Gaia set for launch on 19th December
The Gaia telescope will be launched later this month to create, for the first time, an extraordinarily precise three-dimensional map of our Galaxy and beyond. It will measure the positions, distances, space motions, and many physical characteristics of some one billion stars in our Galaxy. The observational data will be detailed to 20th magnitude.
While surveying the stars in our Galaxy, Gaia will also be observing, amongst others, solar system objects by the thousands, including
Did comet ISON survive? Maybe
Comets are notorious for being unpredictable – seems like comet ISON is no exception. On its closest approach to the Sun on 28th November 2013, comet ISON was first thought to have disintegrated and therefore not have survived. However, new observations suggest that a small part of comet ISON’s nucleus may still be intact.
On Thanksgiving Day, scientists were observing if comet ISON frizzled as it grazed the Sun at a close 0.0124 AU (1.86
“Asteroid Quakes” – Mars is shaking up NEOs too
Scientists have long observed that the surfaces of most asteroids appear redder than meteorites. In 2010, a professor of planetary sciences at MIT, Richard Binzel, offered an explanation. Cosmic radiation changes the chemical nature of asteroid surface turning them red over time while Earth’s gravitational effect on asteroids is causing “asteroid quakes” that changes the surface of asteroids. This is consequently referred to as “refreshed” asteroids. In a recently published paper, scientists found that planet
NEOShield at DoDDS-Europe STEMposium 2013
On 18th November, NEOShield team member, Mr. Noah Saks from Astrium, shared with a group of high school students attending the annual STEMposium about how the NEOShield project is working to protect the Earth from a collision with a near-Earth object. By the invitation of the DoDDS-Europe, Noah’s riveting presentation (and occasional pop quiz) kept the 113 students (and teachers too!) on the edge of their seats.