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Watch a Solar Eclipse on Saturday.


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Watch a Solar Eclipse on Saturday

May 30, 2003 - On Saturday, March 31 an annular eclipse of the Sun will be visible from most of the Northern Hemisphere. The moon's shadow will start in Northern Scotland and then sweep across Iceland and Greenland. Just in case you won't be able to see it in your own sky, a group of Astronomers in the Netherlands and Belgium will be broadcasting live pictures of the eclipse on the Internet. Coverage will begin at approximately 0320 GMT and end about 45 minutes later.

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Image credit: NASA
Astronomers Weigh a Pulsar's Planets

May 30, 2003 - A team of Astronomers have weighed a group of planets orbiting a pulsar by precisely measuring their orbits. So far, two of the system's three planets have been weighed, and they're 4.3 and 3.0 times the mass of the Earth. What's unusual is that the spacing between the planets almost exactly match the spacing of Mercury, Venus and Earth - making this bizarre system the most similar to our own solar system so far discovered. The pulsar, 1257+12, was discovered 13 years ago using the Arecibo radio telescope.

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Image credit: CAIB
A Possible Breakthrough in the Columbia Disaster

May 30, 2003 - The Columbia disaster investigators believe they might have better proof that foam could have damaged the shuttle's wing on launch. They recreated the conditions of launch, and fired a 760 gram chunk of Space Shuttle foam at the leading edge of a shuttle wing at 855 kph. On their first and only shot, they were able to lift up a seal, creating a gap 55 centimetres long. This gives further support to the theory that foam caused damage to the wing on launch, so that it couldn't withstand the heat of re-entry. Further tests are planned for June.

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Image credit: Sea Launch
Sea Launch Heads for the Equator

May 29, 2003 - The Odyssey Launch Platform and Sea Launch Commander set sail from their port in Los Angeles on Wednesday in preparation to launch the Thuraya-2 satellite on board a Zenit 3SL rocket. The ship and launch platform will reach the launch site, located in the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, and then begin a 72-hour countdown for launch - the 44-minute launch window begins June 10 at 1356 GMT (9:56am PDT). The Thuraya-2 satellite will provide communications in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia.

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