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Posts Made By: K. Michael Malolepszy

March 23, 2004 09:46 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Another Major Mars Announcement

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

NASA to Announce 'Major' Discovery by the Opportunity
Mars Rover at 2 p.m. ET

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer,

Update: First posted March 22

NASA (news - web sites) will announce a "major
scientific finding" from its Mars rover mission today
at 2 p.m. ET.

The announcement will be made at NASA Headquarters in
Washington, D.C. and carried live on NASA TV. An
article about the discovery will be posted to the home page, also at 2 p.m. ET.

The last time NASA promised something like this
involving Mars, the result was the revelation that the
Opportunity rover's landing site had once been soaked
with water, providing the first evidence gleaned from
the surface for past liquid water on Mars.
A spokesperson for NASA told that the big
announcement would again involve a discovery by the
Opportunity rover and not its twin, Spirit.

The agency did not provide detail regarding the
science involved, and the spokesperson would not

Rover scientists have said they were eagerly pursuing
whether the water that once existed at the rover
landing site was groundwater or might have been a lake
or ocean. In fact, as of late last week they did not
agree on what the most recent evidence revealed.

Experts have said they might learn the answer to that
question with further investigation, but that they
were not certain the answer would become clear.

One of the scientists that will help present the
findings is Dave Rubin, a sedimentologist with the
U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites).

The rock outcropping studied in the shallow depression
at the landing site was formed long ago as layers of
sediment, scientists have said previously. But they've
not yet been able to say how long ago, or for how long
water was present.

The persistent presence of water is thought to be a
prerequisite for life, though the fact that there was
water does not mean there was biology. Biologists say
life could work its magic either above or below the
ground. But clearly the idea of a Martain lake would
capture more public fancy.

All signs point to something important in the
announcement, as NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe will
make opening remarks. He is typically not involved in
science announcements and did not participate in the
previous blockbuster presentation of Opportunity's
water discovery.

Other speakers include Cornell University professor
Steve Squyres, the principal investigator for the
overall rover mission, and John Grotzinger,
co-investigator for rover team from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (news - web sites). Rounding
out the presentation will be Jim Garvin, NASA lead
scientist for Mars and the Moon, and Ed Weiler, NASA's
associate administrator in the Office of Space

March 31, 2004 12:28 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Losmandy Saddle to CG5/GP dovetail adaptor ?

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

I have been using many OTAs (MN56, MK66, C 9.25,
Vixen 102mm Flourite, TV Oracle) on CG-5 mounts
and recently upgraded to a Losmandy GM-8. But now
I have all these OTAs, each with a matching CG5/GP
type dovetail that are more or less permanently attached.
No monkeying with tools, just slide the dovetail/OTA
onto the mount. Nice and quick. - on the CG5.

Now, to have the same convenience with the
GM-8, it appears that I will have to buy a Losmandy
type of dovetail system for each OTA, or mess with
plates and radius blocks and tools with a universal
dovetail of some sort.

Life would be so much easier of there existed a GM-8
and/or G11 saddle plate to CG-5/GP dovetail adaptor.
Does such a thing exist? If so, why not? It seems to
me there should be a substantial market for such an
adapter given the number of people like me that
upgrade from CG-5/GP mounts to Losmandy mounts.

April 1, 2004 10:11 AM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

shouldn't this be illegal?

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

mail order pets ?!??!

April 28, 2004 02:53 PM Forum: DVDs and Music and Books That You Recommend

Dr. Strangelove

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

TCM recently aired Dr. Strangelove - one of the funniest movies ever made and the best End of the World movie ever. Slim Pickens, Sterling Hayden, George C. Scott and Peter Sellers are just perfect in their roles.

President Muffley (Peter Sellers):

You're talking about mass murder, General, not war.

Turgidson(George C. Scott):

Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say... no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh... depended on the breaks.

June 7, 2004 12:52 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Online Transit Observing info

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Stuff that I'm sure we all know, but in case you want some URLs you can throw at someone... mike

Webcasts of the Transit of Venus:

Where you can see the Transit of Venus:

Your Guide to the Transit of Venus

There are many ways to dim the sun's light that may appear to be safe but *still* let through dangerous amounts of infrared and ultraviolet radiation that can cause severe, permanent eye damage.

Unless you are properly using filters specifically manufactured for solar observing, you are putting your eyesight at great risk. If you don't have such equipment, see the web site below and use the "Projection" method. That is safe if done carefully.

"...Filters that are not safe, though sometimes recommended in error, include smoked glass, stacked sunglasses, crossed polarizing filters, neutral-density camera filters, metallized candy wrappers, and compact discs. While these may greatly dim the Sun’s glare, invisible radiation may get through and damage your eyes. And don’t use a camera with a telephoto lens, even if the lens has photographic filters on it that appear to darken the Sun. "

Safe solar observing:

Eye Safety And Solar Eclipses:

2004 and 2012 Transits of Venus;

Other info on the Transit of Venus: (live webcast here)

local predictions can be found at:

June 8, 2004 12:33 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

NASA-TV now on Direct TV

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Direct-TV changed the lineup and NASA-TV is now carried by them on channel 376. You used to have to have a dual feed antennae to pick it up. Now Direct-TV single feed antennae users can get it.


June 8, 2004 12:35 PM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

NASA-TV now on Direct-TV channel 376

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Direct-TV recently changed their lineup and NASA-TV is now carried by them on channel 376. You used to have to have a dual feed antennae to pick it up. Now Direct-TV single feed antennae users can get it.


smile grin

June 8, 2004 12:37 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

NASA-TV now on Direct-TV channel 376

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Since they broadcast all teh JPL press conferences on MER & Cassini, you may want to know that Direct-TV recently changed their lineup and NASA-TV is now carried by them on channel 376. You used to have to have a dual feed antennae to pick it up. Now Direct-TV single feed antennae users can get it.



June 14, 2004 02:36 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Venus Transit from St. Louis

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

The transit was a definite Wow! from St. Louis, Missouri.
We had cloudy/rainy weather predicted for several days
before and after June 8 and the entire show would be over
50 minutes after sunrise. So, I was not optimistic about
actually seeing this. A few of our club's members traveled
hundreds of miles to the east to get a better view. Here in
St. Louis, the entire event would be done 50 minutes after sunrise.

Not having the time to travel very far, I settled on trying to
observe it from St. Louis. I found a good spot in front of the
city's Art Museum in the large city park we have here in
St. Louis - and it was a very pretty setting at this location
on the slopes of "Art Hill"

I was one of the last people with equipment to show
up. We had several about 8 club members show up and
some additional friends, along with 20-30 non-members.
Where they came from, I'm not sure. A couple of them said
they were just in the 'hood. But since we had at least 4 scopes
with filters for direct observing and my 80mm finder
for group image projection everyone had plenty of viewing chances.

Even though I arrived later than I wanted to, I still
had plenty of time to set up all my equipment - the
jury rigged 80mm finder sun projector and my equatorially
mounted 76mm Televue filtered refractor - and enjoy
the spectacle of a nice summer pre-dawn sky from a
pleasant location. Everyone seemed to be in a relaxed
mood and we were able to enjoy each other's company as
much as the anticipation of the upcoming sunrise and
transit. I think the non-members were enjoying the
light atmosphere, too.

Once the sun's disk cleared the trees and low lying
clouds its brilliance was still attenuated enough to
allow a brief naked eye peak at the spectacle of the
disk of Venus superimposed on the sun. I couldn’t see
anything in the filtered scope at that point but that didn’t
surprise me. I think I recall someone ( a club member, I think)
shouting something about how he didn't expect it to be
so noticeable to the unaided eye (I wasn't either). It
was a fantastic site!

Not too long after that it became too bright for
direct unfiltered viewing I had no problem finding it
in the filtered refractor and getting the projected
image to provide a nice view. Two sunspots close to
the center of the sun's disk were visible in the
filtered view, but not in the projected image.
However, the black disk of Venus was unmistakable in
both. At all times we had about a half dozen people
looking at the projected image. With the number of
filtered scopes set up, everyone that showed up was
able to get many turns at the eyepiece.

September 2, 2004 03:35 PM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Probable SETI false alarm in the news...

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Having worked at a radiotelescope facilty, from first hand experience I can attest to the number of spurious signals and general havoc played by RFI with these type of systems and recievers....KMM


Mysterious signals from 1000 light years away
19:00 01 September 04
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition

In February 2003, astronomers involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) pointed the massive radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, at around 200 sections of the sky.

The same telescope had previously detected unexplained radio signals at least twice from each of these regions, and the astronomers were trying to reconfirm the findings. The team has now finished analysing the data, and all the signals seem to have disappeared. Except one, which has got stronger.

This radio signal, now seen on three separate occasions, is an enigma. It could be generated by a previously unknown astronomical phenomenon. Or it could be something much more mundane, maybe an artefact of the telescope itself.

But it also happens to be the best candidate yet for a contact by intelligent aliens in the nearly six-year history of the SETI@home project, which uses programs running as screensavers on millions of personal computers worldwide to sift through signals picked up by the Arecibo telescope.


other stories about this at:

Space signals - aliens or hairdryers?

Astronomers deny ET signal report

Radio Signal: Hello from Alien Life?

SETI has not found ET: official

Earth to disappear from alien radar