Free Republic 2nd Quarter Fundraising Target: $85,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $21,869
25%  
Woo hoo!! And the first 25% is in!! Thank you all very much!!

Astronomy (General/Chat)

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Earth-size Kepler-186f

    04/20/2014 3:08:56 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | April 19, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Planet Kepler-186f is the first known Earth-size planet to lie within the habitable zone of a star beyond the Sun. Discovered using data from the prolific planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft, the distant world orbits its parent star, a cool, dim, M dwarf star about half the size and mass of the Sun, some 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. M dwarfs are common, making up about 70 percent of the stars in our Milky Way galaxy. To be within the habitable zone, where surface temperatures allowing liquid water are possible, Kepler-186f orbits close, within 53 million kilometers (about the...
  • Space X Launch Now

    04/18/2014 12:23:21 PM PDT · by US_MilitaryRules · 25 replies
    Launching In a few minutes!
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Red Moon, Green Beam

    04/18/2014 9:44:08 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 18, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This is not a scene from a sci-fi special effects movie. The green beam of light and red lunar disk are real enough, captured in the early morning hours of April 15. Of course, the reddened lunar disk is easy to explain as the image was taken during this week's total lunar eclipse. Immersed in shadow, the eclipsed Moon reflects the dimmed reddened light of all the sunsets and sunrises filtering around the edges of planet Earth, seen in silhouette from a lunar perspective. But the green beam of light really is a laser. Shot from the 3.5-meter telescope...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Waterton Lake Eclipse

    04/17/2014 11:31:51 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | April 17, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Recorded on April 15th, this total lunar eclipse sequence looks south down icy Waterton Lake from the Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, planet Earth. The most distant horizon includes peaks in Glacier National Park, USA. An exposure every 10 minutes captured the Moon's position and eclipse phase, as it arced, left to right, above the rugged skyline and Waterton town lights. In fact, the sequence effectively measures the roughly 80 minute duration of the total phase of the eclipse. Around 270 BC, the Greek astronomer Aristarchus also measured the duration of lunar eclipses - though probably without...
  • How We're Finding Asteroids Before They Find Us

    04/16/2014 3:20:57 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    Popular Science ^ | April 11, 2014 | James Vlahos
    Chelyabinsk, a large city in western Russia, was best known for producing tractors and professional hockey players until the morning of February 15, 2013, when a 19-meter-wide meteor screamed through the sky and exploded with the force of 500 kilotons of TNT. The meteor generated a fireball many times brighter than the sun, so powerful it even caused sunburns. The shock wave blew out windows and knocked residents off of their feet, injuring more than 1,200. The object was the largest to strike Earth in more than a century... Asteroids that come within 28 million miles of our planet are...
  • Mystery object in Saturn's ring may be a new baby moon: Peggy

    04/16/2014 1:38:33 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 31 replies
    L A Times ^ | April 15, 2014, 6:30 a.m. | By Karen Kaplan
    The moons that orbit Saturn may be increasing by one -- an icy, pint-sized object that astronomers have named “Peggy.” NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spotted evidence that a mysterious object measuring perhaps half a mile across is disturbing the outer edge of Saturn’s large, bright A ring. The object’s gravity seems to have roughed up the ring’s usually smooth profile. As a result, a stretch of the A ring that measures 750 miles long and 6 miles wide is now about 20% brighter than it would typically appear. The fuzzy blob on the A ring’s edge was imaged by Cassini’s...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Spica, Mars, and Eclipsed Moon

    04/15/2014 10:01:21 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | April 16, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A beautiful, reddened Moon slid through dark skies on April 15, completely immersed in Earth's shadow for well over an hour. It was the year's first total lunar eclipse and was widely enjoyed over the planet's Western Hemisphere. Seen from the Caribbean island of Barbados, the dimmed lunar disk is captured during totality in this colorful skyview. The dark Moon's red color contrasts nicely with bright bluish star Spica, alpha star of the constellation Virgo, posing only about two degrees away. Brighter than Spica and about 10 degrees from the Moon on the right, Mars is near opposition and...
  • My Amateur Recording to Last Nights Lunar Eclipse Edited To Under 2 Minutes

    04/15/2014 6:31:52 PM PDT · by OneVike · 42 replies
    YouTube ^ | April 14 & 15, 2014 | OneVike
    I used a Sony DCR-SR46 Handycam on a tripod to record the eclipse in my back yard. Unfortunately, clouds began rolling in when the eclipse was full and they messed with my cameras focus. So I wasn't able to continue recording all the way to where it returned to the full moon status. I edited out all the jumping around caused by me readjusting the camera to stay with the moon, and increased the speed of the video so I could get the final result under 2 minutes. It's not the best video, but I worked with what I had....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mammatus Clouds over Nebraska

    04/15/2014 3:43:38 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | April 15, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: When do cloud bottoms appear like bubbles? Normally, cloud bottoms are flat. This is because moist warm air that rises and cools will condense into water droplets at a specific temperature, which usually corresponds to a very specific height. As water droplets grow, an opaque cloud forms. Under some conditions, however, cloud pockets can develop that contain large droplets of water or ice that fall into clear air as they evaporate. Such pockets may occur in turbulent air near a thunderstorm. Resulting mammatus clouds can appear especially dramatic if sunlit from the side. The mammatus clouds pictured above were...
  • Lunar Eclipse now

    04/14/2014 11:59:53 PM PDT · by Cyber Liberty · 26 replies
    Almost totality right now. If you have a clear sky, have a look! If not, click the link....
  • 'Blood Moon' Eclipse on Holy Monday Sparks Prophecies of 'Rapture'

    04/14/2014 6:10:34 PM PDT · by equalator · 84 replies
    BreitBart ^ | 4-13-2014 | Joel Pollack
    A rare "blood moon tetrad" will arrive with the start of a total lunar eclipse, beginning late on Monday evening--or, for most of the East Coast, early Tuesday. The eclipse, in which the full moon will be darkened by the earth's shadow, will coincide with the Jewish festival of Passover. In a bizarre, rare calendrical coincidence, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot in October will also feature a solar eclipse--as will both Passover and Sukkot next year as well.
  • Griffith Observatory To Stay Open Late For ‘Blood Moon’ Eclipse

    04/14/2014 2:52:27 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    CBSLA.com) ^ | April 14, 2014 8:33 AM | Jon Baird
    Angelenos who want to see the moon turn to “blood” Monday night may want to head for the hills. KNX 1070′s Jon Baird reports the Griffith Observatory has announced it will keep its doors open late for a total lunar eclipse, which occurs when the Moon passes into the shadow cast by the Earth. The sight of the round disk of the full moon slowly moving into our planet’s shadow will be visible to the unaided eye throughout the Southland around 11 p.m., though telescopes or binoculars may enhance the view, according to observatory officials. As the moon grows dimmer,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- An Unusual Globule in IC 1396

    04/14/2014 1:55:31 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | April 14, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Is there a monster in IC 1396? Known to some as the Elephant's Trunk Nebula, parts of gas and dust clouds of this star formation region may appear to take on foreboding forms, some nearly human. The only real monster here, however, is a bright young star too far from Earth to hurt us. Energetic light from this star is eating away the dust of the dark cometary globule near the top of the above image. Jets and winds of particles emitted from this star are also pushing away ambient gas and dust. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively...
  • Lunar eclipse: ‘Blood moon’ sparks woes about biblical prophecy of apocalypse

    04/13/2014 5:25:38 PM PDT · by Perdogg · 26 replies
    The lunar eclipse this week will be the first of four "blood moons" and because significant events have occurred in history around the time of blood moon tetrads, many are wondering whether the biblical prophecy of the coming apocalypse is near. “Conspiracy websites draw parallels between lunar eclipses and historical events, like the fall of Constantinople and the founding of the State of Israel,” reports CTV News on April 13.
  • First Exomoon Candidate is discovered by the astronomers

    04/13/2014 3:16:07 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    FA Daily ^ | April 12, 2014 | www.sci-news.com [Source]
    First Exomoon Candidate is discovered by the astronomers The scientists used an innovative technique called gravitational microlensing. The technique takes advantage of chance alignments between stars: when a foreground star passes between us and a more distant star, the closer star can act like a magnifying glass to focus and brighten the light of the more distant one. These brightening events usually last about a month. If the foreground star has a planet circling around it, the planet will act as a second lens to brighten or dim the light even more. By carefully scrutinizing these brightening events, scientists can...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Saturn in Blue and Gold

    04/12/2014 9:33:33 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    NASA ^ | April 13, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why is Saturn partly blue? The above picture of Saturn approximates what a human would see if hovering close to the giant ringed world. The above picture was taken in 2006 March by the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn. Here Saturn's majestic rings appear directly only as a thin vertical line. The rings show their complex structure in the dark shadows they create on the image left. Saturn's fountain moon Enceladus, only about 500 kilometers across, is seen as the bump in the plane of the rings. The northern hemisphere of Saturn can appear partly blue for the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Clouds and Crosses over Haleakala

    04/12/2014 3:18:00 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 12, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Aloha and welcome to a breathtaking skyscape. The dreamlike panoramic view from March 27 looks out over the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala on Maui, Hawai'i. A cloud layer seeps over the volcanic caldera's edge with the Milky Way and starry night sky above. Head of the Northern Cross asterism, supergiant star Deneb lurks within the Milky Way's dust clouds and nebulae at the left. From there you can follow the arc of the Milky Way all the way to the stars of the more compact Southern Cross, just above the horizon at the far right. A yellowish Mars...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars near Opposition

    04/11/2014 9:44:30 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 11, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Tonight Mars is between opposition (April 8) and closest approach (April 14) looping through the constellation Virgo opposite the Sun in the night sky. That makes it prime season for telescopic views of the the Red Planet, like this one from April 3rd. The clear, sharp image was captured with a high-speed digital camera and 16-inch diameter telescope from Assis, Brazil, Planet Earth. Mars' north polar cap is at the top left. Also visible are whitish orographic clouds - water vapor clouds condensing in the cold atmosphere above the peaks of Mars' towering volcanos. The exact dates of closest...
  • Sun May Still Have Low-Mass Solar Companion, Say Astrophysicists Searching NASA WISE Mission Data

    04/10/2014 1:25:51 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 44 replies
    Forbes ^ | 3/31/2013 | Bruce Dorminey
    Our sun may indeed have a far-flung gravitationally-bound companion — just not with the size or orbit that could have triggered periodicity in earth’s paleontological record, say astrophysicists now actively searching data from NASA’s WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) spacecraft. For decades astronomers and paleontologists have debated whether our sun has a stellar mass M-dwarf companion dubbed “Nemesis” that could have caused a 26 million-year periodicity in earth’s cometary impact record. Such a small M-dwarf star has long been ruled out by WISE data, since observers would surely have spotted an object larger than roughly five Jupiter masses. However, John...
  • Recommissioned NEOWISE Discovers Near-Earth Asteroid

    04/10/2014 1:14:34 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    Discovery News ^ | January 7, 2014 | Jason Major
    Less than four months after getting switched back on — and only days after its “next light” images — NASA’s re-commissioned NEOWISE mission has made its first discovery: a never-before-seen near-Earth asteroid 27 million miles (43 million km) away. Identified in a series of images captured on Dec. 29, 2013 YP139 is a coal-black asteroid about 650 meters — over 2,100 feet — wide. The image above shows the asteroid as a circled red dot as it moved across NEOWISE’s field of view over a period of several hours. 2013 YP139 would be all but invisible in optical light because...
  • NEOWISE Spots a “Weirdo” Comet

    04/10/2014 1:07:22 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    Universe Today ^ | February 28, 2014 | Jason Major
    NASA’s NEOWISE mission — formerly known as just WISE — has identified the first comet of its new near-Earth object hunting career… and, according to mission scientists, it’s a “weirdo.” To date several new asteroids have already been found by NEOWISE, and on February 14, 2014, it spotted its first comet. “We are so pleased to have discovered this frozen visitor from the outermost reaches of our solar system,” said Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE principal investigator at JPL. “This comet is a weirdo — it is in a retrograde orbit, meaning that it orbits the sun in the opposite sense from...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars, Ceres, Vesta

    04/10/2014 5:55:43 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | April 10, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That bright, ruddy star you've recently noticed rising just after sunset isn't a star at all. That's Mars, the Red Planet. Mars is now near its 2014 opposition (April 8) and closest approach (April 14), looping through the constellation Virgo opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky. Clearly outshining bluish Spica, alpha star of Virgo, Mars is centered in this labeled skyview from early April, that includes two other solar system worlds approaching their opposition. On the left, small and faint asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres are seen near star Tau Virginis. But you'll just have to imagine...
  • Americas get front-row seat for lunar eclipse

    04/09/2014 5:45:12 PM PDT · by kingattax · 30 replies
    Yahoo/AP ^ | 4-8-14 | MARCIA DUNN
    VIDEO AT LINK CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — North and South America, get ready for the first eclipse of the year— in color. Next Tuesday morning, the moon will be eclipsed by Earth's shadow. This total lunar eclipse will be visible across the Western Hemisphere. The total phase will last 78 minutes, beginning at 3:06 a.m. EDT and ending at 4:24 a.m. EDT.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Two Rings for Asteroid Chariklo

    04/09/2014 2:34:44 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | April 09, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Asteroids can have rings. In a surprising discovery announced two weeks ago, the distant asteroid 10199 Chariklo was found to have at least two orbiting rings. Chariklo's diameter of about 250 kilometers makes it the largest of the measured centaur asteroids, but now the smallest known object to have rings. The centaur-class minor planet orbits the Sun between Saturn and Uranus. The above video gives an artist's illustration of how the rings were discovered. As Chariklo passed in 2013 in front of a faint star, unexpected but symmetric dips in the brightness of the star revealed the rings. Planetary...
  • ‘Blood Moon’ Lunar Eclipse Visible April 14-15, Beginning Rare Series Of Total Eclipses

    04/08/2014 12:40:28 PM PDT · by Jack Hydrazine · 44 replies
    CBS ^ | 4APR2014 | Brandon Mercer
    SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Just in time for tax day, which may feel like trying to squeeze blood from a rock, the moon will appear blood-red in a total lunar eclipse on the night of April 14th and overnight into April 15h. The total eclipse will be at its best over the Bay Area at 12:46 a.m. on April 15th, but the beginnings of the eclipse will be visible starting around 9:55 p.m. The moon will begin turning red at 12:08 a.m. The eclipse is a rare celestial phenomenon easily observed with the naked eye, and as such it...
  • UFO Spotters Are Very Excited About This Suspicious NASA Photo from Mars

    04/08/2014 11:07:51 AM PDT · by bgill · 55 replies
    The Wire ^ | April 8, 2014 | Abby Ohlheiser
    An image transmitted from Mars to Earth by NASA's Curiosity rover has some alien enthusiasts seeing the (artificial) light about the possibility of life on Mars... The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Justin Maki explained what NASA thinks is behind the mysterious light. "We think it's either a vent-hole light leak or a glinty rock,"
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M42: Inside the Orion Nebula

    04/08/2014 10:38:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 45 replies
    NASA ^ | April 08, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Great Nebula in Orion, an immense, nearby starbirth region, is probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. Here, glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away. In the above deep image composite in assigned colors taken by the Hubble Space Telescope wisps and sheets of dust and gas are particularly evident. The Great Nebula in Orion can be found with the unaided eye near the easily identifiable belt of three stars in the popular constellation Orion. In addition to housing a bright open cluster of stars...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Solar Eclipse from the Moon

    04/06/2014 9:15:52 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | April 07, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Has a solar eclipse ever been seen from the Moon? Yes, first in 1967 -- but it may happen again next week. The robotic Surveyor 3 mission took thousands of wide angle television images of the Earth in 1967, a few of which captured the Earth moving in front of the Sun. Several of these images have been retrieved from the NASA archives and compiled into the above time-lapse video. Although the images are grainy, the Earth's atmosphere clearly refracted sunlight around it and showed a beading effect when some paths were blocked by clouds. Two years later, in...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Fresh Tiger Stripes on Saturn's Enceladus

    04/06/2014 1:59:16 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | April 06, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Do underground oceans vent through the tiger stripes on Saturn's moon Enceladus? Long features dubbed tiger stripes are known to be spewing ice from the moon's icy interior into space, creating a cloud of fine ice particles over the moon's South Pole and creating Saturn's mysterious E-ring. Evidence for this has come from the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn. Pictured above, a high resolution image of Enceladus is shown from a close flyby. The unusual surface features dubbed tiger stripes are visible in false-color blue. Why Enceladus is active remains a mystery, as the neighboring moon Mimas, approximately...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Lunar Farside

    04/05/2014 4:06:18 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | April 05, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Tidally locked in synchronous rotation, the Moon always presents its familiar nearside to denizens of planet Earth. From lunar orbit, the Moon's farside can become familiar, though. In fact this sharp picture, a mosaic from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's wide angle camera, is centered on the lunar farside. Part of a global mosaic of over 15,000 images acquired between November 2009 and February 2011, the highest resolution version shows features at a scale of 100 meters per pixel. Surprisingly, the rough and battered surface of the farside looks very different from the nearside covered with smooth dark lunar maria....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Along the Western Veil

    04/04/2014 3:43:51 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | April 04, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Delicate in appearance, these filaments of shocked, glowing gas, draped in planet Earth's sky toward the constellation of Cygnus, make up the western part of the Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula itself is a large supernova remnant, an expanding cloud born of the death explosion of a massive star. Light from the original supernova explosion likely reached Earth over 5,000 years ago. Blasted out in the cataclysmic event, the interstellar shock wave plows through space sweeping up and exciting interstellar material. The glowing filaments are really more like long ripples in a sheet seen almost edge on, remarkably well...
  • Skydiver’s Helmet Cam Captures a Falling Meteor Almost Hitting Him

    04/03/2014 1:21:29 PM PDT · by SWAMPSNIPER · 46 replies
    PETAPIXEL ^ | april 03,2014 | Michael Zhang
    For the first time ever, a meteor has been captured on camera falling through the sky after it has finished burning. And that’s not all: the baseball-sized space rock nearly slammed into the man behind the camera.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- At the Edge of NGC 2174

    04/02/2014 9:41:19 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | April 03, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This fantastic skyscape lies near the edge of NGC 2174 a star forming region about 6,400 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation of Orion. It follows mountainous clouds of gas and dust carved by winds and radiation from the region's newborn stars, now found scattered in open star clusters embedded around the center of NGC 2174, off the top of the frame. Though star formation continues within these dusty cosmic clouds they will likely be dispersed by the energetic newborn stars within a few million years. Recorded at infrared wavelengths by the Hubble Space Telescope, the interstellar scene spans...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars Red and Spica Blue

    04/02/2014 8:14:52 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | April 02, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A bright pair of sky objects will be visible together during the next few months. Mars will shine brightly in its familiar rusty hue as it reaches its brightest of 2014 next week. The reason that Mars appears so bright is that Earth and Mars are close to each other in their long orbits around the Sun. Spica, on the other hand, shines constantly as one of the brightest blue stars in the night sky. Pronounced "spy-kah", the blue-hued star has been visible throughout human history and the sounds that identify it today date back to ancient times. Pictured...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Space Station Robot Forgets Key Again

    04/01/2014 5:46:17 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | April 01, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Space station robot AFJ013 has forgotten her space lock key again. The frustrated robot was reduced to tapping on a space station window and asking for a human to let her back in -- for the third time this week. "Yes, she did a great job adjusting the tolerances on the new science module, but why she can't remember to take her key is beyond me," said incredulous station commander Koichi Wakata (Japan). "We would keep the entry unlocked but we are afraid that space aliens will come in and raid our refrigerator", the astronaut lamented. Happy April Fools'...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known Orbit in the Solar System

    04/01/2014 5:37:49 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | March 31, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What object has the furthest known orbit in our Solar System? In terms of how close it will ever get to the Sun, the new answer is 2012 VP113, an object currently over twice the distance of Pluto from the Sun. Pictured above is a series of discovery images taken with the Dark Energy Camera attached to the NOAO's Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile in 2012 and released last week. The distant object, seen moving on the lower right, is thought to be a dwarf planet like Pluto. Previously, the furthest known dwarf planet was Sedna, discovered in 2003....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Io in True Color

    03/29/2014 9:11:51 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    NASA ^ | March 30, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The strangest moon in the Solar System is bright yellow. This picture, an attempt to show how Io would appear in the "true colors" perceptible to the average human eye, was taken in 1999 July by the Galileo spacecraft that orbited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003. Io's colors derive from sulfur and molten silicate rock. The unusual surface of Io is kept very young by its system of active volcanoes. The intense tidal gravity of Jupiter stretches Io and damps wobbles caused by Jupiter's other Galilean moons. The resulting friction greatly heats Io's interior, causing molten rock to explode...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Milky Way Dawn

    03/29/2014 5:39:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | March 29, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: As dawn broke on March 27, the center of the Milky Way Galaxy stood almost directly above the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory. In the dry, clear sky of Chile's Atacama desert, our galaxy's dusty central bulge is flanked by Paranal's four 8 meter Very Large Telescope units in this astronomical fisheye view. Along the top, Venus is close to the eastern horizon. The brilliant morning star shines very near a waning crescent Moon just at the edge of one of the telescope structures. Despite the bright pairing in the east, the Milky Way dominates the scene though. Cut...
  • Dwarf planet discovery hints at a hidden Super Earth in solar system

    03/29/2014 1:03:08 AM PDT · by chessplayer · 48 replies
    Astronomers have increased the size of the observable solar system after spotting a 450-km wide object orbiting the sun. The lump of ice and rock circles the sun at a greater distance than any known object, and never gets closer than 12bn kilometres – 80 times the distance from Earth to the sun. If its size is confirmed it could qualify as a dwarf planet in the same category as Pluto. Though exciting in its own right, the discovery raises a more tantalising prospect for many astronomers: that a "Super Earth" up to 10 times the mass of our planet...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stripping ESO 137-001

    03/28/2014 7:20:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | March 28, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Explanation: Spiral galaxy ESO 137-001 hurtles through massive galaxy cluster Abell 3627 some 220 million light years away. The distant galaxy is seen in this colorful Hubble/Chandra composite image through a foreground of the Milky Way's stars toward the southern constellation Triangulum Australe. As the spiral speeds along at nearly 7 million kilometers per hour, its gas and dust are stripped away when ram pressure with the cluster's own hot, tenuous intracluster medium overcomes the galaxy's gravity. Evident in Hubble's near visible light data, bright star clusters have formed in the stripped material along the short, trailing blue streaks....
  • Newt Gingrich's Plan to Stave Off the Apocalypse

    03/28/2014 11:49:45 AM PDT · by Svartalfiar · 107 replies
    National Journal ^ | March 28, 2014 | Alex Brown
    Within a year, nine out of 10 Americans could be dead. And whatever causes the national apocalypse—be it North Korean malice or the whims of the sun—the downfall will ultimately be our own fault. That's the fear of Newt Gingrich and other members of a high-profile coalition who are convinced that our fragile electrical grid could be wiped out at any moment. Their concern? Electromagnetic pulses, the short bursts of energy—caused by anything from a nuclear blast to a solar flare—that can wreak havoc on electrical systems on a massive scale. And the coalition believes it's coming soon.
  • (Vanity) People - The Search Function Is There For A Reason!

    03/26/2014 11:06:11 PM PDT · by shibumi · 40 replies
    FreeRepublic.com | 3/27/14 | Concerned FReepers Everywhere
    I know this bugs the heck out of everyone when duplicate threads show up. Please be considerate and SEARCH before posting!
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stephan's Quintet Plus One

    03/26/2014 10:41:09 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 27, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The first identified compact galaxy group, Stephan's Quintet is featured in this remarkable image constructed with data drawn from Hubble Legacy Archive and the Subaru Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea. The galaxies of the quintet are gathered near the center of the field, but really only four of the five are locked in a cosmic dance of repeated close encounters taking place some 300 million light-years away. The odd man out is easy to spot, though. The interacting galaxies, NGC 7319, 7318A, 7318B, and 7317 have a more dominant yellowish cast. They also tend to have distorted...
  • A planet past Pluto? Astronomers redefine the solar system's edge

    03/26/2014 1:03:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 53 replies
    FoxNews.com ^ | March 26, 2014/
    Scientists at the Carnegie Carnegie Institution for Science announced Wednesday the discovery of a new cosmic neighbor -- a distant dwarf planet named 2012 VP113 that was found spinning in the depths of space well past Pluto. Its existence suggests there may be another actual planet out there, they said, a rogue giant ten times bigger than Earth orbiting in the distant blackness
  • Newfound pink world lurks at solar system fringes

    03/26/2014 12:06:45 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 45 replies
    www.utsandiego.com ^ | 03-26-2014 | By ALICIA CHANG
    <p>LOS ANGELES (AP) — Peering into the far reaches of the solar system, astronomers have spied a pink frozen world 7½ billion miles from the sun.</p> <p>It's the second such object to be discovered in a region of space beyond Pluto long considered a celestial wasteland. Until now, the lone known resident in this part of the solar system was an oddball dwarf planet spotted in 2003 named Sedna after the mythological Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic.</p>
  • Asteroid Found with Rings! First-of-Its-Kind Discovery Stuns Astronomers

    03/26/2014 12:05:41 PM PDT · by 12th_Monkey · 51 replies
    Space.com ^ | March 26, 2014 | Nola Taylor Redd
    Scientists have made a stunning discovery in the outer realm of the solar system — an asteroid with its own set of rings that orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. The space rock is the first non-planetary object ever found to have its own ring system, researchers say. The pair of space rock rings encircle the asteroid Chariklo. They were most likely formed after a collision scattered debris around the asteroid, according to a new study unveiled today (March 27). The asteroid rings also suggests the presence of a still-undiscovered moon around Chariklo that's keeping them stable, researchers said....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M78 and Reflecting Dust Clouds

    03/26/2014 7:12:39 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | March 26, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: An eerie blue glow and ominous columns of dark dust highlight M78 and other bright reflection nebula in the constellation of Orion. The dark filamentary dust not only absorbs light, but also reflects the light of several bright blue stars that formed recently in the nebula. Of the two reflection nebulas pictured above, the more famous nebula is M78, in the image center, while NGC 2071 can be seen to its lower left. The same type of scattering that colors the daytime sky further enhances the blue color. M78 is about five light-years across and visible through a small...
  • The Deep Roots of Catastrophe

    03/25/2014 7:35:35 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    Newswise ^ | University of Utah
    ...disaster is “not imminent,” he adds, “This is the type of mechanism that may generate massive plume eruptions, but on the timescale of 100 million to 200 million years from now. So don’t cancel your cruises.”... Hotspot plume supervolcano eruptions like those during the past 2 million years at Wyoming’s Yellowstone caldera, which covered North America with volcanic ash.Gargantuan flood basalt eruptions that created “large igneous provinces” like the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia River basalts 17 million to 15 million years ago, India’s Deccan Traps some 65 million years ago and the Pacific’s huge Ontong Java Plateau basalts, which buried an...
  • Waiter, There's a Black Hole in My Condensed Matter...

    03/25/2014 7:21:28 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    Perimeter Institute ^ | Monday, March 24, 2014 | unattributed
    Physicists are using surprising ideas and mathematical tools originating in string theory to guide research into strange materials that are cropping up in condensed matter laboratories... “Let’s start here,” Sachdev says. “Condensed matter physicists study the behaviour of electrons in many materials – semiconductors, metals, and exotic materials like superconductors.” Normally, these physicists can model the behaviour of a material as if electrons were moving freely around inside it. Even if that’s not what’s actually happening, because of complex interactions, it makes the model easy to understand and the calculations easier to do. Electrons (and occasionally other particles) used in...
  • Detecting extrasolar moons akin to Solar System satellites with an Orbital Sampling Effect

    03/25/2014 6:59:19 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    Astrobiology ^ | March 25, 2014 | Rene Heller
    Despite years of high accuracy observations, none of the available theoretical techniques has yet allowed the confirmation of a moon beyond the Solar System. Methods are currently limited to masses about an order of magnitude higher than the mass of any moon in the Solar System. I here present a new method sensitive to exomoons similar to the known moons. Due to the projection of transiting exomoon orbits onto the celestial plane, satellites appear more often at larger separations from their planet. After about a dozen randomly sampled observations, a photometric orbital sampling effect (OSE) starts to appear in the...