Universe Today 27 Mar 2017, 03:31 UTC Engineers carried out a critical hot fire engine test firing with the first new engine controlling ‘brain’ that will command the shuttle-era liquid fueled engines powering the inaugural mission of NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket.
Astro Bob 26 Mar 2017, 17:09 UTC This vast, canyon-like opening in the sun’s magnetic field called a coronal hole may treat the northern U.S. to auroras tonight through Wednesday night. The photo was taken in far ultraviolet light by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Explorer Sunday morning. Holes appear dark because there’s not much material there — just a thin soup of high speed particles. Credit: NASA The upcoming week has real aurora potential. Tonight through Wednesday night, the NOAA space weather forecast calls for minor to moderate geomagnetic storms during overnight hours. Sometimes solar storms called flares are responsible for aurora; they blast bits and pieces of the sun (electrons and protons) toward Earth at extremely high speed. During the biggest solar flare ever recorded on April 2, 2001, material shot out from the sun at 4.3 million miles an hour (7 million km/hr). Incredibly, it took less than a day for the first squirming electrons to cross the 93 million mile gap between sun and Earth. Magnetic loops (A), similar to the how iron filings arrange themselves around a common magnet, normally fold back the sun’s magnetism. In coronal holes (B), the field lines are open and material can freely leave. Credit: Sebman 81 / CC ...
SPACE.com 26 Mar 2017, 12:37 UTC
SPACE.com 25 Mar 2017, 10:30 UTC
Universe Today 25 Mar 2017, 01:08 UTC The Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, called Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A*), is arrowed in the image made of the innermost galactic center in X-ray light by NASA’s Chandra Observatory. To the left or east of Sgr A* is Sgr A East, a large cloud that may be the remnant of a supernova. Centered on Sgr A* is a spiral shaped group of gas streamers that might be falling onto the hole. Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/Frederick K. Baganoff et al. When your ordinary citizen learns there’s a supermassive black hole with a mass of 4 million suns sucking on its teeth in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, they might kindly ask exactly how astronomers know this. A perfectly legitimate question. You can tell them that the laws of physics guarantee their existence or that people have been thinking about black holes since 1783. That year, English clergyman John Michell proposed the idea of “dark stars” so massive and gravitationally powerful they could imprison their own light. This time-lapse movie in infrared light shows how stars in the central light-year of the Milky Way have moved over a period of 14 years. The yellow mark at the image center represents the ...
Lights in the Dark 24 Mar 2017, 21:50 UTC Remember when I mentioned that NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was going to be scanning for “Trojan” asteroids at Earth-Sun L4? Well the results are in and survey says: no new Trojans (besides 2010 TK7, which we already knew about.) But the search wasn’t in vain—it gave mission scientists a chance put the spacecraft’s OCAMS instruments to the test and they passed with flying colors. In fact the MapCam camera did so well it was able to image 17 main belt asteroids from L4, some two full magnitudes dimmer than expected.
NASA Space Station Blog 24 Mar 2017, 18:27 UTC Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency concluded their spacewalk at 1:58 p.m. EDT. During the spacewalk, which lasted just over six-and-a-half hours, the two astronauts successfully disconnected cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 to prepare for its robotic move Sunday, March 26.
Starts With A Bang! 24 Mar 2017, 14:06 UTC 13.8 billion years ago, the Universe as we know it came into existence. Today, the part we can observe is 46 billion light years in radius, having grown tremendously thanks to the expansion of the Universe. But if we extrapolate that backwards, we find that the Universe couldn’t have been infinitely small at the moment of its birth, but rather was a finite size at all finite times.