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35 years ago: Apollo 17
Apollo's final lunar voyage is relived in this movie. The film depicts the highlights of Apollo 17's journey to Taurus-Littrow and looks to the future Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz and shuttle programs.
STS-122: Crew arrival
The space shuttle Atlantis astronauts arrive at the Kennedy Space Center for their countdown to launch.
STS-122: The mission
Atlantis' trip to the station will deliver the European Space Agency's Columbus science lab module.
STS-122: The programs
Managers from the shuttle, station and EVA programs discuss Atlantis' upcoming flight.
Three spacewalks are planned during Atlantis' STS-122 assembly mission. Lead spacewalk officer Anna Jarvis previews the EVAs.
EVA 1 summary
EVA 2 summary
EVA 3 summary
The Atlantis crew
The astronauts of Atlantis' STS-122 mission meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.
Harmony's big move
The station's new Harmony module is detached from the Unity hub and moved to its permanent location on the Destiny lab.
Delta 4-Heavy launch
The first operational Delta 4-Heavy rocket launches the final Defense Support Program missile warning satellite for the Air Force.
The European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory module moves to pad 39A and placed aboard shuttle Atlantis for launch.
To pad | Installed
Station port moved
The station crew uses the robot arm to detach the main shuttle docking port and mount it to the new Harmony module Nov. 12.
Atlantis rolls out
Space shuttle Atlantis rolls from the Vehicle Assembly Building to pad 39A for its December launch with the Columbus module.
Atlantis goes vertical
Atlantis is hoisted upright and maneuvered into position for attachment to the external tank and boosters.
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'Death Star' galaxy black hole fires at neighbor
NASA NEWS RELEASE
Posted: December 17, 2007
WASHINGTON - A powerful jet from a super massive black hole is blasting a nearby galaxy, according to new findings from NASA observatories. This never-before witnessed galactic violence may have a profound effect on planets in the jet's path and trigger a burst of star formation in its destructive wake.
Known as 3C321, the system contains two galaxies in orbit around each
other. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory show both galaxies
contain super massive black holes at their centers, but the larger
galaxy has a jet emanating from the vicinity of its black hole. The
smaller galaxy apparently has swung into the path of this jet.
This composite image shows the jet from a black hole at the center of a galaxy striking the edge of another galaxy, the first time such an interaction has been found. X-rays from Chandra (colored purple), optical and ultraviolet (UV) data from Hubble (red and orange), and radio emission from the Very Large Array (VLA) and MERLIN (blue) show how the jet from the main galaxy on the lower left is striking its companion galaxy to the upper right. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/D.Evans et al.; Optical/UV: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/VLA/CfA/D.Evans et al., STFC/JBO/MERLIN
This "death star" galaxy was discovered through the combined efforts
of both space and ground-based telescopes. NASA's Chandra X-ray
Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope were
part of the effort. The Very Large Array telescope, Socorro, N.M.,
and the Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN)
telescopes in the United Kingdom also were needed for the finding.
"We've seen many jets produced by black holes, but this is the first
time we've seen one punch into another galaxy like we're seeing
here," said Dan Evans, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center
for Astrophysics and leader of the study. "This jet could be causing
all sorts of problems for the smaller galaxy it is pummeling."
Jets from super massive black holes produce high amounts of radiation,
especially high-energy X-rays and gamma-rays, which can be lethal in
large quantities. The combined effects of this radiation and
particles traveling at almost the speed of light could severely
damage the atmospheres of planets lying in the path of the jet. For
example, protective layers of ozone in the upper atmosphere of
planets could be destroyed.
Jets produced by super massive black holes transport enormous amounts
of energy far from black holes and enable them to affect matter on
scales vastly larger than the size of the black hole. Learning more
about jets is a key goal for astrophysical research.
An artist's illustration of the system, showing the main galaxy and the companion galaxy. A jet of particles generated by a supermassive black hole at the center of the main galaxy is striking the companion galaxy. The jet is disrupted and deflected by this impact. The key features of this system are labeled in the final view. Credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss
"We see jets all over the universe, but we're still struggling to
understand some of their basic properties," said co-investigator
Martin Hardcastle of the University of Hertfordshire in the United
Kingdom. "This system of 3C321 gives us a chance to learn how they're
affected when they slam into something like a galaxy and what they do
The effect of the jet on the companion galaxy is likely to be
substantial, because the galaxies in 3C321 are extremely close at a
distance of only about 20,000 light years apart. They lie
approximately the same distance as Earth is from the center of the
Milky Way galaxy.
A bright spot in the Very Large Array and MERLIN images shows where
the jet has struck the side of the galaxy, dissipating some of the
jet's energy. The collision disrupted and deflected the jet.
Another unique aspect of the discovery in 3C321 is how relatively
short-lived this event is on a cosmic time scale. Features seen in
the Very Large Array and Chandra images indicate that the jet began
impacting the galaxy about one million years ago, a small fraction of
the system's lifetime. This means such an alignment is quite rare in
the nearby universe, making 3C321 an important opportunity to study
such a phenomenon.
It is possible the event is not all bad news for the galaxy being
struck by the jet. The massive influx of energy and radiation from
the jet could induce the formation of large numbers of stars and
planets after its initial wake of destruction is complete.
The results from Evans and his colleagues will appear in The
Astrophysical Journal. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center,
Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for the agency's
Science Mission Directorate. The Smithsonian Astrophysical
Observatory controls science and flight operations from the Chandra
X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass.