NASA Hosts Media Briefing To Discuss Kepler Results

NASA will video stream a news briefing at 10:15 a.m. PST (1:15 p.m. EST) Monday, Nov. 4, to announce new results from the agency's Kepler mission. The briefing, taking place during the Kepler Science Conference, will be in building 152 at NASA Research Park in Moffett Field, Calif.

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NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg Invites Quilters to Contribute a Star Block

International Space Station Expedition 37 Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg of NASA, a lifelong lover of sewing, is inviting fellow crafters to join her in stitching together a global community space quilt.

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Our stormy Sun

Several large, active regions on the Sun burst out with about 20 eruptions between 25 and 28 October 2013. Some were flares; some were coronal mass ejections, and at least one was a prominence eruption.

This is an image of the Sun in extreme UV light from the Solar Dynamic Observatory superimposed on a visible-light image of the solar corona obtained with SOHO's C2 coronagraph. The still was taken on 26 October.

The Sun is about at its maximum level of activity in its 11-year solar cycle, so stormy stretches like this one are to be expected.

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Our stormy Sun

Several large, active regions on the Sun burst out with about 20 eruptions between 25 and 28 October 2013. Some were flares; some were coronal mass ejections, and at least one was a prominence eruption.

This is an image of the Sun in extreme UV light from the Solar Dynamic Observatory superimposed on a visible-light image of the solar corona obtained with SOHO's C2 coronagraph. The still was taken on 26 October.

The Sun is about at its maximum level of activity in its 11-year solar cycle, so stormy stretches like this one are to be expected.

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Proxima Centauri, our nearest neighbour

Shining brightly in this Hubble image is our closest stellar neighbour: Proxima Centauri.

Proxima Centauri lies in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur), just over four light-years from Earth. Although it looks bright through the eye of Hubble, as you might expect from the nearest star to the Solar System, Proxima Centauri is not visible to the naked eye. Its average luminosity is very low, and it is quite small compared to other stars, at only about an eighth of the mass of the Sun.

However, on occasion, its brightness increases. Proxima is what is known as a “flare star”, meaning that convection processes within the star’s body make it prone to random and dramatic changes in brightness. The convection processes not only trigger brilliant bursts of starlight but, combined with other factors, mean that Proxima Centauri is in for a very long life. Astronomers predict that this star will remain middle-aged — or a “main sequence” star in astronomical terms — for another four trillion years, some 300 times the age of the current Universe.

These observations were taken using Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). Proxima Centauri is actually part of a triple star system — its two companions, Alpha Centauri A and B, lie out of frame.

Although by cosmic standards it is a close neighbour, Proxima Centauri remains a point-like object even using Hubble’s eagle-eyed vision, hinting at the vast scale of the Universe around us.

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ATV-4 undocks from the ISS

ATV Albert Einstein backs away from the International Space Station shortly after undocking at 09:55 CET (08:55 UT) on 28 October 2013. Albert Einstein is the fourth in the series of ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicles that delivers supplies to the Station, reboosts its orbit and frees up space on the orbital outpost when it undocks with waste. The spacecraft is scheduled to be sent into Earth’s atmosphere for a planned destructive re-entry over an uninhabited area of the south Pacific Ocean on 2 November.

More in the ATV blog: blogs.esa.int/atv

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