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NASA Announces Media Teleconference About Satellite Re-Entry

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. EDT on Friday, Sept. 9, to discuss the anticipated re-entry of the agency’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS). Re-entry is expected late this month or early October.

The teleconference participants are:

— Paul Hertz, chief scientist, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington
— Nick Johnson, chief scientist, NASA’s Orbital Debris Program, Johnson Space Center, Houston
— U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael W. Duncan, deputy chief, space situational awareness, U.S. Strategic Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/sep/HQ_M11-186_UARS_Telecon.html

NASA Spacecraft Observes New Characteristics Of Solar Flares

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, has provided scientists new information about solar flares indicating an increase in strength and longevity that is more than previously thought.

Solar flares are intense bursts of radiation from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. They are the solar system’s largest explosive events and are seen as bright areas on the sun. Their energy can reach Earth’s atmosphere and affect operations of Earth-orbiting communication and navigation satellites.

Using SDO’s Extreme ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) instrument, scientists have observed that radiation from solar flares continue for up to five hours beyond the main phase. The new data also show the total energy from this extended phase of the solar flare’s peak sometimes has more energy than the initial event.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/sep/HQ_11-291_SDO_Solar_Flares.html

Strong Solar Activity Could Spark Auroras

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

On Sept. 6th, active sunspot 1283 produced two major eruptions including an impulsive X2-class solar flare.  The blasts hurled a pair of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) toward Earth, which could spark geomagnetic activity when they arrive on Sept. 8-10.  High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras in the nights ahead.  Checkhttp://spaceweather.com for images and updates.

Full Story: http://spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=07&month=09&year=2011

NASA TV Will Broadcast Soyuz Landing On Sept. 15

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA Television will broadcast the return to Earth of three crew members who have called the International Space Station (ISS) home for more than five months.

On Sept. 15, Expedition 28 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev, NASA Flight Engineer Ron Garan and off-going station Commander Andrey Borisenko will undock from the station’s Poisk module to return to Earth in their Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft.

They are set to land on the southern region steppe of Kazakhstan near the town of Dzhezkazgan at 11:01 p.m. CDT on Sept. 15 (10:01 a.m. local time, Sept. 16). Their return was delayed a week due to the Aug. 24 loss of the unmanned ISS Progress 44 cargo craft.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/sep/HQ_M11-188_Soyuz_Lands.html

Young Stars in the Spotlight

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Credit: ESO

Credit: ESO

ESO’s New Technology Telescope (NTT) has captured a striking image of the open cluster NGC 2100. This brilliant star cluster is around 15 million years old, and located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The cluster is surrounded by glowing gas from the nearby Tarantula Nebula.

Observers often overlook NGC 2100 because of its close proximity to the impressive Tarantula Nebula (eso0650) and the super star cluster RMC 136 (eso1030). The glowing gas of the Tarantula Nebula even tries to steal the limelight in this image — the bright colours here are the nebula’s outskirts. This new picture was created from exposures through several different colour filters using the EMMI instrument [1]on the New Technology Telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The stars are shown in their natural colours, while light from glowing ionised hydrogen (shown here in red) and oxygen (shown in blue) is overlaid.

Full Story: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1133/

2012 Doggett Prize Goes to Woodruff T. Sullivan III

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

The Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Woodruff T. Sullivan, III will be the eighth recipient of the LeRoy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy. The Prize is awarded biennially to an individual whose long-term efforts and lifetime achievements have had significant impact on the field of the history of astronomy. The 2012 LeRoy E. Doggett Prize is presented to Professor Sullivan in recognition of his research, writing, teaching, and leadership in the history of astronomy community.

Full Story: http://had.aas.org/doggett/2012doggett2sullivan.html

New LROC Images Offer Sharper Views of Apollo 12, 14, 17 Sites

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Photo by: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Photo by: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

The Arizona State University team that oversees the imaging system on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has released the sharpest images ever taken from space of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 sites, more clearly showing the paths made when the astronauts explored these areas.

The higher resolution of these images is possible because of adjustments made to LRO’s elliptical orbit. On Aug. 10 a special pair of stationkeeping maneuvers were performed in place of the standard maneuvers, lowering LRO from its usual altitude of 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) to an altitude that dipped as low as 21 kilometers (nearly 13 miles) as it passed over the Moon’s surface.

Full Story: http://asunews.asu.edu/20110906_apollosites