Archive for September, 2011

NASA’s UARS, is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere in late September or early October 2011

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Source – NASA UARS Updates:

Update #6
Tue, 20 Sep 2011 02:00:29 PM MDT
As of Sept. 20, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 127 mi by 140 mi (205 km by 225 km). Re-entry is expected Sept. 23, plus or minus a day. It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry. Predictions will become more refined over the next two days.

NASA will post updates weekly until four days before the anticipated re-entry, then daily until about 24 hours before re-entry, and then at about 12 hours, six hours and two hours before re-entry. The updates will come from the Joint Space Operations Center of U.S. Strategic Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., which works around the clock detecting, identifying and tracking all man-made objects in Earth orbit, including space junk.
The actual date of re-entry is difficult to predict because it depends on solar flux and the spacecraft’s orientation as its orbit decays. As re-entry draws closer, predictions on the date will become more reliable.

The risk to public safety or property is extremely small, and safety is NASA’s top priority. Since the beginning of the Space Age in the late-1950s, there have been no confirmed reports of an injury resulting from re-entering space objects. Nor is there a record of significant property damage resulting from a satellite re-entry.

If you find something you think may be a piece of UARS, do not touch it. Contact a local law enforcement official for assistance.

NASA: What’s Up For September 2011?

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Source – NASA /JPL Solar System Exploration:

Enjoy a tour of lunar landing sites as NASA’s GRAIL mission launches to the moon this month.

A Planet with 2 Suns…

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Source – NASA / Ames Research Center:

Unlike Star Wars’ Tatooine, Kepler-16b is cold, gaseous and not thought to harbor life, but its discovery demonstrates the diversity of planets in our galaxy. Previous research has hinted at the existence of circumbinary planets, but clear confirmation proved elusive. Kepler detected such a planet, known as Kepler-16b, by observing transits, where the brightness of a parent star dims from the planet crossing in front of it.

“This discovery confirms a new class of planetary systems that could harbor life,” Kepler principal investigator William Borucki said. “Given that most stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system, this means the opportunities for life are much broader than if planets form only around single stars. This milestone discovery confirms a theory that scientists have had for decades but could not prove until now.”

Embedded video from

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of

How to see the “supernova of a generation” with a pair of binoculars

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Source – Berkeley Lab / lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:

A supernova discovered yesterday is closer to Earth — approximately 21 million light-years away — than any other of its kind in a generation. Astronomers believe they caught the supernova within hours of its explosion, a rare feat made possible with a specialized survey telescope and state-of-the-art computational tools

At a mere 21 million light-years from Earth, a relatively small distance by astronomical standards, the supernova is still getting brighter, and might even be visible with good binoculars in ten days’ time, appearing brighter than any other supernova of its type in the last 30 years.