JPL/ Marswatch Electronic Newsletter - October 1996

From: Majordomo Account <> (by way of Jan Wee <>)
Subject: JPL/ Marswatch Electronic Newsletter - October 1996
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 1996 09:15:12 -0600

FYI --

Jan Wee

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             Volume 2; Issue 3 (file imw.nov96)
                      October 1996
                    Circulation: 315

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-  Latest Images of Mars Downloaded to MarsWatch!
-  HST Press Release Images of Martian Polar Dust Storms
-  First HST Images of Mars Pathfinder landing site
-  Mars Pathfinder on Schedule for a December Launch
-  Mars Global Surveyor Successfully Launched
-  Mars '96 Launch on Schedule
-  Observatory Techniques Magazine's "MarsQuest" joins Marswatch 
-  Next HST images scheduled; Groundbased supporting images 
-  Reminder about Marswatch-related WWW pages and addresses

Latest Images of Mars Downloaded to MarsWatch
The latest and fifth series of images taken by Don Parker of 
Coral Gables, Flordia have been downloaded.  These amazing images 
were acquired  on November 8th using a Lynxx PC camera mounted on 
a 16-in Newtonian telescope.  These images can be found at:

HST Press Release Images of Martian Polar Dust Storms
Spectacular new images from HST showing two polar dust storms 
have just been released by Phil James' HST Mars observing team 
and the Space Telescope Science Institute. This image and the 
press release text can be found at:

This is the first time that small storms like these have been 
unequivocally observed near the receding north polar cap [Amateur 
observers: is this really true?]. Analysis and interpretation of 
these events would be greatly aided by any supporting groundbased 
data taken around the same dates.  If you have any supporting 
observations, please submit them to the ftp archive!

First HST Images of Mars Pathfinder landing site
HST obtained its first views during this apparition of the 
Pathfinder landing site region on October 9. The images and all 
subsequent update images (as Mars increases in apparent angular 
diameter) can be found at:

Mars Pathfinder on Schedule for a December Launch
Mars Pathfinder is on schedule for a December 2, 1996 launch.  
The spacecraft has been buckled up, enclosed within its aeroshell 
and heatshield, combined with the cruise stage, fueled, spin 
balanced, tested, and is now ready to be mated with the
Delta II launch vehicle.  Last week we successfully completed a 
major Operations Readiness Test and everything is on schedule.  
MPF has created a Mars "sandbox" in the mission operation area to 
test the instruments and software for the lander.  We have 
included a live camera feed, and this can be viewed on the 
following website:

Mars Global Surveyor Successfully Launched!
MGS was launched from Cape Canaveral at 12:00:50 EST on November 
7, and all indications are that the spacecraft is healthy and 
proceeding normally on course to an encounter with Mars next 
September. One of the solar arrays stopped about 20 degrees short 
of full deployment, but mission personnel do not see this as a 
threat to the mission and efforts are underway to resolve this 
minor anomaly.

You can follow the details of the MGS cruise to Mars at:

This is a very successful start to (at least) a decade-long 
program of intense Mars exploration!

Mars '96 Launch on Schedule
The Russian Mars-96 spacecraft continues on schedule for a launch
on November 16 at 20:48 UT, on a Proton rocket from the Baikonur
launch site in Kazakhstan.  You can follow the countdown and 
mission progress on the WWW via:

Observatory Techniques Magazine's "MarsQuest" joins MarsWatch 
>From Mike Otis, editor of Observatory Techniques Magazine:

Observatory Techniques Magazine is merging its own MarsQuest with
MarsWatch. The combination will allow members of either group to 
enjoy the benefits of both! You can post your latest mars images 
to the electronic web site via MarsWatch, then have your 
collection of images, observations, and results published in
Observatory Techniques Magazine!

Observatory Techniques is a quarterly magazine published by 
amateur astronomers about astronomy, observatories, fantastic 
projects, and new research. It covers the entire range of 
astronomy including "How to Build" projects. The magazine is
library-classified as unique research. It's also heavy into CCDs, 
imaging, and sky projects. We are moving into our 6th year of 
publishing and preparing issue #20.

More exciting things are planned for 1997, including the 
introduction of color, and a full merge with Modern Astronomy to 
support our rapid expansion. Observatory Techniques subscribers 
will also have free access to our new on-line robotic telescope, 
accessible through the Internet and CompuServe, once it is in
full operation. We will print updates about the progress in 
Observatory Techniques.

To learn about Observatory Techniques magazine, visit the web 
site at:

For questions about Observatory Techniques, email the 
editor/publisher Mike Otis at

Next series of HST Mars Images Scheduled
HST will next observe Mars on November 29, between 17:58:55 and 
18:44:35 UT (this is 12:58 to 13:44 U.S. Eastern Standard Time).  
The best chance for simultaneous groundbased observations will be 
from Australia, Japan, and the Far East.  The images will be 
obtained using 9 filters from the UV to the near-IR and are 
designed to provide imaging of the Tharsis/Olympus Mons
hemisphere. Groundbased observations of Mars before and after 
this time period may help to determine how the polar dust storm 
events (see images above) are evolving with time. If you are able 
to observe Mars during this time period, please submit your 
observations to the MarsWatch ftp archive. You can find out
how to do this at URL:

MarsWatch Web Sites
Just a reminder about some of the other URLs that you can link to 
in order to find more information and background on the MarsWatch 

Main 1996-97 MarsWatch Web site:

Goals and Outline of the 1996-97 MarsWatch Project:

HST Observations and MarsWatch:

1994-95 HST Mars image archive:

1994-95 MarsNet Web site:


Jim Bell and Bob Anderson

Editors, IMW Newsletter