Happy Birthday Hubble.

Can you believe that the Hubble Space Telescope was launched 24 years ago!

File:Hubble Probes the Early Universe.jpg

It seems like yesterday that we knew everything about the universe…and then Hubble rewrote (and continues to rewrite) our understanding of the universe.

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field and others showed us that what we thought was empty space, was actually quite busy.  Everything in that image above is another galaxy.

Considering the size of the field of view (shown above) of the Hubble for those deep field views, there is an amazing amount of places in the universe to explore.

Using the Hubble, astronomers where able to find dark matter and fill in about 5% of the matter that is missing from the universe.

So how much longer can Hubble last?  There are no more service missions scheduled for the Hubble and the last mission was in 2009.  Eventually, the giant space telescope will run out of gas.  It’s last command will be to crash down into the Pacific Ocean in a fiery death.  That will be a sad day.  But the data and pioneering efforts of the world’s first space-based optical telescope will be around for years to come.

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/styles/800x600_autoletterbox/public/heic1406a.jpg?itok=_iijvPZx

In honor of the 24th anniversary of the Hubble, NASA announced that it will release an infrared image of a nearby star factor known as the Monkey Head Nebula (or known as NGC 2174 and Sharpless Sh2-252).

- 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

Wake Up!

The ESA’s Rosetta comet probe has woken up to make its rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Rosetta’s mission will take 10 years to complete.

During its trip Rosetta passed by two asteroids, Lutetia and Steins.  The image above shows landslide that happened on Lutetia.

When Rosetta reaches the comet, it will deploy a 220-pound (100 kilogram) lander called Philae.

Once on the comet’s surface the pair of craft will accompany the comet on its journey through the inner solar system, observing at close range how the comet changes as the Sun’s heat transforms the cold surface to a boiling gaseous mass.

Rosetta is about 500 million miles (about 800 million km) from Earth near Jupiter’s orbit.  At that distance radio transmissions take 45 minutes to reach Earth and vice versa.  What is fascinating is that, due to gravity, the radio signals don’t travel in a straight line back and forth.

Once Rosetta’s on-board alarm clock went off it took seven hours to warm up its star trackers,  fire thrusters to slow its spin, turn on its transmitter and send a message back to Earth.  And with all the advances in science the drumming monkey clock was the best we could do (just kidding, atomic clocks were used, although the monkey clock would be fabulously hilarious).

There are a lot of firsts for Rosetta, but the images from the comet as it starts out-gassing should be spectacular.  I just hope Philae doesn’t land on one of the explosive vents that many comets have.  We will know later this year as the comet passes by the Sun.

- 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

Back to Life for WISE

A wise man once said: “It’s not over till the fat lady sings.”

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft has been re-activated and called up for duty by NASA.  After being placed in hibernation (a low power state) for the past three years, WISE will be fully functional again next month.

 A WISE

WISE’s original mission was to create infrared images of 99 percent of the sky, with at least eight images made of each position on the sky in order to increase accuracy.

WISE was placed in a 326 mi (525 km), circular, polar, sun-synchronous orbit during its original ten month mission.  During that time the spacecraft took 1.5 million images, one every 11 seconds.

NASA approached Congress in 2007 about using WISE for finding Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) and with a couple of close flyby’s and the massive bolide in Siberia a few months ago, it seemed prudent to try and find these NEO’s before they find us.

WISE will also be used to find asteroids suitable for exploration missions and NASA’s asteroid initiative, or how to catch an release an asteroid.

It shows that keeping some spacecraft operational after their mission (instead of crashing them down to Earth) can be productive.

- 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

Kepler’s Dead, Long Live Kepler.

The Kepler spacecraft is no longer able to accurately point with enough accuracy to continue its exo-planet hunting mission.

FILE - This artist's rendering provided by NASA shows the Kepler space telescope. NASA is calling off all attempts to fix the crippled space telescope. But it's not quite ready to call it quits on the robotic planet hunter. Officials said Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 they're looking at what science might be salvaged by using the broken spacecraft as is. (AP Photo/NASA, File)

So last week NASA called off attempts to fix Kepler’s frozen gyroscopes.  So now, officials are looking at what science, if any, can be done by the broken spacecraft.

As I have stated before, this doen’t mean that the mission was a failure.  Kepler has been operating on extended time since it completed its primary mission ended last November.  Kepler has  confirmed 135 exo-planets and has identified more than 3,500 candidate planets.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of more exoplanets are expected from the data collected by Kepler.  It will take at least another three years to analyze the remaining data.

Considering what a small area of space that Kepler was observing, this was a remarkable mission.

“We literally expect … the most exciting discoveries are to come in the next few years as we search through all this data,” he said.

NASA expects to know by year’s end what can be salvaged for Kepler.

- 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

Big Blue.

Once again, Hubble has expanded the Universe of our knowledge.

This time, Astronomers found the actual color of a planet orbiting another star 63 light-years away.  The planet, HD 189733b, isn’t just blue, its big, at least the size of Jupiter.  The cobalt blue color doesn’t come from water reflection, like Earth, but most likely from the blow-torched atmosphere.  There is even speculation that there is solid silica rain (glass rain).

However fun a glass rain storm would be probably pales in comparison to the 2,000 degree Fahrenheit  (1093 Celsius) temperature and 4,500/mph (7242/ kph) wind.  Shards of glass flying at you very fast, what’s not to love about a planet like that?

Using Hubble’s Imaging Spectrograph, Astronomers measured changes in the color of light from planet HD 189733b during its transit behind the star it orbits.  Fortuitously, the planet’s orbit is tilted edge-on with respect to the Earth so the planet routinely passes in front and behind its star.

Hubble’s instruments measured about 1/10,000 of the light you would normally see.  “We saw the light becoming less bright in the blue, but not in the green or the red. This means that the object that disappeared is blue because light was missing in the blue, but not in the red when it was hidden.”

- 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

Jelly Doughnuts!

“Mmmmm…doughnuts” Homer Simpson.

Today is Friday, and I am in charge of bringing in the doughnuts (or donuts if you prefer) and bagels for everyone in the office.

Today it turns out that the jelly doughnuts and bagels have switched metaphoric states.

M57LRGBa(500).jpg (44902 bytes)

Credit: Alson Wong (http://www.alsonwongastro.com/m57-ring.htm)

Most of my pictures look like my friend Alson Wong’s image above.  (Alson, I needed to borrow yours because I can’t find mine, thanks).  You could always see that there was some material in the center  portion, but it was thought to be the expanding matter blown off from the central star.

A core disc of dark, smokey blue crossed with wisps of violet and ringed with all the colors of the rainbow before exploding into shells of red gasses streaking out across the stars

However, a new image by Hubble has lead team leader C. Robert O’Dell of Vanderbilt University to state that: “The nebula is not like a bagel, but rather, it’s like a jelly doughnut, because it’s filled with material in the middle.”

One of the reasons that the ring nebula is so interesting, is because it is a prelude to what could happen with our Sun.  Although the star at the center of the ring was much larger than our Sun, it should end up in a similar fate.  Blowing of material and becoming a white dwarf.  From millions of times the size of the Earth, to about the same size (although a lot hotter and denser).

Someone once asked me why I keep taking images that everyone else has already imaged.  The answer, of course, is you never know what you will find.  Many new discoveries in space happen because of directed research by professionals (like this one), but a good amount of discoveries happen because some amateur astronomer was imaging the same thing and something new showed up.

RTMC_CLogoJ.jpg (9992 bytes)

We have only been peering at the heavens seriously for about 400 years.  We tracked the stars way before that, but serious, scientific inquiry is only about 400 years old.  The star that formed the ring is relatively young in comparison, the event happened about 4,000 years ago and will go on for another 10,000 years or so.

BIG PLUG for RTMC.

This weekend, if you want to learn more about astronomy, how to make your own telescope, view the night sky.  The RTMC Astronomy Expo is being held near Big Bear California this weekend.  Go here for more information.  I’ll be there and I’m sure that the will be jelly doughnuts….mmmmmm.

- Ex astris, scientia -

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. 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

First ISON images released.

Peering deep into space as usual, the Hubble Space Telescope has captured the first images of comet ISON.

Billed as the “comet of the century” because it could, at one point, be brighter than the full Moon.

Maybe.

A lot of if’s surround this comet.  If it is the right composition, if the water ratio is right, if the trajectory is correct, if it doesn’t breakup.  Many questions, not so many answers.  Since this is the first recorded pass of this comet in human history, nobody know for sure.

But getting the answers is all the fun!

The Hubble image above was taken on April 10, when the comet was slightly closer than Jupiter’s orbit at a distance of 386 million miles from the Sun.  As you can see, the tail is longer than Hubble’s field of view.

Hubble was used to image the comet because it is still 4.15 astronomical units (386 million miles) from the Sun and about 4.24 astronomical units (394 million miles) from Earth.  Even out there, the Sun is warming the comet enough to trigger outgassing jets of dust particles off the sunward-facing side of the comet.

Traveling at a mere 47,000 miles per hour, ISON should be visible in North America starting in late November thru December.

Let’s hope that this one lives up to the hype!

- 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

An Astronomical Winter Wonderland For Your Enjoyment

Space has a few objects that resemble their Earth based counterparts.  I present a few of them for your enjoyment.

Snow Angel S106 Nebula

Cosmic Wreath of the star-forming nebula Barnard 3.

Celestial Ornament: Pulsar SXP 1062

Pulsar SXP 1062, a celestial ornament.

Space Christmas Tree

The Cone Nebula in NGC 2264, near the bottom, looks like a Christmas tree in space.

Snowflake Cluster and Cone Nebula

The Snowflake Cluster (NGC 2264) is pretty self explanitory.

The Christmas tree cluster (also part of NGC2264) is also a pretty sight in the night sky.

Happy winter solstice, or what ever holiday you celebrate around the world this time of year.

- 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 +, or drop me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

Norman

I’m Hungry Too!

It seems that galactic hunger is on the menu for this week.  First, the hungry Milky Way is eating all the small galaxies and clusters in the area.  Then, it spits out those that get too close to the dark chocolate center.  And now, there appear to be hundreds of rogue black holes roaming the Milky Way swallowing anything that gets too close!  I sure a stray black hole in the neighborhood would surely ruin my day.  However, astronomers think that the Earth is safe, because the closest rogue black hole should be thousands of light-years away.

According to the latest theory, rogue black holes were originally at the centers of tiny, low-mass galaxies. As shown in the image below of a black hole in a globular cluster in the galaxy M20.

Over billions of years, those dwarf galaxies smashed together to form full-sized galaxies like the Milky Way.  During the merger, gravitational radiation would cause one of the black holes to recoil sending it speeding outward fast enough to escape its host galaxy, but not fast enough to leave the galactic neighborhood completely. Below is a Hubble image of a black hole recoiling from the super massive black hole in the center of a distant galaxy.

That means that hundreds of rogue black holes could be traveling the Milky Way’s outskirts, each containing the mass of 1,000 to 100,000 suns.  They would be difficult to spot because a black hole is, well, black.  But they do become visible when they are swallowing, or accreting, matter.

Astronomers theorize that one telltale sign of a rogue black hole would be a compact cluster of stars surrounding the black hole that were pulled along with the black hole during its escape.

How I Can Help

If you, or know someone, has made a new invention or discovery and need to protect it, 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

Mmmmm….Yummy.

It is no secret that the Milky Way, our galaxy, is hungry.  Scientists believe that our galaxy has ingested at least two other galaxies.  New evidence of this has appeared again as scientists have discovered a stream of stars believed to be the remnant of an ancient star cluster slowly being eaten by the Milky Way.  The scientists used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has a vast treasure trove of information that scientists are slowly sifting through.

“The Milky Way is constantly gobbling up small galaxies and star clusters,” said Ana Bonaca, a Yale graduate student and lead author of a study forthcoming in Astrophysical Journal Letters. “The more powerful gravity of our Milky Way pulls these objects apart and their stars then become part of the Milky Way itself.”

Marla Geha, associate professor of astronomy at Yale and a co-author of the study and her team believe this latest evidence is a star cluster rather than of a larger galaxy.  She says: “Our discovery is more of a light snack than a big meal for the Milky Way,” says. “Studying this digestion process in detail is important because it gives us new insight into how all galaxies form and evolve.”

It would be interesting to be here in about 3 billion years with the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies run into one another.  The results could look like this:

or this

 

How I Can Help

If you have made a new discover, or know someone who has, and you need to protect it, 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