Posts Tagged ‘Astronomy’

NASA a live video/audio feed of the Perseid shower

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Source – NASA Chat: Stay ‘Up All Night’ to Watch the Perseids:

A live video/audio feed of the Perseid shower is embedded below. The camera is mounted at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. During daylight, you’ll see a dark gray box — the camera is light-activated and will turn on at dusk. At night you’ll see white points, or stars, on a black background.



Live stream by Ustream

About the Perseids

The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet’s debris. These bits of ice and dust — most over 1,000 years old — burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere to create one of the best meteor showers of the year. The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere. Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

More About the Chat Experts

Bill Cooke
Danielle Moser
Rhiannon Blaauw

Janet Anderson, 256-544-0034
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
Janet.L.Anderson@nasa.gov

NASA / What’s Up August 2012

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Source – NASA /JPL Solar System Exploration:

Curiosity lands on the surface of Mars while Saturn, Mars and the bright star Spica form a trio almost all month long.

Live Web Cast of the 2012 Transit of Venus

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Source – NASA TV:



Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream

Our Photos from the Annular Solar Eclipse May 2012

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Brighton Astronomy Group Solar Photos:

We had an awesome yesterday in UT. I got to see my first Annular Solar Eclipse.
We made some new friends. Some of the things we noticed during the eclipse were of course the change in the light. We also watched the temperature change from 85 degrees Fahrenheit to 71 degrees Fahrenheit.
I have placed some photos in our Gallery of our Web Site under Astrophotography, then Solar.

NASA Science – Solar Eclipse in the USA (May 20, 2012)

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Source – Science@NASA:

See Older post for google maps that show the path of the Eclipse.

A “ring of fire” solar eclipse is coming to the USA this spring. It’s the first annular eclipse visible from the contiguous United States in almost 18 years.

NASA / JPL What’s Up For May 2012

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Source – NASA /JPL Solar System Exploration:

View sunspots and a solar eclipse through solar-safe ‘scopes this month.

ScienceCasts: A Wonderful Night in April

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Source – Science@NASA:

If you have to chose just one night in April to go out and look at the stars, NASA scientists say it should be April 21st. This week’s ScienceCast explains what makes that one night so special.

Annular Solar eclipse of May 20, 2012

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Source – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

An annular solar eclipse will take place on May 20, 2012 (May 21, 2012 for local time in Eastern Hemisphere), with a magnitude of 0.9439. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring), blocking most of the Sun’s light. An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometres wide.

The annular phase will be visible from the Chinese coast, the south of Japan, and the western part of the United States and Canada. Guangzhou, Tokyo and Albuquerque will be on the central path. Kanarraville, Utah will be a perfect place to view the annular phase. Its maximum will occur in the North Pacific, south of the Aleutian islands for 5 min and 46.3 s, and finish in the western United States.

It will be the first central eclipse of the 21st century in the continental USA, and also the first annular eclipse there since the solar eclipse of May 10, 1994 which was also the previous eclipse of this series Solar Saros 128.

Google Map of Annular Solar Eclipse

NASA /JPL What’s up for April 2012

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Source – NASA /JPL Solar System Exploration:

View Saturn all night this month, and view icy moons through a telescope.

NASA Discovers First Earth-size Planets Beyond Our Solar System

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Source – NASA /JPL Kepler:

MOFFET FIELD, Calif. — NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered the first Earth-size planets orbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system. The planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are too close to their star to be in the so-called habitable zone where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface, but they are the smallest exoplanets ever confirmed around a star like our sun.

The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth. The new planets are thought to be rocky. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus, measuring 0.87 times the radius of Earth. Kepler-20f is a bit larger than Earth, measuring 1.03 times its radius. Both planets reside in a five-planet system called Kepler-20, approximately 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.

Kepler-20e orbits its parent star every 6.1 days and Kepler-20f every 19.6 days. These short orbital periods mean very hot, inhospitable worlds. Kepler-20f, at 800 degrees Fahrenheit, is similar to an average day on the planet Mercury. The surface temperature of Kepler-20e, at more than 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, would melt glass.

“The primary goal of the Kepler mission is to find Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone,” said Francois Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., lead author of a new study published in the journal Nature. “This discovery demonstrates for the first time that Earth-size planets exist around other stars, and that we are able to detect them.”

The Kepler-20 system includes three other planets that are larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. Kepler-20b, the closest planet, Kepler-20c, the third planet, and Kepler-20d, the fifth planet, orbit their star every 3.7, 10.9 and 77.6 days. All five planets have orbits lying roughly within Mercury’s orbit in our solar system. The host star belongs to the same G-type class as our sun, although it is slightly smaller and cooler.

The system has an unexpected arrangement. In our solar system, small, rocky worlds orbit close to the sun and large, gaseous worlds orbit farther out. In comparison, the planets of Kepler-20 are organized in alternating size: large, small, large, small and large.

“The Kepler data are showing us some planetary systems have arrangements of planets very different from that seen in our solar system,” said Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist and Kepler science team member at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “The analysis of Kepler data continue to reveal new insights about the diversity of planets and planetary systems within our galaxy.”

Scientists are not certain how the system evolved but they do not think the planets formed in their existing locations. They theorize the planets formed farther from their star and then migrated inward, likely through interactions with the disk of material from which they originated. This allowed the worlds to maintain their regular spacing despite alternating sizes.

The Kepler space telescope detects planets and planet candidates by measuring dips in the brightness of more than 150,000 stars to search for planets crossing in front, or transiting, their stars. The Kepler science team requires at least three transits to verify a signal as a planet.

The Kepler science team uses ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope to review observations on planet candidates the spacecraft finds. The star field Kepler observes in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra can be seen only from ground-based observatories in spring through early fall. The data from these other observations help determine which candidates can be validated as planets.

To validate Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, astronomers used a computer program called Blender, which runs simulations to help rule out other astrophysical phenomena masquerading as a planet.

On Dec. 5 the team announced the discovery of Kepler-22b in the habitable zone of its parent star. It is likely to be too large to have a rocky surface. While Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f are Earth-size, they are too close to their parent star to have liquid water on the surface.

“In the cosmic game of hide and seek, finding planets with just the right size and just the right temperature seems only a matter of time,” said Natalie Batalha, Kepler deputy science team lead and professor of astronomy and physics at San Jose State University. “We are on the edge of our seats knowing that Kepler’s most anticipated discoveries are still to come.”

NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., manages Kepler’s ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. JPL managed the Kepler mission’s development.

Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA’s 10th Discovery Mission and is funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.

For more information about the Kepler mission and to view the digital press kit, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler