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Maryland News

Beware: Children’s in-app purchases can be costly

This post was originally published by Ft. Meade SoundOff: News

September 4, 2014 in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland by clevine

Do you have a tablet, smartphone or other smart device? Do you also have young children? If you answered yes to these questions, you may have encountered a quandary faced by many parents: What to do when the two forces collide? Applications, or apps, on smart devices cover a wide range...

NASA Invites Public to Submit Messages for Asteroid Mission Time Capsule

This post was originally published by Goddard News

September 2, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

NASA is inviting the worldwide public to submit short messages and images on social media that could be placed in a time capsule aboard a spacecraft launching to an asteroid in 2016.

Happy Camp and July Fire Complexes in California

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 27, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

As of seven hours ago the Happy Camp Complex of fires had consumed 24,939 acres of land in Northern California, the July complex had consumed 35,530 as of eight hours ago.  Lightning strikes started seventeen fires on the Happy Camp Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest when a thunderstorm passed through the area on August 11, 2014. All but three of those fires are now 100 percent contained. The following is a list of contained fires and their size at containment: Delta, 150 acres; Sutcliffe, 27 acres; Jackson, 21 acres;Thompson, 17 acres; Tims, 13 acres; Ranch, 6 acres; Huckleberry, 5 acres; Bear, 4 acres; China, 3 acres; Mill, 2 acres; Noranda, 1 acre; Luther 1, 0.4 acre; El Capitan, 0.2 acre; Luther 2, 0.1 acre. Firefighters are still working to suppress the Frying Pan Fire (22,410 acres, 20 percent contained), Faulkstein Fire (2,194 acres, 0 percent contained), and Kemper Fire (185 acres, 85 percent contained).   Total personnel on this fire is 1,839.  Committed resources include 57 crews, 8 helicopters, 91 engines, 16 dozers, 23 water tenders. The July complex consists of the Whites, Leef, Rays and Man Fires. The Leef fire at 17 acres is 100% contained and in patrol status, the Rays fire is 100% contained at 21 acres.   The Whites Fire has increased fire activity in the current fire perimeter due to the hot, dry conditions.  Creeping and smouldering with single tree torching has been observed along with short fire runs which occurred with the favorable wind and weather conditions for fire spread.   Today (8/27) is the first day of a four day hot and dry period in the region. The Man Fire was subsumed into the July complex after its start with a lightning strike on August 12 and is estimated at 535 acres. Firefighters will use minimal impact suppression tactics to contain this fire. The Man Fire continued to burn actively in the Wooley Creek and Big Elk Fork drainage areas.  General growth of the fire is west southwest at a slow to moderate rate of spread. This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on August 26, 2014. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner with information from Inciweb

Eta Carinae: Our Neighboring Superstars

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 26, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

The Eta Carinae star system does not lack for superlatives. Not only does it contain one of the biggest and brightest stars in our galaxy, weighing at least 90 times the mass of the sun, it is also extremely volatile and is expected to have at least one supernova explosion in the future.   As one of the first objects observed by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory after its launch some 15 years ago, this double star system continues to reveal new clues about its nature through the X-rays it generates.   Astronomers reported extremely volatile behavior from Eta Carinae in the 19th century, when it became very bright for two decades, outshining nearly every star in the entire sky. This event became known as the “Great Eruption.” Data from modern telescopes reveal that Eta Carinae threw off about ten times the sun’s mass during that time. Surprisingly, the star survived this tumultuous expulsion of material, adding “extremely hardy” to its list of attributes.   Today, astronomers are trying to learn more about the two stars in the Eta Carinae system and how they interact with each other. The heavier of the two stars is quickly losing mass through  wind streaming away from its surface at over a million miles per hour. While not the giant purge of the Great Eruption, this star is still losing mass at a very high rate that will add up to the sun’s mass in about a millennium.    Though smaller than its partner, the companion star in Eta Carinae is also massive, weighing in at about 30 times the mass of the sun. It is losing matter at a rate that is about a hundred times lower than its partner, but still a prodigious weight loss compared to most other stars. The companion star beats the bigger star in wind speed, with its wind clocking in almost ten times faster.   When these two speedy and powerful winds collide, they form a bow shock – similar to the sonic boom from a supersonic airplane – that then heats the gas between the stars. The temperature of the gas reaches about ten million degrees, producing X-rays that Chandra detects.   The Chandra image of Eta Carinae shows low energy X-rays in red, medium energy X-rays in green, and high energy X-rays in blue. Most of the emission comes from low and high energy X-rays. The blue point source is generated by the colliding winds, and the diffuse blue emission is produced when the material that was purged during the Great Eruption reflects these X-rays. The low energy X-rays further out show where the winds from the two stars, or perhaps material from the Great Eruption, are striking surrounding material. This surrounding material might consist of gas that was ejected before the Great Eruption.       An interesting feature of the Eta Carinae system is that the two stars travel around each other along highly elliptical paths during their five-and-a-half-year long orbit. Depending on where each star is on its oval-shaped trajectory, the distance between the two stars changes by a factor of twenty. These oval-shaped trajectories give astronomers a chance to study what happens to the winds from these stars when they collide at different distances from one another.   Throughout most of the system's orbit, the X-rays are stronger at the apex, the region where the winds collide head-on. However, when the two stars are at their closest during their orbit (a point that astronomers call “periastron”), the X-ray emission dips unexpectedly.   To understand the cause of this dip, astronomers observed Eta Carinae with Chandra at periastron in early 2009. The results provided the first detailed picture of X-ray emission from the colliding winds in Eta Carinae. The study suggests that part of the reason for the dip at periastron is that X-rays from the apex are blocked by the dense wind from the more massive star in Eta Carinae, or perhaps by the surface of the star itself.    Another factor responsible for the X-ray dip is that the shock wave appears to be disrupted near periastron, possibly because of faster cooling of the gas due to increased density, and/or a decrease in the strength of the companion star’s wind because of extra ultraviolet radiation from the massive star reaching it. Researchers are hoping that Chandra observations of the latest periastron in August 2014 will help them determine the true explanation.   These results were published in the April 1, 2014 issue of The Astrophysical Journal and are available online. The first author of the paper is Kenji Hamaguchi of Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, and his co-authors are Michael Corcoran of Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC); Christopher Russell of University of Delaware in Newark, DE; A. Pollock from the European Space Agency in Madrid, Spain; Theodore Gull, Mairan Teodoro, and Thomas I. Madura from GSFC; Augusto Damineli from Universidade de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Julian Pittard from the University of Leeds in the UK.   NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra's science and flight operations. Image credit: NASA/CXC/GSFC/K.Hamaguchi, et al. › View large image › Chandra on Flickr

Redskins Salute JBA

This post was originally published by Joint Base Andrews - Joint Base Andrews

August 25, 2014 in Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland by clevine

The Washington Redskins football team practiced and signed autographs at Joint Base Andrews on August 22, 2014.

The event was part of a military appreciation initiative, Redskins Salute.

"We wanted to thank the service members," said Bruce Allen, Redskins' president and general manager. "A foundation of our team is to give back to the community and support the children of service members."

The team ran a 45 minute, walk-through practice at the turf field on JBA for an audience of service members, their families and the 11th Force Support Squadron Summer Day Camp.
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Malcolm Grow to close for Labor Day weekend

This post was originally published by Joint Base Andrews - Joint Base Andrews

August 25, 2014 in Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland by clevine

Malcolm Grow Medical Clinics and Surgery Center will be closed on Friday, Aug. 29 for an AFDW Family Day and again on Monday, Sept. 1, in observance of Labor Day.

There will be no scheduled appointments on these days. No pharmacy or laboratory services will be available.

Prescription refills requested before 12 p.m. on Aug. 28 will be available for pickup after 12 p.m. on Sept. 2. Prescription refills requested after 12 p.m. on Aug. 28 will be available for pickup on Sept. 3.
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Happy Camper and July Fire Complexes in California

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 25, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

The Happy Camp Complex of fires began as a lightning strike on August 12, 2014.  Currently the fire has consumed 22,670 acres and is 20% contained.   There are close to 2,000 personnel working on this fire at present.  It consists of many small fires and a number of large ones.  Most of the small fires have been contained and only account for about 100 acres.  An inversion layer settled over the fire area throughout the morning and early afternoon on August 24, keeping fire activity moderate. As the inversion lifted in the afternoon, fire activity continued to the south.  Fire growth will continue to the south. Growth potential is high due to extreme and difficult terrain. Backing fire, or fire spreading on level ground in the absence of wind, will continue on the south side of the fire just north of Doolittle Creek. The northeast portion of the fire will continue to China Gulch. The July Fire Complex consists of the Whites, Man, Leef, and Rays Fires. The Leef fire at 17 acres is 100% contained and in patrol status, the Rays fire is 100% contained at 21 acres.  The Whites Fire continued to spread south of the North Fork of the Salmon River in Whites Gulch. The fire had a steady spread along Snoozer Ridge, in Sawmill Gulch and southwest of Tanners Peak. Fire behavior consisted of backing and flanking in heavy timber.   The Man Fire has advanced southwest towards Elk Creek and will continue to back down in to the drainage.  Over 35,000 have been consumed in this fire complex which began with a lightning strike on August 3.  Almost 1500 personnel are working this fire complex and the complex is 49% contained. This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on August 23, 2014. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.  NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner with information from Inciweb

Redcoats marched through Andrews to Battle of Bladensburg

This post was originally published by Joint Base Andrews - Joint Base Andrews

August 22, 2014 in Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland by clevine

Echoes of battles past whisper through the landscape of many military installations. But, 200 years ago, elements of the British army marched through the hills and woods of what is now Joint Base Andrews.

The redcoats landed in Benedict, Maryland, under the command of Maj. Gen. Robert Ross in 1814 with the goal of sieging Washington's population of 8,000.

After landing, they marched through narrow paths, many of which have since been widened into roads and clearings for electrical transmission lines.
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Analyzing Snowfall Data for GPM

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 22, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

This summer, Jorel Torres compared ground snow measurements to satellite data from Global Precipitation Measurement mission as an intern at Goddard.

Hubble Sees a Silver Needle in the Sky

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 22, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

This stunning new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows part of the sky in the constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs). Although this region of the sky is not home to any stellar heavyweights, being mostly filled with stars of average brightness, it does contain five Messier objects and numerous intriguing galaxies — including NGC 5195, a small barred spiral galaxy considered to be one of the most beautiful galaxies visible, and its nearby interacting partner the Whirlpool Galaxy (heic0506a). The quirky Sunflower Galaxy is another notable galaxy in this constellation, and is one of the largest and brightest edge-on galaxies in our skies. Joining this host of characters is spiral galaxy NGC 4244, nicknamed the Silver Needle Galaxy, shown in this new image from Hubble. This galaxy spans some 65,000 light-years and lies around 13.5 million light-years away. It appears as a wafer-thin streak across the sky, with loosely wound spiral arms hidden from view as we observe the galaxy from the side. It is part of a group of galaxies known as the M94 Group.  Numerous bright clumps of gas can be seen scattered across its length, along with dark dust lanes surrounding the galaxy’s core. NGC 4244 also has a bright star cluster at its center. Although we can make out the galaxy’s bright central region and star-spattered arms, we cannot see any more intricate structure due to the galaxy’s position; from Earth, we see it stretched out as a flattened streak across the sky. A number of different observations were pieced together to form this mosaic, and gaps in Hubble’s coverage have been filled in using ground-based data. The Hubble observations were taken as part of the Galaxy Halos, Outer disks, Substructure, Thick disks and Star clusters (GHOSTS) survey, which is scanning nearby galaxies to explore how they and their stars formed to get a more complete view of the history of the Universe.   European Space Agency Credit: NASA & ESA, Acknowledgement: Roelof de Jong

Student Winners of OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Contest to Receive Scholarships

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 21, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

The Innovative Technology Partnerships Office at Goddard is pleased to announce educational scholarships for top-placing students in NASA's most recent OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Video Contest.

Spare Off-the-Shelf Instrument Continues Solar Output Data with Excellent Results

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 21, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

When the Total solar irradiance Calibration Transfer Experiment launched in November 2013, the solar science community was relieved a critical 36-year continuity of solar irradiance measurements was saved.

Electric Sparks May Alter Evolution of Lunar Soil

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 21, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

Severe solar storms could generate enough electric charge in the top layer of the lunar surface to crack moon dust, altering its evolution.

NASA Scientists Watching, Studying Arctic Changes This Summer

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 21, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

NASA scientists are watching the annual melting of the Arctic sea ice cap and leading field campaign to measure the impact of other climate-driven changes in the Arctic.

NASA Awards Program Analysis and Control Bridge III Contract

This post was originally published by Goddard News

August 21, 2014 in Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland by clevine

NASA has awarded the Program Analysis and Control (PAAC) III Bridge contract for support services to ASRC Research & Technology Solutions of Beltsville, Maryland.

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