Titan’s Kraken Mare

Titan's Kraken Mare

The Cassini spacecraft looks toward Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, and spies the huge Kraken Mare in the moon’s north. Kraken Mare, a large sea of liquid hydrocarbons, is visible as a dark area near the top of the image. See Titan’s Northern Polar Clouds and Titan’s Northern Lake to learn more. This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Titan (3,200 miles across, or 5,150 kilometers,). North on Titan is up and rotated 29 degrees to the left. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 14, 2011 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million miles (1.9 million kilometers) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 26 degrees. Image scale is 7 miles (12 kilometers) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov or http://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Space Calendar November 30 – December 6 2011

Space related activities and anniversaries for November 30 – December 6 2011. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

Odd Hyperion

Odd Hyperion

The Cassini spacecraft looks at Saturn’s highly irregular moon Hyperion in this view from the spacecraft’s flyby of the moon on Aug. 25, 2011. Hyperion (168 miles, or 270 kilometers across) has an irregular shape, and it tumbles through its orbit: that is, it does not spin at a constant rate or in a constant orientation. (A standard reference latitude-longitude system has not yet been devised for this moon.) Images such as this one extend previous coverage and allow a better inventory of the surface features, the satellite’s shape and changes in its spin. See Encountering Hyperion and Cosmic Blasting Zone to learn more and to watch a movie. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of polarized green light centered at 617 and 568 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 36,000 miles (58,000 kilometers) from Hyperion and at a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 43 degrees. Image scale is 1,145 feet (349 meters) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov or http://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Space Calendar November 23 – November 29 2011

Space related activities and anniversaries for November 23 – November 29 2011. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

NASA’s Chandra Adds to Black Hole Birth Announcement

NASA's Chandra Adds to Black Hole Birth Announcement

New details about the birth of a famous black hole that took place millions of years ago have been uncovered, thanks to a team of scientists who used data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as from radio, optical and other X-ray telescopes.

Over three decades ago, Stephen Hawking placed — and eventually lost
— a bet against the existence of a black hole in Cygnus X-1. Today, astronomers are confident the Cygnus X-1 system contains a black hole, and with these latest studies they have remarkably precise values of its mass, spin, and distance from Earth. With these key pieces of information, the history of the black hole has been reconstructed.

[SOURCE: www.cfa.harward.edu]

NASA’s Hubble Confirms that Galaxies Are the Ultimate Recyclers

NASA's Hubble Confirms that Galaxies Are the Ultimate Recyclers

Galaxies learned to “go green” early in the history of the universe, continuously recycling immense volumes of hydrogen gas and heavy elements to build successive generations of stars stretching over billions of years.

This ongoing recycling keeps galaxies from emptying their “fuel tanks” and therefore stretches out their star-forming epoch to over 10 billion years. However, galaxies that ignite a rapid firestorm of star birth can blow away their remaining fuel, essentially turning off further star-birth activity.

This conclusion is based on a series of Hubble Space Telescope observations that flexed the special capabilities of its comparatively new Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) to detect otherwise invisible mass in the halo of our Milky Way and a sample of more than 40 other galaxies. Data from large ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, and Chile also contributed to the studies by measuring the properties of the galaxies.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Hiding Little Brother

Hiding Little Brother

During a flyby of Saturn’s moon Enceladus on Oct. 1, 2011, the Cassini spacecraft snapped this portrait of the moon joined by its sibling Epimetheus and the planet’s rings. Enceladus (313 miles, or 504 kilometers across) takes up the center of the image, and its famous south polar jets can faintly be seen at the bottom of the image. See Bursting at the Seams to learn more about those jets. Epimetheus (70 miles, or 113 kilometers across) peeps into view from beyond the northern reaches of Enceladus. Lit terrain seen on Enceladus is in the area between the leading hemisphere and anti-Saturn side of the moon. North is up. This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane. Enceladus and Epimetheus have been contrast enhanced and brightened by a factor 1.8 relative to the rings. Enceladus is closest to the spacecraft here. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 175,000 kilometers (109,000 miles) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 151 degrees. Image scale is about 3,280 feet (1 kilometer) per pixel on Enceladus. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov or http://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org . Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

[SOURCE: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov]

Space Calendar November 16 – November 22 2011

Space related activities and anniversaries for November 16 – November 22 2011. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

Hubble Uncovers Tiny Galaxies Bursting with Star Birth in Early Universe

Hubble Uncovers Tiny Galaxies Bursting with Star Birth in Early Universe

Using its near-infrared vision to peer 9 billion years back in time, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered an extraordinary population of tiny, young galaxies that are brimming with star formation. The galaxies are typically a hundred times less massive than the Milky Way galaxy, yet they churn out stars at such a furious pace that their stellar content would double in just 10 million years. By comparison, the Milky Way would take a thousand times longer to double its population.

These newly discovered dwarf galaxies are extreme even for the young universe, when most galaxies were forming stars at higher rates than they are today. The universe is 13.7 billion years old. Hubble spotted the galaxies because the radiation from young, hot stars has caused the oxygen in the gas surrounding them to light up like a bright neon sign. The rapid star birth likely represents an important phase in the formation of dwarf galaxies, the most common galaxy type in the cosmos.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Was the Real Discovery of the Expanding Universe Lost in Translation?

Was the Real Discovery of the Expanding Universe Lost in Translation?

The greatest astronomical discovery of the 20th century may have been credited to the wrong person. But it turns out to have been nobody’s fault except for that of the actual original discoverer himself.

Writing in the November 10th issue of the journal Nature, astrophysicist Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute has put to bed a growing conspiracy theory about who was fairly credited for discovering the expanding universe.

For nearly a century, American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble has held the fame for this landmark discovery, which would recast all of 20th century astronomy. Hubble reported that the universe is uniformly expanding in all directions. It solved Einstein’s dilemma of explaining why the universe didn’t already collapse under its own gravity.

Ironically, Hubble never got a Nobel Prize for this discovery, though astronomers from two teams who independently uncovered evidence for an accelerating universe won the 2011 Noble Prize in Physics. But Hubble did get the most celebrated telescope of modern history named after him.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]