PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet, 42/2000 - 3 April 2000
-----------------------------


     "The [martian meteorite] contains evidence for both terrestrial
     contamination along with unique signatures of biogenic activity
     which are not from earthly contaminants. Among the indigenous
     Martian biogenic signatures are: (a) magnetites which are
     distinctly from magnetotactic bacteria and are clearly within
     carbonates which are of Martian origin, (b) Reduced carbon
     components which are not terrestrial-i.e. they contain no C-14
     signatures, (c) carbonate formation temperatures of 50 degrees
     Centigrade, (d) biofilms (polysaccarides which are from colonies
     of bacteria which appear not to be terrestrial), and (e) unique
     morphological structures which match those seen by fossilized
     bacteria on Earth-but those features are  distinctly within clays
     which are of Martian origin. ALH84001 does contain evidence of
     terrestrial contamination in the form of bacteria signatures which
     have infiltrated the sample. However, those are distinct from the
     indigenous components. Our team has reported both contaminants and
     also indigenous features."
          -- Everett K. Gibson, NASA, Johnson Space Center


(1) APRIL FOOL'S CRATER
    Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

(2) BRITAIN OPENS WAY TO STAR WARS BASE
    The Sunday Timnes, 2 April 2000

(3) ULTRAVIOLET HISTORY OF TERRESTRIAL PLANETS
    & BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION
    C.S. Cockell, BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY

(4) ATMOSPHERIC DUST DEPOSITION DURING THE HOLOCENE
    C.M. Zdanowicz et al., GEOLOGICAL SURVEY CANADA

(5) DISCOVERY OF MINOAN TSUNAMI DEPOSITS
    K. Minoura et al., TOHOKU UNIVERSITY

(6) DENDROCHRONOLOGY & ANNUAL CLIMATE VARIABILITY IN
    THE HOLOCENE
    K.R. Briffa, UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA

(7) ABRUPT HYDROLOGICAL CHANGES IN THE AFRICAN TROPICS
    SINCE 20ka BP
    F. Gasse, CEREGE

(8) GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGES: PAST & FUTURE
    R.S. Bradley, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS

(9) REPORTS ABOUT THE DEATH OF MARTIAN METEORITE CONTROVERSY
    HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED ...
    Benny J Peiser <b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk>

(10) MARTIAN METEORITE DEBATE ALIVE AND KICKING
     James Oberg <JamesOberg@aol.com>

(11) IRIDIUM SATELLITE DECAY
     Tony Beresford <starman@camtech.net.au>

(12) EXTRASOLAR PLANETS
     Stephen Ashworth <sa@astronist.demon.co.uk>

(13) AND, FINALLY: ARMAGEDDON 2001 - ANOTHER END OF THE WORLD?


==========
(1) APRIL FOOL'S CRATER

From Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

NEAR image of the day for 2000 Mar 31

http://near.jhuapl.edu/iod/20000331/index.html

April Fool's Crater

Lighting and  viewing geometries make  a huge difference in the
appearance of  Eros' surface features. One of the most striking 
examples is the 2.7-kilometer (1.68-mile) diameter crater shown in 
these two images. The image at left, looking  at the  crater nearly
edge-on,  was taken February 16,  2000, from a range  of 341 kilometers
(212 miles).  The  image at  right  was taken  high over  the crater on
March 2,  2000, from a range of 226 kilometers (140 miles). In the
first image the only visible part of the crater's interior is  the far,
bright wall, which at the time was well-lit. The lighting, in
combination with the  particular viewing  angle,  make the  crater
appear stunningly  bright.  In the  second  view, the  brighter
material  occupies  only  part  of  the  slightly-shaded interior,  
greatly  reducing  the   overall  brightness contrast between the
crater and the surrounding terrain.
--------------------------------------------------------
Built and managed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, NEAR-Shoemaker was the first spacecraft
launched in NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, small-scale
planetary missions. See the NEAR web site for more details
(http://near.jhuapl.edu) .

==============
(2) BRITAIN OPENS WAY TO STAR WARS BASE

From The Sunday Timnes, 2 April 2000
http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/Sunday-Times/frontpage.html

Michael Prescott, Political Editor

BRITAIN has significantly softened its opposition to an American-led
"son of Star Wars" system that would use RAF bases, Washington
officials have confirmed. Disarmament campaigners and many European
countries say the system, to create an "anti-missile umbrella" over
America, threatens a new nuclear arms race..

Last week, British officials denied press reports that Tony Blair had
offered to host part of the system - a tracking radar - in Britain,
probably at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire. But Pentagon staff told
The Sunday Times that not only had London made such an offer, it was
interested in extending the umbrella to cover the British Isles and
Europe as well.

"This possibility was discussed as a way of overcoming opposition in
continental Europe," said one Washington source. Britain is also
worried that a US-only missile shield would threaten the viability of
its Trident nuclear deterrent.

The system is designed to intercept missiles fired by "rogue" states
such as North Korea or Libya. Under the plan discussed with the
Pentagon, Britain's involvement could widen from hosting a radar to
providing a large land base for the interceptors that would shoot down
incoming missiles.

This would extend the area covered by the "umbrella" thousands of miles
to the east, but threatens to ignite controversy on a scale last seen
with the protests against Cruise in the 1980s.

Britain is actively studying the potential for ballistic missile
defence systems under its technology, readiness and risk assessment
programme (Trrap), run by the RAF and the Defence Evaluation and
Research Agency. Wing Commander Phil Angus, former commanding officer
of RAF Fylingdales, said that Trrap was aimed at giving "a definition
and framework to UK ballistic missile defence. It looks at the threat
and the technology options required to counter it".

Angus said 300 people were working full-time on the programme and up to
half a dozen computer-simulated "war games" have been held as part of
it. The study is expected to report at the end of the year.

All Britain's efforts may, however, founder on cost grounds. British
officials made clear to their American counterparts that they were
unwilling to spend much money on extending the umbrella and the United
States would have to foot most of the bill.

Development of the anti-missile shield has been plagued by technical
problems, with the prototype failing to work in one of the two trials
and a third, decisive test postponed  until June. The initial cost of a
purely American-focused system is almost $13 billion (8 billion), with
a through-life cost of up to $50 billion (31 billion).

Pentagon plans call for 100 interceptors, based in Alaska to protect
the US mainland, and a network of early-warning radar stations
including Fylingdales. Any extension to cover Europe could almost
double the cost.

Opponents of the system say it is "an international idiocy" that will
provoke the Russians and destroy the anti-ballistic missile treaty,
under which both superpowers agreed not to develop missile shield
systems. "If the West introduces an anti-missile missile, then Russia
or China may decide to develop a system which can get round that," said
Dan Plesch, director of the British American Security Information
Council.

"Destroying a major arms control treaty will give the green light to
proliferators throughout the Third World and it is not the recipe for a
stable planet," he said.

Opponents, including many in the Ministry of Defence, also question the
need for a missile defence system at all. Rogue state missiles, mostly
Chinese or North Korean-made, are primitive, poorly targeted and with
little power.

Adam Baddeley, editor of the Defence Digitisation Bulletin, said:
"Missile defence is not irrelevant to British security, but there
remain better choices in a limited budget."

Copyright 2000, The Sunday Times

=====================
(3) ULTRAVIOLET HISTORY OF TERRESTRIAL PLANETS
& BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION

C.S. Cockell: The ultraviolet history of the terrestrial planets -
implications for biological evolution. PLANETARY AND SPACE SCIENCE,
2000, Vol.48, No.2-3, pp.203-214

BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY,CAMBRIDGE CB3 0ET,ENGLAND

A radiative transfer model is employed to investigate the comparative
surface ultraviolet (UV) radiation histories of Earth, Mars and Venus
from 4.5 Ga to the present and thus their comparative theoretical
photobiological histories. Earth probably began with a period of higher
ultraviolet radiation fluxes during the anoxic Archean. During the
early Proterozoic UV fluxes declined as oxygen partial pressures and
thus ozone column abundance rose, but the ozone column became subject
to stochastic depletion events caused principally by impact events and
possibly large-scale volcanism and less frequently, close cosmic events
such as supernovae. In contrast Mars has been subject to a history
dominated by a slow increase in solar luminosity and a reduction in
partial pressures of CO2, both of which have resulted in an increase in
UV flux. The UV radiation history of Venus has been dominated by the
greenhouse effect through which high partial pressures of CO2 made the
surface UV radiation environment clement. These distinct histories
influence the potential comparative evolutionary photobiology of the
three planets. On Earth, life transitioned from the Archean, when
tolerance to UV radiation, particularly for exposed organisms, must
have been high to a more photobiologically clement era. In this latter
era the predominant evolutionary selection pressure is one that allows
for tolerance of sudden and unpredictable increases in UVB radiation
above seasonal and diurnal maxima caused by exogenous perturbation of
the ozone column. In the case of Mars, the UV radiation flux has
increased over time. Today the biologically effective irradiances to
DNA are not considerably different from those that are calculated for
Archean Earth. If the planet suffered an atmospheric collapse then it
may have been subject to an ultraviolet crisis at some point in its
past when DNA-weighted irradiance would have increased three to
five-fold. Venus transitioned into a photobiologically clement era soon
after late bombardment. The lifeless surfaces of Mars and Venus, when
in the former case DNA-weighted irradiances are not much greater than
Archean Earth and in the latter case, insignificant, are testament to
the unimportance of UV radiation as an evolutionary selection pressure
when other physical factors, particularly lack of liquid water, become
limiting to life. Understanding the comparative evolutionary
differences in surface UV flux of the terrestrial planets can help us
understand the influence, and lack of influence, of UV radiation in
determining their suitability as abodes for life at different stages in
their past. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

====================
(4) ATMOSPHERIC DUST DEPOSITION DURING THE HOLOCENE

C.M. Zdanowicz*), G.A. Zielinski, C.P. Wake, D.A. Fisher,
R.M. Koerner: A holocene record of atmospheric dust deposition on the
Penny ice cap, Baffin Island, Canada. QUATERNARY RESEARCH, 2000,
Vol.53, No.1, pp.62-69

*) GEOLOGICAL SURVEY CANADA,TERRAIN SCI DIV,601 BOOTH ST,
    OTTAWA,ON K1A 0E8,CANADA

An >11,550-yr-long record of atmospheric dust deposition was developed
from an ice core (P95) drilled through the Penny ice cap, Baffin
Island, The P95 record documents environmental changes that affected
the production and transport of dust in the eastern Canadian Arctic
during the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Dust deposition on the Penny
ice cap was greatest in late-glacial time when the climate was dry and
windy and comparatively low in the Holocene. Microparticles deposited
during late-glacial time are finer than in Greenland cores, suggesting
distinct dust sources and transport trajectories to each region. Dust
deposition at the P95 site increased after ca. 7800 yr ago as the Penny
ice cap receded and distance from local dust sources was reduced.
Deflation of newly exposed marine sediments on southwestern Baffin
Island may have contributed to this dust increase. The P95 and GISP2
(Greenland) dust records show diverging trends in the middle to late
Holocene, reflecting the growing influence of regional environmental
conditions (e.g., dust source area, snow cover extent) on atmospheric
dust deposition. This study further demonstrates how valuable records
of regional-scale paleoenvironmental changes can be developed from
small circum-Arctic ice caps, even those affected by considerable (C)
2000 University of Washington.

=============
(5) DISCOVERY OF MINOAN TSUNAMI DEPOSITS

K. Minoura*), F. Imamura, U. Kuran, T. Nakamura, G.A. Papadopoulos,
T. Takahashi, A.C. Yalciner: Discovery of Minoan tsunami deposits.
GEOLOGY, 2000, Vol.28, No.1, pp.59-62

*) TOHOKU UNIVERSITY,FAC SCI,INST GEOL & PALAEONTOL,
    SENDAI,MIYAGI  9808578,JAPAN

The Hellenic are is a terrane of extensive Quaternary volcanism. One of
the main centers of explosive eruptions is located on Thera
(Santorini), and the eruption of the Thera volcano in late Minoan time
(1600-1300 B.C.) is considered to have been the most significant Aegean
explosive volcanism during the late Holocene. The last eruptive phase
of Thera resulted in an enormous submarine caldera, which is believed
to have produced tsunamis on a large scale. Evidence suggesting
seawater inundation was found previously at some archaeological sites
on the coast of Crete; however, the cause of the tsunami and its
effects on the area have not been well understood. On the Aegean Sea
coast of western Turkey (Didim and Fethye) and Crete (Gouves), we have
found traces of tsunami deposits related to the Thera eruption. The
sedimentological consequences and the hydraulics of a Thera-caused
tsunami indicate that the eruption of Thera volcano was earlier than
the previous estimates and the tsunami did not have disruptive
influence on Minoan civilization. Copyright 2000, Institute for
Scientific Information Inc.

=============
(6) DENDROCHRONOLOGY & ANNUAL CLIMATE VARIABILITY IN
     THE HOLOCENE

K.R. Briffa: Annual climate variability in the Holocene: interpreting
the message of ancient trees. QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 2000, Vol.19,
No.1-5, pp.87-105

*) UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA,CLIMAT RES UNIT,NORWICH NR4
   7TJ,NORFOLK,ENGLAND

Over vast areas of the world's landmasses, where climate beats out a
strong seasonal rhythm, tree growth keeps unerring time. In their
rings, trees record many climate melodies, played in different places
and different eras. Recent years have seen a consolidation and
expansion of tree-ring sample collections across the traditional
research areas of North America and Europe, and the start of major
developments in many new areas of Eurasia, South America and
Australasia. From such collections are produced networks of precisely
dated chronologies; records of various aspects of tree growth,
registered continuously, year by year across many centuries. Their
sensitivities to different climate parameters are now translated into
ever more detailed histories of temperature and moisture variability
across expanding dimensions of time and space. With their extensive
coverage, high temporal resolution and rigid dating control,
dendroclimatic reconstructions contribute significantly to our
knowledge of late Holocene climates, most importantly on timescales
ranging from 1 to 100 years. In special areas of the world, where trees
live for thousands of years or where subfossil remnants of long dead
specimens are preserved, work building chronologies covering many
millennia continues apace. Very recently, trees have provided important
new information about major modes of general circulation dynamics
linked to the El Nino/Southern Oscillation and the North Atlantic
Oscillation, and about the effect of large volcanic eruptions. As for
assessing the significance of 20th century global warming, the evidence
from dendroclimatology in general, supports the notion that the last
100 years have been unusually warm, at least within a context of the
last two millennia. However, this evidence should not be considered
equivocal. The activities of humans may well be impacting on the
'natural' growth of trees in different ways, making the task of
isolating a clear climate message subtly difficult. (C) 1999 Elsevier
Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

=============
(7) ABRUPT HYDROLOGICAL CHANGES IN THE AFRICAN TROPICS
     SINCE 20ka BP

F. Gasse: Hydrological changes in the African tropics since the Last
Glacial Maximum. QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 2000, Vol.19, No.1-5,
pp.189-211

CEREGE,BP 80,F-13545 AIX PROVENCE 04,FRANCE

Paleohydrological data from the African tropics and subtropics,
including lake, groundwater and speleothem records, are reviewed to
show how environments and climates from both hemispheres are
inter-related. Although orbitally induced changes in the monsoon
strength account for a large part of long-term climatic changes in
tropical Africa, the Late Pleistocene-Holocene hydrological
fluctuations rather appear to have been a series of abrupt events that
reflect complex interactions between, orbital forcing, atmosphere,
ocean and  land surface conditions. During the Last Glacial Maximum
(23-18 ka BP), most records indicate that generally dry conditions have
prevailed in both hemispheres, associated with lower tropical land- and
sea-surface temperatures. This agrees with simulations using coupled
ocean-atmosphere models, which predict cooling and reduced summer
precipitation in tropical Africa; the global hydrological cycle was
weaker than today when the extent of large polar ice-sheets and sea-ice
was a prominent forcing factor of the Earth's climate.
Glacial-interglacial climatic changes started early: a first
wetting/warming phase at ca. 17-16 ka BP took place during a period of
rapid temperature increase in Antarctica. Next, two drastic arid-humid
transitions in equatorial and northern Africa occurred around 15-14.5
ka BP and 11.5-11 ka BP. Both are thought to match the major Greenland
warming events, in concert with the switching of the oceanic
thermohaline circulation to modern mode. However, part of the climatic
signal after 15 ka BP also seems related to the Antarctica climate.
During the Holocene, Africa has also experienced rapid hydrological
fluctuations of dramatic magnitude compared to the climatic changes at
high latitudes. In particular, major dry spells occurred around 8.4-8
ka and 4.2-4 ka BP in the northern monsoon domain. Comparison with
other parts of the world indicates that these events have a worldwide
distribution but different regional expressions. In the absence of
large polar ice sheets, changes in the continental hydrological cycles
in the tropics may have a significant impact on the global climate
system. Climate information gathered here allows to identify
geographical and methodological gaps, and raise some scientific
questions that remain to be solved to better understand how the
tropics respond to changes in major climate-forcing factors, and how
they influence climate globally. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All
rights reserved.

===============
(8) GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGES: PAST & FUTURE

R.S. Bradley: Past global changes and their significance for the
future. QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 2000, Vol.19, No.1-5, pp.391-402

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS,DEPT GEOSCI,CLIMATE SYST RES
CTR,AMHERST,MA,01003

Placing the short instrumental record of climate into a longer-term
perspective provides valuable insights into the envelope of climate
variability on timescales of significance to society today. Numerous
paleotemperature records reveal that the 20th century has been
exceptionally warm in the context of the last millennium, and perhaps
many millennia. Furthermore, the coldest decades of the last century
(the nadir of the 'Little Ice Age') were among the coldest times in the
late Holocene. Thus, the world has experienced both the warmest and the
coldest extremes of the late Holocene within a brief interval of less
than 200 years. Extending the climate record back in time enables the
underlying forcing factors (prior to global-scale anthropogenic effects
on the climate system) to be identified. Paleoclimatic data are
essential to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the climate
system, without which reliable forecasting of future conditions will
not be possible. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

=============================
* LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR *
=============================

(9) REPORTS ABOUT THE DEATH OF MARTIAN METEORITE CONTROVERSY
    HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED ...

From Benny J Peiser <b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk>

Almost 5 years ago, on 7 August 1996, NASA held a historic press
conference at which a team of researchers presented tentative evidence
of fossilised extraterrestrial microbes detected on the Martian
meteorite ALH 84001. The resesarch team, led by planetary scientists
David McKay, Everett Gibson, and Kathie Thomas-Keprta of the Johnson
Space Center, however, stressed that their claim could not be entirely
verified yet. Nevertheless, since that memorable day back in 1996,
the claims about ALH 84001 have lead to heated debates about primitive
life forms on Mars.

The press conference made the headlines round the world and triggered
even an official statement by US President Bill Clinton. Since then,
ALH 84001 has become the world's most famous meteorite and certainly
most controversial space object. Not surprisingly, a never-ending
stream of of researchers have been trying to proof or disproof the
existence of extraterrestrial life forms on this Martian meteorite.
Yet despite many hundreds of studies and research papers, there is
still no agreement about the true nature of the tiny globules of
carbonate minerals deposited in the cracks of the meteorite.

Recently, a conference report was published on the Arthur C Clarke
mailing list (see CCNet 24 March), claiming that "a leader of the team
that in 1996 reported evidence for fossil life in martian meteorite
ALH84001 stated that it is now clear that terrestrial contamination is
the explanation." However, reports of the death of martian fossil life
on ALH 84001 seem premature. In a statement forwarded to CCNet by
senior space journalist James Oberg, NASA's Everett Gibson has clearly
denied these claims (see below). In short, the controversy about
Martian meteorite ALH 84001 is alive and kicking! Good for us.

Benny J Peiser

===================
(10) MARTIAN METEORITE DEBATE ALIVE AND KICKING

From James Oberg <JamesOberg@aol.com>

Benny,

here's a response from Everett Gibson re the Mars meteorite
controversy. He gave me permission to relay it to you for LETTERS.

Subj:    RE: alh84001
Date:   03/31/2000 12:47:16 PM Central Standard Time
From:   everett.k.gibson1@jsc.nasa.gov (GIBSON, EVERETT K. (JSC-SN2))
To: JamesOberg@aol.com ('JamesOberg@aol.com')

This report is absolutely incorrect! The rock contains evidence for
both terrestrial contamination along with unique signatures of biogenic
activity which are not from earthly contaminants.  Among the indigenous
Martian biogenic signatures are: (a) magnetites which are distinctly
from magnetotactic bacteria and are clearly within carbonates which are
of Martian origin, (b) Reduced carbon components which are not
terrestrial-i.e. they contain no C-14 signatures, (c) carbonate
formation temperatures of 50 degrees Centigrade, (d) biofilms
(polysaccarides which are from colonies of bacteria which appear not to
be terrestrial), and (e) unique morphological structures which match
those seen by fossilized bacteria on Earth-but those features are
distinctly within clays which are of Martian origin. ALH84001 does
contain evidence of terrestrial contamination in the form of bacteria
signatures which have infiltrated the sample. However, those are
distinct from the indigenous components. Our team has reported both
contaminants and also indigenous features. Dan McCleese should sit and
listen to our papers and not roam the halls of meetings.  He might
learn something.

Everett


> From Bill Wheaton <waw@ipac.caltech.edu>
> [as posted on the ACC mailing list, 17 March 200]
>
> Forwarded by Larry Klaes <lklaes@bbn.com>
>
> "Jerry Palmer and I happen to have just attended a Von Karmann
> lecture at JPL last night, a panel discussion on the Mars program. 
> Dan McCleese (the Mars Program Scientist at JPL) was on the panel. 
> He said that, last month, a leader of the team that in 1996 reported
> evidence for fossil life in martian meteorite ALH84001 stated that it
> is now clear that terrestrial contamination is the explanation. Thus
> it appears that the case on ALH84001 is pretty nearly closed. Even
> so, educated opinion about the prospects for eventually finding some
> life, past or present, on Mars, ranges all over the map -- it's a
> wide open question."

==================
(11) IRIDIUM SATELLITE DECAY

From Tony Beresford <starman@camtech.net.au>

Benny,

The item in the March 30 CCNET, pointing to an space.com article, only
shows how false information can be amplified so easily by modern
communications.

It relies on believing an earlier post on CCNET, forwarded on by David
Dunham about Iridium satellite deorbit. The expectation of controlled
re-entry (in the sense of returning US or Russian manned spacecraft, or
the dumping of unwanted garbage in Russian progress freighters), is a
false expectation. It is so  because the Iridium satellites have only
low thrust orbit adjustment ability. This is proved by the time and
orbital history they took to go from their circular orbit at launch, 
of some 500Km altitude to the working orbit at 782Km.

All the satellite controllers can do is lower the orbit , so air-drag
will cause the satellites to decay naturally, in a short time period.
Some statements by Motorola or Iridium personnel suggested a 2 year
interval before decay, which seems reasonable to me. If left in the
current orbits they would take 25-50 years to decay naturally. To do
controlled re-entry requires moving the low point of the orbit from
substantially over 110km (say 150km) to below 110Km in one impulse.

Tony Beresford FBIS,FRAS

==================
(12) EXTRASOLAR PLANETS

From Stephen Ashworth < sa@astronist.demon.co.uk >

Dear Benny Peiser,

**  Reference CCNet, 30 March 2000, item (5) PLANET HUNTERS ON TRAIL OF
WORLDS SMALLER THAN SATURN  **

The statement "Of the 30 extrasolar planets around Sun-like stars
detected previously, all have been the size of Jupiter or larger"  is
incorrect.

I have been keeping a list of discoveries, using mainly the Extra-solar
Planets Catalog and the list published by Astronomy magazine. In 7
cases out of 29 extra-solar planets orbiting normal stars, the minimum
mass is given as being between 0.42 and 0.84 Jupiter masses. But since
Saturn's mass is 0.30 Jupiter masses, it remains true that an
interesting threshold has now been crossed.

In six of those seven cases, the planet's orbital inclination is
unknown, and the true mass is likely to be greater than the minimum
mass given. The seventh, that of the planet of HD 209458, is
interesting in that the planet's transit was observed by Dr Greg Henry
of Tennessee State University on 7 November 1999.  We are therefore
seeing the orbit edge-on, and the mass measured by the doppler effect
is therefore equal to the planet's true mass.  This was 0.63 Jupiter
masses, or only two Saturnian masses.

Stephen Ashworth
Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society
Webmaster, Space Age Associates

================
(13) AND, FINALLY: ARMAGEDDON 2001 - ANOTHER END OF THE WORLD?

"Armageddon 2001: Yet Another End of the World?" (ArmageddonCon) is a 
joint venture of Mishkenot Sha'ananim and the Israeli Society for
Science Fiction and Fantasy, an international conference that examines
the idea of Apocalypse as presented in Religion, Myth and Science
Fiction. Participants will include historians, scholars of religion and
myth, science fiction creators and experts from other fields. The
conference will take place at the Laromme Hotel in Jerusalem and will
climax with a midnight countdown to the end of the millennium, January
1st, 2001, at the most likely location for the end of the world,
Armageddon.

We are currently seeking sponsorships for the Con with the aim of
reducing cost for participants. If you can help us in this, please
contact us.

Read more about the planned events, scheduled guests and the venue, and
pre-register today to secure a place.

When (or: doesn't the millennium end with 1999)?

When will the millennium end? Back in 1959, Arthur C. Clarke wrote:
"I'd like to point out something that a good many people seem to have
overlooked. The twenty-first century does not begin tomorrow [that is,
on January 1, 2000]; it begins a year later, on January 1, 2001. Even
though the calendar reads 2000 from midnight, the old century still has
twelve months to run. Every hundred years we astronomers have to
explain this all over again, but it makes no difference. The
celebrations start just as soon as the two zeros go up..."

Well, we at the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy
(ISSF&F) respect Sir Arthur too much to celebrate the new millennium on
any other date than the night of December 31, 2000. But then, it will
be some celebration!

Actually, we'll start a few days earlier, on December 27. There will be
a large-scale SF con, complete with speakers, panel discussions,
workshops, art, filk, films, fun and as much rampant commercialism as
we can muster. Read more about all that here. But then, on the night of
December 31, we'll move the con to the single most appropriate site in
the world in which to close the millennium.

Where?

Nobody is quite sure when exactly the world will end, but everyone
knows where: At Armageddon.

    "And he gathered them together into a place called in the
    Hebrew tongue Armageddon. ... And there came a great voice
    out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is
    done."
                      Revelations [16:16-17]

Well, will it be done? We don't think so. But... can you afford not to 
be there, to see for yourself? Join us for a con which will culminate
in a midnight countdown from this millennium to the next. It will be an
experience of a lifetime.

For any queries you may have, you can e-mail us at: con@sf-f.org.il.

----------------------------------------
THE CAMBRIDGE-CONFERENCE NETWORK (CCNet)
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