The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS, on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite captured these images of a Saharan dust storm on July 31 and August 1–2, 2013. Each image is a composite of three adjacent satellite passes.
Dust from the Sahara and other points in interior Africa were lofted into the sky and blew west and northwest across the Atlantic Ocean. (The milky lines running vertically across each image are caused by sunglint, the reflection of sunlight off the ocean.) The images help reveal wind patterns such as trade winds that steer plumes and clouds. At several points, dust stretched continuously from North Africa to South America.
“These mosaics show where the dust goes, which tells us what governs the movement and where they end up,” said Ralph Kahn, a NASA atmospheric scientist who specializes in aerosols. “When satellites first began imaging Earth, it was shocking to see the degree to which airborne particles are carried across continents and oceans."The dust also was detected by the Ozone Mapping Profiling Suite on Suomi NPP. Designed to measure ozone in the atmosphere, this instrument gathers ultraviolet spectral information that also reveals smoke and airborne dust. Lower concentrations appear in yellow, and greater concentrations appear in orange-brown. Each map includes roughly six satellite passes.
Since late July, some meteorologists have speculated that a particularly dry and dusty Saharan Air Layer was suppressing hurricane formation in the North Atlantic. As of August 27, 2013, no tropical storms had reached hurricane strength yet in the Atlantic Ocean, an unusual but not-unprecedented season.
“Dust has long blown across the Atlantic from Africa, but only during the past several decades of satellite observations have we begun to appreciate the vast scale of these events,” wrote Norman Kuring, a member of the ocean color group at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. “Estimates of the dust transported run to hundreds of millions of tons per year, yet we still know relatively little about the effects on phytoplankton productivity, climate, and human health.”
[Fig.1] Ten to twelve billion years ago, the universe was undergoing a turbulent youth. Stars formed at very high rates, but many of the newborn stars died quickly in huge supernova explosions. These explosions produced the chemical elements - the building blocks of other stars, planets, and life.In the same period, black holes in the centers of galaxies were devouring large amounts of the surrounding gas, producing strong jets and outflows. The combined energy of supernovae and black hole activity created powerful galactic winds that blew the iron out of the galaxies, into intergalactic space.
[Image Credit: Akihiro Ikeshita]
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Traces of iron spread smoothly throughout a massive galaxy cluster tell the 10 billion-year-old story of exploding supernovae and fierce outbursts from supermassive black holes sowing heavy elements throughout the early cosmos.
New evidence of heavy elements spread evenly between the galaxies of the giant Perseus cluster supports the theory that the universe underwent a turbulent and violent youth more than 10 billion years ago. That explosive period was responsible for seeding the cosmos with the heavy elements central to life itself.
This discovery, reported today in the journal Nature by a team of researchers from the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), was made possible by almost two weeks of observations of the nearby Perseus cluster of galaxies with the Suzaku satellite. The Suzaku Key Project observations were used to map the spectroscopic signature of iron in the hot, 10 million degree gas that fills the space between galaxies in clusters.
"We saw that iron is spread out between the galaxies remarkably smoothly,"
said Norbert Werner, lead author of the paper. "That means it had to be present in the intergalactic gas before the Perseus cluster formed."
Most of the elements that we are made of were produced inside stars and released by stellar explosions called supernovae. Whether the elements formed by stars stay within the galaxies they are born in, or are spread out into intergalactic space, had long been an open question. If the elements stay within their original host galaxies then we would expect to see an uneven distribution of iron within galaxy clusters, roughly following the distribution of galaxies. But what Werner and his colleagues saw is a remarkably even distribution of iron all the way out to the edge of the Perseus cluster. According to the authors, this can only be explained if the iron had been spread out into the intergalactic medium before the cluster formed, roughly 10 billion years ago, during a time of intense star formation.
At that time, billions of exploding stars created vast quantities of heavy elements in the alchemical furnaces of their own destruction. This was also the epoch when black holes in the hearts of galaxies were at their most energetic.
"The combined energy of these cosmic phenomena must have been strong enough to expel most of the metals from the galaxies at early times, and to enrich and mix the intergalactic gas." said co-author and KIPAC graduate student Ondrej Urban.
"The results suggest that the Perseus cluster is probably not unique, and that iron - along with other heavy elements - is evenly spread throughout all massive galaxy clusters", said Steven Allen, a KIPAC professor and head of the research team.
"You are older than you think - or at least, some of the iron in your blood is older, formed in galaxies millions of lights years away and billions of years ago," concluded co-author Aurora Simionescu, an International Top Young Fellow at the Japanese Space Agency.
The researchers are now looking for iron in other clusters and eagerly awaiting a mission capable of measuring the concentration of chemical elements in the hot gas with a much higher accuracy.
"With measurements like these, the Suzaku satellite is having a profound impact on our understanding of how the largest structures in our universe grow," Allen said. "We're really looking forward to to what further data from Suzaku and the new ASTRO-H satellite will tell us."
[Fig.2] Suzaku observed the Perseus Cluster along 8 directions for two weeks .
Image Credit: "NASA/ISAS/DSS/O.Urban al., MNRAS"
[Fig.3] Young stars, exploding supernovae, and voraciously feeding black holes produced powerful winds 10-12 billion years ago. These winds were the spoon that lifted the iron from the galaxies and mixed it with the intergalactic gas.
[Image Credit: Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA]
A subsidiary of CNES (French Spatial Study National Center), Novespace was established in 1986 for the purpose of promoting micro-weightlessness as a tool for scientific experimentation.
Doom may be averted for the Smith Cloud, a gigantic streamer of hydrogen gas that is on a collision course with the Milky Way Galaxy. Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) have discovered a magnetic field deep in the cloud’s interior, which may protect it during its meteoric plunge into the disk of our Galaxy.
This discovery could help explain how so-called high velocity clouds (HVCs) remain mostly intact during their mergers with the disks of galaxies, where they would provide fresh fuel for a new generation of stars.Currently, the Smith Cloud is hurtling toward the Milky Way at more than 150 miles per second and is predicted to impact in approximately 30 million years. When it does, astronomers believe, it will set off a spectacular burst of star formation. But first, it has to survive careening through the halo, or atmosphere, of hot ionized gas surrounding the Milky Way.
“The million-degree upper atmosphere of the Galaxy ought to destroy these hydrogen clouds before they ever reach the disk, where most stars are formed,” said Alex Hill, an astronomer at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and lead author of a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal. “New observations reveal one of these clouds in the process of being shredded, but a protective magnetic field shields the cloud and may help it survive its plunge.”Many hundreds of HVCs zip around our Galaxy, but their obits seldom correspond to the rotation of the Milky Way. This leads astronomers to believe that HVCs are the left-over building blocks of galaxy formation or the splattered remains of a close galactic encounter billions of years ago.
Though massive, the gas that makes up HVCs is very tenuous, and computer simulations predict that they lack the necessary heft to survive plunging through the halo and into the disk of the Milky Way.
“We have long had trouble understanding how HVCs reach the Galactic disk,” said Hill. “There's good reason to believe that magnetic fields can prevent their ‘burning up’ in the halo like a meteorite burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.”
Despite being the best evidence yet for a magnetic field inside an HVC, the origin of the Smith Cloud’s field remains a mystery. “The field we observe now is too large to have existed in its current state when the cloud was formed,” said Hill. “The field was probably magnified by the cloud's motion through the halo.”Earlier research indicates the Smith Cloud has already survived punching through the disk of our Galaxy once and -- at about 8,000 light-years from the disk -- is just beginning its re-entry now.
“The Smith Cloud is unique among high-velocity clouds because it is so clearly interacting with and merging with the Milky Way,” said Felix J. Lockman, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, W.Va. “Its comet-like appearance indicates it’s already feeling the Milky Way’s influence.”
Since the Smith Cloud appears to be devoid of stars, the only way to observe it is with exquisitely sensitive radio telescopes, like the GBT, which can detect the faint emission of neutral hydrogen. If it were visible with the naked eye, the Smith Cloud would cover almost as much sky as the constellation Orion.
When the Smith Cloud eventually merges with the Milky Way, it could produce a bright ring of stars similar to the one relatively close to our Sun known as Gould's Belt.“Our Galaxy is in an incredibly dynamic environment,” concludes Hill, “and how it interacts with that environment determines whether stars like the Sun will continue to form.”
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.
Aufnahmen der Feuerkugel:
"In a new initiative, Iran's Aviation Agency will send another living creature to the space by mid-October through a liquid-fuel explorer which has less acceleration and is equipped with control and monitor system. It leads to a return of the living creature with high precession," Fazeli said.
Fazeli also expressed the hope that the living creature would be received again in the earth safe and sound.
Fazeli highlighted that Iran successfully sent the first living animal into space by a solid-fuel capsule in the last Iranian calendar year (ended March 20, 2013).
Sending liquid-fuel capsule into space has many advantages including the high precision and better navigational and controlling systems, he added.
Late in January, the Iranian Defense Ministry's Aerospace Industries Organization announced that it has sent a monkey into the space on the back of Pishgam (Pioneer) explorer rocket, and that it has brought back and recovered the living cargo.
The Aerospace Industries Organization said it had sent the living creature into space aboard an indigenous biocapsule as a prelude to sending humans into space.
The Aerospace Industries Organization said the capsule was sent to an orbit beyond 120km in altitude and carried out telemetry of the environmental data records.
The explorer rocket was launched by the Aerospace Industries Organization and it returned to the Earth after reaching the desired speed and altitude, and the living creature (monkey) was retrieved and found alive.
In mid-March 2011, ISA announced the launch of the Kavoshgar-4 rocket carrying a test capsule designed to house the monkey.
The capsule had been unveiled in February 2011 by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with four new prototypes of home-built satellites.
At the time, Fazeli called the launch of a large animal into space as the first step towards sending a man into space, which Tehran says is scheduled for 2020.
Iran had sent small animals into space - a rat, turtles and worms - aboard a capsule carried by its Kavoshgar-3 rocket in 2010.
The Islamic republic, which first put a satellite into orbit in 2009, has outlined an ambitious space program and has, thus far, made giant progress in the field despite western sanctions and pressures against its advancement.
Iran has taken wide strides in aerospace. The country sent the first biocapsule of living creatures into space in February 2011, using its home-made Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) carrier.
Former president Ahmadinejad announced in 2010 that Iran plans to send astronauts into space in 2024. But, later he said that the issue had gone under a second study at a cabinet meeting and that the cabinet had decided to implement the plan in 2019, five years earlier than the date envisaged in the original plan.
Omid (hope) was Iran's first research satellite that was designed for gathering information and testing equipment. After orbiting for three months, Omid successfully completed its mission without any problem. It completed more than 700 orbits over seven weeks and reentered the Earth's atmosphere on April 25, 2009.
After launching Omid, Tehran unveiled three new satellites called Tolou, Mesbah II and Navid, respectively. Iran has also unveiled its latest achievements in designing and producing satellite carriers.
A new generation of home-made satellites and a new satellite carrier called Simorgh (Phoenix) were among the latest achievements unveiled by Iran's aerospace industries.
The milk-bottle shaped rocket is equipped to carry a 60-kilogram (132-pound) satellite 500 kilometers (310 miles) into orbit.
The 27-meter (90 foot) tall multi-stage rocket weighs 85 tons and its liquid fuel propulsion system has a thrust of up to 143 tons.
Iran is one of the 24 founding members of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), which was set up in 1959.
Iran new satellite ready for lift-off into space: Minister
This illustration compares Earth with the newly confirmed scorched world of Kepler-78b. Kepler-78b is about 20 percent larger than Earth and is 70% more massive. Kepler-78b whizzes around its host star every 8.5 hours, making it a blazing inferno. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)
Scientists Discover the First Earth-Sized Rocky Planet