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Contents

1. Sir Bernard Lovell
2. Curiosity Lands on Mars
3. The Planets in September
4. Herbert Astronomy Weekend
5. AAS Astrophotography Competition 2012
6. RASNZ Conference 2013
7. Canadian House Exchange Sought
8. Carl Sagan Summer Workshop 2012 - Report
9. LEDs and Night-time Skyglow
10. More Detail on SKANZ
11. "Pioneer Anomaly" Solved
12. Here and There

1. Sir Bernard Lovell

Sir Bernard Lovell, OBE, FRS, died August 6, 2012, at the age of 98.

Lovell, emeritus professor of radio-astronomy, was the founder and first director of the University of Manchester´s Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England.

Sir Bernard Lovell developed the science of radio-astronomy in the UK and was director of Jodrell Bank, the site of the country's largest radio telescope, for 30 years. When he was developing his idea for a radio telescope in the 1950s, he faced much hostility over the cost of the project. This criticism turned to wonder and acclaim when, in October 1957, the telescope showed that it could accurately track the first Soviet sputnik spacecraft. It soon became one of the most famous scientific instruments in the world, recording radio emissions from outer space and setting the pattern for other radio astronomy observatories. In 1987 it was renamed the Lovell Telescope in honour of its creator.

Sir Bernard was born in 1913 in a village near Bristol, where his father ran a small radio repair shop and petrol station, besides being a Methodist lay-preacher. He read physics at Bristol University, won a research scholarship, became an assistant lecturer at the University of Manchester and studied cosmic rays under Professor P.M.S. Blackett. During World War II, he was seconded to the Telecommunications Research Establishment.

At the end of the war he resumed his post in Manchester, carrying on his work in a field in Cheshire, where he formed the nucleus of what was to become the Jodrell Bank station. At first, he used old Army radar equipment to detect cosmic-ray bursts and to investigate meteors. But he soon found that he needed a bigger radio collecting mirror, and built one himself with a diameter of 66 m (218 ft). It was, however, a fixed device, and looked into space in only a narrow range of directions.

The next requirement was another radio telescope, at least as large, and this time accurately steerable, so that it could be pointed to any part of the sky. The difficulty was finding people who believed in the idea and were prepared to finance it. However, the money - some £700,000 - was eventually raised and by 1958 the telescope was in action.

The tracking of the sputniks and moon-probes was only a part - and from a scientific point of view, not the most important part - of the telescope's work. The Lovell Telescope received the first detailed picture of the moon in 1966.

Much of Jodrell Bank's work involved the study of the remotest parts of the universe, millions of light years away. It extended our understanding of stellar objects, such as quasars, and provided a valuable insight into the origins of the universe itself.

Later in life, Sir Bernard became very concerned about the effect that short-term national and military projects might have on the interests of pure science. He strongly opposed schemes like the US plan to put a belt of radio-reflecting needles into space.

In 1958 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, titled the 'The Individual and the Universe', in which he examined the history of and then-current inquiry into the solar system and the origin of the universe. Knighted in 1961, he was President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1969 to 1971 and, in 1975, he served as President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Sir Bernard wrote many books and was honoured by universities and institutions all over the world. He married in 1937, and had two sons and three daughters.

-- from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19164237

See also Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Lovell .

-- Thanks to Roland Roland Idaczyk for passing along the above links.

2. Curiosity Lands on Mars

Curiosity, NASA's latest contribution to the Martian landscape, landed on Aug. 6 at 05:32 UT (5:32 pm NZST) near the foot of a mountain five km tall inside Gale Crater, 150 km in diameter. Curiosity's descent was imaged by another Mars orbiter. Images from the vehicle itself soon followed.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia15978b.html shows an image of the Curiosity rover still connected to its 16 metre parachute as it descended towards its landing site. The image was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance orbiter (MRO).

At the time the MRO was 340 kilometres away from the parachuting rover. Curiosity and its rocket-propelled backpack, contained within the conical- shaped back shell, had yet to be deployed. Curiosity was about three kilometres above the Martian surface. The HiRISE team had been working on this sequence since March and had to upload commands to the spacecraft about 72 hours prior to the image being taken. Images of the late stages of the descent, along with text and video, can be seen at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-233

The MRO's image of Curiosity and its parachute, back shell, heat shield and descent stage can be found at http://go.nasa.gov/OXjKz6 . The Curiosity rover is in the centre of the image. To the right, approximately 1,500 metres away, lies the heat shield, which protected the rover from the 2,100 C temperatures encountered during its fiery descent. On the lower left, about 615 meters away, are the parachute and back shell. To the upper-left, approximately 650 metres away from the rover, is a discoloration of the Mars surface consistent with what would have resulted when the rocket-powered Sky Crane impacted the surface.

Curiosity carries 10 science instruments with a total mass 15 times as large as the science payloads on the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Some of the tools, such as a laser-firing instrument for checking rocks' elemental composition from a distance, are the first of their kind on Mars. Curiosity will use a drill and scoop, which is located at the end of its robotic arm, to gather soil and powdered samples of rock interiors, then sieve and parcel out these samples into the rover¹s analytical laboratory instruments.

To handle this science toolkit, Curiosity is twice as long and five times as heavy as Spirit or Opportunity. The Gale Crater landing site places the rover within driving distance of layers of the crater¹s interior mountain. Observations from orbit have identified clay and sulphate minerals in the lower layers, indicating a wet history.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-235 shows images from Curiosity's just-activated navigation cameras, or Navcams, include the rover's first self-portrait, looking down at its deck from above. Another Navcam image set, in lower-resolution thumbnails, is the first 360-degree view of Curiosity's new home in Gale Crater. Also downlinked were two, higher-resolution Navcams providing the most detailed depiction to date of the surface adjacent to the rover.

Some images show that thrust from the rockets dug half-metre trenches in the Martian surface, revealing bedrock on the bottom. Its depth below the surface is valuable data for planning exploration.

Another image set, courtesy of the Context Camera, or CTX, aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has pinpointed the final resting spots of the six 25-kg entry ballast masses. The tungsten masses impacted the Martian surface at a high speed of about 12 km from Curiosity's landing location.

Curiosity's latest images are available at http://1.usa.gov/MfiyD0

-- from several NASA press releases forwarded by Karen Pollard.

3. The Planets in September

By the end of September, Saturn will set less than two hour after the Sun and so will already be a low object to the west as the sky darkens following sunset. Mars on the other hand will hang on in the early evening sky setting more than two hours after Saturn.

Jupiter and Venus will be obvious in the morning sky, with Jupiter rising just after midnight (NZST) at the end of the month.

Mercury is at superior conjunction on September 14 and will remain too close to the Sun to see virtually all month. It may be possible to glimpse the planet very low to the west in the evening twilight on the 30th.

NZ daylight time starts this year on the morning of September 30, the latest the change can occur under the present rules. After clocks are moved forward one hour NZDT will be 13 hours ahead of UTC (GMT).

Mars and saturn plus spica in the evening sky

At the beginning of September, Mars will be about 10° above Saturn as seen in the early evening sky. During the month Mars will move steadily away from Saturn towards Scorpius and Antares, the "rival" of Mars. Due to its easterly movement, the planet will set only about 10 minutes earlier at the end of September compared to the beginning. As a result the planet will maintain its altitude at the same time of evening throughout the month so that from night to night the stars will appear to be moving down past Mars.

On the 1st Mars will be in Virgo but by the 5th it will have moved into Libra. For the rest of September, Mars will be crossing Libra. By the end of the month Mars will be just short of Scorpius and some 7.5° below delta Sco (mag 2.3) and twice a far below Antares. In its way across Libra, Mars will pass close to the wide double star, alpha Lib. The two are closest on the 15th with Mars 1° to the left of the stars. The two stars of Libra, with magnitudes 2.7 and 5.2, are just under 4 arc-minute apart and are easily separable in binoculars.

The 22% lit moon will be 5.5° above Mars on the evening of September 20 for New Zealand. Earlier in the day, the moon will occult the red planet. The occultation is visible the hours of darkness from some of the eastern parts of South America.

Saturn, unlike Mars, will set steadily earlier during September; a few minutes before 10 pm on the 1st, advancing to about 8.15 pm by the end of the month, although on the 30th the start of NZDT will make this an hour later.

On the last evening of September, 45 minutes after sunset, Saturn will be to the west, low, with an altitude of some 10°. During September it will have moved a little away from Spica which has been its companion this year. On the 30th the two will be some 7° apart with Spica only 7° up 45 minutes after sunset.

Mercury, magnitude -0.4, and beginning to emerge from the Sun by the 30th, will be 2.5° below Spica. But the sky glow from the set sun almost directly below the star and planets, is likely to make it difficult see them.

Planets in the morning sky

Venus and JUPITER continue to move further apart in the morning sky during September.

Venus remains a brilliant object to the northwest in the morning sky throughout, rising about 4.30 am at Wellington and a few minutes earlier for Auckland, 40 minutes later at Invercargill. The planet will get a little lower in the morning sky as its elongation from the Sun decreases.

The planet starts the month in Gemini on a line between Pollux and Procyon in Canis Minor. Venus moves into Cancer on the 4th and on into Leo on the 23rd. Its path through the star will take it towards Regulus with the two 4° apart by the 30th.

The 13% lit crescent moon will be about 3° from Venus on the morning of the 13th of September.

Jupiter rises steadily earlier in the morning as September advances. By the end of the month it rises around midnight, just before at Auckland but getting later further south. It will be almost 1 am at Invercargill before rising due to the planet being well north of the celestial equator. On the last morning of the month it will rise before the start of NZDT.

The planet will remain in Taurus throughout September, moving slowly to the east and so taking it further from Aldebaran which will be a few degrees away above and to the left of the planet. The Pleiades will be about 16° to the left of Jupiter.

On the morning of the 8th the 58% lit moon will be midway between the Pleiades and Jupiter, 8.5° from the planet. The following morning the moon, now 48% lit, will be 3° to the right of Jupiter. Earlier that night the moon will occult Jupiter (before it rises in NZ). The occultation will be visible in a dark sky from the South Pacific Ocean to the west of South America. Over the southern part of South America the occultation will be a day time event.

*********** URANUS´ retrograde motion will take it back into Pisces on the 17th of September from the corner of Cetus it has been in for the last month or two. The planet is at opposition on the 29th so by then will rise close to the time of sunset and set near the time of sunrise. At magnitude 5.7, Uranus will be an easy binocular object.

Neptune being past opposition in September will be rising before the Sun sets, so will be an easy evening binocular object. The planet, magnitude 7.8, will be in Aquarius moving slowly to the west towards Capricornus. It ends the month just over 7° from the 2.9 magnitude star delta Cap.

BRIGHTER ASTEROIDS: (1) Ceres and (4) Vesta are both morning sky objects in the vicinity of Jupiter and Aldebaran so are visible in the morning sky.

At the beginning of September, Ceres will be at magnitude 8.8 and close to the 3.0 magnitude star zeta Tau. The asteroid passes the star on the mornings of the 5th and 6th when the two will be less than a degree apart. Ceres crosses into the most northerly part of Orion on the morning of the 16th.

Vesta is in Taurus all September a few degrees to the upper right of Jupiter. It will brighten a little during the month from magnitude 8.1 to 7.8, a magnitude brighter than Ceres.

(2) Pallas is at opposition in Cetus on September 24 when it will be at magnitude 8.3 having started the month at 8.8. At opposition the asteroid will be 9.6° from Uranus.

(11) Parthenope is at opposition on September 3 with a magnitude 9.0. It will be in Aquarius 10.7° from Neptune. By the end of September the asteroid will have faded to magnitude 9.7.

More details and charts for these minor planets can be found on the RASNZ web site. Follow the link to asteroids 2012.

--- Brian Loader

4. Herbert Astronomy Weekend

Herbert Astronomy Weekend Star Party, September 14-17th. Don't miss it! For all information see http://www.treesandstars.com/herbert/

The Herbert Astronomy Weekend is held a Camp Iona, just west of Herbert, about 20 km south of Oamaru.

5. AAS Astrophotography Competition 2012

The Auckland Astronomical Society's 2012 Harry Williams Astrophotography Competition is now underway. The competition is open to all New Zealand residents, Astronomical Society members, clubs and groups. Remember, the prestigious Harry Willams Trophy is up for grabs.

There are 4 categories in this competition: Deep Space, Solar System, Artistic/Mis, Scientific. (Note: you will need to fully explain why your entry has scientific merit to be considered for this section).

Entry forms and competition details can be found on the Auckland Astronomical Society Website. http://www.astronomy.org.nz Winners will be announced at the Burbidge Dinner at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Pakuranga, Auckland on October 28th, 2012.

Competition closing date - Monday 1st October 2012.

Please send your entries by email (max 2MB per email) or copied onto CDROM/USB memory stick and posted with accompanying Entry Forms to; 2012 Harry William's Astrophotography Competition Postal Delivery Address: 2/24 Rapallo Place, Farm Cove, Pakuranga, Auckland 2012.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Header: 2012 HW Astrophotography Competition

-- Jennie McCormick

6. RASNZ Conference 2013

The 2013 conference will be held in Invercagill, hosted by the Southland Astronomical Society. The venue is the Ascot Park Hotel. Many members will remember previous conferences hosted by the Southland Astronomical Society at the same venue and know to expect an excellent conference. So make a note of the dates of the conference, Friday 24 May 24 to Sunday 26 May.

The conference will be followed by another Trans Tasman Occultation Symposium on Monday and Tuesday 27 and 28.

The Ascot Park Hotel has plenty of on-site accommodation, both hotel and motel. In addition there are other motels close by.

We hope to be able to feature papers from members about their own observational and other activities in astronomy. Now is the time to start preparing your paper for the conference.

Brian Loader RASNZ SCC chairman

7. Canadian House Exchange Sought

House exchange wanted for all or part of March, 2013. I have pier-mounted 12" Meade SC go-to telescope on 6 acre property with orchard, Hornby Island, BC, Canada. 2-bedroom house, electric and wood heat, washer/dryer, wifi, sound system, tv and dvd, exercise machine, composting toilet. Other amenities: beaches walking distance, skiing on Mount Washington nearby. Seek modest accommodation with telescope in New Zealand (rental also considered). (250) 335-0005. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-- Dan Bruiger

8. Carl Sagan Summer Workshop 2012 - Report

Ed Budding writes:

I enjoyed a very interesting Carl Sagan Summer Workshop at the California Institute of Technology ('Caltech', Pasadena) during the week July 22-29, 2012.

The total number of Kepler Mission planets, identified by their transit light curves, (the main theme of the meeting) is getting on for 2500 at the time of writing, and a massive new release of new identifications is expected in the near future.

Many of these planets are the 'lonely hot Jupiters', single massive planets in relatively close orbits that made up the historically first class of detections, but an increasing proportion are now the Neptunes and Super-Earths. These latter are smaller, often further out, and often in multiple planet systems that begin to resemble the familiar solar system configuration. Even a few 'rocky' Earth-like objects are beginning to show up from the latest data analyses.

There were 173 attendants at the workshop and from 26 countries. Many were young postgraduate students working on PhD projects, others were in the postdoc bracket and still others, like this author, were yet further on (in time, at least) in their studies of the Universe.

Among the many highlights of the Workshop were further identifications of the high water content of the atmospheres of the many planets, obliquely inclined host stars, new methods to obtain planet masses using time of minimum and astro-seismological data, the growing contributions from many ground-based facilities (including the popular planethunters.org), the 'Doppler beaming' effect noticed in certain light curves, eclipses of starspots and what that can lead to in parameter evaluation, and numerous theoretical, data-analysis and interpretative studies. There were 3 big 'hands-on' sessions, in which the participants learned how the Kepler Mission team recover the photometry from the satellite and process the raw data into regular light curves that are placed in a freely accessible archive and then fitted by appropriate models. Also on the agenda were a pleasant and interesting tour of the Mt Wilson Observatory and an enjoyable conference dinner.

I expect to be able to offer a fuller account of this subject in a Southern Stars (RASNZ) article in the near future, but enthusiast can meanwhile look at http://nexsci.caltech.edu/workshop/2012 for further details.

This very impressive meeting was organized by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI), who accepted applications for financial assistance covering registration and accommodation costs. I would also like to say thanks to the RASNZ's Kingdon Tomlinson Fund for its partial support of my airfares. Let me also mention the Carl Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme, which should be of interest to young enthusiasts in this rapidly advancing new field of astronomy. Further pointers on that can be found at the above website. -----

Ed Budding, Carter Observatory, SCPS Victoria University of Wellington and Dept of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury New Zealand

9. LEDs and Night-time Skyglow

Red is the new black, at least for night-time skyglow, according to scientists of the Freie Universität Berlin and the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Germany. And the colour of night-time skyglow may be about to undergo a radical change worldwide. The team predicts that with increasing use of LED street lamps, the colour of the night sky will become bluer. To track this change, the researchers developed a prototype measurement device, and used it to show that the sky currently contains far more red light on cloudy nights compared to clear nights.

Christopher Kyba, physicist at the Freie Universität and lead author of the study, explains that innovations in lighting technology will result in changes in the colour of streetlights. The current worldwide trend of replacing gas discharge lamps with solid state lighting, such as LEDs, will affect the radiance and spectrum of urban skyglow. In order to understand the potential impacts of this change on ecology, it will be essential to monitor the sky over the long term.

The scientists used the new instrument to study how clouds affect sky brightness in urban areas. For almost all of evolutionary history, clouds made the night sky darker, just like they do in daytime. In areas with artificial light the effect of clouds is now reversed, and the size of the effect depends on colour. The researchers found that in Berlin the blue portion of skyglow is seven times more radiant on cloudy nights than on clear, and 18 times more for the red part.

In the visual range used by most animals, the authors say that cloudy skies are now thousands of times more radiant near cities than they were throughout most of history. They expect that the addition of this extra light affects predator-prey relationships where the predator hunts using vision, for example between owls and mice.

The sky is blue in daytime because the cloud-free atmosphere is very good at scattering short wavelength light. The scientists therefore express concern that unless special care is taken in design and implementation, a switch to whiter LED lights could make the sky much brighter on clear nights. They suggest that cities that have decided to change to solid state lighting should purchase lamps that emit no upward light, and use 'warm white' lights with as little blue light as possible.

The research was funded by two interdisciplinary projects, MILIEU and 'Verlust der Nacht'(Loss of the Night). The 'Verlust der Nacht' project, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is specifically devoted to quantifying light pollution and investigating its impact on humans and the environment.

Their report, entitled 'Red is the New Black', is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. See http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365- 2966.2012.21559.x/abstract http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~kyba/publications/ 2012_Kyba_red_is_the_new_black.pdf Interdisciplinary light pollution research project: http://www.verlustdernacht.de

-- from a Royal Astronomical Society (UK) press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

10. More Detail on SKANZ

The following letter by Philip Diamond, Chief, Astronomy & Space Science, CSIRO, was circulated to the Australian Astronomical Society on May 15.

Dear colleagues

I´m pleased to report that the international SKA Organisation has announced that the $2.5 billion Square Kilometre Array radio telescope will be deployed in Australia and New Zealand, as well as in South Africa.

The SKA Organisation has agreed that Phase 1 of the SKA project should be split between both regions. Such a deployment means researchers will get the best possible results by capitalising on the respective infrastructure and strengths of both sites.

In Phase 1, Australia will build 60 SKA dishes equipped with Australia´s innovative phased array feed technology, which will work in conjunction with ASKAP, as well as an array of 4000 low frequency dipole antennas. South Africa will receive 190 SKA dishes, which will work with MeerKAT to deliver deep images of individual fields. The two instruments will be complementary, with Australia hosting the survey instrument, South Africa the follow-up array.

Phase 2 of the SKA, which is more than a decade away, will see the entire low frequency array in Australia, with the dish array and, if successfully developed, a mid-frequency dense aperture array in Southern Africa. The implementation of all parts of SKA Phase 2 will be dependent upon the successful delivery of Phase 1.

I believe this to be an excellent result for Australia and New Zealand, as well as for CSIRO and am proud of the fantastic work that has been undertaken by the very many people involved across the ASKAP and SKA projects.

There are far too many people to mention in this email, but I´d like to highlight the efforts that have been made over many years by Brian Boyle and Michelle Storey. Without their efforts I can safely say that Australia would have no ASKAP or SKA - Their efforts have been instrumental in keeping us at the forefront of radio astronomy.

The efforts too, of everyone who has had a hand in our ASKAP construction, or worked with various SKA Working Groups, Committees and Design Groups, or who have provided technical input to the international SKA Organisation should also be applauded.

In the short term, CSIRO and our partners will aim to participate in work- packages supporting SKA pre-construction and construction activities. We will also seek to continue our scientific and technical leadership role in SKA related activities. In the longer term, CSIRO will work with the Australian and New Zealand Governments, as well as the SKA Organisation to see how exactly CSIRO can best contribute to the future success of the SKA telescope.

The decision as announced is one that we can be proud of and I look forward to the future and being further involved in what will truly be a world changing project.

Regards Philip Diamond | Chief, Astronomy & Space Science | CSIRO

11. "Pioneer Anomaly" Solved

The unexpected slowing of NASA's Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft -- the so-called "Pioneer Anomaly" -- turns out to be due to the slight, but detectable effect of heat pushing back on the spacecraft, according to a recent paper. The heat emanates from electrical current flowing through instruments and the thermoelectric power supply. The results were published on June 12 in the journal Physical Review Letters [http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.241101].

"The effect is something like when you're driving a car and the photons from your headlights are pushing you backward," said Slava Turyshev, the paper's lead author at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "It is very subtle."

Launched in 1972 and 1973 respectively, Pioneer 10 and 11 are on an outward trajectory from our Sun. In the early 1980s, navigators saw a deceleration on the two spacecraft, in the direction back toward the Sun, as the spacecraft were approaching Saturn. They dismissed it as the effect of dribbles of leftover propellant still in the fuel lines after controllers had cut off the propellant. But by 1998, as the spacecraft kept travelling on their journey and were over 8 billion miles (13 billion km) away from the Sun, a group of scientists led by John Anderson of JPL realized there was an actual deceleration of about 7.6 metres per day squared (0.9 nanometres per second squared). They raised the possibility that this could be some new type of physics that contradicted Einstein's general theory of relativity.

In 2004, Turyshev decided to start gathering records stored all over the country and analyze the data to see if he could definitively figure out the source of the deceleration. In part, he and colleagues were contemplating a deep space physics mission to investigate the anomaly, and he wanted to be sure there was one before asking NASA for a spacecraft.

He and colleagues went searching for Doppler data, the pattern of data communicated back to Earth from the spacecraft, and telemetry data, the housekeeping data sent back from the spacecraft. At the time these two Pioneers were launched, data were still being stored on punch cards. But Turyshev and colleagues were able to copy digitized files from the computer of JPL navigators who have helped steer the Pioneer spacecraft since the 1970s. They also found over a dozen of boxes of magnetic tapes stored under a staircase at JPL and received files from the National Space Science Data Center at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and worked with NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., to save some of their boxes of magnetic optical tapes. He collected more than 43 gigabytes of data, which may not seem like a lot now, but is quite a lot of data for the 1970s. He also managed to save a vintage tape machine that was about to be discarded, so he could play the magnetic tapes.

The effort was a labour of love for Turyshev and others. The Planetary Society sent out appeals to its members to help fund the data recovery effort. NASA later also provided funding. In the process, a programmer in Canada, Viktor Toth, heard about the effort and contacted Turyshev. He helped Turyshev create a program that could read the telemetry tapes and clean up the old data.

They saw that what was happening to Pioneer wasn't happening to other spacecraft, mostly because of the way the spacecraft were built. For example, the Voyager spacecraft are less sensitive to the effect seen on Pioneer, because its thrusters align it along three axes, whereas the Pioneer spacecraft rely on spinning to stay stable.

With all the data newly available, Turyshev and colleagues were able to calculate the heat put out by the electrical subsystems and the decay of plutonium in the Pioneer power sources, which matched the anomalous acceleration seen on both Pioneers.

"The story is finding its conclusion because it turns out that standard physics prevail," Turyshev said. "While of course it would've been exciting to discover a new kind of physics, we did solve a mystery."

Pioneer 10's last signal was received on Earth in January 2003. Pioneer 11's last signal was received in November 1995.

-- A Jet Propulsion Laboratory press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

12. Here and There

From The Observatory, 2012 June:

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE ... with Russia making extended territorial claims to the pole, with Canada increasing its military presents in its Arctic Archipelago... -- Letters to Spaceflight, 2011 November, p.442.

BUT YOU'LL NEED A LUNAR ROVER TO STUDY IT You can now have the latest full size map of the nearside of the Moon. - - Astronomy Now, 2001 December.

POINT IT UP! The Gemini South laser first light on January 22, 2011, has left its mark on everyone who has been involved... -- Gemini Focus, 2011 June, p.28.

EARLY LEARNING CENTRES? Planetary nurseries can be seen using very powerful telescopes... -- JBAA, v.121, 6, 2011.

And a local one:

LETHAL INJECTIONS? That burst throws a cloud of charged gas which is what we call a coronial mass injection... -- Fairfax News, 17 July 2012.


Newsletter editor:

Alan Gilmore   Phone: 03 680 6000
P.O. Box 57   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lake Tekapo 7945
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