SpaceJibe

April 30, 2009

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP)

Filed under: Government Policies, Inner Solar System, Moons, Space Exploration, Wierd — bferrari @ 8:54 pm

From an Avid Reader

Example from LOIRP

Example from LOIRP

It’s from the The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) where they have (or are in the process of) restoring / rebuilding a couple Ampex FR-900 units of 60’s vintage to be able to read the high-resolution image tapes taken in ’66 that have been in storage and not tossed by the perserverence of NASA employees. They are of much greater quality than what was released at the time. The drives are being pieced together/rebuilt from a few remaining units, and the storage format is being reverse engineered. Some sample images are out but I hear they have to do a lot more work to make the (working) drive operable for longer time periods…

http://www.moonviews.com/archives/loirp/

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Space Explosion Is Oldest, Furthest Thing Ever Seen

Filed under: Cosmology, Gamma Ray Bursts, Supernova, Wierd — bferrari @ 8:45 pm

The fading infrared afterglow of GRB 090423 appears in the center of this false-color image taken with the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii. (Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA, D. Fox and A. Cucchiara (Penn State) and E. Berger (Harvard) )

The fading infrared afterglow of GRB 090423 appears in the center of this false-color image taken with the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii. (Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA, D. Fox and A. Cucchiara (Penn State) and E. Berger (Harvard) )

A stellar explosion has smashed the record for most distant object in the known universe.

The gamma-ray burst came from about 13 billion light-years away, and represents a relic from when the universe was just 630 million years old.

“It easily surpassed the most distant galaxies and quasars,” said Edo Berger, an astrophysicist at Harvard University and a leading member of the team that first demonstrated the burst’s origin. “In fact, it showed that we can use these spectacular events to pinpoint the first generation of stars and galaxies.”

“The burst most likely arose from the explosion of a massive star,” said Derek Fox, an astrophysicist at Penn State University. “We’re seeing the demise of a star — and probably the birth of a black hole — in one of the universe’s earliest stellar generations.”

Gamma-ray bursts mark the dying explosion of large stars that have run out of fuel. The collapsing star cores form either black holes or neutron stars that create an intense burst of high-energy gamma-rays and form some of the brightest explosions in the early universe.

Story continues here

Another version from the Telegraph.co.uk

 The gamma ray burst is so far away that its light has taken almost the entire age of the universe to reach us (NASA)

The 'gamma ray burst' is so far away that its light has taken almost the entire age of the universe to reach us (NASA)

April 20, 2009

Switch-on Success for Superscope

The Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank dominates the Cheshire landscape

The Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank dominates the Cheshire landscape

The first stage of the switch-on of one of the world’s most powerful stargazing systems has got under way.

Seven radio telescopes around the UK have been linked with optical fibres, allowing scientists to probe deeper into the Universe than ever before.

The new data-link upgrade has replaced the older microwave technology that once connected the telescopes.

Tim O’Brien, from the e-Merlin project, said: “It will be a revolution in terms of what we can do with our astronomy.”

Astronomers at Jodrell Bank say that the e-Merlin array will be fully operational later this year.

Story continues here

April 13, 2009

NASA Searches for Solar System’s Lost Planet

Filed under: Earth, Inner Solar System, Moons, Wierd — bferrari @ 11:50 pm

Monday, April 13, 2009

Artists conception of the hypothetical impact of Theia and young Earth. (NASA/GSFC)

Artist's conception of the hypothetical impact of Theia and young Earth. (NASA/GSFC)

The solar system might once have had another planet named Theia, which may have helped create our own planet’s moon.

Now two spacecrafts are heading out to search for leftovers from this rumored sibling, which would have been destroyed when the solar system was still young.

“It’s a hypothetical world. We’ve never actually seen it, but some researchers believe it existed 4.5 billion years ago — and that it collided with Earth to form the moon,” said Mike Kaiser, a NASA scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Theia is thought to have been about Mars-sized. If the planet crashed into Earth long ago, debris from the collision could have clumped together to form the moon. This scenario, called the “giant impact hypothesis,” was first conceived by Princeton scientists Edward Belbruno and Richard Gott.

Many scientists figure that indeed some large object crashed into Earth, and the resulting debris coalesced to form the moon. It is unclear though if that colliding object was a planet, asteroid or comet.

In any case, the debris that would have spun out from the two slamming bodies would have mixed together, and could explain some aspects of the moon’s geology, such as the size of the moon’s core and the density and composition of moon rocks.

Scientists are hoping NASA’s twin STEREO probes, launched in 2006, will be able to discover leftover traces of Theia that may finally help close the case on the birth of our moon.

So far, signs of Theia have proved elusive to telescopes searching from Earth. But the STEREO spacecraft are set to enter special points in space, called Lagrangian points, where the gravity from the Earth and the sun combine to form wells that tend to collect solar system detritus.

“The STEREO probes are entering these regions of space now,” Kaiser, a STEREO project scientist, said. “This puts us in a good position to search for Theia’s asteroid-sized leftovers.”

By visiting the Lagrangian points directly, STEREO will be able to hunt for Theia chunks up close. The nearest approach to the bottoms of the gravitational wells will come in September and October 2009.

“STEREO is a solar observatory,” Kaiser said. “The two probes are flanking the sun on opposite sides to gain a 3-D view of solar activity. We just happen to be passing through the L4 and L5 Lagrange points en route. This is purely bonus science.”

Scientists think Theia may even have formed in one of these gravitational points of balance from the accumulation of flotsam that had built up there.

Computer models show that Theia could have grown large enough to produce the moon if it formed in the L4 or L5 [Lagrangian] regions, where the balance of forces allowed enough material to accumulate,” Kaiser said. “Later, Theia would have been nudged out of L4 or L5 by the increasing gravity of other developing planets like Venus and sent on a collision course with Earth.”

Source

April 6, 2009

Giant ‘Hand’ Reaches Across Space

Filed under: Cosmology, Religion, Space Exploration, Supernova, Wierd — bferrari @ 11:09 pm

First an eye, now a hand… seems that all the pieces are falling into place.

Hand of God?

Hand of God?

Tiny and dying but still-powerful stars called pulsars spin like crazy and light up their surroundings, often with ghostly glows.

So it is with PSR B1509-58, which long ago collapsed into a sphere just 12 miles in diameter after running out of fuel.

And what a strange scene this one has created.

In a new image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, high-energy X-rays emanating from the nebula around PSR B1509-58 have been colored blue to reveal a structure resembling a hand reaching for some eternal red cosmic light.

The star now spins around at the dizzying pace of seven times every second — as pulsars do — spewing energy into space that creates the scene.

Strong magnetic fields, 15 trillion times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, are thought to be involved, too. The combination drives an energetic wind of electrons and ions away from the dying star. As the electrons move through the magnetized nebula, they radiate away their energy as X-rays.

The red light actually a neighboring gas cloud, RCW 89, energized into glowing by the fingers of the PSR B1509-58 nebula, astronomers believe.

The scene, which spans 150 light-years, is about 17,000 light years away, so what we see now is how it actually looked 17,000 years ago, and that light is just arriving here.

A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

Source

Here’s the Eye of God… eerie, isn’t it? It’s also known as the Helix Nebula.

The Eye of God

The Eye of God

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