AD ASTRA...  page 5

(last update 23. Dec 2000: Mars colonization)
 

Mercury transit observations at last unreachable (should return)?

This is a chance, to watch an event, which occurs roughly twice in a decade. If you have missed the last one, here you may follow the tiny innermost planet apparently moving over the suns photosphere, which boils visibly in the elapsing time. The diameter ratio is nearly the real one, because Mercury is not much nearer than the sun to Earth during such an inner conjunction. There are several clips available, watch out for the sizes... Besides, the tilt of the orbits of Mercury and Earth against each other is responsible, that in most cases Mercury passes our sun "above or below" suns disk, seen from our planet. Also further links to other sites are provided.

One final remark: in 2004 a much more seldom event will take place, a transit of our neighbor planet Venus. In the 20th century absolutely NO such transit happened, and since the 19th century this and the 2012 event are the first we can witness! Compared with this, even total solar eclipses are frequent occasions! And a Venus transit is much more spectacular than a Mercury transit, due to Venus' larger size, lower distance from Earth and the presence of a considerable atmosphere.


 

Venus surface observed by Magellan orbiter

The only means to penetrate the optically never transparent atmosphere of our planetary neighbor is Radar. And the Magellan orbiter did just that: at this site you can work through the "pictures" (more precisely: computer generated maps from the Radar data) of Venus' surface; there is really much to observe, because the terrain is larger than the Earths continents (Venus features no oceans, which cover the larger part of Earth). These data will remain the global reference framework probably for a long time. If you are unsure, how to use the interface, simply read the help page(s).

 

Mars atlas online
 
In this case the pictures are usual ones, and this is a place, to watch the more or less known diverse parts of the Martian surface. You may zoom in and out and of course choose from overview maps, where you want to get a closer look. The Viking orbiter data were already detailed; the Mars Global Surveyor will peak even much more deep inside these details.

 

Mars Colony Site
 
This one can be of practical interest only for people, which are still children at now, and only in the most optimistic case --- but because planning takes a rather long time for such big and complex projects, it has to be done also long before. This site describes in many details this ambitious project.

 

Further Astronomy Movies
 
A small number of other animations, mostly not too big in size even for not very well equipped and/or patient users. Some are "only" the outcome of massive number crunching on fast computers, but should give nonetheless an adequate impression from the real phenomena.

 

Space Weather: what the sun emits as coronal radiation...
 
Here you can check out, if there are polar lights to expect due to increased solar activity (especially from now (2000) to the next few years (around up to 2003)) or eventually havoc could be threat, because intense CMEs (coronal mass ejections) can endanger electromagnetic devices, especially for communication, and also any people in the Earths orbit (Shuttle, ISS, Mir).

 

Private Observations
 
This private homepage of Michael König offers his own observations. May this encourage some of you to perform own half-professional astronomical observations!

German flagDiese private Homepage von Michael König bietet seine eigenen Beobachtungen an. Vielleicht ermutigt dies den Ein oder Anderen, selbst halb-professionelle astronomische Beobachtungen durch zu führen!


 

German flagSpace Odyssee logo SPACE Odyssee Homepage
 
Diese Seite in Deutsch präsentiert viele Bilder, insbesondere vom Hubble Space Teleskop sowie Raumsondenergebnisse. Zunächst muss man sich für eine Version mit oder ohne Frame entscheiden; die Frame-Version erfordert obendrein das Einschalten von JavaScript in einem dessen mächtigen Browser!

 

German flag Raumfahrt - Projekte
 
Auf dieser Frame-Seite gibt es umfangreiche Informationen zu den aktuellen und den älteren Raumfahrtprojekten. Sie ist recht aktuell und hatte zuletzt vom sonst so erfolgreichen JPL nichts Gutes zu berichten...

 

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comments, suggestions, corrections etc. to:  stefan.urbat@apastron.lb.shuttle.de

(URL:  http://www.lb.shuttle.de/apastron/astro5.htm)