Astronews Daily Extended Edition (2455526)

November 25, 2010 12:53 by scibuff

Videos

Timelapse of Aurora Borealis over Tromso, Norway. Photography: Tor Even Mathisen, Music: Per Wollen, Vocal: Silje Beate Nilssen - Camera: Canon EOS 5D mark II - Lens: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II

The reins of the International Space Station were passed from Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock to Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly in a ceremony aboard the complex Nov. 24. The other station crew members looked on. Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin will return to Earth in their Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft Nov. 25 for a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan.

  

Top Stories

Discovery’s Launch No Earlier Than Dec. 17 – NASA managers have targeted space shuttle Discovery’s launch for no earlier than Dec. 17. Shuttle managers determined more tests and analysis are needed before proceeding with the STS-133 mission. The launch status meeting planned for Monday, Nov. 29, has been postponed and will be rescheduled. –NASA

The 2010 Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients – The 2010 Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants totaled $33,285 (US) and were awarded to six amateur astronomers from four countries –Planetary Society

The Sun Steals Comets from Other Stars – The next time you thrill at the sight of a comet blazing across the night sky, consider this: it’s a stolen pleasure. You’re enjoying the spectacle at the expense of a distant star. Sophisticated computer simulations run by researchers at the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) have exposed the crime. –NASA

Longstanding Cepheid Mass Mystery Finally Solved – Cepheid variable stars – a class of stars that vary in brightness over time – have long been used to help measure distances in our local region of the Universe. Since their discovery in 1784 by John Pigott, further refinements have been made about the relationship between the period of their variability and their luminosity, and Cepheids have been closely studied and monitored by professional and amateur astronomers. -Nicholos Wethington / Universe Today

Stripes Are Back in Season on Jupiter – New NASA images support findings that one of Jupiter’s stripes that “disappeared” last spring is now showing signs of a comeback. These new observations will help scientists better understand the interaction between Jupiter’s winds and cloud chemistry. –NASA/JPL

NASA EPOXI Flyby Reveals New Insights Into Comet Features – NASA’s EPOXI mission spacecraft successfully flew past comet Hartley 2 on Thursday, Nov. 4. Scientists say initial images from the flyby provide new information about the comet’s volume and material spewing from its surface. –NASA/JPL

Cassini Back to Normal, Ready for Enceladus – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft resumed normal operations today, Nov. 24. All science instruments have been turned back on, the spacecraft is properly configured and Cassini is in good health. Mission managers expect to get a full stream of data during next week’s flyby of the Saturnian moon Enceladus. –NASA/JPL

Near-Earth asteroid (NEA) 162173 (1999 JU3) is a potential flyby and rendezvous target for interplanetary missions – Near-Earth asteroid 162173 (1999 JU3) is a potential flyby and rendezvous target for interplanetary missions because of its easy to reach orbit. The physical and thermal properties of the asteroid are relevant for establishing the scientific mission goals and also important in the context of near-Earth object studies in general. Our goal was to derive key physical parameters such as shape, spin-vector, size, geometric albedo, and surface properties of 162173 (1999 JU3). – arxiv.org

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Photos

Jupiter

Jupiter

M42 - Orion Nebula

M42 - Orion Nebula

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

Sunrise at KSC

Sunrise at KSC

  
IC 1805 - Heart Nebula

IC 1805 - Heart Nebula

M81 and M82

M81 and M82

NGC6334 Cat's Paw Nebula

NGC6334 Cat's Paw Nebula

Moon

Moon

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Centaurus A and Omega Centauri

Centaurus A and Omega Centauri - A large field image of one of the most popular couples of the southern sky. The dark skies and the long exposure permit to see lots of dust in the whole area. Pentax 67 lens SMCP 300 mm ED(IF) @ f4 + Paramount ME, 280 mins LRGB exposure with a FLI Proline 16803. - Credit: Marco Lorenzi

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 (2455525)

November 24, 2010 13:00 by scibuff

Top Stories

Andromeda: born out of a massive collision? – Was the Andromeda Galaxy, the largest and most massive galaxy in our local neighborhood, shaped into its current structure due to a monstrous collision over 6 billion years ago? According to a new study by some French astronomers, the answer is oui. –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

How big is Pluto, anyway? – These days, a question like that is easy to answer: type it in to Google, click on the Wikipeadia entry, and read the answer: 2306 +/- 20 km. The +/- (to be read “plus or minus”) is important here: every measurement has limitations and an often critical part of science is correctly quantifying those limit. The correct interpretation of 2306 +/- 20 km is that 2306 km is the most likely value, but, within a certain range of probability, the value could be as low as 2286 or as high as 2326 km. The value could still be higher or lower, but the probability is small. –Mike Brown

NASA’s Stardust Spacecraft Burns for Another Comet Flyby – Eighty-six days out from its appointment with a comet, NASA’s Stardust spacecraft fired its thrusters to help refine its flight path. The Stardust-NExT mission will fly past comet Tempel 1 next Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 2011). It will perform NASA’s second comet flyby within four months. –Science Daily

Masten Space Systems And Space Florida Sign Letter Of Intent – Masten Space Systems and Space Florida have signed a Letter of Intent to explore performing demonstration launches of a Masten suborbital reusable launch vehicle from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. –Space Travel

[more stories]

Videos

French astronomers have used a computer model to show that the Andromeda Galaxy may have gotten its current shape due to a huge collision with a smaller galaxy. Credit: GEPI, Observatoire de Paris / NAOC

Photos

New York

New York

Krakatau, Indonesia

Krakatau, Indonesia

London, Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam

London, Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam

Soyuz Descent Module

Soyuz Descent Module

Gallery Pick of the Day

NGC 7822

NGC 7822 Sh2-171 in Hubble Palette - Ha=11Hrs OIII=5Hrs SII=5Hrs Scope TMB 130mm Camera Apogee U8300 - Credit: Bill Snyder - http://billsnyderastrophotography.com/

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 (2455518)

November 17, 2010 12:56 by scibuff

Top Stories

Occultation of asteroid 136199 Eris – November 6th 2010 2h15 TU – This occultation was predicted by Marcelo Assafin from Brazil about a year ago. Many astronomers worked in order to improve the astrometry, but it was a difficult task. Eris is about 32 milliarc second of diameter as seen from the Earth. One can see on Bruno Sicardy’s page that the predictions varied from Alaska to middle Chile according to whom made an astrometric reduction in order to know the position of the occulted star and that of Eris itself. –SpaceObs

Wonderful vistas from Cupola – Cupola has proved itself to be an excellent viewing platform since it was attached to the International Space Station in February. The latest photos taken from this heavenly observatory are stunning. –ESA

Astronomers Discover Merging Star Systems That Might Explode – Researchers who found the first hypervelocity stars escaping the Milky Way announced that their search also turned up a dozen double-star systems. Half of those are merging and might explode as supernovae in the astronomically near future. –Science Daily

Successful premiere – German robotic arm completes its five-year ISS mission – Germany’s first experiment in space robotics has now come to an end. On the evening of 15 November 2010, two Russian cosmonauts performed a space walk during which they removed the Rokviss robotic arm developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) from the experimental platform on the Russian service module Svezda and took it inside the ISS. By 2 November 2010, the Rokviss team from the DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Center in Oberpfaffenhofen had moved the robot arm into the required position for this operation. Only in this position could Rokviss be easily transported through the air lock and into the interior of the ISS. –DLR Portal

Dissolving Star Systems Create Mess in Orion – For young stars, stellar outflows are the rule. T Tauri stars and other young stars eject matter in generally collimated jets. However, a region in Orion‘s giant molecular cloud known as the Becklin-Neugebauer/Kleinmann-Low (BN/KL) region, appears to have a clumpy, scattered set of outflows with “finger-like” projections in numerous directions. A new study, led by Luis Zapata at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, explores this odd region. -Jon Voysey / Universe Today

The Lion Tamer – Leonid Meteor Shower 2010 – Are you ready to walk into the lion’s cage? Then break out your favorite skywatching gear because the 2010 Leonid meteor shower is underway -Tammy Plotner / Universe Today

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Videos

On October 9, 2010, Chang'E 2 performs its second luanr orbit trim maneuver, an event witnessed by an engineering camera. Before the maneuver starts, the spacecraft executes a sequence of controlled turns, causing the Moon to swing through the field of view. The firing of the engine begins just after the terminator passes out of view (from the camera's point of view). As the spacecraft drops completely into the lunar shadow, the camera's automatic exposure setting adjusts brighter, making part of the spacecraft visible in light emitted from the glowing thruster.

Photos

Aswan dam at Nile river

Aswan dam at Nile river

Nile river delta

Nile river delta

Cyprus

Cyprus

Lonar Impact Crater

Lonar Impact Crater

Gallery Pick of the Day

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy - Widefield

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy - Widefield - Credit: Erik Larsen

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 Ext. Edition (2455498)

October 28, 2010 11:59 by scibuff

Top Stories

Unwind with some spirals – A very important aspect of astronomy often overlooked is how much our eyes don’t tell us. We see a very limited range of the spectrum of light emitted by astronomical objects, and many times it’s what we don’t see that tells us what’s going on. –Phil PlaitBad Astronomy

Bright Close Approach: 2003 UV11 – The asteroid designated 2003 UV11 was discovered on October 21, 2003 by B. Skiff during the LONEOS survey with a 0.59-m Schmidt. According to its absolute magnitude (H=19.3) this object has an estimated diameter of roughly 400-500 meters, so it is a relatively large near-Earth asteroid. 2003 UV11 will have a close approach with Earth on 2010 October 30 when it will be within 0.013 AU (~5 lunar distances). -Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

What’s up in the solar system in November 2010 – The major event of the month will be, of course, Deep Impact’s flyby of small comet Hartley 2, which happens at 13:50 UTC on November 4. But there’s some other things to take note of: Cassini has a very, very close flyby of Enceladus’ north pole (not the pole with the plumes, the other one) on November 30. Also China’s Chang’E 2 is, as I write, orbiting even closer to the Moon than that, passing just 15 kilometers over Sinus Iridum. November is also the most likely month for the reestablishment of contact with the long-silent Mars Exploration Rover Spirit — keep your fingers crossed. –Emily Lakdawalla / The Planetary Society

Space Buckyballs Thrive, Finds NASA Spitzer Telescope – Astronomers have discovered bucket loads of buckyballs in space. They used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to find the little carbon spheres throughout our Milky Way galaxy — in the space between stars and around three dying stars. What’s more, Spitzer detected buckyballs around a fourth dying star in a nearby galaxy in staggering quantities — the equivalent in mass to about 15 of our moons. –NASA/JPL

Hard-Core Astrophysics: Massive Neutron Star Hints at How Matter Behaves at Its Densest – An extremely dense celestial object thousands of light-years away is serving as a natural nuclear physics experiment, providing clues to processes that cannot be reproduced in the lab. -John Matson / Scientific American

Scientists Watch for a “Hartley-id” Meteor Shower – This month, Comet Hartley 2 has put on a good show for backyard astronomers. The comet’s vivid green atmosphere and auburn tail of dust look great through small telescopes, and NASA’s Deep Impact/EPOXI probe is about to return even more dramatic pictures when it flies past the comet’s nucleus on Nov. 4th. Another kind of show might be in the offing as well. Could this comet produce a meteor shower? –NASA

[more stories]

Videos

Animation of 2003 UV11 on October 28 at 07:00UT (01:00am local time) through the GRAS network, using 0.25-m, f/3.4 reflector + CCD located in Mayhill (NM). The animation is composed of 15 unfiltered exposures, 10-seconds each. Credit: Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

Launch Soyuz Progress M-08M Expedition 25

  

Photos

5 days to launch

5 days to launch

STS-133's SRBs

STS-133's SRBs

M104 - Sombrero Galaxy

M104 - Sombrero Galaxy

NGC 1232

NGC 1232

  
M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

Milky Way over Lady Mountain

Milky Way over Lady Mountain

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Solar Prominence on Oct. 28, 2010 - Credit: Alan Friedman

Solar Prominence on Oct. 28, 2010 - Credit: Alan Friedman

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 (2455477)

October 7, 2010 12:04 by scibuff

Top Stories

ESO Virtual Tour – Take a peek at the place where ESO astronomers look deep into the sky to make incredible discoveries about our universe – European South Observatory (ESO)

Mars Orbiters Observe New Impact Crater on Mars – The MRO Context camera team noticed a dark spot in an image taken in August 2010 that was not present in a Mars Odyssey THEMIS image taken in December 2007. –HiRISE/NASA/JPL

Did a Comet Make Jupiter’s Rings Wave? – When you’re talking about a gas giant planet with rings, it’s often Saturn in the limelight. After all, you can see that planet’s bright disk of icy particles from Earth with just a modest telescope. But in 1979 the Voyager 1 spacecraft saw that Jupiter has rings too, albeit a much fainter system primarily made up of dust. –National Geographic Blogs

M31’s Odd Rotation Curve – Recent observations of the Andromeda Galaxy‘s (M31) rotation curve has shown that there may yet be more to learn. In the outermost edges of the galaxy, the rotation rate has been shown to increase. -Jon Voisey / Universe Today

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Videos

  

Photos

Jupiter

Jupiter

Comet 103P/Hartley

Comet 103P/Hartley

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

Comet 103P/Hartley

Comet 103P/Hartley

  
M42 - Orion Nebula

M42 - Orion Nebula

IC 434 - Horsehead Nebula

IC 434 - Horsehead Nebula

NGC6888 - Crescent Nebula

NGC6888 - Crescent Nebula

NGC6820

NGC6820

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Discovery is on the pad 39-A and waiting for it's Nov.1 launch date

Discovery is on the pad 39-A and waiting for it's Nov.1 launch date

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