Friday, September 19, 2008

Jules Verne is about to become a fireball

Space Weather News for Sept. 18, 2008

DOOMED SPACECRAFT: Jules Verne is about to become a fireball. On Sept. 29th, with NASA aircraft looking on, the 22-ton European spacecraft will plunge into Earth's atmosphere over the south Pacific Ocean and harmlessly disintegrate. Jules Verne recently spent five months docked to the space station where it delivered supplies, used its engines help the station avoid a piece of space junk, and served as an impromptu bedroom for the ISS crew. Mission accomplished, the doomed spacecraft is now making its final orbits around Earth glowing about as brightly as Polaris (the North Star). US and European observers are favored with flybys this weekend. If you'd like to see Jules Verne, check the Simple Satellite Tracker for viewing times:

POLAR CROWN PROMINENCES: Colossal dark tadpoles. Fiery "plasma falls." Van Gogh vortices. These are a few of the strange things Japan's Hinode spacecraft has found inside polar crown prominences on the sun. Visit for must-see movies.

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Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society