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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Local woman's bag of moon dust to be sold at auction, possibly for millions

    05/23/2017 7:11:56 AM PDT · by simpson96 · 33 replies
    Chicago Tribune ^ | 5/23/2017 | Robert McCoppin
    Shortly after Neil Armstrong took "one giant leap for mankind" by stepping on the surface of the moon, he did what any tourist does: He collected a souvenir. Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the lunar surface, scooped some lunar rocks into a bag, then placed it into another bag, and put it in the pocket of his space suit. From there, the outer sample bag, containing traces of moon dust, took a long and torturous path before it was mistakenly put out to public auction and scooped up by a suburban Chicago lawyer for $995. Now, the...
  • why U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters was cut off during state convention speech [tr]

    05/22/2017 5:44:56 PM PDT · by upchuck · 28 replies
    LA TImes (scroll down) ^ | May 22, 2017 | Jazmine Ulloa
    ... "This is a very unusual situation, and we are collectively trying to figure out a path forward to address what happened and make sure these things do not happen in the future," Caucus Chairman Darren Parker said. Waters, a Los Angeles Democrat whose acerbic comments on President Trump have brought her national attention in her 14th term, was in the middle of a rousing speech against Trump on Saturday night when she was approached by a man who appeared to work for the convention center. "Hey, leave her alone," audience members shouted as he interrupted to speak to her...
  • "Alien megastructure" star is at it again with strange dimming

    05/22/2017 9:33:40 AM PDT · by C19fan · 17 replies
    CBS News ^ | May 22, 2017 | Calla Cofield
    The perplexing cosmic object known as "Boyajian's star" is once again exhibiting a mysterious pattern of dimming and brightening that scientists have tried to explain with hypotheses ranging from swarms of comets to alien megastructures. On Friday, an urgent call went out to scientists around the world to turn as many telescopes as possible toward the star, to try and crack the mystery of its behavior.
  • Now that Free Republic is up again - and that's a darn good thing - what size eggs should I buy?

    05/19/2017 5:56:11 PM PDT · by SamAdams76 · 86 replies
    I don't know. Medium. Large. Extra Large. Jumbo? What size eggs should I buy? I just boiled a dozen Extra Large Eggs and they were very good. Sometimes the large eggs get overcooked when I boil them. Brown eggs or white eggs? I like both. I like taking boiled eggs to work for lunch - to have with my sardines. But sometimes I like my eggs fried over easy. Eggs are good. Very good.
  • The Physicist Who Denies Dark Matter

    05/19/2017 9:59:26 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 45 replies
    Nautilus ^ | 05/18/2017 | Oded Carmali
    To understand this problem, one needs to wrap one’s head around some celestial rotations. Our planet orbits the sun, which, in turn, orbits the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Inside solar systems, the gravitational pull from the mass of the sun and the speed of the planets are in balance. By Newton’s laws, this is why Mercury, the innermost planet in our solar system, orbits the sun at over 100,000 miles per hour, while the outermost plant, Neptune, is crawling at just over 10,000 miles per hour. Now, you might assume that the same logic would apply to galaxies:...
  • Psychedelic Furs Singer Richard Butler - Good Days, Bad Days (Lyrics in Description- Great Song)

    05/13/2017 6:33:31 AM PDT · by brucedickinson · 10 replies
    Youtube ^ | 4-27-2012 | Alejandro Lopez
    This is a song by Psychedelic Furs Lead Singer Richard Butler. Released in 2006, after his marriage fell apart and his dad died, and recorded in his own home studio with guitar, a keyboard and drum machine. The guitar is played by the lead guitarist for Aimee Mann's group, "'Til Tuesday." Hope you like it.
  • Saturn’s Hexagon Will be the Star of the Cassini Finale

    05/10/2017 6:42:15 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 1 replies ^ | 10 May , 2017 | Matt Williams
    he Cassini spacecraft is nearing the end of its lifespan. This September, after spending the past twenty years in space – twelve and a half of which were dedicated to studying Saturn and its system of moons – the probe will be crash into Saturn’s atmosphere. But between now and then, the probe will be making its “Grand Finale” – the final phase of its mission where it will dive between the planet and its rings 22 times. In addition to exploring this region of Saturn (something no other mission has done), the probe will also be using this opportunity...
  • Newly Discovered House-Sized Asteroid 2017 HX4 Flew Safely Past the Earth Yesterday

    05/10/2017 7:53:58 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 23 replies ^ | 05/09/2017 | Matt Williams
    2017 HX4 passed us by at a very safe distance. In fact, the asteroid’s closest approach to Earth was estimated to be at a distance of 3.7 Lunar Distances (LD) – i.e. almost four times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. This, and other pertinent information was tweeted in advance by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center (IAU MPC) on April 29th. This object was first spotted on April 26th, 2017, using the 1.8 meter Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), located at the summit of Haleakala in Hawaii. Since that time, it has been...
  • Incentive Trap 2: Minimizing the Wait Time (to reach interstellar targets)

    05/10/2017 1:33:26 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 50 replies
    Centauri Dreams ^ | 5/9/17 | Paul Gilster
    Incentive Trap 2: Minimizing the Wait Time by Paul Gilster on May 9, 2017 When to launch a starship, given that improvements in technology could lead to a much faster ship passing yours enroute? As we saw yesterday, the problem has been attacked anew by René Heller (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research), who re-examined a 2006 paper from Andrew Kennedy on the matter. Heller defines what he calls ‘the incentive trap’ this way: The time to reach interstellar targets is potentially larger than a human lifetime, and so the question arises of whether it is currently reasonable to...
  • Saturn's mysterious hexagonal storm gets its moment in the sun: Stunning new Cassini image...

    05/09/2017 11:44:45 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 29 replies ^ | 05/08/2017
    'The region, in shadow for the first part of the Cassini mission, now enjoys full sunlight, which enables Cassini scientists to directly image it in reflected light.' ... 'Around it swirl the clouds, driven by the fast winds of Saturn.' Although the poles of Saturn are at the center of all of this motion, not everything travels around them in circles. Some of the jet-stream patterns, such as the hexagon-shaped pattern seen here, have wavy, uneven shapes. The famous hexagon shape itself circumscribes the northern polar vortex – seen as a dark spot at the planet’s pole in the above...
  • Does Jupiter Have a Solid Core?

    05/09/2017 7:39:24 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies ^ | 05/07/2017 | Matt William
    Our current theories regarding the formation of the Solar System claim that the planets formed about 4.5 billion years ago from a Solar Nebula (i.e. Nebular Hypothesis). Consistent with this theory, Jupiter is believed to have formed as a result of gravity pulling swirling clouds of gas and dust together. Jupiter acquired most of its mass from material left over from the formation of the Sun, and ended up with more than twice the combined mass of the other planets. In fact, it has been conjectured that it Jupiter had accumulated more mass, it would have become a second star....
  • New theory on how Earth's crust was created

    05/08/2017 1:25:53 PM PDT · by JimSEA · 28 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 5/5/2017 | Don R. Baker, et al
    More than 90% of Earth's continental crust is made up of silica-rich minerals, such as feldspar and quartz. But where did this silica-enriched material come from? And could it provide a clue in the search for life on other planets? Conventional theory holds that all of the early Earth's crustal ingredients were formed by volcanic activity. Now, however, McGill University earth scientists Don Baker and Kassandra Sofonio have published a theory with a novel twist: some of the chemical components of this material settled onto Earth's early surface from the steamy atmosphere that prevailed at the time. First, a bit...
  • Only [sic] 10 Light-Years Away, there’s a Baby Version of the Solar System

    05/07/2017 10:08:38 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 22 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 05/06/2017 | Matt Williams
    [T]he team conducted a detailed analysis of the system that showed how it has an architecture remarkably similar to what astronomer believe the Solar System once looked like. Led by Kate Su – an Associate Astronomer with the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona – the team includes researchers and astronomers from the Department of Physics & Astronomy of Iowa State University, the Astrophysical Institute and University Observatory at the University of Jena (Germany), and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research Center. ... [P]revious studies of Epsilon Eridani indicated that the system is surrounded by rings made up...
  • Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, Crumbs of Halley's Comet, Peaks This Weekend: What to Expec

    05/06/2017 12:23:25 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 18 replies ^ | Joe Rao
    Eta Aquarids have a most interesting lineage. Unlike some of the other annual meteor displays whose history can be traced back for many centuries, the Eta Aquarids were not "officially" discovered until the late 19th century. In 1870, while sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, Lt. Col. G.L. Tupman sighted 15 meteors on the morning of April 30, and another 13 a few mornings later. All the meteors Tupman sighted appeared to emanate from the constellation of Aquarius. Then in 1876, professor Alexander Stewart Herschel pointed out that the orbit of Halley’s comet nearly coincided with Earth's orbit around May 4,...
  • A Single Wave, Bigger Than the Milky Way, is Rolling Through the Perseus Galaxy Cluster

    05/05/2017 12:15:35 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 21 replies ^ | 05/05/2017 | Evan Gough
    An international team of scientists has discovered an enormous wave of hot gas rolling its way through the Perseus galaxy cluster. The wave is a giant version of what’s called a Kelvin-Helmholtz wave. They’re created when two fluids intersect at different velocities: for example, when wind blows over water. In this instance, the wave was caused by a small galaxy cluster grazing the Perseus cluster, and setting off a chain of events lasting billions of years. The findings appear in a paper in the June 2017 issue of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ... The Perseus...
  • New Japanese mission will be going to the Moons of Mars

    05/04/2017 4:35:35 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies ^ | 05/04/2017 | Matt WIlliams
    Known as the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) mission, the plan is to have a robotic spacecraft fly to Phobos and Deimos to explore their surfaces and return samples to Earth for analysis. The spacecraft would be deployed sometime in the 2020s, and would be tasked with two main objectives. The first would be to help scientists determine the origins of Phobos and Deimos, which has been a subject of debate for some time. Whereas some believe that these moons are capture asteroids, others have argued that they were created when fragments ejected from Mars (due to giant impacts on the...
  • I Got My Towel & My Guide....(Vanity)

    04/30/2017 7:02:19 AM PDT · by honurider · 17 replies
    4/30/2017 | Honurider
    If it were possible to go back in time without fear of this paradox or that paradox; to simply go back in a mode that is totally only observation, it would certainly be entertaining. As well as answer many questions. Such as, how often are Darwin awards really awarded? How many people suffered cashew poisoning before figuring that one out, or say licked ‘dart’ frogs for a high. By the way do not do this, most ‘dart’ frogs will kill you. It really sucks I feel I have to make a “warning label” about the preceding comment regarding ‘dart’ frogs,...
  • Planetary Discovery around Ultracool Star (Earth-sized planet found 13,000 ly away!)

    04/28/2017 11:11:16 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 22 replies
    Centauri Dreams ^ | 4/28/17 | Paul Gilster
    Planetary Discovery around Ultracool Starby Paul Gilster on April 28, 2017 I have a special enthusiasm for microlensing as a means of exoplanet discovery. With microlensing, you never know what you’re going to come up with. Transits are easier to detect when the planet is close to its star, and hence transits more frequently. Radial velocity likewise sends its loudest signal when a planet is large and close. Microlensing, detecting the ‘bending’ of light from a background object as it is affected by a nearer star’s gravitational field, can turn up a planet whether near to its star or far,...
  • Cassini Craft Beams Closest Images Ever Taken Of Saturn

    04/27/2017 2:17:13 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies ^ | April 27, 20179:28 AM ET | Bill Chappell
    Images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft show the closest-ever views of Saturn's swirled atmosphere and its massive hurricane. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute ================================================================================================================================ NASA's Cassini spacecraft is giving earthlings their closest-ever views of Saturn's swirled atmosphere and its massive hurricane, beaming a trove of images and data back to Earth after the craft made its first dive between Saturn and its rings Wednesday. Cassini is "showing us new wonders and demonstrating where our curiosity can take us if we dare," said Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division. The raw images are being fed into a photo stream on NASA's website,...
  • Is Another Universe Sitting Too Close To Us On The Multiverse Bus?

    04/27/2017 8:19:28 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 30 replies
    universe today ^ | 04/26/2017 | Matt Williams
    Known as the “CMB Cold Spot”, scientists have puzzled over this anomaly for years... ... Multiverse Theory, which was first proposed by philosopher and psychologist William James, states that there may be multiple or an even infinite number of Universes that exist parallel to our own. Between these Universes exists the entirety of existence and all cosmological phenomena – i.e. space, time, matter, energy, and all of the physical laws that bind them. [T]he theory arose in part from the study of cosmological forces, like black holes and problems arising from the Big Bang Theory. In addition, variations on multiverse...