Friday, August 31
Image Credit: NASA / JPL / U. Arizona
This latest image was taken from an angle and shows one wall of the pit illuminated by sunlight. This provides some details on the cave which is approximately 150m in diameter. For more on this try Emily Lakdawalla's post on the Planetary Society Blog.
Following the refreshments break there was time for a quick news round up including a look at the latest astronomy features of Google Earth, known as Google Sky.
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 25th September. Also look out for details of our observing events which will restart soon, now that the nights are drawing in . . .
Monday, August 27
There will also be the usual news round up and plenty of opportunity (excuse the Mars pun!) for discussion.
See you there.
Wednesday, August 15
Image Credit: NASA
There's not much I can add except thanks to Stuart for pointing it out, and US tax payers for paying for it !
Full resolution version available here (3MB download!)
Sunday, August 12
Saturday, August 11
The dark skies are back and I hope you managed to make good use of the of the odd clear night this week. Sunday night is the expected peak time to catch the Perseid meteors but there have been a few around already and you will probably see a few any evening over the next week or so. The picture is of a bright one I was lucky to catch in my wide field spectrograph a couple of years back. What ever happened to those balmy summer evenings.... sigh...
Friday, August 10
Now it is . . .
I'm talking about Microsoft's demonstration technology called Photosynth, which allows a collection of related 2D images (simple digital camera images) to be mapped to a 3D model. This allows you to select different viewpoints of a scene as well as zoom in and out and up and down etc. It really rather impressive (on a broadband connection as least!). Anyway the latest examples are definitely worth checking out; the shuttle Endeavour on the launchpad and inside the Vehicle Assembly Building.
Anyway I think it's a pretty amazing concept, and I'm sure you could think of lots of practical uses for it. In the mean time just enjoy the tours.
If you want some more info on how this works check out this video and others like it on youtube.
Tuesday, August 7
The next shuttle mission, STS 118 is preparing for launch tomorrow. The mission involves further construction work on the International Space Station, including the delivery and installation of a third truss. However, most importantly the mission will be the first space flight for astronaut and teacher Barbara Morgan who was the back-up for Christa McAuliffe who was tragically killed in the Challenger disaster 2o years ago.
Although originally selected as part of the "Teacher in Space" programme which was cancelled after the Challenger disaster, Morgan was eventually selected for full astronaut training in 1998 and is now a "fully fledged" astronaut.
Image Credit: NASA
More details on the mission on the NASA mission site. Endeavour is due to launch on Wednesday 8th August at around 23:36 BST.
Saturday, August 4
[If you're reading the email CAS News you'll have to follow the link above or go to the CAS News blog to see the embedded video].
Also this video includes more details of the mission and of course there's plenty of details on the mission website and also the Planetary Society website.
Thursday, August 2
If you want to find out much more about this story and what the rovers have been up to over the last month check out this comprehensive report on the Planetary Society Website.
The meeting was a great success and an ideal opportunity for members to hold more informal discussions on topics of interest. Robin demonstrated his latest acquisition, a digital SLR which he had operating on a small equatorial mount and using PC software FocusAssist and DSLR Shutter.
Chris demonstrated some astronomy podcasts including Chris Lintott's Living Space Online. He also demonstrated software for easily reading lots of blogs, Google Reader.
Members were also asked to provide advice on equipment and setting up and polar aligning telescopes.
All in all and interesting and worthwhile meeting, which I'm sure we'll do again in the future. Thanks to Ian for doing the refreshments this month.