Astronews Daily (2455520)

November 19, 2010 12:54 by scibuff

Top Stories

BRIAN MARSDEN (1937 Aug. 5-2010 Nov. 18) – Brian Geoffrey Marsden was born on 1937 August 5 in Cambridge, England. His father, Thomas, was the senior mathematics teacher at a local high school. It was his mother, Eileen (nee West), however, who introduced him to the study of astronomy, when he returned home on the Thursday during his first week in primary school in 1942 and found her sitting in the back yard watching an eclipse of the sun. Using now frowned-upon candle-smoked glass, they sat watching the changing bite out of the sun. What most impressed the budding astronomer, however, was not that the eclipse could be seen, but the fact that it had been predicted in advance, and it was the idea that one could make successful predictions of events in the sky that eventually led him to his career. –M.P.E.C. 2010-W10 / Minor Planet Center

Exoplanet of Extragalactic Origin Could Foretell Our Solar System’s Future – While astronomers have detected over 500 extrasolar planets during the past 15 years, this latest one might have the most storied and unusual past. But its future is also of great interest, as it could mirror the way our own solar system might meet its demise. This Jupiter-like planet, called HIP 13044 b, is orbiting a star that used to be in another galaxy but that galaxy was swallowed by the Milky Way. While astronomers have never directly detected an exoplanet in another galaxy, this offers evidence that other galaxies host stars with planets, too. The star is nearing the end of its life and as it expands, could engulf the planet, just as our Sun will likely snuff out our own world. And somehow, this exoplanet has survived the first death throes of the star. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

A comet creates its own snowstorm – NASA has just released new results and images from the EPOXI spacecraft’s visit to the comet Hartley 2 from November 4… and like the previous ones, these are absolutely stunning jaw-droppers. What scientists have found is that the comet’s solid nucleus is sitting in the middle of a veritable snowstorm! –Phil PlaitBad Astronomy

Hubble Captures New ‘Life’ in an Ancient Galaxy – New observations with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope are helping to show that elliptical galaxies still have some youthful vigor left, thanks to encounters with smaller galaxies. Images of the core of NGC 4150, taken in near-ultraviolet light with the sharp-eyed Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), reveal streamers of dust and gas and clumps of young, blue stars that are significantly less than a billion years old. Evidence shows that the star birth was sparked by a merger with a dwarf galaxy. –NASA

[more stories]

Videos

Scientists say the data collected by the EPOXI mission of comet Hartley 2 are as revealing as the pictures taken on the spacecraft's recent flyby. The spacecraft passed Hartley 2 at an altitude of about 435 miles from the comet's surface, close enough to reveal details of its nucleus and give scientists the most extensive look at a comet in history. Comets are remnants of the formation of our solar system more than 4-and-a-half-billion years old.

Photos

Sunset

Sunset

The Moon

The Moon

Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt

Aurora over Tromso, Norway

Aurora over Tromso, Norway

Gallery Pick of the Day

NGC 4150

Credit: NASA, ESA, R.M. Crockett (University of Oxford, U.K.), S. Kaviraj (Imperial College London and University of Oxford, U.K.), J. Silk (University of Oxford), M. Mutchler (Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore), R. O'Connell (University of Virginia, Charlottesville), and the WFC3 Scientific Oversight Committee

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

[more stories]

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 (2455502)

November 1, 2010 12:37 by scibuff

Top Stories

Official STS-133 Countdown Underway – The official countdown clock began ticking backward at 18:00 UTC Sunday. Launch is targeted for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 20:52 UTC. NASA Test Director Steve Payne said this morning that the work to repair the leaks is complete, the system is repressurized and work is on schedule for Discovery’s launch. –NASA

A detailed look at the latest STS133 Launch Weather Forecast (PDF)

Mitigating Asteroid Threats Will Take Global Action – During the past 24 hours, the Earth has been hit by about a million small meteoroids – most of which burned up in the atmosphere as shooting stars. This happens every day. And occasionally – once every 10,000 years or so — a really big asteroid (1 km in diameter or larger) comes along and smacks Earth with an extinction-level impact. That idea might cause some of us to lose some sleep. But in between are other asteroid hits that occur every 200-300 years where a medium-sized chunk of space rock intersects with Earth’s orbit, producing a Tunguska-like event, or worse. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

[more stories]

Videos

Movie of 2003 UV11 from the distance of about 2.1 million km - Credit: Gianluca Masi

  

Photos

Waning Quarter Moon

Waning Quarter Moon

Africa at night

Africa at night

Europe at night

Europe at night

Discovery on Pad 39a

Discovery on Pad 39a

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

M17 - Omega Nebula

Astronomers using data from ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, have made an impressive composite of the nebula Messier 17, also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula. The painting-like image shows vast clouds of gas and dust illuminated by the intense radiation from young stars. - ESO/R. Chini

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 (2455498)

October 28, 2010 11:59 by scibuff

Top Stories

Unwind with some spirals – A very important aspect of astronomy often overlooked is how much our eyes don’t tell us. We see a very limited range of the spectrum of light emitted by astronomical objects, and many times it’s what we don’t see that tells us what’s going on. –Phil PlaitBad Astronomy

Bright Close Approach: 2003 UV11 – The asteroid designated 2003 UV11 was discovered on October 21, 2003 by B. Skiff during the LONEOS survey with a 0.59-m Schmidt. According to its absolute magnitude (H=19.3) this object has an estimated diameter of roughly 400-500 meters, so it is a relatively large near-Earth asteroid. 2003 UV11 will have a close approach with Earth on 2010 October 30 when it will be within 0.013 AU (~5 lunar distances). -Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

What’s up in the solar system in November 2010 – The major event of the month will be, of course, Deep Impact’s flyby of small comet Hartley 2, which happens at 13:50 UTC on November 4. But there’s some other things to take note of: Cassini has a very, very close flyby of Enceladus’ north pole (not the pole with the plumes, the other one) on November 30. Also China’s Chang’E 2 is, as I write, orbiting even closer to the Moon than that, passing just 15 kilometers over Sinus Iridum. November is also the most likely month for the reestablishment of contact with the long-silent Mars Exploration Rover Spirit — keep your fingers crossed. –Emily Lakdawalla / The Planetary Society

Space Buckyballs Thrive, Finds NASA Spitzer Telescope – Astronomers have discovered bucket loads of buckyballs in space. They used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to find the little carbon spheres throughout our Milky Way galaxy — in the space between stars and around three dying stars. What’s more, Spitzer detected buckyballs around a fourth dying star in a nearby galaxy in staggering quantities — the equivalent in mass to about 15 of our moons. –NASA/JPL

Hard-Core Astrophysics: Massive Neutron Star Hints at How Matter Behaves at Its Densest – An extremely dense celestial object thousands of light-years away is serving as a natural nuclear physics experiment, providing clues to processes that cannot be reproduced in the lab. -John Matson / Scientific American

Scientists Watch for a “Hartley-id” Meteor Shower – This month, Comet Hartley 2 has put on a good show for backyard astronomers. The comet’s vivid green atmosphere and auburn tail of dust look great through small telescopes, and NASA’s Deep Impact/EPOXI probe is about to return even more dramatic pictures when it flies past the comet’s nucleus on Nov. 4th. Another kind of show might be in the offing as well. Could this comet produce a meteor shower? –NASA

[more stories]

Videos

Animation of 2003 UV11 on October 28 at 07:00UT (01:00am local time) through the GRAS network, using 0.25-m, f/3.4 reflector + CCD located in Mayhill (NM). The animation is composed of 15 unfiltered exposures, 10-seconds each. Credit: Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

Launch Soyuz Progress M-08M Expedition 25

  

Photos

5 days to launch

5 days to launch

STS-133's SRBs

STS-133's SRBs

M104 - Sombrero Galaxy

M104 - Sombrero Galaxy

NGC 1232

NGC 1232

  
M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

M31 - Andromeda Galaxy

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

Milky Way over Lady Mountain

Milky Way over Lady Mountain

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Solar Prominence on Oct. 28, 2010 - Credit: Alan Friedman

Solar Prominence on Oct. 28, 2010 - Credit: Alan Friedman

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

[more stories]

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 (2455492)

October 21, 2010 20:11 by scibuff

Top Stories

Call for media: reacting to threat of asteroid impacts – How would the world react to the threat of an asteroid impact? The media are invited to meet top-level experts at ESA’s space operations centre in Germany on 29 October to find out more. –ESA

Understanding the Unusual LCROSS Ejecta Plume – LCROSS was an unusual mission, in that it relied on an impact to be able to study a planetary body. Not only was the mission unusual, but so was the ejecta plume produced by slamming a hollow Centaur rocket booster into the Moon. “A normal impact throws debris out more than up, like an inverted lampshade that gets wider and wider as it goes out,” said Pete Schultz, from Brown University and a member of the LCROSS science team. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

NASA Missions Uncover The Moon’s Buried Treasures – Nearly a year after announcing the discovery of water molecules on the moon, scientists Thursday revealed new data uncovered by NASA’s Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. –NASA/LCROSS

New Cometary Phenomenon Greets Approaching Spacecraft – Recent observations of comet Hartley 2 have scientists scratching their heads, while they anticipate a flyby of the small, icy world on Nov. 4. –NASA/JPL

[more stories]

Videos

Bo Zhou has found a very bright sun-grazing Kreutz-group comet hours before a toasty demise in the Sun's outer atmosphere - Courtesy of SOHO/LASCO C3 consortium. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

  

Photos

Active Region SN1112

Active Region SN1112

Bubble and M52

Bubble and M52

Isla de Margarita, Isla Cubagua, Coche, Sucre

Isla de Margarita, Isla Cubagua, Coche, Sucre

The Bechar Basin of northwest Algeria

The Bechar Basin of northwest Algeria

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Titan and Rhea

Titan is precisely twice as far from Cassini than Rhea here. As a result, in relative size Rhea appears exactly 2x larger than it actually is, compared to Titan's size. - Credit: NASA/Cassini

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