Wednesday, June 20, 2018

NEW EXOPLANETS?

Hey Space Placers!

Take a look at this amazing image that shows what is in all probability 3 new planets:

Our Solar System formed out of a huge, primordial cloud of gas and dust. The vast majority of that cloud formed the Sun, while the leftover disc of rotating material around it eventually coalesced into the orbiting planets we know — and live on — today. Astronomers can observe similar processes happening around other stars in the cosmos. This splendid Picture of the Week shows a disc of rotating, leftover material surrounding the young star HD 163296. Using the observing power of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, astronomers have been able to discern specific features in the disc, including concentric rings of material surrounding the central star. They were even able to use ALMA to obtain high-resolution measurements of the gas and dust constituents of the disc. With these data they could infer key details of the formation history of this young stellar system. The three gaps between the rings are likely due to a depletion of dust and in the middle and outer gaps astronomers also found a lower level of gas. The depletion of both dust and gas suggests the presence of newly formed planets, each around the mass of Saturn, carving out these gaps on their brand new orbits.

The gaps between the rings are likely due to a depletion of dust and in the middle and outer gaps astronomers also found a lower level of gas. The depletion of both dust and gas suggests the presence of newly formed planets, each around the mass of Saturn, carving out these gaps on their brand new orbits. Credit: ESO, ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); A. Isella; B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF).

Discovered using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) these are considered to be the first three planets discovered by ALMA - that's how strong the evidence is that there are new exoplanets in this system.


The parent star HD 163296 is only 4 million years old so once again we are seeing how planets are a natural byproduct of stellar birth.


Our solar system at 4.6 billion years old is ancient compared to this one.


Sky Guy in VA


















Monday, June 18, 2018

9th LAUNCH ANNIVERSARY FOR LRO AND LCROSS

Hey Space Placers!

Hard to believe it has been nine years since Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Remote Observation Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) launched.



I saw both of these lunar bound spacecraft while they were being built and wrote the June 2009 Sky and Telescope magazine article about their 2-for-1 mission launch.

Me and LCROSS at NASA Ames 

Me and LRO at NASA Goddard
Humanity is going back to the Moon and LRO will finally have some company with the upcoming Chinese Chang'e 4 and 5 missions.

Here's to more good data LRO and thank you LCROSS for you daring demise in search of lunar water in Cabeus Crater.

Sky Guy in VA


Saturday, June 16, 2018

SKY GUY VIEWING ALERT 6/16/18 MOON & VENUS AFTER SUNSET

Hey Space Placers!

All around the world people can see the Waxing Crescent Moon and brilliant Venus in the West after sunset tonight.

You can't miss it.....

Enjoy the view and try taking a pic with any camera.

Earthshine from our planet's clouds and oceans will illuminate the dark portion of the Moon - the part that is not illuminated by the Sun - so that you can see craters and the Maria (impact basins).

Get out and enjoy the view.....

Oh, and that bright "star" in the south is Jupiter.

The Milky Way will be up too when it is dark as you saw in my pics yesterday.

Enjoy......

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, June 15, 2018

ENJOY THE PICS

Hey Space Placers!

Up at Shenandoah National Park Big Meadow last night and got a few pics to share. Gt a lot of sky glow due to the clouds but the sky still won the light pollution battle!

Bright Mars, Saturn and Jupiter



Saturn and Antares & Milky Way



The REAL Skyline Drive is the Milky Way Galaxy.



Sky Guy in VA

Thursday, June 14, 2018

FATE OF MARS ROVER OPPORTUNITY UNKNOWN

Hey Space Placers!

A HUGE dust storm on Mars has shut down NASA's 15 years on Mars Rover Opportunity due to lack of solar power.

This series of images shows simulated views of a darkening Martian sky blotting out the Sun from NASA’s Opportunity rover’s point of view, with the right side simulating Opportunity’s current view in the global dust storm (June 2018). The left starts with a blindingly bright mid-afternoon sky, with the sun appearing bigger because of brightness. The right shows the Sun so obscured by dust it looks like a pinprick. Each frame corresponds to a tau value, or measure of opacity: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
For more information about Opportunity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov

Credit

NASA/JPL-Caltech/TAMU

The fate of the rover remains to be seen. Opportunity's twin, Spirit, died years ago, leaving nuclear powered Curiosity as the only operational rover on Mars at the moment.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

GRAVITATIONAL WAVES - UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Hey Space Placers!

Here is my WTOP story about gravitational waves as told by Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Rainer Weiss.

Dr. Rainer Weiss
Credit: Greg Redfern

Enjoy.....

Sky Guy in VA