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Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Dec 18 2006, 01:02 PM


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Thanks Ustrax and Tesheiner for the congrats. Don't talk to me about diapers. Let's just say the wall near the changing table will need re-decorating.... sad.gif

Our group Geminids total is now in and comes to a staggering 652 separate meteors. We counted out loud as a group, so none were counted twice. Here is the breakdown:

9:20-10:20 pm: 60 Geminids (3 observers)
10:20-11:20 pm: 135 Geminids (4 observers)
11:20-12:20 am: 155 Geminids (3 observers)
12:20-1:20 am: 150 Geminids (2 observers)
1:20-2:20 am: 100 Geminids (2 observers)
2:20-2:50 am: 52 Geminids (2 observers and increasing cloud)

This ties in really well with the peak that is showing up in early reports on the IMO website (http://www.imo.net/), where a peak ZHR of 110 has been recorded at 1 am. ZHR is defined as being for a single observer (you're not really supposed to combine the counts of more than one person), but the peak rate of 110 agrees quite well with our observations. The peak seems to have been a few hours early.

Sorry AndyG - have you considered a move to the east coast where we get marginally better skies?

Aberdeenastro
  Forum: Chit Chat · Post Preview: #78036 · Replies: 12 · Views: 7657

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Dec 14 2006, 11:55 AM


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Well the Leonids might not have been up to much, but the Geminids have certainly put on a show.

4 members of Aberdeen Astronomical Society (including myself) counted 350 Geminids between 9:20 pm and 12:20 am on the 13th/14th. Great show!

Aberdeenastro
  Forum: Chit Chat · Post Preview: #77777 · Replies: 12 · Views: 7657

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Dec 6 2006, 03:42 PM


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I'm a bit late catching on to this thread. My wife had a baby a month ago (number 3) and I'm afraid even UMSF has to take a back seat for a while.

We had a fantastic clear night in Aberdeenshire after 11:30 pm on the 18th Nov. I watched from about midnight to 1 am, catching a dozen or so Leonids. I also watched from 4:30 am to 5:30 am (on the 19th) to catch the predicted peak and counted 22 Leonids. This was slightly less than I expected, but not too bad. I think the true ZHR would have been about 50-60, but I haven't seen any official counts.

Let's hope for better luck with the Geminids next week.

Aberdeenastro
  Forum: Chit Chat · Post Preview: #76959 · Replies: 12 · Views: 7657

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Nov 7 2006, 03:46 PM


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So what was SS doing in Milton Keynes? huh.gif

Famous for its roundabouts and concrete cows if I recall....

Aberdeenastro
  Forum: Forum News · Post Preview: #74594 · Replies: 60 · Views: 63547

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Oct 9 2006, 09:10 AM


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Do you know I'm quite pleased about 18 days "downtime" ph34r.gif

I need that time to catch up with all the posts you guys have been making in the last 3 days while I've been away from a computer!

Aberdeenastro
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #72018 · Replies: 33 · Views: 25692

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Oct 5 2006, 09:33 AM


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One of the reasons cited for going to Cape Verde was to do some close-up work on some rocks. The latest navcams and pancams do not seem to show any accessible rock in the vicinity. I wonder if they will now head up towards the Beacon where there does appear to be outcrop and might give a better view?

Aberdeenastro
(formerly known as Castor)
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #71404 · Replies: 194 · Views: 84396

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Oct 4 2006, 02:18 PM


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Thanks Ant103 and jvandriel for those amazing panoramas. I can't stop looking at them. However, the more I look at them the more I think that the tip of Cape Verde is a treacherous place to be. The Beacon area looks much safer.

Aberdeenastro
(formerly known as Castor)
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #71270 · Replies: 194 · Views: 84396

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Oct 4 2006, 12:03 PM


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Hi folks,

As some of you may have noticed I've changed my user name from Castor to Aberdeenastro. When I first subscribed to UMSF I decided that I would prefer to maintain some level of anonymity and tried to think of an appropriate user name. I chose Castor as it's the brightest star in my zodiac constellation (Gemini) - not that I believe in astrology!

However, many people might be confused by this name and what it is supposed to represent. And here's the warning to us all: according to Answers.com one definition of the word castor is "An oily, brown, odorous substance obtained from glands in the groin of the beaver and used as a perfume fixative"!

Hence the change to Aberdeenastro. I'd much rather be associated with Aberdeen Astronomy than the substance that comes from glands in a beaver's groin!

I'd be interested to know how some of you chose your user names.

Cheers,

Aberdeenastro
  Forum: Chit Chat · Post Preview: #71241 · Replies: 23 · Views: 11483

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Oct 4 2006, 11:53 AM


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The scale of this place continues to confuse me. I thought the cliffs were much bigger than the scale you are implying, but I've done no analysis to back this up!

Aberdeenastro
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #71240 · Replies: 194 · Views: 84396

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Oct 4 2006, 09:55 AM


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Bill,

I'm assuming that the Upper Unit in that sequence is what we've been calling evaporite. I must admit I've not really been happy with the term evaporite in this setting. I've worked the Permian of the UK Southern North Sea, where similar formations exist. The term interdune/playa is more appropriate, with evaporites referring to the salts that crystalise in amongst the interdune sediments. To me a true evaporite is something like a thick halite or anhydrite section, such as you get in seas/lakes on Earth in hot climates with little sediment input. In those cases the evaporite forms by evaporation of the water under high temperatures. Here on Mars, the process is more likely to be due to loss of atmospheric pressure causing evaporation. It will be interesting to see if we can correlate the Burns Cliff section with Victoria, although any interpretations are likely to be speculative without having continuous exposure of rocks in between.

Aberdeenastro
(previously known as Castor)
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #71233 · Replies: 313 · Views: 118077

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Oct 4 2006, 07:48 AM


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I hope they don't take Oppy too close to the edge! Look at those blue berries close to the edge at the bottom of this image:

http://qt.exploratorium.edu/mars/opportuni...LJP2394R1M1.JPG

It could be like driving on marbles if there is a rock pavement beneath them. Either a slip all the way down or a difficult drive back up. unsure.gif

Aberdeenastro
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #71224 · Replies: 406 · Views: 151377

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Oct 4 2006, 07:33 AM


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Stu,

I'm really surprised that your ghost crater could have survived for long on the talus slopes of one of the VC gullies. I would have expected erosion of the VC walls to have buried this long ago. So is it a recent phenomenon?

Aberdeenastro

(previously known as Castor - that's a story for community chit chat later...)
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #71222 · Replies: 61 · Views: 34415

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 29 2006, 03:57 PM


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I don't know if anyone else has already spotted this, but I think we can also see the west rim of Big Crater directly beyond Cabo Frio about 15 km away, although it's very subtle. I've labelled the north, south-east and west rim peaks as A, B and C in this montage:

Attached Image


Thanks to DEChengst for the pancam mosaic.

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #70561 · Replies: 179 · Views: 109670

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 29 2006, 02:40 PM


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QUOTE (Gray @ Sep 29 2006, 02:47 PM) *
I agree with Bill. I think any stratigraphic correlations with Endurance would be premature at this point. The layer with the large boulders which were weathered to 'pavers' is not necessarily correlative with the one at Endurance. I'm envisioning it as a layer of impact debris that would surround any crater.


I also agree that any correlations are premature at this stage. I'm just speculating. I wonder if we left the evaporite behind at the Victoria annulus edge and we are seeing the Endurance aeolian unit at the surface here? I guess our trip to Cape Verde will help here.

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #70547 · Replies: 406 · Views: 151377

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 29 2006, 01:09 PM


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I think they're just more images from sol 952 (site no. 76EV). You can see the sol 951 location a few metres back.

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #70534 · Replies: 406 · Views: 151377

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 29 2006, 12:45 PM


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From Steve Squyres latest update:

"After that has been shot, we're heading for our next location... Cape Verde. We were considering both Cape Verde and Cabo Frio, and when we looked at all the factors together, Cape Verde won out. Wherever we stop next is where the rover will spend "superior conjunction" -- the upcoming period when Mars will be out of sight behind the sun, making communications impossible for a short while. Conjunction is coming soon, so we want to get to our conjunction spot quickly, and Cape Verde looked like an easier drive than Cabo Frio. Another factor is that we want to be parked on rock over conjunction, so that we can do some work on rock with the IDD. There seems to be good exposure of rock at Cape Verde, but little or none of it at Cabo Frio. So Cape Verde it is."

I was a little surprised by the decision to go to Cape Verde first. To me Cabo Frio looked like an easier drive, but then what do I know about rover driving! biggrin.gif

I can understand the desire to get straight into some rock work, but, as a geologist, I would have thought it was better to stand back and take in the pancam views before deciding on the rock campaign. Maybe there isn't time for that. To me Cabo Frio offers the better viewpoint of the whole crater. You can't see much of the northern and north-western cliffs from Cape Verde.

Who knows, maybe we'll visit both capes. Either way, I'm just so delighted to be able to witness this in near real-time. Thanks to JPL, SS, UMSF and all the people that contribute here.

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #70531 · Replies: 406 · Views: 151377

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 29 2006, 08:36 AM


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QUOTE (Nix @ Sep 28 2006, 09:23 PM) *
I LOooove these layers, they're everywhere. I feel like a little child in a new sandbox tongue.gif



Nico


Nico,

I'm not sure I agree with your layer interpretation, but put 10 geologists in the same sandbox and they'll come up with 10 different interpretations! biggrin.gif

I think the layers follow the crater contours rather than bend up towards the edge. I think we can see some of the same layers that we saw at Endurance (I'm afraid I've forgotten the formation names), but it's difficult to make a confident correlation. I think the top is the evaporite, followed by the same aeolian layers that saw at Endurance. There then seems to be a bright conglomeratic layer, which may be the bright layer we can see on the far rim of VC. Below that are layers we haven't seen before, but because they are in shadow it's hard to interpret them from our current location.

I'd be interested in the views and comments of my fellow forum geologists.

Attached Image


Thanks for the base image Nico.

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #70505 · Replies: 406 · Views: 151377

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 28 2006, 03:59 PM


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From here Cabo Frio looks a doddle and would be my choice for the MOA pans. Cape Verde is probably OK, but has that slope towards the crater. I'd hate for us to slip down there....

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #70365 · Replies: 406 · Views: 151377

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 28 2006, 02:45 PM


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Hey Climber,

Would you like to have a go at this? Any good climbing routes?

http://qt.exploratorium.edu/mars/opportuni...EVP0657R0M1.JPG

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #70333 · Replies: 712 · Views: 210505

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 27 2006, 09:44 AM


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QUOTE (jamescanvin @ Sep 26 2006, 11:27 PM) *
The only confusion will be when we see more of the crater and JPL has to assign more names out of sequence. I can't beleve they only named the things they could see at the time - how short sighted is that! And I can see at least two major bays between Bay1 and Bay2 that they could see at the time as well. Pretty poor effort in my opinion, I'll stick with my scheme for now I think.

James


I can only agree with James' comments. It seems very strange to name Cape 0 and Cape 1 on nearly opposite sides of the crater when we know there are plenty of capes in between. Are we going to get Cape 0a, Cape 0b, etc.?

James' method seems much more logical.

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #69949 · Replies: 83 · Views: 42662

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 26 2006, 11:41 AM


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WOW!!

http://qt.exploratorium.edu/mars/opportuni...CNP0666L0M1.JPG

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #69652 · Replies: 712 · Views: 210505

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 25 2006, 08:41 AM


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QUOTE (Stu @ Sep 22 2006, 08:49 PM) *
(just haven't got around to downloading the software yet, you know what it's like... besides, part of me - a cruel, masochistic part - enjoys the thrill of the hunt, experiencing that "yes!!" moment when you see a new untouched line at the bottom of the Exploratorium page written in come-get-me blue... wink.gif )


Hey Stu,

If you're like me, you have all the exploratorium pages set up as favourites. But did you notice that you can actually have the new blue line appear at the top of the list (just saves tedious scrolling). For example:

http://qt.exploratorium.edu/mars/opportunity/navcam/?M=D

To get this you need to click on the "Last modified" header a couple of times. Then you save the URL to your Favourites.

Cheers,

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #69457 · Replies: 712 · Views: 210505

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 21 2006, 12:24 PM


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James,

I think you're right. You can clearly see the annulus extending further away from us where Ustrax has marked Duck Bay.

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #68830 · Replies: 60 · Views: 34560

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 21 2006, 12:06 PM


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Does anybody know when the clean (i.e. unlabelled) version of the latest Victoria base image will be released by MSSS? And what number will it have?

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #68824 · Replies: 83 · Views: 42662

Aberdeenastro
Posted on: Sep 21 2006, 12:04 PM


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I agree that exploring the West Rim of Big Crater would be absolutely amazing, but having seen the first glimpse of Victoria I think that we are going to be here for a very long time. There looks to be enough geology here at VC to keep Opportunity occupied for a year (Earth or Martian!) or more.

Castor
  Forum: Opportunity · Post Preview: #68823 · Replies: 179 · Views: 109670

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