Ganymede’s Aurorae Hint at an Ocean Ten Times Deeper than Earth’s

Lights in the Dark

Illustration of Ganymede's auroral ovals, the stability of which hint at a global underground ocean. Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI).Illustration of Ganymede’s auroral ovals, the stability of which hint at a global underground ocean. Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI).

It’s long been suspected that Jupiter’s giant moon Ganymede may harbor a subsurface ocean of liquid water beneath its icy yet hard-as-rock crust, and now some ingenious observations with the Hubble Space Telescope are making an even more convincing case for it!

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Ground-Based Radar Reveals the Surface of Venus

Lights in the Dark

Radar map of Venus' surface made from signals sent from Puerto Rico and received in West Virginia (NRAO)Radar map of Venus’ surface made from signals sent from Puerto Rico and received in West Virginia (Credits: B. Campbell, Smithsonian, et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF, Arecibo)

These days if you look toward the west after sunset you’ll see a bright star that’s the first to appear in the sky – except it’s not a star at all but our neighboring planet, Venus. Covered in a dense layer of thick clouds, Venus not only reflects a lot of sunlight but also keeps its surface well concealed from visible-light observations. But with the capabilities of powerful ground-based radar observatories, scientists have been able to make global maps of Venus from right here on Earth… no rockets necessary!

Read the rest of my article on Discovery News here.

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History Is Made Today As Dawn Arrives At Ceres

amazing

Lights in the Dark

Image of the 600-mile-wide Ceres captured by Dawn on March 1, 2015. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)Image of the 600-mile-wide Ceres captured by Dawn on March 1, 2015. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

It’s official – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has arrived at the dwarf planet Ceres! Today, March 6 2015, at 7:39 a.m. EST (12:39 UTC) Dawn was captured by Ceres’ gravity at a distance of 38,000 miles (61,155 km). Mission controllers at JPL received a signal from the spacecraft at 8:36 a.m. EST (13:36 UTC) that Dawn was healthy and thrusting with its ion engine, indicating Dawn had entered orbit as planned.

Illustration of Dawn's arrival (far left) and orbit at Ceres. (NASA/JPL)Illustration of Dawn’s arrival (far left) and orbit at Ceres. (NASA/JPL)

Over the next several weeks Dawn will move into a lower orbit around Ceres, making observations along the way.

Dawn is the first spacecraft to successfully enter orbit around two worlds* and the first to orbit a dwarf planet. Its first target was the asteroid Vesta, which it orbited from July 2011 to September 2012. Now at Ceres…

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Hello world!

Well since this is my first post, I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Shaina! I am currently a student at USF and I am pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Policy. I specifically made this blog as a go-to spot for sharing my thoughts on various issues dealing with the environment, politics, human rights, etc. I’m the type of person that reflects on my thoughts but rarely shares them so I figured this blog would help me express my concerns and what not.

I haven’t really planned out the specific issues I will talk about but here’s an idea:

-Keystone pipeline and similar projects

-Monsanto and GMO’s

-Endangered species

-Religious freedom

-Astronomy (because that is my minor and I love it)

-Weekly reflections on what I learn in my current courses

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