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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005 17:52:26 EST
Subject: Titan Time, Directions for Kids/Family Day, Giant Sunspot, Comet

Hi all,

1. Obviously there has been some confusion between Titan Time & GMT (maybe 
they're on 'Saturn Summer Time'?), as the TV coverage on BBC2 on Friday evening, 
obviously can't be 'Live', as several readers have pointed out!
   The timetable for the Huygens landing/splashdown (quoting Jacquie 
Milligan) is:
The following events take place from 09:00 GMT on Friday 14th January 2005 
but times are approximate: 09:07 - Huygens' final journey will begin when it 
enters Titan's atmosphere
09:11 - Pilot, then main, parachute deployed
09:12 - Huygens begins transmitting data back to Cassini
09:26 - Main parachute separates and the stabiliser parachute deployed
09:42 - Surface proximity sensor activated to guide it safely to surface
10:50 - Each of the probe's instruments will have become operational
11:23 - Huygens' lamp turns on allowing the camera instrument to photograph 
Titan's surface
11:27 - Touchdown on the unknown surface of Titan that could be solid or 
13:37 - Huygens landing site will drop below the horizon leaving Cassini 
unable to collect any further data
14:07 - The first data collected from Huygens should arrive on Earth
16:15 - ESA Press Conference to announce data has been successfully received  

19:00 - The first images from Huygens are expected some time after this.

"Mission to Titan", Friday 14th, BBC2, 23.30 - 24.30: Coverage (we hope) of 
the landing/splashdown of the Huyghens probe on Titan. 

Try clicking on saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm to see the 
countdown to our first landing on the surface of a world in the outer solar system.  
If all goes well, it will collect data during its descent and send back 
pictures of the surface. 

Titan is bigger than Mercury and Pluto. In fact, it's the 10th largest object 
in our solar system (after the Sun, the other 7 planets, and Jupiter's moon 
   Titan is the only moon in the solar system with a substantial atmosphere, 
which shares two interesting characteristics with Earth's atmosphere: A 
similar atmospheric pressure (Titan's is only about 50% more than Earth's) and a 
composition of mostly nitrogen (Earth's atmosphere is 77% nitrogen and Titan's is 
90% nitrogen).  But the rest of Earth's atmosphere is mostly oxygen, while 
the rest of Titan's atmosphere is argon, methane, ethane, and other hydrogen 
    Titan is extremely cold, with a surface temperature only about 40 degrees 
above absolute zero. While this is far too low for liquid water, there's a 
chance that Titan may have lakes or oceans of liquid methane and ethane, and 
perhaps even methane/ethane rain or snow.

2. Directions to IAA Kids/Family Astro-Day, St Patrick's High School, 
Ballinderry Road, Lisburn:

From Lisburn take the Longstone Road (main A3 Road) towards Moira. About 1/2 
mile from centre of Lisburn you come to a V-Junction with a church in the 'V'. 
Fork right here: this is the B104 Ballinderry Road. St Patrick's High School 
is a few hundred yards along on the left.
   If you are coming from the M1, take the Sprucefield Turn-off (Junction 7) 
towards Lisburn. Go past the Lagan Valley Hospitalto a major junction, where 
you turn Left. Go past the Omniplex, to a roundabout, where you turn left. This 
is the A3 Lonstone Road to Moira. Proceed for about 1/3 mile & you come to 
the V-Junction for Ballinderry Road as above.
   If you are bringing a telescope for advice on how to put it together 
and/or use it, remember to bring all the telescope accessories with you!
   See you there at 09.45, I hope.

3. A giant sunspot has suddenly developed on the Sun, already 5 times the 
size of the Earth. There is already some solar wind disturbance, so there's a 
chance of auroral acticvity over the next night or two.

4. Finally, don't forget to look for Comet Machholz, heading rapidly North 
from near the Pleiades towards Perseus. It's still around 4th magnitude, easily 
visible to the unaided eye from a dark site. The Moon is now brightening each 
evening, so catch the comet now: this is probably as good as it will get.

Clear Skies, including those on Titan!

Terry Moseley


Last Revised: 2005 January 14th
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