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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • A Region On Mars With Recent Water Is About To Get Major Attention

    02/19/2017 4:01:22 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 14 replies ^ | 02/18/2017 | Bob King
    Dr. Mary Bourke from Trinity College Dublin have discovered a patch of land in an ancient valley in Mars’ Lucaya Crater that appears to have held water in the not-too-distant past, making it a prime target to search for past life forms on the Red Planet. Signs of water past and present pop up everywhere on Mars from now-dry, wriggly riverbeds snaking across arid plains to water ice exposed at the poles during the Martian summer. ... “On Earth, desert dune fields are periodically flooded by water in areas of fluctuating groundwater, and where lakes, rivers and coasts are found...
  • NASA's Dawn mission finds life's building blocks on dwarf planet Ceres

    02/16/2017 6:53:27 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    L A Times ^ | Amina Khan
    Ceres, one of five dwarf planets in the solar system, is also an asteroid — the largest of them, in fact. Formed around 4.5 billion years ago, it sits in the belt of rocky debris that lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. ... Among the asteroids, Ceres is special. As a dwarf planet, it got stuck somewhere along the way to becoming a full-grown world. Frozen in this state, Ceres also offers a snapshot of planetary adolescence. Scientists have long wondered whether asteroids had not just water but also organic matter that could have been brought to Earth,...
  • Meet Asteroid 2017 BQ6 — A Giant, Spinning Brick

    02/14/2017 11:26:54 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 12 replies ^ | 02/12/2017 | Bob King
    o radar imager Lance Benner at JPL in Pasadena, asteroid 2017 BQ6 resembles the polygonal dice used in Dungeons and Dragons. But my eyes see something closer to a stepping stone or paver you’d use to build a walkway. However you picture it, this asteroid is more angular than most imaged by radar. It flew harmlessly by Earth on Feb. 7 at 1:36 a.m. EST (6:36 UT) at about 6.6 times the distance between Earth and the moon or some about 1.6 million miles. Based on 2017 BQ6’s brightness, astronomers estimate the hurtling boulder about 660 feet (200 meters) across....
  • Proposed NASA Europa Mission To Drill Into Icy Crust Of Jupiter Moon To Search For Alien Life

    02/13/2017 6:16:26 AM PST · by C19fan · 35 replies
    Tech Times ^ | February 11, 2017 | Allan Adamson
    The NASA-employed Science Definition Team has been crafting a plan to launch a mission that would search for alien life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa. The extraterrestrial world of Europa is considered as among the most likely places in the solar system to have the ability to support life as we know it. Scientists have gathered evidence that the salty ocean that lurks beneath the icy crust of the moon could be hospitable to life. Recent models also hint that the icy world can produce oxygen and hydrogen, which suggests it may have the necessary energy to support life.
  • Stray Black Hole Turned Cosmic Gas Cloud into Speeding 'Bullet'

    02/12/2017 10:30:51 AM PST · by ETL · 87 replies ^ | February 8, 2017 | Samantha Mathewson, Contributor
    A stray black hole may be responsible for turning a gas cloud into a speeding cosmic bullet trillions of miles long. The wandering black hole was discovered lurking just outside a supernova remnant, a shell of expelled material left behind after a massive star explodes. Using the Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE) in Chile and the 45-meter (148 feet) Radio Telescope at Nobeyama Radio Observatory, astronomers found that the black hole had been previously hidden by a compact gas cloud emerging from the remnant. The cloud itself has now been named "the Bullet," because of its long, cone shape and...
  • It was a full moon last night

    02/11/2017 8:09:35 PM PST · by SamAdams76 · 27 replies
  • This Is The Highest Resolution Image Of Europa We Have … For Now

    02/11/2017 8:09:24 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 28 replies
    universe today ^ | 02/11/2017 | Bob King
    Stay away from Europa? No way. It’s just too fascinating a place with its jigsaw-puzzle ice sheets, crisscross valleys, miles of ice on top and a warm, salty ocean below. The movie was prescient — if you’re going to search for life elsewhere in the solar system, Europa’s one of the best candidates. While we’ve sent spacecraft to photograph and study the icy moon during orbital flybys, no lander has yet to touch the surface. That may change soon. In early 2016, in response to a congressional directive, NASA’s Planetary Science Division began a pre-Phase A study to assess the...
  • The Magellenic Clouds Stay Connected By A String Of Stars

    02/08/2017 11:09:31 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 2 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 02/08/2017 | Evan Gough
    They move so slowly that a human lifetime is a tiny blip compared to them. This makes their orbit essentially unobservable. But astronomers were able to find the next best thing: the often predicted but never observed stellar stream, or bridge of stars, stretching between the two clouds. A star stream forms when a satellite galaxy feels the gravitational pull of another body. In this case, the gravitational pull of the LMC allowed individual stars to leave the SMC and be pulled toward the LMC. The stars don’t leave at once, they leave individually over time, forming a stream, or...
  • Watch Comet 45P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková Fly Past Earth This Week

    02/07/2017 9:14:39 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 02/07/2017 | David Dickinson
    If you’ve never caught sight of periodic comet 45/P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, this week is a good time to try. Currently shining at magnitude +6.5, the comet makes a close 0.08 AU (7.4 million miles or 12.3 million kilometers) pass near the Earth on Saturday, February 11, at 14:44 Universal Time (UT) or 9:44 AM Eastern Standard Time. This is the closest passage of the comet for the remainder of this century, and with the Moon also reaching Full this weekend, the time to track down this comet is now. The comet passed perihelion 0.53 AU (49.3 million miles/ 82.1 million kilometers)...
  • Quiet black hole may be lurking in cosmic 'bullet'

    02/06/2017 5:58:14 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 12 replies
    Cosmos ^ | 6 Feb, 2017 | BELINDA SMITH
    A chance observation in a corner of the Milky Way galaxy could hint at a hidden black hole. A cloud travelling in a corner of our galaxy at a blistering 100 kilometres per second likely harbours a black hole, according to Japanese astronomers. Masaya Yamada and colleagues from Keio University mapped the motion and appearance of the fast-moving feature – nicknamed the "Bullet" – and concluded that its shape and velocity can be attributed to a black hole hiding within. The work, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal, outlines one of only a few such "quiet" black holes found...
  • NASA's Asteroid-Hunting Spacecraft Just Got an Amazing Side-Quest

    02/04/2017 4:20:04 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    gizmodo ^ | 02/04/2017 | Rae Paoletta
    For 10 days this month, OSIRIS-REx will investigate whether or not Trojan asteroids exist at certain points in Earth’s orbit called Lagrange points. Though Jupiter has Trojan asteroids, it’s unclear whether or not Earth’s Lagrange points host similar objects. After all, only one Earth Trojan has ever been found. “The Earth orbits around the Sun, and the Earth has a gravitational field and the Sun has a gravitational field,” explained Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS REx’s principal investigator. “Because of that property, there are certain points in space where those two fields balance each other out, called Lagrange points.” OSIRIS-REx will be...

    02/03/2017 3:52:55 PM PST · by nickcarraway · 19 replies
    Nerdist ^ | FEBRUARY 2, 2017 | DERRICK ROSSIGNOL
    August 24, 2006 was a dark day for Pluto enthusiasts. It was on that day that the International Astronomical Union established three conditions a celestial body must meet in order to be considered a planet. A planet must orbit around the sun, it must be massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, and it must have “cleared the neighborhood” around its orbit, which means, simply put, that it must have a certain amount of gravitational pull. Pluto does not meet the third condition, so once those rules were put in place, Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet,” 75...
  • NASA Scientist Studies Whether Solar Storms Cause Animal Beachings

    02/03/2017 7:42:26 AM PST · by pa_dweller · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | 2/2/17 | Lori Keesey
    The team expects to complete the study by the end of September and publish its findings in a scientific, peer-reviewed journal. Should the study reveal a statistical correlation, team members said the results won’t necessarily imply a causal link. However, it would provide the first thorough research into this hypothesis and offer the first step toward determining if it’s correct.
  • NASA Jupiter Probe Makes 4th Flyby of Giant Planet

    02/02/2017 9:31:05 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 10 replies ^ | 2 Feb, 2017 | Mike Wall
    54 0 MORE Partner Series NASA's Juno spacecraft has flown by Jupiter for the fourth time. Juno skimmed about 2,670 miles (4,300 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops at 7:57 a.m. EST (1257 GMT) this morning (Feb. 2), zooming by at 129,000 mph (208,000 km/h) relative to the giant planet, NASA officials said. All eight of Juno's science instruments were on and collecting data during the flyby if all went according to plan, they added. "Revelations include that Jupiter's magnetic fields and aurora are bigger and more powerful than originally thought and that the belts and zones that give the gas...
  • Asteroid 2017 BS32 will zoom past Earth TONIGHT in fourth close shave of the year

    02/02/2017 8:30:40 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 42 replies ^ | 2nd February 2017, 9:58 am | MARGI MURPHY
    2017 BS32 is expected to hurtle past at around 8.30pm Thursday. The space rock – estimated to be around 82ft in size ... It was only spotted on Monday by astronomers and is the fourth Near-Earth Asteroid to pass this year... But fear not, these close encounters are more common than you might think and researchers at Nasa are keeping tabs on any strays at its Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • Johnny Depp $30,000/month wine-$2 million/month lifestyle to blame for his money woes (Tr.)

    02/01/2017 5:17:43 AM PST · by brucedickinson · 99 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | 1-31-2017 | Staff
    In addition to owning multiple homes and a luxury yacht, he spends $30,000 a month on wine, travels by private jet and maintains 12 storage facilities housing his fine art and memorabilia collections. That's according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by his former managers who are asking a judge to rule that the actor has no-one but himself to blame for his financial troubles. 'Depp lived an ultra-extravagant lifestyle that often knowingly cost Depp in excess of $2 million per month to maintain, which he simply could not afford,' attorney Michael Kump wrote in the cross-complaint. 'Depp, and Depp alone,...
  • A Huge Cosmic Void Is Repelling Our Galaxy

    01/31/2017 4:57:42 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 65 replies
    Real Clear Science ^ | 30 Jan, 2017 | Ross Pomeroy
    Today, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a team of researchers led by Hebrew University cosmologist Yehuda Hoffman has reported that they've found... nothing. To be clear, they've found something, but that something is essentially nothing. Specifically, Hoffman and his colleagues have spotted an immense, naked region of space which they predict to be largely devoid of galaxies. Since this region is relatively empty of matter, it is exerting a repelling effect on the Local Group of galaxies, which includes Andromeda, the Triangulum Galaxy, and our own Milky Way. The researchers made the discovery by visualizing the velocities of various galaxies...
  • Asteroid whizzing by Earth six times closer than the moon

    01/31/2017 8:32:27 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 39 replies
    CNET ^ | 01/29/2017 | Eric Mack
    2017 BH30, which was discovered Sunday by the Catalina Sky Survey just hours before passing by us at the creepy-close distance of only 40,563 miles (65,280 kilometers). This asteroid is estimated to be between 15 to 32.8 feet (4.6 to 10 meters) in length, making it somewhere between the size of a truck and a...big truck. That's pretty small by asteroid standards, but it's also the closest spotted asteroid to pass us since September, when asteroid 2016 RB1 passed within 24,000 miles (about 39,000 kilometers) of our planet's surface, putting it almost as close as satellites in geosynchronous orbit. This...
  • Oxygen Atoms From Earth Bombard The Moon

    01/31/2017 7:01:49 AM PST · by Bloody Sam Roberts · 9 replies
    ScienceNews ^ | JANUARY 30, 2017 | Thomas Sumner
    Life on Earth may have made its mark on the moon billions of years before Neil Armstrong’s famous first step.Observations by Japan’s moon-orbiting Kaguya spacecraft suggest that oxygen atoms from Earth’s upper atmosphere bombard the moon’s surface for a few days each month. This oxygen onslaught began in earnest around 2.4 billion years ago when photosynthetic microbes first flourished (SN Online: 9/8/15), planetary scientist Kentaro Terada of Osaka University in Japan and colleagues propose January 30 in Nature Astronomy.The oxygen atoms begin their incredible journey in the upper atmosphere, where they are ionized by ultraviolet radiation, the researchers suggest. Electric...
  • Fallout from an ancient asteroid collision still rains on Earth

    01/24/2017 10:16:26 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies ^ | Tuesday, January 24, 2017 | Nathaniel Scharping
    At the moment, we seem to experiencing a fairly heavy rain of rocky meteorites called ordinary chondrites, which are distinguished by the presence of drop-like structures embedded in their bodies. Chondrites are further divided into three classes: H, L and LL, each thought to correspond to a different impact event long ago. We’re currently seeing a disproportionate number of H and L-type chondrites hit the Earth, but, it wasn’t always so. Looking at a slice of time around a million years before the event, the researchers took a census of the meteorites that intersected the Earth’s orbit, and found that...
  • Satellite's 1st Views of Earth (and Moon) Are Jaw-Dropping

    01/24/2017 4:46:10 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 22 replies ^ | 23 Jan, 2016 | Hanneke Weitering
    GOES-16 97 MORE Partner Series A new weather-tracking satellite has beamed back its first images of Earth from orbit, and the view is absolutely beautiful! The new satellite, called GOES-16, is the first of four cutting-edge weather satellites — collectively known as GOES-R — to be launched into space, and the 16th GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) mission in all. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been using these satellites to study weather patterns for decades. But the new and improved GOES-R group of satellites will provide the best, high-resolution views of Earth to date
  • Astronomers Prepare to Search for Alien Life at Nearby 'Habitable' Exoplanet

    01/22/2017 7:56:05 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 25 replies
    Seeker ^ | 20 Jan, 2017
    The Wolf 1061 star system is only 14 light-years away and a team of astronomers are doing the groundwork to begin looking for signs of extraterrestrial biology in one of its planet's atmospheres. As we continue the hunt for habitable worlds beyond our solar system, we're finding more and more candidates closer to home. There's even a small rocky exoplanet within the so-called "habitable zone" at Proxima Centauri, the dinky red dwarf star right next door. But there's more, and astronomers are beginning to identify which of these strange new worlds we could soon get a good look at with...
  • The First Sighting of a Black Hole

    01/19/2017 4:07:03 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 31 replies
    Air and Space Magazine ^ | January, 2017 | Matthew R. Francis
    We know one lurks at the center of the Milky Way, but to these astronomers, seeing will be believing. The center of the galaxy doesn’t look like much, even if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where the night sky is sufficiently dark to see the bands of the Milky Way. In visible light, the stars between here and there blur together into a single brilliant source, like a bright beam hiding the lighthouse behind it. But in other types of radiation—radio waves, infrared, X-rays—astronomers have detected the presence of an object with the mass of four million...
  • Cassini snaps a tiny moon shaping Saturn's ring

    01/19/2017 11:42:35 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    CNET ^ | 01/18/2017 | Michelle Starr
    This new picture from NASA's Cassini probe shows off the peculiarity of Daphnis, a moon so tiny it wasn't discovered until 2005. It's just 8 kilometres (5 miles) across, and irregularly shaped, which gives it a wobbly orbit. ... The Keeler gap is just 42 kilometres (26 miles) wide, and Daphnis' distance varies from Saturn by about 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), while it moves up and down by about 17 kilometres (10.5 miles). This eccentricity, and Daphnis' gravity, causes peaked waves to form on the edges of the gap, in both vertical and horizontal directions. In this new image, taken...
  • Prediction Of Merging Stars May Solve One Of Hubble's Greatest Mysteries

    01/18/2017 9:26:49 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 4 replies
    Forbes ^ | 17 Jan, 2017 | Ethan Siegel
    When you think about our Solar System, with its lone, luminous star dominating both the mass and light of our local corner of the Milky Way, you might think that this is what 'typical' looks like. In some ways, this is true, but a Solar System with multiple stars -- binaries, trinaries or more -- might be even more common. At interstellar distances, many of these binaries are too close together to resolve even with the most powerful of telescopes. Instead, it's only the variations in their light, where the stars more relative to one another, periodically eclipse (passing in...
  • EXACT date NIBIRU will DESTROY Earth REVEALED…and it’s THIS year a CONSPIRACY theorist claims to hav

    01/17/2017 9:22:52 AM PST · by FourtySeven · 135 replies
    Daily Star ^ | January 4, 2017 | David Trayner
    Conspiracy theorists have been warning a massive planet – called Planet X or Nibiru – will wipe out life on Earth for some time. Now a paranormal researcher claims to have combined astronomy, scientific research and the Bible to calculate the date of the apocalypse. ... Meade claims the Book of Revelation, in the Bible, says when Nibiru will reveal itself. Revelation 12: 1-2 speaks of a “sign in heaven” of “a woman clothed with the Sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head”. Using computer models of the movement of the...
  • Galaxy Murder Mystery

    01/18/2017 8:41:13 AM PST · by MtnClimber · 44 replies
    ICRAR ^ | 17 Jan, 2017 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
    It’s the big astrophysical whodunnit. Across the Universe, galaxies are being killed and the question scientists want answered is, what’s killing them? New research published today by a global team of researchers, based at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), seeks to answer that question. The study reveals that a phenomenon called ram-pressure stripping is more prevalent than previously thought, driving gas from galaxies and sending them to an early death by depriving them of the material to make new stars. The study of 11,000 galaxies shows their gas—the lifeblood for star formation—is being violently stripped away on...
  • Nasa finally shares stunning footage of its 2005 landing on Saturn's moon, Titan [tr]

    01/17/2017 12:05:38 PM PST · by C19fan · 20 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | January 17, 2017 | Abigail Beall
    New footage released by Nasa shows exactly what it looks like to land on an alien world. It may seem like stuff of science fiction, but the scenes in the new video happened in real life, 12 years ago. The stunning video was captured when the space agency’s Huygens probe descended onto the mysterious world of Titan, Saturn’s biggest moon.
  • NASA to explore space rock worth so much money it would DESTROY world economy

    01/16/2017 4:24:39 PM PST · by COBOL2Java · 133 replies
    Daily Star ^ | 16th January 2017 | Peter Truman
    THE American space agency is planning to send a spacecraft to a lump of metal in space worth quadrillions of dollars. The 200km-wide asteroid is currently orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. It is made up of various precious metals such as iron, nickel and gold. Experts believe the iron alone in the rock would be worth $10,000 quadrillion – enough to cause the world’s economy, worth $73.7 trillion, to promptly collapse altogether.
  • Venus wave may be Solar System's biggest

    01/16/2017 1:44:34 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 4 replies ^ | 16 January 2017 | Paul Rincon
    The...wave is thought to form as the lower atmosphere flows over mountains on Venus' surface. ... Just after entering orbit around Venus in 2015, the Akatsuki orbiter observed a bow-shaped feature in the upper atmosphere over several days. Curiously, the bright structure - which stretched for 10,000km - remained stationary at the altitude of Venus' cloud tops. This is difficult to reconcile with what we know about Venus' thick upper atmosphere, in which clouds streak by at 100 metres per second (m/s). The clouds travel much faster than the slowly rotating planet below, where a Venusian day lasts longer than...
  • We Still Don't Know How Fast The Universe Is Expanding

    01/13/2017 6:13:38 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 53 replies
    Forbes ^ | 12 Jan, 2017 | Ethan Siegel
    Once we discovered that the Universe was expanding, the next scientific step was to determine what the rate of expansion was. Despite the fact that it's been more than 80 years, we still don't have agreement on how fast that rate actually is. By looking at the largest cosmic scales and the oldest signals -- the leftover radiation from the Big Bang and the largest-scale galaxy correlations -- we get one number for the rate: 67 km/s/Mpc. But if we look at individual stars, galaxies, supernovae and other direct indicators, we get another number: 74 km/s/Mpc. The uncertainties are very...
  • Land On Titan With Huygens in Beautiful New Video

    01/13/2017 9:56:00 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 19 replies ^ | Nancy Atkinson
    JPL has released a re-mix of the data and images gathered by Huygens 12 years ago in a beautiful new video. This is the last opportunity to celebrate the success of Huygens before Cassini ends its mission in September of 2017. ... After a two-and-a-half-hour descent, the metallic, saucer-shaped spacecraft came to rest with a thud on a dark floodplain covered in cobbles of water ice, in temperatures hundreds of degrees below freezing. ... How much of this video is actual images and data vs computer graphics? Of course, the clips at the beginning and end of the video are...
  • END OF THE WORLD: Christians predict apocalypse THIS WEEK as Venus lines up with Wolf Moon

    01/12/2017 4:57:39 PM PST · by nickcarraway · 43 replies
    Express (U.K.) ^ | Thu, Jan 12, 2017 | Sean Martin
    CHRISTIANS around the globe are linking recent astronomical phenomenon to the end of the world - which they believe could happen this week.The evening of January 12 will see the first full moon of the year, known as the Wolf Moon, and Venus will be at its brightest for the first time in eight year. This, combined with the fact that they fall on the eve of the first Friday the 13th of the year, has led some to believe that the end is nigh. While separately the three incidents are nothing new, with a full moon every month, Venus...
  • A Sneaky Asteroid Buzzed By Earth Yesterday

    01/11/2017 10:29:01 AM PST · by MtnClimber · 24 replies ^ | 10 Jan, 2016 | Jason Daley
    Monday at 7:47 A.M. EST, an asteroid passed by Earth at about half the distance between our planet and the Moon—roughly 119,500 miles, reports Mike Wall at The space rock, dubbed 2017 AG13 was on the "smallish" size as far as asteroids go, Wall reports, thought to be between 36 and 111 feet wide. But the most interesting thing about this near miss is that astronomers didn't spot the space rock till Saturday. It managed to fly under the radar for so long because the asteroid was fairly dim and moving fast (roughly ten miles per second). But just...
  • A new theory challenges everything astronomers thought they knew about how the Moon was created

    01/09/2017 9:59:14 AM PST · by Red Badger · 63 replies ^ | Jan. 10, 2017, 12:32 AM | Lindsay Dodgson
    Currently, the leading theory of the creation of the Moon is that it formed from a giant impact between a very early Earth and another Mars-sized planet. Yet new research from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel has put forward a theory that the Moon may have actually formed from a series of large impacts, rather than just one. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, explains why the Moon appears to be made mostly from Earth-like materials, rather than a mixture of our elements and those of another mystery planet. Lead author Dr Raluca Rufu and her...
  • Jumping on the Earth vs. Jumping on the Moon

    01/07/2017 8:59:33 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 42 replies
  • A bright new star will burst into the sky in five years, astronomers predict

    01/06/2017 9:14:20 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 31 replies ^ | January 6 at 11:15 AM | Blaine P. Friedlander Jr.
    A team of astronomers is making a bold forecast: A binary star found in the summer constellation Cygnus the swan will burst into a red nova sometime in 2022. When the two stars in the binary system crash into one another, they will create a brick-red beacon so bright that sky gazers will see it with the naked eye, Larry Molnar of Calvin College said Friday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Grapevine, Tex. As the constellation Cygnus glides gracefully along the Milky Way every late spring and summer, the cosmic bird’s left wing houses a faint binary star...
  • Spectacular collision of suns will create new star in night sky in 2022

    01/06/2017 10:13:34 AM PST · by Red Badger · 11 replies ^ | 6 January 2017 • 4:15pm | Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
    At the beginning of the 3rd century civil war raged in Britain as the Roman emperor Septimius Severus sought to quell unrest in the north. But unknown to the fighting cohorts and Caledonian tribes, high above their heads two stars were coming together in a huge cataclysmic explosion. Now 1800 years later the light from that collision will finally arrive on Earth creating a new star in the night sky - dubbed the ‘Boom Star - in an incredibly rare event which is usually only spotted through telescopes. Before their meeting the two stars were too dim to be seen...
  • Great-Grandma Accidentally Prays to Lord of the Rings Figurine for Years (Lord Elrond)

    01/06/2017 6:49:04 AM PST · by brucedickinson · 37 replies
    Metro UK ^ | 1-5-2017 | Hattie Gladwell
    Her relative, Gabriela Brandăo, a freelance makeup artist from Florianópolis, Brazil, made the discovery after taking a look at the great-grandmother’s figurine, and realising something wasn’t quite right. Following her gut instinct, Gabriela searched online for the figure – and found one exactly identical to the great-grandmother’s. However, there was only one problem – the figure wasn’t listed under ‘Saint Anthony’, it was in fact listed under ‘Elrond’. Oops.
  • NASA says mysterious object hurtling towards Earth could be an asteroid or a comet

    01/04/2017 2:50:43 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 59 replies ^ | 11:20, 4 JAN 2017 | Libby Plummer
    NASA recently spotted two massive space objects hurtling towards Earth. While the American space agency has pinpointed one as a comet, the other has left it slightly more baffled. The comet is set to fly close to Earth this week, but the mystery object isn't expected to make an appearance until February. The object, dubbed "2016 WF9", was detected by NASA's asteroid- and comet-hunting NEOWISE project on 27 November 2016. It is roughly 0.3 to 0.6 miles (0.5 to 1 kilometres) across and is in an orbit that takes it on a scenic tour of our solar system. At its...
  • NASA says mysterious object hurtling towards Earth could be an asteroid or a comet

    01/04/2017 6:39:03 AM PST · by Red Badger · 56 replies ^ | Updated14:17, 4 JAN 2017 | ByLibby Plummer
    The American space agency says that one object is a massive comet, but has so far been unable to identify the other NASA recently spotted two massive space objects hurtling towards Earth. While the American space agency has pinpointed one as a comet, the other has left it slightly more baffled. The comet is set to fly close to Earth this week, but the mystery object isn't expected to make an appearance until February. The object, dubbed "2016 WF9", was detected by NASA's asteroid- and comet-hunting NEOWISE project on 27 November 2016. It is roughly 0.3 to 0.6 miles (0.5...
  • Rare Comet Visiting Inner Solar System For The First Time To Be Visible From Earth This January

    01/03/2017 8:35:33 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 46 replies
    Tech Times ^ | 3 January 2017, 5:47 am EST | Allan Adamson
    Seeing Comet C/2016 U1 NEOWISE fly by would be a rare opportunity for skygazers because the celestial body won't likely pass by Earth for the next thousands of years. Unlike short period comets such as Halley's, a comet which passes by our planet every 75 to 80 years, it would take C/2016 U1 NEOWISE far longer time before it gets to visit this region of the solar system again. ... Paul Chodas, from NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies, said that there is a good chance that the object will be visible from Earth using a good pair of...
  • Top 7 Must-See Sky Events for 2017

    01/02/2017 9:13:19 AM PST · by MtnClimber · 17 replies
    National Geographic ^ | 29 Dec, 2016 | Andrew Fazekas
    Among the many eye-catching astronomical shows coming up, 2017 may be best remembered for the much anticipated total eclipse of the sun that will cross the continental United States in August. In addition to that spectacular sight, sky-watchers will have a plethora of treats to look forward to in the coming months. To kick things off, an icy comet will swing by Earth in February, hopefully offering picturesque views. Elusive Mercury and giant Jupiter will both put their best faces forward as they appear their biggest and brightest early in the year. And in December, the annual Geminid meteor shower...
  • 39 New Years in 2017 – New Year Countdown

    01/01/2017 3:07:18 AM PST · by SES1066 · 2 replies
    Time and Date ^ | 12/31/2016
    1. Get There Last 26 hours after the first bottle of bubbly pops, Baker Island toasts the New Year. Kiritimati, Kiribati is into the second day of the year before Baker Island leaves 2016.
  • Trump Comet Welcomes New President

    12/29/2016 9:00:02 PM PST · by ShivaFan · 24 replies
    opinion | 29 Dec 2016 | ShivaFan
    Some Hindus are calling the New Years Eve Comet, known officially as Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, that will be just next to the crescent moon this New Years Eve, the "Trump Comet". This amazing greenish comet with fan tail which, with a good eye or better yet a pair of binoculars, will be seen near the crescent moon on this coming New Years Eve on the Western horizon after the sun sets. And it will be visible again even brighter in February 2017 to Welcome Donald J Trump the New President!
  • Hubble's Shining View Of Deep Space Beyond The Stars

    12/27/2016 4:52:59 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 33 replies
    Forbes ^ | 26 Dec, 2016 | Ethan Siegel
    From any point on Earth's surface, a clear night sky reveals a treasure trove of stars and deep-sky objects. Through a powerful telescope, billions of objects become visible, from stars and nebulae to the galaxies beyond our own. With the success of the Hubble deep fields in revealing distant, hitherto unseen galaxies, 2010 brought a new camera and a new ambition. The installation of the Wide Field Camera 3 enabled simultaneously large, deep views of space as never before. The Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS) began with this 2010 mosaic, which stitched together hundreds of images in visible and...
  • See a Christmas-Time Binocular Comet: 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova

    12/26/2016 6:49:16 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    universe today ^ | 12/25/2016 | Bob King
    While we’ve been shopping for gifts the past few weeks, a returning comet has been brightening up in the evening sky. Named 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, it returns to the hood every 5.25 years after vacationing beyond the planet Jupiter... Comet 45P is a short period comet — one with an orbital period of fewer than 200 years — discovered on December 3, 1948 by Minoru Honda along with co-discoverers Antonin Mrkos and Ludmila Pajdusakova. Three names are the maximum a comet can have even if 15 people simultaneously discover it. 45P has a history of brightening rapidly as it approaches the sun,...
  • Will Earth still exist 5 billion years from now?

    12/26/2016 3:17:35 PM PST · by ETL · 148 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | December 8, 2016 | KU Leuven
    What will happen to Earth when, in a few billion years' time, the Sun is a hundred times bigger than it is today? Using the most powerful radio telescope in the world, an international team of astronomers has set out to look for answers in the star L2 Puppis. Five billion years ago, this star was very similar to the Sun as it is today. "Five billion years from now, the Sun will have grown into a red giant star, more than a hundred times larger than its current size," says Professor Leen Decin from the KU Leuven Institute of...
  • Chris Pratt of "Guardians of the Galaxy" Weighed Over 300 Pounds Recently??- PICS

    12/26/2016 8:26:33 AM PST · by brucedickinson · 20 replies
    Various ^ | 12-26-2016 | Self
    I was sitting around after a huge Christmas feast last night for Christmas, worrying I should hit the gym, and I saw a pic of Chris Pratt, the actor from Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy as a huge tubby. It really gives the motivation to take care of yourself. What a dramatic change.
  • THE SOLAR WIND CONTINUES TO BLOW: For the third day in a row

    12/24/2016 7:55:41 AM PST · by tired&retired · 27 replies ^ | Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016 |
    THE SOLAR WIND CONTINUES TO BLOW: For the third day in a row, Earth is inside a stream of solar wind blowing out of a large hole in the sun's atmosphere. This is causing magnetic unrest and bright auroras around the poles. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms on Dec. 24th. WHITE AURORAS? Auroras are usually green. Occasionally, other colors appear: red, purple, blue. One color that never shows itself, however, is white--that is, not until last night. "I saw white auroras over Tromsř, Norway!" reports veteran observer Markus Varik.