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Keyword: astronomy

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  • Kepler-62f: A Possible Water World

    01/05/2014 7:42:47 PM PST · by lbryce · 42 replies
    Space.com ^ | January 2, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell
    The artist's conception depicts Kepler-62f,a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star smaller and cooler than the sun, located about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. The small shining object seen to the right of Kepler-62f is Kepler-62e. Kepler-62f is a remarkably Earth-like planet about 1,200 light-years from our planet. The world is only 1.4 times bigger than Earth and is in orbit around a star that is somewhat dimmer and smaller than the sun. It orbits in what is believed to be the habitable region of its star. The planet was announced in 2013 as...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy NGC 474: Shells and Star Streams

    01/04/2014 9:59:21 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | January 05, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening to galaxy NGC 474? The multiple layers of emission appear strangely complex and unexpected given the relatively featureless appearance of the elliptical galaxy in less deep images. The cause of the shells is currently unknown, but possibly tidal tails related to debris left over from absorbing numerous small galaxies in the past billion years. Alternatively the shells may be like ripples in a pond, where the ongoing collision with the spiral galaxy just above NGC 474 is causing density waves to ripple though the galactic giant. Regardless of the actual cause, the above image dramatically highlights the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Clouds and Crescents

    01/04/2014 12:48:18 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | January 04, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A crescent Venus shines along the western horizon at dusk in this clearing sky. The Earth's sister planet is smiling between the low clouds near the bottom of the frame during its January 2nd conjunction with the slender, young crescent Moon above. Of course the lovely pairing of Moon and Venus crescents could be enjoyed in the new year's skies around the the world. But the twin contrails in this scene belong to an aircraft above Appenzell, Switzerland. Soon to disappear from evening skies, Venus is heading toward its January 11th inferior conjunction and an appearance in predawn skies...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Lovejoy in the New Year

    01/04/2014 12:44:17 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | January 03, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A rival to vanquished Comet ISON in 2013, Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) still sweeps through early morning skies, captured in this starry scene on New Year's day. The frame stretches some 3.5 degrees (about 7 full moons) across a background of faint stars in the constellation Hercules. Only just visible to the naked eye from dark sites before dawn, Lovejoy remains a good target for the northern hemisphere's binocular equipped skygazers. But this deep exposure shows off Lovejoy's beautiful tails and tantalizing greenish coma better than binocular views. Not a sungrazer, this Comet Lovejoy made its closest approach to...
  • A New Year's Warning

    01/03/2014 6:31:09 AM PST · by NYer · 22 replies
    Catholic in the Ozarks ^ | January 2, 2014
    Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887 As I said in my last article in the previous year, I live in two worlds.  I am an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism.  I am fully orthodox as a Catholic and fully submit to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.  At the same time however, I was once an Evangelical Protestant, and I come from a family that his been Protestant for literally 500 years.  I cannot deny my roots or pretend they don't exist.  If I lived in a Catholic country, or in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Reflections on Planet Earth

    01/02/2014 8:20:51 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | January 02, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Catching sight of your reflection in a store window or shiny hubcap can be entertaining and occasionally even inspire a thoughtful moment. So consider this reflective view from 300 kilometers above planet Earth. The picture is actually a self-portrait taken by astronaut Michael Fossum on July 8, 2006 during a space walk or extravehicular activity while the Discovery orbiter was docked with the International Space Station. Turning his camera to snap a picture of his own helmet visor, he also recorded the reflection of his fellow mission specialist, Piers Sellers, near picture center and one of the space station's...
  • Big-bang-defying giant of astronomy passes away (article)

    01/02/2014 9:11:49 AM PST · by fishtank · 30 replies
    Creation.com ^ | 12-31-13 | John G. Hartnett
    Big-bang-defying giant of astronomy passes away by John G. Hartnett Published: 31 December 2013 (GMT+10) Halton Arp passed away on Saturday morning 28th December 2013 in Munich, Germany. He will be sorely missed by many but not so much by others because of his challenges to the ruling big bang paradigm. With Geoffrey Burbidge and others, Professor Halton Arp was a thorn in the side of those who held to the standard story line of the big bang. In many papers and several books1 he promoted the idea that quasars are born from the nucleus of active galaxiesparent galaxies. In...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A New Year's Crescent

    01/01/2014 1:40:20 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | January 01, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That's not the young crescent Moon poised above the western horizon at sunset. Instead it's Venus in a crescent phase, captured with a long telephoto lens from Quebec City, Canada, planet Earth on a chilly December 30th evening. The very bright celestial beacon is droping lower into the evening twilight every day. But it also grows larger in apparent size and becomes a steadily thinner crescent in binocular views as it heads toward an inferior conjunction, positioned between the Earth and the Sun on January 11. The next few evenings will see a young crescent Moon join the crescent...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Horsehead Nebula

    12/31/2013 12:55:42 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 31, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Horsehead Nebula is one of the most famous nebulae on the sky. It is visible as the dark indentation to the red emission nebula in the center of the above photograph. The horse-head feature is dark because it is really an opaque dust cloud that lies in front of the bright red emission nebula. Like clouds in Earth's atmosphere, this cosmic cloud has assumed a recognizable shape by chance. After many thousands of years, the internal motions of the cloud will alter its appearance. The emission nebula's red color is caused by electrons recombining with protons to form...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Quantum Streampunk Fantasy Fractal Landscape

    12/30/2013 10:06:59 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | December 30, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What strange world is this? Pictured above is no real place but rather a purely mathematical visualization of a generalization of a fractal into three dimensions. Classical fractal diagrams are typically confined to the two dimensions inherent in the complex number plane, demarking regions where an iterative function diverges. Recently explored additions expand the Mandelbrot set of fractals to three dimensions with prescriptions dubbed Mandelbox and Mandelbulb sets. The results are often visually stunning creations of virtual worlds with limitless detail, some of which you can fly through. Pictured above is one such mathematical fantasy, possibly reminiscent of some...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Time-Lapse Auroras Over Norway

    12/29/2013 8:45:18 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 28 replies
    NASA ^ | December 29, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sometimes, after your eyes adapt to the dark, a spectacular sky appears. Such was the case in 2011 March when one of the largest auroral displays in recent years appeared over northern locations like the border between Norway and Russia. Pictured in the above time-lapse movie, auroras flow over snow covered landscapes, trees, clouds, mountains and lakes found near Kirkenes, Norway. Many times the auroras are green, as high energy particles strike the Earth's atmosphere, causing the air to glow as electrons resettle into their oxygen hosts. Other colors are occasionally noticeable as atmospheric nitrogen also becomes affected. In...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Alaska Aurora Sequence

    12/28/2013 5:28:45 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | December 28, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A remarkably intense auroral band flooded the northern night with shimmering colors on December 7. The stunning sequence captured here was made with a camera fixed to a tripod under cold, clear skies near Ester, just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. Left to right, spanning a period of about 30 minutes, the panels follow changes in the dancing curtains of northern lights extending to altitudes of over 100 kilometers in a band arcing directly overhead. The panels span 150 degrees vertically, covering about 500 kilometers of aurora laying across the sky from edge to edge. The auroral activity was triggered...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Melotte 15 in the Heart

    12/27/2013 1:09:13 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | December 27, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cosmic clouds seem to form fantastic shapes in the central regions of emission nebula IC 1805. Of course, the clouds are sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula's newborn star cluster, Melotte 15. About 1.5 million years young, the cluster stars are near the center of this colorful skyscape, along with dark dust clouds in silhouette. Dominated by emission from atomic hydrogen, the telescopic view spans about 30 light-years. But wider field images reveal that IC 1805's simpler, overall outline suggests its popular name - The Heart Nebula. IC 1805 is located along...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Hydrogen Clouds of M33

    12/27/2013 1:05:16 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | December 26, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Gorgeous spiral galaxy M33 seems to have more than its fair share of glowing hydrogen gas. A prominent member of the local group of galaxies, M33 is also known as the Triangulum Galaxy and lies about 3 million light-years distant. Its inner 30,000 light-years are shown in this telescopic galaxy portrait that enhances the reddish ionized hydrogen clouds or HII regions. Sprawling along loose spiral arms that wind toward the core, M33's giant HII regions are some of the largest known stellar nurseries, sites of the formation of short-lived but very massive stars. Intense ultraviolet radiation from the luminous,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Phobos 360

    12/24/2013 9:13:13 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 77 replies
    NASA ^ | December 25, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What does the Martian moon Phobos look like? To better visualize this unusual object, images from ESA's Mars Express orbiter have been combined into a virtual rotation movie. The rotation is actually a digital illusion -- tidally-locked Phobos always keeps the same face toward its home planet, as does Earth's moon. The above video highlights Phobos' chunky shape and an unusually dark surface covered with craters and grooves. What lies beneath the surface is a topic of research since the moon is not dense enough to be filled with solid rock. Phobos is losing about of centimeter of altitude...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sharpless 308: Star Bubble

    12/24/2013 7:46:27 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | December 24, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Blown by fast winds from a hot, massive star, this cosmic bubble is huge. Cataloged as Sharpless 2-308 it lies some 5,200 light-years away toward the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major) and covers slightly more of the sky than a Full Moon. That corresponds to a diameter of 60 light-years at its estimated distance. The massive star that created the bubble, a Wolf-Rayet star, is the bright one near the center of the nebula. Wolf-Rayet stars have over 20 times the mass of the Sun and are thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova phase of massive...
  • Tis the Season to Spot Jupiter: A Guide to the 2014 Opposition

    12/23/2013 9:47:23 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 34 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | December 23, 2013 | David Dickinson on
    Orbiting the Sun once every 11.9 years, oppositions of Jupiter occur about once every 13 months or about 400 days, as the speedy Earth overtakes the gas giant on the inside track. This means that successive oppositions of the planet move roughly one astronomical constellation eastward. In fact, this years opposition is its northernmost in 12 years, occurring in the constellation Gemini. Opposition means that an outer planet is rising opposite to the setting Sun. As this opposition of Jupiter occurs just weeks after the southward solstice, Jupiter now lies in the direction that the Sun will occupy six months...
  • 2013's Best and Most Beautiful Photos of the Universe

    12/23/2013 11:57:19 AM PST · by lbryce · 35 replies
    Bad Astronomy Via Slate ^ | December 23, 2013 | Phil Platt
    I love astronomy. I have my whole life. Part of that is the wonder and awe it generates, learning about the Universe and our place in it. But of course, there is great beauty in the skies as well. From our nearest neighbors to the most distant galaxies, the cosmos is a wonder to behold. Every year I collect my favorite pictureschosen both for their beauty and their importance to scienceand put them together in a gallery to delight your brain (youll find links to previous galleries at the end of this article). Picking only a few is always a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Geminid Meteors over Chile

    12/23/2013 4:00:30 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 23, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: From a radiant point in the constellation of the Twins, the annual Geminid meteor shower rained down on planet Earth over the past few weeks. Recorded near the shower's peak over the night of December 13 and 14, the above skyscape captures Gemini's shooting stars in a four-hour composite from the dark skies of the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. In the foreground the 2.5-meter du Pont Telescope is visible as well as the 1-meter SWOPE telescope. The skies beyond the meteors are highlighted by Jupiter, seen as the bright spot near the image center, the central band of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Tutulemma: Solar Eclipse Analemma

    12/22/2013 8:27:30 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | December 22, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: If you went outside at exactly the same time every day and took a picture that included the Sun, how would the Sun's position change? With great planning and effort, such a series of images can be taken. The figure-8 path the Sun follows over the course of a year is called an analemma. Yesterday, the Winter Solstice day in Earth's northern hemisphere, the Sun appeared at the bottom of the analemma. Analemmas created from different latitudes would appear at least slightly different, as well as analemmas created at a different time each day. With even greater planning and...