2011 The Year of the Solar System   26 comments


(January 2011 to August 2012)


NASA has designated New Year 2011 the YEAR OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. Spanning a Martian year of 23 months The Year of the Solar System honours the unparalleled discoveries made during NASA’s missions to explore both our neighbouring planets and also the outer edges of the Solar System. Throughout 2011 and into 2012 there will be new missions in the pipeline for the continued exploration of Jupiter, Earth’s satellite – the Moon, and Mars. Other exploratory missions will include ones to the asteroids and comets, the Sun, Mercury, Saturn and our home world Earth.


Comet Templ 1 NExT_spacecraft Messenger_Mercury

JULY 2011 DAWN SPACECRAFT will enter orbit round giant ASTEROID VESTA. The space probe has will spend one full year hopefully impressing researchers with ground breaking new information from this alien world.

 Dawn_spacecraft_Vesta clip_image011 

AUGUST 11TH JUNO SPACECRAFT TO JUPITER will be launched. And the roving SCIENCE LAB’ CURIOSITY will be launched to MARS IN NOVEMBER 2011.

Juno_Jupiter ScienceLab_Curiosity Mars

2012 Mars Rover OPPORTUNITY will head out into the heart of city sized impact crater ENDEAVOUR having travelled almost 2 miles from Opportunity’s original landing site.

 MarsRover_Opportunity Opportunity_Landing Heading out for Endeavour Crater


The DAWN SPACECRAFT will fire up its ion engines and prepare to leave ASTEROID VESTA and for the first time in space history a spacecraft orbiting an alien world will break orbit and head out for another.

Spacecraft on its way to the Asteroids


MarsCuriosityThe YEAR OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM ends in August 2012 when the roving nuclear-powered SCIENCE LAB CURIOSITY lands on MARS. CURIOSITY with its advanced sensors and unmatched mobility is expected to open a whole new chapter in the exploration of the Red Planet. 





News Flash!!…New Moon Rising!

(Start Howling!!!)


New_Moon_WolfWolfMoon (2)WolfMoonRising_Quadrantids

Start Howling! New Moon rising (4 Jan) marks the first phase of the 2011 JANUARY FULL WOLF MOON (19 Jan)

Early morning January 4th will see the New Moon passing in front of a portion of the Sun creating a PARTIAL ECLIPSE, one of four throughout the year but the only one visible from Europe, Africa and E Asia, and from London at 07:47.

Also the darkness of the New Moon makes this an ideal time to view the QUADRANTID METEOR SHOWER on 3/4th January which with up to 90 meteors/hour will be the best and brightest shower of the New Year. So don’t forget to go check it out!

Posted January 2, 2011 by europasicewolf in Astronomy

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26 responses to “2011 The Year of the Solar System

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  1. Aha! They are coming to get you!

    • They will have to catch me first!! “Juno” doesn’t launch for Jupiter till August so I’ve got plenty of time to prepare my defenses…lol…no plans to come quietly! Alpha wolfies don’t get extracted from their homeworlds without a fight!!…but if any of the various missions planned for 2011 have cheesecake on offer…lol…I might be tempted 😉 After all…it is a she-wolf’s prerogative to change her mind!!!

  2. Wolfie, the only chance I have of seeing it is on Europa, it is cloudy and raining here as usual.

    • Yes Rosemary….but you weren’t on Europa were you?! You should have been in Scotland by all accounts but sadly you weren’t there either were you? lol…and that was the last one we had any chance of seeing from the sunny UK this year…back to Europa then! Should be able to see everything from there 😉 Or do you fancy a New Year’s break on Io…we could spend an exciting holiday viewing the volcanoes and dodging the lava flows 🙂

  3. I really like this posting Icywolfy, it has everything the reader wants, excellently added info and with finely chosen pictures adding that wow factor…

    Yes I really do like this one, hey I hope you are getting the cleaning sorted inside My Gothic Realm, those temporary Ghouls that have been in over the holidays have done absolutely naff all… lol time for your dusting and polishing next I think? lol Right I won’t keep you wittering as it doesn’t take much for you to skive on the polishing duties… lol

    Have a lovely Wednesday Icywolfy and please try to be a good Wolf girl in 2011 I know that will be almost impossible but TRY anyway okay? lol

    Androgoth XXx

    • How good to see you out and about at last 🙂 Saves me a trip to the Gothic Realm to see if you’re ok…I had a word in Wolfy’s furry ear suggesting he hot-paw it over to yours to chase you up and put in an order for a New Year Gothic blog! So don’t think you’ll be getting away with not posting anything just because you too busy being very wicked to bother…lol 😉 Yes…there’s about as much chance of me being good in the Icy Realm as there is of you being good in the Gothic Realm!!

      And yes…I am wittering like a deranged Icewolf in order to scive from my polishing duties…that resolution…the one to scrub and polish the Gothic Realm daily was broken the same day it was made…lol…as soon as I heard about the temporary ghouls in fact…Jenagoth told me to say that!!! 😉 Ok…Icewolfie is very pleased you have derived some sense of distraction in the appearance of this blog…lol…it will keep your mind off my non-cleaning of the Gothic Realm 🙂
      Now just relax with a glass of the Red!… Icewolfie of the Icy Realm 🙂

  4. I looked and looked and LOOKED, but I couldn’t see the eclipse through the clouds. sigh, I’ll have to wait another few years now, won’t I?
    BTW I expect you’ve been watching the Stargazing live progs for the past three nights, sooooo interesting, Pro Cox knows his stuff, and what a lovely chap he appears to be, he’s not your boy friend by any chance?

    • Me too and I didn’t see a bean!! Just how many years before the next one with a CLEAR sky I wonder with my little brain cell?!! Wish I had been watching Stargazing live prog’s but got no TV access 😉 re Pro Cox…could do with a good man lol! Not having much joy with the Prison Officer currently residing in our house!!! Sigh…pass the Baileys Arlene! 🙂

  5. Well. seeing a bean would have at least ‘been’ something lol, Can’t you see any tv on your computer? you missed a damn good series. Prison Officer? are you telling me your in the clink at her majesty’s pleasure?

    • No Arlene…lol…I’m not in the clink! 😉 Yes I can watch TV on my laptop but it requires a strong signal for the connection which is somewhat optimistic…lol…and it would eat all the bandwidth meaning I’d end up with a huge bill at the end of the month! And I might not be able to pay it…then I might be detained in the clink at her majesty’s pleasure! 😉

  6. I’m now going to open my Christmas Bailey’s , cheers!

  7. I have left the door open Wolfie,makesure you wipe your feet er…paws before you enter. BTW you could finish your posts with ‘ Any donation however small would be gratefully received’ to keep you out of the clink . I’m cyber sending a fiver. catch. bugg*r you missed it.

    • Trouble with that idea Arlene is that I’m not sure I actually want to stay OUT of the clink if I can have this guy as my personal Prison Officer!!! Anyway off to your latest blog now…seems like as appropriate place as any right now from what I saw earlier!!!! lol 😉

      I have the scrubbing brush for my paws so when I arrive at your back door later they will be spotless…perhaps we could discuss the best way to get that cyber fiver back?!! 🙂

    • Hmmph! I was rather hoping I would be lucky! I need that fiver ~ I’ve just found out how much it would cost me to go to Crufts in March!! 50 odd quidsicles for train fare alone not to mention the entry charge….the Best in Show ticket charge…the Obedience Show charges…and I don’t even get to go on the Working and Pastrol dogs day since it’s a work day…Toy and Utility dogs aren’t altogether my favourite group!

      Go get your own Prison Officer!! lol! 😉

      • Found it, had to let Ruby out for a comfort trip.LOL
        I’m not going to Crufts this year, the first for many years, my son in law can’t make it and I don’t relish the trip on my own400 mile round trip on my own, getting too much, apart from the fact it’s getting rather expensive as you mention. I only watch the Obedience, and I really rate this years judge, Dave Howells, he is a good honest guy. oh well never mind, maybe I’ll commit a felony and get my very own Prison Officer, and make you jealous.

  8. Yeah…why does Crufts have be held all the way up in Birmingham anyway!! It used to be here in sunny London…far more sensible 🙂 I might have considered it despite the cost if I had booked my week’s leave that week instead of the following week :0 and therefore would have been able to go to the working dog day on Friday…but as it stands…don’t think so!

    Had also considered consoling myself with a new astronomical telescope…then I found out it weighs 18kg (38 lbs aprox)!!! don’t fancy carrying that home!!!

    If I don’t get my existing Prison Officer in hand-cuffs soon…lol…I will be committing a felony of my own so I get a new one!!! 😉 Then who’ll be jealous?!!

    • London was OK I used to go when it was at the Olympia, then when it moved to Earls Court, lovely memories, but the parking sheeesh a nightmare.
      I would have been going on the Ob Bitch day think that’s Friday, as my friend Madge has qualified.
      That sounds like some telescope, I’d love to have a look through that one, but it is a bit heavy to lug around.
      No don’t go committing any bad things, no man is worth it. besides if you go in clink, you might not get a computer, then where would you be?

      • Arlene…you’re not exactly discouraging me from throwing common sense to the wind and buying that highly desirable telescope you know!! Get it now…worry about the consequences of purchasing something of that weight and bulk later lol…18kg…worryingly that’s not deterring me anywhere near as much as common sense says it should be!

        Ah yes…Earls Court…couldn’t remember the venue last night but that’s the one I last went too…but my college paid for that 🙂 If you got a train the journey wouldn’t be so bad…no driving…all those lovely working/pastrol dogs to take piccies of…better be quick tho! The seats for obedience are going fast so chop chop!! 🙂

  9. Well Wolfie, if you really want that telescope and you iwll get a lot of pleasure from it, GET IT, life’s too short to deprive yourself , then look back and say, If only I’d done this or that.
    No I’m giving Crufts a miss, getting the tickets is no problem as we get the opportunity when they’re first issued, as usually Obed peeps just sit all day by the ring. I could go and stay with friends, but I’ll pass, mind you I’ll probably say after. If only ……LOL

    • Spoken like a true friend Arlene! You’re quite right of course and after much thought and another trip to the shop…lol…I have decided an upgraded telescope is a MUST in my life…or there will be an “If only” moment before I know it! It’s one that’s linked in with that TV programme you mentioned and has a great write up 🙂

      I too have decided against Crufts this year…the telescope will be my consolation prize! It would cost nearly as much to go to Crufts as to purchase that and hopefully it will prevent an “If only” moment re Crufts!

  10. Good for you and I’m sure you won’t regret it, it will give you a lot of ongoing pleasure, with no regrets. Crufts will only last for one day for goodness sake., you’ll be up among the stars for months even years. good on you. Happy stargazing, and give that lovely Prof Cox a hug from me.

  11. You’re so right! I will be up amongst the stars for months and years! Thanks for your encouragement and positive thinking on this 🙂 It’s great to have a friend take an interest and offer a supportive and honest opinion…and of course I will give that lovely Prof Cox a hug from you! A really, really big one!! Starry hugs for you too 🙂

  12. Its new moon coming soon in few hours
    so prepare to start howling 🙂

    Great post, I’m so interested in the projects to come..and up to now I keep my eyes on LightSail project as it will be ready for launch around the second quarter of this year.

    Clear Skies

    • Second quarter stands to be an exciting time then 🙂 Look out for an over-enthusisastic Icewolf hanging onto a handy piece of Lightsail … I like to experience these occasions first-hand!

      The New Moon howl is going very well 😉 New Moon also allowed for a fantastic viewing of Venus in the early (very! lol) morning sky. It was dazzling with no lunar distractions 🙂 The Venus Howl was something else!!

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