Keyword: astronomy

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  • Nasa to reveal 'surprising activity' on Jupiter's moon Europa (but it says it is NOT aliens)

    09/23/2016 9:57:30 AM PDT · by C19fan · 35 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | September 23, 2016 | Libby Plummer and Abigail Beall
    Nasa is expected to make an announcement about 'surprising activity' on Jupiter's moon, Europa, on Monday. Many speculated that Nasa could finally be announcing evidence of life beyond Earth. The space agency, however, has poured cold water over these claims, tweeting that the much anticipated announcement will not be related to aliens.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day

    09/06/2016 11:21:04 AM PDT · by Paradox · 5 replies
    APOD website ^ | 2016 September 6 | Nasa
    Explanation: Follow the handle of the Big Dipper away from the dipper's bowl, until you get to the handle's last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you might find this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula, the large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is also cataloged as NGC 5194. Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (left), NGC 5195. The pair are about 31 million light-years distant and officially lie within the angular...
  • The Constellations Are Sexist

    08/16/2016 9:37:06 AM PDT · by C19fan · 16 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | August 16, 2016 | Leila McNeil
    In her 1968 poem, “Planetarium,” the poet Adrienne Rich wrestles with the crisis of female identity through the lens of astronomy. Rich wrote the poem after learning about the case of Caroline Herschel, a 19th-century, German-born astronomer who discovered eight comets and three nebulae, and drew praise from the King of Prussia and London’s Royal Astronomical Society. Yet Caroline remained obscure compared with her brother, William, who discovered the planet Uranus.
  • Tabby’s Star: More weirdness

    08/11/2016 4:31:57 AM PDT · by samtheman · 32 replies
    http://earthsky.org/ ^ | August 10, 2016 | Deborah Byrd
    Remember Tabby’s Star? It’s the star that astronomer Tabetha Boyajian – who reported its strangeness in a Ted Talk in February, 2016 – famously called “the most mysterious star in the galaxy.” It’s mysterious because astronomers have never seen another star do what this star does. One explanation for the strange dimming of its light is that the star has an alien-built megastructure – a Dyson sphere – around it. Does it? Will we ever know for sure? Those are unanswered questions, but, while you’re pondering it, here’s the latest on this wonderful star. On August 3, 2016, two astronomers...
  • Forbidden planets: Understanding alien worlds once thought impossible

    07/30/2016 12:20:21 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 14 replies
    Science ^ | 28 July, 2016 | Daniel Clery
    2K 6 Forbidden planets: Understanding alien worlds once thought impossible By Daniel CleryJul. 28, 2016 , 2:00 PM When astronomers discovered the first exoplanet around a normal star 2 decades ago, there was joy—and bewilderment. The planet, 51 Pegasi b, was half as massive as Jupiter, but its 4-day orbit was impossibly close to the star, far smaller than the 88-day orbit of Mercury. Theorists who study planet formation could see no way for a planet that big to grow in such tight confines around a newborn star. It could have been a freak, but soon, more “hot Jupiters” turned...
  • Quasar Found 420 Trillion Times Brighter Than Our Sun

    07/29/2016 3:23:48 PM PDT · by blam · 49 replies
    Astronomy Trek ^ | 2016 | Astro Trek
    Quasar Found 420 Trillion Times Brighter Than Our SunAn international team of astronomers have discovered a huge quasar 420 trillion times brighter than our sun around 12.8 billion light years away from Earth, placing its formation around 875 million years after the big bang. The ancient object is powered by a massive black hole and contains a staggering 12 billion solar masses, surprising scientists who had not expected such a huge bright quasar so close to the dawn of time. The quasar was found using telescopes located in China, Hawaii, Arizona, and Chile, and as Xue-Bing Wu, of Peking...
  • NASA shuts down live International Space Station feed as 'mysterious UFO enters Earth's atmosphere'

    07/13/2016 6:18:18 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 94 replies
    Mirror UK ^ | Updated 13:17, 13 Jul 2016 | By Elle Griffiths
    The incident caused speculation online - and is not the first time NASA have been accused of tampering with the feed. Trending Theresa May Pokemon GO Dallas police shooting Weather Angela Eagle Alton Sterling Technology Money Travel Fashion Mums Home News Weird News UFOs NASA shuts down live International Space Station feed as 'mysterious UFO enters Earth's atmosphere' 22:16, 12 Jul 2016 Updated 13:17, 13 Jul 2016 By Elle Griffiths The incident caused speculation online - and is not the first time NASA have been accused of tampering with the feed 2602 shares 227 comments Play 1:31 / 1:31 Fullscreen...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Noctilucent Clouds Tour France

    07/09/2016 10:05:29 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, July 09, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Bright noctilucent or night shining clouds are not familiar sights from northern France. But these electric-blue waves coursed through skies over the small town of Wancourt in Pas-de-Calais on July 6, just before the dawn. From the edge of space, about 80 kilometers above Earth's surface, the icy clouds 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 are also known as polar mesospheric clouds. The seasonal clouds are understood to form as water vapor driven into the cold upper...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Swirling Core of the Crab Nebula

    07/07/2016 10:04:25 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, July 08, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: At the core of the Crab Nebula lies a city-sized, magnetized neutron star spinning 30 times a second. Known as the Crab Pulsar, it's actually the rightmost of two bright stars, just below a central swirl in this stunning Hubble snapshot of the nebula's core. Some three light-years across, the spectacular picture frames the glowing gas, cavities and swirling filaments bathed in an eerie blue light. The blue glow is visible radiation given off by electrons spiraling in a strong magnetic field at nearly the speed of light. Like a cosmic dynamo the pulsar powers the emission from the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Altiplano Night

    07/07/2016 7:14:08 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, July 07, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Milky Way is massively bright on this cold, clear, altiplano night. At 4,500 meters its reflection in a river, a volcanic peak on the distant horizon, is captured in this stitched panorama under naturally dark skies of the northern Chilean highlands near San Pedro de Atacama. Along the Solar System's ecliptic plane, the band of Zodiacal light also stands out, extending above the Milky Way toward the upper left. In the scene from late April, brilliant Mars, Saturn, and Antares form a bright celestial triangle where ecliptic meets the center of the Milky Way. Left of the triangle,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Arp 286: Trio in Virgo

    07/06/2016 6:12:48 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, July 06, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A remarkable telescopic composition in yellow and blue, this scene features a trio of interacting galaxies almost 90 million light-years away, toward the constellation Virgo. On the right, two, spiky, foreground Milky Way stars echo the trio galaxy hues, a reminder that stars in our own galaxy are like those in the distant island universes. With sweeping spiral arms and obscuring dust lanes, NGC 5566 is enormous, about 150,000 light-years across. Just above it lies small, blue NGC 5569. Near center, the third galaxy, NGC 5560, is multicolored and apparently stretched and distorted by its interaction with NGC 5566....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Colorful Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi

    07/05/2016 3:30:17 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, July 05, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The many spectacular colors of the Rho Ophiuchi (oh'-fee-yu-kee) clouds highlight the many processes that occur there. The blue regions shine primarily by reflected light. Blue light from the star Rho Ophiuchi and nearby stars reflects more efficiently off this portion of the nebula than red light. The Earth's daytime sky appears blue for the same reason. The red and yellow regions shine primarily because of emission from the nebula's atomic and molecular gas. Light from nearby blue stars - more energetic than the bright star Antares - knocks electrons away from the gas, which then shines when the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- IC 4628: The Prawn Nebula

    07/05/2016 3:26:33 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, July 04, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: South of Antares, in the tail of the nebula-rich constellation Scorpius, lies emission nebula IC 4628. Nearby hot, massive stars, millions of years young, radiate the nebula with invisible ultraviolet light, stripping electrons from atoms. The electrons eventually recombine with the atoms to produce the visible nebular glow, dominated by the red emission of hydrogen. At an estimated distance of 6,000 light-years, the region shown is about 250 light-years across, spanning an area equivalent to four full moons on the sky. The nebula is also cataloged as Gum 56 for Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum, but seafood-loving astronomers might...
  • Earth at Aphelion 2016

    07/04/2016 8:46:36 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 3 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 07/04/2016 | David Dickinson
    Having a great July 4th? The day gives us another cause to celebrate, as the Earth reaches aphelion today, or our farthest point to our host star. Aphelion is the opposite of the closest point of the year, known as perihelion. Note that the ‘helion’ part only applies to things in solar orbit, perigee/apogee for orbit ’round the Earth, apolune/perilune for orbit around the Moon, and so on. You’ll hear the words apijove and perijove bandied about this week a bit, as NASA’s Juno spacecraft enters orbit around Jupiter tonight. And there are crazier and even more obscure counterparts out...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Cat's Eye Nebula

    07/03/2016 9:56:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, July 03, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Three thousand light-years away, a dying star throws off shells of glowing gas. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals the Cat's Eye Nebula to be one of the most complex planetary nebulae known. In fact, the features seen in the Cat's Eye are so complex that astronomers suspect the bright central object may actually be a binary star system. The term planetary nebula, used to describe this general class of objects, is misleading. Although these objects may appear round and planet-like in small telescopes, high resolution images reveal them to be stars surrounded by cocoons of gas...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Firefly Trails and the Summer Milky Way

    07/01/2016 10:17:21 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, July 02, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A camera fixed low to a tripod on a northern summer's eve captured the series of images used in this serene, southern Ontario skyscape. The lakeside view frames our fair galaxy above calm water and the night's quintessential luminous apparitions. But the trails of light are neither satellite glint, nor meteor flash, nor auroral glow. In the wide-field composite constructed with four consecutive 15 second exposures, a pulsing firefly enters at the right, first wandering toward the camera, then left and back toward the lake, the central Milky Way rising in the background.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Juno Approaching Jupiter

    07/01/2016 11:33:14 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, July 01, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Approaching over the north pole after nearly a five-year journey, Juno enjoys a perspective on Jupiter not often seen, even by spacecraft from Earth that usually swing by closer to Jupiter's equator. Looking down toward the ruling gas giant from a distance of 10.9 million kilometers, the spacecraft's JunoCam captured this image with Jupiter's nightside and orbiting entourage of four large Galilean moons on June 21. JunoCam is intended to provide close-up views of the gas giant's cloudy zoned and belted atmosphere. On July 4 (July 5 UT) Juno is set to burn its main engine to slow down...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness

    06/29/2016 11:03:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 30, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How far are you from a naturally dark night sky? In increasing steps, this world map (medium | large) shows the effect of artificial night sky brightness on the visual appearance of the night sky. The brightness was modeled using high resolution satellite data and fit to thousands of night sky brightness measurements in recent work. Color-coded levels are compared to the natural sky brightness level for your location. For example, artificial sky brightness levels in yellow alter the natural appearance of the night sky. In red they hide the Milky Way in an artificial luminous fog. The results...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- From Alpha to Omega in Crete

    06/29/2016 7:39:42 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 29, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This beautiful telephoto composition spans light-years in a natural night skyscape from the island of Crete. Looking south, exposures both track the stars and record a fixed foreground in three merged panels that cover a 10x12 degree wide field of view. The May 15 waxing gibbous moonlight illuminates the church and mountainous terrain. A mere 18 thousand light-years away, huge globular star cluster Omega Centauri (NGC 5139) shining above gives a good visual impression of its appearance in binoculars on that starry night. Active galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128) is near the top of the frame, some 11 million...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Juno Mission Trailer

    06/28/2016 10:45:32 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, June 28, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What will NASA's Juno spacecraft find when it reaches Jupiter next Monday? Very little, if Juno does not survive Jupiter Orbit Insertion, a complex series of operations in an unknown environment just above Jupiter's cloud tops. If successful, as explained in the featured video, Juno will swoop around Jupiter, passing closer than any previous spacecraft. The goal is to decelerate, enter into a highly elliptical orbit, and begin two years of science operations. Juno's science mission objectives include mapping Jupiter's deep structure, determining how much water is in Jupiter's atmosphere, and exploring Jupiter's powerful magnetic field and how it...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Anticrepuscular Rays over Colorado (II)

    06/28/2016 10:40:43 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, June 27, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening over the horizon? Although the scene may appear somehow supernatural, nothing more unusual is occurring than a setting Sun and some well placed clouds. Pictured above are anticrepuscular rays. To understand them, start by picturing common crepuscular rays that are seen any time that sunlight pours though scattered clouds. Now although sunlight indeed travels along straight lines, the projections of these lines onto the spherical sky are great circles. Therefore, the crepuscular rays from a setting (or rising) sun will appear to re-converge on the other side of the sky. At the anti-solar point 180 degrees around...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Jupiter's Clouds from New Horizons

    06/26/2016 10:54:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, June 26, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The New Horizons spacecraft took some stunning images of Jupiter on its way out to Pluto. Famous for its Great Red Spot, Jupiter is also known for its regular, equatorial cloud bands, visible through even modest sized telescopes. The featured image, horizontally compressed, was taken in 2007 near Jupiter's terminator and shows the Jovian giant's wide diversity of cloud patterns. On the far left are clouds closest to Jupiter's South Pole. Here turbulent whirlpools and swirls are seen in a dark region, dubbed a belt, that rings the planet. Even light colored regions, called zones, show tremendous structure, complete...
  • Nasa to put man on far side of moon

    03/18/2006 4:10:56 PM PST · by iPod Shuffle · 157 replies · 3,453+ views
    The Sunday Times March 19, 2006 Nasa to put man on far side of moon Jonathan Leake , Science Editor NASA, the American space agency, has unveiled plans for one of the largest rockets ever built to take a manned mission to the far side of the moon. It will ferry a mother ship and lunar lander into Earth orbit to link up with a smaller rocket carrying the crew. Once united they will head for the moon where the larger ship will remain in orbit after launching the lunar lander and crew. The design emerged during a space science...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Strawberry to Honey Moonrise [Popsicle stick]

    06/25/2016 4:43:25 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, June 25, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Near the horizon the Full Moon often seems to loom large, swollen in appearance by the famous Moon illusion. But timelapse images demonstrate that the Moon's apparent size doesn't really change as it climbs toward the zenith. Its color does, though. Recording a frame every 10 seconds, this image shows how dramatic that color change can be. The composite follows a solstice Full Moon climbing above a rugged horizon over northwestern Indiana. A shrinking line-of-sight through planet Earth's dense and dusty atmosphere shifted the moonlight from strawberry red through honey-colored and paler yellowish hues. That change seems appropriate for...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sagittarius Sunflowers

    06/23/2016 11:09:57 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, June 24, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula left of center, and colorful M20 near the bottom of the frame The third, NGC 6559, is right of M8, separated from the larger nebula by dark dust lanes. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across, is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20's popular moniker is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Solstice Dawn and Full Moonset

    06/23/2016 8:38:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 23, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A Full Moon sets as the Solstice Sun rises in this June 20 dawn skyscape. Captured from a nearby peak in central California, planet Earth, the scene looks across the summit of Mount Hamilton and Lick Observatory domes on a calendar date that marks an astronomical change of seasons and hemispherical extremes of daylight hours. Earth's shadow stretches toward the Santa Cruz Mountains on the western horizon. Just above the atmospheric grey shadowband is a more colorful anti-twilight arch, a band of reddened, backscattered sunlight also known as the Belt of Venus. The interplay of solstice dates and lunar...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Cirrus over Paris

    06/22/2016 4:45:04 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 22, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that over Paris? Cirrus. Typically, cirrus clouds appear white or gray when reflecting sunlight, can appear dark at sunset (or sunrise) against a better lit sky. Cirrus are among the highest types of clouds and are usually thin enough to see stars through. Cirrus clouds may form from moisture released above storm clouds and so may herald the arrival of a significant change in weather. Conversely, cirrus clouds have also been seen on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Uranus, and Neptune. The featured image was taken two days ago from a window in District 15, Paris, France, Earth. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6814: Grand Design Spiral Galaxy from Hubble

    06/21/2016 1:24:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, June 21, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In the center of this serene stellar swirl is likely a harrowing black-hole beast. The surrounding swirl sweeps around billions of stars which are highlighted by the brightest and bluest. The breadth and beauty of the display give the swirl the designation of a grand design spiral galaxy. The central beast shows evidence that it is a supermassive black hole about 10 million times the mass of our Sun. This ferocious creature devours stars and gas and is surrounded by a spinning moat of hot plasma that emits blasts of X-rays. The central violent activity gives it the designation...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunrise Solstice over Stonehenge

    06/20/2016 3:35:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, June 20, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Today the Sun reaches its northernmost point in planet Earth's sky. Called a solstice, the date traditionally marks a change of seasons -- from spring to summer in Earth's Northern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in Earth's Southern Hemisphere. The featured image was taken during the week of the 2008 summer solstice at Stonehenge in United Kingdom, and captures a picturesque sunrise involving fog, trees, clouds, stones placed about 4,500 years ago, and a 4.5 billion year old large glowing orb. Even given the precession of the Earth's rotational axis over the millennia, the Sun continues to rise...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy and Planets Beyond Bristlecone Pines

    06/19/2016 6:48:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, June 19, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's older than these ancient trees? Nobody you know -- but almost everything in the background of this picture. The trees are impressively old -- each part of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest located in eastern California, USA. There, many of the oldest trees known are located, some dating as far back as about 5,000 years. Seemingly attached to tree branches, but actually much farther in the distance, are the bright orbs of Saturn (left) and Mars. These planets formed along with the Earth and the early Solar System much earlier -- about 4.5 billion years ago. Swooping down...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sputnik Planum vs. Krun Macula

    06/18/2016 12:30:40 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, June 18, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Pluto's pitted plains meet rugged highlands in this stunning view. On the left lies a southeastern extent of the bright region still informally known as Sputnik Planum. At right the edge of a dark region, informally Krun Macula, rises some 2.5 kilometers above the icy plains. Along the boundary, connected clusters of large pits form deep valleys, some over 40 kilometers long with shadowy floors. Nitrogen ice is likely responsible for the more reflective plains. The dark red color of the highlands is thought to be from complex compounds called tholins, a product of ultraviolet light induced chemical reactions...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet PanSTARRS in the Southern Fish

    06/17/2016 10:22:46 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, June 17, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Now approaching our fair planet this Comet PanSTARRS (C/2013 X1) will come closest on June 21-22, a mere 5.3 light-minutes away. By then its appearance low in northern hemisphere predawn skies (high in the south), will be affected by the light of a nearly Full Moon, though. Still the comet's pretty green coma is about the apparent size of the Full Moon in this telescopic portrait, captured on June 12 from the southern hemisphere's Siding Spring Observatory. The deep image also follows a broad, whitish dust tail up and toward the left in the frame, sweeping away from the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Northern Lights above Lofoten

    06/16/2016 8:56:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 16, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Aurora Borealis or northern lights are familiar visitors to night skies above the village of Reine in the Lofoten Islands, Norway, planet Earth. In this scene, captured from a mountaintop camp site, the auroral curtains do seem to create an eerie tension with the coastal lights though. A modern perspective on the world at night, the stunning image was chosen as the over all winner in The World at Night's 2016 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest. Selections were made from over 900 entries highlighting the beauty of the night sky and its battle with light pollution.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- GW151226: A Second Confirmed Source of Gravitational Radiation

    06/15/2016 1:43:27 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 15, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A new sky is becoming visible. When you look up, you see the sky as it appears in light -- electromagnetic radiation. But just over the past year, humanity has begun to see our once-familiar sky as it appears in a different type of radiation -- gravitational radiation. Today, the LIGO collaboration is reporting the detection of GW151226, the second confirmed flash of gravitational radiation after GW150914, the historic first detection registered three months earlier. As its name implies, GW151226 was recorded in late December of 2015. It was detected simultaneously by both LIGO facilities in Washington and Louisiana,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The North America and Pelican Nebulas

    06/13/2016 9:49:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, June 14, 2016 | (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 -- A Roll Cloud Over Uruguay

    06/12/2016 6:40:44 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, June 12, 2016 | (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 -- The Fornax Cluster of Galaxies

    06/12/2016 6:37:47 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, June 11, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Named for the southern constellation toward which most of its galaxies can be found, the Fornax Cluster is one of the closest clusters of galaxies. About 62 million light-years away, it is almost 20 times more distant than our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy, and only about 10 percent farther than the better known and more populated Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Seen across this two degree wide field-of-view, almost every yellowish splotch on the image is an elliptical galaxy in the Fornax cluster. A standout barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is visible on the lower right as a prominent Fornax cluster member....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6888: The Crescent Nebula

    06/10/2016 4:07:34 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, June 10, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: NGC 6888, also known as the Crescent Nebula, is a cosmic bubble about 25 light-years across, blown by winds from its central, bright, massive star. This sharp telescopic portrait uses narrow band image data that isolates light from hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the wind-blown nebula. The oxygen atoms produce the blue-green hue that seems to enshroud the detailed folds and filaments. Visible within the nebula, NGC 6888's central star is classified as a Wolf-Rayet star (WR 136). The star is shedding its outer envelope in a strong stellar wind, ejecting the equivalent of the Sun's mass every 10,000...
  • World Famous Scientist: God Created the Universe

    06/09/2016 9:32:50 AM PDT · by Heartlander · 94 replies
    Intellectual Takeout ^ | June 8, 2016 | Jon Miltimore
    World Famous Scientist: God Created the Universe ‘The final resolution could be that God is a mathematician.’ Michio Kaku has made a name for himself as a world-leading theoretical physicist unafraid to speak his mind.Kaku, the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics at the City College of New York, has published more than 70 articles in physics journals on topics such as supersymmetry, superstring theory, supergravity, and hadronic physics.His latest claim is likely to make waves in the world of science.“I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence”, Kaku says...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Pluto at Night

    06/09/2016 2:44:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 09, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The night side of Pluto spans this shadowy scene. The spacebased view with the Sun behind the distant world was captured by New Horizons last July. The spacecraft was at a range of over 21,000 kilometers, about 19 minutes after its closest approach. A denizen of the Kuiper Belt in dramatic silhouette, the image also reveals Pluto's tenuous, surprisingly complex layers of hazy atmosphere. The crescent twilight landscape near the top of the frame includes southern areas of nitrogen ice plains informally known as Sputnik Planum and rugged mountains of water-ice in the Norgay Montes.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Horsehead Nebula in Infrared from Hubble

    06/08/2016 8:23:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 08, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: While drifting through the cosmos, a magnificent interstellar dust cloud became sculpted by stellar winds and radiation to assume a recognizable shape. Fittingly named the Horsehead Nebula, it is embedded in the vast and complex Orion Nebula (M42). A potentially rewarding but difficult object to view personally with a small telescope, the above gorgeously detailed image was taken in 2013 in infrared light by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope in honor of the 23rd anniversary of Hubble's launch. The dark molecular cloud, roughly 1,500 light years distant, is cataloged as Barnard 33 and is seen above primarily because it...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Night on Venus in Infrared from Orbiting Akatsuki

    06/07/2016 5:36:48 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, June 07, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why is Venus so different from Earth? To help find out, Japan launched the robotic Akatsuki spacecraft which entered orbit around Venus late last year after an unplanned five-year adventure around the inner Solar System. Even though Akatsuki has passed its original planned lifetime, the spacecraft and its instruments are operating so well that much of its original mission has been reinstated. In the featured image taken by Akatsuki late last month, Venus was captured in infrared light showing a surprising amount of atmospheric structure on its night side. The vertical orange terminator stripe between night and day is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Supernova and Cepheids of Spiral Galaxy UGC 9391

    06/06/2016 3:59:04 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, June 06, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What can this galaxy tell us about the expansion rate of the universe? Perhaps a lot because UGC 9391, featured, not only contains Cepheid variable stars (red circles) but also a recent Type Ia supernova (blue X). Both types of objects have standard brightnesses, with Cepheids typically being seen relatively nearby, while supernovas are seen much further away. Therefore, this spiral is important because it allows a calibration between the near and distant parts of our universe. Unexpectedly, a recent analysis of new Hubble data from UGC 9391 and several similar galaxies has bolstered previous indications that Cepheids and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet PanSTARRS and the Helix Nebula

    06/05/2016 4:16:28 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, June 05, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It's rare that such different objects are imaged so close together. Such an occasion is occurring now, though, and was captured two days ago in combined parallel exposures from the Canary Islands of Spain. On the lower right, surrounded by a green coma and emanating an unusually split blue ion tail diagonally across the frame, is Comet C/2013 X1 (PanSTARRS). This giant snowball has been falling toward our Sun and brightening since its discovery in 2013. Although Comet PannSTARRS is a picturesque target for long-duration exposures of astrophotography, it is expected to be only barely visible to the unaided...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Shadow of Surveyor 1

    06/04/2016 5:49:02 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, June 04, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Fifty years ago, Surveyor 1 reached the Moon. Launched on May 30, 1966 and landed on June 2, 1966 with the Moon at full phase it became the first US spacecraft to make a soft landing on another world. The first of seven Surveyor missions intended to test the lunar terrain for the planned Apollo landings it sent back over 10,000 images before lunar nightfall on June 14. The total rose to over 11,000 images returned before its second lunar night began on July 13. Surveyor 1 continued to respond from the lunar surface until January 7, 1967. Captured...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 4631: The Whale Galaxy

    06/03/2016 3:14:49 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, June 03, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: NGC 4631 is a big beautiful spiral galaxy. Seen edge-on, it lies only 25 million light-years away in the well-trained northern constellation Canes Venatici. The galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others its popular moniker, The Whale Galaxy. Either way, it is similar in size to our own Milky Way. In this sharp color image, the galaxy's yellowish core, dark dust clouds, bright blue star clusters, and red star forming regions are easy to spot. A companion galaxy, the small elliptical NGC 4627 is just above the Whale Galaxy. Faint star streams...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Three Planets from Pic du Midi

    06/02/2016 4:03:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 02, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Seen any planets lately? All three planets now shining brightly in the night sky are imaged in these panels, captured last week with the 1 meter telescope at Pic du Midi Observatory in the French Pyrenees. Near opposition and closest to Earth on May 30, Mars is presently offering the best ground-based photo-ops in the last decade. The sharp image finds clouds above the Red Planet's north pole (top) and towering volcanos near its right limb. Saturn reaches its own opposition tonight, its bright rings and gaps clearly revealed in the telescopic portrait. Jupiter is currently highest during the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Tycho's Supernova Remnant Expands

    06/01/2016 5:48:02 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 01, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What star created this huge expanding puffball? Featured here is the first expansion movie ever created for Tycho's supernova remnant, the result of a stellar explosion first recorded over 400 years ago by the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. The 2-second video is a time-lapse composite of X-ray images taken by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory between the years 2000 and 2015, added to a stock optical frame. The expanding gas cloud is extremely hot, while slightly different expansion speeds have given the cloud a puffy appearance. Although the star that created SN 1572, is likely completely gone, a star...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stars and Gas of the Running Chicken Nebula

    05/31/2016 7:14:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, May 31, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: To some, it looks like a giant chicken running across the sky. To others, it looks like a gaseous nebula where star formation takes place. Cataloged as IC 2944, the Running Chicken Nebula spans about 100 light years and lies about 6,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Centaur (Centaurus). The featured image, shown in scientifically assigned colors, was captured recently in an 11-hour exposure from a backyard near Melbourne, Australia. Two star clusters are visible: the Pearl Cluster seen on the far left, and Collinder 249 embedded in the nebula's glowing gas. Although difficult to discern...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy Evolution Tracking Animation

    05/31/2016 7:12:37 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, May 30, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How did the universe evolve from such a smooth beginning? To help understand, computational cosmologists and NASA produced the featured time-lapse animated video depicting a computer simulation of part of the universe. The 100-million light-year simulation starts about 20 million years after the Big Bang and runs until the present. After a smooth beginning, gravity causes clumps of matter to form into galaxies which immediately begin falling toward each other. Soon, many of them condense into long filaments while others violently merge into a huge and hot cluster of galaxies. Investigating of potential universe attributes in simulations like this...