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    • By NASA
      2 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      This summer between June 17 and July 2, NASA will fly aircraft over Baltimore, Philadelphia, parts of Virginia, and California to collect data on air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.  
      The campaign supports the NASA Student Airborne Research Program for undergraduate interns.
      Two NASA aircraft, including the P-3 shown here, will be flying over Baltimore, Philadelphia, Virginia and California between June 17 and July 2, to collect data on air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. Credit: (NASA/ Zavaleta) The East Coast flights will take place from June 17-26. Researchers and students will fly multiple times each week in Dynamic Aviation’s King Air B200 aircraft at an altitude of 1,000 feet over Baltimore and Philadelphia as well as Norfolk, Hampton, Hopewell, and Richmond in Virginia. Meanwhile, a NASA P-3 aircraft based out of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia will fly over the same East Coast locations to collect different measurements.
      The West Coast flights will occur from June 29 – July 2. During the period, those same aircraft will conduct similar operations over Los Angeles, Imperial Valley, and Tulare Basin in California.
      The research aircraft will fly at lower altitudes than most commercial planes and will conduct maneuvers including vertical spirals from 1,000 to 10,000 feet, circling over power plants, landfills, and urban areas. They will also occasionally conduct “missed approaches” at local airports, where the aircraft will perform a low-level flyby over a runway to collect samples close to the surface.
      The aircraft carry instruments that will collect data on a range of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and methane, as well as air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, and ozone. One purpose of this campaign is to validate space-based measurements observed by the TEMPO (Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution) mission. Launched on a commercial satellite in April 2023, the TEMPO instrument provides hourly daytime measurements of air pollutants across the United States, northern Mexico, and southern Canada.
      “The goal is that this data we collect will feed into policy decisions that affect air quality and climate in the region,” said Glenn Wolfe, a research scientist and the principal investigator for the campaign at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
      The B-200 aircraft is owned by Dynamics Aviation, an aircraft company contracted by NASA.
      For more information about Student Airborne Research Program, visit:
      https://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/early-career-opportunities/student-airborne-research-program/
      By Tayler Gilmore
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
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      Last Updated Jun 14, 2024 EditorJennifer R. MarderContactJeremy EggersLocationGoddard Space Flight Center Related Terms
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    • By European Space Agency
      Production of Galileo Second Generation satellites advances at full speed after two independent Satellite Critical Design Review boards have confirmed that the satellite designs of the respective industries meet all mission and performance requirements. This achievement is another crucial milestone hit on time in the ambitious schedule to develop the first 12 satellites of the Galileo Second Generation fleet.
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    • By NASA
      2 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      Food for the Apollo astronauts was not always especially appealing, but thanks to the protocol NASA and Pillsbury came up with, known as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HAACP) system, it was always safe.Credit: NASA Countless NASA technologies turn up in our everyday lives, but one of the space agency’s most important contributions to modern society isn’t a technology at all – it’s the methodology that ensures the safety of the food we eat. Today the safety procedures and regulations for most of the food produced around the world are based on a system NASA created to guarantee safe food for Apollo astronauts journeying to the Moon. 

      For the Gemini missions, NASA and partner Pillsbury tested the food they were producing at the Manned Spacecraft Center, now Johnson Space Center in Houston, and destroyed entire batches when irregularities were found, a process similar to industry practices of the day. In response to agencywide guidelines from the Apollo Program Office aimed at ensuring the reliability of all critical systems, they altered that method for the Apollo missions. 

      They focused on identifying any points in the production process where hazards could be introduced, establishing procedures to eliminate or control each of those hazards, and then monitoring each of those points regularly. And they required extensive documentation of all this work. This became the foundation for the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. 
      The Apollo missions were humans’ longest and farthest voyages in space, so food for the astronauts had to be guaranteed safe for consumption hundreds of thousands of miles from any medical facility. Credit: NASA
      Howard Bauman, the microbiologist leading Pillsbury’s Apollo work, convinced his company to adopt the approach, and he became the leading advocate for its adoption across the food industry. That gradual process took decades, starting with the regulation of certain canned foods in the 1970s and culminating in the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, which mandated HACCP-like requirements across all food producers regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. By then, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was managing HACCP requirements for meat and poultry, while Canada and much of Europe had also put similar rules in place. 

      The standards also apply to any outside producers who want to export food into a country that requires HACCP, effectively spreading them across the globe.
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    • By NASA
      6 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      The specks in this scene were caused by charged particles from a solar storm hitting a camera aboard NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. Curiosity uses its navigation cameras to try and capture images of dust devils and wind gusts, like the one seen here.NASA/JPL-Caltech NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured black-and-white streaks and specks using one of its navigation cameras just as particles from a solar storm arrived on the Martian surface. These visual artifacts are caused by energetic particles hitting the camera’s image detector.NASA/JPL-Caltech In addition to producing auroras, a recent extreme storm provided more detail on how much radiation future astronauts could encounter on the Red Planet.
      Mars scientists have been anticipating epic solar storms ever since the Sun entered a period of peak activity earlier this year called solar maximum. Over the past month, NASA’s Mars rovers and orbiters have provided researchers with front-row seats to a series of solar flares and coronal mass ejections that have reached Mars — in some cases, even causing Martian auroras.
      This science bonanza has offered an unprecedented opportunity to study how such events unfold in deep space, as well as how much radiation exposure the first astronauts on Mars could encounter.
      The biggest event occurred on May 20 with a solar flare later estimated to be an X12 — X-class solar flares are the strongest of several types — based on data from the Solar Orbiter spacecraft, a joint mission between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA. The flare sent out X-rays and gamma rays toward the Red Planet, while a subsequent coronal mass ejection launched charged particles. Moving at the speed of light, the X-rays and gamma rays from the flare arrived first, while the charged particles trailed slightly behind, reaching Mars in just tens of minutes.
      The unfolding space weather was closely tracked by analysts at the Moon to Mars Space Weather Analysis Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, which flagged the possibility of incoming charged particles following the coronal mass ejection.
      If astronauts had been standing next to NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at the time, they would have received a radiation dose of 8,100 micrograys — equivalent to 30 chest X-rays. While not deadly, it was the biggest surge measured by Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector, or RAD, since the rover landed 12 years ago.
      To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video
      The purple color in this video shows auroras on Mars’ nightside as detected by the ultraviolet instrument aboard NASA’s MAVEN orbiter between May 14 and 20, 2024. The brighter the purple, the more auroras that were present.NASA/University of Colorado/LASP RAD’s data will help scientists plan for the highest level of radiation exposure that might be encountered by astronauts, who could use on the Martian landscape for protection.
      “Cliffsides or lava tubes would provide additional shielding for an astronaut from such an event. In Mars orbit or deep space, the dose rate would be significantly more,” said RAD’s principal investigator, Don Hassler of Southwest Research Institute’s Solar System Science and Exploration Division in Boulder, Colorado. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this active region on the Sun continues to erupt, meaning even more solar storms at both Earth and Mars over the coming weeks.”
      During the May 20 event, so much energy from the storm struck the surface that black-and-white images from Curiosity’s navigation cameras danced with “snow” — white streaks and specks caused by charged particles hitting the cameras.
      Similarly, the star camera NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter uses for orientation was inundated with energy from solar particles, momentarily going out. (Odyssey has other ways to orient itself, and recovered the camera within an hour.) Even with the brief lapse in its star camera, the orbiter collected vital data on X-rays, gamma rays, and charged particles using its High-Energy Neutron Detector.
      This wasn’t Odyssey’s first brush with a solar flare: In 2003, solar particles from a solar flare that was ultimately estimated to be an X45 fried Odyssey’s radiation detector, which was designed to measure such events.
      Learn how NASA’s MAVEN and the agency’s Curiosity rover will study solar flares and radiation at Mars during solar maximum – a period when the Sun is at peak activity. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/SDO/MSSS/University of Colorado Auroras Over Mars
      High above Curiosity, NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) orbiter captured another effect of the recent solar activity: glowing auroras over the planet. The way these auroras occur is different than those seen on Earth.
      Our home planet is shielded from charged particles by a robust magnetic field, which normally limits auroras to regions near the poles. (Solar maximum is the reason behind the recent auroras seen as far south as Alabama.) Mars lost its internally generated magnetic field in the ancient past, so there’s no protection from the barrage of energetic particles. When charged particles hit the Martian atmosphere, it results in auroras that engulf the entire planet.
      During solar events, the Sun releases a wide range of energetic particles. Only the most energetic can reach the surface to be measured by RAD. Slightly less energetic particles, those that cause auroras, are sensed by MAVEN’s Solar Energetic Particle instrument.
      Scientists can use that instrument’s data to rebuild a timeline of each minute as the solar particles screamed past, meticulously teasing apart how the event evolved.
      “This was the largest solar energetic particle event that MAVEN has ever seen,” said MAVEN Space Weather Lead, Christina Lee of the University of California, Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory. “There have been several solar events in past weeks, so we were seeing wave after wave of particles hitting Mars.”
      New Spacecraft to Mars
      The data coming in from NASA’s spacecraft won’t only help future planetary missions to the Red Planet. It’s contributing to a wealth of information being gathered by the agency’s other heliophysics missions, including Voyager, Parker Solar Probe, and the forthcoming ESCAPADE (Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers) mission.
      Targeting a late-2024 launch, ESCAPADE’s twin small satellites will orbit Mars and observe space weather from a unique dual perspective that is more detailed than what MAVEN can currently measure alone.
      More About the Missions
      Curiosity was built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California. JPL leads the mission on behalf of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
      MAVEN’s principal investigator is based at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder. LASP is also responsible for managing science operations and public outreach and communications. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the MAVEN mission. Lockheed Martin Space built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California provides navigation and Deep Space Network support. The MAVEN team is preparing to celebrate the spacecraft’s 10th year at Mars in September 2024.
      For more about these missions, visit:
      http://mars.nasa.gov/msl
      http://mars.nasa.gov/maven
      News Media Contacts
      Andrew Good
      Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
      818-393-2433
      andrew.c.good@jpl.nasa.gov
      Karen Fox / Charles Blue
      NASA Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600 / 202-802-5345
      karen.c.fox@nasa.gov / charles.e.blue@nasa.gov
      2024-080
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      Last Updated Jun 10, 2024 Related Terms
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    • By NASA
      2 min read
      Hubble Examines a Barred Spiral’s Light
      This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image features the barred spiral galaxy NGC 3059. ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Thilker This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image features the barred spiral galaxy NGC 3059, which lies about 57 million light-years from Earth. Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 collected the data in May 2024 as part of an observing program that studied a number of galaxies. All of the observations used the same range of filters: partially transparent materials that allow only very specific wavelengths of light to pass through.
      Astronomers use filters extensively in their observations. These filters may allow either extremely narrow or somewhat broader ranges of light through to the telescope’s instruments. Narrow-band filters are invaluable from a scientific perspective because they filter specific wavelengths of light that are associated with specific physical and chemical processes. For example, under certain conditions, hydrogen atoms emit red light with a wavelength value of 656.46 nanometers called H-alpha emission, or the ‘H-alpha line’. It is very useful to astronomers because its presence indicates certain physical processes and conditions and is often a tell-tale sign of newly forming stars.
      The data in this image used a narrow-band filter that allowed H-alpha emission through to the telescope’s detectors. The particular filter, called F657N (F for filter, N for narrow, and 657 for the wavelength in nanometers) or the H-alpha filter, lets through light very close to the 656.46 nanometer H-alpha line’s wavelength. It reveals pinkish star-forming regions in the galaxy.
      Data from five other wide-band filters also contributed to this image. As their name implies, wide-band filters allow a wider range of wavelengths through to Hubble’s instruments. They isolate sections of the electromagnetic spectrum allowing astronomers to explore different aspects of the object Hubble is looking at.
      In the case of this image, wide-band filters revealed the bluish patches that hold older stars. In addition, information from multiple filters provides image processors with the data to make beautiful and informative images such as this one.
      Text Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)

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      Last Updated Jun 07, 2024 Editor Andrea Gianopoulos Location NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Related Terms
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