Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sunrise on the Moon

On June 10, 2011, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter angled its orbit 65° to the west, allowing the spacecraft's cameras to capture a dramatic sunrise view of the moon's Tycho crater. A very popular target with amateur astronomers, Tycho is located at 43.37°S, 348.68°E, and is about 51 miles (82 km) in diameter. The summit of the central peak is 1.24 miles (2 km) above the crater floor. The distance from Tycho's floor to its rim is about 2.92 miles (4.7 km).

Tycho crater's central peak complex, shown here, is about 9.3 miles (15 km) wide, left to right (southeast to northwest in this view).

[Text by NASA, access here. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University]

A New Addition to the Family of Exoplanets

As of June 14, 2011; CoRoT-18b is welcomed into the family of exoplanets. Although being a single star-system, the total number of exoplanets have risen: now to 534 total (448 stars; many exoplanets have siblings). CoRoT-18b, discovered by CoRoT, sits 2875.5 light-years away, and shines at magnitude 14.99 (dim). Below is a picture of the digitized sky survey, and an artist's illustration of it. Below that is its orbit, compared to Mercury's in our solar system. More information.


Suzanne Aigrain Oxford University’s department of Physics, lead UK scientist for CoRoT, said: “CoRoT-18b is special because its star might be quite young. Finding planets around young stars is particularly interesting because planets evolve very fast initially, before settling into a much steadier pattern of evolution”. [Planetary evolution is NOT the same as Darwinian evolution. Therefore, planetary evolution has NOTHING to do with the Big Bang Theory, which is rubbish.]