Previous month:
October 2011
Next month:
December 2011

Update: Russia's Phobos-Gunt Mission Remains Mute

            6a00d8341bf7f753ef0162fd09ac53970d-800wi

Russia's ill-fated Phobos-Grunt Mars mission remained quiet Tuesday (Nov. 29) after several attempts to nudge the craft back into contact with ground controllers. European Space Agency (ESA) officials transmitted signals to raise Phobos-Grunt's orbit Tuesday in hopes it would allow greater communications opportunities at a higher altitude. The effort wasn't successful. The probe remains in a low-altitude orbit less than 200 miles (322 kilometers) above Earth.

Continue reading "Update: Russia's Phobos-Gunt Mission Remains Mute" »


Saturn's Enceladus Revisited --NASA Expert: "Is it the Site of a Second Genesis?"


           Enceladus_geysers


Saturn's small, icy moon Enceladus, “the mother lode of all discoveries was discovered at the South Pole,” said Carolyn Porco in a talk at Harvard University. Porco is director of flight operations and imaging team leader for the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn. Her work involves taking detailed pictures in space, shots that offer insights into the nature of the universe, and signs of life elsewhere in the solar system.. She described Cassini’s findings of elevated temperatures in the moon’s polar region, as well as an enormous plume of icy particles shooting tens of thousands of kilometers into space.

Continue reading "Saturn's Enceladus Revisited --NASA Expert: "Is it the Site of a Second Genesis?"" »


"The Magellanic Stream" --A Relic of Ancient Stellar Winds and Supernova Explosions


Magstream_nrao_big


This combined radio/optical image shows the Milky Way, Magellanic Clouds, and a new radio image of the Magellanic Stream. "The new age of the stream puts its beginning at about the time when the two Magellanic Clouds may have passed close to each other, triggering massive bursts of star formation," Nidever said. "The strong stellar winds and supernova explosions from that burst of star formation could have blown out the gas and started it flowing toward the Milky Way."

Continue reading ""The Magellanic Stream" --A Relic of Ancient Stellar Winds and Supernova Explosions" »


Image of the Day: A Neutron Star Ripping a Blue Super-Giant to Pieces

6a00d8341bf7f753ef014e60167ed7970c-800wi

This gamma-ray image from the Integral satellite shows Cygnus X-1 (the large white blob at center) and Cygnus X-3, an accretion disk encircling a neutron star and the third brightest high-energy emitter in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan.

The Imager on Board the Integral Satellite (IBIS) captured this image during that test phase and shows not only Cygnus X-1 (center) but also Cygnus X-3 (upper left). Instead of a black hole, Cygnus X-3 is thought to be a neutron star (a tiny dead stellar core) or a quark star pulling its companion star to pieces. Taken on 16 November 2002, the new IBIS observations support this theory.

Continue reading "Image of the Day: A Neutron Star Ripping a Blue Super-Giant to Pieces" »


"Global Warming Gene" --Plants Evolving in New Climate Epoch


Sunflower-Multi-Head



Scientists at the University of Bristol, along with their colleagues in Minnesota and at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, have recently published exciting new research in the journal PNAS, which increases our knowledge about the way in which rising temperatures affect plant growth.
 
Just a small a change in temperature (from 20 C - 28 C) is enough to cause a striking change in plant height. According to Dr Kerry Franklin, who led the Bristol team, “Small elevations in ambient temperature promote the rapid elongation of plant stems, which can have negative impacts on plant stability and crop yields”.

Continue reading ""Global Warming Gene" --Plants Evolving in New Climate Epoch" »


Exploding Black Holes -- "Gamma Ray Burts Yield More Energy in a Second than the Sun in a Billion Years"


                  6a00d8341bf7f753ef01538e510bc7970b-500wi


Gamma Ray Bursts are the brightest things to happen to the Universe since its beginning -- extraordinarily intense electromagnetic events releasing more energy per second than the sun does in a billion years, and basically an excuse for astronomers to use every awesome adjective they know.

Continue reading "Exploding Black Holes -- "Gamma Ray Burts Yield More Energy in a Second than the Sun in a Billion Years"" »


The Cosmic Web: A Vast Universe of Linked Galaxy Clusters


6a00d8341bf7f753ef014e600c93ab970c-800wi

This deep image of the Virgo Cluster comprises approximately 1300 to 2000 member galaxies, forming the heart of the larger Local Supercluster, of which the Local Group is an outlying member.The image shows the diffuse light between the galaxies belonging to the cluster. North is up, east to the left. The dark spots indicate where bright foreground stars were removed from the image. The giant elliptical galaxy, Messier 87 is the largest galaxy in the picture (lower left).

Continue reading "The Cosmic Web: A Vast Universe of Linked Galaxy Clusters" »


"Vampire Star" --Is It Poised to Erupt into One of the Most Violent Events in the Universe?

188854main_pulsarplanet1_lg


ESO’s Very Large Telescope captured the first time-lapse movie of a rare shell ejected by a “vampire star." The gas-sucking star is part of a double star system known as V445 in the constellation of Puppis ("the Stern") that is devouring part of a companion star looks to be a ticking time bomb.

Continue reading ""Vampire Star" --Is It Poised to Erupt into One of the Most Violent Events in the Universe?" »


Image of the Day: The Whirlpool Galaxy Yields Youngest Supernova Ever

M51

Astronomers have obtained a never-before achieved radio astronomical photograph of the youngest supernova. Fourteen days after the explosion of a star in the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) 23 million light years from Earth last June. Coordinated telescopes around Europe took a photograph of the cosmic explosion a hundred times greater in detail than that of the Hubble Space Telescope. This technique, known as radio interferometry-- equivalent to seeing a golf ball on the surface of the moon.

Continue reading "Image of the Day: The Whirlpool Galaxy Yields Youngest Supernova Ever" »


News Update: European Space Agency to Contact Mars' Phobos-Gunt Probe Today



                6a00d8341bf7f753ef0153938c04aa970b-800wi


The European Space Agency (ESA) announced that theywill attempt today to contact the stranded Russian Phobos-Grunt spacecraft that became stuck at a low-Earth orbit due to engine failure that followed its launch on November 9, the head of the ESA office in Moscow said this past Friday.

Continue reading "News Update: European Space Agency to Contact Mars' Phobos-Gunt Probe Today" »