Astronews Daily Extended Edition (2455540)

December 9, 2010 12:05 by scibuff

Videos

On December 8, 2010 at 15:43 GMT a Falcon 9 launch vehicle took to the sky from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL as it transported a Dragon Capsule into orbit. Space X's Dragon capsule will demonstrate several objects on this flight, which will include space down and recovery.

This is the Webcast for the Falcon 9 Flight 2 from Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX. The second Falcon 9 rocket launched for SLC-40 in Flordia carrying the first Dragon COTS demo unit

  

Top Stories

Spectacular meteor ‘fireball’ explosion over Britain leaves stargazers buzzing ahead of Geminid space shower – The “very bright” meteor lit up the skies from Somerset to Aberdeen, leaving the astronomy world abuzz. Despite lasting just five seconds, witnesses thought they were watching a rare meteor shower because it was such a dazzling display. -Andrew Hough / The Telegraph

How to Settle, Once and for All, the Whole “What’s a Planet?” Debate – When I was a kid, I knew exactly what a planet was: It was something big and round, and it orbited the sun. There were nine such beasts in the celestial menagerie. We knew Pluto was a misfit—smallish, distant, and orbiting on a weird elliptical path—but we had no doubt it was part of the family. The other planets certainly fit my description, and all was well. –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

Keck Observatory Pictures Show Fourth Planet in Giant Solar System – Astronomers announced the discovery of a fourth giant planet joining three others orbiting a nearby star with information that challenges our current understanding of planet formation. The dusty young star named HR8799, located 129 light years away, was first recognized in 2008 when the research team presented the first-ever images of a planetary system orbiting a star other than our sun. –Keck Observatory

Stunning ISS View of Volcanos on Earth – What a view! This photograph taken by one of the astronauts on the International Space Station shows several snow-covered volcanoes on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

NASA’s Plan to Save Astrophysics From Space Telescope’s Budget Overruns – The $1.5 billion in cost overruns needed to complete the planned successor to the Hubble Space Telescope had NASA astrophysicists fearing for the future of other projects. But it appears NASA won’t suck funds from other astrophysics research to pay for the telescope. –Wired

WASP-12b: A Carbon Rich Exoplanet – Since its discovery in 2008, WASP-12b has been an unusual planet. This 1.4 Jovian mass, gas giant lies so close to its parent star that gas is being stripped from its atmosphere. But being stripped away isn’t the only odd property of this planet’s atmosphere. A new study has shown that it’s full of carbon. -Jon Voisey / Universe Today

What would happen if the sun went dark – Perhaps you caught the moon last night in the southwestern sky – a thin crescent lit by sunlight. If your timing was right, with the sky not too bright and moon not too low, you may have also seen the entire outline of the moon. –Astrobob

[more stories]

Photos

NGC 6960 - Veil Nebula

NGC 6960 - Veil Nebula

NGC 1499 - California Nebula

NGC 1499 - California Nebula

NGC 2239 - Rosette Nebula

NGC 2239 - Rosette Nebula

M81 and M82

M81 and M82

  
Launch of SpaceX Falcon9

Launch of SpaceX Falcon9

Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9

Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9

Dragon spacecraft

Dragon spacecraft splashdown

Sunspots at Sunrise

Sunspots at Sunrise

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lift off

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lift off from Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., at 10:43 a.m. EST, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. In orbit, the Dragon capsule went through several maneuvers before it re-entered the atmosphere and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean about 500 miles west of the coast of Mexico. This is first demonstration flight for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, which will provide cargo flights to the International Space Station in the future. - Credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Kevin O'Connell

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 (2455538)

December 7, 2010 12:31 by scibuff

Top Stories

Geminids Meteor Shower 2010: What You Might See – The final meteor shower of 2010 is the Geminids, the peak of which falls on the night of the 13/14 December 2010. The Geminids is described by the IMO as “one of the finest, and probably the most reliable, of the major annual showers presently observable”, and this year’s shower is set to put on a good show. -Steve Owens / Meteorwatch

Geminid Meteor Shower Defies Explanation – The Geminid meteor shower, which peaks this year on Dec. 13th and 14th, is the most intense meteor shower of the year. It’s also NASA astronomer Bill Cooke’s favorite meteor shower—but not for any of the reasons listed above. “The Geminids are my favorite,” he explains, “because they defy explanation.” –NASA

Japan’s Akatsuki to Reach Venus Today – Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft will arrive at Venus later today, and will enter orbit around the planet. The box-shaped orbiter will make observations from an elliptical orbit, from a distance of between 300 and 80,000 kilometers looking for — among other things — signs of lightning and active volcanoes. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

SpaceX Delays Falcon 9 Launch Attempt To Dec. 9 – SpaceX will delay the launch attempt of the Falcon 9 rocket until at least Thursday, Dec. 9. At a press conference today, company president Gwynne Shotwell said a final review of closeout photos this morning found some indications of a potential issue on a second stage nozzle. Reports from journalist Robert Pearlman on Twitter said the Falcon 9 had been lowered from the vertical launch position. And Shotwell said if they have to replace the nozzle, the launch would be no earlier than Friday, Dec. 10. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

15 years ago, Galileo arrived at Jupiter – At about 2200 UTC, a 340kg probe from NASA’s robot spacecraft Galileo will plummet into Jupiter becoming the first probe to fly through the atmosphere of a gas giant planet. –NASA/APOD

So You Think You Can Solve a Cosmology Puzzle? – Cosmologists have come up with a new way to solve their problems. They are inviting scientists, including those from totally unrelated fields, to participate in a grand competition. The idea is to spur outside interest in one of cosmology’s trickiest problems — measuring the invisible dark matter and dark energy that permeate our universe. –NASA/JPL

The Milky Way Project is live – The Milky Way Project is a joint venture between the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and the Zooniverse. So how can you help? Using our bubble-drawing interface, our hope is that you will find bubbles and note any important or unusual characteristics. For example, if you can see what looks like a knot in the bubble, flag it! This knot might tell us something about how the bubble is affecting star formation in the region. –Zooniverse

A HUGE looping prominence on the Sun! – That was taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory at about 17:50 UT, or just an hour or so ago as I post this. Wow! That prominence must be nearly a million kilometers across! [Update: Geeked on Goddard estimates it at 700,000 km.] Mind you, on the scale of this image, the entire Earth would be about 5 pixels in size. –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

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Videos

The launch of Apollo 17 - December 7th 1972. Onboard are astronauts Gene Cernan (CDR) Ron Evans (CMP) and Jack Schmitt (LMP). The first and only Saturn V night launch - Film coverage starts at T-3:04 through 1st stage Sep. Audio begins with the KSC PAO through to Tower Clear when it switches to the Command Module onboard recorder tapes (No PAO just the comments made by the crew). The countdown is the raw TV feed from KSC and the launch is NASA stock footage.

  

Photos

Launch of Apollo 17

Launch of Apollo 17

Galileo Spacecraft

Galileo Spacecraft

Looping prominence

Looping prominence

Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Earth - Moon Conjunction

On December 16, 1992, 8 days after its encounter with Earth, the Galileo spacecraft looked back from a distance of about 6.2 million kilometers to capture this remarkable view of the Moon in orbit about Earth - Credit: NASA/JPL

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