Noticias de Astrofisica y Misión STS-132

Como ya es casi obligado a continuación os ponemos las ultimas novedades y videos que las diferentes Agencias Espaciales han publicado estos dos ultimos dias.
Especial atención ponemos a la misión STS-132 la ultima del Atlantis…

Andromeda Galaxy Revealed In A New Light

Swift’s UV portrait of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31)

NASA’s Swift satellite has acquired the highest-resolution view of the neighboring spiral galaxy M31. Also known as the Andromeda Galaxy, M31 is the largest and closest such galaxy to our own. It’s more than 220,000 light-years across and lies 2.5 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda.

Swift’s Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) acquired 330 images of M31 at wavelengths of 192.8, 224.6, and 260 nanometers. The images represent a total exposure time of 24 hours. Some 20,000 ultraviolet sources are visible in the image, including M32, a small galaxy in orbit around M31. Dense clusters of hot, young, blue stars sparkle in the disk beyond the galaxy’s smooth, redder central bulge. Star clusters are especially plentiful along a ring about 150,000 light-years across.

Swift Makes Best-ever Ultraviolet Portrait of Andromeda Galaxy

In a break from its usual task of searching for distant cosmic explosions, NASA’s Swift satellite has acquired the highest-resolution view of a neighboring spiral galaxy ever attained in the ultraviolet. The galaxy, known as M31 in the constellation Andromeda, is the largest and closest spiral galaxy to our own.

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“Swift reveals about 20,000 ultraviolet sources in M31, especially hot, young stars and dense star clusters,” said Stefan Immler, a research scientist on the Swift team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Of particular importance is that we have covered the galaxy in three ultraviolet filters. That will let us study M31’s star-formation processes in much greater detail than previously possible.”

M31, also known as the Andromeda Galaxy, is more than 220,000 light-years across and lies 2.5 million light-years away. On a clear, dark night, the galaxy is faintly visible as a misty patch to the naked eye. Between May 25 and July 26, 2008, Swift’s Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) acquired 330 images of M31 at wavelengths of 192.8, 224.6, and 260 nanometers. The images represent a total exposure time of 24 hours.

The task of assembling the resulting 85 gigabytes of images fell to Erin Grand, an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland at College Park who worked with Immler as an intern this summer. “After ten weeks of processing that immense amount of data, I’m extremely proud of this new view of M31,” she said.

Several features are immediately apparent in the new mosaic. The first is the striking difference between the galaxy’s central bulge and its spiral arms. “The bulge is smoother and redder because it’s full of older and cooler stars,” Immler explained. “Very few new stars form here because most of the materials needed to make them have been depleted.”

Dense clusters of hot, young, blue stars sparkle beyond the central bulge. As in our own galaxy, M31’s disk and spiral arms contain most of the gas and dust needed to produce new generations of stars. Star clusters are especially plentiful in an enormous ring about 150,000 light-years across.

What triggers the unusually intense star formation in Andromeda’s “ring of fire”? Previous studies have shown that tides raised by the many small satellite galaxies in orbit around M31 help boost the interactions within gas clouds that result in new stars.

In 1885, an exploding star in M31’s central bulge became bright enough to see with the naked eye. This was the first supernova ever recorded in any galaxy beyond our own Milky Way. “We expect an average of about one supernova per century in galaxies like M31,” Immler said. “Perhaps we won’t have to wait too long for another one.”

“Swift is surveying nearby galaxies like M31 so astronomers can better understand star- formation conditions and relate them to conditions in the distant galaxies where we see gamma-ray bursts occurring,” said Neil Gehrels, the mission’s principal investigator at NASA Goddard. Since Swift’s November 2005 launch, the satellite has detected more than 400 gamma-ray bursts — massive, far-off explosions likely associated with the births of black holes.

Swift is managed by NASA Goddard. It was built and is being operated in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and General Dynamics of Gilbert, Ariz., in the United States. International collaborators include the University of Leicester and Mullard Space Sciences Laboratory in the United Kingdom, Brera Observatory and the Italian Space Agency in Italy, and additional partners in Germany and Japan.

 

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/swift/bursts/uv_andromeda.html

http://astrophysics.gsfc.nasa.gov/outreach/podcast/wordpress/index.php/2009/09/16/swift-sees-andromeda-in-a-new-light/

Misión STS-132

Safety Check Shows Shuttle’s “Shield” Sound

The late-mission inspection that showed space shuttle Atlantis’s heat shield ready for re-entry is among the video highlights of Flight Day 11 of STS-132. Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Steve Bowen, Mike Good and Piers Sellers have been cleared by mission managers for their scheduled landing on Wednesday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Atlantis Undocks After Week’s Stay at Station

The six STS-132 crew members continued preparations for their return to Earth as space shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station. Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Steve Bowen, Mike Good and Piers Sellers are scheduled to land on Wednesday, May 26, concluding their 12-day mission and the 32nd and final flight of the Atlantis orbiter.

 

STS-132 Atlantis Undocks From ISS

At 11:22 a.m. EDT, space shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station. Atlantis spent 7 days, 0 hrs, and 54 minutes docked to the orbiting laboratory. At undocking, the spacecraft were 220 miles above the Indian Ocean, southwest of Australia.

Atlantis Astronauts Homeward Bound

The STS-132 crew of Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Steve Bowen, Mike Good and Piers Sellers are on their way back home. Their spacecraft, shuttle Atlantis, “separated” from the International Space Station following a busy, week-long visit. Atlantis delivered the station’s newest module, the Russian Mini Research Module-1, Rassvet, and cargo and supplies to the ISS. The mission’s three spacewalks replaced batteries and installed an antenna outside the station. Atlantis is scheduled to return to Earth on Wednesday, May 26.

Atlantis. Last Goodbye to ISS

After a week of flying together, shuttle Atlantis undocked from a larger and virtually completed International Space Station on Sunday and headed for home on its final voyage.

STS-132 Flyaround

Space shuttle Atlantis performs a flyaround of the International Space Station after undocking at 11:22 a.m. EDT on Sunday, May 23, 2010.

After a week of flying together, shuttle Atlantis undocked from a larger and virtually completed International Space Station on Sunday and headed for home on its final voyage. (May 23)

Before it headed back to Earth, space shuttle Atlantis and its STS-132 completed a “flyaround” of the International Space Station to capture the latest images of the orbiting complex. Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Steve Bowen, Mike Good and Piers Sellers delivered the station’s newest module, the Russian Mini Research Module-1, Rassvet, and cargo and supplies.

Shuttle Crew’s “Highlight Reel”

Using their hand-held, high-definition video camera, members of the STS-132 crew record their experiences and milestones of their eighth day in space that included the missions final spacewalk. Between them, Garrett Reisman, Steve Bowen and Mike Good performed three EVAs outside the International Space Station. The three astronauts, along with STS-132 Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialist Piers Sellers, are scheduled to return to Earth aboard space shuttle Atlantis on Wednesday, May 26.

Canadarm Caches Cargo Carrier

The Space Station Remote Manipulator System, Canadarm 2, berths a now-empty Integrated Cargo Carrier in the orbiters cargo bay, and the STS-132 crew continues to relocate cargo and supplies from Atlantis middeck to the International Space Station to highlight the missions ninth day. Atlantis will undock from the ISS on Sunday to begin the last leg of its 32nd and final flight.

La NASA y el Cambio Climatico

Global climate change … NASA’s eyes on the Earth: A warming world – global temperature update … piecing together the temperature puzzle.

Each year, scientists at NASA’S Goddard Institute for Space Studies analyze global temperature data. The past year, 2009, tied as the second warmest year since global instrumental temperature records began 130 years ago. Worldwide, the mean temperature was 0.57°C (1.03°F) warmer than the 1951-1980 base period. And January 2000 to December 2009 came out as the warmest decade on record.

http://climate.nasa.gov/warmingworld/

2009 was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record, a new NASA analysis of global surface temperature shows. The analysis, conducted by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, also shows that in the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year since modern records began in 1880.

Although 2008 was the coolest year of the decade, due to strong cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean, 2009 saw a return to near-record global temperatures. The past year was only a fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest year on record, and tied with a cluster of other years — 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007 1998 and 2007 — as the second warmest year since recordkeeping began.

“There’s always an interest in the annual temperature numbers and on a given year’s ranking, but usually that misses the point,” said James Hansen, the director of GISS. “There’s substantial year-to-year variability of global temperature caused by the tropical El Niño-La Niña cycle. But when we average temperature over five or ten years to minimize that variability, we find that global warming is continuing unabated.”

January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Throughout the last three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.2°C (0.36°F) per decade. Since 1880, the year that modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely, a clear warming trend is present, though there was a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s.

The near-record temperatures of 2009 occurred despite an unseasonably cool December in much of North America. High air pressures in the Arctic decreased the east-west flow of the jet stream, while also increasing its tendency to blow from north to south and draw cold air southward from the Arctic. This resulted in an unusual effect that caused frigid air from the Arctic to rush into North America and warmer mid-latitude air to shift toward the north.

“Of course, the contiguous 48 states cover only 1.5 percent of the world area, so the U.S. temperature does not affect the global temperature much,’ said Hansen. In total, average global temperatures have increased by about 0.8°C (1.5°F) since 1880.

“That’s the important number to keep in mind,” said Gavin Schmidt, another GISS climatologist. “In contrast, the difference between, say, the second and sixth warmest years is trivial since the known uncertainty — or noise — in the temperature measurement is larger than some of the differences between the warmest years.”

Decoding the Temperature Record: Climate scientists agree that rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trap incoming heat near the surface of the Earth and are the key factors causing the rise in temperatures since 1880, but these gases are not the only factors that can impact global temperatures.

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100121/

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