NASA, Japan make ASTER earth data available at no cost
Beginning today, all Earth imagery from a prolific Japanese remote sensing instrument operating aboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft since late 1999 is now available to users everywhere at no cost.
The public will have unlimited access to the complete 16-plus-year database for Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument, which images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER’s database currently consists of more than 2.95 million individual scenes. The content ranges from massive scars across the Oklahoma landscape from an EF-5 tornado and the devastating aftermath of flooding in Pakistan, to volcanic eruptions in Iceland and wildfires in California.
KELT-4Ab: hot Jupiter exoplanet found in Triple Stellar system
The newfound gas giant, designated KELT-4Ab, was discovered by the astronomers using data from the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT).The team, led by Dr. Jason Eastman from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, found that the planet has a mass of 0.9 Jupiter and a diameter of 1.7 Jupiter. “In terms of size, KELT-4Ab is qualitatively similar to WASP-79b and WASP-94Ab, which have slightly larger planets around slightly fainter stars,” they said.
KELT-4Ab, according to the team, is located 685 light-years away. The planet orbits KELT-4A – the brightest star of the hierarchical triple stellar system KELT-4 (otherwise known as HIP 51260, TYC 1973 954 1 and WISE J102815.04+253423.7) – every 3 days.
Hubble captures a low surface brightness galaxy
This striking NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the galaxy UGC 477, located just over 110 million light-years away in the constellation of Pisces (The Fish).
UGC 477 is a low surface brightness (LSB) galaxy. First proposed in 1976 by Mike Disney, the existence of LSB galaxies was confirmed only in 1986 with the discovery of Malin 1. LSB galaxies like UGC 477 are more diffusely distributed than galaxies such as Andromeda and the Milky Way. With surface brightnesses up to 250 times fainter than the night sky, these galaxies can be incredibly difficult to detect.
Most of the matter present in LSB galaxies is in the form of hydrogen gas, rather than stars. Unlike the bulges of normal spiral galaxies, the centres of LSB galaxies do not contain large numbers of stars. Astronomers suspect that this is because LSB galaxies are mainly found in regions devoid of other galaxies, and have therefore experienced fewer galactic interactions and mergers capable of triggering high rates of star formation.
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Build up your space resume by participating in the project Asterank: to discover an asteroid, watch the animation of the night sky and look for a moving white dot. There’s a good chance that moving dot is an asteroid. The first user to notice the dot gets potential discovery credit and naming rights. You can contribute to the project and help with issues or additional features on GitHub. More information