SJAA Ephemeris November 2008 | SJAA Home | Contents | Previous | Next

The Last 31 Days in Astronomy


OCT-06-2008 • Hubble Update • Weeks before the Shuttle repair mission was to launch, the Hubble had a major failure in the hardware that sends information back to Earth. As a result, another piece of hardware needs to be added to STS-125 (also called Servicing Mission 4). The Hubble may be able to go back to work in late October using some backup hardware that hasn’t been activated since Hubble was tested on Earth before its launch.

SEP-29-2008 • Snow on Mars • The Phoenix lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds. However, before planning for schussing you should know that the snow vaporized before hitting the ground. The lander has detected water-ice, calcium carbonate and clay-like material on the surface. It’s possible that some of the snow eventually does hit the ground. Still not known - whether the surface ice ever melts.

SEP-25-2008 • Kepler Baked • The Kepler spacecraft, set to launch in 2009, has been baked. No, that’s not a cute way of saying it is assembled. It had to undergo high temperature tests before it is determined that it is ready to go into space. It survived the tests.

SEP-23-2008 • Sun winded? • The sun is apparently producing the smallest solar wind than at any time that we have been able to measure it - about 50 years worth. The Ulysses spacecraft has made these measurements. The lack of a solar wind may mean that the heliopause, a boundary layer at the edge of the solar system that helps protect us from some cosmic rays, may become less effective.


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