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Topic: Sun

Origami inspires NASA Engineers to unique spacecraft designs

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – An ancient art form has taken on new shape at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Origami, the Japanese tradition of paper-folding, has inspired a number of unique spacecraft designs here. It’s little wonder that it fascinates NASA engineers: origami can seem deceptively simple, hiding complex math within its creases.

Besides aesthetic beauty, it addresses a persistent problem faced by JPL engineers: how do you pack the greatest amount of spacecraft into the smallest volume possible?

Some examples of origami designs at JPL. Engineers are exploring this ancient art form to create folding spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Some examples of origami designs at JPL. Engineers are exploring this ancient art form to create folding spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope spots Unusual Object in Asteroid Belt

 

Written by Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationBaltimore, MD – NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope helped an international team of astronomers find that an unusual object in the asteroid belt is, in fact, two asteroids orbiting each other that have comet-like features. These include a bright halo of material, called a coma, and a long tail of dust.

Hubble was used to image the asteroid, designated 300163 (2006 VW139), in September 2016 just before the asteroid made its closest approach to the Sun. Hubble’s crisp images revealed that it was actually not one, but two asteroids of almost the same mass and size, orbiting each other at a distance of 60 miles.

Hubble Space Telescope photo reveals two asteroids orbiting each other that have comet-like features. The asteroid pair, called 2006 VW139/288P, was observed in September 2016, just before the asteroid made its closest approach to the Sun. The photos revealed ongoing activity in the binary system. (NASA, ESA, and J. DePasquale and Z. Levay (STScI))

Hubble Space Telescope photo reveals two asteroids orbiting each other that have comet-like features. The asteroid pair, called 2006 VW139/288P, was observed in September 2016, just before the asteroid made its closest approach to the Sun. The photos revealed ongoing activity in the binary system. (NASA, ESA, and J. DePasquale and Z. Levay (STScI))

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft begins plunge into Saturn

 

Written by Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is on final approach to Saturn, following confirmation by mission navigators that it is on course to dive into the planet’s atmosphere on Friday, September 15th, 2017.

Cassini is ending its 13-year tour of the Saturn system with an intentional plunge into the planet to ensure Saturn’s moons – in particular Enceladus, with its subsurface ocean and signs of hydrothermal activity – remain pristine for future exploration.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is shown heading for the gap between Saturn and its rings during one of 22 such dives of the mission's finale in this illustration. The spacecraft will make a final plunge into the planet's atmosphere on Sept. 15. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is shown heading for the gap between Saturn and its rings during one of 22 such dives of the mission’s finale in this illustration. The spacecraft will make a final plunge into the planet’s atmosphere on Sept. 15. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA to chase Total Solar Eclipse from WB-57F Jets

 

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

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – For most viewers, the Monday, August 21st, 2017, total solar eclipse will last less than two and half minutes. But for one team of NASA-funded scientists, the eclipse will last over seven minutes. Their secret? Following the shadow of the Moon in two retrofitted WB-57F jet planes.

Amir Caspi of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and his team will use two of NASA’s WB-57F research jets to chase the darkness across America on August 21st. Taking observations from twin telescopes mounted on the noses of the planes, Caspi will ­­­­­capture the clearest images of the Sun’s outer atmosphere — the corona — to date and the first-ever thermal images of Mercury, revealing how temperature varies across the planet’s surface.

(Photo illustration) During the upcoming total solar eclipse, a team of NASA-funded scientists will observe the solar corona using stabilized telescopes aboard two of NASA’s WB-57F research aircraft. This vantage point provides distinct advantages over ground-based observations, as illustrated by this composite photo of the aircraft and the 2015 total solar eclipse at the Faroe Islands. (NASA/Faroe Islands/SwRI)

(Photo illustration) During the upcoming total solar eclipse, a team of NASA-funded scientists will observe the solar corona using stabilized telescopes aboard two of NASA’s WB-57F research aircraft. This vantage point provides distinct advantages over ground-based observations, as illustrated by this composite photo of the aircraft and the 2015 total solar eclipse at the Faroe Islands. (NASA/Faroe Islands/SwRI)

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NASA explains the difference between Greatest Eclipse and Greatest Duration

 

Written by Lina Tran
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – During the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st, 2017, the Moon’s shadow will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in just an hour and a half. But the shadow won’t travel across the country at the same speed. Instead, its speed will vary — and depending on location, so too will the duration of totality, the fleeting minutes when the Moon completely covers the Sun.

Two points along the shadow’s path are of particular interest to eclipse viewers seeking the longest-lasting totality: the point of greatest eclipse and the point of greatest duration.

The point of greatest eclipse for the August 21st total solar eclipse will see 2 minutes, 40.1 seconds of totality. The closest towns to this location are Cerulean and Hopkinsville, Kentucky, which each will experience 2 minutes, 40 seconds of totality. (Map data by Google; eclipse calculations by NASA)

The point of greatest eclipse for the August 21st total solar eclipse will see 2 minutes, 40.1 seconds of totality. The closest towns to this location are Cerulean and Hopkinsville, Kentucky, which each will experience 2 minutes, 40 seconds of totality. (Map data by Google; eclipse calculations by NASA)

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TDH and TDOS Encourage Safe Viewing During the Total Solar Eclipse

 

Tennessee Department of HealthNashville, TN – A total solar eclipse, when the moon completely covers the sun, will be visible Monday, August 21st, 2017. Tennessee is one of 14 states that will be in the path of totality, a 70 mile-wide path where the sun is completely blocked by the moon.

The Tennessee Department of Health encourages everyone to enjoy this once in a lifetime event, but urges eye protection and common sense safety.

Total Solar Eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse

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NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team invites public to wave at the Moon during Total Solar Eclipse

 

Written by Nancy Neal Jones
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) team invites the public to wave at the Moon on Monday, August 21st, 2017 as LRO turns its camera toward Earth.

The LRO Camera, which has captured gorgeous views of the lunar landscape and documented geologic activity still occurring today, will turn toward Earth during the total solar eclipse on August 21st at approximately 2:25pm EDT (11:25am PDT) to capture an image of the Moon’s shadow on Earth.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has observed solar eclipses from its vantage point at the moon before. The image LRO takes of Earth on Aug. 21, 2017, is expected to look similar to this view, which the satellite captured in May 2012. Australia is visible at the bottom left of this image, and the shadow cast on Earth's surface by the moon is the dark area just to the right of top-center. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has observed solar eclipses from its vantage point at the moon before. The image LRO takes of Earth on Aug. 21, 2017, is expected to look similar to this view, which the satellite captured in May 2012. Australia is visible at the bottom left of this image, and the shadow cast on Earth’s surface by the moon is the dark area just to the right of top-center. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)

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City of Clarksville closes offices Monday for Total Solar Eclipse

 

Updated estimates of crowds, activity prompts change

City of Clarksville - Clarksville, TNClarksville, TN – City of Clarksville offices will close Monday, August 21st, 2017 for the Great American Eclipse, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan has announced.

“The latest estimates indicate the eclipse is expected to bring up to 200,000 visitors to our area for a large number of planned events,” Mayor McMillan said. “We now think it would be prudent to close our business offices and keep employees and potential customers off the roads during this time of traffic congestion.”

Clarksville City Hall

Clarksville City Hall

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Blanchfield Army Community Hospital alerts patients to Total Solar Eclipse Safety

 

Written by Daniel Ashley
Regional Health Command-Atlantic

U.S. Department of the ArmyFort Campbell, KY – Fort Campbell, Kentucky and the surrounding communities will be at the center of the first coast-to-coast, total, solar eclipse since 1918 next Monday, August 21st, 2017.

Blanchfield Army Community Hospital has been doing its part in alerting its patients on how best to watch and keep their eyes safe. Remember, it is never safe to look directly at the sun’s rays – even if the sun is partly obscured.

When watching the total eclipse, all should wear eclipse glasses at all times when facing the sun, or use an alternate indirect method up until the time when the sun is completely and totally blocked.

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NASA tells you What to Expect When Viewing the Total Solar Eclipse

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – What does a partial eclipse look like, anyway?

A new web-based tool from NASA lets anyone preview the event from any location, making it easy to see the difference between the total eclipse traversing a narrow band of the country on August 21st, 2017,  and the partial event most Americans will experience.

The Eyes on the Eclipse application allows users to simulate a view of the eclipse from any point on the planet, and can be used with any web browser:

https://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov/eyes-on-eclipse.html

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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