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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Milky Way from a Malibu Sea Cave

    07/07/2015 4:23:55 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | July 07, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What’s happening outside this cave? Nothing unexpected – it’s just the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy passing by. As the Earth turns, the band of our Galaxy appears to rotate and shift along the horizon. The featured image was taken by a photographer who professes a passion for locating sea caves, and who found this spectacular grotto in Leo Carrillo State Park near Malibu, California, USA. After some planning, he timed this single shot image through the 10-meter high cave entrance to show the Milky Way far in the distance. In the foreground, several rocks about one...
  • New Horizons Exits Safe Mode, Operating Flawlessly for Upcoming Pluto Encounter

    07/06/2015 9:04:12 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 16 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on July 6, 2015 | Ken Kremer
    Its now just exactly one week before the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a fast flyby encounter of the ever intriguing binary planet, And the great news could not come soon enough given the proximity of the flyby. The spacecraft is in excellent health and back in operation. New Horizons is barreling towards the Pluto system, stated Jim Green, director of Planetary Science, NASA Headquarters, Washington, at the start of the todays news media briefing. The mission remains on track to conduct the complex close flyby science sequence in its entirety, as planned over the next week, including the July 14 flyby...
  • An animation just for fun - The Solarbeat: Planetary orbits set to music (ok ok, plus Pluto's orbit)

    07/06/2015 12:05:56 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 4 replies
    Click here to play with the interactive animation. Use the slider to change the speed. Click on other icons to change the scale, bass, etc.
  • Small cosmic 'fish' points to big haul for SKA Pathfinder

    07/06/2015 8:58:49 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 20 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 07-06-2015 | Provided by Royal Astronomical Society
    CSIRO's Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope. Credit: CSIRO A wisp of cosmic radio waves, emitted before our solar system was born, shows that a new radio telescope will be able to detect galaxies other telescopes can't. The work, led by Dr James Allison of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, was announced today (6 July) at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, north Wales. The finding was one of the first made with CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), a new radio telescope 300 kilometres inland from the Western Australian town of Geraldton. The discovery...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Colorful Clouds Near Rho Ophiuchi

    07/05/2015 10:53:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | July 06, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why is the sky near Antares and Rho Ophiuchi so colorful? The colors result from a mixture of objects and processes. Fine dust illuminated from the front by starlight produces blue reflection nebulae. Gaseous clouds whose atoms are excited by ultraviolet starlight produce reddish emission nebulae. Backlit dust clouds block starlight and so appear dark. Antares, a red supergiant and one of the brighter stars in the night sky, lights up the yellow-red clouds on the lower center of the featured image. Rho Ophiuchi lies at the center of the blue nebula on the left. The distant globular cluster...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Zeta Oph: Runaway Star

    07/05/2015 1:13:36 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | July 05, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation:
  • Breathtaking ruins of the Soviet space shuttle program

    07/05/2015 5:09:28 AM PDT · by Islander7 · 29 replies
    CNN ^ | July 3, 2015 | Sheena McKenzie
    (CNN)What was once the gleaming pride and joy of the Soviet space program now lies covered in dirt and bird droppings in a disused hangar in Kazakhstan. With their broken windows, missing tiles and ransacked interiors, these shuttles are a haunting -- and fascinating -- piece of space history, rarely seen by the outside world. Indeed, when 36-year-old Russian photographer Ralph Mirebs discovered the derelict shuttles and rocket at Baikonur Cosmodrome, he was touched by the sad end for these "wonderful winged machines."
  • Red-faced Pluto Full of Surprises

    07/04/2015 6:56:24 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on July 4, 2015 | Bob King
    On Mars, iron oxide or rust colors the planets soil, while Plutos coloration is likely caused by hydrocarbon molecules called tholins that are formed when cosmic rays and solar ultraviolet light interact with methane in Plutos atmosphere and on its surface. Airborne tholins fall out of the atmosphere and coat the surface with a reddish gunk ... Plutos reddish color has been known for decades, but New Horizons is now allowing us to correlate the color of different places on the surface with their geology and soon, with their compositions, said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora Australis

    07/04/2015 5:20:45 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | July 04, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Not fireworks, these intense shimmering lights still danced across Earth's night skies late last month, seen here above the planet's geographic south pole. The stunning auroral displays were triggered as a coronal mass ejection blasted from the Sun days earlier impacted the magnetosphere, beginning a widespread geomagnetic storm. The six fisheye panels were recorded with digital camera and battery in a heated box to guard against -90 degree F ambient temperatures of the long winter night. Around the horizon are south pole astronomical observatories, while beyond the Aurora Australis stretch the stars of the southern Milky Way.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus and Jupiter are Far

    07/03/2015 7:40:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | July 03, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On June 30 Venus and Jupiter were actually far apart, but both appeared close in western skies at dusk. Near the culmination of this year's gorgeous conjunction, the two bright evening planets are captured in the same telescopic field of view in this sharp digital stack of images taken after sunset from Poznań in west-central Poland. In fact, banded gas giant Jupiter was about 910 million kilometers from Poland. That's over 11 times farther than crescent Venus, only 78 million kilometers distant at the time. But since the diameter of giant planet Jupiter is over 11 times larger than...
  • 25 years of breathtaking Hubble Telescope images

    07/03/2015 7:03:15 AM PDT · by ilovesarah2012 · 11 replies
    Since it was launched in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has sent us breathtaking images back from the deepest corners of space. Named after the trailblazing astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, the HST, a large, space-based observatory, has revolutionized astronomy by providing unprecedented deep and clear views of the Universe. Hubble has provided spectacular images, not just of our own solar system, but extremely remote fledgling galaxies forming not long after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
  • Space station request!!!

    07/03/2015 2:03:49 AM PDT · by djf · 23 replies
    Well, this might seem like a vanity, and probably is. But I have a special request for the space station. We need you to film fireworks from space!
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus and Jupiter are Close

    07/02/2015 11:17:19 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | July 02, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On June 30, Venus and Jupiter were close in western skies at dusk. Near the culmination of this year's gorgeous conjunction, the two bright evening planets are captured in the same telescopic field of view in this image taken after sunset from Bejing, China. As the two bright planets set together in the west, a nearly Full Moon rose above the horizon to the south and east. Imaged that night with the same telescope and camera, the rising Moon from the opposite part of the sky is compared with the planetary conjunction for scale in the digitally composited image....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus, Jupiter, and Noctilucent Clouds

    07/01/2015 3:18:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | July 01, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you seen the passing planets yet? Today the planets Jupiter and Venus pass within half a degree of each other as seen from Earth. This conjunction, visible all over the world, is quite easy to see -- just look to the west shortly after sunset. The brightest objects visible above the horizon will be Venus and Jupiter, with Venus being the brighter of the two. Featured above, the closing planets were captured two nights ago in a sunset sky graced also by high-level noctilucent clouds. In the foreground, the astrophotographer's sister takes in the vista from a bank...
  • Is That a Big Crater on Pluto? Pyramidal Mountain Found on Ceres

    07/01/2015 5:53:46 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on June 30, 2015 | Bob King
    Youre probably as eager as I am for new images of Pluto and Ceres as both New Horizons and Dawn push ever closer to their respective little worlds. Recent photos, of which there are only a few, reveal some wild new features including what appears to a large crater on Pluto. In the end, this apparent large impact might only be a contrast effect or worse, an artifact of over-processing, but theres no denying its strong resemblance to foreshortened, shadow-filled craters seen on the Moon and other moons. Its also encouraging that an earlier photo from June 27 shows the...
  • Asteroid Day Takes Aim at Our Cosmic Blind Spot: Threats From Above

    06/30/2015 5:08:46 AM PDT · by Old Sarge · 8 replies
    NBC ^ | 29 JUN 2015 | Alan Boyle
    Scientists and spacefliers will be focusing attention on near-Earth objects when the first-ever Asteroid Day plays out on Tuesday not so much to raise money, but to raise awareness about the potential threat from above and what to do about it. That last part is the hard part, says Tom Jones, a planetary scientist and former NASA astronaut who's an adviser for Asteroid Day. He told NBC News that the biggest consciousness-raiser hit us two years ago, in the form of a nuclear-scale meteor blast that shook the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. "That was a crystallizing event for people...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- An Unusual Mountain on Asteroid Ceres

    06/29/2015 9:49:58 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | June 30, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What created this large mountain on asteroid Ceres? No one is yet sure. As if in anticipation of today being Asteroid Day on Earth, the robotic spacecraft Dawn in orbit around Ceres took the best yet image of an unusually tall mountain on the Asteroid Belt's largest asteroid. Visible at the top of the featured image, the exceptional mountain rises about five kilometers up from an area that otherwise appears pretty level. The image was taken about two weeks ago from about 4,400 kilometers away. Although origin hypotheses for the mountain include volcanism, impacts, and plate tectonics, clear evidence...
  • History of Geology: Outburst flood from Glacier de Tete Rousse: A past and future threat

    06/29/2015 5:53:09 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    History of Geology ^ | August 2010 | David Bressan
    Before 1878, in a period with increased rate of ablation, a supraglacial lake formed in the centre of the glacier, this lake subsequently became covered by ice and snow. The collapse of the glacier tongue in 1892 finally released the accumulated water, a large cavity 40m in diameter and 20m high containing estimated 20.000 cubic meters water at the glacier terminus remained as testimony. From this lower cavity, an 85m long intraglacial conduit led to the upper cavity (the former lake) with an additional volume of 80.000 cubic meters. [History of Geology: Outburst flood from Glacier de Tete Rousse: A...
  • Evidence Of A Holocene Meteorite Impact Event Near Nalbach (Saarland, Germany)

    06/29/2015 9:19:36 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    Academia ^ | 2015 | Kord Ernstson
    The widespread occurrence of peculiar samples in the Nalbach area covering many square kilometers and exhibiting convincing indications of high temperatures and high pressures, in particular the mineralogical evidence of strong shock, establishes a meteorite impact event in the Holocene as a matter of fact according to the generally accepted opinion that shock metamorphism in rocks proves a meteorite impact. The young Holocene age is concluded from the concentration of the peculiar finds in the upper soil layers, the very fresh status of the impact glasses and the young appearance of the now discovered probable impact crater. Using impact scaling...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunspot Group AR 2339 Crosses the Sun

    06/29/2015 7:18:10 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | June 29, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How do sunspots evolve? Large dark sunspots -- and the active regions that contain them -- may last for weeks, but all during that time they are constantly changing. Such variations were particularly apparent a few weeks ago as the active region AR 2339 came around the limb of the Sun and was tracked for the next 12 days by NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory. In the featured time lapse video, some sunspots drift apart, while others merge. All the while, the dark central umbral regions shift internally and their surrounding lighter penumbras shimmer and wave. The surrounding Sun appears...
  • Why Time Will Stop For a Leap Second

    06/28/2015 11:19:44 AM PDT · by Lonesome in Massachussets · 16 replies
    National Geographic ^ | June 26, 2015 UTC | Jane J. Lee
    Just as leap years keep our calendars lined up with Earth's revolution around the sun, leap seconds adjust for Earth's rotation. This kind of fine-tuning wasn't much of an issue before the invention of atomic clocks, whose ticks are defined by the cycling of atoms. Cesium-based clocks, one kind of atomic clock, measure the passage of time much more precisely than those based on the rotation of our planet, so adding a leap second allows astronomical time to catch up to atomic time. Most of us won't notice the addition, which happens at 23:59:59 coordinated universal time (UTC), or 7:59...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- All the Colors of the Sun

    06/27/2015 9:16:14 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | June 28, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is still not known why the Sun's light is missing some colors. Here are all the visible colors of the Sun, produced by passing the Sun's light through a prism-like device. The spectrum was created at the McMath-Pierce Solar Observatory and shows, first off, that although our white-appearing Sun emits light of nearly every color, it does indeed appear brightest in yellow-green light. The dark patches in the above spectrum arise from gas at or above the Sun's surface absorbing sunlight emitted below. Since different types of gas absorb different colors of light, it is possible to determine...
  • Simulation of space debris orbiting Earth

    06/27/2015 8:59:24 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 51 replies
  • DARPA Wants to Create Synthetic Organisms to Terraform and Change the Atmosphere of Mars

    06/27/2015 8:25:48 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 56 replies
    Hacked ^ | 6/25/15 | Giulio Prisco
    DARPA Wants to Create Synthetic Organisms to Terraform and Change the Atmosphere of Mars Biotech, Space, Synthetic Biology June 25, 2015 by Giulio Prisco 435SHARES TwitterLinkedinFacebook The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) believes that it's on the way to creating synthetic organisms capable of terraforming Mars into a planet that looks more like Earth, Motherboard reports.Speaking at a recent biotech conference hosted by DARPA, Alicia Jackson, deputy director of DARPAs Biological Technologies Office (BTO) said: For the first time, we have the technological toolkit to transform not just hostile places here on Earth, but to go into space not...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stars of a Summer's Triangle

    06/27/2015 3:42:59 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | June 27, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Rising at the start of a northern summer's night, these three bright stars form the familiar asterism known as the Summer Triangle. Altair, Deneb, and Vega are the alpha stars of their respective constellations, Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra, nestled near the Milky Way. Close in apparent brightness the three do look similar in these telescopic portraits, but all have their own stellar stories. Their similar appearance hides the fact that the Summer Triangle stars actually span a large range in intrinsic luminosity and distance. A main sequence dwarf star, Altair is some 10 times brighter than the Sun and...
  • Check out Venus and Jupiter, now unbelievably close in the night sky! (easily naked eye visible)

    06/26/2015 7:06:32 PM PDT · by ETL · 27 replies
    June 26, 2015 | self
    Look up, and somewhere in the western portion of the sky right now, or anytime in the next several weeks, an hour or so after sunset, and you'll see two very bright "star-like" objects. The brighter of the two (by a lot) is Venus, the other Jupiter. Venus, slightly smaller than Earth is currently about 51 million miles away. Jupiter, roughly 12 Earth diameters across, 560 million.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Planet Aurora

    06/26/2015 1:21:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | June 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What bizarre alien planet is this ? It's planet Earth of course, seen through the shimmering glow of aurorae from the International Space Station. About 400 kilometers (250 miles) above, the orbiting station is itself within the upper realm of the auroral displays, also watched from the planet's surface on June 23rd. Aurorae have the signature colors of excited molecules and atoms at the low densities found at extreme altitudes. The eerie greenish glow of molecular oxygen dominates this view. But higher, just above the space station's horizon, is a rarer red band of aurora from atomic oxygen. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Star Trails above Table Mountain

    06/26/2015 1:21:40 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | June 25, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Stars trail above and urban lights sprawl below in this moonlit nightscape from Cape Town, South Africa, planet Earth. The looming form of Table Mountain almost seems to hold terrestrial lights at bay while the stars circle the planet's South Celestial Pole. This modern perspective on the natural night sky was captured in June 2014, the scene composed of over nine hundred, stacked 30 second exposures. The stunning result was chosen as the winner in the Against the Lights category, a selection from over 800 entries in The World at Night's 2015 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest.
  • Monster black hole wakes up after 26 years

    06/26/2015 11:15:15 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 32 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 06-26-2015 | Staff & ESA
    Artists impression of a black hole feasting on matter from its companion star in a binary system. Material flows from the star towards the black hole and gathers in a disc, where it is heated up, shining brightly at optical, ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths before spiralling into the black hole. Part of the disc material does not end up onto the black hole but is ejected the form of two powerful jets of particles. On 15 June 2015, the black-hole binary system V404 Cygni started showing signs of extraordinary activity, something that had not happened since 1989. The system consists...
  • Want to stir things up? Go after the Texas flag.

    06/26/2015 5:04:40 AM PDT · by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin · 26 replies
    26 June 2015 | Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin
    Since we're getting into banning symbols of things we don't like, how about banning any and every display of the Texas flag. That'll show 'em.
  • Spectacular Northern Lights Show Could Continue This Weekend (Photos, Video)

    06/25/2015 4:56:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies
    space.com ^ | June 25, 2015 12:58pm ET | Calla Cofield
    Throughout Canada and as far south as Philadelphia, the northern lights have been wowing skywatchers this week, and the colorful displays could continue, following another solar explosion spotted by NASA. A large sun storm last weekend known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) sent high-energy particles streaming toward Earth, where their interaction with the atmosphere and the magnetic field supercharged the gorgeous color displays known in the northern hemisphere as the aurora borealis. The dazzling celestial show may go on, thanks to another CME detected by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) today (June 25). Today's explosion came from a freckle...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Triple Conjunction Over Galician National Park

    06/24/2015 4:04:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | June 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What are those bright objects hovering over the horizon? Planets -- and the Moon. First out, the horizon featured is a shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean that occurs at the Galicia National Park in northern Spain. Next furthest out, on the left, is the Moon. Easily the brightest object on the night sky, the Moon here was in only a crescent phase. The next furthest out, on the right, is the planet Venus, while planet Jupiter is seen at the top of the triangle. The long exposure from our rapidly rotating Earth made all of celestial objects -- including...
  • Aurora Borealis Lighting Up Night Sky All Week Due To Severe Solar Storm

    06/23/2015 3:50:18 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    A second strong solar storm this week is predicted to slam Earth Wednesday, causing fluctuations in the power grid and GPS while sparking bright auroras across the world. According to SpaceWeather.com, a coronal mass ejection erupted Monday and is expected to hit the Earth with electromagnetic radiation starting Wednesday at about 10 p.m. PDT and until Thursday. At the same time, a geomagnetic storm that began Monday continues to rage on at severe levels, pushing glowing polar auroras to places where most people can easily see them.
  • Ceres Spots Continue to Mystify in Latest Dawn Images

    06/23/2015 6:34:16 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 17 replies
    NASA-JPL ^ | June 22, 2015 | Staff
    The closer we get to Ceres, the more intriguing the distant dwarf planet becomes. New images of Ceres from NASA's Dawn spacecraft provide more clues about its mysterious bright spots, and also reveal a pyramid-shaped peak towering over a relatively flat landscape. "The surface of Ceres has revealed many interesting and unique features. For example, icy moons in the outer solar system have craters with central pits, but on Ceres central pits in large craters are much more common. These and other features will allow us to understand the inner structure of Ceres that we cannot sense directly," said Carol...
  • 'Pyramid' spotted on Ceres: Mysterious lone mountain discovered ....

    06/23/2015 6:14:02 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 12 replies
    www.dailymail.co.uk ^ | Updated: 16:54 EST, 22 June 2015 | By Jonathan O'Callaghan
    The latest images of Ceres taken by the Dawn spacecraft have captured a fascinating pyramid-shaped mountain on the surface. As the spacecraft gets closer, more and more features are beginning to reveal themselves. This includes the mysterious bright spots, which appear now as an array of dots scattered across the floor of a crater - but their source remains unknown. These images were taken by the Dawn spacecraft in its second mapping orbit, from a height of 2,700 miles (4,400km). Just six months ago, Ceres appeared as nothing more than a few pixels of light to Dawn. Now it is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sharpless 308: Star Bubble

    06/23/2015 4:14:40 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | June 23, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Blown by fast winds from a hot, massive star, this cosmic bubble is huge. Cataloged as Sharpless 2-308 it lies some 5,200 light-years away toward the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major) and covers slightly more of the sky than a Full Moon. That corresponds to a diameter of 60 light-years at its estimated distance. The massive star that created the bubble, a Wolf-Rayet star, is the bright one near the center of the nebula. Wolf-Rayet stars have over 20 times the mass of the Sun and are thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova phase of massive...
  • NASA's New Horizons Probe Gives Us Our First Look at the 'Person in Pluto'

    06/22/2015 6:24:00 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 33 replies
    nbc ^ | Jun 22 2015, 1:37 pm ET | Alan Boyle
    Humanity has looked up to the "Man in the Moon" for millennia, but this could be one of our first views of the "Person in Pluto." The views are getting better and better as NASA's New Horizons spacecraft approaches Pluto for its July 14 flyby and the pictures have begun revealing surface details. Ian Regan, an image-processing enthusiast from Plymouth, England, combined four images from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager with color data from the probe's Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera to produce an eerie colorized view of Pluto and its biggest moon, Charon.
  • Cosmic Inflations Five Great Predictions

    06/22/2015 1:20:00 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 15 replies
    Medium.com ^ | 6/17/15 | Ethan Siegel
    Cosmic Inflation’s Five Great Predictions A “speculative” theory no more; it’s had four of them confirmed. Image credit: Max Tegmark / Scientific American, by Alfred T. Kamajian. “Scientific ideas should be simple, explanatory, predictive. The inflationary multiverse as currently understood appears to have none of those properties.” -Paul Steinhardt, 2014 When we think about the Big Bang, we typically think about the origin of the Universe: the hot, dense, expanding state where everything came from. By noticing and measuring the fact that the Universe is expanding today — that the galaxies are getting farther apart from one another in all directions — we...
  • NASA May Use Nukes To Defend Earth From Asteroids

    06/22/2015 12:28:27 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 47 replies
    Popular Science ^ | 06-22-2015 | By Sarah Fecht
    Illustration Of A Planetoid Crashing Into Earth In 2013, a 60-foot-wide meteor exploded over Russia, and no one saw it coming. The Chelyabinsk impactor was relatively small by interplanetary standards, but the blast injured about 1,500 people and damaged 7,000 buildings. If a larger rock were headed for Earth, how would we defend ourselves? The short answer is, scientists arent really sure, but one solution sounds a lot like the plot from a 1998 Michael Bay movie: just nuke em. In hopes of averting a space rock calamity, The New York Times reports that NASA has just sealed a deal...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- New Horizons [Pluto probe]

    06/21/2015 10:04:05 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | June 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In three weeks, the robotic New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto. As the featured video makes clear, though, humanity has been on an unprecedented epoch of robotic exploration of our Solar System's planets for the past half century. The video highlights artistic illustrations of Mariner 2 flying by Venus in 1962, Mariner 4 flying past Mars in 1965, Pioneer 10 flying past Jupiter in 1973, Mariner 10 flying past Mercury in 1974, Pioneer 11 flying past Saturn in 1979, and Voyager 2 flying past Uranus in 1986 and then Neptune in 1989. Next is a hypothetical sequence depicting New...
  • Happy Summer Solstice!

    06/21/2015 8:40:00 AM PDT · by Lonesome in Massachussets · 10 replies
    His Divine Plan ^ | In the Beginning | The Almighty
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Rings and Seasons of Saturn

    06/21/2015 7:10:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | June 21, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On Saturn, the rings tell you the season. On Earth, today marks a solstice, the time when the Earth's spin axis tilts directly toward the Sun. On Earth's northern hemisphere, today is the Summer Solstice, the day of maximum daylight. Since Saturn's grand rings orbit along the planet's equator, these rings appear most prominent -- from the direction of the Sun -- when the Saturn's spin axis points toward the Sun. Conversely, when Saturn's spin axis points to the side, an equinox occurs and the edge-on rings are hard to see. In the featured montage, images of Saturn over...
  • If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel: A tediously accurate scale model of the Solar System

    06/21/2015 6:13:32 AM PDT · by rickmichaels · 69 replies
    joshworth.com | Josh Worth
    This is a waaaaaaaaaaaaay cool scale model of the Solar System that shows just how freakin' HUGE our own "little" neck of the woods really is. Scroll to the right... If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Hubble's Messier 5 [whoa!]

    06/19/2015 11:33:10 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    NASA ^ | June 20, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: "Beautiful Nebula discovered between the Balance [Libra] & the Serpent [Serpens] ..." begins the description of the 5th entry in 18th century astronomer Charles Messier's famous catalog of nebulae and star clusters. Though it appeared to Messier to be fuzzy and round and without stars, Messier 5 (M5) is now known to be a globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more, bound by gravity and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter. It lies some 25,000 light-years away. Roaming the halo of our galaxy, globular star clusters are ancient members of the Milky Way. M5 is one...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- LightSail A

    06/19/2015 5:31:30 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | June 19, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Hitching a ride to low Earth orbit, LightSail A accomplished a challenging test mission, unfurling its 32 square meter mylar solar sail on June 7. This dramatic image from one of the bread loaf sized spacecraft's fisheye cameras captures the deployed sail glinting in sunlight. Sail out and visible to Earthbound observers before its final orbit, LightSail A reentered the atmosphere last weekend. Its succesful technology demonstration paves the way for the LightSail B spacecraft, scheduled for launch in April 2016. Once considered the stuff of science fiction, sailing through space was suggested 400 years ago by astronomer Johannes...
  • Einstein saves the quantum cat

    06/19/2015 7:37:01 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 30 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 063-16-2015 | Provided by University of Vienna
    Einstein's theory of time and space will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. Even today it captures the imagination of scientists. In an international collaboration, researchers from the universities of Vienna, Harvard and Queensland have now discovered that this world-famous theory can explain yet another puzzling phenomenon: the transition from quantum behavior to our classical, everyday world. Their results are published in the journal Nature Physics. In 1915 Albert Einstein formulated the theory of general relativity which fundamentally changed our understanding of gravity. He explained gravity as the manifestation of the curvature of space and time. Einstein's theory predicts that...
  • NASA Gives GO for Mission to Alien Ocean World at Jupiter Moon Europa

    06/19/2015 4:48:20 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | Ken Kremer
    At long last NASA is heading back to Jupiters mysterious moon Europa and doing so in a big way because scientists believe it harbors an alien ocean of water beneath an icy crust and therefore is one of the most promising places in the solar system to search for signs of present-day life beyond Earth. Top NASA officials have now formally and officially green lighted the Europa ocean world robotic mission and given it the GO to move from early conceptual studies into development of the interplanetary spacecraft and mission hardware, to search for the chemical constituents of life....
  • Mass of a supermassive black hole measured in suns (animated graphic)

    06/19/2015 2:24:58 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 12 replies
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M64: The Black Eye Galaxy

    06/18/2015 4:26:59 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | June 18, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This big, bright, beautiful spiral galaxy is Messier 64, often called the Black Eye Galaxy or the Sleeping Beauty Galaxy for its heavy-lidded appearance in telescopic views. M64 is about 17 million light-years distant in the otherwise well-groomed northern constellation Coma Berenices. In fact, the Red Eye Galaxy might also be an appropriate moniker in this colorful composition. The enormous dust clouds obscuring the near-side of M64's central region are laced with the telltale reddish glow of hydrogen associated with star forming regions. But they are not this galaxy's only peculiar feature. Observations show that M64 is actually composed...
  • Archaeology professor, students uncover history at Big Bone Lick State Park

    06/17/2015 2:35:54 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    Herald-Leader ^ | June 10, 2013 | Cheryl Truman
    Thousands of years ago, a human -- probably hungry and right-handed -- found an old spear point amid these low hills and re-shaped it. Last week [in 2013] University of Cincinnati student Liz Ceddia found it again: flaked in a distinctive pattern and still sharp enough to break skin... The students are working with Ken Tankersley, a University of Cincinnati archaeology professor who first visited the area as a child. He keeps coming back to seek evidence of how climate change affects area flora and fauna. It's one of his major areas of research. Big Bone Lick State Park --...