A Long March 3B rocket lifted off Saturday (May 26, 2012) and successfully deployed a Chinese military communications satellite bound for an orbit over the equator. The 185-foot-tall launch vehicle, weighing about one million pounds, blasted off at 1556 GMT (11:56 a.m. EDT) Saturday (May 26, 2012) from the Xichang space center in southwest China’s Sichuan province. Launch was at 11:56 p.m. Beijing time. The Long March 3B/E rocket flew with an enhanced first stage and liquid-fueled boosters.
Astronomers have previously detected superflares from a variety of star types, which release bursts that have 10 to 10,000 times more energy than the largest solar flare ever detected from our sun. Scientists wanted to know how common these outbursts might be from stars like the sun, those with masses and temperatures similar to our star. Even normal solar flares can damage satellites, endanger astronauts and wreak havoc on electrical grids on Earth, suggesting that superflares might be catastrophic to life on Earth.
According to NASA scientists huge sunspot that dwarfs the Earth is unleashing a series of powerful solar flares as it moves across the surface of the sun. The sunspot AR 1476 was detected by space telescopes on May 5. The huge sunspot is 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) across, so large that when it was first seen in views from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, mission scientists dubbed it a “monster sunspot.”
The European Space Agency declared the death of its massive Earth-observing satellite Envisat on May 9 after a month of mysterious silence from the school bus-size spacecraft. Envisat is the world’s largest Earth-watching satellite for civilian use, with ESA officials touting its 10th anniversary in space earlier this year. The $2.9 billion satellite was originally designed to snap high-resolution photos of Earth for five years, but managed to last 10 years during its successful mission.
According to astronomers at the University of Bonn in Germany, who made the discovery, the structure of satellite galaxies and star clusters around the Milky Way is so vast that it reaches across a million light-years 10 times as wide as the Milky Way itself. Existing dark matter theories fail to explain the arrangement of these cosmic objects. As said study team member Pavel Kroupa, a professor of astronomy at the University of Bon their model appears to rule out the presence of dark matter in the universe, threatening a central pillar of current cosmological theory.
The giant Envisat satellite, which is the world’s largest imaging satellite for civilian use, was photographed in stunning detail by a French spacecraft that is also designed to snap high-resolution images of Earth. The photo of Envisat in space reveals that the $2.9 billion spacecraft is intact and that its huge solar array is deployed. Envisat is a huge satellite that weighs about 17,600 pounds (8,000 kilograms).
These bright stars shining through what looks like a haze in the night sky are part of a young stellar grouping in one of the largest known star formation regions of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.The LMC is the third closest galaxy to our Milky Way. It is located some 160 000 light-years away, and is about 100 times smaller than our own. The image was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.
New photo from the Hubble Space Telescope has captured an unprecedented panoramic view of the Tarantula nebula, revealing its bright heart of massive stars. The photo is actually a colossal mosaic, one of the largest ever built from Hubble images, and shows an intense star-forming hotspot called 30 Doradus. Hubble’s science team unveiled this new image on April 17. Hubble’s new view of the region inside the Tarantula nebula shows massive stars’ winds carving cavities into gas clouds, creating a fantasy landscape of pillars, ridges and valleys.
The sun erupted in an amazing solar flare on April 16, unleashing an intense eruption of super-heated plasma that arced high above the star’s surface before blasting out into space. The powerful solar flare occurred at 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT) and registered as a moderate M1.7-class on the scale of sun storms, placing it firmly in the middle of the scale used by scientists to measure flare strength. The storm is not the strongest this year from the sun, but photos and video of the solar flare captured by NASA spacecraft revealed it to be an eye-popping display of magnetic plasma.