APOLLO LANDING SITES
PHOTOGRAPHED: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter has returned its first imagery of Apollo landing sites.
The pictures show lunar module descent stages, scientific instruments
and even 40-year-old foot trails made by astronauts walking across
the dusty lunar surface: full
IMPACT ON JUPITER?
"Jupiter has been hit by something
similar to the Shoemaker-Levy
9 impacts in 1994," reports astrophotographer Anthony Wesley.
"There is a jet black circular impact mark near its south pole
that I imaged tonight from my observatory in Murrumbateman, Australia."
South is up in this snapshot of the feature:
"I have imagery of that same location from 2 nights earlier
without the impact mark so this is a very recent event," he
adds. "This image shows that the material has already begun
to spread out in a fan shape on one side, and should be rapidly
pulled apart by the fast jetstream winds. I'm sure this will generate
some interest around the astronomy community, as impacts like this
are rare. I recorded a lot of footage, and will be generating more
images and a rotation animation."
Amateur astronomers around the world should train their telescopes
on Jupiter tonight to monitor the progress of this possible impact
event. Stay tuned for more images and updates.
WAITING FOR THE ECLIPSE:
On July 22nd, the longest solar eclipse
of the 21st century will take place in Asia. Traveling phtographer
Olivier Staiger took this picture from Shanghai, where he is waiting
for the lights to go out:
"The high skyscraper with the hole is the Shanghai World Financial
Center, the other one is the Jin Mao building," says Staiger.
"The sun halo was caused by a hazy layer of icy clouds hanging
over the city."
Shanghai is the largest city in China with a population greater
than 20 million. On Wednesday, the Moon's shadow will linger over
the great metropolis for nearly six full minutes, giving residents
a stunning and lengthy view of the Sun's ghostly corona. In addition
to Shanghai, the path of totality crosses a number of other large
cities in India and China--e.g., Surat, Vadodara, Bhopal, Varanasi,
Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Hefei, Hangzhou--each with populations
numbering in the millions. This could be the best-observed solar
eclipse in human history.
Stay tuned for pictures, and meanwhile enjoy
these animated eclipse maps created by graphic artist Larry
Noctilucent Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2008,
the Sunspot Cycle