Free Republic 3rd Quarter Fundraising Target: $88,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $45,321
51%  
Woo hoo!! And we're now over 51%!! Thank you all very much!! God bless.

Keyword: astronomy

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Moon, Venus and Planet Earth

    09/19/2013 3:59:51 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | September 19, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In this engaging scene from planet Earth, the Moon shines through cloudy skies following sunset on the evening of September 8. Despite the fading light, the camera's long exposure still recorded a colorful, detailed view of a shoreline and western horizon looking toward the island San Gabriel from Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. Lights from Buenos Aires, Argentina are along the horizon on the left, across the broad Rio de la Plata estuary. The long exposure strongly overexposed the Moon and sky around it, though. So the photographer quickly snapped a shorter one to merge with the first image in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M45: The Pleiades Star Cluster

    09/18/2013 7:05:11 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | September 18, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you ever seen the Pleiades star cluster? Even if you have, you probably have never seen it as dusty as this. Perhaps the most famous star cluster on the sky, the bright stars of the Pleiades can be seen without binoculars from even the depths of a light-polluted city. With a long exposure from a dark location, though, the dust cloud surrounding the Pleiades star cluster becomes very evident. The above exposure took about 20 minutes and covers a sky area several times the size of the full moon. Also known as the Seven Sisters and M45, the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy Cluster Abell 1689 Deflects Light

    09/17/2013 3:58:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | September 17, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is one of the most massive objects in the visible universe. In this view from the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys, Abell 1689 is seen to warp space as predicted by Einstein's theory of gravity -- deflecting light from individual galaxies which lie behind the cluster to produce multiple, curved images. The power of this enormous gravitational lens depends on its mass, but the visible matter, in the form of the cluster's yellowish galaxies, only accounts for about one percent of the mass needed to make the observed bluish arcing images of background galaxies. In fact,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Rotating Moon from LRO

    09/16/2013 6:05:02 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | September 16, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: No one, presently, sees the Moon rotate like this. That's because the Earth's moon is tidally locked to the Earth, showing us only one side. Given modern digital technology, however, combined with many detailed images returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a high resolution virtual Moon rotation movie has now been composed. The above time-lapse video starts with the standard Earth view of the Moon. Quickly, though, Mare Orientale, a large crater with a dark center that is difficult to see from the Earth, rotates into view just below the equator. From an entire lunar month condensed into...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M2-9: Wings of a Butterfly Nebula

    09/14/2013 9:25:16 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | September 15, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Are stars better appreciated for their art after they die? Actually, stars usually create their most artistic displays as they die. In the case of low-mass stars like our Sun and M2-9 pictured above, the stars transform themselves from normal stars to white dwarfs by casting off their outer gaseous envelopes. The expended gas frequently forms an impressive display called a planetary nebula that fades gradually over thousand of years. M2-9, a butterfly planetary nebula 2100 light-years away shown in representative colors, has wings that tell a strange but incomplete tale. In the center, two stars orbit inside a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Landing on Planet Earth

    09/14/2013 5:43:54 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | September 14, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: With parachute deployed and retro-rockets blazing, this spacecraft landed on planet Earth on September 11 (UT) in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Seen in silhouette against the rockets' glare, the spacecraft is a Soyuz TMA-08M. Its crew, Expedition 36 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA were returning after five and half months aboard the International Space Station. The Soyuz retro-rockets fire very quickly and for an extremely short duration near touchdown. Capturing the moment, the well-timed photograph was taken...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Crescent Moon Meets Evening Star

    09/13/2013 5:39:53 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | September 13, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On September 8, brilliant planet Venus appearing as the evening star stood near a slender, crescent Moon at sunset. The close celestial pairing or conjunction was a scene enjoyed by skygazers around the world. But from some locations in South America, the Moon actually passed in front of Venus in a lunar occultation. Captured near Las Cañas, Uruguay, this two frame mosaic telescopic view shows the Moon and Venus before and after the occultation. The silvery evening star appears at right just before it winked out behind the dark lunar limb, still in bright twilight skies. About an hour...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stars and Dust Across Corona Australis

    09/12/2013 6:06:33 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | September 12, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cosmic dust clouds sprawl across a rich field of stars in this sweeping telescopic vista near the northern boundary of Corona Australis, the Southern Crown. Less than 500 light-years away the dust clouds effectively block light from more distant background stars in the Milky Way. The entire frame spans about 2 degrees or over 15 light-years at the clouds' estimated distance. Near center is a group of lovely reflection nebulae cataloged as NGC 6726, 6727, 6729, and IC 4812. A characteristic blue color is produced as light from hot stars is reflected by the cosmic dust. The dust also...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- LADEE Launch Streak

    09/11/2013 3:49:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | September 11, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On September 6, a starry night and the Milky Way witnessed the launch of a Minotaur V rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. So did a large part of the eastern United States, as the spectacular night launch was easily visible even from light polluted urban areas. This 35 second exposure captures part of the rocket's initial launch streak and 2nd stage ignition flare along with a brilliant reflection of the fiery sky in calm waters. The stunning view faces south and west from a vantage point overlooking Sinepuxent Bay in Maryland about 20 miles...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Extrasolar Super-Earth Gliese 1214b Might Hold Water

    09/10/2013 3:49:55 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | September 10, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Might this distant planet hold water? Actually, given how close Gliese 1214b is to its parent star, any water, if it exists, would surely be in the form of steam. In the above artist's illustration, the super-Earth Gliese 1214b is imagined passing in front of its parent star, creating a mini-eclipse that alerted humanity to its presence. Gliese 1214b, also designated GJ 1214b, has been designated a super-Earth because it is larger than the Earth but smaller a planet like Neptune. The entire Gliese 1214 planetary system is of the closest known systems to our Sun, located only 42...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Nearby Cepheid Variable RS Pup

    09/09/2013 7:42:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | September 09, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is one of the most important stars in the sky. This is partly because, by coincidence, it is surrounded by a dazzling reflection nebula. Pulsating RS Puppis, the brightest star in the image center, is some ten times more massive than our Sun and on average 15,000 times more luminous. In fact, RS Pup is a Cepheid type variable star, a class of stars whose brightness is used to estimate distances to nearby galaxies as one of the first steps in establishing the cosmic distance scale. As RS Pup pulsates over a period of about 40 days, its...
  • Trayvon Martin Might Have a WHAT Named in His Honor?

    09/09/2013 3:39:56 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 45 replies
    EURWEB ^ | September 9, 2013
    *A trustee for the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona wants to honor the memory of Trayvon Martin by naming an asteroid after him. William Lowell Putnam III told the Arizona Daily Sun he wants to place Martin’s name on one of the hundreds of asteroids discovered by the Lowell observatory in 2000. This is what the proposed citation for 2000 TM61 reads: “Named in memory of Trayvon Martin (1995-2012), a student at Dr. Michael M. Krop High School in Miami, Florida. Unarmed, he was fatally shot in Sanford, Florida, during an altercation with the neighborhood watch coordinator.” Putman had pushed...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Roll Cloud Over Wisconsin

    09/08/2013 11:59:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | September 08, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What kind of cloud is this? A type of arcus cloud called a roll cloud. These rare long clouds may form near advancing cold fronts. In particular, a downdraft from an advancing storm front can cause moist warm air to rise, cool below its dew point, and so form a cloud. When this happens uniformly along an extended front, a roll cloud may form. Roll clouds may actually have air circulating along the long horizontal axis of the cloud. A roll cloud is not thought to be able to morph into a tornado. Unlike a similar shelf cloud, a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Night in the Andes Ice Forest

    09/08/2013 11:58:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | September 07, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This forest of snow and ice penitentes reflects moonlight shining across the Chajnantor plateau. The region lies in the Chilean Andes at an altitude of 5,000 meters, not far from one of planet Earth's major astronomical observatories, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. Up to several meters high, the flattened, sharp-edged shapes, and orientation of the penitentes tend to minimize their shadows at local noon. In the dry, cold, thin atmosphere, sublimation driven by sunlight is important for their formation. A direct transition from a solid to a gaseous state, sublimation shapes other solar system terrains too, like icy surfaces...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Quiet Sagittarius A*

    09/08/2013 11:57:55 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | September 06, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Hot gas is hard to swallow. At least that seems to be true for the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Known as source Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way's black hole is centered in this infrared (red and yellow hues) and X-ray (blue) composite. Based on data from an extensive campaign of observations by the orbiting Chandra X-ray telescope, the diffuse emission surrounding the black hole is seen in the close-up inset, the inset field spanning about 1/2 light-year across the galactic center some 26,000 light-years away. Astronomers have found that the X-ray emission...
  • Moon probe has small glitch after launch, NASA says

    09/07/2013 11:29:29 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    NBC ^ | 1 hour ago | Miriam Kramer, Space.com
    Although the launch was nearly flawless, LADEE ran into some trouble right after its separation from the Minotaur V. The probe's onboard computer shut down LADEE's reaction wheels, which are used to stabilize the attitude of the probe in space, after noticing that they were drawing too much current. Engineers will work to develop a repair plan over the next few days. But there's not a great deal of time pressure at the moment, Worden said. LADEE will take nearly a month to get to the moon on its long and looping route. "The nice thing about this is that...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M1: The Incredible Expanding Crab

    09/05/2013 7:37:34 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | September 05, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first on Charles Messier's famous list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, an expanding cloud of debris from the explosion of a massive star. The violent birth of the Crab was witnessed by astronomers in the year 1054. Roughly 10 light-years across today, the nebula is still expanding at a rate of over 1,000 kilometers per second. Want to watch the Crab Nebula expand? Check out this video (vimeo) animation comparing an image of M1 taken in 1999 at...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- IRAS 20324: Evaporating Protostar

    09/04/2013 4:04:22 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | September 04, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Will this caterpillar-shaped interstellar cloud one day evolve into a butterfly-shaped nebula? No one is sure. What is sure is that IRAS 20324+4057, on the inside, is contracting to form a new star. On the outside, however, energetic winds are blowing and energetic light is eroding away much of the gas and dust that might have been used to form the star. Therefore, no one is sure what mass the resulting star will have, and, therefore, no one knows the fate of this star. Were the winds and light to whittle the protostar down near the mass of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- North America and the Pelican

    09/03/2013 4:28:42 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | September 03, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Here lie familiar shapes in unfamiliar locations. On the left is an emission nebula cataloged as NGC 7000, famous partly because it resembles our fair planet's continent of North America. The emission region to the right of the North America Nebula is IC 5070, also known for its suggestive outlines as the Pelican Nebula. Separated by a dark cloud of obscuring dust, the two bright nebulae are about 1,500 light-years away. At that distance, the 4 degree wide field of view spans 100 light-years. This spectacular cosmic portrait combines narrow band images to highlight bright ionization fronts with fine...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way Over Spain's Bardenas Reales

    09/02/2013 12:33:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | September 02, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that below the Milky Way? First, across the top of the above image, lies the faint band that is our planet's sideways view of the central disk of our home Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way band can be seen most clear nights from just about anywhere on Earth with a dark sky. What lies beneath is, by comparison, is a much less common sight. It is the striking peak of Castildetierra, a rock formation located in Bardenas Reales, a natural badlands in northeast Spain. Standing 50 meters tall, the rock spire includes clay and sandstone left over...