Sunday, September 25, 2005

A couple of outbursts from Mount St Helens last night

It was another clear night over at Mount St Helens and there was considerable activity in the crater. The night began with a small glow emanating from the lavadome, which was followed by a small outburst at 22:56, then two much larger outbursts in activity at 00:21 and 04:51 this morning.

On Thursday the USGS/CVO held a press conference to celebrate the first anniversary of the current eruption. They released a range of interesting images and poster papers covering all aspects of the eruption so far. Note that some of the posters are very large PDF files...

Images from USGS/CVO:
Informational Posters from the USGS/CVO:

Friday, September 23, 2005

Mount St Helens eruption - one year anniversary

It was one year ago today that Mount St Helens rumbled back to life and began a new eruptive phase. The USGS/CVO will be holding a press conference this morning to review the past years activity.

This morning the Volcanocam shows the crater to be clear with a small steam plume rising gently from the crater. Last night, the view was also clear and there were a few small outbursts of activity, although nothing particularly spectacular to celebrate today's anniversary.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mount St Helens emerges from the clouds

After several days of bad weather obscuring the view of the crater, the clouds parted this morning to give us a view of the glowing lavadome. There were only a couple of small outbursts of activity during the night. Hopefully this signals a change to clearer views of the mountain in the days to come.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mystery glow on Mount St Helens just dodgy camera

The anomalous glow seen on the Western Flank of Mount St Helens over the last couple of months is finally confirmed to be nothing more than defective pixels on the Volcanocam CCD camera.

On the 12th of September the lens on the Volcanocam was cleaned, and in the process the camera was moved slightly. So by looking at the images from the nights before and after the camera was moved clearly shows that the hot pixels in the image are in the same location in the frame, even though the view of the crater has changed.

The only explanation is that this is due to a defective pixel or pixels in the CCD and not any real hotspot on the crater wall. The evidence was beginning to favour this conclusion, but this now looks like the final word on the issue.

NASA confirms "spokes" in Cassini images.

NASA has confirmed that the bright streaks seen in the Cassini images are indeed spokes similar to those seen by Hubble and Voyager!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Phobos and Deimos passing in the night

The NASA Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, has captured images of the night sky on Mars and the passage of the two moons Phobos and Deimos for the first time. According to NASA, the night time astrophotography of Mars' two moons was possible by taking advantage of extra solar energy collected during the day. Spirit acquired these enhanced-brightness images with the panoramic camera on the night of sol 585 (Aug. 26, 2005).

"It is incredibly cool to be running an observatory on another planet," said planetary scientist Jim Bell of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., lead scientist for the panoramic cameras on Spirit and Opportunity.

Mount St helens puts on another good show

The lavadome on Mount St Helens continues to crumble, producing rock falls and bright outbursts which are recorded on the Volcanocam images. Last night there were numerous outbursts from the crater, with the brightest occurring at 21:46, 23:11 and 05:46.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Cassini sees "spokes" on Saturn's rings?

The Voyager spacecraft imaged dark "spokes" on the rings of Saturn, a feature that the Cassini probe hasn't seen so far.

Two new raw images from Cassini appear to show a similar spoke-like feature, although its bright, not dark like the images from Voyager - image#1, image#2.

The feature is in a similar location on the rings in the two images, but different locations on the image - so its probably not a artifact. Intriguing!

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