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Posts Tagged ‘telescope’

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.”

Read more: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-335&rn=news.xml&rst=3564

Is NASA about to unveil plans for manned moon mission?

November 9, 2012 Leave a comment

by Robert T. Gonzalez at http://io9.com/

Suit up, people — word is we’re heading back to the Moon.

According to space policy expert John Logsdon, there’s a decent chance NASA has already cleared plans to establish a manned base on the far side of the Moon with the Obama administration. Thing is, they’ve probably been keeping it under wraps in the event that Romney had won Tuesday’s election. Now that Obama has secured a second term, Logsdon says an accouncement from the Agency could be forthcoming.

“NASA has been evolving its thinking, and its latest charts have inserted a new element of cislunar/lunar gateway/Earth-moon L2 sort of stuff into the plan,” said Logsdon in an interview with SPACE.com’s Mike Wall.

“They’ve been holding off announcing that until after the election,” Logsdon added, noting that NASA’s mission, direction, and budget could have been revised under a Romney administration.

An announcement would certainly gel with the Obama administration’s ambitious agenda for space. In 2010, the President signed the NASA 2010 Authorization Act into law, freeing up close to $60 billion in NASA spending through 2013. This funding would serve as one of the first sparks in a plan to ignite a resurgence in space exploration, including an asteroid visit by 2025 and and a trip to Mars by the 2030s. A manned outpost at the Earth-moon L2 “gateway” — shown in the diagram below — could serve as an important stepping stone in our path out into the solar system.

Is NASA about to unveil plans for manned moon mission?

Read more: http://io9.com/5958867/is-nasa-about-to-unveil-plans-for-manned-moon-mission#13524574961213&{“type”:”iframeUpdated”,”height”:1984}

 

 

NASA’s NuSTAR Spots Flare from Milky Way’s Black Hole

October 24, 2012 Leave a comment

ScienceDaily (Oct. 23, 2012) — NASA’s newest set of X-ray eyes in the sky, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), has caught its first look at the giant black hole parked at the center of our galaxy. The observations show the typically mild-mannered black hole during the middle of a flare-up.

NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has captured these first, focused views of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy in high-energy X-ray light. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
 

“We got lucky to have captured an outburst from the black hole during our observing campaign,” said Fiona Harrison, the mission’s principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. “These data will help us better understand the gentle giant at the heart of our galaxy and why it sometimes flares up for a few hours and then returns to slumber.”

The new images can be seen by visiting: http://www.nasa.gov/nustar .

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121023145224.htm

Earth-sized planet found just outside solar system

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment

October 16, 2012 by Seth Borenstein

Earth-sized planet found just outside solar systemEnlargeThis artist’s impression shows the planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth. Alpha Centauri B is the most brilliant object in the sky and the other dazzling object is Alpha Centauri A. Our own Sun is visible to the upper right. The tiny signal of the planet was found with the HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

(Phys.org)—European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system—the nearest to Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun. The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The results will appear online in the journal Nature on 17 October 2012.

Alpha Centauri is one of the brightest in the southern skies and is the nearest stellar system to our Solar System—only 4.3 light-years away. It is actually a triple star—a system consisting of two stars similar to the Sun orbiting close to each other, designated Alpha Centauri A and B, and a more distant and faint red component known as Proxima Centauri. Since the nineteenth century astronomers have speculated about orbiting these bodies, the closest possible abodes for life beyond the Solar System, but searches of increasing precision had revealed nothing. Until now.

Read more: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-earth-sized-planet-solar.html

Large water reservoirs at the dawn of stellar birth

October 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Large water reservoirs at the dawn of stellar birth

Herschel’s infrared view of part of the Taurus Molecular Cloud, within which the bright, cold pre-stellar cloud L1544 can be seen at the lower left. It is surrounded by many other clouds of gas and dust of varying density. The Taurus Molecular Cloud is about 450 light-years from Earth and is the nearest large region of star formation. The image covers a field of view of approximately 1 x 2 arcminutes. Credit: ESA/Herschel/SPIRE

ESA’s Herschel space observatory has discovered enough water vapour to fill Earth’s oceans more than 2000 times over, in a gas and dust cloud that is on the verge of collapsing into a new Sun-like star.

Stars form within cold, dark clouds of gas and dust – ‘pre-stellar cores’ – that contain all the ingredients to make solar systems like our own.

Water, essential to life on Earth, has previously been detected outside of our Solar System as gas and ice coated onto tiny dust grains near sites of active star formation, and in proto-planetary discs capable of forming alien planetary systems.

The new Herschel observations of a cold pre- in the constellation of Taurus known as Lynds 1544 are the first detection of water vapour in a molecular cloud on the verge of star formation.

More than 2000 Earth oceans-worth of water vapour were detected, liberated from icy dust grains by high-energy cosmic rays passing through the cloud.

Large water reservoirs at the dawn of stellar birth

Read more: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-large-reservoirs-dawn-stellar-birth.html

New comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) could be spectacular sight in fall 2013

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Comet C/2012 S1 ISON was discovered on Sept. 21 in pictures taken with 15.7-inch reflecting telescope of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) in Russia. This photo was taken on Sept. 22. Credit: Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Nick Howes

 

A new comet was discovered inching across Cancer the Crab in the morning sky may knock your socks off next fall. Based on a preliminary orbit, it could become a very bright object beginning in November 2013 for both northern and southern hemisphere sky watchers. C/2012 S1 (ISON), its formal name, was found by Russian amateurs Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON), a network of observers who track man-made space debris.

 

Read more:

http://astrobob.areavoices.com/2012/09/25/new-comet-c2012-s1ison-could-be-spectacular-sight-in-fall-2013/

http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/mpec/K12/K12S63.html

 

 

 

Video of Jupiter Impact from Sept. 10, 2012

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Jupiter Impact of Sept. 10, 2012

September 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Explosion on Jupiter by George Hall: Close-Up

Explosion on Jupiter by George Hall: Close-UpCredit: George Hall/George's Astrophotography

This image shows a close-up of the bright impact flash of an asteroid or comet slamming into Jupiter on Sept. 10, 2012. The image is a still from a video recorded by amateur astronomer George Hall of Dallas, Texas.

Location of Jupiter Impact of Sept. 12, 2012

Location of Jupiter Impact of Sept. 12, 2012Credit: Pete Lawrence/DigitalSky.org.uk.

This graphic of Jupiter by UK astronomer Pete Lawrence shows the location of the Jupiter impact region from Sept. 12, 2012, as seen through an inverting astronomical telescope. The impact site is located at longitude system II 335, latitude +12..

Read more: http://www.space.com/17543-jupiter-impact-explosion-pictures-amateur-astronomers.html

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.

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120829191639.htm

 

WISE survey uncovers millions of black holes


 

WISE survey uncovers millions of black holes

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With its all-sky infrared survey, NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has identified millions of quasar candidates. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

(Phys.org)—NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission has led to a bonanza of newfound supermassive black holes and extreme galaxies called hot DOGs, or dust-obscured galaxies.

Images from the telescope have revealed millions of dusty black hole candidates across the universe and about 1,000 even dustier objects thought to be among the brightest ever found. These powerful galaxies, which burn brightly with infrared light, are nicknamed .

“WISE has exposed a menagerie of hidden objects,” said Hashima Hasan, WISE program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’ve found an asteroid dancing ahead of Earth in its orbit, the coldest star-like orbs known and now, supermassive black holes and galaxies hiding behind cloaks of dust.”

WISE scanned the whole sky twice in infrared light, completing its survey in early 2011. Like night-vision goggles probing the dark, the telescope captured millions of images of the sky. All the data from the mission have been released publicly, allowing astronomers to dig in and make .

Read more: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-wise-survey-uncovers-millions-black.html