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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - NGC 1316: After Galaxies Collide

    05/17/2022 3:02:36 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 6 replies ^ | 17 May, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Capture: Greg Turgeon; Processing: Kiko Fairbairn
    Explanation: Astronomers turn detectives when trying to figure out the cause of startling sights like NGC 1316. Investigations indicate that NGC 1316 is an enormous elliptical galaxy that started, about 100 million years ago, to devour a smaller spiral galaxy neighbor, NGC 1317, just on the upper right. Supporting evidence includes the dark dust lanes characteristic of a spiral galaxy, and faint swirls and shells of stars and gas visible in this wide and deep image. One thing that >remains unexplained is the unusually small globular star clusters, seen as faint dots on the image. Most elliptical galaxies have more...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Milky Way over French Alp Hoodoos

    05/16/2022 4:47:22 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 18 replies ^ | 16 May, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Benjamin Barakat
    Explanation: Real castles aren't this old. And the background galaxy is even older. Looking a bit like an alien castle, the pictured rock spires are called hoodoos and are likely millions of years old. Rare, but found around the world, hoodoos form when dense rocks slow the erosion of softer rock underneath. The pictured hoodoos survive in the French Alps and are named Demoiselles Coiffées -- which translates to English as "Ladies with Hairdos". The background galaxy is part of the central disk of our own Milky Way galaxy and contains stars that are typically billions of years old. The...
  • NASA's Curiosity Rover Spotted a 'Doorway' on Mars...Though it looks like the entrance to an alien tomb, mission scientists say it's a natural feature.

    05/16/2022 12:49:08 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 58 replies ^ | May 14, 2022 | By Kevin Hurler
    Image from NASA's Curiosity rover showing what looks like a doorway on Mars. The Curiosity rover took a photo of the odd structure on May 7, 2022, as it climbed Mount Sharp on Mars.Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS NASA’s Curiosity rover took a photo of a Lovecraftian feature on the surface of Mars last week: a seemingly rectangular and shadowy opening in the planet’s exposed rock that looks as if it leads into the Martian underground. The image was captured on May 7 by the Curiosity rover’s Mastcam while it ascended Mount Sharp. While the grainy black-and-white image may have conspiracy theorists over...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Colors of the Moon

    05/15/2022 4:13:02 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 12 replies ^ | 15 May, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Marcella Giulia Pace
    Explanation: What color is the Moon? It depends on the night. Outside of the Earth's atmosphere, the dark Moon, which shines by reflected sunlight, appears a magnificently brown-tinged gray. Viewed from inside the Earth's atmosphere, though, the moon can appear quite different. The featured image highlights a collection of apparent colors of the full moon documented by one astrophotographer over 10 years from different locations across Italy. A red or yellow colored moon usually indicates a moon seen near the horizon. There, some of the blue light has been scattered away by a long path through the Earth's atmosphere, sometimes...
  • Total lunar eclipse – a supermoon eclipse – on May 15-16, 2022

    05/15/2022 3:37:07 PM PDT · by bitt · 42 replies ^ | 5/15/2022 | Fred Espenak and Editors of EarthSky
    Total lunar eclipse People in the Americas, Europe and Africa will see the total lunar eclipse during the night of May 15-16, 2022. Plus, on this night, the moon is close: a supermoon. Penumbral eclipse begins at 1:32 UTC on May 16 (9:32 p.m. EDT on May 15). Partial eclipse begins at 2:27 UTC on May 16 (10:27 p.m. EDT on May 15). Totality begins (moon engulfed in Earth’s shadow) at 3:29 UTC on May 16 (11:29 p.m. EDT on May 15). Totality ends at 4:53 UTC on May 16 (12:53 a.m. EDT). Partial eclipse ends at 5:55 UTC on...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Ice Halos by Moonlight

    05/14/2022 4:58:45 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 8 replies ^ | 14 May, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Alan Dyer,, TWAN
    Explanation: An almost full moon on April 15 brought these luminous apparitions to a northern spring night over Alberta Canada. On that night, bright moonlight refracted and reflected by hexagonal ice crystals in high clouds created a complex of halos and arcs more commonly seen by sunlight in daytime skies. While the colors of the arcs and moondogs or paraselenae were just visible to the unaided eye, a blend of exposures ranging from 30 seconds to 1/20 second was used to render this moonlit wide-angle skyscape. The Big Dipper at the top of the frame sits just above a smiling...
  • Super Flower Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse: Is it the 1st of 4 Supermoons?

    05/13/2022 9:13:31 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 3 replies
    Space ^ | 5/13
    Super Flower Blood Moon lunar eclipse: Is it the 1st of 4 supermoons? By Elizabeth Howell published about 6 hours ago Retired astrophysicist Fred Espenak has been observing the moon for about 60 years. Retired NASA eclipse scientist Fred Espenak has been watching the night sky ever since he was eight years old, and plans once again to look up for the forthcoming lunar eclipse Sunday (May 15). After about six decades staring at the sky, the Arizona resident said he still enjoys watching the shifting of the shading as the moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse, going...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Milky Way's Black Hole

    05/13/2022 3:29:21 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 10 replies ^ | 13 May, 2022 | Image Credit: X-ray - NASA/CXC/SAO, IR - NASA/HST/STScI; Inset: Radio - Event Horizon Telescope Coll
    Explanation: There's a black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Stars are observed to orbit a very massive and compact object there known as Sgr A* (say "sadge-ay-star"). But this just released radio image (inset) from planet Earth's Event Horizon Telescope is the first direct evidence of the Milky Way's central black hole. As predicted by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the four million solar mass black hole's strong gravity is bending light and creating a shadow-like dark central region surrounded by a bright ring-like structure. Supporting observations made by space-based telescopes and ground-based observatories provide a wider...
  • Asteroid bigger than Empire State Building heading towards Earth

    05/13/2022 12:47:04 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 38 replies
    NY Post ^ | May 12, 2022 | Charlotte Edwards, The Sun
    There’s no need to panic though as Asteroid 388945 (2008 TZ3) should pass us from a distance of about 3.5 million miles away. That may sound pretty far away but in the grand scheme of space this isn’t a large distance at all. That’s why Nasa has still flagged it as a “close approach”. If an asteroid comes within 4.65 million miles and is over a certain size, it’s considered “potentially hazardous” by cautious space agencies. Sunday’s asteroid fits this description. It should shoot past from its safe distance at a speed of just over 18,000 miles per hour. Nasa...
  • This Record-Breaking 'Gold Standard' Star Is Unlike Any We've Seen Before

    05/13/2022 9:28:46 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 11 replies ^ | 13 MAY 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    The star HD 222925. (STScI Digitized Sky Survey) What's in a star? Well, if you're a highly evolved specimen nearing the end of its life named HD 222925, rather a heck of a lot, actually. Scientists have conducted an analysis of this dim object, and identified 65 separate elements. That's the most elements ever found in a single object outside the Solar System, and most of them are heavy elements from the bottom of the periodic table, rarely found in stars. Since these elements can only form in extremely energetic events such as supernovae or neutron star mergers, via a...
  • Huge GREEN fireball is seen streaking across the sky in Britain – with hundreds of people capturing the burning meteor on their dashcams and doorbell cameras

    05/13/2022 8:49:43 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    The dazzling meteor burned up over the south west of England just after midnight on Thursday, with sightings in South Wales, Hertfordshire and West Sussex. UK Meteor Network (UKMON), which runs a network of 153 detection cameras recording meteors and fireballs over the UK, said the fireball was picked up by fifteen of its cameras at 00:39 BST (23:39 GMT). Over 250 members of the public also reported the event through UKMON's website, after capturing images and footage on their dashcams and video doorbells. Several reports claimed the fireball had a green colour, which may point to the composition of...
  • "Message From Perseus" - original ambient music, by Yours Truly

    05/13/2022 12:15:53 AM PDT · by Slings and Arrows · 3 replies
    me, via Rumble ^ | 5/13/2022 | me, as "Hopalong Ginsberg"
    My song this week is the modulated sound of a supermassive black hole. No foolin'. (Thanks to freeper Gene Eric for pinging me to the original story.)
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Young Stars of NGC 346

    05/12/2022 2:09:57 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 11 replies ^ | 12 May, 2022 | Image Credit: NASA, ESA - acknowledgement: Antonella Nota (ESA/STScI) et al.,
    Explanation: The massive stars of NGC 346 are short lived, but very energetic. The star cluster is embedded in the largest star forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud, some 210,000 light-years distant. Their winds and radiation sweep out an interstellar cavern in the gas and dust cloud about 200 light-years across, triggering star formation and sculpting the region's dense inner edge. Cataloged as N66, the star forming region also appears to contain a large population of infant stars. A mere 3 to 5 million years old and not yet burning hydrogen in their cores, the infant stars are strewn...
  • Groundbreaking Milky Way Results From the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

    05/12/2022 7:56:44 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 12 replies ^ | May 12, 2022 | Staff
    Supermassive Black Hole Spewing Out Jets An artist’s conception of a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. Credit: Image courtesy of ESA/AOES Medialab ************************************************************************************** Update: Meet Sagittarius A* – Astronomers Reveal First Image of the Black Hole at the Heart of the Milky Way Today (May 12, 2022) at 9:00 a.m. EDT (6:00 a.m. PDT, 15:00 CEST) The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project will hold a press conference to present new Milky Way results from the EHT. The ESO Director General will deliver the opening words. EHT Project Director Huib Jan...
  • BREAKING: We Have The First-Ever Image of The Black Hole at The Center of The Milky Way

    05/12/2022 7:07:43 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 59 replies ^ | May 12, 2022 | MICHELLE STARR
    The supermassive blackhole at the center of SgrA*. (EHT Collaboration) =================================================================== Four and a half billion years ago, our pale blue dot was born in the rubble left over from the birth of a star. Since then, we've been locked in a cosmic dance; Earth whirls around the Sun; and the Sun whirls around the galactic center, the dark, mysterious heart of the Milky Way. Contained in that dark heart, around which the entire galaxy revolves, is a supermassive black hole named Sagittarius A*, clocking in at around 4.3 million times the mass of the Sun. We've been able to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Gravity's Grin

    05/11/2022 2:50:49 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 9 replies ^ | 11 May, 2022 | Image Credit: X-ray - NASA / CXC / J. Irwin et al. ; Optical - NASA/STScI
    Explanation: Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, published over 100 years ago, predicted the phenomenon of gravitational lensing. And that's what gives these distant galaxies such a whimsical appearance, seen through the looking glass of X-ray and optical image data from the Chandra and Hubble space telescopes. Nicknamed the Cheshire Cat galaxy group, the group's two large elliptical galaxies are suggestively framed by arcs. The arcs are optical images of distant background galaxies lensed by the foreground group's total distribution of gravitational mass. Of course, that gravitational mass is dominated by dark matter. The two large elliptical "eye" galaxies represent...
  • NASA’s InSight Records Monster Quake on Mars

    05/10/2022 7:34:42 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 28 replies
    NASA/JPL ^ | May 9, 2022
    NASA’s InSight Mars lander has detected the largest quake ever observed on another planet: an estimated magnitude 5 temblor that occurred on May 4, 2022, the 1,222nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. This adds to the catalog of more than 1,313 quakes InSight has detected since landing on Mars in November 2018. The largest previously recorded quake was an estimated magnitude 4.2 detected Aug. 25, 2021. InSight was sent to Mars with a highly sensitive seismometer, provided by France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), to study the deep interior of the planet. As seismic waves pass through or...
  • A 'mixed up' sunspot just fired off a huge solar flare

    05/10/2022 6:51:54 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 26 replies ^ | May 10, 2022 | Elizabeth Howell
    Amplified aurora displays are possible if a coronal mass ejection of charged particles emerges from the "mixed-up" sunspot AR3006, which pointed its flaring blast toward Earth Tuesday (May 10) at 9:55 a.m. EDT (1355 GMT). The flare was caught on camera by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and spurred a radio emission alert by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), amid a reported shortwave radio blackout in the Atlantic Ocean region. AR3006's polarity is the reverse of what scientists are expecting, which makes the sunspot "interesting and dangerous," stated. (Sunspot polarity is governed by the current solar cycle.) "If...
  • Camera Films Itself Getting Launched Out of a Centrifuge at 1,000mph (in prep for launching heavier payloads to space)

    05/10/2022 6:51:02 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 75 replies ^ | 5/07/2022 | James Deruvo
    It’s called SpinLaunch, and it’s a novel approach to launching small payloads into orbit. The idea of a kinetic launch system translates to spinning a payload in a centrifuge to over 1,000 miles an hour and then releasing it for its journey to the stars. The concept requires no onboard fuel, so there’s no danger of explosions, and since it’s completely electrical, it offers a sustainable solution that doesn’t pollute the environment. “The SpinLaunch Orbital Launch System is a fundamentally new way to reach space,” states the company website. “The velocity boost provided by the accelerator’s electric drive results in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - NGC 6334: The Cat's Paw Nebula

    05/10/2022 4:02:15 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 12 replies ^ | 10 May, 2022 | Image Credit & Copyright: Stefan Steve Bemmerl & Team Wolfatorium (Hakos/Namibia)
    Explanation: Nebulas are perhaps as famous for being identified with familiar shapes as perhaps cats are for getting into trouble. Still, no known cat could have created the vast Cat's Paw Nebula visible toward the constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius. At 5,500 light years distant, Cat's Paw is an emission nebula with a red color that originates from an abundance of ionized hydrogen atoms. Alternatively known as the Bear Claw Nebula and cataloged as NGC 6334, stars nearly ten times the mass of our Sun have been born there in only the past few million years. Pictured here is a...