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 (2455509)

November 8, 2010 13:44 by scibuff

Top Stories

The shadowy hand of Eris – On Friday night Eris was predicted to pass directly in front of a relatively faint star in the constellation of Cetus. You might think that this sort of thing happens all of the time, but you’d be wrong. Eris is so small in the sky and stars are such tiny points of light that, though they get close frequently, their actually intersections are rare. When they do intersect, though, something amazing happens: the star disappears. And since we know how fast Eris is moving across the sky, seeing how long the star disappears gives us a very precise measure of the size of Eris. Or, to be more exact, a very precise measure of a single chord passing through the body. –Mike Brown

New Supernova Lights Up Leo – A new supernova? Darn right. Lighting up Leo? Well… not without some serious visual aid, but the fact that someone out there is watching and has invited us along for the ride is mighty important. And just who might that someone be? None other than Tim Puckett. -Tammy Plotner / Universe Today

Shuttle waits out weather, technical issues – Stormy weather, a fuel leak and cracked foam thwarted NASA’s attempts to launch the shuttle Discovery this week, eventually prompting managers to push the shuttle’s final blastoff until at least Nov. 30. These views of Discovery on launch pad 39A were taken Tuesday and Thursday. –Spaceflight Now

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Videos

Hubble Helps Fast-Forward the Motion of Stars

Photos

Discovery on launch pad 39A

Discovery on launch pad 39A

SN 2010jl

SN 2010jl

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

IC405

IC405

Gallery Pick of the Day

NGC 4452

Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a striking galaxy called NGC 4452, which appears to lie exactly edge-on as seen from Earth. The result is an extraordinary picture of billions of stars observed from an unusual angle. The bright nucleus can be seen at the centre, along with the very thin disc that looks like a straight line from our unusual viewing position. To complete the picture, a hazy halo of stars on the periphery of the galaxy makes it seem to glow. - Credit: NASA/ESA HST

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 (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.

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.