A recent image released by NASA/JPL shows the Mars Exploration Rover “Opportunity” shows the dust that has built up on the rover’s solar panels as Opportunity enters its fifth Martian winter. Dust accumulation reduces the available power to the rover, so the rover has been parked until the end of the martian winter, or when a wind based “cleaning event” occurs.
Carnival of Space #241 is available at Starry Critters!
This edition features great articles about:
Check it out at: http://www.starrycritters.com/carnival-of-space-241/
Remember, if you’ve got a space-related blog, you really should consider joining the Carnival. It’s easy to participate – just email an entry to email@example.com, and the next host will link to it.
By participating, your writing will get more exposure, and you will also meet other bloggers in the space/astronomy community, after all, community is what blogging is all about.
You can also sign your blog up to host the Carnival of Space by sending an e-mail to the address above.
In my pursuit of all things astronomical, it’s understandable that I’m a bit of an amateur astronomer. When I bought my telescope and mount, astrophotography was my primary consideration. Mind you, my goal wasn’t to make APOD – it was simply to have an outlet to share what I look at with everyone else.
KOI-961 is a red dwarf star about 70% larger than Jupiter, located in Cygnus and is about 130 light-years from Earth. Recent studies of the KOI-961 system by the Kepler mission have detected three small exoplanets. The smallest exoplanet in the system is KOI-961.03, and is furthest from the host star.
Depicted in the foreground of the above image, KOI-961.O3 is about the size of Mars. Shown in the upper right is KOI-961.01, which is a world with just under 80% of Earth’s radius. Lastly, KOI-961.02, which is the closest to the host star, is a bit smaller than KOI-961.01 at just under 75% of Earth’s radius.
None of the detected worlds are considered “habitable”, as the habitable zone for the KOI-961 system is far beyond the orbits of the detected planets. The orbital periods of all three planets are less than two Earth days – the closest orbits the parent sun in less than twelve hours! Given the short distance from their host star, the surface temperatures are estimated to be in the 176 to 447 degrees Celsius range.
If you’d like to learn more about the Kepler mission, visit: http://kepler.nasa.gov/
Source: NASA Image Gallery
Yesterday, March 18th marked the two year anniversary of the Dear Astronomer website.
Interestingly enough, I had started about three years back with a Facebook page. The past few years have been truly amazing, and I want to take a moment to sincerely thank each and every site visitor, plusketeer, follower and fan.
Many people have written in with interesting questions, and I’ve been honored to help provide answers that enable people to better understand this strange, amazing, and infinitely complex universe we are a tiny part of.
This site is just a small part of my ever-growing mission to increase science literacy. For the past 8 months, I’ve also been blogging for Universe Today, and occasionally blogging for The Planetary Society Blog, and PhysOrg.com I’ve also spent a considerable amount of time participating in the amazing science communities over on Google+
Looking at the next year (and beyond), there are tons of new opportunities I look forward to participating in. To help usher the start of my fourth year as a space/astronomy blogger, I have a special treat for everyone.
Earlier this week at the SXSW festival, NASA presented the above video featuring astronaut and ISS flight engineer, Don Pettit.
The video is a tongue-in-cheek demonstration of basic physics concepts such as trajectories. In order to show how trajectories work, Pettit used bungee cord to catapult a stuffed Angry Bird toy through the International Space Station.
For those of you who participate on Google+ be sure to add Don Pettit to your circles, as he regularly posts great content from aboard the ISS.
You can view Pettit’s Google+ profile at: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115906812292895633529/posts