July 28, 2014

mindblowingscience:

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Breaks Off-World Driving Record

NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars has now boldly gone farther than any vehicle has before on the surface of another world, space agency officials announced today (July 28).

As of Sunday (July 27), theOpportunity rover has driven 25.01 miles (40.2 kilometers) on the Red Planet, NASA officials said. The distance record had been held by the Soviet Union’s remote-controlled Lunokhod 2 rover, which covered 24.2 miles (39 km) on the moon back in 1973.

"Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," Opportunity project manager John Callas, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.

"This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance. But what is really important is not how many miles the rover has racked up, but how much exploration and discovery we have accomplished over that distance." [Distances Driven on Other Worlds (Infographic)]

Continue Reading.

(via shychemist)

July 28, 2014

carolynporco:

All,

Today, after more than five years of analysis and thought, our findings resulting from a 6.5-year imaging survey of the south polar basin of Enceladus are finally published online in the Astronomical Journal.
We have found in total 101 distinct geysers, one hundred of which erupt from the four, prominent, now famous `tiger stripe’ fractures crossing the region. In comparing our findings with those of other instruments, and with calculations of the magnitude and orientation of tidal forces that flex the surface on a daily basis, we have arrived at a conclusion that strengthens what we had all, little by little, over time, come to believe. In casting your sights on the geysering glory of Enceladus, you are looking at frozen mist that originates deep within the solar system’s most accessible habitable zone. Not bad for a decade’s work, huh?

As we contemplate the approaching end of Cassini’s travels around Saturn, we dream of the day, hopefully not too far in the future, when we can return to Enceladus to answer the question now uppermost in the mind: Could a second genesis of life have taken hold on this small icy moon of a hundred and one fountains?

For we surely know this: If life is indeed there, it is there for the taking.

Visit http://ciclops.org for a new Captain’s Log, and a special event page with graphics and explanatory material.

Enjoy!

CICLOPS.org: The Moon of One Hundred and One Geysers

July 27, 2014
Rho Ophiuchi Wide Field 

Rho Ophiuchi Wide Field 

(Source: apod.nasa.gov)

July 27, 2014
stargateatl:

Evening of the Cosmos (#Sunset Version) - Digital Painting #art #space #photoshop #painting

stargateatl:

Evening of the Cosmos (#Sunset Version) - Digital Painting #art #space #photoshop #painting

July 25, 2014

for-all-mankind:

Of the hundreds of times I have seen the Saturn V rocket, at all the locations it is on display in the world, never has it ever been as beautiful or commanding as it was this time.

The five J-2 engines on the second stage attracted my eye the most. The countless wires, chambers, and fuel pumps of the engines contrasted with lack of aerodynamic protection gave the business end of the S-II a mechanical sense that I have never really appreciated before. Sure, the five F-1 engines on the S-IC or the single J-2 on the S-IVB are equally as complex and exposed, but for some reason, the cluster of them on the second stage is appealing.

A surprising lack of people in the building gave me great opportunities for pictures I normally avoid taking due to crowds, and I was able to see the rocket in a totally different perspective.

July 20, 2014
spacettf:

W1754903141 by ugordan on Flickr.
Tramite Flickr: Cassini WAC RGB view of crescent Saturn with Titan in the distance.

spacettf:

W1754903141 by ugordan on Flickr.

Tramite Flickr:
Cassini WAC RGB view of crescent Saturn with Titan in the distance.

11:22am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z4i-Tu1L-vfoF
  
Filed under: saturn planet rings titan moon 
July 19, 2014
alxndrasplace:

(NASA)  A mysterious, squid-like apparition, this nebula is very faint, but also very large in planet Earth’s sky. In the mosaic image, composed with narrowband data from the 2.5 meter Isaac Newton Telescope, it spans some 2.5 full moons toward the constellation Cepheus. Recently discovered by French astro-imager Nicolas Outters, the remarkable nebula’s bipolar shape and emission are consistent with it being a planetary nebula, the gaseous shroud of a dying sun-like star, but its actual distance and origin are unknown. A new investigation suggests Ou4 really lies within the emission region SH2-129 some 2,300 light-years away. Consistent with that scenario, the cosmic squid would represent a spectacular outflow of material driven by a triple system of hot, massive stars, cataloged as HR8119, seen near the center of the nebula. If so, this truly giant squid nebula would physically be nearly 50 light-years across.

alxndrasplace:

(NASA)  A mysterious, squid-like apparition, this nebula is very faint, but also very large in planet Earth’s sky. In the mosaic image, composed with narrowband data from the 2.5 meter Isaac Newton Telescope, it spans some 2.5 full moons toward the constellation Cepheus. Recently discovered by French astro-imager Nicolas Outters, the remarkable nebula’s bipolar shape and emission are consistent with it being a planetary nebula, the gaseous shroud of a dying sun-like star, but its actual distance and origin are unknown. A new investigation suggests Ou4 really lies within the emission region SH2-129 some 2,300 light-years away. Consistent with that scenario, the cosmic squid would represent a spectacular outflow of material driven by a triple system of hot, massive stars, cataloged as HR8119, seen near the center of the nebula. If so, this truly giant squid nebula would physically be nearly 50 light-years across.

(via shychemist)

July 18, 2014

skunkbear:

Scientists at MIT have developed a new simulation that traces 13 billion years of cosmic evolution. They start the simulation shortly after the big bang with a region of space much smaller than the universe (a mere 350 million light years across).  Still, it’s big enough to follow the forces that helped create the galaxies we see today, and correctly predict the gas and metal content of those galaxies.

At first, we see dark matter clustering due to the force of gravity (first two GIFs). Then we see visible matter — blue for cool clouds of gas where galaxies form, red for more violent explosive galaxies (second two GIFs).

Super massive blackholes form, superheating the material around them, causing bright white explosions that enrich the space between galaxies with warm but sparse gas (fifth GIF).

Different elements (represented by different colors in the sixth GIF) are spread through the universe.

We arrive at a distribution of dark matter that looks similar to the one we see in our universe today (seventh GIF).

The simulation is so complex it would take two thousand years to render on a single desktop. And it’s kinda beautiful.

Image Credit: MIT and Nature Video

(via staceythinx)

July 16, 2014

christinetheastrophysicist:

3D Supernova Simulation

When a massive star reaches the end of its life, it collapses into a supernova. This results in a large amount of energy being released. The majority of this energy, ~99%, is released in the form of neutrinos, and the remaining 1% is the energy that drives a supernova. A large explosion like this is a core-collapse supernova.

Astronomers can see the results of a supernova, but what drives a massive star to undergo this dramatic process and create such a large explosion is not fully understood.

In an attempt to better understand what leads to a core-collapse supernova, astrophysicists created 3D simulations of rapidly rotating, strongly magnetized, core-collapse supernovae. When comparing their results with 2D simulations having the same initial conditions, the astrophysicists found that the 3D and 2D core-collapse supernovae were fundamentally different.

In 2D, bipolar jets are produced, but in 3D, a magnetohydrodynamic instability causes two asymmetric polar lobes to form instead. This instability occurs in a shorter time scale than what is needed for the jets to develop.

If the lobes expand outward, there will be accretion of matter and the star will eventually collapse to form a black hole, resulting in a gamma ray burst and a core-collapse supernova.

More videos, images, and resources are available on the researcher’s website.

Video: A time-evolution, volume rendering of the thermal pressure over the magnetic pressure (Pgas/Pmag) in a rapidly rotating,strongly magnetized massive star undergoing core-collapse. (source)

July 16, 2014
Spots Galore

Spots Galore

(Source: sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov)