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

The Last Month in Astronomy


NOV-14-2008 • Endeavour Launched • The shuttle Endeavour was launched on November 14. It’s mission: plumbing. The astronauts say they will be there between noon and 6.

NOV-13-2008 • Extrasolar Planets Imaged • The Hubble telescope has apparently obtained the first visible-light image of an extrasolar planet. Images were taken in 2004 and 2006.

NOV-10-2008 • Phoenix Finished • The Mars Lander Phoenix has completed its mission. The spacecraft was always going to stop functioning when “Mars freezes over” and it was last heard from on November 2. Keeping the spacecraft alive required heaters that had to be powered by solar cells. Its location in the Martian equivalent of the Yukon territory means that daylight hours per sol (Martian days) is sharply reduced. The last soil dig was announced on October 21. Analysis of the data from Phoenix will continue for years.

NOV-06-2008 • Alaska Glacier Melt Measured • NASA scientists used data gathered with the twin GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites. The annual ice mass loss in the period studied was 84 billion tons.

NOV-01-2008 • New Enceladus Pix • A Halloween flyby of Enceladus by the Cassini spacecraft focused on some new geyser sites. This photo shows the Baghdad Sulcus on Enceladus. Photo courtesy of JPL/NASA.Check Carolyn Porco’s November 1 posting at this website.

OCT-30-2008 • Hubble back in business • The Hubble telescope is working once again thanks to some backup hardware that had not been tested since the spacecraft was still on Earth. The new image of Arp 147 is fantastic.

OCT-27-2008 • Two ply belted • Epsilon Eridani is the closest known planetary system to our own. Spitzer recently determined that this system has two asteroid belts compared to our one. However, we probably still own the record for the most coffee shops.


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