Archive for November, 2010

NASA’s Fermi Telescope Finds Giant Structure in our Galaxy.

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Source – NASA:

Using data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, scientists have recently discovered a gigantic, mysterious structure in our galaxy. This feature looks like a pair of bubbles extending above and below our galaxy’s center. Each lobe is 25,000 light-years tall and the whole structure may be only a few million years old. (Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center) For more information about Fermi, visit:

Trent Perrotto
Headquarters, Washington

Lynn Chandler
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Amateur Astronomers

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Source – A KQED Multimedia Series Exploring Northern California Science, Environment and Nature:

Some of the most passionate astronomers don’t even need to leave their own backyards. QUEST meets the amateur stargazers in the Bay Area who are making important observations about the cosmos and inventing tools at home to do it.

QUEST on KQED Public Media.


Friday, November 12th, 2010

Source – Space Weather News for Friday, Nov. 12, 2010:

Earlier this year when Jupiter’s great South Equatorial Belt (SEB) vanished, researchers urged amateur astronomers to be alert for its eventual return. The SEB had come and gone before, they noted, and the revival was something to behold. Alert: It might be happening now. After months of quiet in Jupiter’s south equatorial zone, a white plume is surging through the cloudtops where the SEB should be.
It might not look like much, but this is how a revival of the SEB begins–a small disturbance in the upper atmosphere heralds a much larger profusion of spots and swirls bursting forth around the whole circumference of the giant planet. Amid the confusion, Jupiter’s vast brown stripe emerges.
Subsequent observations by astronomers in the United States, Japan, and the Philippines not only confirm the plume, but also show it brightening rapidly. Indeed, as Nov. 12th unfolds, it is the single brightest spot on Jupiter in wavebands ranging from infrared to ultraviolet.

“This plume is so energetic that we can confidently expect it to develop into the SEB Revival,” says John Rogers, director of the Jupiter section of the British Astronomical Association. “The SEB Revival is usually spectacular, so we can expect impressive and rapidly changing disturbances over the next 3 months.”

Experienced planetary photographers are encouraged to monitor developments. If events proceed apace, the Revival could become visible to novices using small backyard telescopes, so stay tuned.


Monday, November 8th, 2010

Source – Space Weather News for Monday, Nov. 8, 2010:

POSSIBLE COMET OUTBURST: A comet discovered just a few days ago by amateur astronomers in Japan is gliding by Saturn in the pre-dawn sky. Comet Ikeya-Murakami (C/2010 V1) is not visible to the unaided eye, but observers say it is a fairly easy target for backyard telescopes. Images obtained over the weekend reveal what appears to be an outburst in progress. The comet’s coma (atmosphere) bears a striking resemblance to the coma of Comet Holmes, which famously exploded in 2007. Check for photos and more information.

NASA EPOXI Flyby Reveals New Insights Into Comet Features

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Comet Hartley 2 by NASA's EPOXI mission

Jets Galore
This enhanced image, one of the closest taken of comet Hartley 2 by NASA’s EPOXI mission, shows jets and where they originate from the surface. There are jets outgassing from the sunward side, the night side, and along the terminator — the line between the two sides.

NASA EPOXI Flyby Reveals New Insights Into Comet Features.

JPL/NASA What’s Up November 2010?

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Catch two meteor showers in November while you’re out spotting the gas giants. And don’t miss the opening act from Venus in the morning hours.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of