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Planetary RadioMarch 11, 2014

Exploring Black Holes and Supernovae With NuSTAR

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Special Guests
Fiona Harrison
Fiona Harrison

Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Caltech

It’s the first high energy X-ray telescope in space, and it is providing theory-shattering data along with stunning images of some of the universe’s most fascinating objects. Principal Investigator Fiona Harrison provides a tour. Casey Dreier has analysis of the just announced 2015 NASA budget plans. Bill Nye sees the inherent optimism of science in the verification of another 715 exoplanets. Mat Kaplan has a JPL gift store present for Bruce Betts in What’s Up!

Supernova remnant Cassiopeia A as viewed by NuSTAR

NASA / JPL-Caltech / CXC / SAO

Supernova remnant Cassiopeia A as viewed by NuSTAR
Cassiopeia A is the remnant of a star that blew up in a supernova event whose light reached Earth about 350 years ago, when it could have appeared to observers as a star that suddenly brightened. The remnant is located 11,000 light-years away from Earth. In this image, NuSTAR data, which show high-energy X-rays from radioactive material, are colored blue. Lower-energy X-rays from non-radioactive material, imaged previously with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, are shown in red, yellow and green. The red, yellow and green data were collected by Chandra at energies ranging from 1 to 7 kiloelectron volts (keV). The red color shows heated iron, and green represents heated silicon and magnesium. The yellow is what astronomers call continuum emission, and represents a range of X-ray energies. The titanium-44, shown in blue, was detected by NuSTAR at energies ranging between 68 and 78 keV.

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Trivia Contest

This week's prize is "Beyond Earth," the beautiful, letterpress 19"x25" poster from Chop Shop. See it at chopshopstore.com.

This week's question:

What was the first time astronauts flew in a spacecraft not designed to safely re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at http://planetary.org/radiocontest or write to us at planetaryradio@planetary.org no later than Tuesday, March 18, at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

What Curiosity rover instrument has an acronym name that when pronounced backwards gives you one of the things that instrument measures?

Answer:

The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What is the approximate range of elevations on Venus?

Answer:

The range of elevations on Venus is about 13 kilometers, though most of the planet is flatter than that.

Listen more: FY2014 NASA Budget, astronomy and astrophysics spacecraft, Planetary Radio, extrasolar planets, stars and galaxies, Bill Nye

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