On June 1st of this year, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft was able to capture images of an unusual alignment as Mars’ moon Phobos passed in front of Jupiter (seen in background). The images were put together to form this amazing animation.
Mars has two moons – Phobos and Deimos. The origins of these names are a bit gloomy : Phobos, named after a Greek God, means “fear” and Deimos is a figure representing “dread” in Greek mythology. Phobos is the largest of the two, and the closest moon to Mars.
You can see quite . . .
Late last month, space and astronomy blogs and news sources were abuzz over the discovery of what may be the most distant event ever detected in the Universe.
The event was something referred to as a Gamma Ray Burst officially designated as GRB 090429B, and it was detected by the ‘Burst Alert Telescope’ which is part of NASA’s ‘Swift’ space satellite. The satellite, launched in 2004, orbits at an altitude of 600 km above the Earth. Here, I take a closer look at what a “gamma ray burst” really is and why this observation is interesting.
A whole . . .
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (or AMS-02 for short) instrument is a cutting edge particle physics experiment which will make its way to the ISS for installation aboard shuttleflight STS-134, scheduled for launch on April 29th. This space based experiment is being led by Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
According to a NASA press release in August, the AMS-02 will “use the unique environment of space to advance knowledge of the Universe, leading to a better understanding of the universe’s origin by searching for antimatter, dark matter, strange matter and measuring cosmic rays.”
So. . . .
In April, the Space Shuttle Endeavour and her crew of six will make a final flight to the International Space Station. Fans of NASA’s human spaceflight program have begun to mourn the end of an era in the retirement of the space shuttle.
In other circles, excitement is building over the cargo Endeavour will be delivering to the ISS – the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer or AMS-02 for short. The AMS-02, a state of the art particle physics experiment, represents a scientific collaboration of 56 institutions from 16 countries under the banner of the United States Department of Energy (DoE).
. . .
This week NASA’s Fermi space telescope made a discovery that is perplexing scientists around the world. Fermi is a space telescope which detects gamma ray radiation - the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation. In fact it is billions of times more energetic than the type of light visible to our eyes.
The Electromagnetic Spectrum.
This means that Fermi sees the immense energy of the most exotic and energetic phenomenon in our Universe: super massive black holes, pulsars and streams of hot gas travelling at close to the speed of light. This week Fermi and the astronomers at the Harvard . . .
There is plenty of excitement for NASA this week with both manned and unmanned missions sharing the limelight. Avid shuttle watchers are eagerly awaiting this week’s scheduled launch of Space Shuttle Discovery’s final mission to the International Space Station now scheduled for Nov.5th at the earliest.
Nov. 4th held a real treat: NASA’s EPOXI mission made a very successful close encounter with a comet known as Hartley 2. In fact this encounter is the closest a man-made object has ever come to any comet – coming within 435 miles/700 km. This is only the fifth time a spacecraft has . . .
This video gave me goosebumps. Not only am I a supporter of NASA and all they do, I am a long time admirer of Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson and his enormous ability to communicate science in a charismatic, succinct, approcahable way. That is a skill that is lacking in a great deal of the scientific community but it’s an important one. We need people to care about what we do. We need people to feel comfortable walking up to scientists, astronauts, teachers, professors and talking with them and even more importantly perhaps we need the “specialists” in the . . .