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terça-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2015

NASA WEB · The nebula Messier 78 (also known as M 78 or NGC 2068) is a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion. M78 is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula of a group of nebulae that include NGC 2064, NGC 2067 and NGC 2071. This group belongs to the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex and is about 1,600 light-years distant from Earth. M78 is easily found in small telescopes as a hazy patch and involves two stars of 10th magnitude. These two stars, HD 38563A and HD 38563B, are responsible for making the cloud of dust in M78 visible by reflecting their light.

The nebula Messier 78 (also known as M 78 or NGC 2068) is a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion. M78 is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula of a group of nebulae that include NGC 2064, NGC 2067 and NGC 2071. This group belongs to the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex and is about 1,600 light-years distant from Earth. M78 is easily found in small telescopes as a hazy patch and involves two stars of 10th magnitude. These two stars, HD 38563A and HD 38563B, are responsible for making the cloud of dust in M78 visible by reflecting their light.

About 45 variable stars of the T Tauri type, young stars still in the process of formation as well as some 17 Herbig–Haro objects are known in M78.

#Nebula #M78 #Telescope #Discovery #Exploration #Space #NASA #NASASocial #Observatory #Share #FollowUs #PicoftheDay #Astronomy #Astrophysics #Cosmos #Universe #Science #Galaxy

Foto: The nebula Messier 78 (also known as M 78 or NGC 2068) is a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion. M78 is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula of a group of nebulae that include NGC 2064, NGC 2067 and NGC 2071. This group belongs to the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex and is about 1,600 light-years distant from Earth. M78 is easily found in small telescopes as a hazy patch and involves two stars of 10th magnitude. These two stars, HD 38563A and HD 38563B, are responsible for making the cloud of dust in M78 visible by reflecting their light.

About 45 variable stars of the T Tauri type, young stars still in the process of formation as well as some 17 Herbig–Haro objects are known in M78.

For more updates on Astronomy and Space Exploration, follow us at Astronomy Today.

#Nebula #M78 #Telescope #Discovery #Exploration #Space #NASA #NASASocial #Observatory #Share #FollowUs #PicoftheDay #Astronomy #Astrophysics #Cosmos #Universe #Science #Galaxy

NASA WEB ·Cubist Saturn Seen by Cassini Spacecraft


Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Sometimes at Saturn you can see things almost as if from every angle at once, the way a Cubist might imagine things. For example, in this image, we're seeing Saturn's A ring in the lower part of the image and the limb of Saturn in the upper. In addition, the rings cast their shadows onto the portion of the planet imaged here, creating alternating patterns of light and dark. This pattern is visible even through the A ring, which, unlike the core of the nearby B ring, is not completely opaque.

The ring shadows on Saturn often appear to cross the surface at confusing angles in close-ups like this one. The visual combination of Saturn's oblateness, the varying opacity of its rings and the shadows cast by those rings sometimes creates elaborate and complicated patterns from Cassini's perspective.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 19 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 5, 2014.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.2 million miles (2 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 7 miles (11 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini 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, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

NASA WEB ·Satellite Gearing Up to Take EPIC Pictures of Earth


Lagrange point 1 (L1) is a neutral gravity point between Earth and the Sun, situated roughly 1 million miles from Earth. Most Earth-observing satellites orbit within 22,300 miles of the planet. Credit: NESDIS.

The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite is on its way to do something epic. NOAA’s spacecraft, sent to monitor space weather, will use its Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) to capture the entire sunlit face of our planet and collect valuable atmospheric data. EPIC, built by Lockheed Martin, will show the full face of Earth in a single picture, something previously done only by the Apollo 17 astronauts and the Galileo mission on its way to Jupiter. “EPIC will view the whole sunlit side of Earth from L-1, a point approximately one million miles away,” Joe Mobilia, EPIC program manager at Lockheed Martin, toldastrowatch.net. ”Today, images of Earth come from spacecraft in LEO [Low Earth Orbit] or GEO [Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit], which only sample a portion of the planet, albeit at higher resolutions.”

The EPIC camera won’t be turned on until the satellite reaches Lagrange point 1 (or L1 orbit) about 100 days from now, and after it completes a series of initialization checks. The first pictures of Earth will appear sometime in late July or early August, and as Mobilia noted, we should expect high-resolution snapshots.

“The detector used in EPIC is a Charge-Coupled Device (CCD), which has 2K x 2K pixels. The final images will have a resolution between 25 and 35 kilometers (15.5 to 21.7 miles),” Mobilia said.

He added that EPIC will deliver images of the Earth’s sunlit side at 10 different wavelengths every 1.8 hours. The scientists expect to collect approximately 10,000 images across wavelengths during its lifespan (about 2 years).

Underlining the epicness of the instrument, Mobilia remarked that a whole-Earth image takes approximately 16 days to capture from LEO orbit while waiting for the spacecraft to traverse across the globe. From GEO, satellites only observe a defined region since the spacecraft orbits at the same rate as the Earth, but this is great for staring at a location to observe weather patterns.

The EPIC instrument is 30-centimeter (11.8 inch) telescope that measures 10 channels of ultraviolet and visible areas of the spectrum. It’s one example of a series of instruments Lockheed Martin has developed for NASA and NOAA to reveal more about our planet, including the Global Lightning Mapper for the GOES-R satellite. Credit: Lockheed Martin
The EPIC instrument is 30-centimeter (11.8 inch) telescope that measures 10 channels of ultraviolet and visible areas of the spectrum. It’s one example of a series of instruments Lockheed Martin has developed for NASA and NOAA to reveal more about our planet, including the Global Lightning Mapper for the GOES-R satellite. Credit: Lockheed Martin

“From L-1, we have an excellent vantage point to see half the planet in one image, and this allows modelers to fill in gaps in the data. For example, ash from a volcano can be observed at the source, and distribution of the plume can be tracked over time,” Mobilia said.

It’s not the first time when Lockheed Martin builds an instrument to study weather and atmosphere. The company’s Advanced Technology Center has built instruments looking at the atmosphere, such as the Cryogenic Limb Array Etalon Spectrometer (CLAES) on board the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) mission, and the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS) on AURA satellite. 

“EPIC's instrument architecture is very similar to the instruments we have built for solar observation, such as the four telescopes that make up the AIA [Atmospheric Imaging Assembly] instrument on Solar Dynamics Observatory and the IRIS [Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph] instrument studying the sun’s atmosphere. Lockheed Martin also built GLM [Geostationary Lightning Mapper], a weather-monitoring instrument on the new series of U.S. geostationary weather satellites. The first—GOES-R—will launch early next year,” Mobilia added.

The DSCOVR mission is a partnership between NOAA, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force. The spacecraft was launched on Feb. 11 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It will give NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center forecasters more reliable measurements of solar wind conditions, improving their ability to monitor potentially harmful solar activity.

NASA WEB · Steve Jurczyk Named Head of NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate


NASA's Steve Jurczyck addresses an audience during a manufacturing event in Hampton, Virginia, last month. Image Credit: NASA/Gary Banziger

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Steve Jurczyk as the agency's Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate, effective Monday, March 2. The directorate is responsible for innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use on future NASA missions. Jurczyk has served as Center Director at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, since April of 2014. An accomplished engineer, he previously served as the deputy center director and in other leadership positions at the center prior to his appointment as center director. 

"It's great to have Steve coming aboard to lead the technology and innovation engine of the agency," said Bolden. "Technology drives exploration and under Steve's leadership we'll continue the President's innovation strategy, positioning NASA and the aerospace community on the cutting-edge, pushing the boundaries of the aerospace with the technical rigor our nation expects of its space program" 

Langley’s current deputy director, Dave Bowles, will serve as acting director. 

In May 2003, Jurczyk was named director of Systems Engineering. Before becoming Langley's Deputy Director, he previously served as director of Langley's Research and Technology Directorate. 

Jurczyk began his NASA career at Langley in 1988 as an electronics engineer in the Electronic Systems Branch. While on detail to NASA Headquarters, he managed the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and formulated the technology development strategy for the Earth Science Enterprise. 

From 1994 to 1997, he was the Instrument Systems Engineer and later the Spacecraft Systems Manager for the Landsat 7 Project at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He returned to Langley as head of the Electronic Systems Branch in the Aerospace Electronics Systems Division. In 2002, Jurczyk was selected as Deputy Director for Flight Systems in Langley's Systems Engineering organization. 

Jurczyk earned bachelor and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia in 1984 and 1986, respectively. 

Jurczyk succeeds Michael Gazarik, who left this agency this month to become director of Technology at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colorado. 

"Mike's experienced leadership and commitment has been critical to building the strong foundation upon which our Space Technology Mission Directorate now stands," said Bolden. "Through his hard work and vision, he's developed an innovative, cross-cutting organization that creates the new knowledge and capabilities needed to enable our future missions. Mike's proven that technology drives exploration and is a critical component of our journey to Mars. His tireless work and dedication to fostering innovation at NASA will be sorely missed."

NASA WEB ·NASA Successfully Launches Three Suborbital Rockets for Department of Defense


Rocket launches from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Feb. 24, 2015. Credit: NASA

Early Tuesday morning, NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virgina, successfully launched three Terrier-Oriole suborbital rockets for the Department of Defense. According to a press release from NASA, the rockets were launched between 2:30 a.m and 2:31 a.m. from the flight facility on the Eastern Shore. NASA Wallops Visitor Center was not open for the launch and the Department of Defense requested NASA Wallops not livestream the video or provide real-time updates on social media.
According to a press release, the launches may have been visible to residents in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

These rocket launches were the first since the Antares rocket launch explosion from Oct. 28, 2014. 

A spokesperson from NASA Wallops says the timing of today’s launch is not related to the Antares launch failure. 

The next scheduled launch from the Wallops Flight Facility is set for March 27. A NASA Terrier-Improved suborbital sounding rocket will carry experiments developed by university students.

domingo, 22 de fevereiro de 2015