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Astronomy (General/Chat)

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Latest HRC campaign email [vanity/inanity]

    04/30/2016 10:28:30 AM PDT · by Attention Surplus Disorder
    email inbox ^ | 04/30/2016 | Robby Mook Campaign Manager Hillary for America
    I'm not sure how I got on HRC's mailing list. Here's today's. I guess they think my name is Ann and I have some sort of restroom-use conundrum.
  • Strange comet may reveal clues about Earth's birth

    04/29/2016 6:58:04 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    cbs ^ | 04/29/2016 | Charles Q. Choi Space.com
    Most known comets come from the Oort cloud -- a cold, giant shell surrounding the solar system like a giant, thick soap bubble. Scientists estimate that the Oort cloud is made of trillions of icy bodies that lie as far as 100,000 times Earth's distance from the sun. Astronomers focused on a comet named C/2014 S3 using the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii. The comet, discovered in 2014, is a little more than twice as far away from the sun as Earth is. The 860-year-long orbit of the comet, known as S3 for short, suggested it came from the distant Oort...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Fermi's Gamma-ray Moon

    04/29/2016 5:07:09 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, April 29, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: If you could only see gamma-rays, photons with up to a billion or more times the energy of visible light, the Moon would be brighter than the Sun! That startling notion underlies this novel image of the Moon, based on data collected by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope's Large Area Telescope (LAT) instrument during its first seven years of operation (2008-2015). Fermi's gamma-ray vision doesn't distinguish details on the lunar surface, but a gamma-ray glow consistent with the Moon's size and position is clearly found at the center of the false color map. The brightest pixels correspond to the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Dust Angel Nebula

    04/28/2016 4:21:53 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, April 28, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The combined light of stars along the Milky Way are reflected by these cosmic dust clouds that soar some 300 light-years or so above the plane of our galaxy. Dubbed the Angel Nebula, the faint apparition is part of an expansive complex of dim and relatively unexplored, diffuse molecular clouds. Commonly found at high galactic latitudes, the dusty galactic cirrus can be traced over large regions toward the North and South Galactic poles. Along with the refection of starlight, studies indicate the dust clouds produce a faint reddish luminescence, as interstellar dust grains convert invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible...
  • SpaceX planning to be first private company to land on Mars by 2018

    04/27/2016 12:05:14 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 24 replies
    www.mirror.co.uk ^ | Updated 19:23, 27 Apr 2016 | By David Raven
    The company said it is planning to send their Dragon spacecraft to the red planet as early as 2018 SpaceX is planning to be the first private company to land on Mars within the next two years. The company said it is planning to send its Dragon spaceraft to the red planet as early as 2018. Bosses announced their intentions in a statement on Twitter this afternoon. A spokesperson tweeted: "Planning to send Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will inform overall Mars architecture, details to come." Earlier this month the US aerospace company successfully landed a...
  • Pluto's 'Little Sister' Makemake Has a Moon

    04/27/2016 6:41:16 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 21 replies
    discover.com ^ | Irene Klotz
    Astronomers will now try to learn more about the moon’s orbit so they can calculate a mass for the system and learn more about how it formed. “The discovery … has given us an opportunity to study Makemake in far greater detail than we ever would have been able to without the companion,” Parker said. Preliminary estimates indicate that if the moon is in a circular orbit, it completes a circuit around Makemake in 12 days or longer.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Omega Centauri: The Brightest Globular Star Cluster

    04/27/2016 4:48:35 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, April 27, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This huge ball of stars predates our Sun. Long before humankind evolved, before dinosaurs roamed, and even before our Earth existed, ancient globs of stars condensed and orbited a young Milky Way Galaxy. Of the 200 or so globular clusters that survive today, Omega Centauri is the largest, containing over ten million stars. Omega Centauri is also the brightest globular cluster, at apparent visual magnitude 3.9 it is visible to southern observers with the unaided eye. Cataloged as NGC 5139, Omega Centauri is about 18,000 light-years away and 150 light-years in diameter. Unlike many other globular clusters, the stars...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6872: A Stretched Spiral Galaxy

    04/26/2016 11:24:02 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, April 26, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What makes this spiral galaxy so long? Measuring over 700,000 light years across from top to bottom, NGC 6872, also known as the Condor galaxy, is one of the most elongated barred spiral galaxies known. The galaxy's protracted shape likely results from its continuing collision with the smaller galaxy IC 4970, visible just above center. Of particular interest is NGC 6872's spiral arm on the upper left, as pictured here, which exhibits an unusually high amount of blue star forming regions. The light we see today left these colliding giants before the days of the dinosaurs, about 300 million...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Supernova Remnant Simeis 147: The Spaghetti Nebula

    04/26/2016 11:21:23 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, April 25, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It's easy to get lost following the intricate strands of the Spaghetti Nebula. A supernova remnant cataloged as Simeis 147 and Sh2-240, the glowing gas filaments cover nearly 3 degrees -- 6 full moons -- on the sky. That's about 150 light-years at the stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. This sharp composite includes image data taken through a narrow-band filter to highlight emission from hydrogen atoms tracing the shocked, glowing gas. The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth about 40,000 years ago....
  • 'Trickle of food' helped deep sea creatures survive asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs

    04/25/2016 9:28:28 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    EurekAlert! ^ | Thursday, April 14, 2016 | Cardiff University
    Study of fossil shells solves unanswered question of how deep sea creatures survived asteroid strike during immense upheaval of the world's oceans... Like the dinosaurs themselves, giant marine reptiles, invertebrates and microscopic organisms became extinct after the catastrophic asteroid impact in an immense upheaval of the world's oceans, yet deep sea creatures managed to survive. This has puzzled researchers as it is widely believed that the asteroid impact cut off the food supply in the oceans by destroying free-floating algae and bacteria. However, in a study published in the April issue of the journal Geology, a team led by researchers...
  • Hubble Telescope Captures Sharpest Image Yet of Mysterious Red Rectangle

    04/25/2016 4:54:13 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 23 replies
    Space.com ^ | April 25, 2016 07:00am ET | Kasandra Brabaw
    The Red Rectangle, so named because of its bizarre shape and striking color, is a nebula — a cosmic cloud of gas and particles. In this case, the nebula is formed by the central star, HD 44179, which is reaching the end of its life and shedding most of its mass into space. The source of the red light emitted by the Red Rectangle baffled scientists for more than 30 years. The same kind of red emission was seen throughout the Milky Way and in other galaxies, but scientists weren't sure what created it. The mystery was finally solved in...
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks there's a 'very high' chance the universe is just a simulation

    04/24/2016 7:20:50 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 90 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 04/22/2016 | Kevin Loria
    We trust the scientists around us to have the best grasp on how the world actually works. So at this year's 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate at the American Museum of Natural History, which addressed the question of whether the universe is a simulation, the answers from some panelists may be more comforting than the responses from others. Physicist Lisa Randall, for example, said that she thought the odds that the universe isn't "real" are so low as to be "effectively zero." A satisfying answer for those who don't want to sit there puzzling out what it would mean for...
  • Earth’s “Magnetosphere” Collapsed in Space Today for Two+ Hours! Trouble Ahead for All of Us

    04/24/2016 2:15:16 PM PDT · by SubMareener · 156 replies
    BPEarthWatch ^ | Apr 24, 2016 | BPEarthWatch
    Earth’s “Magnetosphere” COLLAPSED in space TODAY for two+ hours! Trouble ahead for all of us A stunning and terrifying event has taken place in space surrounding our planet; for two hours today, earth’s “Magnetosphere” COLLAPSED around the entire planet! The magnetosphere is what protects earth from solar winds and some radiation. EARTH’S MAGNETOSPHERE Deep within the Earth, a fierce molten core is generating a magnetic field capable of defending our planet against devastating solar winds. The protective field, called the “magnetosphere” extends thousands of miles into space and its magnetism affects everything from global communication to animal migration and weather...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M16: Pillars of Star Creation

    04/24/2016 7:22:41 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, April 24, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Newborn stars are forming in the Eagle Nebula. This image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, shows evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) emerging from pillars of molecular hydrogen gas and dust. The giant pillars are light years in length and are so dense that interior gas contracts gravitationally to form stars. At each pillars' end, the intense radiation of bright young stars causes low density material to boil away, leaving stellar nurseries of dense EGGs exposed. The Eagle Nebula, associated with the open star cluster M16, lies about 7000 light years away. The pillars of creation were imaged...
  • Austria: Muslims on welfare with 9 children demand free IVF treatment (Receive $7,000/mo Welfare)

    04/24/2016 6:20:51 AM PDT · by ghosthost · 35 replies
    Save My Sweden ^ | 4-22-2016 | Central European News
    A couple in Austria with nine children, including two who are severely disabled, are allegedly requesting IVF treatment so they can have more. The story has caused a heated debate in Austria, with some criticising the request from the family - who are originally from Afghanistan - as they already received around €5,682 a month in benefits.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way in Moonlight

    04/23/2016 11:47:17 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, April 23, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A waning crescent moon, early morning twilight, and Al Hamra's city lights on the horizon can't hide the central Milky Way in this skyscape from planet Earth. Captured in a single exposure, the dreamlike scene looks southward across the region's grand canyon from Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain), near the highest peak in Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula. Mist, moonlight, and shadows still play along the steep canyon walls. Dark rifts along the luminous band of the Milky Way are the galaxy's cosmic dust clouds. Typically hundreds of light-years distant, they obscure starlight along the galactic plane, viewed edge-on from...
  • How Do We Terraform Jupiter’s Moons?

    04/22/2016 11:30:11 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 39 replies
    Within the Jupiter system, there are 67 confirmed moons of varying size, shape and composition. In honor of Jupiter’s namesake, they are sometimes collectively referred to as the Jovians. Of these, the four largest – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – are known as the Galileans (in honor of their founder, Galileo Galilei). These four moons are among the largest in the Solar System, with Ganymede being the largest of them all, and even larger than the planet Mercury. In addition, three of these moons – Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – are all believed or known to have interior oceans...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 7635: The Bubble Nebula

    04/22/2016 6:42:44 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, April 22, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Blown by the wind from a massive star, this interstellar apparition has a surprisingly familiar shape. Cataloged as NGC 7635, it is also known simply as The Bubble Nebula. Although it looks delicate, the 7 light-year diameter bubble offers evidence of violent processes at work. Above and left of the Bubble's center is a hot, O-type star, several hundred thousand times more luminous and around 45 times more massive than the Sun. A fierce stellar wind and intense radiation from that star has blasted out the structure of glowing gas against denser material in a surrounding molecular cloud. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Comet, the Owl, and the Galaxy

    04/21/2016 1:45:26 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, April 21, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Comet C/2014 S2 (PanSTARRS) poses for a Messier moment in this telescopic snapshot from April 18. In fact it shares the 1.5 degree wide field-of-view with two well-known entries in the 18th century comet-hunting astronomer's famous catalog. Outward bound and sweeping through northern skies just below the Big Dipper, the fading visitor to the inner Solar System was about 18 light-minutes from our fair planet. Dusty, edge-on spiral galaxy Messier 108 (upper right) is more like 45 million light-years away. A planetary nebula with an aging but intensely hot central star, the owlish Messier 97 is only about 12...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy Einstein Ring

    04/21/2016 1:43:17 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, April 20, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Can one galaxy hide behind another? Not in the case of SDP.81. Here the foreground galaxy, shown in blue in an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, acts like a huge gravitational lens, pulling light from a background galaxy, shown in red in an image taken in radio waves by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), around it, keeping it visible. The alignment is so precise that the distant galaxy is distorted into part of a ring around the foreground galaxy, a formation known as an Einstein ring. Detailed analysis of the gravitational lens distortions indicate that a...
  • Earth-like planet may exist in a nearby star system

    04/21/2016 10:25:04 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 25 replies
    phys.org ^ | April 19, 2016 | Tomasz Nowakowsk
    Artistic representation of the potentially habitable super-Earth Gliese 832c against a stellar nebula background. Credit: PHL @ UPR Arecibo, NASA Hubble, Stellarium. ========================================================================================================== An Earth-like planet may be lurking in a star system located just 16 light years away, according to a new research. The star, named Gliese 832, was recently investigated by a team of astronomers searching for additional exoplanets that may be residing between the two currently known alien worlds in this system. A paper detailing the finding was published online on Apr. 15 in the arXiv journal. Gliese 832 is a red dwarf and has just under...
  • Hubble captures birthday bubble

    04/21/2016 10:07:08 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 7 replies
    phys.org ^ | April 21, 2016 | Provided by: ESA/Hubble Information Centre
    The Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7653, is an emission nebula located 11,000 light-years away. This stunning new image was observed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to celebrate its 26th year in space. Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team =============================================================================================================== This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to celebrate Hubble's 26th year in orbit, captures in stunning clarity what looks like a gigantic cosmic soap bubble. The object, known as the Bubble Nebula, is in fact a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the brilliant star within it. The vivid new portrait of this dramatic scene...
  • The #1 Risk To Earth

    04/21/2016 3:13:12 AM PDT · by fella · 34 replies
    YouTube ^ | 21 April 2016 | Suspicious Observers
    The #1 Risk To Earth
  • Two volcanoes trigger crises of the late antiquity

    04/19/2016 11:42:49 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 33 replies
    Geology Page ^ | April 2016 | unattributed
    Contemporary chroniclers wrote about a "mystery cloud" which dimmed the light of the sun above the Mediterranean in the years 536 and 537 CE. Tree rings testify poor growing conditions over the whole Northern Hemisphere - the years from 536 CE onward seem to have been overshadowed by an unusual natural phenomenon. Social crises including the first European plague pandemic beginning in 541, are associated with this phenomenon. Only recently have researchers found conclusive proof of a volcanic origin of the 536 solar dimming, based on traces of volcanic sulfur from two major eruptions newly dated to 536 CE and...
  • Salma Hayek Mocks Donald Trump's 9/11 Flub

    04/19/2016 10:08:46 AM PDT · by Red Steel · 81 replies
    E ^ | Tue, Apr 19, 2016 10:50 AM | Francesca Bacardi
    Donald Trump was giving it his all during a final rally in New York Monday, but in the midst of his speech he made a flub. In a video obtained by CNN, the GOP candidate accidentally refers to 9/11 as the convenience store 7-Eleven, probably best known for its Slurpees. "I wrote this out, and it's very close to my heart because I was down there and I watched our police and our firemen down at 7/11, down at the World Trade Center right after it came down," he said. "And I saw the greatest people I've ever seen in...
  • April Lunacy: Getting Ready for the Full ‘Mini-Moon’

    04/19/2016 9:36:31 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    Full Moon on Friday April 22nd is special. It’s the smallest Full Moon of 2016, something we here at Universe Today have christened the Mini-Moon. Mini-Moon 2016: This year’s Mini-Moon falls on April 22nd at 5:25 Universal Time (UT), just 13 hours and 19 minutes after lunar apogee the evening prior at 16:06 UT on April 21st. Though apogee on the 21st is 406,350 km distant – a bit on the far end, but the third most distant for the year by 300 km — this week’s Full Moon is the closest to apogee for 2016 time-wise. The 2015 Mini-Moon...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Andromeda Rising over Colombia

    04/19/2016 5:16:44 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, April 19, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What’s that rising over the hill? A galaxy. Never having seen a galaxy themselves, three friends of an industrious astrophotographer experienced an exhilarating night sky firsthand that featured not only the band of our Milky Way galaxy but also Milky Way's neighbor -- the Andromeda galaxy. Capturing the scene required careful pre-shot planning including finding a good site, waiting for good weather, balancing relative angular sizes with a zoom lens, managing ground lighting, and minimizing atmospheric light absorption. The calculated shot therefore placed the friends on a hill about 250 meters away and about 50 meters up. The featured...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The International Space Station over Earth

    04/18/2016 1:11:17 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, April 18, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The International Space Station is the largest object ever constructed by humans in space. The station perimeter extends over roughly the area of a football field, although only a small fraction of this is composed of modules habitable by humans. The station is so large that it could not be launched all at once -- it continues to be built piecemeal. To function, the ISS needs huge trusses, some over 15 meters long and with masses over 10,000 kilograms, to keep it rigid and to route electricity and liquid coolants. Pictured above, the immense space station was photographed from...
  • No, the Moon Won't Turn Green on Wednesday

    04/18/2016 11:41:39 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 26 replies
    To go along with the infamous "Mars hoax," which claims that the Red Planet will appear as large as the full moon in the sky; the "Nibiru cataclysm," a supposed disastrous encounter between Earth and a large planetary object; and "Zero-Gravity Day," when people on Earth supposedly can experience weightlessness, we now have the "nights of the green moon." This latest fallacy to sweep the blogosphere claims that on Wednesday (April 20), and again on May 29, the moon will appear to turn a shade of green. The full moon of April will occur on Friday, April 22. The explanation...
  • Boiling River Near Yellowstone National Park Heats Worries

    04/18/2016 9:23:14 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 55 replies
    Mysterious Universe ^ | April 14, 2016 | Paul Seaburn
    A river near Yellowstone National Park suddenly changed colors and began to boil and emit yellowish noxious gases. Some witnesses wondered if "we're all about to die." Is this just another volcanic vent or a sign of bad things to come? The Shoshone River runs through Cody, Wyoming, just east of Yellowstone National Park. It's close enough to be a 'canary in a coal mine' for unusual geothermic events and that's precisely what happened on March 25th when photographer Dewey Vanderhoff spotted the Shoshone River mysteriously boiling ... and more... Yes, it's most likely a volcanic vent, but it's in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand

    04/17/2016 4:59:47 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 25 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, April 17, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What kind of clouds are these? Although their cause is presently unknown, such unusual atmospheric structures, as menacing as they might seem, do not appear to be harbingers of meteorological doom. Known informally as Undulatus asperatus clouds, they can be stunning in appearance, unusual in occurrence, are relatively unstudied, and have even been suggested as a new type of cloud. Whereas most low cloud decks are flat bottomed, asperatus clouds appear to have significant vertical structure underneath. Speculation therefore holds that asperatus clouds might be related to lenticular clouds that form near mountains, or mammatus clouds associated with thunderstorms,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System

    04/16/2016 12:00:03 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, April 16, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Want to take a fast trip to the edge of the Solar System? Consider a ride on a Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS). The concept is currently being tested and it might take only 10 to 15 years to make the trip of over 100 Astronomical Units (15 billion kilometers). That's fast compared to the 35 years it took Voyager 1, presently humanity's most distant spacecraft, to approach the heliopause or outer boundary of the influence of the solar wind. HERTS would use an advanced electric solar sail that works by extending multiple, 20 kilometer or so long,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mercury and Crescent Moon Set

    04/16/2016 11:57:44 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, April 15, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Innermost planet Mercury and a thin crescent Moon are never found far from the Sun in planet Earth's skies. Taken near dusk on April 8, this colorful evening skyscape shows them both setting toward the western horizon just after the Sun. The broad Tagus River and city lights of Lisbon, Portugal run through the foreground under the serene twilight sky. Near perigee or closest approach to Earth, the Moon's bright, slender crescent represents about 3 percent of the lunar disk in sunlight. Of course as seen from the Moon, a nearly full Earth would light up the lunar night,...
  • Assorted Activists Gather at Dawn in Manhattan for Day of Protests (Soros out in Force- Photos)

    04/14/2016 8:48:49 AM PDT · by ghosthost · 11 replies
    BreitBart ^ | 4-14-2016 | Lee Stranahan
    : In Brooklyn, a coalition of protesters, including union, Black Lives Matter, and New York communist party activists, has put up a barricade in front of a McDonald’s, although it remains open. A march started at Brooklyn’s Supreme Court, complete with a marching band and dancers. The protesters told Breitbart News that they were the same people out at 5 AM this morning, and they plan to be at Grand Central Station this evening.
  • Photo: Giant sunspot sends its love to planet Earth

    04/14/2016 8:25:05 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 17 replies
    The massive sunspot region now facing Earth, dubbed AR2529, has morphed into the shape of a heart. The lovely image was obtained by Karzaman Ahmad of the Langkawi National Observatory in Malaysia who shared it with the world at SpaceWeather.com. ... True to its form, the sunspot has proven to be a gentle giant so far, emitting few flares and only a couple weak coronal mass ejections. But such hearts can break, and what will follow is difficult to predict. It will spend about another week facing Earth.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Full Venus and Crescent Moon Rise

    04/14/2016 6:02:26 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, April 14, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Inner planet Venus and a thin crescent Moon are never found far from the Sun in planet Earth's skies. Taken near dawn on April 6, this timelapse composite shows them both rising just before the Sun. The mountaintop Teide Observatory domes on the fortunate island of Tenerife appear in silhouette against the twilight. In fact, the series of telephoto exposures follows the occultation of Venus by the Moon in three frames. Far from Earth in its orbit and in a nearly full phase, Venus was 96 percent illuminated. Near perigee or closest approach to Earth, the Moon's slender crescent...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Orion in Red and Blue

    04/13/2016 2:15:27 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, April 13, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: When did Orion become so flashy? This colorful rendition of part of the constellation of Orion comes from red light emitted by hydrogen and sulfur (SII), and blue-green light emitted by oxygen (OIII). Hues on the featured image were then digitally reassigned to be indicative of their elemental origins -- but also striking to the human eye. The breathtaking composite was painstakingly composed from hundreds of images which took nearly 200 hours to collect. Pictured, Barnard's Loop, across the image bottom, appears to cradle interstellar constructs including the intricate Orion Nebula seen just right of center. The Flame Nebula...
  • NASA Begins Testing of Revolutionary E-Sail Technology

    04/12/2016 2:27:38 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | 4/11/16
    NASA Begins Testing of Revolutionary E-Sail Technology NASA engineers are conducting tests to develop models for the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transport System (HERTS) concept. HERTS builds upon the electric sail invention of Dr. Pekka Janhunen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. An electric sail could potentially send scientific payloads to the edge of our solar system, the heliopause, in less than 10 years. The research is led by Bruce M. Wiegmann, an engineer in the Advanced Concepts Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The HERTS E-Sail concept development and testing is funded by NASA's Space Technology...
  • Hawking backs interstellar travel project

    04/12/2016 2:00:15 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 15 replies
    BBC ^ | 4/12/16 | Pallab Ghosh
    Stephen Hawking is backing a project to send tiny spacecraft to another star system within a generation. They would travel trillions of miles; far further than any previous craft. A $100m (£70m) research programme to develop the computer chip-sized "starships" was launched by the billionaire Yuri Milner, supported by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Interstellar travel has long been a dream for many, but significant technological hurdles remain. But Prof Hawking told BBC News that fantasy could be realised sooner than we might think. Media captionThe spacecraft would be propelled from earth by a giant laser, as Pallab Ghosh reports "If...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Combined Solar Eclipse Corona from Earth and Space

    04/12/2016 7:33:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, April 12, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sometimes, a total eclipse is a good time to eye the Sun. Taking advantage of an unusual juxtaposition of Earth, Moon and Sun, the featured image depicts the total solar eclipse that occurred last month as it appeared -- nearly simultaneously -- from both Earth and space. The innermost image shows the total eclipse from the ground, with the central pupil created by the bright Sun covered by a comparatively dark Moon. Surrounding the blocked solar disk is the tenuous corona of Sun imaged in white light, easily visible from the ground only during an eclipse. Normally, this corona...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Comet and the Star Cluster

    04/11/2016 5:37:23 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, April 11, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Image Credit & Copyright: Comet Linear has become unexpectedly bright. The comet, discovered in 2000, underwent a 100-fold outburst just a week before it passed a mere 14 lunar distances from Earth late last month. The comet was captured here last week at about magnitude 6 -- just bright enough to be seen by the unaided eye -- passing in front of the distant globular star cluster M14. Comet 252/P LINEAR is one of a rare group of comets that vacillate between the Earth and Jupiter every 5 years. How the comet will evolve from here is unknown, but...
  • NASA reports Cassini spacecraft orbit unaffected by theorized undiscovered Planet 9

    04/10/2016 8:30:14 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    clarksvilleonline.com ^ | 04/10/2016 | Preston Dyches
    Contrary to recent reports, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is not experiencing unexplained deviations in its orbit around Saturn, according to mission managers and orbit determination experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Several recent news stories have reported that a mysterious anomaly in Cassini’s orbit could potentially be explained by the gravitational tug of a theorized massive new planet in our solar system, lurking far beyond the orbit of Neptune.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Cassini Approaches Saturn

    04/10/2016 12:31:18 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, April 10, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cassini, a robot spacecraft launched in 1997 by NASA, became close enough in 2002 to resolve many rings and moons of its destination planet: Saturn. At that time, Cassini snapped several images during an engineering test. Several of those images were combined into the contrast-enhanced color composite featured here. Saturn's rings and cloud-tops are visible toward the image bottom, while Titan, its largest moon, is visible as the speck toward the top. When arriving at Saturn in July 2004, the Cassini orbiter began to circle and study the Saturnian system. A highlight was when Cassini launched the Huygens probe...
  • Houston We've Got A Problem: NASA's Planet-Hunting Kepler Spacecraft Is In Emergency Mode

    04/09/2016 7:40:09 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 25 replies
    TechTimes ^ | 4/9/16 | Catherine Cabral-Isabedra
    Kepler spacecraft is in emergency mode, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said in a statement. Charlie Sobeck, Kepler and K2 mission manager at NASA's Ames Research Center announced that after a scheduled contact with mission operations engineers last April 7, it was discovered that Kepler is presently in emergency mode (EM), the spacecraft's lowest operational mode. The team is working on recovering from EM, as it consumes significant amount of fuel. Since the spacecraft is 75 million miles away from Earth, even with the speed of light, communication takes about 13 minutes for the message to travel from the...
  • Planet Nine's profile fleshed out

    04/09/2016 7:29:13 PM PDT · by JimSEA · 52 replies
    BBC ^ | 4/8/2916 | Paul Rincon
    In January, researchers at Caltech in the US suggested a large, additional planet might be lurking in the icy outer reaches of the Solar System. Now, a team at the University of Bern in Switzerland has worked out what they say are upper and lower limits on how big, bright and cold it might be. The study has been accepted by the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. Prof Mike Brown and Dr Konstantin Batygin made their case for the existence of a ninth planet in our Solar System orbiting far beyond even the dwarf world Pluto. There are no direct observations...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Green Flash of Spring

    04/09/2016 4:40:45 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, April 09, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Taken on March 20 from the top of Haleakala on the isle of Maui, planet Earth, the first sunrise of northern spring is pictured in this vacation snapshot. The telephoto view from the volcanic caldera above a sea of clouds also captures an elusive green flash near the Sun's upper limb. Atmospheric layers with sharp temperature changes cause the colorful flash as the Sun rises behind a distant cloud bank. Refraction along sight lines through the layers creates multiple distorted images of the Sun, and for a moment, can visibly deflect shorter wavelength green light.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Lapland Northern Lights

    04/08/2016 7:03:26 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, April 08, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Early spring in the northern hemisphere is good season for aurora hunters. Near an equinox Earth's magnetic field is oriented to favor interactions with the solar wind that trigger the alluring glow of the northern lights. On March 28/29 the skies over Kaunispää Hill, Lapland, Finland did not disappoint. That night's expansive auroral curtains are captured in this striking panoramic view that covers a full 360 degrees. Local skywatchers were mesmerized by bright displays lasted throughout the dark hours, shimmering with colors easily visible to the naked eye.
  • Watch the Moon Occult Vesta and Aldebaran This Weekend

    04/07/2016 8:17:36 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies
    So, did you miss yesterday’s occultation of Venus by the Moon? It was a tough one, to be sure, as the footpath for the event crossed Europe and Asia in the daytime. Watch that Moon, though, as it crosses back into the evening sky later this week, and occults (passes in front of) the bright star Aldebaran for eastern North America and, for Hawaii-based observers, actually covers the brightest of the asteroids, 4 Vesta. These events are all part of a cycle of occultations spanning 2016. When we left off last week, the Moon was headed towards New, which occurs...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte

    04/07/2016 5:43:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, April 07, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Named for the three astronomers instrumental in its discovery and identification, Wolf - Lundmark - Melotte (WLM) is a lonely dwarf galaxy. Seen toward the mostly southern constellation Cetus, about 3 million light-years from the Milky Way, it is one of the most remote members of our local galaxy group. In fact, it may never have interacted with any other local group galaxy. Still, telltale pinkish star forming regions and hot, young, bluish stars speckle the isolated island universe. Older, cool yellowish stars fade into the small galaxy's halo, extending about 8,000 light-years across. This sharp portrait of WLM...
  • Mysterious planet wiped out life on Earth once and could do it again THIS MONTH

    04/06/2016 8:04:16 PM PDT · by wastedyears · 79 replies
    The Scottish Sun ^ | 4/6/2016 | Alison Maloney
    http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/7054203/Mysterious-planet-wiped-out-life-on-Earth-once-and-could-do-it-again-THIS-MONTH.html?redirect=true