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Topic: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope finds Giant Star on Edge of Destruction

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – In celebration of the 31st anniversary of the launching of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers aimed the renowned observatory at a brilliant “celebrity star,” one of the brightest stars seen in our galaxy, surrounded by a glowing halo of gas and dust.

The price for the monster star’s opulence is “living on the edge.” The star, called AG Carinae, is waging a tug-of-war between gravity and radiation to avoid self-destruction.

In celebration of the 31st anniversary of the launching of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers aimed the renowned observatory at a brilliant "celebrity star," one of the brightest stars seen in our galaxy, surrounded by a glowing halo of gas and dust. (NASA, ESA, STScI)

In celebration of the 31st anniversary of the launching of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers aimed the renowned observatory at a brilliant “celebrity star,” one of the brightest stars seen in our galaxy, surrounded by a glowing halo of gas and dust. (NASA, ESA, STScI)

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NASA reports Astronomers create New All-Sky Map of Milky Way’s Outer Reaches

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers using data from NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) telescopes have released a new all-sky map of the outermost region of our galaxy. Known as the galactic halo, this area lies outside the swirling spiral arms that form the Milky Way’s recognizable central disk and is sparsely populated with stars.

Though the halo may appear mostly empty, it is also predicted to contain a massive reservoir of dark matter, a mysterious and invisible substance thought to make up the bulk of all the mass in the universe.

Images of the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) are overlaid on a map of the surrounding galactic halo. The smaller structure is a wake created by the LMC’s motion through this region. The larger light-blue feature corresponds to a high density of stars observed in the northern hemisphere of our galaxy. (NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/Conroy et. al. 2021)

Images of the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) are overlaid on a map of the surrounding galactic halo. The smaller structure is a wake created by the LMC’s motion through this region. The larger light-blue feature corresponds to a high density of stars observed in the northern hemisphere of our galaxy. (NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/Conroy et. al. 2021)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover Team names Mountain after Rafael Navarro-González

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The team of scientists and engineers behind NASA’s Curiosity rover named a hill along the rover’s path on Mars in honor of a recently deceased mission scientist. A craggy hump that stretches 450 feet (120 meters) tall, “Rafael Navarro Mountain” is located on Mount Sharp in northwest Gale Crater.

The inspiration for the name is award-winning scientist Rafael Navarro-González; he died on January 28th, 2021, from complications related to COVID-19 Coronavirus.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its Mastcam to take an image of this mountain, nicknamed “Rafael Navarro Mountain” after the astrobiologist Rafael Navarro-González, who worked on the mission until he passed away January 26th, 2021. (NASA)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its Mastcam to take an image of this mountain, nicknamed “Rafael Navarro Mountain” after the astrobiologist Rafael Navarro-González, who worked on the mission until he passed away January 26th, 2021. (NASA)

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NASA evaluates Artemis Program Navigational Needs

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Space communications and navigation engineers at NASA are evaluating the navigation needs for the Artemis program, including identifying the precision navigation capabilities needed to establish the first sustained presence on the lunar surface.

“Artemis engages us to apply creative navigation solutions, choosing the right combination of capabilities for each mission,” said Cheryl Gramling, associate chief for technology in the Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Illustration of NASA's lunar-orbiting Gateway and a human landing system in orbit around the Moon. (NASA)

Illustration of NASA’s lunar-orbiting Gateway and a human landing system in orbit around the Moon. (NASA)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft data suggests Mars may be shedding dust into Interplanetary Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Look up to the night sky just before dawn, or after dusk, and you might see a faint column of light extending up from the horizon. That luminous glow is the zodiacal light, or sunlight reflected toward Earth by a cloud of tiny dust particles orbiting the Sun.

Astronomers have long thought that the dust is brought into the inner solar system by a few of the asteroid and comet families that venture in from afar.

But now, a team of Juno scientists argues that Mars may be the culprit. They published their finding in a March 9th paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

This photo shows the zodiacal light as it appeared on March 1st, 2021, in Skull Valley, Utah. The Pleiades star cluster is visible near the top of the light column. Mars is just below that. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This photo shows the zodiacal light as it appeared on March 1st, 2021, in Skull Valley, Utah. The Pleiades star cluster is visible near the top of the light column. Mars is just below that. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA finishes first ever Global Accounting of Fluctuating Freshwater Levels

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – To investigate humans’ impact on freshwater resources, scientists have now conducted the first global accounting of fluctuating water levels in Earth’s lakes and reservoirs – including ones previously too small to measure from space. 

The research, published March 3rd in the journal Nature, relied on NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2), launched in September 2018. 

Lake Mead, along the Colorado River. (National Park Service)

Lake Mead, along the Colorado River. (National Park Service)

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope finishes Final Tests, Ready for Launch

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – February marked significant progress for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which completed its final functional performance tests at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California.

Testing teams successfully completed two important milestones that confirmed the observatory’s internal electronics are all functioning as intended, and that the spacecraft and its four scientific instruments can send and receive data properly through the same network they will use in space. These milestones move Webb closer to being ready to launch in October.

Following the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope's recent milestone tests, engineering teams have confirmed that the observatory will both mechanically, and electronically survive the rigors anticipated during launch. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

Following the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope’s recent milestone tests, engineering teams have confirmed that the observatory will both mechanically, and electronically survive the rigors anticipated during launch. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope takes image of Young Comet near Jupiter’s Asteroid

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA reports that for the first time, a wayward comet-like object has been spotted near the family of ancient asteroids.

After traveling several billion miles toward the Sun, a wayward young comet-like object orbiting among the giant planets has found a temporary parking place along the way. The object has settled near a family of captured ancient asteroids, called Trojans, that are orbiting the Sun alongside Jupiter. This is the first time a comet-like object has been spotted near the Trojan population.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapped this image of the young comet P/2019 LD2 as it orbits near Jupiter’s captured ancient asteroids, which are called Trojans. The Hubble view reveals a 400,000-mile-long tail of dust and gas flowing from the wayward comet's bright solid nucleus. (NASA/ESA/J. Olmsted/STScI)

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope snapped this image of the young comet P/2019 LD2 as it orbits near Jupiter’s captured ancient asteroids, which are called Trojans. The Hubble view reveals a 400,000-mile-long tail of dust and gas flowing from the wayward comet’s bright solid nucleus. (NASA/ESA/J. Olmsted/STScI)

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NASA Lunar Gateway’s Core Flight Software to be created by Goddard Space Flight Center

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA is improving a flight software system to help create and certify essential software for the lunar Gateway.

As part of the Artemis program, NASA will send astronauts to the Moon and establish a sustained lunar presence by the end of the decade. The Gateway will provide a waypoint for lunar exploration and allow astronauts to live and work in lunar orbit as well as host science instruments and experiments.

This illustration shows the Gateway lunar platform orbiting the Moon. (NASA)

This illustration shows the Gateway lunar platform orbiting the Moon. (NASA)

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NASA Hubble Space Telescope discovers group of multiple Small Black Holes

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Astronomers found something they weren’t expecting at the heart of the globular cluster NGC 6397: a concentration of smaller black holes lurking there instead of one massive black hole.

Globular clusters are extremely dense stellar systems, which host stars that are closely packed together. These systems are also typically very old — the globular cluster at the focus of this study, NGC 6397, is almost as old as the universe itself. This cluster resides 7,800 light-years away, making it one of the closest globular clusters to Earth. Due to its very dense nucleus, it is known as a core-collapsed cluster.

The amount of mass a black hole can pack away varies widely from less than twice the mass of our Sun to over a billion times our Sun's mass. Midway between are intermediate-mass black holes weighing roughly hundreds to tens of thousands of solar masses. So, black holes come small, medium, and large. (NASA, ESA, T. Brown, S. Casertano, and J. Anderson (STScI))

The amount of mass a black hole can pack away varies widely from less than twice the mass of our Sun to over a billion times our Sun’s mass. Midway between are intermediate-mass black holes weighing roughly hundreds to tens of thousands of solar masses. So, black holes come small, medium, and large. (NASA, ESA, T. Brown, S. Casertano, and J. Anderson (STScI))

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