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 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

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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 (2455497)

October 27, 2010 12:10 by scibuff

Top Stories

Hubble Predicts the Future of Omega Centauri – Using four years of data from the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, astronomers have made the most accurate measurements of the movement of stars in the globular cluster Omega Centauri, and now can predict their movements for the next 10,000 years. This “beehive” of stars is tightly crammed together, so resolving the individual stars was a job that perhaps only Hubble could do. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

ISS Fires Its Rockets to Avoid Space Debris Collision – The International Space Station (ISS) fired its rockets for three minutes Tuesday to change its position in order to avoid a possible collision with a piece of orbiting junk, officials said.The Itar-Tass agency cited Russian space centre officials outside Moscow as saying that the chances of a collision were minimal – only one-thousandth of a per cent. –Daily Galaxy

Countdown to Comet Flyby Down to Nine Days – NASA’s EPOXI mission continues to close in on its target, comet Hartley 2, at a rate of 12.5 kilometers (7.8 miles) per second. On Nov. 4 at about 10:01 a.m. EDT (7:01 a.m. PDT) the spacecraft will make its closest approach to the comet at a distance of about 700 kilometers (434 miles). It will be the fifth time that a comet has been imaged close-up and the first time in history that two comets have been imaged with the same instruments and same spatial resolution. –NASA/JPL

3C186: Precocious Galaxy Cluster Identified by Chandra – NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has observed an unusual galaxy cluster that contains a bright core of relatively cool gas surrounding a quasar called 3C 186. This is the most distant such object yet observed, and could provide insight into the triggering of quasars and the growth of galaxy clusters. –NASA/Chandra


Aboriginal Astronomers Saw Stellar Blowup in 1843
– Now a team of researchers from Macquarie University in Austrlia is reporting what they believe is the only indigenous record of one of the most spectacular southern astronomical events of the 19th century. –Airspace Mag

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Videos

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) today dedicated the nearly two-mile long Governor Bill RIchardson Spaceway at Spaceport America, representing significant progress toward launching commercial customers into space from the desert of New Mexico. Governor Bill Richardson, Sir Richard Branson and approximately 30 of more than 380 Virgin Galactic future astronauts attended the event along with guests from around the world and watched a flyover and landing by Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo, in a captive carry with SpaceShipTwo.

  

Photos

Observaing the sky

Observaing the sky

3C186

3C186

The Sun today

The Sun today

Auroro Photos

Auroro Photos

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Bratislava, Slovakia as seen by Expedition 14 on March 13, 2007 from the altitude of 339km

Bratislava, Slovakia as seen by Expedition 14 on March 13, 2007 from the altitude of 339km

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