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Keyword: science

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Landing on Planet Earth

    09/14/2013 5:43:54 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | September 14, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: With parachute deployed and retro-rockets blazing, this spacecraft landed on planet Earth on September 11 (UT) in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Seen in silhouette against the rockets' glare, the spacecraft is a Soyuz TMA-08M. Its crew, Expedition 36 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA were returning after five and half months aboard the International Space Station. The Soyuz retro-rockets fire very quickly and for an extremely short duration near touchdown. Capturing the moment, the well-timed photograph was taken...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Crescent Moon Meets Evening Star

    09/13/2013 5:39:53 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | September 13, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On September 8, brilliant planet Venus appearing as the evening star stood near a slender, crescent Moon at sunset. The close celestial pairing or conjunction was a scene enjoyed by skygazers around the world. But from some locations in South America, the Moon actually passed in front of Venus in a lunar occultation. Captured near Las Cańas, Uruguay, this two frame mosaic telescopic view shows the Moon and Venus before and after the occultation. The silvery evening star appears at right just before it winked out behind the dark lunar limb, still in bright twilight skies. About an hour...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stars and Dust Across Corona Australis

    09/12/2013 6:06:33 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | September 12, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cosmic dust clouds sprawl across a rich field of stars in this sweeping telescopic vista near the northern boundary of Corona Australis, the Southern Crown. Less than 500 light-years away the dust clouds effectively block light from more distant background stars in the Milky Way. The entire frame spans about 2 degrees or over 15 light-years at the clouds' estimated distance. Near center is a group of lovely reflection nebulae cataloged as NGC 6726, 6727, 6729, and IC 4812. A characteristic blue color is produced as light from hot stars is reflected by the cosmic dust. The dust also...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- LADEE Launch Streak

    09/11/2013 3:49:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | September 11, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On September 6, a starry night and the Milky Way witnessed the launch of a Minotaur V rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. So did a large part of the eastern United States, as the spectacular night launch was easily visible even from light polluted urban areas. This 35 second exposure captures part of the rocket's initial launch streak and 2nd stage ignition flare along with a brilliant reflection of the fiery sky in calm waters. The stunning view faces south and west from a vantage point overlooking Sinepuxent Bay in Maryland about 20 miles...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Extrasolar Super-Earth Gliese 1214b Might Hold Water

    09/10/2013 3:49:55 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | September 10, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Might this distant planet hold water? Actually, given how close Gliese 1214b is to its parent star, any water, if it exists, would surely be in the form of steam. In the above artist's illustration, the super-Earth Gliese 1214b is imagined passing in front of its parent star, creating a mini-eclipse that alerted humanity to its presence. Gliese 1214b, also designated GJ 1214b, has been designated a super-Earth because it is larger than the Earth but smaller a planet like Neptune. The entire Gliese 1214 planetary system is of the closest known systems to our Sun, located only 42...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Nearby Cepheid Variable RS Pup

    09/09/2013 7:42:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | September 09, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is one of the most important stars in the sky. This is partly because, by coincidence, it is surrounded by a dazzling reflection nebula. Pulsating RS Puppis, the brightest star in the image center, is some ten times more massive than our Sun and on average 15,000 times more luminous. In fact, RS Pup is a Cepheid type variable star, a class of stars whose brightness is used to estimate distances to nearby galaxies as one of the first steps in establishing the cosmic distance scale. As RS Pup pulsates over a period of about 40 days, its...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Roll Cloud Over Wisconsin

    09/08/2013 11:59:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | September 08, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What kind of cloud is this? A type of arcus cloud called a roll cloud. These rare long clouds may form near advancing cold fronts. In particular, a downdraft from an advancing storm front can cause moist warm air to rise, cool below its dew point, and so form a cloud. When this happens uniformly along an extended front, a roll cloud may form. Roll clouds may actually have air circulating along the long horizontal axis of the cloud. A roll cloud is not thought to be able to morph into a tornado. Unlike a similar shelf cloud, a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Night in the Andes Ice Forest

    09/08/2013 11:58:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | September 07, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This forest of snow and ice penitentes reflects moonlight shining across the Chajnantor plateau. The region lies in the Chilean Andes at an altitude of 5,000 meters, not far from one of planet Earth's major astronomical observatories, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. Up to several meters high, the flattened, sharp-edged shapes, and orientation of the penitentes tend to minimize their shadows at local noon. In the dry, cold, thin atmosphere, sublimation driven by sunlight is important for their formation. A direct transition from a solid to a gaseous state, sublimation shapes other solar system terrains too, like icy surfaces...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Quiet Sagittarius A*

    09/08/2013 11:57:55 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | September 06, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Hot gas is hard to swallow. At least that seems to be true for the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Known as source Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way's black hole is centered in this infrared (red and yellow hues) and X-ray (blue) composite. Based on data from an extensive campaign of observations by the orbiting Chandra X-ray telescope, the diffuse emission surrounding the black hole is seen in the close-up inset, the inset field spanning about 1/2 light-year across the galactic center some 26,000 light-years away. Astronomers have found that the X-ray emission...
  • Moon probe has small glitch after launch, NASA says

    09/07/2013 11:29:29 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    NBC ^ | 1 hour ago | Miriam Kramer, Space.com
    Although the launch was nearly flawless, LADEE ran into some trouble right after its separation from the Minotaur V. The probe's onboard computer shut down LADEE's reaction wheels, which are used to stabilize the attitude of the probe in space, after noticing that they were drawing too much current. Engineers will work to develop a repair plan over the next few days. But there's not a great deal of time pressure at the moment, Worden said. LADEE will take nearly a month to get to the moon on its long and looping route. "The nice thing about this is that...
  • A Fascinating Report from the Government Accountability Office (on green jobs)

    09/06/2013 12:10:13 AM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    The American ^ | September 4, 2013 | Benjamin Zycher
    The bureaucracy’s analysis of green jobs leaves a lot to be desired. No, really. Like a million monkeys pounding on keyboards, even the Beltway occasionally produces something Shakespearean, and fortunate indeed we are to be alive in the summer of 2013, as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report (PDF) announcing that the “[Department of] Labor’s Green Jobs Efforts Highlight Challenges of Targeted Training Programs for Emerging Industries.”B-O-R-I-N-G, you say? You are oh, so wrong. GAO was happy to translate that bureaucratese right up front: “Of the $595 million identified by Labor as having been appropriated or allocated...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M1: The Incredible Expanding Crab

    09/05/2013 7:37:34 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | September 05, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first on Charles Messier's famous list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, an expanding cloud of debris from the explosion of a massive star. The violent birth of the Crab was witnessed by astronomers in the year 1054. Roughly 10 light-years across today, the nebula is still expanding at a rate of over 1,000 kilometers per second. Want to watch the Crab Nebula expand? Check out this video (vimeo) animation comparing an image of M1 taken in 1999 at...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- IRAS 20324: Evaporating Protostar

    09/04/2013 4:04:22 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | September 04, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Will this caterpillar-shaped interstellar cloud one day evolve into a butterfly-shaped nebula? No one is sure. What is sure is that IRAS 20324+4057, on the inside, is contracting to form a new star. On the outside, however, energetic winds are blowing and energetic light is eroding away much of the gas and dust that might have been used to form the star. Therefore, no one is sure what mass the resulting star will have, and, therefore, no one knows the fate of this star. Were the winds and light to whittle the protostar down near the mass of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- North America and the Pelican

    09/03/2013 4:28:42 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | September 03, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Here lie familiar shapes in unfamiliar locations. On the left is an emission nebula cataloged as NGC 7000, famous partly because it resembles our fair planet's continent of North America. The emission region to the right of the North America Nebula is IC 5070, also known for its suggestive outlines as the Pelican Nebula. Separated by a dark cloud of obscuring dust, the two bright nebulae are about 1,500 light-years away. At that distance, the 4 degree wide field of view spans 100 light-years. This spectacular cosmic portrait combines narrow band images to highlight bright ionization fronts with fine...
  • Tiny human brains grown by scientists (Video link)

    09/02/2013 5:19:21 PM PDT · by workerbee · 29 replies
    MSN ^ | 9/2/13
    In a breakthrough one researcher calls 'mindboggling,' miniature brains are now being grown in labs for study.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way Over Spain's Bardenas Reales

    09/02/2013 12:33:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | September 02, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that below the Milky Way? First, across the top of the above image, lies the faint band that is our planet's sideways view of the central disk of our home Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way band can be seen most clear nights from just about anywhere on Earth with a dark sky. What lies beneath is, by comparison, is a much less common sight. It is the striking peak of Castildetierra, a rock formation located in Bardenas Reales, a natural badlands in northeast Spain. Standing 50 meters tall, the rock spire includes clay and sandstone left over...
  • DNA reveals details of the peopling of the Americas

    09/02/2013 8:46:52 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 32 replies
    Science News ^ | August 12, 2013 | Tina Hesman Saey
    The scientists examined the DNA of mitochondria, tiny power plants within cells that get passed down from mother to child. Scientists use mitochondrial DNA from living populations to decipher ancient movements of their ancestors. Most studies have examined only a small part of the mitochondria's circular piece of DNA. But Antonio Torroni, a geneticist at the University of Pavia in Italy, and his coauthors compiled complete mitochondrial genomes from 41 native North Americans and combined that data with information from previous studies... supports the widely accepted notion of an initial coastal migration wave. A second wave of migration probably left...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Fire on Earth [from year 2000]

    08/31/2013 9:14:15 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | September 01, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sometimes, regions of planet Earth light up with fire. Since fire is the rapid acquisition of oxygen, and since oxygen is a key indicator of life, fire on any planet would be an indicator of life on that planet. Most of the Earth's land has been scorched by fire at some time in the past. Although causing many a tragedy, for many places on Earth fire is considered part of a natural ecosystem cycle. Large forest fires on Earth are usually caused by lightning and can be visible from orbit. Above, in the year 2000, stunned elk avoid a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 5195: The Dot Under the Question Mark

    08/31/2013 6:19:59 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | August 31, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Dwarf galaxy NGC 5195 is best known as the smaller companion of spiral M51, the Whirlpool galaxy. Seen together they seem to trace the curve and dot of a cosmic question mark, recorded in Lord Rosse's 19th century drawings as one of the original spiral nebulae. Dwarfed by enormous M51 (aka NGC 5194), NGC 5195 spans about 20,000 light-years. A close encounter with M51 has likely triggered star formation and enhanced that galaxy's prominent spiral arms. Processed from image data available in the Hubble Legacy Archive, this majestic close-up of NGC 5195 makes it clear that the dwarf galaxy...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Sagittarius Triplet

    08/30/2013 7:49:25 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | August 30, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula left of center, and colorful M20 on the right. The third, NGC 6559, is above M8, separated from the larger nebula by a dark dust lane. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across, is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20's popular moniker is the Trifid. Glowing...