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Topic: Venus

NASA’s Deep Space Network celebrates 50 years of operation

 

Written by David Israel
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Deep Space Network, the world’s largest and most powerful communications system for “talking to” spacecraft, will reach a milestone on December 24th: the 50th anniversary of its official creation.

Over the past 50 years, antennas of the Deep Space Network (DSN) have communicated with just about every mission that has gone to the moon or beyond. The historic communiqués include “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind”; numerous encounters with the outer planets of our solar system; images taken by rovers exploring Mars; and the data confirming that NASA’s Voyager spacecraft had finally entered interstellar space.

Beam Wave Guide antennas at Goldstone, known as the "Beam Waveguide Cluster." Each antenna is 111.5-feet (34-m) in diameter. They're located in an area at Goldstone called "Apollo Valley." This photograph was taken on Jan. 11th, 2012. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Beam Wave Guide antennas at Goldstone, known as the “Beam Waveguide Cluster.” Each antenna is 111.5-feet (34-m) in diameter. They’re located in an area at Goldstone called “Apollo Valley.” This photograph was taken on Jan. 11th, 2012. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft captures image that shows Saturn, its moons and rings, plus Earth, Venus and Mars

 

Sweeps nearly 405,000 miles across Saturn and its inner rings

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has released a natural-color image of Saturn from space, the first in which Saturn, its moons and rings, and Earth, Venus and Mars, all are visible.

The new panoramic mosaic of the majestic Saturn system taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which shows the view as it would be seen by human eyes, was unveiled at the Newseum in Washington on Tuesday.

On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, NASA's Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn's shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings -- and, in the background, our home planet, Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn’s shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings — and, in the background, our home planet, Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

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NASA research shows Perseid meteor shower to peak August 12th and 13th

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Meteor showers have always captured peoples interests. In astronomy, there’s nothing quite like a bright meteor streaking across the glittering canopy of a moonless night sky. The unexpected flash of light adds a dash of magic to an ordinary walk under the stars.

New research by NASA has just identified the most magical nights of all.

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NASA says Venus, Jupiter, Mercury to Align in Triple Conjunction in the Sunset Sky May 25th

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Sunset is a special time of day.  Low-hanging clouds glow vivid red and orange as the background sky turns cobalt blue. The first stars pop out in the heavenly dome overhead, eliciting wishes from backyard sky watchers.

The sunset of May 26th will be extra special. On that date, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will gather in the fading twilight to form a bright triangle only three degrees wide.

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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope finds Planet near the size of Earth orbiting in the Habitable Zone of another Star

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered two new planetary systems that include three super-Earth-size planets in the “habitable zone,” the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water.

The Kepler-62 system has five planets: 62b, 62c, 62d, 62e and 62f. The Kepler-69 system has two planets: 69b and 69c. Kepler-62e, 62f and 69c are the super-Earth-sized planets.

The artist's concept depicts Kepler-62f, a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star smaller and cooler than the sun, located about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. (Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

The artist’s concept depicts Kepler-62f, a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star smaller and cooler than the sun, located about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. (Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA answers the question, “Is There an Atmosphere on the Moon?”

 

Written by Brian Day
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – Until recently, most everyone accepted the conventional wisdom that the moon has virtually no atmosphere.

Just as the discovery of water on the moon transformed our textbook knowledge of Earth’s nearest celestial neighbor, recent studies confirm that our moon does indeed have an atmosphere consisting of some unusual gases, including sodium and potassium, which are not found in the atmospheres of Earth, Mars or Venus.

It’s an infinitesimal amount of air when compared to Earth’s atmosphere.

The Lunar Atmospheric Composition Experiment (LACE) deployment during the Apollo 17 mission. (Image credit: NASA)

The Lunar Atmospheric Composition Experiment (LACE) deployment during the Apollo 17 mission. (Image credit: NASA)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft sees Venus from orbit around Saturn

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A distant world gleaming in sunlight, Earth’s twin planet, Venus, shines like a bright beacon in images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn.

One special image of Venus and Saturn was taken last November when Cassini was placed in the shadow of Saturn. This allowed Cassini to look in the direction of the sun and Venus, and take a backlit image of Saturn and its rings in a particular viewing geometry called “high solar phase.” This observing position reveals details about the rings and Saturn’s atmosphere that cannot be seen in lower solar phase.

Peering over the shoulder of giant Saturn, through its rings, and across interplanetary space, NASA's Cassini spacecraft spies the bright, cloudy terrestrial planet, Venus. The vast distance from Saturn means that Venus only shows up as a white dot, just above and to the right of the image center. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

Peering over the shoulder of giant Saturn, through its rings, and across interplanetary space, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spies the bright, cloudy terrestrial planet, Venus. The vast distance from Saturn means that Venus only shows up as a white dot, just above and to the right of the image center. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope spots new Planetary System with Small Planets

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Kepler mission scientists have discovered a new planetary system that is home to the smallest planet yet found around a star similar to our sun.

The planets are located in a system called Kepler-37, about 210 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. The smallest planet, Kepler-37b, is slightly larger than our moon, measuring about one-third the size of Earth. It is smaller than Mercury, which made its detection a challenge.

This line up compares artist's concepts of the planets in the Kepler-37 system to the Moon and planets in our own solar system.

This line up compares artist’s concepts of the planets in the Kepler-37 system to the Moon and planets in our own solar system.

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to take first images of Saturn’s Transit of Venus from deep space

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Last June, astronomers urged sky watchers to observe the transit of Venus. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, they said. The black disk of the second planet wouldn’t crawl across the face of the sun again for more than 100 years.

In fact, it’s happening again this week–not on Earth, but Saturn.

“On Friday, December 21st, there will be a transit of Venus visible from Saturn, and we will be watching it using  the Cassini spacecraft,” says Phil Nicholson, a Cassini science team member from Cornell University. “This will be the first time a transit of Venus has been observed from deep space.”

A transit of Venus seen from Earth on June 6th, 2012. (Photo credit: Bum-Suk Yeom of Daejeon, South Korea)

A transit of Venus seen from Earth on June 6th, 2012. (Photo credit: Bum-Suk Yeom of Daejeon, South Korea)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft observes Atmosphere Circulation change on Saturn’s moon Titan

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft tie a shift in seasonal sunlight to a wholesale reversal, at unexpected altitudes, in the circulation of the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan. At the south pole, the data show definitive evidence for sinking air where it was upwelling earlier in the mission.

So the key to circulation in the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan turned out to be a certain slant of light. The paper was published today in the journal Nature.

This artist's impression of Saturn's moon Titan shows the change in observed atmospheric effects before, during and after equinox in 2009. The Titan globes also provide an impression of the detached haze layer that extends all around the moon (blue). This image was inspired by data from NASA's Cassini mission. (Image Credit: ESA)

This artist’s impression of Saturn’s moon Titan shows the change in observed atmospheric effects before, during and after equinox in 2009. The Titan globes also provide an impression of the detached haze layer that extends all around the moon (blue). This image was inspired by data from NASA’s Cassini mission. (Image Credit: ESA)

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