Category: Space


Heads-up folks the Leonid’s are here, don’t know where to look? View  sky-map here

Video below has some historical background on the Leonids:

Even more here and Happy watching!

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Source:  Indiana University Media Relations

Every three years, the same phase of the moon happens on about the same date of each month. The annual Perseid meteor shower of August last happened in a moonless sky in 2007, so this year if the sky is clear when the Perseids peak before dawn on Aug. 12 and 13, there will be an unhindered display of silent fireworks.

This shower is one of the most popular every year because it happens on warm summer nights, when gazing at the starry sky is always enjoyable. There may be as many as 100 bright meteors per hour, some with smoke trails that last several seconds after the meteor has vanished.

The Perseids will be visible for most of August, though there will be fewer meteors to see the farther from the peak date you watch. If the peak on Aug. 12-13 is hidden by clouds, try looking for meteors again as soon as the night sky is clear.

To minimize the effect of local light pollution, which can obscure as many as half of the meteors, try to avoid artificial lights. Face east if you have a clear view in that direction, and look about half-way up the sky from the horizon. You won’t need binoculars or a telescope — the meteors move much too fast for that. The chances of seeing a fireball will be greatest near dawn, when Earth will be moving head-on into the meteor stream.

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Image: HubbleSite | Location of GOODS-S/ERS in the Sky

Galaxy History Revealed in This Colorful Hubble View

Source: NASA

More than 12 billion years of cosmic history are shown in this unprecedented, panoramic, full-color view of thousands of galaxies in various stages of assembly. This image, taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, was made from mosaics taken in September and October 2009 with the newly installed Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and in 2004 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The view covers a portion of the southern field of a large galaxy census called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS), a deep-sky study by several observatories to trace the evolution of galaxies.

The final image combines a broad range of colors, from the ultraviolet, through visible light, and into the near-infrared. Such a detailed multi-color view of the universe has never before been assembled in such a combination of color, clarity, accuracy, and depth.

To zoom into the GOODS-S/ERS area of the galaxy go here.

The Daily Mail has more stunning photos. Anyone have any ideas?

Image Credit: Hubble Servicing Mission 4 Early Release Observations

Image Credit: Hubble Servicing Mission 4 Early Release Observations

Hubble Opens New Eyes on the Universe

Source: NASA | News Release Number: STScI-2009-25

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is back in business, ready to uncover new worlds, peer ever deeper into space, and even map the invisible backbone of the universe. The first snapshots from the refurbished Hubble showcase the 19-year-old telescope’s new vision. Topping the list of exciting new views are colorful multi-wavelength pictures of far-flung galaxies, a densely packed star cluster, an eerie “pillar of creation,” and a “butterfly” nebula. With its new imaging camera, Hubble can view galaxies, star clusters, and other objects across a wide swath of the electromagnetic spectrum, from ultraviolet to near-infrared light. A new spectrograph slices across billions of light-years to map the filamentary structure of the universe and trace the distribution of elements that are fundamental to life. The telescope’s new instruments also are more sensitive to light and can observe in ways that are significantly more efficient and require less observing time than previous generations of Hubble instruments. NASA astronauts installed the new instruments during the space shuttle servicing mission in May 2009. Besides adding the instruments, the astronauts also completed a dizzying list of other chores that included performing unprecedented repairs on two other science instruments.

Now that Hubble has reopened for business, it will tackle a whole range of observations. Looking closer to Earth, such observations will include taking a census of the population of Kuiper Belt objects residing at the fringe of our solar system, witnessing the birth of planets around other stars, and probing the composition and structure of the atmospheres of other worlds. Peering much farther away, astronomers have ambitious plans to use Hubble to make the deepest-ever portrait of the universe in near-infrared light. The resulting picture may reveal never-before-seen infant galaxies that existed when the universe was less than 500 million years old. Hubble also is now significantly more well-equipped to probe and further characterize the behavior of dark energy, a mysterious and little-understood repulsive force that is pushing the universe apart at an ever-faster rate.

Credit: GOES 11 Click to enlarge Image

Credit: GOES 11 Click to enlarge Image

LA’s under the Gun, Blaze Doubles

A massive fire in the Angeles National Forest nearly doubled in size overnight, threatening 12,000 homes Monday in a 20-mile-long swath of flame and smoke and surging toward a mountaintop broadcasting complex and historic observatory.

The fire was the largest of at least eight burning up and down California after days of triple-digit temperatures and low humidity. The Los Angeles-area blaze had burned at least 21 homes and was moving north, south and east through the rugged foothills northeast of the city.

Despite a lack of wind, the fire surged without letup by running through steep granite canyons and feeding on brush that had not burned for 40 years, fire officials said.

“It’s burning everywhere,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Dianne Cahir said. “When it gets into canyons that haven’t burned in numerous years, it takes off. If you have any insight into the good Lord upstairs, put in a request.”

The fire had burned 134 square miles of brush and trees by early Monday and was just 5 percent contained.

About 12,000 homes, as well as communications and astronomy centers atop Mount Wilson, were threatened by fire. At least 6,600 homes were under mandatory evacuation orders and more than 2,500 firefighters were battling the flames.

But the lack of wind kept the fires burning mainly in canyonlands rather than racing downhill and roaring explosively through the dense suburbs that cluster at the base of the foothills.

On the blaze’s northwestern front, two firefighters were killed Sunday when their truck drove off the side of a road on Mount Gleason near the city of Acton.

Read the entire article at Huffington Post.

Watch video from the ground, incredible !

[About the Video: A massive Los Angeles-area fire nearly doubled in size overnight, threatening 12,000 homes Monday in a 20-mile long swath of flame and smoke and surging toward a mountaintop broadcasting complex | AP]

New expanding spot on the giant planet Jupiter. Credit: NASA, ESA, and H. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), and the Jupiter Comet Impact Team.

New expanding spot on the giant planet Jupiter. Credit: NASA, ESA, and H. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), and the Jupiter Comet Impact Team.

Hubble Captures Rare Jupiter Collision

Source: ScienceDaily (July 24, 2009)

 The checkout and calibration of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has been interrupted to aim the recently refurbished observatory at a new expanding spot on the giant planet Jupiter. The spot, caused by the impact of a comet or an asteroid, is changing from day to day in the planet’s cloud tops.

For the past several days the world’s largest telescopes have been trained on Jupiter. Not to miss the potentially new science in the unfolding drama 580 million kilometres away, Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, allocated discretionary time to a team of astronomers led by Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

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Image Credit: AP

Image Credit: AP

Millions from India to China, got a rare treat yesterday, (July 22, 2009) they witnessed “the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century”. The totality (peak) lasted for 6 minutes and its path began in India and crossed through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma) and China.

For photos of the event go to,  SpaceWeather.com and ABC News they have slideshows of the eclipse . Looks like we will have to wait until 2017 for our turn, talk about being in the wrong place at wrong time.

North Americans must wait a bit longer for their chance at a total solar eclipse. On Aug. 21, 2017, the moon’s shadow will sweep coast to coast across the contiguous United States, from Oregon, southeastward to South Carolina. It will be the first total solar eclipse for the mainland U.S. since Feb. 26, 1979. 

 

Edited title 072409

 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Infrared Telescope Facility

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Infrared Telescope Facility

 

Object Hits Jupiter, New NASA Images Indicate

Scientists have found evidence that another object has bombarded Jupiter, exactly 15 years after the first impacts by the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.

Shoemaker-Levy debris trail approaching Jupiter; May 17, 1994

Shoemaker-Levy debris trail approaching Jupiter; May 17, 1994

Source: ScienceDaily

Following up on a tip by an amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley of Australia, that a new dark “scar” had suddenly appeared on Jupiter, this morning between 3 and 9 a.m. PDT (6 a.m. and noon EDT) scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, gathered evidence indicating an impact.

New infrared images show the likely impact point was near the south polar region, with a visibly dark “scar” and bright upwelling particles in the upper atmosphere detected in near-infrared wavelengths, and a warming of the upper troposphere with possible extra emission from ammonia gas detected at mid-infrared wavelengths.

“We were extremely lucky to be seeing Jupiter at exactly the right time, the right hour, the right side of Jupiter to witness the event. We couldn’t have planned it better,” said Glenn Orton, a scientist at JPL.

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WikiSky Image: Andromeda Galaxy

WikiSky Image: Andromeda Galaxy

You are going to love this!

If you want to get a little closer to your own backyard, using your areas longitude and latitude give Stellarium a try, you can download for free. Here is the skinny on Stellarium, according to their website.

Stellarium is  a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go.

Enjoy!

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