Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Moore’s Law: Life is Older than Earth Itself — “A Process that Began Billions of Years Before...

    09/25/2018 12:02:04 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 27 replies
    Daily Galaxy ^ | 9/24/18
    Moore’s Law: Life is Older than Earth Itself — “A Process that Began Billions of Years Before the Formation of Our Solar System” Posted on Sep 24, 2018  As life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law which states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. The regression suggests that if life takes 10 billion years to evolve to the level of complexity associated with homo sapiens, then we may be among the first, if not the first, intelligent civilization in the Milky Way, negating Drakes Equation.Our Solar...
  • Astronomers Detect Matter Falling into Black Hole

    09/25/2018 7:29:19 AM PDT · by ETL · 34 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | News Staff / Source | Sept 25, 2018
    University of Leicester’s Professor Ken Pounds and co-authors report the detection of matter falling into a black hole at 30% of the speed of light Using data from ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray Observatory, Professor Pounds and colleagues looked at X-ray spectra from PG1211+143, a Seyfert galaxy (characterized by a very bright AGN resulting from the presence of the massive black hole at its nucleus) located in the constellation Coma Berenices, about one billion light-years away. The team found the spectra to be strongly red-shifted, showing the observed matter to be falling into PG1211+143’s black hole at the enormous speed of 30%...
  • How Do Flat-Earthers Explain the Equinox? We Investigated.

    09/24/2018 8:38:22 PM PDT · by Simon Green · 35 replies
    Space.com ^ | 11/24/18 | Brandon Specktor
    The autumn equinox is upon us. On Saturday (Sept. 22), the sun will shine directly on the Earth's equator, autumn will officially begin in the northern hemisphere, and the length of day and night will be nearly equal across the globe ... or, "across the disc," if you're a flat-Earther. For flat-Earthers — the vocal online community of folks who believe the world is actually flat and science is a conspiracy — the equinox can be tricky to explain. Without axial tilt, the phenomenon in which the rotating, spherical Earth angles its poles toward or away from the sun, how...
  • Chinese-led team shows mass extinction happened in geological 'instant'

    09/24/2018 7:33:15 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 44 replies
    Eurekalert ^ | September 19, 2018 | Chinese Academy of Sciences
    It took less than 30,000 years and maybe only thousands, to kill more than 90% of sea creatures and most land species, according to the most precise study ever published about the mass extinction marking the end of the Permian Period. Earth's greatest mass extinction, also known as the "Great Dying," occurred about 252 million years ago. By some estimates, over 90% of sea creatures and most land-dwelling reptiles disappeared. Even usually resilient plants and insects suffered near annihilation... Scientists from China, the USA and Canada combined new high-resolution radiometric dating of seven closely spaced layers of volcanic material from...
  • "Moonkiller" - original metal, by Yours Truly

    09/24/2018 2:58:58 PM PDT · by Slings and Arrows · 22 replies
    Me, via YouTube ^ | 9/24/18 | Me, as "Hopalong Ginsberg"
    No violence towards to the moon is advocated or endorsed in this video. For a free download of "Moonkiller" click here, click on Buy Now, and choose $0.
  • After Pluto, New Horizons probe draws near to its next target: Ultima Thule

    09/24/2018 12:24:34 PM PDT · by ETL · 26 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 20, 2018 | Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer
    Don't sleep on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. The history-making probe, which famously zoomed past Pluto in July 2015, is closing in on its next flyby target, a frigid chunk of ice and rock about 4 billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) from Earth dubbed Ultima Thule.  New Horizons is now just 80 million miles (130 million km) from Ultima Thule, mission members said Wednesday (Sept. 19). That's less than the distance from Earth to the sun (about 93 million miles). [Destination Pluto: NASA's New Horizons Mission in Pictures]  The spacecraft has already begun photographing Ultima Thule for navigation purposes and remains...
  • Hubble Space Telescope Catches Giant Cluster: SDSS J1050+0017

    09/24/2018 10:21:20 AM PDT · by ETL · 16 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Sept 24, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    SDSS J1050+0017, also known as ClG J1050+0017, is approximately 6 billion light-years away from Earth. The gigantic mass of this galaxy cluster creates the fascinating phenomenon of strong gravitational lensing.SDSS J1050+0017’s gravity bends light coming from behind it in a similar way to how the base of a wine glass bends light.The effects of this lensing can be clearly seen as curved streaks forming a circular shape around the center of the Hubble image.Astronomers can use these distorted galaxies to calculate the mass of the cluster — including the mass of the dark matter within it — and to peer...
  • Here Comes Fall: Harvest Moon 2018 Rises Tonight!

    09/24/2018 8:13:09 AM PDT · by ETL · 15 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 24, 2018 | Joe Rao, Space.com Skywatching Columnist
    With unseasonably warm summer temperatures persisting over much of the world this year, it seems hard to believe that this is the week of the Harvest Moon, the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. Saturday, Sept. 22, was the first official day of autumn in much of the Northern Hemisphere, even though it will still officially be summer through the daylight hours. The moment of the equinox — the official end of summer and beginning of autumn — will not arrive until 9:54 p.m. EDT. East of the prime meridian, where the equinox occurs after midnight, the first day...
  • Non conventional theories:Are they a psychological experiment?

    09/23/2018 5:03:25 PM PDT · by know.your.why · 30 replies
    know.your.why ^ | know.your.why
    My father has been a pilot for all of my life of 50 years. He seems to latch on to ideas such as the flat earth theory that betrays everything that he was trained in aerial course plotting. True north? Magnetic North? Distant mountains rising from the horizon during the flight etc. He finally believes that the international space station exists after I insisted that he join me on a clear night to watch it go over. He seems to be obsessed with the notion that doom and destruction are always nearing. He's been like chicken little about gun control...
  • Satellite Flare Photobombs a Lunar Eclipse Under the Milky Way (Photo)

    09/23/2018 9:11:52 AM PDT · by ETL · 29 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 23, 2018 | Miguel Claro, Space.com Contributor
    Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory photo ambassador, a member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical skyscapes that connect Earth and the night sky. Join him here as he takes us through his photograph "An Eclipsed Moon with Mars, Milky Way with Saturn, and a Satellite near Jupiter." Captured 15 minutes after the end of totality during the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, this...
  • They Made It! Japan's Two Hopping Rovers Successfully Land on Asteroid Ryugu

    09/22/2018 11:59:23 AM PDT · by ETL · 14 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 22, 2018 | Meghan Bartels, Space.com Senior Writer
    The suspense is over: Two tiny hopping robots have successfully landed on an asteroid called Ryugu — and they've even sent back some wild postcards from their new home. The tiny rovers are part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Hayabusa2 asteroid sample-return mission. Engineers with the agency deployed the robots early Friday (Sept. 21), but JAXA waited until today (Sept. 22) to confirm the operation was successful and both rovers made the landing safely. The rovers are part of the MINERVA-II1 program, and are designed to hop along the asteroid's surface, taking photographs and gathering data. In fact, one of the...
  • New York City’s Subways Are Slow, Crowded and Smelly—Officials Say Part of the Problem Is You

    09/21/2018 6:38:52 PM PDT · by firebrand · 36 replies
    Wall Street Journal ^ | Sept. 21, 2018 | Paul Berger
    More than five million riders crowd into New York City’s subway on an average workday, and officials say some of them are making everybody late. At the 34th Street-Penn Station stop, Frank Gallagher thrust his foot between the closing doors of an uptown 2 train on a recent morning and wedged his way inside. “I made up my mind I was going to catch that train,” said the 57-year-old entertainment industry union rep. “I’m five minutes late as it is.” But nothing enrages commuters more than train delays. Except, maybe, blaming commuters for train delays.
  • Catalogue of planetary maps, past and present, highlights our evolving view of our Solar System

    09/21/2018 11:27:36 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 7 replies
    Catalogue of planetary maps, past and present, highlights our evolving view of our Solar System September 21, 2018 Catalogue of planetary maps, past and present, highlights our evolving view of our Solar System A catalogue that provides an overview of over 2,200 planetary maps produced worldwide between 1600 and 2018 was presented today at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 in Berlin. The catalogue has been produced by Henrik Hargitai, from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (Hungary), and Mateusz Pitura, from the University of Wroclaw (Poland).“Production of planetary maps started in Europe in the 1600s. It expanded to the...
  • Japanese Probe Deploys Tiny Hopping Robots Toward Big Asteroid Ryugu

    09/21/2018 6:22:21 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 16 replies
    Space.com ^ | September 21, 2018 01:30am ET | Mike Wall,
    Japan's Hayabusa2 probe, which has been circling the 3,000-foot-wide (900 meters) asteroid Ryugu since late June, deployed two little "rovers" called MINERVA-II1A and MINERVA-II1B at 12:05 a.m. EDT (0405 GMT) today (Sept. 21). The event occurred when the mother ship was about 180 feet (55 meters) above Ryugu's pockmarked, boulder-strewn surface, mission team members said. "The separation of MINERVA-II1 has been confirmed! The state of the spacecraft is normal," JAXA officials announced via Twitter just after the rovers deployed. That confirmation came after an apparently tense descent for Hayabusa2 flight controllers. "In the control room, you can hear the sound...
  • Greetings From Vulcan? Planet Discovered Orbiting the Star of Spock's Homeworld in "Star Trek"

    09/19/2018 10:57:05 AM PDT · by C19fan · 25 replies
    Popular Mechanics ^ | September 19, 2018 | Avery Thompson
    Star Trek’s Spock comes from the planet Vulcan, which of course doesn’t exist. But new research might give us the next best thing—an exoplanet orbiting the real-life star that Vulcan is said to be orbiting in the Star Trek universe. In 1991, Gene Roddenberry wrote a letter to Sky & Telescope about what kind of star the planet Vulcan was likely to orbit. In that letter, he specifically picks out one such star, 40 Eridani. Later, 40 Eridani became the canon Vulcan star system featured in a handful of episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Hubble Detects Unusual Infrared Emission from Nearby Neutron Star

    09/19/2018 9:08:27 AM PDT · by ETL · 14 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Sep 18, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    “We observed an extended area of infrared emissions around RX J0806.4-4123, the total size of which translates into about 200 AU (astronomical units [~92.5 million miles-etl]) at the assumed distance of the pulsar.” This is the first neutron star in which an extended emission has been seen only in the infrared.Dr. Posselt and colleagues suggest two possibilities that could explain this extended infrared emission.The first is that there is a disk of material (possibly mostly dust) surrounding RX J0806.4-4123. The second is a so-called ‘pulsar wind nebula.’ “One theory is that there could be what is known as a ‘fallback...
  • AURA Statement about the Status of the Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico

    09/17/2018 6:46:50 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 22 replies
    aura-astronomy.org ^ | September 16, 2018 | Shari Lifson
    Sunspot Solar Observatory is transitioning back to regular operations as of September 17th On September 6th, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) made the decision to temporarily vacate the Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico as a precautionary measure while addressing a security issue. The facility closed down in an orderly fashion and is now re-opening. The residents that vacated their homes will be returning to the site, and all employees will return to work this week. AURA has been cooperating with an on-going law enforcement investigation of criminal...
  • Scientists receive $1.3 million to study new propulsion idea for spacecraft

    09/17/2018 4:44:12 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 28 replies
    Univ. of Plymouth ^ | 9/17/18 | Alan Williams
    Spacecraft and satellites could in future be launched into space without the need for fuel, thanks to a revolutionary new theory. Dr Mike McCulloch, from the University of Plymouth, first put forward the idea of quantised inertia (QI) – through which he believes light can be converted into thrust – in 2007. He has now received $1.3million from the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a four-year study which aims to make the concept a reality. The QI theory predicts that objects can be pushed by differences in the intensity of so-called Unruh radiation in space, similar...
  • Gaia 2.0

    09/17/2018 1:25:21 PM PDT · by ETL · 17 replies
    Science.org ^ | Sept 14, 2018 | Timothy M. Lenton: 1, Bruno Latour: 2
    According to Lovelock and Margulis's Gaia hypothesis, living things are part of a planetary-scale self-regulating system that has maintained habitable conditions for the past 3.5 billion years (1, 2). Gaia has operated without foresight or planning on the part of organisms, but the evolution of humans and their technology are changing that. Earth has now entered a new epoch called the Anthropocene (3), and humans are beginning to become aware of the global consequences of their actions. As a result, deliberate self-regulation—from personal action to global geoengineering schemes—is either happening or imminently possible. Making such conscious choices to operate within...
  • Landfall of Hurricane Florence From Space (International Space Station)

    09/17/2018 12:26:18 PM PDT · by ETL · 9 replies
    YouTube ^ | Sept 14, 2018 | NASA
    Cameras outside the International Space Station captured views of Hurricane Florence on Sept. 14 at 7:41 a.m. EDT minutes after the storm made landfall. NASA satellites track the storm: https://go.nasa.gov/2CEmDGQ Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina packing winds of 90 miles an hour. The National Hurricane Center said Florence is moving very slowly to the west at only 6 miles an hour, then is expected to turn to the southwest, increasing the threat for historic storm surge and catastrophic flooding to coastline areas and inland cities in North Carolina and South Carolina.