NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 14 Jul 2009, 22:42 UTC Scientists have combined a trio of shots taken seconds apart through different colored filters to create a special-effects portrait of a moving dust devil on Mars. The panoramic camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit was taking exposures through different filters during the 1,919th Martian day of Spirit's mission (May 27, 2009) as part of constructing a large color panorama. Three westward shots, with several seconds intervening between them, caught a whirlwind in motion. A composite image combining the three exposures to make a color image of the Martian ground shows the dust devil in different colors, according to where it was on the horizon when each exposure was taken.
NASA Breaking News 14 Jul 2009, 22:35 UTC NASA is offering undergraduate students an opportunity to test experiments in microgravity aboard NASA's "Weightless Wonder" aircraft. The opportunity is part of NASA's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program, which gives aspiring explorers a chance to propose, design and fabricate a reduced gravity experiment. Selected teams will get to test and evaluate their experiment aboard NASA's reduced gravity airplane. The aircraft flies about 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips during experiment flights to produce periods of weightlessness and hyper-gravity ranging from 0 g to 2 g.
Royal Astronomical Society 14 Jul 2009, 15:15 UTC New simulations reveal that turbulence created by jets of material ejected from the disks of the Universe’s largest black holes is responsible for halting star formation. Evan Scannapieco, an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University (ASU) and Professor Marcus Brueggen of Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, present the new model in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
German Aerospace Center (DLR) 14 Jul 2009, 10:38 UTC The 105-day space travel simulation experiment 'Mars 500', based in Moscow with German involvement, has just finished. On 14 July 2009, the crew, including Oliver Knickel, a member of the German Army, left the module system. The six people taking part in the experiment will be subjected to a rigorous series of examinations over the next few days, before returning to their families. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is heavily involved in Mars500, alongside other organisations.
ESA Top News 14 Jul 2009, 10:30 UTC Venus Express has charted the first map of Venus’ southern hemisphere at infrared wavelengths. The new map hints that our neighbouring world may once have been more Earth-like, with a plate tectonics system and an ocean of water.
University of Florida 13 Jul 2009, 14:15 UTC GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Four hundred years after Galileo first turned his handmade telescope toward the heavens, the world’s largest, most technologically advanced telescope is set to make its formal debut.The inauguration of the Gran Telescopio Canarias — with its 10.4-meter diameter mirror, the telescope has more light-collecting area than any other — is scheduled for July 24 in Spain’s Canary Islands. Officials and astronomers from the University of Florida, the only U.S. institution that is part of the project, will join more than 500 astronomers, journalists and celebrities in a ceremony presided over by Spain’s King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia.
Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) 12 Jul 2009, 15:00 UTC As we get closer to finding analogues of Earth, an important consideration for the characterization of extrasolar planetary atmospheres is what the transmission spectrum of our planet looks like. Recently a team of astronomers, using LIRIS on the William Herschel Telescope and ALFOSC on the Nordic Optical Telescope simultaneously, have been able to obtain for the first time the optical and near-infrared transmission spectrum of the Earth during a lunar eclipse.
Gemini Observatory 10 Jul 2009, 19:16 UTC Using the Altair adaptive optics system with the Gemini Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIFS) on Gemini North, a US/Australian team have obtained unprecedented high-spatial resolution integral field spectra of the Ultra-Compact H II Region K3-50A. The study reveals never-before-seen morphology and kinematics within this complex region of star formation
ESA Top News 10 Jul 2009, 08:15 UTC Herschel has carried out the first test observations with all its instruments, with spectacular results. Galaxies, star-forming regions and dying stars comprised the telescope’s first targets. The instruments provided spectacular data on their first attempt, finding water and carbon and revealing dozens of distant galaxies.