Thursday, January 31, 2013

What is Kuiper belt?

Q184: Question of the Day - 31 January 2013 (Week 05)

What is Kuiper belt?

Answer To Question 183

A183: The Eagle Nebula (M16) consists of enormous columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are about 7,000 light-years from Earth (in the constellation Serpens). This star-forming cloud (a stellar nursery) is illuminated by ultraviolet light that is emitted from newborn stars. The columns are called EGG's (Evaporating Gaseous Globules) because the ultraviolet light boils off some of the hydrogen gas (H2), shaping the nebula in a process called photo evaporation. The biggest column is about 1 light-year tall.

Weighing Planetary Disks

This artist's illustration shows a planetary disk (left) that weighs the equivalent of 50 Jupiter-mass planets. It demonstrates a first-of-its-kind feat from astronomers using the Herschel space observatory. The scientists were able to weigh the planet-forming contents swirling around a young star with the most precision yet.

Faint Radio Signals Reveal Secrets of Failed Stars

An artist's impression of auroras at the magnetic pole of a brown dwarf. Astronomers believe this phenomenon may account for the bright "radio flares" given off by dwarfs such as J1047+21.
CREDIT: Hallinan et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF
Failed stars can emit detectable radio waves at much cooler temperatures than previously expected, according to new research.

How NASA's Communications Satellite Net Works

See how NASA's TDRS-K satellite fits in with the space agency's Tracking and Data Relay Satellites constellation in this Infographic.
Source All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What is Eagle Nebula?

Q183: Question of the Day - 30 January 2013 (Week 05)

What is Eagle Nebula?

Answer To Question 182

A182: The scientific name for the twinkling of stars is stellar scintillation (or astronomical scintillation). Stars twinkle when we see them from the Earth's surface because we are viewing them through thick layers of turbulent (moving) air in the Earth's atmosphere.

Mars Colony Project Inks First Investors

A nonprofit organization that aims to land four astronauts on Mars in 2023 has attracted its first investors for the ambitious $6 billion effort.

Moon Landings Faked? Filmmaker Says Not! | Video


Andromeda's Colorful Rings

The ring-like swirls of dust filling the Andromeda galaxy stand out colorfully in this new image from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation. 

Curiosity's Drill in Place for Load Testing Before Drilling

The percussion drill in the turret of tools at the end of the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has been positioned in contact with the rock surface in this image from the rover's front Hazard-Avoidance Camera (Hazcam). 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why do stars twinkle?

Q182: Question of the Day - 29 January 2013 (Week 05)

Why do stars twinkle?

Answer To Question 181

A181: Stellar wind is ionized gas that is ejected from the surface of a star (including the Sun). Older (evolved) stars give off stronger stellar winds than younger stars.

Space Travel: Danger at Every Phase

Space is a dangerous place for humans. Learn about the perils of human spaceflight.
Source All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

Exploding Stars Blow Super-Bubble Of X-Rays | Video

160,000 light years from Earth, the region of hurried massive star growth and supernovas called DL50 is radiating x-rays 20x faster than a typical such structure. Chandra X-Ray Observatory scientists are looking to find out why.

Credit: NASA/CXC/A. Hobart

Hubble Finds Appearances can be Deceptive

Globular clusters are roughly spherical collections of extremely old stars, and around 150 of them are scattered around our galaxy. Hubble is one of the best telescopes for studying these, as its extremely high resolution lets astronomers see individual stars, even in the crowded core. The clusters all look very similar, and in Hubble’s images it can be quite hard to tell them apart – and they all look much like NGC 411, pictured here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

What is Stellar wind?

Q181: Question of the Day - 28 January 2013 (Week 05)

What is Stellar wind?

Answer To Question 180

A180: Any of a number of subatomic particles carrying a fractional electric charge, postulated as building blocks of the hadrons.

MAHLI's First Night Imaging of Martian Rock Under Ultraviolet Lighting

This image of a Martian rock illuminated by ultraviolet LEDs (light emitting diodes) is part of the first set of nighttime images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. MAHLI took the images on Jan. 22, 2012 (PST), after dark on the 165th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. The image covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters).

Martian Dry Ice 'Smoke' Moves Dark Sand | Video

Listing of all of the full moon name - 2013

Listing of all of the full moon names, as well as the dates and times for 2013. Unless otherwise noted, all times are for the Eastern time zone:

Jan. 26, 11:38 p.m. EST —Full Wolf Moon: Amid the zero cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.  It was also known as the Old Moon or the Moon after Yule.  In some tribes this was the Full Snow Moon; most applied that name to the next moon.

Earth's Moon Phases

As the Earth and moon orbit the sun together, the moon goes through several phases. explains the 8 major named phases of the moon.

Orion Spacecraft

NASA’s Orion spacecraft will carry astronauts further into space than ever before using a module based on Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATV). The ATV-derived service module, sitting directly below Orion’s crew capsule, will provide propulsion, power, thermal control, as well as supplying water and gas to the astronauts in the habitable module. The first Orion mission will be an uncrewed lunar flyby in 2017, returning to Earth’s atmosphere at 11 km/s — the fastest reentry ever.
Credit: NASA

Friday, January 25, 2013

What is Quark?

Q180: Question of the Day - 24 January 2013 (Week 04)

What is Quark?

Answer To Question 179

A179:The curvature of space-time is a distortion of space-time that is caused by the gravitational field of matter. The degree of curvature depends on the strength of the gravitational field (which depends on the massiveness of the objects in that part of space). An object traveling in space moves along the curves in space-time.

Seasonal Changes on Far-Northern Mars

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped this series of false-color pictures of sand dunes in the north polar region of Mars. The area covered in each of the five panels is about 0.8 mile (1.3 kilometers) wide.

Moons at Work

The ring-region Saturnian moons Prometheus and Pan are both caught "herding" their respective rings in this image. Through their gravitational disturbances of nearby ring particles, one moon maintains a gap in the outer A ring and the other helps keep a ring narrowly confined. 

Mars - Dry Ice and Dunes

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captures the springtime thaw of seasonal carbon dioxide ice on Mars.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Two Solar Eruptions: Jan. 23, 2013

This movie shows two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) erupting from the sun on Jan. 23, 2013. The first was not directed at Earth; the second one is, but is not expected to have a strong impact. The movie was captured by the joint ESA/NASA mission the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), beginning at 7 p.m. EST on Jan. 22 and ending at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 23.

Credit: ESA, NASA/SOHO/Goddard Space Flight Center

MAHLI's First Night Imaging of Martian Rock, White Lighting

This image of a Martian rock illuminated by white-light LEDs (light emitting diodes) is part of the first set of nighttime images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. MAHLI took the images on Jan. 22, 2012 (PST), after dark on the 165th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars.

NASA Officially Joins ESA's 'Dark Universe' Mission

NASA has joined the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Euclid mission, a space telescope designed to investigate the cosmological mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What is the curvature of space-time?

Q179: Question of the Day - 24 January 2013 (Week 04)

What is the curvature of space-time?

Answer To Question 178

A178: A crescent moon is part way between a half moon and a new moon, or between a new moon and a half moon.

'Matijevic Hill' Panorama for Rover's Ninth Anniversary

As NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity neared the ninth anniversary of its landing on Mars, the rover was working in the 'Matijevic Hill' area seen in this view from Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam). Opportunity landed Jan. 24, 2004, PST (Jan. 25 UTC). The landing site was about 12 miles (19 kilometers), straight-line distance, or about 22 miles (35.5 kilometers) driving-route distance, from this location on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. 

2 Dazzling Comets Heading Our Way

Comet Nevski-Novichonok (ISON) as it may appear at sunset on Nov. 29, if it survives its close encounter with the sun the day before. 
CREDIT: Starry Night Software

The year 2013 may someday be known as "the year of the comets." If all goes well we may see two of the brightest comets in many years, and possibly one of the brightest in history.

Betelgeuse's Enigmatic Environment

The red supergiant star Betelgeuse is seen here in a new view from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation. 

Hubble Sees Hidden Treasure in Large Magellanic Cloud

Nearly 200,000 light-years from Earth, the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, floats in space, in a long and slow dance around our galaxy. Vast clouds of gas within it slowly collapse to form new stars. In turn, these light up the gas clouds in a riot of colors, visible in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

View the Sun

The movie starts with the full sun AIA images taken during the Hi-C flight and zooms into the Hi-C field of full field of view. Comparisons of the Hi-C data, show in the panel on the right, are compared to data taken by AIA, shown on left. Hi-C is five times higher spatial resolution than AIA and the cadence of the Hi-C observations is 5 seconds. (NASA)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What is Crescent Moon?

Q178: Question of the Day - 23 January 2013 (Week 04)

What is Crescent Moon?

Answer To Question 176

A176:The Coriolis force is the force that results from the rotation of the Earth around its axis; it makes storms rotate counterclockwise in the Northern and clockwise in the Southern Hemispheres. The French engineer/mathematician Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis discovered this force in 1835. This force has no effect on the direction of water going down a drain.

Answer To Question 177

A177: A cosmic year is the time it takes the Sun (and our entire solar system) to complete an orbit around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. A cosmic year is roughly 225 million years

Close Encounter of Jupiter and Moon

Photographer Greg Diesel Walck captured this photo of Jupiter near the moon from the coasts of North Carolina on Jan. 21, 2013 during an extreme close encounter. CREDIT: Greg Diesel Walck/ 

A night sky meeting of Jupiter and the moon, called a conjunction, amazed skywatchers around the world last night (Jan. 21).

Secret of Zero-G Fingernail Clipping

How Asteroid Mining Could Work

Sun in Different Wavelengths

This collage of solar images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows how observations of the sun in different wavelengths helps highlight different aspects of the sun's surface and atmosphere. (The collage also includes images from other SDO instruments that display magnetic and Doppler information.) Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Space Flight Center

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What is Cosmic Year?

Q177: Question of the Day - 22 January 2013 (Week 04)

What is Cosmic Year?

Will Comet ISON be Comet of the Century?

Some reporters have dubbed ISON the "Comet of the Century," but experts aren't yet sure how bright the sun grazer will become later this year, when it could shine bright enough to be visible in broad daylight.


NASA's Orion, Curiosity in Inaugural Parade

NASA participated in the inauguration of President Obama on Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C., with two floats and marchers in the inaugural parade:-- Full-size models of the Curiosity
Mars rover and Orion, the multi-purpose capsule that will take our astronauts farther into space than ever.
NASA showed off the future of human space exploration and a current robotic success story during Monday's Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C. 

Members of the Curiosity team walked beside a full-sized model of the Mars rover on Red Planet-themed float, while current and former astronauts accompanied an Orion capsule, which will take humans farther from Earth than ever before.

Online archive of alien worlds

Scientists with NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft have revamped the mission's online archive of alien worlds, opening up the database for the entire world to see.

Curiosity Finds Calcium-Rich Deposits

NASA’s Curiosity rover finds calcium deposits on Mars similar to those seen on Earth when water circulates in cracks and rock fractures. 

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Monday, January 21, 2013

What is Coriolis force?

Q176: Question of the Day - 21 January 2013 (Week 04)

What is Coriolis force?

Answer To Question 175

A175: Coronal holes are areas where the Sun's corona is darker, and colder, and has lower-density plasma than average. These were found when X-ray telescopes in the Skylab mission were flown above the Earth's atmosphere to reveal the structure of the corona. Coronal holes are linked to unipolar concentrations of open magnetic field lines. During solar minimum, coronal holes are mainly found at the Sun's polar regions, but they can be located anywhere on the sun during solar maximum. The fast-moving component of the solar wind is known to travel along open magnetic field lines that pass through coronal holes.

Celestial Wonder Looks Uncannily Like a Manatee

A watery-looking nebula in deep space is being renamed after the sea creature it strongly resembles: a manatee.The nebula is the leftovers from a star that died in a supernova explosion about 20,000 years ago. Before it died, the giant star puffed out its outer gaseous layers, which now swirl in green-and-blue clouds around the dead hulk of the star, which has collapsed into a black hole.

See Jupiter and Moon Close Together Monday

Stargazers looking up as darkness falls on Monday (Jan. 21) will notice an eye catching pairing-off between two of the brightest objects in the nighttime sky, weather permitting. 

Layers with Carbonate Content Inside McLaughlin Crater on Mars

This view of layered rocks on the floor of McLaughlin Crater shows sedimentary rocks that contain spectroscopic evidence for minerals formed through interaction with water. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded the image. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What are the Coronal holes?

Q175: Question of the Day - 19 January 2013 (Week 03)

What are the Coronal holes?

Answer To Question 174

A174: Magnetars are young neutron stars with an ultra-strong magnetic field a billion times stronger than that of the Earth. The twisting of magnetic field lines in magnetars give rise to ''starquakes'', which will eventually lead to an intense soft gamma-ray burst.

Hidden Treasure in Large Magellanic Cloud

Nearly 200 000 light-years from Earth, the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, floats in space, in a long and slow dance around our galaxy. Vast clouds of gas within it slowly collapse to form new stars. In turn, these light up the gas clouds in a riot of colors, visible in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope released Jan. 17, 2013. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is ablaze with star-forming regions. From the Tarantula Nebula, the brightest stellar nursery in our cosmic neighbourhood, to LHA 120-N 11, part of which is featured in this Hubble image, the small and irregular galaxy is scattered with glowing nebulae, the most noticeable sign that new stars are being born.
Credit: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

Hubble Focuses on "the Great Attractor"

A busy patch of space has been captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Scattered with many nearby stars, the field also has numerous galaxies in the background.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What are Magnetars?

Q174: Question of the Day - 18 January 2013 (Week 03)

What are Magnetars?

Answer To Question 173

A173: Around 1000

The Hibernating Stellar Magnet

Astronomers have discovered a possible magnetar that emitted 40 visible-light flashes before disappearing again. Magnetars are young neutron stars with an ultra-strong magnetic field a billion times stronger than that of the Earth. The twisting of magnetic field lines in magnetars give rise to ''starquakes'', which will eventually lead to an intense soft gamma-ray burst. In the case of the SWIFT source, the optical flares that reached the Earth were probably due to ions ripped out from the surface of the magnetar and gyrating around the field lines.

Asteroid-Smashing Ideas for European Spacecraft

European space officials are seeking ideas to help develop a mission to knock an asteroid off its course, in case one day humans must pull off such a stunt to save Earth from a catastrophic space-rock collision.

$30,000 NASA Contest

NASA engineers want to squeeze as much power as possible from the wing-like solar arrays on the International Space Station, and the agency has launched a software contest to make it happen, officials announced today (Jan. 17).

Mona Lisa to Moon with Laser

"This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances," David Smith, a researcher working with the LRO's Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter — which received the Mona Lisa message — said in a statement. "In the near future, this type of simple laser communication might serve as a backup for the radio communication that satellites use. In the more distance future, it may allow communication at higher data rates than present radio links can provide."


Titan Gets a Dune "Makeover"

This image taken with the Cassini radar instrument shows two craters on Titan: the crater Sinlap (left), which is a relatively 'fresh' crater, with a depth-to-diameter ratio close to what we see on Ganymede, and Soi (right), an extremely degraded crater, with a very small depth compared to similar craters on Ganymede. These craters are both about 80 km (almost 50 miles) in diameter. The Sinlap image was taken on Feb. 15, 2005. The Soi image is a mosaic of two images from May 21, 2009 and July 22, 2006. Credit:Catherine Neish/NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/GSFC

Thursday, January 17, 2013

No. of satellites zipping around our planet right now?

Q173: Question of the Day - 17 January 2013 (Week 03)

Roughly how many functioning satellites are zipping around our planet right now?

Answer To Question 172


'Yellowknife Bay' Veins and Concretions

The right Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover provided this view of the lower stratigraphy at "Yellowknife Bay" inside Gale Crater on Mars. The rectangle superimposed on the left image shows the location of the enlarged portion on the right. In the right image, white arrows point to veins (including some under the overhang), and black arrows point to concretions (small spherical concentrations of minerals). Both veins and concretions strongly suggest precipitation of minerals from water. 

Best Time to See the January Moon Is Now

If you received a new telescope over the holidays, you're probably eager to put it to use. This week's first quarter moon is the perfect place to start.
For beginners, the moon is the brightest object in the sky other than the sun, so is an easy stargazing catch. Many people who buy telescopes are lost when trying to find targets in the sky. They've read so much and seen so many pictures, but haven't any idea how to actually find things in the sky.

Bigelow Expandable Activity Module Installation Animation

NASA'S Webb Telescope Team Completes Optical Milestone

Engineers working on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope met another milestone recently with they completed performance testing on the observatory's aft-optics subsystem at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp's facilities in Boulder, Colo. Ball is the principal subcontractor to Northrop Grumman for the optical technology and lightweight mirror system.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Who is the Laika?

Q172: Question of the Day - 16 January 2013 (Week 03)

Who is the Laika?

Answer To Question 171

A171: This question, which seems simple, is actually very difficult to answer! It is a question that many scientists pondered for many centuries - including Johannes Kepler,Edmond Halley , and German physician-astronomer Wilhelm Olbers.

Veins in Rocks on Mars and Earth

This set of images shows the similarity of sulfate-rich veins seen on Mars by NASA's Curiosity rover to sulfate-rich veins seen on Earth. The view on the left is a mosaic of two shots from the remote micro-imager on Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on Dec. 14, 2012, or the 126th sol, or Martian day, of operations. They show a view of "Sheepbed" rock in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars. The sulfate-rich veins are the light-colored veins about 1 to 5 millimeters (0.04 to 0.2 inches) wide. The image on the right is from the Egyptian desert on Earth. A pocket knife is shown for scale (image courtesy of Pierre Thomas). 

On Earth, calcium sulfates like gypsum form frequently in veins when relatively dilute fluid circulates at low to moderate temperatures. 

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS/LGLyon/Planet-Terre

When Huygens Met Titan

Eight years ago today, the European Space Agency's Huygens bounced, slid and wobbled its way to rest on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. It had been "dropped off" 21 days before by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The anniversary marks a touchdown on the most remote alien surface ever visited by a landing probe.

Curiosity's Drill Debut

This view shows the patch of veined, flat-lying rock selected as the first drilling site for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The rover's right Mast Camera (Mastcam), equipped with a telephoto lens, was about 16 feet (5 meters) away from the site when it recorded this mosaic's component images, between 3:10 and 3:33 in the afternoon of the 153rd Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Jan. 10, 2013). 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why is space black?

Q171: Question of the Day - 15 January 2013 (Week 03)

Why is space black?

Answer To Question 170

A170: The Earth spins on its "axis". This axis is an imaginary line running through the Earth. If you were to be high above the Earth, looking straight down along the axis, all the points on Earth would appear to move in circles around the axis. If you followed this axis out into space from the northern hemisphere on Earth, it would point toward a particular star in the sky. We call that star the "North Star" since it sits in the direction that the spin axis from the northern hemisphere of Earth points.

Titan, Saturn's Largest Moon

The Radio Galaxy Centaurus A, as seen by ALMA

This new image of Centaurus A combines ALMA and near-infrared observations of the massive elliptical radio galaxy. The new ALMA observations, shown in a range of green, yellow and orange colors, reveal the position and motion of the clouds of gas in the galaxy. They are the sharpest and most sensitive such observations ever made. ALMA was tuned to detect signals with a wavelength around 1.3 millimetres, emitted by molecules of carbon monoxide gas. The motion of the gas in the galaxy causes slight changes to this wavelength, due to the Doppler effect. The motion is shown in this image as changes in color. 

Close-up of Brushed Area on Martian Rock Target 'Ekwir_1'

This image from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows details of rock texture and color in an area where the rover's Dust Removal Tool (DRT) brushed away dust that was on the rock. This rock target, "Ekwir_1" was brushed and this image was recorded on the same Martian day, or sol, Sol 150 of Curiosity's mission on Mars (Jan. 6, 2013.) 

Last Moon Video by Doomed Spacecraft

Three days prior to its impact into a mountain on the moon, one of the twin spacecraft (named Ebb) from NASA's GRAIL mission took some photos from orbit. The spacecraft was about 6 miles above the lunar surface when the photos were take.
Credit: NASA / JPL

NASA's SDO Has Plenty of Content for Ultra HD TVs

Ultra high-definition TVs – sold for the first time in late 2012 and early 2013 -- have four times the pixels of a current high-definition TV, but still have fewer pixels than the images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). This image from SDO was captured on Nov.13, 2012, and shows a star-shaped solar flare in the lower left-hand corner. Credit: NASA/SDO

New Sunspots Producing Space Weather

This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory was captured on Jan. 13, 2013, at 8:13 p.m. EST. At the center sits a large cluster of sunspots, dubbed Active Region 11654, that rotated over the left limb of the sun on Jan. 10. The region has been responsible for a spate of mild space weather and is now about 120,000 miles end-to-end, which equates to around 14 Earths. Credit: NASA/SDO/HMI

Robotic Refueling Demo Set to Jumpstart Expanded Capabilities in Space

The six-member Expedition 34 crew conducted an emergency escape drill Monday morning. The evacuation drill in the International Space Station simulates an emergency event such as a fire, pressure leak or toxic chemical release. The 3-hour drill requires the crew to split up and enter the docked Soyuz vehicles they arrived in.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Website for the Kids

What makes the Polaris a North Star?

Q170: Question of the Day - 14 January 2013 (Week 03)

What makes the Polaris a North Star?

Answer To Question 169

Q169: On a clear, dark night, our eyes can see about 6,000 or so stars in the sky. They seem to twinkle, or change their brightness, all the time. In fact, most of the stars are shining with a steady light. The movement of air (sometimes called turbulence) in the atmosphere of Earth causes the starlight to get slightly bent as it travels from the distant star through the atmosphere down to us on the ground. This means that some of the light reaches us directly and some gets bent slightly away. To our eyes, this makes the star seem to twinkle.

You will notice that stars closer to the horizon will appear to twinkle more than other stars. This is because there is a lot more atmosphere between you and a star near the horizon than between you and a star higher in the sky. Go out some night soon and have a look!

Final Photos Taken From Doomed Lunar Orbiter | Video


 Three days prior to its impact into a mountain on the moon, one of the twin spacecraft (named Ebb) from NASA's GRAIL mission took some photos from orbit. The spacecraft was about 6 miles above the lunar surface when the photos were take.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why do stars twinkle at night?

Q169: Question of the Day - 12 January 2013 (Week 02)

Why do stars twinkle at night?

Answer To Question 168

A168: Tectonic activity is the shifting of a planet's (or moon's) surface because of changes deep inside the body. Earthquakes, fissures, rifts, and volcanoes are some results of tectonic activity.

Our Future and the Moon

Credit: Bigelow AerospaceSeveral private spaceflight companies are eyeing the moon as a destination for future space tourists like this one envisioned by entrepreneur Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace, who has already launched two space station module prototypes into orbit.

Sun's active region AR1654 (marked) compared to the sizes of the Earth

This composite image shows the sun's active region AR1654 (marked) compared to the sizes of the Earth and Jupiter. Image posted by NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory outreach officials Jan. 9, 2013.
CREDIT: Camilla Corona SDO (via Twitter as Camilla_SDO)

Hubble Views a Dwarf Galaxy

The constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear) is home to Messier 101, the Pinwheel Galaxy. Messier 101 is one of the biggest and brightest spiral galaxies in the night sky. Like the Milky Way, Messier 101 is not alone, with smaller dwarf galaxies in its neighborhood.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Asteroid Apophis Gives Earth a Close Shave in 2029

Find out about asteroid Apophis' close shave flyby in this infographic.


What is Tectonic Activity?

Q168: Question of the Day - 11 January 2013 (Week 02)

What is Tectonic Activity?

Answer To Question 167

A167: The region of interplanetary space between Mars and Jupiter where most asteroids are found.

NASA's Hubble Reveals Rogue Planetary Orbit For Fomalhaut B

This false-color composite image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, reveals the orbital motion of the planet Fomalhaut b. Based on these observations, astronomers calculated that the planet is in a 2,000-year-long, highly elliptical orbit. The planet will appear to cross a vast belt of debris around the star roughly 20 years from now. If the planet's orbit lies in the same plane with the belt, icy and rocky debris in the belt could crash into the planet's atmosphere and produce various phenomena. The black circle at the center of the image blocks out the light from the bright star, allowing reflected light from the belt and planet to be photographed. The Hubble images were taken with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph in 2010 and 2012. Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley and SETI Institute)

Largest-Known Spiral Galaxy

This composite of the giant barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 combines visible light images from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope with far-ultraviolet (1,528 angstroms) data from NASA's GALEX and 3.6-micron infrared data acquired by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. A previously unsuspected tidal dwarf galaxy candidate (circled) appears only in the ultraviolet, indicating the presence of many hot young stars. IC 4970, the small disk galaxy interacting with NGC 6872, is located above the spiral's central region. The spiral is 522,000 light-years across from the tip of one outstretched arm to the tip of the other, which makes it about 5 times the size of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Images of lower resolution from the Digital Sky Survey were used to fill in marginal areas not covered by the other data. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ESO/JPL-Caltech/DSS