"The launch of NASA's Glory spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is currently planned for no earlier than Friday, Feb. 25 at 5:09 a.m. EST. Engineers from NASA and Orbital Sciences Corp. continue to troubleshoot a technical issue that arose during Wednesday's initial launch attempt. The target launch date also will ensure personnel get the required rest before entering another countdown."
Space & Planetary Science: February 2011 Archives
"While some of the coverage of the massive Valentine's Day solar flare made it sound like the world was coming to an end, or darn close to it. NASA's website this afternoon played another likely more realistic tune: "The particle cloud produced by the Valentine's Day event appears to be rather weak and is not expected to produce any strong effects at Earth other than perhaps some beautiful aurora in the high northern and southern latitudes on Feb. 17."
Scientists warn of $2,000bn solar 'Katrina', Financial Times
"The sun is waking up from a long quiet spell. Last week it sent out the strongest flare for four years - and scientists are warning that earth should prepare for an intense electromagnetic storm that, in the worst case, could be a "global Katrina" costing the world economy $2,000bn. Senior officials responsible for policy on solar storms - also known as space weather - in the US, UK and Sweden urged more preparedness at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington."
- Videos: Large Solar Flare and CME As Seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Earlier post
- Follow @SpaceWeather on Twitter
"National Aeronautics & Space Administration (Nasa) is trying hard prevent India's first manned space mission, tagged at Rs10,000 crore,from being indigenous. And India does not seem to have a problem. ...DNA has learnt that US' desperation emanates from pressure from within their country to restart its manned space mission, which it suspended in 1972 citing huge costs. This follows a review of Nasa's manned space programme conducted by a 10-member US presidential panel. An Isro scientist told DNA collaboration on India's manned space mission will benefit India and US. "Nasa is struggling for a higher budget to conduct human space exploration," he said."
"Comprised of 34 WAC image positions with NAC insets, the majority of this mosaic was obtained on 3 November 2010. However, due to pointing constraints on the spacecraft, the portion of the mosaic near and covering Neptune was acquired a few weeks later on 16 November 2010. All of the planets are visible except for Uranus and Neptune, which at distances of 3.0 and 4.4 billion kilometers were too faint to detect with even the longest camera exposure time of 10 seconds, though their positions are indicated. (The dwarf-planet Pluto, smaller and farther away, would have been even more difficult to observe). Earth's Moon and Jupiter's Galilean satellites (Callisto, Ganymede, Europa, and Io) can be seen in the NAC image insets."
"NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals a majestic disk of stars and dust lanes in this view of the spiral galaxy NGC 2841. A bright cusp of starlight marks the galaxy's center. Spiraling outward are dust lanes that are silhouetted against the population of whitish middle-aged stars. Much younger blue stars trace the spiral arms."
"This clip of the large X2 flare (Feb. 15, 2011) seen by Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in extreme ultraviolet light has been enlarged and superimposed on SOHO's C2 coronagraph for the same period. This was the largest flare in over four years. The coronagraph shows the faint edge of a "halo" coronal mass ejection (CME) as it races away from the Sun and was heading towards Earth. Scientists predict that this CME is likely to catch up with ones from the 13th and 14th, and the whole mass of particles should reach Earth late Thursday or early Friday (UT). They may put on an excellent show of aurora. In the coronagraph the Sun is blocked out by an occulting disk so that the fainter features of the corona are visible. By adding in the SDO video clip, we get the best of both worlds. The video covers about 11 hours."
"The data indicate Stardust went through something similar to a B-17 bomber flying through flak in World War II," said Don Brownlee, Stardust-NExT co-investigator from the University of Washington in Seattle. "Instead of having a little stream of uniform particles coming out, they apparently came out in chunks and crumbled."
Keith's note: The title of this press release, as issued by NASA, was "NASA Releases Images Of Man-Made Crater On Comet". I changed the title on my websites. "Man-made"? So much for the women who participated in this flyby - on Valentine's Day (in case you missed NASA's relentless romantic-themed hype of this flyby).
"Mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., have begun receiving the first of 72 anticipated images of comet Tempel 1 taken by NASA's Stardust spacecraft."
"NASA has rescheduled a news conference covering images and early data from last night's Stardust-NExT comet flyby for today at 12:30 p.m. PST (3:30 p.m. EST). The news conference was originally scheduled for 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST). The additional time will allow scientists to process and analyze data and images gathered when the spacecraft flew past Comet Tempel 1, with closest approach at a distance of 181 kilometers (112 miles). The mission team had expected the closest-approach images to be sent first. Instead, the images were downlinked in chronological order, starting with the most distant approach views."
What Do Kepler's Worlds Look Like - From The Surface? What might the sky look like on one of these worlds that Kepler has discovered?
Planetary scientist and space artist Dan Durda has a bunch of ideas. This is one notion - a piece called "Snowy Mountains".
"The findings increase the number of planet candidates identified by Kepler to-date to 1,235. Of these, 68 are approximately Earth-size; 288 are super-Earth-size; 662 are Neptune-size; 165 are the size of Jupiter and 19 are larger than Jupiter. Of the 54 new planet candidates found in the habitable zone, five are near Earth-sized. The remaining 49 habitable zone candidates range from super-Earth size -- up to twice the size of Earth -- to larger than Jupiter. The findings are based on the results of observations conducted May 12 to Sept. 17, 2009 of more than 156,000 stars in Kepler's field of view, which covers approximately 1/400 of the sky."
"A remarkable planetary system discovered by NASA's Kepler mission has six planets around a Sun-like star, including five small planets in tightly packed orbits. Astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and their coauthors analyzed the orbital dynamics of the system, determined the sizes and masses of the planets, and figured out their likely compositions -- all based on Kepler's measurements of the changing brightness of the host star (called Kepler-11) as the planets passed in front of it."
"Few stars are known to have more than one transiting planet, and Kepler-11 is the first known star to have more than three," said Lissauer. "So we know that systems like this are not common. There's certainly far fewer than one percent of stars that have systems like Kepler-11. But whether it's one in a thousand, one in ten thousand or one in a million, that we don't know, because we only have observed one of them."
"In the constellation of Ophiuchus, above the disk of our Milky Way Galaxy, there lurks a stellar corpse spinning 30 times per second -- an exotic star known as a radio pulsar. This object was unknown until it was discovered last week by three high school students. These students are part of the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC) project, run by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, WV, and West Virginia University (WVU)."