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By Daniel Fischer, Germany
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The Sky in June 2009
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After 15 years another impact spot appears on Jupiter

No warning this time / amateur discovery / elongated but still obvious

Almost to the day 15 years after the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts, another thing has hit Jupiter - this time there was no warning, an Aussie amateur discovered it on 19 July and now all the world is watching: pro and am pages (the latter by the discoverer), a big collection of current amateur Jupiter images (another one), a Twitter feed by a pro observer, amateur pictures of Aug. 1 (more, more), July 30 (movie, more), July 27 (more, more, more), July 25, July 24 (24 vs. 19), July 23 (drawing), July 21 (movie, more, drawing and July 19, official statements of July 29 (NASA Blog), July 24 (HST ESA, HST, NASA and Uni Wien), July 23 (Berkeley), July 22 (NASA Blog, SAAO and Gemini) and July 20 (JPL, Keck and NASA) and coverage on Aug. 1: MgB. July 31: APOD, PopMech, SpW, Dsc. July 30: CD, CL, Ast. July 29: HC, APr. July 28: SC, EAS. July 27: KSJ, NaB, Ast., CD, SW. July 25: NYT, Str, Sp., Asn. July 24: NPR, BBC, NYT, CL, *Trib, NPR, TrS, SpW. July 23: ABCB, AsB, PrA, CD, TrS, CML. July 22: AsB, LAT, CSM, CR, Sky, ST. July 21: CD, ScAm, BBC, CSM, G, NYT, (B), Aus., TrS, SMH, CfA, AT, Rmz, Ffz, LE, TGv, NaB, NwS, SC, Sp. July 20: S&T, Rmz, NaB, BAB, TrS, SC. July 19: CR, UT.

LRO in lunar orbit (imaging the Apollo sites); LCROSS swung by

LCROSS 1st swing-by info. The status, LCROSS Blog, LRO Blog, LCROSS News, NASA launch, Moon Missions, M. Wyatt and LCROSS blogs, an impact discussion group, the LROC homepage (with a big picture browse gallery and picture releases of July 10, July 7, July 6, July 4, July 3 and July 2; a close-up and another one), LCROSS amateur images (earlier, more and more), a (poorly edited) LCROSS @ Moon video (interview at the end), the launch video (amazing views from rocket cams!), a view from the rising rocket, some launch pics (probably the best; more, more, more, more, one more, another and another one), the launch on Twitter, the rocket on the pad early on June 18 (more) and during the roll-out on June 17 (more pics), more LRO-related pics, LCROSS Updates of Aug. 1 and July 14, NASA Releases of July 8, July 2 (more), June 23 (another one [ARC]), June 22, June 18 (another one) [Ames] and June 17, ASU Release of July 2, JPL PRs of June 23 and June 17, Const. Blog of June 26, TUB PM vom 17. Juni, DLR PM vom 16. Juni, WWU Münster PMn vom 3. Juli [English] und 16. Juni and coverage of Aug. 1: LNW. July 27: SW. July 18: ST. July 13: S&T. July 12: SNC. July 11: SB. July 8: BAB. July 7: Giz., LNW, WWT. July 5: CbS, Tw. July 4: LNW. July 3: NaB. July 2: S&T, BBC, CSM, CL, SpD, BAB. July 1: CS. June 29: SaN, LNW. June 28: AW&ST. June 26: PS, S&T. June 25: EPA, NW, SB. June 24: SC, NSp, Berl.Kur., ST. June 23: SN, ScAm, PS, SC (earlier), RO, ScB, TAB, Exa., UT, TwP., Yfrog, Tw. June 22: NW (other topic), CL. June 21: JSR, NW. June 20: AzR, Exp., ToI, Tw. (earlier). June 19: PW, LAT, ScAm, FT, NaB, LNW, SPO, CD, StS, Tw. (earlier), ST, KSJ, Ori., LE, Sp., TS. June 18: (post-launch) SN, CNN, Tm., BBC, NwS, S&T, MN, SC, NPR, AP, AFP, NSp, PSB, UT, (pre-launch) DP, Tel., SC, AR, LNW, TLP, OO, Z, DLF, Yfrog (earlier), Tw. (earlier). June 17: PSB, SkM, Tw., TwP., KL, Ori. June 16: SC, AFP, KSJ. A new lunar topography map with the highest resolution of the moon's rugged south polar region: JPL Release. Kaguya's final HDTV images: JAXA PR, APOD, SC, APr, UT, BAB. Final Terrain Camera movie: JAXA PR, YT, LNW. Uranium discovery: PSI Release, CD, Sp. Mission in review: SN. Chandrayaan results in September: Trib. Chandrayann-II not before 2013: Exp., Hin., Sify, LNW. LOIRP: CW, SC. Abandoned s/c on the Moon: KOCO. New hi-res lunar radar map: LSI Release, LNW.

Longest total solar eclipse of the century already history ...

It was widely seen - and widely missed, due to bad weather - on 22 July all over Southern Asia: advance reports, a lot of links after the first 5 days and more links after another 5 days (in grafs 4 and 5). The results obtained by yours truly are here and his trip page here.
Update # 329 of Saturday, August 1, 2009
Long solar minimum explained - and end near? (Grown since June 16)

Long solar minimum explained - and rise in sunspots imminent?

While some are already speculating about a defective solar dynamo and a new Maunder minimum upon us, real solar physicists have taken data instead on what's really going on underneath the solar photosphere. And on June 17 they've come up with answers. Scientists from the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, have discovered that a solar jet stream deep inside the Sun is migrating slower than usual through the star's interior, giving rise to the current lack of sunspots and low solar activity. They used long-term observations from the Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) facility to detect and track an east-to-west jet stream, known as the "torsional oscillation", at depths of ~1000 to 7000 km below the surface of the Sun. The Sun generates new jet streams near its poles every 11 years; the streams migrate slowly, over a period of 17 years, to the equator, and are associated with the production of sunspots once they reach a critical latitude of 22 degrees.

The researchers found that the stream associated with the new solar cycle has moved sluggishly, taking three years to cover a 10 degree range in latitude compared to two years for the last solar cycle, but has now reached the critical latitude. The current solar minimum has become so long and deep, some scientists have speculated the Sun might enter a long period with no sunspot activity at all. The new result both shows that the Sun's internal magnetic dynamo continues to operate, and heralds the beginning of a new cycle of solar activity. Just as this sluggish stream reaches the usual active latitude of 22°, a year late, we finally begin to see new groups of sunspots emerging at the new active latitude. Since the current minimum is now one year longer than usual, the extended solar minimum phase may have resulted from the slower migration of the flow.

S@N, a press package about the discovery [Ast.] and coverage by PW, S&T [NwS], Dsc., AN, ScN, NaB, SpW, CD, BAB, UT, Sp., BdW. Also a paper by Salabert & al. Modelling a sunspot: paper by Rempel & al., UCAR Release, AN, SC, SpW, SB. Axion speculations: PW.

Aerosol cooling overestimated, says new study

Estimates of aerosol cooling have been too large; masking of overall Earth warming will be smaller: PW. Cycle reconstruction: NwS. Sun/climate links? NSF Release. Galactic link to climate change in doubt: paper by Melott & al., aXb, PW.
Stable ancient atmosphere underscores current greenhouse spike - despite vast changes in climate since the early Pleistocene, 2.1 million years ago, carbon dioxide levels have stayed pretty stable until lately: ScAm. Greenhouse studies history: SB.

Mars Update

MER NASA's Free Spirit page, Opportunity's likely meteorite, JPL Releases of June 30 and June 25 and coverage of Aug. 1: LE. July 31: PS. July 30: CbS. July 13: SC. July 8: CL. June 30: ScAm, SC. June 28: IM. June 27: UT. June 25: SN, SC. June 23: NwS. June 22: SpD, CR. Phoenix's first papers are out! UA Release of July 2, JPL Release of July 2, CSA Release of July 2 and coverage of July 3: AT. July 2: SC (more). Odyssey JPL Release of June 22, ASU Release of June 23 and coverage of July 3: SC. MRO coverage of June 29: SC. June 23: Tel. June 18: Dsc., AP. June 17: Rtr, UT. Phobos-Grunt to meet 2009 window after all? Coverage of June 29: AW&ST. June 21: MP. June 20: RSW. Earlier: PeopD. MSL heat shield ready. LockMart PR of June 16 and coverage of July 10: NW. ESA/NASA Mars joint initiative under way - but ExoMars slipping to 2018? ESA, NASA and (earlier) Plymouth Releases and coverage of July 25: BBC. July 10: AWF. July 9: NaB, AT. July 8: BBC, Plym. Herald. June 28: BBC. Lightning detection (from Earth): ScN.

Saturn Update

Cassini/JPL/NASA Releases of June 30 and June 24 [alt., alt.], ESA Release of June 24, CICLOPS Update of June 22 (pics), Univ. of CO PR of June 24, Univ. Leicester PR of June 25, MPG PM vom 24.6. and coverage of July 11: PSB. July 3: KL. June 30: AD. June 29: SB. June 26: T. June 25: AB, NwS, IrT, SB, KSJ, ST, KL. June 24: S&T, BBC, ScAm, SC, AFP, CD, BAB, UT. June 23: NSh. HaA. June 22: SC, CL.

ISS etc. Update

Endeavour is back from STS-127. STS-127 Status, landing pictures and video, NASA Releases of July 31, July 15, July 11, July 8, June 29 and June 17, ESA Release of July 8, Nat'l Academies Release of July 7, DLR PM vom 7.7., S@N of June 26, a picture of the two deployed ANDE-2 satellites, a video of lightning close to Endeavour, MLAS July 8 test video, Bolden's nomination hearing statement, S@N of July 10 and coverage of July 31: SN, SC, ST. July 29: AP, ST (other story). July 28: NYT, ST, Sp. July 27: SN. July 25: ST (other story). July 24: SN. July 23: ST. July 22: SN, SC, ST. July 20: SN. July 19: ST. July 17: SN, ST (earlier). July 16: NYT, SN, ST. July 15: SN (other story), NYT, ScAm, SC, ST (other story). July 13: SN, WP, ST. July 12: NYT, BBC. SC (earlier), ST, BK. July 11: SN (lightning gallery), SC, MSNBC, ST, Sp. July 10: SN. July 9: SpP, ST (earlier), Sp. July 8: SN, ViP, SC (other story), NaB, KyS, ST, Sp. July 7: BBC, NaB, SpD. July 5: OS. July 2: ST. July 1: SN, AIP FYI. June 30: SN, NW, ST. June 29: SpR. June 28: NSF, OS. June 27: CD. June 26: Boston Globe (big picture). June 25: SpP. June 24: NSF, Dsc., NW. June 23: SN, NBC (comment; more), CNN (Aldrin OpEd), Dsc. June 22: NwS (on why Constellation won't go metric). June 21: FT. June 20: LNW, ST. June 19: SN, AT, UT, MOB. June 18: SC, BBC, NwS, SpP, NW, ST. June 17: SN, OS, NYT, HC, BBC (other and another story), SC, Rtr, AP, CL, SPO, SpP, UT, TwP, ST, Sp. June 16: SN, SC (more), CS.

World's fastest and most sensitive astronomical camera

The next generation of instruments for ground-based telescopes took a leap forward with the development of a new ultra-fast camera that can take 1500 finely exposed images per second even when observing extremely faint objects: ESO Release. Bigger China scopes for Antarctica's Dome A: X. Using VIRUS-P: McDonald PR.

GranTeCan inaugurated on July 24 some time after first light: U. Fla. PR, Dsc., AP, KL, SB. Earlier: U. Fla. PR. TMT selects Mauna Kea: Release, NaB, Hon.Adv., *Bull, AP, ST. Australia gets $72 million for the GMT: Carnegie Release.

Imaging Betelgeuze with interferometry: ESO and MPIfR Releases, S&T, SC, SpW. Pic du Midi complains about light pollution: BBC video clip. VAAT - not your usual obs: NYT.

First Light for Herschel!

The first image released shows M 51. First image analysis, ESA Releases of July 10 (more) and June 19, JPL Release of June 26, Herschel UK Release of July 10, Herschel Blog of July 10, June 17 and June 16, STFC Release of July 10, Uni Köln PM vom 10.7., MPG Release of June 19, CEA Actualité de 19 Juin, DLR PM vom 19. Juli, a paper on the mission's prospects and coverage of July 11: SaA. July 10: BBC, AN. July 6: SB. July 1: BBC, SWB. June 27: Tw. June 24: AWF (unpublished launch pics included). June 20: KL, Sp., SB. June 19: BBC, S&T, CSM, SWB, KL, SB. June 18: Tw. June 17: Tw. June 16: AN. Planck ESA Release of July 3 (more), blog of June 16 and coverage of July 9: KL. July 6: KSJ. July 3: BBC.

Hubble commissioning runs into problems - all instruments (were) in safe mode! Status of July 29, July 23, July 20, July 13, July 10, July 2, June 24, June 22 and June 18, the WFPC2, HubbleCast 29 on the SM (mostly a slide show) and coverage of July 13: SC. June 24: Tw. June 20: Tw. June 19: B.S. June 18: SC, PrA. GALEX anomaly, being recovered: Status of July 9. Spitzer's warm mission coverage of June 23: SC. SOFIA progress: SC.

Solar Dynamics Observatory Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

NASA's upcoming mission to study the sun in unprecedented detail and its effects on Earth, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. on July 9: NASA Release.

Kepler at work, came well through several safing incidents. Mission Manager Updates of July 7 and June 19, STScI Release of June 25 (on data management), paper on other uses of the Kepler data and coverage of July 12: SFG. June 25: SC. CoRoT publishes planet candidate list: paper by Carpano & al.

Two Small Explorer mission selected; should fly in 2015

NASA has selected two science proposals to be developed into full missions as part of the agency's SMEX Program - projects that will study our sun and some of the most exotic objects in the universe, such as neutron stars and black holes: NASA Release, Tw. TESS doesn't make the cut: CD, SNG.

IBEX spacecraft detects fast neutral hydrogen coming from the moon, gives insight to particle "recycling" processes in space: SwRI Press Release of June 18, UT.

The end of the Ulysses mission came June 30: Ops Blog, ESA Releases of June 30 and June 26, JPL Releases of June 30 and June 26 and coverage of July 7: ST. July 1: S&T, AD. June 30: SN, RO, AP, HAP, SB. June 29: IYA, NwS, NaB, UT. June 26: BBC.

New atlas of the inner regions of the Milky Way

from data by the APEX telescope: ESO Release. Galaxy growth: NwS. Dwarf spheroidals origin: CfA Release. "Green Pea" galaxies: paper by Cardamone & al., Yale PR, GZ Blog.

Lyman-Alpha Blobs scrutinized: Chandra PR [NASA], NwS, NYT, SC, KSJ. Early Universe simulation: STFC Release. Role of black holes in galaxy formation and evolution: AIP PM. Largest ever survey of very distant galaxy clusters completed, SpARCS: UC Riv. PR.

Milky Way's super-efficient particle accelerators caught in the act

Cosmic rays from our galaxy are very efficiently accelerated in the remnants of exploded stars: paper by Helder & al., ESO Release, S&T, SC. M 87 outflow: NRAO PR, MPG und Uni Erlangen PMn. PAO findings: ScN, KSJ. Gamma ray distribution no DM indication: UCSD PR. DM detection idea: aXb, CV. Another middle-sized black hole candidate: ESA PR, S&T, ScAm, LE.i X-rays in Stephan's Quintet: Chandra picture, UT.

Distance record for supernovae found with new method: Keck and U. Toronto Releases, S&T, NwS, BBC, Tel., AN, Sp. SNR E0102-72.3 geometry: Chandra Release. Yet another weird supernova, SN 2005E: ScN, NwS.Exploding Stars: Is Earth at Risk? AB. Magnetar outburst in 2008: ESA and NASA Releases. Fermi finds many gamma-ray pulsars: Stanford and Manchester Releases. The first stars: MSU and SLAC Releases, ScN, NwS, UT. Hypercompact systems: RIT PR.

  • Weather satellite GOES-O launched, reached orbit; now in stand-by as spare "GOES-14": NASA Release (earlier), videos of the launch by NASA (stills, replays, preview) and an amateur, a launch pic and coverage by SN, AP, ST, Tw, Ori.
  • VLT images of Eagle Nebula.
  • New map hints at Venus' wet, volcanic past - Venus Express sees granite: ESA Release. Bright transient spot on Venus: BBC, NwS, LS.
  • First evidence of a magnetic field on Vega - towards a new class of magnetic A-type stars: A&A PR. Also field for Pollux: paper by Auriere & al. Subaru pic of Helix nebula: SC. Overlooked planetary nebula: UT.
  • The Weirdest Object in the Solar System? Could be Haumea: SC. Main belt asteroids from farther out? SwRI Release, NwS. Crashing comets not likely the cause of Earth's mass extinctions: UW News, ScAm, TSp. Comets seeding Earth? aXb. Thunderclouds accelerate cosmic electrons: PW.
  • A new global digital elevation model of Earth was created from nearly 1.3 million images collected by ASTER aboard Terra: NASA Release.
  • Exoplanet Found with Oddly Tilted Orbit, 37° from star's equator: paper by Winn & al., Keck Release, SC, UT. Another case: paper by Pont & al. Starspots Mimic the Effect of Orbiting Exoplanet: aXb, SpD. Using exoplanet to map (kind of) a starspot: paper by Wolter & al., Uni HH PM. A binary star-disk system in which each star is surrounded by the kind of dust disk that is frequently the precursor of a planetary system: IfA Release. Exoplanet pairs may be masquerading as singles: NwS, Dsc.
  • Progress in Kourou with the Soyuz launch site construction: ESA Release. (South) Korean launch preps: KorT. The world's biggest commercial telecommunications satellite, TerreStar-1, has been put into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket: Arianespace PR, BBC, NW.


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