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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Solar System’s First Interstellar Visitor Dazzles Scientists

    11/23/2017 9:07:33 AM PST · by EBH · 43 replies
    NASA ^ | 11/20/2017
    Now, new data reveal the interstellar interloper to be a rocky, cigar-shaped object with a somewhat reddish hue. The asteroid, named ‘Oumuamua by its discoverers, is up to one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and highly-elongated—perhaps 10 times as long as it is wide. That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date. While its elongated shape is quite surprising, and unlike asteroids seen in our solar system, it may provide new clues into how other solar systems formed. The observations and analyses were funded in part by NASA and appear...
  • Hidden Supercluster Could Solve Milky Way Mystery

    11/23/2017 8:41:02 AM PST · by MtnClimber · 30 replies
    Qanta Magazine ^ | 21 Nov, 2017 | Liz Kruesi
    The Milky Way, just like every galaxy in the cosmos, moves. While everything in the universe is constantly moving because the universe itself is expanding, since the 1970s astronomers have known of an additional motion, called peculiar velocity. This is a different sort of flow that we seem to be caught in. The Local Group of galaxies — a collection that includes the Milky Way, Andromeda and a few dozen smaller galactic companions — moves at about 600 kilometers per second with respect to the leftover radiation from the Big Bang. Over the past few decades, astronomers have tallied up...
  • The predictable LaVar Ball-Lakers war is coming

    11/22/2017 11:22:55 AM PST · by conservative98 · 25 replies
    NY Post ^ | November 22, 2017 | 10:06am | Hannah Withiam
    A father who didn’t think a couple high school basketball coaches were qualified to coach his sons isn’t stopping with the professionals. It took less than five weeks into Lonzo Ball’s rookie season for LaVar Ball to blame the Lakers’ coaching staff for not translating his son’s talent into production. Naturally, the basketball dad pumped himself up as the man for the job. “They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son,” LaVar Ball said of the Lakers staff in a recent interview with Bleacher Report. “I know how to coach him. I tell him to go get the...
  • NASA: Mars' strange streaks might not be water after all

    11/21/2017 2:25:56 AM PST · by Berlin_Freeper · 17 replies
    cnet.com ^ | November 20, 2017 | Amanda Kooser
    We've got some big questions about Mars, but one of its most compelling mysteries just got a lot more intense. "Recurring slope lineae" (RSL) are dark streaks, first discovered in 2011, that appear seasonally on parts of the Mars landscape. In 2015, researchers took RSL as evidence of active salt water flows on the red planet. In 2017, new findings suggest RSL may actually be from shifting sand and dust. NASA titled its 2015 release "NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today's Mars." Monday's release is called "Recurring Martian Streaks: Flowing Sand, Not Water?" It shows how new...
  • ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before

    11/20/2017 3:26:38 PM PST · by C210N · 21 replies
    "... It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky..." "varies dramatically in brightness by a factor of ten as it spins on its axis every 7.3 hours."
  • How to Give Mars an Atmosphere, Maybe

    11/20/2017 1:18:57 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 42 replies
    Nautilus ^ | 11/17/17 | Marc Kaufman
    The plan for an artificial Martian magnetosphere may sound “fanciful,” but researchers say that emerging research is starting to show that a miniature magnetosphere can be used to protect humans and spacecraft.NASA Earth is most fortunate to have vast webs of magnetic fields surrounding it. Without them, much of our atmosphere would have been gradually torn away by powerful solar winds long ago, making it unlikely that anything like us would be here.Scientists know that Mars once supported prominent magnetic fields as well, most likely in the early period of its history when the planet was consequently warmer and...
  • First interstellar asteroid is like nothing seen before

    11/20/2017 10:52:40 AM PST · by epluribus_2 · 54 replies
    Full title: ESO observations show first interstellar asteroid is like nothing seen before. For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object. The new results appear in the journal Nature on 20 November 2017.
  • Couple launches completely clear 'bubble' tents in secret secluded locations

    11/19/2017 10:17:41 AM PST · by mairdie · 103 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | 19 November 2017 | Laura House
    ...'There was a meteor shower as well and we had this profound experience. But after the tour we went home and couldn't sleep under the stars so we took blankets out to a pontoon on the lake in freezing weather so we could look at the sky. 'We were just thinking about how amazing it would be to stay under the stars but there wasn't anything like that available so when we came back to Australia we decided to try and replicate the experience we had for others.' The couple started looking up bubble tents - completely clear inflatable tents...
  • 100 full moons: Blazing fireball lights up Arctic sky

    11/19/2017 9:29:36 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    yahoo ^ | •November 18, 2017 | JAN M. OLSEN ,
    COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A blazing fireball lit up the dark skies of Arctic Finland for five seconds, giving off what scientists said was "the glow of 100 full moons" and igniting hurried attempts to find the reported meteorite. Finnish experts were scrambling to calculate its trajectory and find where it landed, according to Tomas Kohout of the University of Helsinki's physics department, who said Thursday night's fireball "seems to have been one of the brightest ones." It produced a blast wave that felt like an explosion about 6:40 p.m. and could also be seen in northern Norway and in...
  • LIGO Sees Smallest Black Hole Binary Yet

    11/18/2017 4:40:58 PM PST · by Lonesome in Massachussets · 21 replies
    Sky & Telescope ^ | November 16, 2017 | Camille M. Carlisle
    On November 15th, five months after the spacetime ripples jiggled LIGO’s instruments, astronomers announced the detection of their sixth gravitational-wave discovery, which is the fifth from the merger of two black holes. The event, GW170608, came from the union of the smallest black holes scientists have yet “seen” using this technique. The waves hit LIGO at 02:01:16 Universal Time on June 8th, during the project’s second observing run (November 30th to August 25th). Their passage triggered the alarm at the site in Livingston, Louisiana, but the detector in Hanford, Washington, was under routine maintenance and had its alert system turned...
  • Meet 'Oumuamua! The 1st Interstellar Visitor Ever Seen Gets a Name

    11/16/2017 10:52:10 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 16 replies
    Space.com ^ | November 15, 2017 04:57pm ET | Mike Wall,
    The IAU also approved an official scientific designation for 'Oumuamua: 1I/2017 U1. This is a first-of-its-kind moniker; the "I" stands for "interstellar." Previously, small objects like 'Oumuamua have received standard comet or asteroid designations, which sport a "C" or "A," respectively, in place of the "I." 'Oumuamua was first spotted on Oct. 19, by astronomers using the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii. The smallish object was first classified as a comet but then regarded as an asteroid, after further observations revealed no evidence of a coma (the fuzzy cloud of gas and dust that surrounds a comet's core). Analysis of 'Oumuamua's trajectory soon...
  • Second-Closest Earth-Like Planet Discovered

    11/15/2017 7:07:25 AM PST · by Red Badger · 25 replies
    www.popularmechanics.com ^ | 11/15/2017 | By Jay Bennett
    About 11 light-years away, Ross 128 b is closer to the solar system than any known exoplanet save Proxima b. First there was Proxima b, the Earth-sized planet orbiting the closest star to us, Proxima Centauri. Then came the seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting TRAPPIST-1, a star 39 light-years away, three of which are in the habitable zone. Now we welcome a new tantalizing exoplanet to the group, the second closest we know of, also Earth-sized and temperate, orbiting a calm red dwarf star: Ross 128 b. Ross 128 is an old, inactive red dwarf star that sits 11 light-years away....
  • Star Crash: The Explosion that Transformed Astronomy (15min video)

    11/14/2017 12:17:30 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 20 replies
    YouTube ^ | 11/13/17
    A startling collision in an ancient galaxy slews Earth's largest telescopes to a spot in the Hydra constellation. Two rapidly spinning neutron stars have violently merged to form a possible black hole. And, for the first time, astronomers see its electromagnetic flash and hear its gravitational thunder as they watch new elements being born.
  • Dwarf Planet Ceres May Have Had a Global Ocean in Ancient Past

    11/13/2017 6:39:42 PM PST · by ETL · 28 replies
    Space.com ^ | November 8, 2017 | Nola Taylor Redd, Space.com Contributor
    Nestled in the asteroid belt, the dwarf planet Ceres contains water-rich materials that suggest it once boasted a global ocean in its distant past. Now, two new studies from NASA's Dawn mission may reveal traces of an ancient ocean in the crust, with remnants left behind in the muddy mantle beneath.  Scientists used the tug of gravity on NASA's Dawn spacecraft to track gravitational features across the dwarf planet Ceres. Combined with models of the evolution of the icy surfaces, these observations reveal an ocean mostly frozen into a strong but flexible crust, with a mud-rich inner layer that keeps...
  • Venus, Jupiter conjunction: The brightest planets to meet up in Monday morning sky

    11/13/2017 1:42:58 AM PST · by ETL · 28 replies
    AccuWeather.com ^ | November 12, 2017 | Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
    Jupiter and Venus will pair up in the sky on Monday morning, shining brightly together shortly before sunrise. The two planets will appear so close together that they may look like they are just one bright star rather than two planets. This is the closest these two planets will appear all year, an astronomical event known as a conjunction. Venus and Jupiter may appear very close to each other in the morning sky, but they are actually more than 400 million miles away from each other. Venus and Jupiter will rise together about one hour before sunrise in the eastern...
  • Oldest Spiral Galaxy Ever Seen May Reveal Secrets About the Milky Way

    11/11/2017 11:34:42 PM PST · by ETL · 44 replies
    Space.Com ^ | November 07, 2017 | Calla Cofield, Space.com Senior Writer
    The two small, inset images show actual observations of the most ancient spiral galaxy ever observed. The rest of the image is an artist's illustration showing how a massive galaxy cluster bends and magnifies the light from the distant galaxy, making it visible to astronomers on Earth. Astronomers have uncovered an ancient cosmic artifact 11 billion light-years from Earth: the oldest spiral galaxy ever seen.  The newly discovered galaxy, known as A1689B11, is an ancestor of modern spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way, which are defined by long tentacles of gas, dust and stars that wrap around the...
  • Mysterious object 13 times the size of Jupiter found

    11/10/2017 11:11:30 PM PST · by ETL · 34 replies
    FoxNews: Science ^ | November 10, 2017 | Matthew Dunn
    In the hostile environment of the ‘galactic bulge’ at the heart of our galaxy, scientists have spotted a planet so big it might not actually be a planet. A large international team of researchers found the object when looking at data acquired by NASA’s Spitzer infra-red space telescope, which was first launched in 2003. Using a technique called micro-lensing, which measures distortions in light when a star passes in front of another, scientists were able to discover the mysterious object is 22,000 light years away from Earth, and orbits its parent star roughly every three years. Dubbed OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb, the object...
  • Another “Impossible” Exoplanet | Space News

    11/09/2017 9:47:39 PM PST · by Windflier · 22 replies
    Thunderbolts.info ^ | 9 November 2017 | S. Schirott
    Recently, scientists reported in the monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society the discovery of a theory-shattering exoplanet — one of countless such discoveries in the last two decades. As reported on phys.org on October 31, the hot Jupiter “should not exist according to planet formation theory.” In this episode, we outline the fundamental differences between the standard model of planet and star formation versus that of the Electric Universe.
  • 2,000-yr Old Sundial Changes Perception of Ancient Rome

    11/09/2017 6:27:23 AM PST · by Red Badger · 33 replies
    www.haaretz.com ^ | 11/08/2017 | By Ruth Schuster
    One Marcus Novius Tubula apparently ordered the sundial to mark his noble appointment as tribune of Rome itself, say archaeologists after finding it in ancient town of Interamna Lirenas One day around 2,000 years ago, a Roman named Marcus Novius Tubula ordered an elaborate sundial, University of Cambridge researchers report after finding it intact two millennia later during excavation in the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas, near Monte Cassino, in Italy. Carved in limestone and 54 centimeters in width, the sundial's concave face was engraved with 11 hour lines intersecting three day curves. Thus the device could give indicate the...
  • NASA Spots a Weird (and Rare) Circular Sight on the Sun

    11/09/2017 5:56:56 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    Space.com ^ | 11/09/2017 | Tariq Malik
    A NASA spacecraft watching the sun has captured a rare view of a true space oddity: something scientists call an "encircling filament" near a "hole" in Earth's parent star. The filament was photographed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory between Oct. 29 and Oct. 31, and appears as a tendril of dark material surrounding an active region on the sun's surface. "Only a handful of times before have we seen one shaped like a circle," NASA officials wrote in an image description. "The black area to the left of the brighter active region is a coronal hole, a magnetically open region...