Archive for category NASA

You know, if I could, I would. ‘Cause with the commies we, in damn near every section of this Blue Globe has in charge, it is or has become an extremely difficult place to spend days and nights..

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.

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is ablaze with star-forming regions. From the Tarantula Nebula, the brightest stellar nursery in our cosmic neighborhood, 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.

Image Credit: ESA/NASA/Hubble

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Blazing Black Holes Spotted in Spiral Beauty..

This new view of spiral galaxy IC 342, also known as Caldwell 5, includes data from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. High-energy X-ray data from NuSTAR have been translated to the color magenta, and superimposed on a visible-light view highlighting the galaxy and its star-studded arms. NuSTAR is the first orbiting telescope to take focused pictures of the cosmos in high-energy X-ray light; previous observations of this same galaxy taken at similar wavelengths blurred the entire object into one pixel. 

The two magenta spots are blazing black holes first detected at lower-energy X-ray wavelengths by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. With NuSTAR’s complementary data, astronomers can start to home in on the black holes’ mysterious properties. The black holes appear much brighter than typical stellar-mass black holes, such as those that pepper our own galaxy, yet they cannot be supermassive black holes or they would have sunk to the galaxy’s center. Instead, they may be intermediate in mass, or there may be something else going on to explain their extremely energetic state. NuSTAR will help solve this puzzle. 

IC 342 lies 7 million light-years away in the Camelopardalis constellation. The outer edges of the galaxy cannot be seen in this view. 

This image shows NuSTAR X-ray data taken at 10 to 35 kiloelectron volts. 

The visible-light image is from the Digitized Sky Survey. 

› NuSTAR data only 

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DSS

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Personally, I liked the “Do Lucy Pinder’s Boobs Float?” But hey, it’s Mars and whatever barry boy leaves of NASA..

First Use of Mars Rover Curiosity’s Dust Removal Tool..

This image from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the patch of rock cleaned by the first use of the rover’s Dust Removal Tool (DRT). 

The tool is a motorized, wire-bristle brush on the turret at the end of the rover’s arm. Its first use was on the 150th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Jan. 6, 2013). MAHLI took this image from a distance of about 10 inches (25 centimeters) after the brushing was completed on this rock target called “Ekwir_1.” The patch of the rock from which dust has been brushed away is about 1.85 inches by 2.44 inches (47 millimeters by 62 millimeters). The scale bar at bottom right is 1 centimeter (0.39 inch). 

A view of Curiosity’s turret at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA15699 shows the DRT on the right side of the image and the MAHLI at the center. 

Honeybee Robotics, New York, N.Y., built the DRT for Curiosity. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built the MAHLI. 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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Earth at Night. Actually it should be PART of the Earth at Night..

This new global view of Earth’s city lights is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite. The data was acquired over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012. It took 312 orbits to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth’s land surface and islands. This new data was then mapped over existing Blue Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet.

The image was made possible by the satellite’s “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires and reflected moonlight.

The day-night band observed Hurricane Sandy, illuminated by moonlight, making landfall over New Jersey on the evening of Oct. 29. Night images showed the widespread power outages that left millions in darkness in the wake of the storm. 

Image credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory/NOAA/DOD

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A Nearby Stellar Cradle..

The Milky Way and other galaxies in the universe harbor many young star clusters and associations that each contain hundreds to thousands of hot, massive, young stars known as O and B stars. The star cluster Cygnus OB2 contains more than 60 O-type stars and about a thousand B-type stars. Deep observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have been used to detect the X-ray emission from the hot outer atmospheres, or coronas, of young stars in the cluster and to probe how these fascinating star factories form and evolve. About 1,700 X-ray sources were detected, including about 1,450 thought to be stars in the cluster. In this image, X-rays from Chandra (blue) have been combined with infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (red) and optical data from the Isaac Newton Telescope (orange).

Image Credit: NASA

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A Planetary Nebula Gallery..

This gallery shows four planetary nebulas from the first systematic survey of such objects in the solar neighborhood made with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The planetary nebulas shown here are NGC 6543, also known as the Cat’s Eye, NGC 7662, NGC 7009 and NGC 6826. In each case, X-ray emission from Chandra is colored purple and optical emission from the Hubble Space Telescope is colored red, green and blue.

In the first part of this survey, published in a new paper, twenty one planetary nebulas within about 5000 light years of the Earth have been observed. The paper also includes studies of fourteen other planetary nebulas, within the same distance range, that Chandra had already observed.

A planetary nebula represents a phase of stellar evolution that the sun should experience several billion years from now. When a star like the sun uses up all of the hydrogen in its core, it expands into a red giant, with a radius that increases by tens to hundreds of times. In this phase, a star sheds most of its outer layers, eventually leaving behind a hot core that will soon contract to form a dense white dwarf star. A fast wind emanating from the hot core rams into the ejected atmosphere, pushes it outward, and creates the graceful, shell-like filamentary structures seen with optical telescopes.

The diffuse X-ray emission seen in about 30% of the planetary nebulas in the new Chandra survey, and all members of the gallery, is caused by shock waves as the fast wind collides with the ejected atmosphere. The new survey data reveal that the optical images of most planetary nebulas with diffuse X-ray emission display compact shells with sharp rims, surrounded by fainter halos. All of these compact shells have observed ages that are less than about 5000 years, which therefore likely represents the timescale for the strong shock waves to occur.

About half of the planetary nebulas in the study show X-ray point sources in the center, and all but one of these point sources show high energy X-rays that may be caused by a companion star, suggesting that a high frequency of central stars responsible for ejecting planetary nebulas have companions. Future studies should help clarify the role of double stars in determining the structure and evolution of planetary nebulas.

These results were published in the August 2012 issue of The Astronomical Journal. The first two authors are Joel Kastner and Rodolfo Montez Jr. of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, accompanied by 23 co-authors.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra’s science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/RIT/J.Kastner et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI

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Mirror Inspection..

Technicians and scientists check out one of the Webb telescope’s first two flight mirrors on Sept. 19, 2012 in the clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The mirrors are going through receiving and inspection and will then be stored in the Goddard clean room until engineers are ready to assemble them onto the telescope’s backplane structure that will support them.

One of the Webb’s science goals is to look back through time to when galaxies were young. To see such far-off and faint objects, Webb needs a large mirror. A telescope’s sensitivity, or how much detail it can see, is directly related to the size of the mirror area that collects light from the objects being observed. A larger area collects more light, just like a larger bucket collects more water in a rain shower than a small one.

Image Credit: NASA

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Yo Tim Blair, Iowahawk, Like my new Rod? OK, I lied, Sooo!

Rod Runner

Antares Rolls Out

Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket rolls out to the launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the morning of Oct. 1, 2012. Over the next several months, Orbital plans a hot-fire test of the Antares first stage, the maiden flight of an Antares rocket, and a cargo delivery demonstration mission to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services.

Image Credit: NASA

 

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