Archive for December 2018

New Year 2019 Flyby – Ultima Thule!   19 comments

New Horizons – Ultima Thule Flyby! Making history in New Year 2019!

Ultima Thule Credit- John Hopkins APL

New Horizons (NASA’s spacecraft) historic $700 million mission to Pluto launched in January 2006 and arriving on July 14, 2015. It was the first ever flyby of a probe past Pluto and it did so from approximately 7,800 miles (12,550 km) away.

Pluto from Charon_thetimes3

 

 

 

The Ultima Thule flyby is a continuation of this mission and will take New Horizons into new territory far beyond Pluto at the solar system’s edge, to an area of icy worlds in space, further out than the orbit of Neptune, (1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometres on) in a region known as the Kuiper Belt.

On New Year’s Day at 12:33 a.m. EST (0533 GMT) hopefully, New Horizons will flyby Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) at under 2,200 miles (3,500 km) away. At this point it will be 4 billion miles+ (6.4 billion km+) away from Earth.

New Horizons_Desert Fantasy_New Horizonns7A

Ultima Thule is, in point of fact, an enigmatic solar system body that scientists know almost nothing about. It is about 23-mile-wide (37 km) and currently it may or may not be just a single body. Alternatively, it is possible that it is made up of two objects that are in fact in orbit around one another.

NASA has given us the opportunity to send a message to Ultima Thule. Six choices were offered and Icewolf has chosen “Go New Horizons, Go NASA!” And we even get a certificate! Cosmic way to start the New Year 2019!!

EIW New Horiz Cert

“Travelling at light speed, the signals carrying these messages will reach the spacecraft about six hours after being beamed from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (in Laurel, Maryland, which manages the New Horizons mission for NASA), largest dish antenna, on the very same day that New Horizons flies by Ultima Thule! How cool is that?” – New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Happy New Year 2019!!

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Phaethon – The Mythology   5 comments

(Image Credit: CoolCLIPS_vc051539)

Phaethon in Greek mythology was the son of Helios, the sun god, and a woman/nymph who was known among different sources as Clymene, Prote, or Rhode.

Friends of Phaethon challenged him to prove he was not illegitimate and that his father really was Helios the sun god. His mother assured him this was true and suggested he also gain confirmation from his father Helios. Phaethon decided to request from his father proof of his affiliation with the sun. Helios was happy to consent to give his son anything he wanted, but when Phaethon demanded that he should be allowed to have a whole day to drive his father’s sun chariot Helios strongly advised him not to, pointing out that even Zeus did not have the strength to handle the steeds. However, a promise was a promise and despite his misgivings Helios

CoolCLIPS_vc051539

allowed him to take charge of the chariot. As he predicted Phaethon lost control of the horses. Initially the horses climbed too high causing the Earth to freeze over. The out of control steeds then careered so close to the Earth that the chariot burned and charred the Earth. Seeing the imminent disaster and in a bid to prevent that occurrence Zeus elected to bring the chariot down with a bolt of thunder. The unfortunate consequence for Phaethon being that he plummeted down to earth and was killed at the mouth of the river Eridanus, which was later recognized as the Po.

Phaethon’s close friend or even lover, Cycnus (king of Liguria) deeply grieved his demise and so the gods transformed him into a swan. Phaethon also had seven sisters, who were known as the Heliades. They too grieved deeply for him and kept watch in the place that their brother Phaethon careered to Earth and died. This wake continued until the time when the gods transformed the sisters into Poplar trees. Their tears of grief the gods transformed into amber.

The name “Phaethon” – Greek for “Shining/Radiant One”, was given also to:

  • Phaethon (Son of Eos)
  • One of the horses of Eos (the Dawn)
  • The Sun

 

 

 

 

  • The constellation Auriga
  • The planet Jupiter (Some versions refer to the planet Saturn rather than Jupiter)
  • Used as a descriptive word to describe the sun and the moon

 

Today it is the name given to rare blue asteroid “3200 Phaethon” which orbits very close to the sun and is named after the Phaethon of Greek mythology.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaethon

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Phaethon-Greek-mythology