Hubble Watches Stars in Bloom

NASA — Hubble Space Telescope patch.

July 5, 2019

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows bright, colorful pockets of star formation blooming like roses in a spiral galaxy named NGC 972.

The orange-pink glow is created as hydrogen gas reacts to the intense light streaming outwards from nearby newborn stars; these bright patches can be seen here amid dark, tangled streams of cosmic dust.

Astronomers look for these telltale signs of star formation when they study galaxies throughout the cosmos, as star formation rates, locations, and histories offer critical clues about how these colossal collections of gas and dust have evolved over time. New generations of stars contribute to — and are also, in turn, influenced by — the broader forces and factors that mold galaxies throughout the universe, such as gravity, radiation, matter, and dark matter.

German-British astronomer William Herschel is credited with the discovery of NGC 972 in 1784. Astronomers have since measured its distance, finding it to be just under 70 million light-years away.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Text Credits: ESA (European Space Agency)/NASA/Rob Garner/Image, Animation, Credits: ESA/Hubble, NASA, L. Ho.

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Dig reveals bull sacrifices took place in ancient Selinunte

Professor Clemente Marconi of New York University on Thursday presented the results and discoveries of the 13th international archaeological dig in the Selinunte Acropolis, conducted by NYU and the University of Milan in collaboration with the archaeological park in western Sicily.

Dig reveals bull sacrifices took place in ancient Selinunte
Aerial view of Temple C at Selinute [Credit: WikiCommons]

Particularly important were the findings of a votive deposit of perfectly preserved red deer antlers (Cervus Elaphus) and two large adult bull horns (Bos Taurus). The remains are the first archaeological evidence of bull sacrifice in Selinunte.

Dig reveals bull sacrifices took place in ancient Selinunte
View of the excavations at the Sanctuary of Selinute [Credit: ANSA]

Marconi led the dig, in which over 50 students and experts from eight countries participated. The seminar and a guided tour of the dig site were organised as part of the «Worksites of Knowledge» project sponsored by the new director of the Selinunte archaeological park, architect Bernardo Agrò.

Dig reveals bull sacrifices took place in ancient Selinunte
Two pylon holes used for lifting the blocks during the construction of Temple R
and a perfectly preserved hollow libation altar [Credit: ANSA]

Agrò previously organised and directed similar seminars and tours at Medieval and modern monuments in other areas of Sicily.

Dig reveals bull sacrifices took place in ancient Selinunte
Votive deposit of perfectly preserved red deer antlers (Cervus Elaphus)
[Credit: ANSA]

This year’s Selinunte dig focused on deepening two trenches that were opened last year along the southern side of Temple R and between the western side of Temple R and the southern side of Temple C.

Dig reveals bull sacrifices took place in ancient Selinunte
Horns of a large adult bull (Bos Taurus) [Credit: ANSA]

The dig produced important results regarding the most ancient phases in which the large urban sanctuary was inhabited, and regarding activities associated with the construction of Temple R and Temple C.

Source: ANSA [July 05, 2019]



Space Station Science Highlights: Week of July 1, 2019

ISS — Expedition 60 Mission patch.

July 5, 2019

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific investigations last week that tracked radiation, studied heat transfer in space and supported future explorations. The current crew includes Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) are scheduled to join them on July 20 – the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Research on the space station supports Artemis, NASA’s program to return humans to the Moon and establish a sustained presence there.

Here are details on some of the science conducted on the orbiting lab during the week of July 1:

A direct line to the space station

Image above: During an ISS HAM radio session, NASA astronaut Nick Hague answers questions from students on the ground. Image Credit: NASA.

Crew members conducted an ISS Ham session last week. Using amateur or ham radio, groups of students talk directly to the crew aboard the space station when it passes overhead. The students learn about the space station, radio waves, and other science and engineering topics and prepare questions before their scheduled calls. Hundreds more listen in from classrooms or auditoriums. This real-time contact with the orbiting lab sparks interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and inspires the next generation of explorers.

Tracking neutron radiation

The RADI N2 investigation seeks to better characterize the neutron radiation environment aboard the space station using bubble detectors attached to fixed locations and carried by crew members. The data could help define the risk that this type of radiation poses to crew members and support development of advanced protective measures for future spaceflight. The crew continued to deploy detectors on the space station last week.

A better way to keep cool

Image above: NASA astronaut Christina Koch demonstrates behavior of fluids in the microgravity environment aboard the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crew conducted a session for the Two Phase Flow investigation, which examines the heat transfer characteristics of flow boiling in microgravity. Boiling removes heat by turning liquid into vapor at the heated surface. Returning that vapor to a liquid by way of a condenser creates a cooling system. In microgravity, though, liquid and bubble behaviors differ drastically from that on Earth. The investigation creates a database on the heat transfer efficiency of liquids in space that can inform design of thermal management systems for future spacecraft. It also can support development of improved cooling systems for hybrid cars and other electronics systems that generate high heat in small spaces on Earth.

Meeting the demand for small satellites

Image above: The sun glints off the Celebes Sea of Southeast Asia in this image captured as the space station flew 225 miles above Indonesia. Image Credit: NASA.

Crew members installed the NanoRacks External Cygnus CubeSat Deployer (extCygnus NRCSD), a stackable, modular case for launching small satellites. Each deployer accommodates up to eight launch cases, helping to meet the growing demand for this type of satellite for a variety of customers. The extCygnus NRCSD releases CubeSats from the Cygnus resupply vehicle after it completes its resupply mission and leaves the space station.

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:

— The Veg-04A investigation focuses on how light quality and fertilizer affect growth of Mizuna mustard, a leafy green crop, as part of an effort to develop the capability to produce fresh food in space. It also looks at microbial food safety, nutritional value, taste acceptability by the crew, and the overall behavioral health benefits of having plants and fresh food in space:

— Team Task Switching looks at whether crew members have difficulty switching from one task to another and the effects of such switches to reduce negative consequences and improve individual and team motivation and effectiveness:

— The ISS Experience creates short virtual reality videos from footage taken during the yearlong investigation covering different aspects of crew life, execution of science, and the international partnerships involved on the space station:

— Standard Measures captures a consistent and simple set of measures from crew members throughout the ISS Program to characterize adaptive responses to and risks of living in space:

Space to Ground: On the Bubble: 07/05/2019

Related links:

Expedition 60:

ISS Ham:


Two Phase Flow:

NanoRacks External Cygnus CubeSat Deployer (extCygnus NRCSD):

ISS National Lab:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Animation (mentioned), Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist Expedition 60.

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