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Keyword: astronomy

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  • 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,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Saturn's Hexagon and Rings

    02/23/2013 9:59:48 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | February 20, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why would clouds form a hexagon on Saturn? Nobody is sure. Originally discovered during the Voyager flybys of Saturn in the 1980s, nobody has ever seen anything like it anywhere else in the Solar System. If Saturn's South Pole wasn't strange enough with its rotating vortex, Saturn's North Pole might be considered even stranger. The bizarre cloud pattern is shown above in great detail by a recent image taken by the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft. This and similar images show the stability of the hexagon even 20+ years after Voyager. Movies of Saturn's North Pole show the cloud structure maintaining...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mercury on the Horizon

    02/23/2013 9:51:02 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | February 19, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you ever seen the planet Mercury? Because Mercury orbits so close to the Sun, it never wanders far from the Sun in Earth's sky. If trailing the Sun, Mercury will be visible low on the horizon for only a short while after sunset. If leading the Sun, Mercury will be visible only shortly before sunrise. So at certain times of the year an informed skygazer with a little determination can usually pick Mercury out from a site with an unobscured horizon. Above, a lot of determination has been combined with a little digital manipulation to show Mercury's successive...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Great Russian Meteor of 2013

    02/17/2013 11:18:37 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | February 18, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What in heaven's blazes is that? Thousands of people living near the Ural Mountains in Russia saw last Friday morning one of the more spectacular meteors of modern times streak across the sky. Forceful sound waves arrived at the ground minutes later, knocking people over and breaking windows for hundreds of kilometers. The above video is a compilation of several car dashcams and includes real time footage of the meteor rampaging, smoke trails drifting, shadows quickly shifting, and even the meteor's light reflecting off the back of a bus. The fireball is thought to have been caused by a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Asteroid 2012 DA14 Passes the Earth

    02/17/2013 11:06:56 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | February 17, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: There it goes. That small spot moving in front of background stars in the above video is a potentially dangerous asteroid passing above the Earth's atmosphere. This past Friday, the 50-meter wide asteroid 2012 DA14 just missed the Earth, passing not only inside the orbit of the Moon, which is unusually close for an asteroid of this size, but also inside the orbit of geosynchronous satellites. Unfortunately, asteroids this big or bigger strike the Earth every 1000 years or so. Were 2012 DA14 to have hit the Earth, it could have devastated a city-sized landscape, or stuck an ocean...
  • Russia meteor virtually impossible to see coming - Current and planned efforts focus on larger...

    02/17/2013 1:01:22 AM PST · by neverdem · 40 replies
    Science News ^ | February 15, 2013 | Andrew Grant
    Current and planned efforts focus on larger objects Scientists have begun piecing together the characteristics of the meteor that exploded over Russia on the morning of February 15, using data from seismic instruments that track earthquakes and microphones designed to detect sonic booms from nuclear explosions. Unlike the asteroid DA14, which narrowly but predictably missed Earth later that day, the meteor was too small to detect before its contrail appeared in the dawn skies over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Yet even an object too small to detect can produce an impressive amount of destruction. The meteor was 15 meters...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sweeping Through Southern Skies

    02/16/2013 8:08:30 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | February 16, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: For now, Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6a), and Comet PanSTARRS (C/2011 L4) are sweeping through southern skies. Lemmon's lime green coma and thin tail are near the left edge of this telephoto scene, a single frame from a timelapse video (vimeo here) recorded on February 12, tracking its motion against the background stars. Comet Lemmon's path brought it close to the line-of-sight to prominent southern sky treasures the Small Magellanic Cloud and globular cluster 47 Tucanae (right). Sporting a broader, whitish tail, Comet PanSTARRS appears in later video frames moving through the faint constellation Microscopium. Visible in binoculars and small...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Shadows Across Jupiter

    02/15/2013 6:37:38 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | February 15, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Two dark shadows loom across the banded and mottled cloud tops of Jupiter in this sharp telescopic view. In fact, captured on January 3rd, about a month after the ruling gas giant appeared at opposition in planet Earth's sky, the scene includes the shadow casters. Visible in remarkable detail at the left are the large Galilean moons Ganymede (top) and Io. With the two moon shadows still in transit, Jupiter's rapid rotation has almost carried its famous Great Red Spot (GRS) around the planet's limb from the right. The pale GRS was preceded by the smaller but similar hued...
  • Meteorite crash in Russia: UFO fears spark panic in the Urals (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

    02/15/2013 12:34:43 AM PST · by Islander7 · 46 replies
    Kremlin Russia Today ^ | Feb 15, 2013 | Staff
    A series of explosions in the skies of Russia’s Urals region, reportedly caused by a meteorite shower, has sparked panic in three major cities. Witnesses said that houses shuddered, windows were blown out and cellphones have stopped working. According to unconfirmed reports, the meteorite was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk. A missile salvo reportedly blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Solar System Portrait

    02/14/2013 6:02:01 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | February 14, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On another Valentine's Day (February 14, 1990), cruising four billion miles from the Sun, the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back to make this first ever family portrait of our Solar System. The complete portrait is a 60 frame mosaic made from a vantage point 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane. In it, Voyager's wide angle camera frames sweep through the inner Solar System at the left, linking up with gas giant Neptune, at the time the Solar System's outermost planet, at the far right. Positions for Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are indicated by letters, while the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Infrared Orion from WISE

    02/13/2013 4:12:21 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | February 13, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Great Nebula in Orion is a intriguing place. Visible to the unaided eye, it appears as a small fuzzy patch in the constellation of Orion. But this image, an illusory-color composite of four colors of infrared light taken with the Earth orbiting WISE observatory, shows the Orion Nebula to be a bustling neighborhood or recently formed stars, hot gas, and dark dust. The power behind much of the Orion Nebula (M42) is the stars of the Trapezium star cluster, seen near the center of the above wide field image. The eerie green glow surrounding the bright stars pictured...
  • NASA's Hubble Discovers Another Moon Around Pluto

    07/20/2011 8:14:18 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 34 replies
    http://www.newswise.com ^ | 7/20/2011 9:00 AM EDT | Staff
    Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a fourth moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet Pluto. The tiny, new satellite -- temporarily designated P4 -- was uncovered in a Hubble survey searching for rings around the dwarf planet. The new moon is the smallest discovered around Pluto. It has an estimated diameter of 8 to 21 miles (13 to 34 km). By comparison, Charon, Pluto's largest moon, is 648 miles (1,043 km) across, and the other moons, Nix and Hydra, are in the range of 20 to 70 miles in diameter (32 to 113 km). "I find it remarkable that...
  • Is Pluto a planet after all?

    08/03/2009 8:52:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 37 replies · 2,747+ views
    New Scientist ^ | July 27, 2009 | Stephen Battersby
    Three years ago, the IAU decided to draw up the first scientific definition of the term planet. After days of stormy arguments at its general assembly in Prague, the delegates voted for a definition that excluded Pluto, downgrading it to the new category of dwarf planet. The decision caused outrage among many members of the public who had grown up with nine planets, and among some astronomers who pointed out that only 4 per cent of the IAU's 10,000 members took part in the vote. The governors of Illinois saw the decision as a snub to Pluto's discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh,...
  • Planet Definition Doesn't Apply Beyond Solar System

    01/27/2010 4:35:50 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies · 595+ views
    Discovery News ^ | Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | Ray Villard
    According to a strict interpretation of the IAU definition of a planet we're stuck with eight major planets in the entire galaxy. No, wait, the entire freaking universe! No more, no less. Not ever, not never. Why? Because the IAU definition ignores the over 400 planets to date that have been found orbiting other stars. This month alone 25 new exoplanets were announced at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington D.C. The dirty little secret is that the Pluto-antagonists needed the vote of the exoplanet research community to pass their Pluto-is-not-a-planet resolution. Therefore they steered clear of...
  • Pluto Now Called a Plutoid

    06/11/2008 11:36:15 PM PDT · by Westlander · 13 replies · 63+ views
    space.com ^ | 6-11-2008 | Robert Roy Britt
    The International Astronomical Union has decided on the term "plutoid" as a name for Pluto and other objects that just two years ago were redefined as "dwarf planets."
  • Pluto status suffers another blow (Pluto Gets "plutoed" again!)

    06/15/2007 8:04:06 PM PDT · by IllumiNaughtyByNature · 40 replies · 983+ views
    BBC News ^ | 06/15/07 | BBC News
    Pluto has suffered yet another blow to its status. Not only has it been demoted from planet to "dwarf planet", research now shows that it cannot even lay claim to being the biggest of these. A study has confirmed that the dwarf planet Eris - whose discovery prompted Pluto's relegation from planet to dwarf - outranks it in mass. snip
  • A Goofball Called Pluto

    05/26/2007 8:56:35 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies · 419+ views
    SpaceDaily ^ | May 18, 2007 | Bruce Moomaw
    "IAU presented the resolution to its General Assembly on August 16, giving the roughly 2500 attendees more than a week to discuss it. But the committee expected clear sailing...Instead, the '12-planet proposal' went down in flames. Critics objected that planets should also be defined by their orbital dynamics, not just by their size and shape. All eight 'major' planets, they pointed out, were massive enough to sweep up, fling away, or gravitationally control all the debris in their parts of the early solar sys[t]em, but Ceres and Pluto [and other candidate 'planets' among Kuiper Belt Objects] were not... the absurdity...
  • Demoted planet, dejected boy:A student pines for Pluto to be restored to its former planetary status

    11/05/2007 9:02:04 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies · 66+ views
    Christian Science Monitor ^ | November 1, 2007 | Robert Klose
    I understood his travail. When I was a kid, I had a favorite planet. It seemed that all my friends did. Mine, for a reason I can no longer put my finger on, was Venus. I still recall a schoolyard fray in which I faced off against a kid who was ballyhooing the case for Jupiter as the "best" planet. The volume of recriminations rose to the point where a crowd gathered and one of the teachers had to separate us. Who knew that astronomy could stoke such passions? ...The thing is, like that long-ago schoolyard standoff pitting Venus against...
  • Interview with the IAU President on Pluto's Demotion

    09/11/2006 4:09:36 PM PDT · by KevinDavis · 6 replies · 178+ views
    space.com ^ | 09/11/06 | Sara Goudarzi
    Last month, Catherine Cesarsky became the president of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Cesarsky, the first woman to hold this prestigious position, started her presidency at a time when many scientists are questioning IAU's recent decision to strip Pluto of its planetary status based on a vote of just 424 members at a meeting in Prague. Cesarsky served as the director general of the European Southern Observatory since 1999 and is famed for her research work in central areas of modern astrophysics. She also led the design and construction of the ISOCAM camera onboard the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) of...
  • Experts' vote could mean demotion for Pluto

    08/13/2006 5:58:09 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 47 replies · 377+ views
    Rocky Mountain News ^ | August 12, 2006 | Jim Erickson
    News leaks about the planet definition began to spout late this week, as the authors prepared to present a draft resolution to the IAU's executive committee Sunday in Prague. The IAU is the official arbiter of all issues related to astronomical nomenclature. In a story that aired Thursday, unnamed sources told National Public Radio the proposed definition would include Pluto in a new class of small planets. A source also told the Rocky Mountain News on Thursday that a member of the seven-person definition panel said Pluto will remain a planet. IAU Vice President Bob Williams described the reports as...
  • Planetary Politics: Protecting Pluto

    09/09/2006 8:17:25 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies · 278+ views
    Space dot com ^ | 7 September 2006 | Edna DeVore
    Earlier this year, the BBC interviewed Mrs Venetia (Burney) Phair, the only living person to have named a planet... The IAU decision was political. Scientists voted to demote Pluto to the status of "dwarf planet." ...In California, of course, the real politicians found a reason for action in Pluto's demotion. While there are many more serious problems--over crowded schools and universities, decayed freeways, and the health care crisis, just to name a few—fifty-four of our esteemed elected officials found the time and energy for a Resolution that supports Pluto's status as a full-fledged planet. They call the IAU "mean-spirited" for...
  • New Planet Is Bigger Than Pluto

    02/01/2006 11:04:55 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 42 replies · 500+ views
    AP on Yahoo ^ | 2/1/06 | Alicia Chang - ap
    LOS ANGELES - Scientists say they have confirmed that a so-called 10th planet discovered last year is bigger than Pluto, but that likely won't quell the debate over what makes a planet. The astronomers who spotted the icy, rocky body — informally called UB313 — had reported only a rough estimate of its size based on its brightness. But another group of researchers has come up with what is believed to be the first calculation of UB313's diameter. By measuring how much heat it radiates, German scientists led by Frank Bertoldi of the University of Bonn estimated that UB313 was...
  • Having Pups Over Pluto And The Planetary Misfits Of The Kuipers

    03/12/2003 5:27:54 PM PST · by RightWhale · 10 replies · 320+ views
    spacedaily.com ^ | 12 Mar 03 | Robert Sanders
    Having Pups Over Pluto And The Planetary Misfits Of The Kuipers Ask any kid how many planets are in our solar system, and you'll get a firm answer: nine. But knock on a few doors in Berkeley's astronomy department, and you'll hear, amid the hemming and hawing, a whole range of numbers. Professor Gibor Basri, who plans soon to propose a formal definition of a planet to the international body that names astronomical objects, argues that there are at least 14 planets, and perhaps as many as 20. To the well-known list of nine he adds several large asteroids and...
  • Astronomers Find a New Planet in Solar System

    07/29/2005 3:35:26 PM PDT · by Right Wing Professor · 114 replies · 6,752+ views
    The New York Times ^ | 7/29/05 | KENNETH CHANG
    Add a 10th planet to the solar system - or possibly subtract one. Astronomers announced today that they have found a lump of rock and ice that is larger than Pluto and the farthest known object in the solar system. The discovery will likely rekindle debate over the definition of "planet" and whether Pluto should still be regarded as one. The new object - as yet unnamed - is currently 9 billion miles away from the Sun, or about three times Pluto's current distance from the Sun. But its 560-year orbit also brings it as close as 3.3 billion miles....
  • 2 Pluto Moons in Need of Devilish Names

    02/12/2013 11:05:53 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 62 replies
    ap ^ | Feb 11, 2013 1:03 PM CST
    Astronomers announced a contest today to name the two itty-bitty moons of Pluto discovered over the past two years. Three Pluto moons already have names associated with Hades and the underworld: Charon, the ferryman of Hades; the half-human, half-fish spirit Nix; and the multi-headed monster Hydra. The two unnamed moons need similarly shady references. Right now, they go by the bland titles of P4 and P5. They're no more than 15 to 20 miles across. Online voting will last two weeks. Twelve choices are available at plutorocks.com,
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Reflected Aurora Over Alaska

    02/12/2013 4:14:48 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | February 12, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Some auroras can only be seen with a camera. They are called subvisual and are too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. In the above image, the green aurora were easily visible to the eye, but the red aurora only became apparent after a 20-second camera exposure. The reason is that the human eye only accumulates light for a fraction of a second at a time, while a camera shutter can be left open much longer. When photographing an already picturesque scene near Anchorage, Alaska, USA, last autumn, a camera caught both the visual green and subvisual...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- N11: Star Clouds of the LMC

    02/11/2013 4:53:39 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | February 11, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Massive stars, abrasive winds, mountains of dust, and energetic light sculpt one of the largest and most picturesque regions of star formation in the Local Group of Galaxies. Known as N11, the region is visible on the upper right of many images of its home galaxy, the Milky Way neighbor known as the Large Magellanic Clouds (LMC). The above image was taken for scientific purposes by the Hubble Space Telescope and reprocessed for artistry by an amateur to win the Hubble's Hidden Treasures competition. Although the section imaged above is known as NGC 1763, the entire N11 emission nebula...
  • Mystery Mini Moons: How Many Does Earth Have?

    02/10/2013 2:09:02 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 31 replies
    discovery ^ | Feb 7, 2013 11:50 AM ET | // by Irene Klotz
    Earth's gravity may not have the gravitas of Jupiter, but the planet regularly plucks small asteroids passing by and pins them into orbit. The mini-moons don't stay for long. Within a year or so they resume their looping, twisting paths like crazy straws around the sun. But others arrive to take their place. Simulations show that two asteroids the size of dishwashers and a dozen half-meter (1.6 feet) in diameter are orbiting Earth at any given time. Every 50 years or so something the size of a dump truck arrives. So far, there's been just one confirmed sighting. ... A...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Asteroids in the Distance

    02/09/2013 9:56:44 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | February 10, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Rocks from space hit Earth every day. The larger the rock, though, the less often Earth is struck. Many kilograms of space dust pitter to Earth daily. Larger bits appear initially as a bright meteor. Baseball-sized rocks and ice-balls streak through our atmosphere daily, most evaporating quickly to nothing. Significant threats do exist for rocks near 100 meters in diameter, which strike the Earth roughly every 1000 years. An object this size could cause significant tsunamis were it to strike an ocean, potentially devastating even distant shores. A collision with a massive asteroid, over 1 km across, is more...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Great Meteor Procession of 1913

    02/09/2013 11:52:18 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | February 09, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: One hundred years ago today the Great Meteor Procession of 1913 occurred, a sky event described by some as "magnificent" and "entrancing" and which left people feeling "spellbound" and "privileged". Because one had to be in a right location, outside, and under clear skies, only about 1,000 people noted seeing the procession. Lucky sky gazers -- particularly those near Toronto, Canada -- had their eyes drawn to an amazing train of bright meteors streaming across the sky, in groups, over the course of a few minutes. A current leading progenitor hypothesis is that a single large meteor once grazed...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6822: Barnard's Galaxy

    02/08/2013 3:57:57 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | February 08, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Grand spiral galaxies often seem to get all the glory, flaunting their young, bright, blue star clusters in beautiful, symmetric spiral arms. But small galaxies form stars too, like nearby NGC 6822, also known as Barnard's Galaxy. Beyond the rich starfields in the constellation Sagittarius, NGC 6822 is a mere 1.5 million light-years away, a member of our Local Group of galaxies. About 7,000 light-years across, the dwarf irregular galaxy is seen to be filled with young blue stars and mottled with the telltale pinkish hydrogen glow of star forming regions in the deep color composite image. Contributing to...