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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Beastly Sunspot Amazes, Heightens Eclipse Excitement

    10/22/2014 1:31:44 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 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 · 4 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 · 28 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 · 16 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 · 1 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 · 858 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,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Unusual Rocks near Pahrump Hills on Mars

    10/04/2014 3:25:45 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | September 29, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How did these Martian rocks form? As the robotic Curiosity rover has approached Pahrump Hills on Mars, it has seen an interesting and textured landscape dotted by some unusual rocks. The featured image shows a curiously round rock spanning about two centimeters across. Seemingly a larger version of numerous spherules dubbed blueberries found by the Opportunity rover on Mars in 2004, what caused this roundness remains unknown. Possibilities include frequent tumbling in flowing water, sprayed molten rock in a volcanic eruption, or a concretion mechanism. The inset image, taken a few days later, shows another small but unusually shaped...
  • Total Lunar Eclipse Next Week Will Turn the Moon Blood Red (Video)

    10/04/2014 11:06:50 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 36 replies
    space.com ^ | October 02, 2014 03:47pm ET | Miriam Kramer
    The "blood moon" total lunar eclipse will rise during the full moon of Oct. 8 just before sunrise in North America, but red might not be the only color people see during the total eclipse. Weather permitting, it's possible that some sharp-eyed observers might be able to see some blue in the moon's glow. The event will be the second of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015, according to NASA officials. On the East Coast of the United States, totality starts at 6:25 a.m. EDT (1025 GMT), but stargazers on the West Coast of the United States...
  • Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson: God Didn’t Name the Stars, Muslims Did

    10/03/2014 8:45:50 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 39 replies
    FrontPage Mag ^ | 10/03/2014 | Daniel Greenfield
    Neil deGrasse Tyson faked a Bush quote and belatedly apologized for it after the resulting controversy spilled into the Washington Post. But true to Tysonism, his apology consisted of various empty profundities and self-promotion climaxing in… I will still mention Islamic Extremists flying planes into buildings in the 21st century. I will still contrast it with the Golden Age of Islam a millennium earlier. And I will still mention the President’s quote. But instead, I will be the one contrasting what actually happened in the world with what the Bible says: The Arabs named the stars, not God. Tyson is...
  • Powerful Megaflare from Small Star Stuns Scientists (Video, Image)

    10/03/2014 5:47:15 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    space.com ^ | October 02, 2014 | Mike Wall, Senior Writer
    A series of megaflares unleashed earlier this year by a nearby red dwarf has astronomers rethinking just what these small, dim stars are capable of. On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite spotted the enormous star flare coming from DG Canum Venaticorum (DG CVn), a system of two red dwarfs located about 60 light-years from Earth. The eruption put to shame anything ever seen on the sun, whose strong flares are classified into three categories, with C flares being the weakest, M of medium strength and X the most powerful. "The biggest flare we've ever seen from the sun occurred in...
  • Complex organic molecule found in interstellar space

    09/30/2014 4:03:21 PM PDT · by Natufian · 20 replies
    BBC ^ | 09/26/14 | Michael Eyre
    Scientists have found the beginnings of life-bearing chemistry at the centre of the galaxy. Iso-propyl cyanide has been detected in a star-forming cloud 27,000 light-years from Earth. Its branched carbon structure is closer to the complex organic molecules of life than any previous finding from interstellar space.
  • Mysterious feature on Saturn's moon baffles NASA scientists

    09/30/2014 8:38:04 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 53 replies
    theweek.com ^ | 09-30-2014 10:16am ET | Meghan DeMaria
    NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered a "mysterious feature" on Saturn's moon Titan. Scientists are working to determine, what, exactly, this feature might be. NASA reports that the feature is roughly 100 square miles, and it lies in Ligeia Mare, one of Titan's hydrocarbon seas. Cassini's radar has observed the feature twice, but its appearance changed between the two sightings. Scientists suspect the feature's change in appearance could be the result of Titan's changing seasons, which Cassini's current extended mission will monitor. The feature's first sighting was in July 2013, and the radar images depicted a bright spot, which stood out...
  • Our quantum problem

    09/29/2014 4:34:42 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 46 replies
    Aeon ^ | 1/28/14 | Adrian Kent
    In 1909, Ernest Rutherford, Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden took a piece of radium and used it to fire charged particles at a sheet of gold foil. They wanted to test the then-dominant theory that atoms were simply clusters of electrons floating in little seas of positive electrical charge (the so-called ‘plum pudding’ model). What came next, said Rutherford, was ‘the most incredible event that has ever happened to me in my life’. Despite the airy thinness of the foil, a small fraction of the particles bounced straight back at the source – a result, Rutherford noted, ‘as incredible as...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Two Black Holes Dancing in 3C 75

    09/27/2014 9:50:48 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    NASA ^ | September 28, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening at the center of active galaxy 3C 75? The two bright sources at the center of this composite x-ray (blue)/ radio (pink) image are co-orbiting supermassive black holes powering the giant radio source 3C 75. Surrounded by multimillion degree x-ray emitting gas, and blasting out jets of relativistic particles the supermassive black holes are separated by 25,000 light-years. At the cores of two merging galaxies in the Abell 400 galaxy cluster they are some 300 million light-years away. Astronomers conclude that these two supermassive black holes are bound together by gravity in a binary system in part...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Launch and a Landing

    09/27/2014 9:46:34 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | September 27, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Taken from an Atlantic beach, Cape Canaveral, planet Earth, four identically framed digital images are combined in this night skyscape. Slightly shifted short star trails dot the sky, but the exposure times were adjusted to follow the flight of a Falcon 9 rocket. The September 21 launch delivered a Dragon X capsule filled with supplies to the International Space Station. Above the bright flare seen just after launch, the rocket's first stage firing trails upward from the left. After separation, the second stage burn begins near center with the vehicle climbing toward low Earth orbit. At the horizon, the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- MAVEN at Mars

    09/27/2014 9:45:04 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | September 26, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Launched on November 18, 2013, the MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft completed its interplanetary voyage September 21, captured into a wide, elliptical orbit around Mars. MAVEN's imaging ultraviolet spectrograph has already begun its planned exploration of the Red Planet's upper atmosphere, acquiring this image data from an altitude of 36,500 kilometers. In false color, the three ultraviolet wavelength bands show light reflected from atomic hydrogen (in blue), atomic oxygen (in green) and the planet's surface (in red). Low mass atomic hydrogen is seen to extend thousands of kilometers into space, with the cloud of more massive oxygen...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 206 and the Star Clouds of Andromeda

    09/27/2014 9:40:49 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | September 25, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The large stellar association cataloged as NGC 206 is nestled within the dusty arms of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. Also known as M31, the spiral galaxy is a mere 2.5 million light-years away. NGC 206 is near top center in this gorgeous close-up of the southwestern extent of Andromeda's disk, a remarkable composite of data from space and ground-based observatories. The bright, blue stars of NGC 206 indicate its youth. In fact, its youngest massive stars are less than 10 million years old. Much larger than the open or galactic clusters of young stars in the disk of our...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Lagoon Nebula in Stars Dust and Gas

    09/27/2014 9:37:39 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | September 24, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The large majestic Lagoon Nebula is home for many young stars and hot gas. Spanning 100 light years across while lying only about 5000 light years distant, the Lagoon Nebula is so big and bright that it can be seen without a telescope toward the constellation of Sagittarius. Many bright stars are visible from NGC 6530, an open cluster that formed in the nebula only several million years ago. The greater nebula, also known as M8 and NGC 6523, is named "Lagoon" for the band of dust seen to the left of the open cluster's center. A bright knot...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora and Volcanic Light Pillar

    09/27/2014 9:35:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | September 23, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That's no sunset. And that thin red line just above it -- that's not a sun pillar. The red glow on the horizon originates from a volcanic eruption, and the red line is the eruption's reflection from fluttering atmospheric ice crystals. This unusual volcanic light pillar was captured over Iceland earlier this month. The featured scene looks north from Jökulsárlón toward the erupting volcano Bárðarbunga in the Holuhraun lava field. Even the foreground sky is picturesque, with textured grey clouds in the lower atmosphere, shimmering green aurora in the upper atmosphere, and bright stars far in the distance. Although...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Earth at Equinox

    09/27/2014 9:33:13 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | September 22, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Earth is at equinox. Over the next 24 hours, day and night have nearly equal duration all over planet Earth. Technically, equinox transpires at 2:29 am Universal Time tomorrow, but this occurs today in North and South America. This September equinox signal that winter is approaching in the northern hemisphere, and summer is approaching in the south. At equinox, the dividing line between the sunlit half of Earth and the nighttime half of Earth temporarily passes through Earth's north and south spin poles. This dividing line is shown in clear detail in the featured video, taken by the Russian...
  • Water On Earth Is Older Than The Sun

    09/27/2014 4:51:07 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 51 replies
    Science 2.0 ^ | 09/27/2014
    It's no surprise that water was crucial to the formation of life on Earth. What may surprise you is that water on earth is older than the sun itself. Identifying the original source of Earth's water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments came into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. A new paper in Science says that much of our Solar System's water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space. Water is found throughout the Solar System, not just on Earth; on icy comets and moons, and in the shadowed basins of...
  • Cosmic inflation is dead, long live cosmic inflation!

    09/26/2014 11:54:05 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 19 replies
    New Scientist ^ | 09/26/2014 | Michael Slezak
    Inflation is dead, long live inflation! The very results hailed this year as demonstrating a consequence of inflationary models of the universe – and therefore pointing to the existence of multiverses – now seem to do the exact opposite. If the results can be trusted at all, they now suggest inflation is wrong, raising the possibility of cyclic universes that existed before the big bang. In March experimentalists announced that primordial gravitational waves had been discovered. The team behind the BICEP2 Telescope in Antarctica had observed telltale twists and turns in the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB)...
  • There Are No Such Things As Black Holes

    09/24/2014 12:36:10 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 87 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | September 24, 2014 | Jason Major on
    That’s the conclusion reached by one researcher from the University of North Carolina: black holes can’t exist in our Universe — not mathematically, anyway. “I’m still not over the shock,” said Laura Mersini-Houghton, associate physics professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. “We’ve been studying this problem for a more than 50 years and this solution gives us a lot to think about.” In a news article spotlighted by UNC the scenario suggested by Mersini-Houghton is briefly explained. Basically, when a massive star reaches the end of its life and collapses under its own gravity after blasting its outer layers into space —...