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Topic: Sun

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched Sunday on it’s way to the Sun

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible.

Roughly the size of a small car, the spacecraft lifted off at 2:31am CDT on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. At 4:33am, the mission operations manager reported that the spacecraft was healthy and operating normally.

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, August 12th, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first-ever mission into a part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, August 12th, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first-ever mission into a part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA halts Parker Solar Probe Launch, New Launch Date is Sunday, August 12th

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft was scrubbed today due to a violation of a launch limit, resulting in a hold. There was not enough time remaining in the window to recycle.

The launch is planned for Sunday, August 12th, 2018 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The forecast shows a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch. The launch time is 2:31am CDT.

NASA scrubs Saturday morning launch of the Parker Solar Probe due to a glitch with the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket. (NASA)

NASA scrubs Saturday morning launch of the Parker Solar Probe due to a glitch with the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket. (NASA)

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launches tonight

 

Written by Miles Hatfield
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – At 2:33am CDT on August 11th, 2018 while most of the U.S. is asleep, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be abuzz with excitement. At that moment, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, the agency’s historic mission to touch the Sun, will have its first opportunity to lift off.

Launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Parker Solar Probe will make its journey all the way to the Sun’s atmosphere, or corona — closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history.

“Eight long years of hard work by countless engineers and scientists is finally paying off,” said Adam Szabo, the mission scientist for Parker Solar Probe at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe will travel closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before it. (NASA/Johns Hopkins APL)

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will travel closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before it. (NASA/Johns Hopkins APL)

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NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) captures Comet images

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Before NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) started science operations on July 25th, 2018, the planet hunter sent back a stunning sequence of serendipitous images showing the motion of a comet.

Taken over the course of 17 hours on July 25th, these TESS images helped demonstrate the satellite’s ability to collect a prolonged set of stable periodic images covering a broad region of the sky — all critical factors in finding transiting planets orbiting nearby stars.

These three images are from a sequence compiled from a series of images taken on July 25th by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. The angular extent of the widest field of view is six degrees. Visible in the images are the comet C/2018 N1, asteroids, variable stars, asteroids and reflected light from Mars. TESS is expected to find thousands of planets around other nearby stars. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

These three images are from a sequence compiled from a series of images taken on July 25th by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. The angular extent of the widest field of view is six degrees. Visible in the images are the comet C/2018 N1, asteroids, variable stars, asteroids and reflected light from Mars. TESS is expected to find thousands of planets around other nearby stars. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA says Mars will be closest it has been to Earth in 15 years, July 31st

 

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – 35.8 million miles is definitely not what most of us would consider “close.” But in planetary terms, close is definitely relative! On July 31st, Mars will be 35.8 million miles from Earth, which is the closest it has been to Earth in 15 years. What does this mean for sky watchers?

It means the Red Planet will appear super bright, and with its orange-red color, will be hard to miss in the nighttime sky. From July 27th-30th, the point in Mars’ orbit will come closest to Earth, and will be closest to Earth before sunrise Eastern Time on July 31st.

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. (NASA)

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. (NASA)

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NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, 20 years of mapping Asteroids and Comets

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies enters Third Decade.

On March 11th, 1998, asteroid astronomers around the world received an ominous message: new observational data on the recently discovered asteroid 1997 XF11 suggested there was a chance that the half-mile-wide (nearly one kilometer) object could hit Earth in 2028.

The message came from the Minor Planet Center, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the worldwide repository for such observations and initial determination of asteroid orbits. And although it was intended to alert only the very small astronomical community that hunts and tracks asteroids to call for more observations, the news spread quickly.

The chart depicts the cumulative number of known Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) versus time. The area in red depicts the number of known NEAs larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer). The area in orange depicts the quantity of known NEAs larger than 460 feet (140 meters). The area in blue depicts the number of known NEAs in all sizes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The chart depicts the cumulative number of known Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) versus time. The area in red depicts the number of known NEAs larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer). The area in orange depicts the quantity of known NEAs larger than 460 feet (140 meters). The area in blue depicts the number of known NEAs in all sizes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA believes collision caused Uranus to rotate on it’s side

 

NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – Scientists have always wondered how Uranus got tilted so much that it spins on its side, and now research on the planet’s early formation gives us new insight. Four billion years ago, scientists believe a young proto-planet of rock and ice collided with Uranus, causing its extreme tilt. Instead of rotating like a top spinning nearly upright, as Earth does, the planet “rolls” on its side as it circles the sun.

The research team, led by Durham University, UK, in collaboration with scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, used advanced computing techniques to create the most detailed simulation to date of the suspected impact.

Uranus tilts so much that it spins on its side. (NASA)

Uranus tilts so much that it spins on its side. (NASA)

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe set to launch August 6th

 

Written by Sarah Frazier
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Early on an August morning, the sky near Cape Canaveral, Florida, will light up with the launch of Parker Solar Probe. No earlier than August 6th, 2018, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy will thunder to space carrying the car-sized spacecraft, which will study the Sun closer than any human-made object ever has.

On July 20th, 2018, Nicky Fox, Parker Solar Probe’s project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, and Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, introduced Parker Solar Probe’s science goals and the technology behind them at a televised press conference from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Illustration of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe leaving Earth. (NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben)

Illustration of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe leaving Earth. (NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben)

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, The Science Behind Why It Won’t Melt

 

Written by Susannah Darling
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – One key to understanding what keeps the spacecraft and its instruments safe, is understanding the concept of heat versus temperature. Counterintuitively, high temperatures do not always translate to actually heating another object.

In space, the temperature can be thousands of degrees without providing significant heat to a given object or feeling hot. Why? Temperature measures how fast particles are moving, whereas heat measures the total amount of energy that they transfer. Particles may be moving fast (high temperature), but if there are very few of them, they won’t transfer much energy (low heat).

Illustration of NASA's Parker Solar Probe circling the Sun. (NASA/JHUAPL)

Illustration of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe circling the Sun. (NASA/JHUAPL)

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NASA’s Orbiters observe Dust Storm on Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Storm chasing takes luck and patience on Earth — and even more so on Mars.

For scientists watching the Red Planet from data gathered by NASA’s orbiters, the past month has been a windfall. “Global” dust storms, where a runaway series of storms creates a dust cloud so large it envelops the planet, only appear every six to eight years (that’s three to four Mars years). Scientists still don’t understand why or how exactly these storms form and evolve.

In June, one of these dust events rapidly engulfed the planet. Scientists first observed a smaller-scale dust storm on May 30th. By June 20th, it had gone global.

Side-by-side movies shows how dust has enveloped the Red Planet, courtesy of the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) wide-angle camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Side-by-side movies shows how dust has enveloped the Red Planet, courtesy of the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) wide-angle camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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