Archive for the ‘Astronomy’ Category

Big Bang Monday: Milky Way 360º

Monday, March 24th, 2014

spitzer 360

Very cool, yet incomprehensible. A 360º view of the Milky Way galaxy, composed of more than 2 million images. Not very pretty, is it? Well, you can win them all — but the sheer magnitude of this piece of work is pretty wild.

That’s astronomy for you: deeper than your deepest imagination. Never ceases to amaze most of us: there are more galaxies out there than there are stars in the Milky Way.

W T F ?!?

OK, now get this. You can put some of this “WTF?!?” up on your wall. Go check out BigBangPrints.com and order some for yourself, or your spouse, boss, kids, etc. Go ahead: make their day!

WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits 03/21/2014

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

High winds delay launch of Astra 5B and Amazonas 4A.
[Broadband TV News - 03/21/2014]

Satellites pick up two significant objects in the southern Indian Ocean southwest of Australia, one estimated at 78 feet long, and ships are steaming quickly toward both.
[Hot Air - 03/20/2014]

Malaysia Airlines Jet – NDTV file photo

Missing flight MH370 puts spotlight on satellite technologies that could ensure tracking and communicating with aircraft over water and uninhabited areas.
[NDTV Gadgets - 03/20/2014]

Congress acknowledges need for new acquisition models for DOD to obtain needed satellite bandwidth – recorded Federal News Radio panel discussion with SES GS CEO and
government officials and consultants.
[Federal News Radio - 03/20/2014]

NewSpace Global releases 2014 SmallSat report examining global industry leaders, major investors, and sources of revenue in this sometimes obscure market.
[SatNews - 03/20/2014]

KazSat-3 at the testing and assembling division of Baikonur cosmodrome. ©RIA Novosti

KazSat-3 being readied for shipment to Baikonur.
[Tengri News - 03/20/2014]

Orbital drops antitrust lawsuit against United Launch Alliance.
[Space News - 03/20/2014]

Es/HailSat solicits bids for second satellite.
[Space News - 03/20/2014]

RRsat plans expansion in US market, opening a new office in the United States.
[Via Satellite - 03/20/2014]

Exelis installs its satellite communications on-the-move technology into the U.S. Army Stryker vehicle during the Army Expeditionary Warfighting Experiment at Fort Benning, GA.
[Executive Biz - 03/20/2014]

M7 group selects EUTELSAT 9A to launch its new pay-TV platform in Hungary.
[Satellite Evolution Group - 03/20/2014]

Speedcast strengthens it leadership position in the Asian maritime market with new facilities in Singapore.
[Satellite Evolution Group - 03/20/2014]

SES reaches 291 million TV homes around the world, with 151 million in Europe; sees room for growth in Latin America.
[Via Satellite - 03/19/2014]

DMSP-19 encapsulation within the Atlas V launch vehicle payload fairing represents an important milestone for the DMSP-19 launch campaign.
[Los Angeles AFB - 03/19/2014]

Arianespace launch – Satellite Evolution Group file photo

Arianespace calls for opening of U.S. government market to international launch services competition.
[Satellite Evolution Group - 03/19/2014]

Head of Germany’s space agency urges ESA to scrap the favored Ariane 6 plans.
[Space News - 03/19/2014]

Gogo receives supplemental type certificate from FAA to install Ku-band satellite connectivity service on Airbus A330 aircraft.
[Yahoo Finance - 03/19/2014]

Inmarsat signs contract with Hughes Network Systems to manufacture the new Low Profile BGAN terminal.
[Satellite Evolution Group - 03/19/2014]

Globecomm Maritime forms a strategic relationship with Future Care, Inc, to create Future Care Live, a video-enabled telemedicine solution.
[Satellite Evolution Group - 03/19/2014]

Gilat introduces StealthRay 300X-M Low-Profile Ultra-Compact X-Band Satellite-on-the-Move Antenna.
[ThomasNet News - 03/19/2014]

RSCC and Thales Alenia Space successfully launch two new Russian communications and broadcasting satellites, Express At1 and At2.
[Via Satellite - 03/18/2014]

Former Arianespace chief says SpaceX has advantage on cost in testimony to French Senate.
[Space News - 03/18/2014]

GeoStar 3 platform – Space Daily file photo

Orbital introduces the GEOStar-3 commercial communications satellite platform.
[Space Mart - 03/18/2014]

Pentagon weaning itself from controversial bandwidth lease with Hong Kong firm.
[Space News - 03/18/2014]

Ball Aerospace powers on bus of the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) satellite for the first time.
[Yahoo Finance - 03/18/2014]

File photo CCL3 – MarineLink.com

An alliance between France’s Orolia, and Transas Group aims to integrate Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and Search and Rescue (SAR) functionality into enhanced marine communication solutions.
[MarineLink - 03/18/2014]

Harris Broadcast splits into two separate companies: Imagine Communications and Gates Air.
[Via Satellite - 03/18/2014]

Gogo’s business group Aircell unveils its ST 4300, a new in-flight communications system for business aircraft.
[Via Satellite - 03/18/2014]

Elektrobit completes a multi-year study with European Space Agency (ESA), analyzing the benefits of using multiple antennas (MIMO) in satellite communications.
[CIOL - 03/18/2014]

Airbus Defense and Space launch new high throughput satcom services featuring Ku-, X-, and Ka-bands without need to change antenna systems.
[Space Daily - 03/18/2014]

Gilat SkyEdge II-c Capricorn IP Router offers throughput exceeding 200 Mbps.
[Thomas Net - 03/18/2014]

Moscow accuses Ukraine of electronic attack on satellite.
[Free Beacon - 03/17/2014]

M2M satellite communication market to grow at a CAGR of 9.8% to 2019 according to RnRsMarketResearch report.
[Satellite Spotlight - 03/17/2014]

Global Satellite Communication market in the Oil and Gas industry is to grow at a CAGR of 5.74 percent over the period 2013-2018.
[Live - PR - 03/17/2014]

Arab satellite pay-TV market expected to grow at steady pace from 2014 to 2017, with room for more entrants into the market.
[Via Satellite - 03/17/2014]

Azerbaijan and Argentina to cooperate in outer space.
[azernews - 03/17/2014]

kangshutters/shutterstock.com – CGN

GSA renews satellite-based training network contract with Hughes Network Systems.
[GCN - 03/17/2014]

Orange Business Services joins European Union to assist in development of cloud-based ship management platform.
[Via Satellite - 03/17/2014]

Satellite signals can confirm plane’s identity.
[KETV - 03/17/2014]

PlanetLabs small satellite – New York Times

Start-up Planet Labs aims to conquer space market, launching dozens of small satellites to provide near constant observation of Earth.
[New York Times - 03/16/2014]

Arabsat issues an RFP for four new satellites, to be designated HS3, HS4, AR6E and AR6A.
[Broadband TV News - 03/16/2014]

Gilat Satellite Networks chosen by Inmarsat as Gobal Xpress services partner for new fixed land VSAT opportunities.
[Space Ref - 03/16/2014]

TECOM antenna – Avionics Intelligence

Ka-band tail-mounted satellite communications antenna for in-flight Internet connectivity introduced by TECOM.
[Avionics Intelligence - 03/16/2014]

VSAT Auto-commissioning systems enable accurate VSAT pointing, crosspol, and power adjustment, providing feedback to the installer from a carrier monitoring system over the VSAT link.
[SatMagazine - March issue]

WBMSAT satellite communications consulting services

Big Bang Monday: Whiteface

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Great photo by Mark Deff of Whiteface Mountain in New York, near Lake Placid and Site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.

Who could forget beating the Soviets in hockey?


Big Bang Monday: Space Face!!

Monday, January 13th, 2014

space_face

The “space face,” courtesy of our friends at BigBangPrints.com

Ever since I saw the HELIX Nebula and how it so closely resembles an EYE, I’ve always wanted to compose a FACE using only nebula imagery. Well, HERE IT IS!

I used the Orion, Sharpless, Butterfly (for the bow tie), Helix, Hand of God, and Thor’s Helmet nebulae.


See Ya, ISON.

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Comet ISON’s Full Perihelion Pass, courtesy of NASA.

After several days of continued observations, scientists continue to work to determine and to understand the fate of Comet ISON: There’s no doubt that the comet shrank in size considerably as it rounded the sun and there’s no doubt that something made it out on the other side to shoot back into space. The question remains as to whether the bright spot seen moving away from the sun was simply debris, or whether a small nucleus of the original ball of ice was still there. Regardless, it is likely that it is now only dust.

Comet ISON, which began its journey from the Oort Cloud some 3 million years ago, made its closest approach to the sun on Nov. 28, 2013. The comet was visible in instruments on NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, and the joint European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, via images called coronagraphs. Coronagraphs block out the sun and a considerable distance around it, in order to better observe the dim structures in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. As such, there was a period of several hours when the comet was obscured in these images, blocked from view along with the sun. During this period of time, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory could not see the comet, leading many scientists to surmise that the comet had disintegrated completely. However, something did reappear in SOHO and STEREO coronagraphs some time later — though it was significantly less bright.

Whether that spot of light was merely a cloud of dust that once was a comet, or if it still had a nucleus — a small ball of its original, icy material — intact, is still unclear. It seems likely that as of Dec. 1, there was no nucleus left. By monitoring its changes in brightness over time, scientists can estimate whether there’s a nucleus or not, but our best chance at knowing for sure will be if the Hubble Space Telescope makes observations later in December 2013.

Regardless of its fate, Comet ISON did not disappoint researchers. Over the last year, observatories around the world and in space gathered one of the largest sets of comet observations of all time, which should provide fodder for study for years to come. The number of space-based, ground-based, and amateur observations were unprecedented, with twelve NASA space-based assets observing over the past year.


Comet ISON Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

What a treat: we may be able to see the Comet ISON during the Thanksgiving Day holiday. Look for it near the horizon, but don’t look directly into the Sun (duh).

The image above, courtesy of ESA/NASA/SOHO, shows Comet ISON streaming toward the Sun.

In the early hours of Nov. 27, 2013, Comet ISON entered the field of view of the European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. In this picture, called a coronagraph, the bright light of the sun itself is blocked so the structures around it are visible. The comet is seen in the lower right; a giant cloud of solar material, called a coronal mass ejection or CME, is seen billowing out under the sun.
Comet ISON, which began its trip from the Oort cloud region of our solar system, will reach its closest approach to the sun on Thanksgiving Day, skimming just 730,000 miles above the sun’s surface.
NASA is tracking Comet ISON’s journey and hosting events to discuss what the public worldwide may see as the comet traverses the sun.

Here’s the best video yet…

Check out NASA’s Comet ISON Toolkit for more.

Think astronomers are excited? That’s an understatement. Look at the observation schedule.


Big Bang Monday: Lunar Halo

Monday, November 4th, 2013
lunar_halo_w

Photo by Pauli Hänninen

Simply spectacular, via Yle.

Laplanders got a rare and beautiful sight last Friday, when the Levi ski resort fired up its snow machines to start preparing its pistes. The Finnish resort usually has early and reliable snow, one of the reasons it is due to host the FIS World Cup in mid-November.

In the village of Sirkka, near Levi in the municipality of Kittilä, photographer Pauli Hänninen and his family were curious about the shining halos in the skies above them.

”It was cold and very foggy, the temperature was around -10 degrees Celsius,” said Hänninen. ”It was down to the snow-making, as dozens if not hundreds of canon were making the course for the World Cup and elsewhere.”

”When the clouds began to break, there were rainbow colours in the sky and a halo spanning 360 degrees!” continued Hänninen. ”It was worth taking a picture or two.”

lunar_halo_tree_w


Big Bang Monday: The Shrinking Moon

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Smithsonian scientist Tom Watters thinks the moon is shrinking

By looking at images and data taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a team of scientists, including Watters, a planetary scientist in the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum, were able to examine geological features on the moon called lobate scarps—thrust faults that occur primarily in the lunar highlands. These scarps are the result of the interior of the moon slowly cooling, and as it does so, it shrinks causing its surface area to crack and buckle.

“One of the remarkable aspects of the lunar scarps is their apparent young age,” said Watters. “Relatively young, globally distributed thrust faults show recent contraction of the whole moon, likely due to cooling of the lunar interior. The amount of contraction is estimated to be about 100 meters in the recent past.

The moon’s lobate scarps were first recognized in photographs taken near the moon’s equator by the panoramic cameras flown on the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions. Fourteen previously unknown lobate scarps have now been revealed in very high resolution images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera. The newly detected scarps indicate that the thrust faults are globally distributed and not clustered near the moon’s equator.

“The ultrahigh resolution images from the Narrow Angle Cameras are changing our view of the moon,” said Mark Robinson of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, coauthor and principal investigator of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera. “We’ve not only detected many previously unknown lunar scarps, we’re seeing much greater detail on the scarps identified in the Apollo photographs.”

Because the size change is relatively small, however, Watters said that there would be no effect on lunar cycles, tides, etc. It would take millions of years for there to be a perceivable difference in the size of the moon to the naked eye. But this discovery does help change the commonly held belief that the moon is just a dead rock, showing that it is still active and dynamic.

The mare basalts that fill the Taurus-Littrow valley were thrust up by contractional forces to form the Lee-Lincoln fault scarp, just west of the Apollo 17 landing site (arrow). It is the only extraterrestrial fault scarp to be explored by humans (astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt). The digital terrain model derived from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) stereo images shows the fault extending upslope into North Massif were highlands material are also thrust up. The fault cuts upslope and abruptly changes orientation and cuts along slope, forming a narrow bench. LROC images show boulders shed from North Massif that have rolled downhill and collected on the bench. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Apollo 17 images are some of those Moon prints featured by BigBangPrints.com, and you can get some LROC love here.


Geomagnetic Storm

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Yup, it’s happening: a minor geomagnetic storm.

A shock in the solar wind passed earth late on October 8 (UTC) bringing unanticipated G1 (Minor) Geomagnetic Storm activity. The brunt of the disturbance is expected through the early hours of October 9 (UTC), then followed by a second pulse later on October 9.

This image from the Gaspe Region of Quebec is from 02:00 UTC on 9 October 2013…

Courtesy of Gino Audet.

Courtesy of Gino Audet


Big Bang Monday: Comet ISON

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

CBS Baltimore reports on the Comet ISON, which could prove to be quite a spectacle. The northern hemisphere, for example, will get to see the comet around 11 December 2013

The comet was discovered by ISON (Пулковская кооперация оптических наблюдателей), hence the naming. NASA Science put together this story, explaining it comprehensively…

So it all depends on whether the Sun obliterates it on the go-around.

Remember to check the Hubble ISONblog for updates.