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  • Ginger Yellow
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Pluto and Charon, 2 days out:

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  • G-Man
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    So, did anyone catch the Venus/Jupiter get-together?

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  • hobbes
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Planning a mission for 2 decades more like.
    These things can be 10 years from idea to launch too.

    In fact, I've just checked. It was given the green light in 2001. So add a couple to that for getting together the justification to present to NASA and you're looking at 16 years from conception to pay off.

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  • Diable Rouge
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    After nine and a half years, the New Horizons spacecraft will finally reach Pluto on Tuesday week. One can only imagine the patience of NASA scientists, planning a mission for a decade, while knowing that even the smallest mistake could see all their preparations wasted.

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  • Ginger Yellow
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Ceres gets a close-up:

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  • Ginger Yellow
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Phil Plait discusses the plumes.

    And more imagery courtesy of the ESA

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  • hobbes
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Having had a quick look, they're not sure what caused it. Or even if it was dust.
    Could have been aurora as well as ice/dust/methane vapour etc.

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  • hobbes
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    I'm not sure, but I think the impact would have to be so big to create a plume of dust that would reach not far off escape velocity, would have left a big Crater and a hell of a flash.

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  • evilC
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    This is more a speculative question than real news, but...

    That 'haze' or plumes that have been observed on Mars.- With Mars' thin atmosphere, couldn't it simply be that a meteor has broken up due to Mars' gravity and that more (small) pieces have made it to the surface - in a cluster - than would be the case if it was heading to Earth? This could presumably kick up a hell of a lot of dust, if it happened in a dry area. It could also account for the repetition of the phenomenon.

    Does this sound feasible?

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  • Various Artist
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    That's a very good way of putting it Rogin, exactly! I found looking at them 'together' last night, knowing one is nearer to us than the Sun and the other further away, was an ideal time to try to wrap one's head around the three-dimensional layout of what appears to us (of course) as a 'flat' spectacle.
    Knowing the sun was almost straight below the clustering, below the horizon, was easy to visualise thanks to the sharp crescent of light hitting the moon from one side, and indeed Venus should have appeared as a crescent too but my eyes/binoculars aren't completely up to distinguishing that due to its overall bright glare. So it's relatively simple to picture oneself gazing into the inner part of the solar system, swinging past Venus down to the sun after which it's just a matter of comprehending how Mars is much further beyond, merely sweeping past in the background in the same line of sight. It's quite clearly fairly small and unimpressive in appearance right now, which helps, and not just in comparison with the blaze of Venus *if we were on the same side of the sun the Red Planet would appear considerably more striking. But then of course if would have to appear on the far side of the sky from Venus because the only way we could see both would be due to lying in between them. So win some, lose some.

    If Jupiter, meanwhile, were a football, Leo the Lion would presently be doing keepy-uppies with it.

    The weather down Cardiff way is filthy today: such has been the rain, the lawn is turning into a pond. The chances of my seeing anything astronomical whatsoever tonight are about as likely as my being abducted by little green men, so I'm glad I happened to look out last night, when by some miracle we got an entirely clear sky all evening.

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  • Rogin the Armchair fan
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    We caught the Mars-Venus spectacle last night, too, just got lucky there was a break in the cloud at the right moment after sunset. My photos of it are rubbish otherwise I'd post them up.

    As Venus is closer to the sun than we are, and Mars is further away, we're currently sort of looking in, over Venus's shoulder, at Mars which is right over the other side of the sun from us, I presume?

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  • hobbes
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    And directly opposite is Jupiter, too.

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  • Various Artist
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    For anyone in the UK or something very near it, I've just spotted a fabulous conjunction of Venus and Mars going on right this minute in the western sky not far to the lower-right of the crescent moon too, which is itself in conjunction with Uranus (just above-left of the moon's disk), not that you'll see that unless you've got a telescope. The Sun (and Neptune) is just below the horizon on the same axis.

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  • Ginger Yellow
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Today's APOD, our first good look at Vesta:

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  • hobbes
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Ah now, that's cool. Good spot CV. Unfortunately my scope isn't big enough toresolve to that size. I can just about make out the bands and the spot.

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  • Your Usual Table
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Some news circulating this morning about a massive impact on Jupiter that may have left a visible scar on the planet's atmosphere.

    EDIT: Well, of course it's going to leave a visible scar on the atmosphere but you know what I mean...

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  • hobbes
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Yes, it's certainly been busy recently. My solar scope gives pretty good views of the action (although not as good as soho, of course.)
    Since this thread and my advertised trip to SunStarFrance I've got rather more into this stuff. I've even got my travel scope with me on our trip up north. (I also take it overseas with me.)
    If any of the London lot are interested, 18th is the next Baker Street Astronomers meet in Regents Park. I've never been before but if it's clear I intend to go along and maybe take the baby scope.

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  • Ginger Yellow
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    The Sun, a few weeks ago.:

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  • Wyatt Earp
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Rogin the Armchair Fan wrote:
    When did Venus turn green?
    I know when Mars turned red. It was when it saw Uranus.

    Or was that the gag?

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  • Bruno
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Yes, well done Rogin.

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  • Rogin the Armchair fan
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    By "everybody's signs", you mean "astrologers", I presume, whose 'art' has always at best been akin to divining your future from tea leaves in a cup.

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  • Bruno
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    I haven't bothered reading the thread but just wanted to say that all the astronomists should be hiding in shame now that they've figured out they had it wrong for all those years and everybody's signs are all wrong.

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  • Ginger Yellow
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    So cool.

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  • hobbes
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    I think I must have missed it first time round, but I just like to give to Matej for "appocalypse."

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  • Diable Rouge
    replied
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    So, did anyone see the lunar eclipse this morning? It was supposed to be in totality between 7.30 and 8.30, but there was too much cloud over Ireland to see anything.

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