background preloader

SpaceRef - Space News and Reference

SpaceRef - Space News and Reference

Related:  Space

The Sky Tonight - Astronomy News UK, Night Sky, Celestial Events, Images, Books and Star Naming Service Northern Hemisphere Ian Morison tells us what we can see in the northern hemisphere night sky during September 2015. The Stars To the south and moving westward as night progresses you may see the Summer Triangle: the bright stars Deneb (in Cygnus), Vega (in Lyra) and below them Altair (in Aquila). Towards the south later in the evening you may spot the great square of Pegasus - adjacent to Andromeda and M31, the Andromeda Nebula. To the north lies "w" shaped Cassiopeia and Perseus.

astronomy magazine NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is three months from returning to humanity the first-ever close-up images and scientific observations of distant Pluto and its system of large and small moons. "Scientific literature is filled with papers on the characteristics of Pluto and its moons from ground-based and Earth-orbiting space observations, but we've never studied Pluto up close and personal," said John Grunsfeld of the NASA Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C. "In an unprecedented flyby this July, our knowledge of what the Pluto system is really like will expand exponentially, and I have no doubt there will be exciting discoveries." The fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons has traveled a longer time and farther away — more than nine years and 3 billion miles (5 billion kilometers) — than any space mission in history to reach its primary target. Pluto's smaller moons also are likely to present scientific opportunities.

Astrophysics: Fire in the hole! Andy Potts In March 2012, Joseph Polchinski began to contemplate suicide — at least in mathematical form. A string theorist at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California, Polchinski was pondering what would happen to an astronaut who dived into a black hole. COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — They'll be crammed into a space the size of an RV for more than a year, breathing recycled air, subsisting on dehydrated food and drinking their purified urine. If they die, they'll be freeze-dried in a body bag. And if they survive, they'll have to re-enter Earth's atmosphere at a screaming 8.8 miles (14.2 kilometers) per second.

Ice-capades: The true blue beauty of the icebergs of Iceland By Sara Malm Published: 16:56 GMT, 12 November 2012 | Updated: 20:17 GMT, 12 November 2012 It has been called the nation of fire and ice and as these stunning pictures proves, it is certainly the latter. The magnificent ever-changing landscapes of Iceland where the freezing temperatures make the icebergs and glaciers shift in every shade of blue, from turquoise and azure to indigo. How Many Moons Does Saturn Have? A collage of Saturn (bottom left) and some of its moons: Titan, Enceladus, Dione, Rhea and Helene. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute Saturn’s moons have such a variety of environments between them that you’d be forgiven for wanting to spend an entire mission just looking at its satellites. From the orangy, hazy Titan to the icy plumes emanating from Enceladus, studying Saturn’s system gives us plenty of things to think about. Not only that, the moon discoveries keep on coming. As of April 2014, there are 62 known satellites of Saturn (excluding its spectacular rings, of course).

Rosetta The final countdown: Days from the toughest space landing ever Ten years after leaving Earth, one of humanity's most ambitious space missions is ready for its climax – a nail-biting drop onto the surface of a comet MATT TAYLOR will soon experience the most agonising 28 minutes and 20 seconds of his life. That's how long it takes a signal to travel the 500 million kilometres from the surface of comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko to the European Space Agency's mission control in Darmstadt, Germany. So that's how long Taylor must wait to find out if his team has made history by landing a spacecraft on a comet for the very first time.

A new way to view Titan: 'Despeckle' it During 10 years of discovery, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has pulled back the smoggy veil that obscures the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Cassini's radar instrument has mapped almost half of the giant moon's surface; revealed vast, desert-like expanses of sand dunes; and plumbed the depths of expansive hydrocarbon seas. What could make that scientific bounty even more amazing? Well, what if the radar images could look even better? Thanks to a recently developed technique for handling noise in Cassini's radar images, these views now have a whole new look.