Daily Archives: August 29, 2011

Views from the Solar System (2)


Daybreak at Gale Crater
NASA – This computer-generated images depicts part of Mars at the boundary between darkness and daylight, with an area including Gale Crater, beginning to catch morning light.

Northward is to the left. Gale is the crater with a mound inside it near the center of the image. NASA selected Gale Crater as the landing site for Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory. The mission’s rover will be placed on the ground in a northern portion of Gale crater in August 2012.

Gale Crater is 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter and holds a layered mountain rising about 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the crater floor. The intended landing site is at 4.5 degrees south latitude, 137.4 degrees east longitude.

This view was created using three-dimensional information from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, which flew on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. The vertical dimension is not exaggerated. Color information is based on general Mars color characteristics. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Hurricane Irene
High above the Earth from aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Ron Garan snapped this image of Hurricane Irene as it passed over the Caribbean on Aug. 22, 2011.

The National Hurricane Center noted on Aug. 22 that Irene is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches across Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Southeastern Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands. Isolated maximum amounts of rainfall may reach up to 20 inches.

Cassini Captures Ice Queen Helene
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has successfully completed its second-closest encounter with Saturn’s icy moon Helene, beaming down raw images of the small moon. At closest approach, on June 18, Cassini flew within 4,330 miles (6,968 kilometers) of Helene’s surface. It was the second closest approach to Helene of the entire mission.

Cassini passed from Helene’s night side to the moon’s sunlit side. It also captured images of the Saturn-facing side of the moon in sunlight, a region that was only illuminated by sunlight reflected off Saturn the last time Cassini was close, in March 2010. This flyby will enable scientists to finish creating a global map of Helene, so they can better understand the history of impacts to the moon and gully-like features seen on previous flybys. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Juno and Booster Streak Across the Stars
NASA’s Juno spacecraft and its spent Centaur upper rocket stage are captured in this telescope view as they move across the field of stars. The five-minute, timed exposure was acquired on Aug. 5 11:18pm Eastern time (Aug. 6 at 3:18 UTC) when Juno was at a distance of about 195,000 miles (314,000 kilometers) from Earth.

Additional exposures showed the movement of the objects relative to the unmoving background stars, confirming that the streaks indeed represent the spacecraft and booster and not imaging artifacts.

The images were taken remotely by amateur astronomer Scott Ferguson using Global Rent-a-Scope’s GRAS-016 Takahashi Widefield Refractor, which is located in Nerpio, Spain. Image credit: Scott Ferguson


Central Bankers Urge Governments to Keep Global Economic Expansion Intact

By Jeannine Aversa and Simon Kennedy – “Most of the economic policies that support robust economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said at the annual conference of policy makers and economists, sponsored by the Kansas City Fed.

Warning of a “dangerous new phase” for the world economy, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde told the forum that risks have been aggravated by “a growing sense that policy makers do not have the conviction, or simply are not willing, to take the decisions that are needed.” more> http://twurl.nl/rxa3ds


Economists reckon euro zone will survive

Reuters/EurActiv – “It is very difficult to unscramble a scrambled egg,” said Joseph Stiglitz, who nevertheless acknowledged that a discussion was under way on whether there was “an optimal way of disintegrating”. “A consensus is emerging among economists, which is it would be better in terms of contractual complexity for Germany to leave than for Greece to leave,” he said.

Should debt-ridden countries like Greece leave the euro area, their national currencies would devalue, making it more difficult to repay euro-denominated debt.

Were a stronger country like Germany to leave, the argument goes, it would be better placed to service its debt because its currency would probably rise against the euro. Therefore the struggle to extract itself from the contractual maze of leaving the bloc would be greatly diminished. more> http://twurl.nl/8xtdmh


A planet made of diamond

R&D Mag – Researchers from the University of Manchester and institutions in Australia, Germany, Italy and the USA detected an unusual star using the Parkes radio telescope of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and followed up their discovery with the Lovell radio telescope, based at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, and one of the Keck telescopes in Hawaii.

The team thinks that the ‘diamond planet’ is all that remains of a once-massive star, most of whose matter was siphoned off towards the pulsar.

Pulsar J1719-1438 is a very fast-spinning pulsar—what’s called a millisecond pulsar. Amazingly, it rotates more than 10,000 times per minute, has a mass of about 1.4 times that of our Sun but is only 20 km in diameter. About 70% of millisecond pulsars have companions of some kind. more> http://twurl.nl/jvsnzw


A new ‘Gandhi’ shakes India

Economic Times – India’s political leaders emerged from the past two weeks far less exalted, especially the governing Indian National Congress, which seemed outmaneuvered and uncertain throughout the crisis. For months, leaders of the Congress Party had failed to effectively tackle different corruption scandals, creating an impression that the party lacked the will or the interest to address the issue.

When Anna Hazare staged his hunger strike, the public outpouring of support seemed to throw Congress Party leaders off balance, and they never quite recovered. more> http://twurl.nl/pvnxyi



CONGRESS WATCH Interview with Rep. Tipton on oil shale hearing in Grand Junction, KJCT Channel 8/YouTube Tipton, Gardner, Lamborn defend House GOP, Peter Roper, Publo Chieftain Shell: Oil shale blocked, Gary Harmon, GJSentinel.com Colorado lawmakers push for balanced budget amendment, … Continue reading