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Topic: Astronomy

NASA’s ASTERIA CubeSat to be used for Astronomy Research

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Tiny satellites called CubeSats have attracted a lot of attention in recent years. Besides allowing researchers to test new technologies, their relative simplicity also offers hands-on training to early-career engineers.

A CubeSat recently deployed from the International Space Station is a key example of their potential, experimenting with CubeSats applied to astronomy.

For the next few months, a technology demonstration called ASTERIA (Arcsecond Space Telescope Enabling Research in Astrophysics) will test whether a CubeSat can perform precise measurements of change in a star’s light.

A JPL CubeSat named ASTERIA was deployed from the International Space Station on November 21. It will test the use of CubeSats for astronomy research. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A JPL CubeSat named ASTERIA was deployed from the International Space Station on November 21. It will test the use of CubeSats for astronomy research. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Nashville Sounds, Mayor’s Office announce Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party

 

Nashville Sounds

Nashville SoundsNashville, TN – The Nashville Sounds, in conjunction with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Metro Government, the Metro Sports Authority, and the Adventure Science Center, have announced the festivities for the total solar eclipse viewing party at First Tennessee Park on Monday, August 21st, 2017.

For the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the United States and Nashville is the largest city in its path.

The event will include music from the Nashville Symphony, science demonstrations with fun, hands-on activities from the Adventure Science Center, total solar eclipse viewing, and a separate Sounds baseball game to follow at 4:05pm.

First Tennessee Park to Host Viewing Party and Sounds Game August 21st.

First Tennessee Park to Host Viewing Party and Sounds Game August 21st.

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Land Between the Lakes to host Summer Night Star Parties

 

Land Between the Lakes - LBLLand Between the Lakes, KY/TN – The Golden Pond Planetarium at Land Between the Lakes will host a full array of stellar evening shows for the 2017 summer season.

Laser and evening planetarium showings and Star Parties offer indoor and outdoor activities after 5:00pm starting in May and lasting all summer.

Golden Pond Planetarium at Land Between The Lakes. (LBL)

Golden Pond Planetarium at Land Between The Lakes. (LBL)

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NASA’s SOFIA flying observatory sees Atomic Oxygen in Atmosphere of Mars

 

Written by Kassandra Bell, SOFIA Science Center
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – An instrument onboard the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) detected atomic oxygen in the atmosphere of Mars for the first time since the last observation 40 years ago. These atoms were found in the upper layers of the Martian atmosphere known as the mesosphere.

Atomic oxygen affects how other gases escape Mars and therefore has a significant impact on the planet’s atmosphere. Scientists detected only about half the amount of oxygen expected, which may be due to variations in the Martian atmosphere.

SOFIA/GREAT spectrum of oxygen [O I] superimposed on an image of Mars from the MAVEN mission. The amount of atomic oxygen computed from this SOFIA data is about half the amount expected. (SOFIA/GREAT spectrum: NASA/DLR/USRA/DSI/MPIfR/GREAT Consortium/ MPIfS/Rezac et al. 2015. Mars image: NASA/MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission)

SOFIA/GREAT spectrum of oxygen [O I] superimposed on an image of Mars from the MAVEN mission. The amount of atomic oxygen computed from this SOFIA data is about half the amount expected. (SOFIA/GREAT spectrum: NASA/DLR/USRA/DSI/MPIfR/GREAT Consortium/ MPIfS/Rezac et al. 2015. Mars image: NASA/MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission)

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NASA’s Alice instrument aboard Rosetta spacecraft makes discovery on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Data collected by NASA’s Alice instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft reveal that electrons close to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko — not photons from the sun, as had been believed — cause the rapid breakup of water and carbon dioxide molecules spewing from the comet’s surface.

“The discovery we’re reporting is quite unexpected,” said Alan Stern, principal investigator for the Alice instrument at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado. “It shows us the value of going to comets to observe them up close, since this discovery simply could not have been made from Earth or Earth orbit with any existing or planned observatory. And, it is fundamentally transforming our knowledge of comets.”

This composite is a mosaic comprising four individual NAVCAM images taken from 19 miles (31 kilometers) from the center of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Nov. 20, 2014. (ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM)

This composite is a mosaic comprising four individual NAVCAM images taken from 19 miles (31 kilometers) from the center of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Nov. 20, 2014. (ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM)

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Sections: Technology | No Comments
 

NASA says Space Telescopes may use Glitter Clouds to find new Worlds in the future

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – What does glitter have to do with finding stars and planets outside our solar system? Space telescopes may one day make use of glitter-like materials to help take images of new worlds, according to researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Standard telescopes use solid mirrors to image far-away objects. But the large, complex mirrors needed for astronomy can be quite expensive and difficult to construct. Their size and weight also add to the challenges of launching a space telescope in the first place.

This image shows white light reflected off of a glitter mirror onto a camera sensor. Researchers tested this in a laboratory as part of the concept of "Orbiting Rainbows," a low-cost solution for space telescope mirrors. (G. Swartzlander/Rochester Institute of Technology)

This image shows white light reflected off of a glitter mirror onto a camera sensor. Researchers tested this in a laboratory as part of the concept of “Orbiting Rainbows,” a low-cost solution for space telescope mirrors. (G. Swartzlander/Rochester Institute of Technology)

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NASA reports Planck and Herschel Space Telescopes used to find Galaxy Clusters

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – One telescope finds the treasure chest, and the other narrows in on the gold coins. Data from two European Space Telescope missions, Planck and Herschel, have together identified some of the oldest and rarest clusters of galaxies in the distant cosmos.

Planck’s all-sky images revealed the clumps of bright galaxies, while Herschel data allowed researchers to inspect the galactic gems more closely and confirm the discovery.

This map of the entire sky was captured by the European Space Agency's Planck mission. The band running through the middle corresponds to dust in our Milky Way galaxy. The black dots indicate the location of galaxy cluster candidates identified by Planck and subsequently observed by the European Space Agency's Herschel mission. (ESA and the Planck Collaboration/ H. Dole, D. Guéry & G. Hurier, IAS/University Paris-Sud/CNRS/CNES)

This map of the entire sky was captured by the European Space Agency’s Planck mission. The band running through the middle corresponds to dust in our Milky Way galaxy. The black dots indicate the location of galaxy cluster candidates identified by Planck and subsequently observed by the European Space Agency’s Herschel mission. (ESA and the Planck Collaboration/ H. Dole, D. Guéry & G. Hurier, IAS/University Paris-Sud/CNRS/CNES)

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Recharge with Nature, History and the Universe at Land Between The Lakes

 

Land Between the Lakes - LBLGolden Pond, KY – At Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, Woodlands Nature Station (NS), The Homeplace (HP), and Golden Pond Planetarium (PL) offer a variety of daily programs about nature, history, and the universe.

Special Events focus on a specific educational topic like preserving old-time music at the Homeplace’ s Pickin’ Party, unique wildlife at the Nature Station’s Cool and Crawly Critters Day, and the Planetarium’s FREE Astronomy Day.

LBL Aerial of North End Canal. (Land Between the Lakes)

LBL Aerial of North End Canal. (Land Between the Lakes)

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National Astronomy Day at LBL’s Golden Pond Planetarium

 

Land Between the Lakes - LBLGolden Pond, KY – Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area and the West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers (WKAA) will host National Astronomy Day on Saturday, May 10th, at the Golden Pond Planetarium, located at the Golden Pond Visitor Center, from 12:00pm-4:00pm.

Enjoy FREE, full-dome, digital, surround sound planetarium shows at 10:00am and 11:00am, and 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, and 4:00pm. A Star Party will take place at the Observatory after dark, weather permitting. «Read the rest of this article»

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers Asteroid with six tails similar to a Comet

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Astronomers viewing our solar system’s asteroid belt with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have seen for the first time an asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust. Designated P/2013 P5, the asteroid resembles a rotating lawn sprinkler.

“We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it,” said lead investigator David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles. “Even more amazing, its tail structures change dramatically in just 13 days as it belches out dust. That also caught us by surprise. It’s hard to believe we’re looking at an asteroid.”

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope set of images reveals a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt, designated P/2013 P5.

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope set of images reveals a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt, designated P/2013 P5.

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