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NASA’s Chandra Finds Fastest Wind from Stellar-Mass Black Hole

RELEASE : 12-056 NASA’s Wind from Stellar-Mass Hole WASHINGTON — Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have clocked the fastest wind yet discovered blowing off a disk around a stellar-mass hole. This result has important implications for understanding how this type of hole behaves.

The record-breaking wind is moving about 20 million mph, or about 3 percent of the speed of light. This is nearly 10 times faster than had ever been seen from a stellar-mass black hole.

Stellar-mass black holes are born when extremely massive stars collapse. They typically weigh between five and 10 times the mass of the sun. The stellar-mass black hole powering this super wind is known as IGR J17091-3624, or IGR J17091 for short.

“This is like the cosmic equivalent of winds from a category five hurricane,” said Ashley King from the University of Michigan, lead author of the study published in the Feb. 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “We weren’t expecting to see such powerful winds from a black hole like this.”

The wind speed in IGR J17091 matches some of the fastest winds generated by supermassive black holes, objects millions or billions of times more massive.

“It’s a surprise this small black hole is able to muster the wind speeds we typically only see in the giant black holes,” said co-author Jon M. Miller, also from the University of Michigan. “In other words, this black hole is performing well above its weight class.”

Another unanticipated finding is that the wind, which comes from a disk of gas surrounding the black hole, may be carrying away more material than the black hole is capturing.

“Contrary to the popular perception of black holes pulling in all of the material that gets close, we estimate up to 95 percent of the matter in the disk around IGR J17091 is expelled by the wind,” King said.

Unlike winds from hurricanes on Earth, the wind from IGR J17091 is blowing in many different directions. This pattern also distinguishes it from a jet, where material flows in highly focused beams perpendicular to the disk, often at nearly the speed of light.

Simultaneous observations made with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Expanded Very Large Array showed a radio jet from the black hole was not present when the ultra-fast wind was seen, although a radio jet is seen at other times. This agrees with observations of other stellar-mass black holes, providing further evidence the production of winds can stifle jets.

The high speed for the wind was estimated from a spectrum made by Chandra in 2011. Ions emit and absorb distinct features in spectra, which allow scientists to monitor them and their behavior. A Chandra spectrum of iron ions made two months earlier showed no evidence of the high-speed wind, meaning the wind likely turns on and off over time.

Astronomers believe that magnetic fields in the disks of black holes are responsible for producing both winds and jets. The geometry of the magnetic fields and rate at which material falls towards the black hole must influence whether jets or winds are produced.

IGR J17091 is a binary system in which a sun-like star orbits the black hole. It is found in the bulge of the Milky Way galaxy, about 28,000 light years away from Earth.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra’s science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

For more information about Chandra, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/chandra
For an additional interactive image, podcast and video on the finding, visit: http://chandra.si.edu
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NASA Awards Engineering Support Services Contract

Sonja Alexander                              
202-358-1761
Headquarters, Washington
sonja.r.alexander@nasa.gov

Rob Wyman
757-864-6120/757-912-2973
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
rob.wyman@nasa.gov

RELEASE : C12-005 NASA Contract Hampton, Va. — NASA announced the selection of Analytical Mechanics Associates Inc. of Hampton to provide engineering to research and technology development for the Langley Research Center.

The Technology, Engineering and Aerospace Support 2 (TEAMS 2) contract was awarded after a competitive selection and will support multiple long-term, complex NASA missions. Contract support will include such services as support of scientific research; engineering design, analysis and development; and technology readiness level advancement of work associated with evolving NASA missions. TEAMS 2 also will implement technology programs, tests, operations, systems analysis and conceptual design; and provide program and project management support.

The contract performance period is five years, including options, and cannot exceed a total value of about $327.5 million.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

           http://www.nasa.gov

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NASA Co-Hosts Minority Males In STEM Symposium

Ann Marie Trotta
Headquarters, Washington                                        
202-358-1601
ann.marie.trotta@nasa.gov

Paul F. Hassen
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Washington
202-478-6073
phassen@aplu.org

MEDIA ADVISORY : M12-033 NASA Co-Hosts In STEM WASHINGTON — NASA’s Office of Education will join the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in hosting a Minority in STEM Symposium on Feb. 28. The day-long program will focus on ways to increase participation in science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields for students from under-represented racial and ethnic groups.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) is the scheduled keynote speaker. Woodrow Whitlow, NASA’s associate for , and Leland Melvin, NASA’s associate administrator for education, will participate along with Carl Wieman, associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Byron Pitts, a correspondent with CBS News.

Members of the media interested in attending the symposium should contact Ann Marie Trotta at 202-358-1601 or ann.marie.trotta@nasa.gov by 3 p.m. EST Feb. 27. The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. in NASA’s James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium located at 300 E Street S.W., in Washington. The morning portion of the event will also be streamed live on NASA’s UStream channel.

Symposium participants will review data from efforts to adapt university-based programs for reducing under-representation and broadening local success at encouraging minority males’ participation in STEM.

NASA’s education programs emphasize engagement with under-served and under-represented population groups in order to create an inclusive and diverse workforce for the future.

To view streaming video from NASA, visit:

http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv

To learn more about NASA education, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/education

To learn more about the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, visit:

http://www.aplu.org

To learn more about the American Association for the Advancement of Science, visit:

http://www.aaas.org

– end – text-only version of this release

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NASA Administrator Announces Senior Leadership Changes

RELEASE : 12-059 NASA WASHINGTON — NASA Charles Bolden announced Tuesday changes to his senior leadership team. Associate Chris Scolese was named director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Robert Lightfoot, director of the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will serve as acting associate . Both will assume their new responsibilities on March 5.

Scolese, who has been with NASA since 1987, succeeds Robert Strain, who announced his decision to return to private industry in January. Lightfoot joined NASA in 1989 as a test engineer and program manager at Marshall. Lightfoot’s deputy, Gene Goldman, will serve as Marshall’s acting center director.

“Both Chris and Robert are dedicated public servants who have a passion for NASA and exploration,” Bolden said. “We are fortunate to have such talented and experienced leaders who are capable of assuming these critical responsibilities during this important time.”

As associate administrator, Lightfoot will be the agency’s highest-ranking civil servant, responsible for oversight and integration of NASA’s broad efforts in human space flight, science and aeronautics. At Goddard, Scolese will lead a major U.S. laboratory for developing and operating unmanned scientific spacecraft. Goddard manages many of NASA’s Earth observation, astronomy and space physics missions. It was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight facility.

“I am excited with the depth and diversity of experiences Chris and Robert will bring to their new roles,” Bolden added. “I know the entire NASA family will wish them continued success as they begin these new challenges.”

Scolese served as the agency’s acting administrator in 2009 and was previously NASA’s chief engineer. As chief engineer, Scolese was responsible for ensuring that development efforts and operations within the agency were planned and conducted on a sound technical and management basis. He also served as deputy associate administrator in the Office of Space Science at Headquarters and previously served as deputy director of Goddard, Earth Orbiting Satellite program manager, and deputy director of flight programs and projects for Earth Science.

Lightfoot began his NASA career as a test engineer and manager for the space shuttle main engine technology test bed program. He then served in leadership positions at Marshall, Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss., and Headquarters. In 1998, Lightfoot was named deputy division chief of Marshall’s Propulsion Test Division. He joined Stennis in 1999 as chief of Propulsion Test Operations where he managed space shuttle main engine testing and multiple NASA, Department of Defense, and industry rocket engine test programs. From 2003 to 2005, he was assistant associate administrator for the Space Shuttle Program, Office of Space Flight, at Headquarters.

Both men are highly honored NASA leaders, earning the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive and agency medals for outstanding leadership.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov  – end – text-only version of this release

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NASA’s Chandra Finds Fastest Wind from Stellar-Mass Black Hole

RELEASE : 12-056 NASA’s Wind from Stellar-Mass Hole WASHINGTON — Astronomers using NASA’s X-ray Observatory have clocked the fastest wind yet discovered blowing off a disk around a stellar-mass black hole. This result has important implications for understanding how this type of black hole behaves.

The record-breaking wind is moving about 20 million mph, or about 3 percent of the speed of light. This is nearly 10 times faster than had ever been seen from a stellar-mass black hole.

Stellar-mass black holes are born when extremely massive stars collapse. They typically weigh between five and 10 times the mass of the sun. The stellar-mass black hole powering this super wind is known as IGR J17091-3624, or IGR J17091 for short.

“This is like the cosmic equivalent of winds from a category five hurricane,” said Ashley King from the University of Michigan, lead author of the study published in the Feb. 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “We weren’t expecting to see such powerful winds from a black hole like this.”

The wind speed in IGR J17091 matches some of the fastest winds generated by supermassive black holes, objects millions or billions of times more massive.

“It’s a surprise this small black hole is able to muster the wind speeds we typically only see in the giant black holes,” said co-author Jon M. Miller, also from the University of Michigan. “In other words, this black hole is performing well above its weight class.”

Another unanticipated finding is that the wind, which comes from a disk of gas surrounding the black hole, may be carrying away more material than the black hole is capturing.

“Contrary to the popular perception of black holes pulling in all of the material that gets close, we estimate up to 95 percent of the matter in the disk around IGR J17091 is expelled by the wind,” King said.

Unlike winds from hurricanes on Earth, the wind from IGR J17091 is blowing in many different directions. This pattern also distinguishes it from a jet, where material flows in highly focused beams perpendicular to the disk, often at nearly the speed of light.

Simultaneous observations made with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Expanded Very Large Array showed a radio jet from the black hole was not present when the ultra-fast wind was seen, although a radio jet is seen at other times. This agrees with observations of other stellar-mass black holes, providing further evidence the production of winds can stifle jets.

The high speed for the wind was estimated from a spectrum made by Chandra in 2011. Ions emit and absorb distinct features in spectra, which allow scientists to monitor them and their behavior. A Chandra spectrum of iron ions made two months earlier showed no evidence of the high-speed wind, meaning the wind likely turns on and off over time.

Astronomers believe that magnetic fields in the disks of black holes are responsible for producing both winds and jets. The geometry of the magnetic fields and rate at which material falls towards the black hole must influence whether jets or winds are produced.

IGR J17091 is a binary system in which a sun-like star orbits the black hole. It is found in the bulge of the Milky Way galaxy, about 28,000 light years away from Earth.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra’s science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

For more information about Chandra, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/chandra
For an additional interactive image, podcast and video on the finding, visit: http://chandra.si.edu
– end – text-only version of this release

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“Elementare” contatto ARISS con la ISS

printer friendly page con la ISS
23 Febbraio 2012
È previsto per venerdì 24 febbraio, da Bitonto, in Puglia, un nuovo collegamento ARISS con la Stazione Spaziale Internazionale. Gli scolari avranno l’opportunità di parlare con Donald R. Pettit, astronauta NASA attualmente a bordo della Stazione orbitante.
Sarà un pubblico giovanissimo quella che venerdì 24 febbraio avrà la possibilità di fare domande ad uno degli attuali residenti della Stazione Spaziale Internazionale (ISS).

Il collegamento vede infatti coinvolti gli scolari del 1^Circolo Didattico “N. Fornelli” di Bitonto, in provincia di Bari, di età compresa tra i 6 ed i 10 anni.

Dalla terra degli ulivi, alcuni tra gli oltre 800 studenti della scuola avranno la possibilità di parlare con Donald R. Pettit per soddisfare le curiosità sulla vita nello spazio.

Dalle sensazioni che si provano a fluttuare nello spazio, alle temperature esterne, dagli esperimenti attualmente in corso sulla ISS, alla riabilitazione una volta che si torna a Terra, saranno molte le domande di questi giovani interlocutori.  
 
Potete seguire il collegamento in diretta webstreaming collegandovi a questo link

Il collegamento è programmato per venerdì 24 febbraio alle ore 15h01.

 
Queste iniziative sono organizzate nell’ambito del programma educativo internazionale ARISS, (Amateur Radio on International Space Station), e coordinate, in Italia, dall’AMSAT Italia.

La pagina italiana dell’ESA vi terrà aggiornati su questo programma educativo annunciando i collegamenti radioamatoriali che di volta in volta verranno organizzati.

 

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NASA Mission Takes Stock of Earth’s Melting Land Ice

RELEASE : 12-048 NASA of Earth’s Land Ice WASHINGTON — In the first comprehensive satellite study of its kind, a University of Colorado at Boulder-led team used NASA data to calculate how much Earth’s land ice is adding to global sea level rise.

Using satellite measurements from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), the researchers measured ice loss in all of Earth’s land ice between 2003 and 2010, with particular emphasis on glaciers and ice caps outside of Greenland and Antarctica.

The total global ice mass lost from Greenland, Antarctica and Earth’s glaciers and ice caps during the study period was about 4.3 trillion tons (1,000 cubic miles), adding about 0.5 inches (12 millimeters) to global sea level. That’s enough ice to cover the United States 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) deep.

“Earth is losing a huge amount of ice to the ocean annually, and these new results will help us answer important questions in terms of both sea rise and how the planet’s cold regions are responding to global change,” said University of Colorado Boulder physics professor John Wahr, who helped lead the study. “The strength of GRACE is it sees all the mass in the system, even though its resolution is not high enough to allow us to determine separate contributions from each individual glacier.”

About a quarter of the average annual ice loss came from glaciers and ice caps outside of Greenland and Antarctica (roughly 148 billion tons, or 39 cubic miles). Ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica and their peripheral ice caps and glaciers averaged 385 billion tons (100 cubic miles) a year. Results of the study will be published online Feb. 8 in the journal Nature.

Traditional estimates of Earth’s ice caps and glaciers have been made using ground measurements from relatively few glaciers to infer what all the world’s unmonitored glaciers were doing. Only a few hundred of the roughly 200,000 glaciers worldwide have been monitored for longer than a decade.

One unexpected study result from GRACE was the estimated ice loss from high Asian mountain ranges like the Himalaya, the Pamir and the Tien Shan was only about 4 billion tons of ice annually. Some previous ground-based estimates of ice loss in these high Asian mountains have ranged up to 50 billion tons annually.

“The GRACE results in this region really were a surprise,” said Wahr, who also is a fellow at the University of Colorado-headquartered Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. “One possible explanation is that previous estimates were based on measurements taken primarily from some of the lower, more accessible glaciers in Asia and extrapolated to infer the behavior of higher glaciers. But unlike the lower glaciers, most of the high glaciers are located in very cold environments and require greater amounts of atmospheric warming before local temperatures rise enough to cause significant melting. This makes it difficult to use low-elevation, ground-based measurements to estimate results from the entire system.”

“This study that the world’s small glaciers and ice caps in places like Alaska, South America and the Himalayas contribute about .02 inches per year to sea level rise,” said Tom Wagner, cryosphere program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “While this is lower than previous estimates, it confirms that ice is being lost from around the globe, with just a few areas in precarious balance. The results sharpen our view of land ice melting, which poses the biggest, most threatening factor in future sea level rise.”

The twin GRACE satellites track in Earth’s gravity field by noting minute in gravitational pull caused by regional variations in Earth’s mass, which for periods of months to years is typically because of movements of water on Earth’s surface. It does this by measuring in the distance between its two identical spacecraft to one-hundredth the width of a human hair.

The GRACE spacecraft, developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and launched in 2002, are in the same orbit approximately 137 miles (220 kilometers) apart.

For more on GRACE, visit:

http://www.csr.utexas.edu/grace http://grace.jpl.nasa.gov
For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov – end – text-only version of this release

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NASA Co-Hosts Minority Males In STEM Symposium

Ann Marie Trotta
Headquarters, Washington                                        
202-358-1601
ann.marie.trotta@nasa.gov

Paul F. Hassen
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Washington
202-478-6073
phassen@aplu.org

MEDIA ADVISORY : M12-033 NASA Co-Hosts In STEM WASHINGTON — NASA’s Office of Education will join the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in hosting a Minority in STEM Symposium on Feb. 28. The day-long program will focus on ways to increase participation in science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields for students from under-represented racial and ethnic groups.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) is the scheduled keynote speaker. Woodrow Whitlow, NASA’s associate for , and Leland Melvin, NASA’s associate for education, will participate along with Carl Wieman, associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Byron Pitts, a correspondent with CBS News.

Members of the media interested in attending the symposium should contact Ann Marie Trotta at 202-358-1601 or ann.marie.trotta@nasa.gov by 3 p.m. EST Feb. 27. The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. in NASA’s James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium located at 300 E Street S.W., in Washington. The morning portion of the event will also be streamed live on NASA’s UStream channel.

Symposium participants will review data from efforts to adapt university-based programs for reducing under-representation and broadening local success at encouraging minority males’ participation in STEM.

NASA’s education programs emphasize engagement with under-served and under-represented population groups in order to create an inclusive and diverse workforce for the future.

To view streaming video from NASA, visit:

http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv

To learn more about NASA education, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/education

To learn more about the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, visit:

http://www.aplu.org

To learn more about the American Association for the Advancement of Science, visit:

http://www.aaas.org

– end – text-only version of this release

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NASA Contract Modification For Engineering And Support Services

Sonja Alexander                                   
202-358-1761
Headquarters, Washington
sonja.r.alexander@nasa.gov

Angela Storey
256-544-0034
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
angela.d.storey@nasa.gov

RELEASE : C12-004 NASA For And HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — NASA has signed its final contract option with InfoPro Corp. in Huntsville to continue technicians and trades support services for the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

The $45.7 million contract modification includes $4.1 million for services and a potential maximum order quantity value of $41.6 million for additional support services that are available through orders under the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity portion of the contract.

The contract covers a wide range of engineering technicians and other trade skills to perform testing, ground and space-based research, test operations, data analysis, machine and electrical shop operations, and other technical activities.

The one-year contract option begins on March 1, 2012. The performance based, cost-plus-award-fee, mission services contract with an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity portion has a potential mission services value of $56.9 million and a potential maximum order quantity value of $150.8 million, with the exercise of this final option period. The contract was originally awarded in March 2008.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

          http://www.nasa.gov

      – end – text-only version of this release

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NASA’s Chandra Finds Fastest Wind from Stellar-Mass Black Hole

RELEASE : 12-056 NASA’s Wind from Stellar-Mass Hole WASHINGTON — Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have clocked the fastest wind yet discovered blowing off a disk around a stellar-mass hole. This result has important implications for understanding how this type of hole behaves.

The record-breaking wind is moving about 20 million mph, or about 3 percent of the speed of light. This is nearly 10 times faster than had ever been seen from a stellar-mass black hole.

Stellar-mass black holes are born when extremely massive stars collapse. They typically weigh between five and 10 times the mass of the sun. The stellar-mass black hole powering this super wind is known as IGR J17091-3624, or IGR J17091 for short.

“This is like the cosmic equivalent of winds from a category five hurricane,” said Ashley King from the University of Michigan, lead author of the study published in the Feb. 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “We weren’t expecting to see such powerful winds from a black hole like this.”

The wind speed in IGR J17091 matches some of the fastest winds generated by supermassive black holes, objects millions or billions of times more massive.

“It’s a surprise this small black hole is able to muster the wind speeds we typically only see in the giant black holes,” said co-author Jon M. Miller, also from the University of Michigan. “In other words, this black hole is performing well above its weight class.”

Another unanticipated finding is that the wind, which comes from a disk of gas surrounding the black hole, may be carrying away more material than the black hole is capturing.

“Contrary to the popular perception of black holes pulling in all of the material that gets close, we estimate up to 95 percent of the matter in the disk around IGR J17091 is expelled by the wind,” King said.

Unlike winds from hurricanes on Earth, the wind from IGR J17091 is blowing in many different directions. This pattern also distinguishes it from a jet, where material flows in highly focused beams perpendicular to the disk, often at nearly the speed of light.

Simultaneous observations made with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Expanded Very Large Array showed a radio jet from the black hole was not present when the ultra-fast wind was seen, although a radio jet is seen at other times. This agrees with observations of other stellar-mass black holes, providing further evidence the production of winds can stifle jets.

The high speed for the wind was estimated from a spectrum made by Chandra in 2011. Ions emit and absorb distinct features in spectra, which allow scientists to monitor them and their behavior. A Chandra spectrum of iron ions made two months earlier showed no evidence of the high-speed wind, meaning the wind likely turns on and off over time.

Astronomers believe that magnetic fields in the disks of black holes are responsible for producing both winds and jets. The geometry of the magnetic fields and rate at which material falls towards the black hole must influence whether jets or winds are produced.

IGR J17091 is a binary system in which a sun-like star orbits the black hole. It is found in the bulge of the Milky Way galaxy, about 28,000 light years away from Earth.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra’s science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

For more information about Chandra, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/chandra
For an additional interactive image, podcast and video on the finding, visit: http://chandra.si.edu
– end – text-only version of this release

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