Archive for August 16, 2011

Comet Elenin Poses No Threat to Earth

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Trajectory of comet Elenin. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Often, comets are portrayed as harbingers of gloom and doom in movies and on television, but most pose no threat to Earth. Comet Elenin, the latest comet to visit our inner solar system, is no exception. Elenin will pass about 22 million miles (35 million kilometers) from Earth during its closest approach on Oct. 16, 2011.

NASA Hosts News Briefing About Tracking Space Weather Events

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment


NASA will host a news briefing at 2 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Aug. 18, to discuss new details about the structure of solar storms and the impact they have on Earth. The new information comes from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, spacecraft and other NASA probes.

NASA Research Confirms it’s a Small World, After All

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

This view of Earth comes from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Terra satellite. Image credit: NASA

A NASA-led research team has confirmed what Walt Disney told us all along: Earth really is a small world, after all.

Since Charles Darwin’s time, scientists have speculated that the solid Earth might be expanding or contracting. That was the prevailing belief, until scientists developed the theory of plate tectonics, which explained the large-scale motions of Earth’s lithosphere, or outermost shell. Even with the acceptance of plate tectonics half a century ago, some Earth and space scientists have continued to speculate on Earth’s possible expansion or contraction on various scientific grounds.

Now a new NASA study, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, has essentially laid those speculations to rest. Using a cadre of space measurement tools and a new data calculation technique, the team detected no statistically significant expansion of the solid Earth.

Dramatic Helene

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Saturn’s small, irregularly shaped moon Helene is strikingly illuminated in this close view captured by Cassini during the spacecraft’s June 18, 2011, flyby.





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AstroNews Now on WordPress

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve  started posting stories on WordPress – basically I’m moving away from the site at because it takes too long to create the pages. This is going to be a particular problem in the coming months as I might be travelling a lot more for work. It allows users to access an archive, search for stories and post comments, so it makes more sense for me to post here. It’s still a work in progress and it’s going to be changing but any comments or feedback would be appreciated.

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Mississippi And Louisiana Students To Call Space Station Astronauts

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Students gathered at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi will place a long distance call to astronauts aboard the International Space Station at 1:35 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Aug. 18.

A Hint of Higgs: An Update from the LHC

August 16, 2011 1 comment

The CMS detector at the LHC weighs in at 14,000 metric tons.

The physics world was abuzz with some tantalizing news a couple of weeks ago. At a meeting of the European Physical Society in Grenoble, France, physicists—including some from Caltech—announced that the latest data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) might hint at the existence of the ever-elusive Higgs boson.