13
Mar 10

The constellation of Cancer

For the second of our late winter early spring constellations let’s take a look at Cancer.

Cancer is best noted among stargazers as the home of Praesepe (Messier 44), an open cluster also called the Beehive Cluster or the Gate of Men. The smaller, denser open cluster Messier 67 can also be found here.

The constellation of Cancer is a difficult one to recognize even when you are looking right at it, so imagine how hard it is to find if you do not know anything about it. While this star grouping represented a giant crab to the ancient civilizations that named it, it looks nothing like a crustacean, resembling an upside-down "Y" if anything.

To locate Cancer, you must find two more easily identifiable constellations, Ursa Major and Leo, and then use them as a roadmap to the crab. You will find some instructions that may help here: www.ehow.com/how_5690312_constellation-cancer.html
Image credits: Cancer Till Credner. M44 NOAO/AURA/NSF
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13
Mar 10

The constellation of Cancer

For the second of our late winter early spring constellations let’s take a look at Cancer.

Cancer is best noted among stargazers as the home of Praesepe (Messier 44), an open cluster also called the Beehive Cluster or the Gate of Men. The smaller, denser open cluster Messier 67 can also be found here.

The constellation of Cancer is a difficult one to recognize even when you are looking right at it, so imagine how hard it is to find if you do not know anything about it. While this star grouping represented a giant crab to the ancient civilizations that named it, it looks nothing like a crustacean, resembling an upside-down "Y" if anything.

To locate Cancer, you must find two more easily identifiable constellations, Ursa Major and Leo, and then use them as a roadmap to the crab. You will find some instructions that may help here: www.ehow.com/how_5690312_constellation-cancer.html
Image credits: Cancer Till Credner. M44 NOAO/AURA/NSF
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13
Mar 10

ESA presents European participants in 520-day simulated mission to Mars

Source: ESA


Artist’s representation of a human mission to Mars.
Image credit: NASA/ David Mattingly and Pat Rawlings.

A crew of six, including two Europeans, will soon begin a simulated mission to Mars in a mockup that includes an interplanetary spaceship, a Mars lander and a martian landscape. The Mars500 experiment, as long as a real journey to Mars, will be second to none as the ultimate test of human endurance.

Four ESA-selected Europeans, Belgian Jerome Clevers, Arc’hanmael Gaillard and Romain Charles from France and Colombian-Italian Diego Urbina, started the mission training at the end of February with the other crew-members at the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow. Two of these four candidates will be selected as European participants in Mars500. This first full-duration simulated mission to Mars will start in a special human habitat at IBMP in Moscow next summer.

The Mars500 name comes from the blueprint for a possible human Mars mission in the future using conventional propulsion: 250 days for the trip to Mars, 30 days on the martian surface and 240 days for the return journey, totalling 520 days. (read more)

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13
Mar 10

Solar 'Current of Fire' Speeds Up

Source: Science@NASA

In yesterday's issue of Science, NASA solar physicist David Hathaway reports that the top of the sun's Great Conveyor Belt has been running at record-high speeds for the past five years.

"I believe this could explain the unusually deep solar minimum we've been experiencing," says Hathaway. "The high speed of the conveyor belt challenges existing models of the solar cycle and it has forced us back to the drawing board for new ideas."

The Great Conveyor Belt is a massive circulating current of fire (hot plasma) within the Sun. It has two branches, north and south, each taking about 40 years to perform one complete circuit. Researchers believe the turning of the belt controls the sunspot cycle. (read more)

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