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(Astronomy) Uranus: New Rings and Moons around Uranus

 
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adedios
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 8:49 am    Post subject: (Astronomy) Uranus: New Rings and Moons around Uranus Reply with quote






NASA's Hubble Discovers New Rings and Moons Around Uranus
NASA Press Release:
Dec. 22, 2005
Dwayne Brown/George Deutsch
Headquarters, Washington

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore

RELEASE: 05-590

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope photographed a new pair of rings around Uranus and two new, small moons orbiting the planet.

The largest ring is twice the diameter of the planet's previously known rings. The rings are so far from the planet, they are being called Uranus's "second ring system." One of the new moons shares its orbit with one of the rings. Analysis of the Hubble data also reveals the orbits of Uranus's family of inner moons have changed significantly over the past decade.

"The detection of these new interacting rings and moons will help us better understand how planetary systems are formed and sustained, which is of key importance to NASA's scientific exploration goals," said Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, program scientist for Hubble at NASA Headquarters.

Since dust orbiting Uranus is expected to be depleted by spiraling away, the planet's rings must be continually replenished with fresh material. "The new discoveries demonstrate that Uranus has a youthful and dynamic system of rings and moons," said Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute, Mountainview, California.

Showalter and Jack Lissauer of NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, Calif., propose that the outermost ring is replenished by a 12-mile-wide newly discovered moon, named Mab, which they first observed using Hubble in 2003.

Meteoroid impacts continually blast dust off the surface of Mab. The dust then spreads out into a ring around Uranus. Mab's ring receives a fresh infusion of dust from each impact. Nature keeps the ring supplied with new dust while older dust spirals away or bangs back into the moon.

Showalter and Lissauer have measured numerous changes to the orbits of Uranus's inner moons since 1994. The moon's motions were derived from earlier Hubble and Voyager observations. "This appears to be a random or chaotic process, where there is a continual exchange of energy and angular momentum between the moons," Lissauer said. His calculations predict moons would begin to collide as often as every few million years, which is extraordinarily short compared to the 4.5 billion year age of the Uranian system.

Showalter and Lissauer believe the discovery of the second ring, which orbits closer to the planet than the outer ring, provides further evidence that collisions affect the evolution of the system. This second ring has no visible body to re-supply it with dust. The ring may be a telltale sign of an unseen belt of bodies a few feet to a few miles in size. Showalter proposes that a previous impact to one of Uranus's moons could have produced the observed debris ring.

Hubble uncovered the rings in August 2004 during a series of 80, four-minute exposures of Uranus. The team later recognized the faint new rings in 24 similar images taken a year earlier. Images from September 2005 reveal the rings even more clearly.

Showalter also found the rings in archival images taken during Voyager 2's flyby of Uranus in 1986. Uranus's first nine rings were discovered in 1977 during observations of the planet's atmosphere. During the Voyager encounters, two other inner rings and 10 moons were discovered. However, no one noticed the outer rings, because they are extremely faint and much farther from the planet than expected. Showalter was able to find them by a careful analysis of nearly 100 Voyager images.

Because the new rings are nearly transparent, they will be easier to see when they tilt edge-on. The new rings will increase in brightness every year as Uranus approaches its equinox, when the sun shines directly over the planet's equator. When it happens in 2007, all of the rings will be tilted edge-on toward Earth and easier to study. These research data will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Science.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. The Institute is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., Washington.

*************************************************************

Questions to explore further this topic:

Here is an interactive space map (from galaxies to planet Earth):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/s.....ndex.shtml

A view of galaxies:

http://amazing-space.stsci.edu...../home.html

How do we see the sky?

http://amazing-space.stsci.edu...../groundup/

What is the history of powerful telescopes?

http://hubblesite.org/discover...../index.php

What is the Hubble telescope?

http://hubblesite.org/discover.....hhigh.html
http://hubblesite.org/discover.....stat.shtml
http://hubblesite.org/discover.....univ.shtml
http://hubblesite.org/discover.....mage.shtml
http://hubblesite.org/discover.....eep_field/

Here is a virtual Hubble telescope:

http://hubblesite.org/discover.....bble.shtml

What are the planets of the solar system?

http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/ni.....anets.html
http://www.nineplanets.org/overview.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/s.....ndex.shtml
http://hubblesite.org/discover.....bout.shtml

Here is the section on Uranus:

http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/ni.....ranus.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/s.....ndex.shtml

GAMES

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/s.....aunch.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/s.....aunch.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/s.....aunch.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/s.....aunch.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/s.....ctor.shtml
http://hubblesite.org/fun_.and._games/
http://amazing-space.stsci.edu...../home.html
http://amazing-space.stsci.edu...../home.html
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adedios
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Location: Angel C. de Dios

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:25 am    Post subject: NASA's largest space telescope mirror will see deeper into s Reply with quote

7-Feb-2007

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's largest space telescope mirror will see deeper into space



When scientists are looking into space, the more they can see, the easier it is to piece together the puzzle of the cosmos. The James Webb Space Telescope's mirror blanks have now been constructed. When polished and assembled, together they will form a mirror whose area is over seven times larger than the Hubble Telescope's mirror.

For the full article:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....020607.php
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adedios
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Joined: 06 Jul 2005
Posts: 5060
Location: Angel C. de Dios

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:05 am    Post subject: The Sky Through Three Giant Eyes Reply with quote

ESO 06/07 - Instrument Release
23 February 2007

The Sky Through Three Giant Eyes

AMBER Instrument on VLT Delivers a Wealth of Results
The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer, which allows astronomers to scrutinise objects with a precision equivalent to that of a 130-m telescope, is proving itself an unequalled success every day. One of the latest instruments installed, AMBER, has led to a flurry of scientific results, an anthology of which is being published this week as special features in the research journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

For the full article:

http://www.eso.org/outreach/pr.....06-07.html
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adedios
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:25 am    Post subject: ESF helps Europe play lead role in new age of astronomical d Reply with quote

ESF helps Europe play lead role in new age of astronomical discovery
European Science Foundation
4 July 2007

The Origin of Galaxies remains one of the big questions in astrophysics, primarily because births of the first galaxies is largely hidden by (astrophysical) dust, tiny fragments of solid material in interstellar space. This dust hides the fundamental processes responsible for galaxy formation from traditional optical telescopes, as much of the optical light generated by the stars forming in the first galaxies is absorbed by the dust. However, this light is then re-radiated at longer wavelengths, mostly in the sub-millimetre (sub-mm) and far-infrared (far-IR) part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Three new (or renewed) telescopes will largely provide European astronomers with data in the sub-mm and far-IR wavebands: ESA will soon launch the Herschel Space Observatory (HSO), and SCUBA-2 will be fully operational on the renewed James Clark Maxwell Telescope (JCMT). Also, within the next few years the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) will start to come into operation. Located at 5500 metres in the Atacama desert in Chile, ALMA will be an array of 64 telescopes designed for high-resolution observations in the submm waveband. It is the most expensive ground-based project ever. The HSO is also a major European investment (about 1 billion Euros), but is a special case in that the HSO will have a time-limit to its operations, requiring careful planning of the observations.

It is therefore timely to bring together many of the European (near-future) users of these new facilities, along with some of their non-European counterparts, to discuss how to best exploit these new datasets in new windows to the distant Universe. Much of the planning is already underway, but it will only be just before the telescopes and instruments are actually ready to take data that final plans can be drawn up, including changes due to new theoretical insights into galaxy formation models as well as changes in specification of the instruments and/or telescopes.

The meeting is not just planned as a place to show results, but as a working environment for preparing for the exciting results that should be delivered by HSO, ALMA and SCUBA-2. There will be invited and contributed talks, as well as poster sessions and open discussions. Young people are especially encouraged to participate, as the meeting is very much looking forward to the future.


http://www.esf.org/activities/.....l?conf=224
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adedios
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:54 am    Post subject: Dark side of Uranus' rings provides new view Reply with quote

American Association for the Advancement of Science
23 August 2007

Dark side of Uranus' rings provides new view

The first images of the rings of the planet Uranus from a ground telescope show a system of rings that have changed since the first pictures were taken 20 years ago, a new report states.

Looking at the rings, astronomers found that dust envelops the entire ring system but is not connected with any particular ring. The dust pattern has also changed greatly since the rings were first photographed by the Voyager spacecraft in 1986. In 1986, the dust appeared to be embedded in the rings; current pictures show a cloud of dust that runs throughout the ring system. Researchers suggest that such changes may be common in the solar system and occur on much larger scales than expected.

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and it is the third largest planet in our solar system. Its mass is about 15 times that of Earth, and its year – the time it takes the planet to travel around the Sun once – equals 21 Earth-years.

When William Herschel discovered the planet in 1789 he thought he saw a ring around it and noted it. In 1977 the rings were “re-discovered” by researchers in an airborne observatory. As the spaceship Voyager 2 whizzed past Uranus in 1986, it took the first images of the approximately one dozen rings.

Astronomer Imke de Pater and coworkers used the telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii to make the first ground-based images of the rings.

The current view of Uranus from Earth is unusual – the plane of Uranus’ rings appear edge-on to the Earth in August 2007 and the angle reveals the unlit side of the rings. This allows astronomers to see faint rings that cannot be easily seen in the bright light. By looking at the planet from its dark side, these hard-to-see rings are brightened by scattered light. This study appears in the 23 August issue of Science Express.
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