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Topic: Greenbelt MD

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 will soon provide Scientists data to look into the past

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, which launched on July 2nd, will soon be providing about 100,000 high-quality measurements each day of carbon dioxide concentrations from around the globe. Atmospheric scientists are excited about that.

But to understand the processes that control the amount of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, they need to know more than just where carbon dioxide is now. They need to know where it has been. It takes more than great data to figure that out.

Scientists will use measurements from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 to track atmospheric carbon dioxide to sources such as these wildfires in Siberia, whose smoke plumes quickly carry the greenhouse gas worldwide. The fires were imaged on May 18 by NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer instrument on the Terra satellite. (NASA/LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response)

Scientists will use measurements from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 to track atmospheric carbon dioxide to sources such as these wildfires in Siberia, whose smoke plumes quickly carry the greenhouse gas worldwide. The fires were imaged on May 18 by NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer instrument on the Terra satellite. (NASA/LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response)

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NASA’s Aura satellite celebrates it’s 10th Year analyzing Earth’s Climate System

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Nitrogen and oxygen make up nearly 99 percent of Earth’s atmosphere. The remaining one percent is comprised of gases that — although present in small concentrations — can have a big impact on life on Earth.

Trace gases called greenhouse gases warm the surface, making it habitable for humans, plants and animals. But these greenhouse gases, as well as clouds and tiny particles called aerosols in the atmosphere, also play vital roles in Earth’s complex climate system.

NASA's 10-year-old Aura satellite, which studies Earth's atmosphere, continues to help scientists understand Earth's changing climate. (NASA)

NASA’s 10-year-old Aura satellite, which studies Earth’s atmosphere, continues to help scientists understand Earth’s changing climate. (NASA)

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NASA’s Messenger Satellite discovers Space Weather Anomaly at the Planet Mercury

 

Written by Karen C. Fox
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The solar wind of particles streaming off the sun helps drive flows and swirls in space as complicated as any terrestrial weather pattern. Scientists have now spotted at planet Mercury, for the first time, a classic space weather event called a hot flow anomaly, or HFA, which has previously been spotted at Earth, Venus, Saturn and Mars.

“Planets have a bow shock the same way a supersonic jet does,” said Vadim Uritsky at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “These hot flow anomalies are made of very hot solar wind deflected off the bow shock.”

The yellow color shows the standing bow shock in front of Mercury. The signature of material flowing in a vastly different direction than the solar wind -- an HFA – can be seen in red at the lower left. (NASA/Duberstein)

The yellow color shows the standing bow shock in front of Mercury. The signature of material flowing in a vastly different direction than the solar wind — an HFA – can be seen in red at the lower left. (NASA/Duberstein)

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NASA study shows Pluto’s Moon Charon could have had a subterranean ocean due to cracks in it’s surface

 

Written by Bill Steigerwald
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – If the icy surface of Pluto’s giant moon Charon is cracked, analysis of the fractures could reveal if its interior was warm, perhaps warm enough to have maintained a subterranean ocean of liquid water, according to a new NASA-funded study.

Pluto is an extremely distant world, orbiting the sun more than 29 times farther than Earth. With a surface temperature estimated to be about 380 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (around minus 229 degrees Celsius), the environment at Pluto is far too cold to allow liquid water on its surface. Pluto’s moons are in the same frigid environment.

This artist concept shows Pluto and some of its moons, as viewed from the surface of one of the moons. Pluto is the large disk at center. Charon is the smaller disk to the right. (NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI))

This artist concept shows Pluto and some of its moons, as viewed from the surface of one of the moons. Pluto is the large disk at center. Charon is the smaller disk to the right. (NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI))

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reveals triggering events behind some Supernova Explosions

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Supernovas are often thought of as the tremendous explosions that mark the ends of massive stars’ lives. While this is true, not all supernovas occur in this fashion. A common supernova class, called Type Ia, involves the detonation of white dwarfs — small, dense stars that are already dead.

New results from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have revealed a rare example of Type Ia explosion, in which a dead star “fed” off an aging star like a cosmic zombie, triggering a blast. The results help researchers piece together how these powerful and diverse events occur.

This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows N103B -- all that remains from a supernova that exploded a millennium ago in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy 160,000 light-years away from our own Milky Way. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Goddard)

This infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows N103B — all that remains from a supernova that exploded a millennium ago in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy 160,000 light-years away from our own Milky Way. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Goddard)

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NASA Hubble Space Telescope observations reveals Red Spot on Jupiter at smallest size ever measured

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Jupiter’s trademark Great Red Spot — a swirling storm feature larger than Earth — has shrunk to its smallest size ever measured.

According to Amy Simon of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, recent NASA Hubble Space Telescope observations confirm the Great Red Spot now is approximately 10,250 miles (16,500 kilometers) across. Astronomers have followed this downsizing since the 1930s.

Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot -- a swirling storm feature larger than Earth -- has shrunken to its smallest size ever measured. Astronomers have followed this downsizing since the 1930s. This series of images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope documents the storm over time, beginning in 1995 with a view from the telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) when the long axis of the Great Red Spot was estimated to be 13,020 miles (20,950 kilometers) across.

Jupiter’s trademark Great Red Spot — a swirling storm feature larger than Earth — has shrunken to its smallest size ever measured. Astronomers have followed this downsizing since the 1930s. This series of images taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope documents the storm over time, beginning in 1995 with a view from the telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) when the long axis of the Great Red Spot was estimated to be 13,020 miles (20,950 kilometers) across.

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NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft to examine Solar Wind’s roll in Mars losing it’s Atmosphere

 

Written by Claire Saravia
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – This past November, NASA launched the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission in the hope of understanding how and why the planet has been losing its atmosphere over billions of years.

One instrument aboard the spacecraft will study a special component of the Martian atmosphere to help solve this mystery. By studying ions, or small electrically charged particles, in and above the Red Planet’s tenuous atmosphere, the Solar Wind Ion Analyzer will help answer why Mars has gradually lost much of its atmosphere, developing into a frozen, barren planet.

This artist's concept shows the MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars. (Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

This artist’s concept shows the MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars. (Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA scientists study changes to Earth’s Ozone levels

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New NASA research on natural ozone cycles suggests ozone levels in the lowest part of Earth’s atmosphere probably won’t be affected much by projected future strengthening of the circulating winds that transport ozone between Earth’s two lowest atmospheric layers.

The finding is good news, since human and plant health are harmed by exposure to ozone near the ground. Significant increases in ozone in Earth’s lowest atmospheric layer, the troposphere, would also lead to additional climate warming because ozone is a greenhouse gas.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured this photograph of Earth's atmospheric layers on July 31, 2011, revealing the troposphere (orange-red) to the stratosphere and above. Earth-observing instruments in space allow scientists to better understand the chemistry and dynamics occurring within and between these layers. (NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth)

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured this photograph of Earth’s atmospheric layers on July 31, 2011, revealing the troposphere (orange-red) to the stratosphere and above. Earth-observing instruments in space allow scientists to better understand the chemistry and dynamics occurring within and between these layers. (NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth)

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NASA researchers and National Snow and Ice Data Center reports Melting Season in Arctic lasting longer

 

Written by Maria-José Viñas
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice is growing by several days each decade, and an earlier start to the melt season is allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation in some places to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap’s thickness, according to a new study by National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA researchers.

Arctic sea ice has been in sharp decline during the last four decades. The sea ice cover is shrinking and thinning, making scientists think an ice-free Arctic Ocean during the summer might be reached this century. The seven lowest September sea ice extents in the satellite record have all occurred in the past seven years.

An image mosaic of sea ice in the Canadian Basin, taken by Operation IceBridge's Digital Mapping System on Mar. 28th, 2014. (Digital Mapping System/NASA Ames)

An image mosaic of sea ice in the Canadian Basin, taken by Operation IceBridge’s Digital Mapping System on Mar. 28th, 2014. (Digital Mapping System/NASA Ames)

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer data reveals insights into how Black Holes Form

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – How do you grow a supermassive black hole that is a million to a billion times the mass of our sun? Astronomers do not know the answer, but a new study using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has turned up what might be the cosmic seeds from which a black hole will sprout.

The results are helping scientists piece together the evolution of supermassive black holes — powerful objects that dominate the hearts of all galaxies.

The galaxy NGC 4395 is shown here in infrared light, captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The galaxy NGC 4395 is shown here in infrared light, captured by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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