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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

 

Follow Cassini's last moments (15 September)

Final track of the Cassini spacecraft before it impacts Saturns atmosphere (Source ESA)

As I write, the Cassini spacecraft, which for 13 years has been sending back astounding images of Saturn, it's rings and Moons, is 1 hours and 22 minutes from its final fiery plunge into Saturn's atmosphere.


Source: XKCD

Cassini's death dive is to ensure any earth bacteria which may have survived on the spacecraft do not contaminate Saturn's Moons.

You can follow Cassin's path in virtual reality at Where is Cassini Now? The final plunge will occur sometime around 11:54 UT (which is 21:54 AEST).  There will be ;live coverage form NASA https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive and the ESA.

Live coverage starts  at around 21:00 AEST (11:00 UT) on the 15th.

Other Cassini end of mission information is here.
https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/grand-finale/overview/
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cassini-Huygens/How_to_follow_Cassini_s_end_of_mission

Any Australian astronomer who has access to a one meter or greater telescope with planetary imaging capability should try and capture the fireball. As per IceinSpaces call.

=============================================================
*** A CALL OUT TO AUSSIES WITH ACCESS TO A ONE METRE TELESCOPE WITH PLANETARY IMAGING ***
On 15th September 2017, we will sadly bid farewell to the Cassini Mission ending with the spacecraft being hurled into Saturn's atmosphere. Australia has front row seating for this event. The attached simulation shows the view of Earth from Saturn at the time of Cassini's entry. There's a chance that telescopes of one metre aperture may catch the fireball. Exmouth in W.A. has excellent opportunity as Saturn will be 53 degrees above the horizon.
Time of event due: 10pm AEST / 12 UT.
Extensive info in this link:
https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1708/1708.05036.pdf

It'll be quite special to catch and image this event. If anyone is able to do this, would you please kindly respond, and send images to share via messages (you'll be credited)? Thanks, Suzy.
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