Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • 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 · 14 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...
  • Skygazers Have Already Found the US Government's New Spy Satellite

    06/20/2016 9:20:55 AM PDT · by Purdue77 · 24 replies
    Motherboard ^ | 19 June 2016
    Last week, the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office launched NROL-37, carrying its latest spy satellite into geosynchronous orbit via Delta IV-Heavy rocket. But it only took amateur space enthusiasts a few days to locate the mysterious new craft in the skies near Malaysia, over the Strait of Malacca. While the contents and capabilities of the NROL-37 mission's payload are classified (the satellite is innocuously labeled US-268), its need to hitch a ride on the world's biggest rocket strongly suggests it is the seventh member of the Mentor/Orion family, an extra-large class of signals intelligence (SIGINT) satellites which help provide eavesdropping capability...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunrise Solstice over Stonehenge

    06/20/2016 3:35:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, June 20, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Today the Sun reaches its northernmost point in planet Earth's sky. Called a solstice, the date traditionally marks a change of seasons -- from spring to summer in Earth's Northern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in Earth's Southern Hemisphere. The featured image was taken during the week of the 2008 summer solstice at Stonehenge in United Kingdom, and captures a picturesque sunrise involving fog, trees, clouds, stones placed about 4,500 years ago, and a 4.5 billion year old large glowing orb. Even given the precession of the Earth's rotational axis over the millennia, the Sun continues to rise...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy and Planets Beyond Bristlecone Pines

    06/19/2016 6:48:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, June 19, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's older than these ancient trees? Nobody you know -- but almost everything in the background of this picture. The trees are impressively old -- each part of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest located in eastern California, USA. There, many of the oldest trees known are located, some dating as far back as about 5,000 years. Seemingly attached to tree branches, but actually much farther in the distance, are the bright orbs of Saturn (left) and Mars. These planets formed along with the Earth and the early Solar System much earlier -- about 4.5 billion years ago. Swooping down...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sputnik Planum vs. Krun Macula

    06/18/2016 12:30:40 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, June 18, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Pluto's pitted plains meet rugged highlands in this stunning view. On the left lies a southeastern extent of the bright region still informally known as Sputnik Planum. At right the edge of a dark region, informally Krun Macula, rises some 2.5 kilometers above the icy plains. Along the boundary, connected clusters of large pits form deep valleys, some over 40 kilometers long with shadowy floors. Nitrogen ice is likely responsible for the more reflective plains. The dark red color of the highlands is thought to be from complex compounds called tholins, a product of ultraviolet light induced chemical reactions...
  • Did a supernova two million years ago brighten the night sky and give our ancestors cancer?

    06/17/2016 4:22:29 PM PDT · by rickmichaels · 37 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | June 17, 2016 | Cheyenne Macdonald
    Millions of years ago, a series of nearby supernovae sent radiation and debris raining down to Earth. The events left traces of radioactive iron-60 embedded in the sea floor and even on the Moon, and now, researchers are saying they may have had life-altering effects on the early inhabitants of our planet. At just hundreds of light-years away, two major stellar explosions may have spurred changes to the environment, and even increased the rates of cancer and mutation.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet PanSTARRS in the Southern Fish

    06/17/2016 10:22:46 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, June 17, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Now approaching our fair planet this Comet PanSTARRS (C/2013 X1) will come closest on June 21-22, a mere 5.3 light-minutes away. By then its appearance low in northern hemisphere predawn skies (high in the south), will be affected by the light of a nearly Full Moon, though. Still the comet's pretty green coma is about the apparent size of the Full Moon in this telescopic portrait, captured on June 12 from the southern hemisphere's Siding Spring Observatory. The deep image also follows a broad, whitish dust tail up and toward the left in the frame, sweeping away from the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Northern Lights above Lofoten

    06/16/2016 8:56:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 16, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Aurora Borealis or northern lights are familiar visitors to night skies above the village of Reine in the Lofoten Islands, Norway, planet Earth. In this scene, captured from a mountaintop camp site, the auroral curtains do seem to create an eerie tension with the coastal lights though. A modern perspective on the world at night, the stunning image was chosen as the over all winner in The World at Night's 2016 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest. Selections were made from over 900 entries highlighting the beauty of the night sky and its battle with light pollution.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- GW151226: A Second Confirmed Source of Gravitational Radiation

    06/15/2016 1:43:27 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 15, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A new sky is becoming visible. When you look up, you see the sky as it appears in light -- electromagnetic radiation. But just over the past year, humanity has begun to see our once-familiar sky as it appears in a different type of radiation -- gravitational radiation. Today, the LIGO collaboration is reporting the detection of GW151226, the second confirmed flash of gravitational radiation after GW150914, the historic first detection registered three months earlier. As its name implies, GW151226 was recorded in late December of 2015. It was detected simultaneously by both LIGO facilities in Washington and Louisiana,...
  • LIGO detects another black hole crash

    06/15/2016 12:43:57 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 15 replies
    Science Magazine ^ | 6/15/16 | Adrian Cho
    On 26 December 2015, LIGO detected gravitational waves from two black holes spiraling together.LIGO/T. Pyle LIGO detects another black hole crash By Adrian ChoJun. 15, 2016 , 1:15 PM The biggest discovery in science this year--the observation of ripples in space-time called gravitational waves--was no fluke. For a second time, physicists working with the two massive detectors in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have detected a pulse of such waves, the LIGO team reported on 15 June at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego, California. Once again the waves emanated from the merger of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The North America and Pelican Nebulas

    06/13/2016 9:49:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, June 14, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Here lie familiar shapes in unfamiliar locations. On the left is an emission nebula cataloged as NGC 7000, famous partly because it resembles our fair planet's continent of North America. The emission region to the right of the North America Nebula is IC 5070, also known for its suggestive outlines as the Pelican Nebula. Separated by a dark cloud of obscuring dust, the two bright nebulae are about 1,500 light-years away. At that distance, the 4 degree wide field of view spans 100 light-years. This spectacular cosmic portrait combines narrow band images to highlight bright ionization fronts with fine...
  • SYRIAN AIR FORCE KILLS ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDAADI (#1 ISIS and Head of Caliphate Dead???)

    06/13/2016 2:39:43 PM PDT · by ghosthost · 43 replies
    Syrian Perspective ^ | 6-13-2016 | Ziad Fadel
    A riot of reports flowing in about the death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadi in a surgical strike by the Russian/Syrian Air Forces. Do not believe the Western Press which will try to take credit for the assassination. Early reports indicate he was killed while nursing his wounds in Al-Raqqa after being wounded for the umpteenth time. This spells the end of ISIS. Expect mass defections and desertions.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Roll Cloud Over Uruguay

    06/12/2016 6:40:44 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, June 12, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What kind of cloud is this? A type of arcus cloud called a roll cloud. These rare long clouds may form near advancing cold fronts. In particular, a downdraft from an advancing storm front can cause moist warm air to rise, cool below its dew point, and so form a cloud. When this happens uniformly along an extended front, a roll cloud may form. Roll clouds may actually have air circulating along the long horizontal axis of the cloud. A roll cloud is not thought to be able to morph into a tornado. Unlike a similar shelf cloud, a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Fornax Cluster of Galaxies

    06/12/2016 6:37:47 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, June 11, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Named for the southern constellation toward which most of its galaxies can be found, the Fornax Cluster is one of the closest clusters of galaxies. About 62 million light-years away, it is almost 20 times more distant than our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy, and only about 10 percent farther than the better known and more populated Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Seen across this two degree wide field-of-view, almost every yellowish splotch on the image is an elliptical galaxy in the Fornax cluster. A standout barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 is visible on the lower right as a prominent Fornax cluster member....
  • Light Pollution Hides Milky Way From 80 Percent Of North Americans, Atlas Shows

    06/10/2016 12:01:21 PM PDT · by C19fan · 67 replies
    NPR ^ | June 10, 2016 | Nell Greenfieldboyce
    The luminous glow of light pollution prevents nearly 80 percent of people in North America from seeing the Milky Way in the night sky. That's according to a new atlas of artificial night sky brightness that found our home galaxy is now hidden from more than one-third of humanity.
  • The World's First Computer May Have Been Used To Tell Fortunes [Engraved text translation]

    06/10/2016 6:55:53 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 21 replies
    A ten-year project to decipher inscriptions on the ancient Greek “Antikythera mechanism” has revealed new functions, including the first hint that the device was used to make astrological predictions. The writings also lend support to the idea that the gadget, often called the world's first computer because of its ability to model complex astronomical cycles, originated from the island of Rhodes. Until now, scholars have focused on decoding the sophisticated array of gearwheels inside the 2000-year-old artifact. The new publication tackles instead the lettering squeezed onto every available surface. “It’s like discovering a whole new manuscript,” says Mike Edmunds, emeritus...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 6888: The Crescent Nebula

    06/10/2016 4:07:34 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, June 10, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: NGC 6888, also known as the Crescent Nebula, is a cosmic bubble about 25 light-years across, blown by winds from its central, bright, massive star. This sharp telescopic portrait uses narrow band image data that isolates light from hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the wind-blown nebula. The oxygen atoms produce the blue-green hue that seems to enshroud the detailed folds and filaments. Visible within the nebula, NGC 6888's central star is classified as a Wolf-Rayet star (WR 136). The star is shedding its outer envelope in a strong stellar wind, ejecting the equivalent of the Sun's mass every 10,000...
  • Photos: Male ‘Disney Addict’ Transforms Himself Into Princesses

    06/09/2016 4:34:29 PM PDT · by ghosthost · 59 replies
    Breitbart ^ | 6-9-2016 | Jerome Hudson
    Richard Schaefer, a 21-year-old man from Orange County, California, has spent years posting pictures of himself dressed up as his favorite female Disney characters to social media. Boasting a massive collection of 40 costumes and 30 wigs, the self-described “Disney addict” says his decision to cosplay — a combination of the words costume and role-play, where a person dresses up as a character from a comic book, video game, or movie — came after people began commenting on how similar his appearance was to that of a woman. “I decided to start cosplaying as princesses because of how androgynous people...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Pluto at Night

    06/09/2016 2:44:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 09, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The night side of Pluto spans this shadowy scene. The spacebased view with the Sun behind the distant world was captured by New Horizons last July. The spacecraft was at a range of over 21,000 kilometers, about 19 minutes after its closest approach. A denizen of the Kuiper Belt in dramatic silhouette, the image also reveals Pluto's tenuous, surprisingly complex layers of hazy atmosphere. The crescent twilight landscape near the top of the frame includes southern areas of nitrogen ice plains informally known as Sputnik Planum and rugged mountains of water-ice in the Norgay Montes.
  • Surveillance satellite launching Thursday atop Delta 4-Heavy rocket

    06/08/2016 8:24:34 AM PDT · by Purdue77 · 14 replies
    SpaceFlight Now ^ | June 7, 2016 | Justin Ray
    Surveillance satellite launching Thursday atop Delta 4-Heavy rocket CAPE CANAVERAL — One of the largest satellites in the world will launch aboard America’s biggest operational booster Thursday, riding that power to a listening post 22,300 miles above the planet for its clandestine eavesdropping mission, all indications suggest. A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will fly from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 37 at 1:59 p.m. EDT (1759 GMT). Although the duration of the day’s usable launch window has not been revealed, officials previously said liftoff would occur by 6:30 p.m. EDT (2230 GMT). Weather forecasters say there is a risk of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Horsehead Nebula in Infrared from Hubble

    06/08/2016 8:23:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 08, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: While drifting through the cosmos, a magnificent interstellar dust cloud became sculpted by stellar winds and radiation to assume a recognizable shape. Fittingly named the Horsehead Nebula, it is embedded in the vast and complex Orion Nebula (M42). A potentially rewarding but difficult object to view personally with a small telescope, the above gorgeously detailed image was taken in 2013 in infrared light by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope in honor of the 23rd anniversary of Hubble's launch. The dark molecular cloud, roughly 1,500 light years distant, is cataloged as Barnard 33 and is seen above primarily because it...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Night on Venus in Infrared from Orbiting Akatsuki

    06/07/2016 5:36:48 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, June 07, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why is Venus so different from Earth? To help find out, Japan launched the robotic Akatsuki spacecraft which entered orbit around Venus late last year after an unplanned five-year adventure around the inner Solar System. Even though Akatsuki has passed its original planned lifetime, the spacecraft and its instruments are operating so well that much of its original mission has been reinstated. In the featured image taken by Akatsuki late last month, Venus was captured in infrared light showing a surprising amount of atmospheric structure on its night side. The vertical orange terminator stripe between night and day is...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Supernova and Cepheids of Spiral Galaxy UGC 9391

    06/06/2016 3:59:04 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, June 06, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What can this galaxy tell us about the expansion rate of the universe? Perhaps a lot because UGC 9391, featured, not only contains Cepheid variable stars (red circles) but also a recent Type Ia supernova (blue X). Both types of objects have standard brightnesses, with Cepheids typically being seen relatively nearby, while supernovas are seen much further away. Therefore, this spiral is important because it allows a calibration between the near and distant parts of our universe. Unexpectedly, a recent analysis of new Hubble data from UGC 9391 and several similar galaxies has bolstered previous indications that Cepheids and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet PanSTARRS and the Helix Nebula

    06/05/2016 4:16:28 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, June 05, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It's rare that such different objects are imaged so close together. Such an occasion is occurring now, though, and was captured two days ago in combined parallel exposures from the Canary Islands of Spain. On the lower right, surrounded by a green coma and emanating an unusually split blue ion tail diagonally across the frame, is Comet C/2013 X1 (PanSTARRS). This giant snowball has been falling toward our Sun and brightening since its discovery in 2013. Although Comet PannSTARRS is a picturesque target for long-duration exposures of astrophotography, it is expected to be only barely visible to the unaided...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Shadow of Surveyor 1

    06/04/2016 5:49:02 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, June 04, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Fifty years ago, Surveyor 1 reached the Moon. Launched on May 30, 1966 and landed on June 2, 1966 with the Moon at full phase it became the first US spacecraft to make a soft landing on another world. The first of seven Surveyor missions intended to test the lunar terrain for the planned Apollo landings it sent back over 10,000 images before lunar nightfall on June 14. The total rose to over 11,000 images returned before its second lunar night began on July 13. Surveyor 1 continued to respond from the lunar surface until January 7, 1967. Captured...
  • Black holes We want information

    06/03/2016 5:48:55 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 19 replies
    The Economist ^ | 4 Jun, 2014 | From Stephen Hawking
    ARE black holes bald or hairy? On that strange and esoteric question may hang the future of the universe’s past. The present, the past and the future are all connected by physical laws, a phenomenon called “causal determinism”. With complete information about a system’s present, it ought therefore be possible to determine all its past and future states. In theory, that applies to any system, up to and including the entire universe. In 1976, however, an up-and-coming Cambridge-based cosmologist called Stephen Hawking challenged this idea by showing that black holes (which are part of the universe, albeit a rather odd...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 4631: The Whale Galaxy

    06/03/2016 3:14:49 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | Friday, June 03, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: NGC 4631 is a big beautiful spiral galaxy. Seen edge-on, it lies only 25 million light-years away in the well-trained northern constellation Canes Venatici. The galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others its popular moniker, The Whale Galaxy. Either way, it is similar in size to our own Milky Way. In this sharp color image, the galaxy's yellowish core, dark dust clouds, bright blue star clusters, and red star forming regions are easy to spot. A companion galaxy, the small elliptical NGC 4627 is just above the Whale Galaxy. Faint star streams...
  • Ken Starr Faceplants When Confronted With Email Showing He Was Told About Rape At Baylor

    06/03/2016 11:35:58 AM PDT · by MadIsh32 · 22 replies
    06/03/2016 | Diana Moskovitz
    The Ken Starr (yes, that Ken Starr) image rehabilitation tour has begun, with Starr joining the calls for transparency from Baylor’s Board of Regents. He’s urging the regents to release the full Pepper Hamilton report into how Baylor created a culture so blind that administrators believed rape “doesn’t happen here” and so toxic that women who reported they were assaulted were put through hell. Starr’s even gone so far as to say he resigned as chancellor so he could speak more freely about what happened at the university.
  • Saturn at Opposition: See the Ringed Planet at Its Best This Friday

    06/03/2016 11:32:49 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    space.com ^ | 06/01/2016 | geoff geherty
    This Friday, June 3, Saturn reaches opposition to the sun. Directly opposite the sun in our sky, the ringed planet rises as the sun sets and sets as the sun rises, remaining visible all night. Saturn is the farthest of the planets readily visible to the naked eye. Currently, the planet is magnitude 0 in brightness (where lower magnitudes are brighter), which is brighter than all but a handful of stars (generally magnitude 1 and higher), but fainter than most of the planets at their brightest (which can reach negative magnitudes). Saturn is best seen when it is at its...
  • Stolen World: 'Planet 9' Likely Came from Another Star

    06/02/2016 7:40:16 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 44 replies
    Space.com ^ | 1 Jun, 2016 | Mike Wall
    There may be an alien planet lurking within Earth's own solar system. If the hypothetical Planet Nine does indeed exist, the sun probably ripped the world away from another star long ago, a new study suggests. "It is almost ironic that while astronomers often find exoplanets hundreds of light-years away in other solar systems, there's probably one hiding in our own backyard," study lead author Alexander Mustill, an astronomer at Lund University in Sweden, said in a statement. [The Evidence for Planet Nine in Pictures]. Earlier this year, astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, both of the California Institute of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Three Planets from Pic du Midi

    06/02/2016 4:03:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | Thursday, June 02, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Seen any planets lately? All three planets now shining brightly in the night sky are imaged in these panels, captured last week with the 1 meter telescope at Pic du Midi Observatory in the French Pyrenees. Near opposition and closest to Earth on May 30, Mars is presently offering the best ground-based photo-ops in the last decade. The sharp image finds clouds above the Red Planet's north pole (top) and towering volcanos near its right limb. Saturn reaches its own opposition tonight, its bright rings and gaps clearly revealed in the telescopic portrait. Jupiter is currently highest during the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Tycho's Supernova Remnant Expands

    06/01/2016 5:48:02 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Wednesday, June 01, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What star created this huge expanding puffball? Featured here is the first expansion movie ever created for Tycho's supernova remnant, the result of a stellar explosion first recorded over 400 years ago by the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. The 2-second video is a time-lapse composite of X-ray images taken by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory between the years 2000 and 2015, added to a stock optical frame. The expanding gas cloud is extremely hot, while slightly different expansion speeds have given the cloud a puffy appearance. Although the star that created SN 1572, is likely completely gone, a star...
  • Alien Minds Part II: Do Aliens Think Big Brains are Sexy Too?

    06/01/2016 12:19:36 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 8 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 5/31/16 | Paul Patton
    '); } //--> The peahen (at left) and the peacock (at right). The peacock's elaborate plumage and many other similar animal ornaments posed a troubling difficulty for Charles Darwin in his development of the theory of evolution, since they seemed to have no value for survival. The peacocks that were everywhere present in English gardens were a frustrating and ever-present reminder of the difficulty. "The sight of a feather in a peacock's tail", Darwin wrote, "whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!". Darwin solved the problem with his theory of sexual selection, which posits that such ornaments evolved...
  • Asteroids 'dumped water into molten Moon'

    05/31/2016 4:24:11 PM PDT · by rdl6989 · 22 replies
    BBC ^ | May 31, 2016 | Jonathan Webb
    A smattering of water is buried deep inside the Moon and it arrived during the satellite's very early history, a new study concludes, when asteroids plunged into its churning magma oceans. How and when water got trapped in volcanic lunar rocks is a huge and open question for planetary scientists.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Stars and Gas of the Running Chicken Nebula

    05/31/2016 7:14:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | Tuesday, May 31, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: To some, it looks like a giant chicken running across the sky. To others, it looks like a gaseous nebula where star formation takes place. Cataloged as IC 2944, the Running Chicken Nebula spans about 100 light years and lies about 6,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Centaur (Centaurus). The featured image, shown in scientifically assigned colors, was captured recently in an 11-hour exposure from a backyard near Melbourne, Australia. Two star clusters are visible: the Pearl Cluster seen on the far left, and Collinder 249 embedded in the nebula's glowing gas. Although difficult to discern...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Galaxy Evolution Tracking Animation

    05/31/2016 7:12:37 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | Monday, May 30, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How did the universe evolve from such a smooth beginning? To help understand, computational cosmologists and NASA produced the featured time-lapse animated video depicting a computer simulation of part of the universe. The 100-million light-year simulation starts about 20 million years after the Big Bang and runs until the present. After a smooth beginning, gravity causes clumps of matter to form into galaxies which immediately begin falling toward each other. Soon, many of them condense into long filaments while others violently merge into a huge and hot cluster of galaxies. Investigating of potential universe attributes in simulations like this...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Valles Marineris: The Grand Canyon of Mars

    05/31/2016 7:06:44 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | Sunday, May 29, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Mars will look good in Earth's skies over the next few days -- but not this good. To get a view this amazing, a spacecraft had to actually visit the red planet. Running across the image center, though, is one the largest canyons in the Solar System. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth's Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris...
  • Supermassive black holes in 'red geyser' galaxies cause galactic warming

    05/30/2016 4:08:50 PM PDT · by JimSEA · 37 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 5/25/2016 | University of Kentucky
    An international team of scientists, including the University of Kentucky's Renbin Yan, have uncovered a new class of galaxies, called "red geysers," with supermassive black hole winds so hot and energetic that stars can't form. Over the last few billion years, a mysterious kind of "galactic warming" has caused many galaxies to change from a lively place where new stars formed every now and then to a quiet place devoid of fresh young stars. But the mechanism that produces this dramatic transformation and keeps galaxies quiet has been one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in galaxy evolution. "These galaxies have...
  • Stars with planets on strange orbits: what's going on?

    05/29/2016 5:12:02 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    phys.org ^ | 05/27/2016
    All the planets in our solar system orbit close to the sun's equatorial plane. Of the eight confirmed planets, the Earth's orbit is the most tilted, but even that tilt is still small, at just seven degrees. It was natural, then, for astronomers to expect that planets orbiting other stars would behave the same way... But in recent years, new observations have revealed that the story is somewhat more complicated, at least for the oddest planets known, the Hot Jupiters. ... Comparable in mass to Jupiter, they move on incredibly short period orbits, almost skimming the surfaces of their host...
  • A planet 1,200 light-years away is a good prospect for a habitable world

    05/29/2016 11:03:46 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 35 replies
    www.sciencedaily.com ^ | May 27, 2016 | Source: University of California - Los Angeles
    An artist's conception of Kepler-62f, a planet in the 'habitable zone' of a star located about 1,200 light-years from Earth. Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle ========================================================================================================================= A distant planet known as Kepler-62f could be habitable, a team of astronomers reports. The planet, which is about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Lyra, is approximately 40 percent larger than Earth. At that size, Kepler-62f is within the range of planets that are likely to be rocky and possibly could have oceans, said Aomawa Shields, the study's lead author and a National Science Foundation astronomy and astrophysics postdoctoral fellow...