Astronews Daily (2455548)

December 17, 2010 12:46 by scibuff

Top Stories

Become an Exoplanet Hunter With Newest Zooniverse Citizen Science Project – Planet Hunters is the latest in the Zooniverse project, and users will help scientists analyze data taken by NASA’s Kepler mission, the biggest, badest exoplanet hunting telescope in space. The project goes live on December 16 at http://www.planethunters.org. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

Could This be the Start of a New Space Shuttle? – All is not lost for the space shuttle idea. Richard Branson is thinking big again and along with orbital sciences Corp, Sierra Nevada Corp and some others they may build a reusable taxi to space just like the space shuttle. NASA will find $200 million to help with the development. –Weirdwrap

A delicately violent celestial shell game – One of my favorite types of objects in space are the thin, ethereal shells of gas stars create when they die. So I was thrilled* to see this new image of one taken in exquisite detail by the Hubble Space Telescope: –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

X-rays From Lightning – What Superman would See – Using a custom-built camera the size of a refrigerator, Florida researchers have made the world’s first crude pictures of X-rays streaming from a stroke of lightning. –Daily Galaxy

Bright White Storm Raging on Saturn – About a week ago, a bright white storm emerged on Saturn’s northern hemisphere, and amateur astronomer/planet astrophotographer extraordinaire Anthony Wesley from Australia has captured a few images of it. “This is the brightest Saturn storm in decades,” Anthony said on his website, Ice In Space. “If you get a chance to see it visually then take it, as it may be one of the rare “Great White Spot” (GWS) outbreaks on Saturn.” –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

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Videos

Cassini Spots Potential Ice Volcano on Saturn Moon - New data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal topography on Saturn's moon Titan that makes the best case yet for an ice volcano on Titan and reveals the most Earth-like candidate in the outer solar system.

  

Photos

Discovery on the pad

Discovery on the pad

ISS through clouds

ISS through clouds

Erupting Volcano

Erupting Volcano

Geminid in Death Valley

Geminid in Death Valley

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Launch of TMA-20

Soyuz lift-off with ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli together with Dmitri Kondratyev and Catherine Coleman for a challenging 6-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS) as members of Expeditions 26/27. They were launched in the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 15 December at 19:09 GMT. Paolo’s MagISStra mission will be Europe’s third long-duration mission on the ISS. Between December 2010 and June 2011 he will be part of the ISS crew as a flight engineer. - Credit: ESA - S. Corvaja, 2010

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 (2455527)

November 26, 2010 14:43 by scibuff

Top Stories

Oxygen found on Saturn’s moon Rhea – Nasa’s Cassini probe has scooped oxygen from the thin atmosphere of Rhea – the first time the gas has been detected directly on another world -Ian Sample / Guardian

Summary of International Year of Astronomy 2009 Released – The brochure, called the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Final Report Executive Summary, offers an overview of the many events that took place during the Year, as detailed in full in the 1450-page IYA2009 Final Report, which was released earlier this year. –European South Observatory

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Videos

Timelapse:Thanksgiving Sunset

  

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

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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 (2455475)

October 5, 2010 12:28 by scibuff

Top Stories

Win a trip to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the new ESO Hidden Treasure contest – a free competition for everyone who enjoys making beautiful images of the night sky using real astronomical data. The competition has some extremely attractive prizes for the lucky winners who produce the most beautiful and original images, including an all expenses paid trip to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal, in Chile, the world’s most advanced optical telescope. –ESO Observatory

ISS Instrument Detects X-ray Nova – An instrument on board the International Space Station has discovered an X-ray nova. The science team from the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) instrument on the Exposed Facility of the Japanese Kibo reported a short-lived X-ray nova became visible in the constellation of Ophiuchus on September 25, 2010, and the MAXI team confirmed that it was an uncatalogued X-ray source. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

The Crab is still crabby – A thousand years ago, and 6500 light years away from Earth, a high mass star exploded. An octillion tons of gas blasted outwards at speeds of thousands of kilometers per second, forming tendrils and wisps as it raced away… – Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

Deep-Sky Wonders Again – Last week I promised to write about the flashlight at night as a metaphor for stargazing techniques — and I’ll get to that in due time. But first I want to write about my observing session last weekend. -Tony Flanders / Sky and Telescope

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Videos

Milky Way Time Lapse

  

Photos

Saturn's rings

Saturn's rings

21 Lutetia

21 Lutetia

Sword of Orion

Sword of Orion

M45 - Pleiades

M45 - Pleiades

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Rural vs. Urban sky

Rural vs. Urban sky (click on the image to galaxify)

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