Space Calendar April 30 – May 6 2014

Space related activities and anniversaries for April 30 – May 6 2014. 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 Spitzer and WISE Telescopes Find Close, Cold Neighbor of Sun

NASA's Spitzer and WISE Telescopes Find Close, Cold Neighbor of Sun

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered what appears to be the coldest “brown dwarf” known — a dim, star-like body that

Astronomical Forensics Uncover Planetary Disks in Hubble Archive

Astronomical Forensics Uncover Planetary Disks in Hubble Archive

With the Hubble Space Telescope, if astronomers missed seeing something once in their data, they haven’t missed it forever. Thanks to the wealth of information stored in the Hubble data archive, and given enough time to come up with more clever ways of scientific analysis, they can revisit existing observations and make new discoveries not caught initially.

Such is the case with four disks of planetary debris uncovered in images of young stars that astronomers retrieved from the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). A fifth disk image, which was an unpublished borderline detection by Hubble from 2007, was also recovered. These disks are telltale evidence for newly formed planets.

This is an astronomical forensics story of revisiting earlier data with new image processing techniques — and of some tenacious astronomers. Rémi Soummer, of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md., led the team on an Indiana Jones hunt for hidden Hubble treasures.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Space Calendar April 23 – April 29 2014

Space related activities and anniversaries for April 23 – April 29 2014. 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.

Space Calendar April 16 – April 22 2014

Space related activities and anniversaries for April 16 – April 22 2014. 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 Stretches Stellar Tape Measure 10 Times Farther into Space

Hubble Stretches Stellar Tape Measure 10 Times Farther into Space

Even though NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is 24 years old, astronomers are still coming up with imaginative, novel, and groundbreaking new uses for it. The latest is an innovative technique that improves Hubble’s observing accuracy to the point where rock-solid distance measurements can be made to Milky Way stars 10 times farther away than ever accomplished before.

To do this, Hubble observations and subsequent analysis were fine-tuned to make angular measurements (needed for estimating distances) that are so fine that if your eyes had a similar capability you could read a car’s license plate located as far away as the Moon!

This new capability allows astronomers to use even more distant stars as yardsticks to refine estimates. In addition, it is expected to yield new insight into the nature of dark energy, a mysterious component of space that is pushing the universe apart at an ever-faster rate.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Space Calendar April 9 – April 15 2014

Space related activities and anniversaries for April 9 – April 15 2014. 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 Finds That Monster ‘El Gordo’ Galaxy Cluster Is Bigger Than Thought

Hubble Finds That Monster 'El Gordo' Galaxy Cluster Is Bigger Than Thought

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has weighed the largest known galaxy cluster in the distant universe and found that it definitely lives up to its nickname: El Gordo (Spanish for “the fat one”).

By precisely measuring how much the gravity from the cluster’s mass warps images of far-more-distant background galaxies, a team of astronomers has calculated the cluster’s mass to be as much as 3 million billion times the mass of our Sun. The Hubble data show that the cluster is roughly 43 percent more massive than earlier estimates based on X-ray and dynamical studies of the unusual cluster.

“It’s given us an even stronger probability that this is really an amazing system very early in the universe,” said team lead James Jee of the University of California at Davis.

A fraction of this mass is locked up in several hundred galaxies that inhabit the cluster and a larger fraction is in hot gas that fills the entire volume of the cluster. The rest is tied up in dark matter, an invisible form of matter that makes up the bulk of the mass of the universe.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

NASA and STScI Select 17 Hubble Fellows for 2014

NASA and STScI Select 17 Hubble Fellows for 2014

NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) have announced the selection of 17 new Hubble Fellows. STScI in Baltimore, Md., administers the Hubble Fellowship Program for NASA.

The Hubble Fellowship Program includes all research relevant to present and future missions in NASA’s Cosmic Origins theme. These missions currently include the Herschel Space Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

More than 345 of the most prominent and active scientists in this field have been supported at a crucial phase in their careers by this program, and the Hubble Fellowship Program continues to be one of the highlights of NASA’s pursuit of excellence in space science.

Each year, the current Hubble Fellows convene for a three-day symposium to present the results of their recent research and to meet face-to-face with other Hubble Fellows and with the scientific and administrative staff who manage the program. The 2014 symposium was held at STScI on March 10-12.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]