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

[more stories]

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 (2455519)

November 18, 2010 12:29 by scibuff

Top Stories

Physicists Create and Trap Antimatter, Universe Doesn’t Explode – In a paper today, scientists from Switzerland’s CERN lab reveal they created and trapped a form of antimatter for the first time ever. There’s no practical use for this except, you know, figuring out why the universe exists. -Adrian Chen

A Cosmologist’s Wish List: Four Most-Wanted Discoveries – Cosmology is a fairly young science, one which attempts to reconstruct the history of our Universe from billions of years ago. Looking back so far in time is extremely difficult, and adding to the complexity is that many of the pillars upon which the theories of cosmology rest have only been conceived within the last 20 years or so. -Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

New Geography Trivia Challenge From Space – You can now test your knowledge of the world’s geography in a new trivia game on Twitter sponsored by NASA and the astronauts on board the International Space Station. It is kind of like our own “Where In the Universe Challenge” but strictly of images from Earth, and in this contest, there are even actual prizes. Astronaut Scott Kelly started the game this week, which is Geography Awareness Week. His vantage point is perfect for hosting the game, as where else can you get a better view of the various geographical features on our planet than from the International Space Station? -Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

Infrared Telescope Spots ‘Space Jellyfish’ : Big Pic – NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has spotted a bizarre-looking object floating amongst the ocean of stars: a fluorescing jellyfish. However, looks can be deceiving; this ‘jellyfish’ is actually a well-known planetary nebula, but astronomers have never seen it like this before. -Discovery News

UK takes ‘open source’ route into space – The fundamental barrier to greater space activity is the cost of access. If people didn’t have to part with squillions to get up there, far more spacecraft would go into orbit than is currently the case. And it’s a problem that amplifies itself as well. -Jonathan Amos / BBC Blogs

Hands of the Apollo Astronauts – There are Neil’s. And there are Buzz’s. And Pete Conrad’s. And Alan Shepard’s. These are the hands of the Apollo astronauts, the plaster casts created to make their custom gloves in Houston, Texas, 1968. High five! -Gizmodo

Bonus: Nov 15, 2010 – Yo Mama Jokes: Astrophysics Edition – Yo’ mama so fat: … she absorbs 90% of the neutrino’s incident upon her; … she’s held up by neutron degeneracy pressure; … I stand next to her so I can age more slowly -Calamities of Nature

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Videos

The STEREO (Behind) spacecraft observed no fewer than four flares (and likely five) from one active region over about a 30-hour period (Nov. 6-7, 2010). These were minor to medium-sized flares, but even so they still overwhelmed the telescope sensors enough to cause artifacts of light seen as quick streaks as well as staggered, carat-shaped brightenings, which are the diffraction pattern off the internal structures in the EUVI telescope (see still image). Flares are brief but intense solar storms that are known to blast radiation into space, but not a lot of plasma particles - Courtesy of SOHO/STEREO (Behind) consortium. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A, technicians are completing repairs on space shuttle Discovery's ground umbilical carrier plate (GUCP). On Nov. 17, the hydrogen vent line was reattached to the GUCP. That vent pipe carries excess hydrogen gas safely away from Discovery to a flare stack, where it is burned off. Teams will analyze the hardware fittings and pressure check the connections to look for any possible leaks. Discovery's next launch window for STS-133 extends from Nov. 30 through Dec. 6.

Photos

M42 in Hubble Palette

M42 in Hubble Palette

M42 in False Colors

M42 in False Colors

M42 in narrowband

M42 in narrowband

M42 in RGB

M42 in RGB

Comet C/2010 V1 Ikeya Murakami

Comet C/2010 V1 Ikeya Murakami

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

NGC 7000 / North America

NGC 7000 / North America

M45 - Pleiades

M45 - Pleiades

Gallery Pick of the Day

Sunrise at KSC

Sunrise at KSC - Credit: Jen Scheer

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 (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

[more stories]

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 (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.

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

[more stories]

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 (2455475)

October 5, 2010 12:28 by scibuff

Top Stories

Win a trip to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the new ESO Hidden Treasure contest – a free competition for everyone who enjoys making beautiful images of the night sky using real astronomical data. The competition has some extremely attractive prizes for the lucky winners who produce the most beautiful and original images, including an all expenses paid trip to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal, in Chile, the world’s most advanced optical telescope. -ESO Observatory

ISS Instrument Detects X-ray Nova – An instrument on board the International Space Station has discovered an X-ray nova. The science team from the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) instrument on the Exposed Facility of the Japanese Kibo reported a short-lived X-ray nova became visible in the constellation of Ophiuchus on September 25, 2010, and the MAXI team confirmed that it was an uncatalogued X-ray source. -Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

The Crab is still crabby – A thousand years ago, and 6500 light years away from Earth, a high mass star exploded. An octillion tons of gas blasted outwards at speeds of thousands of kilometers per second, forming tendrils and wisps as it raced away… – Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

Deep-Sky Wonders Again – Last week I promised to write about the flashlight at night as a metaphor for stargazing techniques — and I’ll get to that in due time. But first I want to write about my observing session last weekend. -Tony Flanders / Sky and Telescope

[more stories]

Videos

Milky Way Time Lapse

  

Photos

Saturn's rings

Saturn's rings

21 Lutetia

21 Lutetia

Sword of Orion

Sword of Orion

M45 - Pleiades

M45 - Pleiades

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Rural vs. Urban sky

Rural vs. Urban sky (click on the image to galaxify)

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