NASA COVERAGE SET FOR FOURTH SPACEX MISSION TO SPACE STATION SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 21
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton NASA.GOV. SPACE X MISSION – Date line Saturday September 20 2014.
NASA Coverage Set for Fourth SpaceX Mission to Space Station. The fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The one-day adjustment in the launch date was made to accommodate preparations of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and was coordinated with the station’s partners and managers.
The company’s Falcon 9 rocket, carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft loaded with more than 5,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies, will lift off at 2:16 a.m. EDT. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 1:15 a.m.
The mission, designated SpaceX CRS-4, is the fourth of 12 SpaceX flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station. It will be the fifth trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.
The spacecraft’s 2.5 tons of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations include critical materials to support 255 science and research investigations that will occur during the station’s Expeditions 40 and 41.
Science payloads include the ISS-Rapid Scatterometer to monitor ocean surface wind speed and direction; new biomedical hardware that will help facilitate prolonged biological studies of rodents in microgravity; and a study of a small flowering plant related to cabbage that allows scientists to study plant growth and adaptations in space.
New technology demonstrations aboard the Dragon spacecraft include the Special Purpose Inexpensive Satellite, or SpinSat, to test how a small satellite moves and positions itself in space using new thruster technology and the 3-D Printing In Zero-G Technology Demonstration, the first 3-D printer in space.
During panel discussions scientists and researchers will discuss the various science and research studies, including RapidScat, 3-D printing in Zero-G, technology to measure bone density, and model organism research using rodents, fruit flies and plants.
The Dragon will remain attached to the space station’s Harmony module for more than four weeks and then splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California with almost two tons of experiment samples and equipment returning from the station.
NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE
Sunday Sept. 21 (Launch day) as far as we know: NASA TV live coverage should begin at 1:15 a.m. EDT and conclude at approximately 3 a.m. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video. Try the NASA site first http://www.nasa.gov/ntv or http://wwitv.com/tv_channels/b5337.htm
IN-FLIGHT NASA TV COVERAGE
If launch occurs Sept. 21, NASA TV will provide live coverage of the arrival of the Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station.
The NASA News Twitter feed should be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA News Twitter feed, visit: http://www.twitter.com/NASAKennedy
The NASA News Facebook feed should be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA Facebook feed, visit: http://www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy
ANOTHER NASA TV SITE
I have just tuned into this website which claims to bring you Live stream from NASA. I had to smile about one noticeable public comment. This reader wrote, “CLEAN the bloody windows, after a burn!!” He obviously wanted to see the view: http://wwitv.com/tv_channels/b5337.htm
STOP PRESS – HOT NEWS
NASA Television will provide extensive coverage of the Sept. 25 ( Thursday ) launch from Kazakhstan of three crew members of Expedition 41/42, as they begin their planned six-hour journey to the International Space Station. NASA Television coverage will start at 3:30 p.m. EDT and will include video of the pre-launch activities leading up to spacecraft boarding. Try http://www.nasa.gov/ntv or http://wwitv.com/tv_channels/b5337.htm. This one has a timetable http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#.VBsV3kuAfzY
HUBBLE HELPS FIND SMALLEST KNOWN GALAXY CONTAINING A SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE
From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton NASA.GOV. – September 17 2014.
Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ground observation have found an unlikely object in an improbable place — a monster black hole lurking inside one of the tiniest galaxies ever known.
The black hole is five times the mass of the one at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. It is inside one of the densest galaxies known to date — the M60-UCD1 dwarf galaxy that crams 140 million stars within a diameter of about 300 light-years, which is only 1/500th of our galaxy’s diameter.
If you lived inside this dwarf galaxy, the night sky would dazzle with at least 1 million stars visible to the naked eye. Our nighttime sky as seen from Earth’s surface shows 4,000 stars.
The finding implies there are many other compact galaxies in the universe that contain supermassive black holes. The observation also suggests dwarf galaxies may actually be the stripped remnants of larger galaxies that were torn apart during collisions with other galaxies rather than small islands of stars born in isolation.
“We do not know of any other way you could make a black hole so big in an object this small,” said University of Utah astronomer Anil Seth, lead author of an international study of the dwarf galaxy published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.
Seth’s team of astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini North 8-meter optical and infrared telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea to observe M60-UCD1 and measure the black hole’s mass. The sharp Hubble images provide information about the galaxy’s diameter and stellar density. Gemini measures the stellar motions as affected by the black hole’s pull. These data are used to calculate the mass of the black hole.
Black holes are gravitationally collapsed, ultra-compact objects that have a gravitational pull so strong that even light cannot escape. Supermassive black holes — those with the mass of at least one million stars like our sun — are thought to be at the centers of many galaxies.
The black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy has the mass of four million suns. As heavy as that is, it is less than 0.01 percent of the Milky Way’s total mass. By comparison, the supermassive black hole at the center of M60-UCD1, which has the mass of 21 million suns, is a stunning 15 percent of the small galaxy’s total mass.
“That is pretty amazing, given that the Milky Way is 500 times larger and more than 1,000 times heavier than the dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1,” Seth said.
One explanation is that M60-UCD1 was once a large galaxy containing 10 billion stars, but then it passed very close to the center of an even larger galaxy, M60, and in that process all the stars and dark matter in the outer part of the galaxy were torn away and became part of M60.
The team believes that M60-UCD1 may eventually be pulled to fully merge with M60, which has its own monster black hole that weighs a whopping 4.5 billion solar masses, or more than 1,000 times bigger than the black hole in our galaxy. When that happens, the black holes in both galaxies also likely will merge. Both galaxies are 50 million light-years away.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.
NASA’S CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY FINDS PLANET THAT MAKES STAR ACT DECEPTIVELY OLD
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton NASA.GOV. WASP 18 September 16 2014.
A new study from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that a giant exoplanet, WASP-18b, is making the star that it orbits very closely act much older than it actually is. This artist’s illustration depicts WASP-18b and its star, which are about 330 light years away. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss
According to new data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This discovery shows how a massive planet can affect the behavior of its parent star.
The star, WASP-18, and its planet, WASP-18b, are located about 330 light-years from Earth. WASP-18b has a mass about 10 times that of Jupiter and completes one orbit around its star in less than 23 hours, placing WASP-18b in the “hot Jupiter” category of exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system.
WASP-18b is the first known example of an orbiting planet that has apparently caused its star, which is roughly the mass of our sun, to display traits of an older star.
“WASP-18b is an extreme exoplanet,” said Ignazio Pillitteri of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo in Italy, who led the study.
“It is one of the most massive hot Jupiters known and one of the closest to its host star, and these characteristics lead to unexpected behavior. This planet is causing its host star to act old before its time.”
Pillitteri’s team determined WASP-18 is between 500 million and 2 billion years old, based on theoretical models and other data. While this may sound old, it is considered young by astronomical standards. By comparison, our sun is about 5 billion years old and thought to be about halfway through its lifetime.
Younger stars tend to be more active, exhibiting stronger magnetic fields, larger flares, and more intense X-ray emission than their older counterparts. Magnetic activity, flaring, and X-ray emission are linked to the star’s rotation, which generally declines with age. However, when astronomers took a long look with Chandra at WASP-18 they did not detect any X-rays. Using established relations between the magnetic activity and X-ray emission of stars, as well as its actual age, researchers determined WASP-18 is about 100 times less active than it should be.
“We think the planet is aging the star by wreaking havoc on its innards,” said co-author Scott Wolk of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The researchers argue that tidal forces created by the gravitational pull of the massive planet – similar to those the moon has on Earth’s tides, but on a much larger scale – may have disrupted the magnetic field of the star.
The strength of the magnetic field depends on the amount of convection in the star, or how intensely hot gas stirs the interior of the star.
“The planet’s gravity may cause motions of gas in the interior of the star that weaken the convection,” said co-author Salvatore Sciortino also of INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo in Italy.
“This has a domino effect that results in the magnetic field becoming weaker and the star to age prematurely.”
WASP-18 is particularly susceptible to this effect because its convection zone is narrower than most stars. This makes it more vulnerable to the impact of tidal forces that tug at it.
The effect of tidal forces from the planet may also explain an unusually high amount of lithium found in earlier optical studies of WASP-18. Lithium is usually abundant in younger stars, but over time convection carries lithium to the hot inner regions of a star, where it is destroyed by nuclear reactions. If there is less convection, the lithium does not circulate into the interior of the star as much, allowing more lithium to survive.
These results were published in the July issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics and are available online.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.
Enjoy the launches….Back Friday Jeanne.