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Solar System News (miscellaneous articles)

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Jim K    13,748

Speaking of Mercury ... don't forget about Mercury's transit across the sun on Monday.  I plan on breaking out my 8 inch Dobsonian and see if I can't catch a glimpse of it.  Won't be as impressive as Venus ... but still.  

 

http://www.space.com/32784-mercury-transit-2016-sun-viewing-guide.html

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Jim K    13,748

Been perfectly clear and blue skies the past couple of days.  Today...of course...

 

20160509_101339.jpg

 

hopefully they burn off soon so I can point my telescope at the sun and see if I can see Mercury...if not guess I'll have to wait until 2019.  Or wait for Venus again in 2117  :woot:  

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Draggendrop    5,747

^ Hope it cleared up for you....:D

 

Just a quick clip till a better one gets uploaded...

 

Mercury Transit May 9, 2016 - NASA's Spacecraft Video Footage

video is 1:21 min.

 

 

 

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Jim K    13,748
1 minute ago, Draggendrop said:

^ Hope it cleared up for you....:D

 

Just a quick clip till a better one gets uploaded...

 

Mercury Transit May 9, 2016 - NASA's Spacecraft Video Footage

video is 1:21 min.

 

 

 

Nope. Cloudy all day. 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Stunning Video: Mercury Transits The Face of The Sun

 

Quote

Around 13 times per century, Mercury passes between Earth and the sun in a rare astronomical event known as a planetary transit.

The 2016 Mercury transit occurred on May 9, between roughly 7:12 a.m. and 2:42 p.m. EDT. The images in this video are from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO.

 

Video credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Genna Duberstein Music: Encompass by Mark Petrie

http://spaceref.com/mercury/stunning-video-mercury-transits-the-face-of-the-sun.html

 

NASA's SDO Captures Mercury Transit Time-lapse

video is 2:04 min.

 

 

:)

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Pretty neat! :yes: 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Japanese orbiter officially begins science mission at Venus

 

be7dc0ba492209940617eba7768e5762-768x543

Artist’s concept of Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft at Venus. Credit: JAXA

 

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Five months since a belated arrival at Venus, Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft has officially started a modified scientific survey of the sweltering, shrouded planet’s atmosphere and climate.

 

The probe’s science cameras are collecting regular images of Venus’s exotic clouds, and Japanese engineers are optimistic Akatsuki can remain operational for at least two years, and perhaps through 2020.

 

Akatsuki braked into orbit around Venus in early December, five years later than originally planned after it missed an arrival opportunity in 2010.

Scientists checked out the orbiter’s science instruments since the craft arrived at Venus, and declared Akatsuki operational in April, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. One of the spacecraft’s instruments, the lightning and airglow camera, is still being calibrated before it shifts to regular observations, JAXA said.

 

Launched by a Japanese H-2A rocket in May 2010, Akatsuki survived an unplanned five-year cruise to Venus, passing closer to the sun and withstanding higher temperatures it was designed to endure after a propulsion failure thwarted an orbit insertion burn in December 2010.

A salt formation blocked an engine valve, starving Akatsuki’s main thruster of fuel during the critical firing to swing into orbit around Venus.

 

Five years later, when Akatsuki was again in the vicinity of Venus, the spacecraft fired its secondary attitude control thrusters to steer into orbit. But the smaller engines had less thrust than the probe’s primary thruster, driving Akatsuki into an orbit much stretching nearly five times farther from Venus than originally intended.

 

A course correction burn April 4 slightly adjusted Akatsuki’s orbit to reach a peak altitude of 370,000 kilometers (about 230,000 miles), roughly the distance between the Earth and the moon. At the low end of its orbit, Akatsuki passes between 1,000 and 10,000 kilometers (620-6,200 miles) above Venus’s cloud tops.

 

The higher orbit will complicate the mission’s scientific observations, with Venus appearing much smaller to Akatsuki’s cameras. It also produces fewer opportunities for radio occultation measurements, which use radio signals passed between the spacecraft and Earth-based antennas to study the vertical structure of Venus’s atmosphere.

 

The orbiter’s lightning and airglow camera, conceived to take the first pictures of lightning flashes on Venus, can only collect images for about one hour during each 10.8-day orbit, when Akatsuki is in the shadow of the planet. The limited imaging windows for the lightning camera have extended the instrument’s calibration time, but scientists expect it to begin full science observations in June.

 

Takeshi Imamura, Akatsuki’s project scientist at JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, told a gathering of planetary scientists in Britain last month that the mission’s shortcomings could be overcome with more high-resolution imaging at the low point of Akatsuki’s orbit, and an extension of the probe’s operations beyond its original two-year lifetime through 2020.

 

IR2_25mar2016A_226um-RGB2color.png

One of Akatsuki’s infrared cameras took this image of the night side of Venus, the most detailed view of the planet’s nighttime clouds ever acquired. Credit: JAXA

 

More at the link...

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/17/japanese-orbiter-officially-begins-science-mission-at-venus/

 

------------------------------------

 

Dwarf Planet Haumea’s Lunar System Smaller Than Anticipated

 

DwarfPlanetSystemsCompare1-e146342551224

THIS IMAGE SHOWS A COMPARISON OF THE FOUR ICY DWARF PLANETS AND THEIR MOONS, WITH ALL OBJECTS TO SCALE. THESE LARGE BODIES IN THE OUTER SOLAR SYSTEM SHARE MANY SIMILARITIES, BUT ONE DIFFERENCE IS THAT ONLY PLUTO HAS A COLLECTION OF TINY MOONS (SHOWN NEAR THE CENTER). RESEARCH FROM LUKE BURKHART AT YALE UNIVERSITY, DARIN RAGOZZINE AT FLORIDA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY AND MICHAEL BROWN AT CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY FOUND THAT HAUMEA, A DWARF PLANET ON THE EDGE OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM, DOESN'T HAVE THE SAME KIND OF MOONS AS ITS WELL-KNOWN COUSIN, PLUTO. CREDIT: D. RAGOZZINE (FIT)/NASA/JHU/SWRI

 

Quote

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Haumea, a dwarf planet on the edge of our solar system doesn’t have the same kind of moons as its well-known cousin Pluto according to a new study published here. This is despite original evidence that suggested they both formed in similar giant impacts and adds to the mystery shrouding how these icy bodies formed.

 

Haumea has two known satellites, an unusually high spin rate and is also the “parent” of a large family of icy bodies in the outer solar system that used to be chunks of its surface, but which now orbit the Sun on their own. These unique features are indicative of an ancient collision and make Haumea one of the most interesting objects in the Kuiper Belt, said Darin Ragozzine, assistant professor of physics and space sciences at Florida Institute of Technology and leader of the study.

 

Pluto and Haumea are the only outer system bodies with more than one moon. Pluto boasts the very large Charon and four tiny moons. The other known KBO dwarf planets, Eris and Makemake, have a medium and tiny moon, respectively. Makemake’s moon was discovered in April.

 

But beyond its two known medium-size satellites, Haumea doesn’t seem to have small, icy moons similar to Pluto’s. “While we’ve known about Pluto’s and Haumea’s moons for years, we now know that Haumea does not share tiny moons like Pluto’s, increasing our understanding of this intriguing object,” Ragozzine said.

 

The observations also seem to imply that, despite some similarities, the satellite systems of the icy dwarf planets had different pathways to their formation. Even with the new result, Ragozzine emphasizes that both Pluto and Haumea moon systems have the planetary science community stumped. “There is no self-consistent formation hypothesis for either set of satellites.”

 

The Haumea observations were made with the Hubble Space Telescope, which was focused on a ten-consecutive-orbit sequence in 2010. The hunt for extra moons around Haumea relied on a novel technique labeled the “non-linear shift-and-stack” method, an approach that may be useful for other satellite searches or detecting yet-unknown Kuiper Belt Objects.

 

As continued analyses of NASA New Horizons observations of Pluto roll in, Ragozzine is seeking funding to try to get to the bottom of Haumea. The new understanding that the dwarf planet doesn’t have tiny moons and exhibits other unusual characteristics adds to the puzzle.

http://newsroom.fit.edu/2016/05/16/dwarf-planet-haumeas-lunar-system-smaller-anticipated/

 

Filed paper/Abstract

A Deep Search for Additional Satellites around the Dwarf Planet Haumea

https://arxiv.org/abs/1605.03941

 

:D

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Jim K    13,748

Giant tsunamis up to 120 meters high (394 feet for us Americans) on Mars ... 3.4 billion years ago (so surf boards aren't needed when we take a trip there) according to Scientific Reports / Nature.com

 

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Some 3.4 billion years ago, giant meteoroids slammed into a frigid ocean covering Mars's northern hemisphere. The impacts kicked up enormous waves that raced across the water and swamped the shoreline, research suggests.

 

On the scale of planetary catastrophes, such tsunamis would have dwarfed most Earthly ones. “Imagine this enormous red wave coming towards you, up to 120 metres high,” says Alexis Rodriguez, a Mars researcher at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. “It would have been pretty spectacular.”

 

Rodriguez and his colleagues mapped traces of two of these tsunamis. They describe the findings in Scientific Reports.

 

If the idea stands up to further scrutiny, it may help resolve longstanding arguments about whether Mars had an ancient northern ocean. As evidence, some scientists point to what they call the remains of a shoreline, like a bathtub ring left behind when the water drained away. But the purported shoreline isn’t visible everywhere that it should be.

 

nature-mars-tsunami-a.jpg

Alexis Rodriguez

A lot more information at Nature.com

 

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DocM    16,615

On the scale of planetary catastrophes, such tsunamis would have dwarfed most Earthly ones. “Imagine this enormous red wave coming towards you, up to 120 metres high,” ...

 

A recent Earth tsunami was 1,722 feet. (525 m).  1958 in Lituya Bay, Alaska. Two survivors,

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Latest close-up of Mars comes from Hubble telescope

 

hs-2016-15-a-full_tif-768x768.jpg

Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 took this image of Mars on May 12 at a distance of 50 million miles. Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), J. Bell (ASU), and M. Wolff (Space Science Institute)

 

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Scientists recently aimed the Hubble Space Telescope at the red planet, producing a dazzling image of bright Martian ice caps, rust-colored landscapes and clouds hanging in its rarefied atmosphere.

 

Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 took an image of Mars on May 12, when the red planet was about 50 million miles (80 million kilometers) away from Earth.

 

The orbiting observatory’s view of Mars shows large-scale geologic features, ancient impact basins, polar ice caps and clouds stretching thousands of miles across, blocking some regions from Hubble’s gaze.

 

i1615ay-2-768x614.jpg

Hubble’s new Mars image indicating major features on the face of the planet. Credits: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), J. Bell (ASU), and M. Wolff (Space Science Institute)

 

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NASA said the hemisphere of Mars imaged by Hubble on May 12 contains the landing sites of the agency’s Viking 1 lander, which reached the planet in 1976, and the place Mars Pathfinder touched down in 1997.

 

Meridiani Planum, where NASA’s still-operating Opportunity rover has explored since 2004, lies just to the north of the arrow in the above image pointing to Sinus Meridiani. Europe’s Schiaparelli lander is heading for a site nearby in October.

 

Martian surface features as small as 20 miles (about 30 kilometers) are resolved in Hubble’s May 12 image, NASA said.

 

Mars will reach opposition, when the planet and the sun are on opposite sides of the Earth, on May 22. Earth and Mars will be at their closest point in 11 years May 30, at a distance 46.8 million miles (75.3 million kilometers).

 

The elliptical orbits of the planets mean the opposition date is more than a week before Earth and Mars come closest to each other.

 

Mars oppositions occur about once every 780 days, and Hubble has observed the red planet at multiple oppositions, including in 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/05/19/latest-close-up-of-mars-comes-from-hubble-telescope/

 

--------------------------------

 

Jupiter Fireballs: Big Impacts Occur 6 to 7 Times Per Year

 

jupiter-fireball-impact.jpg?interpolatio

The Jupiter fireball of March 17, 2016, captured by Gerrit Kernbauer and John McKeon.
Credit: G. Kernbauer, J. McKeon, S. Voltmer

 

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Jupiter doesn't get whacked by asteroids and comets quite as often as scientists had thought.

 

Objects big enough to generate a fireball visible from Earth — such as the spectacular one that occurred on March 17 — slam into Jupiter about 6.5 times per year, according to a new study based on the pooled observations of amateur astronomers around the world.

 

"In three years since our program started, amateur contributors from Europe, the U.S. and Australia have analyzed the equivalent of more than 56 days of videos — around 53,000 videos — without discovering an impact," Marc Delcroix, who coordinates a group of about 60 skywatchers worldwide, said in a statement. [Jupiter Collision! Impact Captured by Amateur Astronomer (Video)]

 

"This is a result in itself and, together with the reports of amateur astronomer John McKeon, has helped us come up with our preliminary estimate, which slightly reduces previous estimates of the flux of impacting objects [at] Jupiter," Delcroix added.

 

McKeon captured the March 17 Jupiter fireball on video. (Another amateur astronomer, Gerrit Kernbauer, spotted the impact first; McKeon went through his observations from that night after learning of Kernbauer's find.)

 

Quote

Researchers think that the March 17 event was caused by an object 33 to 66 feet (10 to 20 meters) wide. Skywatchers have observed three other such Jupiter strikes since June 2010; all of them likely involved impactors in the same general size range, scientists have said.

 

But bigger objects hammer the gas giant fairly frequently as well. A 1,650-foot-wide (500 m) asteroid barreled into Jupiter in 2009, for example, and the big chunks of broken-apart Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 pummeled the huge planet in July 1994, leaving dark scars that were visible in Jupiter's cloud tops for months.

 

Jupiter is much bigger and more massive than Earth, so the giant planet gets hit by cosmic objects thousands of times more often than our planet does. (Asteroids and comets are drawn in more frequently by Jupiter's powerful gravity.)

 

Nailing down Jupiter's precise impact rate is of interest to astronomers and planetary scientists as well as skywatchers.

http://www.space.com/32913-jupiter-asteroid-impact-rate-fireballs.html

 

Jupiter Pelted by 6.5 Fireballs Each Year

video is 1:02 min.

 

 

:)

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LOC    1,170

In that Mars picture, I can totally see the Doom Marine kicking some demon asses (with glory kills cuz they are awesome! even on PC!). I think he's using a gauss gun maybe, or is that a super shotgun with quad? Come on Hubble we need some close ups of the deathmatch going on down there!

 

Also, Samuel Hayden is down there to, picking flowers near the Argent Tower. :D

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DocM    16,615

Hopefully Musk will also show colony concepts in September, but something tells me most folks will be concentrating on the rocket & spaceship porn. Gonna be hard for some folks to wrap their heads around.

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Draggendrop    5,747
3 minutes ago, DocM said:

Hopefully Musk will also show colony concepts in September, but something tells me most folks will be concentrating on the rocket & spaceship porn. Gonna be hard for some folks to wrap their heads around.

Quite right, Best part is that SpaceX will make it happen, in rapid steps.....meanwhile, the usual cast of characters are trying to line up the next "feeding trough"...

Lockheed Aims for Mars Space Station By 2028

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-18/lockheed-aims-for-mars-space-station-by-2028

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Draggendrop    5,747

2016 Full Moon Calendar

 

Quote

The moon shows its full face to Earth once a month. Well, sort of. In fact, when things are perfectly aligned and the moon is 100 percent full, there is a lunar eclipse; so, in reality most of the time the moon is never perfectly full. And sometimes — once in a blue moon — it is full twice in a month (or four times in a season, depending on which definition you prefer). (FYI: There is a blue moon in 2016 on May 21.)

 

The next full moon will occur on Saturday, May 21, 2016. It is known as the Flower Moon and may look full a day before and after to the casual observer. The online Slooh Community Observatory will offer a free live webcast of the May full moon beginning at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT). You can follow the Slooh webcast at Slooh.com. You can also watch the Blue Moon webcast on Space.com here, courtesy of Slooh.

 

The best time to observe the moon in May will be Friday the 13th and May 29, when the moon is at its quarter-full phase, making the view through telescopes extremely impressive.

// "bolding" done to highlight tomorrow....

 

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Full moons in 2016

Many cultures have given distinct names to each recurring full moon. The names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. The Farmer's Almanac lists several names, and explains that there were some variations in the moon names, but in general, the same ones were used among the Algonquin tribes from New England on west to Lake Superior. European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names.

 

This is when full moons will occur in 2016, according to NASA:

 

DateNameU.S. EastUTC

Jan. 23Wolf Moon8:46 p.m.01:46 (1/24)

Feb. 22Snow Moon1:20 p.m.18:20

Mar. 23Worm Moon8:01 a.m.12:01

Apr. 22Pink Moon1:24 a.m.05:24

May 21Flower Moon5:15 p.m.21:15

June 20Strawberry Moon7:02 a.m.11:02

July 19Buck Moon6:57 p.m.22:57

Aug. 18Sturgeon Moon5:27 a.m.09:27

Sept. 16Harvest Moon3:05 p.m.19:05

Oct. 16Hunter's Moon12:23 a.m.04:23

Nov. 14Beaver Moon8:52 a.m.13:52

Dec. 13Cold Moon7:05 p.m.00:05 (12/14)

 

Quote

Here's how a full moon works:

The moon is a sphere that travels once around Earth every 27.3 days. It also takes about 27 days for the moon to rotate on its axis. So, the moon always shows us the same face; there is no single "dark side" of the moon. As the moon revolves around Earth, it is illuminated from varying angles by the sun — what we see when we look at the moon is reflected sunlight. On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, which means sometimes it rises during daylight and other times during nighttime hours.

 

moon-phases-101111-02.jpg?1289850911

See the moon phases, and the difference between a waxing and waning crescent or gibbous moon, in this Space.com infographic about the lunar cycle each month. 
Credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com

 

http://www.space.com/16830-full-moon-calendar.html

 

---------------------------

 

Cosmic Journeys

 

This image lists all solar system missions. It is large and can be magnified by clicking on an area, the image in the link.

 

 bQJkv1G.jpg

 

 

Expandable image link

 

:D

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LOC    1,170

Weird that all those solar system missions launch from Earth. There are other planets to start from you know! :D

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Draggendrop    5,747

SDO Peers Into Huge Coronal Hole

 

oocorona.jpg

Coronal hole              NASA

 

Quote

This imagery of the sun captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory from May 17-19, 2016, shows a giant dark area on the star's upper half, known as a coronal hole.

 

Coronal holes are low-density regions of the sun's atmosphere, known as the corona. Because they contain little solar material, they have lower temperatures and thus appear much darker than their surroundings. Coronal holes are visible in certain types of extreme ultraviolet light, which is typically invisible to our eyes, but is colorized here in purple for easy viewing.

 

These coronal holes are important to understanding the space environment around Earth through which our technology and astronauts travel.

 

Coronal holes are the source of a high-speed wind of solar particles that streams off the sun some three times faster than the slower wind elsewhere.

 

While it's unclear what causes coronal holes, they correlate to areas on the sun where magnetic fields soar up and away, without looping back down to the surface, as they do elsewhere.

http://spaceref.com/space-weather-2/sdo-peers-into-huge-coronal-hole.html

 

-----------------------------

 

Here Comes Mars! Red Planet Makes Closest Earth Approach Since 2005 Monday

 

nasa-hubble-mars-2003.jpg

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapped this shot of Mars on Aug. 26, 2003, when the Red Planet was 34.7 million miles from Earth. The picture was taken just 11 hours before Mars made its closest approach to us in 60,000 years.
Credit: NASA/ESA

 

Quote

Mars will make its closest approach to Earth since 2005 on Memorial Day (May 30), presenting a prime viewing opportunity for skywatchers.

 

Look low in the east-southeast sky on any clear evening soon after darkness falls this week, and you'll see a fiery, yellow-orange "star" blazing brilliantly. Named for the Roman god of war, Mars is often called the Red Planet. But anyone who takes even a casual glance will see that it's more like a yellowish orange, the color of a dry desert under a high sun — which is exactly what you're looking at.

 

160525-Gaherty-Mars.jpg?1464130016?inter

On Monday evening (May 30) at 5:35 p.m. EDT, Mars will be the closest it has been to Earth since Oct. 5, 2005.
Credit: Starry Night Software

 

Quote

Because Earth and Mars follow elliptical orbits around the sun, Mars' closest approach to Earth usually occurs several days before or after opposition. On May 30, according to calculations by Belgian astronomer Jean Meeus, Mars will come within 46.78 million miles (75.28 million kilometers) of Earth at 5:35 p.m. EDT (2135 GMT). At that time, a light beam will take 4 minutes and 11 seconds to cross the interplanetary gulf between Earth and Mars.

 

This year brings Mars closer to Earth than it has come since the fall of 2005, and the next opposition bringing Mars even closer will not occur until late July 2018, when it will be 35.78 million miles (57.59 million km) away. That 2018 opposition will be superior to this year's because Mars will also be approaching its closest point to the sun, called perihelion, when it arrives at opposition.

 

Such "perihelic oppositions" of Mars are infrequent, occurring about every 15 to 17 years. Recent perihelic oppositions saw Mars approach Earth to within 35.1 million miles (56.5 million km) in September 1956, 34.9 million miles (56.2 million km) in August 1971, 36.5 million miles (58.7 million km) in September 1988 and 34.6 million miles (55.7 million km) in August 2003. In fact, in 2003, Mars arrived at perihelion just a scant 42 hours after its opposition. It was the closest Mars has approached Earth in nearly 60,000 years.

http://www.space.com/33014-mars-closest-approach-2016-on-monday.html

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Draggendrop    5,747

SwRI scientists discover evidence of ice age at martian north pole

 

3D-Radar-perspective.png

SwRI scientists used this 3-D perspective view of Mars' polar ice cap to look for signs of climate change. Similar to profile views in two dimensions, the white line highlights the exact level in the ice where a change in climate occurred. On Mars, ice transfers from the north pole to the mid-latitudes during an ice age, leaving behind evidence of erosion. Subsequent accumulation (above the white line) indicates that the ice age was over. Image Courtesy of Fritz Foss and Nathaniel Putzig.

 

Quote

San Antonio, Texas -- May 26, 2016 -- Using radar data collected by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a Southwest Research Institute-led team found evidence of an ice age recorded in the polar deposits of Mars. Ice ages on Mars are driven by processes similar to those responsible for ice ages on Earth, that is, long-term cyclical changes in the planet's orbit and tilt, which affect the amount of solar radiation it receives at each latitude.

 

"We found an accelerated accumulation rate of ice in the uppermost 100 to 300 meters of the polar cap," said Dr. Isaac Smith, a postdoctoral researcher at SwRI and lead author of a paper published in the May 27 issue of Science. "The volume and thickness of ice matches model predictions from the early 2000s. Radar observations of the ice cap provide a detailed history of ice accumulation and erosion associated with climate change."

 

Like Earth, modern-day Mars experiences annual rotation and seasonal cycles, as well as longer cycles, that influence the distribution of ice. However, these longer cycles might be more pronounced on Mars. This is because Mars' tilt changes substantially -- by as much as 60 degrees -- on timescales of hundreds of thousands to millions of years.

 

By comparison, the Earth's tilt varies by only about 2 degrees over the same period. On Mars, this greater variability determines the amount of sunlight reaching a given spot on the surface and thus the stability of ice at all latitudes.

 

"Because the climate on Mars fluctuates with larger swings in axial tilt, and ice will distribute differently for each swing, Mars would look substantially different in the past than it does now," said Smith. "Furthermore, because Mars has no oceans at present, it represents a simplified 'laboratory' for understanding climate science on Earth."

 

Detailed measurements of ice thickness show that about 87,000 cubic kilometers of ice have accumulated at the poles since the end of the last ice age about 370,000 years ago; the majority of the material accumulated at the martian north pole. This volume is equivalent to a layer of 60 centimeters if spread uniformly across the surface.

 

These results provide a means to understand the accumulation history of the polar deposits as related to Mars movements, such as orbital eccentricity, axial tilt, and rotation around the Sun. The results will support modeling efforts to understand the martian climate, looking at the movement of ice from poles to mid-latitudes during climate cycles.

 

"Studying ice on Mars also is important to the future of human exploration of the Red Planet," said Smith. "Water will be a critical resource for a martian outpost."

 

"An ice age recorded in the polar deposits of Mars" is published in Science.

 

This work was funded by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/sri-ssd052416.php

 

SwRI scientists discover evidence of ice age at Martian north pole

http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/SwRI_scientists_discover_evidence_of_ice_age_at_Martian_north_pole_999.html

 

Mars is emerging from an ice age

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/aaft-mie052316.php

 

:)

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+Bryan R.    1,147

This is a presentation done at the EVE Online Fanfest 2016. I hope this is the best place to post.

 

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+Bryan R.    1,147

Another video from the EVE Online Fanfest

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

What's Hiding Below Jupiter's Clouds? New Radio Map Reveals Ammonia Swirls 

 

jupiter-radio-map-comparison.jpg?interpo

A new radio map of Jupiter, built with data from the Very Large Array in New Mexico, shows the movement of ammonia gas in the planet's atmosphere. Here, new radio measurements (above) are compared with a visible-light map from Hubble Space Telescope images, in approximate true color.
Credit: Michael H. Wong, Imke de Pater (UC Berkeley), Robert J. Sault (Univ. Melbourne). Optical: NASA, ESA, A.A. Simon (GSFC), M.H. Wong (UC Berkeley), and G.S. Orton (JPL-Caltech)
 

 

Quote

Just one month before the Juno spacecraft arrives at the gas giant Jupiter, the most detailed radio-wave maps ever of the planet's atmosphere dig beneath surface-level clouds to reveal the whirling ammonia flows that help form its distinctive features.

 

Researchers used the upgraded Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico to probe 60 miles (100 kilometers) below the top of the gas giant's pervasive clouds — revealing a correlation between the colorful whirls and spots on the visible surface and the movement of gas below, which is driven by Jupiter's internal heat source.

 

"We in essence created a three-dimensional picture of ammonia gas in Jupiter's atmosphere, which reveals upward and downward motions within the turbulent atmosphere," Imke de Pater, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author on the new work, said in a statement.

 

jupiter-radio-transition-short.gif?14648

Transition from optical image of Jupiter to new radio map; many of the same features are visible. In the radio view, rising ammonia-rich gases are dark and sinking, ammonia-poor gases are bright. Clouds of condensed ammonia are not visible by radio.
Credit: Radio: Robert J. Sault (Univ. Melbourne), Imke de Pater and Michael H. Wong (UC Berkeley). Optical: Marco Vedovato, Christopher Go, Manos Kardasis, Ian Sharp, Imke de Pater.
 

 

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Those maps reveal more detail than any previous radio map, spotting features just 800 miles (1,300 km) across, UC Berkeley officials said in the statement.

 

The researchers saw that ammonium-rich gases rose to form the upper cloud layers — ammonium hydrosulfide at about 200 Kelvin (minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and a cloud of ammonia-ice at 160 K (minus 170 degrees F), both of which can be seen with optical telescopes, officials said in the statement. The map also revealed gases with less ammonia sinking back down into the planet.

 

The areas with less ammonia, spread in a broad band around the planet, seem to correlate with "hot spots" on the planet's surface — areas that researchers have pinpointed as particularly bright in radio and infrared images. Those "hot spots" appear as holes in the planet's cloud cover, and look hazy in optical light.

 

"With radio, we can peer through the clouds and see that those hotspots are interleaved with plumes of ammonia rising from deep in the planet, tracing the vertical undulations of an equatorial wave system," Michael Wong, an astronomer who is also at UC Berkeley, said in the statement.

 

more at the link...

http://www.space.com/33058-jupiter-clouds-ammonia-swirls-radio-telescope-map.html

 

:D

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Draggendrop    5,747

LISA Pathfinder mission paves way for space-based detection of gravitational waves

 

117133_web.jpg

An artist's rendering of LISA Pathfinder on its way to Earth-sun L1.
CREDIT
ESA/C. Carreau

 

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LISA Pathfinder, a mission led by the European Space Agency (ESA) with contributions from NASA, has successfully tested a key technology needed to build a space-based observatory for detecting gravitational waves. These tiny ripples in the fabric of space, predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago, were first seen last year by the ground-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

 

Seismic, thermal, and other noise sources limit LIGO to higher-frequency gravitational waves around 100 cycles per second (hertz). But finding signals from more exotic events, such as mergers of supermassive black holes in colliding galaxies, requires the ability to see frequencies at 1 hertz or less, a sensitivity level only possible from space.

 

A space-based observatory would work by tracking test masses that move only under the influence of gravity. Each spacecraft would gently fly around its test masses without disturbing them, a process called drag-free flight. The primary goal of ESA's LISA Pathfinder mission is to test current technology by flying around an identical pair of 1.8-inch (46 millimeter) cubes made of a gold-platinum alloy, a material chosen for its high density and insensitivity to magnetic fields.

 

Scientists say the results are nothing short of astonishing. Non-gravitational forces on the cubes were reduced to levels far below the project's original requirements and approach the level of control needed for a full-scale observatory.

 

"The measurements have exceeded our most optimistic expectations," said Paul McNamara, the LISA Pathfinder project scientist at ESA's Directorate of Science, Noordwijk, the Netherlands. "We reached the level of precision originally required for LISA Pathfinder within the first day, and so we spent the following weeks improving the results a factor of five better."

 

The findings were published Tuesday, June 7, 2016 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

 

"LISA Pathfinder was always intended as a stepping stone to the level of performance needed for a full-scale gravitational wave observatory, but these results tell us we've nearly made the full jump. A full-scale observatory with LISA Pathfinder's performance would achieve essentially all of the ultimate science goals," said Ira Thorpe, a team member at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "That's amazing in itself, and data from this mission will help us build on an already impressive foundation."

much more at the link...

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/nsfc-lpm060716.php

 

This is excellent news, and the next generation telescopes/sensors have begun to be built...great times ahead.

 

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Frosted Dunes on Mars

 

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Frosted Dunes             NASA

 

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Sand dunes cover much of this terrain, which has large boulders lying on flat areas between the dunes. 


It is late winter in the southern hemisphere of Mars, and these dunes are just getting enough sunlight to start defrosting their seasonal cover of carbon dioxide. Spots form where pressurized carbon dioxide gas escapes to the surface.

 

This image was taken on March 27, 2016, at 15:31 local Mars time by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona Caption: Alfred McEwen

http://spaceref.com/mars/frosted-dunes-on-mars.html

 

This planet is a jewel.  :D

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Draggendrop    5,747

World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness

 

ooskybright.jpg

Sky brightness map               NOAA

 

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The Milky Way, the brilliant river of stars that has dominated the night sky and human imaginations since time immemorial, is but a faded memory to one third of humanity and 80 percent of Americans.

 

A new global atlas of light pollution has been produced by Italian and American scientists, including Chris Elvidge of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information and Kimberly Baugh of NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

 

"We've got whole generations of people in the United States who have never seen the Milky Way," said Elvidge. "It's a big part of our connection to the cosmos ­ and it's been lost."

 

Light pollution is most extensive in countries like Singapore, Italy and South Korea, while Canada and Australia retain the darkest skies. In Western Europe, only small areas of night sky remain relatively undiminished, mainly in Scotland, Sweden and Norway. Despite the vast open spaces of the American west, almost half of the U.S. experiences light-­polluted nights.

 

Light pollution does more than rob humans of the opportunity to ponder the night sky. Unnatural light can confuse or expose wildlife like insects, birds and sea turtles, with often fatal consequences.

 

The atlas takes advantage of low­light imaging now available from the NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellit, calibrated by thousands of ground observations. The brighter the area in this interactive map (at right), the harder it is to see stars and constellations in the night sky.

http://spaceref.com/astronomy/world-atlas-of-artificial-sky-brightness.html

 

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/ggph-nao060916.php

 

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Mars Atmospheric Temperature and Dust Storm Tracking

 

PIA20747_hires.jpg

NASA/JPL

 

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This graphic overlays Martian atmospheric temperature data as curtains over an image of Mars taken during a regional dust storm. The temperature profiles extend from the surface to about 50 miles (80 kilometers) up. Temperatures are color coded, ranging from minus 243 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 153 degrees Celsius) where coded purple to minus 9 F (minus 23 C) where coded red.

 

The temperature data and global image were both recorded on Oct. 18, 2014, by instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: Mars Climate Sounder and Mars Color Imager. On that day a regional dust storm was active in the Acidalia Planitia region of northern Mars, at the upper center of this image. A storm from this area in typically travels south and grows into a large regional storm in the southern hemisphere during southern spring.

 

That type of southern-spring storm and two other large regional dust storms repeat as a three-storm series most Martian years. The pattern has been identified from their effects on atmospheric temperature in a layer about 16 miles (25 kilometers) above the surface.

 

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, built and operates the Mars Climate Sounder. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and manages the Mars Color Imager. JPL manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the orbiter.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA20747

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

Curiosity Descends Plateau and Turns Toward Mount Sharp

 

PIA20602_PIA20603.gif

This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at a drilled sample site called "Okoruso," on the "Naukluft Plateau" of lower Mount Sharp. The scene combines multiple images taken with the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on May 11, 2016, during the 1,338th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars.    NASA/JPL

 

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NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has analyzed its 12th drilled sample of Mars.

 

This sample came from mudstone bedrock, which the rover resumed climbing in late May after six months studying other features.

 

Since the previous time Curiosity drilled into this "Murray formation" layer of lower Mount Sharp, the mission has examined active sand dunes along the rover's route, then crossed a remnant plateau of fractured sandstone that once more extensively covered the Murray formation.

 

While on the "Naukluft Plateau," the rover examined its 10th and 11th drill targets to repeat an experiment comparing material within and away from pale zones around fractures. From there, Curiosity also took the latest in a series of self-portraits.

 

"Now that we've skirted our way around the dunes and crossed the plateau, we've turned south to climb the mountain head-on," said Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Since landing, we've been aiming for this gap in the terrain and this left turn. It's a great moment for the mission."

 

Curiosity landed near Mount Sharp in 2012. It reached the base of the mountain in 2014 after successfully finding evidence on the surrounding plains that ancient Martian lakes offered conditions that would have been favorable for microbes if Mars has ever hosted life. Rock layers forming the base of Mount Sharp accumulated as sediment within ancient lakes billions of years ago.

http://spaceref.com/mars/curiosity-descends-plateau-and-turns-toward-mount-sharp.html

 

johnny5.jpg

Johnny five...alive

 

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Curiosity's First 14 Rock or Soil Sampling Sites on Mars

 

PIA20748_hires.jpg

NASA/JPL

 

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This graphic maps locations of the first 14 sites where NASA's Curiosity Mars rover collected rock or soil samples for analysis by laboratory instruments inside the vehicle. It also presents images of the drilled holes where 12 rock-powder samples were acquired. At the other two sites -- Rocknest and Gobabeb -- Curiosity scooped soil samples.

 

The diameter of each drill hole is about 0.6 inch (1.6 centimeters), slightly smaller than a U.S. dime. The images used here are raw color, as recorded by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera. Notice the differences in color of the material at different drilling sites.

 

The latest sample site included is "Oudam," where Curiosity drilled into mudstone of the "Murray formation" on June 4, during the 1,361th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

 

Curiosity landed in August 2012 on the plain (named Aeolis Palus) near Mount Sharp (or Aeolis Mons).

 

Dates when the first 11 drilled-rock samples were collected are: "John Klein" on Feb. 8, 2013 (Sol 182); "Cumberland" on May 19, 2013 (Sol 279); "Windjana" on May 5, 2014 (Sol 621); "Confidence Hills" on Sept. 24, 2014 (Sol 759); "Mojave" on Jan. 29, 2015 (Sol 882); "Telegraph Peak" on Feb. 24, 2015 (Sol 908); "Buckskin" on July 30, 2015 (Sol 1060); "Big Sky" on Sept. 29, 2015 (Sol 1119); "Greenhorn" on Oct. 18, 2015 (Sol 1137); "Lubango

" on April 23, 2016 (Sol 1320); and "Okoruso" on May 5, 2016 (Sol 1332).

 

MAHLI was built by Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA20748

 

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Couple of years old, but neat and worth showing.

 

Annular Eclipse of the Sun by Phobos, as Seen by Curiosity

 

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This set of three images shows views three seconds apart as the larger of Mars' two moons, Phobos, passed directly in front of the sun as seen by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. Curiosity photographed this annular, or ring, eclipse with the telephoto-lens camera of the rover's Mast Camera pair (right Mastcam) on Aug. 20, 2013, the 369th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars.

 

Curiosity paused during its drive that sol for a set of observations that the camera team carefully calculated to record this celestial event. The rover's observations of Phobos help researchers to make measurements of the moon's orbit even more precise. Because this eclipse occurred near mid-day at Curiosity's location on Mars, Phobos was nearly overhead, closer to the rover than it would have been earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. This timing made Phobos' silhouette larger against the sun -- as close to a total eclipse of the sun as is possible from Mars.

 

Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates Mastcam. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission and the mission's Curiosity rover for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

 

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 Phobos        NASA/JPL

 

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA17356

 

:D

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Jim K    13,748

Not "news".  Just thought these were pretty neat.

 

Lot more at...and much bigger sizes (so you can print if you want) at NASA

 

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BE A MARTIAN!

Mars needs YOU! In the future, Mars will need all kinds of explorers, farmers, surveyors, teachers . . . but most of all YOU! Join us on the Journey to Mars as we explore with robots and send humans there one day. Download a Mars poster that speaks to you. Be an explorer!

 

P01-Explorers-Wanted-NASA-Recruitment-Poster-600x.jpg

P02-Work-The-Night-Shift-NASA-Recruitment-Poster-600x.jpg

P03-Farmers-Wanted-NASA-Recruitment-Poster-600x.jpg

P07-Some-User-Assembly-Required-NASA-Recruitment-Poster-600x.jpg

P08-We-Need-You-NASA-Recruitment-Poster-600x.jpg

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Draggendrop    5,747

@jjkusaf   These posters are way too cool, Vintage style like the SpaceX ones. I downloaded the zip and got them all. Thank's for posting them.

 

:D

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