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.

Discovery launch scrubbed again due to LH2 leak

November 5, 2010 12:42 by scibuff

Update 2: FURTHER DELAY. Shuttle Discovery won’t fly before November 30 at 09:05 UTC.
Update 1: The teams are now working a 72 hour scrub turnaround procedure instead of the 48 they originally started to call. The earliest opportunity for Discovery to launch will be on Monday, Nov 8.

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.

The Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate

The Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate where a leak of liquid hydrogen has been detected during tanking - Credit: NASA TV

The teams are working a 48 hours turnaround 72 hours turnaround with launch targeted at 18:15:46 UTC on Sunday, as 24 hours is not enough to drain the External Tank (ET) to examine and resolved the issue. The current launch window closes on Sunday, November 7, 2010. The shuttle cannot launch between Nov. 8 and Nov. 23 because of a so-called beta angle cutout. Such cutouts are defined by the angle between the sun and the plane of the space station’s orbit. When it the beta angle is too high or too low, temperature constraints for the docked shuttle-station stack can exceed safety guidelines. Nevertheless, the Mission Management Team (MMT) is also looking into the possibility to launch on Monday, Nov 8 with a reworked flight plan.

Astronews Daily (2455502)

November 1, 2010 12:37 by scibuff

Top Stories

Official STS-133 Countdown Underway – The official countdown clock began ticking backward at 18:00 UTC Sunday. Launch is targeted for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 20:52 UTC. NASA Test Director Steve Payne said this morning that the work to repair the leaks is complete, the system is repressurized and work is on schedule for Discovery’s launch. –NASA

A detailed look at the latest STS133 Launch Weather Forecast (PDF)

Mitigating Asteroid Threats Will Take Global Action – During the past 24 hours, the Earth has been hit by about a million small meteoroids – most of which burned up in the atmosphere as shooting stars. This happens every day. And occasionally – once every 10,000 years or so — a really big asteroid (1 km in diameter or larger) comes along and smacks Earth with an extinction-level impact. That idea might cause some of us to lose some sleep. But in between are other asteroid hits that occur every 200-300 years where a medium-sized chunk of space rock intersects with Earth’s orbit, producing a Tunguska-like event, or worse. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

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Videos

Movie of 2003 UV11 from the distance of about 2.1 million km - Credit: Gianluca Masi

  

Photos

Waning Quarter Moon

Waning Quarter Moon

Africa at night

Africa at night

Europe at night

Europe at night

Discovery on Pad 39a

Discovery on Pad 39a

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

M17 - Omega Nebula

Astronomers using data from ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, have made an impressive composite of the nebula Messier 17, also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula. The painting-like image shows vast clouds of gas and dust illuminated by the intense radiation from young stars. - ESO/R. Chini

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 (2455496)

October 26, 2010 11:08 by scibuff

Top Stories

NASA’s last flight of Discovery – If you have always wanted to watch a launch of the Shuttle that lofted Hubble into orbit, then you get one final chance: the last scheduled flight of Discovery is now set for November 1. –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

Pluto and Charon opposition surges, Nix and Hydra masses, Pluto and Eris compositions – An awful lot of the talks in the Pluto session on Tuesday morning, October 5, at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting spent more time focusing on how bad weather conditions were during the astronomers’ attempts to view Pluto as it occulted background stars than they did on any measurements or science that came out from the data. – Emily Lakdawalla / The Planetary Society

Five Things About NASA’s EPOXI Mission – Here are five quick facts about the EPOXI mission, scheduled to fly by comet Hartley 2 on Nov. 4, 2010. –NASA/JPL

Another X-ray Nova Detected by ISS, Swift – A new X-ray emitting object in the Milky Way has been recently announced by the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) team and the Swift satellite astronomers. MAXI, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency supported instrument, monitors the entire sky in the X-ray portion of the spectrum from its perch on the International Space Station module “Kibo”. On October 12th, MAXI noticed nothing out of the ordinary in a portion of the sky in the constellation Centaurus. -Nicholos Wethington / Universe Today

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Videos

After a day-long flight readiness review at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, senior NASA and contractor managers voted unanimously to set November 1, 2010 as the official launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery

  

Photos

The Moon a few nights ago

The Moon a few nights ago

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunspot

Sunspot

Richat structure in Mauritania

Richat structure in Mauritania

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Milky Way all around the horizon line and Gegenschein

Milky Way all around the horizon line and Gegenschein from Atacama desert in Chile - Credit: Stéphane Guisard

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery. More information as well as different views are available at Stéphane’s page.

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.

Astronews Daily (2455474)

October 4, 2010 13:32 by scibuff

Top Stories

Daylight Venus transit of the ISS – Venus is the brightest celestial body in the night sky after the Moon. It could get as bright as an magnitude of -4.6. When Theo Ramakers and Frank Garner photographed its beauty on the afternoon of Sep.25, Venus was right behind the path of ISS. -Xiao Sun / Astronomy Cameras Blog

Birth of the Space Age – History changed on Oct. 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I, the world’s first artificial satellite. About the size of a beach ball and weighing about 184 pounds, it took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race. –NASA

STS-133 completes hyper loading – Discovery may star in Transformers movie – With the departmental Flight Readiness Reviews (FRRs) ongoing – leading up to the SSP (Space Shuttle Program) FRR set for next week – Discovery continues to enjoy a smooth pad flow, as the milestone of hyper loading (S0024) was completed on Saturday. The veteran orbiter is also enjoying a weekend at the movies, as filming of Transformers 3 picks up at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). –NASA Spaceflight

ESA and oil industries explore applications from space – Members of the space and oil and gas sectors have come together in the first meeting of its kind to discuss current Earth observation capabilities and the evolving information requirements within the oil and gas industry. –ESA

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Videos

Jupiter's rotation with Great Red Spot and Europa moon

Jupiter's rotation with Great Red Spot and Europa moon - Credit: Emanuele Baldani

  

Photos

Comet 103P/Hartley

Comet 103P/Hartley

M42 - Orion Nebula

M42 - Orion Nebula

Io in true colors

Io in true colors

Daily sunrise

Daily sunrise

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Daylight Venus transit of the ISS

Daylight Venus transit of the ISS - Credit: Theo Ramakers and Frank Garner

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