Time-lapse photograph of Mercury, Jupiter, and an airplane taking off
|| 1/1/2009 || 6:40 pm || Comments Off || ||
6 second time-lapse photograph of Mercury (left), Jupiter (right), and an airplane taking off (top)
This evening marks the first time I’ve seen the planet Mercury in night sky. What makes this extra beautiful is Mercury, the smallest planet in the solar system, was next to Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. I have now have seen all of wandering stars known to the ancients.
Below I decided to digitally zoom in as far as I could and see what the time-lapse photograph would look like:
The first glimpse of Mercury’s horizon
|| 1/17/2008 || 5:55 pm || Comments Off || ||
As the MESSENGER spacecraft drew closer to Mercury for its historic first flyby, the spacecraftâ€™s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) on the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) acquired an image mosaic of the sunlit portion of the planet. This image is one of those mosaic frames and was acquired on January 14, 2008, 18:10 UTC, when the spacecraft was about 18,000 kilometers (11,000 miles) from the surface of Mercury, about 55 minutes before MESSENGERâ€™s closest approach to the planet.
The image shows a variety of surface textures, including smooth plains at the center of the image, many impact craters (some with central peaks), and rough material that appears to have been ejected from the large crater to the lower right. This large 200-kilometer-wide (about 120 miles) crater was seen in less detail by Mariner 10 more than three decades ago and was named Sholem Aleichem for the Yiddish writer. In this MESSENGER image, it can be seen that the plains deposits filling the craterâ€™s interior have been deformed by linear ridges. The shadowed area on the right of the image is the day-night boundary, known as the terminator. Altogether, MESSENGER acquired over 1200 images of Mercury, which the science team members are now examining in detail to learn about the history and evolution of the innermost planet.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
As I mentioned the other day, the MESSENGER spacecraft started to document the planet Mercury. Since this is the first time in my entire life that contact has been made with the planet, I find these pictures quite intriguing.
Staring at the Sun in Stellarium
|| 1/15/2008 || 12:34 pm || Comments Off || ||
Screen grab of Stellarium with the constellations art layer turned on
Two screen grabs below with the azimuthal & equatorial grids turned on:
Mercury is nigh [flyby stimuli]
|| 1/14/2008 || 12:51 am || Comments Off || ||
According to Astroprof’s Page:
The MESSENGER spacecraft is now nearly to Mercury. It will pass the planet on Monday, January 14, 2008, at about 1:05pm, Central Standard Time.
MESSENGER (the MErcury Surface, Space Environment, GEochemistry and Ranging spacecraft) is the first space probe to visit Mercury since Mariner 10 last passed that planet in 1975, over three decades ago. Technology and instrumentation have come a long way since then. MESSENGER is far more capable than Mariner 10 ever could have been. Furthermore, MESSENGER aims to do something that Mariner 10 never did: MESSENGER, after several flybys, will enter orbit around Mercury. Mariner 10 only flew past three times. MESSENGER will pass closest to Mercury tomorrow, and then again 266 days later, on October 6, 2008. This is important, because it is about 4.5 Mercury rotations. That means that on the second flyby, MESSENGER will see the opposite side of Mercury lit than the one lit on the first flyby. When Mariner 10 flew past, each time by was almost 3 exact rotations later, so nearly the exact same side of Mercury was lit each time by. As a consequence, half of Mercury could never be seen by Mariner 10. And, not even all of the side lit by the Sun was imaged, so less than half of Mercury has been photographed and mapped. MESSENGER will not have this problem. The MESSENGER website has several animations that show the launch, trip across the solar system, and approach for the spacecraft.
Read more here & here.