Astronomy (General/Chat)

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • What Will Happen When Betelgeuse Explodes?

    03/23/2017 5:44:02 AM PDT · by C19fan · 51 replies
    Forbes ^ | March 22, 2017 | Ethan Siegel
    Every star will someday run out of fuel in its core, bringing an end to its run as natural source of nuclear fusion in the Universe. While stars like our Sun will fuse hydrogen into helium and then -- swelling into a red giant -- helium into carbon, there are other, more massive stars which can achieve hot enough temperatures to further fuse carbon into even heavier elements. Under those intense conditions, the star will swell into a red supergiant, destined for an eventual supernova after around 100,000 years or so. And the brightest red supergiant in our entire night...
  • Alien mothership? HUGE circular shadow floats past ISS in remarkable NASA footage

    The bizarre footage shows part of the space station looking out onto a black nothingness. For no apparent reason, the dark outlook begins to get lighter as some sort of circular object floats past. It continues to get lighter and lighter as the shadow is lifted. In his caption to the video, he pointed out he wasn’t for certain saying it was a “huge mothership or any sort of alien spacecraft” but that it “certainly looks unusual”. Alien enthusiast Streetcap1 posted the footage to his YouTube channel on Saturday (March 19). As he watched the mysterious shape move past, he...
  • How Did Uranus Get its Name?

    03/20/2017 5:03:02 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 74 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 20 Mar , 2017 | Fraser Cain
    Consider the discovery of Uranus. While this planet had been viewed on many occasions by astronomers in the past, it was only with the birth of modern astronomy that its true nature came to be understood. And with William Herschel‘s discovery in the 18th century, the planet would come to be officially named and added to the list of known Solar Planets. The first recorded instance of Uranus being spotted in the night sky is believed to date back to the 2nd century [sic] BCE. At this time, Hipparchos – the Greek astronomer, mathematician and founder of trigonometry – apparently...
  • Solar system could have over 100 planets with new criteria

    03/19/2017 3:37:35 PM PDT · by JimSEA · 62 replies
    Solar system could have over 100 planets with new criteria Posted on March 19, 2017 by Kathy Fey Solar System A new classification system for what may be considered a planet would result in over 100 planets occupying our solar system. 178 SHARES ShareTweetGoogleReddit Our solar system could contain over 100 planets if a new classification system is approved. Tech Times explains that the definition of a planet was last changed by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2006 when the new criteria famously demoted Pluto from the rank of a planet to dwarf planet and Kuiper Belt Object. Space...
  • Goodbye, Mimas! Saturn Moon Stuns in Cassini's Final Photo Shoot

    03/17/2017 7:17:37 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 35 replies
    space.com ^ | March 15, 2017 03:00pm ET | Sarah Lewin, Staff Writer
    Cassini flew just 25,620 miles (41,230 kilometers) from the pockmarked moon Jan. 30, on the spacecraft's seventh and final flyby of the moon. Due to a massive crater on one side, Mimas is known as the "Death Star" moon — but this time, that crater is out of view. (Another recent Cassini photo, from a November flyby, highlights the giant Herschel crater.) During the flyby, Cassini captured 10 images from about 28,000 miles (45,000 km) away that were combined into a mosaic. More than half the moon was lit only by reflected light from Saturn — one image has that...
  • Astronomers Just Found a Star Orbiting a Black Hole at 1 Percent the Speed of Light

    03/16/2017 10:49:42 AM PDT · by C19fan · 46 replies
    Science Alert ^ | March 15, 2017 | Mike McRae
    Astronomers have just spotted a star whizzing around a vast black hole at about 2.5 times the distance between Earth and the Moon, and it takes only half an hour to complete one orbit. To put that into perspective, it takes roughly 28 days for our Moon to do a single lap around our relatively tiny planet at speeds of 3,683 kilometres (2,288 miles) per hour, meaning this star is moving at some mind-boggling, break-neck speeds.
  • Russia Recruiting For Its Moon Bound Cosmonauts

    03/15/2017 6:28:24 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 15 Mar , 2017 | Matt Williams
    Roscosmos hopes to expand its reach further, with missions planned to the Moon and even Mars. Towards this end, on Tuesday, March 14th, the agency announced that it is conducting a recruitment drive for new cosmonauts. All are welcome, the agency stressed, to apply to become the next-generation of space explorers (provided they meet the criteria). And if all goes as planned, a few lucky applicants will be the first members of the Russian space program to “fly to the Moon.” Understandably, Roscosmos is hoping to jump start its space exploration program again and recapture the momentum it enjoyed during...
  • State Ordered to Provide Disabled Inmate with Motorized Wheelchair

    03/15/2017 5:01:39 PM PDT · by Behind Liberal Lines · 12 replies
    New York Law Journal ^ | March 15, 2017 | Joel Stashenko
    ALBANY - Denying an inmate a motorized wheelchair is discriminatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, a federal judge has ruled. Northern District Judge Mae D'Agostino found that the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision...failed to show that there were such safety risks in giving Nathaniel Wright the electric wheelchair that they outweighed his right to have the device.... Wright, 55, will complete a five-year sentence from Monroe County for first-degree sexual abuse next month.
  • APOD: The Cone Nebula from Hubble

    03/15/2017 8:19:34 AM PDT · by Purdue77 · 4 replies
    Astronomy Picture of the Day ^ | 15 March 2017 | Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA
    Explanation: Stars are forming in the gigantic dust pillar called the Cone Nebula. Cones, pillars, and majestic flowing shapes abound in stellar nurseries where natal clouds of gas and dust are buffeted by energetic winds from newborn stars. The Cone Nebula, a well-known example, lies within the bright galactic star-forming region NGC 2264. The Cone was captured in unprecedented detail in this close-up composite of several observations from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. While the Cone Nebula, about 2,500 light-years away in Monoceros, is around 7 light-years long, the region pictured here surrounding the cone's blunted head is a mere...
  • Belgian Astronomers Named Newly-Found Planetary System After Their Favorite Beer

    03/14/2017 8:08:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 26 replies
    Tech Times ^ | 14 March 2017, 7:22 am EDT | Amy Gordon
    A crew of five astronomers from Belgium have discovered an exceptional planetary system and surprisingly it has got the name of their favorite beer. The planetary system has been christened TRAPPIST-1 by the astronomers after The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope or TRAPPIST. It is an arrangement of seven planets just 40 light-years away, surrounding a dwarf star. The sizes of the planets are almost similar to that of the Earth. Three of the seven planets are in the liveable area of the star to ensure that they can reinforce liquid water in the external zone and support life....
  • Taking A Dip In The Jury Pool

    03/14/2017 10:40:20 AM PDT · by blueunicorn6 · 70 replies
    Personal Experience | 3/14/2017 | blueunicorn6
    I recently had the opportunity to fulfill my civic duty. I gave Al Franken an Atomic Wedgie. No.....just kidding. Though I do think that every American should pull Al Franken's shorts over his head. I was called for jury duty. They sent me an engraved invitation with a veiled threat to kick my donkey if I didn't show up at the appointed time. The invitation said to wear "appropriate clothing", and I was going to the jury pool, so I tried to check in wearing my speedo and flip flops. Turns out there's some kind of dress code to try...
  • NASA just found an orbiter that’s been missing around the moon for 8 years

    03/13/2017 1:00:09 PM PDT · by ColdOne · 18 replies
    WaPo ^ | 3/13/17 | Sarah Kaplan
    No one had heard from Chandrayaan-1 since Aug. 29, 2009. That's when the pioneering moon orbiter — the first lunar probe ever launched by the Indian Space Research Organization — abruptly went silent just 312 days into what was supposed to be a two-year mission. The orbiter has been missing ever since. It's no bigger than a refrigerator and difficult for Earth-based telescopes to discern given the moon's nighttime glow, making the craft hard to track down. Plus, the moon's lopsided topography — riddled with mascons, or areas of dense material with higher-than-average gravitational pull — makes satellites' orbits incredibly...
  • A strength test for the strong force

    03/12/2017 6:55:15 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 7 replies
    Symmetry Magazine ^ | 10 Mar, 2017 | Sarah Charley
    A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication New research could tell us about particle interactions in the early universe and even hint at new physics. Much of the matter in the universe is made up of tiny particles called quarks. Normally it’s impossible to see a quark on its own because they are always bound tightly together in groups. Quarks only separate in extreme conditions, such as immediately after the Big Bang or in the center of stars or during high-energy particle collisions generated in particle colliders. Scientists at Louisiana Tech University are working on a study of quarks and the force that...
  • Earth’s Twisted Sister: How Will We Reveal Venus’ Secrets?

    03/10/2017 8:51:17 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 20 replies
    universetoday ^ | 10 Mar , 2017 | Evan Gough
    Near-Term goals for the exploration of Venus include improved remote-sensing from orbital probes. This will tell us more about the gravity and topography of Venus. Improved radar imaging and infrared imaging will fill in more blanks. The team also promoted the idea of a sustained aerial platform, a deep probe, and a short duration lander. Multiple probes/dropsondes are also part of the plan. Dropsondes are small devices that are released into the atmosphere to measure winds, temperature, and humidity. They’re used on Earth to understand the weather, and extreme phenomena like hurricanes, and can fulfill the same purpose at Venus....
  • Hubble solves the mystery bulge at the center of the Milky Way

    03/10/2017 8:25:30 AM PST · by MtnClimber · 16 replies
    Astronomy Magazine ^ | 9 Mar, 2017 | Alison Klesman
    The Milky Way appears as a relatively flat structure when viewed along its plane in visible light. Gamma-ray emission, however, paints a different picture: two huge structures billowing outward from the galaxy’s bulge like an enormous hourglass. Named the Fermi Bubbles, these structures are the result of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole gorging itself on interstellar gas in the past. Using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), astronomers have now determined just when these structured formed. A team of astronomers led by Rongmon Bordoloi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has used distant quasars to trace the structure and motion...
  • It's a ravioli! It's a UFO! It's ... a moon

    03/10/2017 7:52:46 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    NASA on Thursday released pictures of Pan, one of Saturn's many moons, and its distinctive shape is drawing comparisons to flying saucers and stuffed pasta. The images of the moon come courtesy of NASA's Cassini spacecraft, and reveal the UFO-like form of the tiny satellite, which has an average radius of just 8.8 miles. Cassini's Twitter account tweeted a gif showing the raw images. ... According to NASA's website, Pan's strange shape comes from what is called an equatorial ridge, a characteristic it shares with one of its sister moons, Atlas. The ridge has formed over the course of Pan's...
  • India's Chandrayaan-1 lost since 2009 found orbiting moon [NASA JPL New Technique]

    03/10/2017 6:31:13 AM PST · by Red Badger · 9 replies
    03-10-2017 | Staff
    Considered lost since 2009 when radio contact with it was lost, India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft has been found orbiting the moon. The spacecraft has been found by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Earlier, JPL's calculations indicated that Chandrayaan-1 was circling some 200 kilometres above the lunar surface, but it was generally considered "lost." Chandrayaan-1 was India's first mission to the moon, was launched successfully on October 22, 2008 from Sriharikota. ISRO says the "satellite made more than 3400 orbits around the moon and the mission was concluded when the communication with the spacecraft was lost on August 29,...
  • Here's Our Best Look Yet at Saturn's 'UFO' Moon (Moon's name: Pan)

    03/10/2017 1:05:37 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 12 replies
    National Geographic ^ | 3/9/17 | Nadia Drake
    Here's Our Best Look Yet at Saturn's 'UFO' Moon Adorned with a thin band of icy ring particles, the small moon Pan inspires comparisons to alien spacecraft, walnuts, and even ravioli. View Images One of Cassini's new views of Saturn's moon Pan. Photograph by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute By Nadia Drake PUBLISHED March 9, 2017 There’s a tiny “flying saucer” orbiting deep within Saturn’s rings, and a NASA probe has just gotten its most impressive look yet at the strange object. The saucer is actually a little moon called Pan, and NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured its distinctive shape on March 7...
  • Planetary scientists are turning up volcanoes everywhere they look

    03/07/2017 8:33:44 AM PST · by MtnClimber · 12 replies
    Astronomy Magazine ^ | 6 Mar, 2017 | Stephanie Margaret Bucklin
    Our closest planetary neighbor shares a surprising feature with Earth: volcanoes. A new study, published February 1st in the journal Science Advances, revealed interesting new details about the volcanic history of Mars. Thomas Lapen, first author of the paper and Professor of Geology at the University of Houston, told Astronomy that their analysis of Martian meteorites showed that volcanic activity on Mars has been ongoing since at least 2.4 to 0.15 billion years ago—and likely continues today. Given that the meteorites Lapen and his group studied came from a single ejection site on Mars, they reveal over 2 billion years...
  • Towards A New Understanding Of Dark Matter

    03/07/2017 7:29:15 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 6 Mar , 2017 | Evan Gough
    Dark matter remains largely mysterious, but astrophysicists keep trying to crack open that mystery. Last year’s discovery of gravity waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) may have opened up a new window into the dark matter mystery. Enter what are known as ‘primordial black holes.’ ... Unlike stellar black holes, primordial black holes originated in high density fluctuations of matter during the first moments of the Universe. They can be much larger, or smaller, than stellar black holes. PBHs could be as small as asteroids or as large as 30 solar masses, even larger. They could also...
  • Why Georges Lemaître Should Be as Famous as Einstein

    03/07/2017 6:01:33 AM PST · by C19fan · 11 replies
    Real Clear Science ^ | March 7, 2017 | Ross Pomeroy
    YOUNG STUDENTS lucky enough to benefit from a science education will likely recognize Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, or Gregor Mendel. But ask them about Georges Lemaître and they'd probably be stumped. Indeed, the man who first proposed that the universe is expanding and formulated the theory of the Big Bang is scarcely recognized by Google. Search for "famous scientists" and scroll through the horizontal list that pops up. Lemaître is nowhere to be seen.
  • Asteroid passed unusually close to Earth last week

    03/05/2017 8:03:05 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    thespacereporter.com ^ | March 5, 2017 | Laurel Kornfeld
    Less than 10 feet across, asteroid 2017 EA made its closest approach at 9:04 AM EST (14:04 Universal Time) last Thursday, coming 20 times closer than the Moon, just 9,000 miles (14,500 km) over the eastern Pacific Ocean, according to a NASA statement. The space agency’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), which operates out of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, tracks asteroids and comets that come close to the Earth and computes very precise orbits for them but did not detect this asteroid until just six hours before its closest approach to Earth. It was first sighted...
  • A NASA Satellite Almost Collided Into a Martian Moon

    03/03/2017 6:24:22 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 18 replies
    popularmechanics.com ^ | 03/03/2017 | By David Grossman
    NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) is coming up on its second year studying the Red Planet's atmosphere. But it had to make an unexpected maneuver this week as it came face to face with an unlikely foe—a Martian moon named Phobos. The larger of Mars' two moons, Phobos' defining feature is a giant crater on its surface, Stickney, and a smaller crater within that crater, Limtoc. It moves around Mars faster than Mars rotates, and it became clear last week that it was going to be on a course missing the MAVEN satellite by only seven seconds....
  • Star Eclipse: Bright Aldebaran Hides Behind Moon Saturday

    03/03/2017 4:15:43 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    Space.com ^ | March 3, 2017 12:30pm ET | Joe Rao
    One of the sky's brightest stars will vanish behind the moon as seen from most of the contiguous U.S. and Central America on Saturday night. This eclipse will be widely visible at a convenient time: For the West, it will happen early in the evening, while viewers on the East Coast can watch the event in the late evening hours, approaching midnight.... Aldebaran is the brightest and one of the most colorful stars that can be hidden by the moon, and on Saturday night, it will disappear behind the dark portion, or "limb" of an almost-first-quarter moon (46 percent illuminated)....
  • Astronomers grapple with new era of fast radio bursts

    03/02/2017 7:53:50 AM PST · by MtnClimber · 15 replies
    Nature ^ | 28 Feb, 2017 | Elizabeth Gibney
    One of the most perplexing phenomena in astronomy has come of age. The fleeting blasts of energetic cosmic radiation of unknown cause, now known as fast radio bursts (FRBs), were first detected a decade ago. At the time, many astronomers dismissed the seemingly random blasts as little more than glitches. And although key facts, such as what causes them, are still largely a mystery, FRBs are now accepted as a genuine class of celestial signal and have spawned a field of their own. The passage was marked this month by the first major meeting on FRBs, held in Aspen, Colorado,...
  • Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)

    03/01/2017 10:24:23 AM PST · by Red Badger · 57 replies
    SPACE.com ^ | February 27, 2017 05:23pm ET | By Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer
    On Aug. 21, 2017, American skywatchers will be treated to a rare and spectacular celestial show — the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States in nearly four decades. Next year's "Great American Total Solar Eclipse" will darken skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. People who descend upon this "path of totality" for the big event are in for an unforgettable experience, said eclipse expert Jay Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College in Massachusetts. "It's a tremendous opportunity," Pasachoff told Space.com. "It's a...
  • Rock strata dating suggests planetary orbital effects on climate

    02/26/2017 5:21:35 PM PST · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 30 replies
    warrsupwiththat? ^ | / 2 days ago February 24, 2017 | Anthony Watts
    From the University of WisconsinFrom rocks in Colorado, evidence of a ‘chaotic solar system’Plumbing a 90 million-year-old layer cake of sedimentary rock in Colorado, a team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Northwestern University has found evidence confirming a critical theory of how the planets in our solar system behave in their orbits around the sun.Alternating layers of shale and limestone near Big Bend, Texas, characteristic of the rock laid down at the bottom of a shallow ocean during the late Cretaceous period. The rock holds definitive geologic evidence that the planets in our solar system behave...
  • What will the James Webb Space Telescope reveal ...? (Trunc; Hubble Replacement)

    02/24/2017 9:00:55 AM PST · by Hostage · 43 replies
    New Atlas ^ | 2-24-2017 | Nick Lavars
    The discovery of seven habitable planets just 40 light years away is certainly impressive, but the fact is, they are still 40 light years away. Unless we're willing and able to spend thousands of years traveling through space, we won't be rolling into the TRAPPIST-1 system anytime soon. This means that over the coming decades, advanced scientific instruments closer to home will play very important roles in exploring these distant worlds – perhaps none more so than the James Webb Space Telescope. So what can we expect when it is fired into orbit next year? We checked in with some...
  • A new culprit for climate change is found, but it’s not of this Earth

    02/24/2017 5:55:33 AM PST · by Moltke · 43 replies
    Hot Air ^ | February 24, 2017 | Jazz Shaw
    Since the media is all aflutter over proposed changes to the EPA and various climate-based regulations, we may as well visit (or revisit) the debate on climate change. Is it the result of activities of man or simply the normal patterns of changes in the Earth’s complicated biosphere? Some claim that it’s a combination of the two. But now, a team of astrophysicists has released new data which seems to support a decades-old theory which places the blame, shall we say, a bit further away. Since a picture is worth 1000 words, here’s a hint: That’s right. The actual culprit...
  • From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

    02/23/2017 7:58:58 AM PST · by JimSEA · 7 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 2/22/2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Plumbing a 90 million-year-old layer cake of sedimentary rock in Colorado, a team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University has found evidence confirming a critical theory of how the planets in our solar system behave in their orbits around the sun. The finding, published Feb. 23, 2017 in the journal Nature, is important because it provides the first hard proof for what scientists call the "chaotic solar system," a theory proposed in 1989 to account for small variations in the present conditions of the solar system. The variations, playing out over many millions of years, produce...
  • NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

    02/23/2017 7:20:25 AM PST · by Red Badger · 35 replies
    www.nasa.gov ^ | Feb. 22, 2017 | RELEASE 17-015
    NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the...
  • Proposed Planet Definition Means Solar System Has 110 Planets

    02/23/2017 7:06:28 AM PST · by C19fan · 19 replies
    Real Clear Science ^ | February 27, 2017 | Ross Pomeroy
    The International Astronomical Union currently defines a planet as: "a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit." A newly suggested definition takes a different approach:
  • A whopping seven Earth-size planets were just found orbiting a nearby star

    02/22/2017 11:21:30 AM PST · by C19fan · 100 replies
    Popular Science ^ | February 22, 2017 | Sarah Fecht
    Planet-hunters are always on the lookout for worlds that look like Earth—rocky planets that are not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to flow on the surface. Now scientists have hit the jackpot, discovering seven Earth-size exoplanets orbiting a single star just 39 light-years away. The star, named TRAPPIST-1, was thought to be home to three exoplanets. But with the help of a variety of observatories—including the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (a.k.a. TRAPPIST, the star's namesake), the Very Large Telescope in Chile, and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope—researchers found four more planets in the system. The...
  • How the Earth Moves

    02/21/2017 11:13:34 PM PST · by Fai Mao · 13 replies
    You Tube ^ | June 13, 2016 | VSauce
    This is a really good video describing precession and how the Earth moves through space. How The Earth Moves
  • UFO crashes into the Sun (with video)

    02/20/2017 6:16:49 PM PST · by Rebelbase · 52 replies
    Pravda ^ | 2/20/17 | Staff
    A SOHO spacecraft (Solar Heliospheric Observatory) took unique photos showing a huge UFO crashing into the sun. The unidentified flying object was flying at a high speed near the Sun. The huge object crashed into the star, thus generating a strong flare. On the photos, specialists could see transparent objects in the form of rings. In September 2016, NASA released a curious video showing what seems to be an alien spaceship fueling near the sun. NASA used a black cube to cover up the unusually looking object in a SOHO photo of the Sun. Ufologists immediately assumed that NASA was...
  • NASA decides to leave Juno in current orbit around Jupiter after engine issue

    02/20/2017 5:49:02 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    waaytv.com ^ | Feb 20, 2017 | Josh Barrett
    NASA made the decision to leave the Juno spacecraft, currently orbiting Jupiter, in its current orbit that cycles around the gas giant every 53 days. The choice hinges on worries surrounding Juno's main engine, which displayed some out-of-the-ordinary readings as the team was preparing to shorten the probe's orbit. “Juno is healthy, its science instruments are fully operational, and the data and images we’ve received are nothing short of amazing,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The decision to forego the burn is the right thing to do – preserving a valuable asset so...
  • The incredible moment Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket lands back at Cape Canaveral [tr]

    02/20/2017 5:11:52 AM PST · by C19fan · 40 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | February 20, 2017 | Kaileen Gaul
    Amazing video shows the historic moment the first stage of the Falcon 9 touched down at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on the launch pad. The SpaceX rocket descended through the clouds before landing right in the middle of the pad, a perfect landing after a rocky start. The rocket was supposed to launch Saturday but took off 9:38am Sunday instead because of a technical error. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk captioned the video on Instagram: 'Baby came back'
  • A Region On Mars With Recent Water Is About To Get Major Attention

    02/19/2017 4:01:22 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 02/18/2017 | Bob King
    Dr. Mary Bourke from Trinity College Dublin have discovered a patch of land in an ancient valley in Mars’ Lucaya Crater that appears to have held water in the not-too-distant past, making it a prime target to search for past life forms on the Red Planet. Signs of water past and present pop up everywhere on Mars from now-dry, wriggly riverbeds snaking across arid plains to water ice exposed at the poles during the Martian summer. ... “On Earth, desert dune fields are periodically flooded by water in areas of fluctuating groundwater, and where lakes, rivers and coasts are found...
  • NASA's Dawn mission finds life's building blocks on dwarf planet Ceres

    02/16/2017 6:53:27 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    L A Times ^ | Amina Khan
    Ceres, one of five dwarf planets in the solar system, is also an asteroid — the largest of them, in fact. Formed around 4.5 billion years ago, it sits in the belt of rocky debris that lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. ... Among the asteroids, Ceres is special. As a dwarf planet, it got stuck somewhere along the way to becoming a full-grown world. Frozen in this state, Ceres also offers a snapshot of planetary adolescence. Scientists have long wondered whether asteroids had not just water but also organic matter that could have been brought to Earth,...
  • Meet Asteroid 2017 BQ6 — A Giant, Spinning Brick

    02/14/2017 11:26:54 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 02/12/2017 | Bob King
    o radar imager Lance Benner at JPL in Pasadena, asteroid 2017 BQ6 resembles the polygonal dice used in Dungeons and Dragons. But my eyes see something closer to a stepping stone or paver you’d use to build a walkway. However you picture it, this asteroid is more angular than most imaged by radar. It flew harmlessly by Earth on Feb. 7 at 1:36 a.m. EST (6:36 UT) at about 6.6 times the distance between Earth and the moon or some about 1.6 million miles. Based on 2017 BQ6’s brightness, astronomers estimate the hurtling boulder about 660 feet (200 meters) across....
  • Proposed NASA Europa Mission To Drill Into Icy Crust Of Jupiter Moon To Search For Alien Life

    02/13/2017 6:16:26 AM PST · by C19fan · 35 replies
    Tech Times ^ | February 11, 2017 | Allan Adamson
    The NASA-employed Science Definition Team has been crafting a plan to launch a mission that would search for alien life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa. The extraterrestrial world of Europa is considered as among the most likely places in the solar system to have the ability to support life as we know it. Scientists have gathered evidence that the salty ocean that lurks beneath the icy crust of the moon could be hospitable to life. Recent models also hint that the icy world can produce oxygen and hydrogen, which suggests it may have the necessary energy to support life.
  • Stray Black Hole Turned Cosmic Gas Cloud into Speeding 'Bullet'

    02/12/2017 10:30:51 AM PST · by ETL · 87 replies
    Space.com ^ | February 8, 2017 | Samantha Mathewson, Space.com Contributor
    A stray black hole may be responsible for turning a gas cloud into a speeding cosmic bullet trillions of miles long. The wandering black hole was discovered lurking just outside a supernova remnant, a shell of expelled material left behind after a massive star explodes. Using the Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE) in Chile and the 45-meter (148 feet) Radio Telescope at Nobeyama Radio Observatory, astronomers found that the black hole had been previously hidden by a compact gas cloud emerging from the remnant. The cloud itself has now been named "the Bullet," because of its long, cone shape and...
  • It was a full moon last night

    02/11/2017 8:09:35 PM PST · by SamAdams76 · 27 replies
  • This Is The Highest Resolution Image Of Europa We Have … For Now

    02/11/2017 8:09:24 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 28 replies
    universe today ^ | 02/11/2017 | Bob King
    Stay away from Europa? No way. It’s just too fascinating a place with its jigsaw-puzzle ice sheets, crisscross valleys, miles of ice on top and a warm, salty ocean below. The movie was prescient — if you’re going to search for life elsewhere in the solar system, Europa’s one of the best candidates. While we’ve sent spacecraft to photograph and study the icy moon during orbital flybys, no lander has yet to touch the surface. That may change soon. In early 2016, in response to a congressional directive, NASA’s Planetary Science Division began a pre-Phase A study to assess the...
  • The Magellenic Clouds Stay Connected By A String Of Stars

    02/08/2017 11:09:31 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 2 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 02/08/2017 | Evan Gough
    They move so slowly that a human lifetime is a tiny blip compared to them. This makes their orbit essentially unobservable. But astronomers were able to find the next best thing: the often predicted but never observed stellar stream, or bridge of stars, stretching between the two clouds. A star stream forms when a satellite galaxy feels the gravitational pull of another body. In this case, the gravitational pull of the LMC allowed individual stars to leave the SMC and be pulled toward the LMC. The stars don’t leave at once, they leave individually over time, forming a stream, or...
  • Watch Comet 45P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková Fly Past Earth This Week

    02/07/2017 9:14:39 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 02/07/2017 | David Dickinson
    If you’ve never caught sight of periodic comet 45/P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, this week is a good time to try. Currently shining at magnitude +6.5, the comet makes a close 0.08 AU (7.4 million miles or 12.3 million kilometers) pass near the Earth on Saturday, February 11, at 14:44 Universal Time (UT) or 9:44 AM Eastern Standard Time. This is the closest passage of the comet for the remainder of this century, and with the Moon also reaching Full this weekend, the time to track down this comet is now. The comet passed perihelion 0.53 AU (49.3 million miles/ 82.1 million kilometers)...
  • Quiet black hole may be lurking in cosmic 'bullet'

    02/06/2017 5:58:14 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 12 replies
    Cosmos ^ | 6 Feb, 2017 | BELINDA SMITH
    A chance observation in a corner of the Milky Way galaxy could hint at a hidden black hole. A cloud travelling in a corner of our galaxy at a blistering 100 kilometres per second likely harbours a black hole, according to Japanese astronomers. Masaya Yamada and colleagues from Keio University mapped the motion and appearance of the fast-moving feature – nicknamed the "Bullet" – and concluded that its shape and velocity can be attributed to a black hole hiding within. The work, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal, outlines one of only a few such "quiet" black holes found...
  • NASA's Asteroid-Hunting Spacecraft Just Got an Amazing Side-Quest

    02/04/2017 4:20:04 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    gizmodo ^ | 02/04/2017 | Rae Paoletta
    For 10 days this month, OSIRIS-REx will investigate whether or not Trojan asteroids exist at certain points in Earth’s orbit called Lagrange points. Though Jupiter has Trojan asteroids, it’s unclear whether or not Earth’s Lagrange points host similar objects. After all, only one Earth Trojan has ever been found. “The Earth orbits around the Sun, and the Earth has a gravitational field and the Sun has a gravitational field,” explained Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS REx’s principal investigator. “Because of that property, there are certain points in space where those two fields balance each other out, called Lagrange points.” OSIRIS-REx will be...
  • PLUTO IS STILL LEGALLY A PLANET (WHENEVER IT PASSES OVER NEW MEXICO)

    02/03/2017 3:52:55 PM PST · by nickcarraway · 19 replies
    Nerdist ^ | FEBRUARY 2, 2017 | DERRICK ROSSIGNOL
    August 24, 2006 was a dark day for Pluto enthusiasts. It was on that day that the International Astronomical Union established three conditions a celestial body must meet in order to be considered a planet. A planet must orbit around the sun, it must be massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, and it must have “cleared the neighborhood” around its orbit, which means, simply put, that it must have a certain amount of gravitational pull. Pluto does not meet the third condition, so once those rules were put in place, Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet,” 75...
  • NASA Scientist Studies Whether Solar Storms Cause Animal Beachings

    02/03/2017 7:42:26 AM PST · by pa_dweller · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | 2/2/17 | Lori Keesey
    The team expects to complete the study by the end of September and publish its findings in a scientific, peer-reviewed journal. Should the study reveal a statistical correlation, team members said the results won’t necessarily imply a causal link. However, it would provide the first thorough research into this hypothesis and offer the first step toward determining if it’s correct.