Rosetta Last Images


One of the last images from Rosetta prior to touching down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The view above is from about 16 km / 10 mi and was obtained with the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera.

The image scale is about 30 cm / 12 in per pixel with a 614 m / 2,000 ft wide field of view!


And this my friends is the very last image from Rosetta:


WOW! AT just 20 meters or 66 feet Rosetta took this. According to ESA: “The image scale is about 5 mm/pixel and the image measures about 2.4 m across.” The image was taken with the OSIRIS wide-angle camera.


In The October Sky

This edition of What’s Up for October 2016 from JPL shows a little of what we can see in the night skies of October – when the sky is clear this month gives great viewing crisp and clear viewing conditions around these parts.


Rosetta Coverage


NASA Television and the agency’s website will air the conclusion of ESA’s (European Space Agency’s) Rosetta mission from 6:15 to 8 a.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 30, with NASA commentary, interviews and analysis of the successful mission. The Rosetta mission will end with the controlled decent of the spacecraft onto the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at around 7:20 a.m.

There will be a link here for the live feed of the end of this epic mission.

Credits: ESA/ATG medialab

See Mercury


Today Mercury is at its greatest WESTERN elongation. Put in simple terms it is the point where Mercury appears to be at its furtherest point in it’s orbit as seen from Earth. The planet In western elongation appears to the West of the Sun and will be at its highest in the sky as seen by us, so that means we can see Mercury in the mornings just before sunrise, leading the Sun. If the planet is in EASTERN elongation it will be in its highest point in the evening sky just after sunset.

The same can be said for Venus and the other planets, however for the Superior planets, i.e.: not Mercury or Venus things are a little different. Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation.

Mercury is one planet we don’t get to see often or as often as the other planets so I always try to have a look. Mercury this time around is 18 degrees above the horizon today and will start receding rather quickly day by day. I cannot see that low to my east, so the other day I took a little ride where I could.

If you try and see Mercury and I do encourage it, be careful. The Sun is not far off and you don’t want to look at the Sun especially with binoculars or a telescope, you can seriously damage your sight.

Water Plumes on Europa?


Does Saturn’s moon Enceladus have an analog at Jupiter?  Hubble images of Europa seem to make this a possibility.

There’s a video too, a couple minutes long. Have a look.

Caption released with image:

This composite image shows suspected plumes of water vapor erupting at the 7 o’clock position off the limb of Jupiter’s moon Europa. The plumes, photographed by NASA’s Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, were seen in silhouette as the moon passed in front of Jupiter. Hubble’s ultraviolet sensitivity allowed for the features — rising over 100 miles (160 kilometers) above Europa’s icy surface — to be discerned. The water is believed to come from a subsurface ocean on Europa. The Hubble data were taken on January 26, 2014. The image of Europa, superimposed on the Hubble data, is assembled from data from the Galileo and Voyager missions.
Credits: NASA/ESA/W. Sparks (STScI)/USGS Astrogeology Science Center

More from NASA detail here.

ALMA Finds Ice Giant Planet?


Could there be a Neptune sized planet in one of those dust lanes in the image above?

From the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan:

Astronomers found signs of a growing planet around TW Hydra, a nearby young star, using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Based on the distance from the central star and the distribution of tiny dust grains, the baby planet is thought to be an icy giant, similar to Uranus and Neptune in our Solar System. This result is another step towards understanding the origins of various types of planets.

These observation results were accepted for a publication as Tsukagoshi et al. “A Gap with a Deficit of Large Grains in the Protoplanetary Disk around TW Hya” by the Astrophysical Journal Letters.