Tag Archive: NASA


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5:54pm, November 9, 2015

OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD LANDSCAPE The latest data from the New Horizons mission has helped create topographical maps of Pluto (blue shows lower elevations, brown, higher elevations) that have revealed surprises such as these two possible ice volcanoes, the first of their kind in the outer solar system.

 

OXON HILL, Md. — At this point, the only thing unsurprising about Pluto is that it continues to offer up surprises.

 

A wide variety of landscapes, ongoing surface transformations and a family of wildly spinning moons are among the riddles reported by the New Horizons mission team November 9 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences.

 

“Pluto is like a graduate course in planetary science,” mission leader Alan Stern said at a news briefing. “It’s going to take the larger planetary science community many years to digest all this.”

 

The New Horizons spacecraft, which buzzed the dwarf planet on July 14, has so far sent back only about 20 percent of the data it acquired from the Pluto system. And every new nugget continues a story that’s pretty familiar by now: Pluto is a weird place.

 

Terrains both new and old sit side-by-side on Pluto’s surface. Some heavily cratered regions are roughly 4 billion years old, about as old as Pluto itself. Others, like the now famous heart, appear to have been laid down within the last 10 million years, judging by the total lack of craters.

 

 

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Fireballs are falling to Earth tonight in numbers we won’t see for another 10 years — here’s how to watch

jorwig@businesssinsider.com (Jessica Orwig) 

Keep your eyes peeled tonight for some spectacular fireballs lighting up the sky.

 taurid: KHONTHAI Channel on Youtube© Provided by Business Insider KHONTHAI Channel on Youtube

Fireballs are extremely bright meteors, and right now Earth is in the midst of the Tuarid meteor shower, which is peaking on the night of Wednesday, Nov. 11.

“The best time to view the Taurids is from midnight to 3 am local time,” NASA wrote in a Reddit AMA. “There should be a handful per hour. Taurid rates are not high, but the ones you will see will be very bright.”

The peak of the shower — when we can see the most meteors per hour — is expected to have between seven to 10 meteors per hour, and some of those are almost certain to be a fireball. The best way to watch any meteor shower is to get far away from city lights and look up, no special equipment required.

However, fireballs are bright enough to be seen even amidst city lights, so if you can’t get far away from the city, there’s still a chance you might spot one, or more.

Look to Taurus

Meteor showers usually happen when Earth passes through a comet’s stream of residual dust and debris in space.

TaurusCC: KHONTHAI Channel on Youtube

© Provided by Business Insider KHONTHAI Channel on Youtube The debris collides with our planet, is pulled toward Earth’s center by gravity, and burns up in the atmosphere, producing bright streaks in the night sky that we sometimes refer to as falling stars.

Compared to other meteor showers, the Taurid meteors are relatively sluggish, colliding with Earth at speeds of about 65,000 mph — less than half the speed of the rapid Perseid meteors, which move at about 133,000 mph.

 

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Eaten away by ‘vog’: Acid fog eroding rocks on Mars

The planet Mars showing showing Terra Meridiani is seen in an undated NASA image. © Greg Shirah
Scientists believe they have figured out why rocks on Mars are eroding. They say an acidic fog created by volcanic eruptions on the red planet is the probable culprit.

Planetary scientist Shoshanna Cole came up with the theory after studying a 100-acre area on Husband Hill in the Columbia Hills of the Gusev Crater on Mars using data gathered by a number of instruments on the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Spirit.

She found that acidic vapors released by eruptions may have been responsible for eating away rocks on the Watchtower Class outcrops on the Cumberland Ridge and Husband Hill summit.

View image on Twitter

Acid fog corroded the surface of Mars: a new discovery from NASA’s long-dead Spirit rover. http://bit.ly/1H6jT0V 

“The special thing about Watchtower Class is that it’s very widespread and we see it in different locations. As far as we can tell, it is part of the ground there,” which means that these rocks record environments that existed on Mars billions of years ago, Cole said in a press release submitted by the Geological Society of America.

 

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Image Source  NASA

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All Sky Fireball Network

By Dr. Tony Phillips.

Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth’s atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.

On Nov. 2, 2015, the network reported 37 fireballs.
(22 sporadics, 14 Northern Taurids, 1 Orionid)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point–Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

 

Near Earth Asteroids

Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

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  Earth approaching objects (objects that are known in the next 30 days)
Object Name Apporach Date Left AU Distance LD Distance Estimated Diameter* Relative Velocity
(2010 UJ7) 02nd November 2015 0 day(s) 0.1582 61.6 22 m – 49 m 13.31 km/s 47916 km/h
(2015 TG238) 03rd November 2015 1 day(s) 0.1865 72.6 76 m – 170 m 12.02 km/s 43272 km/h
(2015 TD179) 03rd November 2015 1 day(s) 0.0271 10.6 35 m – 78 m 10.12 km/s 36432 km/h
(2009 LD) 05th November 2015 3 day(s) 0.1397 54.4 15 m – 34 m 9.49 km/s 34164 km/h
(2002 XY38) 05th November 2015 3 day(s) 0.0828 32.2 70 m – 160 m 8.85 km/s 31860 km/h
(2015 TM143) 06th November 2015 4 day(s) 0.0690 26.8 51 m – 110 m 6.37 km/s 22932 km/h
(2015 TL143) 06th November 2015 4 day(s) 0.0657 25.6 70 m – 160 m 8.57 km/s 30852 km/h
(2008 VA15) 06th November 2015 4 day(s) 0.0750 29.2 51 m – 110 m 5.47 km/s 19692 km/h
(2008 WQ2) 08th November 2015 6 day(s) 0.0679 26.4 37 m – 82 m 8.45 km/s 30419.999999999996 km/h
(2012 HG8) 08th November 2015 6 day(s) 0.1924 74.9 310 m – 680 m 19.44 km/s 69984 km/h
138852 (2000 WN10) 10th November 2015 8 day(s) 0.1259 49.0 240 m – 540 m 13.78 km/s 49608 km/h
(2010 XC15) 10th November 2015 8 day(s) 0.1508 58.7 140 m – 310 m 12.75 km/s 45900 km/h
(2005 UN) 12th November 2015 10 day(s) 0.1550 60.3 18 m – 39 m 8.59 km/s 30924 km/h
(2000 WP19) 15th November 2015 13 day(s) 0.0586 22.8 80 m – 180 m 10.43 km/s 37548 km/h
(2012 LA11) 16th November 2015 14 day(s) 0.0678 26.4 16 m – 36 m 4.88 km/s 17568 km/h
(2009 WN6) 18th November 2015 16 day(s) 0.1087 42.3 31 m – 68 m 10.02 km/s 36072 km/h
(2015 TO178) 18th November 2015 16 day(s) 0.0913 35.5 33 m – 75 m 6.19 km/s 22284 km/h
413577 (2005 UL5) 19th November 2015 17 day(s) 0.0153 5.9 240 m – 540 m 18.99 km/s 68364 km/h
(2002 VV17) 19th November 2015 17 day(s) 0.1582 61.6 270 m – 590 m 10.26 km/s 36936 km/h
(2005 UJ6) 20th November 2015 18 day(s) 0.1580 61.5 130 m – 300 m 17.60 km/s 63360.00000000001 km/h
(2005 EW169) 21st November 2015 19 day(s) 0.0940 36.6 400 m – 900 m 8.90 km/s 32040 km/h
(2015 RQ82) 23rd November 2015 21 day(s) 0.0739 28.7 97 m – 220 m 8.24 km/s 29664 km/h
(2011 YS62) 23rd November 2015 21 day(s) 0.0915 35.6 310 m – 680 m 14.10 km/s 50760 km/h
(2009 WB105) 24th November 2015 22 day(s) 0.0385 15.0 58 m – 130 m 18.88 km/s 67968 km/h
(2010 YC1) 26th November 2015 24 day(s) 0.1948 75.8 150 m – 330 m 14.08 km/s 50688 km/h
(2004 BG41) 26th November 2015 24 day(s) 0.0770 30.0 35 m – 78 m 10.25 km/s 36900 km/h
(2012 XA133) 26th November 2015 24 day(s) 0.1134 44.1 180 m – 390 m 26.99 km/s 97164 km/h
(2011 HJ7) 26th November 2015 24 day(s) 0.0893 34.8 100 m – 230 m 13.57 km/s 48852 km/h
(2015 LE21) 27th November 2015 25 day(s) 0.1126 43.8 31 m – 68 m 3.71 km/s 13356 km/h
163696 (2003 EB50) 28th November 2015 26 day(s) 0.1254 48.8 1.4 km – 3.1 km 23.68 km/s 85248 km/h
(2007 EA26) 28th November 2015 26 day(s) 0.1115 43.4 210 m – 470 m 8.19 km/s 29484 km/h
(1999 VN6) 29th November 2015 27 day(s) 0.1865 72.6 350 m – 780 m 12.33 km/s 44388 km/h
345722 (2007 BG29) 30th November 2015 28 day(s) 0.1390 54.1 670 m – 1.5 km 11.26 km/s 40536 km/h
(2014 WM7) 30th November 2015 28 day(s) 0.0796 31.0 51 m – 110 m 10.08 km/s 36288 km/h
(2005 XT77) 01st December 2015 29 day(s) 0.1679 65.3 180 m – 390 m 9.70 km/s 34920 km/h
1 AU = ~150 million kilometers,1 LD = Lunar Distance = ~384,000 kilometers Source: NASA-NEO

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Notes: LD means “Lunar Distance.” 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.

All Sky Fireball Network

 

Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth’s atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.

On May. 20, 2014, the network reported 8 fireballs.
(8 sporadics)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point–Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

Near Earth Asteroids

 

Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

 

On May 21, 2014 there were 1475 potentially hazardous asteroids.

 

Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:

Notes: LD means “Lunar Distance.” 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.

Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2010 JO33
May 17
4 LD
43 m
2014 KD
May 19
7.7 LD
57 m
2014 KD2
May 20
5.2 LD
41 m
2005 UK1
May 20
36.7 LD
1.1 km
1997 WS22
May 21
47.1 LD
1.5 km
2002 JC
May 24
48.7 LD
1.4 km
2014 HQ124
Jun 8
3.3 LD
620 m
2011 PU1
Jul 18
7.6 LD
43 m

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Notes: LD means “Lunar Distance.” 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.

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METEOR SHOWER ALERT:

Next weekend, Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR. The encounter could spark a new meteor shower. Forecasters aren’t sure how many meteors will appear; anything is possible from a complete dud to a magnificent meteor storm. Best estimates fall between 30 and 200 meteors per hour on May 24th between 0600 UT and 0800 UT on May 24th. Get the full story from Science@NASA

 

ScienceCasts: NASA on the Lookout for a New Meteor Shower

A first-of-its-kind meteor shower is expected to occur Friday night and into early Saturday morning.

The Camelopardalid meteor shower is a first because Earth has never run into the debris from this particular comet.

The Comet 209P/LINEAR is a very dim comet that orbits the sun every five years and was discovered in 2004.

MORE: New meteor shower could turn into meteor storm

Unlike other meteor showers expected to be visible around the same time of year, the Camelopardalid is unique because its debris is strongly influenced by Jupiter’s gravity, which constantly alters the orbit of this comet’s debris, said William Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

 

 

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Space Weather

by Dr. Tony Phillips.

All Sky Fireball Network

 

Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth’s atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.

On May. 11, 2014, the network reported 9 fireballs.
(7 sporadics, 2 eta Aquariids)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point–Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

Near Earth Asteroids

Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.

On May 14, 2014 there were 1473 potentially hazardous asteroids.

Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:

Asteroid
Date(UT)
Miss Distance
Size
2014 HT178
May 8
5.9 LD
21 m
2014 JD
May 9
7.7 LD
24 m
2014 JG55
May 10
0.3 LD
7 m
2014 JW55
May 13
4.3 LD
23 m
2014 JH15
May 17
8 LD
59 m
2010 JO33
May 17
4 LD
43 m
2005 UK1
May 20
36.7 LD
1.1 km
1997 WS22
May 21
47.1 LD
1.5 km
2002 JC
May 24
48.7 LD
1.4 km
2014 HQ124
Jun 8
3.2 LD
615 m

Notes: LD means “Lunar Distance.” 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.

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Earth Watch Report  –  Solar Activity

 

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Space Weather

by Dr. Tony Phillips.

CORONAL CANYON:

Today, the sun’s atmosphere is split down the middle by a canyon-shaped coronal hole. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the chasm, which is almost directly facing Earth:

Coronal holes are places where the sun’s magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. This hole is straddling the sun’s equator so the solar wind stream emerging from it will intersect Earth’s orbit. ETA: May 16-17. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on those dates.

 

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