September 2009

Saturn Equinox Images from Cassini

The Cassini spacecraft, which entered orbit around Saturn on June 30, 2004 has successfully observed and recorded and sent back all sorts of data about seasonal changes on Saturn, as the planet experienced its equinox. The main NASA / JPL Cassini site is here.

Last month, on August 11, sunlight reaching Saturn hit the planet's rings edge-on, essentially making them disappear in the planet's equinox. Saturn has two equinoxes, much like Earth, during each of its "years" or orbits around the Sun. Each orbit takes 10, 759 Earth days, or 29.7 Earth years, so catching this equinox was a pretty big deal. There's a good video here explaining, exactly, what's happening to cause the equinox.

Hubble Telescope Gets an Upgrade and Captures Butterfly Nebula

This past May, the Hubble Space Telescope was equipped with a new imaging camera which has recently captured some impressive images including one of a large Butterfly Nebula. The new images are ushering in what many are calling a new beginning for the Hubble.

The Hubble Space Telescope was named for Edwin Hubble, an American astronomer who made significant contributions to the field of astronomy. The Hubble was first put into orbit in April of 1990 after two decades of difficulties and delays. It is unique in many ways including the fact that it is the only telescope ever designed to be completely serviced while in space by astronauts who travel to the telescope to perform needed repairs as they did in May when the Hubble was fitted with new filters and a new camera.

Inner-nauts Explore a New World

Space is an exciting place these days. We've got an International Space Station that is bigger and better than ever before, the Hubble Telescope has been re-vamped and we now have crystal clear photos of galaxies 5 billion light years away, dark matter is on the move, repelling galaxies and solar systems apart at an ever increasing pace to our mystification and concern. Our understanding and exploration of space has been taken to the next level and the discoveries we are on the brink of making are highly thrilling.