News Journal #8 – Rosetta takes comet’s temperature

Article Date: August 5, 2014

Article Title: Rosetta takes comet’s temperature

Summary:

The Rosetta spacecraft is from the European Space Agency. It has made it’s first temperature measurement on the target comet. That comet is Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Scientists determined that its average surface temperature is about –94° Fahrenheit (–70° Celsius). It is actually  35–55° F (20–30° C) warmer than predicted for a comet at that distance covered exclusively in ice. Meaning that the comet should actually have a dark and dusty crust. As the comet starts to fly closer to the sun, Rosetta will measure the changes in temperature.

Opinion:

This is a very interesting discovery as this is the first temperature measurement. This comet was assumed to be covered with ice. With this temperature measurement there should not actually be ice on the comet. This is pretty weird and needs more studying. Scientists say this comet should have a dark dusty crust. The comet was roughly 345 million miles (555 million km) from the Sun at the time which is more than three times farther away than Earth. Meaning, that the measurements of the temperature might not have been completely accurate.

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/08/rosetta-takes-comets-temperature

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News Journal #7 – NASA announces Mars 2020 rover payload to explore the Red Planet as never before

Article Date: July 31, 2014

Article Title: NASA announces Mars 2020 rover payload to explore the Red Planet as never before

Summary:

NASA has announced the 2020 rover they will be sending over to Mars. It will carry seven specific instruments  to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology. The 2020 Mars mission will be based on their already successful rover, Curiosity. Curiosity landed on Mars two years ago and is still currently operating on Mars. This new 2020 rover will carry more sophisticated upgraded hardware and new instruments. This will help determine the potential habitability of the environment of Mars. The mission will also be directly searching for signs of ancient Martian life.

Opinion:

I think that NASA is making a great move to send out this 2020 rover. It will really help expand out knowledge about Mars. It will help us conclude whether life on Mars could ever be possible. With the new hardware and instruments, we will have a better understanding. Making this rover based off of Curiosity is a great idea being that Curiosity is highly successful on its mission. There should be no reason this one will fail and will make better discoveries.

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/07/nasa-announces-mars-2020-rover-payload-to-explore-the-red-planet-as-never-before

News Journal #6 – New mass map of a distant galaxy cluster is the most precise yet

Article Date: July 26, 2014

Article Title: New mass map of a distant galaxy cluster is the most precise yet

Summary:

Astronomers have now been able to map a distant galaxy cluster extremely precisely. They used the  NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to map it out. This map shows the the amount and distribution of mass within the galaxy cluster. The galaxy cluster is  MCS J0416.1–2403. This galaxy cluster is extremely massive. It is found to be 160 trillion times the mass of the Sun. The fine and precise details were made possible thanks to the unprecedented depth of data provided by new Hubble observations. It was also possible due to a cosmic phenomenon known as strong gravitational lensing.

Opinion:

Technology is so great that we are able to map out precisely a galaxy cluster. This cluster is hundreds of thousands of lightyears away and it is so spectacular to me how we are able to see it. This also makes me realize just how big this universe actually is. Being that the Sun is 1.3 million the times mass of the Earth. This galaxy cluster is 160 trillion times the mass of the sun. Meaning that we are basically microscopical compared to this cluster.

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/07/new-mass-map-of-a-distant-galaxy-cluster-is-the-most-precise-yet

News Journal #5 – Hubble sees spiral bridge of young stars between two ancient galaxies

Article Date: July 11, 2014

Article Title: Hubble sees spiral bridge of young stars between two ancient galaxies

Summary:

NASA’s Hubble telescope has photographed an unusual star structure 100,00 lightyears long. It resembles a cork screwed shape around the two cores of the colliding galaxies. This unique structure might yield new insights. The formation of stellar superclusters that result from merging galaxies and gas dynamics in this rarely seen process. Young blue super star clusters are evenly spaced along the chain through the galaxies at separations of 3,000 light-years. Scientists are trying to find out a better understanding of the star chain origin.

Opinion:

It is very exciting and a great new discovery. There are many of these clusters but are evenly spaced. This one is just right in between merging galaxies. These galaxies are SDSS J1531+3414.  A possibility for the origin is a so-called “cooling flow” scenario, where gas cools from the 10-million-degree atmosphere of plasma that surrounds the galaxies. This forms pools of cooling molecular gas which forms into stars.

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/07/hubble-sees-spiral-bridge-of-young-stars-between-two-ancient-galaxies

News Journal #4 – Laboratory models suggest that stretching forces shaped Jupiter moon’s surface

Article Date: July 9, 2014

Article Title: Laboratory models suggest that stretching forces shaped Jupiter moon’s surface

Summary:

Scientists have noticed a change in Jupiter’s moon Ganymade. They believe that the process is similar to the tectonic plates on Earth. This process is what is the stretching force that is shaping Ganymade. Scientists used wet clay cake models to study this process. This allowed them to simulate the formation of complex 3-D geologic structures on Ganymede. The models were able to reproduce and remake these fine geometric details of the geological process.

Opinion:

It is very interesting that Ganymade would have the same geological process as Earth. Considering that Ganymade is primarily made of ice. It is also very neat that they models remade the fine details. The models were a simple wet clay cake and they worked. It helped the scientists understand Ganymade without really having to go there. Tectonic plates will constantly change the geometric features of this moon.

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/07/laboratory-models-suggest-that-stretching-forces-shaped-jupiter-moons-surface

News Journal #3 – Merging galaxies illuminate the cosmic food chain

Article Date: July 1, 2014

Article Title: Merging galaxies illuminate the cosmic food chain

Summary:

Scientists have been studying a “twin” of the Milky Way using the W. M. Keck Observatory and Subaru Observatory. This study is to accurately model how it is swallowing a smaller galaxy. The “twin” is the Umbrella Galaxy (NGC 4651) used to reveal insights in the galactic behavior. The Umbrella is a galaxy lying 62 million light-years away in the northern constellation Coma Berenices. The faint parasol is made up of smaller stream thought to be remnants of a smaller galaxy. The smaller galaxy was thought to have been pulled apart by the larger galaxy’s intense gravitational force. Eventually the Umbrella will completely absorb the smaller galaxy.

Opinion:

It is pretty amazing that astronomers can see galaxy’s merging. The technology is extremely advanced to be able to see this type of activity. Seeing something 62 million light-years away is something nobody would have never imagined 100 years ago. It is very interesting that the larger galaxy has so much gravitational force to pull a smaller galaxy. It will completely absorb the smaller galaxy and become one. This will make a very interesting change in the “cosmic food chain”

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/07/merging-galaxies-illuminate-the-cosmic-food-chain

News Journal #2 – Mars Curiosity rover marks first martian year with mission successes

Article Date: June 24, 2014

Article Title: Mars Curiosity rover marks first martian year with mission successes

Summary:

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has completed a martian year, which is 687 earth days. Curiosity has accomplished the main goal of the mission, which is finding if Mars once had conditions that were favorable for microbial life. Its first major finding was when it landed August 2012 at an ancient riverbed near the landing site. This area known as Yellowknife Bay was where they met their main goal, if Gale Carter was ever habitable for any simple life forms. The answer, was a yes, coming from two slabs of mudstone that the rover had sampled with its drill. It had been analyzed and the samples revealed there was once a lakebed with mild water. There was also other major findings during Curiosity’s first Martian year.

Opinion:

I really enjoyed reading this article. It is interesting that Curiosity has completed it’s first martian year and has made so many major discoveries. Yellowknife Bay was a great discovery. It had some water and was habitable for simple, microbial life forms. There would be another life form than on Earth.

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/06/mars-curiosity-rover-marks-first-martian-year-with-mission-successes