Carbon Dioxide on Extrasolar Planet
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New lander by NASA
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Movie


Update:

GIANT BREACH IN EARTH'S MAGNETIC FIELD: NASA's five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in Earth's magnetic field ten times larger than anything previously thought to exist. The size of the opening and the strange way it forms could overturn long-held ideas of space physics: FULL STORY


SOLAR ACTIVITY: Hours ago, something on the far side of the sun {but rotating into our range} exploded and hurled a massive cloud of debris (a CME) over the eastern limb. Using a coronagraph to block the sun's glare, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) photographed the cloud expanding into space:

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NASA's Stereo-B spacecraft is stationed over the sun's eastern limb, but it was not taking pictures at the probable time of the eruption, so details of the blast are unknown. The CME could herald an active region (e.g., a sunspot or perhaps an unstable magnetic filament) turning to face Earth in the days ahead. Stay tuned for updates.




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xx Re: *The Solar News Thread* 56kers beware..
« Reply #104 on: Dec 27th, 2008, 02:29am »

update! Merry Christmas!


NEW SUNSPOTS: On the morning of Dec. 24th, NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft photographed a pair of active regions emerging in the sun's southern hemisphere. Clouds of hot glowing gas detected by STEREO's extreme UV telescope probably mask a pair of new-cycle sunspots underneath:

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The clouds and spots are not yet visible from Earth. STEREO-B is stationed over the sun's eastern limb where it can see things up to three days before the sun's rotation turns them toward our planet. So, consider this a sneak preview.


ERUPTION IN PROGRESS:

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ERUPTION IN PROGRESS: A prominence that has been dancing along the sun's northeastern limb since Dec. 24th appears to be erupting.




LAST AURORAS OF 2008: They're coming, the last auroras of 2008. The source of the display is a coronal hole photographed earlier today by Japan's Hinode spacecraft:

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Coronal holes are places in the sun's atmosphere where the sun's magnetic field opens up and allows the solar wind to escape. A stream of solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Dec. 30th or 31st. The impact could light up the Arctic Circle, punctuating the year with aurora borealis.




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A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should arrive on or about Dec. 30th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope



Thats all for now!
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