Astronews Daily Extended Edition (2455547)

December 16, 2010 12:18 by scibuff

Videos

Soyuz TMA-20 Launch of Expedition 26 - A Russian Soyuz rocket launched the Expedition 26 crew to the International Space Station. The crew includes Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev, American astronaut Catherine Coleman and from the European Space Agency Italian Paolo Nespoli.

Phobos shadow passing over Viking 1 landing site dust storm (40x actual speed) - On September 28, 1977, Viking Orbiter 1 observed a dust storm over the site where it had dropped its lander, more than a year previously. As Viking 1 orbiter watched, the shadow of Mars' inner moon Phobos passed over the cloud tops. Data: NASA/JPL. Processing: Daniel Machá?ek

  

Top Stories

NASA Discovers Asteroid Delivered Assortment of Meteorites – An international team of scientists studying remnants of an asteroid that crashed into the Nubian Desert in October 2008 discovered it contained at least 10 different types of meteorites. Some of them contained chemicals that form the building blocks of life on Earth, and those chemicals were spread through all parts of the asteroid by collisions. –NASA

Near-Synchronous Explosions Connect Across the Vast Distances on the Sun – For several decades, scientists studying the sun have observed solar flares that appear to occur almost simultaneously but originated in completely different areas on the Sun. Solar physicists called them “sympathetic” flares, but it was thought these near-synchronous explosions in the solar atmosphere were too far apart – sometimes millions of kilometers distant – to be related. But now, with the continuous high-resolution and multi-wavelength observations with the Solar Dynamics Observatory, combined with views from the twin STEREO spacecraft, the scientists are seeing how these sympathetic eruptions — sometimes on opposite sides of the sun — can connect through looping lines of the Sun’s magnetic field. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

Galaxy Cluster Reveals Farthest Known Galaxy – Almost all of the bright objects in this Hubble Space Telescope image are galaxies in the cluster known as Abell 2218 -a cluster so massive and so compact that its gravity bends and focuses the light from galaxies that lie behind it. As a result, multiple images of these background galaxies are distorted into long faint arcs. –The Daily Galaxy

No Asteroid Particles Found in Second Hayabusa Compartment, But More in First – No visible material from asteroid Itokawa was found inside the second compartment of a canister returned to Earth by the Hayabusa spacecraft. However, JAXA also announced that more micron-sized grains have been found in the first compartment, opened earlier this year. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

93rd Birth Anniversary of Sir Arthur Clarke – Let’s cherish the 93rd birth anniversary of Sir Arthur Clarke, who rendered an immense service to the world, by means of his innovative concepts on telecommunication + thrilling scientific books, We should do something to remind the world about his being in a day like this, as what his imagination has rendered, continues to grow day by day –IYA 2009 / Sri Lanka

A Majestic Galaxy in One of the Largest Known Structures in the Observable Universe – This image shows a majestic face-on spiral galaxy located deep within the Coma Cluster of galaxies, which lies 320 million light-years away, in the northern constellation Coma Berenices. The galaxy, known as NGC 4911, contains rich lanes of dust and gas near its center. These are silhouetted against glowing newborn star clusters and iridescent pink clouds of hydrogen, the existence of which indicates ongoing star formation. –The Daily Galaxy

Dec 14/15 Meteors (night after the Geminids peak) – What a difference 24 hours makes! Only a day removed from the Geminids peak and rates have crashed to a fraction of their peak. During the past 5 nights SALSA3 detected 12, 22, 69, 124 and now 20 Geminids. This is a characteristic of the Geminids in that the post-peak rates fall off much more rapidly than the pre-peak increase. –Carl Hergenrother

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Photos

H-alpha Orion mosaic

H-alpha Orion mosaic

Geminid bolide

Geminid bolide

IC1848 - Soul Nebula

IC1848 - Soul Nebula

Slewing

Slewing

  
Venus Rising

Venus Rising

Toronto, Ward’s Island

Toronto, Ward’s Island

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

Waxing Gibbous Moon

Waxing Gibbous Moon

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Geminids over Kitt Peak

Geminids over Kitt Peak - Credit & Copyright: David A. Harvey

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 (2455534)

December 3, 2010 12:15 by scibuff

Top Stories

Back-in-Action Cassini Doesn’t Disappoint – Here are a few raw images from the Cassini spacecraft‘s most recent flyby of Enceladus. The probe seems to be in good health following several weeks in safe mode, after a bit flipped in the command and data subsystem computer. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

X-37B space plane returns to Earth in the next few days – The landing window for the U.S. military X-37B space plane opens Friday, but officials are mum about the timing of specific opportunities to return the craft to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. -Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

Special fueling test could be ordered for Discovery’s tank – NASA managers and engineers met Thursday to discuss the potential root cause of cracks in the shuttle Discovery’s external tank, what additional tests might be needed and what, if any, modifications might be required before another launch attempt can be made. -William Harwood / Spaceflight Now

Landing on Mars in 2016 – I remember going up to a leading French planetary scientist at a meeting in Paris last year and asking if he was interested in taking part in Europe’s mission to land a spacecraft on Mars in October 2016. “No,” was his response, “because there is no science on it.” –Jonathan Amos / BBC

Super Venus steampunk planet! – Last year, astronomers discovered a remarkable planet orbiting another star: it has a mass and radius that puts it in the “super-Earth” category — meaning it’s more like the Earth than a giant Jupiter-like planet. Today, it has been announced that astronomers have been able to analyze the atmosphere of the planet (the very first time this has ever been accomplished for a super-Earth), and what they found is astonishing: the air of the planet is either shrouded in thick haze, or it’s loaded with water vapor… in other words, steam! –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

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Videos

NASA science update - Astrobiology - The search for life

  

Photos

Alauda binary system

Alauda binary system

Comet 103p/Hartley and M46

Comet 103p/Hartley and M46

Aurora Borealis from Greenland

Aurora Borealis from Greenland

Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia

Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

A Flame in Orion's Belt

A Flame in Orion's Belt - This mosaic image taken by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features three nebulae that are part of the giant Orion Molecular Cloud. The image covers an area of the sky about three times as high and wide as the full moon (1.5 by 1.8 degrees). Included in this view are the Flame nebula, the Horsehead nebula and NGC 2023. - Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team

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 (2455495)

October 25, 2010 12:12 by scibuff

Top Stories

China Plans Mars Mission – China has drawn up a technical plan for an independent Mars orbiter exploration project, space technology experts said. Based on research conducted by the China Academy of Space Technology, the plan envisions a launch date as early as 2013, Huang Jiangchuan, a scientist with the academy, was quoted by Beijing-based Science and Technology Daily. The Mars probe will be sent to an Earth-Mars transfer orbit first, and then fly about 10 months before entering an elliptical orbit around Mars. The Mars exploration will last one to two years, he said. –Daily Galaxy

LRO/LCROSS’ Discoveries Prove Obama’s Lunar Policy is Flawed – It has been about a year since scientists announced the discovery of water on the moon. On Thursday, Oct. 21 they revealed new data uncovered by NASA’s Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). -Jason Rhian / America Space

Rethinking Habitability – Astronomers are re-thinking the requirements that need to be met for an exoplanet to be considered ‘habitable.’ A new simulation of the Gliese 581 system is helping astrobiologists refine their search for Earth-like worlds in the Universe. Gleise 581 recently made news because a planet could be orbiting within the system’s habitable zone. -Jon Voisey / Astrobiology Magazine

Life aboard the International Space Station – It’s 10 years since the first crew entered the International Space Station 360 km above the Earth. But what is it like aboard a big tin can traveling at 28,200 km/s? –Ian Sample/Guardian

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Videos

NASA's Kennedy Space Center came under attack from the merciless Decepticons this week. However, Optimus Prime and his valiant band of Autobots fended them off, and then stood watch over the space center for the remainder of the week - along with the cast and crew of "Transformers 3, The Dark of the Moon." Although the set was closed - there were some interesting revelations about what one can expect to see in the third installment of the highly-successful film franchise -- including a very special guest star.

  

Photos

Soyuz 24S

Soyuz 24S

Moon in daylight

Moon in daylight

NGC 1806

NGC 1806

Lake Malawi, Great Rift Valley

Lake Malawi, Great Rift Valley

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

San Francisco bay area

San Francisco bay area from the International Space Station - Credit: Douglas H. Wheelock / Expedition 25 / 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 (2455485)

October 15, 2010 10:38 by scibuff

Top Stories

Is the World Ready for An Asteroid Threat? Apollo’s Schweickart Pushes for Action – If we discover an asteroid heading directly towards Earth, are we ready to deal with the challenges of either deflection strategies or an evacuation prior to impact? Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart has spent years championing the need for the human race to prepare for what will certainly happen one day: an asteroid threat to Earth –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

Are most pulsars really magnetars in disguise? – Astronomers using XMM-Newton and other world-class X-ray telescopes have probed a curious source, which emits flares and bursts just like a magnetar but lacks the extremely high external magnetic field typical of these objects. –ESA / Science and Technology

Mysterious pulsar with hidden powers discovered – Dramatic flares and bursts of energy – activity previously thought reserved for only the strongest magnetized pulsars – have been observed emanating from a weakly magnetised, slowly rotating pulsar. The international team of astrophysicists who made the discovery believe that the source of the pulsar’s power may be hidden deep within its surface. –UK Space Agency

Chandra: What Lies Beneath? Magnetar Enigma Deepens – An artist’s rendering of SGR 0418+5729, a slowly rotating neutron star with a very weak magnetic field at its surface. Observations from several telescopes, including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, have revealed that the star is giving off bursts of X-rays and gamma rays. –NASA/Chandra

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Videos

Sneak preview into the the National Geographic documentary on Virgin Galactic.
The first episode will be shown on Monday 18th October at 10.00pm both ET and PT in the USA. Never seen footage of the team at Scaled Composites and the journey towards the completion of SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo.

  

Photos

Madagascar

Madagascar

Crew of STS-133 before the TCDT

Crew of STS-133 before the TCDT

Mars landslide spotted

Mars landslide spotted

Klyuchevskaya volcano in Kamchatka

Klyuchevskaya volcano in Kamchatka

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Hawaii from the ISS

Approaching Hawaii Islands, big view, as seen by Expedition 25 commander Douglas H. Wheelock

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

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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.

Phobos Flyby Images

March 15, 2010 11:45 by scibuff

ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, while executing a series of 12 flybys of Mars’ largest moon Phobos, passed the moon’s surface at an altitude of 67km on March 3 at 20:55 GMT. The close approach enabled scientists to gain valuable data an learn more about the mysterious moon.

Another flyby close of Phobos occurred on 7 March 2010, and ESA has just released the photos. The images show Mars’ rocky moon in exquisite detail, with a resolution of just 4.4 meters per pixel. They show the proposed landing sites for the forthcoming Phobos-Grunt mission.

Phobos from up close

The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) onboard the ESA spacecraft Mars Express took this image of Phobos using the HRSC nadir channel on 7 March 2010, HRSC Orbit 7915. This image has additionally been enhanced photometrically for better bringing features in the less illuminated part. Resolution: about 4.4 meters per pixel - Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

In 2011 Russia will send a mission called Phobos–Grunt (meaning Phobos Soil) to land on the martian moon, collect a soil sample and return it to Earth for analysis.

For operational and landing safety reasons, the proposed landing sites were selected on the far side of Phobos. This region was imaged by the HRSC high-resolution camera of Mars Express during the July-August 2008 flybys of Phobos. But new HRSC images showing the vicinity of the landing area under different conditions, such as better illumination from the Sun, remain highly valuable for mission planners.

Phobos Grunt landing areas

The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) onboard the ESA spacecraft Mars Express took this image of the Phobos Grunt landing area using the HRSC nadir channel on 7 March 2010, HRSC Orbit 7915. The image resolution is 4.4m per pixel and the insert marks the proposed landing region and sites for Phobos-Grunt - Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Source: ESA