Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • This new photo shows the sun with a gigantic smile (Who knew.. Sol a Trumpian)

    12/02/2016 9:09:06 PM PST · by LesbianThespianGymnasticMidget · 12 replies
    mashable ^ | December 2, 2016 | Miriam Kramer
    The sun looks like a proud, happy dad with a huge smile in new photos beamed back to Earth by a sun-staring spacecraft. The new images — taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory — show various features of the sun coincidentally coming together to look just like a face with a crooked smile and male-patterned baldness. All in all, this makes the sun bear a striking resemblance to Frasier Crane or perhaps your father. The smiley sun photo was first pointed out on Twitter by solar scientist Karl Battams after the Solar Dynamics Observatory's website was updated with the new...
  • 6-Foot-Wide 'Bald' Asteroid Is Smallest Ever Studied

    12/02/2016 5:16:10 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    Space,com ^ | December 1, 2016 07:00am ET | Mike Wall
    Astronomers have set a new record, taking the measure of a tiny space rock just 6 feet wide. The researchers used four different telescopes on Earth to study the near-Earth asteroid (NEA), which is called 2015 TC25, during a close flyby it made of the planet in October 2015. "This is the first time we have optical, infrared and radar data on such a small asteroid, which is essentially a meteoroid," Vishnu Reddy, of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, said in a statement. "You can think of it as a meteorite floating in space that hasn't hit...
  • TECH BLACKOUT: Huge solar storm which could WIPE OUT modern technology expected by 2020

    11/29/2016 1:16:44 PM PST · by Tilted Irish Kilt · 144 replies
    express.co.uk ^ | 11/29/16 | Sean Martin
    THERE is a one in eight chance that the Earth will be hit by a huge solar storm by 2020 which could potentially leave the world without Internet, phone service and many more services that modern-day humans rely on. Researchers have warned that there is roughly a 12 per cent chance that a solar storm could smash into Earth by the end of the decade.(emphasis mine) The powerful event would likely be as huge as the Carrington Event, which occurred on 1859. The solar storm which hit 150 years ago was so powerful that its southern auroras could be seen...
  • Lookin' Good, Mars! ExoMars' First High-Res Photos Are Incredible

    11/29/2016 11:15:47 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    space.com ^ | 11/29/2016 | Hanneke Weitering
    The European Space Agency's new Mars orbiter just sent back its first high-resolution images of the Red Planet, and the view is amazing. The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) arrived at Mars on Oct. 19, when its companion spacecraft Schiaparelli crash-landed on the planet's surface. Since then, TGO has been circling Mars, testing out its machinery, and taking spectacularly sharp pictures of the landscape using its Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS). ESA stitched together the best of these photos in a cool new flyover video. "The first images we received are absolutely spectacular ― and it was only...
  • Variable, Not Constant: Speed Of Light Theory Challenging Einstein’s Physics Can Now Be Tested

    11/27/2016 11:30:21 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 56 replies
    Tech Times ^ | 27 November 2016, 1:16 am EST | Dianne Depra
    Researchers suggesting that the speed of light varies have come up with a numerical prediction that will allow their theory to be tested. Many theories in physics are built upon the idea that the speed of light is at a constant rate, but João Magueijo and Niayesh Afshordi think otherwise. In a paper published in the journal Physical Review D, they detailed the creation of an exact figure on the spectral index, a model that can be used to determine if their theory is valid or not. All structures in the universe today were created when fluctuations occurred in the...
  • What is Cydonia?

    11/25/2016 4:23:08 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 34 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 11/25/2016 | Matt Williams
    ydonia was first photographed by the Viking 1 and 2 orbiters. Between the two, eighteen images were taken of the region, all of which were of limited resolution. Of these, only five were considered suitable for studying surface features. Because of their limited quality, a particular mesa resembled a humanoid face (see below). It would be another 20 years before other spacecraft photographed the region as they conducted observations of Mars. These included NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, which orbited Mars from 1997 to 2006; the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which reached the planet in 2006 and is still in operation;...
  • Cassini Is About To Graze Saturn’s Rings In Mission Endgame

    11/22/2016 9:40:46 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 2 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 11/22/2016 | Nancy Atkinson
    On November 30, Cassini will begin a phase of the mission that the science team calls “Cassini’s Ring-Grazing Orbits,” as the spacecraft will start skimming past the outer edge of the rings, coming within – at times — 4,850 miles (7,800 kilometers) of the rings. ... Between November 30, 2016 and April 22, 2017 Cassini will circle high over and under the poles of Saturn, diving every seven days for a total of 20 times through the unexplored region at the outer edge of the main rings. During the close passes, Cassini’s instruments will attempt to directly sample the icy...
  • Working Earthquake Prediction Model?

    11/21/2016 2:00:26 PM PST · by pa_dweller · 2 replies
    http://www.koat.com/article/video-earthquake-researcher-uses-sun-to-make-predictions/8299193
  • The Best 24/7 Live Streams Currently on Youtube

    11/18/2016 10:45:39 PM PST · by fella · 17 replies
    The Best 24/7 Live Streams Currently on YouTube
  • In Americas? Watch supermoon tonight

    11/13/2016 10:13:49 AM PST · by EveningStar · 23 replies
    EarthSky ^ | November 13, 2016 | Bruce McClure
    The full moon of November 14, 2016 is not only the biggest, closest and brightest supermoon of this year. It’s the closest supermoon since January 26, 1948. Should you watch for this full moon on the night of November 14? Sure, and, if you do, it’ll be beautiful. But, for us in the Americas the moon is closer to full on the night of November 13. The moon turns precisely full on November 14, 2016 at 13:52 UTC. This full moon instant will happen in the morning hours before sunrise November 14 in western North America and on many Pacific...
  • How to Photograph the Supermoon: NASA Pro Shares His Tips

    11/12/2016 11:40:22 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 34 replies
    space.com ^ | 11/12/2016 | Elizabeth Howell
    2. Scout the location carefully Use every tool possible to get the perfect shot, including Google Maps and compasses, to help you locate a spot where you'll be able to see the moon as well as the reference object you want to include. That may mean learning how to read a map, and finding out where the moon will appear on the horizon based on your location. If possible, travel to an area far from city lights to avoid light pollution. And make sure to be precise; Ingalls said he recalls setting up near Washington, D.C.'s Iwo Jima monument hundreds...
  • Princeton Team Directly Observes Planets Around Nearby Stars

    11/11/2016 8:39:24 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 11/11/2016 | Evan Gough
    Coronagraphic High Angular Resolution Imaging Spectrograph (CHARIS) has captured the light from one of those exoplanets. This has the researchers excited about what they can see. CHARIS allows astronomers to isolate light reflecting from planets. That’s difficult to do, since they are so much dimmer than the stars they orbit. CHARIS is able to isolate the reflective light from planets larger than Jupiter. Then astronomers can analyze that light to learn about the planet’s age, atmospheric composition, and its size. ... CHARIS was designed and built by a team led by N. Jeremy Kasdin, a professor of mechanical and aerospace...
  • Long March 11 launches pioneering X-ray pulsar navigation spacecraft

    11/10/2016 9:44:45 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 2 replies
    spaceflightinsider.com ^ | 11/10/2016 |
    China successfully launched a Long March 11 rocket with a group of five satellites, including XPNAV-1, an experimental X-ray pulsar navigation spacecraft. Liftoff took place at 7:42 a.m. China Standard Time Nov 10 (23:42 GMT; 6:42 p.m. EST on Nov. 9) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. Detailed information about preparations for the mission were kept under wraps by China. Furthermore, officials have not disclosed the exact flight profile for the Long March 11 booster. It was only revealed the vehicle targeted a Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) for the release of its payload. The launch was expected...
  • Trump’s Space Policy Boils Down To Going To Mars

    11/10/2016 9:15:10 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 37 replies
    Daily Caller ^ | 10 Nov, 2016 | ANDREW FOLLETT
    Experts suspect that President-elect Donald Trump’s space program will likely be focused on exploration with robotic probes and sending humans to Mars, using money diverted from global warming science programs. “NASA should be focused primarily on deep-space activities rather than Earth-centric work that is better handled by other agencies,” Robert S. Walker and Peter Navarro, both senior advisers to the Trump campaign, wrote in an opinion piece published in SpaceNews. “Human exploration of our entire solar system by the end of this century should be NASA’s focus and goal.” Industry analysts suspect that Trump will likely modestly increase NASA’s overall...
  • Rock Legends – the Asteroids and Their Discoverers

    11/10/2016 7:48:39 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 3 replies
    Once people realized that there more than just a few asteroids out there, they took to identifying and classifying them. The book takes a loosely chronological look at this classification and at our increasing knowledge of the orbits, sizes, densities and composition of these space wanderers. Fortunately this book doesn’t just simply list discovery dates and characteristics. Rather, it includes significant amounts of its contents on the juicy human story that tags along, especially with the naming. It shows that originally these objects were considered special and refined and thus deserved naming with as much aplomb as the planets; i.e....
  • November’s Supermoon 2016 – Closest of a Lifetime?

    11/09/2016 7:32:29 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 3 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 11/09/2016 | David Dickinson
    Supermoon 2016. This month’s Full Moon is not only the closest for the year, but the nearest Full Moon for a 80 year plus span. Like Blue and Black Moons, a Supermoon is more of a cultural phenomenon than a true astronomical event. The Moon’s orbit is elliptical, taking it from 362,600 to 405,400 km from the Earth in the course of its 27.55 day anomalistic orbit from one perigee to the next. For the purposes of this week’s discussion, we consider a Supermoon as when the Full Moon occurs within 24 hours of perigee, and a Minimoon as when...
  • The Latest Scientific Discoveries Point to an Intentional Creator

    11/07/2016 8:46:21 PM PST · by Coleus · 55 replies
    CBN ^ | 11.07.16
    HISTORY OF OUR PLANET Our Earth has been dubbed by some as the “Goldilocks Planet” with a just-right sun and a just-right moon in a just-right galaxy. What most people do not realize is how radically Earth has changed since it first formed and what kinds of physical steps transformed the lifeless ball into our home today. Earth has the capacity to support more than 7 billon people and even more billions of other creatures. Many suggest that Earth’s life sustaining features are “amazing coincidences” that just fell into place. Hugh says evidence and logic compel him to challenge such...
  • Researchers Have Found Evidence of Cracking in the Magnetosphere

    11/07/2016 9:37:46 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 31 replies
    futurism.com ^ | 11/06/2016 | Jelor Gallego
    Back in June 2015, a burst of galactic cosmic rays born from a giant cloud of plasma on the Sun’s corona struck Earth’s magnetic field at 2.5 million kph pounded for two hours. This produced radio signal blackouts at high altitude areas and created an unusually pronounced aurora borealis. The GRAPES-3 muon telescope, located in the Tata Institute in India, has determined those cosmic rays actually cracked the magnetosphere, warping its size and allowing additional radiation to pass through. The bombardment was able to compress the magnetosphere, from 11 to 4 times the radius of Earth. The telescope also detected...
  • Daylight Saving Time 2016: A Guide to the When, Why, What and How

    11/05/2016 11:33:57 PM PDT · by Cvengr · 29 replies
    www.livescience.com ^ | November 2, 2016 12:52pm ET | Jeanna Bryner
    The time-honored ritual of setting clocks back an hour is just around the corner, as daylight saving time (sometimes erroneously called daylight savings time) comes to an end … for this year, at least. Do you even remember when you set your clock forward in March? In doing so, you were continuing the long tradition started by Benjamin Franklin to conserve energy. Below is a look at when daylight saving time starts and ends during the year, its history, why we have it now and some myths and interesting facts about the time change. When Does It Start and End?...
  • Monster Meteorite Found in Texas

    11/04/2016 9:23:14 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 45 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 11/04/2016 | Bob King
    On an April 6, 2015, Frank Hommel was leading a group of guests at his Bar H Working Dude Ranch on a horseback ride. The horses got thirsty, so Hommel and crew rode cross-country in search of a watering hole. Along the way, his horse Samson suddenly stopped and refused to go any further. Ahead of them was a rock sticking out of the sandy soil. Hommel had never seen his horse act this way before, so he dismounted to get a closer look at the red, dimpled mass. Something inside told him this strange, out of place boulder had...
  • NASA is trying to keep part of its giant golden telescope a secret

    11/03/2016 4:54:08 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 18 replies
    businessinsider.com ^ | Dave Mosher
    "This technology is proprietary. The government must respect the intellectual property of its industry partners," Chandler told Business Insider in an email. We then asked which company made the blurred-out part, and requested more details about it and its role in JWST's mission .... "That is the secondary mirror support structure with the secondary mirror on it which includes details of mirror mounts," Chandler said. "The secondary mirror relays light from the primary mirror and does optical correction." For reference, below is JWST's secondary mirror with its convex, gold-plated surface. It's a critical part. It takes all of the giant...
  • A Naked Black Hole Is Screaming Through the Universe

    11/03/2016 9:54:28 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 40 replies
    gizmodo ^ | Maddie Stone
    Millions of years ago, B3 1715+425 was just an ordinary supermassive black hole. It had a comfortable life, of devouring stars and belching deadly x-rays, at the center of its distant galaxy. Now, starless and alone, it’s screaming through space at 2,000 miles per second—and it may never stop. BC 1715+425's troubles began when its galaxy bumped up against another. This isn’t all that unusual: in fact, astronomers believe that the largest galaxies in our universe formed during ancient mergers. Normally, when two galaxies collide, the supermassive black holes at their centers start to orbit one another, moving closer and...
  • 10:40 AM | Sun quiet again as it heads toward solar minimum

    11/02/2016 6:21:42 PM PDT · by Paleo Pete · 22 replies
    Vencore Weather ^ | October 31, 2016 | Meteorologist Paul Dorian
    Overview The sun has been completely spotless on 21 days in 2016 and it is currently featuring just one lonely sunspot region. In fact, on June 4th of this year, the sun went completely spotless for the first time since 2011 and that quiet spell lasted for about four days. Sunspot regions then reappeared for the next few weeks on a sporadic basis, but that was followed by several more completely spotless days on the surface of the sun. The increasingly frequent blank sun is a sign that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an even...
  • Watch Asteroid 2016 VA Pass Through Earth’s Shadow

    11/02/2016 7:56:36 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 11/02/2016 | David Dickinson
    Discovered just yesterday by the Mount Lemmon Sky Survey based outside of Tucson Arizona, 2016 VA passed just 58,600 miles (93,700 kilometers) from the surface of the Earth this morning at 00:42 Universal Time (UT). That’s a little over 20% of the distance from the Earth to the Moon, and just over twice the distance to the ring of geosynchronous and geostationary satellites around the Earth. This sort of close pass of a newly discovered asteroid happens a few times a year. What made 2016 VA’s passage unusual, however, was its transit through the Earth’s shadow. The discovery was announced...
  • Pure Metal Asteroid Has Mysterious Water Deposits

    11/01/2016 8:48:06 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 18 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 11/01/2016 | Nancy Atkinson
    Water has been showing up in all sorts of unexpected places in our Solar System, such as the Moon, Mercury and Saturn’s moon Ganymede. Add one more place to the list: Asteroid 16 Psyche. This metal-rich asteroid may have traces of water molecules on its surface that shouldn’t be there, researchers say. Psyche is thought to be the largest metallic asteroid in the Solar System, at 300 km (186 miles) across and likely consists of almost pure nickel-iron metal. Scientists had thought Psyche was made up of the leftover core of a protoplanet that was mostly destroyed by impacts billions...
  • Record Supermoon and 9 More Can't-Miss Sky Events in November

    11/01/2016 11:51:13 AM PDT · by Heartlander · 15 replies
    National Geographic ^ | November 1, 2016 | Andrew Fazekas
    Record Supermoon and 9 More Can't-Miss Sky Events in November The coming month brings the roaring lion of meteor displays, dazzling planets, and plenty more reasons to look up at the night sky. You’ll even have the chance to catch the most impressive supermoon in nearly seven decades.So dust off those binoculars and mark your November calendar!Moon and Saturn—November 2 About an hour after local sunset, catch the razor-thin crescent moon hanging over Saturn. The cosmic pair will appear less than three degrees apart, or less than the width of your three middle fingers held at arm’s length. Adding to...
  • Telescope Group Chooses Canary Islands as Alternative to Hawaii

    11/01/2016 9:01:05 AM PDT · by DUMBGRUNT · 32 replies
    Voa news ^ | 1 Nov 2016
    The team behind a project to build one of the world's largest telescopes said on Monday it has chosen Spain's Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean as a possible alternative to Hawaii. The decision follows opposition from Native Hawaiians and environmentalists to plans for constructing the so-called Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), which would cost $1.4 billion, at the Mauna Kea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island... The designation of the Canary Islands as an alternative comes nearly a year after the Hawaii Supreme Court blocked construction of the telescope on the Big Island. Native Hawaiians who oppose the project have said...
  • NASA's New 'Intruder Alert' System Spots An Incoming Asteroid

    10/30/2016 9:41:54 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 35 replies
    NPR ^ | 10/30/2016 | joe palca
    A large space rock is going to come fairly close to Earth later tonight. Fortunately, it's not going to hit Earth, something astronomers are sure of thanks in part to a new tool NASA is developing for detecting potentially dangerous asteroids. The tool is a computer program called Scout, and it's being tested at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Think of Scout as a celestial intruder alert system. It's constantly scanning data from telescopes to see if there are any reports of so-called Near Earth Objects. If it finds one, it makes a quick calculation of whether Earth...
  • It Took 15 Months, but all of New Horizons’ Data Has Finally Been Downloaded

    10/27/2016 9:52:28 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 27 Oct , 2016 | Nancy Atkinson
    15 months after the mission’s flyby of the Pluto system, the final bits of science data from the historic July 2015 event has been safely transmitted to Earth. “The New Horizons mission has required patience for many years, but we knew the results would be well worth the wait,” New Horizons project scientists Hal Weaver told me earlier this year. Because of New Horizons’ great distance from Earth and the spacecraft’s low power output (the spacecraft runs on just 2-10 watts of electricity), it has a relatively low ‘downlink’ rate at which data can be transmitted to Earth, just 1-4...
  • 'Alien megastructure' 1,400 light years away will be looked at for signs of life [tr]

    10/26/2016 10:34:11 AM PDT · by C19fan · 39 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | October 26, 2016 | Ryan O'Hare
    Scientists scanning the night sky in the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence are turning their telescopes towards a mysterious star, which had been flagged as an ‘alien megastructure’. As part of a $100 million (£81 million) project, backed by Stephen Hawking, astronomers will target the strange stellar object which has baffled scientists since its discovery. Called Tabby’s Star, its regular cycles of dimming have been claimed by some to be a sign of intelligent beings – warranting enough interest for a closer look.
  • New ‘Selfie’ MicroSatellite Captures Images of Chinese Space Station

    10/25/2016 3:26:55 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 10/25/2016 | Nancy Atkinson
    During their mission, the two crew members will perform experiments from 14 different areas including biology, space life science and technological demonstrations. They have set up plant cultivation and growing experiments and have six silkworms on board for a student-based study to see how silkworms produce silk in microgravity. The crew is also doing medical testing on themselves using Tiangong II’s on board ultrasound equipment to scan their cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. They’ll also be checking for bone and muscle degradation and track any changes to their eyesight. NASA and ESA has discovered that the majority of astronauts doing long-duration...
  • Software Error Implicated in Crash of Mars Lander

    10/25/2016 9:41:38 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 54 replies
    gizmodo ^ | 10/25/2016 | George Dvorsky
    By all accounts the descent started well, with the lander decelerating rapidly as it brushed up against the Martian atmosphere, eventually deploying its parachute as planned. But things began to go squirrely just prior to the five-minute mark of the planned six-minute descent. For reasons that are still a mystery, the lander ejected both its heat shield and parachute way ahead of schedule. Schiaparelli then engaged its thrusters for a painfully brief three-second burst—a procedure that was supposed to last for 30 seconds once the lander was just a few feet off the ground. The lander’s onboard computer, it would...
  • Discovery of peculiar periodic spectral modulations in a small fraction of solar type stars

    10/24/2016 7:23:59 PM PDT · by JimSEA · 39 replies
    Cornell University Library ^ | 10/10/2016 | E.F. Borra
    A Fourier transform analysis of 2.5 million spectra in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey was carried out to detect periodic spectral modulations. Signals having the same period were found in only 234 stars overwhelmingly in the F2 to K1 spectral range. The signals cannot be caused by instrumental or data analysis effects because they are present in only a very small fraction of stars within a narrow spectral range and because signal to noise ratio considerations predict that the signal should mostly be detected in the brightest objects, while this is not the case. We consider several possibilities, such as...
  • No, the Universe is not expanding at an accelerated rate, say physicists

    10/24/2016 1:58:12 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 64 replies
    Science alert ^ | 10/24/16 | BEC CREW
    This could change everything. Back in 2011, three astronomers were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery that the Universe wasn’t just expanding - it was expanding at an accelerating rate. The discovery led to the widespread acceptance of the idea that our Universe is dominated by a mysterious force called dark energy, and altered the standard model of cosmology forever. But now physicists say this discovery might have been false, and they have a much larger dataset to back them up. For a bit of background on the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, it was shared between...
  • RIP, Schiaparelli: European Mars Lander's Crash Site Seen By NASA Probe

    10/21/2016 2:24:09 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 44 replies
    Space.com ^ | October 21, 2016 02:56pm ET | Mike Wall,
    The lander, named Schiaparelli, stopped communicating with mission control about 1 minute before its planned touchdown on Mars Wednesday morning (Oct. 19). Newly released photos of the landing site by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) seem to confirm what ExoMars team members had suspected — that Schiaparelli died a violent death. The photos show a bright feature consistent with the lander's 39-foot-wide (12 meters) parachute, as well as a 50-by-130-foot (15 by 40 m) dark patch likely created by the lander's impact, ESA officials said. "Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometers [1.2...
  • Experts believe mysterious aluminium object ... back 250,000 years 'could be part of ancient UFO'

    10/20/2016 10:43:51 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 57 replies
    www.mirror.co.uk ^ | Updated 13:15, 20 Oct 2016 | By Kara O'Neill
    Metallic aluminium was not produced by mankind until around 200 years ago - but this appears manufactured making the object a baffling find A piece of aluminium that looks as if it was handmade is being hailed as 250,000-year-old proof that aliens once visited Earth. Metallic aluminium was not really produced by mankind until around 200 years ago, so the discovery of the large chunk that could be up to 250,000 years old is being held as a sensational find. The details of the discovery were never made public at the time because it was pulled out of the earth...
  • Did the Mysterious 'Planet Nine' Tilt the Solar System?

    10/19/2016 8:18:19 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    Space.com ^ | October 19, 2016 01:15pm ET | Charles Q. Choi,
    In January, astronomers revealed evidence for the potential existence of another planet in the solar system. Researchers suggest that if this world — dubbed Planet Nine — exists, it could be about 10 times Earth's mass and orbit the sun at a distance about 500 times the distance from the Earth to the sun. Previous research suggested that Planet Nine would possess a highly tilted orbit compared with the relatively thin, flat zone in which the eight official planets circle the sun. This led scientists to investigate whether Planet Nine's slant might help explain other tilting seen elsewhere in the...
  • Suspense on Mars as Europe Awaits Signal from Lander

    10/19/2016 9:36:18 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 36 replies
    Space.com ^ | October 19, 2016 11:38am ET | Mike Wall
    The Schiaparelli lander, part of the European-led ExoMars 2016 mission, was supposed to touch down on the Red Planet this morning (Oct. 19) at 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT), but the spacecraft's handler's still don't know whether or not the historic maneuver was successful. You can watch a live webcast of the ExoMars landing here, courtesy of the European Space Agency (ESA). "Initial signals were received via the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) as Schiaparelli descended to the surface of Mars, but no signal of touchdown yet," ESA officials wrote in a blog post at 11:12 a.m. EDT (1512 GMT)...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - M45: The Pleiades Star Cluster

    10/19/2016 6:13:53 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | 10/19/2016 | (see image credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 October 19 M45: The Pleiades Star Cluster Image Credit & Copyright: Hermann von Eiff Explanation: Have you ever seen the Pleiades star cluster? Even if you have, you probably have never seen it as dusty as this. Perhaps the most famous star cluster on the sky, the bright stars of the Pleiades can be seen without binoculars even from the heart of a light-polluted city. With a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Antlia Cluster of Galaxies

    10/18/2016 4:55:17 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | 10/18/2016 | (see image credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 October 18 The Antlia Cluster of Galaxies Image Credit & Copyright: Rolf Olsen Explanation: Galaxies dot the sky in this impressively wide and deep image of the Antlia Cluster. The third closest cluster of galaxies to Earth after Virgo and Fornax, the Antlia cluster is known for its compactness and its high fraction of elliptical galaxies over (spirals. Antlia, cataloged as Abell S0636, spans about 2 million...
  • Juno Jupiter Probe's Final Engine Burn Delayed by Glitch

    10/18/2016 12:33:39 AM PDT · by blueplum · 4 replies
    Space.com ^ | 17 October 2016 3:21pm ET | Mike Wall, Senior Writer
    NASA's Juno Jupiter probe won't be settling into its final orbit around the giant planet this week after all. Juno was scheduled to fire its main engine for the final time during the probe's close Jupiter flyby on Wednesday (Oct. 19), in a maneuver that would reduce the time it takes the spacecraft to circle the gas giant from 53 Earth days down to 14 days. But the mission team decided to postpone the burn in order to investigate an issue with valves that are part of Juno's fuel-pressurization system, NASA officials said. "Telemetry indicates that two helium check valves...
  • Are you at risk from solar storms?

    10/17/2016 7:50:14 PM PDT · by Tilted Irish Kilt · 40 replies
    daileymail ^ | 10/17/17 | Stacy Liberatore
    First map showing areas in the US at risk of solar storms has been released Experts looked at two factors, one being data from geomagnetic storms The other was data from magnetic materials beneath the Earth's surface Map reveals Minnesota and Wisconsin are at the highest risk in the US But more than half the US hasn't been surveyed due to a lack of funds Solar storms threaten Earth about every 100 years and experts warn we are overdue Copywrite prevents full publication of this article
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Herschel's Orion

    10/17/2016 4:33:43 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | 10/14/2016 | (see image credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 October 14 Herschel's Orion Image Credit & Copyright: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE Explanation: This dramatic image peers within M42, the Orion Nebula, the closest large star-forming region. Using data at infrared wavelengths from the Herschel Space Observatory, the false-color composite explores the natal cosmic cloud a mere 1,500 light-years distant. Cold, dense filaments of dust that would otherwise be dark at visible wavelengths are shown in reddish hues. Light-years long,...
  • China to blast 2 astronauts into space on Monday

    10/15/2016 9:29:32 PM PDT · by Olog-hai · 17 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Oct 15, 2016 11:52 PM EDT
    Chinese officials unveiled plans for Monday’s launch of the country’s latest space mission in which two astronauts will be blasted into space and will dock with an orbiting space lab. The Shenzhou 11 spacecraft will be launched at 7:30 a.m., said Wu Ping, deputy director of China’s manned space engineering office, in a televised news conference. The Shenzhou mission will take off aboard a Long March-2F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert in northern China. …
  • The Universe Contains 10 to 20 Times More Galaxies Than We Thought

    10/15/2016 2:43:17 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 78 replies
    Popular Mechanics ^ | 10/13/16 | Jay Bennett
    A new study from a team of international astronomers, led by astrophysicists from the University of Nottingham with support from the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), has produced some astounding results: The universe contains at least two trillion galaxies, 10 times more than the highest previous estimates. What's more, the new study suggests that 90 percent of all galaxies are hidden from us, and only the remaining 10 percent can be seen at all, even with our most powerful telescopes. The paper detailing the study was published today in the Astrophysical Journal. "We are missing the vast majority of galaxies because...
  • Strange signals from 234 stars could be ET – or human error

    10/15/2016 7:33:11 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 17 replies
    New Scientist ^ | 14 Oct, 2016 | Shannon Hall
    It’s a bold claim. Two astronomers think they have spotted messages from not just one extraterrestrial civilisation, but 234 of them. The news has sparked a lively debate in the field as other astronomers think the claim is premature and are working fast to get to the bottom of the signals. In 2012, Ermanno Borra at Laval University in Quebec suggested that an extraterrestrial civilisation might use a laser as a means of interstellar communication. If the little green men simply flashed a laser toward the Earth like a strobe light, we would see periodic bursts of light hidden in...
  • The Hidden Glaciers Of Mars

    10/14/2016 6:24:42 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 10/14/2016 | Matt Williams
    In the northern hemisphere of Mars, between the planet’s southern highlands and the northern lowlands, is a hilly region known as Colles Nilli. This boundary-marker is a very most prominent feature on Mars, as it is several kilometers in height and surrounded by the remains of ancient glaciers. And thanks to the Mars Express mission, it now looks like this region is also home to some buried glaciers. Such was the conclusion after the orbiting spacecraft took images that revealed a series of eroded blocks along this boundary, which scientists have deduced are chunks of ice that became buried over...
  • An Exoplanet With Huge Rings Intrigues

    10/14/2016 11:43:09 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 10/13/2016 | Matt Williams
    How such a ring system could have come about is a mystery, as retrograde ring systems are quite uncommon. But Reider and Kenworth have stated that they think it might be the result of a catastrophic event – such as a massive collision – that caused the rings (or the planet) to change the direction of their rotation. Their results also indicated that a retrograde ring system would allow for eclipses, like the one that was observed in 2007. While there was some chance of these being caused by another object, the results suggested otherwise. “The chance of that is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Galaxies from the Altiplano

    10/13/2016 10:19:54 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | 10/13/2016 | (see image credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 October 13 Galaxies from the Altiplano Image Credit & Copyright: Stéphane Guisard (Los Cielos de America, TWAN) Explanation: The central bulge of our Milky Way Galaxy rises over the northern Chilean Atacama altiplano in this postcard from planet Earth. At an altitude of 4500 meters, the strange beauty of the desolate landscape could almost belong to another world though. Brownish red and yellow tinted sulfuric patches lie...
  • Astronomers reveal how Martian moon Phobos got its distinctive shape

    10/12/2016 4:41:04 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies
    dailymail.co.uk ^ | 10/12/2016 | Cheyenne Macdonald For Dailymail.com
    Physicists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) conducted numerical 3D simulations to shed light on the mysterious circumstances surrounding Phobos’ Stickney crater. While previous studies relied on 2D simulations at lower resolutions, these were unable to replicate the feature, and failed to account for the porosity of Phobos’ crust in their calculations. According to the researchers, this moon is less dense than the Martian surface. The new calculations reveal Phobos could have survived a major impact, which left behind the massive crater. In the animation, the researchers plot a scene in which a 200-meter object slams into the moon at...