|| Home. | Universe Galaxies And Stars Archives. | |
|| Universe | Big Bang | Galaxies | Stars | Solar System | Planets | Hubble Telescope | NASA | Search Engine ||
The biggest telescope on Earth.
When it comes to astronomy, size is everything. The biggest telescope on the planet is the 11-metre Hobby-Eberly on Mount Fowlkes in Texas. And the twin 10-metre Keck Telescopes perched atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii can work in tandem to act as an even larger telescope. But there are new observatories in the works, with Telescopes that will be 30-metres across and larger. Once these turn their gaze into the heavens, Astronomers will have some amazingly powerful tools at their disposal.
Asteroid Toutatis, a frequent visitor in our neighborhood, will pass as close as 1.5 million km (960,000) miles to the Earth on Wednesday. As spacerocks go, Toutatis is pretty big; it's 5 km (3.1 miles) long and weighs 2.5 billion kg (5.5 billion pounds) - an asteroid this size was thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although there are plenty of doomsayers predicting the Earth's demise, Toutatis will keep its distance, passing four times as far as the Moon. The spacerock isn't visible without a telescope, and its position depends where on Earth you're looking at it. This makes it a very challenging object for amateur Astronomers to spot.
Data accumulated by the ASPERA-3 instrument on board the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft seems to indicate how Mars got so dry. scientists believe that water used to cover Mars, but over the course of 3.8 billion years, it was stripped away from the planet by the Sun's solar wind. ASPERA-3 tracks the inflow of particles from the solar wind, and then tracks the outflow of particles escaping from the Martian atmosphere. It found that the solar wind penetrates deeply into the atmosphere to an altitude of 270 km, energizes particles, and causes about 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of material to trail away from Mars every second. Over the years it added up to make the planet bone dry.
Entrepreneur Richard Branson announced today that his company, Virgin Galactic, will be taking Scaled Composite's SpaceShipOne to the next logical step, and offer flights to the public. Virgin Galactic has ordered a larger version of the X-Prize contender suborbital spacecraft which will carry five passengers - the deal is reportedly worth $25 million over the next 14 years depending on how many ships are built. Tickets are expected to cost just over $200,000, and will include three-days of training, but industry experts expect the prices will come down with increased flight frequency.
Go To Print Article
Universe - Galaxies and Stars: Links and Contacts
|| GNU License | Contact | Copyright | WebMaster | Terms | Disclaimer | Top Of Page. ||