Universe Today #694 - October 3, 2003
U N I V E R S E
T O D A Y
Space Exploration News From Around the Internet
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HUBBLE MOSAIC OF THE SOMBRERO GALAXY
Oct 3, 2003 - The newest image from the Hubble Space Telescope is of the Sombrero Galaxy, which was pieced together from a mosaic of six images taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The Sombrero Galaxy is quite large; visually it's one-fifth the size of the Moon in a telescope. This release marks the fifth anniversary of the Hubble Heritage Project, which uses telescope time to release beautiful astronomy images to the public.
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ORBITAL WINS AIR FORCE LAUNCH CONTRACT
Oct 3, 2003 - Orbital Sciences announced on Thursday that they have been given an $11 million contract by the US Air Force to launch a classified satellite payload on a Minotaur rocket. Three other payloads are currently scheduled to launch on Minotaur rockets, which are rebuilt Minuteman ICBMs for the first and second stages, and then the third and fourth stages are from a Pegasus XL rocket. The launch is scheduled for 2005.
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CASSINI CONFIRMS GENERAL RELATIVITY
Oct 3, 2003 - The Cassini spacecraft has provided a group of Italian researchers with data that confirms Einstein's general theory of relativity with 50 times more accuracy than before. They measured the frequency shift of radio waves traveling to and from the spacecraft as they went by the Sun. They measured how much the Sun's gravity bent the radio signals and increased their travel times. Precise measurements are important because there might be a point at which general relativity stops predicting the interactions of gravity. Cassini is expected to reach Saturn on July 1, 2004.
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ASTRONOMERS PEER THROUGH TITAN'S CLOUDS
Oct 3, 2003 - Astronomers from Cornell university have used the Arecibo radio telescope to peer through the thick clouds on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. The radar signatures on the surface of Titan seem to indicate a liquid surface; although, the researchers say the signals could also mean smooth solid surfaces too. More answers will come next year when the Huygens probe carried by the Cassini spacecraft will drop through the clouds and send back information about the surface of Titan.
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