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Keyword: science

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Titan's Land of Lakes

    12/21/2013 6:53:05 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | December 20, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Saturn's large moon Titan would be unique in our solar system, the only world with stable liquid lakes and seas on its surface ... except for planet Earth of course. Centered on the north pole, this colorized map shows Titan's bodies of methane and ethane in blue and black, still liquid at frigid surface temperatures of -180 degrees C (-292 degrees F). The map is based on data from the Cassini spacecraft's radar, taken during flybys between 2004 and 2013. Roughly heart-shaped, the lake above and right of the pole is Ligeia Mare, the second largest known body of...
  • The Mating Habits of Early Hominins

    12/19/2013 12:22:35 PM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 56 replies
    The Scientist ^ | December 18, 2013 | Ruth Williams
    A high-quality genome sequence obtained from a female Neanderthal toe bone reveals that the individual’s parents were close relatives and that such inbreeding was prevalent among her recent ancestors, according to a paper published today (December 18) in Nature. But the sequence also reveals that interbreeding occurred between Neanderthals and other hominin groups, including early modern humans. “Did humans evolve like a constantly branching tree? A lot of people think so,” said Milford Wolpoff, a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the study. “But there’s also been this thread of thought, by some...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Colorful Moon

    12/19/2013 12:01:14 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | December 19, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Moon is normally seen in subtle shades of grey or yellow. But small, measurable color differences have been greatly exaggerated to make this telescopic, multicolored, moonscape captured during the Moon's full phase. The different colors are recognized to correspond to real differences in the chemical makeup of the lunar surface. Blue hues reveal titanium rich areas while orange and purple colors show regions relatively poor in titanium and iron. The familiar Sea of Tranquility, or Mare Tranquillitatis, is the blue area in the upper right corner of the frame. White lines radiate across the orange-hued southern lunar highlands...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Light Pillars over Finland

    12/18/2013 3:50:19 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 18, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening behind those houses? Pictured above are not aurora but nearby light pillars, a local phenomenon that can appear as a distant one. In most places on Earth, a lucky viewer can see a Sun-pillar, a column of light appearing to extend up from the Sun caused by flat fluttering ice-crystals reflecting sunlight from the upper atmosphere. Usually these ice crystals evaporate before reaching the ground. During freezing temperatures, however, flat fluttering ice crystals may form near the ground in a form of light snow, sometimes known as a crystal fog. These ice crystals may then reflect ground...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Geminid Meteors over Teide Volcano Image

    12/17/2013 6:03:45 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 17, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On some nights it rains meteors. Peaking two nights ago, asteroid dust streaked through the dark skies of Earth, showering down during the annual Geminids meteor shower. Astrophotographer Juan Carlos Casado captured the space weather event, as pictured above, in a series of exposures spanning about 2.3 hours using a wide angle lens. The snowcapped Teide volcano of the Canary Islands of Spain towers in the foreground, while the picturesque constellation of Orion highlights the background. The star appearing just near the top of the volcano is Rigel. Although the asteroid dust particles are traveling parallel to each other,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Yutu Rover Rolls onto the Moon

    12/16/2013 8:18:38 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | December 16, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A new desk-sized rover has begun exploring the Moon. Launched two weeks ago by the Chinese National Space Administration, the Chang'e 3 spacecraft landed on the Moon yesterday and deployed the robotic rover. Yutu, named for a folklore lunar Jade Rabbit, has a scheduled three-month mission to explore several kilometers inside the Sinus Iridum (Latin for "Bay of Rainbows") impact crater. Yutu's cameras and spectrometers will investigate surface features and composition while ground penetrating radar will investigate deep soil structure. Chang'e 3 achieved the first soft Moon landing since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976, and Yutu is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Gibbous Europa

    12/15/2013 4:12:25 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | December 15, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Although the phase of this moon might appear familiar, the moon itself might not. In fact, this gibbous phase shows part of Jupiter's moon Europa. The robot spacecraft Galileo captured this image mosaic during its mission orbiting Jupiter from 1995 - 2003. Visible are plains of bright ice, cracks that run to the horizon, and dark patches that likely contain both ice and dirt. Raised terrain is particularly apparent near the terminator, where it casts shadows. Europa is nearly the same size as Earth's Moon, but much smoother, showing few highlands or large impact craters. Evidence and images from...
  • Forget Big Bang-'Rainbow Gravity' theory-universe has NO beginning & stretches out infinitely

    12/15/2013 1:55:43 AM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 30 replies
    The London Daily Mail ^ | December 11, 2013 | Ellie Zolfagharifard
    To think that our universe is 13.8 billion years old is incredible enough. But now researchers are proposing that the universe stretches back into time infinitely with no singular point where it started. The idea is one possible result of something known as ‘rainbow gravity’- a theory that is not widely accepted among physicists, though many say the idea is interesting. The theory’s name comes from a suggestion that gravity's effect on the cosmos is felt differently by varying wavelengths of light, which can be found in the colours of the rainbow. The theory was proposed 10 years ago in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Bubble Nebula

    12/14/2013 5:52:25 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | December 14, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Blown by the wind from a massive star, this interstellar apparition has a surprisingly familiar shape. Cataloged as NGC 7635, it is also known simply as The Bubble Nebula. Although it looks delicate, the 10 light-year diameter bubble offers evidence of violent processes at work. Above and right of the Bubble's center is a hot, O star, several hundred thousand times more luminous and around 45 times more massive than the Sun. A fierce stellar wind and intense radiation from that star has blasted out the structure of glowing gas against denser material in a surrounding molecular cloud. The...
  • Scientists find second, 'hidden' language in human genetic code

    12/14/2013 12:28:54 AM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 63 replies
    U.S. geneticists say a second code hiding within DNA changes how scientists read its instructions and interpret mutations to make sense of health and disease. Since the genetic code was deciphered in the 1960s, scientists have assumed it was used exclusively to write information about proteins, but University of Washington scientists say they've discovered genomes use the genetic code to write two separate "languages." One, long understood, describes how proteins are made, while the other instructs the cell on how genes are controlled. One language is written on top of the other, which is why the second language remained hidden...
  • Men Surpass Women in Publishing Research

    12/13/2013 10:43:32 AM PST · by reaganaut1 · 22 replies
    New York Times ^ | December 13, 2013 | DOUGLAS QUENQUA
    Despite years of progress for women in science, men continue to dominate scientific publishing in nearly every country, according to new research in the journal Nature. Not only do men publish far more research than their female colleagues, but papers with men as the dominant author are more likely to be cited by other researchers. Analyzing the bylines on more than five million research papers published from 2008 to 2012, the researchers determined that more than 70 percent of the authors were men. Nearly the same percentage holds for lead authorship. Such a gender gap is not consistent with the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Geminid Meteor Shower over Dashanbao Wetlands

    12/13/2013 3:52:47 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | December 13, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The annual Geminid meteor shower is raining down on planet Earth this week. And despite the waxing gibbous moonlight, the reliable Geminids should be enjoyable tonight (night of December 13/14) near the shower's peak. Recorded near last year's peak in the early hours of December 14, 2012, this skyscape captures many of Gemini's lovely shooting stars. The careful composite of exposures was made during a three hour period overlooking the Dashanbao Wetlands in central China. Dark skies above are shared with bright Jupiter (right), Orion, (right of center) and the faint band of the Milky Way. The shower's radiant...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka

    12/12/2013 4:37:10 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | December 12, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, are the bright bluish stars from east to west (lower right to upper left) along the diagonal in this gorgeous cosmic vista. Otherwise known as the Belt of Orion, these three blue supergiant stars are hotter and much more massive than the Sun. They lie about 1,500 light-years away, born of Orion's well-studied interstellar clouds. In fact, clouds of gas and dust adrift in this region have intriguing and some surprisingly familiar shapes, including the dark Horsehead Nebula and Flame Nebula near Alnitak at the lower right. The famous Orion Nebula itself is off the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Coldest Place on Earth

    12/11/2013 3:55:50 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 52 replies
    NASA ^ | December 11, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How cold can it get on Earth? In the interior of the Antarctica, a record low temperature of -93.2 °C (-135.8 °F) has been recorded. This is about 25 °C (45 °F) colder than the coldest lows noted for any place humans live permanently. The record temperature occurred in 2010 August -- winter in Antarctica -- and was found by scientists sifting through decades of climate data taken by Earth-orbiting satellites. The coldest spots were found near peaks because higher air is generally colder, although specifically in depressions near these peaks because relatively dense cold air settled there and...
  • Ray Kurzweil: This is your future

    12/11/2013 3:11:47 AM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 35 replies
    CNN ^ | December 10, 2013 | Futurist Ray Kurzweil, Special to CNN
    By the early 2020s, we will have the means to program our biology away from disease and aging. Up until recently, health and medicine was basically a hit or miss affair. We would discover interventions such as drugs that had benefits, but also many side effects. Until recently, we did not have the means to actually design interventions on computers. All of that has now changed, and will dramatically change clinical practice by the early 2020s. We now have the information code of the genome and are making exponential gains in modeling and simulating the information processes they give rise...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Seyfert's Sextet

    12/10/2013 7:45:27 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | December 10, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What will survive this battle of the galaxies? Known as Seyfert's Sextet, this intriguing group of galaxies lies in the head portion of the split constellation of the Snake (Serpens). The sextet actually contains only four interacting galaxies, though. Near the center of this Hubble Space Telescope picture, the small face-on spiral galaxy lies in the distant background and appears only by chance aligned with the main group. Also, the prominent condensation on the upper left is likely not a separate galaxy at all, but a tidal tail of stars flung out by the galaxies' gravitational interactions. About 190...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Lovejoy Over a Windmill

    12/09/2013 5:28:01 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 21 replies
    NASA ^ | December 09, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Lovejoy continues to be an impressive camera comet. Pictured above, Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) was imaged above the windmill in Saint-Michel-l'Observatoire in southern France with a six-second exposure. In the foreground is a field of lavender. Comet Lovejoy should remain available for photo opportunities for northern observers during much of December and during much of the night, although it will be fading as the month progresses and highest in the sky before sunrise. In person, the comet will be best viewed with binoculars. A giant dirty snowball, Comet Lovejoy last visited the inner Solar System about 7,000 years ago,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Everest Panorama from Mars

    12/08/2013 3:35:09 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | December 08, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: If you could stand on Mars -- what might you see? Scroll right to find out. The robotic Spirit rover that rolled around Mars from 2004 to 2009 Mars climbed to the top of a hill in 2005 and took a series of images over three days that were then digitally combined into a 360 degree panorama. Spirit was instructed to take images having the same resolution as a human with 20-20 eyesight. The full panoramic result can be found by clicking on the above image and has a level of detail unparalleled in the history of Martian surface...
  • Venetia Burney, the 11 year old girl who named Pluto

    12/07/2013 5:10:59 PM PST · by lee martell · 22 replies
    Dec. 7 2013 | Lee Martell
    This writing was inspired by a FR article from yesterday about a new planet that has been discovered, and has not been named yet. I started reading about the other planet name orgins and came across the story of Venetia Burney. You may already know of her. On March 14, 1930, 11 year old Venetia and her family were eating breakfast at their home in Oxford England, discussing the biggest news of the day; the discovery of a new planet. Venetia's grandfather, Falconer Madan, retired head an Oxford library read to her from the London Times;. "New Planet; Discovery by...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Naked Eye Nova Centauri 2013

    12/07/2013 5:42:43 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | December 07, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Brightest stellar beacons of the constellation Centaurus, Alpha and Beta Centauri are easy to spot from the southern hemisphere. For now, so is new naked eye Nova Centauri 2013. In this night skyscape recorded near Las Campanas Observatory in the Chilean southern Atacama desert on December 5, the new star joins the old in the expansive constellation, seen at early morning hours through a greenish airglow. Caught by nova hunter John Seach from Australia on December 2 as it approached near naked eye brightness, Nova Cen 2013 has been spectroscopically identified as a classical nova, an interacting binary star...
  • The Power of a Daily Bout of Exercise

    12/06/2013 12:17:51 PM PST · by nickcarraway · 18 replies
    New York Times ^ | NOVEMBER 27, 2013 | GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
    This week marks the start of the annual eat-too-much and move-too-little holiday season, with its attendant declining health and surging regrets. But a well-timed new study suggests that a daily bout of exercise should erase or lessen many of the injurious effects, even if you otherwise lounge all day on the couch and load up on pie. To undertake this valuable experiment, which was published online in The Journal of Physiology, scientists at the University of Bath in England rounded up a group of 26 healthy young men. All exercised regularly. None were obese. Baseline health assessments, including biopsies of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Gamma-Ray Earth and Sky

    12/06/2013 2:45:32 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | December 06, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: For an Earth-orbiting gamma-ray telescope, Earth is actually the brightest source of gamma-rays, the most energetic form of light. Gamma-rays from Earth are produced when high energy particles, cosmic rays from space, crash into the atmosphere. While that interaction blocks harmful radiation from reaching the surface, those gamma-rays dominate in this remarkable Earth and sky view from the orbiting Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope's Large Area Telescope. The image was constructed using only observations made when the center of our Milky Way galaxy was near the zenith, directly above the Fermi satellite. The zenith is mapped to the center of...
  • Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue to Human Origins

    12/05/2013 11:46:56 PM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 37 replies
    The New York Times ^ | December 4, 2013 | Carl Zimmer
    An artist's interpretation of the hominins that lived near the Sima de los Huesos cave in Spain. Scientists have found the oldest DNA evidence yet of humans’ biological history. But instead of neatly clarifying human evolution, the finding is adding new mysteries. In a paper in the journal Nature, scientists reported Wednesday that they had retrieved ancient human DNA from a fossil dating back about 400,000 years, shattering the previous record of 100,000 years. The fossil, a thigh bone found in Spain, had previously seemed to many experts to belong to a forerunner of Neanderthals. But its DNA tells a...
  • Bizarre Saturn Vortex Swirls in Stunning New NASA Video (aka The Hexagon)

    12/05/2013 4:08:40 PM PST · by lbryce · 16 replies
    Space.com ^ | December 5, 2013 | Mike Wall
    A NASA probe has captured an amazing video of the huge and mysterious six-sided vortex spinning around Saturn's north pole. Scientists created the new video of Saturn's vortex from 128 images snapped by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in December 2012. It's the highest-resolution movie yet obtained of the giant hexagon, which is about 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) wide and has been swirling for at least 30 years, researchers said. "The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable," Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Planetary Nebula Abell 7

    12/05/2013 2:46:28 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | December 05, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Very faint planetary nebula Abell 7 is some 1,800 light-years distant, just south of Orion in planet Earth's skies in the constellation Lepus, The Hare. Surrounded by Milky Way stars and near the line-of-sight to distant background galaxies, its generally simple spherical shape, about 8 light-years in diameter, is outlined in this deep telescopic image. Within its confines are beautiful, more complex details enhanced by the use of narrowband filters. Emission from hydrogen and nitrogen is shown in reddish hues with oxygen emission mapped to a bluish-green color, giving Abell 7 a more natural appearance that would otherwise be...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Lovejoy through Mörby Castle Ruins

    12/04/2013 8:11:38 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | December 04, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This new comet is quite photogenic. Comet Lovejoy, discovered only three months ago, was imaged through ruins of ancient Mörby Castle in Sweden last week sporting a green-glowing coma and tails trailing several degrees. The past few weeks have been an unusually active time for comet watchers as four comets were visible simultaneously with binoculars: ISON, Lovejoy, Encke, and LINEAR. C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) comet is currently visible to the unaided eye from a dark location. As Monday's new Moon will provide little glare, the next few days provide a good time to see Comet Lovejoy as it reaches its...
  • Here's The New Ranking Of Top Countries In Reading, Science, And Math

    12/03/2013 6:49:59 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 55 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 12/03/2013 | JOE WEISENTHAL
    The OECD is out with new global rankings of how students in various countries do in reading, science, and math. Results of the full survey can be found and delved into here.You can see below how Asian countries are obliterating everyone else in these categories.The United States, meanwhile, ranks below the OECD average in every category. And as the WSJ notes, the US has slipped in all of the major categories in recent years:The results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which are being released on Tuesday, show that teenagers in the U.S. slipped from 25th to 31st...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Colorful Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi

    12/02/2013 9:12:23 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | December 03, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The many spectacular colors of the Rho Ophiuchi (oh'-fee-yu-kee) clouds highlight the many processes that occur there. The blue regions shine primarily by reflected light. Blue light from the star Rho Ophiuchi and nearby stars reflects more efficiently off this portion of the nebula than red light. The Earth's daytime sky appears blue for the same reason. The red and yellow regions shine primarily because of emission from the nebula's atomic and molecular gas. Light from nearby blue stars - more energetic than the bright star Antares - knocks electrons away from the gas, which then shines when the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Lovejoy Before Galaxy M63

    12/02/2013 8:49:44 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | December 02, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Comet Lovejoy was captured last week passing well in front of spiral galaxy M63. Discovered only three months ago and currently near its maximum brightness, Comet Lovejoy can be seen near the Big Dipper from dark northerly locations before dawn with the unaided eye. An unexpected rival to Comet ISON, C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy), pictured above, is currently sporting a large green coma and a beautifully textured ion tail. Comet Lovejoy is now headed back to the outer Solar System but should remain a good sight in binoculars for another few weeks. Conversely, spiral galaxy M63, lies far in the...
  • What preserved T. rex tissue? Mystery explained at last

    12/02/2013 10:18:24 AM PST · by Ha Ha Thats Very Logical · 100 replies
    NBC News ^ | November 27 | Stephanie Pappas
    The controversial discovery of 68 million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex finally has a physical explanation. According to newly published research, iron in the dinosaur's body preserved the tissue before it could decay. The research, headed by Mary Schweitzer, a molecular paleontologist at North Carolina State University, explains how proteins — and possibly even DNA — can survive for millennia. Schweitzer and her colleagues first raised this question in 2005, when they found the seemingly impossible: soft tissue preserved inside the leg of an adolescent T. rex unearthed in Montana.
  • Ignore Science Facts

    12/02/2013 6:17:29 AM PST · by NamVet71MP · 15 replies
    upworthy.com ^ | 08/26/2013 | Adam Mordecai
    This Is Probably The Funniest, Most Effective Way To Deal With People Who Ignore Science Facts Ever (really?) There are members of Congress in both parties who don't understand or accept basic science concepts. This hilarious video is dedicated to them. /s /S \s \S
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Laser Strike at the Galactic Center

    12/01/2013 7:40:00 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | December 01, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why are these people shooting a powerful laser into the center of our Galaxy? Fortunately, this is not meant to be the first step in a Galactic war. Rather, astronomers at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) site in Chile are trying to measure the distortions of Earth's ever changing atmosphere. Constant imaging of high-altitude atoms excited by the laser -- which appear like an artificial star -- allow astronomers to instantly measure atmospheric blurring. This information is fed back to a VLT telescope mirror which is then slightly deformed to minimize this blurring. In this case, a VLT was...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Surprising Comet ISON

    12/01/2013 7:37:42 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 34 replies
    NASA ^ | November 30, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: After failing to appear for Sun staring spacecraft at perihelion, its harrowing closest approach to the Sun, sungrazing Comet ISON was presumed lost. But ISON surprised observers yesterday as material still traveling along the comet's trajectory became visible and even developed an extensive fan-shaped dust tail. Edited and processed to HD format, this video (vimeo, youtube) is composed of frames from the SOHO spacecraft's coronographs. It follows the comet in view of the wide (blue tint) and narrow (red tint) field cameras in the hours both before and after perihelion passage. In both fields, overwhelming sunlight is blocked by...
  • 'Humans evolved after a female chimpanzee mated with a pig

    11/30/2013 3:12:24 AM PST · by Eurotwit · 215 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | 09:45 GMT, 30 November 2013 | By DAMIEN GAYLE
    The human species began as the hybrid offspring of a male pig and a female chimpanzee, a leading geneticist has suggested. The startling claim has been made by Eugene McCarthy, of the University of Georgia, who is also one of the worlds leading authorities on hybridisation in animals. He points out that while humans have many features in common with chimps, we also have a large number of distinguishing characteristics not found in any other primates. Dr McCarthy says these divergent characteristics are most likely the result of a hybrid origin at some point far back in human evolutionary history....
  • Did Comet ISON survive? Scientists see tiny hope

    11/29/2013 8:20:34 AM PST · by Brad from Tennessee · 50 replies
    AP via Washington Post ^ | November 29, 2013 | Associated Press
    STOCKHOLM — A comet that gained an earthly following because of its bright tail visible from space was initially declared dead after essentially grazing the sun. Now, there is a silver of hope that Comet ISON may have survived. New images, basically faint smudges on a screen, being analyzed Friday showed a streak of light moving away from the sun that some said could indicate it wasn’t game over just yet. “It certainly appears as if there is an object there that is emitting material,” said Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Basically a dirty...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet ISON Before and After

    11/29/2013 8:59:37 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | November 29, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sungrazing Comet ISON reached perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun, yesterday, November 28, at 18:45 UT. The comet passed just over 1 million kilometers above the solar surface, a distance less than the diameter of the Sun. These two panels follow ISON before (right) and after its close approach, imaged by the LASCO instrument onboard the Sun staring SOHO spacecraft. Overwhelming sunlight is blocked by LASCO's central occulting disk with a white circle indicating the Sun's positon and scale. The bright comet is seen along its path at the bottom of the before panel, but something much fainter...
  • Comet Ison destroyed in Sun passage

    11/28/2013 3:19:30 PM PST · by LeoWindhorse · 93 replies
    BBC World News ^ | Nov. 28 ,2013 | BBC
    Comet Ison was severely battered in its encounter with the Sun, and largely destroyed. Telescopes saw the giant ball of ice and dust disappear behind the star, but only a dull streamer emerge. Astronomers continued to search for the object, but it eventually became clear that the much vaunted "Comet of the Century" had gone out with a whimper. Despite its great size, Ison was probably torn apart in the immense heat and tidal forces so close to the Sun.
  • WATCH LIVE TODAY @ 1 pm ET: Comet ISON Buzzes the Sun, SpaceX Rocket Launch

    11/28/2013 8:24:35 AM PST · by Errant · 246 replies
    Space.com ^ | 28 November, 2013 | Staff
    NASA will hold a live Google+ hangout on Thursday (Nov. 28) to webcast the solar passage of Comet ISON as it whips around the sun. The webcast will begin at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) and last until 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT). You will be able to watch the webcast live in the window below at the start time. LATEST STORY: Comet ISON Makes Thanksgiving Day Sun Flyby Today: Watch It Live Online
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 1999: South of Orion

    11/28/2013 5:56:09 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | November 28, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: South of the large star-forming region known as the Orion Nebula, lies bright blue reflection nebula NGC 1999. At the edge of the Orion molecular cloud complex some 1,500 light-years distant, NGC 1999's illumination is provided by the embedded variable star V380 Orionis. That nebula is marked with a dark sideways T-shape near center in this cosmic vista that spans about 10 light-years. The dark shape was once assumed to be an obscuring dust cloud seen in silhouette against the bright reflection nebula. But recent infrared images indicate the shape is likely a hole blown through the nebula itself...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet ISON Rising

    11/27/2013 4:05:54 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | November 27, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Will Comet ISON survive tomorrow's close encounter with the Sun? Approaching to within a solar diameter of the Sun's surface, the fate of one of the most unusual comets of modern times will finally be determined. The comet could shed a great amount of ice and dust into a developing tail -- or break apart completely. Unfortunately, the closer Comet ISON gets to the Sun, the harder it has been for conventional telescopes to see the brightening comet in the glare of the morning Sun. Pictured in the above short time lapse video, Comet ISON was captured rising over...
  • What If There Simply Aren’t More Antibiotics to be Discovered?

    11/26/2013 6:45:55 PM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 51 replies
    The Washington Monthly's Political Animal ^ | November 25, 2013 | Ryan Cooper, web editor
    Antibiotic resistance, like climate change, is one of those issues that has been blinking red on the world’s dashboard for decades. Everyone agrees it’s potentially disastrous—in fact, has already reached crisis stage in some areas—but interest group politics and crippling political dysfunction combine to make sure nothing is done about it. The issue got another boomlet of attention over the weekend when the CDC launched a new campaign to limit overuse of antibiotics, and Maryn McKenna published an excellent longform piece about it on Medium. The problem: evolution. A new antibiotic works like magic for awhile. But as it is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Cap Cloud over the Sierra Nevadas

    11/26/2013 5:28:31 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | November 26, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: One might say this was a bell weather day for the Sierra Nevada mountains. In January, just as the Sun was setting above the district of Albayzín in Grenada, Spain, a huge cloud appeared as a bell capping the Veleta peak. Such a Cap cloud is formed by air forced upwards by a mountain peak, with the air then cooling, saturating with moisture, and finally having its molecular water condense into cloud droplets. Such a bell-shaped cloud structure is unusual as air typically moves horizontally, making most clouds nearly flat across at the bottom. Vertical waves can also give...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Anemic Spiral NGC 4921 from Hubble

    11/25/2013 11:39:06 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | November 25, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How far away is spiral galaxy NGC 4921? Although presently estimated to be about 310 million light years distant, a more precise determination could be coupled with its known recession speed to help humanity better calibrate the expansion rate of the entire visible universe. Toward this goal, several images were taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in order to help identify key stellar distance markers known as Cepheid variable stars. Since NGC 4921 is a member of the Coma Cluster of Galaxies, refining its distance would also allow a better distance determination to one of the largest nearby clusters...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Hale-Bopp Over Indian Cove [1997]

    11/24/2013 8:36:29 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | November 24, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Comet Hale-Bopp, the Great Comet of 1997, was quite a sight. In the above photograph taken on 1997 April 6, Comet Hale-Bopp was imaged from the Indian Cove Campground in the Joshua Tree National Park in California, USA. A flashlight was used to momentarily illuminate foreground rocks in this six minute exposure. An impressive blue ion tail was visible above a sunlight-reflecting white dust tail. Comet Hale-Bopp remained visible to the unaided eye for over a year before returning to the outer Solar System and fading. As Comet ISON approaches the Sun this week, sky enthusiasts around the Earth...
  • Chemistry set Kickstarter looks to recapture the wonder of days gone by

    11/23/2013 8:47:19 AM PST · by AdmSmith · 100 replies
    Geek.com ^ | Nov 14, 2013 | Graham Templeton
    The phrase “chemistry set” is embedded in the collective unconscious, but try to actually call one to mind. What does a chemistry set look like? What does it include? What can you do with it? If you’re anything close to being a millennial, you probably have only vague answers to these questions. If you’re a little older, however, you probably remember one of the classic sets that is responsible for our powerful (if nonspecific) connection to the concept of a chemistry set. Chief among these, in many people’s eyes, is the Gilbert Chemistry Set, which inspired untold numbers of young...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet ISON from STEREO

    11/23/2013 9:37:38 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | November 23, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Still intact, on November 21 Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) swept into this animated field of view (left) from the HI-1 camera on the STEREO-A spacecraft. The camera has also captured periodic Comet Encke, Mercury, and Earth, with the Sun cropped out of the frame at the right, the source of the billowing solar wind. From STEREO's perspective in interplanetary space, planet Earth is actually the most distant of the group, seen in its orbit beyond the Sun. Mercury is closest, but both planets are still so bright they create sharp vertical lines in the camera's detector. Both comets clearly...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- From California to the Pleiades

    11/22/2013 4:03:07 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | November 22, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: An astronomical trip from the California Nebula to the Pleiades star cluster would cover just over 12 degrees across planet Earth's night sky. That's equivalent to the angular extent of 25 Full Moons, as your telescope sweeps past the borders of the constellations Perseus and Taurus. This wide and deep mosaic image of the region explores the cosmic landscape's dusty nebulae and colors otherwise too faint for your eye to see. On the left, cataloged as NGC 1499, the California Nebula does have a familiar shape, though its coastline is actually over 60 light-years long and lies about 1,500...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Trail of a Minotaur

    11/22/2013 4:02:39 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | November 21, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Star trails arc above a moonlit beach and jetty in this serene sea and night skyscape. Captured on November 19, the single time exposure looks south down the Atlantic coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. But the longest and brightest trail is a Minotaur 1 rocket, a stage separation and exhaust plume visible along the rocket's fiery path toward low Earth orbit. The multi-stage Minotaur was launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility at 8:15 pm Eastern Time in Virginia, about 400 miles away. On board were a remarkable 29 satellites destined for low Earth...
  • Are humans really different from animals?

    11/22/2013 1:58:08 AM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 51 replies
    WPTV-TV / CNN ^ | November 21, 2013 | Thomas Suddendorf, CNN
    We humans tend to think of ourselves as better than, or at least separate from, all other species on this planet. But every species is unique, and in that sense humans are no different. Nevertheless, it seems obvious that there is something extra special about us -- after all, we are the species running the zoos. In "The Gap," I survey what we currently do and do not know about what exactly sets humans apart. What are the physical differences that distinguish us from our closest animal relatives? There are some notable ways in which our bodies differ from those...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Heavy Black Hole Jets in 4U1630-47

    11/20/2013 3:05:13 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | November 20, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What are black hole jets made of? Many black holes in stellar systems are surely surrounded by disks of gas and plasma gravitationally pulled from a close binary star companion. Some of this material, after approaching the black hole, ends up being expelled from the star system in powerful jets emanating from the poles of the spinning black hole. Recent evidence indicates that these jets are composed not only electrons and protons, but also the nuclei of heavy elements such as iron and nickel. The discovery was made in system 4U1630-47 using CSIRO’s Compact Array of radio telescopes in...