Astronews Daily (2455539)

December 8, 2010 12:50 by scibuff

Top Stories

Japanese spacecraft fails to enter orbit around Venus – Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft missed its chance Monday to enter orbit around Venus, and the next opportunity will not come for another six years, according to statements by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. -Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now

Arsenic and old Universe – Two news updates, both of which are pretty interesting. 1) The arsenic-utilizing bacterium is still in the news… Last week, a paper made the rounds on various sites that Roger Penrose and a collaborator had found circular patterns in the cosmic background radiation that might point to clues about what happened before the Big Bang. -Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

SpaceX Dragon capsule set for launch – A US capsule that could soon be hauling cargo and even astronauts to the space station is set to make its first demonstration flight on Wednesday. -Jonathan Amos / BBC

One Hundred Days until Mercury Orbit Insertion – One hundred days from now, MESSENGER will execute a 15-minute maneuver that will place the spacecraft into orbit about Mercury, making it the first craft ever to do so, and initiating a one-year science campaign to understand the innermost planet. – MESSENGER Mission News

Sneak Attacks from the Sun – Our Sun can be a menace when it sends out powerful solar blasts of radiation towards the Earth. Astronomers keenly watch the Sun to learn more about what powers these solar eruptions, in hopes of being able to predict them. New research shows that one-third of the Sun’s blasts are “sneak attacks” that may occur without warning. -Center for Astrophysics

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Videos

A team of NASA-funded researchers find there may be different criteria by which we search for life elsewhere in the universe. Also, shuttle Discovery gets a new target launch date; SOFIA flies its first science mission; NASA's Small Business Awards, and an alternative fuels pilot program. Plus, Scott Kelly's geography trivia from space, and the anniversary of Gemini 7.

  

Photos

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Discovery at the Pad

Discovery at the Pad

Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod, MA

Sun in 3D

Sun in 3D

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

P/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) outburst development

P/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) outburst development

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 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

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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 (2455506)

November 5, 2010 13:06 by scibuff

Top Stories

Discovery launch scrubbed again due to LH2 leak – Nov 5, 2010 – The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery has been officially scrubbed at 12:11 UTC due to a leak of Liquid Hydrogen at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate (GUCP) detected during the tanking process. Leaks at the GUCP delayed launches for STS-119 and STS-127.

NASA EPOXI Flyby Reveals New Insights Into Comet Features – NASA’s EPOXI mission spacecraft successfully flew past comet Hartley 2. Scientists say initial images from the flyby provide new information about the comet’s volume and material spewing from its surface. -NASA/JPL

Hartley 2′s jets – It was a very happy set of scientists, engineers, managers, and administrators who filled the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Von Karman auditorium this afternoon to do the postgame show on Deep Impact’s flyby of Hartley 2. -Emily Lakdawalla / The Planetary Society

Amazing close-ups of comet Hartley 2! – Just an hour ago as I write this, the NASA spacecraft EPOXI passed just 700 km from the nucleus of comet Hartley 2! The flyby was successful, and it took incredible images of the comet’s solid heart -Phil Plait / Bad Astronomy

NASA Mission Successfully Flies by Comet Hartley 2 – NASA’s EPOXI mission successfully flew by comet Hartley 2 and the spacecraft has begun returning images. Hartley 2 is the fifth comet nucleus visited by a spacecraft. Scientists and mission controllers are currently viewing never-before-seen images of Hartley 2 appearing on their computer terminal screens. -NASA/JPL

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Videos

At 10:21 UTC on 04/05/2010 one of the final four Space Shuttle missions lifted off for Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Space Shuttle Discovery and her crew of 7 will be bringing Leonardo to the International Space Station for a two week and three EVA stay.

Photos

Sun now through Lasco C3

Sun now through Lasco C3

Hartley 2 from up close

Hartley 2 from up close

RSS Rollback

RSS Rollback

Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate

Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate

Gallery Pick of the Day

Animation of Deep Impact close-approach images

Animation of Deep Impact close-approach images - About an hour after its closest approach of Hartley 2, Deep Impact downlinked five precious images taken during the nearest part of its flyby. The top two images were taken 82 and 16 seconds before closest approach, and the bottom three 18, 57, and 117 seconds after closest approach (image times are 13:58:07, 13:59:13, 13:59:47, 14:00:26, and 14:01:26 UTC on November 4, 2010). They show a very active comet with numerous jets. Credit: NASA / JPL / UMD / animation by Emily Lakdawalla

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.

Astronews Daily (2455483)

October 13, 2010 10:36 by scibuff

Top Stories

Gliese 581g, that new “goldilocks” exoplanet we got excited about a few weeks ago, might not exist – A group of Swiss astronomers announced yesterday at the International Astronomical Union’s annual meeting in Turin, Italy, that they couldn’t detect the “goldilocks” exoplanet found by U.S. researchers a few weeks ago. -Discovery Blogs

SOHO sheds new light on solar flares – After detailed analysis of data from the SOHO and GOES spacecraft, a team of European scientists has been able to shed new light on the role of solar flares in the total output of radiation from our nearest star. Their surprising conclusion is that X-rays account for only about 1 per cent of the total energy emitted by these explosive events. -ESA SOHO

Giant Star Goes Supernova, Smothered by its Own Dust – Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered that a giant star in a remote galaxy ended its life with a dust-shrouded whimper instead of the more typical bang. -JPL/NASA

iPhone Equipped Balloon Leaves Brooklyn for the Edge of Space - Video from a camera attached to a weather balloon that rose into the upper stratosphere and recorded the blackness of space. Seven-year-old Max Geissbuhler and his dad Luke Geissbuhler dreamed of visiting space… -NASA Hack Space

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Videos

The six-member crew of the next space shuttle mission, STS-133, arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Oct. 12 to participate in a full launch dress rehearsal, known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, and related training. The test provides an opportunity for the crew and ground teams to participate in various simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency exit training. Shuttle Discovery's crew members are Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Michael Barratt, Tim Kopra and Nicole Stott. Discovery is targeted to launch Nov. 1 on its final scheduled flight. - Credit: NASA TV

  

Photos

ISS View of the Southwestern USA

ISS View of the Southwestern USA

Crew of STS-133 arrives at KSC

Crew of STS-133 arrives at KSC

NGC 1316

NGC 1316

NGC7000 + IC 5070 in Ha/sG/OIII

NGC7000 + IC 5070 in Ha/sG/OIII

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Olympus Mons from space

Olympus Mons stands 27 kilometres high above the mean surface of Mars, being the tallest known volcano and mountain in the Solar System. It is about three times taller than Earth's Mt. Everest.

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 (2455471)

October 1, 2010 12:48 by scibuff

Top Stories

Additional Shuttle Mission Almost Guaranteed – For some time now there have been rumors and speculation that there will be an additional flight added to the two currently remaining on the shuttle manifest. With the passage of the Senate 2010 NASA Authorization Act (S. 3729) the mission which would be STS-135 – is now all but a certainty. -Jason Rhian / Universe Today

China’s 2nd lunar probe Chang’e-2 blasts off – China launched its second unmanned lunar probe, Chang’e-2 on Friday, inaugurating the second phase of a three-step moon mission, which will culminate in a soft-landing on the moon. -xinhuanet

Astronomers Confirm a New Type of Supernova – When our sun comes to its ending in five billion years or so, it will fade into a quiescent white dwarf. Bigger stars go out with a bang—those with more than 10 times the mass of our sun collapse with enough vigor to spark a supernova, one of the most energetic events in the universe. -Michael Moyer / Scientific American

Virgin Galactic Will Be Ready For Space Travel Within 18 Months – Virgin Galactic was said to be ready for space tourism in about 2 years. Usually, shit happens and those deadlines get pushed way down the line. However, according to Virgin Galactic, everything is on track. (So far, that is.) -timehuman blog

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Videos

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft watched as an eruptive prominence near the back of the Sun arched up but then headed back to the Sun's surface over a few hours (Sept. 19, 2010) - Credit: Courtesy of SOHO/STEREO consortium. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

  

Photos

The Antennae galaxies

The Antennae galaxies

Comet 103P/Hartley 2

Comet 103P/Hartley 2

ISS transit

ISS transit

Chang'e II Lift-off

Chang'e II Lift-off

  

Gallery Pick of the Day

Paris from the ISS

Paris from the International Space Station

The photo above is “Pick of the Day” from one of the three galleries: Astronomy Gallery, Space Shuttle Gallery and Space Station Gallery. The photo was taken by Douglas H. Wheelock (@Astro_Wheels), a member of the Expedition 24/25 crew, and the first US Army astronaut to command the International Space Station.