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Topic: Gravity

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope Hunt for Missing Giant Black Hole

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of a supermassive black hole has deepened.

Despite searching with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have no evidence that a distant black hole estimated to weigh between 3 billion and 100 billion times the mass of the Sun is anywhere to be found.

This missing black hole should be in the enormous galaxy in the center of the galaxy cluster Abell 2261, which is located about 2.7 billion light years from Earth.

This composite image of Abell 2261 contains optical data from Hubble and the Subaru Telescope showing galaxies in the cluster and in the background, and Chandra X-ray data showing hot gas (colored pink) pervading the cluster. (NASA)

This composite image of Abell 2261 contains optical data from Hubble and the Subaru Telescope showing galaxies in the cluster and in the background, and Chandra X-ray data showing hot gas (colored pink) pervading the cluster. (NASA)

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NASA’s 21st SpaceX Cargo Mission carries research for Hearts, Airlocks and Asteroids

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHouston, TX – The 21st  SpaceX cargo resupply mission that launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida carries a variety of critical research and technology demonstrations to the International Space Station.

The mission represents the first on an upgraded version of the company’s Dragon cargo spacecraft designed to carry more science payloads to and from the space station.

Highlights of the payloads on this mission include:

Technicians work on the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock inside the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 29, 2020, preparing the facility for its flight to the International Space Station. The first commercially funded airlock for the space station provides payload hosting, robotics testing, satellite deployment, and more. (NASA/KSC)

Technicians work on the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock inside the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 29, 2020, preparing the facility for its flight to the International Space Station. The first commercially funded airlock for the space station provides payload hosting, robotics testing, satellite deployment, and more. (NASA/KSC)

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NASA study shows Earth, Moon used to share Magnetic Shield

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – But a neighboring shield may have helped our planet retain its atmosphere and eventually go on to develop life and habitable conditions. That shield was the Moon, says a NASA-led study in the journal Science Advances.

“The Moon seems to have presented a substantial protective barrier against the solar wind for the Earth, which was critical to Earth’s ability to maintain its atmosphere during this time,” said Jim Green, NASA’s chief scientist and lead author of the new study. “We look forward to following up on these findings when NASA sends astronauts to the Moon through the Artemis program, which will return critical samples of the lunar South Pole.”

This illustration shows magnetic field lines that Earth generates today. The Moon no longer has a magnetic field. (NASA)

This illustration shows magnetic field lines that Earth generates today. The Moon no longer has a magnetic field. (NASA)

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NASA investigates why Asteroid Bennu is shedding material into Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid (101955) Bennu, mission scientists knew that their spacecraft was orbiting something special. Not only was the boulder-strewn asteroid shaped like a rough diamond, its surface was crackling with activity, shedding small pieces of rock into space.

Now, after more than a year and a half up close with Bennu, they’re starting to better understand these dynamic particle-ejection events.

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 images collected on Dec. 2, 2018, by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft's PolyCam instrument from a range of 15 miles (24 kilometers). (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 images collected on Dec. 2, 2018, by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft’s PolyCam instrument from a range of 15 miles (24 kilometers). (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

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NASA reports Small Asteroid makes closest flyby of Earth on Record

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Near Earth Asteroids, or NEAs, pass by our home planet all the time. But an SUV-size asteroid set the record this past weekend for coming closer to Earth than any other known NEA: It passed 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers) above the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday, August 15th at 11:08pm CT (Saturday, August 15th at 9:08pm PDT).

At roughly 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) across, asteroid 2020 QG is very small by asteroid standards: If it had actually been on an impact trajectory, it would likely have become a fireball as it broke up in Earth’s atmosphere, which happens several times a year.

This illustration shows asteroid 2020 QG's trajectory bending during its close approach to Earth. The asteroid is the closest known nonimpacting asteroid ever detected. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration shows asteroid 2020 QG’s trajectory bending during its close approach to Earth. The asteroid is the closest known nonimpacting asteroid ever detected. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft data reveals Ceres’ Bright Areas created from Salt Water under the surface

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft gave scientists extraordinary close-up views of the dwarf planet Ceres, which lies in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. By the time the mission ended in October 2018, the orbiter had dipped to less than 22 miles (35 kilometers) above the surface, revealing crisp details of the mysterious bright regions Ceres had become known for.

Scientists had figured out that the bright areas were deposits made mostly of sodium carbonate – a compound of sodium, carbon, and oxygen.

Image of Occator Crater, seen in false-color. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

Image of Occator Crater, seen in false-color. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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NASA says Young Giant Planets could help answer questions on how Planets Form

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that for most of human history our understanding of how planets form and evolve was based on the eight (or nine) planets in our solar system. But over the last 25 years, the discovery of more than 4,000 exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system, changed all that.

Among the most intriguing of these distant worlds is a class of exoplanets called hot Jupiters. Similar in size to Jupiter, these gas-dominated planets orbit extremely close to their parent stars, circling them in as few as 18 hours.

This image shows a type of gas giant planet known as a hot Jupiter that orbits very close to its star. Finding more of these youthful planets could help astronomers understand how they formed and if they migrate from cooler climes during their lifetimes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image shows a type of gas giant planet known as a hot Jupiter that orbits very close to its star. Finding more of these youthful planets could help astronomers understand how they formed and if they migrate from cooler climes during their lifetimes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft data shows Saturn’s Moon Titan Drifting Away Faster Than Previously Thought

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The new research by scientists at NASA and the Italian Space Agency has implications for the entire Saturn system as well as other planets and moons.

Just as our own Moon floats away from Earth a tiny bit more each year, other moons are doing the same with their host planets. As a moon orbits, its gravity pulls on the planet, causing a temporary bulge in the planet as it passes.

Over time, the energy created by the bulging and subsiding transfers from the planet to the moon, nudging it farther and farther out. Our Moon drifts 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) from Earth each year.

Larger than the planet Mercury, huge moon Titan is seen here as it orbits Saturn. Below Titan are the shadows cast by Saturn's rings. This natural color view was created by combining six images captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on May 6, 2012. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

Larger than the planet Mercury, huge moon Titan is seen here as it orbits Saturn. Below Titan are the shadows cast by Saturn’s rings. This natural color view was created by combining six images captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on May 6, 2012. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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NASA’s SOFIA Telescope observes Magnetic Fields affecting Middle of Milky Way Galaxy

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The area around the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy is dominated by gravity, but it’s not the only force at play. According to new research from NASA’s airborne telescope, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, magnetic fields may be strong enough to control material moving around the black hole. 

The research, presented this week at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, could help answer longstanding mysteries about why our black hole is relatively quiet compared to others, and why the formation of new stars in our galaxy’s core is lower than expected. 

A composite image of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy, known as Sagittarius A. SOFIA found that magnetic fields, shown as streamlines, are strong enough to control the material moving around the black hole, even in the presence of enormous gravitational forces. (NASA/SOFIA/L. Proudfit; ESA/Herschel; Hubble Space Telescope)

A composite image of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy, known as Sagittarius A. SOFIA found that magnetic fields, shown as streamlines, are strong enough to control the material moving around the black hole, even in the presence of enormous gravitational forces. (NASA/SOFIA/L. Proudfit; ESA/Herschel; Hubble Space Telescope)

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NASA’s Galileo Spacecraft reprocessed Images show terrain detail of Jupiter’s moon Europa

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa features a widely varied landscape, including ridges, bands, small rounded domes and disrupted spaces that geologists call “chaos terrain.” Three newly reprocessed images, taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s, reveal details in diverse surface features on Europa.

Although the data captured by Galileo is more than two decades old, scientists are using modern image processing techniques to create new views of the moon’s surface in preparation for the arrival of the Europa Clipper spacecraft.

In this gallery of three newly reprocessed Europa images, details are visible in the variety of features on the moon's icy surface. This image of an area called Chaos Transition shows blocks that have moved and ridges possibly related to how the crust fractures from the force of Jupiter's gravity. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

In this gallery of three newly reprocessed Europa images, details are visible in the variety of features on the moon’s icy surface. This image of an area called Chaos Transition shows blocks that have moved and ridges possibly related to how the crust fractures from the force of Jupiter’s gravity. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

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