Astronews Daily (2455530)

November 29, 2010 12:46 by scibuff

Top Stories

Soyuz and 3 ISS Crewmembers Return Home – The Expedition 25 crew landed safely in Kazakhstan at 11:46 p.m. EST Thursday (Friday 10:46 a.m. Kazakhstan time). The trio — Doug Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin — undocked in the Soyuz TMA-19 at 8:23 p.m. ending their 5-1/2 month stay at the International Space Station. Staying behind on the orbiting laboratory are Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! – It seems oddly appropriate to be writing about astrophysical jets on Thanksgiving Day, when the New York football Jets will be featured on television. In the most recent issue of Science, Carlos Carrasco-Gonzalez and collaborators write about how their observations of radio emissions from young stellar objects (YSOs) shed light one of the unsolved problems in astrophysics; what are the mechanisms that form the streams of plasma known as polar jets? Although we are still early in the game, Carrasco-Gonzalez et al have moved us closer to the goal line with their discovery. -Mike Simonsen / Universe Today

Astronomers thankful for return of Jupiter’s belt – NASA just released a new image of Jupiter that confirms what amateur astronomers discovered a few days ago: Jupiter’s Southern Equatorial Belt is coming back! –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

Nov 17/18 to 24/25 Meteors – We are now entering a transition period as we leave behind November’s showers (such as the Leonids and Taurids) and look forward to December’s offerings (Geminids and Sigma Hydrids). The nights tabulated below mark the 61st consecutive night with a video meteor detection. -Carl Hergenrother

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Videos

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 - The camera is running at 500 fps, making the total clip of over 8 minutes represent just 30 seconds of actual time.

  

Photos

Launch Pad 39-A

Launch Pad 39-A

The Moon

The Moon

The Moon from the ISS

The Moon from the ISS

Erupting Volcano

Erupting Volcano

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

NGC 6503

Fresh starbirth infuses the galaxy NGC 6503 with a vital pink glow in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This galaxy, a smaller version of the Milky Way, is perched near a great void in space where few other galaxies reside. Credit: ESA/Hubble and 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 Extended Edition (2455526)

November 25, 2010 12:53 by scibuff

Videos

Timelapse of Aurora Borealis over Tromso, Norway. Photography: Tor Even Mathisen, Music: Per Wollen, Vocal: Silje Beate Nilssen - Camera: Canon EOS 5D mark II - Lens: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II

The reins of the International Space Station were passed from Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock to Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly in a ceremony aboard the complex Nov. 24. The other station crew members looked on. Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin will return to Earth in their Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft Nov. 25 for a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan.

  

Top Stories

Discovery’s Launch No Earlier Than Dec. 17 – NASA managers have targeted space shuttle Discovery’s launch for no earlier than Dec. 17. Shuttle managers determined more tests and analysis are needed before proceeding with the STS-133 mission. The launch status meeting planned for Monday, Nov. 29, has been postponed and will be rescheduled. –NASA

The 2010 Shoemaker NEO Grant Recipients – The 2010 Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants totaled $33,285 (US) and were awarded to six amateur astronomers from four countries –Planetary Society

The Sun Steals Comets from Other Stars – The next time you thrill at the sight of a comet blazing across the night sky, consider this: it’s a stolen pleasure. You’re enjoying the spectacle at the expense of a distant star. Sophisticated computer simulations run by researchers at the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) have exposed the crime. –NASA

Longstanding Cepheid Mass Mystery Finally Solved – Cepheid variable stars – a class of stars that vary in brightness over time – have long been used to help measure distances in our local region of the Universe. Since their discovery in 1784 by John Pigott, further refinements have been made about the relationship between the period of their variability and their luminosity, and Cepheids have been closely studied and monitored by professional and amateur astronomers. -Nicholos Wethington / Universe Today

Stripes Are Back in Season on Jupiter – New NASA images support findings that one of Jupiter’s stripes that “disappeared” last spring is now showing signs of a comeback. These new observations will help scientists better understand the interaction between Jupiter’s winds and cloud chemistry. –NASA/JPL

NASA EPOXI Flyby Reveals New Insights Into Comet Features – NASA’s EPOXI mission spacecraft successfully flew past comet Hartley 2 on Thursday, Nov. 4. Scientists say initial images from the flyby provide new information about the comet’s volume and material spewing from its surface. –NASA/JPL

Cassini Back to Normal, Ready for Enceladus – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft resumed normal operations today, Nov. 24. All science instruments have been turned back on, the spacecraft is properly configured and Cassini is in good health. Mission managers expect to get a full stream of data during next week’s flyby of the Saturnian moon Enceladus. –NASA/JPL

Near-Earth asteroid (NEA) 162173 (1999 JU3) is a potential flyby and rendezvous target for interplanetary missions – Near-Earth asteroid 162173 (1999 JU3) is a potential flyby and rendezvous target for interplanetary missions because of its easy to reach orbit. The physical and thermal properties of the asteroid are relevant for establishing the scientific mission goals and also important in the context of near-Earth object studies in general. Our goal was to derive key physical parameters such as shape, spin-vector, size, geometric albedo, and surface properties of 162173 (1999 JU3). – arxiv.org

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Photos

Jupiter

Jupiter

M42 - Orion Nebula

M42 - Orion Nebula

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

Sunrise at KSC

Sunrise at KSC

  
IC 1805 - Heart Nebula

IC 1805 - Heart Nebula

M81 and M82

M81 and M82

NGC6334 Cat's Paw Nebula

NGC6334 Cat's Paw Nebula

Moon

Moon

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Centaurus A and Omega Centauri

Centaurus A and Omega Centauri - A large field image of one of the most popular couples of the southern sky. The dark skies and the long exposure permit to see lots of dust in the whole area. Pentax 67 lens SMCP 300 mm ED(IF) @ f4 + Paramount ME, 280 mins LRGB exposure with a FLI Proline 16803. - Credit: Marco Lorenzi

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 (2455517)

November 16, 2010 13:53 by scibuff

Top Stories

Breaking News: A newly discovered asteroid, designated 2010 WA, is projected to fly by at the altitude of roughly 39,000 km around 3:45 UT tomorrow, November 17. The object was discovered by Catalina Sky Survey telescope at Mount Lemmon last night (Nov. 16). MPEC-2010W03

Japan probe collected particles from Itokawa asteroid – Japanese scientists have confirmed that particles found inside the Hayabusa probe after its seven-year space trip are from the asteroid Itokawa. –Jonathan Amos / BBC News

So is Pluto a planet after all? – The news last week that Eris might actually be a tiny bit smaller than Pluto led to the inevitable question: doesn’t this mean that Pluto should be a planet, after all? The simple obvious answer to this question is no –Mike Brown

Sunset on Mars – I know, it may not look like much, but think about what you’re seeing: a sunset on another world. And those images were taken by a robotic probe that took years to design and build, months to travel the hundreds of millions of kilometers to get to Mars, a harrowing few minutes to descend on a breath of fire through the thin air to land on the surface, and then nearly seven years to travel the landscape long, long past its design specifications. –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

Chandra Finds Youngest Nearby Black Hole – Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have found evidence of the youngest black hole known to exist in our cosmic neighborhood. The 30-year-old black hole provides a unique opportunity to watch this type of object develop from infancy. –NASA

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Videos

Jupiter

Jon Kristoffersen took these images of Jupiter from Crete, Greece, about a week before the stripe began to return. Jupiter dances with two of its moons, Io (left) and Europa. Images: Jon Kristoffersen. Animation: Emil Kraaikamp

Photos

Gibbous Moon

Gibbous Moon

Sunset

Sunset

ISS flyby

ISS flyby

Work on the GUCP commences

Work on the GUCP commences

Gallery Pick of the Day

IC1848 - Soul Nebula

IC1848 - Soul Nebula - Credit: Richie Jarvis

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 (2455491)

October 21, 2010 11:25 by scibuff

Videos

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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 (2455482)

October 12, 2010 12:40 by scibuff

Top Stories

Flying to the Moon – From the Space Station? – Last month the International Space Station partner agencies met to discuss the continuation of space station operations into the next decade and its use as a research laboratory. They also did a little forward thinking, and talked about some unique possibilities for the station’s future, including the potential for using the space station as a launching point to fly a manned mission around the Moon. –Nancy AtkinsonUniverse Today

NASA Administrator Thanks President Obama and Congress for Agency’s New Direction Support – The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in support of President Obama’s signing of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 on Monday, Oct. 11, 2010 … –NASA

Solar storms coming our way this week? – The Sun is getting back into the swing of things: a big active region on its limb erupted yesterday (October 10), sending out a small storm of subatomic particles into space. We weren’t in the line of fire, but over the next few days the rotation of the Sun will bring Active Region 11112 closer to the center of the Sun’s disk, and if that region erupts it may send a storm our way. –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

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Videos

Animation of 2010 TD54 composed of subframes recorded during the
approach on Oct. 12, 2010 with Paramount ME, Celestron C-14 operating at f/5.5, SBIG ST-10 binned 3x3 with clear filter. Field of view is about 18x26 arc minutes. Mount set to allow the target to pass through the field of view. 16 five second exposures shot between 08:51:51 and 08:54:04 UTC.- Credit: Patrick Wiggins (MPC Code 718)

  

Photos

Active Region 11112

Active Region 11112

Milky Way, Jupiter and Scorpio

Milky Way, Jupiter and Scorpio

Sunrise

Sunrise

Obama Signs NASA Authorization Act

Obama Signs NASA Authorization Act

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Latest image of aurora borealis above Yellowknife, taken at 03h10 MDT October 10, 2010.

Latest image of aurora borealis above Yellowknife, taken at 03h10 MDT October 10, 2010.

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 (2455478)

October 8, 2010 12:16 by scibuff

Top Stories

Could a Human Mars Mission Be Funded Commercially? – What will it take to actually get humans to Mars? The best answer is probably money. The right amount of cold, hard cash will certainly solve a lot of problems and eliminate hurdles in sending a human mission to the Red Planet. But cash-strapped federal space agencies aren’t currently in the position to be able to direct a mission to another world – at least in the near term – and seemingly, a trip Mars is always 20-30 years off into the future. But how about a commercially funded effort? –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

Soyuz launches to space station – A Soyuz capsule carrying two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut has left Earth bound for the International Space Station (ISS). – BBC

European South Observatory: Top 100 Images – The European Southern Observatory is a veritable factory of mind-blowing space photos, and now they’ve compiled their top 100 images ever all in one place. –Wired / ESO

Water Discovered on Second Asteroid, May Be Even More Common – Water ice on asteroids may be more common than expected, according to a new study that is being presented at the world’s largest gathering of planetary scientists. –Science Daily

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Videos

Solar Dynamics Observatory captures the Moon as it transits across the face of the Sun. This movie was imaged using the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on SDO in the Iron emission 171?. 171 Angstroms is the Fe IX emission line, corresponding to gaseous Iron at about 1 million Kelvin. Credit: NASA SDO / Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

  

Photos

M42 - Orion Nebula

M42 - Orion Nebula

Deep Sky Orion

Deep Sky Orion

NGC 2264 and the Christmas Tree cluster

NGC 2264 and the Christmas Tree cluster

IC 434 - Horsehead Nebula

IC 434 - Horsehead Nebula

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Jupiter and Uranus at opposition

Recorded on September 27, this well-planned composite of consecutive multiple exposures captured Jupiter and Uranus in their remarkable celestial line-up accompanied by their brighter moons. The faint greenish disk of distant planet Uranus is near the upper left corner. Of the tilted planet's 5 larger moons, two can be spotted just above and left of the planet's disk. At the right side of the frame is ruling gas giant Jupiter, flanked along a line by all four of its Galilean satellites. Farthest from Jupiter is Callisto, with Europa and Io all left of the planet's disk, while Ganymede stands alone at the right. - Credit: Peter Knappert / APOD

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