Saturday, May 4, 2013

Last week's lunar eclipse and other space and astronomy news Surprising Lunar Eclipse Wows Skywatchers (Photos)
by Miriam Kramer, Staff Writer
Date: 25 April 2013 Time: 06:24 PM ET
The moon toe-dipped through the Earth's shadow in a partial lunar eclipse Thursday (April 25), but stargazers around the world still captured surprisingly spectacular views of what they expected to be a minor celestial event.

Partial lunar eclipses like Thursday's event occasionally receive a bad rap because they aren't nearly as dramatic as the red glow of the moon during a total lunar eclipse, and some times they aren't even noticeable. That, however, wasn't the case today.

A live webcast from a telescope in Dubai and hosted by the online Slooh Space Camera streamed amazing views of the lunar eclipse at its peak around 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT). The lunar eclipse's entirety was primarily visible from Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Western Europe, so stargazers in other parts of the world had to rely on webcasts like those provided by Slooh and the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy to catch the event.
For more images, read Lunar Eclipse Photos: Full Moon of April 2013 on

More news over the jump.

NASA Television on YouTube: Earth Day 2013 on This Week @ NASA

During an Earth Day visit to Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver toured the Landsat Data Continuity Mission control room and was briefed on Goddard Earth science programs. NASA also celebrated Earth Day with a range of activities for travelers and visitors at DC's Union Station -- to help them better understand the agency's mission to sustain the planet's systems and climate. Also, Educate to Innovate, Asteroid Sensor Passes Key Test, International Space Apps Challenge, Cargo Ship Delivers To ISS, Three More To Hall, Wildfire Imaging Sensor and more!
NASA Television on YouTube: Antares and The Future on This Week @ NASA

Now that the Antares rocket and its simulated Cygnus spacecraft have successfully test-launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility, program managers at NASA and Orbital Sciences Corporation are looking ahead to the cargo delivery system's next milestone. This Antares test flight, dubbed the A-ONE mission, is the first of two for Orbital scheduled in 2013 under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Program. In addition, the company is also scheduled to launch the first of eight operational cargo resupply missions to the ISS in 2013 under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. Also, Orion's Progress , Gathering for Impact!, Three More Planets for Kepler , Station Spacewalk, Moonbuggy Preps, Hubble's Infrared Horsehead and more! Planetary Scientists Protest 'Disastrous' NASA Budget Cuts Proposed for 2014
by Clara Moskowitz, Assistant Managing Editor
Date: 25 April 2013 Time: 06:04 PM ET
Supporters of planetary science are rallying against NASA's proposed 2014 budget, which they say unfairly guts funding for solar system research and exploration.

The Obama administration unveiled the budget plan April 10, requesting $17.7 billion for NASA — $50 million less than the agency got in 2012. The budget must be approved by Congress before it becomes official. Under the budget proposal, planetary science would receive $1.217 billion in 2014. Discounting the $50 million earmarked for producing plutonium-238, which fuels deep space vehicles (this used to be paid for by the Department of Energy), and $20 million for asteroid detection in service of a future manned asteroid mission, this represents a $268 million cut from planetary science funding levels approved by Congress for 2013, advocates said. Hubble Spies Cosmic Halos Around Starburst Galaxies
by Miriam Kramer, Staff Writer
Date: 25 April 2013 Time: 09:01 AM ET
Star formation involves more than meets the eye. Huge "starbursts" that give birth to hundreds of millions of new stars at once within galaxies all over the universe seem to affect their host galaxies in surprising ways, a new study reveals.

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope found that the extreme winds created by rapid star formation can be felt up to 650,000 light-years from the center of the galaxy, much farther than previously thought, Hubble mission scientists said in a statement today (April 25). Winds from the starbursts actually form halos that reach about 20 times farther into space than the visible size of the galaxy.

"The extended material around galaxies is hard to study, as it’s so faint," study team member Vivienne Wild of the University of St. Andrews. "But it’s important — these envelopes of cool gas hold vital clues about how galaxies grow, process mass and energy, and finally die. We’re exploring a new frontier in galaxy evolution!" Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet
by Clara Moskowitz, Assistant Managing Editor
Date: 25 April 2013 Time: 02:01 PM ET
An extreme pair of superdense stars orbiting each other has put Einstein's general theory of relativity to its toughest test yet, and the crazy-haired physicist still comes out on top.

About 7,000 light-years from Earth, an exceptionally massive neutron star that spins around 25 times a second is orbited by a compact, white dwarf star. The gravity of this system is so intense that it offers an unprecedented testing ground for theories of gravity.
NASA Television on YouTube: ScienceCasts: Saturn Close Up

Saturn and Earth are lining up for a beautiful view of the ringed planet. Saturn will be at its best and brightest on April 28th. on YouTube: Three Years On The Sun - Time-Lapse Video

The first images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory were beamed back to Earth in the spring of 2010. Three years of observations are compiled, yielding valuable pattern information for understanding our local star. Space Archaeologists Call for Preserving Off-Earth Artifacts
by Leonard David,’s Space Insider Columnist
Date: 22 April 2013
When it comes to preserving history, a group of archaeologists and historians are hoping to boldly go where no archaeologist has gone before.

Researchers are increasingly urging humanity to protect off-Earth cultural resources . That may well mean preserving NASA's Apollo landing sites on the moon as national historic landmarks, regarding far-flung spacecraft as mobile artifacts and even working to preserve some pieces of space junk.

"The cultural landscape of space includes both sites and objects on and off Earth," said Beth O'Leary, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico in Las Cruces. "It is necessary to evaluate the significance of the latter and treat them as important objects and places worthy of legitimate archaeological inquiry. Atlantis Exposed: Space Shuttle Fully Unwrapped for NASA Exhibit
by Robert Z. Pearlman, Editor
Date: 26 April 2013 Time: 03:28 PM ET
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Space shuttle Atlantis is ready for its spotlight — well, almost.

The retired NASA orbiter, which is set to go on public display June 29 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, was fully revealed Friday (April 26) after workers spent two days peeling off its protective shrink-wrap cover of the past five months.

"It looks fantastic," Tim Macy, director of project development and construction for Delaware North Parks and Resorts, which runs the visitor complex for NASA, said after seeing Atlantis unwrapped. "It looks better than I thought it was going to look." Private Asteroid-Mining Project Launching Tiny Satellites in 2014
by Mike Wall, Senior Writer
Date: 24 April 2013 Time: 06:54 PM ET
A billionaire-backed asteroid-mining company aims to start putting its big plans into action soon, launching its first hardware into space by this time next year.

Planetary Resources, which counts Google execs Larry Page and Eric Schmidt among its investors, plans to loft a set of tiny "cubesats" to Earth orbit in early 2014, to test out gear for its first line of asteroid-prospecting spacecraft.

"Our belief and our philosophy is that the best testbed is space itself," Chris Voorhees, Planetary Resources' vice president of spacecraft development, said Wednesday (April 24) during a Google+ Hangout event.
And that's it for last week's news.  Time to compile this week's!

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