NASA Telescope Sees Light from Alien Super-Earth

cancriNASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected light emanating from a "super-Earth" beyond our solar system for the first time. While the planet is not habitable, the detection is a historic step toward the eventual search for signs of life on other planets.

The planet, called 55 Cancri e, falls into a class of planets termed super Earths, which are more massive than our home world but lighter than giant planets like Neptune. The planet is about twice as big and eight times as massive as Earth. It orbits a bright star, called 55 Cancri, in a mere 18 hours.

The 55 Cancri system is relatively close to Earth, at 41 light-years away. It has five planets, with 55 Cancri e the closest to the star and tidally locked, so one side always faces the star. Spitzer discovered the sun-facing side is extremely hot, indicating the planet probably does not have a substantial atmosphere to carry the sun's heat to the unlit side.

Hubble using Moon as mirror to see Venus

MoonMirrorMottled landscape showing the impact crater Tycho is among the most violent-looking places on our moon. Astronomers didn't aim NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to study Tycho, however. The image was taken in preparation to observe the transit of Venus across the sun's face on June 5-6.

Hubble cannot look at the sun directly, so astronomers are planning to point the telescope at the Earth's moon, using it as a mirror to capture reflected sunlight and isolate the small fraction of the light that passes through Venus's atmosphere. Imprinted on that small amount of light are the fingerprints of the planet’s atmospheric makeup.

This image, taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, reveals lunar features as small as roughly 560 feet (170 m) across. The large "bulls-eye" near the top of the picture is the impact crater, caused by an asteroid strike about 100 million years ago. The bright trails radiating from the crater were formed by material ejected from the impact area during the asteroid collision. Tycho is about 50 miles (80 km) wide and is circled by a rim of material rising almost 3 miles (5 km) above the crater floor. The image measures 430 miles (700 km) across, which is slightly larger than New Mexico.

MQ0OXO now on LOTW

queen-640MQ0OXO log, (currently with 700 qso's), now uploaded to ARRL LOTW. Please advise if you have any problems with your Qso's not being verified.

Email me with enquiries This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

'Q' callsigns make their debut...

MQ0OXOThe long awaited 'Q' Callsigns made their debut on the bands today.

'MQ0OXO' fired up at 0535 local on 17M RTTY. The first station in the Log was Gen JA3WLN from Osaka, Japan. This was followed by a small pile of JA and BY stations, with 28 JA logged after an hour or so. DX was sporadic with the propagation but between 17 and 15m (SSB & RTTY) 300 q's logged before I closed down when the ARI contest started.

UK Stations have been granted the facility to mark 60 years of The Queen's reign (the Diamond Jubilee) by adding the letter 'Q' to their Callsigns for a 5 week period. MQ0OXO will be active all modes between 05th May and 10th June 2012.  More info;

7O6T - Update & Political Issues?

logoWell this operation is turning out to have some potential issues surrounding Ham Radio, their respective licences and legitimacy.

Apparently, the 7O6T team has received strict orders not to work 4X/4Z stations from Israel. This was part of the licence conditions. This is turning out to be an interesting thread/topic. have a look here at Qrz.Com, it makes some interesting albeit disturbing issues as far as Ham radio is concerned.

7O6T Qrv

logo7O6T are now qrv from Socotra Island (IOTA AF-028; CQ Zone 37), Yemen.

Well it was a rare one for me, in fact an all time new one. I camped out on 15m and called at various places on the band......for 3 hours....and not a knock, the pile-ups were immense. Finally I gave in, totally fed up. I qsy'd to 12M CW and worked them after about 5 minutes, amazing!

Socotra - is a small archipelago of four islands. It lies 240 kilometers east of Horn of Africa and 380 kilometers south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island recognized by the UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage site and Environmental Heritage

Socotra is considered the jewel of biodiversity in the Arabian Sea. Isolation of Socotra archipelago and its fierce heat and drought have combined to create a unique and spectacular endemic flora. 37 percent of plant species on Socotra are found nowhere else on Earth. The entire flora of the Socotra Archipelago has been assessed for the IUCN Red List

Socotra is one of the most isolated landforms on Earth of continental origin.

Socotra is a part of Hadhramaut Governorate, Republic of Yemen. 7O6T-e1335720157134

YJ0VK - Vanuata logged on RTTY

indexYJ0VK had a great signal yesterday and of course the pile-up matched it.

I set out to try and work them on 15m RTTY and successfully logged them after about 10 minutes calling.

It was only the second 'qso' with this team so happy to log them for a new slot.

JY9ET now Qrv


Paolo JY9ET is now QRV from Amman, Jordan.

He is using a Hi-Gain vertical Antenna for the moment and running barefoot. Paolo is very active in his spare time so please listen out for him.

Qsl cards are in the process of being designed, make your request for Direct or Bureau via M0OXO

'Dreamlifter' in at Manchester

The Boeing 747 Dreamlifter (formerly Large Cargo Freighter or LCF) is a wide-body cargo aircraft arrived and yesterday it arrived at Manchester Airport. n780ba-002

Cargo is placed in the aircraft by the world's longest cargo loader. Constructed by drastic modifications to an existing Boeing 747-400, it is used exclusively for transporting 787 aircraft parts to Boeing's assembly plants from suppliers around the world. Boeing Commercial Airplanes announced on October 13, 2003 that, due to the length of time required by land and marine shipping, air transport will be the primary method of transporting parts for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (then known as the 7E7). Initially, three used passenger 747-400 aircraft were to be converted into an outsize configuration in order to ferry sub-assemblies from Japan and Italy to North Charleston, South Carolina and then to Washington for final assembly, but a fourth was subsequently 800px-Boeing 747-400LCF Dreamlifteradded to the program.

The Large Cargo Freighter has a bulging fuselage similar in concept to the Super Guppy and Airbus A300-600ST Beluga outsize cargo aircraft, which are also used for transporting wings and fuselage sections. It can hold three times the volume of a 747-400F freighter. The 747 LCF main cargo compartment has a volume of 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 cubic meters). Of the four 747 Dreamlifters Boeing planned to acquire, three were complete and operational by June 2008, and the fourth became operational in February 2010.

Crescent Moon Alert!

When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west into the twilight and you may see something similar to this image. crescent strip

The slender crescent will be beaming through the twilight for the next few evenings.

This evening however, Tuesday 24th April, it will glide by Venus for a spectacular sunset conjunction.

You will also be able to see Jupiter (shown beneath the bridge in this image).

Don't miss it!

WFF - GFF up for grabs....

Hi All, It may have filtered through by now but if not, just a quick note to say that I have withdrawn from GFF representative of WFF.
wfflogoFor a few reasons I made the decision and last week dropped WFF HQ an email to inform them. I hope the new Committee that has been formed makes some serious changes to many things within WFF not least the hierarchy at the top who continue to make decisions without consulting the WFF group as a whole. This can only get better.
Max IK1GPG and Betty IK1QFM have been friends of mine for many years and I wish them success with their new project which I am sure will benefit all of the WFF community as a whole.
I have left some of the information on my website and it will stay there in the short term at least. Can I ask that if you have any logs that require sending for the Database then please send them Direct via the links on their website to WFF HQ pending any advice to the contrary from them.
Thanks to all of you who have supported me over the last few years as your help, activations and advice were most appreciated.
73 for now


Dindo DV1UD logs are now uploaded to ARRL LOTW. Dindo is very active on the bands from Luzon island, Philippines IOTA OC-042. here are a few lines from him;

''I like CW, followed by digital modes and SSB. For contest I use N1MM logger, indexand DXLab suite for general logging. Ham Radio is one of my most satisfying hobby. I get to know people around the world, sometimes whose names I can't even pronounce. I get to talk to strangers from countries I didn't even heard of before. Thank you very much. 73 and mabuhay (long live) from the Philippines.''

If you hear Dindo on the bands then be sure to give him a call. Qsl Cards can be requested by other ways, see here for the details. Any queries regarding his LOTW qso's pls drop me a line (contact M0OXO)

Spectacular Explosion...

Magnetic fields on the sun's northeastern limb erupted around 17:45 UT on 16th April,
producing one of the most visually-spectacular explosions in years.


QRZCQ - New Callsign Database launched....

Check out the new Callsign database and Lookup facility.
QRZCQ seems a very good system with most information available as on other sites.


April is the cruelest Month - NASA

oxo_tornadioYou might agree if you live in the southeastern United States.

Last April, a historic outburst of 202 tornadoes turned broad swaths of that part of the country into a disaster zone. "The event of April 27th and 28th 2011 was the costliest convective storm in U.S. history," said Kevin Knupp, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. And he doesn't just mean costly in terms of property damage -- 316 people lost their lives.

Of the 202 twisters that day, 62 tore through Alabama (Photo above/left) where Knupp works. Ten of them were ranked EF 4 and 5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.  Three tornadoes churned paths more than 120 miles long, and a large number of the twisters cut swaths more than a half mile wide (Image below). Knupp saw the results first-hand, and he’s been studying them ever since. Aided by a team of graduate students and colleagues, he’s sifted through gigabytes of data1 collected by NASA and NOAA satellites and local ground sensors.   A year later, they have drawn some interesting conclusions.

One discovery was how rapidly an EF-5 spun up near the small town of Hackleburg, Alabama.
"The Hackleburg storm got its act together really quickly," says Knupp.  This particular twister formed only 50 minutes after the underlying thunderstorm appeared. For comparison, the average time for tornado formation is 2 hours. The twister blasted through north Alabama with winds over 200 mph, killing 72 people.

Knupp’s team believes that something called a "thermal boundary" set the stage for the birth of the killer. routeCool, moist air on one side of the boundary formed a low cloud base –“kind of like a wall,” he explains.  Warm air from the storm ran into the wall and swept upward. Updrafts are a key ingredient of tornadoes.  In this case, updrafts as swift as 75 feet per second were recorded.

They also noticed that many of the tornadoes seemed to cluster in space and time.  Knupp offers the example of Arab and Guntersville, neighboring communities not far from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center: "16 tornadoes touched down in the area -- 13 of them in a half hour period."

DV1UD Qsl Cards at Printshop..

DV1UDQsl Cards for Dindo DV1UD are now at the UX5UO Print Shop.

I expect the cards to be a few weeks before they arrive but as soon as they are, Direct/OQRS will be processed within a few hours and bureau cards will follow.

Thanks for you patience guys es GL to Dindo!

Venus Invades the Pleiades

venusWatch out Seven Sisters, Venus is coming !!
This week the second planet from the sun will pass directly in front of the Pleiades star cluster. It's a rare sunset conjunction that's easy to find with the unaided eye, but best seen through binoculars or a small telescope.

The action begins on Monday evening, 2nd April, when Venus enters the outskirts of the little dipper-shaped asterism. Look west at sunset for Venus--it's the brightest thing around--then scan the area using binoculars. The conjunction will be immediately clear. The best evening to look is tonight Tuesday, 3rd April, when the brilliant planet glides just south of the dipper's bowl. Venus exits by the handle on Wednesday, 4th April.  Venus passes through the Pleiades in this way about once every 8 years.

The Pleiades, also known as the "Seven Sisters," are a cluster of young stars. They formed barely 100 million years ago during the age of dinosaurs on Earth from a collapsing cloud of interstellar gas. The biggest and brightest members are blue-white and about five times wider than our own sun.

Because of their distance, about 400 light years away, the Pleiades are near the limit of naked-eye visibility. When Venus joins them in conjunction, it will look like a supernova has gone off inside the cluster. Venus's thick clouds reflect so much sunlight, the planet outshines every thing in the night sky except the Moon. Strangely, though, the Pleiades do not look puny in comparison, just delicately beautiful.

Look west just after sunset, and see for yourself.

Is it Snowing Microbes on Enceladus?

In a series of tantalizingly close flybys to one of Saturn's Moons, named "Enceladus," NASA's Cassini spacecraft has revealed watery jets erupting from what may be a vast underground sea.

These jets, which spew through cracks in the moon's icy shell, could lead back to a habitable zone that is uniquely accessible in all the solar system. Photo below shows dramatic plumes, both large and small, spraying water ice from many locations near the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus. More than 30 individual jets of different sizes can be seen in this image captured during a flyby of NASA's Cassini spacecraft. K1024_encl

Thermal measurements of Enceladus's fissures have revealed temperatures as high as -120 deg Fahrenheit (190 Kelvin). That adds all the heat up to 16 gigawatts of thermal energy that are coming out of those cracks. Now that the orbit's eccentricity has lessened, the heat emanating from the interior is a combination of heat produced today and in the past.  But since more heat is coming out presently than is being produced, Enceladus is in a cooling off stage and the liquid water is returning to ice.


London 2012 Olympic & Queen Diamond Jubilee Cards arrive from UX5UO

Qsl cards for the UK Special Events are now arriving from UX5UO Print Shop. The cards are for the Queens Diamond Jubilee and also for the Olympic Games, both events running this Summer in the UK.

Please have a look at the links and send me an email if you would like further advice on how to purchase cards from UX5UO service. Cards can be bought in smaller batches than normal and payment is easy via Cash, Paypal, Cheque or Bank Transfer to UK address (No Foreign Transfers or Bank Charges!). For Prices for all types of cards please scroll down this message.

Send your images or designs to either Gennady or myself and we will help as much as possible. Cards are usually 3 to 5 weeks from order and all prices below include delivery to any UK address.

Email me for further info at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MQ0KYIBasically the prices are:-
a) Two Colours Front 1000pcs £34.00GBP

b) Full colour Front (Matt) and B & W rear 1000pcs £49.00GBP
Smaller batches of ‘’b’’ are also available;
500 at £42.00
250 at £26.00
100 at £22.00

c) Full colour Front (Gloss) and B & W rear 1000pcs £55.00GBP
Smaller batches of ‘’c’’ are also available;
500 at £46.00
250 at £29.00
100 at £25.00

d) Full colour Front (Gloss) and Full colour rear (Matt) 1000pcs £69.00GBP

We have also a new range of cards that are single sided full
at £29.00GBP per 1000. I have no samples of these at
this stage.

Space observations of Mercury transits yield precise solar radius


The measurement was achieved by using the solar telescope aboard a NASA satellite, thereby bypassing the blurring caused by Earth’s atmosphere that occurs when observations are made from the ground.

A group of scientists from Hawaii, Brazil, and California has measured the diameter of the Sun with unprecedented accuracy by using a spacecraft to time the transits of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun in 2003 and 2006.

They measured the Sun’s radius as 432,687 miles (696,342 kilometers) with an uncertainty of only 40 miles (65km). This was achieved by using the solar telescope aboard a NASA satellite, thereby bypassing the blurring caused by Earth’s atmosphere that occurs when observations are made from the ground.

Marcelo Emilio (visiting from Ponta Grossa, Brazil), Jeff Kuhn, and Isabelle Scholl from the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy in collaboration with Rock Bush from Stanford University, California, made the measurements of the Sun’s size with the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) aboard NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

Transits of Mercury occur 12-13 times per century, so observations like this allow us to refine our understanding of the Sun’s inner structure and the connections between the Sun’s output and Earth’s climate.

The team is preparing to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun June 5. They expect these observations will improve the accuracy of their solar size measurement even furthe

Olympic Torch Relay - Street by Street

background-imageIn less than nine weeks the Olympic Flame arrives and starts its 70-day journey around the UK.

We can now reveal where it's going, when and who will be carrying it.

The Olympic Flame will come within 10 miles of 95% of people in the UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey. It will enable local communities to shine a light on the best their area has to offer including celebrations of local culture, breathtaking scenes and dynamic urban areas.

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