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Awesomeness Round-up – 3/7/11

Bald Eagle perched at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Bill Hrybyk

Meet “Harry,” a bald eagle recently spotted here at NASA Goddard! Geeked on Goddard has a few more photos, as well as some information about bald eagles in Maryland. While we’re usually talking about the space exploration and research going on here, it’s also worth mentioning that Goddard covers over a thousand acres of land, much of it in a natural state. We’ve got lots of wooded areas and a lake, plenty of space for all of the geese and deer (and, apparently, bald eagles!) that live here. Though we’re just a handful of miles from Washington, DC, it can be pretty peaceful to walk through the woods at Goddard.

Superfluid in Neutron Star's Core (NASA, Chandra, Hubble, 02/23/11)

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/xx; Optical: NASA/STScI; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Scientists working with data from Chandra have found something unusual in the core of a neutron star – their observations of the neutron star within supernova remnant Cassiopeia A show rapid cooling within the star that could indicate that it is made of superfluid and superconducting material. Because it happens to be in the right place at the right time, scientists can use Cas A to study this cooling and the related dynamics within the star. They can predict the star’s future behavior using a model, which shows that it should cool rapidly for a few more decades and then slow down.

The Sun is still busy, which in turn is keeping solar scientists busy! First, there was that massive solar prominence, which SDO captured with stunning detail. How big was it? Check out this image with the Earth added in for scale, and read Geeked on Goddard’s coverage for more!

So how BIG was that 'Monster Prominence'?


So what happens when the Sun gets busy? You can see some beautiful auroras! NASA space physicist James Spann was in Alaska to attend a scientific conference about auroras, and he captured this amazing image. I’m very jealous.

Geomagnetic Storm In Progress

Photo credit: NASA/GSFC/James Spann

Solar scientists didn’t get much of a break after the big solar flare! Next, SDO captured this awesome video of a lunar transit, where the Moon passed between the spacecraft and the Sun.

But at least these busy scientists are getting a little glory – a crew from a NOVA/National Geographic documentary came to Goddard last week to talk to them about solar science. We’ll let you know when that documentary is coming out once we have more info (sounds like it’s currently scheduled for release this fall). Here’s some of the folks from our Heliophysics Science Division pointing out activity on the Sun.

NOVA Visits Goddard

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Pat Izzo

We were really blown away by this full-length launch footage of the recent STS-133 launch. Sure, Maggie’s shots from a public viewing area were pretty exciting… but how about this view from cameras mounted on the solid-fuel rocket boosters? It’s a view you can’t get anywhere else… and one you wouldn’t want to experience firsthand. Don’t be shocked when the silent video suddenly turns noisy around 14:50.

I resisted the urge to pull out my favorite image of Optimus Prime for this announcement – the winners of the Spinoff Video Contest have been announced! Check out the contest website for all of the info, but here are the two top prize-winners!

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