Space links for 25 July: the Moon is even more interesting than thought, funding for the Giant Magellan Telescope, etc.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Here are a few links to share today.

The first is from here and here, just one more in a seemingly unending series of discoveries about how the Moon is more interesting than we thought. This one also involves water, by doing analyses on lunar apatite vs. terrestrial apatite. In short: the Moon seems to have had a somewhat watery past, and this will help to contribute to an estimate of the total water content on the Moon today.

Next is a welcoming bit of news: the Giant Magellan Telescope has received an extra $50 million in funding from the University of Chicago. This telescope is one of the three giant telescopes slated to begin in 2018, which will be a very good year. The other two are the Thirty Meter Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope.

This article is probably just as if not more exciting than the one on the Moon as it has to do with a more precise way to measure the slight dipping in light caused by extrasolar planets passing in front of their stars. With more accurate measurements (counting the exact number of photons) it would then become possible to ascertain the presence of a planet through a single pass instead of three, as is required now to be certain.

Finally, now that WISE has completed its first survey of the sky the progress image has changed to one showing a sky that has now been covered to a certain extent but is now receiving as much extra coverage over the same areas as possible before the telescope runs out of coolant and is no longer able to make such sensitive measurements in infrared.

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