Author Topic: Space news  (Read 10258 times)

markus
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Space news
« on: October 02, 2007, 05:09:03 AM »
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Mars moving to best viewing position it provides until year 2014

Mars, the only planet whose surface we can see in any detail from the Earth, is now moving toward the best viewing position it will provide to us until the year 2014. Planet watchers have already begun readying their telescopes.


If you haven't seen it, it will be well worth looking for the red planet next week, even though you'll have to wait until after midnight to see it well.

Mars is currently midway between the zodiacal constellations of Taurus, the Bull and Gemini, the Twins and during this week it will rise shortly before 11 p.m. local daylight time. There is certainly no mistaking it once it comes up over the east-northeast horizon. Presently shining like a pumpkin-hued, zero magnitude star, Mars is currently tied for fifth place (with Vega) among the 21 brightest stars.

But as it continues to approach our Earth in the coming weeks and months, Mars will only be getting brighter: it will surpass Sirius, the brightest star in the sky by Dec. 9 and during the latter half of December it will even almost match Jupiter in brilliance.

Late next Wednesday night (or more precisely, early on Thursday morning), Mars will hover about 7-degrees above and to the right of the last quarter moon as they rise above the east-northeast horizon (your clenched fist held at arm's length is roughly 10-degrees in width). As you will see for yourself, the so-called "Red Planet" actually will appear closer to a yellow-orange tint — the same color of a dry desert under a high sun.

How close?
Every 26 months, or so, Earth makes a close approach to Mars, as our smaller, swifter orbit "overtakes" Mars around the sun. Because both the orbits of Mars and Earth are mildly elliptical, some close approaches between the two planets are closer than others.

This current apparition of Mars will be nowhere near as spectacular as the oft-referred approach of August 2003 when the planet came closer to Earth than it had in nearly 60,000-years.

Rather, on this upcoming occasion, Mars will come closest to Earth on the evening of Dec. 18 (at around 6:46 p.m. EST).

The planet will then lie 54.8 million miles (88.2 million kilometers) from Earth as measured from center to center. Mars will arrive at opposition to the sun (rising at sunset, setting at sunrise) six days later on Christmas Eve.

How big?

It was amazing (and a little disturbing) to see just how many people actually believed that Mars could loom so large in our sky. But the truth is that even when at its absolute closest possible approach to Earth, Mars can appear no larger than 1/72 as big as the moon; to the unaided eye it would appear as nothing more than an extremely bright, non-twinkling star.

When it comes closest to Earth on December 18th of this year, Mars' apparent disk diameter will be equal to 15.9 arc seconds. To get an idea of just how large this is, wait until darkness falls this week and if you have a telescope, check out Jupiter, gleaming in the southwestern sky; it'll appear about 35 arc seconds across.

In contrast, Mars' disk will appear less than half as big as Jupiter's when the Red Planet comes closest to Earth later this year. While this may sound small, keep in mind that this is still atypically large for Mars. In fact, from Nov. 30 through Jan. 5, Mars' apparent size will be larger than at any time until April 2014. Around the time that Mars is closest, amateurs with telescopes as small as 4 inches and magnifying above 120-power should be able to make out some dusky markings on the small yellow-orange disk, and perhaps the bright white polar cap.

Size isn't everything
From Dec. 15 through Dec. 29, Mars will blaze at magnitude -1.6, a bit brighter than Sirius, but just slightly inferior to Jupiter. Mars will still be positioned between Taurus and Gemini, at a rather high declination of about +27-degrees.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 05:11:09 AM by markus »
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Re: Space news
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2007, 04:08:21 AM »
Asteroid formerly known as 1994 GT9 is now 7307 Takei

George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the original "Star Trek" series, has been immortalized in space with an asteroid bearing his name. The asteroid formerly known as the 1994 GT9 is now 7307 Takei in honor of the actor.
   
 
NEW YORK - George Takei already had a place among the stars in the minds of millions of "Star Trek" fans. Now he's taking up permanent residence as the namesake of the asteroid formerly known as 1994 GT9.

The asteroid, located between Mars and Jupiter, has been renamed 7307 Takei in honor of the actor, who is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the original "Star Trek" series.

"I am now a heavenly body," Takei said Tuesday, laughing. "I found out about it yesterday ... I was blown away. It came out of the clear, blue sky — just like an asteroid."

The celestial rock, discovered by two Japanese astronomers in 1994, joins 4659 Roddenberry (named for the show's creator, Gene Roddenberry) and 68410 Nichols (for co-star Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura). Other main-belt asteroids are already named for science fiction luminaries Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.

"It's in general considered quite an honor," Lars Lindberg Christensen, spokesman for the International Astronomical Union, said of the latest renaming, which was approved by the union's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature.

About 14,000 asteroid names have been approved by the panel, while about 165,000 asteroids have been identified and numbered, he said.

Unlike the myriad Web sites that offer to sell naming rights to stars, the IAU committee-approved names are actually used by astronomers, said Tom Burbine, the Mount Holyoke College astronomy professor who proposed the name swap.

"This is the name that will be used for all eternity," he said.
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Re: Space news
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2007, 06:07:50 AM »
NASA's Pluto-bound spacecraft, New Horizons, recently surfed a long tail of charged particles trailing behind Jupiter. Observations from that wild ride revealed enormous bobbing bubbles of charged particles, or "plasma," and showed that the structure of the planet's tadpole-shaped "magnetotail" is surprisingly varied.

The findings, detailed in two reports in the Oct. 9 issue of the journal Science, could help scientists understand the protective magnetic environment surrounding Earth and other planets.

"If we understand our Jupiter better, we will be able to further understand the extrasolar 'hot Jupiters' of other stars," Norbert Krupp, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany who was not involved in the studies, wrote in a related Science article.


Blowing bubbles
In the space surrounding many of the planets in our solar system, there is an ongoing struggle between the magnetic fields of those planets and fast-moving charged particles of the sun's solar wind. The region around a planet where the magnetic field is strong enough to slow down or even repel the solar wind is called the magnetosphere.

The Jovian magnetosphere is enormous. It has a diameter 200 times that of Jupiter itself and is the largest cohesive structure in the solar system. Despite Jupiter's great distance from us, "If you could 'see' the magnetosphere of Jupiter from Earth, it would be about the size of the full Moon," said Ralph McNutt, a senior scientist at John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory and a lead author on one of the studies.

As part of a slingshot maneuver to shorten its journey toward Pluto, New Horizons entered Jupiter's magnetosphere in February 2007 and journeyed down the magnetotail for more than a hundred million miles — longer than any other spacecraft that had visited before.
   

Scientists think the bubbles are formed from material ejected by Io, a Jovian satellite and the most volcanically active body in the solar system. Once ejected, the particles that make up Io's prodigious debris — the moon spews about 1 metric ton of material per second — are stripped of their electrons by particles in Jupiter's magnetosphere and become captured by the magnetosphere. The snared particles linger around Jupiter like a cloud.

McNutt and his teammates propose that Io's captured particles stretch Jupiter's magnetic field lines like rubber bands, and that occasionally, the field lines snap back into place in "magnetic reconnection" events.


The snapping motion also imparts energy to these plasma bubbles and provides the acceleration needed to propel them down Jupiter's magnetotail.

Unusually structured
New Horizons also detected another class of very hot charged particles hurtling down the magnetotail, which cooled and slowed as they moved away from the planet. Some of the particles originated from Io, but others came from the solar wind and Jupiter's atmosphere. The last source was a surprise to scientists.

"It's clear there's a significant escape of the material from the planet because the brightest burst we see turns out to be material that's largely from Jupiter, not from the solar wind or Io," said David McComas, the principal investigator of New Horizons' Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument and lead author of the other Science study.

The spacecraft also found that, in contrast to Earth's tail, the Jovian magnetotail is surprisingly structured, containing both gradual variations and sharp boundaries in the plasma density.

"There are reports of observations of the Earth's tail as far as about 1,000 Earth radii downstream by the Pioneer 7 spacecraft, but these were intermittent and the structure was certainly not as well ordered" as Jupiter, McNutt said.

 

Jupiter's magnetotail is long, but it is not infinite. At some point, the gas planet's influence is no longer felt and the magnetotail tapers out, blending into the solar wind.

The plasmoids likely lose their shape as well at those distances, McNutt said, and their particles probably merge with those from the
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Re: Space news
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2007, 01:53:34 PM »
By Irene Klotz
Fri Nov 30, 6:41 PM ET
 


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Europe will set down its own stake in space next week with the launch of the Columbus science laboratory to the International Space Station, ending a quarter century in which European space pioneers had to run their experiments on orbital outposts owned by others.

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Tucked inside the cargo hold of the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis, the 23-foot-(7-metre) long, 15-foot-(4.6-metre) diameter European module is scheduled for liftoff on December 6 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"From the Kennedy perspective, we're ready to go and looking forward to next week," launch director Mike Leinbach said at a briefing on Friday following a day-long meeting to review the shuttle's flight preparations.

Liftoff was set for 4:31 p.m. EST.

Its arrival two days later at the space station marks the end of a herculean effort costing more than $1 billion to establish Europe's first permanent base in space.

"Europe in the past has been a strong player in manned spaceflight and that is without question," Atlantis crew member and European Space Agency astronaut Hans Schlegel said in an interview.

"But this now has all of a sudden changed. Columbus will stay our property. Our flight control center will control Columbus. We have the right to do experiments around the clock. When we have a new idea, we can bring it up and (research) it in our own lab," he said.

Europe had planned Columbus' debut for 2002 and budgeted accordingly. But delays largely caused by the grounding of the U.S. space shuttles after the 2003 Columbia disaster put Columbus' launch on hold. ESA partner countries were forced to ante up additional funds to keep manufacturing teams and scientists on the project.

"There was tremendous uncertainty," said Columbus project manager Bernardo Patti.

The first attempt at fixing the shuttles failed, triggering another year-long delay. Project managers used the postponements for testing and to make some improvements to the module, including high-speed data capabilities.

They also successfully negotiated for an earlier launch slot. NASA originally wanted to complete the station's outer frame and solar power systems before adding European, and later Japanese, modules.

"If we had kept the same assembly sequence we could be launching in 2008 or 2009 and that was not going to work for us because our taxpayers were becoming increasingly nervous," Patti said.

NEW HOME IN SPACE

Columbus has room for 10 experiment racks, half of which are reserved for United States' use in exchange for launching the module. Europe plans to pay its share of station operational costs by providing cargo ships to ferry food, water, fuel and supplies to the outpost.

The first launch of Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle, or ATV, is scheduled for early next year.

"This will be a tremendous step. We are becoming a more important partner for the international spaceflight community," Schlegel said.

Hooking up Columbus will occupy most of the shuttle crew's schedule during their week-long stay at the space station.

France's Leopold Eyharts, who has made one spaceflight and is flying on Atlantis, will stay aboard the outpost for about 2-1/2 months to get the lab ready.

"We never had a permanent base in space before and I see that like a first step for Europe in the real spaceflight activities compared to what we had in the past," said Eyharts.

Europe previously developed two shuttle-toted research laboratories called Spacelab that flew several short-duration missions between 1983 and 1997. European astronauts also served on the Russian Mir station and aboard the ISS.

"We will be a senior partner in our international partnership," Schlegel said.

"If nothing else," he added, "I think the International Space Station is a role model how, in the future, we as humankind have to tackle our big problems and solve them: only in cooperation, and taking advantage of the capabilities of other nations, of other peoples, of other cultures."

(Editing by Michael Christie and Vicki Allen)


Nice thread Markus....

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markus
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Re: Space news
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2008, 09:55:23 PM »
Source:http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Bigelow_Aerospace_And_Lockheed_Martin_Converging_On_Terms_For_Launch_Services_999.html

Bigelow Aerospace And Lockheed Martin Converging On Terms For Launch Services
During the operational phase, which is currently planned to begin in 2012, up to 12 missions per year are envisioned, increasing as demand dictates.

by Staff Writers
Littleton CO (SPX) Feb 07, 2008
Bigelow Aerospace and Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services are engaged in discussions and converging on terms to supply Atlas V launch vehicles to provide crew and cargo transportation services to a Bigelow-built space complex. Bigelow Aerospace already has successfully launched two of its Genesis units that demonstrated the technology and feasibility of its expandable space module technology.

This experience has formed the basis for a larger commercial space complex, which is now proceeding into full-scale development.

Bigelow Aerospace is on schedule to provide a low-cost, low-Earth orbit space complex that is accessible to the private sector for commercial activities. The Bigelow architecture can be adapted for a variety of missions and is designed to provide increased volume, enhanced safety and reduced costs to the extent that space-based activities will become more affordable for entrepreneurs, small businesses and the public at large.

"I don't think anyone could deny the excellent record and pedigree of the Atlas V401 as a quality choice to be upgraded to carry human passengers," said company founder and President Robert T. Bigelow.

"The Atlas V is ideal to provide commercial crew and cargo transportation for this pioneering commercial space venture," said David Markham, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. "Bigelow Aerospace possesses an unparalleled vision and entrepreneurial perspective that is crucial to truly opening the commercial space market to a larger segment of the population. Targeting the Atlas V for use demonstrates a commitment to flight-proven domestic launch services to ensure success."

The Atlas booster has been used for decades to launch government and commercial payloads to a wide range of orbits and its reliability record is at the top of the space industry. As the simplest, most robust, and most reliable version of the Atlas V family, the 401 configuration has been selected by Bigelow to launch its space complex. This launch vehicle, compliant with the Federal Aviation Administration's stringent requirements for unmanned spaceflight, will undergo modest system upgrades that will augment existing safety features prior to flying the first passengers.

During the operational phase, which is currently planned to begin in 2012, up to 12 missions per year are envisioned, increasing as demand dictates.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2008, 09:57:03 PM by markus »
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Hubble Telescope Spies Ancient Galaxy
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2008, 01:54:45 AM »

By CLARA MOSKOWITZ
Posted: 2008-02-12 20:23:20
Filed Under: Science News
Space.com



Astronomers have glimpsed what may be the farthest galaxy we've ever seen, providing a picture of a baby galaxy born soon after the beginning of the universe.



An artist's rendition of an embryonic galaxy
Space Telescope Science Institute / Imaginova


This artist's rendition depicts what the A1689-zD1 galaxy may have looked like. The first galaxies to form as the universe's "dark age" ended bore little resemblance to the majestic spiral and elliptical galaxies that are the near neighbors of our own Milky Way.
Images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed the galaxy at almost 13 billion light-years away, making it the strongest candidate for the most distant galaxy ever seen, said European Southern Observatory astronomer Piero Rosati, who helped make the discovery.

Since the galaxy is so far away, its light took ages to reach us, so what we see now is a snapshot of how this galaxy looked 13 billion years ago. At that point in time, the galaxy would have been newly formed, so the new observations provide a baby picture.

"We certainly were surprised to find such a bright young galaxy 13 billion years in the past," said astronomer Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, a member of the research team. "This is the most detailed look to date at an object so far back in time."

The young galaxy, called A1689-zD1, was born about 700 million years after the Big Bang that scientists think created the universe. For most of its early life, the universe languished in "dark ages" when matter in the expanding universe cooled and formed clouds of hydrogen. Eventually matter began to clump into stars and galaxies that radiated light, heating up the universe and clearing the fog.

Scientists think this newly discovered galaxy may have been one of the first to form and help end the dark ages.

"This galaxy presumably is one of the many galaxies that helped end the dark ages," said astronomer Larry Bradley of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, leader of the research team. "Astronomers are fairly certain that high-energy objects such as quasars did not provide enough energy to end the dark ages of the universe. But many young star-forming galaxies may have produced enough energy to end it."

The discovery was made possible by a natural magnifying glass — the galaxy cluster Abell 1689, which lies between us and the distant galaxy. Abell 1689's gravity is so strong it bends light that passes near it, acting like a giant zoom lens that magnifies what we see.

"This galaxy lies near the region where the galaxy cluster produces the highest magnification," Rosati said, "which was essential to bring this galaxy within reach of Hubble and Spitzer."

The discovery, announced today, will be detailed in the Astrophysical Journal.


http://news.aol.com/story/_a/hubble-telescope-spies-ancient-galaxy/20080212171809990001

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Re: Space news
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2008, 07:55:30 AM »
 :-o I love space stuff. Don't know where u guys find all this cool stuff but keep it coming! :-D
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Re: Space news
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2008, 01:49:15 AM »
I have my resources!  8-)

markus
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Re: Space news
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2008, 08:46:45 PM »
Space plane’s mothership makes a splash


Commercial Space Travel is getting closer, I have in the past posted news about the progress of Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites

Here is more  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25887688/



Video Link Below
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/25882639#25882639
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Re: Space news
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2008, 04:20:24 AM »
That is really cool, but I dont think it will be widely accessible to all in the near future.... unfortunately....

markus
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Re: Space news
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2008, 07:41:13 PM »
Quote
LOS ANGELES - The Phoenix spacecraft has tasted Martian water for the first time, scientists reported Thursday.

By melting icy soil in one of its lab instruments, the robot confirmed the presence of frozen water lurking below the Martian permafrost. Until now, evidence of ice in Mars' north pole region has been largely circumstantial.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25954096/
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Re: Space news
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2008, 02:02:07 AM »
dauđi er meta of hátt

markus
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Re: Space news
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2009, 12:13:58 AM »
Well I have been talking about it for a while

It is no longer talk, it is real and now

Source:  http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0912/07spaceshiptwo/index.html


Space ship 2 is for real


More pictures here: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0912/07spaceshiptwo/gallery.html

And of course it is being named after the legendary scifi starship "Enterprise"

If you have around 200k to throw down...take a ride, if I had it..... I would  :-D
What do you want, you moon-faced assassin of joy?

We walk in the dark places no others will enter. We stand on the bridge and no-one may pass. We live for the One, we die for the One