This Week's Astronomy from Sky & Telescope Magazine 3/10/06

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SKY & TELESCOPE'S WEEKLY BULLETIN - March 10, 2006

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Welcome to SKY & TELESCOPE's Weekly Bulletin. Images, the full stories, abridged here, and other enhancements are on our Web site, at: http://SkyandTelescope.com

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THIS WEEK'S NEWS
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Space Science in Crisis

March 8, 2006 |  NASA's astronomy program is in dire straits as a growing number of space missions are falling to the budgetary ax. Smaller programs are suffering most in the 2006 budget as funding is redirected toward human spaceflight. Additional cancellations are projected in the 2007 budget, partly to help finance James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope cost overruns. The coup de gr?ce is a whopping 15 percent overall cut in 2009. . . .

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/article_1691_1.asp

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Enceladus's Leaky Seas?

In this week's issue of the journal <i>Science</i>, astronomers working with Cassini orbiter data publish a suite of papers detailing the story behind the active volcanism on Saturn's small moon Enceladus. The moon was long suspected to be the source of the water-ice particles forming Saturn's tenuous E ring. The latest work supports the idea that Enceladus has reservoirs of liquid water near the surface, which provide the source for active geysers in the southern hemisphere.

As reported in the June 2005 (page 16), November 2005 (page 16), and March 2006 (page 40) issues of <i>Sky & Telescope</i>, the hopes for discovering evidence for liquid water near the icy moon's surface grew more promising through 2005 as the intrepid orbiter completed a series of close flybys of Enceladus. . . .

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/article_1692_1.asp

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Solar Cycle Solved?

March 8, 2006 | Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, have declared a breakthough in understanding our Sun's 11-year activity cycle. And they are using their new model to make predictions: that the next solar cycle will be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the one now ending, and that it will begin 6 to 12 months late. . . .

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/article_1690_1.asp

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Jupiter's New Red Spot

March 6, 2006 | There's a strange event brewing on Jupiter. The long-enduring, much-observed "white oval" designated BA has been reddening, and now its color is almost identical to the famous Great Red Spot. The oval lies in the South Temperate Belt. It follows the Great Red Spot by about 1 hour of Jupiter's rotation.

The new red spot, affectionately dubbed "Red Junior" or "Red Spot Junior," is nearly half the size of the Great Red Spot . . .

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/article_1689_1.asp

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OBSERVING - SKY AT A GLANCE
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March 10 - March 18 

Comet Pojmanski in the dawn, a penumbral eclipse of the Moon on the 14th, and a 10th-magnitude asteroid skimming past a 5th-magnitude star on the 17th highlight this week's celestial calendar. 

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/observing/ataglance/article_110_1.asp

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OBSERVING - THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS
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RS Ophiuchi in Rare Outburst

This famous recurrent nova reached magnitude 4.8 on February 13th and is now fainter than magnitude 8.0. Watch it as it continues to fade.

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/observing/

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Copyright 2006 Sky Publishing Corp. S&T's Weekly Bulletin is provided as a free service to the astronomical community by the editors of SKY & TELESCOPE magazine. Widespread distribution is encouraged as long as our copyright notice is included, with the words "used by permission." This bulletin may not be published in any other form without written permission from Sky Publishing; send an email to [email protected] or call +1 617-864-7360. More astronomy news is available on our Web site at http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/.

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