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Topic: European Space Agency

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captures image of possible new Moon around Saturn

 

Written by Jane Platt
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons.

Images taken with Cassini’s narrow angle camera on April 15th, 2013, show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn’s A ring — the outermost of the planet’s large, bright rings. One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide.

The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn's A ring in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft could be caused by an object replaying the birth process of icy moons. (NASA)

The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn’s A ring in this image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft could be caused by an object replaying the birth process of icy moons. (NASA)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft data reveals Saturn’s moon Enceladus has underground Ocean

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. -  Evidence that Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbors a large underground ocean has been uncovered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network, furthering scientific interest in the moon as a potential home to extraterrestrial microbes.

Researchers theorized the presence of an interior reservoir of liquid water in 2005 when Cassini discovered water vapor and ice spewing from vents near the moon’s south pole. New data on the moon’s gravity field reported in the April 4th, 2014, edition of the journal Science strengthen the case for an ocean hidden inside Enceladus.

This diagram illustrates the possible interior of Saturn's moon Enceladus based on a gravity investigation by NASA's Cassini spacecraft and NASA's Deep Space Network, reported in April 2014.

This diagram illustrates the possible interior of Saturn’s moon Enceladus based on a gravity investigation by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and NASA’s Deep Space Network, reported in April 2014.

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NASA Detector Technology discovers evidence of Gravitational Waves created by the Big Bang

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers are announcing today that they have acquired the first direct evidence that gravitational waves rippled through our infant universe during an explosive period of growth called inflation.

This is the strongest confirmation yet of cosmic inflation theories, which say the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times, in less than the blink of an eye.

The findings were made with the help of NASA-developed detector technology on the BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation.

The BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole used a specialized array of superconducting detectors to capture polarized light from billions of years ago. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole used a specialized array of superconducting detectors to capture polarized light from billions of years ago. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope catches images of Asteroid breaking up

 

Written by Tony Phillips

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has recorded the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid into as many as 10 smaller pieces. Fragile comets, comprised of ice and dust, have been seen falling apart as they approach the sun, but nothing like this has ever before been observed in the asteroid belt.

“This is a rock, and seeing it fall apart before our eyes is pretty amazing,” said David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles, who led the astronomical forensics investigation.

This series of Hubble Space Telescope images reveals the breakup of an asteroid over a period of several months starting in late 2013. The largest fragments are up to 180 meters (200 yards) in radius.

This series of Hubble Space Telescope images reveals the breakup of an asteroid over a period of several months starting in late 2013. The largest fragments are up to 180 meters (200 yards) in radius.

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NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory sees Jet shooting out of fast moving Pulsar

 

NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – A fast-moving pulsar escaping from a supernova remnant while spewing out a record-breaking jet – the longest of any object in the Milky Way galaxy — of high-energy particles was seen by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

The pulsar, a type of neutron star, is known as IGR J11014-6103. IGR J11014-6103′s peculiar behavior can likely be traced back to its birth in the collapse and subsequent explosion of a massive star.

Composite image of pulsar IGR J11014-6103. (X-ray: NASA/CXC/ISDC/L.Pavan et al, Radio: CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA O)

Composite image of pulsar IGR J11014-6103. (X-ray: NASA/CXC/ISDC/L.Pavan et al, Radio: CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA O)

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NASA adjusts Odyssey spacecraft’s orbit to observe mornings on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has tweaked its orbit to help scientists make the first systematic observations of how morning fogs, clouds and surface frost develop in different seasons on the Red Planet.

The maneuver took place Tuesday, February 11th. Odyssey team engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver, CO designed the gentle move to accelerate Odyssey’s drift toward a morning-daylight orbit. The desired change will occur gradually until the intended orbit geometry is reached in November 2015 and another maneuver halts the drift.

No NASA Mars orbiter has been in a position to observe morning daylight on Mars since the twin Viking orbiters of the 1970s. (NASA/JPL)

No NASA Mars orbiter has been in a position to observe morning daylight on Mars since the twin Viking orbiters of the 1970s. (NASA/JPL)

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NASA reports scientists map solar system’s largest moon, Jupiter’s Ganymede

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – More than 400 years after its discovery by astronomer Galileo Galilei, the largest moon in the solar system – Jupiter’s moon Ganymede – has finally claimed a spot on the map.

A group of scientists led by Geoffrey Collins of Wheaton College has produced the first global geologic map of Ganymede, Jupiter’s seventh moon. The map combines the best images obtained during flybys conducted by NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft (1979) and Galileo orbiter (1995 to 2003) and is now published by the U. S. Geological Survey as a global map.

To present the best information in a single view of Jupiter's moon Ganymede, a global image mosaic was assembled, incorporating the best available imagery from NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft and NASA's Galileo spacecraft. (USGS Astrogeology Science Center/Wheaton/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

To present the best information in a single view of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, a global image mosaic was assembled, incorporating the best available imagery from NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft and NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. (USGS Astrogeology Science Center/Wheaton/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and Hubble Space Telescope capture unique view of Saturn’s Auroras

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA trained several pairs of eyes on Saturn as the planet put on a dancing light show at its poles.

While NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting around Earth, was able to observe the northern auroras in ultraviolet wavelengths, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, orbiting around Saturn, got complementary close-up views in infrared, visible-light and ultraviolet wavelengths. Cassini could also see northern and southern parts of Saturn that don’t face Earth.

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NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes discover galaxy at the edge of our seeable Universe

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes have spotted what might be one of the most distant galaxies known, harkening back to a time when our universe was only about 650 million years old (our universe is 13.8 billion years old).

The galaxy, known as Abell2744 Y1, is about 30 times smaller than our Milky Way galaxy and is producing about 10 times more stars, as is typical for galaxies in our young universe.

This image of the galaxy cluster Abell 2744 was obtained with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The zoomed image shows the region around the galaxy Abell2744_Y1, one of the most distant galaxy candidates known, harkening back to a time when the universe was 650 million years old.

This image of the galaxy cluster Abell 2744 was obtained with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The zoomed image shows the region around the galaxy Abell2744_Y1, one of the most distant galaxy candidates known, harkening back to a time when the universe was 650 million years old.

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NASA astronomers to use Hubble, Spitzer, Herschel space telescopes to examine Burned Out Elliptical Galaxies

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, and Europe’s Herschel Space Observatory, have pieced together the evolutionary sequence of compact elliptical galaxies that erupted and burned out early in the history of the universe.

Enabled by Hubble’s infrared imaging capabilities, astronomers have assembled for the first time a representative spectroscopic sampling of ultra-compact, burned-out elliptical galaxies — galaxies whose star formation was finished when the universe was only 3 billion years old, less than a quarter of its current estimated age of 13.8 billion years.

This graphic shows the evolutionary sequence in the growth of massive elliptical galaxies over 13 billion years, as gleaned from space-based and ground-based telescopic observations. The growth of this class of galaxies is quickly driven by rapid star formation and mergers with other galaxies. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Toft (Niels Bohr Institute), and A. Feild (STScI)

This graphic shows the evolutionary sequence in the growth of massive elliptical galaxies over 13 billion years, as gleaned from space-based and ground-based telescopic observations. The growth of this class of galaxies is quickly driven by rapid star formation and mergers with other galaxies. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Toft (Niels Bohr Institute), and A. Feild (STScI)

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