Latest Occultation Stories

2006-01-05 10:25:00

Stellar occultation allows VLT to determine Charon's size and to put upper limit on its atmosphere ESO -- Observing a very rare occultation of a star by Pluto's satellite Charon from three different sites, including Paranal, home of the VLT, astronomers were able to determine with great accuracy the radius and density of the satellite to the farthest planet. The density, 1.71 that of water, is indicative of an icy body with about slightly more than half of rocks. The observations also put...

2005-11-10 17:50:00

By watching a distant star as it passed behind Saturn's outer rings, Cornell University astronomers on NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn have found the most direct evidence to date of patterns, called gravitational wakes, within the planet's outer rings. The patterns, thin, parallel striations like spokes on a pinwheel, have been theorized since the 1970s, but their small scale (just 100 meters -- 328 feet -- wide) makes them impossible to see even with the spacecraft's...

2005-05-23 15:05:00

JPL -- The Cassini spacecraft has obtained the most detailed look ever at Saturn's rings, including the B ring, which has eluded previous robotic explorers. Its structure seems remarkably different from its two neighbors, rings A and C. The origin of Saturn's rings is a mystery. The rings are an enormous, complex structure. From edge-to-edge, the ring system would not even fit in the distance between Earth and the Moon. The seven main rings are labeled in the order they were discovered. From...

2005-05-05 07:40:00

JPL -- The Cassini spacecraft is about to embark on a new mission phase that will give it a ringside seat at Saturn -- literally. After concentrating on flybys of the stately planet's moons since arriving last year, Cassini will begin five months of extensive study of Saturn's magnificent rings. Knowing how the rings form and how long they have been there is a central question for the Cassini mission. Cassini will view the rings on their lit and unlit faces, both toward the Sun and away from...

2004-11-25 03:00:11

It may seem strange now, but in June, the sun didn't set until 8:45 p.m. It's six months later, and the sun sinks below the horizon shortly after 5 p.m. Our number of daylight hours clearly has shrunk. On the first day of summer, it reached its annual maximum for Roanoke at 14 hours 44 minutes. In just three weeks from now on Dec. 21, it will have dropped to only 9 hours 35 minutes, our annual minimum. The noonday sun is much lower in the sky than it was several months ago and casts long...

Word of the Day
  • A stinking tobacco.
  • Offal; waste animal product; organic matter unfit for consumption.
This word comes from the Spanish 'mondongo,' tripe, entrails.