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Sun's temperature rises as you get further away.
According to NASA's Cassini spacecraft, the temperature of Saturn's rings range from cold to really really cold. In this false-colour image, the red signifies 110 Kelvin (-261 degrees F), and the blue is 70 Kelvin (-333 degrees F). Cassini has shown that opaque regions of the rings are cooler, while transparent sections are warmer; this was predicted by scientists before the spacecraft arrived. The data was gathered using one of Cassini's 12 scientific instruments, the composite Infrared spectrometer.
A mystery that has puzzled Astronomers for years is: why does the Sun's temperature rise as you get further away from it? While the surface of the Sun might only be 6000 degrees Celsius, the corona which surrounds it can be 2 million degrees. The "wave heating" theory proposes that the Sun's magnetic field carries waves of heat from the surface of the Sun and dumps them into the corona. Another theory proposes that lines in the Sun's magnetic field get twisted up and eventually snap, releasing a tremendous amount of energy into the corona.
NASA's Opportunity rover has gone back to work after a two week delay because a pebble was jamming its rock abrasion tool. The pebble fell out of the tool on its own just before engineers tried reversing its motor to kick it out. Opportunity demonstrated that everything was working fine by cleaning off a rock inside "Endurance Crater" with its wire brush. Mars and Earth are approaching "conjunction", where the Sun lies directly in between our planets, so controllers will be unable to communicate with the rovers for several days.
NASA has awarded the first contracts for aerospace firms to begin preliminary concept studies for returning humans to the Moon, and then onto Mars. A total of $27 million USD was awarded to eleven companies to work on concepts for human lunar exploration and the crew exploration vehicle; there is also an option for an additional $27 million. The contracts will give the companies six months to work on their ideas, and then the additional six-month options may be exercised depending on the quality of the work.
The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of a supernova exploding in a relatively nearby galaxy. The star that became supernova SN 2004dj was probably 15 times the mass of our own Sun, but only 14 million years old - the larger the star, the shorter and more violent its life is. The star was located in a Galaxy called NGC 2403, which is only 11 million light-years from Earth, so this makes it the closest supernova seen in more than a decade. Astronomers will continue to study SN 2004dj for years to understand how certain kinds of stars explode, and what chemicals they're made up of.
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