#WorldSpaceWeek; #OntarioScienceCentre; #RoyalAstronomicSocietyofCanada; #MaruškaStrah
Toronto, Oct 14 (Canadian-Media): In celebration of World Space Week (WSW) Ontario Science Centre presented an interactive session yesterday between school children and adults with the Aerospace Team from University of Toronto as well as from Royal Astronomic Society of Canada (RASC) from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm, media reports said.
Ontario Science Centre
WSW, an international celebration of science and technology for their contribution to the betterment of the human condition, was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 to be held each year from October 4-10.
The theme of WSW 2018 is “Space Unites the World.”
WSW was observed in commemoration of two events: Launch of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1 on Oct 4, 1957 and signing of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies on October 10, 1967.
WSW consists of space education and outreach events held by space agencies, aerospace companies, schools, planetaria, museums, and astronomy clubs around the world synchronizing space events which attract greater public and media attention.
School students and the public in the cold night were gathered on the outdoor staircases in front of Aerospace Team from University of Toronto and RASC during the stargazing events last night with this year's theme being “Space Unites The World.”
Many questions were asked by the award-winning design team of university students that designs and builds drones, satellites and, of course, rockets.
Questions and answers sessions were held on the constituents of rockets, the drones and about the programming involved in the making of the rocket aircrafts parts, aout the new policies and procedures of the aerospace system etc
They talked about space system, about building satellites for research and education, for Microbiology studies and added their intention was to launch the next satellite into space between Nov 2019 and Jan 2020 with the funding help from the the University of Toronto. They continued to state that they had finished the designing part of the satellite system which would be tested to see if the designs actually work.
Natalie Panek from RASC was also present to give a brief introduction of their work and updated the audience about their questions and concerns.
WSW is coordinated by the United Nations with the support of the WSW Association (WSWA), an international non-government, non-profit organization incorporated in the United States in 1982 and leads a global team of National Coordinators, who promote the celebration of World Space Week within their own countries with the goals to provide unique leverage in space outreach and education, for economical development, to promote science, technology, engineering, and math among the children and youth and to foster international cooperation in space outreach and education.
Some highlights of this celebration of space in some 80 nations include: Video wishing “Happy World Space Week” in different languages from around the world, Special advance screenings of National Geographic’s Mars2 in the United States just for World Space Week, Ladies Do Launch, a series of panel interviews in front of live audiences, with women in the space industry, will be held in various cities in the United States, IMAX will be releasing a series of mini space documentaries and short interviews with astronauts during every day of WSW 2018.
WSW 2018 has broken records with an estimated 4,000+ events held globally October 4-10. A total of 4,413 World Space Week 2018 events were reported in 93 countries over 3,000 organizations.
“These are all new records, and the numbers are expected to grow as reports continue to come in,” said Maruška Strah, the Association’s Executive Director.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#California, #Saturn'snorthernpole; NASA'sCassinispacecraft; #NatureCommunications; #northernpolarvortex; #Saturn'snorthernhemisphere; #Saturn'ssouthernhemisphere; # LeighFletcher; #CassiniProject; #PolarJetStream; #LindaSpilker
California (U.S.), Sep 6 (Canadian-Media): A surprising feature emerging at Saturn's northern pole as it nears summertime has been revealed by a new long-term study using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, published Sept. 3 in Nature Communications, media reports said.
Nature Communications, an open access journal that publishes high-quality research in biology, physics, chemistry, Earth sciences, and all related area, in its new study reports the first glimpses of a northern polar vortex forming high in the atmosphere, as Saturn's northern hemisphere approached summertime.
This warm vortex sits hundreds of miles above the clouds, in the stratosphere, and reveals an unexpected surprise.
"The edges of this newly-found vortex appear to be hexagonal, precisely matching a famous and bizarre hexagonal cloud pattern we see deeper down in Saturn's atmosphere," said Leigh Fletcher of the University of Leicester, lead author of the new study.
This warning of the appearance of a hexagonal-shaped high-altitude vortex similar to famous hexagon seen deeper down in Saturn's clouds is suggestive of the fact that what happens above may be influenced by the lower-altitude hexagon and that it could be a towering structure hundreds of miles in height.
During Cassini's arrival at the Saturnian system in 2004, it was summer in the southern hemisphere, while northern hemisphere was in the midst of winter.
The spacecraft spied a broad, warm high-altitude vortex at Saturn's southern pole but none at the planet's northern pole.
Majority of the planet's weather, including the pre-existing north polar hexagon are hosted by the Saturn's cloud levels was discovered by NASA's Voyager spacecraft in the 1980s and has been studied for decades.
The report also pointed that the phenomenon of a long-lasting wave potentially tied to Saturn's rotation was also seen on Earth in the Polar Jet Stream.
By using instruments including its Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) and by observing the the feature in multiple wavelengths -- from the ultraviolet to the infrared -- Cassini could reveal its properties in detail.
"The mystery and extent of the hexagon continue to grow, even after Cassini's 13 years in orbit around Saturn," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist. "I look forward to seeing other new discoveries that remain to be found in the Cassini data."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#MilkyWay; #Perseidmeteors; #AlanDyer; #TheHomestretch; #RothneyAstrophysicalObservatory
Alberta, Sep 6 (Canadian-Media): Last month, Saskatchewan had an opportunity to views the Milky Way, not to mention Perseid meteors, and now it is time for Albertans to look skyward as three planets and the Milky Way will be visible this month, media reports said.
“Now we have much more time to enjoy the Milky Way with the longer nights,” says a Calgary astronomy author and photographer Alan Dyer, adding we've now entered stargazing prime time as three planets and the Milky Way are visible in Alberta skies.
Alan Dyer (Left)/Facebook
Later this month, says Alan Dyer, gravitational waves will be front and centre at an upcoming Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.
He spoke with The Homestretch this week. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Q: Why is this a good time for stargazing?
A: This is the time we look forward to. It's getting darker earlier. The nights are longer. It's cooler, yes, but no bugs and we hope no smoke for a while. The nights are clear and dry.
Q: What can we see this time of year?
A: The next couple of weeks are prime time for the Milky Way. Now we have much more time to enjoy the Milky Way with the longer nights. It's across the sky all night long, the centre of the galaxy is right to the southern sky then it goes all the way across the sky.
The spiral arms we live in stretching all the way across the sky right through the middle of three stars in a large triangle, called the summer triangle.
You've got to be out in the country to see it, though. You can't see it in the city. This weekend is the ideal time to see the Milky Way.
A 360° panorama of the August night sky and Milky Way over the Great Sandhills of western Saskatchewan. The Galactic Centre is at centre, with Mars bright to the east, left, of the Milky Way. Jupiter is just setting to the right. (All images © Alan Dyer/AmazingSky.com)
Q: The planets are aligning right now for some great stargazing, too, aren't they?
A: We've had a great array of planets in our sky all summer long and they are still there.
Jupiter is quite bright in the southwest in the early evening, 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. or so.
To the left, due south, is Saturn, right in the middle of the Milky Way in Sagittarius. If you can see the Milky Way, look at it through a telescope. You will see the rings wide open. It's fabulous.
Then to the left of Saturn — you can't miss it — bright in the southeastern skies is an orange Mars. It was really close about five weeks ago, but it is still close to the Earth and still very bright.
It's a beautiful sight to the naked eye but if you have a telescope, you will see the disc of Mars bigger than we have seen in it many years.
We have three planets across the sky right now.
A panorama of the scene during the July 2016 Milky Way Night at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, south of Calgary. People are set up with cameras, or just lie back and look at the stars, or enjoy the views through telescopes. (All images © Alan Dyer/AmazingSky.com)
Q: Is this a good time to see the northern lights?
A: You can, typically, around the equinoxes in March and the fall. We are coming up to that in a couple of weeks time. That is often when we get our best displays. The long-term forecast calls for maybe activity picking up next week, even perhaps this weekend.
If you go to the website, www.spaceweather.com, that will give you some warning something is on the way from the sun and we might see some northern lights in the next couple of weeks.
We are in a good position here in southern Alberta, but again, that is out in the country. You won't see that in the city unless it is a spectacular display.
A 150° panorama of the northern lights in a classic arc across the north, with curtains stretching up along magnetic field lines, from lower greens and yellows up to reds and magentas. (All images © Alan Dyer/AmazingSky.com)
Q: Where is the best place in Alberta to see the northern lights?
A: The further north you go, the better your chances. We can get spectacular displays down here, but they have got to be a pretty high level of activity.
Fort McMurray sells itself as an aurora-tourism destination. I am going up to Yellowknife on the weekend, where you are right underneath the aurora.
If you really want to chase the northern lights, that is the place to go. As far north as possible.
Q: Talk about the upcoming event at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory near Priddis, Alta.
A: That's your next opportunity to look through some telescopes supplied by the local astronomy club.
There is a public stargazing night, an open house, on September 15.
There will be a talk inside on the hot topic of gravitational waves but there will be telescopes outside to look at Jupiter, Saturn and Mars and the Milky Way.
A Perseid meteor streaks down the Milky Way over the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party in the Cypress Hills of southwest Saskatchewan, at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, a Dark Sky Preserve.
Q: How are gravitational waves a 'hot topic' these days?
A: There is tremendous research going on with these incredible facilities that can detect changes in the gravitational strength, incredibly minute changes, caused by the passing of gravitational waves.
It's something Albert Einstein predicted 100 years ago. He said we'd never be able to detect this. It's technically impossible but they have made it possible.
There have been some discoveries of gravitational waves from colliding black holes out in deep space. The talk at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory will be about that latest research, called multi-messenger astronomy. It's very, very exciting.
#Michael Freilich, # NASA
Washington, D.C., Sept 1 (Canadian-Media): Michael Freilich, leader of NASA’s work in earth science and climate change for 12 years, announced recently of his retirement early next year from the agency, media reports said.
Michael Freilich/Image: nasa.gov
Freilich, the director of the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters since 2006, announced he will retire from the agency in February 2019.
Freilich leads NASA’s mission to increase understanding of our home planet and help safeguard and improve lives for humanity’s future.
Ricky Rood, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who previously worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said, “There is no doubt that NASA’s Earth-observing satellite system is in better shape [now] than when Freilich came on board.”
“There is more innovation and more diligent attention to balancing budget, mission, and scientific outcomes. NASA made tough decisions, and that is what you want in a leader,” Rood said.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, said: “Words are not enough to express my deep appreciation for Mike Freilich’s dedication, creativity, and operational vision that has so positively impacted not only Earth science but also the broader NASA research community."
“Mike leaves an extraordinary legacy that will be remembered here at NASA and by future generations that will inhabit our planet,” said Zurbuchen.
Freilich's contribution include creation of a funding program for lower-budget “venture class” satellite missions awarded through competition, responsible for leading several stand-alone missions to the International Space Station, launching of NASA’s first constellation of Earth-observing CubeSats (small modular craft), and initiating a pilot program to purchase data from commercial satellite providers.
Prior to NASA, Freilich had worked as a geoscientist at Oregon State University in Corvallis where he did research on oceanic winds.
After his retirement, he said in a statement, “my wife and I plan to travel and explore the planet we committed to understand and protect.”
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#NationalAeronauticsandSpaceAdministration; #presenceofwateronmoon; #JimBridenstine; #SarahNoble; #roboticrovers
Ottawa, Aug 23 (Canadian-Media): National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently confirmed an abundance of water on the Moon situated in hundreds of patches of ice deposited in the north and south poles, media reports said.
This discovery led NASA chiefs to believe that it would not only mean there could be lifetimes’ worth of drinking water already on the Moon for humans' lunar settlement and space exploration but it could help with producing more rocket fuel and oxygen to breathe.
It could also mean, NASA chiefs reportedly said, the Moon could be used as a pit stop on their way into deep space.
NASA, reportedly responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research is an independent agency of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine reportedly said that the presence of water renewed hopes of human exploration of the Moon itself.
The hope is to use the water for rocket fuel so NASA can send rockets and other space vehicles that could be used again and again.
However, NASA lunar scientist Dr. Sarah Noble, Program Scientist in the Planetary Sciences Division at NASA HQ, said that experts were still unsure exactly how much water there is on the Moon.
A map of the surface ice on the moon/Courtesy of NASA
She said: “We have lots of models that give us different answers. We can’t know how much water there is.”
The next step, Noble said, was to send robotic rovers or landers to the lunar satellite to discover the exact amount of water.
Reporting by Asha Bajaj
#OntarioScienceCentre; #MarsFestival; #RoyalAstronomicalSocietyofCanada; TanyaHarrison; #RachelWard-Maxwell, #GlobalDustStorms, #Epicduststorms, #CuriosityRover
Toronto, Aug 2 (Canadian-Media): Mars Festival, organized by Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) was observed in Ontario Science Centre, at July 27 from 8pm -1am and again on July 28, 2018 from 8 pm to 1 am.
This event was celebrated due to Mars being closest to the earth that day since 2013. July’s night skies feature Mars opposition on the 27th, when Mars, Earth, and the Sun all line up with Earth directly in the middle.
For any planet, a year is the time it takes to make one orbit around the sun. Because Mars is farther away from the sun, it has to travel a greater distance than Earth. It takes Mars about twice as long as it does for Earth to make one circle around the sun…therefore, a year on Mars lasts twice as long.
The interesting feature about this event is that apart from the Planet Mars, RASC had organized several resources for the children as well as adults to have access to the knowledge about other planets as well
The event started at 8 pm on 27th July with large crowds of young and old gathered to observe through telescopes mounted on different spots outside the Ontario Science Centre main reception area to enable viewing different planets by children and adults.
A few volunteers from RASC had also gathered in front of a big table which displayed quizzes and questions about all each of the 9 planets. Children as well as the adults were fully occupied in this and the volunteers answered about any questions they had.
Other volunteers were posted at different spots where the telescope was to facilitate the eager viewer to view through the telescope and answer any question they had.
In other places children were busy with drawing and coloring and in still other places volunteers were helping children to perform some science experiments based on launching a rocket in space.
A talk by Dr Tanya Harrison had been organized to take place at about 10 pm.
Tanya Harrison holds a PhD in geology with specialization in Planetary Science and exploration from Western Ontario University and is from Arizona State University's Space Technology and Science Initiative and is on the science team of the Mars Opportunity rover.
In the meantime Rachel Ward-Maxwell, Researcher-Programmer in Astronomy and Space Sciences at the Ontario Science Centre was busy collecting questions from the audience for Harrison.
Harrison was introduced to the audience by Rachel and welcoming the audience, Harrison said that Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury.
It was very dark at that time but the audience were very curious to learn about this spectacular phenomenon and remained seated on the steps in front of the stage where Harrison began to speak.
She added that Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, with surface features resembling the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.
She also said due the difference in temperature between Mars and earth these polar ice form clouds which evaporate near the equator where the temperature is much higher than Mars and form water pellets which, causes a lot of problem for the robot in their functions.
There is also a lot of fog in Mars, which is visible during the early hours of the morning and as the temperature increases on earth the fog disappears.
Dust storms, continued Harrison, are very common in Mars and added that heat is the driving force behind dust storms on Mars same as on earth.
On Mars, there’s so much of this loose dust lying on the surface that when you have these upward winds, they take a lot of the dust with it. Dust particles in Mars are very fine and small, smaller than sand on Earth, and it hangs in the air, and takes a really long time to settle.
Global dust storms are being experience by Mars at present and the scientific term for these global dust storms in Mars is epic dust storms of Mars. Some times these Global dust storms change to regional storms taking up the size of whole of Ontario, to the size of North America, to the size of South America and also to the size of North America and South America, sometimes as big as third of planet and at other times covering entire planet.
Scientists usually has robots set up to take pictures. These robots need to be kept warm. But during dust storms nothing is visible to the robot.
NASA’s Curiosity Rover, continued Harrison, is nuclear powered and not affected by the dust. RASC has downloaded many pictures of Mars from Curiosity Rover.
Curiosity Rover, continued Harrison, can also take very good selfies.
Different types of clouds are also present on Mars
This speech was followed by the question and answer session between Harrison and audience.
Due to the cloudy weather that day the moon and Mars were clearly visible only around midnight.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#CanadianSpaceAgency, #DavidSaint-Jacques, #OntarioScienceCentre; #InternationalSpaceStation;
#NASA; #forceofgravity; #microgravity; #isolatedmedicalpractice;
Toronto, Jul 20 (Canadian-Media): Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut David Saint-Jacques was in Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Ontario on 19th July to talk to a full house about his journey to becoming an astronaut, his intensive training and his upcoming mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
While welcoming the audience Dr Maurice Bitran, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Ontario Science Centre said "mission of Ontario Science Centre is to inspire passion for the human adventure of discovery and I cannot think of more compelling human adventure of discovery than space exploration over the last 100 years or so."
He then said that next year it will be 50 years since humans landed on the moon in 1969 and added this event would be celebrated In Ontario Science Centre next year.
He also said that next year Ontario Science Centre which opened its door in 1969 would also complete 50 years and this event would be celebrated
Landing on the moon in 1969 was an incredible time, continued Bitran. It was live on TV around the world. Space exploration and has continued to have a strong influence in our lives in both profound and practical ways, giving us new understanding of solar system.
"The work force of man's space exploration research is International Space Station," said Bitran.
It is a huge lab or like a foot ball field 400 kilometeres and thrice as big as the auditorium where the presentation was being held.
Prior to becoming an astronaut, Saint-Jacques had graduated as an physics engineer, got a doctorate in astrophysics and finally studied medicine and worked as a family physician.
He said the reason for his studying Physics and astrophysics was to understand the universe and where do we come from. Then he said that he took up medicine in order to better understand the human body.
His motivation to become how an astronaut was not his first choice of study. He had been dreaming about space ever since a small child as seen in the following pictures.
It was only in 2009, continued Saint-Jacques, that he was selected by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and moved to Houston, United States to be one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class, out of which 10 had retired and only 4 remain presently as active members.
The creditable thing about this is that Saint-Jacques has a family with three kids.
Saint-Jacques supports the space program through his work with NASA and the CSA, and shares his passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with young Canadians.
After completion of basic training, he was first assigned to the Robotics Branch of the NASA Astronaut Office, then successively acted as Support Astronaut for International Space Station (ISS) Expedition.
Since graduation, he has been continuously training to maintain his skills as well as taking part in various geology, glaciology and other scientific expeditions.
The astronauts are trained to fly high and meet challenging situations. During the training the astronauts are attired in the manner shown in the picture below.
They have to be alert to face any situation that arises suddenly in space. There should be no scope of making any errors.
During his presentation he asked the audience, many of whom were school children, that if a wet cloth is squeezed where would the water fall. He actually showed the audience a wet towel being squeezed.
Some school children, applying the force of gravity replied that water will fall down. Some replied it would go up, others said sideways
But the astronaut asked the audience to see the phenomenon clearly and said the water did not fall anywhere. The water sticks to the hand of the person squeezing it.
He also told the audience about the atmosphere of microgravity prevailing in the space leading to bone loss and weakening of the muscles. and added once the astronauts are back from the space station they have to complete post-flight reconditioning to build bone and mass and gain muscle strength,
He then demonstrated to the audience through pictures that it takes only 8 minutes for the space shuttle to get to space station from the time it leaves the earth.
The reason behind is, explained the astronaut, is the sooner it reaches the space shuttle the better chances of its success; otherwise the force of gravity of the earth can cause the shuttle to go sideways and then fall down.
Since there is no pressure of micragravity pulling anything down, the speed of the rocket is adjusted in such a way that the rocket soon leaves the zone of gravity to the reach the environment of microgravity. Once the space shuttle reaches the space station it lands there.
Saint-Jacques told the audience that the landing station is three times the size of the auditorium in which they were seated. And once the astronauts open the doors of the space craft, they see a community of people there who had come there earlier and were learning to live there.
The three astronauts who were in the space shuttle which left for the space were completely equipped as shown below.
He told the audience that he would be leaving for the space station in December of 2018 and that he would remain there for six and a half months aboard the ISS where he will do science experiments, operate Canadarm2 and test new technologies.
When he was a young child, continued Saint-Jacques he had seen one of the photos of the Earth from the Moon.
This broadened his horizon and he began to view the universe in a totally different way and began to dream of seeing our home from space for himself.
Besides spending time taking pictures of the Earth, he said he will be sharing his experience with Canadians.
From space he will also engage with young people to make them part of the mission and inspire them to be interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
During his six months on board in the ISS, Saint-Jacques said that he would see 5,000 sunrises and sunsets.
Dr Bitran, in his concluding remarks, said that Ontario Science Centre has a strong collaboration with Canadian Space Agency and added after Saint-Jacques' return from space, Ontario Science Centre would eagerly look forward to listen to his experiences in space.
During the media scrum I had a chance to ask Saint-Jacques a few questions.
The first one question I asked him was what motivated him to become an astronaut since it was not his first choice.
To this he replied that ever since his childhood he was fascinated to explore space but did not think it would be possible for him. Then studying physics and astrophysics he developed sufficient knowledge of mass and how things move. His study of medicine further equipped him with knowledge of human bodies and how they worked.
The second question I asked was which scientific experiments would he be performing in the space and that if training was being imparted on this.
To this he replied that since he had studied medicine and had worked as a family physician he had been receiving training to perform medical science experiments in space to improve the lives of people while they are in space. His medical studies had given him additional advantage.
The third and the final question I asked him what mission does he wishes to accomplish during his expedition to space.
Saint-Jacques said that the main mission that he wishes to accomplish in the space was to improve the life of people on space. He had completed his family medicine residency at McGill University in Montreal, Canada (2007), where his training focused on first-line, isolated medical practice. His work as a medical doctor and the Co-chief of Medicine at Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq, Nunavik, an Inuit community on Hudson Bay was mostly in isolated medical practice.
His aim was to use this experience of practicing isolated medicine in space where the human bodies are very fragile and are easily susceptible to diseases. He had also been receiving training in this for last six months. He said that he would be using these experiences and training in space to accomplish his mission of improving life of people in space
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)