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Astronomy (General/Chat)

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Scientists Map the ["inferred"] Dark Matter Around Millions of Galaxies

    04/17/2015 2:15:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | Ramin Skibba
    The research and maps, which span a large area of the sky, are the product of a massive effort of an international team from the US, UK, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and Brazil. They announced their new results at the American Physical Society (APS) meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. According to cosmologists, dark matter particles stream and clump together over time in particular regions of the cosmos, often in the same places where galaxies form and cluster. Over time, a “cosmic web” develops across the universe. Though dark matter is invisible, it expands with the universe and feels the pull of gravity....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M46 Plus Two

    04/17/2015 10:30:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | April 17, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Galactic or open star clusters are young. These swarms of stars are born together near the plane of the Milky Way, but their numbers steadily dwindle as cluster members are ejected by galactic tides and gravitational interactions. In fact, this bright open cluster, known as M46, is around 300 million years young. It still contains a few hundred stars within a span of 30 light-years or so. Located about 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation Puppis, M46 also seems to contain contradictions to its youthful status. In this pretty starscape, the colorful, circular patch above and right of the...
  • Dawn Rises Over Ceres North Pole

    04/16/2015 2:51:10 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    Brand new images taken on April 10 by NASA’s Dawn probe show the dwarf planet from high above its north pole. Photographed at a distance of just 21,000 miles (33,000 km) — less than 10 times the Earth-moon distance — they’re our sharpest views to date. The crispness combined with the low-angled sunlight gives Ceres a stark, lunar-like appearance. ... Meanwhile, scientists have assembled images taken by Dawn through blue, green and infrared filters to create a new color-enhanced map of the dwarf planet. The variety of landforms in conjunction with the color variations hint that Ceres was once an...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- One-Armed Spiral Galaxy NGC 4725

    04/16/2015 4:56:15 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | April 16, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: While most spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have two or more spiral arms, NGC 4725 has only one. In this sharp color composite image, the solo spira mirabilis seems to wind from a prominent ring of bluish, newborn star clusters and red tinted star forming regions. The odd galaxy also sports obscuring dust lanes a yellowish central bar structure composed of an older population of stars. NGC 4725 is over 100 thousand light-years across and lies 41 million light-years away in the well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. Computer simulations of the formation of single spiral arms suggest that...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mystic Mountain Dust Pillars

    04/16/2015 4:54:26 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | April 15, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It's stars versus dust in the Carina Nebula and the stars are winning. More precisely, the energetic light and winds from massive newly formed stars are evaporating and dispersing the dusty stellar nurseries in which they formed. Located in the Carina Nebula and known informally as Mystic Mountain, these pillar's appearance is dominated by the dark dust even though it is composed mostly of clear hydrogen gas. Dust pillars such as these are actually much thinner than air and only appear as mountains due to relatively small amounts of opaque interstellar dust. About 7,500 light-years distant, the featured image...
  • NASA's New Horizons probe is visiting Pluto — and just sent back its first [blurry] color photos

    04/14/2015 12:54:15 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 26 replies
    vox.com ^ | Joseph Stromberg
    Next month, as New Horizons nears Pluto, it will start taking the most detailed photos we've ever seen of it. The craft will begin sending back atmospheric data on Pluto in May, and data on the dwarf planet's surface composition in June. "By the time we get there in July, we will have returned over a thousand images to the ground," Stern told me in a recent interview. This is a big deal. Even though Pluto seems very familiar to us, we know far less about it than about any of the planets in our solar system. Two of its...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Through the Shadow of the Moon

    04/14/2015 4:17:02 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | April 14, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it look like to fly through a total eclipse of the Sun? On a typical place on Earth in the path of the dark shadow of the Moon during a total eclipse, an observer would see the Moon cross the face of the Sun, completely blocking it for a few minutes. A particularly clear view of the darkness created on Earth during last month's total solar eclipse was captured by an aircraft flying through the Moon's umbral shadow. One second of time in the featured time-lapse video corresponds to about one minute of real time. The Moon's...
  • Mystery of Ceres' bright spots grows

    04/13/2015 12:28:08 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    nature.com ^ | Alexandra Witze
    Not all of the puzzling bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres are alike. The closest-yet images of the gleams, taken from 45,000 kilometres away, suggest that at least two of the spots look different from one another when seen in infrared wavelengths. The Hubble Space Telescope spied many of the bright spots from afar years ago, but the observations from NASA's Dawn spacecraft — which began looping around Ceres on 6 March — are the first at close range. The images were released on 13 April in Vienna, Austria, at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union. Scientists say...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way over Erupting Volcano

    04/13/2015 7:30:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | April 13, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The view was worth the trip. Battling high winds, cold temperatures, and low oxygen, the trek to near the top of the volcano Santa Maria in Guatemala -- while carrying sensitive camera equipment -- was lonely and difficult. Once set up, though, the camera captured this breathtaking vista during the early morning hours of February 28. Visible on the ground are six volcanoes of the Central America Volcanic Arc, including Fuego, the Volcano of Fire, which is seen erupting in the distance. Visible in the sky, in separate exposures taken a few minutes later, are many stars much further...
  • Accelerating universe? Not so fast

    04/12/2015 9:14:56 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 10 replies
    Eurekalert ^ | 4/10/15
    Certain types of supernovae, or exploding stars, are more diverse than previously thought, a University of Arizona-led team of astronomers has discovered. The results, reported in two papers published in the Astrophysical Journal, have implications for big cosmological questions, such as how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. Most importantly, the findings hint at the possibility that the acceleration of the expansion of the universe might not be quite as fast as textbooks say. The team, led by UA astronomer Peter A. Milne, discovered that type Ia supernovae, which have been considered so uniform that cosmologists...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sentinels of the Arctic

    04/12/2015 1:22:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | April 12, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Who guards the north? Judging from the above photograph, possibly giant trees covered in snow and ice. The featured picture was taken a few winters ago in Finnish Lapland where weather can include sub-freezing temperatures and driving snow. Surreal landscapes sometimes result, where common trees become cloaked in white and so appear, to some, as watchful aliens. Far in the distance, behind this uncommon Earthly vista, is a more common sight -- a Belt of Venus that divided a darkened from sunlit sky as the Sun rose behind the photographer. Of course, in the spring, the trees thaw and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus in the West

    04/11/2015 4:04:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | April 11, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In the coming days, Venus shines near the western horizon at sunset. To find Earth's sister planet in twilight skies just look for the brilliant evening star. Tonight very close to the Pleiades star cluster, Venus dominates this springtime night skyscape taken only a few days ago near the town of Lich in central Germany. Also known as the Seven Sisters, the stars of the compact Pleiades cluster appear above Venus in this picture. The budding tree branches to its left frame bright star Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus the Bull, and the V-shaped Hyades star cluster.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2903: A Missing Jewel in Leo

    04/11/2015 4:02:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | April 10, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Barred spiral galaxy NGC 2903 is only some 20 million light-years distant. Popular among amateur astronomers, it shines in the northern spring constellation Leo, near the top of the lion's head. That part of the constellation is sometimes seen as a reversed question mark or sickle. One of the brighter galaxies visible from the northern hemisphere, NGC 2903 is surprisingly missing from Charles Messier's catalog of lustrous celestial sights. This colorful image from a small ground-based telescope shows off the galaxy's gorgeous spiral arms traced by young, blue star clusters and pinkish star forming regions. Included are intriguing details...
  • Origins of Russian fireball found: Scientists say... [similar orbit to asteroid 2014 UR116]

    04/09/2015 10:36:05 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | April 8, 2015 | Ellie Zolfagharifard
    ...the Kola fireball had a 'disturbingly similar' path to asteroid 2014 UR116, which is due to pass by the moon in 2017. Spotted on April 19 last year, researchers used camera footage to help recreate its trajectory and hunt down any remaining fragments... This led researchers to the Annama meteorite, which is an ordinary H5 chondrite -- a group of space rocks with high strength that make up 31 per cent of meteorite falls. The computer model compared the orbit of Annama, a 1,100lb (500kg) rock, with the evolution of a dozen orbits of near-Earth asteroids... Vladimir Lipunov, a professor...
  • Here’s How You Can Watch the SpaceX’s CRS-6 Mission From Your Backyard

    04/09/2015 8:12:28 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | David Dickinson
    Hunting for satellites from your backyard can be positively addicting. Sure, the Orion Nebula or the Andromeda Galaxy appear grand… and they’ll also look exactly the same throughout the short span of our fleeting human lifetimes. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, humans also have added their own ephemeral ‘stars’ to the sky. It’s fun to sleuth out just what these might be, as they photobomb the sky overhead. In the coming week, we’d like to turn your attention towards a unique opportunity to watch a high profile space launch approach a well-known orbiting space laboratory. On Monday, April...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Golden Gate Eclipse

    04/09/2015 4:05:11 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | April 09, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Shadows play on the water and in the sky in this panoramic view of the April 4 total lunar eclipse over San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Just within planet Earth's shadow the Full Moon's disk is still easy to spot at its brief total phase. The urban night skyscape was composed to cover the wide range of brightness visible to the eye. The shortest total lunar eclipse of the century, this eclipse was also the third in a string of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, a series known as a tetrad. Coming in nearly six month intervals, the previous...
  • Ice on Mars: Mars has belts of glaciers consisting of frozen water

    04/09/2015 1:40:09 AM PDT · by samtheman · 25 replies
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/ ^ | April 8, 2015 | University of Copenhagen - Niels Bohr Institute
    Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water. New studies have now calculated the size of the glaciers and thus the amount of water in the glaciers.
  • NASA predicts alien life could be found by 2025

    04/08/2015 6:07:34 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 118 replies
    CBS News ^ | 04/08/2015 | By MICHAEL CASEY
    Bolstered by a flurry of recent discoveries, NASA scientists believe they could find evidence of alien life in the universe as early 2025. Much of the excitement has been around the discovery of water in so many unexpected places. Several planets including Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (and their moons) are believed to possess water in their atmosphere and interiors and the five icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn have shown strong evidence of oceans beneath their surfaces. "I'm going to say we are going to have strong indications of life beyond earth within a decade and I think...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Full Moon in Earth's Shadow

    04/08/2015 2:13:21 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | April 08, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Last week the Full Moon was completely immersed in Earth's dark umbral shadow, just briefly though. The total phase of the April 4, 2015 lunar eclipse lasted less than 5 minutes, the shortest total lunar eclipse of the century. In fact, sliding just within the Earth's umbral shadow's northern edge, the lunar north stayed relatively bright, while a beautiful range of blue and red hues emerged across the rest of the Moon's Earth-facing hemisphere. The reddened light within the shadow that reaches the lunar surface is filtered through the lower atmosphere. Seen from a lunar perspective it comes from...
  • Venus and the Pleiades – See the Spectacle!

    04/07/2015 2:00:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    Just step outside between about 8:30 and 10 p.m. local time, face west and let Venus be your guide. At magnitude -4.1, it’s rivaled in brightness only by the Moon and Sun. Early this week, Venus will lie about 5° or three fingers held together at arm’s length below the Pleiades. But each day it snuggles up a little closer until closest approach on Friday. Around that time, you’ll be able to view both in the same binocular field. Outrageously bright Venus makes for a stunning contrast against the delicate pinpoint beauty of the star cluster.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- In the Heart of the Virgo Cluster

    04/07/2015 7:58:09 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | April 07, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Virgo Cluster of Galaxies is the closest cluster of galaxies to our Milky Way Galaxy. The Virgo Cluster is so close that it spans more than 5 degrees on the sky - about 10 times the angle made by a full Moon. With its heart lying about 70 million light years distant, the Virgo Cluster is the nearest cluster of galaxies, contains over 2,000 galaxies, and has a noticeable gravitational pull on the galaxies of the Local Group of Galaxies surrounding our Milky Way Galaxy. The cluster contains not only galaxies filled with stars but also gas so...
  • Alien FAQ: 6 questions about strange cosmic radio bursts

    04/06/2015 6:49:05 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    newscientist.com ^ | Sarah Scoles
    1. Is this the first time we think we might have found aliens? Nope, there have been several false alarms. The most famous is the 72-second Wow! signal, so called because an eager astronomer wrote "Wow!" next to it on a printout from the Ohio State Big Ear Telescope in 1977. It didn't seem to be of this Earth, but it was never seen again. A few years before that, astronomer Jocelyn Bell thought she may have found the beep-beep-beep of "little green men" when she had actually discovered pulsars, the rapidly rotating corpses of stars that sweep a lighthouse-like...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 3293: A Bright Young Star Cluster

    04/06/2015 5:36:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | April 06, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Hot blue stars shine brightly in this beautiful, recently formed galactic or "open" star cluster. Open cluster NGC 3293 is located in the constellation Carina, lies at a distance of about 8000 light years, and has a particularly high abundance of these young bright stars. A study of NGC 3293 implies that the blue stars are only about 6 million years old, whereas the cluster's dimmer, redder stars appear to be about 20 million years old. If true, star formation in this open cluster took at least 15 million years. Even this amount of time is short, however, when...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Saturn, Tethys, Rings, and Shadows

    04/05/2015 2:49:41 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 05, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Seen from ice moon Tethys, rings and shadows would display fantastic views of the Saturnian system. Haven't dropped in on Tethys lately? Then this gorgeous ringscape from the Cassini spacecraft will have to do for now. Caught in sunlight just below and left of picture center in 2005, Tethys itself is about 1,000 kilometers in diameter and orbits not quite five saturn-radii from the center of the gas giant planet. At that distance (around 300,000 kilometers) it is well outside Saturn's main bright rings, but Tethys is still one of five major moons that find themselves within the boundaries...
  • Hawaiian leader seeks telescope construction pause at sacred summit

    04/04/2015 8:55:36 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 34 replies
    ap ^ | CALEB JONES,AUDREY McAVOY,
    "Hawaiians absolutely believe in science. How that plays out on this mountain is going to be a matter of getting the right set of people in the room to negotiate some sort of compromise that everyone can live with," Apo told reporters. Stopping construction would be key, he said. "You can't even get to the discussion point until they stop construction," he said. ... The dispute has pitted Native Hawaiians, who believe the telescope site is sacred because it is where their creation story begins, against scientists, who believe it's an ideal location for one of the world's largest telescopes...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Voorwerpjes in Space

    04/04/2015 4:02:23 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | April 04, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Mysterious Hanny's Voorwerp, Dutch for "Hanny's Object", is really enormous, about the size of the Milky Way Galaxy and glowing strongly in the greenish light produced by ionized oxygen atoms. It is thought to be a tidal tail of material left by an ancient galaxy merger, illuminated and ionized by the outburst of a quasar inhabiting the center of distant spiral galaxy IC 2497. Its exciting 2007 discovery by Dutch schoolteacher Hanny van Arkel while participating online in the Galaxy Zoo project has since inspired a search and discovery of eight more eerie green cosmic features. Imaged in these...
  • Chris Kyle Protectin' FROM The Heavens

    04/03/2015 4:18:34 PM PDT · by knarf · 4 replies
    e-mail ^ | April 3, 2015 | knarf
  • Total lunar eclipse Saturday morning: Watch it live, right here

    04/03/2015 1:46:13 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    latimes.com ^ | Deborah Netburn
    Totality, when the moon is completely engulfed in our planet's shadow occurs,,,,,4:58 a.m. and lasts for less than five minutes. If sleep means nothing to you, you can continue to watch the moon slowly emerge from the shadow of the Earth, finally breaking free just as the sun begins to rise. The astronomy website Slooh.com will stream live images of the eclipse from its network of telescopes around the world. The video broadcast which you can watch here, begins at 3 a.m PDT. If you have questions you would like Slooh astronomer to answer you can pose them on Twitter...
  • Lunar Eclipse Blood Moon Will Create Easter Weekend Spectacle in the Sky

    04/03/2015 11:19:30 AM PDT · by Perdogg · 48 replies
    ABC News ^ | Apr 3, 2015, 9:15 AM ET | By ALYSSA NEWCOMB
    Early risers and people who plan to party until dawn -- take notice. The United States has prime seats for a lunar eclipse set to take over the skies early Saturday morning, marking the third in a tetrad, a series of four eclipses. The lunar spectacle will be the shortest in a century, lasting four minutes and 43 seconds.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sun and Moon Halo

    04/03/2015 5:04:14 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | April 03, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Two pictures captured on April 1 are combined in this creative day and night composite. Separated in time by about 10 hours the images otherwise match, looking along the coast at Östersund Sweden. The relative times were chosen to show the Sun and a nearly full Moon at the same place in the cold, early springtime sky. In the night scene Jupiter also shines above the waterfront lights, while Sun and Moon are both surrounded by a beautiful circular ice halo. The Sun and Moon halos really do align, each with an angular radius of 22 degrees. That radius...
  • Star's birth glimpsed 'in real time'

    04/03/2015 4:01:46 AM PDT · by WhiskeyX · 21 replies
    BBC ^ | 3 April 2015 | BBC
    Astronomers have witnessed a key stage in the birth of a very heavy star, using two radio telescope views of the process taken 18 years apart. The young star is 4,200 light-years from Earth and appears to be surrounded by a doughnut-shaped cloud of dust.
  • Adventures in Satspotting: Why Are Different Orbits Needed for Satellites?

    04/02/2015 8:19:59 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | David Dickinson
    Congratulations: perhaps you’re a new space-faring nation, looking to place a shiny new payload around the planet Earth. You’ve assembled the technical know-how, and seek to break the surly bonds and join an exclusive club that thus far, only contains 14 nations capable of indigenous spaceflight. Now for the big question: which orbit should you choose? Welcome to the wonderful world of orbital mechanics. Sure, satellites in orbit have to follow Newton’s laws of motion, as they perpetually ‘fall’ around the Earth without hitting it. But it’ll cost you in fuel expended and technical complexity to achieve different types of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Owl and the Galaxy

    04/02/2015 4:52:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | April 02, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation:The Owl and the Galaxy sail these skiesWith blue and yellow star.They go together beneath the Big Dipper,If you wonder where they are. The Galaxy's light shines through the night,Ten millions of light-years away.But never fear the Owl is near,Inside the Milky Way.A cosmic shroud, the Owl is proud,its central star a must.And the spiral Galaxy lies on edgeTo show off all its dust,Its dust,Its dust,To show off all its dust.
  • OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sampler Enters Final Assembly

    04/01/2015 3:49:19 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 2 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | Ken Kremer
    Approximately 17 months from now, OSIRIS-REx is slated to launch in the fall of 2016 and visit asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich asteroid. Bennu is a near-Earth asteroid and was selected for the sample return mission because it “could hold clues to the origin of the solar system and host organic molecules that may have seeded life on Earth,” says NASA. The spacecraft is equipped with a suite of five science instruments to remotely study the asteroid. Eventually it will gather rocks and soil and bring at least a 60-gram (2.1-ounce) sample back to Earth in 2023 for study by researchers...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Suiting Up for the Moon [looks like Kerry]

    04/01/2015 1:17:40 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | April 01, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How will cows survive on the Moon? One of the most vexing questions asked about space, scientists have spent decades debating this key issue. Finally, after extensive computer modeling and over a dozen midnight milkings, engineers have designed, built, and now tested the new Lunar Grazing Module (LGM), a multi-purpose celestial bovine containment system. By now, many of you will not be surprised to be wished a Happy April Fool's Day from APOD. To the best of our knowledge, there are no current plans to launch cows into space. For one reason, cows tend to be large animals that...
  • Is this ET? Mystery of strange radio bursts from space

    04/01/2015 11:33:55 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 33 replies
    www.newscientist.com ^ | 04-01-2015 | Staff
    Mysterious radio wave flashes from far outside the galaxy are proving tough for astronomers to explain. Is it pulsars? A spy satellite? Or an alien message? BURSTS of radio waves flashing across the sky seem to follow a mathematical pattern. If the pattern is real, either some strange celestial physics is going on, or the bursts are artificial, produced by human – or alien – technology. Telescopes have been picking up so-called fast radio bursts (FRBs) since 2001. They last just a few milliseconds and erupt with about as much energy as the sun releases in a month. Ten have...
  • Cassini Reveals First Hyper Color Images of Saturn's Mysterious Moon Rhea

    04/01/2015 4:50:14 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 29 replies
    ChinaTopix ^ | Ana Verayo
    Saturn. Rhea spans some 950 miles across, which is less than a third of Titan's diameter. It possesses very high reflective properties mainly caused by water ice that's harder than rock on the moon's extremely frigid surface battered by temperatures of -300 degrees Fahrenheit. Rhea is also heavily pockmarked by huge craters, which is a sign of the extremely ancient beginnings of the solar system. The Cassini mission was launched in 1997 and is a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency. It arrived in Saturn in June 2004. ... Cassini is already on its last legs and...
  • CERN researchers confirm existence of the Force

    04/01/2015 1:23:36 AM PDT · by Krosan · 12 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 · 27 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 · 11 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 · 129 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...