May 11, 2009

Jupiter's Moons Europa and Ganymede Eclipse! May 2009

Space Weather News for May 10, 2009


JUPITER MOON MOVIE: An amateur astronomer in Australia has photographed a very rare event--one of Jupiter's moons eclipsing another. Earth is now passing through the orbital plane of Jupiter's satellite system allowing such "mutual occultations" to be seen through backyard telescopes.

Check SpaceWeather.com for a movie of Europa passing directly in front of Ganymede and links to more information for observers who wish to try to record such movies themselves.

SATELLITE DEBRIS: On Feb 10, 2009, Iridium 33 crashed into Cosmos 2251 and the two satellites were shattered. Since then, US Strategic Command has catalogued nearly a thousand pieces of debris. Today's edition of SpaceWeather News presents 3D maps showing where the fragments are located on the three-month anniversary of the unprecedented collision.

One large piece of Iridium 33 wreckage is visible to the naked eye as it tumbles through the night sky flashing every 4.7 seconds. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times.
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