Saturday, February 25, 2017
As NASA's Cassini spacecraft continues its weekly ring-grazing orbits, diving just past the outside of Saturn's F ring, it is tracking several small, persistent objects there. These images show two such objects that Cassini originally detected in spring 2016, as the spacecraft transitioned from more equatorial orbits to orbits at increasingly high inclination about the planet's equator.
Mars’ mantle may be more complicated than previously thought. In a new study published today in the Nature-affiliated journal Scientific Reports, researchers at Louisiana State University (LSU) document geochemical changes over time in the lava flows of Elysium, a major martian volcanic province.
Three decades ago, a massive stellar explosion sent shockwaves not only through space but also through the astronomical community. SN 1987A was the closest observed supernova to Earth since the invention of the telescope and has become by far the best studied of all time, revolutionizing our understanding of the explosive death of massive stars.
A team of researchers has succeeded in measuring the brightnesses and temperatures of Saturn's rings using the mid-infrared images taken by the Subaru Telescope in 2008. The images are the highest resolution ground-based views ever made. They reveal that, at that time, the Cassini Division and the C ring were brighter than the other rings in the mid-infrared light and that the brightness contrast appeared to be the inverse of that seen in the visible light (Figure 1). The data give important insights into the nature of Saturn's rings.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Twenty-four hours after an aborted rendezvous attempt, SpaceX’s CRS-10 Dragon capsule was captured by the International Space Station’s robotic arm. This second approach to the outpost went by the book. The capture took place at 5:44 a.m. EST (10:44 GMT) Feb. 23, 2017, while the orbiting laboratory was flying 250 miles (402 kilometers) over the west coast of Australia. At the controls of the robotic Canadarm2 were Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet.
Astronomers have found an enormous, glowing blob of gas in the distant universe, with no obvious source of power for the light it is emitting. Called an "enormous Lyman-alpha nebula" (ELAN), it is the brightest and among the largest of these rare objects, only a handful of which have been observed.