NASA image: Saturn's upper cloud layers

(Phys.org) —What the viewer might perceive to be Saturn's surface is really just the tops of its uppermost cloud layers. Everything we see is the result of fluid dynamics. Astronomers study Saturn's cloud dynamics in part ...

Solar Dynamics Observatory sees lunar transit

On Jan 30, 2014, beginning at 8:31 a.m EST, the moon moved between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and the sun, giving the observatory a view of a partial solar eclipse from space. Such a lunar transit happens ...

The experts behind Gaia's arrival at nothingness

With a final, modest, thruster burn yesterday afternoon, ESA's billion-star surveyor finalised its entry into orbit around 'L2', a virtual point far out in space. But how do you orbit nothing? And who can show you how to ...

ESA's Cluster satellites in closest-ever 'dance in space'

(Phys.org) —Since 2000, the four identical satellites of the Cluster quartet have been probing Earth's magnetosphere in three dimensions. This week, two of them made their closest-ever approach, just 4 km, enabling valuable ...

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter sees GRAIL's explosive farewell

(Phys.org) —Many spacecraft just fade away, drifting silently through space after their mission is over, but not GRAIL. NASA's twin GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) spacecraft went out in a blaze of glory ...

Simulating the formation-flying future of space

(PhysOrg.com) -- All space missions are difficult. Docking a pair of spacecraft is tough but flying multiple satellites together in formation is the real cutting edge.

Planck satellite manoeuvre aims at L2 arrival

(PhysOrg.com) -- Beginning today, ESA's Planck satellite will carry out a critical mid-course manoeuvre that will place the satellite on its final trajectory for arrival at L2, the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, ...

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