Free Republic 2nd Quarter Fundraising Target: $85,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $21,494
25%  
Woo hoo!! And the first 25% is in!! Thank you all very much!!

Keyword: astronomy

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Lemmon and the Deep Sky

    07/20/2013 3:12:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | July 20, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Now sweeping high above the ecliptic plane, Comet Lemmon has faded dramatically in planet Earth's night sky as it heads for the outer solar system. Some 16 light-minutes (2 AU) from the Sun, it still sports a greenish coma though, posing on the right in this 4 degree wide telescopic view from last Saturday with deep sky star clusters and nebulae in Cassiopeia. In fact, the rich background skyscape is typical within the boundaries of the boastful northern constellation that lie along the crowded starfields of the Milky Way. Included near center is open star cluster M52 about 5,000...
  • A Private Venture Wants to Build a Telescope on the Moon

    07/19/2013 6:46:01 PM PDT · by Windflier · 47 replies
    Gizmodo.com ^ | 19 July 2013 | Jamie Condliffe
    There might not be a man on the moon right now—but there may soon be a gazing eye. A new private venture aims to build a long-range telescope on our planet's little satellite, and it could happen as soon 2016. A partnership between Moon Express, Inc. and the International Lunar Observatory Association is all set to install the telescope on the humble lump of rock. The plan is to position the 2-meter dish antenna, known as the International Lunar Observatory, on the rim of a crater near the moon’s South pole. The first step will be a proof-of-concept mission, which...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Take a Picture of Saturn

    07/19/2013 3:41:41 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | July 19, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Take a picture of Saturn in the sky tonight. You could capture a view like this one. Recorded just last month looking toward the south, planet Earth and ruins of the ancient temple of Athena at Assos, Turkey are in the foreground. The Moon rises at the far left of the frame and Saturn is the bright "star" at the upper right, near Virgo's alpha star Spica (picture with labels). If you do take a picture of Saturn or wave at Saturn and take a picture, you can share it online and submit it to the Saturn Mosaic Project....
  • Can Quantum Mechanics Produce a Universe from Nothing?

    07/18/2013 10:36:09 AM PDT · by kimtom · 170 replies
    www.apologeticspress.org ^ | 2/1/2013 | Jeff Miller, Ph.D.
    According to the First Law of Thermodynamics, nothing in the Universe (i.e., matter or energy) can pop into existence from nothing (see Miller, 2013). All of the scientific evidence points to that conclusion. So, the Universe could not have popped into existence before the alleged “big bang” (an event which we do not endorse). Therefore, God must have created the Universe. One of the popular rebuttals by the atheistic community is that quantum mechanics could have created the Universe. In 1905, Albert Einstein proposed the idea of mass-energy equivalence, resulting in the famous equation, E = mc2 (1905). We now...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Hidden Galaxy IC 342

    07/18/2013 2:48:12 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | July 18, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Similar in size to large, bright spiral galaxies in our neighborhood, IC 342 is a mere 10 million light-years distant in the long-necked, northern constellation Camelopardalis. A sprawling island universe, IC 342 would otherwise be a prominent galaxy in our night sky, but it is hidden from clear view and only glimpsed through the veil of stars, gas and dust clouds along the plane of our own Milky Way galaxy. Even though IC 342's light is dimmed by intervening cosmic clouds, this deep telescopic image traces the galaxy's obscuring dust, blue star clusters, and glowing pink star forming regions...
  • The First Interplanetary Photobomb

    07/17/2013 8:12:51 PM PDT · by EveningStar · 22 replies
    NASA ^ | July 17, 2013 | Dr. Tony Phillips
    Consider it the first interplanetary photobomb. On July 19th, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will photograph Earth through the rings of Saturn--and NASA wants you to jump into the shot. "Cassini has photographed Earth before, but this will be the first time Earthlings know in advance their picture will be taken from a billion miles away," says Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. "We hope that people around the world will go outside to wave at Saturn while the photo-shoot is underway."
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Waterspout in Florida

    07/17/2013 12:05:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | July 17, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening over the water? Pictured above is one of the better images yet recorded of a waterspout, a type of tornado that occurs over water. Waterspouts are spinning columns of rising moist air that typically form over warm water. Waterspouts can be as dangerous as tornadoes and can feature wind speeds over 200 kilometers per hour. Some waterspouts form away from thunderstorms and even during relatively fair weather. Waterspouts may be relatively transparent and initially visible only by an unusual pattern they create on the water. The above image was taken earlier this month near Tampa Bay, Florida....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Sombrero Galaxy from Hale

    07/17/2013 12:01:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | July 15, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's going on in the center of this spiral galaxy? Named the Sombrero Galaxy for its hat-like resemblance, M104 features a prominent dust lane and a bright halo of stars and globular clusters. Reasons for the Sombrero's hat-like appearance include an unusually large and extended central bulge of stars, and dark prominent dust lanes that appear in a disk that we see nearly edge-on. Billions of old stars cause the diffuse glow of the extended central bulge visible in the above image from the 200-inch Hale Telescope. Close inspection of the central bulge shows many points of light that...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Moon from Zond 8

    07/16/2013 4:04:05 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | July 16, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Which moon is this? Earth's. Our Moon's unfamiliar appearance is due partly to an unfamiliar viewing angle as captured by a little-known spacecraft -- the Soviet Union's Zond 8 that circled the Moon in October of 1970. Pictured above, the dark-centered circular feature that stands out near the top of the image is Mare Orientale, a massive impact basin formed by an ancient collision with an asteroid. Mare Orientale is surrounded by light colored and highly textured highlands. Across the image bottom lies the dark and expansive Oceanus Procellarum, the largest of the dark (but dry) maria that dominate...
  • Amateur Astronomer Discovers Comet C/2013 N4 (Borisov) During a Star Party

    07/14/2013 11:51:13 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | July 14, 2013 | Bob King on
    Ukrainian amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov discovered a brand new comet on July 8 near the bright star Capella in the constellation Auriga. The comet was confirmed and officially christened C/2013 N4 (Borisov) on July 13. At the time of discovery, Borisov was attending the Russian-Ukrainian “Southern Night” star party in Crimea, Ukraine. He nabbed the comet – his first – using an 8-inch (20-cm) f/1.5 wide field telescope of his own design equipped with a CCD camera. ... Aside from how prominent or not Gennady’s comet will become, the most amazing thing is that he beat the automated surveys to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Pillars of Eagle Castle

    07/13/2013 10:04:36 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | July 14, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What lights up this castle of star formation? The familiar Eagle Nebula glows bright in many colors at once. The above image is a composite of three of these glowing gas colors. Pillars of dark dust nicely outline some of the denser towers of star formation. Energetic light from young massive stars causes the gas to glow and effectively boils away part of the dust and gas from its birth pillar. Many of these stars will explode after several million years, returning most of their elements back to the nebula which formed them. This process is forming an open...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunspot at Sunset

    07/12/2013 9:54:50 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | July 13, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Reddened rays of the setting Sun flooded the skies over Cedar Creek Lake, southeast of Dallas, Texas, planet Earth on July 6th. And while sunsets may be the most watched celestial event, this one even offered something extra. A sunspot so large it was visible to the naked eye is captured in the serene sunset view, near the center of a solar disk dimmed and distorted by Earth's dense atomosphere. Telescopic views revealed the spot to be a complex of large solar active regions composed of sunspots, some larger than planet Earth itself.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Messier's Eleven

    07/12/2013 3:59:42 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | July 12, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This fifteen degree wide field of view stretches across the crowded starfields of Sagittarius toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the center of the galaxy lies near the right edge of the rich starscape and eleven bright star clusters and nebulae fall near the center of the frame. All eleven are numbered entries in the catalog compiled by 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier. Gaining celebrity status with skygazers, M8 (Lagoon), M16 (Eagle), M17 (Omega), and M20 (Trifid) show off the telltale reddish hues of emission nebulae associated with star forming regions. But also eye-catching...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Dusty Nebulae in Taurus

    07/11/2013 3:49:39 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | July 11, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This complex of dusty nebulae linger along the edge of the Taurus molecular cloud, a mere 450 light-years distant. Stars are forming on the cosmic scene, including extremely youthful star RY Tauri prominent toward the upper left of the 1.5 degree wide telescopic field. In fact RY Tauri is a pre-main sequence star, embedded in its natal cloud of gas and dust, also cataloged as reflection nebula vdB 27. Highly variable, the star is still relatively cool and in the late phases of gravitational collapse. It will soon become a stable, low mass, main sequence star, a stage of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Large Sunspots Now Crossing the Sun

    07/10/2013 3:18:29 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | July 10, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: One of the largest sunspot regions in recent years is now crossing the Sun. This region of convoluted magnetic fields may well produce a solar flare that releases a cloud of energetic particles into the Solar System. Were a very powerful cloud to impact the Earth's magnetosphere, it could be dangerous to Earth-orbiting astronauts and satellites. Conversely, the impact of even a less energetic cloud might create picturesque aurora. Pictured above is the sunspot region as it appeared two days ago. The rightmost part of this region has been cataloged as AR 11785, while the left part as AR...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Supergiant Star Gamma Cygni

    07/09/2013 2:31:21 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | July 09, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Supergiant star Gamma Cygni lies at the center of the Northern Cross, a famous asterism in the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus). Known by the proper name Sadr, the bright star also lies at the center of this gorgeous skyscape, featuring a complex of stars, dust clouds, and glowing nebulae along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. The field of view spans over 3 degrees (six Full Moons) on the sky and includes emission nebula IC 1318 and open star cluster NGC 6910. Left of Gamma Cygni and shaped like two glowing cosmic wings divided by a long...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Pluto's Newly Discovered Moons Receive Names

    07/08/2013 6:15:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 29 replies
    NASA ^ | July 08, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Pluto's newly discovered moons now have names. Known previously as P4 and P5, the International Astronomical Union has now given the fourth and fifth discovered moons of Pluto the names Kerberos and Styx. The small moons were discovered in 2011 and 2012 by the Hubble Space Telescope in preparation for the close passing of the New Horizons spacecraft by Pluto in 2015. Kerberos is named for the many headed dog in Greek mythology that guards the entrance to the underworld, while Styx is named for the goddess who overlooks the mythological river that runs between the Earth and the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2170: Still Life with Reflecting Dust

    07/07/2013 5:52:49 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | July 07, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In this beautiful celestial still life composed with a cosmic brush, dusty nebula NGC 2170 shines at the upper left. Reflecting the light of nearby hot stars, NGC 2170 is joined by other bluish reflection nebulae, a compact red emission region, and streamers of obscuring dust against a backdrop of stars. Like the common household items still life painters often choose for their subjects, the clouds of gas, dust, and hot stars pictured here are also commonly found in this setting - a massive, star-forming molecular cloud in the constellation of the Unicorn (Monoceros). The giant molecular cloud, Mon...
  • The Mystery of the Intergalactic Radio Bursts

    07/06/2013 4:54:09 AM PDT · by NYer · 35 replies
    Time ^ | July 5, 2013 | Michael D. Lemonick
    It’s a recurring theme in astronomy: observers see a blast of energy out in the cosmos, scratch their heads in confusion for a while, and finally uncover the existence of something entirely surprising and new. It happened with the quasars (now known to be gigantic burps from black holes swallowing hot gas), the pulsars (fast-spinning neutron stars sending out blips of radio noise hundreds of times every second), and even the Big Bang itself, first seen as a stream of microwaves slamming into Earth from all directions, nearly 14 billion years after the event itself.Now it may be happening again....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6384: Spiral Beyond the Stars

    07/05/2013 9:20:59 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | July 06, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The universe is filled with galaxies. But to see them astronomers must look out beyond the stars of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. This colorful Hubble Space Telescopic portrait features spiral galaxy NGC 6384, about 80 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Ophiuchus. At that distance, NGC 6384 spans an estimated 150,000 light-years, while the Hubble close-up of the galaxy's central region is about 70,000 light-years wide. The sharp image shows details in the distant galaxy's blue star clusters and dust lanes along magnificent spiral arms, and a bright core dominated by yellowish starlight. Still,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Globular Star Cluster NGC 6752

    07/05/2013 5:24:13 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | July 05, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Some 13,000 light-years away toward the southern constellation Pavo, the globular star cluster NGC 6752 roams the halo of our Milky Way galaxy. Over 10 billion years old, NGC 6752 follows clusters Omega Centauri and 47 Tucanae as the third brightest globular in planet Earth's night sky. It holds over 100 thousand stars in a sphere about 100 light-years in diameter. Telescopic explorations of the NGC 6752 have found that a remarkable fraction of the stars near the cluster's core, are multiple star systems. They also reveal the presence of blue straggle stars, stars which appear to be too...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M82: Starburst Galaxy with a Superwind

    07/03/2013 9:12:20 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | July 04, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Also known as the Cigar Galaxy for its elongated visual appearance, M82 is a starburst galaxy with a superwind. In fact, through ensuing supernova explosions and powerful winds from massive stars, the burst of star formation in M82 is driving a prodigious outflow of material. Evidence for the superwind from the galaxy's central regions is clear in this sharp telescopic snapshot. The composite image highlights emission from long outflow filaments of atomic hydrogen gas in reddish hues. Some of the gas in the superwind, enriched in heavy elements forged in the massive stars, will eventually escape into intergalactic space....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stars and Lightning Over Greece

    07/03/2013 5:37:25 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | July 03, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It may appear, at first, like the Galaxy is producing the lightning, but really it's the Earth. In the foreground of the above picturesque nighttime landscape is the Greek Island of Corfu, with town lights surrounding Lake Korrision. Visible farther in the distance are lights from the town of Preveza on the Greek mainland. In the more distant sky a thunderstorm is threatening, with two lightning strokes caught together during this 45 second wide-angle exposure taken in mid-May. The lightning branch on the left appears to be striking near Preveza, whereas the lightning strike on the right appears to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Circling a Black Hole at its Photon Sphere

    07/03/2013 5:34:55 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | July 02, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it look like to go right up to a black hole? One particularly interesting place near a black hole is its photon sphere, where photons can orbit in circles, a sphere 50 percent further out than the event horizon. Were you to look out from the photon sphere of a black hole, half of the sky would appear completely black, half of the sky would appear unusually bright, and the back of your head would appear across the middle. The above computer-animated video depicts this view from the photon sphere. The reason that the lower region, as...
  • Pluto moons get mythical new names

    07/03/2013 1:48:38 AM PDT · by SoFloFreeper · 15 replies
    BBC ^ | 7/2/13
    The recently discovered fourth and fifth moons of Pluto now have official names: Kerberos and Styx. The International Astronomical Union (IAU), charged with making official name designations, stipulates in its rules that names derive from mythology. The names - referring to a three-headed dog and a river separating the living from the dead, ranked second and third in an international public vote. The winning submission, Vulcan, was vetoed by the IAU. The two moons, formerly known simply as P4 and P5, were only discovered in July 2011 and July 2012, respectively.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Orbiting a Black Hole

    07/01/2013 3:10:55 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | July 01, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it look like to orbit a black hole? Since the strong gravity of the black hole can significantly alter light paths, conditions would indeed look strange. For one thing, the entire sky would be visible, since even stars behind the black hole would have their light bent to the observer's eye. For another, the sky near the black hole would appear significantly distorted, with more and more images of the entire sky visible increasingly near the black hole. Most visually striking, perhaps, is the outermost sky image completely contained inside an easily discernible circle known as the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Saturn's Hyperion: A Moon with Odd Craters

    06/30/2013 9:00:49 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 31 replies
    NASA ^ | June 30, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What lies at the bottom of Hyperion's strange craters? Nobody's sure. To help find out, the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn swooped past the sponge-textured moon in 2005 and 2010 and took images of unprecedented detail. An image from the 2005 pass, shown above in false color, shows a remarkable world strewn with strange craters and a generally odd surface. The slight differences in color likely show differences in surface composition. At the bottom of most craters lies some type of unknown dark material. Inspection of the image shows bright features indicating that the dark material might be...
  • Zodiacal Light Over ESO’s La Silla Observatory

    06/29/2013 2:12:10 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    www.universetoday.com ^ | June 29, 2013 | Jason Major on
    Created by sunlight reflected off fine particles of dust concentrated inside the plane of the Solar System, zodiacal light appears as a diffuse, hazy band of light visible in dark skies stretching away from a recently-set Sun (or before the Sun is about to rise). A band of zodiacal light glows in the sky over ESO’s La Silla Observatory. (Credit: Alan Fitzsimmons/ESO)
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- PanSTARRS: The Anti Tail Comet

    06/29/2013 7:51:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | June 29, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Once known as Earth's sunset comet, PanSTARRS (C/2011 L4) is up all night now, but only for northern hemisphere skygazers. Telescopes are required to track its progress as it fades and heads for the outer solar system. But because planet Earth passed through the comet's orbital plane in late May, PanSTARRS will also be remembered for its remarkably long anti-tail. That edge-on perspective looking along the broad, fanned-out dust tail as it trailed behind the comet created the appearance of an anti-tail pointing in the sunward direction, back toward the inner solar system. Recorded on the night of May...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Super Moon's Halo

    06/28/2013 4:11:24 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | June 28, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A Full Perigee Moon rose as the Sun set last Sunday. At its closest to Earth it was, by just a bit, the year's brightest and largest Full Moon also known as a Super Moon. Seen from Punta Piedras, Argentina and the mouth of the Rio de La Plata, near Buenos Aires, the Super Moon's light created this magnificent circular lunar halo. Still, the size of a lunar halo is determined by the geometry of six sided water ice crystals in planet Earth's high, thin clouds. The crystals deflect the rays of moonlight more strongly through a minimum angle...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Noctilucent Clouds over Moscow

    06/27/2013 4:17:54 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | June 27, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This panoramic night scene from June 8 looks out across a Moscow skyline from atop the main building of Lomonosov Moscow State University. Shining in the darkened sky above are widespread noctilucent clouds. From the edge of space, about 80 kilometers above Earth's surface, the icy clouds can still reflect sunlight even though the Sun itself is below the horizon as seen from the ground. Usually spotted at high latitudes in summer months the diaphanous apparitions, also known as polar mesospheric clouds, have come early this season. The seasonal clouds are understood to form as water vapor driven into...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M31: The Andromeda Galaxy

    06/25/2013 9:10:35 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 26 replies
    NASA ^ | June 26, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Andromeda is the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Our Galaxy is thought to look much like Andromeda. Together these two galaxies dominate the Local Group of galaxies. The diffuse light from Andromeda is caused by the hundreds of billions of stars that compose it. The several distinct stars that surround Andromeda's image are actually stars in our Galaxy that are well in front of the background object. Andromeda is frequently referred to as M31 since it is the 31st object on Messier's list of diffuse sky objects. M31 is so distant it takes about two...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Rock Nest Panorama from Curiosity on Mars

    06/25/2013 3:09:39 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | June 25, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This is Mars -- have a look around. More specifically, this is one area picked for its promise of holding clues to the habitability of Mars to ancient life. To better search for telling leads, the robotic Curiosity rover took a series of detailed images from a location called Rock Nest. Over 900 of these images were then composed into one of the highest resolution images ever created of the red planet -- a composite containing over one billion pixels. Shown above, toward the middle of this image mosaic, is Mt. Sharp, the central peak of the large crater...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Porpoise Galaxy from Hubble

    06/24/2013 8:58:11 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | June 24, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening to this spiral galaxy? Just a few hundred million years ago, NGC 2936, the upper of the two large galaxies shown, was likely a normal spiral galaxy -- spinning, creating stars -- and minding its own business. But then it got too close to the massive elliptical galaxy NGC 2937 below and took a dive. Dubbed the Porpoise Galaxy for its iconic shape, NGC 2936 is not only being deflected but also being distorted by the close gravitational interaction. A burst of young blue stars forms the nose of the porpoise toward the left of the upper...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus' Once Molten Surface

    06/23/2013 3:36:39 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | June 23, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: If you could look across Venus with radar eyes, what might you see? This computer reconstruction of the surface of Venus was created from data from the Magellan spacecraft. Magellan orbited Venus and used radar to map our neighboring planet's surface between 1990 and 1994. Magellan found many interesting surface features, including the large circular domes, typically 25-kilometers across, that are depicted above. Volcanism is thought to have created the domes, although the precise mechanism remains unknown. Venus' surface is so hot and hostile that no surface probe has lasted more than a few minutes.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Perigee's Full Moon

    06/21/2013 9:11:41 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | June 22, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A big, bright, beautiful Full Moon will rise at sunset on Sunday. Its exact full phase (June 23, 11:32 UT) will occur shortly before it reaches perigee, the closest point to Earth in the Moon's orbit, and make it the largest Full Moon of 2013. But such circumstances are not very rare. The full lunar phase falls near the Moon's orbit perigee about every 14 lunar months. That means the following Full Perigee Moon will be on August 10, 2014, the 14th Full Moon after June 23. On May 5, 2012, 14 Full Moons ago, this inspired telescopic night...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Solstice Sunset Self Portrait

    06/21/2013 3:55:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | June 21, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Today, the solstice is at 05:04 Universal Time, the Sun reaching the northernmost declination in its yearly journey through planet Earth's sky. A June solstice marks the astronomical beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the south. It also brings the north's longest day, the longest period between sunrise and sunset. This composite image follows the Sun's path toward the end of the June solstice day of 2012 as it approaches the western horizon in a colorful, clear sky. The scene looks north and west along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast from Santa Severa, Italy. Appearing in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Edge-on NGC 3628

    06/20/2013 3:18:46 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | June 20, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sharp telescopic views of magnificent edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 3628 show a puffy galactic disk divided by dark dust lanes. Of course, this deep galactic portrait puts some astronomers in mind of its popular moniker, The Hamburger Galaxy. The tantalizing island universe is about 100,000 light-years across and 35 million light-years away in the northern springtime constellation Leo. NGC 3628 shares its neighborhood in the local Universe with two other large spirals M65 and M66 in a grouping otherwise known as the Leo Triplet. Gravitational interactions with its cosmic neighbors are likely responsible for the extended flare and warp...
  • Wave at Saturn

    06/19/2013 6:33:54 AM PDT · by SpinnerWebb · 4 replies
    JPL NASA ^ | June 18, 2013 | Linda Spilker
    One of the most exciting Cassini events in 2013 will be the unusual opportunity on July 19 to image the whole Saturn system as it is backlit by the sun. With Saturn covering the harsh light of the sun, we will be gathering unique ring science and also catching a glimpse of our very own home planet.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way Over Crater Lake with Airglow

    06/18/2013 11:51:06 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | June 19, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How many different astronomical phenomena have come together to create the above vista? Several. First, in the foreground, is Crater Lake -- a caldera created by volcanism on planet Earth about 7,700 years ago. Next, inside the lake, is water. Although the origin of the water in the crater is melted snowfall, the origin of water on Earth more generally is unclear, but possibly related to ancient Earthly-impacts of icy bodies. Next, the green glow in the sky is airglow, light emitted by atoms high in the Earth's atmosphere as they recombine at night after being separated during the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Supercell Thunderstorm Over Texas

    06/18/2013 3:22:45 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | June 18, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Is that a cloud or an alien spaceship? It's an unusual and sometimes dangerous type of thunderstorm cloud called a supercell. Supercells may spawn damaging tornados, hail, downbursts of air, or drenching rain. Or they may just look impressive. A supercell harbors a mesocylone -- a rising column of air surrounded by drafts of falling air. Supercells could occur over many places on Earth but are particularly common in Tornado Alley of the USA. Pictured above are four time lapse sequences of a supercell rotating above and moving across Booker, Texas. Captured in the video are new clouds forming...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Dry Ice Sled Streaks on Mars

    06/17/2013 3:08:42 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | June 17, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What creates these long and nearly straight grooves on Mars? Dubbed linear gullies, they appear on the sides of some sandy slopes during Martian spring, have nearly constant width, extend for as long as two kilometers, and have raised banks along their sides. Unlike most water flows, they do not appear to have areas of dried debris at the downhill end. A leading hypothesis -- actually being tested here on Earth -- is that these linear gullies are caused by chunks of carbon dioxide ice (dry ice) breaking off and sliding down hills while sublimating into gas, eventually completely...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- APOD Turns Eighteen

    06/15/2013 9:23:50 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | June 16, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The first APOD appeared eighteen years ago today, on 1995 June 16. Although garnering only 14 pageviews on that day, we are proud to estimate that APOD has now served over one billion space-related images over the past eighteen years. That early beginning, along with a nearly unchanging format, has allowed APOD to be a consistent and familiar site on a web frequently filled with change. Many people don't know, though, that APOD is now translated daily into many major languages. We again thank our readers, astrophotographers, and NASA for their continued support, but ask that any potentially congratulatory...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Delphinid Meteor Mystery

    06/14/2013 9:36:53 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | June 15, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Over a five hour period last Tuesday morning, exposures captured this tantalizing view of meteor streaks and the Milky Way in dark skies above Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. During that time, astronomers had hoped to see an outburst from the gamma Delphinid meteor shower as Earth swept through the dust trail left by an unknown comet. Named for the shower's radiant point in the constellation Delphinus, a brief but strong outburst was reported in bright, moonlit skies on June 10, 1930. While no strong Delphinid meteor activity was reported since, an outburst was tentatively predicted to occur again...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sharpless 115

    06/14/2013 3:35:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | June 14, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sharpless 115 stands just north and west of Deneb, the alpha star of Cygnus the Swan in planet Earth's skies. Noted in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless (as Sh2-115) the faint but lovely emission nebula lies along the edge one of the outer Milky Way's giant molecular clouds, about 7,500 light-years away. Shining with the light of ionized atoms of hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen in this Hubble palette color composite image, the nebular glow is powered by hot stars in star cluster Berkeley 90. The cluster stars are likely only 100 million years old or so and...
  • Are the gods playing marbles on Mars?

    06/11/2013 7:21:19 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 38 replies
    New Scientist ^ | 6/11/13 | Victoria Jaggard
    (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona) A rolling stone gathers no moss – but on Mars it can nevertheless cloak itself in mystery. This NASA image shows the track of a boulder that rolled across the Nili Fossae region of Mars. For now it is anyone's guess what set the rock in motion. This false-colour picture (click on it for higher resolution) was posted on 7 June to the Beautiful Mars Tumblr feed, a collection of high-resolution shots from the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It shows dark, jagged tracks left in the soil by a lumpy boulder, probably...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Four Planet Sunset

    06/13/2013 3:30:04 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | June 13, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: You can see four planets in this serene sunset image, created from a series of stacked digital exposures captured near dusk on May 25. The composite picture follows the trail of three of them, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury (left to right) dropping toward the western horizon, gathered close in last month's remarkable triple planetary conjunction. Similar in brightness to planet Mercury, the star Elnath (Beta Tauri) is also tracked across the scene, leaving its dotted trail still farther to the right. Of course, in the foreground are the still, shallow waters of Alikes salt lake, reflecting the striking colors...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- All of Mercury

    06/13/2013 3:29:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | June 12, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: For the first time, the entire surface of planet Mercury has been mapped. Detailed observations of the innermost planet's surprising crust have been ongoing since the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft first passed Mercury in 2008 and began orbiting in 2011. Previously, much of the Mercury's surface was unknown as it is too far for Earth-bound telescopes to see clearly, while the Mariner 10 flybys in the 1970s observed only about half. The above video is a compilation of thousands of images of Mercury rendered in exaggerated colors to better contrast different surface features. Visible on the rotating world are rays...
  • Dry Ice Moves on Mars (a Jet Propulsion Laboratory YouTube video, 2min 28sec)

    06/11/2013 3:52:32 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 6 replies
    YouTube | JPL ^ | 6/11/13
    JPL video here
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Star Forming Region NGC 3582

    06/11/2013 3:30:33 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | June 11, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening in the NGC 3582 nebula? Bright stars and interesting molecules are forming. The complex nebula resides in the star forming region called RCW 57. Visible in this image are dense knots of dark interstellar dust, bright stars that have formed in the past few million years, fields of glowing hydrogen gas ionized by these stars, and great loops of gas expelled by dying stars. A detailed study of NGC 3582, also known as NGC 3584 and NGC 3576, uncovered at least 33 massive stars in the end stages of formation, and the clear presence of the complex...