Wednesday, August 11, 2004

:: quarks and quasars :: meteors, life and pictures

+ Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks August 11th & 12th. "Every year during mid-August, when the Earth passes close to the orbit of Swift-Tuttle, the bits and pieces ram into our atmosphere at approximately 37 miles per second (60 kps) and create bright streaks of light. According to the best estimates, in 2004 the Earth is predicted to cut through the densest part of the Perseid stream sometime around 7 a.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 12. Activity could be high for a few hours on either side of that time.The late-night hours of Wednesday, Aug. 11, on through the first light of dawn on the morning holds the promise of seeing a very fine Perseid display. The bright light of a Full Moon almost totally wrecked last year’s shower, but this year it will be a lovely crescent, about 31?2 days before New phase. Moreover, it will not rise until around 2:30 a.m. local daylight time on the morning of the12th, hovering to the east of brilliant Venus." Also check out the Top 10 facts on the Perseid meteor shower.

+ Life on Mars? The saga continues. "McKay said it is now clear water flowed across Mars. A lot of water, in fact. Furthermore, there may still be water spurting out onto the planet at certain times. "The same pendulum may be swinging back toward life," he said. "We’ll wait and see. These are exciting times." The Mars rovers represent an incredibly successful mission, McKay said. Moreover, they seemingly have "uncovered" a major find. He points to pictures taken by the rovers that show areas of the martian surface disturbed by the retraction of landing airbags. Patches of surface "acted as a cohesive blanket of some sort" when the airbags pulled back, McKay explains. "It wrinkled…and pulled along rocks with it. It didn’t simply crack apart like a dried-up crust." Why the soil reacted in such a manner remains obscure, McKay admits. "But one possibility is that this is the fossilized remains of a biological mat of some sort," he speculated. The mat would be made up of bacterial parts and pieces."

+ Are you a fan of the Hubble images? If you're looking for a fix of cool images from space, check out the pictures from the Cassini-Huygens of Saturn and Titan while it's out of order. The Cassini-Huygens has recently ended it's 7 year journey and is now in the orbit of Saturn.

No comments :

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...