NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spots new images of Saturn’s moons Enceladus, Janus and Dione on March 27 and 28, 2012. The new photos reveal the plume of water ice and vapor that springs from the south pole of Enceladus, which is Saturn’s sixth largest moon,as well as the pockmarked surface of Dione and the tiny oblong shape of Janus. Cassini made a close flyby of Enceladus on March 27, swooping within about 46 miles (74 kilometers) of the moon’s surface.
An international team of astronomers snapped a new photo of our Milky Way galaxy. The new picture, which was released on March 28, combines infrared images of the Milky Way taken during sky surveys by two different instruments, the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii and the VISTA telescope in Chile. As said scientists the photo is part of a 10-year project that is gathering mountains of data to help guide future research.
Two small asteroids zipped close by Earth on March 26 2012, passing between our planet and the orbit of the moon. As said Nasa scientists this two asteroids not pose any threat of impacting our world. The two space rocks flew by Earth in rapid fire. According to astronomers with NASA’s Asteroid Watch program, one asteroid zoomed by early in the day while the second buzzed the planet at 1:09 p.m. EDT (1709 GMT).
New evidence from the first probe to orbit Mercury is building support for the idea that the tiny planet may be harboring water ice in some of its most extreme terrain. Certain areas of Mercury’s poles were previously found to be bright in radio waves detected by radar measurements from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Now, the Messenger spacecraft has found that those same bright radar spots appear to be in permanent shadow, according to camera views from the probe’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS).
Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers snapped the image of the so-called Richat structure in Mauritania, as the space station flew over the Sahara Desert on the Atlantic Coast of West Africa. Erosion of the various rock layers created the ring-like features that make up the sprawling structure, but according to geologists the origin of the Richat structure remains somewhat mysterious. The photo shows Andre Kuipers’ unique vantage point from the orbiting complex, which flies approximately 240 miles (386 kilometers) above the surface of the Earth.
An amateur astronomer Wayne Jaeschke has managed to capture recent images of Mars which appear to show cloud like formations on Mars. The image was taken on March 22, 2012. Wayne Jaeschke, from West Chester, Pennsylvania, first noticed the formations which can be seen rising up from the edge of the Martian disk after he took the pictures on March 20. Some observers have suggested the so-called clouds are at least 150 miles away from the surface while others have suggested it could be debris which was disturbed after the Red Planet was hit by a meteor.
According to Nasa scientists a recent spate of furious eruptions on the surface of the sun hurled a huge amount of heat toward Earth. This is the biggest dose our planet has received from our closest star in seven years. Although the influx of solar energy puffed up the atmosphere, increasing drag on low-orbiting satellites, it caused fewer disruptions to electronic infrastructure such as electronic grids than some expected.
New study finds that planets in tight orbits around stars that get ejected from our galaxy may actually themselves be tossed out of the Milky Way at blisteringly fast speeds of up to 30 million miles per hour, or a fraction of the speed of light. As said Avi Loeb, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. these warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in the galaxy, aside from photons and particles like cosmic rays.
One of NASA’s twin GRAIL (short for Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) probes sent photos of the far side of the moon, as were selected by 4th grade students from the Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman, Mont.. The students at Emily Dickinson Elementary School were the first to request images of the moon as a reward for winning a nationwide competition to rename the two Grail spacecraft, NASA officials said in an announcement on March 22.