Astronomy News for the Month of November 2015


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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).

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Special Notice to Denver, CO residents and visitors to the area:

The Plains Conservation Center in Aurora hosts Full Moon Walks every month weather permitting on or near the night of the full Moon. Visit The Plains Conservation Center for more information and directions.

S&S Optika hosts Backyard Star Parties in Littleton several times a month, weather permitting. Come down and enjoy the fun and check out their fine selection of optical instruments.


 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...

Background screen credits: NGC5775 - Imaged March 21/22, 2001 using the 16" Kitt Peak Visitors Center telescope as part of the Advanced Observing Program.


The Pleiades
The Pleiades (M45) is an open star cluster in the constellation Taurus the Bull. It's the brightest such object in the sky. The photographer brought out the surrounding dust by extracting a separate luminance layer during processing. (3.2-inch William Optics GT81 refractor, Nikon D5100, ISO 800, thirty 4-minute exposures, stacked)
(Astronomy Magazine, Astronomy Picture of the Day, 10/23/2015)
Credit: Stephen Shaner from Skaneateles, New York


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


16

The Moon

Phases

Apogee/Perigee

Moon/Planet Pairs

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

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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 October

Venus, Mars and Jupiter align before sunrise this month. Evening viewers can spot Saturn early in the month. Neptune and Uranus can also be spotted with binoculars or a small telescope in the evening sky soon after Saturn sets. The Leonid meteor shower peaks mid-month and has a good chance of producing fireballs.

Mercury

Is in superior conjunction with the Sun on the 17th. Mercury rises at 6:36 a.m. on the 1st. Mercury sets 4:58 p.m. by month's end. Mercury lies about 4° above the eastern horizon for northern hemisphere observers just 30 minutes before sunrise on the 1st. After that, Mercury will be more difficult to spot as Mercury approaches conjunction. Mercury will return to the evening sky later in the month but will still be difficult to spot just above the western horizon by month's end. Mercury moves from the constellation of Virgo into Ophiuchus shining at magnitude -1.0 on the 1st.

Venus

Rises at 3:36 a.m. on the 1st and about 3:22 a.m. by month's end. Look for Venus in the early morning skies before sunrise. Venus moves from the constellation of Leo into Virgo shining at magnitude -4.3.

Earth

Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m. local time on the 1st for most of the United States.

Mars

Rises at 3:39 a.m. on the 1st and about 2:10 a.m. by month's end. Mars is visible to the east in the morning before dawn. On the morning of the 7th, look for a thin crescent Moon passing within 2° of both Mars and Venus. Mars moves from the constellation of Leo into Virgo this month shining at magnitude 1.6.

Jupiter

Rises at 3:08 a.m. on the 1st and about 12:32 a.m. by month's end. Jupiter is visible in the early morning sky before sunrise. Look for Jupiter in the east before dawn. On the morning of the 6th, look for the crescent Moon passing within 2° of Jupiter. Continue watching Jupiter, Venus and Mars as the three planets begin pulling away from each other as the month progresses. Jupiter is in the constellation of Leo shining at magnitude -1.8.

Saturn

Is in conjunction with the Sun on the 29th. Saturn sets at 7:22 p.m. on the 1st and about 6:36 p.m. by month's end. Saturn is rapidly approaching the western horizon this month. Look for Saturn during the first two weeks of the month. By mid-month, Saturn will have disappeared into the evening twilight glow and will no longer be visible. Saturn moves from the constellation of Scorpius into Ophiuchus shining at magnitude 0.5 on the 1st.

Uranus

Rises at 4:59 p.m. on the 1st and about 1:58 p.m. by month's end. Uranus is visible almost all night long, setting as Jupiter, Venus and Mars are rising. Uranus is in the constellation of Pisces shining at magnitude 5.7.

Neptune

Is stationary on the 18th. Neptune sets at 2:26 a.m. on the 1st and about 11:24 p.m. by month's end. Neptune will be relatively easy to spot towards the south once the skies darken, though observers will need binoculars of a telescope to see it. Neptune is in the constellation of Aquarius shining at magnitude 7.9.

Dwarf Planets

Ceres

Sets at 10:53 p.m. on the 1st and about 8:42 p.m. by month's end. Ceres will be difficult to spot for those living in the more northerly latitudes due to its lower altitude just above the southern horizon. Ceres moves from the constellation of Sagittarius into Capricornus shining at magnitude 9.2.

Pluto

Sets at 10:01 a.m. on the 1st and about 7:06 p.m. by month's end. Look for Pluto to the southwest just above the handle of the teapot asterism in the late evening. 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.

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Astronomical Events

Meteor Showers

  • The Leonids - The duration of this shower covers the period of Nov. 14-20. Maximum occurs on Nov. 17. The maximum hourly rate typically reaches 10-15, but most notable are periods of enhanced activity that occur every 33 years - events that are directly associated with the periodic return of comet Tempel-Tuttle. During these exceptional returns, the Leonids have produced rates of up to several thousand meteors per hour. The Leonids are swift meteors, which are best known for leaving a high percentage of persistent trains.

    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 55.25 MHz SSB and see if you can hear any pings.

  • Comets

  • Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) could reach magnitude 4 in late November passing through the constellation of Virgo.

  • 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

  • No lunar eclipse activity this month.
  • Observational Opportunities

  • Look for Venus, Mars and Jupiter before sunrise.
  • Observe Saturn in the evening sky early in the month.
  • Try to spot Neptune and Uranus later in the evening.
  • Enjoy the Leonid meteor shower mid-month.
  • Asteroids

    (From west to east)
    • Vesta is in the constellation of Cetus.
    • Papagena is in the constellation of Cetus.
    • Amphitrite is in the constellation of Pisces.
    • Laetitia is at opposition on the 6th in the constellation of Taurus.
    • Psyche is in the constellation of Taurus.
    • Nausikaa is at opposition on the 20th in the constellation of Perseus.
    • Euterpe is in the constellation of Gemini.

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

    The full Moon occults 1st-magnitude Aldebaran before dawn on the 26th. Observers in Canada and northern Untied States will be able to observe the event. Those along a narrow path will get to see a grazing occultation. See www.iota.timerson.net for more info.

    Path of grazing occultation of Aldebaran on the morning of November 26.

    Some of the major cities along this path are Salt Lake City, UT (10:47Z - 10:49Z), Denver, CO (10:56Z - 10:58Z), just north of Wichita, KS (11:02Z-11:04Z) and Chattanooga, TN (11:14Z-11:16Z). Those north of this line will see Aldebaran pass behind the Moon. IOTA Logo

  • Information on various occultations can be found by clicking the IOTA logo.
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    Planetary/Lunar Exploration Missions

    (Excerpts from recent JPL mission updates)
    Cassini - October 30, 2015
    Saturn's Geyser Moon Shines in Close Flyby Views

    Full-Res: PIA17205

    "NASA's Cassini spacecraft has begun transmitting its latest images of Saturn's icy, geologically active moon Enceladus, acquired during the dramatic Oct. 28 flyby in which the probe passed about 30 miles (49 kilometers) above the moon's south polar region. The spacecraft will continue transmitting its data from the encounter for the next several days.

    "Cassini's stunning images are providing us a quick look at Enceladus from this ultra-close flyby, but some of the most exciting science is yet to come," said Linda Spilker, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

    Researchers will soon begin studying data from Cassini's gas analyzer and dust detector instruments, which directly sampled the moon's plume of gas and dust-sized icy particles during the flyby. Those analyses are likely to take several weeks, but should provide important insights about the composition of the global ocean beneath Enceladus' surface and any hydrothermal activity occurring on the ocean floor. The potential for such activity in this small ocean world has made Enceladus a prime target for future exploration in search of habitable environments in the solar system beyond Earth."

    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.

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

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

    Cassini Imaging Team

    For the latest mission status reports, visit Cassini Mission Status web page. The speed and location of the spacecraft along its flight path can be viewed on the Present Position webpage.

    New Horizons - October 29, 2015
    The Youngest Crater on Charon?

    "New Horizons scientists have discovered a striking contrast between one of the fresh craters on Pluto's largest moon Charon and a neighboring crater dotting the moon's Pluto-facing hemisphere.

    The crater, informally named Organa, caught scientists' attention as they were studying New Horizons' highest-resolution infrared compositional scan of Charon. Organa and portions of the surrounding material ejected from it show infrared absorption at wavelengths of about 2.2 microns, indicating that the crater is rich in frozen ammonia - and, from what scientists have seen so far, unique on Pluto's largest moon. The infrared spectrum of nearby Skywalker crater, for example, is similar to the rest of Charon's craters and surface, with features dominated by ordinary water ice."


    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 - October 26, 2015
    Dawn Team Shares New Maps and Insights about Ceres

    Full image

    "NASA's Dawn spacecraft fired up its ion engine on Friday, Oct. 23, to begin its journey toward its fourth and final science orbit at dwarf planet Ceres. The spacecraft completed two months of observations from an altitude of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers) and transmitted extensive imagery and other data to Earth.

    The spacecraft is now on its way to the final orbit of the mission, called the low-altitude mapping orbit. Dawn will spend more than seven weeks descending to this vantage point, which will be less than 235 miles (380 kilometers) from the surface of Ceres. In mid-December, Dawn will begin taking observations from this orbit, including images at a resolution of 120 feet (35 meters) per pixel.

    Of particular interest to the Dawn team is Occator crater, home to Ceres' bright spots. A new mosaic of images from Dawn's third science orbit highlights the crater and surrounding terrain."

    Can you guess what's creating those unusual bright spots on Ceres?

    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 - October 23, 2015
    Former MESSENGER Mission Manager Robert Farquhar Dies at Age 83

    "Robert W. Farquhar, an early MESSENGER Mission Manager and a planetary trajectory pioneer who designed some of the most esoteric and complex spacecraft trajectories ever attempted, died on October 18, at the age of 83. A 50-year veteran of deep-space missions, Farquhar made pivotal contributions to the exploration of comets, asteroids, and the planets.

    "Bob Farquhar was critical to the MESSENGER mission, from initial concept through launch and early operations," offered MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "His competitive drive to achieve new firsts in space, his enthusiasm for attempting difficult tasks, and his brilliantly creative and technically thorough solutions to mission design challenges set a tone for the entire MESSENGER team. That MESSENGER was selected for flight, completed a record six planetary flybys, and became the first spacecraft to successfully orbit Mercury is in no small measure the result of Bob's inspiration, passion, and skill at problem solving. The entire MESSENGER team will miss him."

    Farquhar was born in 1932 and raised in Chicago. He showed an interest in aviation as a child, reading about the topic and designing and building model airplanes. After serving in the Army in Japan during the Korean War, he studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Illinois and received his bachelor's degree with honors in 1959. He went on to earn a master's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1961. He worked briefly at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California, after which he completed a Ph.D. at Stanford University in 1969."

    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.

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    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 - September 22, 2015
    MAVEN Celebrates One Year at Mars

    "NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has been in orbit around Mars for one Earth year. MAVEN was launched to Mars on Nov. 18, 2013 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and successfully entered Mars' orbit on Sept. 21, 2014.

    "The success of the mission so far is a direct result of the incredibly hard work of everybody who is working and has worked on MAVEN. This one year at Mars reflects the tremendous efforts over the preceding dozen years," said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN's principal investigator from the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder.

    Some of the highlights of the first action-packed year include:

    • Performing the orbit insertion maneuver
    • Surviving the encounter with Comet Siding Spring
    • Commissioning the spacecraft
    • Carrying out ten months of observations during MAVEN's primary mission
    • Carrying out four deep-dip campaigns

    "The team has done a fantastic job of adapting to spacecraft operations in the Martian environment," said Richard Burns, MAVEN project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "All systems on MAVEN remain in excellent working condition."

    MAVEN began its primary science mission on Nov. 16, 2014, and is the first spacecraft dedicated to understanding Mars' upper atmosphere. The goal of the mission is to determine the role that loss of atmospheric gas to space played in changing the Martian climate through time. MAVEN is studying the entire region from the top of the upper atmosphere all the way down to the lower atmosphere so that the connections between these regions can be understood."

    Visit LASP and MAVEN for more information.

    Mars Science Laboratory - Curiosity - October 30, 2015

    Sols 1148-1152: Driving and Contact Science
    Full image

    "Apologies for the lack of an update on Wednesday this week! Lauren and I were both in a training class, and Ken was traveling so none of us were able to post here. That means that today's post covers five sols of planning!

    The sol 1148 plan started off with a Mastcam observation of the target McLeod and a 10x1 mosaic to patch a gap in the mosaic from sol 1144. After that, we drove for 32 meters, followed by standard post-drive imaging. On Sol 1149, ChemCam did a bunch of calibration observations and Navcam and Mastcam did some standard atmospheric observations.

    The drive on Sol 1148 put us in range of some interesting rocks, and the Sol 1150-1152 plan is focusing on analyzing our new surroundings. On Sol 1150, Mastcam has an 8x4 mosaic of some interesting layered rocks, followed by ChemCam and Mastcam observations of the targets "Dunkirk" and "Duperow". After the remote sensing is done, there are three APXS observations of the targets "Exshaw", "Ellis Canyon", and "Ennis".

    On Sol 1151, Mastcam has an 18x2 mosaic of the "Carlile" area and a 9x2 mosaic of the "East Glacier" target. This is followed by ChemCam observations of Ennis and Exshaw and the accompanying Mastcam documentation images. In the afternoon on Sol 1151, there will be a short drive to the southeast which should provide data to allow a longer drive in the next plan.

    Finally, on Sol 1152, the plan is to do Navcam, Mastcam, and ChemCam atmospheric observations, plus some ChemCam focus tests."

    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) - October 14, 2015

    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)."

    OPPURTUNITY UPDATE: The Rover Is Now On Northerly Slopes To Charge The Solar Panels For The Winter - sols 4162-4167, October 09, 2015-October 14, 2015: :

    "Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater completing a valley floor survey for clay minerals before moving to the winter location on the south side of the valley.

    Low-elevation orbiter relay passes to the west have resulted in little to no data return on some relay passes. This is a function of orbit geometry and the high valley wall to the west within Marathon Valley. On Sol 4163 (Oct. 10, 2015), Opportunity drove over 33 feet (10 meters) in a dogleg maneuver, first north then east, avoiding some terrain obstacles. The rover collected some mid-drive images of the departed location to assist analysis of some wheel/terrain interaction during the last turn in place.

    On the next sol, the rover collected both Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas and continued with the diagnostic readout of Flash Bank 7. More Pancam panoramas were taken on the sol after that.

    On Sol 4166 (Oct. 13, 2015), Opportunity drove again, this time about 66 feet (20 meters) to the southeast. Afterward, more Pancam and Navcam panoramas where collected. The rover is now on some favorable northerly tilted terrain. Opportunity will remain on northerly slopes for the balance of the winter.

    As of Sol 4166 (Oct. 13, 2015), the solar array energy production was 325 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.557 and a solar array dust factor of 0.577.

    Total odometry is 26.48 miles (42.62 kilometers), more than a marathon."

    Landing sites

    Visit the Mars Exploration Rover page.

    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission - October 29, 2015
    Rewrite of Onboard Memory Planned for NASA Mars Orbiter

    Mission Status Report

    "Tables stored in flash memory aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) tell locations of Earth and the sun for the past 10 years, but not their locations next year. That needs to be changed. Carefully.

    The long-lived orbiter relies on these tables to recover in the event of an unplanned computer shutdown. When the spacecraft computer reboots, it checks to see where it should position the antenna for communication and, even more critically, where it should position the solar arrays for power. Flash memory is "nonvolatile" -- meaning that it retains information even while the power is off -- so it works well for this backup role."

    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 - September 2, 2015
    What Happened to Early Mars' Atmosphere? New Study Eliminates One Theory

    Rocks Here Sequester Some of Mars' Early Atmosphere
    This view combines information from two instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to map color-coded composition over the shape of the ground in a small portion of the Nili Fossae plains region of Mars' northern hemisphere.
    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/Univ. of Arizona

    "Scientists may be closer to solving the mystery of how Mars changed from a world with surface water billions of years ago to the arid Red Planet of today.

    A new analysis of the largest known deposit of carbonate minerals on Mars suggests that the original Martian atmosphere may have already lost most of its carbon dioxide by the era of valley network formation.

    "The biggest carbonate deposit on Mars has, at most, twice as much carbon in it as the current Mars atmosphere," said Bethany Ehlmann of the California Institute of Technology and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, both in Pasadena. "Even if you combined all known carbon reservoirs together, it is still nowhere near enough to sequester the thick atmosphere that has been proposed for the time when there were rivers flowing on the Martian surface."

    Carbon dioxide makes up most of the Martian atmosphere. That gas can be pulled out of the air and sequestered or pulled into the ground by chemical reactions with rocks to form carbonate minerals. Years before the series of successful Mars missions, many scientists expected to find large Martian deposits of carbonates holding much of the carbon from the planet's original atmosphere. Instead, these missions have found low concentrations of carbonate distributed widely, and only a few concentrated deposits. By far the largest known carbonate-rich deposit on Mars covers an area at least the size of Delaware, and maybe as large as Arizona, in a region called Nili Fossae."

    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 - August 18, 2015
    InSight - Revealing the Heart of Mars
    Send Your Name to Mars on NASA's Next Red Planet Mission

    "Mars enthusiasts around the world can participate in NASA's journey to Mars by adding their names to a silicon microchip headed to the Red Planet aboard NASA's InSight Mars lander, scheduled to launch next year.

    Our next step in the journey to Mars is another fantastic mission to the surface," said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "By participating in this opportunity to send your name aboard InSight to the Red Planet, you're showing that you're part of that journey and the future of space exploration."

    Submissions will be accepted until Sept. 8. To send your name to Mars aboard InSight, go to:

    http://go.usa.gov/3Aj3G

    The fly-your-name opportunity comes with "frequent-flier" points to reflect an individual's personal participation in NASA's journey to Mars, which will span multiple missions and multiple decades. The InSight mission offers the second such opportunity for space exploration fans to collect points by flying their names aboard a NASA mission, with more opportunities to follow."

    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.

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    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

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    Astronomical Lexicon

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

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    UT Logo

    Read the Universe Today Newsletter by clicking on the logo.

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    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

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