On June 19, 2017, NASA’s Kepler space telescope team has released a mission catalog of planet candidates. The final catalog introduces 219 new exoplanet candidates, and 10 of them are near-Earth-size and orbiting their stars in the circumstellar habitable zone. Notes 1
This the eighth release of the Kepler candidate catalog. With this release, there are now 4,034 planet candidates (as of June 21, 2017) identified by Kepler space telescope, which launched by NASA on March 7, 2009, to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. Of those, 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of roughly 50 near-Earth size habitable zone candidates detected by Kepler, more than 30 have been verified. All the Kepler’s catalog is publicly available on NASA Exoplanet Archive.
Continue reading NASA Announces 10 New Earth Sized Planets Orbiting in Habitable Zone
Have you ever wondered what would Antarctica look like if all its ice melted? This may seem extraordinary and unlikely, but, this has actually happened in the past. In fact, there have been no major ice sheets over the South Pole for most of the Earth’s history.
In the video below, NASA Goddard strip away Antarctic ice to reveal a new, and much more detailed map of the bedrock below. This map, called Bedmap2, was compiled by the British Antarctic Survey and incorporates millions of new measurements, including substantial data sets from NASA’s ICESat satellite and an airborne mission called Operation IceBridge.
Continue reading What would Antarctica look like if all its ice melted
An international team led by the Italian photographer Filippo Blengini created a 365-Gigapixel Panorama of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain, and the gigantic image becomes the World’s largest photoSee Note. The previous record-holder, published in 2013, was a 320-gigapixel shot of London, taken from atop the BT Tower.
The huge image, published on the project’s site In2White, is created by stitching together 70,000 HD photos taken at 3,500 meters (11,483 feet). The shooting took 15 days in late 2014 and the average temperature was -10 °C (14 °F). The post-production took further two months.
Continue reading Mont Blanc – 365 Gigapixel Panorama (World’s Largest Photo)
We, humans, are changing our planet drastically that scientists say the world entered a completely a new geological era called “Anthropocene”. But, it seems we are not shaping only the surface and the atmosphere of Earth, human activities are changing our near-space environment as well. The change is so big that NASA’s Van Allen probes have detected a human-made barrier surrounding Earth.
Continue reading NASA Detects a Human-Made Barrier Surrounding Earth
We see images and videos from the International Space Station (ISS) where astronauts floating in the space freely. That’s because they’re in the space, so there is no gravitational force of Earth there, right?
The International Space Station is in Low Earth OrbitSee notes 1 with an altitude of between 330 and 435 km (205 and 270 mi). It is so close to the Earth that on a clear day easily visible to the naked eye from the ground as it is the third brightest object in the sky (NASA has actually launched a new interactive map at its Spot the Station web site). At that altitude, the Earth’s gravity is about 90 percent of what it is on the planet’s surface – still pretty strong, right? To reduce the gravity of the Earth by a factor of one million, one needs to be at a distance of 6 million kilometers (around 3,728,227 miles) from the Earth – more than fifteen times the distance between the Earth and Moon.
Continue reading Why astronauts float in space
A beautiful image published by NASA, taken by the unmanned Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, shows the Earth between the rings of Saturn. The image is taken on April 12, 2017.
Continue reading Earth Between the Rings of Saturn
“Consider again that dot [Earth]. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
The first new global map of Earth from space at night since 2012 has been released by the NASA scientists. The nighttime look of our planet is dubbed the “Black Marble”. But why?
On December 7, 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon took a photo of Earth from the space, at a distance about 45,000 kilometers (28,000 miles). This image, with the official NASA designation AS17-148-22727, became known as “The Blue Marble”.
In fact, it was not the first clear image of Earth taken from the space – similar photos had already been taken as early as 1967. But, the 1970s were the scene of a big surge in environmental activism. For example, on April 22, 1970, the first “Earth Day” organized by Gaylord Nelson, former senator of Wisconsin, and Denis Hayes, Harvard graduate student. Millions of people gather in the United States for the event.
Continue reading The Black Marble: Earth from Space at Night
On his most recent trip the International Space Station (Expedition 48),recently-retired NASA astronaut Jeff Williams has recorded a great HD video of Earth using an Ultra High Definition video camera.
Here in the video titled “Jeff’s Earth” below, he shares some of those images and talks about the beauty of the planet, the variety of things to see, and the value of sharing that perspective with everyone who can’t go to orbit in person.
Continue reading Jeff’s Earth – Amazing HD Video from ISS
Our Solar system is big, and vast, despite it is really small compared to our galaxy, not to mention the complete universe. To put this into a perspective, you can think yourself as a photon emitted by the Sun. It takes about 8 minutes to reach the Earth after a photon has been emitted from the Sun’s surface. And it takes 5 hours to get out to Pluto from the Earth. The edge of the Solar System is far beyond the orbit of Pluto.
Continue reading Leaving Solar System at the Speed Of Light
But, where’s the edge of the Solar System? Well, It’s complicated. Informally, the term “solar system” is often used to mean the space out to the last planet – Neptune. Some scientists think that the solar system goes out to the Oort Cloud, the source of the comets. The inner edge of the main part of the Oort Cloud could be as close as 1,000 AU (Astronomical Unit, the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is around 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers) from our sun. The outer edge is estimated to be around 100,000 AU.
There will be a total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, and the United States will be the best country to watch. It will be also the first total solar eclipse to go coast to coast in the U.S. in 99 years. From Oregon to South Carolina, 70-mile Moon-shadow will race across the U.S. and it will completely block out the Sun for a few minutes. It’s still more than seven months away, but hotels already are selling out as people prepare for the rare and amazing event.
Continue reading Great American Total Solar Eclipse 2017
On January 5, 2017, NASA has published the map of the event’s path announcing “…thanks to elevation data of the moon from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, coupled with detailed NASA topography data of Earth, we have the most accurate maps of the path of totality for any eclipse to date.”