Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • CERN researchers confirm existence of the Force

    04/01/2015 1:23:36 AM PDT · by Krosan · 9 replies
    CERN ^ | 1 Apr 2015 | Cian O'Luanaigh
    Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider just recently started testing the accelerator for running at the higher energy of 13 TeV, and already they have found new insights into the fundamental structure of the universe. Though four fundamental forces – the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force and gravity – have been well documented and confirmed in experiments over the years, CERN announced today the first unequivocal evidence for the Force. “Very impressive, this result is,” said a diminutive green spokesperson for the laboratory.
  • The Story of Earth: How Life and Rocks Co-Evolved

    03/31/2015 8:58:02 PM PDT · by onedoug · 20 replies
    Carnegie Institution for Science ^ | 29 JUL 2014 | Robert Hazen, Lecturer
    Incredible (IMHO) exposition of the co-dependence of "evolutionary" minerology and biology.
  • Seeking Ceres: Following the Brave New World Through 2015

    03/31/2015 3:28:10 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | David Dickinson
    And the good news is, you can observe Ceres from your backyard if you know exactly where to look for it with binoculars or a small telescope. We’ll admit, we had an ulterior motive on pulling the trigger on this post three months prior to opposition on July 24th, as Dawn will soon be exiting its ‘shadow phase’ and start unveiling the world to us up close. The first science observations for Dawn begin in mid-April. Ceres spends all of 2015 looping through the constellations of Capricornus, Microscopium and Sagittarius. This places it low to the south for northern hemisphere...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Corona from Svalbard

    03/31/2015 3:48:23 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | March 31, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: During a total solar eclipse, the Sun's extensive outer atmosphere, or corona, is an inspirational sight. Streamers and shimmering features that engage the eye span a brightness range of over 10,000 to 1, making them notoriously difficult to capture in a single photograph. But this composite of 29 telescopic images covers a wide range of exposure times to reveal the crown of the Sun in all its glory. The aligned and stacked digital frames were recorded in the cold, clear skies above the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norway during the Sun's total eclipse on March 20 and also show...
  • Mercury 'painted black' by passing comets

    03/30/2015 4:18:47 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    Mercury reflects very little light but its surface is low in iron, which rules out the presence of iron nanoparticles, the most likely "darkening agent". First, researchers modelled how much carbon-rich material could have been dropped on Mercury by passing comets. Then they fired projectiles at a sugar-coated basalt rock to confirm the darkening effect of carbon. Their results, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, support the idea that Mercury was "painted black" by cometary dust over billions of years. The effect of being intermittently blasted with tiny, carbon-rich "micrometeorites", the team says, is more than enough to account for...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Flag Shaped Aurora over Sweden

    03/30/2015 7:23:46 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 30, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It appeared, momentarily, like a 50-km tall banded flag. In mid-March, an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection directed toward a clear magnetic channel to Earth led to one of the more intense geomagnetic storms of recent years. A visual result was wide spread auroras being seen over many countries near Earth's magnetic poles. Captured over Kiruna, Sweden, the image features an unusually straight auroral curtain with the green color emitted low in the Earth's atmosphere, and red many kilometers higher up. It is unclear where the rare purple aurora originates, but it might involve an unusual blue aurora at an...
  • Report says most stars in galaxy have planets in habitable zone

    03/29/2015 5:27:51 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 31 replies
    Yakima Herald Republic ^ | March 22, 2015 | Rachel Feltman, Washington Post
    For a planet to have liquid water -- something necessary to support life as we know it -- it has to be within a certain distance of its star. Too close, and the water burns up. Too far away, and it's a frozen wasteland. But according to new research, most stars in the galaxy have so-called "Goldilocks planets," which sit in the habitable zone, where temperatures are just right for life... The calculations, which were produced by a group of researchers from the Australian National University and the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, are based on a...
  • ESA's CHEOPS satellite to hunt transits of suspected exoplanets

    03/29/2015 5:21:46 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    Phys dot org ^ | March 18, 2015 | Tomasz Nowakowski, Astrowatch
    Just like the Pharaoh Cheops, who ruled the ancient Old Kingdom of Egypt, ESA's CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) could be someday ruling in the field of exoplanet hunting. It will be the first mission dedicated to search for transits by means of ultrahigh precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets... Large ground-based high-precision Doppler spectroscopic surveys carried out during the last years have identified hundreds of stars hosting planets in the super-Earth to Neptune mass range and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. The characteristics of these stars and the knowledge of the planet...
  • Hubble Search for Transit of the Earth-mass Exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb

    Results from exoplanet surveys indicate that small planets (super-Earth size and below) are abundant in our Galaxy. However, little is known about their interiors and atmospheres. There is therefore a need to find small planets transiting bright stars, which would enable a detailed characterisation of this population of objects. We present the results of a search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We observed Alpha Centauri B twice in 2013 and 2014 for a total of 40 hours. We achieve a precision of 115 ppm per 6-s exposure time in...
  • New insights found in black hole collisions

    03/28/2015 10:39:33 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 14 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | Mar 27, 2015
    New insights found in black hole collisions Mar 27, 2015 Enlarge Black Holes Go 'Mano a Mano.' Credit: NASA, Chandra, 10/06/09 New research provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole. An international team of astronomers, including from the University of Cambridge, have found solutions to decades-old equations describing what happens as two spinning black holes in a binary system orbit each other and spiral in toward a collision.The results, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, should significantly impact not only the study of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Shadow of a Martian Robot

    03/28/2015 10:05:00 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | March 29, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn't human? Then you might be the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars. Opportunity has been exploring the red planet since early 2004, finding evidence of ancient water, and sending breathtaking images across the inner Solar System. Pictured above in 2004, Opportunity looks opposite the Sun into Endurance Crater and sees its own shadow. Two wheels are visible on the lower left and right, while the floor and walls of the unusual crater are visible in the background. Opportunity is continuing on its long trek exploring unusual terrain in Meridiani...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Diamond Rings and Baily's Beads

    03/28/2015 10:02:27 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | March 28, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Near the March 20 equinox the cold clear sky over Longyearbyen, Norway, planet Earth held an engaging sight, a total eclipse of the Sun. The New Moon's silhouette at stages just before and after the three minute long total phase seems to sprout glistening diamonds and bright beads in this time lapse composite of the geocentric celestial event. The last and first glimpses of the solar disk with the lunar limb surrounded by the glow of the Sun's inner corona give the impression of a diamond ring in the sky. At the boundaries of totality, sunlight streaming through valleys...
  • Collapse of the universe coming sooner than expected according to new research

    03/27/2015 12:33:56 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 127 replies
    AOL ^ | March 26th 2015 | unattributed
    You've heard of the Big Bang, but what about the "Colossal Crash?" Get ready, because it might be coming sooner than you think ... relatively speaking. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters a group of physicists have theorized a mechanism for "cosmological collapse" which predicts the universe will at some point stop expanding and then collapse back onto itself, destroying us and pretty much all matter. The idea has been floating around the scientific community in one form or another for a while now, but the latest paper is noteworthy because its numbers and models suggest that collapse...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2403 in Camelopardalis

    03/27/2015 10:22:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | March 27, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Magnificent island universe NGC 2403 stands within the boundaries of the long-necked constellation Camelopardalis. Some 10 million light-years distant and about 50,000 light-years across, the spiral galaxy also seems to have more than its fair share of giant star forming HII regions, marked by the telltale reddish glow of atomic hydrogen gas. The giant HII regions are energized by clusters of hot, massive stars that explode as bright supernovae at the end of their short and furious lives. A member of the M81 group of galaxies, NGC 2403 closely resembles another galaxy with an abundance of star forming regions...
  • Living with a Capricious Star: What Drives the Solar Cycle?

    03/27/2015 8:15:26 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | David Dickinson
    One such mystery confronting solar dynamics is exactly what drives the periodicity related to the solar cycle. Follow our star with a backyard telescope over a period of years, and you’ll see sunspots ebb and flow in an 11 year period of activity. The dazzling ‘surface’ of the Sun where these spots are embedded is actually the photosphere, and using a small telescope tuned to hydrogen-alpha wavelengths you can pick up prominences in the warmer chromosphere above. This cycle is actually is 22 years in length (that’s 11 years times two), as the Sun flips polarity each time. A hallmark...
  • Predicting Eclipses: How Does the Saros Cycle Work?

    03/26/2015 1:31:29 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | David Dickinson
    A saros period is just eight hours shy of 18 years and 11 days, which in turn is equal to 223 synodic, 242 anomalistic or 239 draconic months. The name saros was first described by Edmond Halley in 1691, who took it from a translation of an 11th century Byzantine dictionary. The plural of saros is saroses. This also means that solar and lunar eclipses one saros period apart share nearly the same geometry, shifted 120 degrees in longitude westward. For example, the April 4th lunar eclipse is member number 30 in a cycle of 71 lunar eclipses belonging to...
  • Nice Fireball in NW sky in Eastern AZ @ 5:45 AM

    03/26/2015 6:16:48 AM PDT · by Migraine · 11 replies
    self | 3/26/2015 | self
    Wife and I, in hot tub this morning, just before dawn, caught sight of a long-duration, glorious meteor/fireball with a long tail. For us (in Eastern Arizona, White Mountains), it began at about 10 o'clock high in the NW sky and arced toward the western horizon. Lasted a good 15 seconds, very bright. Anyone else see it?
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Orion Spring

    03/26/2015 3:55:10 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | March 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: As spring comes to planet Earth's northern hemisphere, familiar winter constellation Orion sets in early evening skies and budding trees frame the Hunter's stars. The yellowish hue of cool red supergiant Alpha Orionis, the great star Betelgeuse, mingles with the branches at the top of this colorful skyscape. Orion's alpha star is joined on the far right by Alpha Tauri. Also known as Aldebaran and also a giant star cooler than the Sun, it shines with a yellow light at the head of Taurus, the Bull. Contrasting blue supergiant Rigel, Beta Orionis, is Orion's other dominant star though, and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Naked Eye Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2

    03/25/2015 3:30:29 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | March 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It quickly went from obscurity to one of the brighter stars in Sagittarius -- but it's fading. Named Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2, the stellar explosion is the brightest nova visible from Earth in over a year. The featured image was captured four days ago from Ranikhet in the Indian Himalayas. Several stars in western Sagittarius make an asterism known as the Teapot, and the nova, indicated by the arrow, now appears like a new emblem on the side of the pot. As of last night, Nova Sag has faded from brighter than visual magnitude 5 to the edge...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Powers of Ten

    03/24/2015 6:17:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | March 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How different does the universe look on small, medium, and large scales? The most famous short science film of its generation gives breathtaking comparisons. That film, Powers of Ten, originally created in the 1960s, has now been officially posted to YouTube and embedded above. Please click the above arrow to see the nine minute movie for yourself. From a picnic blanket near Chicago out past the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies, every ten seconds the film zooms out to show a square a factor of ten times larger on each side. The video then reverses, zooming back in a factor...
  • Young Jupiter wiped out solar system's early inner planets, study says

    03/23/2015 5:01:44 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 18 replies
    The more planetary systems astronomers discovered, the more our own solar system looked like an oddball. Exoplanets – at least the ones big enough for us to see – tended to be bigger than Earth, with tight orbits that took them much closer to their host stars. In multi-planet systems, these orbits tended to be much closer together than they are in our solar system. For instance, the star known as Kepler-11 has six planets closer to it than Venus is to the sun. Why does our solar system look so different? Astrophysicists Konstantin Batygin of Caltech and Greg Laughlin...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Atlas V Launches MMS

    03/23/2015 4:17:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 23, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Birds don't fly this high. Airplanes don't go this fast. The Statue of Liberty weighs less. No species other than human can even comprehend what is going on, nor could any human just a millennium ago. The launch of a rocket bound for space is an event that inspires awe and challenges description. Pictured above, an Atlas V rocket lifts off carrying NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission into Earth orbit 10 days ago to study the workings of the magnetosphere that surrounds and protects the Earth. From a standing start, the 300,000 kilogram rocket ship left to circle the Earth...
  • Public asked to help name features on Pluto

    03/22/2015 8:06:42 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 28 replies
    On July 14, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will fly past Pluto, offering the first close-up look at that small, distant world and its largest moon, Charon. These denizens of the outer solar system will be transformed from poorly seen hazy bodies to tangible worlds with distinct features. Now, the public can help decide what labels will go on the images and maps coming from the flyby. The SETI Institute has announced the launch of its “Our Pluto” campaign, which is soliciting input on how to name features on the surfaces of Pluto and Charon. ... The science team will not...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Double Eclipse of the Sun

    03/22/2015 6:59:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Can the Sun be eclipsed twice at the same time? Last Friday was noteworthy because part of the Earth was treated to a rare total eclipse of the Sun. But also on Friday, from a part of the Earth that only saw part of the Sun eclipsed, a second object appeared simultaneously in front of the Sun: the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. Although space station eclipses are very quick -- in this case only 0.6 seconds, they are not so rare. Capturing this composite image took a lot of planning and a little luck, as the photographer had to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Northern Equinox Eclipse

    03/21/2015 3:39:47 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | March 21, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Snowy and cold is weather you might expect at the start of spring for Longyearbyen on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norway. But that turned out to be good weather for watching the Moon's umbral shadow race across northern planet Earth. The region was plunged into darkness for 3 minutes during the March 20 total solar eclipse while insulated eclipse chasers witnessed the dark Sun in the cold clear sky. In this well-timed snapshot captured near the end of totality, the Moon's shadow sweeps away from the horizon and the solar corona fades as the lunar disk just begins...
  • Rosetta's comet is spinning down

    03/20/2015 1:27:12 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    bbc ^ | Jonathan Amos
    "The gas jets coming out of the comet - they are acting like thrusters and are slowing down the comet," said flight director Andrea Accomazzo. The European Space Agency official was speaking this week at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. He was describing how his team has learnt to fly Rosetta around the 10-billion-tonne, 4km-wide body with remarkable precision. Navigators use a system of landmarks on the comet to understand how it is rotating and moving through space. This information is fed into a model that helps plan a trajectory for the satellite. And it was while running this...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunshine, Earthshine

    03/20/2015 12:28:01 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | March 20, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Today's date marks an Equinox and a New Moon. Remarkably, while the exact timing of both geocentric events occur within a span of only 13 hours, the moon also reaches its new phase only 14 hours after perigee, the closest point in its orbit. That makes the Equinox New Moon the largest New Moon of 2015, though hard to see since that lunar phase presents the Moon's dark, night side to planet Earth. Still, in this well composed image of a young lunar phase from late January you can glimpse both night and day on the lunar surface, the...
  • Nova in Sagittarius Brightens! (To Naked Eye Magnitude)

    03/20/2015 12:20:02 PM PDT · by messierhunter · 19 replies
    Sky & Telescope ^ | March 20, 2015 | Alan MacRobert
    The nova that erupted in the Sagittarius Teapot on March 15th has continued to brighten. It's now about magnitude 4.9, in easy binocular view before dawn. Anyone see it naked-eye yet? Update Friday March 20: It's still brightening — to about magnitude 4.9 as of last night! That's a magnitude brighter than at the nova's discovery five days earlier. No telling when it will stop. And, Sagittarius is getting a little higher before dawn every day.
  • School bans pupils from watching the eclipse for 'cultural and religious' reasons

    03/20/2015 10:39:54 AM PDT · by Teotwawki · 43 replies
    Daily Mail Online ^ | March 20, 2015 | Jenny Awford
    Pupils at a primary school were banned from watching today's once-in-a-generation eclipse because of 'religious and cultural reasons', it has emerged. Parents of children at North Primary School in Southall, London, said they were 'outraged' by the decision and claimed it showed a triumph of 'religious superstition' over scientific education. Phil Belman, whose seven-year-old daughter goes to the school, met with headteacher Ivor Johnstone who said he was unable to elaborate on the decision because of 'confidentiality'. [snip] The headteacher said: 'The school made this decision when we became aware of religious and cultural concerns associated with observing an eclipse...
  • Photographer captures weasel's woodpecker ride [IUPI Photos]

    LONDON, March 3 A photographer in London captured a rare photo showing a small weasel appearing to ride on a woodpecker, but he said the mammal was actually attacking the bird. Martin Le-May of Essex said he and his wife, Ann, were walking Monday in Hornchurch Country Park when they came across the unusual sight. "I heard a distressed squawking noise and feared the worst," Le-May told the BBC. "I soon realized it was a woodpecker with some kind of small mammal on its back." Le-May said the woodpecker was in a struggle for its life with the unwanted passenger,...
  • Milky Way's center unveils supernova 'dust factory'

    03/20/2015 3:05:24 AM PDT · by samtheman · 20 replies
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/ ^ | Cornell University
    Sifting through the center of the Milky Way galaxy, astronomers have made the first direct observations -- using an infrared telescope aboard a modified Boeing 747 -- of cosmic building-block dust resulting from an ancient supernova.
  • Any eclipse viewers out there?

    03/20/2015 2:16:15 AM PDT · by djf · 27 replies
    Curious if there are any eclipse viewers out there. Reports?
  • Solar eclipse, Spring Equinox, and Supermoon all happening on Friday

    03/19/2015 7:45:25 PM PDT · by E. Pluribus Unum · 26 replies
    ABC13 ^ | 03/19/2015
    <p>Starting in the early morning hours this Friday, Earthlings are in for an incredible event as three celestial events happen all at once!</p> <p>A Supermoon happens when a full or new moon occurs right when the moon is closest to the Earth (perigee) during its elliptical orbit. In other words, the moon will look ginormous on Friday, albeit very dark and faint.</p>
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora in the Backyard

    03/19/2015 4:32:59 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 19, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On the night of March 17/18 this umbrella of northern lights unfolded over backyards in Vallentuna, Sweden about 30 kilometers north of Stockholm. A result of the strongest geomagnetic storm of this solar cycle, auroral displays were captured on that night from back and front yards at even lower latitudes, including sightings in the midwestern United States. A boon for aurora hunting skywatchers, the space storm began building when a coronal mass ejection, launched by solar activity some two days earlier, struck planet Earth's magnetosphere. So what's the name of the backyard observatory on the right of the wide...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Earth During a Total Eclipse of the Sun

    03/18/2015 2:42:57 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | March 18, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What does the Earth look like during a total solar eclipse? It appears dark in the region where people see the eclipse, because that's where the shadow of the Moon falls. The shadow spot actually shoots across the Earth at nearly 2,000 kilometers per hour, darkening locations in its path for only a few minutes before moving on. The featured image shows the Earth during the total solar eclipse of 2006 March, as seen from the International Space Station. On Friday the Moon will move in front of the Sun once again, casting another distorted circular shadow that, this...
  • Aurora Image from Last Night

    03/18/2015 5:32:15 AM PDT · by Squawk 8888 · 16 replies
    Bill Longo ^ | March 18, 2015 | Bill Longo
    Photo taken March 17, 2015 near Beaverton, Ontario (~80km north of Toronto).
  • ST. PATRICK'S DAY GEOMAGNETIC STORM

    03/17/2015 7:01:55 PM PDT · by CtBigPat · 2 replies
    The strongest geomagnetic storm of the current solar cycle is underway now. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras after nightfall. Tip: Local midnight is often the best time to spot Northern and Southern Lights.
  • Asteroid-Comet Hybrid Found With Surprise Ring System

    03/17/2015 8:58:18 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    discovery.com ^ | Ian O'Neill
    “It’s interesting, because Chiron is a centaur — part of that middle section of the solar system, between Jupiter and Pluto, where we originally weren’t thinking things would be active, but it’s turning out things are quite active,” said Amanda Bosh, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass. First discovered in 1977, it became apparent that centaurs were, on the whole, fairly dormant. Like their mythological counterpart — which is part man, part animal — celestial centaurs possess qualities of comets and asteroids. They are undoubtedly rocky, dusty objects, but in the 1980′s astronomers noted comet-like activity on...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Big Dipper Enhanced

    03/17/2015 4:35:05 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | March 17, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Do you see it? This common question frequently precedes the rediscovery of one of the most commonly recognized configurations of stars on the northern sky: the Big Dipper. This grouping of stars is one of the few things that has likely been seen, and will be seen, by every human generation. In this featured image, however, the stars of the Big Dipper have been digitally enhanced -- they do not really appear this much brighter than nearby stars. The image was taken earlier this month from France. The Big Dipper is not by itself a constellation. Although part of...
  • NASA’s magnetic field mission looking for green energy (or a powerful new weapon perhaps?)

    03/16/2015 10:47:56 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 14 replies
    STGIST ^ | 3/14/15 | Carlo Diokno
    NASA’s magnetic field mission looking for green energy In addition to learning more about the magnetic field of the Earth, and the ubiquitous but hard to understand “magnetic reconnection,” NASA’s new MMS mission is also looking for ways to harness the power of magnetism, and produce clean energy. NASA’s MMS mission will investigate magnetic reconnection.Findings from this mission could lead to production of green energy from magnetism.Magnetic reconnection is ubiquitous in the cosmos, but it’s still poorly understood. After years of intensive planning, with countless days of engineering works, data analysis, and more, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Thursday successfully launched the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Clouds of Orion the Hunter

    03/16/2015 5:05:42 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | March 16, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cradled in cosmic dust and glowing hydrogen, stellar nurseries in Orion the Hunter lie at the edge of giant molecular clouds some 1,500 light-years away. Spanning about 30 degrees, this breath-taking vista stretches across the well-known constellation from head to toe (left to right) and beyond. At 1,500 light years away, the Great Orion Nebula is the closest large star forming region, here visible just right and below center. To its left are the Horsehead Nebula, M78, and Orion's belt stars. Sliding your cursor over the picture will also find red giant Betelgeuse at the hunter's shoulder, bright blue...
  • Particle jets reveal the secrets of the most exotic state of matter

    03/15/2015 12:03:33 PM PDT · by samtheman · 18 replies
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/ ^ | March 11, 2015 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences
    Shortly following the Big Bang, the Universe was filled with a chaotic primordial soup of quarks and gluons, particles which are now trapped inside of protons and neutrons. Study of this quark-gluon plasma requires the use of the most advanced theoretical and experimental tools. Physicists have taken one crucial step towards a better understanding of the plasma and its properties.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Total Eclipse at the End of the World

    03/15/2015 9:08:26 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | March 15, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Would you go to the end of the world to see a total eclipse of the Sun? If you did, would you be surprised to find someone else there already? In 2003, the Sun, the Moon, Antarctica, and two photographers all lined up in Antarctica during an unusual total solar eclipse. Even given the extreme location, a group of enthusiastic eclipse chasers ventured near the bottom of the world to experience the surreal momentary disappearance of the Sun behind the Moon. One of the treasures collected was the above picture -- a composite of four separate images digitally combined...
  • "Beware the Ides of March"

    03/14/2015 11:49:29 AM PDT · by Usagi_yo · 24 replies
    The Life and Death of Julius Caesar ... Soothsayer: Ceasar! CAESAR: Ha! who calls? CASCA: Bid every noise be still: peace yet again! CAESAR: Who is it in the press that calls on me? I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear. Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March. CAESAR: What man is that? BRUTUS: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March. CAESAR: Set him before me; let me see his face. CASSIUS: Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar. CAESAR: What say'st thou to me now? speak once again....
  • HAPPY &#960; DAY! (Actually, it's Happy &#960; Infinite Second.)

    03/14/2015 9:25:51 AM PDT · by PapaNew · 12 replies
    Vanity | 3/14/15 | Vanity
    Pacific Standard Time's turn... 3...2...1... HAPPY π DAY!!! (Actually, it's Happy π Infinite Second.) Now what?
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Return at Sunrise

    03/14/2015 6:29:02 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | March 14, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Thursday, shortly after local sunrise over central Asia, this Soyuz spacecraft floated over a sea of golden clouds during its descent by parachute through planet Earth's dense atmosphere. On board were Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). Touch down was at approximately 10:07 p.m. EDT (8:07 a.m. March 12, Kazakh time) southeast of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. The three were returning from low Earth orbit, after almost six months on the International Space Station as members of the Expedition 41 and Expedition 42 crews.
  • Total Solar Eclipse & Super-Moon on March 20. Safe & Unsafe Methods to view the Celestial Dance

    03/13/2015 9:16:24 PM PDT · by knarf · 30 replies
    nsnbc international ^ | March 14, 2015 | knarf
    I got this heads-up in an e-mail
  • This Is The Asteroid That Didn’t Hit Us

    03/13/2015 12:51:46 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | Jason Major
    The video above shows the passage of 2015 ET across the sky on the night of March 11–12, tracked on camera from the Crni Vrh Observatory in Slovenia. It’s a time-lapse video (the time is noted along the bottom) so the effect is really neat to watch the asteroid “racing along” in front of the stars… but then, it was traveling a relative 12.4 km/second! The description on the video reads: The asteroid starts as tiny dot just below the centre of the right image and drifts gradually downwards. Due to a software glitch a correction which was meant to...
  • Gigapixels of Andromeda (Cool Vid via Youtube)

    03/13/2015 12:45:02 PM PDT · by beaversmom · 51 replies
    NASA Image Via You Tube ^ | January 6, 2015 | daveachuk
    Video Link: Gigapixels of Andromeda
  • Oil-Eating Microbes Have Worldwide Underground Connections

    03/13/2015 12:10:35 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 32 replies
    Scientific American ^ | February 15, 2015 | David Biello 
    Living deep underground ain't easy. In addition to hellish temperatures and pressures, there's not a lot to eat. Which is why oil reservoirs are the microbes' cornucopia in this hidden realm. Microbes feast on many oil reservoirs, but it has been unclear how the microorganisms got to those locales. One proposal has been that the microbes colonize a pool of dead algae corpses and then go along for the ride as the pool gets buried deeper and deeper and the algae slowly become oil. That's the so-called "burial and isolation" hypothesis. But under that set of rules each pool of...