All posts by Tom

New Born Star

Hubble Et al. – In this image, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the smoking gun of a newborn star, the Herbig–Haro objects numbered 7 to 11 (HH 7–11). These five objects, visible in blue in the top center of the image, lie within NGC 1333, a reflection nebula full of gas and dust found about a thousand light-years away from Earth.

Bright patches of nebulosity near newborn stars, Herbig-Haro objects like HH 7–11 are transient phenomena. Traveling away from the star that created them at a speed of up to about 150,000 miles per hour, they disappear into nothingness within a few tens of thousands of years. The young star that is the source of HH 7–11 is called SVS 13, and all five objects are moving away from SVS 13 toward the upper left. The current distance between HH 7 and SVS 13 is about 20,000 times the distance between Earth and the Sun.

Herbig–Haro objects are formed when jets of ionized gas ejected by a young star collide with nearby clouds of gas and dust at high speeds. The Herbig-Haro objects visible in this image are no exception to this and were formed when the jets from the newborn star SVS 13 collided with the surrounding clouds. These collisions created the five brilliant clumps of light within the reflection nebula.


Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, K. Stapelfeldt

Text credit: European Space Agency (ESA)

Femtosatellites

Space to Ground: Femtosatellites. A very good look at what is happening on the International Space Station.

What is a CubeSat?

I think CubeSats are brilliant, so much opportunity not the least of which is the many educational layers potentially involved.

Video: Canadian Space Agency

So Far So Good for JWST

This is the transport vehicle for the James Webb Space Telescope during the now completed acoustical and vibration testing phases. The transport vehicle includes a mobile clean-room and having worked in a clean-room I can tell you that’s not a small feat by itself.

The testing was a success because it did find an issue which was resolved. The testing process is described rater well in the following press release from NASA ( Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Gunn) :

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has successfully passed another series of critical testing milestones on its march to the launch pad.

In recent acoustic and sine vibration tests, technicians and engineers exposed Webb’s spacecraft element to brutal dynamic mechanical environmental conditions to ensure it will endure the rigors of a rocket launch to space.

During liftoff, rockets generate extremely powerful vibrations and energetic sound waves that bounce off the ground and nearby buildings and impact the rocket as it makes its way skyward. Technicians and engineers aim to protect Webb from these intense sound waves and vibrations.

To simulate these conditions, flight components are intentionally punished with a long litany of tests throughout different facilities to identify potential issues on the ground. Webb was bombarded by powerful sound waves from massive speakers and then placed on an electrodynamic vibration table and strongly but precisely shaken. Together, these tests mimic the range of extreme shaking that spacecraft experience while riding a rocket to space.

“Webb’s launch vibration environment is similar to a pretty bumpy commercial airplane flight during turbulence,” said Paul Geithner, deputy project manager – technical, James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “And, its launch acoustic environment is about 10 times more sound pressure, 100 times more intense and four times louder than a rock concert.”

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The Rover Rosalind Franklin

The few days ago the ExoMars rover got an official name and I was very pleased to find out it is Rosalind Franklin. Great choice!

ESA: The name of the European rover that will explore Mars in 2021 was revealed today at Airbus, Stevenage, UK by Chris Skidmore, UK Science Minister.

The rover is named Rosalind Franklin after prominent scientist behind the discovery of the structure of DNA. The ExoMars rover will be the first of its kind to combine the capability to roam around Mars and to study it at depth, searching for evidence of life buried underground. 

Image: ESA – S. Corvaja

Rocket Cam

Take a ride as the NROL-71 takes flight on a Delta VI. Except this time you are on the rocket.

Great video from United Launch Alliance.

The Current Solar Cycle

I’ve seen a few mentions about how we are in a new solar cycle. Well not quite so fast, the demarcation line is not distinct and it is just a wee bit too early to tell. There are some good signs to be sure, but at the same time the solar disc as been spotless for 8-days straight and 22 out of the 40 days so far this year.

So we are at solar minimum to be sure and this is probably not a “grand solar minimum” especially given the positive signs we are seeing since the “grand solar minimum” is a prolonged period, much longer than what we’ve seen so far. Basically at this point I consider such claims to be click-bait.

Here’s a little more about the solar-cycle from Michel van Biezen: