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Cassini dives through the gap between Saturn and its inner ring

Update 27.4.: Cassini has survived the dive and contact has been established already with the spacecraft for downloading data! Tomorrow, April 26, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. UTC the spacecraft Cassini will for the first time try a dive through the 2,400 km wide gap between Saturn's atmosphere and innermost ring. Good luck, Cassini! The first data and images from this dive are expected at 12:10 a.m. on Apr 27. These images should be Cassini's closest views of Saturn thus far, with a resolution up to 10 times higher than before!
I have used the PC desktop app NASA Eyes on the Solar System with it's Cassini's Tour module to visualize this daring, risky encounter. 
Overview: Cassini on Apr 26 on it's orbit #271 coming from the "north" (above ecliptic)     All graphics: Credits NASA/JPL-Caltech
The following 4 screenshots from NASA's Eyes show in chronological order Cassini on its way down through the gap.
 April 26, 09:00 a.m. Cassini flies down close over Saturn's n…

Cassini's Grand Finale at Saturn

Ambitious -close to Saturn- planned orbits (blue) in the Cassini Grand Finale Credit NASA/JPL NASA's Cassini spacecraft will today have a final close flyby of Saturn's moon Titan. During the encounter, Cassini's RADAR instrument will capture close-up observations of Titan's methane lakes and seas, including transient mysterious features ("magic islands"). But the main purpose of this weekend's Titan flyby is to alter the flight path of Cassini, setting the stage for Cassini's Grand Finale on Sept. 15,  when the spacecraft will intentionally dive into Saturn's atmosphere and end it's 13-year-long mission.
Final Orbits and Titan: Cassini Grand Finale (Artist's Concept)Credit: NASA/JPL
The Cassini spacecraft has been studying for 10 years the Saturn system with its rings and moons from "safer" Ring-Grazing Orbits outside of Saturn's rings. With the close flyby at Titan today the orbit is shrinked slightly to ambitious (unsafer) "…

Wintereinbruch im April 2017

Tulpen im Schnee 20.4.2017 Nach einem warmen März war die Vegetation heuer Mitte April in Ternitz, Niederösterreich, schon weit fortgeschritten. Im Garten blühten überall die Tulpen, Steingartenstauden, noch die Forsythien und schon der Flieder. Unser Marillenbaum hatte schon kleine Früchte, der Birn- und Apfelbaum blühte noch. Der Wintereinbruch am 19.4.2017 unterbrach diese Gartenidylle abrupt. Die heurige Marillenernte ist sehr gefährdet, in der Nacht zum 21.4. soll es noch stärkeren Frost geben! 
Siehe das FotoalbumWintereinbruch 19.4.2017(20 Fotos)  sowie die folgenden Fotos:  Oben 19.4. Das Gras ist schon angezuckert Unten 20.4. ca. 20 cm Neuschnee am Morgen Klicke in die Bilder zum Vergrößern!  Oben und unten Vergleiche die Bilder vom 19. und 20.4  Oben und unten Vergleiche die Bilder vom 19. und 20.4

Spring walk in Ternitz, Lower Austria

A beautiful sunday afternoon walk in the rural surrounding of Ternitz. Mild temperatures, sun, fresh green and blossoming trees!
See my Google+ Photo Album (10 photos)

Amateur snapshot of weak comet 41P/Tuttle

After an unsuccessful attempt to photograph the comet 41P/Tuttle–Giacobini–Kresák from my light-polluted home town Ternitz I chose last night a dark place on the Hohe Wand in Lower Austria to catch the comet. As you can see on the photo below the comet is quite weak (click into the image to enlarge!).The comet was not visible with the unaided eye and even not with help of my Zeiss 10x25B opera glass.
For professional photos (taken with telescopes, multiple shot, computer stacked) see e.g. Comet Gallery  or at flickr or look at Google+
 Comet 41P 2017-04-02 02:57 UT, Kleine Kanzel Hohe Wand, Lower Austria Olympus E-M5 Mark II single shot  30 sec f:80 mm/F2.8 ISO 5000. 
Compare my photo above with the skymap taken with the PC-Windows program Stellarium!
The small comet  (1.4 km diameter)  was discovered 1858 by the three persons now contained in the name of the comet. the comet is recurrent with a period of 5.4 years and comes closest to the sun (perihelion) on the 12th of A…

Smartphone-Kameras werden immer besser!

Als langjähriger Hobbyfotograf fotografierte ich bis 1998 auf Film, seither digital. Ich besaß 12 Digitalkameras, von meiner ersten Olympus C900Z Kompaktkamera mit 1,2 Mio Pixel 1998 bis zur Olympus OMD E M5 Mark II mit 24 Mio Pixels in 2016.
Für Familienaufnahmen und Fotos auf Wanderungen und Reisen verwendete ich immer eine Digitalkamera. Meist eine Kompaktkamera, bei höheren Ansprüchen eine DSLR- bzw. Systemkamera. Die in meine diversen Smartphones eingebauten "schmalbrüstigen" Kameras benützte ich nur, wenn ich keine "echte" Kamera mit hatte (vergessen hatte).
Seit einiger Zeit besitze ich nun ein Samsung Galaxy S6 Smartphone und ertappe mich selbst dabei, immer öfter die darin eingebaute 16 MegaPixel Hauptkamera zu verwenden (und meine digitale Kompaktkamera zuhause zu lassen). Die Kamera macht sehr gute Fotos  und besitzt brauchbare Funktionen (Auto-Modus aber auch professionellen Modus, HDR Aufnahmen, Geo Tagging, Panoramafunktion, Zeitlupe, Zeitraffer, ..). E…

We are not alone in the universe

Ernutet crater on Ceres seen from the Dawn spacecraft. The red areas are associated with evidence of organic material. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Today's JPL News article Dawn Discovers Evidence for Organic Material on Ceres inspired me to write down my strong opinion that there exists extraterrestrial life in our universe. Much progress has been made in the last years, exploring the comets, planets and moons of our solar system for life-friendly conditions. E.g. Water has been found on 23 places in our solar system.

A dramatic plume sprays water ice and vapor from the south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Many programs concentrate on the search for Exoplanets, especially in habitable zones around nearby stars.
image from  Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0 Mankind has been thinking most of the time its role is unrivaled in the center of our universe. Religion told us we are unique, our life governed by God, the emperor of H…