SJAA Ephemeris September 2009 | SJAA Home | Contents | Previous | Next

The Last Month in Astronomy


AUG-07-2009 • Kepler finds atmosphere • The Kepler spacecraft has just started the scientific phase of its 4 year mission but it has already detected the atmosphere around a previously detected exoplanet. The planet is called HAT-P-7 and it transits a star that is 1000 light years away. This detection shows that the Kepler instruments are working well.

AUG-03-2009 • New Martian Meteorite • The Martian rover Opportunity has discovered a new meteorite. The new discovered iron-nickel meteorite, dubbed Block Island, is not the first meteorite found on Mars by the rovers but it is the largest.

JUL-29-2009 • NEOs on the web • NASA/JPL has started a new website that gives frequent updates on NEOs - Near Earth Objects.

JUL-22-2009 • Ammonia = Water? • The Cassini spacecraft has detected ammonia during flybys of Enceladus. This doesn’t mean Enceladus does windows but it may indicate the presence of liquid water. How? Ammonia is essentially an antifreeze. It can reduce the freezing point of water down to -143 Fahrenheit and temperatures measured along fractures on Enceladus are at least -136° F.

JUL-17-2009 • Info on OCO failure • Last February, an attempt to launch the Orbiting Carbon Observatory from Vandenberg failed. The failure has been definitely tied to the spacecraft fairing (satellite covering) not separating. The specific reason why cannot be determined but at least one likely cause is an ordnance failure.


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