Keyword: astronomy

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • The Calm Before The Solar Storm? NASA Warns "Something Unexpected Is Happening To The Sun'"

    03/08/2013 3:49:49 PM PST · by Biggirl · 88 replies
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ ^ | March 8, 2013 | Mark Prigg
    'Something unexpected' is happening on the Sun, Nasa has warned. This year was supposed to be the year of 'solar maximum,' the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle. But as this image reveals, solar activity is relatively low.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Looking Through Abell 68

    03/08/2013 2:45:07 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 08, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Want to use a cluster of galaxies as a telescope? It's easier than you might think as distant galaxy clusters naturally act as strong gravitional lenses. In accordance with Einstein's theory of general relativity, the cluster gravitational mass, dominated by dark matter, bends light and creates magnified, distorted images of even more distant background galaxies. This sharp infrared Hubble image illustrates the case for galaxy cluster Abell 68 as a gravitational telescope, explored by amateur astronomer Nick Rose during the ESA-Hubble Hidden Treasures image processing competition. Putting your cursor over the picture will label highlights in the scene. Labels...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Thor's Helmet

    03/07/2013 7:10:52 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | March 07, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This helmet-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages is popularly called Thor's Helmet. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor's Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the helmet is actually more like an interstellar bubble, blown as a fast wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble's center sweeps through a surrounding molecular cloud. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star, the central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. Cataloged as NGC 2359, the nebula is located about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Canis Major. The sharp...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Tardigrade in Moss

    03/06/2013 4:58:16 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 31 replies
    NASA ^ | March 06, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Is this an alien? Probably not, but of all the animals on Earth, the tardigrade might be the best candidate. That's because tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations. The far-ranging survivability of these extremophiles was tested in 2011 outside an orbiting space shuttle. Tardigrades are so durable partly because they can repair their own DNA...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comets Lemmon and PanSTARRS Peaking

    03/05/2013 4:41:44 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 05, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Two impressive comets will both reach their peak brightness during the next two weeks. Taking advantage of a rare imaging opportunity, both of these comets were captured in the sky together last week over the Atacama desert in South America. Comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon), visible on the upper left of the above image, is sporting a long tail dominated by glowing green ions. Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS), visible near the horizon on the lower right, is showing a bright tail dominated by dust reflecting sunlight. The tails of both comets point approximately toward the recently set Sun. Comet Lemmon...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- IC 1805: The Heart Nebula

    03/04/2013 7:47:15 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | March 04, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sprawling across almost 200 light-years, emission nebula IC 1805 is a mix of glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds. Derived from its Valentine's-Day-approved shape, its nickname is the Heart Nebula. About 7,500 light-years away in the Perseus spiral arm of our galaxy, stars were born in IC 1805. In fact, near the cosmic heart's center are the massive hot stars of a newborn star cluster also known as Melotte 15, about 1.5 million years young. A little ironically, the Heart Nebula is located in the constellation of the mythical Queen of Aethiopia (Cassiopeia). This deep view of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Grand Canyon Star Trails

    03/02/2013 10:25:49 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | March 03, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: One of the natural wonders of planet Earth, the Grand Canyon in the American southwest stretches across this early evening skyscape. The digitally stacked sequence reveals the canyon's layers of sedimentary rock in bright moonlight. Exposed sedimentary rock layers range in age from about 200 million to 2 billion years old, a window to history on a geological timescale. A recent study has found evidence that the canyon itself may have been carved by erosion as much as 70 million years ago. With the camera fixed to a tripod while Earth rotates, each star above carves a graceful arc...
  • Best photos of the Universe, 2012

    03/02/2013 9:21:12 AM PST · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 18 replies
    technewspedia.com ^ | Jan 1, 2013 | Michael Taylor
    Best photos of the Universe, 2012 Phil Plait, American astronomer and Science writer-is responsible for the interesting blog about the latest news in astronomy and Space ” Bad Astronomy “(which this year moved to Slate.com), and also led the Discovery Channel program Bad Universe whose episode about asteroids was indispensable to our special article on the destruction of Earth . As 2012 ends, Plait made a huge article in your blog with the most beautiful images related to astronomy that have taken this year. It is clear that the article includes Photographs of events ‘land’ as northern lights or even...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Miass River Sunrise

    03/01/2013 9:21:37 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 02, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Each day on planet Earth can have a serene beginning at sunrise as the sky gently grows bright over a golden eastern horizon. This sunrise panorama seems to show such a moment on the winter morning of February 15. In the mist, a calm, mirror-like stretch of the Miass River flows through the foreground along a frosty landscape near Chelyabinsk, Russia. But the long cloud wafting through the blue sky above is the evolving persistent train of the Chelyabinsk Meteor. The vapor trail was left by the space rock that exploded over the city only 18 minutes earlier, causing...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Colors of Mercury

    03/01/2013 9:20:56 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | March 01, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The colors of the solar system's innermost planet are enhanced in this tantalizing view, based on global image data from the Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft. Human eyes would not discern the clear color differences but they are real none the less, indicating distinct chemical, mineralogical, and physical regions across the cratered surface. Notable at the upper right, Mercury's large, circular, tan colored feature known as the Caloris basin was created by an impacting comet or asteroid during the solar system's early years. The ancient basin was subsequently flooded with lava from volcanic activity, analogous to the formation of the lunar...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Snow Moon for a Snowy Planet

    02/28/2013 3:41:27 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 28, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The alarmingly tall inhabitants of this small, snowy planet cast long shadows in bright moonlight. Of course, the snowy planet is actually planet Earth and the wide-angle mosaic, shown as a little planet projection, was recorded on February 25 during the long northern night of the Full Snow Moon. The second brightest celestial beacon is Jupiter, on the right above the little planet's horizon. Lights near Östersund, Sweden glow along the horizon, surrounding the snow covered lake Storsjön. The photographer reports that the journey out onto the frozen lake by sled to capture the evocative Full Snow Moon scene...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand

    02/27/2013 4:08:27 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | February 27, 2013 | (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,...
  • Where exactly did the Russian meteor come from?

    02/26/2013 4:19:06 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 63 replies
    thewee.comk ^ | 4:22pm EST | Chris Gayomali |
    Poring over crowd-sourced footage, researchers Jorge Zuluaga and Ignacio Ferrin from the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, were able to use "simple trigonometry to calculate the height, speed, and position of the rock as it fell to Earth," says BBC News. More importantly, the duo was able to find out where Russia's most famous meteor was likely born. Using astronomy software developed by the U.S. Naval Observatory, Zuluaga and Ferrin gathered enough data to trace the meteoroid's origins in outer space. The information included the meteor's relative angle to the horizon, the shadows it cast, and video timestamps of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Coronal Rain on the Sun

    02/26/2013 4:02:25 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | February 26, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Does it rain on the Sun? Yes, although what falls is not water but extremely hot plasma. An example occurred in mid-July 2012 after an eruption on the Sun that produced both a Coronal Mass Ejection and a moderate solar flare. What was more unusual, however, was what happened next. Plasma in the nearby solar corona was imaged cooling and falling back, a phenomenon known as coronal rain. Because they are electrically charged, electrons, protons, and ions in the rain were gracefully channeled along existing magnetic loops near the Sun's surface, making the scene appear as a surreal three-dimensional...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Fly Me to the Moons

    02/25/2013 8:24:40 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 25, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sometimes the Moon is a busy direction. Last week, for example, our very Moon passed in front of the planet Jupiter. While capturing this unusual spectacle from New South Wales, Australia, a quick-thinking astrophotographer realized that a nearby plane might itself pass in front of the Moon, and so quickly reset his camera to take a continuous series of short duration shots. As hoped, for a brief instant, that airplane, the Moon, and Jupiter were all visible in a single exposure, which is shown above. But the project was not complete -- a longer exposure was then taken to...
  • Hint of 150 MHz radio emission from the Neptune-mass extrasolar transiting planet HAT-P-11b

    02/25/2013 10:34:07 AM PST · by Red Badger · 57 replies
    Next Big Future ^ | 2/24/2013 | Brian Wang
    ince the radio-frequency emission from planets is expected to be strongly influenced by their interaction with the magnetic field and corona of the host star, the physics of this process can be effectively constrained by making sensitive measurements of the planetary radio emission. Up to now, however, numerous searches for radio emission from extrasolar planets at radio wavelengths have only yielded negative results. Here we report deep radio observations of the nearby Neptune-mass extrasolar transiting planet HAT-P-11b at 150 MHz, using the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT). On July 16, 2009, we detected a 3σ emission whose light curve is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy in Dust and Stars

    02/24/2013 3:59:38 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 24, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Whirlpool Galaxy is a classic spiral galaxy. At only 30 million light years distant and fully 60 thousand light years across, M51, also known as NGC 5194, is one of the brightest and most picturesque galaxies on the sky. The above image is a digital combination of a ground-based image from the 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory and a space-based image from the Hubble Space Telescope highlighting sharp features normally too red to be seen. Anyone with a good pair of binoculars, however, can see this Whirlpool toward the constellation of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Chelyabinsk Meteor Flash

    02/23/2013 10:16:24 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 49 replies
    NASA ^ | February 23, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A meteoroid fell to Earth on February 15, streaking some 20 to 30 kilometers above the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia at 9:20am local time. Initially traveling at about 20 kilometers per second, its explosive deceleration after impact with the lower atmosphere created a flash brighter than the Sun. This picture of the brilliant bolide (and others of its persistent trail) was captured by photographer Marat Ametvaleev, surprised during his morning sunrise session creating panoramic images of the nearby frosty landscape. An estimated 500 kilotons of energy was released by the explosion of the 17 meter wide space rock with...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Curiosity Self-Portrait Panorama

    02/23/2013 10:10:25 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | February 22, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This remarkable self-portrait of NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover includes a sweeping panoramic view of its current location in the Yellowknife Bay region of the Red Planet's Gale Crater. The rover's flat, rocky perch, known as "John Klein", served as the site for Curiosity's first rock drilling activity. At the foot of the proud looking rover, a shallow drill test hole and a sample collection hole are 1.6 centimeters in diameter. The impressive mosaic was constructed using frames from the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Mastcam. Used to take in the panoramic landscape frames, the Mastcam is standing...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Gravitational Tractor

    02/23/2013 10:02:55 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | February 21, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How would you change the course of an Earth-threatening asteroid? One possibility - a massive spacecraft that uses gravity as a towline - is illustrated in this artist's vision of a gravitational tractor in action. In the hypothetical scenario worked out in 2005 by Edward Lu and Stanley Love at NASA's Johnson Space Center, a 20 ton nuclear-electric spacecraft tows a 200 meter diameter asteroid by simply hovering near the asteroid. The spacecraft's ion drive thrusters are canted away from the surface. Their slight but steady thrust would gradually and predictably alter the course of the tug and asteroid,...