Saturn...as you've never imagined

Written by Fox News on . Posted in Science

Publisher's note:  This is just a breathtaking view of Saturn eclipsing the Sun as viewed from the Cassini Satellite.  Just amazing.

Fox News:  This is what it would look like to gaze upon Saturn.

NASA on Tuesday released a natural-color image of Saturn from space, the first in which Saturn, its moons and rings, and Earth, Venus and Mars all are visible. The panoramic photo from NASA's Cassini spacecraft depicts the sixth planet from the sun as it would appear to human eyes -- as though you were strolling by and your gaze happened to fall upon another planet.

The spacecraft's imaging team processed 141 wide-angle images to create the panorama. It sweeps 404,880 miles across Saturn and its inner ring system, including all of Saturn's rings out to the E ring, which is Saturn's second outermost ring. For perspective, the distance between Earth and our moon would fit comfortably inside the span of the E ring.

"In this one magnificent view, Cassini has delivered to us a universe of marvels," said Carolyn Porco, Cassini's imaging team lead at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. "And it did so on a day people all over the world, in unison, smiled in celebration at the sheer joy of being alive on a pale blue dot."

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GOCE in death orbit

Written by Fox News on . Posted in Science

Publisher's note:  By the time this story times out in this publication, this object will likely have also timed out and either burned up in the atmosphere or crashed, hopefully harmlessly.  I found something very interesting about the story however and that is, that it is crashing because it ran out of fuel.  I've always been under the impression that once something is out of earth's gravitational field and is set in motion via initial impulse, it will remain at a constant speed forever due to the lack of anything creating friction to slow it down.  Which is why 'Voyager' is still speeding out past the Solar System.  In any case, this should cause a least a blip of a show before it's all said and done.

Fox News:  A 2,000-pound European satellite has run out of fuel and will plunge back to Earth sometime between 5:30 P.M. EST and 7:30 P.M., a spokesman for Europe's Space Debris Office told FoxNews.com.

As of 3:00 P.M. it was buzzing Africa's Western shores preparing to cross the Atlantic Ocean en route to Greenland. Its next orbit will bring it closer to North America's East Coast. Where precisely it will crash remains up in the air.

As the whizzing GOCE -- or Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer -- descends, scientists are carefully monitoring it to determine the landing site and ensure public safety.

"We've seen the spacecraft again over Kiruna" in Sweden, wrote Christoph Steiger, GOCE Operations Manager for ESA, on the agency's Rocket Science blog. "GOCE is still doing great."

With each orbit, it descends from a current altitude of under 78 miles by about 0.6 miles per hour.

"With a very high probability, a re-entry over Europe can be excluded," wrote Heiner Klinkrad, head of ESA's Space Debris Office, Sunday morning. Klinkrad, who is closely monitoring the GOCE re-entry, cited radar measurements and satellite-to-satellite tracking. 

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Sea Serpents washing up everywhere

Written by Yahoo News on . Posted in Science

Publisher's note:  I find it so interesting that when the first one was discovered only a couple of weeks ago, it was labelled the event of a lifetime for those that study such things.  Now a second one has washed ashore.  Perhaps some hidden secrets of the deep are preparing to divulge many interesting items soon.  Time will tell.

Yahoo News:  If good things come in pairs, the discovery of another giant, nearly mystical sea creature should portend positive things for a bunch of bewildered beachgoers who early Friday evening happened across the second so-called "discovery of a lifetime" in less than a week.

The 13-and-a half-foot-long oarfish, which washed up on a beach in Oceanside Harbor, Calif., is the second of the rarely seen creatures to be found in a matter of days.

"It's so rare to find in Southern California, especially in surface water," Suzanne Kohin, of the National Marine Fisheries Service said. "They thought it was a very rare event the first time, so these two events that we heard of in the last few weeks are the only ones I've ever heard of."

The first discovery was made by a snorkeling marine scientist who wrestled the dead 18-foot monster (with help) to shore near Catalina last Sunday.

"I was thinking I have no idea what that is and like it looks like a snake but it kind of looks like a giant eel," said onlooker Alexandria Boyle, who was one of a class of third-graders on a beach trip when the newest oarfish was found.

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Comet approaching Mars

Written by Fox News on . Posted in Science

Publisher's note:  Even if one isn't interested in celestial happenings, this promises to be a spectacular event, and we are very much looking forward to it.

Fox News:  Earthlings may be treated to a dazzling celestial display this fall as Comet ISON makes a suicidal plunge toward the sun. But spacecraft exploring Mars is poised to get close-up views of the icy wanderer first.

"Comet ISON is paying a visit to the Red Planet," astronomer Carey Lisse of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, said in a statement. "On Oct 1, the comet will pass within 0.07 AU from Mars, about six times closer than it will ever come to Earth."

One AU, or astronomical unit, is the distance between the Earth and sun, about 93 million miles. Comet ISON's Mars flyby, at 0.07 AU, will be about 6.5 million miles.

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Walking Sharks...Who knew?

Written by Fox News on . Posted in Science

Publisher's note:  This is a very interesting breed of shark.  To my surprise, and as the story points out, it is not the only shark that 'walks' on the sea floor.   

Fox News:  A new species of "walking" shark has been discovered in a reef off a remote Indonesian island.

These sharks don't always rely on "walking" to move about — often, they only appear to touch the seafloor as they swim using their pectoral and dorsal fins in a walklike gait, said Fahmi (who only goes by one name), a shark researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Science who wasn't involved in the study describing the species. In the videoof the newfound walking shark, however, the animal is clearly touching the seafloor. [Video: New Shark "Walks" Along Reef]

The shark grows up to 27 inches long and is harmless to humans, said Mark Erdmann, a marine biologist and adviser with Conservation International who was also a co-author on the study describing the species. The animal has been dubbed Hemiscyllium halmahera, named after the eastern Indonesian island of Halmahera where it was found. Sharks in its genus (the taxonomic group above species) are also known as epaulette sharks, since many sport markings that resemble military epaulettes, according to a Conservation International statement.

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