Monday, November 12, 2018

"Of Bent Time and Jellyfish" | Hubble

At first glance, a bright blue crescent immediately jumps out of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image: is it a bird? A plane? Evidence of extraterrestrial life? No—it is a galaxy.

The shape of this galaxy admittedly appears to be somewhat bizarre, so confusion would be forgiven. This is due to a cosmic phenomenon called gravitational lensing. In this image, the gravitational influence of a massive galaxy cluster (called SDSS J1110+6459) is causing its surroundings spacetime to bend and warp, affecting the passage of any nearby light. This cluster to the lower left of the blue streak; a few more signs of lensing (streaks, blobs, curved lines, distorted shapes) can be seen dotted around this area.

This image also features a rare and interesting type of galaxy called a jellyfish galaxy, visible just right next to the cluster and apparently dripping bright blue material. These are galaxies that lose gas via a process called galactic ram pressure stripping, where the drag caused by the galaxy moving through space causes gas to be stripped away.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Release Date: November 12, 2018


#NASA #Hubble #Astronomy #Space #Science #Galaxy #Jellyfish #GravitationalLensing #Cluster #SDSSJ11106459 #Astrophysics #Cosmos #Universe #Telescope #ESA #Goddard #GSFC #STScI #STEM #Education

Friday, November 09, 2018

NASA's Space to Ground: Surviving the Plunge | Week of Nov. 9, 2018

NASA's Space to Ground: Surviving the Plunge | Week of Nov. 9, 2018
NASA's Space to Ground is your weekly update on what's happening aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 57 crew said farewell to a Japanese resupply ship Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, and is getting ready to welcome U.S. and Russian space freighters in less than two weeks. The trio practiced International Space Station emergency procedures this week then went on to space research and robotics training.

The U.S. company Northrop Grumman is getting its 10th Cygnus cargo craft packed and ready for launch atop an Antares rocket Nov. 15 at 4:49 a.m. EST. Russia will launch its 71st station resupply mission aboard a Progress spaceship the next day at 1:14 p.m.

Both resupply ships are due to arrive at the station Sunday Nov. 18 just 10 hours apart. The Cygnus will get there first following its head start. Commander Alexander Gerst assisted by Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor will capture the American vessel with the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 4:35 a.m. A few hours later, cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev will monitor the approach and automated docking of the Russian Progress 71 cargo craft to the Zvezda service module at 2:30 p.m.

Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center
Duration: 2 minutes, 19 seconds
Release Date: November 9, 2018


#NASA #Space #ISS #Science #HTV #Cargo #Supply #JAXA #日本 #Japan #Research #Microgravity #Astronauts #ESA #AlexanderGerst #Germany #Deutschland #DLR #SerenaAuñónChancellor #Cosmonaut #SergeyProkopyev #Russia #Россия #Boeing #CST100 #Starliner #LaunchAmerica #Human #Spaceflight #Spacecraft #JSC #Houston #Texas #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Astronomers Unveil Growing Black Holes in Colliding Galaxies

Nov. 7, 2018: Peering through thick walls of gas and dust surrounding the messy cores of merging galaxies, astronomers are getting their best view yet of close pairs of supermassive black holes as they march toward coalescence into mega black holes.

A team of researchers led by Michael Koss of Eureka Scientific Inc., in Kirkland, Washington, performed the largest survey of the cores of nearby galaxies in near-infrared light, using high-resolution images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The Hubble observations represent over 20 years' worth of snapshots from its vast archive.

"Seeing the pairs of merging galaxy nuclei associated with these huge black holes so close together was pretty amazing," Koss said. "In our study, we see two galaxy nuclei right when the images were taken. You can't argue with it; it's a very 'clean' result, which doesn't rely on interpretation."

The images also provide a close-up preview of a phenomenon that must have been more common in the early universe, when galaxy mergers were more frequent. When galaxies collide, their monster black holes can unleash powerful energy in the form of gravitational waves, the kind of ripples in space-time that were just recently detected by ground-breaking experiments.

The new study also offers a preview of what will likely happen in our own cosmic backyard, in several billion years, when our Milky Way combines with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy and their respective central black holes smash together.

"Computer simulations of galaxy smashups show us that black holes grow fastest during the final stages of mergers, near the time when the black holes interact, and that's what we have found in our survey," said study team member Laura Blecha of the University of Florida, in Gainesville. "The fact that black holes grow faster and faster as mergers progress tells us galaxy encounters are really important for our understanding of how these objects got to be so monstrously big."

A galaxy merger is a slow process lasting more than a billion years as two galaxies, under the inexorable pull of gravity, dance toward each other before finally joining together. Simulations reveal that galaxies kick up plenty of gas and dust as they undergo this slow-motion train wreck.

The ejected material often forms a thick curtain around the centers of the coalescing galaxies, shielding them from view in visible light. Some of the material also falls onto the black holes at the cores of the merging galaxies. The black holes grow at a fast clip as they engorge themselves with their cosmic food, and, being messy eaters, they cause the infalling gas to blaze brightly. This speedy growth occurs during the last 10 million to 20 million years of the union. The Hubble and Keck Observatory images captured close-up views of this final stage, when the bulked-up black holes are only about 3,000 light-years apart—a near-embrace in cosmic terms.

It's not easy to find galaxy nuclei so close together. Most prior observations of colliding galaxies have caught the coalescing black holes at earlier stages when they were about 10 times farther away. The late stage of the merger process is so elusive because the interacting galaxies are encased in dense dust and gas and require high-resolution observations in infrared light that can see through the clouds and pinpoint the locations of the two merging nuclei.

The team first searched for visually obscured, active black holes by sifting through 10 years' worth of X-ray data from the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) aboard NASA's Neil Gehrels Swift Telescope, a high-energy space observatory. "Gas falling onto the black holes emits X-rays, and the brightness of the X-rays tells you how quickly the black hole is growing," Koss explained. "I didn't know if we would find hidden mergers, but we suspected, based on computer simulations, that they would be in heavily shrouded galaxies.Therefore we tried to peer through the dust with the sharpest images possible, in hopes of finding coalescing black holes."

The researchers combed through the Hubble archive, identifying those merging galaxies they spotted in the X-ray data. They then used the Keck Observatory's super-sharp, near-infrared vision to observe a larger sample of the X-ray-producing black holes not found in the Hubble archive.

"People had conducted studies to look for these close interacting black holes before, but what really enabled this particular study were the X-rays that can break through the cocoon of dust," Koss said. "We also looked a bit farther in the universe so that we could survey a larger volume of space, giving us a greater chance of finding more luminous, rapidly growing black holes."

The team targeted galaxies with an average distance of 330 million light-years from Earth. Many of the galaxies are similar in size to the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. The team analyzed 96 galaxies from the Keck Observatory and 385 galaxies from the Hubble archive found in 38 different Hubble observation programs. The sample galaxies are representative of what astronomers would find by conducting an all-sky survey.

To verify their results, Koss's team compared the survey galaxies with 176 other galaxies from the Hubble archive that lack actively growing black holes. The comparison confirmed that the luminous cores found in the researchers' census of dusty interacting galaxies are indeed a signature of rapidly growing black-hole pairs headed for a collision.

When the two supermassive black holes in each of these systems finally come together in millions of years, their encounters will produce strong gravitational waves. Gravitational waves produced by the collision of two stellar-mass black holes have already been detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Observatories such as the planned NASA/ESA space-based Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will be able to detect the lower-frequency gravitational waves from supermassive black-hole mergers, which are a million times more massive than those detected by LIGO.

Future infrared telescopes, such as NASA's planned James Webb Space Telescope and a new generation of giant ground-based telescopes, will provide an even better probe of dusty galaxy collisions by measuring the masses, growth rate, and dynamics of close black-hole pairs. The Webb telescope may also be able to look in mid-infrared light to uncover more galaxy interactions so encased in thick gas and dust that even near-infrared light cannot penetrate them.

The team's results appear online in the Nov. 7, 2018, issue of the journal Nature:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0652-7

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.

Credit:
NASA, ESA, and M. Koss (Eureka Scientific, Inc.); Hubble image: NASA, ESA, and M. Koss (Eureka Scientific, Inc.); Keck images: W. M. Keck Observatory and M. Koss (Eureka Scientific, Inc.); Pan-STARRS images: Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System and M. Koss (Eureka Scientific, Inc.)
Release Date: November 7, 2018


#NASA #Hubble #Astronomy #Space #Science #Galaxies #Collisions #BlackHoles #Cosmos #Universe #Astrophysics #Telescope #Keck #Observatory #Hawaii #ESA #Goddard #GSFC #STScI #STEM #Education

Monday, November 05, 2018

Jupiter & Io | Hubble

This image represents Jupiter as it appeared on April 3, 2017 at 02:50:19 UTC.

Io (Jupiter I) is the innermost of the four Galilean moons of the planet Jupiter. It is the fourth-largest moon, has the highest density of all the moons, and has the least amount of water of any known astronomical object in the Solar System. It was discovered in 1610 and was named after the mythological character Io, a priestess of Hera who became one of Zeus' lovers. (Source: Wikipedia)

Technical details:
Red: WFC3/UVIS F631N
Green: WFC3/UVIS F502N
Blue: WFC3/UVIS 395N
North is 50.56° clockwise from up.

Data from the following proposal comprises this image:
Hubble 2020: Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) Program

Credit: NASA/ESA
Processing: Judy Schmidt
Image Date: April 3, 2017
Release Date: November 3, 2018


#NASA #Hubble #Space #Astronomy #Science #Jupiter #Planet #Moon #Io #SolarSystem #Telescope #ESA #GSFC #Goddard #STScI #STEM #Education

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Saturn & Rhea | NASA Cassini Mission

Processed using calibrated red, green, and blue filtered images of Saturn and Rhea taken by the Cassini spacecraft on November 4, 2009.

Rhea is the second-largest moon of Saturn and the ninth-largest moon in the Solar System. It is the second smallest body in the Solar System—after the asteroid and dwarf planet Ceres—for which precise measurements have confirmed a shape consistent with hydrostatic equilibrium. It was discovered in 1672 by Giovanni Domenico Cassini.
(Source: Wikipedia)


The Cassini-Huygens mission was a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter. The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the U.S. and several European countries.

For more information about Cassini, go to:
https://www.nasa.gov/cassini
https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/CICLOPS/Kevin M. Gill
Image Date: November 4, 2009
Release Date: November 4, 2018


#NASA #Astronomy #Science #Space #Saturn #Rings #Planet #Moon #Rhea #SolarSystem #Exploration #Cassini #Spacecraft #JPL #Pasadena #California #UnitedStates #ESA #ASI #History #STEM #Education

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Inside NASA's Kennedy Space Center! | Week of Nov. 2, 2018

Teams from NASA, the Department of Defense Human Space Flight Support Office, and SpaceX recently rehearsed medical triage and evacuation in preparation for Commercial Crew Program launches from American soil. Also, NASA's Exploration Ground Systems kicked off a week of Orion recovery testing off the California coast.

Credit: NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
Duration: 1 minute, 46 seconds
Release Date: November 2, 2018


#NASA #Space #Orion #Spacecraft #SLS #Astronauts #Earth #Sunset #California #Pacific #Ocean #Drone #UAV #Mars #JourneytoMars #DeepSpace #SolarSystem #Exploration #Navy #Kennedy #KSC #Spaceport #Florida #Military #USA #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

NASA Orion & US Navy: Aerial Drone Captures Recovery Test

Nov. 2, 2018: Check out this incredible aerial view of NASA’s Recovery Team and the US Navy practicing recovering a test version of the Orion crew capsule after it splashes down. Underway Recovery Test-7 is one in a series of tests to verify and validate procedures and hardware that will be used to recover the Orion spacecraft after it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean following deep space exploration missions.

Credit: NASA's Kennedy Space Center
Duration: 3 minutes, 45 seconds
Release Date: November 2, 2018


#NASA #Space #Orion #Spacecraft #SLS #Astronauts #Earth #Sunset #California #Pacific #Ocean #Drone #UAV #Mars #JourneytoMars #DeepSpace #SolarSystem #Exploration #Navy #Military #USA #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Jupiter's Maelstroms | NASA Juno Mission

Pictures captured by the Juno spacecraft performing its 16th close flyby of Jupiter: Perijove 16. Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created this image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager.

JPL manages the Juno mission for NASA. The mission's principal investigator is Scott Bolton of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The mission is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, managed at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft.

Learn more about the Juno mission, and get an up-to-date schedule of events, at: www.nasa.gov/juno and http://missionjuno.org

Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
Processing: Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran


#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Jupiter #Planet #Atmosphere #Weather #Meteorology #Juno #Spacecraft #Perijove16 #Exploration #SolarSystem #Technology #Engineering #STEM #Education #JPL #Pasadena #California #USA #UnitedStates #LockheedMartin #MSFC #Marshall #SwRI #CitizenScience #STEM #Education

Friday, November 02, 2018

Tonight's Sky: November 2018 | HubbleSite

In November, look for Pisces, Aries, and Triangulum in the night sky. Also be sure to catch the Taurid meteor shower, which features 5 to 10 meteors per hour on its peak night of November 5 to 6, and for meteors radiating from the constellation of Leo in the evening of November 17 and early morning of November 18.

“Tonight’s Sky” is produced by HubbleSite.org

Credit: HubbleSite
Duration: 5 minutes, 40 seconds
Release Date: October 24, 2018


#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Earth #Taurid #Leonids #MeteorShower #Comet64P #Moon #Planets #Mars #Saturn #Rings #Venus #Stars #SolarSystem #Skywatching #STEM #Education #UnitedStates #Canada #NorthernHemisphere #HD #Video

Skywatching: What's Up for November 2018 | JPL

Thanks to Jane Houston Jones for 12 years of "What's Up"
November brings planets, an asteroid, a comet and the Leonids.

Credit: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
Duration: 2 minutes, 27 seconds
Release Date: November 1, 2018

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Skywatching #Asteroid #Juno #Comet46P #Meteor #MeteorShower #Leonids #Moon #Venus #Mars #InSight #Lander #Planets #SolarSystem #Stars #Constellations #MilkyWay #Galaxy #JPL #Pasadena #California #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

The Closest Spacecraft to the Sun on This Week @NASA | Week of Nov. 2, 2018

A new record for our mission to the Sun, the end of an era for a prolific planet hunter, and our next mission to Mars is closing in on its destination . . . a few of the stories to tell you about—This Week at NASA!

Credit: NASA
Duration: 4 minutes, 4 seconds
Release Date: November 2, 2018

#NASA #Astronomy #Science #Space #Kepler #Exoplanets #Mars #Insight #SpaceWeather #Sun #Solar #Corona #Star #Astrophysics #Spacecraft #Probe #SolarProbe #Parker #EugeneParker #Astrophysicist #Chicago #University #JHUAPL #Goddard #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

NASA's Space to Ground: Getting a Grip Week of | Nov. 2, 2018


Week of Nov. 2, 2018: NASA's Space to Ground is your weekly update on what's happening aboard the International Space Station.

Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Duration: 2 minutes, 19 seconds
Release Date: November 2, 2018


#NASA #Space #ISS #Science #Research #Microgravity #Astronauts #ESA #AlexanderGerst #Germany #Deutschland #DLR #SerenaAuñónChancellor #Cosmonaut #SergeyProkopyev #Russia #Россия #MikeHopkins #SpaceX #CrewDragon #Expedition57 #Human #Spaceflight #Spacecraft #JSC #Houston #Texas #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video