While Fermi is in fine shape today, continuing its mission to map the highest-energy light in the universe, the story of how it sidestepped a potential disaster offers a glimpse at an underappreciated aspect of managing a space mission: orbital traffic control.
Last weekend (April 27, 2013), the Fermi and Swift spacecraft witnessed a “shockingly” bright burst of gamma rays from a dying star. Named GRB 130427A, it produced one of the longest lasting and brightest GRBs ever detected.
A distinctive flash of light emanating from a dying star may make it possible for astronomers to watch a black hole being born, according to new research.
Herschel has made over 35 000 scientific observations, amassing more than 25 000 hours’ worth of science data from about 600 observing programmes. A further 2000 hours of calibration observations also contribute to the rich dataset, which is based at ESA’s European Space Astronomy Centre, near Madrid in Spain.
CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield performed a simple science experiment designed by grade 10 Lockview High School students Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner. The students from Fall River, Nova Scotia won a national science contest held by the Canadian Space Agency with their experiment on surface tension in space using a wet washcloth. Credit: Canadian Space Agency/NASA
Many of these conspiracy theories seem to be a recycling of last years’ Nibiru nonsense. The train of thought runs something like this: Does NASA know something that they’re not telling us? Why are they so interested in this comet? We’ve even had folks ask us why certain patches of Google Earth are “blacked out!”
This episode of the ESOcast relates how ESO – based on experience gathered over the past fifty years as the most powerful observatory in history – is going to satisfy the eternal longing of astronomers: the construction of even bigger telescopes.
An often ignored meteor shower may offer fine prospects for viewing this weekend.
The Eta Aquarid meteors provide a dependable display in early May. With a radiant very near a Y-shaped asterism in northern Aquarius, the Eta Aquarids are one of the very few major showers that provide a decent annual show for southern hemisphere residents.
The spinning vortex of Saturn’s north polar storm resembles a deep red rose of giant proportions surrounded by green foliage in this false-color image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI). Video courtesy: NASA. NASA released spectacular new images of a hurricane swirling at Saturn’s north pole captured by Cassini spacecraft. The storm 20 times the [...]
This is one of ATV-5′s solar panels as it will fly in space. It is not necessary to protect the cables other than fixing them in a wavy line to withstand physical stress during launch and deployment.
These dizzying images of a hurricane on Saturn, of course, came as the spacecraft zoomed overhead at a safe distance. NASA’s goal in examining this huge hurricane is to figure out its mechanisms and to compare it to what happens on our home planet.