Astronews Daily (2455534)

December 3, 2010 12:15 by scibuff

Top Stories

Back-in-Action Cassini Doesn’t Disappoint – Here are a few raw images from the Cassini spacecraft‘s most recent flyby of Enceladus. The probe seems to be in good health following several weeks in safe mode, after a bit flipped in the command and data subsystem computer. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

X-37B space plane returns to Earth in the next few days – The landing window for the U.S. military X-37B space plane opens Friday, but officials are mum about the timing of specific opportunities to return the craft to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. -Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

Special fueling test could be ordered for Discovery’s tank – NASA managers and engineers met Thursday to discuss the potential root cause of cracks in the shuttle Discovery’s external tank, what additional tests might be needed and what, if any, modifications might be required before another launch attempt can be made. -William Harwood / Spaceflight Now

Landing on Mars in 2016 – I remember going up to a leading French planetary scientist at a meeting in Paris last year and asking if he was interested in taking part in Europe’s mission to land a spacecraft on Mars in October 2016. “No,” was his response, “because there is no science on it.” –Jonathan Amos / BBC

Super Venus steampunk planet! – Last year, astronomers discovered a remarkable planet orbiting another star: it has a mass and radius that puts it in the “super-Earth” category — meaning it’s more like the Earth than a giant Jupiter-like planet. Today, it has been announced that astronomers have been able to analyze the atmosphere of the planet (the very first time this has ever been accomplished for a super-Earth), and what they found is astonishing: the air of the planet is either shrouded in thick haze, or it’s loaded with water vapor… in other words, steam! –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

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Videos

NASA science update - Astrobiology - The search for life

  

Photos

Alauda binary system

Alauda binary system

Comet 103p/Hartley and M46

Comet 103p/Hartley and M46

Aurora Borealis from Greenland

Aurora Borealis from Greenland

Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia

Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

A Flame in Orion's Belt

A Flame in Orion's Belt - This mosaic image taken by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features three nebulae that are part of the giant Orion Molecular Cloud. The image covers an area of the sky about three times as high and wide as the full moon (1.5 by 1.8 degrees). Included in this view are the Flame nebula, the Horsehead nebula and NGC 2023. - Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery.

Astronews Daily (2455512)

November 11, 2010 12:24 by scibuff

Top Stories

Dances With Comets – C/2010 V1 Ikeya Murakami – For those of you working on your Comet Hunter’s certificates – or for those who just love these travelers from the Oort Cloud – there’s a new partner in the morning sky. Say hello to C/2010 V1 Ikeya Murakami! If you’re familiar with how a comet looks and already know the steps, then let the easiness lure you out. However, if you’ve never danced with a comet before, then come inside and we’ll teach you the steps… -Tammy Plotner / Universe Today

China released the first Chang’e-2 images – China has released the first photos from it’s recently-launched Chang’e-2 lunar orbiter! Released with some fanfare, the images get more or less straight to the point: they’re of the Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridium), which China has slated to be the potential landing location of it’s Chang’e-3 rover mission.-Luna C/I

In which I finally write up last week’s Deep Impact Hartley 2 press briefing – On Thursday, November 4, at 13:50 UTC, Deep Impact flew within 700 kilometers of comet Hartley 2. Hartley 2 is the smallest and most active of the five comets that have been directly by a spacecraft, and the first to be visited within the lifetime of its discoverer. The Deep Impact spacecraft performed flawlessly, with no errors in its imaging, and missing its aimpoint in time and space by only two seconds and three kilometers, respectively. –Emily Lakdawalla / The Planetary Society

Cool Star is a Gem of a Find – NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has eyed its first cool brown dwarf: a tiny, ultra-cold star floating all alone in space. –NASA/JPL

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Videos

Carl Sagan Becomes a Twitter Trending Topic on His Birthday

Carl Sagan - Pale Blue Dot

Photos

Veil complex nebula

Veil complex nebula

Orion Belt and M42

Orion Belt and M42

M78

M78

Sadr and IC1318 in HST palette

Sadr and IC1318 in HST palette

Tibetan plateau

Tibetan plateau

Dan Nie Er crater

Dan Nie Er crater

C/2010 V1 Ikeya Murakami

C/2010 V1 Ikeya-Murakami

Madrid at night

Madrid at night

Gallery Pick of the Day

A view of the Nile River

A night view of the Nile River winding up through the Egyptian desert toward the Mediterranean Sea, and Cairo in the river delta. Such a stark contrast between the dark desolate lifeless desert of northern Africa and the Nile River teeming with life along its shores. In the distance... the eastern Mediterranean on a beautiful autumn evening. - Credit: Douglas Wheelock, Expedition 24/25

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery.

Astronews Daily (2455509)

November 8, 2010 13:44 by scibuff

Top Stories

The shadowy hand of Eris – On Friday night Eris was predicted to pass directly in front of a relatively faint star in the constellation of Cetus. You might think that this sort of thing happens all of the time, but you’d be wrong. Eris is so small in the sky and stars are such tiny points of light that, though they get close frequently, their actually intersections are rare. When they do intersect, though, something amazing happens: the star disappears. And since we know how fast Eris is moving across the sky, seeing how long the star disappears gives us a very precise measure of the size of Eris. Or, to be more exact, a very precise measure of a single chord passing through the body. –Mike Brown

New Supernova Lights Up Leo – A new supernova? Darn right. Lighting up Leo? Well… not without some serious visual aid, but the fact that someone out there is watching and has invited us along for the ride is mighty important. And just who might that someone be? None other than Tim Puckett. -Tammy Plotner / Universe Today

Shuttle waits out weather, technical issues – Stormy weather, a fuel leak and cracked foam thwarted NASA’s attempts to launch the shuttle Discovery this week, eventually prompting managers to push the shuttle’s final blastoff until at least Nov. 30. These views of Discovery on launch pad 39A were taken Tuesday and Thursday. –Spaceflight Now

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Videos

Hubble Helps Fast-Forward the Motion of Stars

Photos

Discovery on launch pad 39A

Discovery on launch pad 39A

SN 2010jl

SN 2010jl

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

IC405

IC405

Gallery Pick of the Day

NGC 4452

Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a striking galaxy called NGC 4452, which appears to lie exactly edge-on as seen from Earth. The result is an extraordinary picture of billions of stars observed from an unusual angle. The bright nucleus can be seen at the centre, along with the very thin disc that looks like a straight line from our unusual viewing position. To complete the picture, a hazy halo of stars on the periphery of the galaxy makes it seem to glow. - Credit: NASA/ESA HST

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery.

Astronews Daily (2455506)

November 5, 2010 13:06 by scibuff

Top Stories

Discovery launch scrubbed again due to LH2 leak – Nov 5, 2010 – The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery has been officially scrubbed at 12:11 UTC due to a leak of Liquid Hydrogen at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate (GUCP) detected during the tanking process. Leaks at the GUCP delayed launches for STS-119 and STS-127.

NASA EPOXI Flyby Reveals New Insights Into Comet Features – NASA’s EPOXI mission spacecraft successfully flew past comet Hartley 2. Scientists say initial images from the flyby provide new information about the comet’s volume and material spewing from its surface. –NASA/JPL

Hartley 2’s jets – It was a very happy set of scientists, engineers, managers, and administrators who filled the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Von Karman auditorium this afternoon to do the postgame show on Deep Impact’s flyby of Hartley 2. –Emily Lakdawalla / The Planetary Society

Amazing close-ups of comet Hartley 2! – Just an hour ago as I write this, the NASA spacecraft EPOXI passed just 700 km from the nucleus of comet Hartley 2! The flyby was successful, and it took incredible images of the comet’s solid heart –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

NASA Mission Successfully Flies by Comet Hartley 2 – NASA’s EPOXI mission successfully flew by comet Hartley 2 and the spacecraft has begun returning images. Hartley 2 is the fifth comet nucleus visited by a spacecraft. Scientists and mission controllers are currently viewing never-before-seen images of Hartley 2 appearing on their computer terminal screens. –NASA/JPL

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Videos

At 10:21 UTC on 04/05/2010 one of the final four Space Shuttle missions lifted off for Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Space Shuttle Discovery and her crew of 7 will be bringing Leonardo to the International Space Station for a two week and three EVA stay.

Photos

Sun now through Lasco C3

Sun now through Lasco C3

Hartley 2 from up close

Hartley 2 from up close

RSS Rollback

RSS Rollback

Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate

Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate

Gallery Pick of the Day

Animation of Deep Impact close-approach images

Animation of Deep Impact close-approach images - About an hour after its closest approach of Hartley 2, Deep Impact downlinked five precious images taken during the nearest part of its flyby. The top two images were taken 82 and 16 seconds before closest approach, and the bottom three 18, 57, and 117 seconds after closest approach (image times are 13:58:07, 13:59:13, 13:59:47, 14:00:26, and 14:01:26 UTC on November 4, 2010). They show a very active comet with numerous jets. Credit: NASA / JPL / UMD / animation by Emily Lakdawalla

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery.-

Astronews Daily Ext. Edition (2455505)

November 4, 2010 12:11 by scibuff

Videos

Approaching Hartley 2

Approaching Hartley 2 Four images captured at about 09:20 every day for four days from October 29 to November 1 document the increasing brightness of Hartley 2 against the background star field as seen from Deep Impact, which was approaching for its November 4 flyby. The images have been rotated to align them. Credit: NASA / JPL / UMD / animation by Emily Lakdawalla

Space Shuttle Discovery/STS-133's final RSS rollback

  

Top Stories

Deep Impact’s Hartley 2 Encounter Timeline – Close approach takes place at 13:50 UTC November 4, spacecraft event time. Find out what time this is in your time zone. –Emily Lakdawalla / The Planetary Society

NASA Mission in Final Day Before Comet Meetup – Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have relayed final instructions to their comet-bound spacecraft today, Nov. 3. The new programming will guide NASA’s EPOXI mission through its close approach with comet Hartley 2 –NASA/JPL

STS-133: Discovery scrubbed ahead of tanking for 24 hours – The Mission Management Team (MMT) have concluded their evalations on Thursday morning by deciding to scrub for 24 hours, due to unacceptable weather conditions. The decision came just prior to coming out of the hold for the loading of Discovery’s External Tank (ET-137). –NASA Space Flight

LHC to Recreate Conditions Just After Big Bang – So far, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has destroyed billions of protons by colliding them head-on inside its super-chilled detectors. Soon, however, the protons won’t be alone, lead ions — whole atomic nuclei — will be smashed up. Why? To recreate the conditions immediately after the Big Bang. –Ian O’Neill / Discovery News

Newly Discovered Comet 2010 V1 – IAUC 9175 brings surprising news of the visual discovery of a bright comet by two Japanese amateurs, Kaoru Ikeya and Shigeki Murakami. Visual magnitude estimates by the discoverers and Juan Jose Gonzalez of Spain place the comet between magnitude 7.5 and 9 with the brighter magnitude be more likely. The comet is currently a morning object in Virgo at an elongation of 32°. An orbit has yet to be published. -Carl Hergenrother / Transient Sky

Did Physicists Find Evidence of a Fourth Neutrino Flavor? – When neutrinos change from one phase to another, they tell us something about their mysterious nature. These ghostly subatomic particles come in three flavors, physicists say: muon, tau, and electron. Just this summer, a team caught a neutrino in the act of changing from muon to tau, a finding that backed up the argument that these particles do, in fact, have mass. This week, a new study of neutrino oscillation—the changing of flavors—suggests an deeper mystery, and implies that these three flavors of neutrino may not be enough to account these particles’ behavior. –Discovery Magazine Blogs

Gettin’ high on the Moon – How would you know how high up you are? Well, if you had the elevation data made by the the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter you’d be all set, because then you’d know that if you were at a latitude of 5.4125° and longitude of 201.3665°, you’d be on the highest spot on the Moon! –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

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Photos

Pad 39A at Night

Pad 39A at Night

Storm clouds over VAB!

Storm clouds over VAB!

A crescent Saturn

A crescent Saturn

A visual amateur comet discovery

A visual amateur comet discovery

  
IC 359

IC 359

NGC 7635 - Bubble Nebula

NGC 7635 - Bubble Nebula

NGC7000 - The North American Nebula

NGC7000 - The North American Nebula

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Night Lights

Constellations of lights sprawl across this night scene, but they don't belong in the skies of planet Earth. Instead, the view looks down from the International Space Station as it passed over the United States along the northern Gulf Coast on October 29. A Russian Soyuz spacecraft is docked in the foreground. Behind its extended solar panels, some 360 kilometers below, are the recognizable city lights of New Orleans. Looking east along the coast to the top of the frame finds Mobile, Alabama while Houston city lights stand out to the west, toward the bottom. North (left) of New Orleans, a line of lights tracing central US highway I55 connect to Jackson, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. Of course, the lights follow the population centers, but not everyone lives on planet Earth all the time these days. November 2nd marked the first decade of continuous human presence in space on board the International Space Station. - Credit: ISS Expedition 25, NASA

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery.

Astronews Daily (2455504)

November 3, 2010 12:14 by scibuff

Top Stories

Best of Earth from the ISS – The International Space Station has been orbiting the Earth every day for over 10 years, and the astronauts all say their favorite pastime is looking at the Earth. During the past 10 years, the crews have taken some great pictures of our planet, and these images provide a unique look at our world. These are just a few of the spectacular views of Earth from the space station. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

NASA’s Comet Mission May Face Multiple Jets Nov. 4 – Two movies derived from images taken by the two cameras aboard NASA’s EPOXI mission spacecraft show comet Hartley 2 is, as expected, quite active, and it provides information on the nucleus’s rotation. The spacecraft has been imaging Hartley 2 almost daily since Sept. 5, in preparation for its scheduled Nov. 4 flyby of the comet –NASA/JPL

Ten years of the International Space Station – 10 years ago today, Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd and Flight Engineers Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko climbed aboard the International Space Station, marking the first of 3652 days of continuous occupation so far. I think that on that day a decade ago, we truly became a space-faring species. –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

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Videos

Stunning New Space Images

Gallery Pick of the Day

Good night Discovery! - Credit: Camilla Corona

Good night Discovery! - Credit: Camilla Corona

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery.-