January 2005

Expect New Huygens Data Tomorrow

January 20, 2005

Huygens mission scientists will gather tomorrow in Paris to discuss the results of the experiments aboard the probe. Huygens delivered plenty of data: the probe transmitted for several hours from the surface of Titan, even after the Cassini orbiter moved below the horizon. Cassini received one hour and twelve minutes worth of solid information; all […]

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Matter Found Moving Close to Light Speed

January 19, 2005

In Blazing Speed: The Fastest Stuff in the Universe, Robert Roy Britt looks at recent studies of a form of matter that moves remarkably close to the speed of light. The material comes in the form of huge jets of hot gas that are ejected from a kind of galaxy called a blazar. Some of […]

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Planet Formation Around Nearby Red Dwarfs

January 18, 2005

M-class red dwarf stars are unusually interesting. For one thing, they make up 70 percent of all stars in our galaxy, meaning the great bulk of stars are much less massive than our Sun and far less bright, not to mention being considerably longer-lived. For another thing, the closest known star, Proxima Centauri, is a […]

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A Planetary Collision Near Beta Pictoris?

January 17, 2005

The dust disk around the star Beta Pictoris has been under study since 1983, when it was detected in IRAS (Infrared Astronomy Satellite) data. Last October, astronomers in Japan found three rings of planetismals circling the star, with a possible planet at 12 AU. Now the Gemini South 8-meter telescope in Chile has found telling […]

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New Images and Audio from Titan

January 15, 2005

Of all the Titan images released so far, this one may be the most provocative. Surely these are drainage channels, and is it possible we’re looking at a coastline in the lower part of the picture? Is there still liquid out there? If so, it’s not water but liquid methane or ethane, and it may […]

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Titan Images Reveal Complex Surface

January 14, 2005

The first images coming back from Titan are raw (i.e., unprocessed), and we’ll have more (up to 350, apparently) available soon. The first picture shows what appear to be drainage channels, as you can see below. This is one of the first raw, or unprocessed, images from the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe as it […]

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Huygens Data Flowing

January 14, 2005

Incoming data shows that Huygens’ instruments were functioning nominally throughout the descent. From this morning’s (EST) press conference, this statement by Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General: “The morning was good; the afternoon is better. We were an engineering success this morning, but we can say this afternoon that we are also a scientific success. We […]

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Huygens on Titan

January 14, 2005

Huygens, now on the surface of Titan, has been transmitting data for five hours now, twice the expected time. Signals received by the Parkes Observatory in Australia first confirmed that the probe had survived the landing. It has also been confirmed that at least one experiment — the Doppler Wind Experiment — has been successful. […]

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Huygens Descending on Main Chute

January 14, 2005

The Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia has picked up the Huygens carrier signal, which should have been activated after the opening of the main chute and the dropping of the heat shield. The signal carries no data other than this: Huygens made it through the entry into Titan’s atmosphere. We should have data […]

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Weblog from Darmstadt Covers Huygens

January 13, 2005

The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla is covering Huygens events from Darmstadt here. From her latest post: Another item that was news to me came from Marty Tomasko, the University of Arizona researcher who heads the Descent Imager Spectral Radiometer team (that’s the main camera on Huygens). His last images are expected to come from about […]

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