Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Year's Day asteroid strike and other space and astronomy news

In this week's installment, I feature a video from Science at NASA about the last story in A new year in space and other space and astronomy news: ScienceCasts: New Year's Asteroid Strike

The New Year started off with a bang when a small asteroid hit Earth. Infrasound records indicate that the space rock exploded in the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean like 500 tons of TNT.
If it moves, it leads.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the past week's space news.

NASA: Cygnus arrives at ISS on This Week @NASA

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft has made the company's first contracted resupply flight to the International Space Station -- delivering more than twenty-seven hundred pounds of cargo -- including dozens of new science experiments. Orbital Sciences becomes NASA's second commercial ISS resupply partner. Also, Bolden visits Michoud, SLS sees first light, Propulsion technology tour, TDRS-L Update and Remembering MLK.
Now for the rest of the space news originally included in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (California Drought Emergency) on Daily Kos, arranged from the deep space to the inner solar system. Giant Planet-Forming Ring Spotted Surprisingly Far from Young Star
By Megan Gannon, News Editor
January 17, 2014 03:17pm ET
Alien planets may be forming inside a giant gas ring located surprisingly far from its young parent star, scientists say.

In fact, the planet-forming region is so far from its star — about five times the distance between our own sun and Neptune — that it appears to be the first time researchers have seen such an arrangement for the birth of alien planets.

Japanese astronomers spotted the giant planet-forming ring while studying new images of the star named HD 142527 taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, in the Chilean desert. They created a video animation of the strange planet nursery to illustrate the discovery. The star is located about 450 light-years away from Earth and is around 2 million years old. Europe's Comet-Chasing Spacecraft Gets Big Wake-Up Call Monday
By Mike Wall, Senior Writer
January 17, 2014 12:36pm ET
A European spacecraft will emerge from 2.5-year hibernation Monday (Jan. 20) to begin preparing for a long-awaited encounter with a comet in May.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe is scheduled to wake up at 5 a.m. EST (1000 GMT) Monday after sleeping in deep space for the past 957 days. The first signal from a newly alert Rosetta is expected to arrive here on Earth no earlier than 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT) Monday, ESA officials said.

The Rosetta spacecraft blasted off in March 2004 on a mission to chase down and rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko more than a decade later.
Discovery News via Mystery Rock 'Appears' in Front of Mars Rover
by Ian O'Neill, Discovery News
January 17, 2014 03:22pm ET
After a decade of exploring the Martian surface, the scientists overseeing veteran rover Opportunity thought they’d seen it all. That was until a rock mysteriously "appeared" a few feet in front of the six-wheeled rover a few days ago.

News of the errant rock was announced by NASA Mars Exploration Rover lead scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University at a special NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory "10 years of roving Mars" event at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, Calif., on Thursday night. The science star-studded public event was held in celebration of the decade since twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on the red planet in January 2004.
And that's it for news of space from space.  Stay tuned for news about Earth from space.

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