RAS General Meeting Recap.

This month’s speaker for the RAS, was Heather A. Knutson.  She is an assistant professor in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology.  She is working onthe physics and chemistry of exoplanetary atmospheres, planet formation and migration, and the search for new low-mass eclipsing planetary systems.

As usual, our meetings are held at Cossentine Hall at La Sierra University.

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Dr. Knutson spoke about her research into smaller exoplanets.  Most of the exoplanets are large, like Jupiter large.  She is trying to find Earth analogous planets.

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She also spoke about some of the planets that have been discovered.

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One particular planet has 6,000 mph winds and liquid rock for clouds!  Trust me, the science works, it just seems odd.

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She also explained that instead of looking at large suns for Earth sized planets, they are starting to look as smaller suns.  It makes perfect sense.  If you can’t make the planet larger to detect, look at smaller suns and the planet gets bigger by default.

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It was also interesting to note that Kepler imaged a very, very tiny part of our galaxy.  That spot with the red arrow is as much as we have looked at to date.  There are a lot of other exoplanet missions planned, but the galaxy, and the universe, are really big.  Lots more data to come.

Remember, everyone is welcome at the meetings and you can find out about the topics by visiting http://www.rivastro.org.

 

 

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Yesterday’s Anniversary

This week I seem to be late on all my anniversary dates.  Yesterday was marked the death of George Ellery Hale.  As a local resident of Pasadena, I would be reticent to not mention something about this extraordinary man.

Hale founded a number of significant astronomical observatories, including the Yerkes Observatory, Mount Wilson Observatory, Palomar Observatory, and the Hale Solar Laboratory.

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ee/Image-Yerkes2small.jpg

At Mount Wilson, he hired and encouraged Harlow Shapley and Edwin Hubble to work on some of the most significant discoveries of the time. He was a prolific organizer who helped create a number of astronomical institutions, societies and journals. Hale also played a central role in developing the California Institute of Technology into a leading research university. After retiring as director at Mount Wilson, he built the Hale Solar Laboratory in Pasadena, California, as his office and workshop, pursuing his interest in the sun.

His vision and drive basically transformed the sleepy little farming town of Pasadena, into a hotspot of astronomical activity and science.  Palomar was his crowning glory.  Alas, he never got to see the telescope that bears his name in operation.  His impact on astronomy, physics and the sciences is still felt today with every graduate of CalTech and every mission at JPL.  Part genius, part madman, as most great intellects seem to be, he left a big trail for others to follow.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +.  If you need help with any patent, trademark, or copyright issue, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

Norman

Ebb and Flow Are Gone, But Sally Ride Will Live On.

“So long, Ebb and Flow, and we thank you,” said GRAIL project manager David Lehman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory after the twin GRAIL spacecraft completed a planned formation-flying double impact into the southern face of 2.5-kilometer- (1.5-mile-) tall mountain on a crater rim near the Moon’s north pole.

Mission team members estimate the two spacecraft were traveling at a speed of 1.7 kilometers per second (3,760 mph), and likely broke apart on impact. NASA said that most of what remains of the washing machine-sized spacecraft are probably buried in shallow craters, and the size of those craters will hopefully be determined when NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is able to image the impact site in about two weeks.

Launched in September 2011, Ebb and Flow had been orbiting the moon since Jan. 1, 2012. The probes were intentionally crashed into the lunar surface because they did not have sufficient altitude or fuel to continue science operations.

Fourth grade students at Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman, Montana suggested names Ebb and Flow for the twin orbiters winning out over nearly 900 classrooms from 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia that participated in a contest to name the spacecraft.

NASA has honored the GRAIL team’s request to name Ebb and Flow’s impact sites after astronaut Sally Ride, who passed away earlier this year. She was America’s first woman in space and a member of the GRAIL mission team.

GRAIL was NASA’s first planetary mission to carry cameras fully dedicated to education and public outreach. Ride, who died in July, led GRAIL’s MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students) Program through her company, Sally Ride Science. The camera took more than 115,000 total images of the lunar surface, and imaging targets were proposed by middle school students from across the country and the resulting images returned for them to study.

“Sally was all about getting the job done, whether it be in exploring space, inspiring the next generation, or helping make the GRAIL mission the resounding success it is today,” said Zuber. “As we complete our lunar mission, we are proud we can honor Sally Ride’s contributions by naming this corner of the Moon after her.”

The two spacecraft impacted on the lunar surface at 2:28:51 p.m. PST) and 2:29:21 p.m. PST.  NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will start imaging the impact sites in the next couple of weeks.

The GRAIL mission generated the highest-resolution gravity field map of any celestial body — including Earth — and determined the inner crust of the Moon is nearly pulverized.

“Ebb and Flow have removed a veil from the Moon,” said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber during a televised commentary of the impacts today, adding that the mission will enable discoveries for years to come.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

 

The Eye In The Sky.

Two NASA space telescopes have captured a spectacular new photo of the Helix Nebula that resembles a giant cosmic eye.

This object, called the Helix nebula, lies 650 light-years away, in the constellation of Aquarius.

The Helix Nebula (also known as NGC 7293) represents a dying star known as a planetary nebula.  Planetary nebulas aren’t planets at all, but they were first identified and named in the 18th century because they resembled gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn, and the name stuck.

The new picture combines data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, which takes images in the infrared (the yellow part of the image), and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), that images in ultraviolet (the blue part of the image) on the opposite side of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Helix Nebula is about 650 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Aquarius.   The nebula is classified as a planetary nebula.   Stars about the size of the sun, at the end of their lives, run out of hydrogen and helium fuel for fusion in their cores.  When this happens, the stars begin to expel their outer gaseous layers into glowing remnants around them.  When all the gas has been expelled, the stars collapse into a white dwarf star about the size of the Earth.

“The white dwarf is about the size of Earth, but has a mass very close to that of the original star; in fact, a teaspoon of a white dwarf would weigh as much as a few elephants!” NASA scientists stated.

The white dwarf star in the Helix nebula is the tiny white dot in the center.

If you need help with a patent, copyright or trademark matter, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

 

 

 

The History of Water On Mars

NASA has new evidence of an ancient flowing stream on Mars thanks to the Curiosity rover. Until now, scientists could only speculate about what caused the channels left on Mar’s surface.  New images sent back by Curiosity show gravel that was once part an ancient stream according to scientists at NASA.

NASA Rover finds ancient streambed on Mars

Below is a rock outcrop called Link on the Martian surface. NASA says that Link has characteristics that are consistent with rock formed by water deposits.

Peeking into Mars' past

The black oval indicates the Curiosity’s targeted landing area for the so called “landing ellipse” mission. The cross near the center is Curiosity’s actual landing site. The red areas of the image indicate higher elevations and blue the lower elevations.

Tracking Martian waterflow

 

Below is a comparison of the Link outcrop of rocks on Mars with similar rocks on Earth.  The Earth half of the image shows a typical example of sedimentary conglomerate formed of gravel fragments. The Martian Link region features rounded gravel fragments, or clasts, up to a couple inches within the rock outcrop. The circled area is a piece of gravel that is about 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) across. It was selected as an example of coarse size and rounded shape. Rounded grains (of any size) occur by abrasion in sediment transport, by wind or water, when the grains bounce against each other. The gravel fragments are too large to be transported by wind, which indicates to scientists that  the rounding occurred by water.

Comparing outcrops on Earth and Mars

Below is a map of Curiosity’s path to Glenelg and the apparent Martian stream bed. The Goulburn site offered the first evidence that surface water might have transported sandstone material that made up the Link outcrop. The Link’s rounded shapes also provide further evidence of water transport on Mars. Another exposed rock outcrop, named Hottah, also contains many rounded pebbles, providing more evidence of free flowing Martian water.   The rounded pebbles, up to 1.6 inches in diameter, are believed to be too large to have been transported by wind, according to NASA. Typical wind speeds on Mars can exceed 200 km/hr (or 125 miles/hr). Gusts can often reach 500 to 600 km/hr (or 300-375 miles/hr).

NASA's Curiosity rover heads for Glenelg

High-resolution view of Goulburn Scour, where a set of rocks got pushed out of the way when Curiosity descended to Mars.

Goulburn Scour

If you need help to protect your idea, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Taking A Look Back

The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) image above combines over 10 years of Hubble images taken of a small area of Universe near the constellation Fornax.  It is the deepest image of the Universe ever made.  The image has about 600 hours of exposure time and combines data from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (taken in 2002 and 2003) and the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Infrared (2009).

The Hubble XDP contains images of the most distant objects ever identified.

NASA’s plans to have the James Webb Space Telescope aimed at the XDF to add to the data using the infrared capabilities of the Webb to find even fainter galaxies that existed when the Universe was just a few hundred million years old. Because of the expansion of the universe, light from the distant past is stretched into longer, infrared wavelengths.

The scale of the image is small compared to other night sky objects.  To view a great video of the region photographed about go here.

All images courtesy of NASA.

If you need help to copyright your images, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman