Astronews Daily ext. Edition (2455491)

October 21, 2010 11:25 by scibuff

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A European team of astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has measured the distance to the most remote galaxy so far. By carefully analysing the very faint glow of the galaxy they have found that they are seeing it when the Universe was only about 600 million years old (a redshift of 8.6). These are the first confirmed observations of a galaxy whose light is clearing the opaque hydrogen fog that filled the cosmos at this early time. - Credit: ESO

  

Top Stories

Record-breaking galaxy found at the edge of the Universe – The record for the most distant object in the Universe ever seen has been smashed: a galaxy has been found at the staggering distance of 13.1 billion light years! –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

The Tug of Exoplanets on Exoplanets – Earlier this year, I wrote about how an apparent change in the orbital characteristics of a planet around TrES-2b may be indicative of a new planet, much in the same way perturbations of Uranus revealed the presence of Neptune. A follow up study was conducted by astronomers at the University of Arizona and another study on planet WASP-3b also enters the fray. -Jon Voisey / Universe Today

Astronomers Find Weird, Warm Spot on an Exoplanet – Observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reveal a distant planet with a warm spot in the wrong place. – NASA/JPL

Spring Has Sprung … On Titan – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has sent back dreamy raw images of Saturn’s moon Titan that show the appearance of clouds around the moon’s midsection. These bright clouds likely appeared because the moon is changing seasons and spring has arrived in Titan’s northern hemisphere. –NASA/JPL

New NASA Moon Plan: Pay Others to Go – Congress may have put the kibosh on NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the moon, but that doesn’t mean the agency is giving up its lunar ambitious. The new plan? Pay others to go. -Irene Klotz / Discovery News

Views from Mauna Kea – As this observing run on Mauna Kea draws to a close (tonight is my last night), i share another round of views from the volcano. I never really get tired of these sunsets. –Amanda Bauer

Halley’s Comet comes back to life tonight – Tomorrow morning is the peak of the annual Orionid meteor shower. It’s one of two times each year our planet intersects the orbit of Halley’s Comet and samples some of the debris the comet leaves in its wake as it rounds the sun once every 76 years. –Astro Bob

ISS Prepares for Busy Upcoming Year of Logistics Operations – The ISS Program is gearing up for what will be a very busy upcoming year of logistics operations, with a total of eleven Visiting Vehicles (VVs) scheduled to visit the orbital outpost in 2011. Manifested arrivals consist of five Russian Progresses, three SpaceX Dragons, one Orbital Cygnus, one Japanese HTV, and one European ATV. At least one, and possibly two Space Shuttles are also scheduled to visit the station next year. –NASASpaceFlight.com

Watching the Sun – After the deepest solar minimum in 100 years, the sun is finally kicking into high gear. According to Space Weather, the sun spent 260 days without any sunspots in 2009; in 2010, so far, that number has plummeted to 45. -Heather Goss / Aviation Week

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Photos

Sun with annotated sunspots

Sun with annotated sunspots

Moon closeup

Moon closeup

Sunset

Sunset

NGC 6946

NGC 6946

  
NGC 891

NGC 891

M27 - Dumbell Nebula

M27 - Dumbell Nebula

NGC 7380 - Wizard Nebula

NGC 7380 - Wizard Nebula

Jupiter with Aurora

Jupiter with Aurora

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

The most distant galaxy so far

This image shows the infrared Hubble Ultra Deep Field taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in 2009, in which several robust candidate distance-record-breaking objects were discovered - Credit: NASA/ESA

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 (2455484)

October 14, 2010 13:01 by scibuff

Top Stories

Ghosts of the Future: First Giant Structures of the Universe Hold 800 Trillion Suns – Astronomers using the South Pole Telescope report that they have discovered the most massive galaxy cluster yet seen at a distance of 7 billion light-years. The cluster (designated SPT-CL J0546-5345) weighs in at around 800 trillion Suns, and holds hundreds of galaxies. –Science Daily

Confirmed Exoplanets Could Reach 500 by the End of This Month – If it seems like a new extrasolar planet is discovered every week these days, that’s because there is. In fact, the rate is actually faster than one per week – 70 have been discovered thus far this year alone, bringing the overall tally of confirmed exoplanets at 494. At that pace we very well might hit exoplanet number 500 before the end of this month. -Clay Dillow / PopSci

Being in space can change the way you view the Earth – That was certainly the case for the Apollo 8 crew who produced the iconic image of our planet emerging from behind the limb of the Moon –Jonathan Amos / BBC

Hubble and Rosetta unmask nature of recent asteroid wreck – High-resolution images from the Hubble Space Telescope and a rare view obtained, from a unique perspective, by the Rosetta spacecraft provide a comprehensive picture of P/2010 A2, a puzzling body in the asteroid main belt. –ESA

Camera That Saved Hubble Leaves Nest for Good – NASA’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 was loaded for transport from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Oct. 13, 2010. – NASA/JPL

Where In The Universe Challenge #122 – Ready for another Where In The Universe Challenge? Here’s #105! Take a look and see if you can name where in the Universe this image is from. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

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Videos

This spectacular image shows the Rosette star formation region, which is located about 5,000 light years from Earth.

  

Photos

Melas Chasma in Valles Marineris rift valley on Mars

Melas Chasma in Valles Marineris rift valley on Mars

Sculptor Galaxy

Sculptor Galaxy

Sun and Mercury

Sun and Mercury

Tarantula Nebula

Tarantula Nebula

  
Horse Head and Small Flame

Horse Head and Small Flame

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

M45 - Pleiades

M45 - Pleiades

Bubble Nebula

Bubble Nebula

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

STS-133 Mission: Inside a shuttle training aircraft, Discovery Commander Steve Lindsey practices landings at Kennedy

STS-133 Mission: Inside a shuttle training aircraft, Discovery Commander Steve Lindsey practices landings at Kennedy - Credit: KSC/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 (2455481)

October 11, 2010 13:11 by scibuff

Top Stories

Breaking News: Small NEO Could Pass Within 60,000 km of Earth on Tuesday – A small asteroid will pass very close to Earth this week Tuesday. Astronomers are still tracking the object, now designated as 2010 TD54, and various estimates say it could possibly come within 46,000 km on October 12, with closest approach at approximately 11:25 UT. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

Virgin Galactic achieve first solo glide flight – Virgin Galactic’s space tourism rocket SpaceShipTwo achieved its first solo glide flight, marking another step in the company’s eventual plans to fly paying passengers. –The Independent

Chang’E 2 update: in orbit and returning data – From Yong-Chun Zheng at National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences have come several updates on the status of China’s second lunar orbiter, Chang’E 2. Chang’E 2 launched successfully on October 1 at 10:59:57 UTC. –Emily Lakdawalla / The Planetary Society

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Videos – This Week @ NASA

Expedition 25 crew members Oleg Skripochka, Scott Kelly and Sasha Kaleri lifted off in the Soyuz capsule for the International Space Station. They're joining Commander Doug Wheelock, Fyodo Yurchikhin and Shannon Walker, who have been in orbit since June. Also, the Congress approved the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, paving the way for the agency's future exploration plans. Plus, Mars Meteorite, Back in the Air, the Best Station Views, and more.

  

Photos

Comet 103P/Hartley

Comet 103P/Hartley

Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania

Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania

NGC 2683

NGC 2683

Globular Star Cluster NGC 6934

Globular Star Cluster NGC 6934

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

NGC 406

The beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 406 was discovered in 1834 by John Herschel and is here imaged in great detail by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

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.

Hubble’s Festive View of a Grand Star-Forming Region

December 15, 2009 15:01 by scibuff

The Hubble Space Telescope captured the most detailed view of the largest stellar nursery in our local galactic neighborhood. The massive, young stellar grouping, called R136, is only a few million years old and resides in the 30 Doradus Nebula (also known as Tarantula Nebula or NGC 2070), a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. R136 has an estimated mass of the cluster is 450,000 solar masses suggesting it will likely become a globular cluster in the future.

Despite the distance of about 180,000 light years, the nebula is an extremely luminous non-stellar objects. Its luminosity is so great that if it were as close to Earth as the Orion Nebula, the Tarantula Nebula would cast shadows. There is no known star-forming region in our galaxy as large or as prolific as 30 Doradus. Many of the diamond-like icy blue stars are among the most massive stars known. Several of them are over 100 times more massive than our Sun. These stars are destined to end their lives in a cataclysmic explosion becoming one of the most luminous objects in the universe. The closest supernova observed since the invention of the telescope, Supernova 1987A, occurred in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula.

30 Doradus Nebula, a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) - Credit: NASA, ESA, F. Paresce (INAF-IASF, Bologna, Italy), R. O'Connell (University of Virginia, Charlottesville), and the Wide Field Camera 3 Science Oversight Committee

30 Doradus Nebula, a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) - Credit: NASA, ESA, F. Paresce (INAF-IASF, Bologna, Italy), R. O'Connell (University of Virginia, Charlottesville), and the Wide Field Camera 3 Science Oversight Committee

The image above, taken in ultraviolet, visible, and red light by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, spans about 100 light-years. The nebula is close enough to Earth that Hubble can resolve individual stars, giving astronomers important information about the birth and evolution of stars in the universe. The Hubble observations were taken Oct. 20-27, 2009. The blue color is light from the hottest, most massive stars; the green from the glow of oxygen; and the red from fluorescing hydrogen.

Hubble beats its own Ultra Deep Field with another stunning image

December 8, 2009 16:10 by scibuff

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has made the deepest image of the universe ever taken in near-infrared light. The faintest and reddest objects in the image are galaxies that formed 600 million years after the Big Bang. No galaxies have been seen before at such early times. The new deep view also provides insights into how galaxies grew in their formative years early in the universe’s history.

Hubble's Deepest View of Universe Unveiling Never-Before-Seen Galaxies taken with the new WFC3/IR camera on Hubble in late August 2009 during a total of four days of pointing for 173,000 seconds of total exposure time - Source: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory and the University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (UCO/Lick Observatory and Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team

Hubble's Deepest View of Universe Unveiling Never-Before-Seen Galaxies taken with the new WFC3/IR camera on Hubble in late August 2009 during a total of four days of pointing for 173,000 seconds of total exposure time - Source: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory and the University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (UCO/Lick Observatory and Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team

The image was taken in the same region as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), which was taken in 2004 and is the deepest visible-light image of the universe. Hubble’s newly installed Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) collects light from near-infrared wavelengths and therefore looks even deeper into the universe, because the light from very distant galaxies is stretched out of the ultraviolet and visible regions of the spectrum into near-infrared wavelengths by the expansion of the universe.

The photo was taken with the new WFC3/IR camera on Hubble in late August 2009 during a total of four days of pointing for 173,000 seconds of total exposure time. Infrared light is invisible and therefore does not have colors that can be perceived by the human eye. The colors in the image are assigned comparatively short, medium, and long, near-infrared wavelengths (blue, 1.05 microns; green, 1.25 microns; red, 1.6 microns). The representation is “natural” in that blue objects look blue and red objects look red. The faintest objects are about one-billionth as bright as can be seen with the naked eye.

Source: NASA