Archive

Archive for December 23, 2011

Cassini Significant Events 12/14/11 – 12/20/11

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on Dec. 20 from the Deep Space Network tracking complex at Madrid, Spain. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and with the exception of the CAPS instrument being powered off, all subsystems are operating normally. Information on the present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the “Present Position” page at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/presentposition/ .

Full Story: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/significantevents/significantevents20111222/

Space Station Commander Captures Unprecedented View Of Comet

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

International Space Station Commander Dan Burbank captured spectacular imagery of Comet Lovejoy, viewed from about 240 miles above the Earth’s horizon on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Today Burbank described seeing the comet as “the most amazing thing I have ever seen in space,” in an interview with WDIV-TV in Detroit. Burbank took hundreds of still images of the comet.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/dec/HQ_M11-255_ISS_Lovejoy.html

Quadrantids Will Create Brief, Beautiful Show on Jan. 4

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/MEO/B. Cooke

The 2012 Quadrantids, a little-known meteor shower named after an extinct constellation, will present an excellent chance for hardy souls to start the year off with some late-night meteor watching.

Peaking in the wee morning hours of Jan. 4, the Quadrantids have a maximum rate of about 100 per hour, varying between 60-200. The waxing gibbous moon will set around 3 a.m. local time, leaving about two hours of excellent meteor observing before dawn. It’s a good thing, too, because unlike the more famous Perseid and Geminid meteor showers, the Quadrantids only last a few hours — it’s the morning of Jan. 4, or nothing.

Like the Geminids, the Quadrantids originate from an asteroid, called 2003 EH1. Dynamical studies suggest that this body could very well be a piece of a comet which broke apart several centuries ago, and that the meteors you will see before dawn on Jan. 4 are the small debris from this fragmentation. After hundreds of years orbiting the sun, they will enter our atmosphere at 90,000 mph, burning up 50 miles above Earth’s surface — a fiery end to a long journey!

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/quadrantids_2012.html