Cosmic Journeys explores the challenges of interstellar flight and the technological possibilities that may one day send us on a long voyage out into the galaxy. What imperatives will define the mission when it launches and finally arrives: exploration and science, or a struggle for survival?
Category Archives: News from the Cosmos
he Alpha Centauri star system is ideal to search for habitable planets by various observing techniques due to its proximity and wide range of stellar masses. Following the recent discovery of an Earth-size planet candidate located inside the Proxima Centauri habitable zone, Dr. Marois will discuss this remarkable discovery and the planet’s potential to find life. He will also present our current instrument project for the Gemini South observatory, TIKI, to discover similar planets around the two Sun-like pair located 15,000 AU from Proxima Centauri. The Alpha Centauri system is the prime target of the Breakthrough Starshot program, a project to send small quarter-size probes to take resolve images of these new worlds, and to prepare for Humanity’s first step into a new star system.
Dr Marois completed his Ph.D. at the Université de Montréal in 2004. The main topic of his thesis work was to understand the limits in exoplanet imaging and to design innovating observing strategies. After his thesis, he did postdoctoral researches at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Univ. of California Berkeley and NRC. In 2008, while at NRC, he led the team that took the first image of another planetary system (HR 8799) using the Keck and Gemini telescopes. He is currently pursuing his research at the NRC Herzberg where he is part of the Gemini Planet Imager campaign, and leading the development of instruments for imaging Earth-like planets at Gemini South and at the TMT.
On July 5, just hours after NASA’s Juno spacecraft arrived at the planet Jupiter, NASA held a press briefing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California to provide a status update on the spacecraft. Juno’s arrival at our solar system’s most massive planet was the culmination of a nearly five-year journey through space. The spacecraft will be the first to orbit the poles of Jupiter –on a mission to provide new answers to ongoing mysteries about the planet’s core, composition and magnetic fields, as well as clues about the origins of our solar system.
Start the video at 27:14 mins to see the actual announcement and explanation from LIGO.
Historic announcement from LIGO. Gravitational waves detected by LIGO. Einstein was right!!
LIGO detects gravitational waves **Begin viewing at 27:14**
What is Dark Matter? – Space Documentary
By fitting a theoretical model of the composition of the Universe to the combined set of cosmological observations, scientists have come up with the composition that we described above, ~68% dark energy, ~27% dark matter, ~5% normal matter. What is dark matter?
We are much more certain what dark matter is not than we are what it is. First, it is dark, meaning that it is not in the form of stars and planets that we see. Observations show that there is far too little visible matter in the Universe to make up the 27% required by the observations. Second, it is not in the form of dark clouds of normal matter, matter made up of particles called baryons. We know this because we would be able to detect baryonic clouds by their absorption of radiation passing through them. Third, dark matter is not antimatter, because we do not see the unique gamma rays that are produced when antimatter annihilates with matter. Finally, we can rule out large galaxy-sized black holes on the basis of how many gravitational lenses we see. High concentrations of matter bend light passing near them from objects further away, but we do not see enough lensing events to suggest that such objects to make up the required 25% dark matter contribution.
What is space? What is Space Made of ? If you ignore the galaxies, stars & atoms, then the rest of empty space is mysterious. It is really not nothing. See this documentary to know more.
Quasars: the Brightest Black Holes – Lecture by Professor Carolin Crawford
Quasars are among the most dramatic objects anywhere in the cosmos. They emit prodigious amounts of energy, all due to a supermassive black hole at the heart of a galaxy. Visible far across the Universe, quasars can be used to trace both the early life of galaxies, and the properties of the intervening space.
The Real Reality Show: Does Dark Energy Hold the Fate of the Cosmos? This mysterious force makes up most of the universe and dictates its ultimate destiny.
Black holes are gravitational behemoths that dramatically twist space and time. Recently, they’ve also pointed researchers to a remarkable proposal—that everything we see may be akin to a hologram. Alan Alda joins Kip Thorne, Robbert Dijkgraaf and other renowned researchers on an odyssey through one of nature’s most spectacular creations, and learn how they are leading scientists to rewrite the rules of reality.
A robot concept called Hedgehog could explore the microgravity environment of comets and asteroids by hopping and rolling around on them. See Hedgehog in action in the microgravity environment of a “vomit comet” parabolic flight.
When and how did the universe begin? A global group of astronomers wants to answer that question by peering as far back in time as a large new telescope will let us see. Wendy Freedman headed the creation of the Giant Magellan Telescope, under construction in South America; at TEDGlobal in Rio, she shares a bold vision of the discoveries about our universe that the GMT could make possible.
NASA released another round of amazing Pluto images this week taken by the New Horizons spacecraft. We now have closeups of Pluto’s smaller moons Nix and Hydra, as well as the best high-resolution images of Pluto we’re going to get from this mission. We also know more about the dwarf planet’s icy heart, as well as a second mountain range on the edge of one of its dark equatorial regions.
NASA officials and team members of the New Horizons mission to Pluto participate in a news conference featuring release of close-up images of Pluto’s surface and moons, and initial reactions from the New Horizons science team.
Video and Pictures of the March 20,2015 Total Solar Eclipse.
Watch highlights from the solar eclipse as seen from Newquay in Cornwall, from Svalbard in Norway and the Faroe Islands.
On March 20th, 2015, the Moon’s shadow will create a total solar eclipse. This video presents several visualizations of what this shadow would look like from space, and highlights the areas of the world in the path of the umbra and penumbra. The visualizations were created by calculating the position of the Earth, Moon, and Sun on this date, and by using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter global photo mosaics and elevation maps.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland participated in a news conference Feb. 3 at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to discuss the status of the agency’s flagship science project, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Bolden and Mikulski congratulated the JWST team for the integration at Goddard of all the telescope’s flight instruments and primary mirrors.
The most powerful space telescope ever built, Webb will be the premiere observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our universe, including the first luminous glows after the big bang, the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets similar to Earth, and the evolution of our own solar system.
The Webb Space Telescope is NASA’s next great orbiting observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope’s successor. This video, narrated by “Deep Astronomy” host Tony Darnell, draws the line between the two telescopes, explaining how Webb will build upon and continue Hubble’s work exploring the universe.
The Hubble Space Telescope has returned to one of its most famous landmarks: the Eagle Nebula, also known as the Pillars of Creation. The revolutionary space telescope has delivered a new visible-light image as well as a revealing infrared image. These two images show the Eagle Nebula in more detail than ever before.
Jupiter’s moon Europa may be a habitable world. Evidence points strongly to a global subsurface ocean beneath an ice shell. The paucity of large craters argues for a surface age of only 60 million years, implying that Europa is still geologically active. Tidal flexing and nonsynchronous rotation of the floating ice shell generate stresses that can fracture and deform the surface to create Europa’s troughs, ridges, and bands. Europa’s astonishing geology and astrobiological potential make it a top priority for spacecraft exploration.
von Kármán Lecture
Dr. Robert Pappalardo
Principal Scientist & Director’s Fellow,
JPL Planetary Science and Life Detection Section
The largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled, this sweeping view of a portion of M31 (Andromeda galaxy) is the sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic neighbour. Though the galaxy is over 2 million light-years away, the Hubble telescope is powerful enough to resolve individual stars in a 61,000-light-year-long section of the galaxy’s pancake-shaped disk. It’s like photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand. And, there are lots of stars in this sweeping view — over 100 million, with some of them in thousands of star clusters seen embedded in the disk. This ambitious photographic cartography of the Andromeda galaxy represents a new benchmark for precision studies of large spiral galaxies which dominate the universe’s population of over 100 billion galaxies. Never before have astronomers been able to see individual stars over a major portion of an external spiral galaxy. Most of the stars in the universe live inside such majestic star cities, and this is the first data that reveal populations of stars in context to their home galaxy. The panorama is the product of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) program. Images were obtained from viewing the galaxy in near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths, using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard Hubble. This view shows the galaxy in its natural visible-light color, as photographed with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys in red and blue filters July 2010 through October 2013.
Scientists believe there is an ocean hidden beneath the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. NASA-JPL astrobiologist Kevin Hand explains why scientists are so excited about the potential of this ice-covered world to answer one of humanity’s most profound questions.
Undersea footage provided by John Delaney, University of Washington
To learn more about Europa, visit: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/europa/overview.cfm
Remember the Titan (Landing): Ten years ago today, Jan. 14, 2005, the Huygens probe touched down on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
This new, narrated movie was created with data collected by Cassini’s imaging cameras and the Huygens Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer (DISR). The first minute shows a zoom into images of Titan from Cassini’s cameras, while the remainder of the movie depicts the view from Huygens during the last few hours of its historic descent and landing.
It was October 15, 1997, when NASA’s Cassini orbiter embarked on an epic, seven-year voyage to the Saturnian system. Hitching a ride was ESA’s Huygens probe, destined for Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. The final chapter of the interplanetary trek for Huygens began on 25 December 2004 when it deployed from the orbiter for a 21-day solo cruise toward the haze-shrouded moon. Plunging into Titan’s atmosphere, on January 14 2005, the probe survived the hazardous 2 hour 27 minute descent to touch down safely on Titan’s frozen surface. Today, the Cassini spacecraft remains in orbit at Saturn. Its mission will end in 2017, 20 years after its journey began. More information and images from the mission at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov
Jupiter’s moons are putting on an amazing show this month. The orbital path of the moons is tilting edge-on to Earth and the sun. This lineup makes it possible to watch the moons pass in front of each other and even eclipse each other with their shadows. Get all the details, including where to find Jupiter in the sky this month, in this edition of What’s Up.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft has experienced three “tsunami waves” in interstellar space. This kind of wave occurs as a result of a coronal mass ejection erupting from the sun. The most recent tsunami wave that Voyager experienced began in February 2014, and may still be going. Listen to how these waves cause surrounding ionized matter to ring like a bell.