Posts Tagged ‘satellite’

Voyager 1 Has Left the Solar System

Voyager 1 appears to have at long last left our solar system and entered interstellar space, says a University of Maryland-led team of researchers

Voyager 1 appears to have at long last left our solar system and entered interstellar space, says a University of Maryland-led team of researchers. (Credit: NASA)


Carrying Earthly greetings on a gold plated phonograph record and still-operational scientific instruments — including the Low Energy Charged Particle detector designed, built and overseen, in part, by UMD’s Space Physics Group — NASA’s Voyager 1 has traveled farther from Earth than any other human-made object. And now, these researchers say, it has begun the first exploration of our galaxy beyond the Sun’s influence.

“It’s a somewhat controversial view, but we think Voyager has finally left the Solar System, and is truly beginning its travels through the Milky Way,” says UMD research scientist Marc Swisdak, lead author of a new paper published online this week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Swisdak and fellow plasma physicists James F. Drake, also of the University of Maryland, and Merav Opher of Boston University have constructed a model of the outer edge of the Solar System that fits recent observations, both expected and unexpected.

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NASA’s Cassini Sees Burp at Saturn After Large Storm

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

These red, orange and green clouds (false color) in Saturn's northern hemisphere indicate the tail end of a  massive storm

These red, orange and green clouds (false color) in Saturn’s northern hemisphere indicate the tail end of a massive storm that started in December 2010. Even after visible signs of the storm started to fade, infrared measurements continued to reveal powerful effects at work in Saturn’s stratosphere. Image credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
› Full image and caption

October 25, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has tracked the aftermath of a rare massive storm on Saturn. Data reveal record-setting disturbances in the planet’s upper atmosphere long after the visible signs of the storm abated, in addition to an indication the storm was more forceful than scientists previously thought.

Data from Cassini’s composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS) instrument revealed the storm’s powerful discharge sent the temperature in Saturn’s stratosphere soaring 150 degrees Fahrenheit (83 kelvins) above normal. At the same time, researchers at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Md., detected a huge increase in the amount of ethylene gas, the origin of which is a mystery. Ethylene, an odorless, colorless gas, isn’t typically observed on Saturn. On Earth, it is created by natural and man-made sources.

Goddard scientists describe the unprecedented belch of energy in a paper to be published in the Nov. 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

“This temperature spike is so extreme it’s almost unbelievable, especially in this part of Saturn’s atmosphere, which typically is very stable,” said Brigette Hesman, the study’s lead author and a University of Maryland scientist who works at Goddard. “To get a temperature change of the same scale on Earth, you’d be going from the depths of winter in Fairbanks, Alaska, to the height of summer in the Mojave Desert.”

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Saturn and Its Largest Moon Reflect Their True Colors

September 3, 2012 Leave a comment

ScienceDaily (Aug. 29, 2012) — Posing for portraits for NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, Saturn and its largest moon, Titan, show spectacular colors in a quartet of images being released today. One image captures the changing hues of Saturn’s northern and southern hemispheres as they pass from one season to the next.

Colorful Colossuses and Changing Hues: A giant of a moon appears before a giant of a planet undergoing seasonal changes in this natural color view of Titan and Saturn from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

A wide-angle view in today’s package captures Titan passing in front of Saturn, as well as the planet’s changing colors. Upon Cassini’s arrival at Saturn eight years ago, Saturn’s northern winter hemisphere was an azure blue. Now that winter is encroaching on the planet’s southern hemisphere and summer on the north, the color scheme is reversing: blue is tinting the southern atmosphere and is fading from the north.

The other three images depict the newly discovered south polar vortex in the atmosphere of Titan, reported recently by Cassini scientists. Cassini’s visible-light cameras have seen a concentration of yellowish haze in the detached haze layer at the south pole of Titan since at least March 27. Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer spotted the massing of clouds around the south pole as early as May 22 in infrared wavelengths. After a June 27 flyby of the moon, Cassini released a dramatic image and movie showing the vortex rotating faster than the moon’s rotation period. The four images being released today were acquired in May, June and July of 2012.

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Nasa’s Curiosity Mars rover seen in new satellite image

By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent

Mars rover on the surface

The MRO image shows the terrain around the rover (double blue/white dot) at its landing site within Gale Crater on Mars. The blue fans either side are rocket blast marks in the ground

Nasa has used its high-resolution imaging satellite at the Red Planet to look down on the Curiosity rover and acquire a new picture of the recently landed six-wheeled robot.

The vehicle appears as a double dot.

The view from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been colour enhanced to emphasise certain ground features.

These include the disturbance in the soil made either side of the vehicle by the rocket powered crane that lowered Curiosity into Gale Crater a week ago.

“We can clearly see Curiosity – it’s like two bright spots that we see, and their shadows. And then it’s surrounded by the blast pattern from the descent stage – those little blue fans right next to it (false colour blue),” explained Alfred McEwen, the principal investigator on MRO’s High Resolution Image Science Experiment (HiRise) camera.

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Scientist Discovers Plate Tectonics On Mars

ScienceDaily (Aug. 9, 2012) — For years, many scientists had thought that plate tectonics existed nowhere in our solar system but on Earth. Now, a UCLA scientist has discovered that the geological phenomenon, which involves the movement of huge crustal plates beneath a planet’s surface, also exists on Mars.

iew of central segment of Mars’ Valles Marineris, in which an older circular basin created by an impact is offset for about 93 miles (150 kilometers) by a fault. (Credit: Image from Google Mars created by MOLA Science Team)

“Mars is at a primitive stage of plate tectonics. It gives us a glimpse of how the early Earth may have looked and may help us understand how plate tectonics began on Earth,” said An Yin, a UCLA professor of Earth and space sciences and the sole author of the new research.

Yin made the discovery during his analysis of satellite images from a NASA spacecraft known as THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms) and from the HIRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. He analyzed about 100 satellite images — approximately a dozen were revealing of plate tectonics.

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Hubble sees the needle galaxy, edge-on and up close

July 16, 2012

Hubble sees the needle galaxy, edge-on and up close










Image credit: ESA/NASA

This image snapped by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals an exquisitely detailed view of part of the disc of the spiral galaxy NGC 4565. This bright galaxy is one of the most famous examples of an edge-on spiral galaxy, oriented perpendicularly to our line of sight so that we see right into its luminous disc. NGC 4565 has been nicknamed the Needle Galaxy because, when seen in full, it appears as a very narrow streak of light on the sky.

The edgewise view into the Needle Galaxy shown here looks very similar to the view we have from our into the core of the Milky Way. In both cases ribbons of dust block some of the light coming from the galactic disc. To the lower right, the dust stands in even starker contrast against the copious yellow light from the star-filled central regions. NGC 4565’s core is off camera to the lower right.

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Satellite Study of Asian Mountains Show That Glaciers Are Gaining New Ice, Not Melting

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

‘Huge glaciers in the area between Pakistan and China are puzzling scientists – and disproving the doom-laden predictions of some climate experts. The glaciers in the Karakoram Range between northern Pakistan and western China have actually grown, rather than shrinking.

Unlike most mountain glaciers, the Karakoram glaciers, which account for 3 percent of the total ice-covered area in the world, excluding Greenland and Antarctica, are not shrinking.’

Read more: Satellite Study of Asian Mountains Show That Glaciers Are Gaining New Ice, Not Melting


The unidentified object at the Bottom of the Baltic Sea Cuts off Electrical Equipment when Divers Get Within 200 Metres

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Related post reporting the discovery  of the object (July 4, 2011):

‘The divers exploring a ‘UFO-shaped’ object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea say their equipment stops working when they approach within 200m.

Professional diver Stefan Hogerborn, part of the Ocean X team which is exploring the anomaly, said some of the team’s cameras and the team’s satellite phone would refuse to work when directly above the object, and would only work once they had sailed away.

He is quoted as saying: ‘Anything electric out there – and the satellite phone as well – stopped working when we were above the object.’

Read more: UFO at the Bottom of the Baltic Sea Cuts off Electrical Equipment when Divers Get Within 200 Metres

ESPL: Dances of the Planets

June 19, 2012 2 comments

June 19, 2012

The planets in the heavens move in exquisite orbital patterns, dancing to the Music of the Cosmos.  There is more mathematical and geometric harmony than we realize.   The idea for this article is from a book Larry Pesavento shared with me.  The book, ‘A Little Book of Coincidence‘ by John Martineau, illustrates the orbital patterns and several of their geometrical relationships.  .

Take the orbits of any two planets and draw a line between the two planet positions every few days.  Because the inner planet orbits faster than the outer planet, interesting patterns evolve.  Each planetary pairing has its own unique dance rhythm.  For example, the Earth-Venus dance returns to the original starting position after eight Earth years.  Eight Earth years equals thirteen Venus years.  Note that 8 and 13 are members of the Fibonacci number series.

  • Earth:     8 years * 365.256 days/year  =  2,922.05 days                   
  • Venus:  13 years * 224.701 days/year  =  2,921.11 days (ie. 99.9%)

Watching the Earth-Venus dance for eight years creates this beautiful five-petal flower with the Sun at the center.  (5 is another Fibonacci number.)

Another intriguing fact is the ratio between the Earth’s outer orbit and Venus’s inner orbit is given by a square.

In the following dance patterns, the planet pairing is given and the number of orbits of the outer planet.  Enjoy these beautiful patterns.

Let me share with you other facts about cosmic harmony.  The radius of the Moon compared to the Earth is three to eleven, ie. 3:11.

  • Radius of Moon = 1,080 miles =  3 x 360
  • Radius of Earth  = 3,960 miles = 11 x 360 = 33 x 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5
  • Radius of Earth plus Radius of Moon = 5,040 miles = 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 = 7 x 8 x 9 x 10

The ratio 3:11 is 27.3 percent, and the orbit of the Moon takes 27.3 days.  27.3 days is also the average rotation period of a sunspot.  The closest : farthest distance ratio that Venus and Mars each experiences in the Mars-Venus dance is incredibly 3:11.  The Earth orbits between them.

The sizes of the Moon and the Earth ‘Square the Circle’ as shown in this illustration, which is drawn to scale.  The perimeters of the dotted square and the dotted circle are the same length.

The perimeter of the dotted red square is 4 x Earth’s diameter = 4 x 7,920 miles = 31,680 miles.  
The circumference of the dotted blue circle is 2 pi x radius = 2 x 3.142 x 5040 miles = 31,667 miles.  (ie. 99.9%)

Article by Howard Arrington

Cassini sees tropical lakes on Saturn moon

June 15, 2012
Scientists had thought that Titan simply had extensive dunes at the equator and lakes at the poles, but now they know that Titan is more complex than previously thought.
by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Saturn’s rings lie in the distance as the Cassini spacecraft looks toward Titan and its dark region called Shangri-La, east of the landing site of the Huygens Probe. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spied long-standing methane lakes, or puddles, in the “tropics” of Saturn’s moon Titan. One of the tropical lakes appears to be about half the size of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, with a depth of at least 3 feet (1 meter).The result, which is a new analysis of Cassini data, is unexpected because models had assumed the long-standing bodies of liquid would only exist at the poles.

Where could the liquid for these lakes come from? “A likely supplier is an underground aquifer,” said Caitlin Griffith from the University of Arizona in Tucson. “In essence, Titan may have oases.”

Understanding how lakes or wetlands form on Titan helps scientists learn about the moon’s weather. Like Earth’s hydrological cycle, Titan has a “methane cycle,” with methane rather than water circulating. In Titan’s atmosphere, ultraviolet light breaks apart methane, initiating a chain of complicated organic chemical reactions. But existing models haven’t been able to account for the abundant supply of methane.

“An aquifer could explain one of the puzzling questions about the existence of methane, which is continually depleted,” Griffith said. “Methane is a progenitor of Titan’s organic chemistry, which likely produces interesting molecules like amino acids, the building blocks of life.”

Global circulation models of Titan have theorized that liquid methane in the moon’s equatorial region evaporates and is carried by wind to the north and south poles, where cooler temperatures cause methane to condense. When it falls to the surface, it forms the polar lakes. On Earth, water is similarly transported by the circulation, yet the oceans also transport water, thereby countering the atmospheric effects.

The latest results come from Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, which detected the dark areas in the tropical region known as Shangri-La, near the spot where the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe landed in 2005. When Huygens landed, the heat of the probe’s lamp vaporized some methane from the ground, indicating it had landed in a damp area.

Areas appear dark to the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer when liquid ethane or methane is present. Some regions could be ankle-deep puddles. Cassini’s radar mapper has seen lakes in the polar region but hasn’t detected any lakes at low latitudes.

The tropical lakes detected by the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer have remained since 2004. Only once has rain been detected falling and evaporating in the equatorial regions, and only during the recent expected rainy season. Scientists therefore deduce that the lakes could not be substantively replenished by rain.

“We had thought that Titan simply had extensive dunes at the equator and lakes at the poles, but now we know that Titan is more complex than we previously thought,” said Linda Spilker from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Cassini still has multiple opportunities to fly by this moon going forward, so we can’t wait to see how the details of this story fill out.”