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 (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 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 (2455476)

October 6, 2010 12:04 by scibuff

Top Stories

Saturn’s Rings Formed from Large Moon’s Destruction – The formation of Saturn‘s rings has been one of the classical if not eternal questions in astronomy. But one researcher has provided a provocative new theory to answer that question. Robin Canup from the Southwest Research Institute has uncovered evidence that the rings came from a large, Titan-sized moon that was destroyed as it spiraled into a young Saturn. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

Trojans May Yet Rain Down – In the past decade Neptunian Trojans have been discovered. By the end of this summer, six have been confirmed. Yet despite this small sample, these objects have some unexpected properties and may outnumber the number of asteroids in the main belt by an order of magnitude. – Jon Voisey / Universe Today

China’s Chang’E-2 in Lunar Orbit – Chang’E-2 was captured by the lunar gravity fields after five days of spaceflight. The Chinese space probe has become as lunar orbiter at 11:40, 6th Oct (Beijing local time), according to Yong-Chun Zheng of the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences. –Spaceports

International Astronautical Congress – Prague 2010 Highlights – I attended the International Astronautical Congress last week in Prague, Czech Republic. I attended the Vancouver Congress years ago, but as an exhibit staffer, not a presenter. This was my first time to present papers. Quite an experience. – Beth Beck

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Videos

The Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft and its booster were moved to its launch pad on a railcar Oct. 5 for final preparations prior to its launch Oct. 8 to the International Space Station. The Soyuz will carry Expedition 25 Soyuz Commander Alexander Kaleri, NASA Flight Engineer Scott Kelly and Russian Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka to the orbiting laboratory. The trio will spend six months on the complex, joining station Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Shannon Walker, who have been in orbit since June. - Credit: NASA TV

  

Photos

Monoceros R2

Monoceros R2

103P/Hartley 2

103P/Hartley 2

North American and Pelican

North American and Pelican

Seattle, WA

Seattle, WA

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

G327.1-1.1: Pushing the Envelope

G327.1-1.1: Pushing the Envelope - G327 is the aftermath of a star that exploded as a supernova. X-rays are blue, radio data are red and yellow, and infrared data show the stars in the field - Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/T.Temim et al. and ESA/XMM-Newton Radio: SIFA/MOST and CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA; Infrared: UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF/2MASS

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 (2455471)

October 1, 2010 12:48 by scibuff

Top Stories

Additional Shuttle Mission Almost Guaranteed – For some time now there have been rumors and speculation that there will be an additional flight added to the two currently remaining on the shuttle manifest. With the passage of the Senate 2010 NASA Authorization Act (S. 3729) the mission which would be STS-135 – is now all but a certainty. -Jason Rhian / Universe Today

China’s 2nd lunar probe Chang’e-2 blasts off – China launched its second unmanned lunar probe, Chang’e-2 on Friday, inaugurating the second phase of a three-step moon mission, which will culminate in a soft-landing on the moon. –xinhuanet

Astronomers Confirm a New Type of Supernova – When our sun comes to its ending in five billion years or so, it will fade into a quiescent white dwarf. Bigger stars go out with a bang—those with more than 10 times the mass of our sun collapse with enough vigor to spark a supernova, one of the most energetic events in the universe. –Michael Moyer / Scientific American

Virgin Galactic Will Be Ready For Space Travel Within 18 Months – Virgin Galactic was said to be ready for space tourism in about 2 years. Usually, shit happens and those deadlines get pushed way down the line. However, according to Virgin Galactic, everything is on track. (So far, that is.) –timehuman blog

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Videos

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft watched as an eruptive prominence near the back of the Sun arched up but then headed back to the Sun's surface over a few hours (Sept. 19, 2010) - Credit: Courtesy of SOHO/STEREO consortium. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

  

Photos

The Antennae galaxies

The Antennae galaxies

Comet 103P/Hartley 2

Comet 103P/Hartley 2

ISS transit

ISS transit

Chang'e II Lift-off

Chang'e II Lift-off

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Paris from the ISS

Paris from the International Space Station

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery. The photo was taken by Douglas H. Wheelock (@Astro_Wheels), a member of the Expedition 24/25 crew, and the first US Army astronaut to command the International Space Station.