Phoenix and HiRISE Are Friends

Stargazing has been difficult for a while, mainly due to the weather. There were a number of clear nights in winter when I could see all kinds of cool crap with the telescope, but as the air has gotten warmer the night skies have lost their clarity, and I'm starting to realize how difficult it is to be a backyard astronomer in a large metropolitan area with lots of ambient moisture.

Fortunately, there are other telescopes out there without such difficulties. Consider, for example, HiRISE, the big fancy telescope that takes really cool pictures of Mars. The astroblogger community is currently going positively ape over this image:


(Click for big.) What you're seeing there is an image that HiRISE took of the Phoenix probe landing near a ten-kilometer crater on Mars (according to the HiRISE site, the probe isn't actually landing in the crater, but about twenty kilometers in front of it).

An representative example of blogger gushing can be found on Bad Astronomy (using my absolute least favorite formular for a blog post title):

Think on this, and think on it carefully: you are seeing a manmade object falling gracefully and with intent to the surface of an alien world, as seen by another manmade object already circling that world, both of them acting robotically, and both of them hundreds of million of kilometers away.

Maybe I was born too far into the Space Age to get this worked up over the fact that the extremely expensive robots we send into space are able to take pictures of each other, but hey, whatever catches your virus.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by hb published on May 28, 2008 9:25 AM.

Space-Navigating the Spring Sky was the previous entry in this blog.

Still Shining is the next entry in this blog.

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