A video about the upcoming launch of LADEE.
The launch date is scheduled for 6 September 2013 at 03:27 UTC (11:27 EDT) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This is the first lunar launch from that facility.
One of the interesting tests that isn’t mentioned in the video is to show, or attempt to show, two-way laser communication is possible beyond Earth.
I will have more about the launch and the mission later this week.
The LADEE site at NASA.
Video Source – Science@NASA
The moon Phobos passes in front of the Sun. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems/Texas A&M Univ.
The rover Curiosity gets a look at an an annular eclipse on Mars as Phobos passes in front of the Sun. Phobos is the larger of the two Martian moons.
In case you are wondering:
The next solar eclipse for us here on Earth will be on 03 November 2013. The very eastern part of the US might see it just after daylight, if you are on a ship in the Atlantic you should be able to catch it as well as southern Europe (Spain mostly) and much of central Africa. More about that when the event gets closer.
This set of three images shows views three seconds apart as the larger of Mars’ two moons, Phobos, passed directly in front of the sun as seen by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity. Curiosity photographed this annular, or ring, eclipse with the telephoto-lens camera of the rover’s Mast Camera pair (right Mastcam) on Aug. 17, 2013, the 369th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars.
Part of Herschel’s view of Orion. Credit: ESA
Wow, just wow and what you see here is only part of the image (see below).
This Herschel image is the region just below the three stars that make up the belt of Orion, specifically in the sword. ESA’s image description explains it all pretty nicely.
I want to add that if you have a telescope and even a pair of binoculars (binoculars are a wonderful way to view the night sky BTW) spend some time looking at each of principle stars of the Orion. This constellation has much to offer, from the Great Orion Nebula (M42) and the stellar nurseries to the hot stars to aging Betelgeuse.
This new view of the Orion A star-formation cloud from ESA’s Herschel space observatory shows the turbulent region of space that hugs the famous Orion Nebula.
The nebula lies about 1500 light years from Earth within the ‘sword of Orion’ – below the three main stars that form the belt of the Orion constellation.
In this view, the nebula corresponds to the brightest region in the centre of the image, where it is lit up by the Trapezium group of stars at its heart.
Read the rest of Embracing Orion at ESA and see the while image.
WISE spots asteroid 1998 KN3 (bright yellow spot on left) go by near the Orion nebula. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The WISE spacecraft is being reactivated to continue the hunt for asteroids. WISE was launched in December 2009 and was very successful, discovering more than 33,000 new asteroids and comets. One of the many interesting discoveries included the brown dwarf star system just 6.5 light years away.
The primary mission ended in October 2010 when the coolant ran out. A new mission called spacecraft began using two (out of four total) that do not require cryogen for cooling. The NEOWISE mission was scheduled to run a month and ended up being extended three months because it worked so well. After the NEOWISE mission the spacecraft was put into hibernation.
It will be nice to have WISE back in the hunt.
About the image from NASA:
This image shows the potentially hazardous near-Earth object 1998 KN3 as it zips past a cloud of dense gas and dust near the Orion nebula. NEOWISE, the asteroid-hunting portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, mission, snapped infrared pictures of the asteroid, seen as the yellow-green dot at upper left. Because asteroids are warmed by the sun to roughly room temperature, they glow brightly at the infrared wavelengths used by WISE.
Hubble’s cosmic illusion. Click for larger. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Luca Limatola
It’s not the collision it looks like. The cloud of stars is an irregular galaxy PGC 16389 From what I can tell it is located at RA: 04 h56m 58.7s and Dec: -42d 48m 14s, the magnitude is 14.4 and it’s about 1.3 arc minutes across. The galaxy has a radial velocity of 657 km/sec (derived from a redshift 0.002192z), an accurate (as accurate as cosmic get in the first place) doesn’t seem to be available.
This Hubbble picture is a classic, the number of galaxies in the background is amazing.
Here is the caption for image and you should visit the site though to see larger versions even desktop size.
At first glance, this Hubble picture appears to capture two space giants entangled in a fierce celestial battle, with two galaxies entwined and merging to form one. But this shows just how easy it is to misinterpret the jumble of sparkling stars and get the wrong impression — as it’s all down to a trick of perspective.
By chance, these galaxies appear to be aligned from our point of view. In the foreground, the irregular dwarf galaxy PGC 16389 — seen here as a cloud of stars — covers its neighboring galaxy APMBGC 252+125-117, which appears edge-on as a streak. This wide-field image also captures many other more distant galaxies, including a quite prominent face-on spiral towards the right of the picture.
The SOHO LASCO C2 instrument captured this image of the Earth-directed CME. SOHO’s coronographs are able to take images of the solar corona by blocking the light coming directly from the Sun with an occulter disk. The location of the actual sun is shown with an image taken by SDO. Image and Captiont: ESA & NASA/SOHO, SDO
UPDATE: The Sun has released a second CME; this one on 21 August and the current forecast is for minor geomagnetic storms levels (G1) from 21:00 UTC ON 24-August until about 06:00 UTC on 25-August. If the forecast is correct expect an aurora so keep an eye to the sky if you can, especially at higher latitudes (towards the respective poles).
Maybe, I’ve been patiently waiting for the K-Index go up ever since this happened. Nothing much yet, there was a little blip and that’s about it. Listening to the WWV updates leads me to believe not much is going to happen either.
Looking at the bright side (no pun intended) the full moon would have probably washed out anything that wasn’t truly amazing. I am 45 deg North Latitude and points north of that or south of that Southern Latitude will have a much better chance of seeing an aurora so keep an eye out..
Still, I will keep an eye on the numbers and the sky, predictions have been wrong before!
From NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center::
On August 20, 2013 at 4:24 am EDT, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME, a solar phenomenon which can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. These particles cannot travel through the atmosphere to harm humans on Earth, but they can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground.