Keyword: science

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Great Meteor Procession of 1913

    02/09/2013 11:52:18 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | February 09, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: One hundred years ago today the Great Meteor Procession of 1913 occurred, a sky event described by some as "magnificent" and "entrancing" and which left people feeling "spellbound" and "privileged". Because one had to be in a right location, outside, and under clear skies, only about 1,000 people noted seeing the procession. Lucky sky gazers -- particularly those near Toronto, Canada -- had their eyes drawn to an amazing train of bright meteors streaming across the sky, in groups, over the course of a few minutes. A current leading progenitor hypothesis is that a single large meteor once grazed...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6822: Barnard's Galaxy

    02/08/2013 3:57:57 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | February 08, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Grand spiral galaxies often seem to get all the glory, flaunting their young, bright, blue star clusters in beautiful, symmetric spiral arms. But small galaxies form stars too, like nearby NGC 6822, also known as Barnard's Galaxy. Beyond the rich starfields in the constellation Sagittarius, NGC 6822 is a mere 1.5 million light-years away, a member of our Local Group of galaxies. About 7,000 light-years across, the dwarf irregular galaxy is seen to be filled with young blue stars and mottled with the telltale pinkish hydrogen glow of star forming regions in the deep color composite image. Contributing to...
  • Bose-Einstein condensate created at room temperature

    02/07/2013 12:43:29 PM PST · by Kevmo · 106 replies
    Vortex-L ^ | Feb 6 2013 | Axil Axil
    RE: [Vo]:Bose-Einstein condensate created at room temperature Jones Beene Thu, 07 Feb 2013 11:13:22 -0800 Yes they can. In fact this could be important for LENR, should it be broad enough to include other boson quasiparticles, such as the magnon. The definitions are similar: polaritons are quasiparticles resulting from strong coupling of electromagnetic waves with an electric or magnetic dipole-carrying excitation. The magnon could be imagined to be the subset of that - where the coupling is only magnetic. However, it may be only a partial subset with other features included. Polaritons describe the dispersion of light (photons) with an...
  • Creation story isn't science but reveals God's love, pope says

    02/07/2013 6:26:00 AM PST · by Alex Murphy · 134 replies
    US Catholic ^ | February 6, 2013 | Carol Glatz
    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The biblical account of creation isn't a textbook for science, Pope Benedict XVI said. Instead, the first chapter of Genesis reveals the fundamental truth about reality: that the world is not the result of chaos, but is born of and continually supported by God's love, the pope said Feb. 6 at his weekly general audience. In a series of Year of Faith audience talks about the creed, Pope Benedict touched on the description of God as "creator of heaven and earth." In an age of science and advanced technology, how are Catholics supposed to understand the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Lemmon near the South Celestial Pole

    02/07/2013 4:00:05 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | February 07, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Currently sweeping through southern skies, Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) was named for its discovery last year as part of the Mount Lemmon (Arizona) Survey. Brighter than expected but still just below naked-eye visibility, Comet Lemmon sports a stunning lime green coma and faint divided tail in this telescopic image from February 4. The greenish tint comes from the coma's diatomic C2 gas fluorescing in sunlight. Captured from an observatory near Sydney, Australia, the color composite is constructed from a series of individual exposures registered on the comet. Across the 1 degree wide field of view, the star trails are...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Arms of M106

    02/06/2013 8:04:41 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 06, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The spiral arms of bright galaxy M106 sprawl through this remarkable multiframe portrait, composed of data from ground- and space-based telescopes. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 can be found toward the northern constellation Canes Venatici. The well-measured distance to M106 is 23.5 million light-years, making this cosmic scene about 80,000 light-years across. Typical in grand spiral galaxies, dark dust lanes, youthful blue star clusters, and pinkish star forming regions trace spiral arms that converge on the bright nucleus of older yellowish stars. But this detailed composite reveals hints of two anomalous arms that don't align with the more...
  • The Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla and his Tower

    02/06/2013 6:44:07 PM PST · by nickcarraway · 72 replies
    Smithsonian ^ | February 4, 2013
    By the end of his brilliant and tortured life, the Serbian physicist, engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla was penniless and living in a small New York City hotel room. He spent days in a park surrounded by the creatures that mattered most to him—pigeons—and his sleepless nights working over mathematical equations and scientific problems in his head. That habit would confound scientists and scholars for decades after he died, in 1943. His inventions were designed and perfected in his imagination. Tesla believed his mind to be without equal, and he wasn’t above chiding his contemporaries, such as Thomas Edison, who...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars: Shadow at Point Lake

    02/05/2013 5:05:14 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | February 05, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn't human? Then you might be the robotic Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars. Curiosity landed in Gale Crater last August and has been busy looking for signs of ancient running water and clues that Mars could once have harbored life. Pictured above, Curiosity has taken a wide panorama that includes its own shadow in the direction opposite the Sun. The image was taken in November from a location dubbed Point Lake, although no water presently exists there. Curiosity has already discovered several indications of dried streambeds on Mars, and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Namibian Nights

    02/04/2013 6:16:25 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 04, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Namibia has some of the darkest nights visible from any continent. It is therefore home to some of the more spectacular skyscapes, a few of which have been captured in the above time-lapse video. Visible at the movie start are unusual quiver trees perched before a deep starfield highlighted by the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. This bright band of stars and gas appears to pivot around the celestial south pole as our Earth rotates. The remains of camel thorn trees are then seen against a sky that includes a fuzzy patch on the far right that...
  • Oregon State University Wins Contract to Build New Oceanographic Research Vessels

    02/02/2013 10:37:33 PM PST · by neverdem · 10 replies
    ScienceInsider ^ | 1 February 2013 | Carolyn Gramling
    Enlarge Image Credit: UNOLS As many as three new coastal research vessels are slated to join the United States' oceanographic research fleet—and Oregon State University will take the lead in designing and building them, OSU President Edward Ray announced yesterday. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will give OSU an initial $3 million to coordinate the concept design; the total expected cost will be $290 million, assuming the U.S. Congress comes up with the money for the new ships. The vessels are part of a long-term plan to replace some of the vessels in the rapidly aging U.S. scientific fleet....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- L Ori and the Orion Nebula

    02/02/2013 9:25:36 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 25 replies
    NASA ^ | February 03, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This esthetic close-up of cosmic clouds and stellar winds features LL Orionis, interacting with the Orion Nebula flow. Adrift in Orion's stellar nursery and still in its formative years, variable star LL Orionis produces a wind more energetic than the wind from our own middle-aged Sun. As the fast stellar wind runs into slow moving gas a shock front is formed, analogous to the bow wave of a boat moving through water or a plane traveling at supersonic speed. The small, arcing, graceful structure just above and left of center is LL Ori's cosmic bow shock, measuring about half...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Herschel's Andromeda

    02/02/2013 9:46:25 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 02, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This infrared view from the Herschel Space Observatory explores the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest large spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way. Only 2.5 million light-years distant, the famous island universe is also known to astronomers as M31. Andromeda spans over 200,000 light-years making it more the twice the size of the Milky Way. Shown in false color, the image data reveal the cool dust lanes and clouds that still shine in the infrared but are otherwise dark and opaque at visual wavelengths. Red hues near the galaxy's outskirts represent the glow of dust heated by starlight to a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Atlas V Launches TDRS-K

    02/01/2013 5:09:21 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | February 01, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Beyond a fertile field of satellite communication antennas at Kennedy Space Center, an Atlas V rocket streaks into orbit in this long exposure photograph. In the thoughtfully composed image recorded on the evening of January 30, the antennas in the foreground bring to mind the rocket's payload, a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS; sounds like TEE-dress). This TDRS-K is the first in a next-generation series adding to the constellation of NASA's communication satellites. Operating from geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) above planet Earth, the network of TDRS satellites relays communications, data, and commands between spacecraft and ground...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 4372 and the Dark Doodad

    01/31/2013 3:29:35 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | January 31, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The delightful Dark Doodad Nebula drifts through southern skies, a tantalizing target for binoculars in the constellation Musca, The Fly. The dusty cosmic cloud is seen against rich starfields just south of the prominent Coalsack Nebula and the Southern Cross. Stretching for about 3 degrees across this scene the Dark Doodad seems punctuated at its southern tip (lower left) by globular star cluster NGC 4372. Of course NGC 4372 roams the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy, a background object some 20,000 light-years away and only by chance along our line-of-sight to the Dark Doodad. The Dark Doodad's well...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Full Moon Silhouettes

    01/30/2013 4:35:44 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | January 30, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you ever watched the Moon rise? The slow rise of a nearly full moon over a clear horizon can be an impressive sight. One impressive moonrise was imaged two nights ago over Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand. With detailed planning, an industrious astrophotographer placed a camera about two kilometers away and pointed it across the lookout to where the Moon would surely soon be making its nightly debut. The above single shot sequence is unedited and shown in real time -- it is not a time lapse. People on Mount Victoria Lookout can be seen in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Apollo 16: Driving on the Moon

    01/30/2013 4:32:11 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | January 29, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it be like to drive on the Moon? You don't have to guess -- humans have actually done it. Pictured above, Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke recorded video during one such drive in 1972, with a digital version now available on the web. No matter which direction it headed, the Lunar Rover traveled a path literally covered with rocks and craters. The first half of the above video shows the rover zipping about a moonscape near 10 kilometers per hour, while the second half shows a dash-cam like view. The Lunar Rover was deployed...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- In the Center of the Trifid Nebula

    01/28/2013 4:16:35 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | January 28, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Clouds of glowing gas mingle with dust lanes in the Trifid Nebula, a star forming region toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). In the center, the three prominent dust lanes that give the Trifid its name all come together. Mountains of opaque dust appear on the right, while other dark filaments of dust are visible threaded throughout the nebula. A single massive star visible near the center causes much of the Trifid's glow. The Trifid, also known as M20, is only about 300,000 years old, making it among the youngest emission nebulae known. The nebula lies about 9,000...
  • Ray Kurzweil Says We’re Going to Live Forever

    01/27/2013 10:33:01 PM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 14 replies
    The New York Times ^ | January 25, 2013 | Andrew Goldman
    As a futurist, you are famous for making predictions of when technological innovations will actually occur. Are you willing to predict the year you will die? My plan is to stick around. We’ll get to a point about 15 years from now where we’re adding more than a year every year to your life expectancy. To clarify, you’re predicting your immortality. The problem is I can’t get on the phone with you in the future and say, “Well, I’ve done it, I have lived forever,” because it’s never forever. You have described microscopic nanobots of the future that will be...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet McNaught Over Chile

    01/26/2013 9:52:07 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | January 27, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Comet McNaught of 2007 has been, so far, the most photogenic comet of our time. After making quite a show in the northern hemisphere in early 2007 January, the comet moved south and developed a long and unusual dust tail that dazzled southern hemisphere observers. In this image, Comet McNaught was captured above Santiago, Chile. The bright comet dominates on the left while part of its magnificent tail spreads across the entire frame. From this vantage point in the Andes Mountains, one looks up toward Comet McNaught and a magnificent sky, across at a crescent moon, and down on...
  • "Simulated Pickett N4-ES Slide Rule". (For all you egg heads.)

    01/26/2013 9:50:45 AM PST · by Islander7 · 58 replies
    AntiQuark ^ | Feb 6, 2005 | Derek
    Following up on my original post, I've scanned and virtualized my Pickett N4-ES Vector Type LOG LOG DUAL BASE SPEED RULE. That's the most complicated rule that Picket produced. It has 34 scales, which is good, because in the world of slide rule collecting, bigger is better. ().
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Alaskan Moondogs

    01/25/2013 9:53:01 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | January 26, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Moonlight illuminates a snowy scene in this night land and skyscape made on January 17 from Lower Miller Creek, Alaska, USA. Overexposed near the mountainous western horizon is the first quarter Moon itself, surrounded by an icy halo and flanked left and right by moondogs. Sometimes called mock moons, a more scientific name for the luminous apparations is paraselenae (plural). Analogous to a sundog or parhelion, a paraselene is produced by moonlight refracted through thin, hexagonal, plate-shaped ice crystals in high cirrus clouds. As determined by the crystal geometry, paraselenae are seen at an angle of 22 degrees or...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Matijevic Hill Panorama

    01/25/2013 3:44:48 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | January 25, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On January 25 (UT) 2004, the Opportunity rover fell to Mars, making today the 9th anniversary of its landing. After more than 3,200 sols (Mars solar days) the golf cart-sized robot from Earth is still actively exploring the Red Planet, though its original mission plan was for three months. Having driven some 35 kilometers (22 miles) from its landing site, Opportunity's panoramic camera recorded the segments of this scene, in November and December of last year. The digitally stitched panorama spans more than 210 degrees across the Matijevic Hill area along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. Features dubbed...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- ISS and the Summer Milky Way

    01/24/2013 3:42:15 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | January 24, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Clouds on a summer night frame this sea and skyscape, recorded earlier this month near Buenos Aires, Argentina. But planet Earth's clouds are not the only clouds on the scene. Starry clouds and nebulae along the southern hemisphere's summer Milky Way arc above the horizon, including the dark Coal Sack near the Southern Cross and the tantalizing pinkish glow of the Carina Nebula. Both the Large (top center) and Small Magellanic Clouds are also in view, small galaxies in their own right and satellites of the Milky Way up to 200,000 light-years distant. Alpha star of the Carina constellation...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Nearby Spiral Galaxy NGC 4945

    01/23/2013 3:40:56 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | January 23, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Large spiral galaxy NGC 4945 is seen edge-on near the center of this cosmic galaxy portrait. In fact, NGC 4945 is almost the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy. Its own dusty disk, young blue star clusters, and pink star forming regions standout in the sharp, colorful telescopic image. About 13 million light-years distant toward the expansive southern constellation Centaurus, NGC 4945 is only about six times farther away than Andromeda, the nearest large spiral galaxy to the Milky Way. Though the galaxy's central region is largely hidden from view for optical telescopes, X-ray and infrared observations indicate...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Cygnus Wall of Star Formation

    01/22/2013 9:02:41 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | January 22, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The North America nebula on the sky can do what the North America continent on Earth cannot -- form stars. Specifically, in analogy to the Earth-confined continent, the bright part that appears as Central America and Mexico is actually a hot bed of gas, dust, and newly formed stars known as the Cygnus Wall. The above image shows the star forming wall lit and eroded by bright young stars, and partly hidden by the dark dust they have created. The part of the North America nebula (NGC 7000) shown spans about 15 light years and lies about 1,500 light...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Huygens: Titan Descent Movie

    01/20/2013 9:49:52 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | January 21, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it look like to land on Saturn's moon Titan? The European Space Agency's Huygens probe set down on the Solar System's cloudiest moon in 2005, and a time-lapse video of its descent images was created. Huygens separated from the robotic Cassini spacecraft soon after it achieved orbit around Saturn in late 2004 and began approaching Titan. For two hours after arriving, Huygens plummeted toward Titan's surface, recording at first only the shrouded moon's opaque atmosphere. The computerized truck-tire sized probe soon deployed a parachute to slow its decent, pierced the thick clouds, and began transmitting images of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Antikythera Mechanism

    01/19/2013 9:15:30 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | January 20, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What is it? It was found at the bottom of the sea aboard an ancient Greek ship. Its seeming complexity has prompted decades of study, although some of its functions remained unknown. X-ray images of the device have confirmed the nature of the Antikythera mechanism, and discovered several surprising functions. The Antikythera mechanism has been discovered to be a mechanical computer of an accuracy thought impossible in 80 BC, when the ship that carried it sank. Such sophisticated technology was not thought to be developed by humanity for another 1,000 years. Its wheels and gears create a portable orrery...
  • Solar System Ice: Source of Earth's Water

    07/14/2012 6:12:51 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    Carnegie Institution ^ | Thursday, July 12, 2012 | unattributed
    Scientists have long believed that comets and, or a type of very primitive meteorite called carbonaceous chondrites were the sources of early Earth's volatile elements -- which include hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon -- and possibly organic material, too. Understanding where these volatiles came from is crucial for determining the origins of both water and life on the planet. New research led by Carnegie's Conel Alexander focuses on frozen water that was distributed throughout much of the early Solar System, but probably not in the materials that aggregated to initially form Earth... It has been suggested that both comets and carbonaceous...
  • Material linked to ancient volcanic eruption in Alaska

    01/19/2013 8:13:22 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    Alaska Science Forum ^ | Thursday, January 17, 2013 | Ned Rozell
    The White River Ash blasted from giant eruptions somewhere in today's Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains, drifted as far away as Ireland and Germany... Ash from the White River eruptions, possibly from 15,638-foot Mount Churchill or at least close to it, left an easy-to-see mark on eastern Alaska and northwestern Canada. Explorer Frederick Schwatka documented the ash in 1885 in his book "Along Alaska's Great River." People driving the Klondike Highway pass more than two feet of the whitish grit exposed in road cuts on their journey through the Yukon Territory... Froese and Jensen traveled in the Yukon to a branch of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Barnard Stares at NGC 2170

    01/19/2013 6:21:02 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | January 19, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A gaze across a cosmic skyscape, this telescopic mosaic reveals the continuous beauty of things that are. The evocative scene spans some 6 degrees or 12 Full Moons in planet Earth's sky. At the left, folds of red, glowing gas are a small part of an immense, 300 light-year wide arc. Known as Barnard's loop, the structure is too faint to be seen with the eye, shaped by long gone supernova explosions and the winds from massive stars, and still traced by the light of hydrogen atoms. Barnard's loop lies about 1,500 light-years away roughly centered on the Great...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stickney Crater

    01/18/2013 3:13:45 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 52 replies
    NASA ^ | January 18, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Stickney Crater, the largest crater on the martian moon Phobos, is named for Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall, mathematician and wife of astronomer Asaph Hall. Asaph Hall discovered both the Red Planet's moons in 1877. Over 9 kilometers across, Stickney is nearly half the diameter of Phobos itself, so large that the impact that blasted out the crater likely came close to shattering the tiny moon. This stunning, enhanced-color image of Stickney and surroundings was recorded by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as it passed within some six thousand kilometers of Phobos in March of 2008. Even...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Cas A: Optical and X-ray

    01/17/2013 4:28:40 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | January 17, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The aftermath of a cosmic cataclysm, supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A) is a comfortable 11,000 light-years away. Light from the Cas A supernova, the death explosion of a massive star, first reached Earth just 330 years ago. Still expanding, the explosion's debris cloud spans about 15 light-years near the center of this composite image. The scene combines color data of the starry field and fainter filaments of material at optical energies with image data from the orbiting NuSTAR X-ray telescope. Mapped to false colors, the X-ray data in blue hues trace the fragmented outer ring of the expanding...
  • How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists

    01/16/2013 4:41:13 PM PST · by EveningStar · 266 replies
    io9 ^ | January 15, 2013 | George Dvorsky
    For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana. We recently spoke to him to learn more about how he's making a difference.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 1309: Spiral Galaxy and Friends

    01/16/2013 4:03:13 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | January 16, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A gorgeous spiral galaxy some 100 million light-years distant, NGC 1309 lies on the banks of the constellation of the River (Eridanus). NGC 1309 spans about 30,000 light-years, making it about one third the size of our larger Milky Way galaxy. Bluish clusters of young stars and dust lanes are seen to trace out NGC 1309's spiral arms as they wind around an older yellowish star population at its core. Not just another pretty face-on spiral galaxy, observations of NGC 1309's recent supernova and Cepheid variable stars contribute to the calibration of the expansion of the Universe. Still, after...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Solar Ballet

    01/15/2013 4:05:56 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | January 15, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sometimes, the Sun itself seems to dance. On just this past New Year's Eve, for example, NASA's Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamic Observatory spacecraft imaged an impressive prominence erupting from the Sun's surface. The dramatic explosion was captured in ultraviolet light in the above time lapse video covering four hours. Of particular interest is the tangled magnetic field that directs a type of solar ballet for the hot plasma as it falls back to the Sun. The scale of the disintegrating prominence is huge -- the entire Earth would easily fit under the flowing curtain of hot gas. A quiescent prominence...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2170: Celestial Still Life

    01/14/2013 6:57:55 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | January 14, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In this celestial still life composed with a cosmic brush, dusty nebula NGC 2170 shines left of image center. Reflecting the light of nearby hot stars, NGC 2170 is joined by other bluish reflection nebulae, a red emission region, many dark absorption nebulae, and a backdrop of colorful stars. Like the common household items still life painters often choose for their subjects, these clouds of gas, dust, and hot stars are also commonly found in this setting -- a massive, star-forming molecular cloud in the constellation Monoceros. The giant molecular cloud, Mon R2, is impressively close, estimated to be...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 602 and Beyond

    01/13/2013 8:47:25 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | January 13, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Near the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies 5 million year young star cluster NGC 602. Surrounded by natal gas and dust, NGC 602 is featured in this stunning Hubble image of the region. Fantastic ridges and swept back shapes strongly suggest that energetic radiation and shock waves from NGC 602's massive young stars have eroded the dusty material and triggered a progression of star formation moving away from the cluster's center. At the estimated distance of the Small Magellanic Cloud, the picture spans about 200 light-years, but a tantalizing...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Ten Billion Earths

    01/11/2013 9:37:59 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | January 12, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How common are Earth-sized planets? Quite common, according to extrapolations from new data taken by NASA's orbiting Kepler spacecraft. Current computer models are indicating that at least one in ten stars are orbited by an Earth-sized planet, making our Milky Way Galaxy the home to over ten billion Earths. Unfortunately, this estimate applies only to planets effectively inside the orbit of Mercury, making these hot-Earths poor vacation opportunities for humans. This histogram depicts the estimated fraction of stars that have close orbiting planets of various sizes. The number of Sun-like stars with Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits is surely...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Fornax Cluster of Galaxies

    01/11/2013 3:10:10 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | January 11, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How do clusters of galaxies form and evolve? To help find out, astronomers continue to study the second closest cluster of galaxies to Earth: the Fornax cluster, named for the southern constellation toward which most of its galaxies can be found. Although almost 20 times more distant than our neighboring Andromeda galaxy, Fornax is only about 10 percent further that the better known and more populated Virgo cluster of galaxies. Fornax has a well-defined central region that contains many galaxies, but is still evolving. It has other galaxy groupings that appear distinct and have yet to merge. Seen here,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Orion Bullets

    01/10/2013 3:45:10 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | January 10, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cosmic bullets pierce the outskirts of the Orion Nebula some 1500 light-years distant in this sharp infrared close-up. Blasted out by energetic massive star formation the bullets, relatively dense, hot gas clouds about ten times the size of Pluto's orbit, are blue in the false color image. Glowing with the light of ionized iron atoms they travel at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second, their passage traced by yellowish trails of the nebula's shock-heated hydrogen gas. The cone-shaped wakes are up to a fifth of a light-year long. The detailed image was created using the 8.1 meter Gemini...
  • How to Destroy Science: Cast Self-Interest as Public Interest

    01/10/2013 12:38:08 AM PST · by Cincinatus' Wife · 7 replies
    The American Thinker ^ | January 13, 2013 | Norman Rogers
    ......................Organized science has become another special interest group lobbying for government favors. The temptation to present special-interest appeals as urgent public necessities has become not just irresistible, but commonplace. It is well-known that global warming skeptics are shut out...... ....The true believers in the threat of global warming use "education" and "communication" as euphemisms for suppressing and marginalizing dissenters. This crowd is strongly tempted by totalitarian solutions. The leading advocate of global warming fear, Dr. James Hansen, wants to put people who don't toe the line on trial for crimes against humanity. Peter Gleick, a scientist, a well-known advocate of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Elusive Jellyfish Nebula

    01/09/2013 4:51:54 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | January 09, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Normally faint and elusive, the Jellyfish Nebula is caught in this alluring telescopic view. Drifting near bright star Eta Geminorum, at the foot of a celestial twin, the Jellyfish Nebula is seen dangling tentacles from the bright arcing ridge of emission left of center. In fact, the cosmic jellyfish is part of bubble-shaped supernova remnant IC 443, the expanding debris cloud from a massive star that exploded. Light from the explosion first reached planet Earth over 30,000 years ago. Like its cousin in astrophysical waters the Crab Nebula supernova remnant, IC 443 is known to harbor a neutron star,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Grand Spiral Galaxy NGC 7424

    01/08/2013 6:47:16 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | January 08, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The grand, winding arms are almost mesmerizing in this face-on view of NGC 7424, a spiral galaxy with a prominent central bar. About 40 million light-years distant in the headlong constellation Grus, this island universe is also about 100,000 light-years across making it remarkably similar to our own Milky Way. Following along the winding arms, many bright clusters of massive young stars can be found. The star clusters themselves are several hundred light-years in diameter. And while massive stars are born in the arms of NGC 7424, they also die there. Notably, this galaxy was home to a powerful...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula

    01/07/2013 4:52:59 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | January 07, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: AE Aurigae is called the flaming star. The surrounding nebula IC 405 is named the Flaming Star Nebula and the region seems to harbor smoke, but there is no fire. Fire, typically defined as the rapid molecular acquisition of oxygen, happens only when sufficient oxygen is present and is not important in such high-energy, low-oxygen environments. The material that appears as smoke is mostly interstellar hydrogen, but does contain smoke-like dark filaments of carbon-rich dust grains. The bright star AE Aurigae, visible near the nebula center, is so hot it is blue, emitting light so energetic it knocks electrons...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Dark Tower in Scorpius

    01/05/2013 9:26:50 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 21 replies
    NASA ^ | January 06, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In silhouette against a crowded star field toward the constellation Scorpius, this dusty cosmic cloud evokes for some the image of an ominous dark tower. In fact, clumps of dust and molecular gas collapsing to form stars may well lurk within the dark nebula, a structure that spans almost 40 light-years across this gorgeous telescopic portrait. Known as a cometary globule, the swept-back cloud, extending from the lower right to the head (top of the tower) left and above center, is shaped by intense ultraviolet radiation from the OB association of very hot stars in NGC 6231, off the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stereo Helene

    01/04/2013 9:22:05 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | January 05, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Get out your red/blue glasses and float next to Helene, small, icy moon of Saturn. Appropriately named, Helene is one of four known Trojan moons, so called because it orbits at a Lagrange point. A Lagrange point is a gravitationally stable position near two massive bodies, in this case Saturn and larger moon Dione. In fact, irregularly shaped ( about 36 by 32 by 30 kilometers) Helene orbits at Dione's leading Lagrange point while brotherly ice moon Polydeuces follows at Dione's trailing Lagrange point. The sharp stereo anaglyph was constructed from two Cassini images (N00172886, N00172892) captured during a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunrise at Tycho

    01/04/2013 6:23:45 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | January 04, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Tycho crater's central peak complex casts a long, dark shadow near local sunrise in this spectacular lunarscape. The dramatic oblique view was recorded on June 10, 2011 by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Shown in amazing detail, boulder strewn slopes and jagged shadows appear in the highest resolution version at 1.5 meters per pixel. The rugged complex is about 15 kilometers wide, formed in uplift by the giant impact that created the well-known ray crater 100 million years ago. The summit of its central peak reaches 2 kilometers above the Tycho crater floor.
  • Half the Facts You Know Are Probably Wrong

    01/03/2013 7:37:50 PM PST · by neverdem · 83 replies
    Reason ^ | January 2013 | Ronald Bailey
    Old truths decay and new ones are born at an astonishing rate.Dinosaurs were cold-blooded. Increased K-12 spending and lower pupil/teacher ratios boost public school student outcomes. Most of the DNA in the human genome is junk. Saccharin causes cancer and a high fiber diet prevents it. Stars cannot be bigger than 150 solar masses.In the past half-century, all of the foregoing facts have turned out to be wrong. In the modern world facts change all of the time, according to Samuel Arbesman, author of the new book The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date (Current). Fact-making...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Open Star Clusters M35 and NGC 2158

    01/03/2013 6:15:25 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | January 03, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Open clusters of stars can be near or far, young or old, and diffuse or compact. Found near the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, they contain from 100 to 10,000 stars, all of which formed at nearly the same time. Bright blue stars frequently distinguish younger open clusters. M35, on the upper left, is relatively nearby at 2800 light years distant, relatively young at 150 million years old, and relatively diffuse, with about 2500 stars spread out over a volume 30 light years across. An older and more compact open cluster, NGC 2158, is at the lower right....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Einstein Cross Gravitational Lens

    01/02/2013 6:47:13 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | January 02, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Most galaxies have a single nucleus -- does this galaxy have four? The strange answer leads astronomers to conclude that the nucleus of the surrounding galaxy is not even visible in this image. The central cloverleaf is rather light emitted from a background quasar. The gravitational field of the visible foreground galaxy breaks light from this distant quasar into four distinct images. The quasar must be properly aligned behind the center of a massive galaxy for a mirage like this to be evident. The general effect is known as gravitational lensing, and this specific case is known as the...