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Astronomy (General/Chat)

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Detector’s last experiment narrows search for dark matter

    07/21/2016 3:26:53 PM PDT · by DUMBGRUNT · 17 replies
    berkeley news ^ | 21 July 2016 | Robert Sanders
    sources of noise caused by electrons building up on the inner Teflon coating of the tank holding a third-of-a-ton of cooled liquid xenon. If a WIMP collided with of a xenon atom within the tank, powerful sensors inside would detect the tiny flash of light and electrical charge created.
  • Kepler confirms more than 100 planets in single trove

    07/18/2016 10:38:40 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 19 replies
    phys.org ^ | July 18, 2016 | Provided by: W. M. Keck Observatory
    Image montage showing the Maunakea Observatories, Kepler Space Telescope, and night sky with K2 Fields and discovered planetary systems (dots) overlaid. An international team of scientists discovered more than 100 planets based on images from Kepler operating in the 'K2 Mission'. The team confirmed and characterized the planets using a suite of telescopes worldwide, including four on Maunakea (the twin telescopes of Keck Observatory, the Gemini­North Telescope, and the Infrared Telescope Facility). The planet image on the right is an artist's impression of a representative planet. Credit: Karen Teramura (UHIfA) based on night sky image of the ecliptic plane by...
  • CRS-9 Technical Webcast (While We Slept)

    07/18/2016 2:20:28 AM PDT · by knarf · 17 replies
    youtube ^ | July 17, 2016 | SP0ACE X
    start at the 16 minute mark
  • Sun Makes Nervous Face with Hole in Its Head (Video)

    07/16/2016 6:31:12 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 17 replies
    space.com ^ | 07/15/2016 | Mike Wall
    The sun has been making some anxious faces lately — but you'd be worried, too, if a huge hole had just opened up on your head. The sun's apparent nervousness crops up in photos captured over the past few days by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO); you can see the gorgeous images compiled into a video here. The sun's "eyes" are actually active regions, which serve as launch pads for solar flares and the eruptions of superheated solar plasma known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs). And the anxious, crinkly mouth is a coronal hole, a relatively cool and dark region...
  • In Cosmic First, Scientists Spy a Star's Snow Line

    07/14/2016 6:24:17 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies
    space.com ^ | July 13, 2016 01:00pm ET | Sarah Lewin,
    For the first time, astronomers have caught a glimpse of the water snow line around a star — the point in the young star's orbiting disk of debris where snow and ice first appear. Normally, that boundary huddles too close to the star for astronomers to see it, but this particular star had a sudden burst of brightness that superheated its disk, obliterating ice further out than usual. ... A newborn star is surrounded by an orbiting pancake of gas, dust and debris — the raw materials from which its complement of alien planets will eventually form. Most stars are...
  • New 'large and bright' dwarf planet discovered in our solar system (unnamed,700 year solar orbit)

    07/13/2016 7:24:27 PM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 22 replies
    Yahoo News ^ | 7/11/16 | Fox News
    Using a telescope at the top of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, scientists have discovered a new dwarf planet in our solar system, a body about 435 miles across that lacks a name and that researchers still know little about. The new dwarf planet, dubbed 2015 RR245, has such a huge, highly elliptical orbit that it takes an astonishing 700 Earth years to complete one trip around the sun, and it ventures over 120 times further away from the sun than our planet does. "The icy worlds beyond Neptune trace how the giant planets formed and then moved out from the Sun....
  • NASA shuts down live International Space Station feed as 'mysterious UFO enters Earth's atmosphere'

    07/13/2016 6:18:18 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 94 replies
    Mirror UK ^ | Updated 13:17, 13 Jul 2016 | By Elle Griffiths
    The incident caused speculation online - and is not the first time NASA have been accused of tampering with the feed. Trending Theresa May Pokemon GO Dallas police shooting Weather Angela Eagle Alton Sterling Technology Money Travel Fashion Mums Home News Weird News UFOs NASA shuts down live International Space Station feed as 'mysterious UFO enters Earth's atmosphere' 22:16, 12 Jul 2016 Updated 13:17, 13 Jul 2016 By Elle Griffiths The incident caused speculation online - and is not the first time NASA have been accused of tampering with the feed 2602 shares 227 comments Play 1:31 / 1:31 Fullscreen...
  • Astronomers discover new distant dwarf planet beyond Neptune

    07/12/2016 10:41:36 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 27 replies
    phys.org ^ | July 12, 2016 | Provided by: CFH Telescope
    Discovery images of RR245. The images show RR245's slow motion across the sky over three hours. Credit: OSSOS team ================================================================================================ An international team of astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet orbiting in the disk of small icy worlds beyond Neptune. The new object is roughly 700 kilometers in size and has one of the largest orbits for a dwarf planet. Designated 2015 RR245 by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, it was found using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii, as part of the ongoing Outer solar system Origins Survey (OSSOS). "The icy worlds beyond Neptune trace how...
  • New Dwarf Planet Discovered Far Beyond Pluto's Orbit

    07/12/2016 8:03:24 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 756 replies
    space.com ^ | 07/11/2016
    Pluto isn't quite as lonely as scientists had thought. Astronomers have discovered another dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy objects beyond Neptune. But this newfound world, dubbed 2015 RR245, is much more distant than Pluto, orbiting the sun once every 700 Earth years, scientists said. (Pluto completes one lap around the sun every 248 Earth years.) "The icy worlds beyond Neptune trace how the giant planets formed and then moved out from the sun," discovery team member Michele Bannister, of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, said in a statement. "They let us piece together...
  • Moon Flashes Far Side During Earth 'Photobomb'

    07/11/2016 8:26:24 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 41 replies
    Seeker ^ | 07/11/2016
    It stands to reason that if you put an Earth-observing satellite beyond the moon's orbit, there might be the chance that occasionally the moon may drift in front. And in the case of the joint NOAA/NASA/U.S. Air Force Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), this is the the second time the moon has made an Earth transit spectacle. "For the second time in the life of DSCOVR, the moon moved between the spacecraft and Earth," said Adam Szabo, DSCOVR project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in a statement "The project recorded this event on July 5...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Noctilucent Clouds Tour France

    07/09/2016 10:05:29 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, July 09, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Bright noctilucent or night shining clouds are not familiar sights from northern France. But these electric-blue waves coursed through skies over the small town of Wancourt in Pas-de-Calais on July 6, just before the dawn. From the edge of space, about 80 kilometers above Earth's surface, the icy clouds still reflect sunlight even though the Sun itself is below the horizon as seen from the ground. Usually spotted at high latitudes in summer months the diaphanous apparitions are also known as polar mesospheric clouds. The seasonal clouds are understood to form as water vapor driven into the cold upper...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Swirling Core of the Crab Nebula

    07/07/2016 10:04:25 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, July 08, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: At the core of the Crab Nebula lies a city-sized, magnetized neutron star spinning 30 times a second. Known as the Crab Pulsar, it's actually the rightmost of two bright stars, just below a central swirl in this stunning Hubble snapshot of the nebula's core. Some three light-years across, the spectacular picture frames the glowing gas, cavities and swirling filaments bathed in an eerie blue light. The blue glow is visible radiation given off by electrons spiraling in a strong magnetic field at nearly the speed of light. Like a cosmic dynamo the pulsar powers the emission from the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Altiplano Night

    07/07/2016 7:14:08 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, July 07, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Milky Way is massively bright on this cold, clear, altiplano night. At 4,500 meters its reflection in a river, a volcanic peak on the distant horizon, is captured in this stitched panorama under naturally dark skies of the northern Chilean highlands near San Pedro de Atacama. Along the Solar System's ecliptic plane, the band of Zodiacal light also stands out, extending above the Milky Way toward the upper left. In the scene from late April, brilliant Mars, Saturn, and Antares form a bright celestial triangle where ecliptic meets the center of the Milky Way. Left of the triangle,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Arp 286: Trio in Virgo

    07/06/2016 6:12:48 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, July 06, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A remarkable telescopic composition in yellow and blue, this scene features a trio of interacting galaxies almost 90 million light-years away, toward the constellation Virgo. On the right, two, spiky, foreground Milky Way stars echo the trio galaxy hues, a reminder that stars in our own galaxy are like those in the distant island universes. With sweeping spiral arms and obscuring dust lanes, NGC 5566 is enormous, about 150,000 light-years across. Just above it lies small, blue NGC 5569. Near center, the third galaxy, NGC 5560, is multicolored and apparently stretched and distorted by its interaction with NGC 5566....
  • Sharpest ever view of the Andromeda Galaxy

    07/05/2016 10:16:32 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 45 replies
    Space Telescope ^ | J. Dalcanton (Univ. of Washington), et al.
    Sharpest ever view of the Andromeda Galaxy This image, captured with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the largest and sharpest image ever taken of the Andromeda galaxy -- otherwise known as M31.This is a cropped version of the full image and has 1.5 billion pixels. You would need more than 600 HD television screens to display the whole image.It is the biggest Hubble image ever released and shows over 100 million stars and thousands of star clusters embedded in a section of the galaxy's pancake-shaped disc stretching across over 40 000 light-years.This image is too large to be easily...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Colorful Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi

    07/05/2016 3:30:17 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, July 05, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The many spectacular colors of the Rho Ophiuchi (oh'-fee-yu-kee) clouds highlight the many processes that occur there. The blue regions shine primarily by reflected light. Blue light from the star Rho Ophiuchi and nearby stars reflects more efficiently off this portion of the nebula than red light. The Earth's daytime sky appears blue for the same reason. The red and yellow regions shine primarily because of emission from the nebula's atomic and molecular gas. Light from nearby blue stars - more energetic than the bright star Antares - knocks electrons away from the gas, which then shines when the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- IC 4628: The Prawn Nebula

    07/05/2016 3:26:33 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, July 04, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: South of Antares, in the tail of the nebula-rich constellation Scorpius, lies emission nebula IC 4628. Nearby hot, massive stars, millions of years young, radiate the nebula with invisible ultraviolet light, stripping electrons from atoms. The electrons eventually recombine with the atoms to produce the visible nebular glow, dominated by the red emission of hydrogen. At an estimated distance of 6,000 light-years, the region shown is about 250 light-years across, spanning an area equivalent to four full moons on the sky. The nebula is also cataloged as Gum 56 for Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum, but seafood-loving astronomers might...
  • World's largest radio telescope takes shape, to decode cosmic message

    07/04/2016 9:19:55 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 25 replies
    Xinhua ^ | | 2016-07-03 21:27:40
    Installation was completed on the world's largest radio telescope on Sunday morning as the last of 4,450 panels was fitted into the center of the big dish. ... In the first two or three years after its completion, the telescope will undergo further adjustment, and during that period Chinese scientists will use it for early-stage research. After that, it will be open to scientists worldwide, said Peng Bo, director of the NAO Radio Astronomy Technology Laboratory. Scientists can also carry out remote control and observation in other cities such as Beijing, more than 2,000 kilometers from the telescope site, said...
  • Fastest-Ever Spacecraft to Arrive at Jupiter Tonight

    07/04/2016 9:03:54 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 35 replies
    Space.com ^ | July 4, 2016 07:00am ET | Mike Wall,
    As Juno nears Jupiter tonight, the giant planet's powerful gravity will accelerate the spacecraft to an estimated top speed of about 165,000 mph (265,000 km/h) relative to Earth, mission team members said. "I don't think we've had any human[-made] object that's moved that fast, that's left the Earth," Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said during a news conference last week. The all-time speed record is currently held by NASA's Helios 1 and Helios 2 spacecraft, which launched in the mid-1970s to study the sun. Both probes reached top speeds of about 157,000...
  • Earth at Aphelion 2016

    07/04/2016 8:46:36 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 3 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 07/04/2016 | David Dickinson
    Having a great July 4th? The day gives us another cause to celebrate, as the Earth reaches aphelion today, or our farthest point to our host star. Aphelion is the opposite of the closest point of the year, known as perihelion. Note that the ‘helion’ part only applies to things in solar orbit, perigee/apogee for orbit ’round the Earth, apolune/perilune for orbit around the Moon, and so on. You’ll hear the words apijove and perijove bandied about this week a bit, as NASA’s Juno spacecraft enters orbit around Jupiter tonight. And there are crazier and even more obscure counterparts out...
  • New Directions

    07/04/2016 7:31:35 AM PDT · by DUMBGRUNT · 11 replies
    WSJ ^ | 24 June 2016 | KONSTANTIN KAKAES
    On the way to Desert Storm, U.S. troops stopped in California in order to buy consumer GPS units at local stores.... Mr. Milner is a brisk and funny guide to the bureaucratic and technological infighting in the U.S. military, which created GPS over the course of several decades beginning in the immediate aftermath of the 1957 launch of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. GPS predecessors included Transit, built by the U.S. Navy to track its nuclear submarines, and Timation, built by a different part of the Navy. A rival Air Force program called 621B was underfunded, Mr. Milner says,...
  • Interstellar Comparisons (terraforming moons and planets in the solar system)

    07/03/2016 10:42:45 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 13 replies
    Crowl Space ^ | 6/19/16 | Adam Crowl
    By 2025 Elon Musk believes SpaceX can get us to Mars – a journey of about 500 million kilometres, needing a speed of over 100,000 km/h. By comparison travelling to the stars within a human lifetime via the known laws of physics requires energies millions of times more potent than that budget-price trip to Mars. In our energy hungry modern world the prospect seems fanciful, yet we are surrounded by energies and forces of comparable scale. By taming those forces we will be able to launch forth towards the stars, save our civilization and extend the reach of our biosphere....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Cat's Eye Nebula

    07/03/2016 9:56:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, July 03, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Three thousand light-years away, a dying star throws off shells of glowing gas. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals the Cat's Eye Nebula to be one of the most complex planetary nebulae known. In fact, the features seen in the Cat's Eye are so complex that astronomers suspect the bright central object may actually be a binary star system. The term planetary nebula, used to describe this general class of objects, is misleading. Although these objects may appear round and planet-like in small telescopes, high resolution images reveal them to be stars surrounded by cocoons of gas...
  • Pluto spacecraft gets new mission

    07/03/2016 6:20:18 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    earthsky.org ^ | July 1, 2016 | Deborah Byrd
    In a late-day Friday announcement on July 1, 2016, NASA said that the first-ever spacecraft to visit the dwarf planet Pluto – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft – has received the nod to fly onward to an object deeper in the Kuiper Belt, known as 2014 MU69. This object had not even been discovered when New Horizons was launched in 2006. The spacecraft will rendezvous with 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019. ... In addition to the extension of the New Horizons mission, NASA determined that the Dawn spacecraft should remain at the dwarf planet Ceres, rather than changing course to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Firefly Trails and the Summer Milky Way

    07/01/2016 10:17:21 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, July 02, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A camera fixed low to a tripod on a northern summer's eve captured the series of images used in this serene, southern Ontario skyscape. The lakeside view frames our fair galaxy above calm water and the night's quintessential luminous apparitions. But the trails of light are neither satellite glint, nor meteor flash, nor auroral glow. In the wide-field composite constructed with four consecutive 15 second exposures, a pulsing firefly enters at the right, first wandering toward the camera, then left and back toward the lake, the central Milky Way rising in the background.
  • The Dutch Are [sort of] Going To The Moon With The Chinese

    07/01/2016 7:43:42 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 07/01/2016 | Matt WIlliams
    In an agreement made possible by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2015 between the Netherlands and China, a Dutch-built radio antenna will travel to the Moon aboard the Chinese Chang’e 4 satellite, which is scheduled to launch in 2018. Once the lunar exploration mission reaches the Moon, it will deposit the radio antenna on the far side, where it will begin to provide scientists with fascinating new views of the Universe. The radio antenna itself is also the result of collaboration, between scientists from Radboud University, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and the small satellite company...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Juno Approaching Jupiter

    07/01/2016 11:33:14 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, July 01, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Approaching over the north pole after nearly a five-year journey, Juno enjoys a perspective on Jupiter not often seen, even by spacecraft from Earth that usually swing by closer to Jupiter's equator. Looking down toward the ruling gas giant from a distance of 10.9 million kilometers, the spacecraft's JunoCam captured this image with Jupiter's nightside and orbiting entourage of four large Galilean moons on June 21. JunoCam is intended to provide close-up views of the gas giant's cloudy zoned and belted atmosphere. On July 4 (July 5 UT) Juno is set to burn its main engine to slow down...
  • Why the sun going blank means a ‘Game of Thrones’-like winter is coming

    06/30/2016 4:07:06 AM PDT · by Salgak · 50 replies
    The NY Post ^ | 6/29/2016 | News.com.au via NY Post
    ou may not have noticed but our sun has gone as blank as a cue ball. As in, it’s lost its spots. According to scientists, this unsettling phenomenon is a sign we are heading for a mini ice age. Meteorologist and renowned sun-watcher Paul Dorian raised the alarm in his latest report, which has sparked a mild panic about an impending “Game of Thrones”-style winter not seen since the 17th century.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness

    06/29/2016 11:03:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 30, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How far are you from a naturally dark night sky? In increasing steps, this world map (medium | large) shows the effect of artificial night sky brightness on the visual appearance of the night sky. The brightness was modeled using high resolution satellite data and fit to thousands of night sky brightness measurements in recent work. Color-coded levels are compared to the natural sky brightness level for your location. For example, artificial sky brightness levels in yellow alter the natural appearance of the night sky. In red they hide the Milky Way in an artificial luminous fog. The results...
  • Asteroid Day 2016 Is June 30

    06/29/2016 8:57:55 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 15 replies
    Earthsky ^ | June 29, 2016 | Eleanor Imster
    Hundreds of events – films, concerts, panels with engineers, scientists and astronauts – about asteroids and how to protect our planet from asteroid impacts.The second annual Asteroid Day happens on June 30, 2016. Asteroid Day is a global awareness campaign to help people learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect our planet from asteroid impacts. You can join the Asteroid Day discussion on Twitter and Facebook. Asteroid Day 2016 will also include hundreds of events – films, concerts, interactive workshops and panels with engineers, scientists and astronauts. Here’s the premise of Asteroid Day, in the words of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- From Alpha to Omega in Crete

    06/29/2016 7:39:42 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 29, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This beautiful telephoto composition spans light-years in a natural night skyscape from the island of Crete. Looking south, exposures both track the stars and record a fixed foreground in three merged panels that cover a 10x12 degree wide field of view. The May 15 waxing gibbous moonlight illuminates the church and mountainous terrain. A mere 18 thousand light-years away, huge globular star cluster Omega Centauri (NGC 5139) shining above gives a good visual impression of its appearance in binoculars on that starry night. Active galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128) is near the top of the frame, some 11 million...
  • Why ultra-powerful radio bursts are the most perplexing mystery in astronomy

    06/28/2016 6:06:48 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 25 replies
    Nature ^ | 28 Jun, 2016 | Elizabeth Gibney
    No astronomer had ever seen anything like it. No theorist had predicted it. Yet there it was — a 5-millisecond radio burst that had arrived on 24 August 2001 from an unknown source seemingly billions of light years away. “It was so bright, we couldn't just dismiss it,” says Duncan Lorimer, who co-discovered the signal1 in 2007 while working on archived data from the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia. “But we didn't really know what to do with it.” Such fleeting radio bursts usually came from pulsars — furiously rotating neutron stars whose radiation sweeps by Earth...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Juno Mission Trailer

    06/28/2016 10:45:32 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, June 28, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What will NASA's Juno spacecraft find when it reaches Jupiter next Monday? Very little, if Juno does not survive Jupiter Orbit Insertion, a complex series of operations in an unknown environment just above Jupiter's cloud tops. If successful, as explained in the featured video, Juno will swoop around Jupiter, passing closer than any previous spacecraft. The goal is to decelerate, enter into a highly elliptical orbit, and begin two years of science operations. Juno's science mission objectives include mapping Jupiter's deep structure, determining how much water is in Jupiter's atmosphere, and exploring Jupiter's powerful magnetic field and how it...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Anticrepuscular Rays over Colorado (II)

    06/28/2016 10:40:43 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, June 27, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happening over the horizon? Although the scene may appear somehow supernatural, nothing more unusual is occurring than a setting Sun and some well placed clouds. Pictured above are anticrepuscular rays. To understand them, start by picturing common crepuscular rays that are seen any time that sunlight pours though scattered clouds. Now although sunlight indeed travels along straight lines, the projections of these lines onto the spherical sky are great circles. Therefore, the crepuscular rays from a setting (or rising) sun will appear to re-converge on the other side of the sky. At the anti-solar point 180 degrees around...
  • The wizard war in orbit (part 2) Black black boxes

    06/28/2016 4:14:42 AM PDT · by Purdue77 · 17 replies
    The Space Review ^ | June 27 2016 | Dwayne Day
    By fall 1959, a number of CORONA photo-reconnaissance spacecraft had already been launched under cover of the Discoverer program, but none had operated successfully. Program officials became concerned that the Agena spacecraft that carried CORONA might be vulnerable to tracking by Soviet radars, or possibly even deliberate electronic interference. They did not think this explained CORONA’s early string of failures, but it was a possibility they worried about. At the time, Harold Willis was working in the Office of ELINT located at CIA Headquarters when CORONA officials briefed him about their program and told him about their concerns. Willis also...
  • 7 Days Out From Orbital Insertion, NASA’s Juno Images Jupiter and its Largest Moons

    06/27/2016 8:44:26 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    Univese Today ^ | 06/27/2016 | Ken Kremer
    ...July 4, Juno must fire its main engine for 35 minutes. ... will place NASA’s robotic explorer into a polar orbit around the gas giant. The approach over the north pole is unlike earlier probes that approached from much lower latitudes nearer the equatorial zone, and thus provide a perspective unlike any other. ... ... Juno will fly within 2,900 miles (4,667 kilometers) of the Jovian cloud tops. All instruments except those critical for the JOI insertion burn on July 4, will be tuned off on June 29. That includes shutting down Junocam. “If it doesn’t help us get into...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Jupiter's Clouds from New Horizons

    06/26/2016 10:54:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, June 26, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The New Horizons spacecraft took some stunning images of Jupiter on its way out to Pluto. Famous for its Great Red Spot, Jupiter is also known for its regular, equatorial cloud bands, visible through even modest sized telescopes. The featured image, horizontally compressed, was taken in 2007 near Jupiter's terminator and shows the Jovian giant's wide diversity of cloud patterns. On the far left are clouds closest to Jupiter's South Pole. Here turbulent whirlpools and swirls are seen in a dark region, dubbed a belt, that rings the planet. Even light colored regions, called zones, show tremendous structure, complete...
  • Centaurs Keep Their Rings From Greedy Gas Giants

    06/26/2016 10:36:02 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 06/24/2016 | Matt Williams
    Centaurs are a population of objects within our Solar System that behave as both comets and asteroids (hence why they are named after the hybrid beasts of Greek mythology). 10199 Chariklo is the largest known member of the Centaur population, a possible former Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) which currently orbits between Saturn and Uranus. The rings around this asteroid were first noticed in 2013 when the asteroid underwent a stellar occultation. This revealed a system of two rings, with a radius of 391 and 405 km and widths of about 7 km 3 km, respectively. The absorption features of the rings...
  • Sleeping Black Hole Wakes To Devour Passing Star

    06/26/2016 6:48:55 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 30 replies
    It happened about 3.9 billion light years from Earth in the direction of the Draco constellation, and was spotted using high-energy X-ray data from NASA's public archives. The black hole, with a mass a few million times larger than the sun, gorged on the star at a rate 100 times greater than a theoretical maximum known as the Eddington limit. The majority of supermassive black holes are dormant, meaning they are not actively consuming matter. But occasionally a star drifts too close to a dormant black hole and a 'tidal disruption event' begins. Authors of the new research say their...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Strawberry to Honey Moonrise [Popsicle stick]

    06/25/2016 4:43:25 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, June 25, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Near the horizon the Full Moon often seems to loom large, swollen in appearance by the famous Moon illusion. But timelapse images demonstrate that the Moon's apparent size doesn't really change as it climbs toward the zenith. Its color does, though. Recording a frame every 10 seconds, this image shows how dramatic that color change can be. The composite follows a solstice Full Moon climbing above a rugged horizon over northwestern Indiana. A shrinking line-of-sight through planet Earth's dense and dusty atmosphere shifted the moonlight from strawberry red through honey-colored and paler yellowish hues. That change seems appropriate for...
  • Neptune Sports Dark Vortex, Hubble Images Reveal

    06/24/2016 10:19:46 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    space.com ^ | 06/24/2016 | Nola Taylor Redd
    Neptune is sporting a new spot, the first one identified in the 21st century. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope confirmed the existence of the high-pressure system known as a dark vortex after bright clouds hinted at its presence. "Dark vortices coast through the atmosphere like huge, lens-shaped gaseous mountains," research astronomer Mike Wong, of the University of California at Berkeley, said in a statement. Wong led the team that analyzed the Hubble data. "And the companion clouds are similar to so-called organic clouds that appear as pancake-shaped features lingering over mountains on Earth," he added Both professional and amateur astronomers started...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sagittarius Sunflowers

    06/23/2016 11:09:57 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, June 24, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula left of center, and colorful M20 near the bottom of the frame The third, NGC 6559, is right of M8, separated from the larger nebula by dark dust lanes. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across, is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20's popular moniker is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Solstice Dawn and Full Moonset

    06/23/2016 8:38:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 23, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A Full Moon sets as the Solstice Sun rises in this June 20 dawn skyscape. Captured from a nearby peak in central California, planet Earth, the scene looks across the summit of Mount Hamilton and Lick Observatory domes on a calendar date that marks an astronomical change of seasons and hemispherical extremes of daylight hours. Earth's shadow stretches toward the Santa Cruz Mountains on the western horizon. Just above the atmospheric grey shadowband is a more colorful anti-twilight arch, a band of reddened, backscattered sunlight also known as the Belt of Venus. The interplay of solstice dates and lunar...
  • How Earth Moves

    06/23/2016 8:20:40 AM PDT · by fella · 23 replies
    youtube ^ | Vsauce
    How Earth Moves
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Cirrus over Paris

    06/22/2016 4:45:04 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 22, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that over Paris? Cirrus. Typically, cirrus clouds appear white or gray when reflecting sunlight, can appear dark at sunset (or sunrise) against a better lit sky. Cirrus are among the highest types of clouds and are usually thin enough to see stars through. Cirrus clouds may form from moisture released above storm clouds and so may herald the arrival of a significant change in weather. Conversely, cirrus clouds have also been seen on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Uranus, and Neptune. The featured image was taken two days ago from a window in District 15, Paris, France, Earth. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6814: Grand Design Spiral Galaxy from Hubble

    06/21/2016 1:24:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, June 21, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In the center of this serene stellar swirl is likely a harrowing black-hole beast. The surrounding swirl sweeps around billions of stars which are highlighted by the brightest and bluest. The breadth and beauty of the display give the swirl the designation of a grand design spiral galaxy. The central beast shows evidence that it is a supermassive black hole about 10 million times the mass of our Sun. This ferocious creature devours stars and gas and is surrounded by a spinning moat of hot plasma that emits blasts of X-rays. The central violent activity gives it the designation...
  • The wizard war in orbit (part 1)

    06/21/2016 7:08:55 AM PDT · by Purdue77 · 16 replies
    The Space Review ^ | 20 June 2016 | Dwayne Day
    Tales of espionage are filled with lanky men in trenchcoats walking through cold Berlin streets at the height of the Cold War. But the most important intelligence—in terms of volume and reliability—was gathered by reconnaissance satellites far overhead. These satellites were precise, they collected vast amounts of information, and unlike spies, they did not forget, embellish, lie, or go rogue. Photographic reconnaissance satellites like CORONA, GAMBIT, HEXAGON, and KENNEN were in many ways the most prolific spooks. But they were also accompanied by other satellites, signals intelligence, or SIGINT, satellites that listened for the electronic whispers of radars and radios,...
  • The summer solstice is Monday: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year

    06/20/2016 7:46:56 AM PDT · by JimSEA · 18 replies
    Vox ^ | 6/20/2016 | Brad Plummer
    The summer solstice is upon us: Monday, June 20, will be the longest day of 2016 for anyone living north of the equator. If pagan rituals are your thing, this is probably a big moment for you. If not, the solstice is still pretty neat. This year’s even includes a "strawberry moon," the first time that’s happened since 1967. Below is a short scientific guide to the longest day of the year (though not, as we’ll see, the longest day in Earth’s history — that happened back in 1912).
  • Rare Summer Solstice Full Moon, 1st Since 1948, Rises Tonight: Watch It Live

    06/20/2016 3:34:54 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 17 replies
    Space.com ^ | June 20, 2016 10:48am ET | Elizabeth Howell, Contributor
    On Monday (June 20), the full moon will fall on the solstice for the first time since 1948. To celebrate this special occasion, the online Slooh Community Observatory will broadcast views of the moon live from the Canary Islands. The broadcast starts at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT Tuesday, June 21) and will include discussion between Slooh host Paul Cox and Slooh astronomer Bob Berman. You can watch the Slooh webcast at Slooh.com, and ask questions via Twitter @Slooh. Viewers can also submit questions via Slooh's chat room, where you can also control the StarShare camera live and snap night-sky...
  • NASA: ‘Electric Wind’ Can Strip Earth-like Planets of Oceans, Atmospheres

    06/20/2016 3:23:04 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    Venus has an “electric wind” strong enough to remove the components of water from its upper atmosphere, which may have played a significant role in stripping Earth’s twin planet of its oceans, according to new results from ESA’s (European Space Agency) Venus Express mission by NASA-funded researchers. “It’s amazing, shocking,” said Glyn Collinson, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We never dreamt an electric wind could be so powerful that it can suck oxygen right out of an atmosphere into space. This is something that has to be on the checklist when we go looking...