Volume 13 –September 16, 2009
In 1891 Seth Carlo Chandler discovered a small motion in the Earth's axis of rotation, a motion we call the Chandler wobble, today. The Chandler wobble is an example of the kind of motion that can occur for a spinning object that is not a sphere.
"The Earth rotates about its axis once a day, but does not do so uniformly. Instead, the rate of rotation fluctuates by up to a millisecond per day, and the Earth wobbles as it rotates. Much like the wobble of an unbalanced automobile tire, the Earth wobbles because the mass of the Earth is not balanced about its rotation axis." , as explains Richard Gross in his paper.
To measure the wobble, the International Latitude Observatories were established in 1899. today the monitoring is done by the International Earth Rotation Service. According to the observations, the wobble's amplitude has varied since its discovery. These variations had remained unexplained for about a century. On July 18th, 2000, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that the fluctuating pressure on the bottom of the ocean seems to be the main cause of the Chandler wobble.
However there is more mystery to the wobble than these fluctuations. An analysis of data from the past 160 years, shows 3 occasions of sudden and significant changes in the wobble. In the years 1830, 1920, and 2005 the wobble had a phase change of 180 degrees which seems to remain unexplained.
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The Ansari X PRIZE Story
October 4, 2009 marks the 5th Anniversary of the Ansari X PRIZE winning flight of SpaceShipOne, which launched the beginning of a new era in which private human space flight became a reality. The X PRIZE Foundation is commemorating this incredible accomplishment by telling the personal stories of the visionaries and heroes who made it all possible, as well as the transformative impact these individuals had on lives around the globe through a 6 part blog series which posts over the next few weeks on The Huffington Post, Next Prize, and Launch Pad.
Guest bloggers include: Anousheh Ansari, Will Whitehorn, Lori Garver, Brian Binnie, Dumitru Popescu. To tune in and read the remarkable story of the Ansari X PRIZE, please visit:
The NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program
As of September 1st, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has started accepting online applications for their Aeronautics Scholarship Program (AS).
This program aims to offer the future research leaders of the country funding and internships at a NASA research Center.
ASP has applications for both graduate and undergraduate students. For more information please visit:
Delivering on the Promise of Spaceflight for Mankind
ISPCS (International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight) is the industries' leading gathering of professionals coming together to grow the next phase of space commercialization.
It features information sessions, networking opportunities and provides attendees with the latest news, topics, trends, and best practices that demonstrate personal and commercial spaceflight is a reality. It will be held on October 21 and 22, 2009 in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. For more information and/or register for the symposium, please visit:
Just in case you missed it, here is a link to the images captured by a fully rejuvenated Hubble telescope, among them the Butterfly Nebula shown above: