Thursday, March 29, 2007

There's a Hex on Saturn

I saw this on Drudge the other day.
An odd, six-sided, honeycomb-shaped feature circling the entire north pole of Saturn has captured the interest of scientists with NASA's Cassini mission.

NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft imaged the feature over two decades ago. The fact that it has appeared in Cassini images indicates that it is a long-lived feature. A second hexagon, significantly darker than the brighter historical feature, is also visible in the Cassini pictures. The spacecraft's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer is the first instrument to capture the entire hexagon feature in one image.

Interesting movie by Cassini on the Hexagon shaped clouds on top of Saturn.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Inhofe's statement at ALGOREs hearing

ALGORE failed the pledge

First, you have claimed that there is a “strong, new emerging consensus” linking global warming to an increase in hurricane intensity and duration. Yet last year, the World Meteorological Organization very clearly rejected this assertion, and other scientists agree.

Secondly, you said that East Antarctica might melt and this could raise sea levels by 20 feet, so we’re all going to die. However, according to many scientists, Antarctica is gaining ice mass, not losing it. In a 2005 study published in Science a team of researchers led by Dr. Curt Davis found an overall gain in ice mass in Antarctica over a ten year period.

And the public is catching on. Even the New York Times last week published an article about scientists, many of them your supporters, who say you have overstated your case on global warming — in fact, they warn that you may be hurting the so-called cause with your "alarmism."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oh Goracle! What can you do?

The Goracle will not brook any news that might conflict with this chosen role or any sign that disaster is less than imminent. For if there is no immediate and enormous crisis, who needs a Global Savior? And if he can’t be president, and he can’t save the world, what good is a Goracle?
Dean Barnett begs the question, What can Gore do? He'll never be president. So he creates a crisis and becomes the lord savior of the world. NOT!

Comet Lovejoy

A new comet discovered by a digital camera, Comet Lovejoy.
IAU Circular No. 8819 states -
COMET 2007 E2
Terry Lovejoy, Thornlands, Queensland, Australia, reports his discovery of a comet with a strong central condensation and a green extended 4' coma, with a slight extension to the southwest, on sixteen 90-s CCD images obtained on Mar. 15 with a Canon 350D camera (+ 200-mm f/2.8 lens); the coma diameter was given as 5' from his Mar. 16 frame (his positions below have estimated uncertainties of +/- 15"). At Lovejoy's request, J. Drummond (Gisborne, New Zealand, 0.41-m reflector) confirmed the comet visually at mag 9.5 (moderately condensed, coma diameter 2'.6, no tail).

2007 UT R.A. (2000) Decl. Mag. Observer
Mar. 15.727 20 44 05.5 -51 14 14 10 Lovejoy
15.736 20 44 06.1 -51 13 22 "
16.525 20 43 02.7 -50 49 35 9.5 Drummond
16.625 20 42 59.5 -50 45 39 "
16.704 20 42 55.2 -50 43 14 9.3 Lovejoy

SpaceX Falcon 1 launch

At the end you can see the roll control going out of control.

Falcon I failed to reach orbit

The second test flight of the privately-built Falcon 1 rocket failed to reach its intended orbit late Tuesday, nearly one year to the day of the booster’s ill-fated spaceflight debut.

The two-stage Falcon 1 rocket shot spaceward [image] from its Pacific island launch site at 9:10 p.m. EDT (0110 March 21 GMT), but suffered a roll control malfunction 186 miles (300 kilometers) above Earth before completing its flight plan, its Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) builders said. The rocket was intended to end its mission about 10 minutes after liftoff at an altitude of about 425 miles (685 kilometers).

“We did encounter, late in the second burn, a roll control anomaly,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told reporters, after the more than five-minute spaceflight. “But that’s something that’s pretty straightforward to address.”

The roll control glitch affected how the Falcon 1 booster’s second stage controlled itself in flight, sending the vehicle on a path that likely reentered the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean without completing a full orbit, Musk said. The malfunction could have been due to a range of issues, such as helium leak or a roll control jet glitch, but only a subsequent analysis will root out the cause, he added.

The off-nominal spaceflight capped a drama-filled countdown that included payload communications glitches and one pad abort a half-second after the Falcon 1 rocket’s engine ignited. Each of those issues was eventually resolved, and the rocket -- initially targeted for a 7:00 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) liftoff after a Monday scrub -- was again readied for launch within its four-hour flight window.

Video of Launch here.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

EU extreme weather site

Like our National Weather Service, the EU has a beta site up (HT Drudge) and will activate it on March 23, World Meteorological Day. Metroalarm is here.
It looks like a color-coded terror alert scale—and meteorologically speaking, that's exactly what it is. With climate change making conditions more unpredictable, national weather services from across the European Union have joined forces to create —a new Web site providing up-to-the-minute information on "extreme weather" across the continent.

The initiative, managed by Austria's Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, is designed to give Europeans a single source for details on flash floods, severe thunderstorms, gale-force winds, heat waves, blizzards and other violent weather that poses a threat to life or property.

It also issues 24- and 48-hour warnings for heavy fog, extreme cold, forest fires and "coastal events" such as high waves or severe tides.

"In one glance you will be able to see where in Europe the weather might become dangerous," organizers said Saturday in a statement.

The service is similar to the United States' National Weather Service, which posts on its Web site conditions, warnings and forecasts for all 50 states.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

#13 wins the Iditarod!

Lucky number 13 proved its magical power as Lance Mackey was the first to cross under the Burled Arch in Nome in dramatic style tonight. Mackey and his team of 9 dogs arrived at 8:08 pm (Alaska Time) completing the 2007 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race in 9 days, five hours, eight minutes and forty-one seconds. Mackey set out to win this race with fierce determination, and maybe a little superstition: both his father and his brother won before him wearing bib #13. Now, Lance is the third Mackey to win the Iditarod sporting bib #13. All this happened on the 13th day of March 2007!!! On top of that, Mackey becomes the very first Iditarod musher to win both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod trail Sled Dog Race in the same year.

Thousands of fans lined Front Street in Nome to get a glimpse of the 36 year old Kasilof Alaska musher make Iditarod history in a big way. Mackey was greeted by his family and friends. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called in to congratulate Mackey. She told him that he was an inspiration for all Alaskans

Monday, March 12, 2007

Death Threats to 'Denier'

Hat Tip From LGF here:
Timothy Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, has received five deaths threats by email since raising concerns about the degree to which man was affecting climate change.

One of the emails warned that, if he continued to speak out, he would not live to see further global warming.

"Western governments have pumped billions of dollars into careers and institutes and they feel threatened," said the professor.

"I can tolerate being called a sceptic because all scientists should be sceptics, but then they started calling us deniers, with all the connotations of the Holocaust. That is an obscenity. It has got really nasty and personal."

Yes, I think those who disagree at the human causes to Global Warming are sceptics and not deniers.

Here is the link from LGF of the BBC 4 documentary this 'Denier' was on (oh I'm sorry...Sceptic).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Stamp for Pluto's discoverer

Here is a campaign to promote a stamp for the discoverer of Pluto. Clyde Tombaugh died 10 years ago on January 17 so he eligible to be on a stamp.
Baxter started a Web site,, in January 2006 to collect online signatures for his petition asking the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee to approve a stamp honoring Tombaugh. U.S. Postal Service policy states a person must be dead at least 10 years before being honored on a postage stamp -- making Tombaugh eligible as of Jan. 17.

"I don't know what kind of impact the petition will have, but I figured it couldn't hurt," Baxter said.

Baxter said he has collected about 2,000 signatures so far, and hopes to get a lot more before submitting the petition to the CSAC later this year. Among the petition signers is Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology, who in January 2005 discovered Eris, a dwarf planet that measures about 70 miles wider than Pluto and is the farthest known object in the solar system.

Sign the petition here.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Lunar Eclipse "Space Odyssey 2007"

Getting a bit Artsy.

Total Lunar Eclipse (moon) 03/03/07

And the Total one here!

Total Lunar Eclipse - Short Version

If you missed it last weekend. Partially that is!

Rocket Launch 3/8/2007

Out the window and on TV!

Atlas launched 6 sats

Six experimental military satellites are circling the planet today after a late-night liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket that blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The stunning launch came at 10:10 p.m. -- or about 33 minutes late. A radio signal transmission problem and a sticky propulsion system valve prompted a delay in plans to launch at 9:37 p.m.

HT from Flame Trench here.

From Pereiraville, a night reflection of the launch here.

Spaceflight Now here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Its the year of the Pig for sure!

From Drudge

Atlas 5 to the pad

From Flame Trench here:

It looks like 80% Weather chance the Atlas 5 will launch Thursday.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket is on the pad at Launch Complex 41 after a morning rollout from a nearby assembly building at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Standing 19 stories tall on its mobile launcher platform, the Atlas 5 was pushed out to the pad by two powerful transporters. The one-third-of-a-mile move began just after 10 a.m. and was completed about a half-hour later.

The Atlas 5 is scheduled to blast off during a launch window that will extend from 9:37 p.m. to 11:42 p.m. Thursday. Its payload: Six experimental military satellites designed to test advanced defense technologies.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

20 years ago SuperNova 1987A

From the Hubble
Two decades ago, astronomers spotted one of the brightest exploding stars in more than 400 years.

Since that first sighting, the doomed star, called Supernova 1987A, has continued to fascinate astronomers with its spectacular light show. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is one of many observatories that has been monitoring the blast's aftermath.

This image shows the entire region around the supernova. The most prominent feature in the image is a ring with dozens of bright spots. A shock wave of material unleashed by the stellar blast is slamming into regions along the ring's inner regions, heating them up, and causing them to glow. The ring, about a light-year across, was probably shed by the star about 20,000 years before it exploded.

Astronomers detected the first bright spot in 1997, but now they see dozens of spots around the ring. Only Hubble can see the individual bright spots. In the next few years, the entire ring will be ablaze as it absorbs the full force of the crash. The glowing ring is expected to become bright enough to illuminate the star's surroundings, providing astronomers with new information on how the star expelled material before the explosion.

The pink object in the center of the ring is debris from the supernova blast. The glowing debris is being heated by radioactive elements, principally titanium 44, created in the explosion. The debris will continue to glow for many decades.

The origin of a pair of faint outer red rings, located above and below the doomed star, is a mystery. The two bright objects that look like car headlights are a pair of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The supernova is located 163,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The image was taken in December 2006 with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Shuttle gone back to the VAB

The 3.4-mile (5.47 kilometers) journey aboard the massive crawler-transporter started at 8:47 a.m. EST (1347 GMT) and was expected to last about seven hours [image].

It was the 17th time in the 26-year-old shuttle program that one of the vehicles had to be moved back to the Vehicle Assembly Building from the launch pad.

Last week's hail storm caused thousands of dings [image] in the insulating foam covering Atlantis' external fuel tank and forced NASA to postpone the space shuttle's launch from March 15 to at least late April.

Once Atlantis is back inside, technicians will be able to assess whether the repairs to the tank can be made at the Kennedy Space Center or if the tank needs to be shipped back to its manufacturer near New Orleans, which likely would push back the launch to June.


A Global Warning from Dr. Allegre

From Drudgereport:
Calling the arguments of those who see catastrophe in climate change "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers," Dr. Allegre especially despairs at "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." The world would be better off, Dr. Allegre believes, if these "denouncers" became less political and more practical, by proposing practical solutions to head off the dangers they see, such as developing technologies to sequester C02. His dream, he says, is to see "ecology become the engine of economic development and not an artificial obstacle that creates fear."

Here is the whole series of "The Deniers" from the National Post.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lunar Eclipse pictures

The moon darkened, reddened, and turned shades of gray and orange Saturday night during the first total lunar eclipse in nearly three years, thrilling stargazers and astronomers around the world.

The Earth's shadow took over six hours to crawl across the moon's surface, eating it into a crescent shape before engulfing it completely in a spectacle at least partly visible on every continent.

About a dozen amateur astronomers braved the cold and mud outside the Croydon Observatory in southeast London to watch the start of the eclipse.

"It's starting to go!" said Alex Gikas, 8, a Cub Scout who was studying for his astronomy badge. "I've never seen anything like it before. I'm really excited."

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A 2007 Iditarod dog - Jessie in Robert Sørlies team

Love the dogs eyes!

Iditarod 2007 Promo

Lunar Eclipse tonight

Tonight there is a Lunar Eclipse where "Totality can be seen from parts of all seven continents including all of Europe and Africa and the eastern half of North America." Space Weather has the map of totality. The West coast will miss the vanishing act.

Dunes of Titan

Here are some shimmering dunes of Titan:
Dunes have been previously seen on Titan, so far concentrated near the equator. They are thought to be composed of small hydrocarbon or water ice particles -- probably about 250 microns in diameter, similar to sand grains on Earth. These are formed into dunes by the prevailing west-to-east surface winds. Because of the shape and length of the dunes, they are probably "longitudinal" (lying in the same direction as the average wind) rather than transverse dunes, which form across the wind and are more common on Earth.

There are several kinds of interaction between the dunes and the brighter features in this image. At the left, the dunes seem to be covering the bright material, while at the center and right, they seem to be terminated against it. At the lower center and lower right, they flow around it (see also Swimming in Dunes and Dunes and More Dunes). These various interactions will help us to determine the nature of both of these features.

This image was taken in synthetic aperture mode at 700-meter (2,300-foot) resolution. North is toward the left. The image is centered at about 3.5 degrees south latitude and 37.3 degrees west longitude.

Latest Cassini pictures of Saturn

The Cassini flyby pictures of Saturn are fantastic! I remember the Voyager pictures were astounding. Cassini are thousand times better in resolution. Look at the ripple in the rings!

Surely one of the most gorgeous sights the solar system has to offer, Saturn sits enveloped by the full splendor of its stately rings.

Taking in the rings in their entirety was the focus of this particular imaging sequence. Therefore, the camera exposure times were just right to capture the dark-side of its rings, but longer than that required to properly expose the globe of sunlit Saturn. Consequently, the sunlit half of the planet is overexposed.

Between the blinding light of day and the dark of night, there is a strip of twilight on the globe where colorful details in the atmosphere can be seen. Bright clouds dot the bluish-grey northern polar region here. In the south, the planet's night side glows golden in reflected light from the rings' sunlit face.

Saturn's shadow stretches completely across the rings in this view, taken on Jan. 19, 2007, in contrast to what Cassini saw when it arrived in 2004 (see PIA05429).

The view is a mosaic of 36 images -- that is, 12 separate sets of red, green and blue images -- taken over the course of about 2.5 hours, as Cassini scanned across the entire main ring system.

This view looks toward the unlit side of the rings from about 40 degrees above the ring plane.

The images in this natural-color view were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera at a distance of approximately 1.23 million kilometers (764,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 70 kilometers (44 miles) per pixel.

Iditarod starts today

Here is the official website here:

The website has a nice interactive map with all the participants and were they are on the race course. Neat stuff!

You can’t compare it to any other competitive event in the world! A race over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod. A race extraordinaire, a race only possible in Alaska.

From Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher cover over 1150 miles in 10 to 17 days.

It has been called the “Last Great Race on Earth” and it has won worldwide acclaim and interest. German, Spanish, British, Japanese and American film crews have covered the event. Journalists from outdoor magazines, adventure magazines, newspapers and wire services flock to Anchorage and Nome to record the excitement. It’s not just a dog sled race, it’s a race in which unique men and woman compete. Mushers enter from all walks of life. Fishermen, lawyers, doctors, miners, artists, natives, Canadians, Swiss, French and others; men and women each with their own story, each with their own reasons for going the distance. It’s a race organized and run primarily by volunteers, thousands of volunteers, men and women, students and village residents. They man headquarters at Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Nome and Wasilla. They fly volunteers, veterinarians, dog food and supplies. They act as checkers, coordinators, and family supporters of each musher.

Read more here:

Mars has global warming too

From National Geographic here:

Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent climate changes have a natural—and not a human- induced—cause, according to one scientist's controversial theory.

Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.

In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.

If solar activity is increasing, then warming on all the planets would occur in the solar system.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Delay of Orion

From Flame Trench here.
Our Washington correspondent Larry Wheeler reports that Griffin testified that the agency now expects to have the new capsule and launcher ready to fly no sooner than December 2014 and more likely in early 2015.

This is the first concrete statement from NASA about the impact of the tight budget on the new exploration program.

OK, UFO's are going to save us from Global Warming?

Here come the UFOs!
A former Canadian defense minister is demanding governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies obtained in alleged UFO crashes to stem climate change, a local paper said Wednesday.

"I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation ... that could be a way to save our planet," Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.

HT Drudge here.