Posts Tagged ‘Astronomy News’

Show Your Support for HTV — Japanese Space Mission

August 20, 2009

Japan developed a cargo transfer spacecraft to deliver goods to International Space Station. In 21 days H-IIB launch vehicle will take H-II Transfer Vehicle (or HTV for short) to space with 6000 kg (13,227 lb) of goods. When the HTV approaches close to the ISS, the Space Station Remote Manipulator System will grab HTV and dock it to ISS (sorry for so many acronyms :-)

HTV is four meters across and about 10 meters long, a size large enough to accommodate a sightseeing bus. Image credit: JAXA

HTV is four meters across and about 10 meters long, a size large enough to accommodate a sightseeing bus. Click for bigger picture. Image credit: JAXA

Astronauts will be able to go inside the pressurized module and get new fashion clothes and fancy shiny scientific equipment (and a little bit of beer if they are lucky ;-). They will load garbage and old equipment and send it back to Earth.

You can show your support for 100% Japanese mission (HTV was built and developed in Japan) by putting wallpapers on your desktop. I did, because I am so glad there are new faces in space exploration. Below is the wallpaper I put on my desktop. Click on picture to view all available wallpapers.

Support Japanese space mission by placing one of their wallpapers on your desktop. Click on image to view all wallpapers. Image credit: JAXA.

Support Japanese space mission by placing one of their wallpapers on your desktop. Click on image to view all wallpapers. Image credit: JAXA.

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Tropical Storms On Titan

August 15, 2009

Titan is one of my favourite objects in the Solar System. It is quite big in size (way larger than our Moon) and has nitrogen atmosphere (just like our Earth, but without oxygen). I was very excited when Cassini mission was launched and couldn’t wait to see the results on Huigens probe drop. When scientists were designing that probe they were not even sure if there is a liquid on Titan’s surface, so they made it capable to land on either solid surface or liquid.

This image of Titan shows data taken with Cassinis visual and infrared mapping spectrometer during the last three flybys of Titan.  Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This image of Titan shows data taken with Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer during the last three flybys of Titan. Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

It appeared that there is liquid there and there is solid stuff too, so cool and Earth like — continents and oceans. Cassini is still out there and exploring Saturn’s system. Recently it detected storm on Titan. Storm as big as India (Titan is way smaller than Earth, ┬ástorm must have been huge comparing to planet). Again, it’s so Earth like, we recently had Typhoon Morakot (36 picture of wild nature) and Titan — it’s own typhoon without the name, but just as much wild.

Star Formation Pictured by Chandra and Spitzer

August 14, 2009

Astronomy pictures becoming better and better. While Hubble still holds the first place for delivered beauty of Universe, new telescopes are getting closer. Look at this one — composite image of star formation region taken by Chandra and Spitzer and combined for us to enjoy:

star formation region picture

Star formation region pictured by Chandra and Spitzer and combined. Click to enlarge. Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/K. Getman et al.; IRL NASA/JPL-Caltech/CfA/J. Wang et al.

This cloud you see consists of molecular hydrogen and scientists believe that it’s compressed by the powerful star radiation. When hydrogen compresses, temperature rises and stars are born. All those violet gems you see on the picture — very young stars originated form the same hydrogen cloud. And many of them have protoplanetary discs which will develop into planets later.

Chandra site has interactive image where you can see X-Ray part separately from infrared.