Posted tagged ‘NASA’

Annual Perseid Meteor Shower to hit peak on Thursday

August 9, 2010

The annual Perseid meteor shower, which began at the end of July, will hit its peak on Thursday, August 12.   Not only will it be a great night for meteors, it will be also be a great night to see Venus, Saturn, Mars and the crescent Moon.  Enjoy the show!!


Small solar storm headed our way

August 3, 2010

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has captured what appears to be a disturbance on the sun.  On Sunday, August 1, the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a series of activities including a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami, multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, and a coronal mass ejection.  This solar activity will produce high-latitude auroras tonight.

NASA to get a GRIP on tropical storms

July 15, 2010

NASA scientists are on a mission to find out why some tropical storms become hurricanes, and why some fizzle

Hurricane Andrew Satellite Picture

Hurricane Andrew Satellite Picture

 out.  This summer NASA will start their GRIP mission, which stands for Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes.  They will fly three different aircraft, including an unmanned drone, over tropical cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

The Stars & Stripes travels out of the solar system

July 7, 2010

After 33 years & 10.5 billion miles, the American flag will be leaving the solar system .  Old Glory is along for the ride with the space probes

John Casani, Voyager project manager in 1977, shows of a small Dacron flag that was folded and sewed into the thermal blankets of the Voyager spacecraft before they launched 33 years ago. Voyager 2 stands behind him before heading to the launch pad in August 1977. Full Story. Credit: NASA/JPL

Voyager I & II as they continue their journey of space.  Joining the American flag on this journey is a golden record, which contains messages from Earth for any extraterrestrials out there who might happen to come across the probe. This 16″ version of Old Glory, joins the many other American flags in space but is the only one that has traveled this far from home. 


11-year cycle of solar activity to peak in 2012-2013

June 29, 2010
Solar flare

The Earth is superimposed on a solar eruptive prominence as seen in extreme UV light (March 30, 2010) to give a sense of how large these eruptions are.

The 11-year cycle of solar activity is expected to peak in 2012-2013.  Based on solar dynamic computer models, solar scientists predict that the “solar max” may be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the last solar peak.  The solar storms or geomagnetic storms have the potential to interfere with GPS navigation, mobile phones, power grids, and satellite communications.

Fortunately, space weather prediction methods have improved greatly over the last couple of decades.  With the help of satellites, like the Advanced Composition Explorer, scientists can spot signs of a geomagnetic storm up to an hour before it hits earth; and by using instruments to measure the seismic activity on the far side of the sun, scientists can be provided with a couple of weeks of warning about active sunspot regions.  In addition, NASA has set up a Solar Dynamics Observatory to help understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and Near-Earth space.  Up-to-date space weather information can be found at the Space Weather Prediction Center .

World Cup Physics

June 22, 2010

Will altitude make a difference in the World Cup Soccer Tournament? A NASA aerospace engineer thinks so.  Rabi Mehta states that the differences in altitude between stadiums will affect the aerodynamics of the ball including drag and lift. Therefore the speed and accuracy of passing and goal shots will be altered. Teams that understand the difference altitude makes on the physics of the game can alter their strategy to help advance in tournament play. Because of the high altitude of the World Cup soccer stadium in South Africa, a crash course in physics may need to become part of the training regimen!

First Photos From NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

April 23, 2010

The first photographs from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory were released this week.  In this photo, you can seen a huge loop of material shooting up from the sun’s surface.  This is known as a prominence eruption.

Image credit: NASA