Free Republic 4th Quarter Fundraising Target: $85,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $29,962
35%  
Woo hoo!! And the first 35% is in!! Thank you all very much!!

Astronomy (General/Chat)

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way over Devils Tower

    10/31/2014 12:44:10 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | October 31, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A mysterious formation known as Devils Tower rises into the dark above northeastern Wyoming's prairie landscape in this 16 frame panoramic view. Seen against the night sky's thin, pale clouds and eerie green airglow, star clusters and nebulae of the Milky Way arc toward the galaxy's central realm at right. Of course the scene contains the Milky Way's own haunting and grisly visages of halloween, including ghosts, a flaming skull, a glowing eye and a witch's broom. To find them, slide your cursor over the picture or just follow this link, if you dare. And have a safe and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Spectre in the Eastern Veil

    10/31/2014 12:40:02 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | October 30, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Frightening forms and scary faces are a mark of the Halloween season. They also haunt this cosmic close-up of the eastern Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula itself is a large supernova remnant, the expanding debris cloud from the death explosion of a massive star. While the Veil is roughly circular in shape and covers nearly 3 degrees on the sky in the constellation Cygnus, this portion of the eastern Veil spans only 1/2 degree, about the apparent size of the Moon. That translates to 12 light-years at the Veil's estimated distance, a reassuring 1,400 light-years from planet Earth. In...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Iridescent Cloud Edge Over Colorado

    10/31/2014 12:38:22 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | October 29, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sometimes your eclipse viewing goes bad in an interesting way. While watching and photographing last Thursday's partial solar eclipse, a popular astronomy blogger suffered through long periods of clouds blocking the Sun. Unexpectedly, however, a nearby cloud began to show a rare effect: iridescence. Frequently part of a more familiar solar corona effect, iridescence is the diffraction of sunlight around a thin screen of nearly uniformly-sized water droplets. Different colors of the sunlight become deflected by slightly different angles and so come to the observer from slightly different directions. This display, featured here, was quite bright and exhibited an...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Retrograde Mars

    10/31/2014 12:35:52 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | October 28, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why would Mars appear to move backwards? Most of the time, the apparent motion of Mars in Earth's sky is in one direction, slow but steady in front of the far distant stars. About every two years, however, the Earth passes Mars as they orbit around the Sun. During the most recent such pass starting late last year, Mars as usual, loomed large and bright. Also during this time, Mars appeared to move backwards in the sky, a phenomenon called retrograde motion. Featured here is a series of images digitally stacked so that all of the stars coincide. Here,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Plane, Clouds, Moon, Spots, Sun

    10/31/2014 12:31:55 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | October 27, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that in front of the Sun? The closest object is an airplane, visible just below the Sun's center and caught purely by chance. Next out are numerous clouds in Earth's atmosphere, creating a series of darkened horizontal streaks. Farther out is Earth's Moon, seen as the large dark circular bite on the upper right. Just above the airplane and just below the Sun's surface are sunspots. The main sunspot group captured here, AR 2192, is one of the largest ever recorded and has been crackling and bursting with flares since it came around the edge of the Sun...
  • Mercury Pierces the Zodiacal Light at Dawn this Weekend

    10/30/2014 8:37:24 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | October 30, 2014 | David Dickinson must not say on
    The most bashful of all the naked eye planets makes its best dawn appearance of 2014 this weekend for northern hemisphere observers. And not only will Mercury be worth getting up for, but you’ll also stand a chance at nabbing that most elusive of astronomical phenomena — the zodiacal light — from a good dark sky sight. DST note: This post was written whilst we we’re visiting Arizona, a land that, we’re happy to report, does not for the most part observe the archaic practice of Daylight Saving Time. Life goes on, zombies do not arise, and trains still run...
  • Partial solar eclipse shows off massive sunspot

    10/29/2014 1:46:06 PM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 10 replies
    wattsupwiththat.com ^ | October 28, 2014 | Anthony Watts
    From the National Science Foundation: Press Release 14-141 Spotlighting the sunOctober 24, 2014Astronomers with the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) captured pictures not only of Thursday’s partial solar eclipse, but also of the “monster” sized active region or sun spot that has many comparing it to one of a similar size that occurred 11 years ago.The sun spots were earlier reported by scientists with the NSF-supported National Solar Observatory. According to astronomers Frank Hill and Kiran Jain, “As of Oct 21, 2014, a very large active region is currently on the solar disk and producing...
  • Just In Time for Halloween: Jupiter Gets a Giant Cyclops Eye!

    10/28/2014 5:39:17 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 18 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on October 28, 2014 | Matt Williams
    While this is merely a convenient illusion caused by the passage of Ganymede in front of Jupiter – something it does on a regular basis – the timing and appearance are perfect. The above image, however, was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope on April 21st, 2014, when kids were perhaps thinking of the Easter Bunny, not monsters and goblins. At the time, Hubble was being used to monitor changes in Jupiter’s immense Great Red Spot (GRS) storm. During the exposures, the shadow of the Jovian moon Ganymede swept across the center of the GRS, giving the giant planet the...
  • How to Watch Spectacular 1st Nighttime Antares Launch to ISS on Oct. 27 – Complete Viewing Guide

    10/26/2014 11:14:21 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on October 25, 2014 | Ken Kremer
    NASA WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, VA – Tens of millions of US East Coast residents can expect a dinnertime spectacular for the first ever nighttime launch of the commercial Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket slated to blastoff on Monday evening, October 27, from a beachside NASA launch base along the eastern shore of Virginia – if the weather holds as currently forecast.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Too Close to a Black Hole

    10/26/2014 7:32:29 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | October 26, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would you see if you went right up to a black hole? Featured is a computer generated image highlighting how strange things would look. The black hole has such strong gravity that light is noticeably bent towards it - causing some very unusual visual distortions. Every star in the normal frame has at least two bright images - one on each side of the black hole. Near the black hole, you can see the whole sky - light from every direction is bent around and comes back to you. The original background map was taken from the 2MASS...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunspots and Solar Eclipse

    10/26/2014 7:25:56 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | October 25, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A New Moon joined giant sunspot group AR 2192 to dim the bright solar disk during Thursday's much anticipated partial solar eclipse. Visible from much of North America, the Moon's broad silhouette is captured in this extreme telephoto snapshot near eclipse maximum from Santa Cruz, California. About the size of Jupiter, the remarkable AR 2192 itself darkens a noticeable fraction of the Sun, near center and below the curved lunar limb. As the sunspot group slowly rotates across the Sun and out of view in the coming days its activity is difficult to forecast. But the timing of solar...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- AR 2192: Giant on the Sun

    10/26/2014 7:22:29 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | October 24, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: As you (safely!) watched the progress of yesterday's partial solar eclipse, you probably also spotted a giant sunspot group. Captured in this sharp telescopic image from October 22nd the complex AR 2192 is beautiful to see, a sprawling solar active region comparable in size to the diameter of Jupiter. Like other smaller sunspot groups, AR 2192 is now crossing the Earth-facing side of the Sun and appears dark in visible light because it is cooler than the surrounding surface. Still, the energy stored in the region's twisted magnetic fields is enormous and has already generated powerful explosions, including two...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxies in Pegasus

    10/26/2014 7:19:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | October 23, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This wide, sharp telescopic view reveals galaxies scattered beyond the stars and faint dust nebulae of the Milky Way at the northern boundary of the high-flying constellation Pegasus. Prominent at the upper right is NGC 7331. A mere 50 million light-years away, the large spiral is one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. The disturbed looking group of galaxies at the lower left is well-known as Stephan's Quintet. About 300 million light-years distant, the quintet dramatically illustrates a multiple galaxy collision, its powerful, ongoing interactions posed for a brief cosmic snapshot. On...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunspot Group AR 2192 Crackles

    10/26/2014 7:15:37 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | October 22, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: One of the largest sunspot groups in recent years is now crossing the Sun. Labelled Active Region 2192, it has already thrown a powerful solar flare and has the potential to produce more. The featured video shows a time lapse sequence of the Sun in visible and ultraviolet light taken yesterday and incorporating the previous 48 hours. AR 2192, rotating in from the left, rivals Jupiter in size and is literally crackling with magnetic energy. The active Sun has caused some spectacular auroras in recent days, and energetic particles originating from AR 2192 may help continue them over the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mimas: Small Moon with a Big Crater

    10/26/2014 7:11:52 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | October 21, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Whatever hit Mimas nearly destroyed it. What remains is one of the largest impact craters on one of Saturn's smallest moons. The crater, named Herschel after the 1789 discoverer of Mimas, Sir William Herschel, spans about 130 kilometers and is pictured above. Mimas' low mass produces a surface gravity just strong enough to create a spherical body but weak enough to allow such relatively large surface features. Mimas is made of mostly water ice with a smattering of rock - so it is accurately described as a big dirty snowball. The above image was taken during the 2010 February...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Siding Spring Passes Mars

    10/26/2014 7:05:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | October 20, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Yesterday, a comet passed very close to Mars. In fact, Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed closer to the red planet than any comet has ever passed to Earth in recorded history. To take advantage of this unique opportunity to study the close interaction of a comet and a planet, humanity currently has five active spacecraft orbiting Mars: NASA's MAVEN, MRO, Mars Odyssey, as well as ESA's Mars Express, and India's Mars Orbiter. Most of these spacecraft have now sent back information that they have not been damaged by small pieces of the passing comet. These spacecraft, as well...
  • Rosetta’s Comet Springs Spectacular Leaks As It Gets Closer To The Sun

    10/23/2014 1:23:11 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | October 23, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell
    The comet that the Rosetta spacecraft is visiting is shedding more dust as machine and Solar System body get closer to the Sun. While activity was first seen at the “neck” of the rubber-duckie shaped comet a few weeks ago, now scientists are seeing jets spring from across the comet. This is just one signal of cometary activity picking up as 67P gets closer to the Sun. For the moment, it appears the prime landing site is still safe enough for Philae to land on Nov. 19, officials said, while noting there is a jet about a kilometer away that...
  • Beastly Sunspot Amazes, Heightens Eclipse Excitement

    10/22/2014 1:31:44 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on October 22, 2014 | Bob King
    Properly shielded, it was very easy to see with the naked eye. Unlike some other naked eye sunspots, this one showed structure. The eastern end was darker, the western half grayer and more extended. Through a small telescope, the mix of dark umbras scattered amid weirdly sculpted penumbral “islands” was incredible to see. Photographs like the one above are wonderful documents, but witnessing this beautiful complex magnetic mess with your own eyes is another experience altogether. Region 2192 continues to grow and size and complexity and is now the largest sunspot group of solar cycle 24 which began in 2009...
  • Moment Mystery Light Streaked Across Night Sky Captured on Video

    10/21/2014 7:51:07 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    abc ^ | Oct 21, 2014, 10:40 AM ET | ALYSSA NEWCOMB
    The sighting came as the Earth passed through the debris cloud from Halley’s Comet, which produces the annual Orionid meteor shower. Bill Cooke of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, told ABC News there were "several bright Orionids last night, as well as a spectacular fireball over middle Tennessee" that he said broke apart at 24 miles altitude just south of Nashville.
  • MRO Spies Tiny, Bright Nucleus During Comet Flyby

    10/20/2014 7:46:15 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | October 20, 2014 | Bob King do not say on
    Not to be outdone by the feisty Opportunity Rover, the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) turned in its homework this evening with a fine image of comet C/2013 Siding Spring taken during closest approach on October 19. ... To photograph a fast-moving target from orbit, engineers at Lockheed-Martin in Denver precisely pointed and slewed the spacecraft based on comet position calculations by engineers at JPL. To make sure they knew exactly where the comet was, the team photographed the comet 12 days in advance when it was barely bright enough to register above the detector’s noise level....
  • Awesome Photo Shows Monster Sunspot Aiming Our Way

    10/20/2014 1:23:32 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 34 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | October 20, 2014 | Jason Major off
    According to Spaceweather.com AR2192 has grown considerably over the past few days and has the potential to unleash M- and X-class flares in our direction now that it’s moving into Earth-facing position. It’s currently many times larger than Earth and will likely get even bigger… in fact, during this week’s partial solar eclipse AR2192 should be visible with the naked (but not unprotected!) eye for viewers across much of North America.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet McNaught Over New Zealand

    10/19/2014 5:20:31 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | October 19, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Comet McNaught was perhaps the most photogenic comet of modern times -- from Earth. After making quite a show in the northern hemisphere in early January of 2007, the comet moved south and developed a long and unusual dust tail that dazzled southern hemisphere observers. In late January 2007, Comet McNaught was captured between Mount Remarkable and Cecil Peak in this spectacular image taken from Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. The bright comet dominates the right part of the above image, while the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy dominates the left. Careful inspection of the image will...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Melotte 15 in the Heart

    10/19/2014 5:19:04 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | October 18, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cosmic clouds form fantastic shapes in the central regions of emission nebula IC 1805. The clouds are sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula's newborn star cluster, Melotte 15. About 1.5 million years young, the cluster stars are toward the right in this colorful skyscape, along with dark dust clouds in silhouette against glowing atomic gas. A composite of narrowband and broadband telescopic images, the view spans about 30 light-years and includes emission from ionized hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms mapped to green, red, and blue hues in the popular Hubble Palette. Wider...
  • Alaska Volcano Blanketed Europe with Ash 1,200 Years Ago

    10/17/2014 10:53:40 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    LiveScience ^ | October 06, 2014 | Becky Oskin
    Alaska's Mount Churchill volcano erupted some 1,200 years ago, spreading ash from Canada to Germany... Mount Churchill is also an impressive volcano, the tallest on land in the United States and one of the towering, snowy peaks of Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains. But Churchill's blast in A.D. 843 ejected just 12 cubic miles (50 cubic km) of ash, a layer now called the White River Ash, according to the new study, published in the September 2014 issue of the journal Geology... If moderate volcanic eruptions can spread ash for thousands of miles, then these blowouts may be more hazardous than...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Messier 6 and Comet Siding Spring

    10/17/2014 5:07:23 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | October 17, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This looks like a near miss but the greenish coma and tail of Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) are really 2,000 light-years or so away from the stars of open cluster Messier 6. They do appear close together though, along the same line-of-sight in this gorgeous October 9th skyscape toward the constellation Scorpius. Still, on Sunday, October 19th this comet really will be involved in a near miss, passing within only 139,500 kilometers of planet Mars. That's about 10 times closer than any known comet flyby of planet Earth, and nearly one third the Earth-Moon distance. While an impact...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Rosetta's Selfie

    10/16/2014 5:33:20 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | October 16, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This Rosetta spacecraft selfie was snapped on October 7th. At the time the spacecraft was about 472 million kilometers from planet Earth, but only 16 kilometers from the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Looming beyond the spacecraft near the top of the frame, dust and gas stream away from the comet's curious double-lobed nucleus and bright sunlight glints off one of Rosetta's 14 meter long solar arrays. In fact, two exposures, one short and one long, were combined to record the dramatic high contrast scene using the CIVA camera system on Rosetta's still-attached Philae lander. Its chosen primary landing site...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mysterious Changing feature on Titan

    10/15/2014 5:50:53 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | October 15, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What is that changing object in a cold hydrocarbon sea of Titan? Radar images from the robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn have been recording the surface of the cloud-engulfed moon Titan for years. When imaging the flat -- and hence radar dark -- surface of the methane and ethane lake called Ligeia Mare, an object appeared in 2013 just was not there in 2007. Subsequent observations in 2014 found the object remained -- but had changed! The featured image shows how the 20-km long object has appeared and evolved. Current origin speculative explanations include bubbling foam and floating solids,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Auroral Corona over Norway

    10/15/2014 5:48:49 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | October 14, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Higher than the highest mountain lies the realm of the aurora. Auroras rarely reach below 60 kilometers, and can range up to 1000 kilometers. Aurora light results from energetic electrons and protons striking atoms and molecules in the Earth's atmosphere. Somewhat uncommon, an auroral corona appears as a center point for a surrounding display and may occur when an aurora develops directly overhead, or when auroral rays are pointed nearly toward the observer. This picturesque but brief green and purple aurora exhibition occurred last month high above Kvaløya, Tromsø, Norway. The Sessøyfjorden fjord runs through the foreground, while numerous...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sprite Lightning in Slow Motion

    10/15/2014 5:47:28 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | October 13, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What causes sprite lightning? Mysterious bursts of light in the sky that momentarily resemble gigantic jellyfish have been recorded for over 25 years, but their root cause remains unknown. Some thunderstorms have them -- most don't. Recently, however, high speed videos are better detailing how sprites actually develop. The featured video is fast enough -- at about 10,000 frames per second -- to time-resolve several sprite "bombs" dropping and developing into the multi-pronged streamers that appear on still images. Unfortunately, the visual clues provided by these videos do not fully resolve the sprite origins mystery. They do indicate to...
  • Landing on a Comet: The Trailer

    10/15/2014 7:21:14 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | October 14, 2014 | Jason Major (on)
    In less than a month, on November 12, 2014, the 100-kg Philae lander will separate from ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft and descend several kilometers down to the dark, dusty and frozen surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, its three spindly legs and rocket-powered harpoon all that will keep it from crashing or bouncing hopelessly back out into space. It will be the culmination of a decade-long voyage across the inner Solar System, a testament to human ingenuity and inventiveness and a shining example of the incredible things we can achieve through collaboration. But first, Philae has to get there… it has to touch...
  • Creepy Comet Looms In The Background Of Newest Philae Spacecraft Selfie

    10/14/2014 12:30:53 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    .universetoday.com ^ | October 14, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell <strike>on
    “Two images, one with a short exposure time, one with a longer one, were combined to capture the whole dynamic range of the scene, from the bright parts of the solar arrays to the dark comet and the dark insulation cladding the Rosetta spacecraft,” the European Space Agency stated. It’s quite the zoom-in after the last selfie that Philae produced for the public in September, which was taken from 31 miles (50 kilometers) away. The spacecraft is expected to make the first touchdown ever on a comet next month. Rosetta, meanwhile, will keep following 67P as it gets closest to...
  • NASA Prepares Its Science Fleet For Mars Comet Encounter

    10/12/2014 8:38:09 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 2 replies
    spacecoastdaily.com ^ | October 12, 2014 | NASA.gov
    Siding Spring will be the first comet from the Oort Cloud to be studied up close by spacecraft, giving scientists an invaluable opportunity to learn more about the materials, including water and carbon compounds, that existed during the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. ... In preparation for the comet flyby, NASA maneuvered its Mars Odyssey orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and the newest member of the Mars fleet, Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN), in order to reduce the risk of impact with high-velocity dust particles coming off the comet. The period of greatest risk to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble

    10/11/2014 9:28:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | October 12, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How did a star create the Helix nebula? The shapes of planetary nebula like the Helix are important because they likely hold clues to how stars like the Sun end their lives. Observations by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and the 4-meter Blanco Telescope in Chile, however, have shown the Helix is not really a simple helix. Rather, it incorporates two nearly perpendicular disks as well as arcs, shocks, and even features not well understood. Even so, many strikingly geometric symmetries remain. How a single Sun-like star created such beautiful yet geometric complexity is a topic of research. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Eclipse at Moonrise

    10/11/2014 8:51:18 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | October 11, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: As the Moon rose and the Sun set on October 8, a lunar eclipse was in progress seen from Chongqing, China. Trailing through this composite time exposure, the rising Moon began as a dark reddened disk in total eclipse near the eastern horizon. Steadily climbing above the populous city's colorful lights along the Yangtze River, the moontrail grows brighter and broader, until a bright Full Moon emerged from the Earth's shadow in evening skies. Although lunar eclipses are not always total ones, this eclipse, along with last April's lunar eclipse, were the first two of four consecutive total lunar...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Moons at Opposition

    10/11/2014 8:15:00 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | October 10, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: From the early hours of October 8, over the Santa Cruz Mountains near Los Gatos, California, the totally eclipsed Moon shows a range of color across this well-exposed telescopic view of the lunar eclipse. Of course, a lunar eclipse can only occur when the Moon is opposite the Sun in Earth's sky and gliding through the planet's shadow. But also near opposition during this eclipse, and remarkably only half a degree or so from the lunar limb, distant Uranus is faint but easy to spot at the lower right. Fainter still are the ice giant's moons. To find them,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Eclipse at Moonset

    10/11/2014 8:12:35 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | October 09, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Pacific Ocean and Chilean coast lie below this sea of clouds. Seen through the subtle colors of the predawn sky a lunar eclipse is in progress above, the partially eclipsed Moon growing dark. The curved edge of planet Earth's shadow still cuts across the middle of the lunar disk as the Moon sinks lower toward the western horizon. In fact, from this southern hemisphere location as well as much of eastern North America totality, the Moon completely immersed within Earth's shadow, began near the time of moonset and sunrise on October 8. From farther west the total phase...
  • CD Lewis on "A Voyage to Arcturus" (David Lindsay, 1920)

    10/10/2014 3:47:47 PM PDT · by CharlesOConnell · 10 replies
    Ben Crowder blog ^ | 19 Dec 1942 | CS "Jack" Lewis
    Mary, as for yo¯ hono¯s metaphysick mistresses, beatificall bona robas, hyper-uranian whoores, and transcendentall trulls, not oonlie my complexioun little delighteth in them but my ripe and more constant ivdgement reiecteth, esteeming them in truth no more but what Geo: Macdonald bringeth us in as Lilith in his nobly inuented but ill-languaged romans of the same name, or David Lyndesay of late, under the name Sullenbode, in his notable Voiage and Travell to Arctur¯.
  • Astrophysicists Reveal Amount of Dark Matter is Less Than Previously Thought

    10/10/2014 1:00:47 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 68 replies
    SciTech Daily ^ | 10/09/2014 | Source: International Center for Radio Astronomy Research
    New research from the University of Western Australia reveals that the amount of dark matter in the Milky Way is half as much as previously thought. Australian astronomers used a method developed almost 100 years ago to discover that the weight of dark matter in our own galaxy is 800,000,000,000 (or 8 x 1011) times the mass of the Sun. They probed the edge of the Milky Way, looking closely, for the first time, at the fringes of the galaxy about 5 million billion kilometers from Earth. Astrophysicist Dr Prajwal Kafle, from The University of Western Australia node of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6823: Cloud Sculpting Star Cluster

    10/08/2014 9:10:16 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | October 08, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Star cluster NGC 6823 is slowly turning gas clouds into stars. The center of the open cluster, visible on the upper right, formed only about two million years ago and is dominated in brightness by a host of bright young blue stars. Some outer parts of the cluster, visible in the featured image's center as the stars and pillars of emission nebula NGC 6820, contain even younger stars. The huge pillars of gas and dust likely get their elongated shape by erosion from hot radiation emitted from the brightest cluster stars. Striking dark globules of gas and dust are...
  • Comet Siding Spring: Close Call for Mars, Wake Up Call for Earth?

    10/08/2014 1:30:04 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | October 8, 2014 | Tim Reyes on
    It was 20 years ago this past July when images of Jupiter being pummeled by a comet caught the world’s attention. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 had flown too close to Jupiter. It was captured by the giant planet’s gravity and torn into a string of beads. One by one the comet fragments impacted Jupiter — leaving blemishes on its atmosphere, each several times larger than Earth in size. Until that event, no one had seen a comet impact a planet. Now, Mars will see a very close passage of the comet Siding Spring on October 19th. When the comet was first...
  • Recent Mars Images (Marvin the Martian throws down the kaboom in a guest zot)

    10/08/2014 10:49:46 AM PDT · by aardwolf46 · 1,412 replies
    All over the internet recently, sciFy vs. reality and a Mars satellite for petty cash: That breaks the monopoly. Faced with the spectre of other nations publishing uncensored Mars images, NASA and JPL have started publishing some much more obvious images than they have in the past including a totally uncensored video (JPL) showing large-scale structure. A few items... JPL uncensored video showing large-scale structure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=W7-4nSye4lM Raw JPL video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka08deWohpQ Electrical device of some sort with helical coil wound around it Device is on the left, about a third of the way down on the image Gear of some sort....
  • LUNAR ECLIPSE NOW (5:32 AM CENTRAL TIME)

    10/08/2014 3:33:19 AM PDT · by Yosemitest · 53 replies
    Oct 8, 2014
    Not much red to it, just a dull brownish orange.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- From the Temple of the Sun to the Temple of the Moon

    10/07/2014 3:53:23 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | October 07, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What connects the Sun to the Moon? Many answers have been given throughout history, but in the case of today's featured image, it appears to be the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. The 16-image panorama was taken in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA where two sandstone monoliths -- the Temple of the Moon on the left and the Temple of the Sun on the right -- rise dramatically from the desert. Each natural monument stands about 100 meters tall and survives from the Jurassic period 160 million years ago. Even older are many of the stars and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Space Station Detector Finds Unexplained Positron Excess

    10/07/2014 3:49:51 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | October 06, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Where did all these high energy positrons come from? The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) onboard the International Space Station (ISS) has been meticulously recording how often it is struck by both high energy electrons and positrons since 2011. After accumulating years of data, it has now become clear that there are significantly more positrons than expected at the highest energies detected. The excess may have a very exciting and profound origin -- the annihilation of distant but previously undetected dark matter particles. However, it is also possible that astronomical sources such as pulsars are creating the unexplained discrepancy. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Total Lunar Eclipse Over Tajikistan

    10/04/2014 10:05:05 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | October 05, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: If the full Moon suddenly faded, what would you see? The answer during the total lunar eclipse of 2011 June was recorded in a dramatic time lapse video from Tajikistan. During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth moves between the Moon and the Sun, causing the moon to fade dramatically. The Moon never gets completely dark, though, since the Earth's atmosphere refracts some light. As the above video begins, the scene may appear to be daytime and sunlit, but actually it is a nighttime and lit by the glow of the full Moon. As the moon becomes eclipsed and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars, Antares, Moon and Saturn

    10/04/2014 3:40:58 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | October 04, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Mars, Antares, Moon, and Saturn are the brightest celestial beacons in this serene sky. The Sun's golden light is still scattered along the southwestern horizon though, captured after sunset on September 28. The evening gathering of wandering planets and Moon along with the bright star viewed as an equal to Mars and the Scorpion's Heart was enjoyed around planet Earth. But from the photographer's perspective looking across the calm waters of Lake Balaton, Hungary, they were joined by a more terrestrial sailboat mast light. Mast light, bright star, planets and Moon are all posing near the plane of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora and Milky Way in a Little Sky

    10/04/2014 3:39:00 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | October 03, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Stepping stones seem to lead to the Milky Way as it stretches across this little sky. Of course, the scene is really the northern hemisphere's autumnal equinox night. Water and sky are inverted by a top to bottom, around the horizon stereographic projection centered on the zenith above Lake Storsjön in Jämtland, Sweden. In the north the Milky Way arcs from east to west overhead as fall begins, but the season is also a good time for viewing aurora. Geomagnetic storms increase in frequency near the equinox and produce remarkable displays of northern lights at high latitudes, like the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Bubble Nebula

    10/04/2014 3:36:02 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | October 02, 2014 | (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. Below and left 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...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble

    10/04/2014 3:33:19 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | October 01, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth's night sky are often named for flowers or insects. Though its wingspan covers over 3 light-years, NGC 6302 is no exception. With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C, the dying central star of this particular planetary nebula has become exceptionally hot, shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from direct view by a dense torus of dust. This sharp close-up of the dying star's nebula was recorded in 2009 by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, and is presented here in reprocessed colors. Cutting across a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Full Circle Rainbow over Australia

    10/04/2014 3:29:34 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | September 30, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you ever seen an entire rainbow? From the ground, typically, only the top portion of a rainbow is visible because directions toward the ground have fewer raindrops. From the air, though, the entire 360 degree circle of a rainbow is more commonly visible. Pictured here, a full circle rainbow was captured over Cottesloe Beach near Perth, Australia last year by a helicopter flying between a setting sun and a downpour. An observer-dependent phenomenon primarily caused by the internal reflection of sunlight by raindrops, the 84-degree diameter rainbow followed the helicopter, intact, for about 5 kilometers. As a bonus,...