Astronomy News for the Month of August 2016


    This news letter is provided as a service by
The International Association for Astronomical Studies
provides this newsletter as a service for interested persons worldwide.

Downloadable version of the newsletter in
PDF Format
(Right click and select "Save target as" to begin download.)
(Always check the PDF link above if the web page is not updated.
I always publish the PDF before I upload the web page.)
PDF updated 1st of every month!

Visit the Home Page of KIØAR

Sign My Guestbook
Guestbook hosted by myfreegb.net.


Subscribe to the
IAAS Monthly Astronomy Newsletter

(Email version)
SUBSCRIBE


Subscription notes below.

Web and email hosting by

TotalChoice Hosting
         Receive notification 
when this page changes.    

    

by ChangeDetect



Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

An Open Invitation

For amateur radio operators and scanner enthusiasts, when in the Denver metro area, please join the Colorado Astronomy Net on the Rocky Mountain Radio League's 146.94 MHz and 449.825 MHz repeaters. The RMRL 146.94 repeater is also linked with the WB0WDF Cripple Creek 447.400 MHz repeater and Allstar nodes 28298, 28299 and 29436. We are also linked via Echolink, links are k0jsc-r and canoncty. More information on the WB0WDF repeater links and Allstar nodes and Echolinks can be found at k0jsc.com. The net meets on Tuesday nights at 7 P.M. Mountain Time (US).

Interested in obtaining your Amateur Radio (Ham) License or your General Radio Operator's Licence (GROL)? Visit the South Metro VE Team website for more information.

The Colorado Astronomy Net is now on Facebook.
Please be sure to "Like" us!


 Excerpts from JPL mission updates are provided as a public service as part
of the JPL Solar System Ambassador/NASA Outreach program.

For special JPL programs and presentations in your area visit the JPL Solar System Ambassador website.
(Click on the logo to link to the JPL SSA homepage.)


In this Newsletter...


Questions to my Readers

The newsletter is getting rather long and at 30+ pages, I have wondered if this might be too long for most readers. So, I would like your opinions and responses to the following questions. Answers such as "It's ok", "I like it", "I don't like it" don't really help. Your honest opinions, criticisms and suggestions are much more beneficial to me in finding out what is useful, of interest, not useful and not of interest to my general readership.

Please send responses to ki0ar@ki0ar.com with the subject: "Newsletter responses". Just copy/paste the questions in your email and answer accordingly.

Thank you in advance for your participation in helping me make this newsletter better.

1) Is the length of the newsletter too long, too short or just right?
2) Based on the table of contents above, which sections do you read/use the most?
3) Based on the table of contents above, which sections do you read/use the least?
4) For website visitors, Do you know you can subscribe to an email version of the newsletter?
5) For email subscribers, have you also visited the website?
6) I provide links to many astronomical terms I use in the web version of the newsletter, would you like me to add links to the terms in the email version as well?
7) What links do you use regularly?
8) What links should I eliminate?
9) The JPL/NASA/Mars missions sections are getting rather long. Should I just provide links, shorter excerpts, longer excerpts?
10) What do you think of the newsletter?
11) What suggestions do you have that might improve the newsletter?

Changes made so far:
1) Subscriber Gallery - Only the most recent image is posted.
2) Astronomy Links section is now just a link to the links section of the web page.
3) Less images in the Mission updates - links provided instead.
4) Mission updates are shorter.
5) Some of the older links have been removes.

*** Note: The web page will remain the same. ***


The Month At-A-Glance
A calendar displaying the daily astronomical events.


26 day moon

The Moon

Phases

Apogee/Perigee

Moon/Planet Pairs

For reference: The Full Moon subtends an angle of 0.5°.

Return to Top


The Planets & Dwarf Planets

Planetary Reports generated by "TheSky" software. These reports provide predicted data for the planets for the first of each month for the current year. The rise and set times for the Sun and the Moon for each day of the month as well as meteor shower radiants are also included in the reports. These reports have been optimized for the Denver, Colorado location, however, the times will be approximate for other locations on Earth.

(All times are local unless otherwise noted.)

Planetary Highlights for August

"These warm August nights offer plenty of good viewing. No fewer than five planets show up soon after sunset. Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter adorn the deepening twilight in the west all month. The vista reaches a dramatic peak when the latter two worlds pass within 0.1° of each other on the 27th. Meanwhile, the telescopic gems Mars and Saturn dominate the southern sky. Finally, the Perseid meteor shower puts on an impressive performance in the predawn hours of August 12." Astronomy Magazine, August 2016, p. 36.

Mercury

Is at greatest eastern elongation (27°) on the 16th. Mercury is stationary on the 29th. Mercury sets at 9:17 p.m. on the 1st and about 7:54 p.m. by month's end. Look for Mercury low on the western horizon soon after sunset. Binoculars will aid in spotting Mercury. On the evening of the 27th, look for Mercury passing 5° south of Venus. Mercury moves from the constellation of Leo into Virgo this month shining at magnitude 0.2.

Venus

Sets at 9:01 p.m. on the 1st and about 8:30 p.m. by month's end. Look for Venus in the early evening towards the western horizon this month. On the evening of the 27th, look for Venus passing 0.07° north of Jupiter. Venus moves from the constellation of Leo into Virgo shining at magnitude -3.8.

Earth

N/A.

Mars

Sets at 12:47 a.m. on the 1st and about 11:36 p.m. by month's end. Look for Mars about an hour or so after sunset to the southwest about a third of the way above the horizon. Mars moves from the constellation of Libra into Scorpius shining at magnitude -0.5.

Jupiter

Sets at 10:05 p.m. on the 1st and about 8:17 p.m. by month's end. Look for Jupiter in the early evening towards the west soon after sunset. Jupiter moves from the constellation of Leo into Virgo shining at magnitude -1.7.

Saturn

Sets at 1:45 a.m. on the 1st and about 11:39 p.m. by month's end. Saturn is stationary on the 13th. Look for Saturn towards the southeast near Mars in the evening sky. Saturn is in the constellation of Ophiuchus shining at magnitude 0.4.

Uranus

Rises at 11:14 p.m. on the 1st and about 9:11 p.m. by month's end. Uranus is visible in the late evening and early morning hours before sunrise. Uranus is in the constellation of Pisces shining at magnitude 5.8.

Neptune

Rises at 9:32 p.m. on the 1st and about 7:28 p.m. by month's end. Look for Neptune in the evening and early morning hours before dawn to the east-southeast. Neptune is in the constellation of Aquarius shining at magnitude 7.8.

Dwarf Planets

Ceres

Rises at 12:27 a.m. on the 1st and about 10:33 p.m. by month's end. Look for Ceres in the late evening and early morning skies this month. Ceres is in the constellation of Cetus shining at magnitude 8.6.

Pluto

Sets at 4:13 a.m. on the 1st and about 2:08 a.m. by month's end. Look to the southwest to spot Pluto in the evening skies. Pluto is in the constellation of Sagittarius shining at magnitude 14.2.

As always, good luck at spotting Neptune, Ceres and Pluto, a large telescope and dark skies will be needed.

Return to Top


Astronomical Events

Meteor Showers

  • The Southern Delta Aquarids - This Meteor Shower has a duration of July 14 - August 18. Maximum hourly rates of 15-20 occur on July 28/29.

  • The Northern Delta Aquarids extends from July 16 to September 10. Maximum occurs on August 13. The hourly rates reach a high of 10.

  • The Perseids meteor shower is generally visible between July 23 and August 22. Maximum occurs during August 12/13. The hourly rate typically reaches 80, although some years have been as low as 4 and as high as 200. The meteors tend to be very fast, possess an average magnitude of 2.3 and leave persistent trains.

    "The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks the morning of August 12. Skies will be dark once the waxing gibbous Moon sets around 1 a.m. local daylight time. Just be sure to find an observing site far from the city so the meteors don’t have to contend with any of civilization’s artificial lights." Astronomy Magazine, August 2016, p. 37.

    For more information about Meteor Showers, visit Gary Kronk's Meteor Showers Online web page.

    Meteor Scatter (or Meteor burst communications) - "is a radio propagation mode that exploits the ionized trails of meteors during atmospheric entry to establish brief communications paths between radio stations up to 2,250 kilometres (1,400 mi) apart." Tune your shortwave or your HF amateur radio to 54.310 MHz SSB and see if you can hear any pings.

  • Comets

    "The hands of the celestial clock have aligned again for Comet 9P/Tempel. Eleven years and one month ago, thousands of amateur and professional astronomers locked their eyes and instruments onto this 4-mile-wide object, waiting with bated breath for a coffee-table-sized copper bullet carried by NASA's Deep Impact probe to smack the nucleus. Two revolutions around the Sun later it has returned, mostly unharmed, to give us an 11th-magnitude fuzzball sailing eastward away from Spica.

    It's best to catch the comet during the first week of August before the Moon sheds too much light into the evening sky. For the same reason, try to get as far away from city lights as you can. Use the magnitude 5.5 star 86 Virginis, which lies 5° east of Spica, as your guide. Although a 4-inch telescope will show Tempel’s feeble glow, you’ll need an 8-inch scope to get a decent look. ... A second comet could be worth a look these August ­evenings. Although Comet PANSTARRS (C/2013 X1) glows a magnitude brighter than Tempel, it's a tougher target for observers at mid-northern latitudes because it lies much lower in the sky. The haze and humidity common at this time of year conspire to obscure such objects near the horizon." Astronomy Magazine, August 2016, p. 42.

  • For information, orbital elements and ephemerides on observable comets, visit the Observable Comets page from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

    For more information about Comets, visit Gary Kronk's Cometography.com webpage.

  • Eclipses

    Solar Eclipses

  • No solar eclipse activity this month.

    Lunar Eclipses

  • A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs on the morning of the 18th before sunrise.
  • Observational Opportunities

  • Look for Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in the evening.
  • Try to spot Mercury and Venus before sunset.
  • Enjoy the Perseids meteor shower from the 5th through the 19th, with the peak on the morning of the 12th.

  • Asteroids

    (From west to east)
    • Fortuna is at opposition on the 10th in the constellation of Capricornus.
    • Pallas is at opposition on the 20th in the constellation of Equus.
    • Parthenope is in the constellation of Pisces.
    • Melpomene is in the constellation of Pisces.
    • Vesta is in the constellation of Gemini.

    • Information about the Minor Planets can be found at the Minor Planet Observer website.
    Ocultations

    IOTA Logo

  • Information on various occultations can be found by clicking the IOTA logo.
  • Return to Top


    Subscriber Gallery

    Return to Top


    Member Meteor Sightings

    This is a new section where I will post meteor, fireball, etc sightings that have been published on the American Meteor Society's web site. I want to make this an active section of the web pages and newsletter and would like to publish the links to member sightings. If you have any published sightings, please provide me with the links and I will post them here for all to enjoy.

    Event ID Date/Time Location Observer Link
    3587-2015 2015-11-22 17:38 MST CO Kevin S 3587aw
    3829-2015 2015-12-05 18:06 MST Highlands Ranch, CO Burness A 3829a
    3871-2015 2015-11-13 01:55 MST CO Charles N 3871a

    Return to Top


    Planetary/Lunar Exploration Missions

    (Excerpts from recent JPL mission updates)
    Juno - July 29, 2016
    Five Years Post-Launch, Juno Is at a Turning Point

    "Five years after departing Earth, and a month after slipping into orbit around Jupiter, NASA's Juno spacecraft is nearing a turning point. On July 31 at 12:41 p.m. PDT (3:41 p.m. EDT), Juno will reach the farthest point in its orbit of Jupiter for the first time, known as "apojove," 5 million miles (8.1 million kilometers) from the giant planet. After that point, Jupiter's gravitational grip on Juno will cause the spacecraft to begin falling back toward the planet for another pass, this time with its scientific eyes wide open.

    The spacecraft is currently executing the first of two long orbits prior to beginning its science mission. Each capture orbit is nearly two months long -- quite the wait for the mission's eager team of scientists -- but it's nothing compared to the long wait the team endured on the trek to Jupiter."

    More information on the Juno mission is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/juno

    The public can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:
    http://www.facebook.com/NASAJuno
    http://www.twitter.com/NASAJuno

    Cassini - June 30, 2016
    Cassini Significant Events 06/22/16 - 06/28/16

    "Cassini is orbiting Saturn with a period of 23.9 days in a plane inclined 43 degrees from the planet's equatorial plane. The most recent spacecraft tracking and telemetry data were obtained on June 29, using the 70-meter diameter Deep Space Network station in Spain. The spacecraft continues to be in an excellent state of health with all of its subsystems operating normally except for the instrument issues described at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/anomalies.

    Cassini sped inbound this week towards a June 30 periapsis passage. Along the way, it made different kinds of observations of Saturn's rings. The optical remote-sensing instruments viewed the rings from their sunlit side and then from their dark side. The Cosmic Dust Analyzer directly observed ring-plane dust as it encountered the instrument, and two occultation experiments tracked bright stars while the rings passed in front of them, attenuating the starlight and revealing ring detail."

    The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

    Raw images are available at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/raw/index.cfm.

    More information about Cassini is available at the following sites:
    http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

    http://www.nasa.gov/cassini

    Cassini Imaging Team - Archives from Dec. 2015 and earlier.

    New Horizons - July 20, 2016
    New Horizons Pluto Stamp Earns Guinness World Record

    Annotated Image

    Image of stamp affixed to the New Horizons spacecraft

    "A 1991 "Pluto Not Yet Explored" stamp was affixed to the New Horizons spacecraft shortly before launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2006. On July 19 the stamp was recognized by Guinness World Records for the farthest distance traveled by a postage stamp, going more than 3.2 billion miles to Pluto and beyond. (Credit: NASA/JHUAPL)

    It's a world record that's being broken every second.

    On board the New Horizons spacecraft - which APL built and operates for NASA – is a 1991 "Pluto Not Yet Explored" stamp that has earned a Guinness World Record for the farthest distance traveled by a postage stamp.

    "Our mission is to make the amazing official," said Jimmy Coggins, official adjudicator for Guinness World Records, during a presentation ceremony on July 19 at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    The 29-cent "Pluto Not Yet Explored" stamp became a rallying cry for the New Horizons mission team, which affixed it on the spacecraft at Cape Canaveral, Florida, before launch on Jan. 19, 2006. The stamp hitched a ride of more than 3.2 billion miles to Pluto, flying past the dwarf planet (with the spacecraft, of course) on July 14, 2015.

    The "little stamp that could" is continuing its record-setting journey, now 274 million miles (441 million kilometers) beyond Pluto, continuously breaking the world record it just set. NASA has approved an extended mission for a Jan. 1, 2019 flyby of a Kuiper Belt object one billion miles past Pluto. Known as 2014 MU69, it's considered one of the early building blocks of the solar system."


    It's always Pluto Time somewhere, and NASA wants to see your view.

    What is Pluto?

    On Video: How Do We Get to Pluto? Practice, Practice, Practice

    Part I: The Encounter Begins
        - Small mp4 (38 MB, 640x360)
        - Large mp4 (116 MB, 1280x720)

    Part II: Passing Pluto
        - Small mp4 (34 MB, 640x360)
        - Large mp4 (102 MB, 1280x720)"

    LORRI Looks Back

    New Horizons gallery

    Find New Horizons in the iTunes App Store here.

    For more information on the New Horizons mission - the first mission to the ninth planet - visit the New Horizons home page.

    Dawn - July 26, 2016
    The Case of the Missing Ceres Craters

    Ceres Missing Large Craters Video

    "Ceres is covered in countless small, young craters, but none are larger than 175 miles (280 kilometers) in diameter. To scientists, this is a huge mystery, given that the dwarf planet must have been hit by numerous large asteroids during its 4.5 billion-year lifetime. Where did all the large craters go?

    A new study in the journal Nature Communications explores this puzzle of Ceres' missing large craters, using data from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting Ceres since March 2015.

    "We concluded that a significant population of large craters on Ceres has been obliterated beyond recognition over geological time scales, which is likely the result of Ceres' peculiar composition and internal evolution," said lead investigator Simone Marchi, a senior research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado."

    Take a tour of weird Ceres!

    "Visit a 2-mile-deep crater and a 4-mile-tall mountain in the video narrated by mission director Marc Rayman. Get your red/blue glasses ready for the finale - a global view of the dwarf planet in 3D."

    Ceres Topographic Globe Animation

    Ion propulsion isn't something found only in science fiction. Ion engines are a real deal and drive NASA's Dawn spacecraft, en route to dwarf planet Ceres. Big things do come in small packages.

    Dawn's Virtual Flight over Vesta

    Ceres Fly By

    A gallery of images can be found online.

    For more information on the Dawn mission, visit the Dawn home page.

    MESSENGER - May 30, 2016
    The MESSENGER mission is officially ended but there is a lot to learn about the planet closest to our Sun. Visit the new, updated MESSENGER website:

    "UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF PLANET MERCURY"

    for resources, to learn, and to explore.

    Video Animation

    The MESSENGER app is available for download from iTunes.

    For more information on the MESSENGER mission, visit the MESSENGER home page.

    Pack Your Backpack

    Calling all explorers! Tour JPL with our new Virtual Field Trip site. Stops include Mission Control and the Rover Lab. Your guided tour starts when you select a "face" that will be yours throughout the visit. Cool space images and souvenirs are all included in your visit.

    Past, Present, Future and Proposed JPL Missions - http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions

    Visit JPL's mission pages for current status.

    Return to Top


    Mars Missions

    Be A Martian

    Mars website mobile version is here!

    Mars on the Go! NASA Be A Martian Mobile App
    If you want the latest news as it happens, try our Be A Martian app.
    Download on Mobile Devices
    Android | iPhone | Windows Phone
    JMARS

    JMARS is an acronym that stands for Java Mission-planning and Analysis for Remote Sensing. It is a geospatial information system (GIS) developed by ASU's Mars Space Flight Facility to provide mission planning and data-analysis tools to NASA's orbiters, instrument team members, students of all ages, and the general public.

    Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

    "The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) began in 1948, a decade before NASA. We are the world's only research institute to have sent instruments to all eight planets and Pluto. LASP is an affiliate of CU-Boulder AeroSpace Ventures, a collaboration among aerospace-related departments, institutes, centers, government labs, and industry partners."

    MAVEN - July 1, 2016
    MAVEN Status Update

    "Based upon the 2016 Planetary Mission Senior Review Panel report, NASA this week directed nine extended missions, including MAVEN, to plan for continued operations through fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Final decisions on mission extensions are contingent on the outcome of the annual budget process."

    Visit LASP and MAVEN for more information.

    Mars Science Laboratory - Curiosity - July 21, 2016
    NASA Mars Rover Can Choose Laser Targets on Its Own

    Images and Full Article

    "NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is now selecting rock targets for its laser spectrometer -- the first time autonomous target selection is available for an instrument of this kind on any robotic planetary mission.

    Using software developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, Curiosity is now frequently choosing multiple targets per week for a laser and a telescopic camera that are parts of the rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. Most ChemCam targets are still selected by scientists discussing rocks or soil seen in images the rover has sent to Earth, but the autonomous targeting adds a new capability."

    To follow the Mars Curiosity rover and NASA on Foursquare, visit: http://www.foursquare.com/MarsCuriosity and http://www.foursquare.com/NASA

    For information about NASA's partnership with Foursquare, visit:http://www.nasa.gov/connect/foursquare.html.

      Mars Rover Landing - Free for the Xbox (requires Kinect)

      Visit the Mars Science Laboratory page.

    Mars Exploration Rover Mission (Spirit and Opportunity) - July 25, 2016

    SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Remains Silent at Troy - sols 2621-2627, May 18-24, 2011:

    "More than 1,300 commands were radiated to Spirit as part of the recovery effort in an attempt to elicit a response from the rover. No communication has been received from Spirit since Sol 2210 (March 22, 2010). The project concluded the Spirit recovery efforts on May 25, 2011. The remaining, pre-sequenced ultra-high frequency (UHF) relay passes scheduled for Spirit on board the Odyssey orbiter will complete on June 8, 2011.

    Total odometry is unchanged at 7,730.50 meters (4.80 miles)."

    OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Surpasses 43 Kilometers on the Odometer! - sols 4440-4445, July 20, 2016-July 25, 2016: :

    "Opportunity is wrapping up the exploration 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater.

    The rover did experience an unexpected drive termination caused by the right-front wheel. On Sol 4440 (July 20, 2016), tests were performed on the wheels and the rover backed up 4 feet (1.3 meters). All tests were nominal. The project suspects it was a terrain interaction during a difficult turn in place for the rover. On Sol 4441 (July 21, 2016), Opportunity drove over 112 feet (34 meters) heading to the next waypoint. As is typical, post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas were collected. A full 360-degree Navcam panorama was completed on the next sol along with targeted Pancam imagery.

    On Sol 4443 (July 23, 2016), the rover drove again, traveling almost 85 feet (26 meters), passing 26.72 miles (43 kilometers) of total odometry. More post-drive imagery was collected. A cloud movie was shot on the morning of Sol 4444 (July 24, 2015). On Sol 4445 (July 25, 2016), Opportunity drove another 108 feet (33 meters) heading closer to its waypoint.

    As of Sol 4445 (July 25, 2016), the solar array energy production is 605 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.599 and a solar array dust factor of 0.670.

    Total odometry is 26.75 miles (43.05 kilometers)."

    Landing sites

    Visit the Mars Exploration Rover page.

    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission - June 9, 2016
    NASA Mars Orbiters Reveal Seasonal Dust Storm Pattern

    Full caption and related image

    "After decades of research to discern seasonal patterns in Martian dust storms from images showing the dust, but the clearest pattern appears to be captured by measuring the temperature of the Red Planet's atmosphere.

    For six recent Martian years, temperature records from NASA Mars orbiters reveal a pattern of three types of large regional dust storms occurring in sequence at about the same times each year during the southern hemisphere spring and summer. Each Martian year lasts about two Earth years."

    New Gravity Map Gives Best View Yet Inside Mars:

    Simulated Flyover of Mars Canyon Map

    This animation simulates a flyover of a portion of a Martian canyon detailed in a geological map produced by the U.S. Geological Survey and based on observations by the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The landforms include a series of hills called Candor Colles.

    MARS RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER HIRISE IMAGES
    All of the HiRISE images are archived here.

    More information about the MRO mission is available online.

    Mars Odyssey Orbiter - July 04, 2016
    First Day of Spring on Mars & Juno Arrival at Jupiter

    Images and Full Article

    "What is Springtime Like on Jupiter?

    Springtime on Jupiter lasts three Earth years. Seasons are longer on Jupiter because it takes about 12 Earth years to orbit the Sun. Even though spring is long, you'd have to be very close to the north or south pole to notice much of a difference between Jupiter's seasons.

    What is Springtime Like on Mars?

    Mars has four seasons just like Earth, but they last about twice as long. That's because it takes about two Earth years for Mars to go around the sun. July 4, 2016 just happens to be the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere on Mars, where Mars rovers Curiosity and Opportunity are exploring."

    Video - What might it look like if you were walking around on Mars?

    See the Mars As Art Gallery

    Dulles Airport Full News Release

    Global Martian Map

    "A simulated fly-through using the newly assembled imagery is available online.

    The fly-through plus tools for wandering across and zooming into the large image are at THEMIS."

    Daily Mars Odyssey THEMIS Images
    Can be found at the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) website.

    The Odyssey data are available through a new online access system established by the Planetary Data System.

    Visit the Mars Odyssey Mission page.

    Journey to Mars - March 09, 2016
    InSight - Revealing the Heart of Mars
    NASA Targets May 2018 Launch of Mars InSight Mission

    "NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission to study the deep interior of Mars is targeting a new launch window that begins May 5, 2018, with a Mars landing scheduled for Nov. 26, 2018.

    InSight's primary goal is to help us understand how rocky planets -- including Earth -- formed and evolved. The spacecraft had been on track to launch this month until a vacuum leak in its prime science instrument prompted NASA in December to suspend preparations for launch.

    InSight project managers recently briefed officials at NASA and France's space agency, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), on a path forward; the proposed plan to redesign the science instrument was accepted in support of a 2018 launch.

    "The science goals of InSight are compelling, and the NASA and CNES plans to overcome the technical challenges are sound," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "The quest to understand the interior of Mars has been a longstanding goal of planetary scientists for decades. We're excited to be back on the path for a launch, now in 2018."

    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, will redesign, build and conduct qualifications of the new vacuum enclosure for the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), the component that failed in December. CNES will lead instrument level integration and test activities, allowing the InSight Project to take advantage of each organization's proven strengths. The two agencies have worked closely together to establish a project schedule that accommodates these plans, and scheduled interim reviews over the next six months to assess technical progress and continued feasibility."

    Learn more about the InSight Mission.

    Mars Missions Status

    New Mars missions are being planned to include several new rover and sample collection missions. Check out the Mars Missions web page and the Mars Exploration page.

    Return to Top


    Astronomy Links and Other Space News

    (If you have a link you would like to recommend to our readers, please feel free to submit it.)

    Green Laser

    Colorado Astronomy Links

    Radio Astronomy Links

    Other Astronomy Links

    Return to Top


    Astronomical Lexicon

    Definitions of astronomical terms. Many of the astronomical terms used in this newsletter are defined here.

    Return to Top


    UT Logo

    Read the Universe Today Newsletter by clicking on the logo.

    Return to Top


    Acknowledgments and References

    Much of the information in this newsletter is from Astronomy® Magazine (Kalmbach Publishing), JPL mission status reports, the Internet, "Meteor Showers - A descriptive Catalog" by Gary W. Kronk, Sky & Telescope web pages, and other astronomical sources that I have stashed on my bookshelves.

    The author will accept any suggestions, constructive criticisms, and corrections. Please feel free to send me any new links or articles to share as well. I will try to accommodate any reasonable requests. Please feel free to send questions, comments, criticisms, or donations to the email address listed below. Enjoy!

    More Acknowledgements and References

    Return to Top


    Subscription Information

    Return to Top


    ScienceandNature BarnesandNoble.com HomePage

    Return to Top


    FH

    Keep looking UP!
    73 from KIØAR

    Return to Top


    Free Web Counters

    Home of KIØAR
    created by Burness F. Ansell, III,
    Email me
    IAAS - COO, Director of Aerospace Technologies
    JPL Solar System Ambassador, Colorado
    last modified: August 01, 2016

    URL:http://www.ki0ar.com/astro.html