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NASA Exoplanet Archive ~ The European Space Agency (ESA) and China National Space Administration (CNSA) are making great progress, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) remains your first port of call for everything you want to know about space. Last week’s recommendation mentioned 4,016 confirmed exoplanets. This week sees another nine.
NASA JPL Spooky Sounds ~ NASA’s mission spacecraft to Jupiter, Saturn and beyond are equipped with instruments to record radio emissions and sometimes sounds directly. Converting all of this data in to audio reveals a fascinating cacophany of bizarre and unworldly noises, emanating from these planets and their moons including Ganymede, Titan and Enceladus.
NASA: Ocean Worlds ~ Before you get too excited, we’re not talking Waterworld here. Scientists believe that Enceladus, the sixth largest moon of Saturn, may possess some water under 20-25 miles of ice. Europa, the fourth moon of Jupiter might even have water on its surface. Water, of course, equals life as we know it. We are probably talking microbes at best, but it’s a first.
National Space Science Data Center ~ The National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) website serves as a permanent archive for NASA space science mission data. Space science includes astronomy and astrophysics, solar and space plasma physics, planetary and lunar science too. This site offers access to related data for researchers and the general public…
Natural Satellite ~ A natural satellite or moon, is an astronomical body orbiting either a planet, or a recognised minor planet instead. Throughout our Solar System in late 2016, there were 178 natural satellites circling within six planetary subsystems: covering the Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Four designated dwarf planets are known to have satellites, so far.
Near-Earth Asteroid 3753 Cruithne ~ Erroneously highlighted as the Earth’s second Moon, asteroid Cruithne actually shares the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. This site is maintained by Paul Wiegert and has the latest facts concerning this astronomical oddity, written by a man at the forefront of Cruithne’s observation.
Neave Planetarium ~ Paul Neave’s speciality is interaction design and this is his personal website, where he gets to showcase his talents and test-drive ideas he might not get to develop otherwise. Check out a certain one I won’t mention and that’s no surprise, but his planetarium is great and lists every star that should be visible with the naked eye…
NEODyS-2 ~ This website has all the latest scientific opinion on the Near-Earth Asteroids. It is sponsored by the European Space Agency and the University of Pisa, among others. There is a focus on pinpointing future hazards and especially, when a sizeable asteroid might next hit the Earth. (99942) Apophis is currently the main contender, with an approach to watch in 2068.
New Horizons ~ With the excitement and speculation surrounding the true nature of the Pluto/Charon binary, it is easy to forget that a space mission to take a closer look is already on the way. This is the official website of NASA’s New Horizons mission, which lifted off in January 2006 to rendezvous with both these bodies in July 2015.
New Planet ~ Michael E. Brown is Professor of Planetary Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology. He also jointly discovered object 2003 UB313, already known to many astrologers as Xena, although apparently the use of this name is both premature and erroneous. You can find out all the latest at Professor Brown’s website…
Peoria Astronomical Society ~ The Peoria Astronomical Society has heaps of information in the deeper recesses of its website, about the constellations of the zodiac and all the other cosmic patterns beyond this narrow sector of the sky. But maybe its members prefer to keep much of this data under wraps, since who knows what reckless hands, it could fall into otherwise?
Photojournal: NASA’s Image Access ~ Part of the vast web presence that NASA maintains, this subdomain holds a photographic record of the images from their various explorative endeavours. These range from pictures of Neptune or Mercury’s surface, through to Pluto in the greatest detail we can expect currently. The user-friendly database is very easy to navigate…
Planetary Fact Sheets ~ Don’t let the premillennial looks deter you. The data here is updated directly from NASA, via Dr. David Williams of the Goddard Space Flight Center. This site presents facts about the planets of our solar system including Chiron, in an accessible and no-frills fashion. How many moons does Jupiter have? How long is a day on Pluto? Wisdom at your fingertips!
Planetary Missions ~ This basic webpage is maintained by the staff at NASA. It offers a listing and links to further information, for every space mission with a planetary focus there has been, not only those from the US. Their chronology of lunar and planetary exploration is interesting too, with details of future missions to the Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars.
Planet Positions ~ Way better than it sounds, this is a JavaScript-based animation showing the path of planets along the ecliptic, against the backdrop of the stellar fiduciaries. You cannot change your location, there is no working indication of time or date, and once you’ve animated the planets there is no easy way of stopping them. Kind of cool, anyhow…
Pluto and Charon ~ From the definitive Nine Planets site of Bill Arnett, a man more sick than most at Pluto’s recent demotion from planet to dwarf … erm, planet. Pluto and Charon are of comparable size, are very close together and orbit one another round a mysterious central point. Can we really understand Pluto, without thinking also of its binary twin?
Pluto Flyby ~ I couldn’t really profess any relevance this week, without mentioning the Pluto flyby of the New Horizons space probe on July 14, 2015. Nine and a half years travelling, to be 7,800 miles from Pluto’s surface, while hurtling past at 31,000 mph. This feature has the pictures and lots of human interest, but downloading the data gathered may take NASA over a year.
Pluto’s Moons Tumble Chaotically ~ Didn’t you always imagine they would? Astronomers are getting to grips with the complexities of what they’re now calling the Pluto system, as the New Horizons mission prepares to pass within 10,000 km of it on July 14, 2015. Astrologers have known the power of Pluto for ages, while astronomers were undermining the status of this body.