PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 63/2001 - 3 May 2001
---------------------------


"A group of astronomers using the 1.5-meter Catalina telescope
report that the nucleus of comet C/2001 A2 (LINEAR) has split into two
pieces. Only a week ago it appeared whole. The comet's brightness has
soared a hundred-fold since the end of March, probably because volatile
ices in the fragmenting nucleus are being newly exposed to solar radiation.
At present, the visual magnitude of the comet is near 6.3 -- just below
naked eye visibility. No one knows how much the comet will brighten as it
heads for a 0.78 AU close encounter with the Sun on May 24th."
--Space Weather News, 2 May 2001


"It's time to revise solid-state physics textbooks, according to a
report in this week's issue of the Physical Review Letters. Scientists
from the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the State University of
New York at Stony Brook have discovered a third mechanism by which
materials change phase. In addition to diffusional transformations-the sort
that turn graphite into diamonds-and diffusionless transformations,
the books will now have to include what have been christened
pseudomartensitic transitions.
--Kristin Leutwyler, Scientific American, 2 May 2001


(1) COMET C/2001 A2 LINEAR SPLITS IN TWO
    SpaceWeather.com <spaceweather@lists.spaceweather.com>

(2) COMET LINEAR SPLITS IN TWO
    NearEarth.Net, 2 May 2001

(3) UNDER ONE SKY: ASTRONOMY & MATHEMATICS IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST
    http://star-www.dur.ac.uk/~jms/UOS/Preview/index.html
  
(4) IMPACTS FROM SPACE: PAST, PRSENT AND FUTURE (ST LEONARD'S COLLEGE
LECTURE)
    Graham Richard Pointer <grp1@st-andrews.ac.uk>

(5) NEW PHASE TRANSITION MAY EXPLAIN DEEP EARTHQUAKES
    Scientific American 2 May 2001

(6) FUTURE COULD BRING CONSTELLATIONS OF SPACE EXPLORATION TELESCOPES
    Florida Today, 3 May 2001

(7) RE: "SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT NASA AND NEOs"
    David Morrison <dmorrison@arc.nasa.gov>

(8) FEATHERED DROMAEOSAUR MAY NOT BE A DINOSAUR
    Robert Clements <Robert.Clements@dva.gov.au>


==========
(1) COMET C/2001 A2 LINEAR SPLITS IN TWO

From SpaceWeather.com <spaceweather@lists.spaceweather.com>

Space Weather News for May 2, 2001
http://www.spaceweather.com

Yesterday astronomers reported that the nucleus of comet C/2001 A2 (LINEAR)
has apparently split in two. This icy visitor from the outer solar system is
growing in brightness as it approaches the Sun and could soon become a faint
naked-eye object.  Sky watchers with modest telescopes or binoculars can
spot the fuzzy fragmenting comet near the feet of Orion after sunset.  The
comet is rapidly gliding toward southern skies, so southern hemisphere
observers will enjoy the best views in the days and weeks ahead.

DOUBLE COMET: A group of astronomers using the 1.5-meter Catalina telescope
report that the nucleus of comet C/2001 A2 (LINEAR) has split into two
pieces. Only a week ago it appeared whole. The comet's brightness has soared
a hundred-fold since the end of March, probably because volatile ices in the
fragmenting nucleus are being newly exposed to solar radiation. At present,
the visual magnitude of the comet is near 6.3 -- just below naked eye
visibility. No one knows how much the comet will brighten as it heads for a
0.78 AU close encounter with the Sun on May 24th. This week, southern sky
watchers with modest telescopes or binoculars can spot the fuzzy,
fragmenting snowball from the outer solar system near the feet of Orion
after sunset. See: [3D orbit][ephemeris]

=======
(2) COMET LINEAR SPLITS IN TWO

From NearEarth.Net, 2 May 2001
http://www.nearearth.net/

Posted on 5/2/01 | from Charles Morris
 
The unexpected increase in brightness of C/2001 A2 (LINEAR) is apparently
due to the break-up of the nucleus. IAU Circular 7616 (May 1,2001) reports
that C. W. Hergenrother, M. Chamberlain, and Y. Chamberlain, Lunar and
Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, have taken images with the
Catalina 1.54-m reflector on April 30 that show two components to the
nucleus. Previous images on April 24 showed only a single nucleus. The two
components are of nearly equal brightness, 3.5" apart and aligned on an
east-west line. This comet should be monitored closely for other unusual
activity. 

============
(3) UNDER ONE SKY: ASTRONOMY & MATHEMATICS IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST

From http://star-www.dur.ac.uk/~jms/UOS/Preview/index.html
  
Archaeologically recovered  materials from Egypt and Mesopotamia  provide
the earliest written sources of astronomy and mathematics known to us today.
They reveal that already by the early second  millennium BC  advanced
mathematical  techniques  had been developed  to solve both practical  and
abstract problems.  In the  first millennium BC,  Babylonian astronomers
used developments of these mathematical methods  to calculate  planetary
and lunar phenomena such as the dates of the first and last visibilities of
the planets, and eclipses of the sun and moon.
This conference  will provide a forum  for the presentation and  discussion
of recent work on the history of astronomy  and mathematics in the Ancient
Near East.  In addition to technical discussions of the methods of  the
ancient science,  sessions of  the conference will  be devoted  to ex-
ploring the relationship  between astronomy and celestial divination,  the
role of astronomy in establishing absolute chronologies,  and the legacy
of Ancient Near Eastern science in neighbouring cultures.

The conference is supported by a grant from the British Academy.
 
General Information
 
Date and Location
 
The conference will be held in the Stevenson Lecture Theatre in the Clore
Education Centre at the British Museum on 25-27 June 2001
 
Languages
 
The main language of the conference will be English, but speakers should
feel free to use their native tongue if they prefer.
 
Registration
 
The registration fee for the conference will be about £20. Registration will
begin in April.  Details of how to register will be posted here shortly.
 
Programme
 
25 June 
 
10:00-10:15 Arrival and Registration
10:15-10:45 Welcome and Introduction
10:45-11:15 N. A. Roughton: A Study of Normal Star Almanacs and
Observational Texts from Babylon
11:15-11:30 T. de Jong: Early Babylonian Observations of Saturn:
Astronomical Considerations
11:30-12:00 Break
12:00-12:30 F. R. Stephenson: The Measurement of Angles in Babylonian
Astronomy
12:30-12:45 C. Williams: Signs from the Sky. Signs from the Earth. The
Diviner's Manual Revisited
12:45-13:00 D. Lehoux: Historicity of Astral Omens
13:00-13:45 Lunch
13:45-14:15 F. Rochberg: The Astronomical Contents of Enuma Anu Enlil 1-13 
14:15-14:30 L. Verderame: Enuma Anu Enlil 1-13
14:30-14:45 M. C. Casaburi: Calendrical lunar phenomena
14:45-15:15 E. Reiner: Characteristic Attributes of Stars and Planets in
Enuma Anu Enlil 
15:15-15:45 Break
15:45-16:15 U. Koch-Westenholz: Making Sense: A Comparison Between the
Working Methods of the Astrologer and the Diviner 
16:15-16:45 F. Hoffmann: Measuring Egyptian Statues 
16:45-17:15 E. Robson: More than Metrology: Evidence for Maths Education
from an Old Babylonian School House 
 
26 June 
 
10:00-10:15 Arrival and Registration
10:15-10:45 K. R. Nemet-Nejat: History of Mesopotamian Mathematics: An
Update 
10:45-11:15 J. Høyrup: The Apparent Absence of a Culture of Mathematical
Problems in Ur III 
11:15-11:30 D. Melville: Mathematics in Suruppak 
11:30-12:00 Break
12:00-12:30 A. Imhausen: The Structure of the Egyptian Mathematical Problem
Texts 
12:30-13:00 J. Ritter: title forthcoming 
13:00-13:45 Lunch
13:45-14:15 J. Quack: A Goddess Rising 10.000 Cubits into the Sky ... or
only 1 Cubit, 1 Digit? 
14:15-14:45 K. Locher: Traces of Astral Divination in pre-Hellenistic
Egyptian Texts 
14:45-15:15 A. von Lieven: An Astrological Passage in the Pistis Sophia 
15:15-15:45 Break
15:45-16:15 R. Krauss: The 'Eye of Horus' and the Planet Venus: Astronomical
and Mythological References 
16:15-16:30 S. Symons: The "Transit Star Clock" in the Book of Nut
16:30-16:45 K. Spence: Astronomical Orientation in Old Kingdom Egypt and its
Chronological Implications
16:45-17:15 A. Jones: What the Greeks Thought they knew about Babylonian
Astronomy 
 
27 June 
 
10:00-10:15 Arrival and Registration
10:15-10:45 J. M. Steele: The Practice of Astronomy in Seleucid Uruk
10:45-11:15 J. P. Britton: Solstices, Equinoxes and Related Phenomena:
Theoretical Schemes from Cuneiform Sources 
11:15-11:30 D. Rawlins: Aristarchos and the Babylonian Month 
11:30-12:00 Break
12:00-12:30 A. Aaboe: Yet Another Inconsistency in Lunar System B
12:30-13:00 L. Brack-Bernsen: Babylonian Methods for Predicting Lunar
Phenomena 
13:00-13:45 Lunch
13:45-14:15 A. Spalinger: Egyptian Festivals and Dating. Useful or
Indeterminant Data? 
14:15-14:45 R. Wells: On the Fallacy of Using 'Modern' Astronomical
Techniques for Ancient Near Eastern Dating 
14:45-15:00 M. Gerber, J Donatowicz and G Grasshoff: Too Much Regularity?
Observational Criteria for Intercalation Before 539 
15:00-15:15 R. Bremner: Stellar Lore - A Pre-historic Link between
Mesopotamia and Egypt? 
15:15-15:45 Break
15:45-16:15 J. Oelsner: Überlegungen zur Rolle von Mathematik und Astronomie
in der spätbabylonischen Kultur 
16:15-16:30 B. Schaefer: The Accuracy of Absolute Chronologies Throughout
the Middle East from Astronomical Records (to be confirmed)
16:30-17:00 L. Depuydt: The Role of Ancient Astronomy in the Study of
Ancient Chronology
17:00-17:15 Closing remarks
 
Contacts
 
John Steele
Department of Physics, University of Durham, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE,
England
Email j.m.steele@durham.ac.uk

Annette Imhausen 
Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, MIT E56-100, 38
Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Email aimhausen@dibinst.mit.edu

Christopher Walker
Department of the Ancient Near East, The British Museum, London, WC1B 3DG,
England
Email c.walker@british-museum.ac.uk

=========
(4) IMPACTS FROM SPACE: PAST, PRSENT AND FUTURE (ST LEONARD'S COLLEGE
LECTURE)

From Graham Richard Pointer <grp1@st-andrews.ac.uk>

Just in case anyone is up in Scotland next Friday...

Graham

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 02 May 2001 14:05:54 +0100
From: Postgraduate Office <pgoffice@st-andrews.ac.uk>
To: pgoffice-list@st-andrews.ac.uk
Subject: St Leonard's College Lecture

Sir Crispin Tickell - Chancellor of the University of Kent at Canterbury and
member of the government task force on potentially hazardous near earth
objects will deliver the St Leonard's College Lecture 'Impact from Space:
Past, Present and Future' in School III, St Salvator's Quadrangle, on
Friday, 11th May 2001 at 5.15 p.m. The Vice-Principal and Provost will
take the Chair. The Lecture, which will be illustrated, is open to the
public and all are welcome.

Susan Beaumont
Secretary, St. Leonard's College

Tel: 01334 462135
Fax: 01334 463388

=========
(5) NEW PHASE TRANSITION MAY EXPLAIN DEEP EARTHQUAKES

From Scientific American 2 May 2001
http://www.sciam.com/news/050201/1.html

It's time to revise solid-state physics textbooks, according to a report in
this week's issue of the Physical Review Letters. Scientists from the
Brookhaven National Laboratory and the State University of New York at Stony
Brook have discovered a third mechanism by which materials change phase. In
addition to diffusional transformations-the sort that turn graphite into
diamonds-and diffusionless transformations, the books will now have to
include what have been christened pseudomartensitic transitions.

Stony Brook professor Jiuhua Chen led the team that made the discovery,
using a state-of-the-art high-pressure x-ray diffraction system they
developed over the past few years. The group studied how olivine, the most
abundant mineral in the earth's upper mantle, transforms under pressure to
become a more dense form called spinel. They found that substructures in the
material could transform by a diffusionless mechanism, while the rest of the
atoms underwent short-range diffusion transformations. Because such shifts
in olivine change the structure of earth's subducted lithosphere, the new
phase transition mechanism could help explain the origins of some deep
earthquakes. -Kristin Leutwyler

FURTHER READING:

Solving the Paradox of Deep Earthquakes, by Harry Green, Scientific
American, September 1994. Available for purchase at the Scientific American
Archive.

Copyright 2001, Scientific American

========
(6) FUTURE COULD BRING CONSTELLATIONS OF SPACE EXPLORATION TELESCOPES

From Florida Today, 3 May 2001
http://www.floridatoday.com/news/space/stories/2001a/may/spa050301b.htm

By Steven Siceloff
FLORIDA TODAY

CAPE CANAVERAL - The days of the one-piece observatories such as Hubble
Space Telescope orbiting Earth may be numbered.

In their place will be several satellites flying in precise formation
creating in effect space telescopes much larger than any that could be
launched on a rocket.

The approach could also be cheaper, said Jonathan McDowell, an
astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, because
the cheaper and upgradable sensors can be housed on one satellite that can
be replaced.

The larger and vastly more expensive mirrors and other equipment would be on
a separate satellite that can remain operational longer.

The first test of such as system is planned for 2005 in a system called
Starlight, McDowell said. There won't be much science from it, but the
satellites will use lasers to align themselves and stay lined up.

Later, a project called Darwin hopes to electronically link as many as seven
satellites in a constellation that may spot Earth-size planets orbiting
other stars.

Why go through the trouble?

McDowell said it is because conventional telescopes such as Hubble and the
Chandra X-ray telescope launched in 1999 are not large enough to find
everything that's out there.

"Chandra is a great telescope, but it's tiny," McDowell told the Space
Congress on Wednesday. "Never mind that is took up nearly the entire shuttle
cargo bay."

The only choice is to build larger rockets that are very expensive, or
develop new designs like multi-satellite constellations.

The Hubble's mirror is about 15 feet in diameter. A large set of satellites
could create a virtual mirror many times that size, with sensors and
computers turning the mosaic into a single detailed picture.

The telescopes also will likely move further away from Earth orbit,
positioning themselves just beyond the moon where the sun's and Earth's
gravity create a tide that hold objects in place.

Telescopes that analyze the universe through radio waves could find a good
home on the far side of the moon where interference from Earth would be
reduced.

The point of the effort is to find Earth-like planets, and to see the first
galaxies born in the universe.

McDowell set out a series of scientific goals for the next 50 years,
including:

Exploring fundamental physics principles.
Mapping the big bang and galaxy formation.
Studying gravity's effects on light and time, mainly around black holes.
Evaluating supermassive black holes.

As shown in the last 40 years, the knowledge and technology change so fast
that "I can guarantee this list is wrong," McDowell joked.

Whatever projects are chosen and developed, the group building them will
almost certainly be international, experts agreed.

JoAnn Morgan, Kennedy Space Center's External Affairs manager, said the
trend is toward more nations working on single projects.

NASA's first international effort was an American/English satellite launched
in 1962, she said.

"(Back then) there were people who spoke with accents, but they were mostly
from Alabama," Morgan said.

Now, NASA has about 3,000 agreements with 130-150 nations and international
organizations.

Copyright 2001, Floria Today

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

(7) RE: "SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT NASA AND NEOs"

From David Morrison <dmorrison@arc.nasa.gov>

Benny:

I normally do not comment on the many discussions about NEOs and the impact
hazard that are presented in CCNet, but this once I believe I should. Ed
Grondine's version of history expressed by him at length in CCNet for 2 May
is so grossly inaccurate that this fact should be noted. As someone who has
been a major participant throughout the period he discusses, I believe I
should say for the record that Mr. Grondine's creative story is basically
fiction, from beginning to
end. Perhaps this is what is meant by his very apt title, "SOME COMMON
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT NASA AND NEOs".

David Morrison

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

David Morrison, NASA Ames Research Center
Tel 650 604 5094; Fax 650 604 1165
david.morrison@arc.nasa.gov or dmorrison@arc.nasa.gov
website: http://space.arc.nasa.gov
website: http://astrobiology.arc.nasa.gov
website: http://impact.arc.nasa.gov

=========
(8) FEATHERED DROMAEOSAUR MAY NOT BE A DINOSAUR

From Robert Clements <Robert.Clements@dva.gov.au>

There's a much simpler explanation of the feathered dromaeosaur; & that is
that it isn't a dinosaur: it's a bird which returned to the ground
(originally as a small predator) & used the avian advantages of body
temperature regulation & possibility greater intelligence to grown into a
major ecological threat. The BCF (Birds Came First) theory - which i
stumbled on while researching other things - is hated by mainstream
palaeontologists as much as the impactor extinction theory is; but like the
impactor theory, it seems to reflect the evidence much better than the
preferred hypothesis: not only do all the feathered dinosaurs postdate the
first birds, they start appearing when birds are pushing pterosaurs out of
the fossil records & are clearly starting to dominate the skies. We also
have postMesozoic egs of birds returning to the land to start attacking
terrestrial critters; including Australia's own carnivous ducks.

The problem with this theory in the context that Dr Crouch raises is is that
it says nothing whatsoever about how flight evolved: the dromaeosaur has
lost flight to become big; & is not in the process of gaining it....

All the best,
Robert Clements <Robert.Clements@dva.gov.au>
endeavour2 project <http://www.geocities.com/robtclements/endeavour2.html>

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