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Hubble image of the impact scar on Jupiter
Hubble pictures Jupiter's 'scar'
(Jul 25, 2009)

Hubble has trained its new camera on the atmospheric disturbance on Jupiter believed to have been caused by a comet or asteroid impact. The telescope used the Wide Field Camera 3 fitted on the recent shuttle servicing mission to capture ultra-sharp visible-light images of the scar. The dark spot near the gas giant's southern pole was noticed first by an amateur Australian astronomer.

Read more. Source: BBC

PN G75.5+1.7
Giant 'soap bubble' found floating in space
(Jul 24, 2009)

It looks like a soap bubble or perhaps even a camera fault, but the image at right is a newly discovered planetary nebula. Dave Jurasevich of the Mount Wilson Observatory in California spotted the "Cygnus Bubble" while recording images of the region on 6 July 2008; it was officially named PN G75.5+1.7 last week.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Spacecraft propelled by a VASIMR ion engine
Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars
(Jul 23, 2009)

There's a growing chorus of calls to send astronauts to Mars rather than the moon, but critics point out that such trips would be long and gruelling, taking about six months to reach the Red Planet. But now, researchers are testing a powerful new ion engine that could one day shorten the journey to just 39 days. VASIMR uses a radio frequency generator, similar to transmitters used to broadcast radio shows, to heat the charged particles, or plasma.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Artwork of EXPERT
Space cone to acquire expert data
(Jul 23, 2009)

Europe continues to develop the technologies needed to bring spacecraft safely back to the Earth's surface. The European Space Agency has signed the contract with industry that will lead to the production of a cone-shaped demonstration vehicle known as EXPERT. It will be launched to 105km by a submarine missile before falling back to the ground and landing by parachute.

Read more. Source: BBC

Total eclipse of the Sun, July 21, 2009
Asia watches long solar eclipse
(Jul 22, 2009)

People in Asia have seen the longest total solar eclipse this century, with large areas of India and China plunged into darkness. Amateur stargazers and scientists travelled far to see the eclipse, which lasted for about five minutes. The eclipse could first be seen early on Wednesday in eastern India, though in some regions there was thick cloud.

Read more. Source: BBC

Large Hadron Collider tunnel
LHC suffers more leaks, and delays
(Jul 22, 2009)

Just as CERN finished repairing the damage last September's Large Hadron Collider helium leak, a new problem cropped up. Engineers discovered two vacuum leaks in areas of the atom smasher that are supposed to be maintained at ultracold temperatures. They'll have to warm those areas up to complete the repairs, which will set back the project another couple of months. Now, it won't be ready for new particle beams until mid-November.

Read more. Source:

Earth from space. Image: NASA/ESA
Space probe to sport 'transforming' hardware
(Jul 22, 2009)

The trouble with space probes is that once they have been launched their mission cannot be changed. But a test satellite planned for 2012 could change that: its flight computer will contain electronic hardware that can be completely reconfigured in space, allowing it to switch from, say, an atmospheric pollution sensor to a near-Earth asteroid detector.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Infrared observations taken at the Keck II telescope in Hawaii reveal a bright spot where the impact occurred. Image: Paul Kalas/Michael Fitzgerald/Franck Marchis/UC Berkeley/SETI
Jupiter sports new 'bruise' from impact
(Jul 21, 2009)

Something has smashed into Jupiter, leaving behind a black spot in the planet's atmosphere, scientists confirmed on Monday. This is only the second time such an impact has been observed. The first was almost exactly 15 years ago, when more than 20 fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with the gas giant.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Air resistance causes a raindrop to deform as it falls, and eventually to fragment. Image: Emmanuel Villermaux
Why raindrops come in many sizes
(Jul 21, 2009)

We might never consider the size of the raindrops as we hurry for cover, but their variety has puzzled scientists for many years. Now, by filming one falling raindrop, researchers in France have explained why the drops are an array of so many different sizes. Reporting in the journal Nature Physics, the team described how the drop deformed and burst as it fell.

Read more. Source: BBC

string theory graphic
String theory hints at explanation for superconductivity
(Jul 21, 2009)

Until recently, string theory hadn't been particularly good at explaining anything. But at a workshop this month at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California, scientists have been using the theory to make progress in tackling one of the biggest puzzles in condensed-matter physics: the origin of high-temperature superconductivity.

Read more. Source: Nature

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