Night Sky Observer Space and Astronomy News


02/25/2017 01:43 AM
A New Look at Supernova 1987A

Three decades ago, astronomers spotted one of the brightest exploding stars in more than 400 years. The titanic supernova, called Supernova 1987A (SN 1987A), blazed with the power of 100 million suns for several months following its discovery on Feb. 23, 1987. This is where Supernova 1987A is located Since that first sighting, SN 1987A...

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02/18/2017 02:51 AM

NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter, which has been in orbit around the gas giant since July 4, 2016, will remain in its current 53-day orbit for the remainder of the mission. This will allow Juno to accomplish its science goals, while avoiding the risk of a previously-planned engine firing that would have reduced the spacecraft’s...

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02/17/2017 04:39 AM
The Release of LunarPhase Pro Version 4 – and a Potted History of My Astronomy Software

The Main Screen for LunarPhase Pro Verison 4. Click the image for a full-size view I wrote my first astronomy application back in 1981 while I was still in University. It was for the Sinclair ZX81. A year earlier I had bought my first ever computer – a ZX80 which had a whopping 1K RAM...

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12/23/2016 01:41 AM
Is There a Subsurface Ocean on Jupiter’s Largest Moon Ganymede?

In the video below, scientists Tony Darnell, Dr. Carol Christian and Scott Lewis discuss observations of Ganymede with the Hubble Space Telescope science team. Nearly 500 million miles from the Sun lies a moon orbiting Jupiter that is slightly larger than the planet Mercury and may contain more water than all of Earth’s oceans. Temperatures...

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12/20/2016 12:40 AM
Data From Pan-STARRS Released to the Public

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, in conjunction with the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy in Honolulu, Hawaii, publicly released data yesterday from Pan-STARRS — the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System — the world’s largest digital sky survey. “The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and...

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12/19/2016 03:20 AM
ExoMars 2020 Is a Go!

The first ExoMars mission arrived at the Red Planet in October and now the second mission has been confirmed to complete its construction for a 2020 launch. ESA and Thales Alenia Space signed a contract today that secures the completion of the European elements of the next mission. The main objective of the ExoMars programme...

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11/21/2016 12:04 AM
Rosetta Finds Carbon Dioxide Ice Surprise on Comet

As Rosetta’s comet approached its most active period last year, the spacecraft spotted carbon dioxide ice – never before seen on a comet – followed by the emergence of two unusually large patches of water ice. The carbon dioxide ice layer covered an area comparable to the size of a football pitch, while the two...

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11/07/2016 02:32 AM
NASA and FEMA’s Tabletop Asteroid Impact Exercise

What would we do if we discovered a large asteroid on course to impact Earth? While highly unlikely, that was the high-consequence scenario discussed by attendees at an Oct. 25 NASA-FEMA tabletop exercise in El Segundo, California. The third in a series of exercises hosted jointly by NASA and FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management...

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11/04/2016 02:42 AM
The ExoMars Schiaparelli Crash Site

New high-resolution images taken by a NASA orbiter show parts of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module and its landing site in colour on the Red Planet. Schiaparelli arrived in the Meridiani Planum region on Mars on 19 October, while its mothership began orbiting the planet. The Trace Gas orbiter will make its first science observations during...

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10/27/2016 01:56 AM
Space Robotics Lecture – What We Can Expect From Future Robotic Missions

The ability to rove the surface of Mars has revolutionized NASA missions. With more advanced mobility, cliff faces, cave ceilings, and the surfaces of asteroids and comets could be explored. This talk will present the work of the Robotic Rapid Prototyping Lab at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This includes grippers for NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission,...

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