The Cosmic Mirror
By Daniel Fischer
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A German companion - only available here!
Current mission news: MGS (latest pictures!) + Cassini + Stardust

Perfect annular eclipse for most of W Europe, N Africa
Skies were fine on October 3rd for much of Spain, Tunisia etc. - and daring astrophotographers could even capture an arc of chromosphere (marked below with '!!'). Reports and pictures from Portugal by Atalaia, from Spain by Ewers (!!), Kampschulte (!!), Gährken (!!) (more), van Kerkhof (!!), Williams (!!), Richardsen (!!), Frappa (!), Lilander, Bassa (!), Staiger (more), Brückner (!), Shelios, Seip (!), Saros, Bolzoni, Malicki, Brooks, Heinsius, Faure, Hänel, AstroSurf, Strickling, EcliptoManiacs, Levens, Mennekens, Lawrence, Pickhard, Jacquot, Schneider, Weigand, EclipseDan, spacebee, Román, Hombach, Krause, JoKo, Janssen and Godard, plus a French and a Spanish collection from many sites, from Algeria by Mouatsi, from Tunisia by Fischer (!!), Birkner (!!) (also a report & a blog), Gabel & al. (!), Schmidt, White, Schröfl, Istrate and Weiser, from Libya by EurAstro and Zotti, from the UK and Germany (where it was partial) by Gavin, Haupt, Elsässer & Grüner, Dzieran, Tribun, Heuchelheim, AV Rostock, Holl and Melli and from Space the lunar limb by TRACE and the Earth surface as the antumbra passed over Spain and E Africa. Plus galleries by SpaceWeather and BBC, stamps (!), link collections by Lilander and RB Südstadt (more pages), coverage by InfoTunisie, Diario de Ibiza, S&T, BBC, AFP AP (via CBS and USAT) and Telegr. and previews by SC, NwS, S&T, U.S. State Dept. [TunisiaOnlineNews] and WikiNews. Plus S&T on and a movie and a picture of the partial lunar eclipse 2 weeks later and the Sunday Times on eclipse travel. More solar news at the bottom of this site!
Update # 292 of Friday, October 21, 2005
Posted in part from an internet terminal in a hotel in Jena / Header updated until Nov. 27
Breakthrough in planetarium technology / CrySat lost in Russian launch accident / A GRB with z=6.3! / Hayabusa reaches Itokawa, gets in trouble / Insights from Deep Impact

Breakthrough in planetarium technology: high-end digital cinema projector turned into all-dome beamer

Until recently the technology in hand to project high-resolution still or even video images into a decent-sized planetarium dome, covering most of the complete half-sphere, was either inadequate, with low brightness and/or resolution or exceedingly expensive: Only a multi-million-$ laser projection system (namely Zeiss' ADLIB) could deliver striking resolution (16 Megapixels over the half-sphere), color depth and brightness. But now Zeiss and Sony have teamed up and introduced - to stunned audiences of some 150 planetarium professionals from all over the world - a system almost as good and yet cheaper and easier to install that is based on modern digital cinema projectors using SXRD technology, essentially a vastly improved version of the well-known liquid crystal display.

Their chips deliver 8.9 Megapixels 24 times a second to meet the digital cinema standards, and a special 15-element lens developped in record time by Zeiss projects these pixels onto the dome: Only 2 of these projectors - now marketed as "4DOME" - are needed to cover the half-sphere. Together with more traditional DLP-based projection systems for medium-sized and small domes (the cute "TWINS", e.g., comes to you for just 100,000 Euros, inflatable 6-meter dome included), there are now (moderately) affordable solutions for every planetarium size. And while even 16 colorful Megapixels cannot mimic the brilliance and definition of a traditionally projected starry sky, a combination of a classical planetarium projector with a digital-cinema-derived alldome video projection system could well be the wave of the future. (On location in Jena on Oct. 11: DF)

The homepages of the Zeiss Planetarium Division and of the 4DOME, ADLIB and TWIN systems, Sony Press Releases of 2004 and 2003 and a PC World story on the SXRD technology, a Sony Release on the projector behind 4DOME, the digital cinema standard recently agreed upon, an intro to the somewhat older DLP technology plus a Zeiss Press Release on the Innovation Days.

ESA's CryoSat lost in Russian launch accident

The failure of a Rockot rocket on October 8 has sent the European Space Agency's CryoSat ice research satellite crashing into the sea near the North Pole. Preliminary analysis of the telemetry data indicates that the first stage had performed nominally. The second stage also performed nominally until main engine cut-off was to occur. But due to a missing command from the onboard flight control system the main engine continued to operate until depletion of the remaining fuel. As a consequence, the separation of the second stage from upper stage did not occur: Thus, the combined stack of the two stages and the CryoSat satellite fell into the nominal drop zone north of Greenland close to the North Pole into high seas with no consequences to populated areas. An investigating commission by the Russian State authorities has been established to further analyze the reasons for the failure, results are expected within the next weeks.
ESA Releases of Oct. 10, Oct. 8, Sep. 29 and Sep. 13.
Coverage of Oct. 10: G (Pillinger comm.), BBC, AFP (another one), NwS. Oct. 9: BBC, G, NwS, AFP. Oct. 8: SN, BBC (earlier), AFP, ST. Earlier: BBC (earlier, still earlier), W.

New distance record for a Gamma Ray Burst: redshift 6.3!

Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite and several ground-based telescopes have detected the most distant explosion yet, a gamma-ray burst with a redshift of 6.29±0.01, shining towards us from the edge of the visible universe. This powerful burst was detected September 4, marking the death of a massive star and the possible birth of a black hole. It comes from an era soon after stars and galaxies first formed, about 500 million to 1 billion years after the Big Bang. Only one quasar and a handful of galaxies have been discovered at slighly greater distances, while the previous GRB recordholder had a redshift of 'merely' 4.5. The 6.3 of GRB 050904 mean that we see it at a time when the Universe was just 500 Myr old or 6.5% of its present age.

This burst was very long, lasting more than 200 seconds, whereas most bursts last only about 10 seconds. The detection of this burst confirms that massive stars mingled with the oldest quasars. The detection also confirms that even more distant star explosions can be studied through combined observations of Swift and the network of world-class telescopes. Swift detected the burst and relayed its coordinates within minutes to scientists around the world: The infrared afterglow - there was nothing in the visible - was discovered rightaway by the Southern Observatory for Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope atop Cerro Pachon, Chile. An enormous redshift was likely from the beginning, and eventually the Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, nailed it down with a spectrum.

Papers by Watson & al., Haislip & al., Price & al. and Tagliaferri & al., Press Releases by NASA, NOAO, Subaru, U. Chicago, INAF, Caltech, NSF, ESO and RAS, and coverage by BBC, S&T, Star Bull., Dsc., AFP, NwS and Space Today - and a paper by Bromm & Loeb and a CfA PR on Pop III stars and a paper by Falanga and an ESA PR on an accreting msec PSR.

Already 5 cases of short GRBs tracked down

to their host galaxies - hypothesis of merging neutron stars gains: papers by Fox & al., Hjorth & al. and Villasenor & al., Press Releases by NASA [SR], ESO (more), IfA, and Penn State [SR], and coverage by S&T, HC, SC, Star Bull., U Chic. Chron., SFG, FT, Dsc. and Wired - and an ESA Release on SGR 1806-20 and a Chandra PR and BdW on the Tycho SNR.

Hayabusa now at 7 km distance - and losing another reaction wheel

While the Hayabusa spacecraft has successfully navigated itself into a new position only 6.8 km from Itokawa, the mission has run into trouble: a second reaction wheel has failed. This means that more fuel will be needed for attitude control via the thrusters, and so the whole mission profile - complex enough already - may require changes. Fortunately, Hayabusa has already nearly finished mapping asteroid Itokawa. "I hope it doesn't stop them from doing what they want to do with the mission, because it has a very neat design," the BBC is quoting one spacecraft expert. Few new pictures have been released in recent weeks, but an Oct. 4 Status Report finally contains some new close-ups from the 7-km position.

Posted in September

Hayabusa reaches asteroid Itokawa, great pictures from 20 km

The Japanese asteroid probe Hayabusa (see Update # 254 lead) has arrived at its target asteroid on 1:00 UTC (S/C Event time) on Sep. 12: Now the spacecraft hovers around 20 kilometers away from asteroid Itokawa. Early photos show - in the words of JAXA - "contrast of rocky and hilly region and smooth area, which may suggest the origin of this asteroid. This feature may be a key to consider Itokawa's origin and evolution. The scientific observation will be conducted for about two months including sampling and topographic measurement." On August 28 the orbit maneuver of Hayabusa had been handed over from the ion engines to the bi-propellant thrusters. After the solar conjunction the microwave discharge ion engines had been turned on again at the end of July and accelerated with their full throttling so as to approach to the target. At the end of August Hayabusa had been still 4800km from Itokawa and was closing in at 32 km/h with the ion engines off.
The latest news and pictures, the homepage and press releases and updates of Oct. 10, Oct. 7, Oct. 4, Sep. 22 [SR], Sep. 14 (more pictures), Sep. 13, Sep. 12 [SR] (plus approach pictures of Sep. 10, Sep. 9 and Sep. 8), Sep. 9 (more), Sep. 8, Sep. 7, Sep. 6 (more), Sep. 5 [SR] and Sep. 2.
Detailled Status Reports of Sep. 14 (25 pg. PDF) and Sep. 2 (17 pg. PDF), a paper on groundbased observations of Itokawa by Mueller & al. and coverage of Oct. 11: S&T, Ast. Oct. 8: ST. Oct. 7: NwS. Oct. 6: BBC. Oct. 5: Sp.N. Sep. 29: BBC. Sep. 27: SC. Sep. 19: APOD. Sep. 16: PS, TS. Sep. 15: SC. Sep. 13: BBC, PS, G, NwS, ST. Sep. 12: SN, S&T. Sep. 6: AFP.

Nucleus of Tempel 1 fluffy, layered, crust-free

The analysis of what happened during and after the first active experiment with a comet (see Update # 289 lead) is still in full swing, of course, a mere two months after the event, but at the world gathering of planetary scientists in Cambridge, UK, on September 7 lots of hitherto unknown details and also hints of a bigger picture were reported, including
  • a mean density of the nucleus of this comet of 0.6(+0.5/-0.3) grams per cubic centimeter, deduced for the trajectories of the ejected particles, which speaks of a very porous and fragile body which the projectile had no trouble dispersing at the impact site;

  • the lack of any hard crust (which would have caused a much brighter flash on impact), which is already being hailed as possibly the key insight of the whole experiment (and could be bad news for the Philae lander of the Rosetta spacecraft); and

  • the surface of the nucleus being devoid of any exposed water ice: It is significantly warmer at between 260 and 330 Kelvin. Only after the impact water ice and also more organic compunds were seen in the inner coma, evidence for a layered structure.
The mechanics of and sequence of events during the impact itself are now known in considerable detail, e.g. that
  • the impactor was hit by four dust particles, three small ones (1 to 10 mg) and a biggie (1/10 to 1 gram), shaking its orientation,
  • the impactor hit the surface at an angle of 20 to 35° to the horizontal (which was intentional; otherwise it might have disappeared into the ground too quickly),
  • there was first a thermal flash (seen by the flyby s/c and at least one video camera at a groundbased telescope), but much weaker than in comparable laboratory experiments (with a vertical gun at Ames), further evidence for the porosity of the nucleus,
  • then a fountain of molten silicates, 4 tons perhaps, shot out of the punched hole at 5 to 8 km/s, disappearing quickly,
  • and finally the much slower and bigger ejecta cloud formed while hidden underneath a gravity-dominated crater was forming over the next several minutes - the diameter can only be estimated at 102.0±0.3 meters.
All in all some 10 to 20,000 tons of material were ejected from the nucleus, including 3 to 6000 tons of dust - of which over 80% eventually fell back onto the nucleus, with the remainder plus all the gas escaping:
  • The brightness of the inner coma rose at that time, regardless of whether being watched by the OSIRIS camera on Rosetta or a (larger) amateur telescope on Earth, rather continuously for many minutes, though the slope of the light curve changed several times. This may be related to details of the crater formation.

  • This was also the time for the IR telescopes, namely the small one onboard the Deep Impact flyby s/c and the one on the Spitzer Space Observatory: They saw the emergence of many organic molecules not seen in the comet's coma before and obviously freed from the interior. Since the fluffiness of the nucleus makes for good isolation, the hopes are high that truly primordial matter is still among the transient cloud.

  • Then the light curve levelled off and returned to normal over the coming days, as did the chemical signatures in Tempel's spectrum: No new activity had been triggered, and the previously seen periodic changes in brightness continued in which the rotation (1.7 days) and perhaps higher effects manifest itself.
After the successful trajectory correction (see Update # 290 story 4) the flyby spacecraft is awaiting new orders: The formal process to initiate an extended mission to comet Boethin has hardly begun. But at least intense tests of the spacecraft systems and instruments have already shown that it is amazingly healthy and would be up to the task.
A paper by Bensch & al., NASA [alt.] (earlier), Gemini [Subaru], JPL (another one), Ames, Spitzer, ESA and MPG (deutsch) Press Releases, an IR spectrum and pictures # 21... 43 [alt.] and 42 - a much more detailled summary of the DPS sessions on DI can be also found in the (German-language) Deep Impact Blog!
Coverage of Oct. 14: TP. Oct. 10: SN. Oct. 3+6: AB parts 1 + 2. Sep. 15: APOD, Z. Sep. 9: S&T, BdW. Sep. 8: CSM, Reg., NwS, W. Sep. 7: BBC, SFG, Dsc., G, SC, ST. Sep. 6: AFP, SC.

One of the lightest exoplanets found

The companion of Gl 581 has a minimum mass of only 16.6 Earths: a paper by Bonfils & al.
The "best" transiting exoplanet sits right next to Messier 27: a paper by Bouchy & al., an OHP Press Release and coverage by S&T.
How Jupiters winds may work - no deep source is needed: UA PR.

2003 UB313 has a moon

about 1/10 the size of the mega-Pluto: a Homepage of the moon, Keck and Caltech Press Releases and coverage by E&S, PS, S&T, BBC, Star Bull., NwS, ST, BdW. Pluto map, New Horizons in Florida, debate on "planet" definition,: KSC Release, BBC, PS, CSM, G, NwS, SC (earlier), SD, BdW. Earlier: SFG.
2003 EL61 extremely elongated, ongoing analysis of distant big objects reveals: Caltech PR, SFG, BBC, Dsc., NwS. EL61 scandal or not? NwS.
HST observations of Ceres imply a complex planet-like world: Cornell, SwRI and HST Releases, SwRI movie, PS, SC.
Venus, Jupiter & the Moon met on Sep. 6: APOD (earlier).

Mars Update

The MGS is 8 years in orbit now - and has spotted many changing features [NASA, SR] over the years: a NASA Release and coverage by BBC, Dsc., FT, NwS, SC, Ast., ST, plus pictures 6078, 42... 98, 97, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 91, 90, 85 and 83 and 3005. MPL not found in MGS images: PhotoJournal [SR], NwS. New magnetic field map of Mars: NASA Vision. Earlier: BBC, NwS, ST.
Mars Express instrument broken, mission extended - it's unclear whether the PFS can be saved. ESA Releases of Sep. 28, Sep. 22, Sep. 19, Sep. 13 and Sep. 7 and coverage of Sep. 23: ST. Sep. 22: BBC. Sep. 16: NwS. Sep. 14: FI. Sep. 9: BBC. ALH 84001 source located? NwS, BdW. What B field? Ast. Mars active today? BBC. What life? G.
MER discoveries and updates - Spirit is now leaving Husband Hill. Caltech, JGU and WUStL (earlier) Press Releases, a Sep. 9 picture release of night sky views from Spirit, pictures # 30... 65, 64 and 62, 4299, 4423 (ascent movie), 63... 41, 40, 39, 38, 37, 36 and 35 and 6009 and coverage of Oct. 20: SC. Oct. 12: FT. Oct. 6: DW. Oct. 3: CSM, UPI. Sep. 22: PS. Sep. 20: SC. Sep. 8: S&T, AB. Sep. 7: SC, BdW.
MRO tests cameras during cruise: JPL Release of Sep. 14, U of A Release of Sep. 7, test pictures 80... 05, 04, 02. Odyssey pics 'live': PS. Future Mars strategy: AB.
Some dust activity on Mars since Oct. 14: S&T (more). And pictures of Oct. 18, 12, 9+10, 7, Sep. 26, 14 and 6 and Aug. 30 and 28 plus an S&T PR, Science@NASA and stories by WP, SC (more) and CENAP. Why no carbonates on Mars? S&T. Why methane? S&T. What water? AB. Glaciers, ice-filled dunes, periodic warmings? Brown Univ. PR, Dsc., BBC, G, ST.

Saturn Update

Spokes in Saturn's rings and hints of a shore line on Titan are among the more recent discoveries. JPL, SSI, UA and ESA Releases and Features of Oct. 20, Oct. 16, Oct. 15, Oct. 13, Oct. 6, Sep. 29 [JPL], Sep. 16 (another one [JPL]), Sep. 6 and Sep. 5 (another and another one). Also Caltech, Gemini, U. Mich., SwRI, PPARC, U CO Press Releases, raw images 39... 922 and 277 (Pandora close-up!) and 11113, archived pictures # 77... 49, 48 (Dione detail), 47, 46, 45 (Dione crescent), 44 (!),
42 (amazing Hyperion flyby movie!), 41, 40 (Hyperion in color), 39, 38, 37, 36, 35, 34, 32, 31, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13 and 12, 76... 13, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01, 00, 75... 99, 98, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 91, 90, 89, 88, 87, 86, 85, 84, 83, 82, 81, 80 and 79, 35... 65, 64, 63, 62, 61, 60, 59, 58, 57, 56 and 55, and coverage of Oct. 21: NwS. Oct. 20: S&T, Ast. Oct. 18: BBC, Dsc. Oct. 13: NwS. Oct. 12: Dsc. Oct. 7: BdW. Oct. 4: TP, Oct. 3: APOD. Oct. 2: SN. Sep. 30: BBC, Sep. 29: CSM. Sep. 28: NwS, BdW. Sep. 27: NwS. Sep. 22: AB. Sep. 20: ScA. Sep. 19: WP, NwS. Sep. 18: ST. Sep. 17: NwS, SC. Sep. 16: Dsc. Sep. 15: SC. Sep. 13: PS, SC. Sep. 9: BBC, NwS. Sep. 8: Dsc., NwS, W. Sep. 7: BdW. Sep. 6: NwS, AP. Sep. 5: BBC, AFP.

ISS etc. Update

The return to the Moon will look just like Apollo, only 50 years later, STS-121 has slipped to May 2006 and Expedition 12 has made it to the ISS while Exp. 11 and the 3rd ISS tourist are back - and the HST has observed the Moon in the UV in search for resources. (The consequences of Rita for ISS control and Katrina for the shuttle program are incorporated here.) The ISS Status, NASA Releases & Documents of Oct. 19 [HST], Oct. 17 (another one), Oct. 14, Oct. 10, Oct. 6, Oct. 3, Sep. 30, Sep. 29, Sep. 27, Sep. 24, Sep. 23 (another one), Sep. 22, Sep. 21, Sep. 19 [enhanced version], Sep. 16, Sep. 13, Sep. 7 and Sep. 6, a CEV FAQ, a transcript of the Sep. 19 'architecture' presentation, the ISS 16 flight ass. seq., an earlier Griffin address, Senate decision on INA, Science@NASA, Northrup Gr., Space Adv., ESA, R.A.S. and Plan. Soc. Press Releases and coverage of Oct. 21: SC, ST. Oct. 20: HC, TIME, FT, CSM, NwS, Dsc., ST. Oct. 19: FT, Sci., SC, G, NwS, ST. Oct. 18: BBC (other story), Bloomberg, FT, ST. Oct. 17: SpaceRev, SR.
Oct. 15: FT, ST. Oct. 14: SN, HC, AFP, SC. Oct. 13: AFP, AP, ST. Oct. 12: G, AFP. Oct. 11: FT, BBC, SpaceRev, ST. Oct. 10: FT, SFG, Sp.N., SC, W. Oct. 9: SR. Oct. 6: SC (other story). Oct. 5: HC, SC, AP, ST. Oct. 4: AFP, SC, ST, W. Oct. 3: SpaceRev (another one), SN, FT, AFP, SC, ST. Oct. 1: SN, SC, ST (earlier). Sep. 30: HC, FT (other story). Sep. 29: Z. Sep. 28: FT, AFP. Sep. 27: USAT (famous Griffin interview!), FT, SC. Sep. 26: FT, ST, SpaceRev. Sep. 25: FT, HC, SR. Sep. 24: Age, G. Sep. 23: AB, SC. Sep. 22: HC, UPI, NwS, Daily Texan, ST. Sep. 21: FT (earlier), HC, AFP (other story), AD, SL Trib, SFG, SC, BdW. Sep. 20: TIME, BBC, FT (OpEd), SFG, CSM, Guard., Wildcat, NwS, Ast., VoA, Scotsman, Norwich Bull., SC, ST. Sep. 19: SN, BBC, WP, VoA, SR, PS, AFP, FT (other story), SC (earlier), ST. Sep. 17: FT. Sep. 16: FT, WP, ST. Sep. 15: SC. Sep. 14: FT, SC. Sep. 12: AIP FYI, SpaceRev. Sep. 11: FT. Sep. 10: HC, ST (other story). Sep. 9: FT (earlier), HC, Dsc., NwS, ST. Sep. 8: SN (other story), FT, G, SC, ST. Sep. 7: FT (other story). Sep. 6: SpaceRev. Sep. 5: BBC. Sep. 4: FT.
HST has new director since Sep. 1. Coverage of Sep. 14: SC. Sep. 6: JHU Gazette.

Gravity Probe-B out of liquid helium, mission over

On Mission Day 528, the Gravity Probe B vehicle and payload are in good health, with all subsystems performing nominally - the Dewar is now depleted of liquid helium, and this has affected various subsystems; drag-free mode has been turned off: Oct. 1 Status, Oct. 3 NASA Release, Stanford Report [SD].

SMART-1 set for more lunar science

A series of re-boost manoeuvres, beginning in August 2005 has allowed the mission to be extended by one year, until July 2006: ESA Release.

Ulysses was launched 15 years ago and is still working: ESA Release. And Integral 3 years in orbit: ESA Release.

Targets for asteroid-deflecting mission Don Quijote selected - but whether the mission will ever fly is another matter: ESA Release.

An unusually colorful HST image

of the Boomerang nebula: HST Release, APOD. Chandra, HST investigate SNR N132D in the LMC, a rare opportunity for direct observation of stellar material, because it is made of gas that was recently hidden deep inside a star: Chandra and HST Releases.

Spitzer studies M 31, find evidence of recent collision: Spitzer, UA [SR] and JPL [SR] Releases, more and SC. Blue ring of stars: HST, NASA, McDonald Obs. and LMU Press Releases and coverage by S&T, Dsc., SC, NwS, BdW.

Stars can form close to Sgr A*, a population analysis shows - they didn't migrate there: Chandra and RAS Press Releases and coverage by SC, TP and BdW. How to resolve the b.h. suspected in Sgr A* with a future radio telescope: CfA Press Release. Integral obs. of Galactic Center: ESA PR.

Surprisingly big, distant galaxy in Hubble UDF

It could be at z=6.5, but there are no emission lines: a paper by Mobasher & al., NASA, HST, Spitzer and ESA Press Releases and coverage by SC, Iranmania, SFG, NwS, Ast. and BdW.

Diffuse light in the Virgo cluster from 'liberated' stars: Case Western PR, more. More star formation early: a paper by Le Fevre & al. and an ESO Press Release. 3 or 7 dimensions best for the Universe: Wash. U. PR.

A quasar seemingly w/o a host galaxy surprises: ESO, HST and HST Europe Press Releases and coverage by S&T, SC NwS and BdW. Dark matter in spiral galaxies after all: UCSC PR, BdW.

ESO pics of two galaxies, NGC 1350, an Sa(r) type spiral, and NGC 1097 (also a PPARC PR). Subaru vs. spiral galaxy NGC 2403: Release. Three observatories study L1014: CfA Release, SC.

Old Japanese solar satellite reenters

The Solar X-ray Observatory "Yohkoh" (SOLAR-A) re-entered the earth's atmosphere at 6:16 p.m. on September 12, 2005 (Japan Standard Time, JST) over South Asia, at around north latitude 24 degrees and east longitude 85 degrees: JAXA Release (earlier).

Suzaku work begins with the other instruments: GSFC Release.

Shenzhou 6 stayed up almost 5 days

The launch on Oct. 12 was carried live on TV (and was heavily commercialized) as was the landing in the night Oct. 16/17 - now China is celebrating another two space heroes. NASA Statement and coverage of Oct. 21: SC. Oct. 20: Xinhua, SD. Oct. 19: PD. Oct. 18: China Daily, PD, Xinhua, AeroNews, AP, NwS, G. Oct. 17: Xinhua, SN, BBC (earlier, other story), AFP (other and another story), AP, AAP, UPI, SC, CSM, SR, ST. Oct. 16: AW&ST. Oct. 15: PD, WP, ST. Oct. 14: BBC (other story), NwS. Oct. 13: BBC (earlier), SPX, AP, Xinhua (other story), UPI, AFP, NwS, SC. Oct. 12: AFP (other and another story), Xinhua (earlier), BBC, SN, SC (earlier), NwS (sidebar), PD, ST. Oct. 11: AFP, SC, SpaceRev. Oct. 10: BBC, AFP (another one, a (sidebar and another one). Oct. 9: Xinhua. Oct. 7: AFP. Sep. 27: ST. Sep. 26: PD, BBC, NwS, SC. Sep. 25: AFP. Sep. 20: Shanghai Daily, AFP. Sep. 19: SN. Sep. 18: Xinhua. Sep. 11: AFP. Sep. 8: ST. Sep. 7: Xinhua, People's Daily, SD (earlier).

Chinese moon program faces difficulties, involving orbiting, observation and control of the satellite, and its capacity to endure the lunar environment: Xinhua.

The final Titan rocket has launched

on Oct. 19 - the last mission for the Titan family of boosters, which date back to the Titan ICBM program in the late 1950s: LockMart PR, SN (pics), ST.

Russia launches reentry demonstrator - a Volna rocket launched a reentry demonstrator vehicle on a successful suborbital flight on Oct. 7, but it hasn't been found since: SC, AP, AFP, ST. Cosmos 1 never reached orbit, the Planetary Society now accepts.

A flare-rich activity region crossed the face of the Sun

in September - AR 10,808 already released an X-17 when it was near the limb and then continued to flare: Science@NASA of Oct. 7 and Sep. 15, the Sep. 2005 aurorae, an aurora picture from the space station, CfA, ESA and NOAA Releases (earlier), S&T, WAA (earlier), Dsc., TASS, NwS, SC (earlier), ARRL, ST, BdW, Heise, CENAP.

Remarkably sharp picture of a sunspot on Sep. 23 obtained with AO at Sac Peak: NSO Press Release [SN]. Distribution of sunspot sizes over 100+ years: a paper by Baumann & Solanki.

A little outburst of the Draconids was observed on Oct. 8, though mainly faint meteors: Ast. What was predicted: Russian analysis. Leonids to be a dud this year: French analysis.

Wild sky effects after Minotaur rocket launch on Sep. 22: cool pictures, SN, AP, APOD.

Have you read the the previous issue?!
All other historical issues can be found in the Archive.
Compiled and written by Daniel Fischer