AstroTalk Episode September 21, 2017

Muana Kea Telescopes, Hurricane Maria, and the end of the Cassini Mission

2:59pm - 3:25pm

I ventured to Hawaii, and then Mount Muana Kea, to visit the various telescopes on the mountain.
Gemini 8.1 meter diameter, Optical/Infrared Telescope, operated by a consortium of 7 countries, of which Canada is one. Canada, France, Hawaii Telescope, 3.6 meter Optical Telescope, the UK 3.8 m Infrared Telescope, University of Hawaii 0.6 m educational reflector Telescope, James Clerk Maxwell 15 m Telescope for submillimeter astronomy, operated the UK and Canada, the Submillieter Array, an array of 8, 6 m, submillimeter antennas, Subaru 8.3 m Telescope operated by Japan, W.M. Keck Observatory, housed in 2 buildings, with 2, 10 m Telescopes, in which Canada is involved, and the NASA INFRARED Telescope, operated for NASA by the University of Hawaii. I saw the Milky Way in Hawaii after the sun went down. NICE. In other news, let's talk about MARIA, the storm that his hitting Puerto Rico. NASA is using satellites and GPS systems. Among these are the Hubble Telescope, and GEOS- 16. NASA is getting data on the amount of rain, where it is hitting, where it is heavier, and it is also providing information about the eye of the storm. In our third story, the Cassini Spacecraft ended its historic 13 year mission on Saturn, by crashlanding into the ringed planet, on Friday, September 15, 2017. This was done because the fuel supply was used up, and NASA wanted to ensure that Cassini would not crash on any of the moons which harbour subsurface oceans, particularly Enceladus, and also Titan. the telemetry recieved from Cassini during its final plunge showed that the spacecraft entered Saturn's atmosphere, using its thrusters to maintain stablility. Loss of contact with the spacecraft occurred on t 7:55 a.m. EDT (4:55 a.m. PDT), with the signal received by NASA's Deep Space Network antenna complex in Canberra, Australia. NASA was monitored the data as Cassini made its plunge. The spacecraft started its drama, by diving between Saturn and its rings. This is expected to give valuable information about Saturn's atmosphere. With the all of the enormous amount of data received from Cassini during its 13 year mission to Saturn, and also during its 4 year flight to reach the ringed planet, the textbooks will definitely be re-written for Saturn, and its rings, and its moons. Hopefully I can talk to Trina Ray, a mission scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to ask here about all of the interesting things about Saturn. I had Trina Ray on a year or two ago. Thank you Cassini, NASA, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.