Tag Archive: Hubble Space Telescope

Universe Today

Now’s the Time to See Asteroid Pallas at its Best

by David Dickinson on February 18, 2014

2 Pallas

Images of 2 Pallas taken by Hubble (right) and a simulation (left) of the surface. Credit: NASA/JPL.

Looking for something off of the beaten celestial path to observe? The coming weeks will offer telescope users a rare chance to catch a well known asteroid, as it puts on its best show for over two decades.

Over the coming weeks, 2 Pallas, one of the “big four” asteroids – or do you say minor/dwarf planet/planetoid? – reaches a favorable observing point known as opposition. Gliding northward through the constellations of Hydra and Sextans through February and March 2014, 2 Pallas presents a favorable binocular challenge for both northern and southern hemisphere observers as it rises to the east opposite to the setting Sun and transits the local meridian around midnight.

And although 2 Pallas reaches opposition roughly every 16 months as seen from our Earthly vantage point, 2014 provides a chance to catch it under exceptional circumstances. And to top it off, the other “Big 4” asteroids – 1 Ceres, 3 Juno and 4 Vesta – are all currently visible as well and reach opposition in the January through April time frame.

Pallas HST

2 Pallas as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA

Pallas and its brethren also have a checkered history though the course of 19th century astronomy.  The second minor planet to be discovered, Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers spied 2 Pallas near opposition on the night of March 28th, 1802. Olbers made this discovery observing from his home rooftop observatory in Bremen, Germany using a five foot – telescopes were often measured in focal length rather than aperture in those days – Dollond refractor.

Olbers discovered 2 Pallas on the border of the astronomical constellations of Virgo and Coma Berenices shining at magnitude +7.5.

Pallas orbit

A simulation of the orbit of 2 Pallas near opposition this month. Credit: NASA/JPL Horizons.

If the name Olbers sounds familiar, it’s because he also lent it to the paradox that now bears his name. Obler’s paradox was one of the first true questions in cosmology posed in a scientific framework that asked: if the universe is actually infinite in time and space, then why isn’t the sky infinitely bright? And, on a curious side note, it was American horror author Edgar Allan Poe that delivered the answer.

But now back to our solar system. Olbers also discovered 4 Vesta just five years after Pallas.

He was definitely on a roll. The discoveries of these space rocks also grabbed the attention of Olbers contemporary, Johann Bode. Bode had formulated a law now known as the Titus-Bode Law that seemed to put the spacing of then known bodies of the solar system in tidy order. In fact, the Titus-Bode law seemed to predict that a body should lie between Mars and Jupiter, and for a brief time in the 18th century — and again in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union let Eris and Pluto in the door before kicking them back out — Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta were all considered planets.

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta



Published on Nov 12, 2013

I Have a feeling we are not being told the whole story…It looks as if Deep Impact has not missed a beat despite NASA Claiming to have lost control in September……Its still right on schedule! Dont miss the raw clip of Deep Impact footage on ISON at the end of this video!








Enhanced by Zemanta

The Daily Galaxy

“Strange, Baffling Object” Observed by Hubble Astronomers in Asteroid Belt

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have observed a unique and baffling object in the asteroid belt that looks like a rotating lawn sprinkler or badminton shuttlecock. While this object is on an asteroid-like orbit, it looks like a comet, and is sending out tails of dust into space.


“We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it,” said lead investigator David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles, USA. “Even more amazingly, its tail structures change dramatically in just 13 days as it belches out dust. That also caught us by surprise. It’s hard to believe we’re looking at an asteroid.”

Normal asteroids appear as tiny points of light. But this asteroid, designated P/2013 P5, has six comet-like tails of dust radiating from it like the spokes on a wheel. It was first spotted in August of this year as an unusually fuzzy-looking object by astronomers using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta


NASA’s Hubble Presents:
Seven Primitive And Billions Of Years Old Galaxies Never Seen Before!

MessageToEagle.com – Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, have spotted a previously unseen population of seven primitive galaxies that formed more than 13 billion years ago, when the universe was less than 3 percent of its present age.

The deepest images to date from Hubble yield the first statistically robust sample of galaxies that tells how abundant they were close to the era when galaxies first formed.

The results show a smooth decline in the number of galaxies with increasing look-back time to about 450 million years after the big bang.

The observations support the idea that galaxies assembled continuously over time and also may have provided enough radiation to reheat, or reionize, the universe a few hundred million years after the big bang. These pioneering observations blaze a trail for future exploration of this epoch by NASA’s next-generation spacecraft, the James Webb Space Telescope. Looking deeper into the universe also means peering farther back in time.


This new image of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) 2012 campaign reveals a previously unseen population of seven faraway galaxies, which are observed as they appeared in a period 350 million to 600 million years after the big bang. The galaxy census is the most robust sample of galaxies ever found at these early epochs. The galaxies were seen in near-infrared light using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. The colored squares in the main image outline the locations of the galaxies. Enlarged views of each galaxy are shown in the black-and-white images. The red lines mark each galaxy’s location. The “redshift” of each galaxy is indicated below each box, denoted by the symbol “z.” Redshift measures how much a galaxy’s ultraviolet and visible light has been stretched to infrared wavelengths by the universe’s expansion. The larger the redshift, the more distant the galaxy, and therefore the farther astronomers are seeing back in time. One of the seven galaxies may be a distance breaker, observed at a redshift of 11.9. The galaxy is seen as it appeared 380 million years after the big bang, when the universe was less than 3 percent of its present age. Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Ellis (Caltech), and the UDF 2012 Team
Note: Take a look at the zoomable image!

The universe is now 13.7 billion years old. The newly discovered galaxies are seen as they looked 350 million to 600 million years after the big bang. Their light is just arriving at Earth now.

The public is invited to participate in a “First Census of Galaxies Near Cosmic Dawn” webinar, in which key astronomers of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2012 team will discuss how they obtained their result and what it tells us about galaxy formation in the very early universe.

Participants will be able to send in questions for the panel of experts to discuss.
The webinar will be broadcast at 1:00 pm EST on Friday, December 14, 2012.




See also:
NASA’s Storm Probes Begin To Explore One Of The Most Hazardous Regions Of Space – The Van Allen Belts!