Space Hub




Asteroid Break-Up Captured On Film For The First Time: VIDEO

ASTEROID

NASA’s Hubble Telescope captured pictures of the P/2013 R3 asteroid breaking up into 10 pieces between October last year and mid-January, The Guardian reports. Though “fragile comet nuclei have been seen falling apart as they near the sun, nothing resembling this type of breakup has been observed before in the asteroid belt.”

The largest four pieces among the group are approximately 200 yards in radius.

“[The astronomers] said it was unlikely that the asteroid is breaking up because of a collision with another, because that would have caused an "instantaneous and violent" break up.

They said that the break up is also unlikely to have been caused by interior ices warming and vapourising because it is too cold – being nearly 300 million miles from the sun.

Professor Jewitt, who led the astronomical forensics investigation into the asteroid, said that it could have disintegrated due to a "subtle effect of sunlight".

He said that this can cause the rate of rotation to increase slightly, which causes the asteroid's component pieces to gently pull apart due to "centrifugal force".

This type of disruption has been discussed by experts for several years but has never been reliably observed.

The disparate parts of the once unified asteroid have since released a joint statement saying they are never, ever getting back together.

Watch the asteroid break-up for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Asteroid Break-Up Captured On Film For The First Time: VIDEO" »


Kepler Telescope Reveals 715 New Planets, a 'Bonanza' for NASA Scientists: VIDEO

Goldilocks

GlobalPost

Four of the 715 new planets discovered by NASA's Kepler are less than 2 1/2 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s 'Goldilocks' zone.

Using statistics and data from the Kepler telescope, NASA announced on Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets, a “bonanza” likely to continue for years to come.

KeplerThe newest discoveries increase the known planets outside the Milky Way to 1,700 from about 1,000.

To verify this bounty of planets, a research team co-led by planetary scientist Jack Lissauer analyzed stars with more than one potential planet.

“Four years ago, Kepler began a string of announcements of first hundreds, then thousands, of planet candidates — but they were only candidate worlds,” Lissauer said online.

“We’ve now developed a process to verify multiple planet candidates in bulk to deliver planets wholesale, and have used it to unveil a veritable bonanza of new worlds.”

The newly verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system, NASA said.

Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is still almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.

The research team used a technique called verification by multiplicity, which relies in part on probability. Kepler observes 150,000 stars and has found a few thousand of those to have planet candidates.

If the candidates were randomly distributed among Kepler’s stars, only a handful would have more than one planet candidate. However, Kepler observed hundreds of stars that have multiple planet candidates.

Four of the new planets are less than 2 1/2 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s “Goldilocks” zone, or the distance from a star that’s “just right” for liquid water.

One of these new planets, called Kepler-296f, orbits a star half the size and five percent as bright as our sun. It’s twice the size of Earth, but scientists do not know whether the planet is a gaseous world, with a thick hydrogen-helium envelope, or it is a water world surrounded by a deep ocean.

“From this study we learn planets in these multi-systems are small, and their orbits are flat and circular — resembling pancakes —not your classical view of an atom,” said Jason Rowe, co-leader of the research.

“The more we explore the more we find familiar traces of ourselves amongst the stars that remind us of home.”

Launched in March 2009, Kepler is the first NASA mission to find potentially habitable Earth-size planets. Discoveries include more than 3,600 planet candidates, of which 961 have been verified as bona-fide worlds.

An animation of the Kepler system, AFTER THE JUMP...

Exoplanet

Continue reading "Kepler Telescope Reveals 715 New Planets, a 'Bonanza' for NASA Scientists: VIDEO" »


See Beautiful First-Person Footage Of Felix Baumgartner's Space Fall To Earth: VIDEO

Freefall

On October 9 2012, Australian daredevil Felix Baumgartner successfully completed a 24-mile free-fall to Earth. And though we've seen first-person and multiple POV videos from the stunt, this newly released video recaptures the drama and beauty of Baumgartner's tumble in breathtaking sharpness, audio, and music to boot!

See the video AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "See Beautiful First-Person Footage Of Felix Baumgartner's Space Fall To Earth: VIDEO" »


Bright New Supernova Star Blows Up in a Galaxy Next Door: PHOTO

  M82

Stargazer Steve Fossey had the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time when, using a modest telescope in foggy north London, he witnessed this bright and rare Type 1a supernova. The stellar explosion occurred in the nearby M82 Galaxy, nicknamed the Cigar Galaxy, which is about 12 million light years away.

Nature reports that a type 1a supernova is thought to form when "stellar material piles onto a white dwarf — an old dim star that has already shed excess mass — and passes a critical threshold, igniting a thermonuclear explosion."

Scientists say that it will be visible in the sky soon, as it brightens up.


Virgin Galactic Space Tourism Vehicle Makes Highest Flight Yet: VIDEO

Virgingalactic

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo commercial aircraft has successfully completed yet another test flight, according to LiveLeak, this time achieving an altitude of 71,000 feet, 2,000 feet higher than their previous record. The latest in a series of exciting developments, the flight on January 10th indicated that Virgin Galactic is on schedule to begin providing commercial space flight by the end of 2014. Projects like this make anything seem possible, but would you want to travel into space? 

Check out an awesome video of the flight (and picture yourself on board!), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Virgin Galactic Space Tourism Vehicle Makes Highest Flight Yet: VIDEO" »


'Hand of God' Photo Captured by NASA Telescope

Handofgod

BY SARAH WOLFE / GlobalPost

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array released an image of a dead star Friday nicknamed the "Hand of God," renewing debate about religion and astronomy.

It may look like an X-ray from the doctor's office.

But it's actually an enormous cloud of material ejected from a star that exploded an estimated 17,000 light years away.

"We don't know if the hand shape is an optical illusion," McGill University's Hongjun An said in a statement from the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) Mission.

The object is known as a pulsar wind nebula.

Dubbed PSR B1509-58 (B1509 for short), it measures about 12 miles in diameter and spins around at a brisk seven times per second.

As the dead star spins, it spews particles "upheaved during the star's violent death," according to NuSTAR.

One of the big mysteries is whether the pulsar particles are interacting with material ejected from the star in a specific way to make it look like a hand, or if the material is in fact shaped like a hand, NASA said in a statement.

Launched in June 2012, the NuSTAR space telescope is tasked with observing black holes, dead and exploded stars and "other extreme objects," according to NuSTAR.


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged