Astronews Daily Extended Edition (2455533)

December 2, 2010 12:03 by scibuff

Videos

10 Years of SOHO - (Dec. 1995 - Dec 2005) - Courtesy of SOHO consortium. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

NASA's Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (or SOFIA) completed its first science flight on Dec. 1, demonstrating the airborne observatory's ability to make observations not possible from ground-based telescopes. Five more flights are planned over the coming months in the observatory's Short Science series.

  

Top Stories

Solar Observation Mission Celebrates 15 Years – On December 2, 1995, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory or SOHO was launched into space from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas IIAS rocket. The joint ESA/NASA project began its work observing the sun at a time when the term “solar weather” was almost never used. –NASA

Another close asteroid flyby – Near Earth Asteroid 2010 XB, discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey at Mt. Lemmon on Dec 1, flew by at the altitude of ~52,460 km on Nov 30 (1820 UT) –Minor Planet Center

NASA Aids in Characterizing Super-Earth Atmosphere – A team of astronomers, including two NASA Sagan Fellows, has made the first characterizations of a super-Earth’s atmosphere, by using a ground-based telescope. A super-Earth is a planet up to three times the size of Earth and weighing up to 10 times as much. The findings, reported in the Dec. 2 issue of the journal Nature, are a significant milestone toward eventually being able to probe the atmospheres of Earth-like planets for signs of life. –NASA / JPL

Red Dwarf Discovery Changes Everything! – Its often said that the number of grains of sand on Earth equals the number of stars in the Universe. Well it looks like a recent study by astronomers working at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii have found that its more like three times the number of grains of sand on Earth! Working with some of the most sophisticated equipment available, astronomers from Yale University have been counting the number of dim red dwarf stars in nearby galaxies which has led to a dramatic rethink of the number of stars in the Universe. -Mark Thompson / Universe Today

Secret Mini Space Shuttle Could Land on Friday – The US Air Force announced that the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, a miniature, unmanned space shuttle could return to Earth as soon as this Friday, December 3. It has been in Earth orbit for about nine months on a classified mission for the military. It will land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Los Angeles sometime between Friday and Monday, Air Force officials said in a statement. –Nancy Atkinson / Universe Today

What’s up in the solar system in December 2010 – The year is racing to a close — I can’t believe December is here already! This month will see Japan’s Akatsuki join Venus Express at Venus; that happens on December 6 at 23:49 UT (December 7, Japan time). Cassini will perform a second of a pair of 50-kilometer Enceladus flybys (the first happened early today). Opportunity should, if she keeps up her current pace, arrive within spitting distance of Santa Maria crater. And, closer to home, there’ll be a total lunar eclipse over the night of December 20-21. –Emily Lakdawalla / Planetary Society

CitizenSky’s V-Star Team needs your help – The VStar team has done some amazing work in the last year. But they need more help. Read on for an update and how you may be able to contribute. –Citizen Sky

NASA Offers Space Shuttle Tiles To Schools And Universities – As the Space Shuttle Program nears retirement, NASA is looking for ways to preserve the program’s history and inspire the next generation of space explorers, scientists and engineers. Beginning Wednesday, NASA is offering 7,000 shuttle heat shield tiles to schools and universities that want to share technology and a piece of space history with their students. –NASA

Celestron’s Capture the Universe 2010 Astrophoto winners! – Last month, Discover Magazine and Celestron telescopes partnered for the second annual Capture the Universe astrophotography contest. Astronomers submitted about a hundred images made using Celestron optics for the contest, and I was chosen to pick my favorite two; a third was picked as Viewers’ Choice by the members of the Celestron website. All of the photos submitted are available at the CelestronImages site. –Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

Announcement of Opportunity for ExoMars Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module Science – ESA and NASA have today issued an announcement of opportunity for scientific investigations on the 2016 ExoMars Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) –ESA

Dutch astronomer instrumental in the founding of ESO has passed away – Professor Adriaan Blaauw, the European Southern Observatory’s second Director General, and a key figure in ESO’s early history, died yesterday, 1 December 2010, at the age of 96. –ESO

[more stories]

Photos

IC 434 - Horsehead nebula

IC 434 - Horsehead nebula

NGC 253

NGC 253

C/1995 O1 - Hale-Bopp

C/1995 O1 - Hale-Bopp

M27 - Dumbbell nebula

M27 - Dumbbell nebula

  
Snow-covered UK

Snow-covered UK

Launch of SOHO 15 years ago

Launch of SOHO 15 years ago

Manhattan from the ISS

Manhattan from the ISS

Klyuchevskaya volcano at Kamchatka

Klyuchevskaya volcano at Kamchatka

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

CME from SOHO

This coronal mass ejection -- observed by SOHO's EIT 195 instrument on April 7, 1997 -- was the first visual image of such an ejection headed for Earth. It appeared as the lead story on the national news. Credit: SOHO/ESA/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 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

[more stories]

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.