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Topic: Magnetic Field

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory discovers X-Rays from Uranus

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Astronomers have detected X-rays from Uranus for the first time, using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This result may help scientists learn more about this enigmatic ice giant planet in our solar system.

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and has two sets of rings around its equator. The planet, which has four times the diameter of Earth, rotates on its side, making it different from all other planets in the solar system.

X-ray: (NASA/CXO/University College London/W. Dunn et al; Optical: W.M. Keck Observatory)

X-ray: (NASA/CXO/University College London/W. Dunn et al; Optical: W.M. Keck Observatory)

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NASA data used to explore Solar Wind with a New View of Small Sun Structures

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Scientists have combined NASA data and cutting-edge image processing to gain new insight into the solar structures that create the Sun’s flow of high-speed solar wind, detailed in new research published in The Astrophysical Journal. This first look at relatively small features, dubbed “plumelets,” could help scientists understand how and why disturbances form in the solar wind.

The Sun’s magnetic influence stretches billions of miles, far past the orbit of Pluto and the planets, defined by a driving force: the solar wind.

Scientists used image processing on high-resolution images of the Sun to reveal distinct “plumelets” within structures on the Sun called solar plumes. The full-disk Sun and the left side of the inset image were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light and processed to reduce noise. The right side of the inset has been further processed to enhance small features in the images, revealing the edges of the plumelets in clear detail. (NASA/SDO/Uritsky, et al)

Scientists used image processing on high-resolution images of the Sun to reveal distinct “plumelets” within structures on the Sun called solar plumes. The full-disk Sun and the left side of the inset image were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light and processed to reduce noise. The right side of the inset has been further processed to enhance small features in the images, revealing the edges of the plumelets in clear detail. (NASA/SDO/Uritsky, et al)

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NASA extends Juno, Insight missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the Moon and on to Mars, the agency’s quest to seek answers about our solar system and beyond continues to inform those efforts and generate new discoveries. The agency has extended the missions of two spacecraft, following an external review of their scientific productivity.

The missions – Juno and InSight – have each increased our understanding of our solar system, as well as spurred new sets of diverse questions.

NASA has extended both the Juno mission at Jupiter through September 2025 (left) and the InSight mission at Mars through December 2022. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA has extended both the Juno mission at Jupiter through September 2025 (left) and the InSight mission at Mars through December 2022. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Lunar Gateway to be equipped with Instruments to Forecast Weather Forecast for Artemis Missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – One of the first things people want to know before taking a trip is what the weather will be like wherever they are headed.

For Artemis astronauts traveling on missions to the Moon, two space weather instrument suites, NASA’s HERMES and ESA’s ERSA, will provide an early forecast. Weather in this case means energized, subatomic particles and electromagnetic fields hurtling through the solar system.

Artist's concept of the Gateway Power and Propulsion Element, or PPE, and Habitation and Logistics Outpost, or HALO, in orbit around the Moon. The gold box on the right side of the image depicts the HERMES payload. The ERSA payload is the silver box just below it. (NASA)

Artist’s concept of the Gateway Power and Propulsion Element, or PPE, and Habitation and Logistics Outpost, or HALO, in orbit around the Moon. The gold box on the right side of the image depicts the HERMES payload. The ERSA payload is the silver box just below it. (NASA)

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NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover sensors to provide Mars Weather Reports

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mars is about to get a new stream of weather reports, once NASA’s Perseverance rover touches down on February 18th, 2021. As it scours Jezero Crater for signs of ancient microbial life, Perseverance will collect the first planetary samples for return to Earth by a future mission.

But the rover will also provide key atmospheric data that will help enable future astronauts to the Red Planet to survive in a world with no breathable oxygen, freezing temperatures, planet wide dust storms, and intense radiation from the Sun.

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has two wind sensors just below its mast, or "head." They're part of MEDA, a weather science package that will provide vital data on the Martian surface, especially dust in the atmosphere. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has two wind sensors just below its mast, or “head.” They’re part of MEDA, a weather science package that will provide vital data on the Martian surface, especially dust in the atmosphere. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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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 discovers changing dent in Earth’s Magnetic Field

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA says a small but evolving dent in Earth’s magnetic field can cause big headaches for satellites.

Earth’s magnetic field acts like a protective shield around the planet, repelling and trapping charged particles from the Sun. But over South America and the southern Atlantic Ocean, an unusually weak spot in the field – called the South Atlantic Anomaly, or SAA – allows these particles to dip closer to the surface than normal.

This stereoscopic visualization shows a simple model of the Earth's magnetic field. The magnetic field partially shields the Earth from harmful charged particles emanating from the Sun. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

This stereoscopic visualization shows a simple model of the Earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic field partially shields the Earth from harmful charged particles emanating from the Sun. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft gets first ever pictures of Jupiter’s Moon Ganymede

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On its way inbound for a December 26th, 2019, flyby of Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew in the proximity of the north pole of the ninth-largest object in the solar system, the moon Ganymede. The infrared imagery collected by the spacecraft’s Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument provides the first infrared mapping of the massive moon’s northern frontier.

The only moon in the solar system that is larger than the planet Mercury, Ganymede consists primarily of water ice. Its composition contains fundamental clues for understanding the evolution of the 79 Jovian moons from the time of their formation to today.

These images the JIRAM instrument aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft took on Dec. 26, 2019, provide the first infrared mapping of Ganymede's northern frontier. Frozen water molecules detected at both poles have no appreciable order to their arrangement and a different infrared signature than ice at the equator. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM)

These images the JIRAM instrument aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft took on Dec. 26, 2019, provide the first infrared mapping of Ganymede’s northern frontier. Frozen water molecules detected at both poles have no appreciable order to their arrangement and a different infrared signature than ice at the equator. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM)

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NASA’s Dione CubeSat mission to study Earth’s Upper Atmosphere, Space Weather

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA has selected a new pathfinding CubeSat mission to gather data not collected since the agency flew the Dynamics Explorer in the early 1980s.

The new mission, called Dione after the ancient Greek goddess of the oracles, will carry four miniaturized instruments to study how Earth’s upper atmospheric layers react to the ever-changing flow of solar energy into the magnetosphere — the enveloping bubble of magnetic field around Earth that deflects most of the particles that erupt from the Sun. Earth’s upper atmosphere is where most low-Earth-orbiting satellites reside, and their orbits are strongly affected by sudden density changes created by space weather.

Dione will gather data not collected since NASA’s dual-spacecraft Dynamics Explorer mission launched in the early 1980s. (NASA)

Dione will gather data not collected since NASA’s dual-spacecraft Dynamics Explorer mission launched in the early 1980s. (NASA)

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NASA Science continues from Home Offices, Video Conferencing in response to Coronavirus

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Across NASA’s many missions, thousands of scientists, engineers, and other experts and professionals all over the country are doing what they do best, but now from home offices and via video conferencing.

With most personnel supporting missions remotely to keep onsite staff at a minimal level in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Agency is moving ahead strongly with everything from space exploration to using our technology and innovation to help inform policy makers.  

NASA missions continue during Coronavirus outbreak. (NASA)

NASA missions continue during Coronavirus outbreak. (NASA)

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