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Topic: NASA

NASA looks at studying Venus using CubeSats

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Venus looks bland and featureless in visible light, but change the filter to ultraviolet, and Earth’s twin suddenly looks like a different planet. Dark and light areas stripe the sphere, indicating that something is absorbing ultraviolet wavelengths in the planet’s cloud tops.

A team of scientists and engineers working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has received funding from the agency’s Planetary Science Deep Space SmallSat Studies, or PSDS3, program to advance a CubeSat mission concept revealing the nature of this mysterious absorber situated within the planet’s uppermost cloud layer.

As seen in the ultraviolet, Venus is striped by light and dark areas indicating that an unknown absorber is operating in the planet’s top cloud layer. The image was taken by NASA’s Pioneer-Venus Orbiter in 1979. (NASA)

As seen in the ultraviolet, Venus is striped by light and dark areas indicating that an unknown absorber is operating in the planet’s top cloud layer. The image was taken by NASA’s Pioneer-Venus Orbiter in 1979. (NASA)

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NASA to study Earth’s Ionosphere during Total Solar Eclipse

 

Written by Lina Tran
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – On August 21st, 2017, the Moon will slide in front of the Sun and for a brief moment, day will melt into a dusky night. Moving across the country, the Moon’s shadow will block the Sun’s light, and weather permitting, those within the path of totality will be treated to a view of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona.

But the total solar eclipse will also have imperceptible effects, such as the sudden loss of extreme ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, which generates the ionized layer of Earth’s atmosphere, called the ionosphere. This ever-changing region grows and shrinks based on solar conditions, and is the focus of several NASA-funded science teams that will use the eclipse as a ready-made experiment, courtesy of nature.

The Moon’s shadow will dramatically affect insolation — the amount of sunlight reaching the ground — during the total solar eclipse. (NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio)

The Moon’s shadow will dramatically affect insolation — the amount of sunlight reaching the ground — during the total solar eclipse. (NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio)

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NASA reports TRAPPIST-1 is nearly twice as Old as our Solar System

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – If we want to know more about whether life could survive on a planet outside our solar system, it’s important to know the age of its star. Young stars have frequent releases of high-energy radiation called flares that can zap their planets’ surfaces.

If the planets are newly formed, their orbits may also be unstable. On the other hand, planets orbiting older stars have survived the spate of youthful flares, but have also been exposed to the ravages of stellar radiation for a longer period of time.

This illustration shows what the TRAPPIST-1 system might look like from a vantage point near planet TRAPPIST-1f (at right). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration shows what the TRAPPIST-1 system might look like from a vantage point near planet TRAPPIST-1f (at right). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA gives Five Tips for Photographing Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st

 

Written by Mara Johnson-Groh
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The total solar eclipse crossing America on August 21st, 2017 will be the first eclipse to march from sea to shining sea in nearly 100 years. This astronomical event is a unique opportunity for scientists studying in the shadow of the Moon, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to capture unforgettable images.

Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a selfie master, try out these tips for photographing the eclipse.  

People watch a partial eclipse in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 20, 2015. (Robin Cordiner)

People watch a partial eclipse in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 20, 2015. (Robin Cordiner)

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NASA releases Television Coverage for August 21st Total Solar Eclipse

 

Written by Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – On Monday, August 21st, 2017,  all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the Sun, and NASA Television will carry it live from coast to coast from unique vantage points on the ground and from aircraft and spacecraft, including the International Space Station. Coverage will be featured during the live four-hour broadcast Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA.

Programming begins at 11:00am CDT (noon EDT) with a preview show hosted from Charleston, South Carolina. The main show begins at 12:00pm CDT (1:00pm EDT) and will cover the path of totality the eclipse will take across the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina.

This illustration depicts a rare alignment of the Sun and Moon casting a shadow on Earth. (NASA)

This illustration depicts a rare alignment of the Sun and Moon casting a shadow on Earth. (NASA)

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NASA looks into Tethering Two CubeSats to study Swirl Patterns on the Moon

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A novel mission concept involving two CubeSats connected by a thin, miles-long tether could help scientists understand how the Moon got its mysterious “tattoos” — swirling patterns of light and dark found at more than 100 locations across the lunar surface.

NASA’s Planetary Science Deep Space SmallSat Studies, or PSDS3, program recently selected a team at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to further develop a mission concept called the Bi-sat Observations of the Lunar Atmosphere above Swirls, or BOLAS. The study, led by Goddard Principal Investigator Timothy Stubbs, could lead to the first tethered planetary CubeSat mission, Stubbs said.

This artist’s drawing shows how two CubeSats, connected by a miles-long tether, would gather measurements on the moon. (NASA)

This artist’s drawing shows how two CubeSats, connected by a miles-long tether, would gather measurements on the moon. (NASA)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft to start last five orbits around Saturn

 

Written by Felicia Chou
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will enter new territory in its final mission phase, the Grand Finale, as it prepares to embark on a set of ultra-close passes through Saturn’s upper atmosphere with its final five orbits around the planet.

Cassini will make the first of these five passes over Saturn at 9:22pm PDT Sunday, August 13th (12:22am EDT Monday, August 14th). The spacecraft’s point of closest approach to Saturn during these passes will be between about 1,010 and 1,060 miles (1,630 and 1,710 kilometers) above Saturn’s cloud tops.

This artist's rendering shows Cassini as the spacecraft makes one of its final five dives through Saturn's upper atmosphere in August and September 2017. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s rendering shows Cassini as the spacecraft makes one of its final five dives through Saturn’s upper atmosphere in August and September 2017. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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APSU is holding several Total Solar Eclipse events

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – On Monday, August 21st, 2017, the heavens—in the words of English poet Lavinia Greenlaw—will throw a “celestial dimmer switch” during the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, and as excitement builds across the country for this cosmic spectacle, Austin Peay State University is hosting several events, including an official NASA viewing parties at the campus’ Fortera Stadium.

Austin Peay is hosting several events for the upcoming 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

Austin Peay is hosting several events for the upcoming 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

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NASA to broadcast Total Solar Eclipse from APSU Farm

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – On Monday, August 21st, 2017, NASA will use Austin Peay State University’s Farm and Environmental Education Center as one of its official broadcast locations for the eclipse.

In addition to NASA’s broadcast, there will be several research and scientific efforts by multiple entities, including atmospheric, entomological and bovine research during the eclipse.

APSU Farm and Environmental Education Center. (APSU)

APSU Farm and Environmental Education Center. (APSU)

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NASA reports new Study looks at Poor Air Quality and its effects on masking Global Warming

 

Written by Abigail Nastan
MISR Communications and Applications Specialist

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – During the 20th century, the average temperature of the continental United States rose by almost 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 degree Celsius) — everywhere, that is, except in the Southeast.

There, until the 1980s, the temperature actually decreased slightly. Climate scientists dubbed this peculiar phenomenon the “warming hole,” and it was the cause of much speculation. But beginning in the 1990s, temperatures in the Southeast began to warm again, and in the early years of the 21st century this warming has accelerated.

Looking through smog in downtown Atlanta from midtown. (CC BY-SA 2.0, by Flickr user Ben Ramsey)

Looking through smog in downtown Atlanta from midtown. (CC BY-SA 2.0, by Flickr user Ben Ramsey)

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