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Keyword: science

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The ISS and a Colorful Moon

    07/31/2015 4:18:26 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | July 31, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Tonight's Full Moon, the second Full Moon in July, could be called a blue moon according to modern folklore. But this sharp and detailed mosaic, recorded with telescope and digital camera just before July's first Full Moon, actually does show a colorful lunar surface. The colors have been enhanced in the processed image but are real nonetheless, corresponding to real differences in the chemical makeup of the lunar surface. Also easy to see especially when the Moon is near full phase, bright rays from 85 kilometer wide Tycho crater at the upper right extend far across the lunar surface....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way over Uluru

    07/30/2015 1:16:33 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | July 30, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The central regions of our Milky Way Galaxy rise above Uluru/Ayers Rock in this striking night skyscape. Recorded on July 13, a faint airglow along the horizon shows off central Australia's most recognizable landform in silhouette. Of course the Milky Way's own cosmic dust clouds appear in silhouette too, dark rifts along the galaxy's faint congeries of stars. Above the central bulge, rivers of cosmic dust converge on a bright yellowish supergiant star Antares. Left of Antares, wandering Saturn shines in the night.
  • What Are These Strange Scarlet Streaks Spotted on Tethys?

    07/29/2015 11:40:55 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 26 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | July 29, 2015 | Jason Major
    They stretch for long distances across the moon’s surface following the rugged terrain, continuing unbroken over hills and down into craters… and their cause isn’t yet known. According to a NASA news release, “The origin of the features and their reddish color is currently a mystery to Cassini scientists. Possibilities being studied include ideas that the reddish material is exposed ice with chemical impurities, or the result of outgassing from inside Tethys. The streaks could also be associated with features like fractures that are below the resolution of the available images.” The images were taken by Cassini during a flyby...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Deep Lagoon

    07/29/2015 4:09:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | July 29, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Ridges of glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds inhabit the turbulent, cosmic depths of the Lagoon Nebula. Also known as M8, The bright star forming region is about 5,000 light-years distant. But it still makes for a popular stop on telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius, toward the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Dominated by the telltale red emission of ionized hydrogen atoms recombining with stripped electrons, this stunning, deep view of the Lagoon's central reaches is about 40 light-years across. Near the center of the frame, the bright hourglass shape is gas ionized and sculpted by...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Rainbows and Rays over Bryce Canyon

    07/28/2015 5:55:29 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | July 28, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening over Bryce Canyon? Two different optical effects that were captured in one image taken earlier this month. Both effects needed to have the Sun situated directly behind the photographer. The nearest apparition was the common rainbow, created by sunlight streaming from the setting sun over the head of the photographer, and scattering from raindrops in front of the canyon. If you look closely, even a second rainbow appears above the first. More rare, and perhaps more striking, are the rays of light that emanate out from the horizon above the canyon. These are known as anticrepuscular rays...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Sombrero Galaxy from Hubble

    07/26/2015 8:36:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | July 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why does the Sombrero Galaxy look like a hat? Reasons include the Sombrero's 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. Close inspection of the bulge in the above photograph shows many points of light that are actually globular clusters. M104's spectacular dust rings harbor many younger and brighter stars, and show intricate details astronomers don't yet fully understand. The very center of the Sombrero glows across the electromagnetic spectrum, and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Infrared Trifid

    07/25/2015 1:58:13 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | July 25, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Trifid Nebula, also known as Messier 20, is easy to find with a small telescope, a well known stop in the nebula rich constellation Sagittarius. But where visible light pictures show the nebula divided into three parts by dark, obscuring dust lanes, this penetrating infrared image reveals filaments of glowing dust clouds and newborn stars. The spectacular false-color view is courtesy of the Spitzer Space Telescope. Astronomers have used the Spitzer infrared image data to count newborn and embryonic stars which otherwise can lie hidden in the natal dust and gas clouds of this intriguing stellar nursery. As...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Ultraviolet Rings of M31

    07/24/2015 5:01:17 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | July 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A mere 2.5 million light-years away the Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, really is just next door as large galaxies go. So close and spanning some 260,000 light-years, it took 11 different image fields from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite's telescope to produce this gorgeous portrait of the spiral galaxy in ultraviolet light. While its spiral arms stand out in visible light images of Andromeda, the arms look more like rings in the GALEX ultraviolet view, a view dominated by the energetic light from hot, young, massive stars. As sites of intense star formation, the rings have...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet PanSTARRS, Moon, and Venus

    07/23/2015 3:41:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | July 23, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is the object to the left of the big tree that's generating much recent excitement. If you look closely, there you can see Comet PanSTARRS, complete with two tails. During July, this comet has increased markedly in brightness and has just passed its closest approach to Earth. The statuesque tree in the center is a Norfolk Island Pine, and to either side of this tree are New Zealand Pohutukaw trees. Over the trees, far in the distance, are bright Venus and an even brighter crescent Moon. If you look even more closely, you can find Jupiter hidden in...
  • Pluto’s Moons Nix and Hydra Get Real / New Pluto Mountain Range Discovered

    07/22/2015 11:38:16 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on July 21, 2015 | Bob King
    Nix looks like a strawberry-flavored jelly bean, but that reddish region with its vaguely bulls-eye shape hints at a possible crater on this 26 miles (42 km) long by 22 miles (36 km) wide moon. Hydra, which measures 34 x 25 miles (55 x 40 km), displays two large craters, one tilted to face the Sun (top) and the other almost fully in shadow. Differences in brightness across Hydra suggest differences in surface composition. Now we’ve seen three of Pluto’ family of five satellites. Expect images of Pluto’s most recently discovered moons, Styx and Kerberos, to be transmitted to Earth...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Gamma-ray Rain from 3C 279

    07/22/2015 4:28:31 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | July 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: If gamma-rays were raindrops a flare from a supermassive black hole might look like this. Not so gently falling on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope from June 14 to June 16 the gamma-ray photons, with energies up to 50 billion electron volts, originated in active galaxy 3C 279 some 5 billion light-years away. Each gamma-ray "drop" is an expanding circle in the timelapse visualization, the color and maximum size determined by the gamma-ray's measured energy. Starting with a background drizzle, the sudden downpour that then trails off is the intense, high energy flare. The creative and calming presentation of...
  • New Horizons Finds Second Mountain Range in Pluto’s ‘Heart’

    07/21/2015 7:05:27 PM PDT · by cripplecreek · 11 replies
    Pluto’s icy mountains have company. NASA’s New Horizons mission has discovered a new, apparently less lofty mountain range on the lower-left edge of Pluto’s best known feature, the bright, heart-shaped region named Tombaugh Regio (Tombaugh Region). These newly-discovered frozen peaks are estimated to be one-half mile to one mile (1-1.5 kilometers) high, about the same height as the United States’ Appalachian Mountains. The Norgay Montes (Norgay Mountains) discovered by New Horizons on July 15 more closely approximate the height of the taller Rocky Mountains. The new range is just west of the region within Pluto’s heart called Sputnik Planum...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Tails and Star Trails

    07/21/2015 9:22:38 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | July 21, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: After grazing the western horizon on northern summer evenings Comet PanSTARRS (also known as C/2014 Q1) climbed higher in southern winter skies. A visitor to the inner Solar System discovered in August 2014 by the prolific panSTARRS survey, the comet was captured here on July 17. Comet and colorful tails were imaged from Home Observatory in Mackay, Queensland, Australia. The field of view spans just over 1 degree. Sweeping quickly across a the sky this comet PanSTARRS was closest to planet Earth about 2 days later. Still, the faint stars of the constellation Cancer left short trails in the...
  • Stephen Hawking announces $100 million hunt for alien life

    07/20/2015 5:36:42 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 50 replies
    The Washington Post's Speaking of Science ^ | July 20, 2015 | Rachel Feltman
    On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen. "We believe that life arose spontaneously on Earth," Hawking said at Monday's news conference, "So in an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life." Geoffrey Marcy, a University of California, Berkeley, astronomer who found most of our first exoplanets, also spoke at the event as part of the group's brain trust....
  • A $100 Million Infusion for SETI Research (two parts: Breakthrough Listen and Breakthrough MESSAGE)

    07/20/2015 5:02:44 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 13 replies
    Centauri Dreams ^ | 7/20/15 | Paul Gilster
    A $100 Million Infusion for SETI Researchby Paul Gilster on July 20, 2015 SETI received a much needed boost this morning as Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner, along with physicist Stephen Hawking and a panel including Frank Drake, Ann Druyan, Martin Rees and Geoff Marcy announced a $100 million pair of initiatives to reinvigorate the search. The first of these, Breakthrough Listen, dramatically upgrades existing search methods, while Breakthrough Message will fund an international competition to create the kind of messages we might one day send to other stars, although the intention is also to provoke the necessary discussion and debate...
  • Search for extraterrestrial intelligence gets a $100-million boost

    07/20/2015 3:24:26 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 23 replies
    Nature ^ | 7/20/15 | Zeeya Merali
    Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announces most comprehensive hunt for alien life.You could say that the silence has been deafening. Since its beginnings more than half a century ago, the dedicated search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has failed to detect the presence of alien civilizations. But at London’s Royal Society today (20 July), Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced a shot in the arm for SETI: a US$100-million decadal project to provide the most comprehensive hunt for alien communications so far. The initiative, called Breakthrough Listen, will see radio telescopes at Green Bank in West Virginia, the Parkes Observatory in Australia, and...
  • Russian Entrepreneur Pledges $100 Million in Search for Extraterrestrial Life

    07/20/2015 3:15:30 PM PDT · by lbryce · 12 replies
    .Entrepreneur ^ | July 20, 2015 | Nina Zipkin
    Is there anyone else out there in the universe? The endeavor to answer that eternal question got a serious shot in the arm this week thanks to Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner. At the Royal Society in London, the billionaire announced the launch of Breakthrough Listen, a 10-year, $100 million initiative to search for signs of extraterrestrial life. Related: The Power of Planning: NASA's Pluto Flyby Was Epic and Amazing Aided by the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in W. Va., the CSIRO Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia and the Lick Telescope in at the Lick Observatory in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet PanSTARRS and a Crescent Moon

    07/20/2015 7:06:04 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | July 20, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A comet has brightened quickly and unexpectedly. Discovered last year, Comet C/2014 Q1 (PanSTARRS) is expected to be visible now for a few days to the unaided eye, just after sunset, from some locations. The comet rounded the Sun on July 6 and apparently has shed quite a bit of gas and dust. Today it is now as close as it will ever get to the Earth, which is another factor in its recent great apparent brightness and the large angular extent of its tails. In the featured image taken two days ago, Comet PanSTARRS is seen sporting a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The First Rocket Launch from Cape Canaveral

    07/19/2015 12:59:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | July 19, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A new chapter in space flight began this week in 1950 July with the launch of the first rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida: the Bumper V-2. Shown above, the Bumper V-2 was an ambitious two-stage rocket program that topped a V-2 missile base with a WAC Corporal rocket. The upper stage was able to reach then-record altitudes of almost 400 kilometers, higher than even Space Shuttles once flew. Launched under the direction of the General Electric Company, the Bumper V-2 was used primarily for testing rocket systems and for research on the upper atmosphere. Bumper V-2 rockets carried small...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Fly Over Pluto

    07/18/2015 2:44:26 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 35 replies
    NASA ^ | July 18, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It took 9.5 years to get this close, but you can now take a virtual flight over Pluto in this animation of image data from the New Horizons spacecraft. The Plutonian terrain unfolding 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers) below is identified as Norgay Montes, followed by Sputnik Planum. The icy mountains, informally named for one of the first two Mount Everest climbers Tenzing Norgay, reach up to 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface. The frozen, young, craterless plains are informally named for the Earth's first artificial satellite. Sputnik Planum is north of Norgay Montes, within Pluto's expansive, bright, heart-shaped...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Charon

    07/16/2015 9:30:06 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | July 17, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Icy world Charon is 1,200 kilometers across. That makes Pluto's largest moon only about 1/10th the size of planet Earth but a whopping 1/2 the diameter of Pluto itself. Charon is seen in unprecedented detail in this image from New Horizons. The image was captured late July 13 during the spacecraft's flight through the Plutonian system from a range of less than 500,000 kilometers. For reference, the distance separating Earth and Moon is less than 400,000 kilometers. Charonian terrain, described as surprising, youthful, and varied, includes a 1,000 kilometer swath of cliffs and troughs stretching below center, a 7...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 50 Miles on Pluto

    07/16/2015 1:20:07 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | July 16, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A 50 mile (80 kilometer) trip across Pluto would cover the distance indicated by the scale bar in this startling image. The close-up of the icy world's rugged equatorial terrain was captured when the New Horizons spacecraft was about 47,800 miles (77,000 kilometers) from the surface, 1.5 hours before its closest approach. Rising to an estimated 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) the mountains are likely composed of water ice. Suggesting surprising geological activity, they are also likely young with an estimated age of 100 million years or so based on the apparent absence of craters. The region pictured is near...
  • Newly Identified Snail-feeding Fish Named after President Obama

    07/15/2015 9:34:29 AM PDT · by nickcarraway · 17 replies
    Outdoorhub ^ | 7/14 | Daniel Xu
    Biologists working with the American Museum of Natural History recently honored President Barack Obama by naming a small fish after him and First Lady Michelle Obama. Officially designated as Teleogramma obamaorum in a study published in April, this African cichlid has only been spotted in a small region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is perhaps best known for its love of snails. “The authors named this fish in honour of U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, ‘in recognition of their commitment to science education, development, gender equality, and self-reliance for all peoples of African...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Pluto Resolved

    07/14/2015 10:44:26 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 29 replies
    NASA ^ | July 15, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: New Horizons has survived its close encounter with Pluto and has resumed sending back images and data. The robotic spacecraft reported back on time, with all systems working, and with the expected volume of data stored. Featured here is the highest resolution image of Pluto taken before closest approach, an image that really brings Pluto into a satisfying focus. At first glance, Pluto is reddish and has several craters. Toward the image bottom is a surprisingly featureless light-covered region that resembles an iconic heart, and mountainous terrain appears on the lower right. This image, however, is only the beginning....
  • Evidence of human life on Cairngorms around 8,000 BC

    07/13/2015 5:52:03 PM PDT · by Islander7 · 11 replies
    BBC ^ | July 9, 2015 | Staff
    Excavations in the Cairngorms have revealed evidence of a human settlement as long ago as 8,000 BC which is 3,000 years earlier than previously thought. Archaeologists have been examining a scattering of stone tools around a fire setting at Glen Geldie on the Mar Lodge Estate, Aberdeenshire.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Last Look at Pluto's Charon Side

    07/12/2015 10:15:14 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | July 13, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Pluto surface is strange. As the robotic New Horizons barrels toward its closest approach to Pluto and its moons tomorrow, images already coming back show Pluto's surface to be curiouser and curiouser. The featured image, taken two days ago, shows the side of Pluto that always faces Pluto's largest moon Charon. Particularly noteworthy is the dark belt near the bottom that circles Pluto's equator. It is currently unclear whether regions in this dark belt are mountainous or flat, why boundaries are so sharply defined, and why the light regions seem to be nearly evenly spaced. As New Horizons will...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- New Horizons Launch to Pluto

    07/12/2015 10:12:53 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | July 12, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Destination: Pluto. The New Horizons spacecraft roared off its launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA in 2006 toward adventures in the distant Solar System. The craft is the fastest spaceships ever launched by humans, having passed the Moon only nine hours after launch, and Jupiter only a year later. After spending almost a decade crossing the Solar System, New Horizons will fly past Pluto on Tuesday. Pluto, officially a planet when New Horizons launched, has never been visited by a spacecraft or photographed up close. After Pluto, the robot spaceship will visit one or more Kuiper Belt...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Geology on Pluto

    07/11/2015 4:52:38 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | July 11, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Pluto is coming into focus. As the robotic New Horizons spacecraft bears down on this unexplored world of the distant Solar System, new features on its surface are becoming evident. In the displayed image taken last Thursday and released yesterday, an unusual polygonal structure roughly 200 kilometers wide is visible on the left, while just below it relatively complex terrain runs diagonally across the dwarf planet. New Horizon's images and data on these structures will likely be studied for years to come in an effort to better understand the geologic history of Pluto and our Solar System. After suffering...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Messier 43

    07/10/2015 1:15:47 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | July 10, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Often imaged but rarely mentioned, Messier 43 is a large star forming region in its own right. It's just part of the star forming complex of gas and dust that includes the larger, more famous neighboring Messier 42, the Great Orion Nebula. In fact, the Great Orion Nebula itself lies off the lower edge of this scene. The close-up of Messier 43 was made while testing the capabilities of a near-infrared instrument with one of the twin 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory in the Chilean Andes. The composite image shifts the otherwise invisible infrared wavelengths to...
  • Pope Francis and Climate Science: BFF

    07/09/2015 6:17:06 PM PDT · by Chris Shugart Uncommon Sense · 3 replies
    Thought Crimes ^ | 07-08-15 | Chris Shugart
    Progressives love mocking devoutly religious people. With their smug, snarky, I’m-so-much-smarter condescension, they’ve taken a perverse glee in characterizing the religious right as backwards anti-science luddites. But times have changed. The Left has a new friend in Pope Francis, who has come out in support of the science of manmade climate change. And wouldn’t you know it, progressive everywhere have suddenly gotten religion. It’s a miracle. Now that the Pope is on the bandwagon, we can finally put climate change dogma into its proper context: an article of faith that cannot be questioned. We finally have the perfect demonstrable frame...
  • Donald Trump, Cognitive Realignment, and the Panic of the Speech Nazis

    07/09/2015 11:06:40 AM PDT · by AnonymousConservative · 17 replies
    Anonymous Conservative ^ | July, 8th, 2015 | Anonymous Conservative
    The biggest thing Donald Trump is doing is realigning public perceptions on immigration among the low-information voters, for whom being seen as moderate and reasonable is more important than issue analysis. Up until now, nobody has been able to force the ideas Trump has espoused into the mainstream media. As a result, the perception of what is moderate has drifted to the left, and we have been, up until now, unable to stop it. This part of this book has a good example of the cognitive principle that Trump's rhetoric is affecting in low information voters. P is less committed...
  • Old World Monkey Had Tiny, Complex Brain - Findings offer new clues to how primate brains changed...

    07/09/2015 8:58:00 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 11 replies
    Duke Today ^ | July 3, 2015 | Staff
    The brain hidden inside the oldest known Old World monkey skull has been visualized for the first time. The creature’s tiny but remarkably wrinkled brain supports the idea that brain complexity can evolve before brain size in the primate family tree. The ancient monkey, known scientifically as Victoriapithecus, first made headlines in 1997 when its fossilized skull was discovered on an island in Kenya’s Lake Victoria, where it lived 15 million years ago. Now, thanks to high-resolution X-ray imaging, researchers have peered inside its cranial cavity and created a three-dimensional computer model of what the animal’s brain likely looked like....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 5 Million Miles from Pluto

    07/09/2015 4:54:42 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    NASA ^ | July 09, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: An image snapped on July 7 by the New Horizons spacecraft while just under 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) from Pluto is combined with color data in this most detailed view yet of the Solar System's most famous world about to be explored. The region imaged includes the tip of an elongated dark area along Pluto's equator already dubbed "the whale". A bright heart-shaped region on the right is about 1,200 miles (2,000) kilometers across, possibly covered with a frost of frozen methane, nitrogen, and/or carbon monoxide. The view is centered near the area that will be seen...
  • What the climate wars did to science

    07/08/2015 9:22:50 PM PDT · by Vince Ferrer · 30 replies
    Matt Ridley's Blog ^ | July 5, 2015 | Matt Ridley
    For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff. Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food causes cancer, and so on. But the great thing about science is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- In the Company of Dione

    07/08/2015 3:46:00 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | July 08, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That is not our Moon. It's Dione, and it's a moon of Saturn. The robotic Cassini spacecraft took the featured image during a flyby of Saturn's cratered Moon last month. Perhaps what makes this image so interesting, though, is the background. First, the large orb looming behind Dione is Saturn itself, faintly lit by sunlight first reflected from the rings. Next, the thin lines running diagonally across the image are the rings of Saturn themselves. The millions of icy rocks that compose Saturn's spectacular rings all orbit Saturn in the same plane, and so appear surprisingly thin when seen...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Milky Way from a Malibu Sea Cave

    07/07/2015 4:23:55 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | July 07, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What’s happening outside this cave? Nothing unexpected – it’s just the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy passing by. As the Earth turns, the band of our Galaxy appears to rotate and shift along the horizon. The featured image was taken by a photographer who professes a passion for locating sea caves, and who found this spectacular grotto in Leo Carrillo State Park near Malibu, California, USA. After some planning, he timed this single shot image through the 10-meter high cave entrance to show the Milky Way far in the distance. In the foreground, several rocks about one...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Colorful Clouds Near Rho Ophiuchi

    07/05/2015 10:53:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | July 06, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why is the sky near Antares and Rho Ophiuchi so colorful? The colors result from a mixture of objects and processes. Fine dust illuminated from the front by starlight produces blue reflection nebulae. Gaseous clouds whose atoms are excited by ultraviolet starlight produce reddish emission nebulae. Backlit dust clouds block starlight and so appear dark. Antares, a red supergiant and one of the brighter stars in the night sky, lights up the yellow-red clouds on the lower center of the featured image. Rho Ophiuchi lies at the center of the blue nebula on the left. The distant globular cluster...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Zeta Oph: Runaway Star

    07/05/2015 1:13:36 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | July 05, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation:
  • Scientist claims immortality within reach

    07/04/2015 10:11:55 AM PDT · by GrandJediMasterYoda · 61 replies
    tvnz.co.nz ^ | 7/4/15 | tvnz.co.nz
    Scientist claims immortality within reach A visiting American research scientist says he is close to discovering a 'cure' for ageing, that he could have a drug ready for testing by the end of next year. Molecular Biologist Dr Bill Andrews told TV ONE's SUNDAY programme that humans shouldn't have to suffer from the ravages of ageing. He says that ageing is a disease that should, and could be cured. His research centres around Telomeres - small caps at the end of our chromosomes that become shorter every time our cells divide. When they become critically short, we age and eventually...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora Australis

    07/04/2015 5:20:45 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | July 04, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Not fireworks, these intense shimmering lights still danced across Earth's night skies late last month, seen here above the planet's geographic south pole. The stunning auroral displays were triggered as a coronal mass ejection blasted from the Sun days earlier impacted the magnetosphere, beginning a widespread geomagnetic storm. The six fisheye panels were recorded with digital camera and battery in a heated box to guard against -90 degree F ambient temperatures of the long winter night. Around the horizon are south pole astronomical observatories, while beyond the Aurora Australis stretch the stars of the southern Milky Way.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus and Jupiter are Far

    07/03/2015 7:40:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | July 03, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On June 30 Venus and Jupiter were actually far apart, but both appeared close in western skies at dusk. Near the culmination of this year's gorgeous conjunction, the two bright evening planets are captured in the same telescopic field of view in this sharp digital stack of images taken after sunset from Poznań in west-central Poland. In fact, banded gas giant Jupiter was about 910 million kilometers from Poland. That's over 11 times farther than crescent Venus, only 78 million kilometers distant at the time. But since the diameter of giant planet Jupiter is over 11 times larger than...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus and Jupiter are Close

    07/02/2015 11:17:19 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | July 02, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On June 30, Venus and Jupiter were close in western skies at dusk. Near the culmination of this year's gorgeous conjunction, the two bright evening planets are captured in the same telescopic field of view in this image taken after sunset from Bejing, China. As the two bright planets set together in the west, a nearly Full Moon rose above the horizon to the south and east. Imaged that night with the same telescope and camera, the rising Moon from the opposite part of the sky is compared with the planetary conjunction for scale in the digitally composited image....
  • WE USED TO SLEEP TWICE EACH NIGHT

    07/01/2015 3:29:41 PM PDT · by dontreadthis · 66 replies
    delanceyplace.com ^ | 6/30/15 | David K. Randall
    For most of history people have had two periods of sleep each night, with the time in between being perhaps the most calm and relaxing part of their lives. Then came the lightbulb. This unexpected "two sleep" phenomenon was uncovered by historian Roger Ekirch when he began to do research for a history of the night:
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus, Jupiter, and Noctilucent Clouds

    07/01/2015 3:18:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | July 01, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you seen the passing planets yet? Today the planets Jupiter and Venus pass within half a degree of each other as seen from Earth. This conjunction, visible all over the world, is quite easy to see -- just look to the west shortly after sunset. The brightest objects visible above the horizon will be Venus and Jupiter, with Venus being the brighter of the two. Featured above, the closing planets were captured two nights ago in a sunset sky graced also by high-level noctilucent clouds. In the foreground, the astrophotographer's sister takes in the vista from a bank...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- An Unusual Mountain on Asteroid Ceres

    06/29/2015 9:49:58 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | June 30, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What created this large mountain on asteroid Ceres? No one is yet sure. As if in anticipation of today being Asteroid Day on Earth, the robotic spacecraft Dawn in orbit around Ceres took the best yet image of an unusually tall mountain on the Asteroid Belt's largest asteroid. Visible at the top of the featured image, the exceptional mountain rises about five kilometers up from an area that otherwise appears pretty level. The image was taken about two weeks ago from about 4,400 kilometers away. Although origin hypotheses for the mountain include volcanism, impacts, and plate tectonics, clear evidence...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunspot Group AR 2339 Crosses the Sun

    06/29/2015 7:18:10 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | June 29, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How do sunspots evolve? Large dark sunspots -- and the active regions that contain them -- may last for weeks, but all during that time they are constantly changing. Such variations were particularly apparent a few weeks ago as the active region AR 2339 came around the limb of the Sun and was tracked for the next 12 days by NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory. In the featured time lapse video, some sunspots drift apart, while others merge. All the while, the dark central umbral regions shift internally and their surrounding lighter penumbras shimmer and wave. The surrounding Sun appears...
  • Einstein vs Bergson, Science vs Philosophy and the Meaning of Time

    06/28/2015 3:47:07 AM PDT · by lbryce · 34 replies
    ABC.net.au/ ^ | June 24, 2015 | Joe Gelonsi
    When Henri met Albert the stars didn’t quite align; nor did their clocks. Jimena Canales, historian of science, tells Joe Gelonesi about her discovery of an explosive 20th century debate that changed our view of time and destroyed a reputation.Physicists and philosophers have a curious relationship. They both need each other for the cosmic dance, but one partner sometimes refuses to join in. Star physicist Stephen Hawking even declared the end of philosophy in 2011. In some ways the pronouncement was to be expected; physics triumphalism dictates that at some point philosophy will exhaust itself and be unable to solve...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- All the Colors of the Sun

    06/27/2015 9:16:14 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | June 28, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is still not known why the Sun's light is missing some colors. Here are all the visible colors of the Sun, produced by passing the Sun's light through a prism-like device. The spectrum was created at the McMath-Pierce Solar Observatory and shows, first off, that although our white-appearing Sun emits light of nearly every color, it does indeed appear brightest in yellow-green light. The dark patches in the above spectrum arise from gas at or above the Sun's surface absorbing sunlight emitted below. Since different types of gas absorb different colors of light, it is possible to determine...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stars of a Summer's Triangle

    06/27/2015 3:42:59 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | June 27, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Rising at the start of a northern summer's night, these three bright stars form the familiar asterism known as the Summer Triangle. Altair, Deneb, and Vega are the alpha stars of their respective constellations, Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra, nestled near the Milky Way. Close in apparent brightness the three do look similar in these telescopic portraits, but all have their own stellar stories. Their similar appearance hides the fact that the Summer Triangle stars actually span a large range in intrinsic luminosity and distance. A main sequence dwarf star, Altair is some 10 times brighter than the Sun and...
  • Papal Economics and Papal Climatology

    06/27/2015 5:00:42 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 2 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | June 27, 2015 | John C. Goodman
    Pope Francis weighed in on global warming the other day after convening a conference of climate scientists from around the world. His recent encyclical on the subject, “Laudato Si,” was awful in describing what we know about climate science, dreadful in discussing possible solutions and completely wrong in understanding the role that economics must play.Let’s begin by distinguishing between “is” and “ought.” Scientists try to understand what is. And there is broad agreement about what we know and don’t know. (I’ll briefly summarize that below.) But there is not broad agreement about what we should do about it or whether...