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Moon mission picture of 1969 goes missing

The world is getting ready to celebrate next month the 40th anniversary of historical Apollo 11 flight which is the first manned mission to moon and the officials of Tata Institute Of Fundamental Reasearch (TIFR) at Colaba are trying to find out a priceless picture that is missing from their office.

The picture was autographed and presented to TIFR by the three astronauts Neil Armstrong , Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins who were the first humans to land on the surface of moon. The picture was the size of an A3 size paper placed in the director's office in TIFR and used to attract a lot of visitors.
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Cosmic blobs and Galaxies


Cosmic blobs are immense reservoirs of hydrogen gas located in the early Universe. Black holes and star formation have been observed in cosmic blobs.


The glow of cosmic blobs in optical light had remained a mystery for the astronomers but with the help of telescopes such as Chandra X-ray Observatory,Spitzer Space Telescope and Hubble they have found that the source of power is coming from growing supermassive black holes and from newly forming stars.

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MJ's funeral may be bigger than Elvis'

Michael Jackson's funeral is expected to be even bigger than Elvis Presley's in 1977, when 75,000 fans lined the streets of Memphis. If that happens, Jackson's funeral will become the biggest the entertainment world has seen.

Jackson's coffin was being kept under armed guard to deter fans from discovering its secret location. Jackson's funaral is expected to take place on Wednesday or Thursday at Forest Lawn cemetry in Los Angeles.

Following the funeral may be public service , expected to claim a global audience . Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor and Sir Paul McCartney are expected to be among mourners. Mourners are also likely to include Liza Minnelli , Jackson's former wife Lisa Marie Presley, Britney Spears , Justin Timberlake and Madonna. Jackson was raised as a Jehovah's witness who are forbidden from following funeral customs that are mentioned in Bible, including rowdy wakes and alcoholic toasts.
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Cosmic rays accelerated by exploded stars


Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have shown that cosmic rays from the Milky Way are very efficiently accelerated in the remnants of exploded stars.


Cosmic rays are extremely energetic particles – mostly protons – moving at close to the speed of light. They originate from outside our Solar System and are constantly bombarding the Earth’s atmosphere at a rate of some 100,000 per square metre per second.

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Herscel takes first image


Herschel takes its first image of the Whirlpool galaxy, M51.


Herschel launched just one month ago and is the largest infrared space telescope ever flown.

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Possible salty ocean hidden in depths of Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has provided strong evidence that Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbours a salty ocean below its icy shell, a discovery that offers exciting possibilities in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Following a flyby of Saturn’s enigmatic moon in 2005 that revealed jets shooting out of the moon’s so-called tiger stripes at the south pole, scientists have speculated about the presence of a water reservoir hidden at depth within the moon’s interior . The jets contain water vapour, gas and tiny grains of ice and dust, and shoot hundreds of kilometres into space.
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First direct evidence of lightning on Mars


University of Michigan researchers say they have found direct evidence for lightning on Mars caused by a large dust storm.


Researchers saw on Mars a series of huge and sudden electrical discharges caused by a large dust storm . Clearly, there was no rain associated with the electrical discharges on Mars.


The findings were made using an innovative microwave detector developed at the University of Michigan Space Physics Research Laboratory. The kurtosis detector is capable of differentiating between thermal and non-thermal radiation, where non-thermal radiation is associated with the presence of lightning. Between 22 May and 16 June 2006 the instrument took measurements of microwave emissions for approximately five hours each day, and on 8 June both an unusual pattern of non-thermal radiation and an intense Martian dust storm occurred, the only time that non-thermal radiation was detected.






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New images of Saturn by Cassini


The Cassini imaging team have released a set of never-before-seen images and movies of the Saturn system to coincide with the opening of a week-long celebration of the mission at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.


Cassini has been orbiting Saturn since 1 July 2004 and is now in its Equinox mission phase that will see the giant planet experience equinox this August, the twice-yearly occasion when the Sun passes through the plane containing the planet's rings. For Saturn this occurs once every 15 Earth years.

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Evidence found of lake on Mars


A long, deep canyon and the remains of beaches are perhaps the clearest evidence yet of a standing lake on the surface of Mars, say scientists.


Images from a camera called the High Resolution Imaging indicate water carved a 50 kilometre long canyon.


The presence of water on Mars is widely accepted. The Mars Phoenix mission last year found frozen water on the surface of Mars, and there is also evidence that water may still seep to the surface from underground.


Planetary scientists have also seen what could be the shores of giant rivers and seas, but some of the formations could also arguably have been made by dry landslides.


The researcher says that this is the first unambiguous evidence of shorelines on the surface of Mars.

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New map shines light on Moon’s shadowed craters


A new high resolution map of the Moon’s rugged south pole region provides new and unprecedented detail of permanently shadowed craters that could be hiding water ice deposits.



The discovery of water ice reservoirs on the Moon would be a significant step to the future of maintaining a long-term human presence on the Moon.



The map was compiled using data from the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone Solar System Radar, which, in a two and a half second round trip, uses a 70 metre dish to send radar signals to the Moon that are reflected back and detected by two 34 metre antennas.



LCROSS launched Thursday evening and along with its attached Centaur upper stage rocket will separately collide with the Moon, throwing up a pair of debris plumes which will be analysed for the presence of water ice or water vapour, hydrocarbons and other hydrated material.



Together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which also launched yesterday and will create further detailed maps of the lunar surface, NASA will be well-equipped for human exploration of the lunar south pole.

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The mystery of the missing sunspots explained


An unusually slow-moving solar jet stream buried deep inside the Sun is causing the lack of sunspots and low solar activity, say scientists from the National Solar Observatory (NSO).


The Sun usually follows a fairly regular pattern, cycling through an 11 year period of magnetic intensity – during which, characteristic behaviour such as sunspots, flares and corona mass ejections are typical – followed by 11 years of relative quiescence. At present, the Sun is in a phase of extreme quietness when it should have been displaying more signs of activity, a mystery that has been confounding scientists over the last year.

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Noctilucent clouds are back


Noctilucent cloud (NLC) season is here again following a splendid display on Tuesday evening.


NLCs are thin sheets of cloud 82 kilometres high that reflect sunlight when the Sun is between six and sixteen degrees below the horizon. You can tell them apart from other, more normal clouds by their often pearly-blue colour, and ribbed and interwoven appearance. Other clouds at lower altitudes will be in darkness whilst NLCs glimmer high overhead.


The best months for NLCs in the UK are June and July, and they seem to favour lower sunspot activity (which limits the solar heating on the upper atmosphere where they form) so at least the presently dull Sun offers something in exchange for its lack of activity.Even their origin is a mystery, as clouds shouldn’t ordinarily be able to form so high up.

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Saturn's approach to equinox reveals new detail in rings


Towering vertical structures in Saturn’s rings have been discerned for the first time by Cassini as the giant planet approaches equinox.


Equinox defines the exact moment when the Sun is seen directly overhead at noon at a planet’s equator, and occurs twice a year. For Saturn the wait is long, occurring every 15 Earth years. The wait has been well worth it though, for Cassini has detected the long shadows cast across the expanse of rings by never-before-seen structures as the giant planet approaches equinox this August. The observations also confirm that small moons in narrow ring gaps can have significant and complex effects on the edges of their gaps.



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NASA sets Wednesday launch date for shuttle Endeavour

NASA managers today formally cleared the shuttle Endeavour for a delayed launch Wednesday on a space station assembly mission. Launch of the agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was delayed to June 18 or 19 to make room for the shuttle in an effort to maximize launch opportunities for both missions.

Endeavour was grounded Saturday when a gaseous hydrogen vent line umbilical seal leaked potentially dangerous vapor during fueling. Engineers replaced the seal and while the schedule is tight, NASA managers decided today to retarget the shuttle for launch at 5:40:50 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

The shuttle's countdown will be restarted at the T-minus 11-hour mark at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday and forecasters are predicting an 80 percent chance of good weather.

As it now stands, the Endeavour astronauts will have one shot at getting off the ground Wednesday. If the shuttle runs into additional problems, the flight likely will be delayed to July 11 because of temperature constraints related to the International Space Station's orbit.
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Space shuttle Endeavour launch postponed by leak


Launch of the shuttle Endeavour, grounded by a gaseous hydrogen leak during fueling Saturday, is off until Wednesday at the earliest, NASA officials say. But because of the already planned launch of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite Wednesday, the shuttle team could be delayed to June 20, the last day this month Endeavour can be launched.

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Shuttle Endeavour and Astronauts























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Red giant star Betelgeuse is shrinking


Orion’s red supergiant Betelgeuse has been steadily shrinking over the last 15 years.


Betelgeuse is so big that if placed in our Solar System it would extend to the orbit of Jupiter. But thanks to long term monitoring by Berkeley’s Infrared Spatial Interferometer (ISI) at Mt Wilson, measurements of the star’s diameter reveal the giant to be shrinking. Over the last 15 years, the star has shrunk by more than 15 percent, equivalent to the same diameter as the orbit of Venus.


Despite its diminished size however, there is no evidence to suggest that the star is dimming. But we do not know why the star is shrinking.


Since the star’s size depends on the wavelength of light used to measure it, it is difficult to compare measurements. Tenuous gas in the outer regions of the star emits light as well as absorbs it, which presents a challenge in determining the edge of the star.

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Cassini finds Titan's clouds hang on to summer


Cloud chasers studying Saturn's moon Titan say its clouds form and move much like those on Earth, but in a much slower, more lingering fashion.


Their forecast for Titan's early autumn -- warm and wetter.


Scientists with NASA's Cassini mission have monitored Titan's atmosphere for three-and-a-half years, between July 2004 and December 2007, and observed more than 200 clouds. They found that the way these clouds are distributed around Titan matches scientists' global circulation models. The only exception is timing -- clouds are still noticeable in the southern hemisphere while fall is approaching.


As summer changes to fall at the equinox in August 2009, Titan's clouds are expected to disappear altogether. But, circulation models of Titan's weather and climate predict that clouds at the southern latitudes don't wait for the equinox and should have already faded out since 2005. However, Cassini was still able to see clouds at these places late in 2007, and some of them are particularly active at mid-latitudes and the equator.


Titan is the only moon in our solar system with a substantial atmosphere, and its climate shares Earth-like characteristics. Titan's dense, nitrogen-methane atmosphere responds much more slowly than Earth's atmosphere, as it receives about 100 times less sunlight because it is 10 times farther from the sun. Seasons on Titan last more than seven Earth years.


Scientists will continue to observe the long-term changes during Cassini's extended mission, which runs until the fall of 2010. Cassini is set to fly by Titan on June 6.


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Fog lifted on dark gamma-ray bursts across the universe


Gamma-ray bursts, with their ability to pierce through gas and dust to shine brightly across the universe, are revealing areas of intense star formation and stellar death where astronomers have been unable to look -- the dusty corners of otherwise dust-free galaxies.

The conclusion comes from a survey of "dark" gamma-ray bursts -- bright in gamma- and X-ray emissions, but with little or no visible light -- reported today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Pasadena.


Star formation occurs in dense clouds that quickly fill with dust as the most massive stars rapidly age and explode, spewing newly created elements into the interstellar medium to seed new star formation. Hence, astronomers presume that a large amount of star formation is occurring in dust-filled galaxies, although actually measuring how much dust this process has built up in the most distant galaxies has proved extremely challenging.


Long-duration gamma-ray bursts, the most brilliant flashes of light in the universe, are thought to originate from the explosion of massive stars. These events create two pencil-like beams of light, akin to lighthouse beacons, bright enough to be seen from as far away as 13 billion light years, near the limits of the observable universe.


While most gamma-ray bursts continue to shine brightly in optical light for many hours after the gamma-ray emission subsides -- a phenomenon known as an Œafterglow' -- those with little or no detectable afterglow, dubbed "dark GRBs," have puzzled astronomers. Some have speculated that most were so far away, and thus at such high redshift, that their optical afterglow shifted out of the wavelength region that optical telescopes can detect




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Big planet, small star


One of the smallest stars in the Galaxy has been found to have a planet orbiting it that is six times more massive than Jupiter. This gas giant is as far from its star as Mercury is from our Sun, but because the star is so small, it is like a scaled down version of our own Solar System, with the planet where Jupiter would be. This raises the possibility that there could be even more planets that are rocky like Earth even closer to the star.


The star in question is a red dwarf called VB 10. For a time it was one of the smallest stars known to exist. Red dwarfs are the most common type of star in the Galaxy, and are the coolest.

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Shuttle Endeavour cleared for launch next week


While the shuttle Endeavour's crew reviewed emergency procedures at the launch pad June 3 , NASA managers held an executive-level flight readiness review and cleared the ship for blastoff June 13, at 7:17:15 a.m., on a complex space station assembly mission.

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M82's hidden supernova


A supernova has recently exploded in the nearby galaxy M82, but you won’t be able to see it with any ordinary telescope. Shrouded in obscuring gas and dust, only the radio emission of the stellar explosion is able to penetrate through to the outside and be detected by the radio telescopes.

The detection was made purely by accident .

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U.S. military spacecraft aid search for missing Airbus


U.S. Air Force Defense Support Program (DSP) missile warning satellite data collected early June 1 over the central Atlantic, is being examined to see if it captured a possibly fiery breakup or impact of the Air France Airbus A330 that disappeared enroute to Paris from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The objective is to help locate the position of the aircraft when it went down and also provide insight into what may have caused the accident. Air France flight 447 was carrying 228 passengers and crew when it vanished.


The A330's telemetry system, which automatically sends data to the airline's maintenance computers, transmitted data indicating electrical problems and possible depressurization of the aircraft at 0233 GMT June 1, about three hours after takeoff. The A330 was about 230 miles northeast of the Brazilian coast approaching heavy thunderstorms that line the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) at that latitude. The ITCZ is an area of continuous low pressure that lines the equatorial regions.


The aircraft had already flown beyond radar contact and, like all airline traffic in the central Atlantic, was using satellite voice position reports or automated telemetry reports to enable air traffic control to know their locations.


Data from two or three other U.S. military space systems are also being assessed to see if their sensors were pointing at the area where the Airbus went missing.

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Mars orbiter imagery boosts Curiosity rover's life search


NASA and university scientists reviewing data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) say evidence is growing that the planet harbored life in its past or that Martian microbes exist now.

They say their views are based on the growing body of data on the diversity of water related minerals discovered by MRO. It is also supported by findings from other spacecraft such as Europe's Mars Express orbiter and NASA's Phoenix lander and twin Mars rovers.

The MRO data is being used to narrow the best sites to locate life related evidence, while also being safe enough for the Mars Science Laboratory rover "Curiosity" set for launch in 2011.

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