Space Calendar March 2 – March 8 2016

Space related activities and anniversaries for March 2 – March 8 2016. 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 February 24 – March 1 2016

Space related activities and anniversaries for February 24 – March 1 2016. 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 Introduces New, Wider Set of Eyes on the Universe: Baltimore’s Space Telescope Science Institute to Partner on New NASA ‘Wide-View’ Space Telescope

NASA Introduces New, Wider Set of Eyes on the Universe: Baltimore's Space Telescope Science Institute to Partner on New NASA 'Wide-View' Space Telescope

After years of preparatory studies, NASA is formally starting an astrophysics mission designed to help unlock the secrets of the universe — the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

With a view 100 times bigger than that of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, WFIRST will aid researchers in their efforts to unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, and explore the evolution of the cosmos. It will also discover new worlds outside our solar system and advance the search for worlds that could be suitable for life.

NASA’s Agency Program Management Council, which evaluates the agency’s programs and projects on content, risk management, and performance, made the decision to move forward with the mission on Wednesday.

“WFIRST has the potential to open our eyes to the wonders of the universe, much the same way Hubble has,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “This mission uniquely combines the ability to discover and characterize planets beyond our own solar system with the sensitivity and optics to look wide and deep into the universe in a quest to unravel the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter.”

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Hubble Directly Measures Rotation of Cloudy ‘Super-Jupiter’

Hubble Directly Measures Rotation of Cloudy 'Super-Jupiter'

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have measured the rotation rate of an extreme exoplanet by observing the varied brightness in its atmosphere. This is the first measurement of the rotation of a massive exoplanet using direct imaging.

“The result is very exciting,” said Daniel Apai of the University of Arizona in Tucson, leader of the Hubble investigation. “It gives us a unique technique to explore the atmospheres of exoplanets and to measure their rotation rates.”

The planet, called 2M1207b, is about four times more massive than Jupiter and is dubbed a “super-Jupiter.” It is a companion to a failed star known as a brown dwarf, orbiting the object at a distance of 5 billion miles. By contrast, Jupiter is approximately 500 million miles from the sun. The brown dwarf is known as 2M1207. The system resides 170 light-years away from Earth.

Hubble’s image stability, high resolution, and high-contrast imaging capabilities allowed astronomers to precisely measure the planet’s brightness changes as it spins. The researchers attribute the brightness variation to complex clouds patterns in the planet’s atmosphere. The new Hubble measurements not only verify the presence of these clouds, but also show that the cloud layers are patchy and colorless.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]

Space Calendar February 17 – February 23 2016

Space related activities and anniversaries for February 17 – February 23 2016. 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 February 10 – February 16 2016

Space related activities and anniversaries for February 10 – February 16 2016. 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.