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Topic: Telescopes

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft data reveals Critical Information about Planetary Formation

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Data from NASA’s New Horizons mission are providing new insights into how planets and planetesimals – the building blocks of the planets – were formed. 

The New Horizons spacecraft flew past the ancient Kuiper Belt object Arrokoth (2014 MU69) on January 1st, 2019, providing humankind’s first close-up look at one of the icy remnants of solar system formation in the vast region beyond the orbit of Neptune.

The uniform color and composition of Arrokoth’s surface shows the Kuiper Belt object formed from a small, uniform, cloud of material in the solar nebula, rather than a mishmash of matter from more separated parts of the nebula. The former supports the idea that Arrokoth formed in a local collapse of a cloud in the solar nebula. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Roman Tkachenko)

The uniform color and composition of Arrokoth’s surface shows the Kuiper Belt object formed from a small, uniform, cloud of material in the solar nebula, rather than a mishmash of matter from more separated parts of the nebula. The former supports the idea that Arrokoth formed in a local collapse of a cloud in the solar nebula. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Roman Tkachenko)

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NASA says network of Telescopes captures historic Black Hole image

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A black hole and its shadow have been captured in an image for the first time, a historic feat by an international network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). EHT is an international collaboration whose support in the U.S. includes the National Science Foundation.

A black hole is an extremely dense object from which no light can escape. Anything that comes within a black hole’s “event horizon,” its point of no return, will be consumed, never to re-emerge, because of the black hole’s unimaginably strong gravity.

Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. (Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration)

Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. (Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration)

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NASA captures radar images of asteroid 2003 SD220 as it approached Earth

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The December 2018 close approach by the large, near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 has provided astronomers an outstanding opportunity to obtain detailed radar images of the surface and shape of the object and to improve the understanding of its orbit.

The asteroid will fly safely past Earth on Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 at a distance of about 1.8 million miles (2.9 million kilometers). This will be the asteroid’s closest approach in more than 400 years and the closest until 2070, when the asteroid will safely approach Earth slightly closer.

These three radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 were obtained on December 15th-17th, by coordinating observations with NASA's 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California and the National Science Foundation's (NSF) 330-foot (100-meter) Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NSF/GBO)

These three radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 were obtained on December 15th-17th, by coordinating observations with NASA’s 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 330-foot (100-meter) Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NSF/GBO)

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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope captures last moments of dying Star

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In a galaxy far away, an old star exploded and became a supernova. About 170 million years later on February 4th, 2018, the light emanating from the explosion was received by an arsenal of high-powered telescopes.

NASA’s Kepler space telescope detected the unfurling light of SN 2018oh, as it has been labeled. The first ground-based facility to identify the signal was with the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernova and soon observatories around the globe were monitoring the supernova as part of a unique scientific experiment designed to help solve the mystery of how stars explode.

This image scenario leading to a particular kind of Type Ia supernova in which a single white dwarf siphons off so much material from its companion star that it can no longer sustain its own weight and blows up.  It is one theory explaining the data from SN 2018oh. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image scenario leading to a particular kind of Type Ia supernova in which a single white dwarf siphons off so much material from its companion star that it can no longer sustain its own weight and blows up. It is one theory explaining the data from SN 2018oh. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captures Ultraviolet Panoramic View of the Universe

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Astronomers using the ultraviolet vision of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have captured one of the largest panoramic views of the fire and fury of star birth in the distant universe.

The field features approximately 15,000 galaxies, about 12,000 of which are forming stars. Hubble’s ultraviolet vision opens a new window on the evolving universe, tracking the birth of stars over the last 11 billion years back to the cosmos’ busiest star-forming period, which happened about 3 billion years after the big bang.

Astronomers have just assembled one of the most comprehensive portraits yet of the universe’s evolutionary history, based on a broad spectrum of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and other space and ground-based telescopes. (NASA, ESA, P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and M. Montes (University of New South Wales))

Astronomers have just assembled one of the most comprehensive portraits yet of the universe’s evolutionary history, based on a broad spectrum of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and other space and ground-based telescopes. (NASA, ESA, P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and M. Montes (University of New South Wales))

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NASA uses data from several Telescopes to locate Smaller Black Holes

 

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – Scientists have taken major steps in their hunt to find black holes that are neither very small nor extremely large. Finding these elusive intermediate-mass black holes could help astronomers better understand what the “seeds” for the largest black holes in the early Universe were.

The new research comes from two separate studies, each using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes.

Black holes that contain between about one hundred and several hundred thousand times the mass of the Sun are called “intermediate mass” black holes, or IMBHs.

The COSMOS Legacy Survey shows data that have provided evidence for the existence of intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs). (X-ray: NASA/CXC/ICE/M.Mezcua et al.; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Illustration: NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

The COSMOS Legacy Survey shows data that have provided evidence for the existence of intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs). (X-ray: NASA/CXC/ICE/M.Mezcua et al.; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Illustration: NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

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NASA reports Three Radio Telescopes discover Double Asteroid

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New observations by three of the world’s largest radio telescopes have revealed that an asteroid discovered last year is actually two objects, each about 3,000 feet (900 meters) in size, orbiting each other.

Near-Earth asteroid 2017 YE5 was discovered with observations provided by the Morocco Oukaimeden Sky Survey on December 21st, 2017, but no details about the asteroid’s physical properties were known until the end of June. This is only the fourth “equal mass” binary near-Earth asteroid ever detected, consisting of two objects nearly identical in size, orbiting each other. The new observations provide the most detailed images ever obtained of this type of binary asteroid.

Artist's concept of what binary asteroid 2017 YE5 might look like. The two objects showed striking differences in radar reflectivity, which could indicate that they have different surface properties. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of what binary asteroid 2017 YE5 might look like. The two objects showed striking differences in radar reflectivity, which could indicate that they have different surface properties. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s NEOWISE spacecraft uses thermal sensors to analyze hundreds of Asteroids

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Nearly all asteroids are so far away and so small that the astronomical community only knows them as moving points of light. The rare exceptions are asteroids that have been visited by spacecraft, a small number of large asteroids resolved by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope or large ground-based telescopes, or those that have come close enough for radar imaging.

When seen by optical telescopes, these individual sources of reflected sunlight can provide some very valuable but also very basic information — for example, the asteroid’s orbit, a ballpark estimate of its size, sometimes an approximation of its shape, and perhaps an idea of its physical makeup.

Analysis of asteroids like Lutetia was used in the Josef Hanuš-led paper on asteroid thermophysical modeling. Lutetia is a large main belt asteroid about 62 miles (100 kilometers) in diameter. Lutetia was visited by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft in 2010. (ESA 2010 MPS)

Analysis of asteroids like Lutetia was used in the Josef Hanuš-led paper on asteroid thermophysical modeling. Lutetia is a large main belt asteroid about 62 miles (100 kilometers) in diameter. Lutetia was visited by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft in 2010. (ESA 2010 MPS)

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NASA answers the question, “What is an ‘Exoplanet?”

 

Written by Calla Cofield
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Step outside on a clear night, and you can be sure of something our ancestors could only imagine: Every star you see likely plays host to at least one planet.

The worlds orbiting other stars are called “exoplanets,” and they come in a wide variety of sizes, from gas giants larger than Jupiter to small, rocky planets about as big around as Earth or Mars. They can be hot enough to boil metal or locked in deep freeze. They can orbit their stars so tightly that a “year” lasts only a few days; they can orbit two suns at once. Some exoplanets are sunless rogues, wandering through the galaxy in permanent darkness.

The Milky Way, our own galaxy, stretches across the sky above the La Silla telescope in Chile. Hidden inside our own galaxy are trillions of planets, most waiting to be found. (ESO/S. Brunier)

The Milky Way, our own galaxy, stretches across the sky above the La Silla telescope in Chile. Hidden inside our own galaxy are trillions of planets, most waiting to be found. (ESO/S. Brunier)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope finds farthest Star on record

 

Space Telescope Science Institute

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationBaltimore, MD – More than halfway across the universe, an enormous blue star nicknamed Icarus is the farthest individual star ever seen. Normally, it would be much too faint to view, even with the world’s largest telescopes.

But through a quirk of nature that tremendously amplifies the star’s feeble glow, astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope were able to pinpoint this faraway star and set a new distance record. They also used Icarus to test one theory of dark matter, and to probe the make-up of a foreground galaxy cluster.

Icarus, whose official name is MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1, is the farthest individual star ever seen. It is only visible because it is being magnified by the gravity of a massive galaxy cluster, located about 5 billion light-years from Earth. Called MACS J1149+2223, this cluster, shown at left, sits between Earth and the galaxy that contains the distant star. The panels at the right show the view in 2011, without Icarus visible, compared with the star's brightening in 2016. (NASA, ESA, and P. Kelly (University of Minnesota))

Icarus, whose official name is MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1, is the farthest individual star ever seen. It is only visible because it is being magnified by the gravity of a massive galaxy cluster, located about 5 billion light-years from Earth. Called MACS J1149+2223, this cluster, shown at left, sits between Earth and the galaxy that contains the distant star. The panels at the right show the view in 2011, without Icarus visible, compared with the star’s brightening in 2016. (NASA, ESA, and P. Kelly (University of Minnesota))

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