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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Planet 9 Search Turning Up Wealth Of New Objects

    08/31/2016 8:14:45 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 23 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 08/30/2016 | Matt Williams
    In a paper that was recently accepted by The Astronomical Journal, Sheppard and Trujillo present their latest discoveries, which they claim are further constraining the location of Planet 9. ...Sheppard and Trujillo relied on information obtained by the Dark Energy Camera on the Victor Blanco 4-meter telescope in Chile and the Japanese Hyper Suprime-Camera on the 8-meter Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. ... Their most recent discovery was a small collection of more extreme objects who’s peculiar orbits differ from the extreme and inner Oort cloud objects, in terms of both their eccentricities and semi-major axes. As with discoveries made using...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Annular Solar Eclipse over New Mexico

    08/31/2016 6:08:00 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/31/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 31 Annular Solar Eclipse over New Mexico Image Credit & Copyright: Colleen Pinski Explanation: What is this person doing? In 2012 an annular eclipse of the Sun was visible over a narrow path that crossed the northern Pacific Ocean and several western US states. In an annular solar eclipse, the Moon is too far from the Earth to block out the entire Sun, leaving the Sun...
  • Earth Just Narrowly Missed Getting Hit by an Asteroid

    08/30/2016 4:20:38 PM PDT · by Beave Meister · 38 replies
    Popular Mechanics ^ | 8/30/2016 | Avery Thompson
    On Saturday, astronomers discovered a new asteroid, just a few hours before it almost hit us. The asteroid is called 2016 QA2, and it missed the Earth by less than a quarter of the distance to the moon. That puts it about three times as far away from Earth as our farthest satellites. And we never saw it coming. So how did 2016 QA2 sneak up on us like that? For this particular asteroid, the answer seems to be that it has a very peculiar orbit. It's highly elliptical, which means it can usually be found hanging out by either...
  • Solar storm of August 28 to September 2, 1859

    08/30/2016 5:37:02 AM PDT · by tired&retired · 2 replies
    Wikipedia ^ | Wikipedia
    The Solar storm of August 28 to September 2, 1859—known as the Carrington Event—was a powerful geomagnetic solar storm during solar cycle 10 (1855–1867). A solar coronal mass ejection(CME) hit Earth's magnetosphere and induced one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record. The flare traveled directly toward Earth, taking 17.6 hours to make the 150 million kilometer (93 million mile) journey. It is believed that the relatively high speed of this CME (typical CMEs take several days to arrive at Earth) was made possible by a prior CME, perhaps the cause of the large aurora event on August 29, that...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Aurora over Icelandic Fault

    08/30/2016 5:04:09 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/30/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 30 Aurora over Icelandic Fault Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN, Earth and Stars) Explanation: Admire the beauty but fear the beast. The beauty is the aurora overhead, here taking the form of great green spiral, seen between picturesque clouds with the bright Moon to the side and stars in the background. The beast is the wave of charged particles that creates the aurora...
  • Milky Way had a blowout bash 6 million years ago

    08/29/2016 9:05:38 PM PDT · by sparklite2 · 22 replies
    Science Daily ^ | August 29, 2016 | Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
    The center of the Milky Way galaxy is currently a quiet place where a supermassive black hole slumbers, only occasionally slurping small sips of hydrogen gas. But it wasn't always this way. A new study shows that 6 million years ago, when the first human ancestors known as hominins walked the Earth, our galaxy's core blazed forth furiously. The evidence for this active phase came from a search for the galaxy's missing mass.
  • Is Earth being contacted by ALIENS? Mystery radio signals coming from a sun-like star

    08/29/2016 11:20:28 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 85 replies
    www.dailymail.co.uk ^ | Updated: 06:48 EST, 29 August 2016 | By Ellie Zolfagharifard
    The signals seem to be coming from a sun-like star known as HD 164595 The star is 95 light years away and may have undiscovered planets in orbit Scientists say signals may simply be the result of a natural phenomenon One possibility is 'microlensing' in which the star's gravity focuses signals coming from farther away A spike in radio signals coming from the direction of a sun-like star has excited astronomers. The signals seem to be originating from a sun-like star known as HD 164595 in the constellation Hercules, around 95 light years away. Scientists suggest they are likely to...
  • An Interesting SETI Candidate in Hercules

    08/29/2016 7:20:51 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 25 replies
    Centauri Dreams ^ | 8/27/16 | Paul Gilster
    An Interesting SETI Candidate in Hercules by Paul Gilster on August 27, 2016 A candidate signal for SETI is a welcome sign that our efforts in that direction may one day pay off. An international team of researchers has announced the detection of “a strong signal in the direction of HD164595” in a document now being circulated through contact person Alexander Panov. The detection was made with the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, in the Karachay–Cherkess Republic of Russia, not far from the border with Georgia in the Caucasus. The signal was received on May 15, 2015, 18:01:15.65 (sidereal time),...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Young Suns of NGC 7129

    08/29/2016 5:48:54 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/29/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 29 Young Suns of NGC 7129 Image Credit & Copyright: Robert Gendler, Roberto Colombari, Eric Recurt, Adam Block - Additional Data: Subaru (NAOJ) Explanation: Young suns still lie within dusty NGC 7129, some 3,000 light-years away toward the royal constellation Cepheus. While these stars are at a relatively tender age, only a few million years old, it is likely that our own Sun formed in a...
  • Photograph of Io over Jupiter's Great Red Spot

    08/28/2016 8:10:50 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 29 replies
    Imgur ^ | 8/27/16
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Abell 370: Galaxy Cluster Gravitational Lens

    08/28/2016 7:58:40 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/28/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 28 Abell 370: Galaxy Cluster Gravitational Lens Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team& ST-ECF Explanation: What is that strange arc? While imaging the cluster of galaxies Abell 370, astronomers had noted an unusual arc to the right of many cluster galaxies. Although curious, one initial response was to avoid commenting on the arc because nothing like it had ever been noted before....
  • Rare Close Encounter of Venus & Jupiter Tonight Won't Happen Again Until 2065

    08/27/2016 7:38:24 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    Space.com ^ | August 27, 2016 07:20am ET | Calla Cofield, Staff Writer |
    Tonight (Aug. 27), look toward the western horizon to see a rare celestial event and a parade of planets — no telescope required. Just above the horizon, Venus and Jupiter will appear so close to each other that, from some locations, the two planets will almost seem to touch. The next time Venus and Jupiter will get this close will be in November 2065. In addition to keeping a look out for this planetary conjunction, look higher up in the sky to see three other planets on parade: Saturn, Mercury and Mars.
  • What Does “Earthlike” Even Mean & Should It Apply To Proxima Centauri b?

    08/27/2016 7:25:23 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 20 replies
    Unoverse Today ^ | 08/25/2016 | Matt Williams
    For starters, to call a planet “Earth-like” generally means that it is similar in composition to Earth. This is where the term “terrestrial” really comes into play, as it refers to a rocky planet that is composed primarily of silicate rock and metals which are differentiated between a metal core and a silicate mantle and crust. ... What this does not mean, at least not automatically, is that the planet is habitable in the way Earth is. Simply being terrestrial in nature is not an indication that the planet has a suitable atmosphere or a warm enough climate to support...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Lunar Orbiter Earthset

    08/27/2016 5:47:51 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/27/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 27 Lunar Orbiter Earthset Image Credit: NASA / Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project Explanation: August 10th was the 50th anniversary of the launch of Lunar Orbiter 1. It was the first of five Lunar Orbiters intended to photograph the Moon's surface to aid in the selection of future landing sites. That spacecraft's camera captured the data used in this restored, high-resolution version of its historic first...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Milky Way Sets

    08/26/2016 4:58:28 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/26/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 26 The Milky Way Sets Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN, Earth and Stars) Explanation: Under dark skies the setting of the Milky Way can be a dramatic sight. Stretching nearly parallel to the horizon, this rich, edge-on vista of our galaxy above the dusty Namibian desert stretches from bright, southern Centaurus (left) to Cepheus in the north (right). From early August, the digitally...
  • Astronomers Discover New Galaxy That Is 99.99% Dark Matter

    08/25/2016 10:16:17 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 39 replies
    Popular Mechanics ^ | 8/25/16 | Avery Thompson
    Astronomers Discover New Galaxy That Is 99.99% Dark Matter ​Scientists hope this new galaxy could help uncover the truth about dark matter. NASA 149 A team of astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Maunakea, Hawaii, have discovered a massive galaxy made of 99.99 percent dark matter.The galaxy, called Dragonfly 44, is part of a collection of galaxies discovered a year ago by the same team. These galaxies are the same size and shape of regular galaxies, but contain far fewer stars. And now we know why: they're made almost entirely of dark matter. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Mysterious Origins...
  • Just how dangerous is it to travel at 20 percent the speed of light?

    08/25/2016 8:57:03 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 53 replies
    technofres.com ^ | 08/24/2016 | Victor Sopsan
    Breakthrough Starshot is one of the more exciting scientific ideas that has popped up in the past decade, with its promise to deliver hardware to the nearest star in time for many people currently alive to see it. While the idea would work on paper as an extrapolation of existing technology, there are a lot of details that need to be thoroughly checked out, because it’s possible that one of them could present a show-stopper. There’s a bit of good news there: Breakthrough Starshot is apparently funding the needed research to give its concept a thorough vetting. A recent posting...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Closest Star has Potentially Habitable Planet

    08/25/2016 4:09:01 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/25/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 25 Closest Star has Potentially Habitable Planet Image Credit & License: Y. Beletsky (LCO), ESO, Pale Red Dot Team Explanation: The star closest to the Sun has a planet similar to the Earth. As announced yesterday, recent observations confirmed that this planet not only exists but inhabits a zone where its surface temperature could allow liquid water, a key ingredient for life on Earth. It is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Curiosity at Murray Buttes on Mars

    08/24/2016 5:51:06 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/24/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 24 Curiosity at Murray Buttes on Mars Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS Explanation: What are these unusual lumps on Mars? As NASA's robotic Curiosity rover continues rolling across Mars, it is now approaching Murray Buttes. Several of the 15-meter high buttes are visible ahead in this horizontally compressed 360-degree across image taken inside Gale Crater earlier this month. The buttes are thought similar to Earth buttes...
  • You could fit the entire human race into a sugar cube — and 13 other facts...

    08/23/2016 10:34:57 AM PDT · by Heartlander · 72 replies
    Business Insider ^ | Aug. 23, 2016 | Ali Sundermier
    The universe is a crazy place... It's full of exploding stars and immortal jellyfish and it's been kicking around for almost 14 billion years. Here are 14 awesome facts to put it all into perspective. If you unraveled all of the DNA in your body, it would span 34 billion miles, reaching to Pluto (2.66 billion miles away) and back ... 13 times.Source: Business InsiderIn fact, your body contains cosmic relics from the creation of the universe. Almost all of your hydrogen atoms were formed in the Big Bang, about 13.7 billion years ago.Source: PBSAnd when you tune your TV...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Gigantic Jet Lightning over China

    08/23/2016 7:39:28 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/23/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 23 Gigantic Jet Lightning over China Image Credit & Copyright: Phebe Pan Explanation: That's no meteor. While watching and photographing this year's Perseid Meteor Shower, something unexpected happened: a gigantic jet erupted from a nearby cloud. The whole thing was over in a flash -- it lasted less than a second -- but was fortunately captured by an already-recording digital camera. Gigantic jets are a rare...
  • Just how massive is the Phoenix Cluster's black hole?

    08/22/2016 6:48:37 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 25 replies
    imgur.com ^ | 8/22/16
  • Mike Pence Laughs When Fox Reporter Repeats Trump’s Promise to Win Black Votes

    08/22/2016 4:48:39 PM PDT · by KMG365 · 84 replies
    In one segment of a pre-taped interview with Fox’s Ainsley Earhardt aired Monday morning, Republican Veep candidate Mike Pence couldn’t help but chuckle with she repeated Trump’s promise to win basically the entire African-American vote. “He says that by 2020 he’s going to have 95% of the African-American support,” Earhardt said, compelling Pence to laugh. “Why are you laughing?” “Well, that’s Donald Trump,” Pence said, adding that his running mate was a “truth teller.” Trump’s strategy for minority outreach has come under scrutiny. He has been criticized for both his message (“What have you got to lose?”) and the fact...
  • After 22 months, NASA hears from "lost" spacecraft

    08/22/2016 4:26:56 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 37 replies
    CBS News ^ | August 22, 2016, 4:25 PM | William Harwood
    NASA’s Deep Space Network, or DSN, “established a lock on the STEREO-B (spacecraft’s) downlink carrier at 6:27 p.m. EDT,” NASA said in a statement. “The downlink signal was monitored by the Mission Operations team over several hours to characterize the attitude of the spacecraft and then transmitter high voltage was powered down to save battery power. ... Launched in 2006, the STEREO mission featured two spacecraft -- STEREO-A and STEREO-B -- designed to monitor solar activity from different locations, one “ahead” in its orbit and one “behind,” allowing scientists to see the entire star, not just the side facing Earth....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Tutulemma: Solar Eclipse Analemma

    08/22/2016 6:30:55 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/22/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 22 Tutulemma: Solar Eclipse Analemma Image Credit & Copyright: Cenk E. Tezel and Tunç Tezel (TWAN) Explanation: If you went outside at exactly the same time every day and took a picture that included the Sun, how would the Sun's position change? With great planning and effort, such a series of images can be taken. The figure-8 path the Sun follows over the course of a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Map of Total Solar Eclipse Path in 2017 August

    08/22/2016 6:25:59 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/21/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 21 Map of Total Solar Eclipse Path in 2017 August Image Credit: Fred Espenak (NASA's GSFC), MrEclipse.com, Google Maps Explanation: Would you like to see a total eclipse of the Sun? If so, do any friends or relatives live near the path of next summer's eclipse? If yes again, then you might want to arrange a visit for one year from today. Next year on this...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Gamma-rays and Comet Dust

    08/22/2016 6:19:25 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/20/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 20 Gamma-rays and Comet Dust Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel López (El Cielo de Canarias) Explanation: Gamma-rays and dust from periodic Comet Swift-Tuttle plowed through planet Earth's atmosphere on the night of August 11/12. Impacting at about 60 kilometers per second the grains of comet dust produced this year's remarkably active Perseid meteor shower. This composite wide-angle image of aligned shower meteors covers a 4.5 hour...
  • New Visualization Of Waves In Saturn’s Rings Puts You In The Keeler Gap

    08/20/2016 8:23:10 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    Univese Today ^ | 19 Aug , 2016 | Matt Williams
    As one of Saturn’s smallest moons – measuring just 8 km (~5 mi) in diameter – the existence of Daphnis had been previously inferred by astronomers based on the gravitational ripples that were observed on the outer edge of the Keeler Gap. This 42 km (26 mi) wide gap, which lies in Saturn’s A Ring and is approximately 250 km from the its outer edge, is kept clear by Daphnis’ orbit around the planet. ...Cassini Imaging Science Team concluded that Daphnis’ path and orbit induce a wavy pattern in the edge of the gap. These waves reach a distance of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Perseid Fireball at Sunset Crater

    08/19/2016 5:58:23 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/1982016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 19 Perseid Fireball at Sunset Crater Image Credit & Copyright: Jeremy Perez Explanation: On the night of August 12, this bright Perseid meteor flashed above volcanic Sunset Crater National Monument, Arizona, USA, planet Earth. Streaking along the summer Milky Way, its initial color is likely due to the shower meteor's characteristically high speed. Entering at 60 kilometers per second, Perseid meteors are capable of exciting green...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Perseid Night at Yosemite

    08/18/2016 6:29:46 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/18/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 18 Perseid Night at Yosemite Image Credit & Copyright: Mike Shaw Explanation: The 2016 Perseid meteor shower performed well on the night of August 11/12. The sky on that memorable evening was recorded from a perch overlooking Yosemite Valley, planet Earth, in this scene composed of 25 separate images selected from an all-night set of sequential exposures. Each image contains a single meteor and was placed...
  • Hibernating-Star Explosion Provides 1st Evidence of Nova Cycle

    08/17/2016 9:45:34 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    space.com ^ | August 17, 2016 02:50pm ET | Hanneke Weitering,
    team of astronomers has found evidence of additional mini outbursts leading up to the so-called classical nova — or final explosion of a white dwarf star, the planet-size remains of a star that has burned up its nuclear fuel. Their data provide the first direct evidence for the nova hibernation hypothesis, a theory that suggests a cyclical evolution of such stars. The nova — called V1213 Cen, or Nova Centauri 2009 — erupted in 2009, but astronomers at the University of Warsaw had been monitoring its source star since 2003. By collecting data for several years before and after the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Meteor before Galaxy

    08/17/2016 6:34:21 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/17/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 17 Meteor before Galaxy Image Credit & Copyright: Fritz Helmut Hemmerich Explanation: What's that green streak in front of the Andromeda galaxy? A meteor. While photographing the Andromeda galaxy last Friday, near the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower, a sand-sized rock from deep space crossed right in front of our Milky Way Galaxy's far-distant companion. The small meteor took only a fraction of a second...
  • The edge of the universe is closer than we thought...320 million light years smaller

    08/17/2016 5:41:51 AM PDT · by rickmichaels · 95 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | Aug. 17, 2016 | Abigail Beall
    If the universe was infinitely old, as we used to assume, then it must be filled with an infinite number of stars and galaxies. So why is the night sky not completely lit up by the light from these stars? This question was first asked by the nineteenth century astronomer Heinrich Olbers, and the answer is, because of the age of the universe, not all of the photons have had enough time to reach us yet. The amount of universe we are able to see is called the observable universe, and according to a pair of astrophysicists, it just got...
  • Scientists on verge of discovering new fifth force that will change how we see the universe

    08/16/2016 6:53:07 PM PDT · by rickmichaels · 26 replies
    National Post ^ | Aug. 16, 2016 | John-Michael Schneider
    Since the mid-1970s, modern physics has rested on the knowledge of four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. Now scientists are on the verge of discovering a fifth force of nature, which could change the field of physics forever. According to a recent paper published by University of California physicists in the peer-reviewed journal Physical Review Letters, what physicists thought was a new particle of matter could be a new force altogether.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Five Planets and the Moon over Australia

    08/16/2016 7:13:11 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | 8/16/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 16 Five Planets and the Moon over Australia Image Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN) Explanation: It is not a coincidence that planets line up. That's because all of the planets orbit the Sun in (nearly) a single sheet called the plane of the ecliptic. When viewed from inside that plane -- as Earth dwellers are likely to do -- the planets all appear confined...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Human as Spaceship

    08/15/2016 6:35:17 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/15/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 15 Human as Spaceship Space Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, and J. Maiz- Apellániz (IAA); Acknowledgement: D. De Martin; Human Image Copyright: Charis Tsevis; Composition: R. J. Nemiroff Explanation: You are a spaceship soaring through the universe. So is your dog. We all carry with us trillions of microorganisms as we go through life. These multitudes of bacteria, fungi, and archaea have different DNA than you....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Keyhole in the Carina Nebula

    08/14/2016 8:36:51 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/14/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 14 The Keyhole in the Carina Nebula Image Credit: NASA, Hubble Heritage (AURA/STScI) Explanation: The dark dusty Keyhole Nebula gets its name from its unusual shape. The looping Keyhole, in this featured classic image by the Hubble Space Telescope, is a smaller region inside the larger Carina Nebula. Dramatic dark dust knots and complex features are sculpted by the winds and radiation of the Carina Nebula's...
  • NASA’s new climate model of ancient Venus shows a picture of a habitable world

    08/14/2016 6:07:49 AM PDT · by fluorescence · 35 replies
    The Washington Post ^ | August 12, 2016 | Ben Guarino
    For a 2-billion-year-long span, ending about 715 million years ago, Venus was likely a much more pleasant spot that it is today. To observe Venus now is to witness a dry and toxic hellscape, where the planet heats up to a scorching 864 degrees Fahrenheit. A super-strong electric wind is believed to suck the smallest traces of water into space. With apologies to Ian Malcolm, life as we know it could not find a way. But travel back in time a few billion years or so. Ancient Venus, according to a new computer model from NASA, would have been prime...
  • SpaceX Falcon 9 Set for Post-Midnight Blastoff and Landing on Aug. 14 – Watch Live

    08/13/2016 8:22:40 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 13 Aug , 2016 | Ken Kremer
    Scarcely three weeks after the mesmerizing midnight launch and landing of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that delivered over two tons of science and critical hardware to the space station for NASA, the innovative firm is set to repeat the back to back space feats – with a few big twists – during a post midnight launch this Sunday, Aug.14 of a Japanese telecom satellite. In less than 24 hours, a freshly built SpaceX Falcon 9 is set to transform night into day and launch the JCSAT-16 communications satellite from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station...
  • Mystery object in weird orbit beyond Neptune cannot be explained

    08/12/2016 10:46:17 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 59 replies
    newscientist.com ^ | Shannon Hall
    The TNO orbits in a plane that’s tilted 110 degrees to the plane of the solar system. What’s more, it swings around the sun backwards unlike most of the other objects in the solar system. With this in mind, the team that discovered the TNO nicknamed it “Niku” after the Chinese adjective for rebellious. To grasp how truly rebellious it is, remember that a flat plane is the signature of a planetary system, as a star-forming gas cloud creates a flat disk of dust and gas around it. “Angular momentum forces everything to have that one spin direction all the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Easterbunny Comes to NGC 4725

    08/12/2016 7:41:47 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/12/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 12 The Easterbunny Comes to NGC 4725 Image Credit & Copyright: Bob English Explanation: At first called "Easterbunny" by its discovery team, officially named Makemake is the second brightest dwarf planet of the Kuiper belt. The icy world appears twice in this astronomical image, based on data taken on June 29 and 30 of the bright spiral galaxy NGC 4725. Makemake is marked by short red...
  • Perseid meteor shower

    08/11/2016 5:42:48 PM PDT · by ameribbean expat · 46 replies
    Best viewing Thursday and Friday nights.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - M2-9: Wings of a Butterfly Planetary Nebula

    08/11/2016 10:52:48 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | 07/24/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 July 24 M2-9: Wings of a Butterfly Nebula Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA - Processing: Judy Schmidt Explanation: Are stars better appreciated for their art after they die? Actually, stars usually create their most artistic displays as they die. In the case of low-mass stars like our Sun and M2-9 pictured above, the stars transform themselves from normal stars to white dwarfs by casting off...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Perseid, Aurora, and Noctilucent Clouds

    08/11/2016 6:43:59 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | 08/11/2016 | (see photo credits)
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 11 Perseid, Aurora, and Noctilucent Clouds Image Credit & Copyright: Göran Strand Explanation: Night skies over northern Sweden can hold some tantalizing sights in August. Gazing toward the Big Dipper, this beautiful northern skyscape captures three of them in a single frame taken last August 12/13. Though receding from northern skies for the season, night shining or noctilucent clouds are hanging just above the horizon. Extreme...
  • Tabby’s Star: More weirdness

    08/11/2016 4:31:57 AM PDT · by samtheman · 32 replies
    http://earthsky.org/ ^ | August 10, 2016 | Deborah Byrd
    Remember Tabby’s Star? It’s the star that astronomer Tabetha Boyajian – who reported its strangeness in a Ted Talk in February, 2016 – famously called “the most mysterious star in the galaxy.” It’s mysterious because astronomers have never seen another star do what this star does. One explanation for the strange dimming of its light is that the star has an alien-built megastructure – a Dyson sphere – around it. Does it? Will we ever know for sure? Those are unanswered questions, but, while you’re pondering it, here’s the latest on this wonderful star. On August 3, 2016, two astronomers...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day

    08/10/2016 7:08:48 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 4 replies
    (see photo credits) ^ | 08/09/2016 | NASA
    Astronomy Picture of the Day Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2016 August 9 Mars at Closest Approach 2016 Video Credit & Copyright: Jesús Santos Garzás Explanation: When does Mars appear the largest? This occurs when Earth sweeps past Mars in their respective orbits around the Sun, creating a momentary Sun-Earth-Mars alignment called opposition. The featured video shows the Mars opposition that occurred earlier this year. All of the images were taken from Earth with a small telescope. Mars...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day

    08/10/2016 6:55:10 AM PDT · by ThomasMore · 2 replies
    (see photo credit) ^ | 08/10/2016 | NASA
    Astronomy Picture of the Day 2016 August 10 See Explanation. Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available. Colliding Galaxies in Stephan's Quintet Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA; Processing & Copyright: Jose Jimenez Priego Explanation: Will either of these galaxies survive? In what might be dubbed as a semi-final round in a galactic elimination tournament, the two spirals of NGC 7318 are colliding. The featured picture was created from images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. When galaxies crash into each other, many things may happen including gravitational distortion, gas condensing to produce new episodes...
  • Why is Uranus on its Side?

    08/06/2016 8:37:29 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 57 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 5 Aug , 2016 | Faser Cain
    It’s impossible to do an article about Uranus without opening up the back door to a spit storm of potty humour.... Anyway, perhaps one of the strangest aspects of Uranus is its tilt.... The Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the Sun’s equator. Mars is 25 degrees, and even Mercury is 2.1 degrees tilted.... Uranus is 97.8 degrees... ...[A]stronomers define the angle as greater than 90 degrees when you take its direction of rotation into account. When you describe it as turning in the same direction as the rest of the planets in the Solar System, then you have...
  • Black holes could be 'back doors' to other parts of the universe, claim scientists

    08/05/2016 10:43:13 AM PDT · by b4its2late · 51 replies
    UK Mirror ^ | 5 Aug 2016 | John von Radowitz
    Black holes could be "back doors" to other regions of the universe, a new study suggests. However, it is unlikely anyone passing through one of the gateways would survive, say scientists. First they would be "spaghettified" - stretched out like a strand of pasta - by the black hole's immense gravity. Once on the other side of the "door" the traveller would be compacted back to normal size, but could not count on being restored back to life.
  • HiRISE Drops 1,000 Stunning New Mars Images For Your Viewing Pleasure

    08/04/2016 3:53:03 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 29 replies
    Universe today ^ | 4 Aug 2016 | Nancy Atkinson
    HiRISE, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, is the largest and most powerful camera ever flown on a planetary mission, sending back incredible beautiful, high-resolution images of Mars. While previous cameras on other Mars orbiters can identify objects about the size of a school bus, HiRISE brings it to human scale, imaging objects as small as 3 feet (1 meter) across. The HiRISE team has just released more than 1,000 new observations of Mars for the Planetary Data System archive, showing a wide range of gullies, dunes, craters, geological layering and other features on the Red Planet. MRO orbits at...