First the sizzle:
ISON appears to have lost a lot of it’s “comet goodness” during its sizzling close-encounter with the Sun. There does seem to be a little bit of it left and a tail seems to be growing as you can see at the very end of this (SOHO) video at the ESA channel. How long will it last and is there really anything left that the solar wind won’t strip away? Too soon to tell.
I was watching television this morning and the program did one of those “cut-ins” with a “news” network, one that I never watch on its own, and they were declaring ISON dead. This is the same “news” network ridiculing SpaceX for aborting last afternoon’s launch attempt, the attempt being the second this week and how inept they were yada-yada.
I did see the launch attempt and no the launch didn’t happen, still, it was quite exciting. The abort came at the moment after the main engines lit off, then poof it was over. No word on the reason for this abort yet. You must know the coverage by Space X was excellent, the two hosts and non-PR Space X employees, Molly and John were awesome in their explanations of the events of the countdown and mission. They made the time spent watching worth it. Really a very-very good job.
A photograph of the Tycho supernova remnant taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Low-energy X-rays (red) in the image show expanding debris from the supernova explosion and high energy X-rays (blue) show the blast wave, a shell of extremely energetic electrons.
X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K. Eriksen et al.; Optical (starry background): DSS
Mach 1000 shock wave but in reverse?
From Harvard-Smithsonian CFA
Cambridge, MA -
When a star explodes as a supernova, it shines brightly for a few weeks or months before fading away. Yet the material blasted outward from the explosion still glows hundreds or thousands of years later, forming a picturesque supernova remnant. What powers such long-lived brilliance?
In the case of Tycho’s supernova remnant, astronomers have discovered that a reverse shock wave racing inward at Mach 1000 (1000 times the speed of sound) is heating the remnant and causing it to emit X-ray light.
“We wouldn’t be able to study ancient supernova remnants without a reverse shock to light them up,” says Hiroya Yamaguchi, who conducted this research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).
ESA’s GOCE satellite is on its way back to Earth. Where and when is somewhat speculative however it was said to be “pretty much in the orbital position it was predicted to be”. There are parts of the satellite that are expected to survive re-entry it will be interesting to see how much lead time there ends up being.
The ESA Rocket Science Blog this morning is putting GOCE at about 160 km and it is showing a significant temperature increase in areas of the spacecraft indicating it is interfacing with an increasingly dense atmosphere.
GOCE is expected to fall by another 13 km today with final re-entry in less than two days.
UPDATE: The Sunday Morning Update from ESA has GOCE at about 147 km and dropping 1 km/hr and increasing. The atmospheric drag level is high and increasing.
The end is close.
RE-ENTRY PREDICTION: Predicted Reentry Time: 10 NOV 2013 23:33 UTC ± 4 hours
RE-ENTRY PREDICTION (by ESA Space Debris Coordination Committee): between 18:30 UTC – 24:00 UTC, Sunday, 10 November (19:30 CET – 01:00 CET, Sunday to Monday, 10/11 November); the most probable impact ground swath largely runs over ocean and polar regions.
Moon shadow on Earth during Sunday’s eclipse. Credit: Aerospace Corporation
Just look at that! During the Solar Eclipse last Sunday (03 Nov) the cubesat known as AeroCube-4 took this image of the moon’s shadow on Earth.
I was immediately struck by the great example of the umbral (darkest) and penumbral (shaded around the darkest area) areas. Excellent.
According to the Aerospace Corporation:
AeroCube-4 was west of the moon shadow, flying in a northeasterly direction. The view in the photo is toward the southeast, with part of the West African mainland visible at the top of the image.
I really like these cubesats! Read whole description at the Aerospace Corporation website.
NASA’s full title: Canyon of Fire on the Sun seems appropriate.
I actually saw this on the news the other night and was thinking “I’m missing an aurora” went running outside and found the sky to be clouded over. I was lamenting that fact until I read the “About” section on the video (linked below) and found out this was in September. Whew! In my defense, the news only showed a portion of the video and that was about a minute in, when the the solar disk was rotated and made it look like the ejection was coming right at us.
According to the “About” section (linked below)on the original video, the filament was about 200,000 miles / 321,868 km long.
Color matters too:
Different wavelengths help capture different aspect of events in the corona. The red images shown in the movie help highlight plasma at temperatures of 90,000° F and are good for observing filaments as they form and erupt. The yellow images, showing temperatures at 1,000,000° F, are useful for observing material coursing along the sun’s magnetic field lines, seen in the movie as an arcade of loops across the area of the eruption. The browner images at the beginning of the movie show material at temperatures of 1,800,000° F, and it is here where the canyon of fire imagery is most obvious.
Boomerang nebula from ALMA and Hubble. Image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF/NASA/STScI/JPL-Caltech
An image fitting for Halloween from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope, or ALMA and Hubble of a nebula about 1,533 pc / 5000 light-years away in the constellation Centaurus.
The Boomerang nebula is known as the “coldest place in the universe”. The ghostly shape shown in red is from cold gas molecules as seen from ALMA and the blue background is from Hubble. The Boomerang is known as a pre-planetary nebula, think of the early stages of nebula formation.
And cold? Cold seems to be almost inadequate, the red colored region is just 1 K, that’s one degree Kelvin or -272oC / -458oF. Even the cosmic background radiation is warmer than that.
Check out press release.
I think today is when Europe changes from “Summer Time” so the clocks go back one hour and you get an “hour extra sleep”. Next week it is the US’s turn. Not all locales in either place switch, personally if I’had my way I’d not change either. The thing is, I would not change from Summer Time because I’d like more light at the end of the day.
Also wanted to mention yesterday we had a close visit from a newly discovered asteroid. The asteroid called 2013 UX2 came as close as 0.39 lunar distance or just shy of 150,000 km / 93,000 miles. The asteroid is just now leaving the Earth-Moon system as this post publishes.
2013 UX2 is newly discovered, the designation being assigned to the Catalina Sky Survey. Pretty good catch, this asteroid is only 5-meters in diameter.
More info at the JPL Small Body Database.
An update on a very exciting mission a long time in the making.
From the ESA:
This animation tracks Rosetta’s journey through the Solar System, using gravity slingshots from Earth and Mars to reach its final destination: Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Rosetta made three flybys of Earth, on 4 March 2005, 13 November 2007 and 13 November 2009, and one of Mars, on 25 February 2007. Rosetta has also visited two asteroids, taking extensive close-up images of 2867 Steins on 5 September 2008 and 21 Lutetia on 10 July 2010. Once the spacecraft is woken up from deep space hibernation on 20 January 2014, it will head for rendezvous with the comet in May. In November the Philae probe will be deployed to the comet surface. Rosetta will follow the comet to its closest distance to the Sun on 13 August 2015 and as it moves back towards the outer Solar System. The nominal mission end is December 2015.
The SpaceX Grasshopper took another test flight on 7 October 2013. This amazing view was made using a hexacopter giving a unique look at the 744 meter (2,441 ft) vertical flight which is the highest for Grasshopper so far, and the successful landing.
The Grasshopper is made from the first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket a Merlin 1D engine put together with four steel and aluminum legs with hydraulic dampers. The assembly creates a 10-story vehicle to test Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing technology. SpaceX rockets are being designed to return to the launch pad and land upright so they can be reused.
According to their website, SpaceX is preparing for a number of launches in the remainder of the year, in particular:
In November the SES 8 satellite will launch. This is a communications satellite to serve fixed and mobile customers in India, Indonesia and Indo-china.
In December it’s back to the International Space Station with a resupply mission featuring the Dragon. Look for this launch to happen around 9 December from Cape Canaveral (maybe).
Multicolor image from the Pan-STARRS1 telescope of the free-floating planet PSO J318.5-22, in the constellation of Capricornus. The planet is extremely cold and faint, about 100 billion times fainter in optical light than the planet Venus. Most of its energy is emitted at infrared wavelengths. The image is 125 arcseconds on a side. Credit: N. Metcalfe & Pan-STARRS 1 Science Consortium University of Hawaii
A directly imaged orphan planet!
From the Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii
An international team of astronomers has discovered a young planet that is not orbiting a star. It was identified from its faint and unique heat signature by the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) wide-field survey telescope on Haleakala, Maui.
In a news release issued by the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, team leader Michael Liu of the IfA, said: “We have never before seen an object free-floating in space that looks like this. It has all the characteristics of young planets found around other stars, but it is drifting out there all alone.” He added, “I had often wondered if such solitary objects exist, and now we know they do.”
Fitting in with sort of a theme for me recently (and mentioned previously), the time and events around the time of the “Big Bang”.