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NASA Advisory Panel Releases 2015 Safety Report

© Afrim Constantin –

The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, has issued its 2015 annual report examining NASA’s safety performance over the past year and highlighting accomplishments, issues and concerns to agency and government officials. View 2015 ASAP Report The report, released Wednesday, is based on the panel’s 2015 fact-finding

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LOFAR radio telescope network to extend into Ireland

© Afrim Constantin –

The world’s biggest connected radio telescope is about to become even bigger! LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) will expand into Ireland. This is not only great news for Irish astrophysics, but also for the International LOFAR Telescope (ILT). The plans for a LOFAR station in Ireland have been around for a while, but now it’s official:

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See Venus and Saturn get close on the morning of 9 January

© Afrim Constantin –

On Saturday, 9 January at 3:57am GMT, magnitude -4.0 Venus passes just 5 arcminutes — less than one tenth of a degree — north of magnitude +0.5 Saturn. While the instant of closest approach will be missed by observers in the extreme west of Europe as Venus and Saturn will still be below the horizon, by 7am GMT the

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Most distant massive galaxy cluster identified

© Afrim Constantin –

Click on image to make it bigger Credit: Infographic created by Afrim Constantin COPYRIGHT 2015 © spacefan.org

‘X’ marks a curious corner on Pluto’s icy plains

© Afrim Constantin –

“X” marks the spot of some intriguing surface activity in the latest picture of Pluto returned from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. Transmitted to Earth on 24 December, this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) extends New Horizons’ highest-resolution views of Pluto to the very centre of Sputnik Planum, the informally named icy plain

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The case of the missing quasar

© Afrim Constantin –

Astronomers can’t find any sign of the black hole at the centre of the quasar SDSS J1011+5442, and they couldn’t be happier. The black hole is still there, of course, but over the past ten years, it appears to have swallowed all the gas in its vicinity. With the gas fallen into the black hole,

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Ancient gas cloud may be a relic from the death of first stars

© Afrim Constantin –

Researchers from Australia and the USA have discovered a distant, ancient cloud of gas that may contain the signature of the very first stars that formed in the universe, in research to be published next week in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The research was undertaken by Dr. Neil Crighton and Professor Michael

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NASA’s CORAL Campaign Will Raise Reef Studies to a New Level

© Afrim Constantin –

A new three-year NASA field expedition gets underway this year that will use advanced instruments on airplanes and in the water to survey more of the world’s coral reefs in far greater detail than has ever been assessed before. The COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) will measure the condition of these threatened ecosystems and create

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NASA TV to Air News Briefing on Upcoming Spacewalk

© Afrim Constantin –

NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will host a briefing at 2 p.m. EST (1 p.m. CST) on Tuesday, Jan. 12, to preview the tasks and preparation for a spacewalk by astronauts living aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The briefing and spacewalk will air live on NASA Television, and be streamed on NASA’s website.

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