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 (2455510)

November 9, 2010 12:57 by scibuff

Top Stories

Sunspot 1121 Unleashes X-ray Flare – Active sunspot 1121 has unleashed one of the brightest x-ray solar flares in years, an M5.4-class eruption at 15:36 UT on Nov. 6th. –NASA

The moon that almost wasn’t – Cassini images of Saturn and its environs never get tiresome. And in fact, they can be downright jolting… like this stunning shot of the icy moon Mimas. –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

Missing Milky Way Dark Matter – Although dark matter is inherently difficult to observe, an understanding of its properties (even if not its nature) allows astronomers to predict where its effects should be felt. The current understanding is that dark matter helped form the first galaxies by providing gravitational scaffolding in the early universe. -Jon Voysey / Universe Today

Arianespace’s fifth Ariane 5 is ready to receive its Intelsat 17 and HYLAS 1 satellite payloads – The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s fifth heavy-lift mission of 2010 has moved to the Final Assembly Building at the Spaceport in French Guiana, where it will be fitted with a dual-passenger payload of the Intelsat 17 and HYLAS 1 satellites. –Ariane Space

42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference – The 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference will be held March 7–11, 2011, at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, located at 1601 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas, just north of Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). The abstract submission and registration forms are now open –NASA/Lunar Science Institude

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Videos

Space Shuttle Era: The Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate (GUCP) - The Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate provides one of the critical connections between the shuttle and the launch pad. The GUCP, pronounced "Gup" helps funnel gaseous hydrogen from the external tank into a system of pipes that safely burns off the excess fuel. Launch controllers track the readings from sensors on the GUCP for signs of a hydrogen leak. When readings are outside the limits, the countdown is halted so technicians can make repairs.

Photos

Crescent Moon in Ophiuchus

Crescent Moon in Ophiuchus

IC 1318 / gamma Cyg nebula

IC 1318 / gamma Cyg nebula

Double Cluster

Double Cluster

M45 - Pleiades

M45 - Pleiades

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 (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

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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.

Starry Sky Tonight

January 26, 2010 21:34 by scibuff

It was a very cold day in Amsterdam today but along with it came virtually cloudless sky, so I had the chance to continue taking photos of the Moon as it approaches the Full Moon (06:18 GMT on January 30) as well as the perigee (09:04 GMT on January 30, 2010) when the it will be 356,592 km away from the Earth – the closest this year.

Waxing Gibbous Moon

Waxing Gibbous Moon taken tonight through a refractor ATC Monar (D=70mm f/4.6) with Canon 450D, exp. 1/50s

(Compare the Moon with photos from January 25 and January 20)

My next target was the open cluster Pleiades (M45). The effects of close proximity with the Moon tonight is visible on the left side of the photo.

Open star cluster Pleiades (M45)

Open star cluster Pleiades (M45) through Canon 450D ISO 1600 f/8 exp. 10s

Finally, I turned the camera towards the constellation of Orion and one of the most scrutinized and photographed objects in the night sky – The Orion Nebula (M42).

The Orion Nebula (M42)

The Orion Nebula (M42) through Canon 450D ISO 1600 f/8 exp. 10s