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Keyword: science

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Baku Moonrise

    12/08/2012 10:58:48 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 08, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A Full Moon rises in this waterfront scene. Its colorful, watery reflection is joined by harbor lights and a windowed skyscraper's echo of the western horizon just after sunset. The tantalizing image is a composite of frames recorded at 2 minute intervals on November 28 from the Caspian Sea port city of Baku, Azerbaijan. Still, this Full Moon was not really as big or as bright as others, though it might be hard to tell. In fact, November 28's Full Moon was near apogee, making it the smallest Full Moon of 2012. As it rose over the Baku boardwalk...
  • Media Discussion of my pieces on Bob Costas (John Lott)

    12/08/2012 8:42:20 AM PST · by marktwain · 2 replies
    johnrlott.blogspot.com ^ | 8 December, 2012 | John Lott
    Regarding my first op-ed this last week at Fox News on Costas here is some of the reaction. I will update this later when I have time to put in responses. From Entertainment Weekly: As you can guess, his commentary was closely scrutinized, and while some applauded his effort, many criticized him for broaching a politically taboo subject in the midst of Sunday Night Football. Second-Amendment advocates like Fox News’ John Lott dismissed Costas for his “emotional reaction,” and media-watcher Howard Kurtz said, “If Bob Costas wanted to urge gun control during NFL, he should have made his own case,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Earth at Night

    12/07/2012 9:13:19 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 35 replies
    NASA ^ | December 07, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This remarkably complete view of Earth at night is a composite of cloud-free, nighttime images. The images were collected during April and October 2012 by the Suomi-NPP satellite from polar orbit about 824 kilometers (512 miles) above the surface using its Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). VIIRS offers greatly improved resolution and sensitivity compared to past global nightlight detecting instrumentation on DMSP satellites. It also has advantages compared to cameras on the International Space Station. While the space station passes over the same point on Earth every two or three days, Suomi-NPP passes over the same point twice...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 47 Tuc Near the Small Magellanic Cloud

    12/05/2012 9:44:29 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | December 06, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Globular star cluster 47 Tucanae is a jewel of the southern sky. Also known as NGC 104, it roams the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy along with around 200 other globular star clusters. The second brightest globular cluster (after Omega Centauri) as seen from planet Earth, it lies about 13,000 light-years away and can be spotted naked-eye near the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) in the constellation of the Toucan. Of course, the SMC is some 210,000 light-years distant, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way and not physically close to 47 Tuc. Stars on the outskirts of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Plasma Jets from Radio Galaxy Hercules A

    12/05/2012 9:30:09 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | December 05, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why does this galaxy emit such spectacular jets? No one is sure, but it is likely related to an active supermassive black hole at its center. The galaxy at the image center, Hercules A, appears to be a relatively normal elliptical galaxy in visible light. When imaged in radio waves, however, tremendous plasma jets over one million light years long appear. Detailed analyses indicate that the central galaxy, also known as 3C 348, is actually over 1,000 times more massive than our Milky Way Galaxy, and the central black hole is nearly 1,000 times more massive than the black...
  • NASA’s Curiosity rover detects organic compounds on Mars

    12/04/2012 8:39:41 PM PST · by smokingfrog · 26 replies
    Open Minds UFO News and Investigations ^ | 12-4-12 | Jason McClellan
    On Tuesday, November 20, Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger told NPR that an upcoming announcement about data from a recently collected soil sample by Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM, instrument would be “one for the history books.” This comment fueled speculation about the possible discovery of evidence indicating past or present life on Mars. Curiosity rover on December 3 during a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, California. Explaining the announcement, Space.com describes that Curiosity “found evidence of chlorine, sulfur, and water in Mars dirt studied by...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- In the Center of Saturn's North Polar Vortex

    12/04/2012 8:30:49 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 04, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening at the north pole of Saturn? A vortex of strange and complex swirling clouds. The center of this vortex was imaged in unprecedented detail last week by the robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn. These clouds lie at the center of the unusual hexagonal cloud system that surrounds the north pole of Saturn. Saturn's north pole precessed into sunlight just a few years ago, with Cassini taking only infrared images of the shadowed region previously. The above image is raw and unprocessed and is being prepared for release in 2013. Several similar images of the region have recently...
  • Far from Electrifying: Electric car hopes never die — but electric realities keep intervening.

    12/03/2012 1:55:45 AM PST · by neverdem · 66 replies
    The American ^ | November 26, 2012 | Vaclav Smil
    Exactly two years ago, in November 2010, the Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn assured reporters that his auto alliance would sell half a million electric vehicles a year by the end of 2013. In 2011, it sold just short of 10,000 electrics, but in April 2012 Ghosn still claimed that the 2012 sales would double to 20,000. On November 15, he had to give up and admit that, after selling less than 7,000 vehicles, the 2012 target cannot be reached. That is just the latest in a less than electrifying saga of modern electric vehicles (this qualification is needed because...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Quadruple Lunar Halo Over Spain

    12/02/2012 9:17:35 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | December 03, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sometimes falling ice crystals make the atmosphere into a giant lens causing arcs and halos to appear around the Sun or Moon. This past Saturday night was just such a time near Madrid, Spain, where a winter sky displayed not only a bright Moon but as many as four rare lunar halos. The brightest object, near the top of the above image, is the Moon. Light from the Moon refracts through tumbling hexagonal ice crystals into a 22 degree halo seen surrounding the Moon. Elongating the 22 degree arc horizontally is a circumscribed halo caused by column ice crystals....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Gegenschein Over Chile

    12/01/2012 9:56:19 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 02, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Is the night sky darkest in the direction opposite the Sun? No. In fact, a rarely discernable faint glow known as the gegenschein (German for "counter glow") can be seen 180 degrees around from the Sun in an extremely dark sky. The gegenschein is sunlight back-scattered off small interplanetary dust particles. These dust particles are millimeter sized splinters from asteroids and orbit in the ecliptic plane of the planets. Pictured above from 2008 October is one of the more spectacular pictures of the gegenschein yet taken. Here a deep exposure of an extremely dark sky over Paranal Observatory in...
  • Welcome to our new lizard overlords: Alien worlds could be full of super-intelligent dinosaurs

    09/30/2012 9:34:07 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 56 replies
    The Daily Mail ^ | April 12, 2012 | Rob Waugh
    NASA's Kepler telescope scans the skies for 'habitable worlds' - but an American chemist has suggested the whole project might be a terrible idea. Ronald Breslow suggests that life-forms based on slightly different amino acids and sugars could take the form of huge, ferocious dinosaurs that have evolved to have human-like intelligence and technologies. 'We would be better off not meeting them,' says Breslow, who claims that it was a stroke of luck that an asteroid wiped out dinosaurs on earth, leaving the field clear for mammals such as humans. On other worlds, dinosaurs could have evolved into huge, intelligent...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Northern Mercury

    12/01/2012 10:10:52 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | December 01, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Innermost planet Mercurywould probably not be a good location for an interplanetary winter olympics. But new results based on data from the Mercury orbitingMESSENGER spacecraft indicate that it does have substantial water icein permanently shadowed regions within craters near its north pole. The possibility of ice on Mercury has been entertained for years, inspired by the discovery of radar bright, hence highly reflective, regions near the north pole. Highlighted in yellow in this map based on projected MESSENGER images, radar bright regions are seen to correspond with floors and walls of north polar impact craters. Farther from the pole...
  • 40 Years Ago This Month: Apollo 17

    12/01/2012 6:40:27 AM PST · by chimera · 43 replies
    various (NASA, Wiki, et al.) | 12/1/2012 | chimera
    The final flight of any manned space project is special, and on that score the Apollo 17 mission, which began 40 years ago this month, did not disappoint. The final lunar landing mission was a fitting capstone to what was arguably the greatest technological achievement of human history, a tour de force of scientific discovery and engineering virtuosity that has never been duplicated. In this sense, it could reasonably be concluded that NASA saved the best for last. The flight of Apollo 17 was not planned to be the final lunar landing mission. The original Apollo program schedule included missions...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Clouds in Cygnus

    11/30/2012 7:47:55 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | November 30, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cosmic clouds of gas and dust drift across this magnificent mosaic covering a 12x12 degree field within the high flying constellation Cygnus. The collaborative skyscape, a combination of broad and narrow band image data presented in the Hubble palette, is anchored by bright, hot, supergiant star Deneb, below center near the left edge. Alpha star of Cygnus, Deneb, is the top of the Northern Cross asterism and is seen here next to the dark void known as the Northern Coal Sack. Below Deneb are the recognizable North America and Pelican nebulae (NGC 7000 and IC 5070). Another supergiant star,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day — Super Moon vs. Micro Moon

    11/30/2012 7:40:02 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | November 29, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Did you see the big, bright, beautiful Full Moon Wednesday night? That was actually a Micro Moon! On that night, the smallest Full Moon of 2012 reached its full phase only about 4 hours before apogee, the most distant point from Earth in the Moon's elliptical orbit. Of course, earlier this year on May 6, a Full Super Moon was near perigee, the closest point in its orbit. The relative apparent size of November 28's Micro Moon (right) is compared to the famous May 6 Super Moon in these two panels, matching telescopic images from Bucharest, Romania. The difference...
  • More of Saturn’s Strange Hexagon – In Living Color!

    11/29/2012 5:09:11 PM PST · by lbryce · 30 replies
    Universe Today ^ | November 29, 2012 | John Major
    Yesterday's post on new Cassini'S close-ups of Saturn's mysterious North Pole Hexagon were absolutely breathtaking in the view of the astounding spectacle that nature is capable of. Most of the images involving spectacles such as the Hexagon will usually be skewed to a certain color to dramatize the images to a heightened state of existence. But the images shown here today, on their merit, equally as dramatic but with a truer representation off their color persona that naturally tends to be more staid, neutral, certainly less dramatic as provided by the most recent batch of images provided below. Free Republic:November...
  • Big Bang bashing boffins ‘Big Bounce’ back to BIRTH OF TIME

    11/30/2012 11:27:15 AM PST · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 51 replies
    The Register ^ | 29th November 2012 23:54 GMT | By Richard Chirgwin
    A group of Penn State physicists says the universe we now see could have arisen from a "Big Bounce" rather than a Big Bang. The new work by Penn State, led by professor Abhay Ashtekar, director of the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos, proposes ways to apply quantum physics "further back in time than ever before – right back to the beginning," the university says in a release. We have a pretty good idea of the large-scale structures of the universe when it was only a few hundred thousand years old. That comes from studying the fingerprint of the...
  • Evolution Isn't Science

    11/29/2012 7:56:08 PM PST · by kathsua · 300 replies
    hutchinson News ^ | 11/27/2012 | KENNETH B. LUCAS
    The new standard for teaching science in public schools should prohibit teaching religious beliefs like evolution as if they were the equivalent of scientific theories. Science should be defined as using experimentation and observation to discover information about physical reality. Explanations of what happened in the ancient past cannot be verified using experimentation and observation. ----------advertisement----------- Contrary to a popular myth pushed by those who want to make science a substitute for religion, science has yet to produce a new explanation for the development of life or the origin of the universe. The idea that the universe came out of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Jupiter and Io

    11/28/2012 6:28:42 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | November 28, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On December 3 (UT), Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet, will be at opposition, opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky, shining brightly and rising as the Sun sets. That configuration results in Jupiter's almost annual closest approach to planet Earth. So, near opposition the gas giant offers earthbound telescopes stunning views of its stormy, banded atmosphere and large Galilean moons. For example, this sharp series was recorded on the night of November 16/17 from the island of Sardinia near Dolianova, Italy. North is up in the images that show off Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot, and planet girdling...
  • Incredible Raw Image of Saturn’s Swirling North Pole (Saturn's Enigmatic Swirling Hexagon)

    11/28/2012 10:32:10 AM PST · by lbryce · 31 replies
    Universe Today ^ | November 28, 2012 | Jason Major
    Are you ready for this? I know… WOW. This swirling maelstrom of clouds is what was seen over Saturn’s north pole earlier today, November 27, by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. This is a raw image, acquired in polarized light, from a distance of 238,045 miles (383,097 kilometers)… all I did was remove some of the hot pixels that are commonly found on Cassini images taken with longer exposures. Again… WOW. My attempt at a color composite can be seen below, plus another treat: It’s rough, and a little muddy because the clouds were moving between image channels (not to mention the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Bright Jupiter in Taurus

    11/27/2012 3:22:35 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | November 27, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That bright star you've recently noticed rising just after sunset isn't a star at all. It's Jupiter, the solar system's ruling gas giant. Bright Jupiter is nearing its December 3rd opposition when it will stand in Taurus, opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky. Clearly outshining yellowish Aldebaran, alpha star of Taurus, Jupiter is centered in this skyview from November 14th, also featuring the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters, familiar celestial sights as the northern hemisphere winter approaches. Sliding your cursor over the image will label the scene and identify two other solar system worlds approaching their opposition in...
  • Study Shows Abortion Linked to High Breast Cancer Risk

    11/27/2012 2:12:42 AM PST · by kathsua · 6 replies
    Life News ^ | 11/26/12 | Steven Ertelt
    A study in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention shows abortion increases the risk of breast cancer for women. C. Yanhua of the First Peoples’ Hospital of Kunming in Yunnan province and his colleagues found the abortion-breast cancer association after comparing data from 263 cases of breast cancer and 457 controls without the disease. Their analysis covers the years 2009-2011. The authors examined information on disease diagnosis, demographics, medical history, and reproductive characteristics of the patients involved and also looked at short menstrual cycle, old age at first live birth, never breastfeeding, history of oral contraceptive use, postmenopausal status...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Wisps of the Veil Nebula

    11/26/2012 7:28:18 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | November 26, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Wisps like this are all that remain visible of a Milky Way star. About 9,000 years ago that star exploded in a supernova leaving the Veil Nebula, also known as the Cygnus Loop. At the time, the expanding cloud was likely as bright as a crescent Moon, remaining visible for weeks to people living at the dawn of recorded history. Today, the resulting supernova remnant has faded and is now visible only through a small telescope directed toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus). The remaining Veil Nebula is physically huge, however, and even though it lies about 1,400...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Dark Sand Cascades on Mars

    11/26/2012 7:25:19 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | November 25, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: They might look like trees on Mars, but they're not. Groups of dark brown streaks have been photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on melting pinkish sand dunes covered with light frost. The above image was taken in 2008 April near the North Pole of Mars. At that time, dark sand on the interior of Martian sand dunes became more and more visible as the spring Sun melted the lighter carbon dioxide ice. When occurring near the top of a dune, dark sand may cascade down the dune leaving dark surface streaks -- streaks that might appear at first...
  • Op-Ed: Humans evolving into bigger idiots? Stanford professor thinks so

    11/24/2012 5:54:09 AM PST · by SoFloFreeper · 33 replies
    Digital Journal ^ | November 21, 2012 | Paul Wallis
    Yep, evolution is a two way street. With a bit of effort you can evolve to get dumber in every generation. Prof. Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist seems pretty convinced that Homo Sap is long gone in that direction.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 1365: Majestic Spiral with Supernova

    11/24/2012 4:51:09 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | November 24, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is truly a majestic island universe some 200,000 light-years across. Located a mere 60 million light-years away toward the chemical constellation Fornax, NGC 1365 is a dominant member of the well-studied Fornax galaxy cluster. This sharp color image shows intense star forming regions at the ends of the bar and along the spiral arms, and details of dust lanes cutting across the galaxy's bright core. At the core lies a supermassive black hole. Astronomers think NGC 1365's prominent bar plays a crucial role in the galaxy's evolution, drawing gas and dust into a star-forming...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Pipe Nebula

    11/23/2012 12:44:51 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | November 23, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: East of Antares, dark markings sprawl through crowded star fields toward the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Cataloged in the early 20th century by astronomer E. E. Barnard, the obscuring interstellar dust clouds include B59, B72, B77 and B78, seen in silhouette against the starry background. Here, their combined shape suggests a pipe stem and bowl, and so the dark nebula's popular name is the Pipe Nebula. The deep and expansive view was represents nearly 24 hours of exposure time recorded in very dark skies of the Chilean Atacama desert. It covers a full 10 by 10 degree...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Night of the Long Leonid

    11/23/2012 12:40:23 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | November 22, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A cosmic grain of sand left the long and colorful trail across this all-sky view. Its grazing impact with planet Earth's atmosphere began at 71 kilometers per second. With the Milky Way stretching from horizon to horizon, the scene was captured on the night of November 17 from the astronomically popular high plateau at Champ du Feu in Alsace, France. Of course, the earthgrazer meteor belongs to this month's Leonid meteor shower, produced as our fair planet annually sweeps through dust from the tail of periodic Comet Tempel-Tuttle. The shower's radiant point in the constellation Leo is very close...
  • Who Said It: Marco Rubio or Barack Obama? Willful ignorance of science is a bipartisan value.

    11/21/2012 12:48:35 PM PST · by unlearner · 89 replies
    Slate Magazine ^ | Nov. 20, 2012 | Daniel Engber
    By now you've heard the outrageous quote from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on his doubts about the origins of planet Earth. When asked to give its age, he replied: "I'm not a scientist, man. … Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries." ... I've no doubt that these critiques of Rubio are sound. But I'm hesitant to let the crown prince of the Tea Party be singled out for blame. His shameless dodge and pander on the matter of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Diamond Ring and Shadow Bands

    11/21/2012 4:13:51 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | November 21, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: As the total phase of last week's solar eclipse came to an end, sunlight streaming past the edge of the Moon created the fleeting appearance of a glistening diamond ring in the sky. And while most eclipse watchers did not consider clouds a welcome sight, a view through thin clouds north of Cairns in Queensland, Australia also revealed these remarkable flickering shadow bands. Projected onto the cloud layer, the bands are parallel to the sliver of emerging sunlight. Caused by turbulence in Earth's atmosphere refracting the sliver of sunlight, the narrow bands were captured in this brief, 1/1000th second...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Halo Around the Moon

    11/20/2012 3:27:14 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | November 20, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you ever seen a halo around the Moon? This fairly common sight occurs when high thin clouds containing millions of tiny ice crystals cover much of the sky. Each ice crystal acts like a miniature lens. Because most of the crystals have a similar elongated hexagonal shape, light entering one crystal face and exiting through the opposing face refracts 22 degrees, which corresponds to the radius of the Moon Halo. A similar Sun Halo may be visible during the day. The setting of the above picture is Athens San Sebastian, Greece. The distant planet Jupiter appears by chance...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Leonids Over Monument Valley

    11/19/2012 3:41:20 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | November 19, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening in the sky over Monument Valley? A meteor shower. Over the past weekend the Leonid meteor shower has been peaking. The image -- actually a composite of six exposures of about 30 seconds each -- was taken in 2001, a year when there was a much more active Leonids shower. At that time, Earth was moving through a particularly dense swarm of sand-sized debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, so that meteor rates approached one visible streak per second. The meteors appear parallel because they all fall to Earth from the meteor shower radiant -- a point on the...
  • The Shroud of Turin The Holographic Experience (1 Minute Amazing Video)

    11/17/2012 11:28:19 AM PST · by GonzoII · 33 replies
    Shroud 3D.com ^ | Dr. Petrus Soons
    This website summarizes work connected with digitizing Shroud photographs taken by Giuseppe Enrie in 1931, enhancing the digitized images to improve details, translating the enhanced images “gray scale data into depth data”, generating a sequence of up to 625 images of each of these, and combining these images with a Holoprinter to produce holograms (3D images) of the Shroud. It also summarizes my study of these holograms and discovery of heretofore unseen details, which confirm many previous findings and reveal some suprises.
  • Creationism or Evolution?

    11/18/2012 6:18:07 AM PST · by GonzoII · 121 replies
    Stay Catholic .Com ^ | 2001 | Sebastian R. Fama
    Creationism or Evolution?by Sebastian R. Fama Is it possible to know that God exists even though we cannot see or touch Him? Well, we believe that radio waves exist and we can’t see or touch them. And we believe it because the evidence allows for no other conclusion. We turn on a television and we see and hear someone who is many miles away. Adjusting the antenna changes the quality of the picture. Disconnect the antenna, and there is no picture. Obviously the television is receiving the pictures and sound from the air. Thus we can know that radio...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6357's Cathedral to Massive Stars

    11/18/2012 6:13:47 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | November 18, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How massive can a normal star be? Estimates made from distance, brightness and standard solar models had given one star in the open cluster Pismis 24 over 200 times the mass of our Sun, nearly making it the record holder. This star is the brightest object located just above the gas front in the above image. Close inspection of images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, however, have shown that Pismis 24-1 derives its brilliant luminosity not from a single star but from three at least. Component stars would still remain near 100 solar masses, making them among the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Like a Diamond in the Sky

    11/16/2012 9:40:40 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | November 17, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A dark Sun hung over Queensland, Australia on Wednesday morning during a much anticipated total solar eclipse. Storm clouds threatened to spoil the view along the northern coast, but minutes before totality the clouds parted. Streaming past the Moon's edge, the last direct rays of sunlight produced a gorgeous diamond ring effect in this scene from Ellis Beach between Cairns and Port Douglas. Winking out in a moment, the diamond didn't last forever though. The area was plunged into darkness for nearly 2 minutes as the Moon's shadow swept off shore toward Australia's Great Barrier Reef and out into...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Moon Shadow Sequence

    11/16/2012 3:17:24 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | November 16, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On the morning of November 14, the Moon's umbral shadow tracked across northern Australia before heading into the southern Pacific. Captured from a hilltop some 30 miles west of the outback town of Mount Carbine, Queensland, a series of exposures follows the progress of the total solar eclipse in this dramatic composite image. The sequence begins near the horizon. The Moon steadily encroaches on the on the reddened face of the Sun, rising as the eclipse progresses. At the total phase, lasting about 2 minutes for that location, an otherwise faint solar corona shimmers around the eclipsed disk. Recorded...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Solar Eclipse over Queensland

    11/15/2012 7:19:35 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | November 15, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This month's New Moon brought a total solar eclipse to parts of planet Earth on November 13 (UT). Most of the total eclipse track fell across the southern Pacific, but the Moon's dark umbral shadow began its journey in northern Australia on Wednesday morning, local time. From along the track, this telescopic snapshot captures the Moon's silhouette in skies over Queensland along the Mulligan highway west of Port Douglas. Almost completely covered, the Sun's disk is seen still surrounded by a hint of the faint solar corona. Planet-sized prominences stretch above the active Sun's edge. Sunlight streaming through gaps...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Our Story in One Minute

    11/14/2012 6:20:29 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | November 14, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Could you tell the story of human existence in a minute? This thrilling video culls together multiple teasing snippets in an attempt to do just that. And sets it to music. Briefly depicted, from start to finish, is an artistic animation of the Big Bang, a trip across the early universe, the formation of the Earth and Moon, the emergence of multi-celled life and plants, the rise of reptiles and dinosaurs, a devastating meteor strike, the rise of mammals and humans, and finally the rise of modern civilization. The minute movie ends with a flyover of the modern skyscraper...
  • Chris Matthews Claims GOP Ignorant of Science While Claiming Plants Absorb Carbon Monoxide

    11/14/2012 8:34:23 AM PST · by governsleastgovernsbest · 26 replies
    NewsBusters ^ | Mark Finkelstein
    Note to Chris Matthews: when seeking to slam Republicans for their supposed ignorance of science, try not to expose your own. On Tuesday's Hardball, Matthews—mocking the Republican congressmen vying for the chairmanship of the House Science Committee— committed this whopper: "As we all learned in grammar school—young people watching—trees absorb carbon monoxide." Uh, no, Chris. As even an MSNBC host might know, carbon monoxide is a toxic gas produced when there is insufficient oxygen to permit complete oxidation. Think running car in closed garage. Trees absorb carbon dioxide. Perhaps it was just a slip of the overworked Matthews' tongue, but...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Solar Eclipse Quilt

    11/13/2012 3:34:35 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | November 13, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Some people are so inspired by solar eclipses that they quilt. Pictured above is a resulting textile from one such inspiration. The 38x38 inch quilt offers impressions of a total annular eclipse, when the Moon is too far from the Earth to cover the entire Sun, witnessed in Spain in October of 2005. Today, however, a full total solar eclipse will occur, although it will only be visible to eclipse chasers and those who live in a thin swath of Australia. For a few minutes, those near the center of the eclipse path will see the entire Sun blocked...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Meteor and Moonbow over Wallaman Falls

    11/12/2012 7:49:07 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | November 12, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Which feature takes your breath away first in this encompassing panorama of land and sky? The competition is strong with a waterfall, meteor, starfield, and even a moonbow all vying for attention. It is interesting to first note, though, what can't be seen -- a rising moon on the other side of the camera. The bright moon not only illuminated this beautiful landscape in Queensland, Australia last June, but also created the beautiful moonbow seen in front of Wallaman Falls. Just above the ridge in the above image is the horizontal streak of an airplane. Toward the top of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Baily's Beads near Solar Eclipse Totality

    11/11/2012 4:47:17 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | November 11, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Just before the Sun blacks out, something strange occurs. As the Moon moves to completely cover the Sun in a total solar eclipse -- like the one set to occur over parts of Australia on Tuesday -- beads of bright sunlight stream around the edge of the Moon. This effect, known as Baily's beads, is named after Francis Baily who called attention to the phenomenon in 1836. Although, the number and brightness of Baily's beads used to be unpredictable, today the Moon is so well mapped that general features regarding Baily's beads are expected. When a single bead dominates,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Polar Ring Galaxy NGC 660

    11/10/2012 9:57:08 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | November 10, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: NGC 660 is featured in this cosmic snapshot, a sharp composite of broad and narrow band filter image data from the Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea. Over 20 million light-years away and swimming within the boundaries of the constellation Pisces, NGC 660's peculiar appearance marks it as a polar ring galaxy. A rare galaxy type, polar ring galaxies have a substantial population of stars, gas, and dust orbiting in rings nearly perpendicular to the plane of the galactic disk. The bizarre-looking configuration could have been caused by the chance capture of material from a passing galaxy by a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Melotte 15 in the Heart

    11/10/2012 9:52:16 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | November 09, 2012 | (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 toward the right in this colorful skyscape, along with dark dust clouds in silhouette against glowing atomic gas. A composite of narrow and broad band telescopic images, the view spans about 30 light-years and includes emission from hydrogen in green, sulfur in red, and oxygen in blue hues. Wider field images...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Arp 188 and the Tadpole's Tail

    11/10/2012 9:42:12 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | November 08, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In this stunning vista, based on image data from the Hubble Legacy Archive, distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop for disrupted spiral galaxy Arp 188, the Tadpole Galaxy. The cosmic tadpole is a mere 420 million light-years distant toward the northern constellation Draco. Its eye-catching tail is about 280 thousand light-years long and features massive, bright blue star clusters. One story goes that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front of Arp 188 - from right to left in this view - and was slung around behind the Tadpole by their gravitational attraction. During the close encounter, tidal...
  • Junk DNA Myth Continues Its Demise (article)

    11/07/2012 12:26:44 PM PST · by fishtank · 7 replies
    Junk DNA Myth Continues Its Demise by Jeffrey Tomkins, Ph.D. * Secular biology, intelligent design, and creationist communities are abuzz with the recently reported data from 30 simultaneously published high-profile research papers in the field of human genomics, proclaiming that the human genome is irreducibly complex and intelligently designed.1 From an evolutionary perspective, this is a massive blow to the myth of “junk DNA.” A large-scale international research effort, ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements), began in 2003 as an outgrowth of the Human Genome Project. Although the human genome had been largely finished in its final draft form in 2004,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Superstorm Sandy From Formation to Landfall

    11/07/2012 3:24:19 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | November 07, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It was the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. The cost of its devastation is still unknown. Pictured above is a movie of Superstorm Sandy taken by the Earth-orbiting GOES-13 satellite over eight days in late October as the hurricane formed, gained strength, advanced across the Caribbean, moved up the Atlantic Ocean along the US east coast, made an unusual turn west, made landfall in New Jersey, turned back to the north over Pennsylvania, and then broke up moving north-east over the northern US and Canada. Although Sandy's winds were high and dangerous, perhaps even more damaging...
  • Previously unseen whale species washes up on New Zealand beach

    11/06/2012 11:46:52 AM PST · by blueplum · 30 replies
    LA Times ^ | 05 Nov 12 | Jon Bardin
    Not one but two specimens of the world’s rarest known species of whale have been discovered on a New Zealand beach, according to a report published Monday in the journal Current Biology. The species, called the spade-toothed beaked whale, is so rare that before the find researchers weren't even sure if it still existed. The two whales washed up on Opape Beach in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty. At first scientists thought they were examples of a much more pedestrian species, the Gray’s beaked whales, which are the most commonly beached whales in the region. But after undertaking a DNA...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Methone: Smooth Egg Moon of Saturn

    11/06/2012 1:46:47 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | November 06, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why is this moon shaped like a smooth egg? The robotic Cassini spacecraft completed the first flyby ever of Saturn's small moon Methone in May and discovered that the moon has no obvious craters. Craters, usually caused by impacts, have been seen on every moon, asteroid, and comet nucleus ever imaged in detail -- until now. Even the Earth and Titan have craters. The smoothness and egg-like shape of the 3-kilometer diameter moon might be caused by Methone's surface being able to shift -- something that might occur were the moon coated by a deep pile of sub-visual rubble....