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CosmoQuest: Taking Citizen Science to the Next Level January 27, 2012

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Planets, Space Fotos.
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This is a great step forward for science. Here is the Google Plus post where I found out about this great initiative:

 -  5:27 PM  -  Public

Citizen Science junkies: Check out this Universe Today article about a new citizen science portal, led by +Pamela Gay. Also involved are +Philip Plait ( Bad Astronomy Blog ) and +Fraser Cain ( Universe Today )

Aside from the focus on citizen science, one thing that hooked me was something I think +Pamela Gay said in a Google+ hangout yesterday. “Open science, open source”.

I’m pretty stoked about CosmoQuest and can’t wait to start taking part in the project, as it combines two things I’m very passionate about – citizen science and open-source software! #FunFriday

From the CosmoQuest website:

Our goal is to create a community of people bent on together advancing our understanding of the universe; a community of people who are participating in doing science, who can explain why what they do matters, and what questions they are helping to answer. We want to create a community, and here is where we invite all of you to be a part of what we’re doing.

There are lots of ways to get involved: You can contribute to science, take a class, join a conversation, or just help us spread the word by sharing about us on social media sites.

Community.png

Like every community, we are constantly changing to reflect our members. This website will constantly be growing and adding new features. Overtime, we’re going to bring together all the components of a research learning environment (aka grad school), from content in the form of classes, resources, and a blog, to research in the form of citizen science, to social engagement through a forum, social media, and real world activities.

LRO data is used in Moon Mappers

The science you have the chance to help with is being developed by scientists all over the world. We are partnering directly with NASA missions to develop citizen science projects that help expand what science they can accomplish. We’re working with Mercury MESSENGER, the Dawn Mission, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, New Horizons, and the Space Telescope Science Institute to build a series of projects that map the surfaces of rocky worlds and explore the atmospheres of planets and small bodies the solar system over.

You don’t have to be a genius with a PhD to do science. We provide tutorials with every project that should make it possible for anyone to contribute. We also offer a variety of educational programs so that you can learn as much as you want about the science you’re aiding. We also want teachers and amateurs doing EPO to receive the professional development they need to use CosmoQuest to teach astronomy to students and the public. To help us reach these goals, we’re partnering with the Galileo Teacher Training Program and Astronomers without Borders – one of our goals is to reach out to amateurs and get them the materials and training needed to use CosmoQuest in their outreach.

Take us with you

CosmoQuest is a place to do, to learn, and to collaborate.

Where would you like to explore today?

Join us in the forums, and share your ideas for our future.

Link: http://cosmoquest.org

The Seven Sisters January 26, 2012

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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Description:

In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters (Messier object 45 or M45), is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky. Pleiades has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebulosity around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster (hence the alternate name Maia Nebula after the star Maia), but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium that the stars are currently passing through. Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.

Additional Info:

18 exp. x 300 ‘ISO 1600
Canon 450D Jap REFRIGERACION
SW 200/1000
Nq6pro
Kit lunatic pursuit
DSS
1.7 Core Pixinsight

Submitted by:

Alcarreño (Raul Villaverde)

Location:

Ocentejo (Guadalajara)-Spain-

Date:

October 02 2011

NASA Day of Remembrance Wreath Laying Ceremony January 26, 2012

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NASA Day of Remembrance Wreath Laying Ceremony

Description:

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA personnel, and others, participate in a wreath laying ceremony as part of NASA’s Day of Remembrance, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, at Arlington National Cemetery. Wreathes were laid in memory of those men and women who lost their lives in the quest for space exploration.

Photo Credit:

NASA/Bill Ingalls

NGC 4449: Star Stream for a Dwarf Galaxy January 26, 2012

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation. Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version. Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version available.

Image Credit & Copyright:

R Jay Gabany (Blackbird Obs.),

Insert:

Subaru/Suprime-Cam (NAOJ),

Collaboration:

David Martinez-Delgado (MPIA, IAC), et al.

Explanation:

A mere 12.5 million light-years from Earth, irregular dwarf galaxy NGC 4449 lies within the confines of Canes Venatici, the constellation of the Hunting Dogs. About the size of our Milky Way’s satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, NGC 4449 is undergoing an intense episode of star formation, evidenced by its wealth of young blue star clusters, pinkish star forming regions, and obscuring dust clouds in this deep color portrait. It also holds the distinction of being the first dwarf galaxy with an identified tidal star stream, faintly seen at the lower right. Placing your cursor over the image reveals an inset of the stream resolved into red giant stars. The star stream represents the remains of a still smaller infalling satellite galaxy, disrupted by gravitational forces and destined to merge with NGC 4449. With relatively few stars, small galaxies are thought to possess extensive dark matter halos. But since dark matter interacts gravitationally, these observations offer a chance to examine the significant role of dark matter in galactic merger events. The interaction is likely responsible for NGC 4449′s burst of star formation and offers a tantalizing insight into how even small galaxies are assembled over time.

First Fire Images from VIIRS January 25, 2012

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Planets, Space Fotos.
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First Fire Images from VIIRS
Southern California acquired January 19, 2012

Description:

Like a baby learning to walk, the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is slowly adjusting to its new space environment and is gradually taking steps toward full operations.

VIIRS was launched on October 28, 2011, on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite and produced its first image on November 21. By January 19, 2012, the sensor acquired its first measurements of fires. These measurements and others from VIIRS are still preliminary, and scientists and engineers will continue testing and calibrating the measurements over the coming weeks before data are released for public use.

It took longer to acquire the first VIIRS fire measurements because the sensor had to cool enough to accurately observe thermal infrared energy. These images show a few of the fires detected on January 19. The top image shows a smoky fire burning in the mountains east of San Diego, California.

The images indicate that the VIIRS sensor is in good health and that it appears to be detecting fires accurately. In both images, the fire detections line up with plumes of smoke. In the South Sudan image, the fires are burning in areas where black, charred ground points to recent fire activity. Flying over the same areas at about the same time, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite also detected fires in both California and South Sudan.

It is vital that VIIRS makes these measurements because vegetation fires are one of the most important elements of land cover change and nutrient recycling in the Earth system. Fires play a major role in the formation and maintenance of numerous ecosystems. Over the last millennia, naturally occurring fires were gradually offset by those set by humans for hunting, land clearing and maintenance, and fuel production (charcoal).

With the beginning of daily polar orbiting satellite data—which started in the early 1980s—and the routine monitoring of fire activity, it soon became clear that humans were quickly changing the natural fire regimes of large areas of the world. The fires have cascading effects on atmospheric composition (due to smoke) and alteration of climate conditions. Due to the widespread occurrence of fires, Earth satellites have become the primary resource for the monitoring of biomass burning and for timely information for fire managers and the science community.

NOTE: On January 25, the NPP satellite was renamed the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, in honor of Verner E. Suomi, “the father of satellite meteorology.”

Credit:

Ivan Csiszar, NOAA/NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research, and Wilfrid Schroeder, University of Maryland Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center. Caption by Holli Riebeek, Ivan Csiszar, and Wilfrid Schroeder.

Instrument:

Suomi NPP – VIIRS

The Eye of Issyk Kul January 25, 2012

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Planets, Space Fotos.
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Issyk Kul

Description:

Kyrgyzstan is wedged in the mountainous wrinkles between Kazakhstan and China, created long ago when the land mass we now call India, propelled by plate tectonics, slammed into the Asian plate. Living there are a proud people with a rich history, surrounded by natural, high-altitude beauty.

Out of numerous Kyrgyz lakes, one in particular stands out—Lake Issyk Kul. When seen from orbit, Issyk Kul appears to be a giant eye, looking at us looking down at it. The snow-covered mountains become aged eyebrows. The lake itself, having a fairly high salt concentration, does not typically freeze over, thus reflecting wintertime light in such a way as to form a “pupil” that seems to track us as we orbit overhead.

Credit:

NASA,Don Pettit

PIA15283: Dunes in Noachis Terra Region of Mars January 25, 2012

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http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA15283_modest.jpg
Description:

This enhanced-color image shows sand dunes trapped in an impact crater in Noachis Terra, Mars. Dunes and sand ripples of various shapes and sizes display the natural beauty created by physical processes. The area covered in the image is about six-tenths of a mile (1 kilometer) across.

Sand dunes are among the most widespread wind-formed features on Mars. Their distribution and shapes are affected by changes in wind direction and wind strength. Patterns of dune erosion and deposition provide insight into the sedimentary history of the surrounding terrain.

The image is one product from an observation by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera taken on Nov. 29, 2011, at 42 degrees south latitude, 42 degrees east longitude. Other image products from the same observation are at http://www.uahirise.org/ESP_025042_1375.

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter’s HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Image Credit:

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Image Addition Date:

2012-01-25

Barred Spiral Galaxy Swirls in the Night Sky January 24, 2012

Posted by John Tintle (MtO deadbait) in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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Barred Spiral Galaxy Swirls in the Night Sky

Description:

This image shows the swirling shape of galaxy NGC 2217, in the constellation of Canis Major (The Great Dog). In the central region of the galaxy is a distinctive bar of stars within an oval ring. Further out, a set of tightly wound spiral arms almost form a circular ring around the galaxy. NGC 2217 is therefore classified as a barred spiral galaxy, and its circular appearance indicates that we see it nearly face-on.

The outer spiral arms have a bluish colour, indicating the presence of hot, luminous, young stars, born out of clouds of interstellar gas. The central bulge and bar are yellower in appearance, due to the presence of older stars. Dark streaks can also be seen in places against the galaxy’s arms and central bulge, where lanes of cosmic dust block out some of the starlight.

The majority of spiral galaxies in the local Universe — including our own Milky Way — are thought to have a bar of some kind, and these structures play an important role in the development of a galaxy. They can, for example, funnel gas towards the centre of the galaxy, helping to feed a central black hole, or to form new stars.

Credit:

ESO

PIA15260: Herschel Sees Through Ghostly Pillars January 24, 2012

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click here for larger version for PIA15260 click here for larger version for PIA15260
Description:

This Herschel image of the Eagle nebula shows the self-emission of the intensely cold nebula’s gas and dust as never seen before. Each color shows a different temperature of dust, from around 10 degrees above absolute zero (10 Kelvin or minus 442 degrees Fahrenheit) for the red, up to around 40 Kelvin, or minus 388 degrees Fahrenheit, for the blue.

Herschel reveals the nebula’s intricate tendril nature, with vast cavities forming an almost cave-like surrounding to the famous pillars, which appear almost ghostly in this view. The gas and dust provide the material for the star formation that is still under way inside this enigmatic nebula.

Far-infrared light has been color-coded to 70 microns for blue and 160 microns for green using the Photodetector Array Camera, and 250 microns for red using the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver.

Figure 1 combines data from almost opposite ends of the electromagnetic spectrum. Herschel captured longer-wavelength, or far, infrared light, and the space telescope XMM-Newton imaged X-rays. The X-ray data show the hot young stars in the center of the cloud, which are sculpting and interacting with the surrounding ultra-cool gas and dust, seen in infrared. Both wavelengths would be blocked by Earth’s atmosphere, so space telescopes such as these are critical to our understanding of the life cycle of stars.

Both Herschel and XMM-Newton are European Space Agency missions. NASA plays an important role in Herschel. NASA’s Herschel Project Office is based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel’s three science instruments. The NASA Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, supports the United States astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Image Credit:

Far-infrared: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/Hill, Motte, HOBYS Key Programme Consortium; X-ray: ESA/XMM-Newton/EPIC/XMM-Newton-SOC/Boulanger

Image Addition Date:

2012-01-18

PIA13954: NASA Spacecraft Images Some of Earth’s Newest “Real Estate” January 24, 2012

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In December, 2011, NASA's Terra spacecraft captured this image of a new volcanic island forming in the Red Sea. This region is part of the Red Sea Rift where the African and Arabian tectonic plates are pulling apart.
Description:

In December 2011, a new volcanic island began forming in the Red Sea, accompanied by lava fountains reaching up to 30 meters (95 feet) tall. By Jan. 14, 2012, when the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft captured this image (left), the island clearly showed a central crater, similar to the surrounding islands, and was well above the wave height. The right image is from Google Earth and shows the area before the creation of this new island. This region is part of the Red Sea Rift where the African and Arabian tectonic plates are pulling apart. The image covers an area of 5.6 by 9.3 kilometers (3.5 by 5.8 miles), and is located at 15.1 degrees north latitude, 42.1 degrees east longitude.

With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on Terra. The instrument was built by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and data products.

The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

The U.S. science team is located at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

More information about ASTER is available at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.

Image Credit:

NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

Image Addition Date:

2012-01-20

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