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Archive for June 19, 2012

Most Quasars Live On Snacks, Not Large Meals


Black holes in the early universe needed a few snacks rather than one giant meal to fuel their quasars and help them grow, according to observations from NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes.

Quasars are the brilliant beacons of light that are powered by black holes feasting on captured material, and in the process, heating some of the matter to millions of degrees. The brightest quasars reside in galaxies distorted by collisions with other galaxies. These encounters send lots of gas and dust into the gravitational whirlpool of hungry black holes.

Now, however, astronomers are uncovering an underlying population of fainter quasars that thrive in normal-looking spiral galaxies. They are triggered by black holes snacking on such tasty treats as a batch of gas or the occasional small satellite galaxy.

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-180

Also: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2012/27

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NASA Selects Low Cost, High Science Earth Venture Space System


NASA has selected an ocean wind study proposal led by the University of Michigan from among 19 submitted to the agency’s Announcement of Opportunity for small spaceflight investigations of the Earth system. The proposed mission will make accurate measurements of ocean surface winds throughout the life cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes, which could help lead to better weather forecasting.

The competitively-selected proposal, the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), is led by Principal Investigator Dr. Chris Ruf of the University of Michigan, and includes partnerships with the Southwest Research Institute of Texas, Surrey Satellite Technology of Colorado and NASA Ames Research Center.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jun/HQ_12-203_Earth_Venture_Space_System_CYGNSS.html

DPS 2012 Planetary Science Prize Winners Announced


The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is pleased to announce the 2012 prize winners.

Full Story: http://dps.aas.org/prizes

NASA Selects Innovative Museum Exhibits And Planetarium Shows


Exhibits, planetarium shows, and community-based programming are among 18 projects NASA has selected to receive agency funding in 2012. The projects consist of 11 informal education providers and seven NASA visitor centers that will share $10 million in grants through NASA’s Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums Plus Opportunities for NASA Visitor Centers and Other Informal Education Institutions.

Project topics will feature NASA missions in engineering, astronomy, human spaceflight, aeronautics, technology, and Earth science. The selected projects will partner with NASA’s Museum Alliance, a nationwide network of informal education professionals at more than 500 museums, science centers, planetariums, NASA visitor centers, Challenger centers, visitor centers at observatories and parks, nature centers, aquariums and zoos.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jun/HQ_12-205_Museum_Exhibits_Selected.html