Dr. Richard Boitnott, lead test engineer at the Landing and Impact Research Facility at NASA’s Langley Research Center, has the kind of job almost any student would love — he gets to crash things and see what happens. In this program, Boitnott show you some of the crucial tests he conducts and explains how he uses technology to collect data.
An international team of astronomers has identified a candidate for the smallest-known black hole by using data from NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer. The evidence comes from a specific type of X-ray pattern, nicknamed a “heartbeat” because of its resemblance to an electrocardiogram. The pattern until now has been recorded in only one other black hole system.
This story directly relates to NASA Now: Black Holes in which Dr. Dan Patnaude discusses how NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered the youngest nearby black hole. Preview this program at the NES YouTube Channel or watch it on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.
NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the “habitable zone,” the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. Kepler has discovered more than 1,000 new planet candidates, nearly doubling its previously known count. Ten of these candidates are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of their host star. Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are planets.
These amazing discoveries are directly related to the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Algebraic Equations: Transit Tracks — Finding Habitable Planets. During this activity, students analyze real NASA light curve data from the Kepler mission, then use algebra to calculate the size of the planets and distance from their star. Through this process, students discover if the planets lie in the “habitable zone.” To access this lesson, browse the Lesson Library at http://explorerschools.nasa.gov.
The Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite on board NPOESS Preparatory Project, or NPP, NASA’s newest Earth-observing satellite, acquired its first measurements on Nov. 21, 2011. The resulting high-resolution image shows a broad swath of eastern North America, from Canada’s Hudson Bay past Florida, to the northern coast of Venezuela in South America.
Meet Mitzi Adams, an astrophysicist studying the sun. Adams has been working as a solar scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., since 1988. She analyzes data in an attempt to predict solar flares and coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. Knowing when a solar flare, or CME, is going to occur is important for our satellites in orbit, for astronauts in space, and even for power companies on the ground. Instruments on board satellites now improve these predictions. In this episode, Adams presents the latest information about the sun’s layers, coronal mass ejections, solar flares and solar cycles.
This program is available on the NES Virtual Campus website beginning Jan 4, 2012.
This episode of NASA Now highlights recently discovered wonders of the universe as well as common cosmic dust. Discover how these microscopic particles floating in space could hold the key to the origins of the universe. And learn about an activity that introduces all the known chemical elements.
This program is available on the Virtual Campus beginning Dec. 21, 2012.