samedi 5 janvier 2013

A vast, thin plane of corotating dwarf galaxies orbiting the Andromeda galaxy












Canada France Hawaii Telescope logo.

Jan. 5, 2013

 Andromeda galaxy (M 31)

Dwarf satellite galaxies are thought to be the remnants of the population of primordial structures that coalesced to form giant galaxies like the Milky Way. It has previously been suspected that dwarf galaxies may not be isotropically distributed around our Galaxy, because several are correlated with streams of Hi emission, and may form coplanar groups.

These suspicions are supported by recent analyses. It has been claimed that the apparently planar distribution of satellites is not predicted within standard cosmology, and cannot simply represent a memory of past coherent accretion. However, other studies dispute this conclusion.

Here we report the existence of a planar subgroup of satellites in the Andromeda galaxy (M 31), comprising about half of the population. The structure is at least 400 kiloparsecs in diameter, but also extremely thin, with a perpendicular scatter of less than 14.1 kiloparsecs.


This composite shows the alignment of the satellite dwarf galaxies of the Andromeda galaxy, in relation to the view that we see from Earth (the top left panel shows a true color image of the center of the Andromeda galaxy taken with the Canada France Hawaii Telescope). Credit: Ibata et al.

Radial velocity measurements reveal that the satellites in this structure have the same sense of rotation about their host. This shows conclusively that substantial numbers of dwarf satellite galaxies share the same dynamical orbital properties and direction of angular momentum. Intriguingly, the plane we identify is approximately aligned with the pole of the Milky Way’s disk and with the vector between the Milky Way and Andromeda.

This new discovery was made ​​possible by a computer simulation carried out with the programming language Python, programmed by a young college boy (15 years) Neil G. Ibata.

Images, Text, Credits (Contributions, authors):  Nature / Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFH) / Rodrigo A. Ibata, Geraint F. Lewis, Anthony R. Conn, Michael J. Irwin, Alan W. McConnachie,    Scott C. Chapman, Michelle L. Collins, Mark Fardal, Annette M. N. Ferguson, Neil G. Ibata, A. Dougal Mackey, Nicolas F. Martin, Julio Navarro, R. Michael Rich, David Valls-Gabaud & Lawrence M. Widrow / NASA - ESA Hubble / Orbiter.ch.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Miracle - A Star









Astronomical Observations.

05/01/2013

As we know from the Gospels preceded the birth of Christ astronomical phenomenon called the star of Bethlehem. Astronomers and historians still can not figure out what it was? Comet or a supernova explosion? The debate about what shone so brightly in the sky for two thousand years ago, is still going on. Every year before Christmas, new hypotheses.

On Christmas Eve, a new hypothesis of the star of Bethlehem. According to American scientists a star that guides the Magi to the infant Jesus, was a unique astronomical phenomenon: the Sun, Moon, Jupiter and Saturn are lined up in a row in the constellation Aries, which is why there was a bright glow.

"Connecting the planets are quite common in 2012, these events took place, will be in 2013, and the planet do not merge, they just come closer to each other ... and this is nothing extraordinary ...." - says senior researcher Oleg IKI Ugolnikov .

The debate about what kind of celestial event happened two thousand years ago, is still going on. Every year just before Christmas a mass of new hypotheses. However, the actual astronomical phenomena, which would provide a bright glow in the sky, even this day, not so much.

In 1604, the great mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler observed the supernova explosions. Scientists have suggested that this may well have happened two thousand years ago. Brightest supernova is comparable with glitter galaxy. Its glow can be seen even on a sunny day.

Supernova explosion

"The supernova explosion, a death star, at the end of evolution. Star actually falls on itself and becomes a neutron star with the release of huge amounts of energy. But if at that time there was an outbreak of a supernova, we would have seen her rest ... ", - says Oleg Ugolnikov.

Another popular hypothesis is the star of Bethlehem was a comet. After all, according to scripture, a star moving across the sky. Maybe - it was one of the most mysterious comets - Halley's Comet. Close to the planet it flies every 75 years. The last time it was observed in 1986, following the visit of space pilgrims expected in 2061. With this comet involves a lot of superstitions. If the tail is long, it is to be war. By some accounts, it was Halley's comet, and could be the star of Bethlehem.

"There are comets that come very close to the Sun, and just a few days, it sharply increases its shine ..." - says Oleg Ugolnikov.

Halley's comet

Two thousand years have passed, and the consensus among scientists or not. Each version is available and thus can not be proved.

"The sky has its own book, in his own society, and people try to connect, but it's naive form ... Science and religion are in principle not compatible ...." - explains Professor, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Rostislav Polishchuk.

In the temple of Star City prayer. The spiritual mentor of our cosmic detachment father Job prays for the crew, who now has a watch on the International Space Station. Once he also dreamed of flying to the stars, and even acted in flight school, but chose a heavenly way ...

His board books not only theological literature, and scientific works, including the recent astronomical discoveries. At the expense of the star of Bethlehem father Job brief - is a miracle. Even one small statement, which scientists somehow ignored.

video
Star of Bethlehem: this was (in Russian)

"The Star - it's not easy astronomical phenomenon, a spiritual force, an angel of God, which went before the Magic And this is the proof, you know how to move the star. Neither star is not from the North to the East, but the star was from the North to the East, showing the way the Magi. It shines even in the day "- explains the rector of the church of the Transfiguration in Star City Abbot Job.

Perhaps, indeed, we should not look for any evidence. Especially in these days, like Christmas and New Year, why not believe in miracles. The more that a person has not answered the most important question - how did life on the third planet from the Sun called Earth? Is not that a great miracle!

Original text in Russian: http://www.federalspace.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=19803

Images, Text, Video, Credits: Roscosmos TV Studio / ROSCOSMOS / NASA / Translation: Orbiter.ch Aerospace.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

vendredi 4 janvier 2013

Stormy year














NASA / ESA - SOHO Mission patch / NASA - Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) patch.

Jan. 4,2013

 M7 class flare July 2012

With the 11-year solar cycle nearing its peak, this has been a lively period for the Sun. Belgian astronomers working with ESA have listed the top solar events of 2012.

Experts at the Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence, STCE, in Belgium provide regular updates on the Sun's real-time status that are incorporated into ESA's Space Situational Awareness programme precursor service network. The team at STCE have put together a chronological listing of the top 12 solar events in 2012 (see 'The fairest of them all' via stce.be).

The top-12 list includes images and videos from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) missions, as well as ESA's Proba-2 and the joint ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

The image above shows a spectacular M7-class solar flare seen by NASA's SDO on 19 July 2012 at 16:22 CEST. Its source was the sunspot group NOAA 1520, the largest seen in 2012 and the second largest so far in this solar cycle.

The current solar cycle, SC24, is the 24th since 1755, when scientists started recording sunspot activity; the first activity of this cycle was seen in early 2008.

Though SC 24 has been weak so far, solar activity in 2012 was quite interesting and saw the Sun produce some truly amazing events. It was therefore quite hard to narrow the list down to just 12.

We leave it up to the reader to determine which is the fairest of them all!

video
SDO Sees Solar Ballet, Par Deux

A solar eruption gracefully rose up from the sun on December 31, 2012, twisting and turning. Magnetic forces drove the flow of plasma, but without sufficient force to overcome the sun’s gravity much of the plasma fell back into the sun. This four–hour event occurred from 10:20 am to 2:20 pm EST and was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in extreme ultraviolet light shown here at a high cadence of an image every 36 seconds.

More information:

ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Situational_Awareness2

ESA/NASA SOHO website: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/

Proba-2 mission site: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Technology/Proba_Missions

NASA SDO: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/

NASA STEREO: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stereo/main/index.html

STCE: http://stce.be/index.php

Images, Video, Text, Credits: ESA / NASA / SDO / Royal Observatory Belgium / SIDC.

Cheers, Orbiter.ch

jeudi 3 janvier 2013

Billions and Billions of Planets












NASA - Kepler Mission patch.

Jan, 3, 2013


A new analysis of data from NASA's Kepler mission finds evidence for at least 100 billion planets in our galaxy. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Look up at the night sky and you'll see stars, sure. But the sky is also filled with planets -- billions and billions of them at least.

That's the conclusion of a new study by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, which provides yet more evidence that planetary systems are the cosmic norm. The team made their estimate while analyzing planets orbiting a star called Kepler-32 -- planets that are representative, they say, of the vast majority of planets in our galaxy and thus serve as a perfect case study for understanding how most of these worlds form.

"There are at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy, just our galaxy," says John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech and coauthor of the study, which was recently accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. "That's mind-boggling."

"It's a staggering number, if you think about it," adds Jonathan Swift, a postdoctoral student at Caltech and lead author of the paper. "Basically, there's one of these planets per star."

Kepler Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

One of the fundamental questions regarding the origin of planets is how many of them there are. Like the Caltech group, other teams of astronomers have estimated that there is roughly one planet per star, but this is the first time researchers have made such an estimate by studying M-dwarf systems, the most numerous population of planets known.

The planetary system in question, which was detected by NASA's Kepler space telescope, contains five planets. Two of the planets orbiting Kepler-32 had previously been discovered by other astronomers. The Caltech team confirmed the remaining three, then analyzed the five-planet system and compared it to other systems found by Kepler.

M-dwarf systems like Kepler-32's are quite different from our own solar system. For one, M dwarfs are cooler and much smaller than the sun. Kepler-32, for example, has half the mass of the sun and half its radius. The radii of its five planets range from 0.8 to 2.7 times that of Earth, and those planets orbit extremely close to their star. The whole Kepler-32 system fits within just over a tenth of an astronomical unit (the average distance between Earth and the sun) -- a distance that is about a third of the radius of Mercury's orbit around the sun.

The fact that M-dwarf systems vastly outnumber other kinds of systems carries a profound implication, according to Johnson, which is that our solar system is extremely rare. "It's just a weirdo," he says.

Read the full Caltech story at http://www.caltech.edu/content/planets-abound .


Caltech astronomers have estimated that the Milky Way Galaxy contains at least 100 billion planets. Credit: NASA; ESA; Z. Levay and R. van der Marel, STScI; T. Hallas; and A. Mellinger.

Ames manages Kepler's ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed the Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery Mission and is funded by NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington.

For more information about NASA's Kepler mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler .

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA / JPL / Whitney Clavin.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

Vesta's Dark Materials in Dawn's View












NASA - Dawn Mission patch.

Jan. 3, 2013


This composite-color view from NASA's Dawn mission shows Cornelia Crater, streaked with dark materials, on the giant asteroid Vesta. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA.

A new study of images from NASA's Dawn mission examines remarkable, dark-as-coal material that speckles the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. Scientists are using the images, taken by Dawn's framing camera, to understand the impact environment early in Vesta's evolution.

In the most comprehensive analysis of the dark material to date, Dawn scientists describe how this carbon-rich material tends to appear around the edges of two giant impact basins in Vesta's southern hemisphere. The analysis suggests that the dark material was most likely delivered by the object that created the older of the two basins, known as Veneneia, about 2 to 3 billion years ago. Some of those materials were later covered up by the impact that created the younger basin, Rheasilvia.


This map shows the distribution of dark materials throughout the southern hemisphere of the giant asteroid Vesta. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA.

The paper, published in the November-December issue of the journal Icarus, was led by Vishnu Reddy of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, and the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. More information on the paper is available at: http://www.mpg.de/en .

The Dawn spacecraft orbited Vesta for more than a year, departing in September 2012. Dawn is now on its way to the dwarf planet Ceres, and will arrive in early 2015.


These mosaic images from NASA's Dawn mission show how dark, carbon-rich materials tend to speckle the rims of smaller craters or their immediate surroundings on the giant asteroid Vesta. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA.

More information on Dawn is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov .

The Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The University of California, Los Angeles, is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. The Dawn framing cameras were developed and built under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, with significant contributions by DLR German Aerospace Center, Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The framing camera project is funded by the Max Planck Society, DLR and NASA.

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA / JPL / Jia-Rui Cook.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

mercredi 2 janvier 2013

Station Spinal Ultrasounds Seeking Why Astronauts Grow Taller in Space












ISS - International Space Station patch.

Jan. 2, 2013

Did you ever wish you could be just a teensy bit taller? Well, if you spend a few months in space, you could get your wish -- temporarily. It is a commonly known fact that astronauts living aboard the International Space Station grow up to 3 percent taller while living in microgravity. They return to their normal height when back on Earth. Studying the impact of this change on the spine and advancing medical imaging technologies are the goals of the Spinal Ultrasound investigation.

"This is the very first time that spinal ultrasound will be used to evaluate the changes in the spine," said Scott A. Dulchavsky, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator for the station study. "Spinal ultrasound is more challenging to perform than many of the previous ultrasound examinations done in space."


Image above: Studying the impact of how astronauts' spines elongate during flight, as well as advancing medical imaging technologies are the goals of the Spinal Ultrasound investigation aboard the International Space Station. (Istockphoto/S.Kaulitzki).

Part of the difficulty with imaging the spine is quite simply human anatomy. Using Ultrasound 2, the machine aboard station as a facility for human health studies, astronauts have an advanced tool to view the inner workings of their bodies.

"Today there is a new ultrasound device on the station that allows more precise musculoskeletal imaging required for assessment of the complex anatomy and the spine," Dulchavsky said. "The crew will be able to perform these complex evaluations in the next year due to a newly developed Just-In-Time training guide for spinal ultrasound, combined with refinements in crew training and remote guidance procedures."


Image above: The opening 'Splash screen' from the Spinal Ultrasound Just-In-Time training tool that launched in the fall of 2012 to aid crew training in ultrasound of the cervical and lumbar spine. The learner can select the buttons to launch the intensity of training required, from a simple familiarization to complete overview. (Dulchavsky).

The research could help with developing exercises for better crew health and guiding improved rehabilitation techniques when astronauts return to Earth. Understanding how changes to the spine occur in real-time response to life in space also will help crews prepare for future long-duration missions.

Another benefit of this research is that spinal ultrasound could gain clinical acceptance on the ground for medical testing. Dulchavsky points out that this shift could reduce costs and provide a safer imaging option for patients.

"Ultrasound also allows us to evaluate physiology in motion, such as the movement of muscles, blood in vessels, and function in other systems in the body," said Dulchavsky. "Physiologic parameters derived from ultrasound and Doppler give instantaneous observations about the body non-invasively without radiation."


Images above: The body navigator portion of the Just-In-Time tool reveals the internal anatomy structure as the user moves the mouse over an area of the body image. By allowing the user to see below the skin surface, they can identify the region of interest and correctly orient the ultrasound imaging transducer. (Dulchavsky).

Six crew members will serve as test subjects for these spinal ultrasound scans. The data sessions are scheduled to take place on orbit starting in January 2013. An astronaut will scan the spinal area of a fellow crew member at 30, 90, and 150 days into flight. Researchers will watch in real time from the ground via streaming video downlinks. Ultrasound images will focus on the cervical and lumbar areas of the spine and surrounding tissues. The test subjects will also undergo pre- and post-flight ultrasound and MRI scans on Earth to provide baseline data.

Ultrasound technology is convenient for use not only in space, but also here on Earth. Due to the portability of the machines, the rapid training methods developed by NASA researchers and the repeatability, ultrasound can offer an inexpensive and scalable alternative to MRIs for healthcare needs. Medical personnel already make use of the training methods developed for the space station crews when using ultrasound in remote areas.


Image above: Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum is photographed working with the USND-2 (Ultrasound 2) unit in front of the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) Rack. (NASA).

"This technique in spinal ultrasound may someday serve as a clinical data source where standard MRI imaging is not available, even if this seems ambitious," Dulchavsky said. "The vast majority of the global population has no access to an MRI. The in-flight tools such as the interactive Spinal Ultrasound guide can also be used to train other complex procedures, albeit medical or otherwise."

So just why do astronauts get taller in space? Researchers are hoping this study will help answer that question, while also growing medical knowledge of the spine and improving ultrasound methods and procedures.

Related links:

International Space Station (ISS): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Spinal Ultrasound investigation: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/Spinal_Ultrasound.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA's Johnson Space Center/Jessica Nimon.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

ALMA Sheds Light on Planet-Forming Gas Streams












ESO - European Southern Observatory logo.

2 January 2013

Tantalising signs of flows feeding gas-guzzling giant planets

Artist’s impression of the disc and gas streams around HD 142527

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope have seen a key stage in the birth of giant planets for the first time. Vast streams of gas are flowing across a gap in the disc of material around a young star. These are the first direct observations of such streams, which are expected to be created by giant planets guzzling gas as they grow. The result is published on 2 January 2013 in the journal Nature.

The international team of astronomers studied the young star HD 142527, over 450 light-years from Earth, which is surrounded by a disc of gas and cosmic dust — the remains of the cloud from which the star formed. The dusty disc is divided into an inner and an outer part by a gap, which is thought to have been carved by newly forming gas giant planets clearing out their orbits as they circle the star. The inner disc reaches from the star out to the equivalent of the orbit of Saturn in the Solar System, while the outer disc begins about 14 times further out. The outer disc does not surround the star uniformly; instead, it has a horseshoe shape, probably caused by the gravitational effect of the orbiting giant planets.

ALMA observations of the disc and gas streams around HD 142527

According to theory, the giant planets grow by capturing gas from the outer disc, in streams that form bridges across the gap in the disc.

“Astronomers have been predicting that these streams must exist, but this is the first time we’ve been able to see them directly,” says Simon Casassus (Universidad de Chile, Chile), who led the new study. “Thanks to the new ALMA telescope, we’ve been able to get direct observations to illuminate current theories of how planets are formed!”


Image above: Side-by-side comparison of ALMA observations and artist’s impression of the disc and gas streams around HD 142527

Casassus and his team used ALMA to look at the gas and cosmic dust around the star, seeing finer details, and closer to the star, than could be seen with previous such telescopes. ALMA’s observations, at submillimetre wavelengths, are also impervious to the glare from the star that affects infrared or visible-light telescopes. The gap in the dusty disc was already known, but they also discovered diffuse gas remaining in the gap, and two denser streams of gas flowing from the outer disc, across the gap, to the inner disc.

“We think that there is a giant planet hidden within, and causing, each of these streams. The planets grow by capturing some of the gas from the outer disc, but they are really messy eaters: the rest of it overshoots and feeds into the inner disc around the star” says Sebastián Pérez, a member of the team, who is also at Universidad de Chile.

Location of the young star HD 142527 in the constellation of Lupus

The observations answer another question about the disc around HD 142527. As the central star is still forming, by capturing material from the inner disc, the inner disc would have already been devoured, if it was not somehow topped up. The team found that the rate at which leftover gas streams onto the inner disc is just right to keep the inner disc replenished, and to feed the growing star.

Another first is the detection of the diffuse gas in the gap. "Astronomers have been looking for this gas for a long time, but so far we only had indirect evidence for it. Now, with ALMA, we can see it directly," explains Gerrit van der Plas, another team member at Universidad de Chile.

video
Artist’s impression of the disc and gas streams around HD 142527

This residual gas is more evidence that the streams are caused by giant planets, rather than even larger objects such as a companion star. "A second star would have cleared out the gap more, leaving no residual gas. By studying the amount of gas left, we may be able to pin down the masses of the objects doing the clearing.” adds Pérez.

What about the planets themselves? Casassus explains that, although the team did not detect them directly, he is not surprised. “We searched for the planets themselves with state-of-the-art infrared instruments on other telescopes. However, we expect that these forming planets are still deeply embedded in the streams of gas, which are almost opaque. Therefore, there may be little chance of spotting the planets directly.”

video
The young star HD 142527 (zoom)

Nevertheless, the astronomers aim to find out more about the suspected planets by studying the gas streams as well as the diffuse gas. The ALMA telescope is still under construction, and has not yet reached its full capabilities. When it is complete, its vision will be even sharper, and new observations of the streams may allow the team to determine properties of the planets, including their masses.

More information:

This research was presented in a paper, “Flows of gas through a protoplanetary gap”, to appear in the journal Nature on 2 January 2013.

The team is composed of S. Casassus (Universidad de Chile, Chile; Millennium Nucleus for Protoplanetary Disks — Ministry of Economy, Chilean Government), G. van der Plas (Universidad de Chile, Chile), S. Pérez M. (Universidad de Chile, Chile), W. R. F. Dent (Joint ALMA Observatory, Chile; European Southern Observatory, Chile), E. Fomalont (NRAO, USA), J. Hagelberg (Observatoire de Genève, Switzerland), A. Hales (Joint ALMA Observatory, Chile; NRAO, USA), A. Jordán (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile), D. Mawet (European Southern Observatory, Chile), F. Ménard (CNRS / INSU, France; Universidad de Chile, Chile; CNRS / UJF Grenoble, France), A. Wootten (NRAO, USA), D. Wilner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA), A. M. Hughes (U. C. Berkeley, USA), M. R. Schreiber (Universidad Valparaiso, Chile), J. H. Girard (European Southern Observatory, Chile), B. Ercolano (Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität, Germany), H. Canovas (Universidad Valparaiso, Chile), P. E. Román (University of Chile, Chile), V, Salinas (Universidad de Chile, Chile).

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan. ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is the European partner of a revolutionary astronomical telescope ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. ESO is currently planning the 39-metre European Extremely Large optical/near-infrared Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

Links:

Research paper: http://www.eso.org/public/archives/releases/sciencepapers/eso1301/eso1301a.pdf

Simulation video of the streams and gap in a protoplanetary disc created by two planets. The view rotates to keep one of the planets in the same apparent position. Credit: S. Casassus et al.: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gyeoig4vffa5icm/Anim-2Planet.mov

Simulation video of the stream and gap in a protoplanetary disc created by one planet. The view rotates to keep the planet in the same apparent position. Credit: S. Casassus et al.: https://www.dropbox.com/s/y82bcwrxkltou3r/Anim-1Planet.mov

More about ALMA at ESO: http://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/alma.html

The Joint ALMA Observatory: http://www.almaobservatory.org/

Images, Text, Credits: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/M. Kornmesser (ESO)/S. Casassus et al./IAU and Sky & Telescope/Videos: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/M. Kornmesser (ESO)/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org) Music: movetwo.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

mardi 1 janvier 2013

A Wanderer Dances the Dance of Stars and Space












NASA . Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Jan. 1, 2013


The Hubble Space Telescope captured a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. In this image, the larger-scale structure of the galaxy is barely visible: its comparatively dim spiral arms, which surround its heart in a loose embrace, reach out beyond the edges of this frame.

This face-on galaxy, lying 45 million light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), is particularly attractive for astronomers. NGC 1097 is a Seyfert galaxy. Lurking at the very center of the galaxy, a supermassive black hole 100 million times the mass of our sun is gradually sucking in the matter around it. The area immediately around the black hole shines powerfully with radiation coming from the material falling in.

The distinctive ring around the black hole is bursting with new star formation due to an inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy. These star-forming regions are glowing brightly thanks to emission from clouds of ionized hydrogen. The ring is around 5000 light-years across, although the spiral arms of the galaxy extend tens of thousands of light-years beyond it.

Notes:

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

Hubble Space Telescope websites: http://www.spacetelescope.org/ and http://hubblesite.org/

Image, Text,  Credits: NASA / ESA / Hubble.

Happy New Year! Greetings, Orbiter.ch

dimanche 30 décembre 2012

ISS - Valid for one year


















ISS - International Space Station One Year Mission.


12/30/2012

The first year-long mission to the International Space Station may begin in 2015

Today, international crews are working on the space station for about six months. But Russian cosmonauts have experience and longer flights to the space station "Mir". World record for the same duration of stay in space belongs cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, a physician, who in 1994-1995 spent on board the space station "Mir" 437 days.

Mir Space Station

Dream of flying to nearby planets a step closer. In 2015, the annual flight to the International Space Station. Today international crews are working on the orbit of the Earth, as a rule, no more than six months. By astronautics was gradual, experimental way.

"Every day in orbit having an impact. And after a few days of flight is notable changes. And at the time when the first long flight in 18 days made our two cosmonauts aboard the "Soyuz", when they returned, in general, it was difficult to move, because they were in a confined space, and almost made no prevention ", - says the head of Cosmonauts Training Center. Gagarin Sergei Krikalev.

Initiative to long flight 40 years ago, put the crew of "Soyuz-9". Andrian Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyanov to spend in free fall almost 20 days. We flew into the unknown. Doctors did not know what would happen to a man in orbit. It is this flight prompted the development of simulators for astronauts. After that, four of the squad have made annual flights. Sergei Krikalev, now head of the CCCP, held in orbit 311 days, but not by choice. Replacement was not. It so happened that Krikalev flew from one country - the Soviet Union and returned to another country - Russia.

Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev

"Well, my flight was the difficulty that the planned five-month flight. For five months with a little. And of course all the forces calculated at this distance, as in sports. It's one thing when you running 10 kilometers. Another thing, when you run five, ran a half, and you say we run ten "- explains Krikalev.

And the world as long as no one has been overcome the record for length of stay in orbit an astronaut and physician Valery Polyakov. 437 days he tested stretch your body on the orbital complex "Mir".

"The results of the flight was very interesting. Because it was actually three long expedition supervised by a physician. It should be understood that the unique information that we have, either before or after the flight was not "- says the Deputy Director for Science IBMP Boris Morukov.

"Then I saw that you can fly very long time, at least in its orbit can fly very long. Enough in duration to fly to Mars. Do you know how many for 438 days in range I flew? 286 million kilometers. That's enough to spare, to fly to Mars and back, "- compares the pilot-cosmonaut, Hero of the USSR, Hero of Russia Valery Polyakov.

Immediately after the flight, the astronauts could hardly stand on his feet: muscles wean off the ground. Poles also proved by example that you can be in the form and at the time and after a long expedition.

"Valera himself came down the ladder, with their feet. Therefore, given that each day he engaged in physical exercise, a condition he has had a wonderful "- says the pilot-cosmonaut, Hero of Russia, Elena Kondakova.

International Space Station (ISS)

Annual flight to the ISS, which is planned in 2015, raised a lot of questions from food to personal hygiene. Today astronauts to use his toilet warmed wipes. Most likely, for long-term expedition to the ISS in space should be back room. Like the one that was on the Soviet station "Mir".

Astronauts will have much more physical work, strengthening bones and muscles. Especially, before the flight, they have to be in absolute shape.

The crew of the future "oldest old" orbit is already defined. Next summer will begin training Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly. Special attention to the training of the psychological. During 12 months of travel, they will meet and conduct home four of the crew of the Russian "Soyuz".

"So we'll fly year with Scott, and we will be come and go crew. Rotate. You know how distant relatives when they come here, that's like this, "- explains the pilot-cosmonaut, Hero of Russia, Mikhail Kornienko.

Michael and Scott knew long ago. Trained together in the 23rd, 24th expedition to the ISS. Now they will have joint training sessions for several years. We must prepare to live and work in orbit, as good neighbors. Now with weightlessness have learned to cope. However, there are other health risks, which may manifest itself in the long expeditions.

"First of all, it certainly rewards such scientific evidence. But this is our profession. We must do it. I understand that it will not be easy and, besides, it would be difficult to fly by year. But, I hope it all pays off when people fly on, "- says the reasons Kornienko.

Mikhail Kornienko heights to conquer not the first time. Five years ago, he climbed the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. In 2010 he had his first mission to orbit. Annual flight - a new height. As proof that the person under the strength to withstand interplanetary flight is not in the virtual experiment "Mars500", and in real space.

Simulated mission to Mars (Mars500)

"Each day brings us closer to the flight to Mars. And today we are getting closer to the flight to Mars. It is hard to say when it will be, it depends on many factors. First of all, we have the restriction is not to learn, but can a man fly year as create the materiel, which can provide a safe flight, to create those methods which will work astronaut "- explains Krikalev.

The fact that 40 years ago seemed impossible becomes life. Earthlings are now one step closer to the future, predicted Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, "Earth cradle of humanity, but we can not always live in a cradle."

Original text in Russian: http://www.federalspace.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=19796

Images, Text, Credits: Roskosmos TV Studio / ROSCOSMOS / NASA / Translation: Orbiter.ch Aerospace.

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