Hope your 2009 is better than your 2008.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tomorrow night, Venus and the slender crescent Moon will gather together high in the southwestern sky for a beautiful conjunction visible for hours after sunset. These are the two brightest objects in the night sky, so they can be seen through city lights and even fireworks. At the same time, butcloser to the horizon, Mercury and Jupiter are converging for their own conjunction. This one is not so easy to see, but rewarding for those who make the effort to find the two planets shining through the rosy glow of sunset. Courtesy of spaceweather.com. Hope you enjoy, and a have a (safe and) fun New Year's Eve!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I know this is unconscionably late, and I still owe you detailed descriptions of past shows, but here is the December 3rd episode of the radio show, where I discuss black holes big and small. Thank you very much for listening, hope you enjoy it, and hope you having a great holiday season.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Using the Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument built by NASA, India's first lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 has been making a map of the Moon's surface showing how its chemical composition changes from area to area. To see this pretty amazing image, go here. Enjoy!
Below is a rather long and extensive email I received regarding student research opportunities at NASA's different centers. If you are interested at all in pursuing a career in science, I strongly encouarge you to check these out. Good luck!
Student Opportunities at Ames Research Center:
Ames Research Center (Mountain View, CA) is a leader in information technology research with a focus on supercomputing, networking and intelligent systems. Ames conducts the critical R&D and develops the enabling technologies that make NASA missions possible. Ames also is a leader in nanotechnology, fundamental space biology, biotechnology, aerospace and thermal protection systems, human factors and astrobiology research. Ames participates in several agency education programs such as NASA's Undergraduate Student Researcher's Program (USRP; http://www.epo.usra.edu/usrp), an undergraduate internship program for science, engineering and mathematics majors, and the Graduate Student Researcher's Program (GSRP; http://fellowships.hq.nasa.gov/gsrp) for graduate study leading to masters or doctoral degrees related to NASA research and development. Acting as a portal between minority institutions and the funding priorities of our nation, the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation's (UNCFSP; http://uncfsp.org/) division of Science and Technology offers internships and fellowships to faculty members undergraduate students and graduate students who have an interest in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.. Some of the UNCFSP opportunities at Ames include, NASA Science and Technology Institute Summer Scholars Project (NSTI-SSP), NSTI Summer Faculty Fellowship Project (SFF), and Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST). Ames specific student opportunities would include the Foothill-DeAnza Internship Program (FHDA; http://internships.fhda.edu/), a career development program for community college students, and the Education Associates Program (EAP; http://edassoc.arc.nasa.gov/), a program that is driven by actual research opportunities and needs at Ames. For information on the full list of Ames educational opportunities, please visit the Ames Education website at http://education.arc.nasa.gov/.
Glenn Research Center Hosts Broad Spectrum of NASA Higher Education Programs:
Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, Ohio) is designated as NASA lead Center for Aeropropulsion from subsonic to hypersonic speed. In this capacity it is Glenn's role to develop, verify, and transfer aeropropulsion technologies to U.S. industry. Glenn is, also, a designated Center of Excellence in Turbomachinery, to develop new and innovative turbomachinery technology to improve the reliability and performance, efficiency and affordability, capacity and environmental compatibility of future aeronautical and space propulsion systems. Other areas of expertise embody a broad array of technology developments for NASA Science missions, as well as, research and technology developments for aerospace power, aerospace communications, and space processes and experiments which include bioscience and technology. Finally, Glenn is engaged in technology development in advanced energy that embodies renewable wind, solar and coal energy. Some of several energy-related demonstration projects focus on testing, evaluation and advancement of wind turbines, fuel cells and photovoltaics. For Higher Education programs that link to the foregoing opportunities, please visit http://newbusiness.grc.nasa.gov/university-affairs/.
Goddard Space Flight Center Education Programs:
Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, MD) has set a goal of 50% minority participation among its highly competitive interns in its education programs. We seek help with summer intern programs. The main on-line application deadline for next summer is January 16, 2009. Our web based application (to the collection of programs) is at http://university.gsfc.nasa.gov/. It includes a list of over 100 project opportunities," for summer 2009, from which the applicant selects his or her favorites. The programs which cooperate in the process are described on the above cited web site. Students then apply for these projects. Hence, advisor support in recommending highly qualified students is most welcome. If you have questions, e-mail Janie.Nall@nasa.gov (301-286-0885) or Terri Patterson at Terri.J.Patterson@nasa.gov (301-286-4398). We very much appreciate your help by encouraging highly qualified students, especially minorities, to apply.
Student Opportunities at Johnson Space Center:
Johnson Space Center (Houston, TX) has a robust education program and participates in many Agency student programs. JSC's main areas of research emphasize current and future Human exploration including life sciences as well as vehicle systems development and other systems engineering activities. JSC leads or participates in several agency education programs, such as NASA's Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP http://www.epo.usra.edu/usrp) the undergraduate internship program for science, engineering and mathematics majors; The Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP http://fellowships.hq.nasa.gov/gsrp) for graduate study leading to masters or doctoral degrees in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering related to NASA research and development; and the Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program (http://microgravityuniversity.jsc.nasa.gov/) for undergraduate students to propose, design, fabricate, fly and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment of their choice. Additionally, JSC encourages proposals to the Steckler/Space Grant Opportunity found at the NSPIRES website at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ which will award Twenty $70,000 grants for research proposals concerning technology and development activities to enable space colonization or space settlement. For information on the full list of JSC educational opportunities, please visit the JSC Education website at http://education.jsc.nasa.gov/.
Student Opportunity: Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience:
Applications are being accepted for INSPIRE's online community from 9th to 12th grade students through December 31, 2008. The community provides NASA-related resources and educational activities, allows for students to interact with other students, ask questions and share knowledge. Once selected into the online community, students may compete for the unique grade appropriate summer experiences ranging from a 1 day VIP tour and workshops, a 2 week on-campus collegiate experience, and paid summer internships.
For additional information, visit our website at http://www.nasa.gov/education/INSPIRE.
Higher Education Student Opportunities at Marshall Space Flight Center:
From advanced materials, avionics and optics research - to propulsion, robotics and systems engineering, Marshall proves it is more than a rocket center. Science areas emphasized are astrophysics, heliophysics/plasmas, Earth science (remote sensing and climate variability) and astrobiology. The Marshall Space Flight Center is a key contributor to significant NASA programs, continuing a legacy of accomplishment that includes the Saturn V rocket that launched America's astronauts to the moon; the propulsion system for the space shuttle; and the Hubble and Chandra Space Telescopes. As it has throughout its history, Marshall is again playing a critical role in maintaining America's preeminence in space. The new launch vehicles, the Ares I and the Ares V, are currently under development at Marshall. http://education.nasa.gov/edoffices/centeroffices/marshall/highered/
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Space Grant Project:
NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) is offering opportunities related to Exploration in partnership with the National Space Grant Consortia. ESMD SG provides internships for full-time students, mentors for senior design projects and competitions for System Engineering and Research papers. For information on these programs visit our website at http://education.ksc.nasa.gov/esmdspacegrant/.
The European Space Agency's (ESA's) satellite Envisat is observing the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica on a daily basis since it is at risk of breaking off. To watch the resulting video, go here, and enjoy!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Available here is a NASA news feature on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (which hopefully will survive for many years to come). For more information on JWST, listen to this interview with Dr. Clampin on NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Observations of an extrasolar planet with the Hubble Space Telescope recently found evidence for Carbon Dioxide in this planet. This extrasolar planet is a transiting planet, meaning that its orbit around its star passes directly between the Earth and its star. As a result, from the Earth we can observe this planet's atmosphere absorbing light from this star, and by looking at what wavelengths are absorbed, figure out what chemicals are in its atmosphere. For more information, go here.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Wow!, or at least I think so. The diffuse light is being produced by gas heated by the light emitted from young, hot stars in the region. This light is so hot that it actually can destroy these dust particles, leading to the holes and channels you see.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Had to disappear on you, but I'm going to be away for a conference and visiting family for the next three weeks. I was hoping to pre-record some radio shows before I left, but unfortunately work got in the way (as it often does) and it doesn't look like that is going to happen. I'm really sorry about that. I hope to post the radio shows I need to before I go.
And, remember, I'd really like to do a question and answer show on December 31st, so send in your questions!
JPPL in Pasadence, CA is hosting a conference titled "Life in Extreme Environments" for all educators (including museum staff) and students in high school or above interested in Earth and space science, and exploration. The conference will feature astrobiologists, planetary scientists and astronomers discussion the latest information on our expanding understanding of the abodes of life on our planet and the prospects for the development of life elsewhere in our solar system and much farther beyond. The registration deadline is January 16th, and more information is available here. Enjoy!
Like to build rockets? Well, every year NASA sponsors teams of students to do just that, and try them out at their annual Student Launch Initiative rocketry challenge. The team's for 2009's challenge have already been chosen, but if you are interested in learning more, check out this website. Good luck!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Already available here, below is the description of the November 12th edition of this radio show, whose topic was supernovae. This program covered:
- Calendar of upcoming Astronomy/science events in the greater New York / Poughkeepsie area.
- Interview with Dr. Maryam Modjaz of UC-Berkeley on supernovae (available here).
- News: Flurry of sunspots detected in October signals beginning of new solar cycle; stalagmites in a Chinese cave suggest strength of monsoons connected to solar cycle (article); Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 enters lunar transfer orbit (link), lunar orbit (link); Mars Phoenix Lander succumbs to Martian winter and ceases operation (link); NASA tests motor for launch abort system on future Orion Crew Capsule; possibility that future spacecraft to Mars could generate a magnetic field strong enough to protect it from cosmic rays (link); ESA closer to picking crews for simulated Mars mission; Universal Declaration of Human Rights sent to International Space Station (link); NASA astronomers at Marshall Space Flight Center install all sky monitoring cameras to look for meteor showers; ESO releases deepest ultraviolet image of the sky - detects faint galaxies filled with young, hot stars; ESA announces Second CubeSat workshop; congratulations to students selected to NASA Astronomy Student Ambassadors (for more information, go here)
- Wednesday Morning Astronomer (a response to the Astronomy content of this ESPN article): It is good to have terms for things, even if the name itself doesn't matter (e.g. Plutoid vs. Pluton) and I think an asteroid defense system will cost even more than that. Plus, NASA is working on learning about the chemical composition and structure of asteroids and comets in order to better determine how to destroy them if need be.