Source: NASA Science Cast
Source: ESAPR 30 2011
The Vega launch vehicle programme has recently taken several major steps towards operation: the decision has been made to start the qualification launch campaign; ESA and Arianespace have ordered four new launchers; studies for the launch of the LISA Pathfinder mission have started. (read more)
Source: Chandra CXC
Chandra, XMM-Newton, Spitzer, and WISE - combined to make a new discovery on a very old supernova remnant, in a location where Chinese astronomers witnessed an event in 185 AD, documenting a mysterious "guest star" that remained for 8 months. The data now revealed shows it was a Type Ia Supernova. (see source)
Source: ESO Science Release eso1142
Astronomers have accurately measured the diameter of the faraway dwarf planet Eris for the first time by catching it as it passed in front of a faint star. This event was seen at the end of 2010 by telescopes in Chile, including the Belgian TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. The observations show that Eris is an almost perfect twin of Pluto in size. Eris appears to have a very reflective surface, suggesting that it is uniformly covered in a thin layer of ice, probably a frozen atmosphere. The results will be published in the 27 October 2011 issue of the journal Nature. (read more)
Source: MESSENGER Press Release
Image credit: NASA/MESSENGER
The MESSENGER spacecraft successfully completed its fourth orbit-correction maneuver today to increase the period of the spacecraft’s orbit around the innermost planet from 11 hours 46 minutes to a precise 12 hours.
MESSENGER was 198 million kilometers (123 million miles) from Earth when the 159-second maneuver began at 6:12 p.m. EDT. Mission controllers at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., verified the start of the maneuver about 11 minutes, 1 second later, when the first signals indicating spacecraft thruster activity reached NASA’s Deep Space Network tracking station outside Goldstone, California.
This is the fourth of five maneuvers planned for the primary orbital phase of the mission to keep orbital parameters within desired ranges for optimal scientific observations. MESSENGER’s orbital velocity was changed by a total of 4.2 meters per second (9.4 miles per hour) to make the corrections essential for continuing the planned measurement campaigns.
Most of the instruments were placed in a passive state during the burn, but the instruments were reconfigured at 7:05 p.m. EDT to resume scientific observations of the planet.
MESSENGER Mission Systems Engineer Eric Finnegan, of APL, said the engine burn was executed as planned. “The team was well-prepared for the maneuver, and MESSENGER is right where it needs to be to continue revealing new details about Mercury,” he said.
The next orbit-correction maneuver is scheduled for December 5.
Bluebell, what a lovely fresh word evoking joy, wonder and energy. These were the qualities I found in the children who took part in Deadly Moons at their school in west Dublin on Tuesday September 27th. This group had multicultural backgrounds, Irish Travellers, Irish, Polish, African the Philippines and other communities were represented in their little faces.
The woman in the Moon ( adapted ) from a Traveller legend was one of the stories I told about the full Moon. I used Peter Riesett’s black and white harvest Moon image to put over this story as his photograph clearly illustrated the Woman in the Moon hidden in the lunar maria very well indeed. Several children were captivated by this story which I found on The Barefoot Pavee website. I like to tell tiny stories about various moons in the presentation as children listen and retain stories better than just plain facts.
Once again Saturn’s moon Tethys was a must do for some children, while the image of our Moon in false colour prompted many positive vocal gasps. Lennox was very keen to try to draw the harvest moon in black and white including the Woman in the Moon. Eddie age 9 was such a busy helpful boy, he produced an energetic drawing of our moon in false colour including Tycho and its rays. Ben age 8 created a gorgeous subtly shaded moon in false colour and added an explosive Tycho crater ray system afterwards. There was great variety in the drawings produced by this group , Atlas by Aaron age 8 , Callisto by Saviour , First Quarter Moon by Alannah age 9 and a half, all wonderful drawings !!
The entire group were very engaged, there was a lot of energy in the room all going into the drawings and the learning. As each moon was finished they were put on display until all the work was on the wall, looking great.
Our Lady of the Wayside National School is under the DEIS scheme and benefits in many ways because of it. Creativity in the Classroom facilitator Liz McMahon invited me to run my workshop for the children of Ms.Dalton's 3rd and 4th and Ms. McDermott's 3rd and 4th classes. The school also had an excellent audio visual set up, this is one of the many extra‘s this school has at its disposal because it is in a designated disadvantaged area.
Liz McMahon is intending over the next few weeks to build on what the children have learnt and continue to create drawings and creative works inspired directly from their experiences at my workshop. Our Lady of the Wayside National School Bluebell Dublin
Moon cards provided by Jane Houston Jones JPL/NASA were given to each child. Educational outreach material which was also provided by JPL/NASA was given to each teacher for the classroom.
A few children who lived near the school were invited to talk to me after the workshop to see how it all went for them. The interview is here, unedited just the way it unfolded, some quiet children, some very vocal children, all little gems.
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has discovered strange hollows on the surface of Mercury. Images taken from orbit reveal thousands of peculiar depressions at a variety of longitudes and latitudes, ranging in size from 60 feet to over a mile across and 60 to 120 feet deep. No one knows how they got there.
Source: NASA Spitzer
These two infrared images were taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in 2004 and 2009. They show a faint object moving through space together with a dead star called a white dwarf. The object, thought to be a "failed" star, or brown dwarf, is the coldest stellar companion to be directly imaged outside our solar system. (read source)
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected signs of icy bodies raining down in an alien solar system. The downpour resembles our own solar system several billion years ago during a period known as the "Late Heavy Bombardment." (read more)
The first pair of satellites for Europe's Galileo global navigation satellite system has been lofted into orbit by the first Russian Soyuz vehicle ever launched from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana in a milestone mission. (read more)
Source: ESO Photo Release eso1141
Two newly discovered globular clusters have been added to the total of just 158 known globular clusters in our Milky Way. They were found in new images from ESO’s VISTA survey telescope as part of the Via Lactea (VVV) survey. This survey has also turned up the first star cluster that is far beyond the centre of the Milky Way and whose light has had to travel right through the dust and gas in the heart of our galaxy to get to us.(read more)
Source: NASA Science News
Earth is about to pass through a stream of debris from Halley's comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Saturday morning, Oct. 22nd, with more than 15 meteors per hour. Earth isn't the only world in the debris stream; NASA researchers will also be watching for meteoroid strikes on the Moon. (read more)
Take five astronauts and instead of sending them into space take them underground. ESA’s CAVES venture prepares astronauts to work in an international team under real exploration conditions. The latest ‘crew’ has returned after six days in the dark. (read more)
Source: NASA Science News
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope recently produced a map of the night sky. Out of 1873 new sources, nearly 600 were complete mysteries. In today's story from Science@NASA, researchers speculate on the nature of the mystery objects--including the possibility that they are made of dark matter.(read more)
You tube video of the story:
Source: ESA Hubble
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has been used to make an image of galaxy cluster MACS J1206.2-0847. The apparently distorted shapes of distant galaxies in the background is caused by an invisible substance called dark matter, whose gravity bends and distorts their light rays. MACS 1206 has been observed as part of a new survey of galaxy clusters using Hubble.(read more)
The Antarctic ozone hole, which yawns wide every Southern Hemisphere spring, reached its annual peak on Sept. 12. It stretched to 10.05 million square miles, the ninth largest ozone hole on record. Above the South Pole, the ozone hole reached its deepest point of the season on Oct. 9, tying this year for the 10th lowest in this 26-year record. (read more)