Super Blue Blood Moon Outreach

February 12, 2018


With January providing a rare super blue blood moon eclipse event, a SESDA 4 outreach coordinator made full use of the opportunity to share lunar science with a very curious public. Activities she used for public engagement included news features on Twitter with a twitter feed interaction between @NASAEarth and @NASAMoon and a moderated Facebook Live event which reached 828,100 individuals. Of special note was a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on January 29 featuring Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) scientists which made the home page of Reddit and generated over 1,640 comments.

Heliophysics Highlights from the American Geophysical Union Meeting

February 1, 2018


The SESDA Heliophysics group was involved in numerous paper and poster presentations at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in New Orleans Louisiana in December 2017. The meeting was marked by a keynote speech by veteran news anchor Dan Rather. The group’s presentations spanned a diverse range of topics that included: highlights of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse across America which was the most viewed eclipse in history; 3D visualization of the Sun using observations from the upcoming Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter missions; a community-developed open-source Python software library (SunPy) for analyzing solar data; the novel detection of quasi-periodic pulsations in the Earth’s ionosphere that are synchronized with solar activity; and anticipated results from the FOXSI SMEX mission that combines state-of-the-art grazing-incidence focusing optics with pixilated solid-state detectors to provide direct imaging of hard X-rays in solar flares.

SESDA Science Writers Publicize New Results from OCO-2

January 12, 2018


SESDA science writers developed and published a feature story that provides an overview of how high-resolution satellite data from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 are revealing the subtle ways that carbon links everything on Earth – the ocean, land, atmosphere, terrestrial ecosystems and human activities. Scientists using the first 2 1/2 years of OCO-2 data have published a special collection of five papers in the journal Science that demonstrates the breadth of this research. In addition to showing how drought and heat in tropical forests affected global carbon dioxide levels during the 2015-16 El Niño, other results from these papers focus on ocean carbon release and absorption, urban emissions and a new way to study photosynthesis. The image shows variations in CO2 over LA and the nearby desert. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Google Earth

SESDA Team Member Wins Award

December 19, 2017


Michelle Smith, ADNET’s lead communications specialist for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES)-R team, was a recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce 2017 Outstanding Support and Employee of the Year award for “dedication and creativity in driving public interest in the mission and supporting media engagement to ensure that the public is well informed of the benefits of GOES-R.” She was also a recent recipient of the prestigious Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award for Outreach.

WMAP Team Wins Breakthrough Prize

December 7, 2017


On December 3, 2017, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) science team was awarded the 2018 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics (https://breakthroughprize.org/Laureates/1/L3809). The WMAP team, led by Dr. Charles Bennett of Johns Hopkins University, was an international team of 27 scientists and includes the following current or former ADNET employees: Michael Greason, Robert S. Hill, Michele Limon, Nils Odegard and Janet Weiland.

WMAP launched on June 30, 2001. Over the course of its nine year mission, it mapped the residual radiation emitted 375,000 years after the Big Bang across the entire sky. The science team used this information to measure the age (13.77 billion years), composition (4.6% atoms, 24% dark matter, 71.4% dark energy) and shape (flat) of the universe. Further information can be found at https://wmap.gsfc.nasa.gov/

The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017

August 28, 2017


Over the last three years, SESDA staff comprising the NASA Heliophysics Education Consortium (HEC) has been planning and designing the largest education event that NASA has ever attempted – the August 21st, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Staff scientists, computer system professionals, web developers, education technology specialists, and educators successfully brought the event to fruition in Carbondale, IL for a weekend of eclipse programs and celebrations at Southern Illinois University culminating with a 4 hour NASA EDGE webcast. SESDA staff coordinated the efforts of over 100 NASA and external groups, 300 Subject Matter Experts, and 94 official NASA eclipse sites around the country. Preliminary results indicate over five billion web hits and 200 TB of downloaded data..

Early Movies of Cassini’s First Dive

May 16, 2017

Still from Cassini’s ‘Porthole’ Movie of Saturn


In preparation for its grand finale plunge into Saturn in mid-September, 2017, the Cassini spacecraft has begun a series of orbits which bring it to within 5,000 miles of the planet’s cloud tops. Its new trajectory allows for the collection of exceptionally high resolution science data that hasn’t been possible since Cassini was first inserted into orbit in 2004. In particular, several movies taken April 26 have been created by the Cassini imaging team of the first, low altitude dive showing the north pole’s hexagonal-shaped jet stream and the spacecraft’s path along the planet’s surface. Future passes will include science and engineering data from the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) using instrument command sequences created by Team ADNET/SESDA instrument operators and programmers.

SESDA Team Supports Successful Twin Rocket Launches

March 20, 2017

SESDA Team Supports Successful Twin Rocket Launches


SESDA personnel supported the successful launch of twin NASA sounding rockets from the Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks, Alaska on March 2, 2017 into a strong auroral arc. The purpose of this rocket campaign is to study the driving conditions of neutral jets that flow in concert with auroral arcs. SESDA Engineers lead the design and fabrication of a new wire boom system that measures the electric field. This new wire boom system performed flawlessly. SESDA scientists will be heavily involved in the subsequent data analysis which promises to advance the understanding of the coupling between the upper atmosphere and the aurora.

Helioviewer Team Wins Award

January 30, 2017


The SESDA 3 Helioviewer team won an award for Best Graphic Design at the Sciences and Exploration Directorate 2017 Poster Party. The team’s poster highlighed major new features of the Helioviewer project, including sophisticated tools which enable scientists and members of the public to explore and make movies of data from multiple solar and heliospheric instruments.

Earth Sciences Monitoring Ozone Hole

October 28, 2016

Ozone Hole Monitoring 2016
The hole in Earth’s ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September grew to about 8.9 million square miles in 2016 before starting to recover, according to scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who monitor the annual phenomenon. “This year we saw an ozone hole that was just below average size,” said Paul A. Newman, chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “What we’re seeing is consistent with our expectation and our understanding of ozone depletion chemistry and stratospheric weather.” At its peak on Sept. 28, 2016, the ozone hole extended across an area nearly three times the size of the continental United States. The average area of the hole observed since 1991 has been roughly 10 million square miles. Team ADNET supports these studies at GSFC through science data analysis, processing of data from EOS Aura and Suomi NPP spacecraft, and through outreach publicizing science results. Excerpted from: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/Goddard/2016/antarctic-ozone-hole-attains-moderate-size/