So I got up an hour later then I wanted to , 5:00am. I was hoping to get up early enough to get some images again of the Orion Nebula, now I only have an hour before the Sun is up! Get up quickly, run into the edge of the bedroom door, no time for a bathroom stop , now if there is one thing I can't get away without doing and that's feed the cat, if I don't she gets between me and the door and it's not pretty. So I feed the cat and run out to my dome, flip the switch on the telescope and think somethings missing.... the computer, run back to the house but not before I stub my toe on my telescope leg throwing it out of alignment, I had spent the previous night setting up the scope basically to the center of the universe, took me an hour, all for not. Orion Nebula was out of the question, as I'm sulking I happen to look towards the east and see Venus, I wasn't too sure if Venus was in one of her phases or if she was full. Venus goes through phases like our Moon from crescent to full and back again. If I could get a pic of Venus in one of her phases, that would be cool, took a quick look, I was lucky Venus was in one of her phases as you can see from the image I took above, (click on pic for larger image).
Venus, the second closest planet to our Sun has a highly reflective cloud cover made up mostly of sulfuric acid so you can't see any surface detail in visible light. The size of Venus is only 650 km. less than Earth's. The surface temp is about 464 degrees C., hot enough to melt lead. The surface pressure is the same on Earth, if you are 1 km. below the surface of our oceans, so even though Venus is called our sister planet you wouldn't want to live there, you'd be poisoned, fried and squashed.
The pic above was taken by the rovers on Mars, notice the wispy clouds? too cool. It's one of many firsts imaged by the rovers, the first Earth like clouds photographed on another planet.
The pic above is another first, the first dust devils imaged on another planet, it gives scientists a rare look into forces that are shaping the Martian surface today.
Another first, the first meteorite discovered and imaged on the surface of another planet.
But most importantly the image above provides our best evidence that water was once flowing freely on the surface of mars, silica rich soil, blueberries and rippled-rock layers would only have formed if water had been present on the surface of Mars. It's confirmed, NASA is allowing Opportunity to enter the Victoria Crater. There was some questions about Opportunity loosing traction because of the loose surface but NASA is satisfied that Opportunity has a good escape route out with good traction if needed. First stop, Opportunity will be heading for a light two toned layer of exposed rock that may preserve evidence of interaction between the Martian atmosphere and the surface from millions of years ago.
The images from Cassini are coming fast and furious of the odd moon Iapetus. the latest image is a close up of the mountain range that circles the equator of the moon.