I first saw this and thought Hubble caught a comet breaking up, turns out it isn’t it’s an asteroid! Not to mention another Hubble first. The four largest fragments are as much as 200 meters in diameter.
“This is a rock. Seeing it fall apart before our eyes is pretty amazing,” said David Jewitt of UCLA, USA, who led the astronomical forensics investigation.
Get the story at ESA’s Hubble page.
Sounding Rocket Launches Into Aurora Over Venetie, Alaska Image Credit: NASA/Christopher Perry
On March 3, 2014, at 6:09 a.m. EST, a NASA-funded sounding rocket launched straight into an aurora over Venetie, Alaska. The Ground-to-Rocket Electrodynamics – Electron Correlative Experiment (GREECE) sounding rocket mission, which launched from Poker Flat Research Range in Poker Flat, Alaska, will study classic curls in the aurora in the night sky.
The GREECE mission seeks to understand what combination of events sets up these auroral curls as they’re called, in the charged, heated gas – or plasma – where aurorae form. This is a piece of information, which in turn, helps paint a picture of the sun-Earth connection and how energy and particles from the sun interact with Earth’s own magnetic system, the magnetosphere.
You can get desktop versions at the NASA site or at the Wallpaper link under the banner above.
Here in the northern hemisphere low pressure systems have a counterclockwise rotation. This is a beautiful look at a storm that is well formed off the coast of California.
A strong storm system off the US west coast as see by NOAA’s GOES 15. Credit: NOAA/NASA.
The storm will move onshore tomorrow and is already bringing some much needed rain to the region which has been enduring drought conditions for a long time. I saw news accounts where some of the reservoirs are at only 20 percent capacity. Since Wednesday as much as 8.5 centimeters has fallen in the Los Angeles area, less than a centimeter than the region got all of last year! The rain will help, however flooding is occurring and it has been so dry and the area afflicted with forest fires, mudslides are almost inevitable.
In the mean time, on the other side of the Pacific. The NASA-Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory was launched.
A Japanese H-IIA rocket with the NASA-Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory onboard, is seen launching from the Tanegashima Space Center in Tanegashima, Japan. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint Earth-observing mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched at 18:37 UTC Thursday, 27 February.
The spacecraft was launched from Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in southern Japan. The GPS system aboard the spacecraft is now active and the spacecraft is being readied for communications through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. The GPM mission will help advance our understanding of Earth’s water and energy cycles.
I was going to do a post about the Black Widow Pulsars tomorrow and then I saw the video and thought “why not”.
Part 2 of yesterday’s video will post in a few days, I’ve not forgotten . . . yet.
The Hubble team have been watching hundreds of individual stars in the the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) over the past seven years and have mapped out their movements. What they got for their “trouble” is a precise measurement of the rotation of the galaxy! This is a first too.
The answer? The LMC rotates once every 250 million years, about the same as our solar system does in the Milky Way.
Read the Full Story at Hubblesite.org.
Map of Ganymede. Image Credit: USGS Astrogeology Science Ctr/Wheaton/ASU/NASA/JPL-Caltech
A group of scientists have produced the first global geologic map of Jupiter moon Ganymede. The scientists led by Geoffery Collins of Wheaton College combined the best images obtained during flybys conducted by NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft (1979) and Galileo orbiter (1995 to 2003) and is now published by the U. S. Geological Survey as a global map.
I downloaded the map from the USGS site. I clicked on the image at the site and wow what a nice job they did. The image above will make a lot more sense for you if you check out the links at the USGS page. I am heading over to get the database, that should be excellent.
Curiosity looks back home. Click for an annotated verision. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU
The rover Curiosity got a look at home with the Mast Cam. The left camera was used for the image which was taken about 80 minutes after the Martian sunset. The Earth is the bright spot just left of center The moon is faintly visible too. Clicking the image will show an annotated versions.
You can click the JPL link below and select a larger version. They are large enough for you to see the moon just below the Earth. Makes a nice desktop too.
This view of the twilight sky and Martian horizon taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover includes Earth as the brightest point of light in the night sky. Earth is a little left of center in the image, and our moon is just below Earth.
› See annotated versions
Just how do you apply the correct aerodynamic force to test a prototype Mars parachute that is too large for any wind tunnel?
Simple, you just gather up the right gear:
- MH-60S Knighthawk Helicopter, 4000 ft Drop Altitude
- 135,000 lb Sled
- 100,000 lbf of Pull Thrust
- 50,000 lb Tripod Structure
- 2,000,000 lb Concrete Anchors
- 300 hp Winch to Fish in Parachute
And with a kick butt tune, it’s go big or go home.
I suggest clicking the source link below and watch this full screen too.
The LRO gets a picture of LADEE passing below. Click for larger. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University
Precision tracking is a better title, two spacecraft around the moon and on crossing orbits cross paths. One spacecraft (LRO) was about 9 km / 5.6 miles above the other (LADEE) and they manage a picture of the lower craft.
For me the fun thing these are two different missions with different teams and they had enough interaction to know this was coming, really this is good.
You can get somewhat of a better look by clicking here, I zoomed in on the LADEE and you can see the limitation in the way the LRO camera (LROC) takes a picture. Well limitation to catching another spacecraft passes by, as a lunar imager it is amazing.
Here is a link to an unannotated version of the image above.
LADEE is in an equatorial orbit (east-to-west) while LRO is in a polar orbit (south-to-north). The two spacecraft are occasionally very close and on Jan. 15, 2014, the two came within 5.6 miles (9 km) of each other. As LROC is a push-broom imager, it builds up an image one line at a time, so catching a target as small and fast as LADEE is tricky. Both spacecraft are orbiting the moon with velocities near 3,600 mph (1,600 meters per second), so timing and pointing of LRO must be nearly perfect to capture LADEE in an LROC image.
LADEE passed directly beneath the LRO orbit plane a few seconds before LRO crossed the LADEE orbit plane, meaning a straight down LROC image would have just missed LADEE. The LADEE and LRO teams worked out the solution: simply have LRO roll 34 degrees to the west so the LROC detector (one line) would be in the right place as LADEE passed beneath.
As planned at 8:11 p.m. EST on Jan. 14, 2014, LADEE entered LRO’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) field of view for 1.35 milliseconds and a smeared image of LADEE was snapped. LADEE appears in four lines of the LROC image, and is distorted righttoleft. What can be seen in the LADEE pixels in the NAC image?
Here’s the press release
Fire and water do mix? Crew members aboard the ISS are conducting experiments that use water to help start a fire. I never would have guessed, but my water knowledge is more in the super-saturated dissolved gas realm.
There is an application too: “this fundamental physics investigation could have down-to-Earth benefits such as clean-burning municipal waste disposal and improved saltwater purification.”