A surprising impact on Jupiter is big news this past week.   The eyes of the entire space world have been riveted on the discovery of amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley of Canberra, Australia.   Now Hubble is in on the act and has provided the clearest picture yet.

You don't want carbon dioxide (CO2) build up in your space suit. Even those who argue to love huge CO2 emissions into our atmosphere should learn from the AP news: Two astronauts cut short their spacewalk and hurried back to the safety of the international space station (ISS) on Wednesday after a suit problem resulted in rising carbon dioxide levels for one of the men.

First, here is an image of a spacewalk. Two astronauts, Robert L. Curbeam (USA) and Christer Fuglesang (Sweden), work to attach a new truss segment to the ISS and begin to upgrade the power grid. This occurred on December 12, 2006.

Clusters, the largest structures in the Universe, are comprised of many galaxies, like the Milky Way. One mystery about clusters is why the gas in the centers of some are rapidly cooling and condensing but not forming into stars. Until recently, no model existed that successfully explained how this was possible.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's moonwalk, Google Earth now lets you explore the moon (as well as Mars).  Here is the annotated Sea of Tranquility:
Ice Volcano

Ice Volcano

Jul 22 2009 | 0 comment(s)

Check out this amazing picture of an ice volcano eruption on Saturn's moon Enceladus from the Cassini probe (description here).

Is Enceladus the "lost" planet from the Ice Pirates?  Did Cassini figure out the only route to approach it that would not get the probe lost in time?
Scientists in Hangzhou joined residents and tourists across China and India in observing the longest total solar eclipse in a century - and probably the most-viewed one ever.  The moon's shadow traced a path across the world's two most populous countries for five minutes and 36 seconds, a treat for scientists and spectators alike. 

"We saw it! The clouds kept getting thinner, and we even had a pretty good-sized hole in the clouds for the five minutes of totality," reported Expedition Leader Jay Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams and chair of the International Astronomical Union's Working Group on Solar Eclipses, at an observatory near Hangzhou, China as part of the Williams College Eclipse Expedition. 
Apollomania is sweeping the nation! 

Well, not quite mania, perhaps just Apollostalgia.  That's defined as showing an interest in the Apollo program history, while lacking the will to actually recommit to exploring space. 

As we look at the 40th anniversary of humankind's first setting foot on a celestial body other than the Earth, I will state clearly that Apollo 12 was the peak of the Apollo program.

Now, it's true Apollo 11 is when humans first set foot on the moon.  It's Apollo 11's anniversary, it's getting the lion's share of the attention right now. 

But I maintain Apollo 12, launched a scant 4 months later, was the most important moon landing in all of history.  Let's review:
Yesterday I wrote how Anthony Wesley, who hails from Canberra, Australia, grabbed this shot of a new dark spot near the south pole of Jupiter.

It's left to bigger minds (and bigger telescopes) than mine to sort out what caused it but while the blogosphere has been buzzing, JPL has been observing.
My personal favorite Apollo 11 memorial*: Buzz Aldrin's iconic boot print done in Lego's by Mikael via The Brick Brothers.
by Mikael

40 years ago,  July 20, 1969,  Apollo 11 Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the moon, making the U.S. last to start but first to finish in the 'space race' with the Soviet Union.   Armstrong's now famous words, "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," inspired a generation of scientists.

The new R&D enterprise it fostered, built to support America's geopolitical ambitions and based largely on federally-funded contracts and specifications rather than the private funding that had been the primary source of basic research before World War II, has had a remarkable effect on science and how advancements are made.