by Jim Nintzel
You've only got a few hours left to reserve a spot on Mount Lemmon to meet the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab crew on Saturday, May 22. Details from LPL:
On Saturday, May 22, 2010, the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) is hosting a public open-day at the Catalina Observatories, located on the summit of Mt. Lemmon, from noon to 6 p.m. This is one of several special events held throughout this year
in recognition of LPL's 50th anniversary.
To sign up, visit http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/forms/openday/ or call 520-621-2828. Space is limited and reservations close on May 14 or when capacity is reached.
In addition to tours of the Mt. Lemmon telescopes, there will be hands-on displays of meteorites, exhibits depicting the development of astronomy in the Catalinas, the latest images from the UA HiRISE camera currently orbiting Mars, and solar viewing demonstrations. Because Mt. Lemmon is also an important natural laboratory, the open-day will include talks and demonstrations from the Arizona Geological Survey, the UA Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, and the Hummingbird Monitoring Network. There will even be something for history buffs, with a guided walking tour of the defunct Air Force Station, hosted by a veteran radar officer.
"This is a rare opportunity for Tucsonans to escape the onset of summer heat and see what goes on almost every clear night just a few miles north and thousands of feet above the city," said Ed Beshore, director of the Catalina Sky Survey (http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/css/) and one of the event's organizers. "Attendees will see demonstrations of the Catalina Sky Survey's operations, but will also get a chance to experience the wonderful natural laboratory we have here."
In case you're curious: HiRISE team member Nicolas Thomas tells us about the above image of Mars:
This image of Utopia Planitia shows some deformed craters. The crater rims are not round but elliptical and even angular.
The region is interesting because there are surface features (e.g., polygonal cracks) which suggest that water ice is close to the surface. A good example is just to the south of the featured image here. Other craters in the area appear old and eroded. Many are filled with material which could contain quantities of water ice. Were these deformed craters the result of an oblique impact or were they deformed afterwards by an as-yet unknown process?