Posted tagged ‘Astronomy’

Solar Storms Hit Earth

March 8, 2012

Take cover!!!!!!!

Just kidding. It’s not like that!

The largest solar storm in five years has hit the Earth, but scientists say that we’ve lucked out (so far).

The storm arrived Thursday morning and scientists say that the “peacefulness” of it could change as the storm spends the day shaking the planet’s magnetic field.

From ZDNet:

NASA reports that the  two new solar flares were ejected from the sun on Wednesday March 6 and reached Earth at 5:45 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 8. The two flares were traveling at 1,300 and 1,100 miles per second.

Even though there was a larger solar flare last  year, magnetic, radio and radiation emissions could create a larger impact on Earth. Early reports say the impact was weaker than anticipated but the intensity of the storm could pick up.

Wind, Hail Batter Space Shuttle Launch Pad

March 31, 2011

NASA crews will perform a full survey of the space shuttle Endeavour today, just one day after high winds and hail battered the launch pad.

From CNN:

“No one was injured and initially no obvious damage was observed. The storm moved through the area quickly,” a NASA press release said.

Endeavour is scheduled to blast off to the International Space Station on April 19th. The space shuttle’s six astronauts are at the Kennedy Space Center for their launch dress rehearsal.

5 Earth-Sized Planets Found in Milky Way

February 3, 2011

NASA scientists have announced that the Kepler space telescope has spotted five planets about the size of Earth, orbiting stars in the Milky Way.

Man! That must have been hard on their teeth! Oh wait…the Milky Way Galaxy. Whew!

From CNN:

These planets are orbiting in what is known as the habitable zone, which puts them at a distance from their suns where liquid water could exist. Liquid water is a key ingredient for life to form.

“In a generation we have gone from extraterrestrial planets being a mainstay of science fiction, to the present, where Kepler has helped turn science fiction into today’s reality,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

The Kepler science team also announced the telescope found six planets, all larger than Earth, orbiting a single sun-like star.

Ten Year Old Girl Discovers Supernova

January 4, 2011

Pretty cool!

A 10-year-old girl from Canada has became the youngest person to discover a supernova.

From CNN:

Kathryn Aurora Gray of Fredericton, New Brunswick, spotted the exploding star, dubbed supernova 2010lt, on Monday from an image taken on New Year’s Eve by a telescope belonging to amateur astronomer David Lane in Stillwater Lake, Nova Scotia. The exploding star is in the galaxy UGC 3378 in the constellation of Camelopardalis.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) says Kathryn is the youngest person ever to discover a supernova.

“I was very excited to find one. Especially this quick,” Kathryn said of her discovery, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun.

NASA Prepares for Moon (Crash) Landing

October 8, 2009

NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite is scheduled to crash its Centaur rocket on the surface of the moon tomorrow morning at 7:31 a.m. (ET). Who’s gonna watch?

From CNN:

NASA hopes the impact will kick up enough dust to help the LCROSS probe find the presence of water in the moon’s soil. Four minutes later, the LCROSS will follow through the debris plume, collecting and relaying data back to Earth before crashing into the Cabeus crater near the moon’s south pole.

The LCROSS is carrying spectrometers, near-infrared cameras, a visible camera and a visible radiometer. These instruments will help NASA scientists analyze the plume of dust — more than 250 metric tons’ worth — for water vapor.

The orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will watch, and photograph, the collisions. And hundreds of telescopes on Earth also will be focused on the two plumes.

Green Comet Wows Stargazers

February 18, 2009

A strange, greenish backward-flying comet is speeding past Earth this month, as it takes its only trip toward the sun from the farthest edges of the solar system.

From the Associated Press:

The comet is called Lulin, and there’s a chance it can be seen with the naked eye — far from city lights, astronomers say. But you’ll most likely need a telescope, or at least binoculars, to spot it.

The best opportunity is just before dawn one-third of the way up the southern sky. It should be near Saturn and two bright stars, Spica and Regula.

On Monday at 10:43 p.m. EST, it will be 38 million miles from Earth, the closest it will ever get, according to Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object program.

The story behind the comet is more intriguing than its appearance — the greenish tinge may be hard for many to discern. The color comes from a type of carbon and cyanogen, a poisonous gas.

Lulin was discovered by a Chinese teenager two years ago. It still has many of its original gases — gases that are usually stripped away as comets near the sun. Unlike most comets viewable from Earth, this one hasn’t been this close to the sun before, Yeomans said.

While all the planets and most of the other objects in the solar system circle the sun counterclockwise, Lulin circles clockwise, said NASA astronomer Stephen Edberg. And thanks to an optical illusion, from Earth it appears as if the comet’s tail is in the front as the comet approaches Earth and the sun.

“It essentially is going backwards through the solar system,” he said.

It came from the outskirts of the solar system, 18 trillion miles away. Once it’s made the journey around the sun, Lulin will gain enough speed to escape the solar system, Edberg said.

“If you are interested in comets, make sure you see it,” he said. “But it’s not going to be a real great blast for the general public.”