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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Blue Tears and the Milky Way

    04/24/2015 11:29:31 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | April 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Lapping at rocks along the shore of the Island of Nangan, Taiwan, planet Earth, waves are infused with a subtle blue light in this sea and night skyscape. Composed of a series of long exposures made on April 16 the image captures the faint glow from Noctiluca scintillans. Also known as sea sparkles or blue tears, the marine plankton's bioluminescence is stimulated by wave motion. City lights along the coast of mainland China shine beneath low clouds in the west but stars and the faint Milky Way still fill the night above. Over the horizon the galaxy's central bulge...
  • Astronomers find runaway galaxies

    04/24/2015 10:30:47 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 6 replies
    Phys.org ^ | 4/23/15
    Astronomers find runaway galaxies 21 hours ago Enlarge This schematic illustrates the creation of a runaway galaxy. In the first panel, an "intruder" spiral galaxy approaches a galaxy cluster center, where a compact elliptical galaxy (cE) already revolves around a massive central elliptical galaxy. In the second panel, a close encounter occurs and the compact elliptical receives a gravitational kick from the intruder. In the third panel, the compact elliptical escapes the galaxy cluster while the intruder is devoured by the giant elliptical galaxy in the cluster center. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-04-astronomers-runaway-galaxies.html#jCp We know of about two dozen runaway stars,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Meteor in the Milky Way

    04/23/2015 4:22:06 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | April 23, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Earth's April showers include the Lyrid Meteor Shower, observed for more than 2,000 years when the planet makes its annual passage through the dust stream of long-period Comet Thatcher. A grain of that comet's dust, moving 48 kilometers per second at an altitude of 100 kilometers or so, is swept up in this night sky view from the early hours of April 21. Flashing toward the southeastern horizon, the meteor's brilliant streak crosses the central region of the rising Milky Way. Its trail points back toward the shower's radiant in the constellation Lyra, high in the northern springtime sky...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Colorful Star Clouds in Cygnus

    04/22/2015 9:55:00 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | April 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Stars can form in colorful surroundings. Featured here is a star forming region rich in glowing gas and dark dust toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus), near the bright star Sadr. This region, which spans about 50 light years, is part of the Gamma Cygni nebula which lies about 1,800 light years distant. Toward the right of the image is Barnard 344, a dark and twisted dust cloud rich in cool molecular gas. A dramatic wall of dust and red-glowing hydrogen gas forms a line down the picture center. While the glowing red gas is indicative of small...
  • The 2015 Lyrid Meteors Peak Tomorrow Night!

    04/21/2015 5:57:26 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies
    2015 should be a favorable year for the first major meteor shower of the Spring season for the northern hemisphere. The peak for the shower in 2015 is predicted to arrive just after midnight Universal Time on Thursday April 23rd, which is 8:00 PM EDT on the evening of Wednesday April 22nd. This favors European longitudes right around the key time, though North America could be in for a decent show as well. Remember, meteor showers don’t read forecasts, and the actual peak can always arrive early or late. We plan to start watching tonight and into Wednesday and Thursday...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Vesta Trek: A Digital Model of Asteroid Vesta

    04/21/2015 5:23:54 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | April 21, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: You can explore asteroid Vesta. Recently, NASA's robotic spaceship Dawn visited Vesta, the second largest object in our Solar System's main asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter. During a year-long stopover, Dawn's cameras photographed Vesta's entire surface, documenting all of the minor planet's major mountains and craters. These images have now been combined into a digital model that allows anyone with a full-featured browser to fly all around Vesta, virtually, and even zoom in on interesting surface features, by just dragging and clicking. If desired, the initially flat 2D map can be wrapped into a nearly spherical...
  • Ceres' bright spots are back: Dawn captures new images of mystery features - and scientists STILL...

    04/20/2015 8:06:31 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 41 replies
    MailOnline ^ | Jonathan O'Callaghan
    As the spacecraft gets closer to the dwarf planet and moves around it, more and more of the surface is coming into view. The two brightest spots seen in a crater are known as ‘spot 5’. The scale in the image is about 1.3 miles (2.1km) per pixel, almost 70 per cent better than previous images. But the origin of the bright spots remains a mystery for now - with theories ranging from exposed ice to volcanoes. Salt flats or ice seem to be the predominant theories at the moment, with the bright spots appearing to reflect incoming sunlight towards...
  • Mysterious 'supervoid' in space is largest object ever discovered, scientists claim

    04/20/2015 1:25:31 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 92 replies
    www.telegraph.co.u ^ | 7:09PM BST 20 Apr 2015 | By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
    A supervoid has been discovered in the universe which is too big to fit into current models Astronomers have discovered a curious empty section of space which is missing around 10,000 galaxies. The ‘supervoid’, which is 1.8 billion light-years across, is the largest known structure ever discovered in the universe but scientists are baffled about what it is and why it is so barren. It sits in a region of space which is much colder than other parts of the universe and although it is not a vacuum, it seems to have around 20 per cent less matter than other...
  • Close Encounter of the Asteroid Kind – 2015 HD1 Skims By Earth Tonight

    04/20/2015 8:55:50 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    Around 3 a.m. (CDT) tomorrow morning April 21, a 50-foot-wide asteroid will hurdle just 0.2 lunar distances or 45,600 miles over your bed. The Mt. Lemmon Survey, based in Tucson, Arizona, snagged the space rock Saturday. 2015 HD1 is about as big as a full grown T-rex through not nearly as scary, since it will safely miss Earth … but not by much.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Total Solar Eclipse over Svalbard

    04/20/2015 1:27:54 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | April 20, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Going, going, gone. That was the feeling in Svalbard, Norway last month during a total eclipse of the Sun by the Moon. In the featured image, the eclipse was captured every three minutes and then digitally merged with a foreground frame taken from the same location. Visible in the foreground are numerous gawking eclipse seekers, some deploying pretty sophisticated cameras. As the Moon and Sun moved together across the sky -- nearly horizontally from this far north -- an increasing fraction of the Sun appears covered by the Moon. In the central frame, the Moon's complete blockage of the...
  • Planet spotted deep within our galaxy: One of the most distant planets known

    04/19/2015 4:46:01 AM PDT · by WhiskeyX · 12 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | April 14, 2015 | Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
    NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has teamed up with a telescope on the ground to find a remote gas planet about 13,000 light-years away, making it one of the most distant planets known.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Ring Galaxy AM 0644-741 from Hubble

    04/19/2015 4:10:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | April 19, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How could a galaxy become shaped like a ring? The rim of the blue galaxy pictured on the right is an immense ring-like structure 150,000 light years in diameter composed of newly formed, extremely bright, massive stars. That galaxy, AM 0644-741, is known as a ring galaxy and was caused by an immense galaxy collision. When galaxies collide, they pass through each other -- their individual stars rarely come into contact. The ring-like shape is the result of the gravitational disruption caused by an entire small intruder galaxy passing through a large one. When this happens, interstellar gas and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Great Crater Hokusai

    04/18/2015 5:27:28 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | April 18, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: One of the largest young craters on Mercury, 114 kilometer (71 mile) diameter Hokusai crater's bright rays are known to extend across much of the planet. But this mosaic of oblique views focuses on Hokusai close up, its sunlit central peaks, terraced crater walls, and frozen sea of impact melt on the crater's floor. The images were captured by the MESSENGER spacecraft. The first to orbit Mercury, since 2011 MESSENGER has conducted scientific explorations, including extensive imaging of the Solar System's innermost planet. Now running out of propellant and unable to counter orbital perturbations caused by the Sun's gravity,...
  • Scientists Map the ["inferred"] Dark Matter Around Millions of Galaxies

    04/17/2015 2:15:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 28 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | Ramin Skibba
    The research and maps, which span a large area of the sky, are the product of a massive effort of an international team from the US, UK, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and Brazil. They announced their new results at the American Physical Society (APS) meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. According to cosmologists, dark matter particles stream and clump together over time in particular regions of the cosmos, often in the same places where galaxies form and cluster. Over time, a “cosmic web” develops across the universe. Though dark matter is invisible, it expands with the universe and feels the pull of gravity....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M46 Plus Two

    04/17/2015 10:30:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | April 17, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Galactic or open star clusters are young. These swarms of stars are born together near the plane of the Milky Way, but their numbers steadily dwindle as cluster members are ejected by galactic tides and gravitational interactions. In fact, this bright open cluster, known as M46, is around 300 million years young. It still contains a few hundred stars within a span of 30 light-years or so. Located about 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation Puppis, M46 also seems to contain contradictions to its youthful status. In this pretty starscape, the colorful, circular patch above and right of the...
  • Dawn Rises Over Ceres North Pole

    04/16/2015 2:51:10 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    Brand new images taken on April 10 by NASA’s Dawn probe show the dwarf planet from high above its north pole. Photographed at a distance of just 21,000 miles (33,000 km) — less than 10 times the Earth-moon distance — they’re our sharpest views to date. The crispness combined with the low-angled sunlight gives Ceres a stark, lunar-like appearance. ... Meanwhile, scientists have assembled images taken by Dawn through blue, green and infrared filters to create a new color-enhanced map of the dwarf planet. The variety of landforms in conjunction with the color variations hint that Ceres was once an...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- One-Armed Spiral Galaxy NGC 4725

    04/16/2015 4:56:15 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | April 16, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: While most spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have two or more spiral arms, NGC 4725 has only one. In this sharp color composite image, the solo spira mirabilis seems to wind from a prominent ring of bluish, newborn star clusters and red tinted star forming regions. The odd galaxy also sports obscuring dust lanes a yellowish central bar structure composed of an older population of stars. NGC 4725 is over 100 thousand light-years across and lies 41 million light-years away in the well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. Computer simulations of the formation of single spiral arms suggest that...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mystic Mountain Dust Pillars

    04/16/2015 4:54:26 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | April 15, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It's stars versus dust in the Carina Nebula and the stars are winning. More precisely, the energetic light and winds from massive newly formed stars are evaporating and dispersing the dusty stellar nurseries in which they formed. Located in the Carina Nebula and known informally as Mystic Mountain, these pillar's appearance is dominated by the dark dust even though it is composed mostly of clear hydrogen gas. Dust pillars such as these are actually much thinner than air and only appear as mountains due to relatively small amounts of opaque interstellar dust. About 7,500 light-years distant, the featured image...
  • NASA's New Horizons probe is visiting Pluto — and just sent back its first [blurry] color photos

    04/14/2015 12:54:15 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 26 replies
    vox.com ^ | Joseph Stromberg
    Next month, as New Horizons nears Pluto, it will start taking the most detailed photos we've ever seen of it. The craft will begin sending back atmospheric data on Pluto in May, and data on the dwarf planet's surface composition in June. "By the time we get there in July, we will have returned over a thousand images to the ground," Stern told me in a recent interview. This is a big deal. Even though Pluto seems very familiar to us, we know far less about it than about any of the planets in our solar system. Two of its...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Through the Shadow of the Moon

    04/14/2015 4:17:02 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | April 14, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it look like to fly through a total eclipse of the Sun? On a typical place on Earth in the path of the dark shadow of the Moon during a total eclipse, an observer would see the Moon cross the face of the Sun, completely blocking it for a few minutes. A particularly clear view of the darkness created on Earth during last month's total solar eclipse was captured by an aircraft flying through the Moon's umbral shadow. One second of time in the featured time-lapse video corresponds to about one minute of real time. The Moon's...
  • Mystery of Ceres' bright spots grows

    04/13/2015 12:28:08 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    nature.com ^ | Alexandra Witze
    Not all of the puzzling bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres are alike. The closest-yet images of the gleams, taken from 45,000 kilometres away, suggest that at least two of the spots look different from one another when seen in infrared wavelengths. The Hubble Space Telescope spied many of the bright spots from afar years ago, but the observations from NASA's Dawn spacecraft — which began looping around Ceres on 6 March — are the first at close range. The images were released on 13 April in Vienna, Austria, at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union. Scientists say...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way over Erupting Volcano

    04/13/2015 7:30:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | April 13, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The view was worth the trip. Battling high winds, cold temperatures, and low oxygen, the trek to near the top of the volcano Santa Maria in Guatemala -- while carrying sensitive camera equipment -- was lonely and difficult. Once set up, though, the camera captured this breathtaking vista during the early morning hours of February 28. Visible on the ground are six volcanoes of the Central America Volcanic Arc, including Fuego, the Volcano of Fire, which is seen erupting in the distance. Visible in the sky, in separate exposures taken a few minutes later, are many stars much further...
  • Accelerating universe? Not so fast

    04/12/2015 9:14:56 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 10 replies
    Eurekalert ^ | 4/10/15
    Certain types of supernovae, or exploding stars, are more diverse than previously thought, a University of Arizona-led team of astronomers has discovered. The results, reported in two papers published in the Astrophysical Journal, have implications for big cosmological questions, such as how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. Most importantly, the findings hint at the possibility that the acceleration of the expansion of the universe might not be quite as fast as textbooks say. The team, led by UA astronomer Peter A. Milne, discovered that type Ia supernovae, which have been considered so uniform that cosmologists...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sentinels of the Arctic

    04/12/2015 1:22:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | April 12, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Who guards the north? Judging from the above photograph, possibly giant trees covered in snow and ice. The featured picture was taken a few winters ago in Finnish Lapland where weather can include sub-freezing temperatures and driving snow. Surreal landscapes sometimes result, where common trees become cloaked in white and so appear, to some, as watchful aliens. Far in the distance, behind this uncommon Earthly vista, is a more common sight -- a Belt of Venus that divided a darkened from sunlit sky as the Sun rose behind the photographer. Of course, in the spring, the trees thaw and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Venus in the West

    04/11/2015 4:04:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | April 11, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In the coming days, Venus shines near the western horizon at sunset. To find Earth's sister planet in twilight skies just look for the brilliant evening star. Tonight very close to the Pleiades star cluster, Venus dominates this springtime night skyscape taken only a few days ago near the town of Lich in central Germany. Also known as the Seven Sisters, the stars of the compact Pleiades cluster appear above Venus in this picture. The budding tree branches to its left frame bright star Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus the Bull, and the V-shaped Hyades star cluster.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2903: A Missing Jewel in Leo

    04/11/2015 4:02:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | April 10, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Barred spiral galaxy NGC 2903 is only some 20 million light-years distant. Popular among amateur astronomers, it shines in the northern spring constellation Leo, near the top of the lion's head. That part of the constellation is sometimes seen as a reversed question mark or sickle. One of the brighter galaxies visible from the northern hemisphere, NGC 2903 is surprisingly missing from Charles Messier's catalog of lustrous celestial sights. This colorful image from a small ground-based telescope shows off the galaxy's gorgeous spiral arms traced by young, blue star clusters and pinkish star forming regions. Included are intriguing details...
  • Origins of Russian fireball found: Scientists say... [similar orbit to asteroid 2014 UR116]

    04/09/2015 10:36:05 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | April 8, 2015 | Ellie Zolfagharifard
    ...the Kola fireball had a 'disturbingly similar' path to asteroid 2014 UR116, which is due to pass by the moon in 2017. Spotted on April 19 last year, researchers used camera footage to help recreate its trajectory and hunt down any remaining fragments... This led researchers to the Annama meteorite, which is an ordinary H5 chondrite -- a group of space rocks with high strength that make up 31 per cent of meteorite falls. The computer model compared the orbit of Annama, a 1,100lb (500kg) rock, with the evolution of a dozen orbits of near-Earth asteroids... Vladimir Lipunov, a professor...
  • Here’s How You Can Watch the SpaceX’s CRS-6 Mission From Your Backyard

    04/09/2015 8:12:28 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | David Dickinson
    Hunting for satellites from your backyard can be positively addicting. Sure, the Orion Nebula or the Andromeda Galaxy appear grand… and they’ll also look exactly the same throughout the short span of our fleeting human lifetimes. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, humans also have added their own ephemeral ‘stars’ to the sky. It’s fun to sleuth out just what these might be, as they photobomb the sky overhead. In the coming week, we’d like to turn your attention towards a unique opportunity to watch a high profile space launch approach a well-known orbiting space laboratory. On Monday, April...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Golden Gate Eclipse

    04/09/2015 4:05:11 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | April 09, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Shadows play on the water and in the sky in this panoramic view of the April 4 total lunar eclipse over San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Just within planet Earth's shadow the Full Moon's disk is still easy to spot at its brief total phase. The urban night skyscape was composed to cover the wide range of brightness visible to the eye. The shortest total lunar eclipse of the century, this eclipse was also the third in a string of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, a series known as a tetrad. Coming in nearly six month intervals, the previous...
  • Ice on Mars: Mars has belts of glaciers consisting of frozen water

    04/09/2015 1:40:09 AM PDT · by samtheman · 25 replies
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/ ^ | April 8, 2015 | University of Copenhagen - Niels Bohr Institute
    Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water. New studies have now calculated the size of the glaciers and thus the amount of water in the glaciers.
  • NASA predicts alien life could be found by 2025

    04/08/2015 6:07:34 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 118 replies
    CBS News ^ | 04/08/2015 | By MICHAEL CASEY
    Bolstered by a flurry of recent discoveries, NASA scientists believe they could find evidence of alien life in the universe as early 2025. Much of the excitement has been around the discovery of water in so many unexpected places. Several planets including Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (and their moons) are believed to possess water in their atmosphere and interiors and the five icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn have shown strong evidence of oceans beneath their surfaces. "I'm going to say we are going to have strong indications of life beyond earth within a decade and I think...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Full Moon in Earth's Shadow

    04/08/2015 2:13:21 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | April 08, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Last week the Full Moon was completely immersed in Earth's dark umbral shadow, just briefly though. The total phase of the April 4, 2015 lunar eclipse lasted less than 5 minutes, the shortest total lunar eclipse of the century. In fact, sliding just within the Earth's umbral shadow's northern edge, the lunar north stayed relatively bright, while a beautiful range of blue and red hues emerged across the rest of the Moon's Earth-facing hemisphere. The reddened light within the shadow that reaches the lunar surface is filtered through the lower atmosphere. Seen from a lunar perspective it comes from...
  • Venus and the Pleiades – See the Spectacle!

    04/07/2015 2:00:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    Just step outside between about 8:30 and 10 p.m. local time, face west and let Venus be your guide. At magnitude -4.1, it’s rivaled in brightness only by the Moon and Sun. Early this week, Venus will lie about 5° or three fingers held together at arm’s length below the Pleiades. But each day it snuggles up a little closer until closest approach on Friday. Around that time, you’ll be able to view both in the same binocular field. Outrageously bright Venus makes for a stunning contrast against the delicate pinpoint beauty of the star cluster.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- In the Heart of the Virgo Cluster

    04/07/2015 7:58:09 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | April 07, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Virgo Cluster of Galaxies is the closest cluster of galaxies to our Milky Way Galaxy. The Virgo Cluster is so close that it spans more than 5 degrees on the sky - about 10 times the angle made by a full Moon. With its heart lying about 70 million light years distant, the Virgo Cluster is the nearest cluster of galaxies, contains over 2,000 galaxies, and has a noticeable gravitational pull on the galaxies of the Local Group of Galaxies surrounding our Milky Way Galaxy. The cluster contains not only galaxies filled with stars but also gas so...
  • Alien FAQ: 6 questions about strange cosmic radio bursts

    04/06/2015 6:49:05 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    newscientist.com ^ | Sarah Scoles
    1. Is this the first time we think we might have found aliens? Nope, there have been several false alarms. The most famous is the 72-second Wow! signal, so called because an eager astronomer wrote "Wow!" next to it on a printout from the Ohio State Big Ear Telescope in 1977. It didn't seem to be of this Earth, but it was never seen again. A few years before that, astronomer Jocelyn Bell thought she may have found the beep-beep-beep of "little green men" when she had actually discovered pulsars, the rapidly rotating corpses of stars that sweep a lighthouse-like...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 3293: A Bright Young Star Cluster

    04/06/2015 5:36:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | April 06, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Hot blue stars shine brightly in this beautiful, recently formed galactic or "open" star cluster. Open cluster NGC 3293 is located in the constellation Carina, lies at a distance of about 8000 light years, and has a particularly high abundance of these young bright stars. A study of NGC 3293 implies that the blue stars are only about 6 million years old, whereas the cluster's dimmer, redder stars appear to be about 20 million years old. If true, star formation in this open cluster took at least 15 million years. Even this amount of time is short, however, when...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Saturn, Tethys, Rings, and Shadows

    04/05/2015 2:49:41 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 05, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Seen from ice moon Tethys, rings and shadows would display fantastic views of the Saturnian system. Haven't dropped in on Tethys lately? Then this gorgeous ringscape from the Cassini spacecraft will have to do for now. Caught in sunlight just below and left of picture center in 2005, Tethys itself is about 1,000 kilometers in diameter and orbits not quite five saturn-radii from the center of the gas giant planet. At that distance (around 300,000 kilometers) it is well outside Saturn's main bright rings, but Tethys is still one of five major moons that find themselves within the boundaries...
  • Hawaiian leader seeks telescope construction pause at sacred summit

    04/04/2015 8:55:36 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 34 replies
    ap ^ | CALEB JONES,AUDREY McAVOY,
    "Hawaiians absolutely believe in science. How that plays out on this mountain is going to be a matter of getting the right set of people in the room to negotiate some sort of compromise that everyone can live with," Apo told reporters. Stopping construction would be key, he said. "You can't even get to the discussion point until they stop construction," he said. ... The dispute has pitted Native Hawaiians, who believe the telescope site is sacred because it is where their creation story begins, against scientists, who believe it's an ideal location for one of the world's largest telescopes...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Voorwerpjes in Space

    04/04/2015 4:02:23 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | April 04, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Mysterious Hanny's Voorwerp, Dutch for "Hanny's Object", is really enormous, about the size of the Milky Way Galaxy and glowing strongly in the greenish light produced by ionized oxygen atoms. It is thought to be a tidal tail of material left by an ancient galaxy merger, illuminated and ionized by the outburst of a quasar inhabiting the center of distant spiral galaxy IC 2497. Its exciting 2007 discovery by Dutch schoolteacher Hanny van Arkel while participating online in the Galaxy Zoo project has since inspired a search and discovery of eight more eerie green cosmic features. Imaged in these...
  • Chris Kyle Protectin' FROM The Heavens

    04/03/2015 4:18:34 PM PDT · by knarf · 4 replies
    e-mail ^ | April 3, 2015 | knarf
  • Total lunar eclipse Saturday morning: Watch it live, right here

    04/03/2015 1:46:13 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    latimes.com ^ | Deborah Netburn
    Totality, when the moon is completely engulfed in our planet's shadow occurs,,,,,4:58 a.m. and lasts for less than five minutes. If sleep means nothing to you, you can continue to watch the moon slowly emerge from the shadow of the Earth, finally breaking free just as the sun begins to rise. The astronomy website Slooh.com will stream live images of the eclipse from its network of telescopes around the world. The video broadcast which you can watch here, begins at 3 a.m PDT. If you have questions you would like Slooh astronomer to answer you can pose them on Twitter...
  • Lunar Eclipse Blood Moon Will Create Easter Weekend Spectacle in the Sky

    04/03/2015 11:19:30 AM PDT · by Perdogg · 48 replies
    ABC News ^ | Apr 3, 2015, 9:15 AM ET | By ALYSSA NEWCOMB
    Early risers and people who plan to party until dawn -- take notice. The United States has prime seats for a lunar eclipse set to take over the skies early Saturday morning, marking the third in a tetrad, a series of four eclipses. The lunar spectacle will be the shortest in a century, lasting four minutes and 43 seconds.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sun and Moon Halo

    04/03/2015 5:04:14 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | April 03, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Two pictures captured on April 1 are combined in this creative day and night composite. Separated in time by about 10 hours the images otherwise match, looking along the coast at Östersund Sweden. The relative times were chosen to show the Sun and a nearly full Moon at the same place in the cold, early springtime sky. In the night scene Jupiter also shines above the waterfront lights, while Sun and Moon are both surrounded by a beautiful circular ice halo. The Sun and Moon halos really do align, each with an angular radius of 22 degrees. That radius...
  • Star's birth glimpsed 'in real time'

    04/03/2015 4:01:46 AM PDT · by WhiskeyX · 21 replies
    BBC ^ | 3 April 2015 | BBC
    Astronomers have witnessed a key stage in the birth of a very heavy star, using two radio telescope views of the process taken 18 years apart. The young star is 4,200 light-years from Earth and appears to be surrounded by a doughnut-shaped cloud of dust.
  • Adventures in Satspotting: Why Are Different Orbits Needed for Satellites?

    04/02/2015 8:19:59 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | David Dickinson
    Congratulations: perhaps you’re a new space-faring nation, looking to place a shiny new payload around the planet Earth. You’ve assembled the technical know-how, and seek to break the surly bonds and join an exclusive club that thus far, only contains 14 nations capable of indigenous spaceflight. Now for the big question: which orbit should you choose? Welcome to the wonderful world of orbital mechanics. Sure, satellites in orbit have to follow Newton’s laws of motion, as they perpetually ‘fall’ around the Earth without hitting it. But it’ll cost you in fuel expended and technical complexity to achieve different types of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Owl and the Galaxy

    04/02/2015 4:52:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | April 02, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation:The Owl and the Galaxy sail these skiesWith blue and yellow star.They go together beneath the Big Dipper,If you wonder where they are. The Galaxy's light shines through the night,Ten millions of light-years away.But never fear the Owl is near,Inside the Milky Way.A cosmic shroud, the Owl is proud,its central star a must.And the spiral Galaxy lies on edgeTo show off all its dust,Its dust,Its dust,To show off all its dust.
  • OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sampler Enters Final Assembly

    04/01/2015 3:49:19 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 2 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | Ken Kremer
    Approximately 17 months from now, OSIRIS-REx is slated to launch in the fall of 2016 and visit asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich asteroid. Bennu is a near-Earth asteroid and was selected for the sample return mission because it “could hold clues to the origin of the solar system and host organic molecules that may have seeded life on Earth,” says NASA. The spacecraft is equipped with a suite of five science instruments to remotely study the asteroid. Eventually it will gather rocks and soil and bring at least a 60-gram (2.1-ounce) sample back to Earth in 2023 for study by researchers...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Suiting Up for the Moon [looks like Kerry]

    04/01/2015 1:17:40 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | April 01, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How will cows survive on the Moon? One of the most vexing questions asked about space, scientists have spent decades debating this key issue. Finally, after extensive computer modeling and over a dozen midnight milkings, engineers have designed, built, and now tested the new Lunar Grazing Module (LGM), a multi-purpose celestial bovine containment system. By now, many of you will not be surprised to be wished a Happy April Fool's Day from APOD. To the best of our knowledge, there are no current plans to launch cows into space. For one reason, cows tend to be large animals that...
  • Is this ET? Mystery of strange radio bursts from space

    04/01/2015 11:33:55 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 33 replies
    www.newscientist.com ^ | 04-01-2015 | Staff
    Mysterious radio wave flashes from far outside the galaxy are proving tough for astronomers to explain. Is it pulsars? A spy satellite? Or an alien message? BURSTS of radio waves flashing across the sky seem to follow a mathematical pattern. If the pattern is real, either some strange celestial physics is going on, or the bursts are artificial, produced by human – or alien – technology. Telescopes have been picking up so-called fast radio bursts (FRBs) since 2001. They last just a few milliseconds and erupt with about as much energy as the sun releases in a month. Ten have...
  • Cassini Reveals First Hyper Color Images of Saturn's Mysterious Moon Rhea

    04/01/2015 4:50:14 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 29 replies
    ChinaTopix ^ | Ana Verayo
    Saturn. Rhea spans some 950 miles across, which is less than a third of Titan's diameter. It possesses very high reflective properties mainly caused by water ice that's harder than rock on the moon's extremely frigid surface battered by temperatures of -300 degrees Fahrenheit. Rhea is also heavily pockmarked by huge craters, which is a sign of the extremely ancient beginnings of the solar system. The Cassini mission was launched in 1997 and is a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency. It arrived in Saturn in June 2004. ... Cassini is already on its last legs and...