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Rocket Telescope Gets a Look at the Sun.


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Book Review: Our Final Hour by Sir Martin Rees

Jul 10, 2003 - It's strange how many "the world is going to end" books cross my desk here at universe Today. Our Final Hour: A Scientist's Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind's Future In This Century - On Earth and Beyond is the latest offering is by Sir Martin Rees, England's astronomy Royal, and delves into the possiblility that the fate of humanity, the Earth, and maybe even the entire universe is in the hands of well-intentioned (or malicious) scientists as they push the boundaries of nature.

Image credit: NASA
Rocket telescope Gets a Look at the Sun

Jul 10, 2003 - scientists got the best ever ultraviolet view of the Sun using a telescope and camera launched on board a sounding rocket. The pictures will help researchers understand how the Sun's outer atmosphere heats up to over one million degrees Celsius. The telescope was able to resolve areas in the ultraviolet spectrum as small as 240 kilometres across; three times better than any space-based observatory. The rocket trajectory only let the telescope take 21 images during its 15 minute flight.

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Image credit: ESA
New Observatories Could Spot Waterworlds

Jul 10, 2003 - The European Space Agency is planning a series of space-based observatories designed to search space for evidence of Earth-like worlds. But an easier target to spot should be waterworlds; six times the mass of the Earth and covered with an ocean 100km deep. The CNES/ESA mission COROT will launch in 2005, and should just barely be able to spot dimming stars as these "waterworlds" pass in front. Even more powerful Eddington will launch in 2008 and should be able to see planets half the size of Earth. Finally, Darwin will launch in 2014 and search for signs of life on Earthlike planets.

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Image credit: Hubble/NOAO
How the Owl Nebula Got its Shape

Jul 10, 2003 - A team of Astronomers have created a model to explain how the Owl Nebula (NGC 3587) got its unique shape. They believe that the outer Halo was formed when the star first lost mass and blew off its outer layer; the circular middle shell was caused by solar wind from the star blowing additional material; and then an even faster solar wind created the inner layer. Other planetary nebulae show a similar triple-shell appearance, so it's likely they formed the same way.

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