See the world from the space station

Publication:   Date: February 6, 2010   View Article

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have used hand-held cameras to take more than 450,000 photographs of Earth as seen from their orbiting outpost about 220 miles up in the skies since November 2000.

The flexibility to look off to the side, change lenses and choose interesting features to photograph are some of the advantages over stationary Earth-observing cameras on satellites, noted Cindy Evans at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston where the database of images is maintained.

UFO cases that generate buzz

Publication:   Date: January 18, 2010   View Article

UFO investigators see references to rocket ships, aliens and astronauts that go back to the days when humans first put chisel and paintbrush to rock. More than 6,000 years later, objects that are unidentified — at least at first — continue to appear in the skies and generate buzz.

Greatest hits from HiRISE

Publication:   Date: January 6, 2010   View Article

Since 2006, a high-resolution camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has delighted scientists and space enthusiasts with images of the Red Planet in never-before-seen detail. We asked members of the science team working on the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, to pick some of their favorites.

Top 11 planet-hunting telescopes

Publication:   Date: December 7, 2009   View Article

What’s a “planet”? That common term sparked an uncommon controversy when scientists announced the discovery of what they believed to be a much-fabled Planet X out beyond the orbit of Neptune.

The icy world, which was initially nicknamed Xena and was later dubbed Eris, is more massive than Pluto. That finding prompted the International Astronomical Union to reclassify Pluto as a dwarf planet and designate all Plutolike objects beyond Neptune as plutoids.

As the planethood debate continues, astronomers also continue to probe the skies with the latest and greatest telescope technologies, learning more and more about distant worlds.

To Find New Planets, Look for the Lithium?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 11, 2009   View Article

Sunlike stars that harbor planets are low on lithium, according to a recent study that may offer a new tool in the hunt for planets beyond our solar system.

Stars are made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. A small percentage of a star’s mass comes from heavier elements, which astronomers refer to as metals.

7 colossal construction projects

Publication:   Date: November 3, 2009   View Article

In 2011, the last rivet should be in place on the International Space Station, a $100 billion project under construction in outer space since 1998. Once completed, the 16-nation orbiting lab will contain more than 33,000 cubic feet of livable space, weigh 925,000 pounds and stretch 361 feet from end to end, which is the length of a football field including the end zones. Check out this and six more colossal engineering projects.

“Rejected” Protons Offer a New View of the Moon

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 16, 2009   View Article

Solar particles “rejected” by the lunar surface are helping astronomers better understand how the sun affects the moon, a new study says.

The moon has virtually no atmosphere, so its surface is constantly being bombarded by solar wind, the charged particles flowing outward in all directions from the sun.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach