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Welcome back to Earth
The Apollo 11 astronauts are retrieved from their capsule and welcomed back to Earth by President Richard Nixon. (2min 04sec file)
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Apollo 11 returns
Apollo 11 safely returns to Earth, making a parachute-assisted splashdown in the ocean. (3min 57sec file)
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Mission officials and scientists preview the flight of NASA's MESSENGER space probe to orbit the planet Mercury during this news conference. (41min 36sec file)
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Apollo 11 moonwalk
Armstrong and Aldrin gather lunar samples and conduct experiments during their moonwalk. (2min 27sec file)
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Moon landing explained
The Apollo 11 astronauts narrate footage of their historic landing on the moon and describe the technical details of the descent. (22min 02sec file)
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Leaving the moon
The Eagle lunar module returns to the orbiting command module and the Apollo 11 astronauts head back to Earth. (5min 33sec file)
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Nixon calls the moon
President Richard Nixon calls Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to congratulate the astronauts following their successful landing on the moon. (1min 29sec file)
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Anniversary celebration
The Apollo 11 astronauts and other dignitaries hold a special 35th anniversary celebration in Washington on July 20. Hear from Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins, Walter Cronkite, NASA Administrator O'Keefe and others. (76min 12sec file)
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Heading for landing
The "Eagle" lunar lander undocks from the "Columbia" command module in preparation for landing. (1min 21sec file)
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The Eagle has landed!
The Apollo 11 spacecraft "Eagle" lands on the moon 35 years ago, delivering Armstrong and Aldrin. (2min 04sec file)
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Walking on the moon
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step foot on the surface of the moon on July 20 1969, forever changing history. (11min 17sec file)
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Shuttle engine test
One of the liquid-fueled main engines that will power space shuttle Discovery on the return-to-flight mission next spring is test-fired at NASA's Stennis Space Center. (1min 56sec file)
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Stellar pair shot out from supernova birthplace
Posted: July 28, 2004

Astronomers studying data from the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and other telescopes have concluded that a binary pair of stars forming an energetic microquasar was blasted out of the cluster in which it was born by a supernova explosion some 1.7 million years ago. This is the first time that a fast-moving stellar pair has been tracked back to a specific star cluster.

The microquasar, circled in red, and stars of the cluster (yellow) in visible-light image. Green arrow indicates microquasar's motion in sky and yellow arrow indicates star cluster's motion. Red arrow indicates microquasar's motion relative to (away from) star cluster. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF
The scientists analyzed numerous observations of a microquasar called LSI +61 303, and concluded that it is moving away from a star cluster named IC 1805 at nearly 17 miles per second.

A microquasar is a pair of stars, one of which is either a dense neutron star or a black hole, in which material sucked from a "normal" star forms a rapidly-rotating disk around the denser object. The disk becomes so hot it emits X-rays, and also spits out "jets" of subatomic particles at nearly the speed of light.

"In this case, both the microquasar and the star cluster are about 7,500 light-years from Earth and the characteristics of the 'normal' star in the microquasar match those of the other stars in the cluster, so we feel confident that the microquasar was shot out from a birthplace in this cluster," said Felix Mirabel, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Astronomy and Space Physics of Argentina and French Atomic Energy Commission. Mirabel worked with Irapuan Rodrigues, of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and Qingzhong Liu of the Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing, China. The astronomers reported their results in the August 1 issue of the scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Many neutron stars have been found to be moving rapidly through the sky, leading scientists to conclude that the supernova explosions that produced them were asymmetric, giving a "kick" to the star. LSI +61 303's motion has carried it about 130 light-years from the cluster IC 1805. The cluster is in the constellation Cassiopeia.

LSI +61 303 contains, the astronomers say, either a black hole or a neutron star with twice the mass of the Sun, orbiting a normal star 14 times more massive than the Sun every 26.5 days. The supernova explosion that produced the black hole or neutron star blew away about twice the mass of the Sun.

The black hole or neutron star originally was much more massive than its companion. The scientists still are unsure about how massive it was. Some evidence, they say, indicates that it was formed only four or five million years ago and exploded a million or so years ago. In that case, the star would have been 60 or more times more massive than the Sun, and would have expelled some 90 percent of its initial mass before the supernova explosion.

On the other hand, they say, the star may have formed some 10 million years ago, in which case it would have been 15-20 times more massive than the Sun.

"Studying this system and hopefully others like it that may be found will help us to understand both the evolution of stars before they explode as supernovae and the physics of the supernova explosions themselves," Mirabel said.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.



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