3
Aug 11

MESSENGER Marks Seventh Anniversary of Launch

Source: MESSENGER Mission


Image credit: NASA/MESSENGER

Seven years ago, on August 3, 2004, MESSENGER left Earth aboard a three-stage Boeing Delta II rocket to begin a journey that would take it more than 15 laps through the solar system, through six planetary flybys, and ultimately into orbit around Mercury. The spacecraft has travelled 5.247 billion miles (8.445 billion kilometers) relative to the Sun, and the team is one-third of the way through the one-year science campaign to understand the innermost planet. (read more)

To watch an animation of the Sun rise and set on Mercury, go online to http://messenger-education.org/Interactives/ANIMATIONS/Day_On_Mercury/day_on_mercury.php.

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3
Aug 11

The Sky by Eye from Durrus Co Cork Ireland plus What's Up for August 2011 - Windy Worlds plus Juno to Jupiter

 

A drawing of the night sky in Durrus Co Cork n Persei to a Cyg

August 17th /18th    2010

Time : 23:45 UT - 00:45 UT

August 2010 I was staying in a cute house  close to the village of Durrus in Co Cork. This little place is the gateway to exploring the outstanding Sheeps Head peninsula.  The night sky down there was seriously beautiful to the eye; one did not need a telescope to enjoy it.

 

Earlier in the evening I had a look into Sagittarius before it got too low, then as the night followed on I was inspired to do a naked eye drawing of the sky above my head.

 

 

 

To give me the best option for a sketch I retreated to the back garden, away from the car park lights. I turned off the lights in the house; the village light pollution was minimal. Dark adaption came to me in about 25 minutes, and death would come to anybody who turned on a light.

Bliss greeted my eyes as the wonders of the summer sky opened up for me, the seeing was good.
We had brought along comfy canvas beach chairs, one of these was fine to sink into and observe.  My tools for the drawing were a sheet of black paper, a clip board, a white gel pen, finely grated white pastel, blending stick ,cotton wool,  and a red head light.

My working area was the star n Persei and from that visualy  along the galaxy  to a Cyg. I carefully added the stars in each visible  constellation .  Larger brighter dots according to magnitude and so on and so forth till I had a star map on my paper which mirrored the sky above my head and toward the North East. The Double Cluster and Andromeda were crystal clear naked eye objects, not usual from my home garden at all. The placement of these objects was very helpful in lining up significant stars like alpha Cyg ie Deneb in the constellation Cygnus and all the stars that made  paths in the sky to each other.

A small wad of cotton wool loaded carefully with finely grated white pastel was how I added the magnificent Milky Way and all its visible star laden tendrils. When my drawing was almost finished a long trailing Perseid shot from n Persei, went flying past Cassiopeia and ended its journey just short of   delta Cep . At its leading end for a nano second I noticed a sickle shaped flick of white. This meteor and its unusual flick was added into my drawing . It was a few weeks before I could look this up and discover that some Perseids produce visible bow shocks in front of themselves as they enter our atmosphere.  However so far I have only come across records of Perseids bow shocks that were caught on film, so would love to know if anyone has seen one by eye while observing. skysketcher@gmail.com

Deirdre Kelleghan

What's Up for August 2011 Windy Worlds and JUNO to Jupiter

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