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Keyword: science

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Doomed Star Eta Carinae

    12/30/2012 8:19:01 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | December 30, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Eta Carinae may be about to explode. But no one knows when - it may be next year, it may be one million years from now. Eta Carinae's mass - about 100 times greater than our Sun - makes it an excellent candidate for a full blown supernova. Historical records do show that about 150 years ago Eta Carinae underwent an unusual outburst that made it one of the brightest stars in the southern sky. Eta Carinae, in the Keyhole Nebula, is the only star currently thought to emit natural LASER light. This image, taken in 1996, brought out...
  • Modern Science Writers Leave Science Behind

    12/29/2012 2:12:28 PM PST · by neverdem · 42 replies
    Pacific Standard ^ | December 28, 2012 | Alex B. Berezow
    The co-author of a book on partisan science recently examined by Pacific Standard argues that our reviewer was a little too partisan himself. Any book that touches upon politics almost automatically angers half of the American public, regardless of what is written inside of it. It takes a special person—an objective, open-minded and self-critical one—to read and learn from a science book that criticizes people with whom the reader likes and agrees with politically.Recently, Pacific Standard published a review (“Red Science, Blue Science,” January/February 2013) by Wray Herbert, a pop psychology writer,of political writer Chris Mooney’s book The Republican Brain...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Zeta Oph: Runaway Star

    12/29/2012 7:53:42 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | December 29, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Like a ship plowing through cosmic seas, runaway star Zeta Ophiuchi produces the arcing interstellar bow wave or bow shock seen in this stunning infrared portrait. In the false-color view, bluish Zeta Oph, a star about 20 times more massive than the Sun, lies near the center of the frame, moving toward the left at 24 kilometers per second. Its strong stellar wind precedes it, compressing and heating the dusty interstellar material and shaping the curved shock front. Around it are clouds of relatively undisturbed material. What set this star in motion? Zeta Oph was likely once a member...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6188 and NGC 6164

    12/28/2012 8:47:24 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | December 28, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Fantastic shapes lurk in clouds of glowing hydrogen gas in NGC 6188, about 4,000 light-years away. The emission nebula is found near the edge of a large molecular cloud unseen at visible wavelengths, in the southern constellation Ara. Massive, young stars of the embedded Ara OB1 association were formed in that region only a few million years ago, sculpting the dark shapes and powering the nebular glow with stellar winds and intense ultraviolet radiation. The recent star formation itself was likely triggered by winds and supernova explosions, from previous generations of massive stars, that swept up and compressed the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars

    12/27/2012 3:21:10 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | December 27, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's in this smooth soil on Mars? In late October, NASA's robotic Curiosity rover stopped near a place dubbed Rocknest as it continues to explore Gale Crater on Mars. Rocknest is the group of stones seen near the top left of the above image -- just to the left of Curiosity's mast. Of particular interest was the unusually smooth patch of soil named Wind Drift seen to the left of Curiosity, which was likely created by the Martian wind blowing fine particles into Rocknest's wake. The above image shows part of Mt. Sharp in the background to upper right,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Makemake of the Outer Solar System

    12/26/2012 3:49:45 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | December 26, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Makemake is one of the largest objects known in the outer Solar System. Pronounced MAH-kay MAH-kay, this Kuiper belt object is about two-thirds the size of Pluto, orbits the Sun only slightly further out than Pluto, and appears only slightly dimmer than Pluto. Makemake, however, has an orbit much more tilted to the ecliptic plane of the planets than Pluto. Discovered by a team led by Mike Brown (Caltech) in 2005, the outer Solar System orb was officially named Makemake for the creator of humanity in the Rapa Nui mythology of Easter Island. In 2008, Makemake was classified as...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Yosemite Winter Night

    12/25/2012 8:30:36 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | December 25, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In this evocative night skyscape a starry band of the Milky Way climbs over Yosemite Valley, Sierra Nevada Range, planet Earth. Jupiter is the brightest celestial beacon on the wintry scene, though. Standing nearly opposite the Sun in the constellation Taurus, the wandering planet joins yellowish Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster. Below, Orion always comes up sideways over a fence of mountains. And from there the twin stars of Gemini rise just across the Milky Way. As this peaceful winter night began, they followed Auriga the charioteer, its alpha star Capella near the top of the frame.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Hyades for the Holidays

    12/24/2012 3:46:57 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 24, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Recognized since antiquity and depicted on the shield of Achilles according to Homer, stars of the Hyades cluster form the head of the constellation Taurus the Bull. Their general V-shape is anchored by Aldebaran, the eye of the Bull and by far the constellation's brightest star. Yellowish in appearance, red giant Aldebaran is not a Hyades cluster member, though. Modern astronomy puts the Hyades cluster 151 light-years away making it the nearest established open star cluster, while Aldebaran lies at less than half that distance, along the same line-of-sight. Along with colorful Hyades stars, this stellar holiday portrait locates...
  • Another Look at Fracking

    12/21/2012 10:46:34 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 12 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 12/21/2012 | Jarrett Skorup
    In a speech recently, Gov. Rick Snyder reiterated his support of natural gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). This is a good sign for taxpayers, job seekers and environmentalists. Despite the alarmism, fracking is safe — and much safer than the alternatives. Most of the fear about gas extraction comes from a disingenuous scene from a film in which people light the methane coming through their water pipes on fire because of alleged improper well construction, which has nothing to do with fracking. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says gas drilling by hydraulic fracturing has been going on for...
  • China researchers link obesity to bacteria

    12/20/2012 4:07:35 PM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 30 replies
    The New York Daily News ^ | December 20, 2012
    Chinese researchers have identified a bacteria which may cause obesity, according to a new paper suggesting diets that alter the presence of microbes in humans could combat the condition. Researchers in Shanghai found that mice bred to be resistant to obesity even when fed high-fat foods became excessively overweight when injected with a kind of human bacteria and subjected to a rich diet. The bacterium -- known as enterobacter -- had been linked with obesity after being found in high quantities in the gut of a morbidly obese human volunteer, said the report, written by researchers at Shanghai's Jiaotong University....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Hale-Bopp Over Val Parola Pass

    12/22/2012 9:30:25 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | December 23, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Comet Hale-Bopp, the Great Comet of 1997, became much brighter than any surrounding stars. It was seen even over bright city lights. Away from city lights, however, it put on quite a spectacular show. Here Comet Hale-Bopp was photographed above Val Parola Pass in the Dolomite mountains surrounding Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Comet Hale-Bopp's blue ion tail, consisting of ions from the comet's nucleus, is pushed out by the solar wind. The white dust tail is composed of larger particles of dust from the nucleus driven by the pressure of sunlight, that orbit behind the comet. Observations showed that Comet...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Saturn at Night

    12/22/2012 7:09:21 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | December 22, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Splendors seldom seen are revealed in this glorious picture from Saturn's shadow. Imaged by Cassini on October 17, 2012 during its 174th orbit, the ringed planet's night side is viewed from a perspective 19 degrees below the ring plane at a distance of about 800,000 kilometers with the Sun almost directly behind the planet. A 60 frame mosaic, images made with infrared, red, and violet filters were combined to create an enhanced, false-color view. Strongly backlit, the rings look bright away from the planet but dark in silhouette against the gas giant. Above center, they reflect a faint, eerie...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Orion over El Castillo

    12/21/2012 4:02:17 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | December 21, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Welcome to the December solstice, a day the world does not end ... even according to the Mayan Calendar. To celebrate, consider this dramatic picture of Orion rising over El Castillo, the central pyramid at Chichén Itzá, one of the great Mayan centers on the Yucatán peninsula. Also known as the Temple of Kukulkan it stands 30 meters tall and 55 meters wide at the base. Built up as a series of square terraces by the pre-Columbian civilization between the 9th and 12th century, the structure can be used as a calendar and is noted for astronomical alignments. In...
  • The Piltdown Warning: Sometimes "settled science" has a way of turning out to be a complete fraud.

    12/21/2012 5:21:22 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 10 replies
    American Thinker ^ | 12/21/2012 | Bruce Walker
    The left loves to muster the armies of official "science" to discount conservative values and principles. Man-made global warming, of course, is one example. Natural cycles of warming and cooling are indisputable. When Europe was cooler, 10,000 years ago, Britain was not an island, and what would become the English Channel has been called Doggerland, a land bridge between Britain and mainland Europe. Doggerland vanished about 6,500 years ago as natural global warming melted the oceans enough to cause the sea to rise. Later, in the Little Ice Age, Britain endured a natural cooling which caused many crops to fail...
  • Fighting Shaped Human Hands

    12/21/2012 3:34:08 AM PST · by Makana · 33 replies
    The Journal of Experimental Biology ^ | December 19, 2012 | The Journal of Experimental Biology
    — The human hand is a finely tuned piece of equipment that is capable of remarkable dexterity: creating art, performing music and manipulating tools. Yet David Carrier from the University of Utah suggests that the human hand may have also evolved its distinctive proportions for a less enlightened reason: for use as a weapon. In a new study, Carrier and colleague Michael Morgan publish their theory that human hands evolved their square palms and long thumb to stabilise the fist and produce a compact club for use in combat.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M33: Triangulum Galaxy

    12/19/2012 9:29:54 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | December 20, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The small, northern constellation Triangulum harbors this magnificent face-on spiral galaxy, M33. Its popular names include the Pinwheel Galaxy or just the Triangulum Galaxy. M33 is over 50,000 light-years in diameter, third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), and our own Milky Way. About 3 million light-years from the Milky Way, M33 is itself thought to be a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy and astronomers in these two galaxies would likely have spectacular views of each other's grand spiral star systems. As for the view from planet Earth, this sharp composite image, a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 5189: An Unusually Complex Planetary Nebula

    12/19/2012 3:46:15 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | December 19, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why is this nebula so complex? When a star like our Sun is dying, it will cast off its outer layers, usually into a simple overall shape. Sometimes this shape is a sphere, sometimes a double lobe, and sometimes a ring or a helix. In the case of planetary nebula NGC 5189, however, no such simple structure has emerged. To help find out why, the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope recently observed NGC 5189 in great detail. Previous findings indicated the existence of multiple epochs of material outflow, including a recent one that created a bright but distorted torus running...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Sun Pillar Over Sweden

    12/18/2012 7:03:07 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | December 18, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you ever seen a sun pillar? When the air is cold and the Sun is rising or setting, falling ice crystals can reflect sunlight and create an unusual column of light. Ice sometimes forms flat, six-sided shaped crystals as it falls from high-level clouds. Air resistance causes these crystals to lie nearly flat much of the time as they flutter to the ground. Sunlight reflects off crystals that are properly aligned, creating the sun-pillar effect. In the above picture taken last week, a sun-pillar reflects light from a Sun setting over Östersund, Sweden.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 922: Collisional Ring Galaxy

    12/18/2012 6:58:33 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 17, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why does this galaxy have so many big black holes? No one is sure. What is sure is that NGC 922 is a ring galaxy created by the collision of a large and small galaxy about 300 million years ago. Like a rock thrown into a pond, the ancient collision sent ripples of high density gas out from the impact point near the center that partly condensed into stars. Pictured above is NGC 922 with its beautifully complex ring along the left side, as imaged recently by the Hubble Space Telescope. Observations of NGC 922 with the Chandra X-ray...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- MWC 922: The Red Square Nebula

    12/16/2012 1:01:56 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | December 16, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What could cause a nebula to appear square? No one is quite sure. The hot star system known as MWC 922, however, appears to be embedded in a nebula with just such a shape. The above image combines infrared exposures from the Hale Telescope on Mt. Palomar in California, and the Keck-2 Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. A leading progenitor hypothesis for the square nebula is that the central star or stars somehow expelled cones of gas during a late developmental stage. For MWC 922, these cones happen to incorporate nearly right angles and be visible from the...