” A German astronaut has captured stunning images of polar auroras as he orbited Earth on the International Space Station. Alexander Gerst’s images led to the creation of the Ultra-HD – or ‘4K’ time lapse video, running at 25 frames per second.
The photographs were taken at a resolution of 4,256 x 2,832 pixels and depict Gerst’s orbit around the Earth alongside his fellow ISS Space Station expedition 40 crewmembers.
His journey shows the rippling greenish lights characteristic of the electrically-charged sun particle collisions, bright city lights in the nighttime, the different hues of the Earth’s atmosphere and a satellite launch. “
The description from ESA’s Youtube page provides more detail on the creation of the Ultra High Def video :
” This timelapse video was made from images taken by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst orbiting Earth on the International Space Station.
The video is offered in Ultra High Definition, the highest available to consumers. Be sure to change the settings in YouTube if your computer or television can handle it for the full effect.
The montage is made from a long sequence of still photographs taken at a resolution of 4256 x 2832 pixels at a rate of one every second. The high resolution allowed the ESA production team to create a 3840 x 2160 pixel movie, also known as Ultra HD or 4K.
Playing these sequences at 25 frames per second, the film runs 25 times faster than it looks for the astronauts in space.
The artistic effects of the light trails from stars and cities at night are created by superimposing the individual images and fading them out slowly.
Alexander Gerst is a member of the International Space Station Expedition 40 crew. He is spending five and a half months living and working on the ISS for his Blue Dot mission. “
” A small asteroid, designated 2014 RC, will safely pass very close to Earth on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. At the time of closest approach, based on current calculations to be about 2:18 p.m. EDT (11:18 a.m. PDT / 18:18 UTC), the asteroid will be roughly over New Zealand. From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about 60 feet (20 meters) in size.”
” NASA’s Curiosity rover just recently finished its second year exploring Mars, and the red planet’s harsh environment has taken its toll. Rocky terrain, tricky sand dunes, and exposure to Martian dust storms have left the SUV-sized robot looking a little worse for wear as it continues its march towards its eventual goal, Mount Sharp.
Below is a before-and-after look at a variety of instruments and features on Curiosity and the wear they’ve endured during the rover’s first two years, made from images uploaded by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Each image is either from the MAHLI imager or the Mastcam, and is also labeled with the Sol number (sol = one Martian solar day, the mission is currently on Sol 724) during which each image was taken.”
” China last month conducted another test of a satellite-killing missile that reflects Chinese efforts to weaponize space, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command said Wednesday.
“ It’s very problematic to see China working to weaponize space in tests like this one they just had, and so [it’s] very concerning to me as the U.S. Strategic Command commander, and to our nation at large, given our dependency on that capability,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, Strategic Command chief.
Haney, speaking to reporters after remarks to a Stratcom-sponsored conference on nuclear deterrence, also voiced worries about the recent increase in Russian strategic nuclear bomber incursions into U.S. air defense identification zones near Alaska and close to U.S. territory.
“ I will say that the business of them coming close to the United States of America, we take very seriously,” said the four-star admiral who is in charge of U.S. nuclear warfighting forces.
The blunt comments about Chinese weaponization of space are unusual and followed the July 23 test of what U.S. officials said was China’s low-earth orbit DN-1 anti-satellite interceptor. It was the latest ASAT test by China that both Pentagon and State Department spokesmen described as a “non-destructive” prototype.”
” In mid-June, the U.S. government relaxed its previously strict rules on high-definition satellite imaging, allowing mapping services like Google Maps to scale up to a higher resolution. DigitalGlobe led the charge in changing the U.S. ruling in part because of its upcoming Worldview-3 satellite, which will provide the first public high-resolution photos of our planet.
Google and Microsoft will be likely beneficiaries of this advanced space imaging since both are DigitalGlobe customers, and the detail this satellite provides is pretty stunning. The company says Worldview-3 will capture sub-50cm resolution, allowing clear views of “manholes and mailboxes,” according to the BBC.
The satellite will launch at 2:30pm ET on August 13, which you can watch live, because who doesn’t love a good rocket show. “
” In January 2002, astronomers discovered a massive explosion coming from V838 Monocerotis. They initially thought they were witnessing a supernova, but after the initial flash of light began to dim (as expected), it began to brighten again in infrared wavelengths at the beginning of March. After that brightening faded, another one happened in April. While astronomers were certain they weren’t witnessing a supernova, they weren’t quite sure what it actually was.
Now the Hubble team have released an absolutely extraordinary time-lapse video of the event. Check it out here, and make sure you go full screen.
Nothing like this has ever been observed before, making it hard to rule out many of the possible explanations. There are five hypotheses put forward in the literature about what is causing the event, and they really don’t have much in common.
Some scientists believe V838 Monocerotis was a supernova, just a fairly unique one. This idea doesn’t have much support, since the stars in that area are too young and too massive to have caused this type of event. Another unlikely explanation is that a dying star’s core exploded into a helium flash, like what happened in Sakurai’s Object. Again, this star is too young for a thermal pulse to be the most likely scenario.
Another model proposes the helium flash, but as a thermonuclear event in which a massive star would have been able to survive. While this does fit within the necessary age of the star, the star’s mass might not support this idea. “
Read more at IFL Science
” Earlier this month in a galaxy far far away, known as Abu Dhabi, J.J. Abrams began filming “Star Wars: Episode VII” … and TMZ has obtained pics from the ultra-secretive set — including one GIANT creature.
Jedi sources tell us the new alien was manned by 5 men inside its belly … and was used in two scenes taking place in what looks like a Tatooine marketplace (Star Wars nerds get it)”
” According to reports, producers intend to use less CG in the new movies — instead, relying heavily on practical effects like the original trilogy … which is evident in these photos.”
” We don’t wanna give too much away … but if you’re a Star Wars fan, you should probably be clicking through the gallery already.
May the force be with you.”
See all 45 pictures at TMZ
” At an evening event in the SpaceX Headquarters on Thursday night, CEO and founder Elon Musk revealed the Dragon V2 space capsule, a next-generation version of SpaceX’s current Dragon capsule that will be able to ferry up to seven crew members and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and eventually to other destinations. The capsule is reusable, and will be able to make a controlled landing “with the precision of a helicopter” upon re-entry.
The capsule, which has been in development for several years with help from NASA, will be a part of a new generation of commercial space vehicles since the US shuttered its own shuttle program in 2011. Currently, NASA pays Russia around $71 million a head to taxi astronauts to and from the ISS on Soyuz vehicles.
Tonight, Musk told the press that his company foresees being able to send astronauts to the ISS and back for around $20 million per seat.
Musk added that depending on how many flights SpaceX is able to launch, that cost-per-head number could come down significantly to where it could “potentially get into the single-digit-million figure.”
NASA has publicly stated that it wants a commercial space vehicle to be ready for prime time by 2017; Musk told Ars tonight that NASA is being characteristically cautious: “from a SpaceX standpoint we expect to be ready to transport crew by 2016,” he said. “We feel fairly confident that we’ll be ready in two years.” When the Dragon V2 does launch, it’ll launch from the historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, which SpaceX recently signed a 20-year lease for.”
Ars Technica has much more
” Virgin Galactic, the private space venture bankrolled by billionaire Sir Richard Branson, has signed an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that spells out how the company will use U.S. airspace during its planned suborbital flights.
Virgin Galactic officials have said they hope to begin commercial flights aboard SpaceShipTwo out of New Mexico’s Spaceport America by the end of 2014.
The deal, which was announced Thursday (May 29), outlines how Virgin Galactic will work with the FAA’s air traffic control center Albuquerque and the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to safely provide clear airspace for SpaceShipTwo space plane.”
” One of the latest missions from the ISS is kind of amazing. The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment consists of four cameras that have been attached outside of the ISS. Though temperature is controlled, the cameras are exposed to the radiation from the sun, which will allow astronauts to understand how radiation affects the instruments.
The experiment is being run in conjunction with High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program that serves as outreach for students 9-12. Students participating in this program also helped design some aspects of the camera.
The cameras point down at Earth at all times, which makes for some breathtaking images. The feed will sometimes go down as the signal switches between the cameras, and it is hard to see when the ISS is on the dark side of the planet. If the cameras are down, the screen will be grey.”
” ***QUICK NOTES ABOUT HDEV VIDEO***
” Black Image = International Space Station (ISS) is on the night side of the Earth.
Gray Image = Switching between cameras, or communications with the ISS is not available.
No Audio = Normal. There is no audio on purpose. Add your own soundtrack.
For a display of the real time ISS location plus the HDEV imagery, visit here: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/HDEV/
The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment aboard the ISS was activated April 30, 2014. It is mounted on the External Payload Facility of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. This experiment includes several commercial HD video cameras aimed at the earth which are enclosed in a pressurized and temperature controlled housing. Video from these cameras is transmitted back to earth and also streamed live on this channel. While the experiment is operational, views will typically sequence though the different cameras. Between camera switches, a gray and then black color slate will briefly appear. Since the ISS is in darkness during part of each orbit, the images will be dark at those times. During periods of loss of signal with the ground or when HDEV is not operating, a gray color slate or previously recorded video may be seen.
Analysis of this experiment will be conducted to assess the effects of the space environment on the equipment and video quality which may help decisions about cameras for future missions. High school students helped with the design of some of the HDEV components through the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program. Student teams will also help operate the experiment. To learn more about the HDEV experiment, visit here: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/917.html “
” First, the standard caveat: Nobody outside the cast and crew really knows anything about the plot of Star Wars: Episode VII, or most of the characters therein.
All the official Lucasfilm announcements have given us is that the movie will be set 30 years after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, which anyone could have guessed given the age of the returning cast. As of Tuesday, we know for sure that Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie and everyone’s favorite droid duo will be returning.
All else — unless you’ve somehow snuck a script out from under the security lockdown at Lucasfilm or J.J. Abrams’ television production company Bad Robot — is speculation. To give us even fewer handholds, Lucasfilm announced on Friday that the decades of books and comics that told stories following Return of the Jedi are no longer considered canon — which means they’ll have no bearing on the forthcoming movie, to be released in December 2015.
Elements from those stories may still be used, but completely out of their original contexts. (Sorry, fans of Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade.)
That said, Tuesday’s casting announcement gives us something to work with. Given the strengths of each actor, the types of characters they’ve portrayed in the past and their ages relative to the returning original cast, we can indulge in some informed speculation. Let’s start with the elder statesman of the cast.”
Read more of Mashable’s casting speculation here
” Last night, yet another eye-searing blue meteor screamed across the dark Russian sky. Lucky for us, Russia is the land of dashcams, meaning that yet again, we get a driver’s seat view of the phenomenon. How do you say “wow” in Russian.”
Here is another view of the latest meteor from Murmansk
Gizmodo has more
” A potential game changer in the hunt for life outside our neighborhood has just been discovered about 493 light years away. Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have found a rocky planet that is similar in size to Earth and is within the “habitable zone” of the star it orbits.
The discovery of this planet, called Kepler-186f, is confirmation that exoplanets the size of Earth do exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. The habitable zone – often referred to as the Goldilocks Zone – is the range of distance from a star where liquid water can pool on the surface of an orbiting planet.
This is not the first planet that has been discovered within the habitable zone, but it is the first of near equal size to Earth. Other larger planets that have been found have been at least 40 percent larger than Earth and have been difficult for researchers to determine their exact composition.”
Red Orbit has the story
” They were caught on camera the night of February 16. Mysterious lights that appeared in the sky over the 150 acres that Rainer and Edith Shattles call home in the Cumbest Bluff area of Jackson County. Were they a phenomenon that’s simple to explain, or something else?
The Shattles never tire of looking at the strange images caught by their trail cameras on that clear winter night.
” We have unusual things happen around here that happen, but it’s usually associated with our grandchildren. But this case, we didn’t know what it was,” Edith recalled. “I was looking for a nice buck to be showing up on the trail camera actually.”
The timeline of the pictures is clear. At 7:24 pm, deer appear and all is normal. At 7:29, a dim light appears. At 7:35, it gets brighter. Then at 7:53, a weird shape appears on the camera. The deer are lit up brightly, but how? The cameras are infrared and don’t emit light. At 7:56, another sharper light appears, then it gets much closer, seemingly focused on the deer. It looks like headlights, but well off the ground and there is no road. It then flies away. “
” Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of Saturn’s little moon Enceladus.
Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. Their findings were announced Thursday.
This new ocean of liquid water – as big as or even bigger than North America’s Lake Superior – is centered at the south pole of Enceladus and could encompass much if not most of the moon. Enceladus (ehn-SEHL’-uh-duhs) is about 310 miles across.
The data do not show if the ocean extends to the north pole, said the lead researcher, Luciano Less of Sapienza University of Rome. At the very least, it’s a regional sea some 25 miles deep under miles-thick ice. On Earth, it would stretch from our South Pole up to New Zealand – at the very least.”
” Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope have discovered the largest yellow star so far.”
” The team discovered yellow hypergiant star HR 5171 in a double star system about 12,000 light-years away from Earth. The star is so huge that it can just about be seen with the naked eye, despite its distance from Earth.
“ The new observations also showed that this star has a very close binary partner, which was a real surprise,” Olivier Chesneau, from the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Nice, France, said in a statement. “The two stars are so close that they touch and the whole system resembles a gigantic peanut.” “
RedOrbit has more
” NASA scientists announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets around distant stars, including four alien worlds roughly the size of Earth that might be the proper temperature for liquid water to form and, therefore, potentially suitable for life.
The discovery, based on two years of data collection on 150,000 or so stars by the agency’s orbiting Kepler space telescope, brings the confirmed count of planets outside our solar system to nearly 1,700.
” We have almost doubled the number of planets known to humanity,” said planetary scientist Jack Lissauer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., who is a science co-investigator on the $600 million Kepler space telescope mission.”
Discover more at WSJ
” Looking for a truly out-of-this-world camera? Then an upcoming auction in Austria might have something to interest you — at a price.Vienna’s Westlicht gallery, the world’s largest auction house for cameras, will auction in March a camera returned to Earth, having been used on the moon, during NASA’s Apollo 15 mission.
Compared to present-day cameras, the Swedish-made Hasselblad, used for landscape photography on the lunar surface, is something of a dinosaur. Inconvenient for selfies, it could never be slipped inside a pocket, weighing in at several kilograms.
Its lack of electronic wizardry means no geotagging, hence no metadata. But if anyone was concerned about the NSA getting wind of what it was up to, it’d be hard pushed to film anything surreptitiously. The Hasselblad, a boxy brontosaurus of a camera that Apollo 15’s Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin used to take nearly 300 pics while on the lunar surface, couldn’t be said to have a stealth mode.”
” For Army Lt. Heidi Beemer, space flight has always been a dream, but that dream seemed out of reach for the light chemical decontamination platoon leader at Fort Campbell, Ky., until she read about the Mars One project.
Mars One is a program unaffiliated with any government that plans to send a series of spacecraft to Mars in hopes of inhabiting the red planet by 2025. The program is already signing up volunteers.
Beemer is one of the volunteers selected by project leaders as she is one of many U.S. troops who have signed up and made the cut.
“ When this opportunity opened up to me, at 24 years old, there was no looking back, no second guessing. This is what I’ve wanted to do my entire life,” Beemer said.
She is one of slightly more than 1,000 men and women who recently learned they made the first cut toward selecting crews to begin settling the Red Planet.”
Published on Jan 11, 2014
” Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo has made its third rocket-powered supersonic flight in the Mojave Desert, soaring to a record 71,000 feet
Get the latest headlines http://www.telegraph.co.uk/“
” Pioneering scientists and engineers are often overlooked in popular retrospectives commemorating the year’s departed. In particular, women in such fields tend to be given short shrift. To counter this regrettable circumstance, I present here a selection of 10 notable women in science who left us in 2013. Each of these individuals contributed greatly to her field and should be remembered for her exceptional accomplishments. This, of course, is not a comprehensive list; I’d welcome your thoughts, in the comments below, on any others who may also be deserving of recognition.”
” More than 1,000 people reported seeing a fireball in the skies over Iowa and Minnesota on December 26, with footage of the incident being captured by security cameras and the National Weather Service (NWS), various media outlets reported over the weekend.
According to Adam Withnall of The Independent, eyewitnesses reported that the object was approximately as bright as the sun, and was visible shooting across the sky for several seconds before it suddenly appeared to break apart.
The ball of light was also reportedly emitting sonic activity similar in nature to previously confirmed meteor sightings, Withnall added. While it is believed that it was indeed a meteor, that has not yet been officially confirmed.”