Saturday, July 30, 2005

Up in the sky

I've always loved astronomy, and for a time thought I would become an astronomer. It's been an exciting last few days for those who are intrigued by what might be out there...

Astronomers detect '10th planet'
By Dr David Whitehouse
Science Editor BBC news website

Astronomers in the United States have announced the discovery of the 10th planet to orbit our Sun.

The largest object found in our Solar System since the discovery of Neptune in 1846, it was first seen in 2003, but only recently confirmed as a planet.

Designated 2003 UB313, it is about 3,000km across, a world of rock and ice and somewhat larger than Pluto.

It is more than twice as far away as Pluto, in a puzzling orbit, at an angle to the orbits of the other planets.

Astronomers think that at some point in its history Neptune likely flung it into its highly-inclined 44 degree orbit.

It is currently 97 Earth-Sun distances away - more than twice Pluto's average distance from the Sun...

Full Article

Pictures of the ice lake and crater


Ice lake found on the Red Planet

A giant patch of frozen water has been pictured nestled within an unnamed impact crater on Mars.

The photographs were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board Mars Express, the European Space Agency probe which is exploring the planet.

The ice disc is located on Vastitas Borealis, a broad plain that covers much of Mars' far northern latitudes.

The existence of the water-ice patch on Mars raises the prospect that past or present life will one day be detected.

It also boosts the chances that manned missions could eventually be sent to the Red Planet - because they would probably need accessible water to survive...

Full Article

Just amazing!

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