Archive for January 23, 2012

Almost X-Flare & Incoming CME

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

This morning, Jan. 23rd around 0359 UT, big sunspot 1402 erupted, producing a long-duration M9-class solar flare. The explosion’s M9-ranking puts it on the threshold of being an X-flare, the most powerful kind. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare’s extreme ultraviolet flash.

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft detected a CME rapidly emerging from the blast site: movie. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the leading edge of the CME will reach Earth on Jan. 24 at 14:18UT (+/- 7 hours). Their animated forecast track shows that Mars is in the line of fire, too; the CME will hit the Red Planet during the late hours of Jan. 25.

Full Story:

Astronaut Application Deadline Approaching

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Individuals interested in becoming America’s future space explorers have until Friday to submit their applications. The deadline to apply for NASA’s next astronaut class is Jan. 27.

The agency typically receives as many as 3,500 applicants for each astronaut class. Thus far, NASA has received more than 3,000 applications since November for this class.

“We are excited about the response we have received, and we want to encourage anyone contemplating this dynamic and exciting career to apply,” said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office. “We are entering a new phase in human spaceflight with amazing opportunities to live and work in space. We want the best, the brightest and the most talented mix of professionals to join our team.”

Full Story:

Leap Second To Be Added to Clocks on June 30th

January 23, 2012 1 comment

On June 30, 2012, a “leap second” will be added to the world’s clocks at 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This corresponds to 7:59:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, when the extra second will be inserted at the U.S. Naval Observatory’s Master Clock Facility in Washington, DC.

Full Story (PDF):

Cassini Significant Events 01/11/2012 – 01/17/2012

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

The most recent spacecraft tracking and telemetry data were acquired Jan. 17 from the Deep Space Network 70 meter diameter Deep Space Station 63 at Madrid, Spain. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health, with the exception of the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer remaining powered off, and the anomalous Radio Frequency Subsystem’s Ultrastable Oscillator. (The next Radio Science Occultation experiment, which normally would use the Ultrastable Oscillator, is not until June.) All of Cassini’s other subsystems are operating normally. Information on the present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the “Present Position” page at:

Science activities this week involved the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) and other Optical Remote Sensing instruments observing Titan throughout the week to monitor cloud activity while the spacecraft coasted toward apoapsis. ISS also observed Saturn to measure lingering atmospheric activity in the northern hemisphere storm. The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph imaged Titan and Saturn in the extreme- and far-ultraviolet parts of the spectrum. The Composite Infrared Spectrometer observed Saturn to measure oxygen compounds (H2O, CO2) in the stratosphere as a function of latitude, while ISS measured the winds. The Magnetometer instrument performed a calibration activity by having the spacecraft execute a roll about its X-axis.

Full Story: