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NASA’s WISE Explorer and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope discover infrared/gamma ray connection to Blazars

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers studying distant galaxies powered by monster black holes have uncovered an unexpected link between two very different wavelengths of the light they emit, the mid-infrared and gamma rays.

The discovery, which was accomplished by comparing data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, has enabled the researchers to uncover dozens of new blazar candidates.

Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. (M. Weiss/CfA)

Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. (M. Weiss/CfA)

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NASA regains communications with STEREO-B spacecraft

 

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

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – On August 21st, 2016, contact was reestablished with one of NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories, known as the STEREO-B spacecraft, after communications were lost on October 1st, 2014.

Over 22 months, the STEREO team has worked to attempt contact with the spacecraft. Most recently, they have attempted a monthly recovery operation using NASA’s Deep Space Network, or DSN, which tracks and communicates with missions throughout space.

On Aug. 21, 2016, NASA reestablished contact with the sun-watching STEREO-B spacecraft, after communications were lost in October 2014. STEREO-B is one of two spacecraft of the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory mission, which over the course of their lifetime have viewed the sun from vantage points such as the ones shown here, on the other side of the sun from Earth. This graphic shows the positions of the two STEREO spacecraft and their orbits in relation to Earth, Venus, Mercury and the sun. (NASA)

On Aug. 21, 2016, NASA reestablished contact with the sun-watching STEREO-B spacecraft, after communications were lost in October 2014. STEREO-B is one of two spacecraft of the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory mission, which over the course of their lifetime have viewed the sun from vantage points such as the ones shown here, on the other side of the sun from Earth. This graphic shows the positions of the two STEREO spacecraft and their orbits in relation to Earth, Venus, Mercury and the sun. (NASA)

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NASA’s Terra Satellite captured images of Blue Cut Fire in California

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On August 16th, 2016, at around 10:30am, a brush fire ignited in the Cajon Pass east of Los Angeles, just to the west of Interstate 15. Within a matter of hours, extreme temperatures, high winds and low humidity allowed the fire to spread rapidly, burning through brush left tinder-dry by years of drought.

By August 17th, the fire had expanded dramatically, and firefighters continue to battle to save homes and evacuate residents.

The MISR instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft captured this image of the destructive Blue Cut wildfire east of Los Angeles midday on Aug. 17. (NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team)

The MISR instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft captured this image of the destructive Blue Cut wildfire east of Los Angeles midday on Aug. 17. (NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team)

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NASA Analysis Finds July 2016 is Warmest on Record

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – July 2016 was the warmest July in 136 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

Because the seasonal temperature cycle peaks in July, it means July 2016 also was warmer than any other month on record. July 2016’s temperature was a statistically small 0.1 degrees Celsius warmer than previous warm Julys in 2015, 2011 and 2009.

GISTEMP Anomaly (including seasonal cycle). (NASA)

GISTEMP Anomaly (including seasonal cycle). (NASA)

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NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement mission looks at Heavy Rainfall in Louisiana

 

Written by Harold Pierce and Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The low pressure center that has been gyrating over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico for days has now dropped very heavy precipitation over southeastern Louisiana. The Global Precipitation Measurement mission, or GPM, core satellite gathered rainfall data on the system and looked at it in three dimensions.

Up to 10 inches (254 mm) of rain since Thursday, August 11th, has already caused flooding in parts of the state. On August 12th the National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for many parts of southeastern Louisiana. Much of the New Orleans area is under a flood watch until Saturday morning, August 13th.

The GPM core satellite found heavy rainfall in storms on Aug. 11, 2016, at 10:26 p.m. EDT falling at a rate of over 3.9 inches (100.1 mm) per hour in one intense downpour in Louisiana. A few storm tops were reaching heights of over 9.9 miles (16 km). (NASA/JAXA/Hal Pierce)

The GPM core satellite found heavy rainfall in storms on Aug. 11, 2016, at 10:26 p.m. EDT falling at a rate of over 3.9 inches (100.1 mm) per hour in one intense downpour in Louisiana. A few storm tops were reaching heights of over 9.9 miles (16 km). (NASA/JAXA/Hal Pierce)

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NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope looks for Dark Matter

 

Written by Francis Reddy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Dark matter, the mysterious substance that constitutes most of the material universe, remains as elusive as ever. Although experiments on the ground and in space have yet to find a trace of dark matter, the results are helping scientists rule out some of the many theoretical possibilities.

Three studies published earlier this year, using six or more years of data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, have broadened the mission’s dark matter hunt using some novel approaches.

The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), at center, is the second-largest satellite galaxy orbiting our own. This image superimposes a photograph of the SMC with one half of a model of its dark matter (right of center). Lighter colors indicate greater density and show a strong concentration toward the galaxy's center. Ninety-five percent of the dark matter is contained within a circle tracing the outer edge of the model shown. (Dark matter, R. Caputo et al. 2016; background, Axel Mellinger, Central Michigan University)

The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), at center, is the second-largest satellite galaxy orbiting our own. This image superimposes a photograph of the SMC with one half of a model of its dark matter (right of center). Lighter colors indicate greater density and show a strong concentration toward the galaxy’s center. Ninety-five percent of the dark matter is contained within a circle tracing the outer edge of the model shown. (Dark matter, R. Caputo et al. 2016; background, Axel Mellinger, Central Michigan University)

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NASA tracks Rainfall of Hurricane Earl over Mexico

 

Written by Hal Pierce and Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Hurricane Earl began as a tropical wave that was tracked by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) from the African coast to the Caribbean Sea. The tropical wave drenched the Dominican Republic, where it was blamed for the deaths of six people.

Southwest of Jamaica on August 2nd, 2016, the tropical wave developed a closed circulation, and Earl was upgraded to a tropical storm.

On August 3rd, Earl became a hurricane when it was located about 150 miles east of Belize. On August 4th Earl made landfall just southwest of Belize City, Belize, at about 2:00am EDT (6:00am UTC).

The analysis of rainfall from Aug. 2 through Aug. 8, 2016, showed the period from when Earl became a tropical storm until Earl's remnants interacted with an area of disturbed weather along the Pacific coast. Some areas in extreme southern Mexico received up to 43.3 inches (1,100 mm) of rain. Earl's locations and intensities, as defined by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), are shown overlaid in white. (NASA/JAXA/Hal Pierce)

The analysis of rainfall from Aug. 2 through Aug. 8, 2016, showed the period from when Earl became a tropical storm until Earl’s remnants interacted with an area of disturbed weather along the Pacific coast. Some areas in extreme southern Mexico received up to 43.3 inches (1,100 mm) of rain. Earl’s locations and intensities, as defined by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), are shown overlaid in white. (NASA/JAXA/Hal Pierce)

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NASA looks back at years of Jupiter Observations

 

Written by Ashley Morrow
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Launched five years ago on August 5th, 2011, NASA’s Juno mission maneuvered into orbit around Jupiter on July 4th, 2016, joining a long tradition of discovery at the gas giant.

One of the brightest objects in the night sky, Jupiter has enthralled humans since ancient times. Today, scientists believe that learning more about the planet may be the key to discovering our solar system’s origins and formation.

An artist's concept of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft. (NASA)

An artist’s concept of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft. (NASA)

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NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will search for life on planets near Earth

 

Written by Elaine Hunt
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – As the search for life on distant planets heats up, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is bringing this hunt closer to home. Launching in 2017-2018, TESS will identify planets orbiting the brightest stars just outside our solar system using what’s known as the transit method.

When a planet passes in front of, or transits, its parent star, it blocks some of the star’s light. TESS searches for these telltale dips in brightness, which can reveal the planet’s presence and provide additional information about it.

TESS will look at the nearest, brightest stars to find planetary candidates that scientists will observe for years to come. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

TESS will look at the nearest, brightest stars to find planetary candidates that scientists will observe for years to come. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft set for September Launch

 

Written by Sarah Schlieder
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch September 2016 and travel to a near-Earth asteroid known as Bennu to harvest a sample of surface material and return it to Earth for study. The science team will be looking for something special. Ideally, the sample will come from a region in which the building blocks of life may be found.

To identify these regions on Bennu, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) team equipped the spacecraft with an instrument that will measure the spectral signatures of Bennu’s mineralogical and molecular components.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to Map the Surface of an Asteroid. (NASA)

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to Map the Surface of an Asteroid. (NASA)

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