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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - UGC 1810: Wildly Interacting Galaxy from Hubble

    10/18/2020 2:35:50 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 11 replies ^ | 18 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA; Processing & Copyright: Domingo Pestana
    Explanation: What's happening to this spiral galaxy? Although details remain uncertain, it surely has to do with an ongoing battle with its smaller galactic neighbor. The featured galaxy is labelled UGC 1810 by itself, but together with its collisional partner is known as Arp 273. The overall shape of UGC 1810 -- in particular its blue outer ring -- is likely a result of wild and violent gravitational interactions. This ring's blue color is caused by massive stars that are blue hot and have formed only in the past few million years. The inner galaxy appears older, redder, and threaded...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Cygnus: Bubble and Crescent

    10/17/2020 4:51:17 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 10 replies ^ | 17 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Wissam Ayoub
    Explanation: These clouds of gas and dust drift through rich star fields along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the high flying constellation Cygnus. Caught within the telescopic field of view are the Soap Bubble (lower left) and the Crescent Nebula (upper right). Both were formed at a final phase in the life of a star. Also known as NGC 6888, the Crescent was shaped as its bright, central massive Wolf-Rayet star, WR 136, shed its outer envelope in a strong stellar wind. Burning through fuel at a prodigious rate, WR 136 is near the end of a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Planetary Nebula Abell 78

    10/16/2020 4:51:23 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 14 replies ^ | 16 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Bernhard Hubl
    Explanation: Planetary nebula Abell 78 stands out in this colorful telescopic skyscape. In fact the colors of the spiky Milky Way stars depend on their surface temperatures, both cooler (yellowish) and hotter (bluish) than the Sun. But Abell 78 shines by the characteristic emission of ionized atoms in the tenuous shroud of material shrugged off from an intensely hot central star. The atoms are ionized, their electrons stripped away, by the central star's energetic but otherwise invisible ultraviolet light. The visible blue-green glow of loops and filaments in the nebula's central region corresponds to emission from doubly ionized oxygen atoms,...
  • Space Station Crew Safe After Oxygen Supply System Failure

    10/16/2020 8:23:02 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 28 replies
    Gizmodo ^ | 15 Oct, 2020 | George Dvorsky
    Crew members aboard the International Space Station are dealing with a failed oxygen supply generator located within a Russian module. Thankfully, the astronauts and cosmonauts are not in danger, but this is now the second recent glitch involving a Russian component, which might be cause for concern. The malfunctioning oxygen supply system is located within the Russian Zvezda module and it conked out late yesterday, reports AFP. Sounds scary, but a second oxygen supply system located on the U.S. side is functioning normally and providing breathable air for the ISS crew. Moreover, extra oxygen supplies are stored on the ISS...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Galaxies in Pegasus

    10/15/2020 5:23:43 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 17 replies ^ | 15 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Robert Eder
    Explanation: This sharp telescopic view reveals galaxies scattered beyond the stars of the Milky Way, at the northern boundary of the high-flying constellation Pegasus. Prominent at the upper right is NGC 7331. A mere 50 million light-years away, the large spiral is one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. The disturbed looking group of galaxies at the lower left is well-known as Stephan's Quintet. About 300 million light-years distant, the quintet dramatically illustrates a multiple galaxy collision, its powerful, ongoing interactions posed for a brief cosmic snapshot. On the sky, the quintet and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Colorful Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi

    10/14/2020 5:44:16 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 13 replies ^ | 14 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Amir H. Abolfath
    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 Rho Ophiuchi star system 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...
  • US and seven other countries sign NASA’s Artemis Accords to set rules for exploring the Moon

    10/14/2020 12:57:06 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 72 replies ^ | 10/13/2020 | Loren Grush
    NASA announced its intention to create the Artemis Accords back in May, after working with the US State Department and the National Space Council to come up with a draft set of rules for exploring the Moon. The document’s name refers to NASA’s Artemis program, an ambitious initiative that aims to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon. NASA hopes to partner with multiple countries for the program, and the agency created the Artemis Accords to ensure that other nations could agree on best practices for sending robots and people to the lunar surface. NASA released...
  • NASA Claims Cold Fusion Without Naming It

    10/14/2020 10:30:06 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 27 replies ^ | September 28, 2020 | by: Al Williams
    Do you remember in 1989 when two chemists announced they’d created a setup that created nuclear fusion at room temperature? Everyone was excited, but it eventually turned out to be very suspect. It wasn’t clear how they detected that fusion occurred and only a few of the many people who tried to replicate the experiment claimed success and they later retracted their reports. Since then, mentioning cold fusion is right up there with perpetual motion. Work does continue though, and NASA recently published several papers on lattice confinement fusion which is definitely not called cold fusion, although it sounds like...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Mars, Pleiades, and Andromeda over Stone Lions

    10/13/2020 4:40:18 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 8 replies ^ | 13 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Cem Özkeser
    Explanation: Three very different -- and very famous -- objects were all captured in a single frame last month. On the upper left is the bright blue Pleiades, perhaps the most famous cluster of stars on the night sky. The Pleiades (M45) is about 450 light years away and easily found a few degrees from Orion. On the upper right is the expansive Andromeda Galaxy, perhaps the most famous galaxy -- external to our own -- on the night sky. Andromeda (M31) is one of few objects visible to the unaided eye where you can see light that is millions...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Descending Toward Asteroid Bennu

    10/12/2020 4:42:47 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 28 replies ^ | 12 Oct, 2020 | Video Credit: NASA, OSIRIS-REx, NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio; Data: NASA, U. Arizona, CSA,
    Explanation: What would it be like to land on an asteroid? Although no human has yet done it, NASA's robotic OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is scheduled to attempt to touch the surface of asteroid 101955 Bennu next week. The goal is to collect a sample from the nearby minor planet for return to Earth for a detailed analysis in 2023. The featured video shows what it looks like to descend toward the 500-meter diamond-shaped asteroid, based on a digital map of Bennu's rocky surface constructed from image and surface data taken by OSIRIS-REx over the past 1.5 years. The video begins by...
  • Unknown space object approaching Earth’s orbit could be a new ‘mini-moon’ or part of a long-lost rocket

    09/24/2020 8:39:27 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 40 replies
    Seattle Times ^ | 09/24/2020 | Christine Clarridge
    A strange space object approaching Earth is about to get captured by our gravity and become a new, temporary “mini-moon.” The object, which is dubbed 2020 SO, could be an asteroid. Or it could be part of the Surveyor 2, a robotic spacecraft launched to the moon on Sept. 20, 1966, according to the science and nature website Traveling at the extremely-slow-for-space speed of 1,880 miles per hour, the object was seen last week by astronomers in Hawaii, and it’s on course to be captured by Earth from October 2020 until around May 2021, according to EarthSky. Astronomers here...
  • Fake asteroid? NASA expert IDs mystery object as old rocket

    10/11/2020 8:13:42 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 15 replies ^ | October 11, 2020 | Marcia Dunn
    Instead of a cosmic rock, the newly discovered object appears to be an old rocket from a failed moon-landing mission 54 years ago that's finally making its way back home, according to NASA's leading asteroid expert. Observations should help nail its identity. 2020 SO, as it is formally known, is actually the Centaur upper rocket stage that successfully propelled NASA's Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966 before it was discarded. The lander ended up crashing into the moon after one of its thrusters failed to ignite on the way there. The rocket, meanwhile, swept past the moon and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Milky Way over the Pinnacles in Australia

    10/11/2020 1:51:10 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 12 replies ^ | 11 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Goh
    Explanation: What strange world is this? Earth. In the foreground of the featured image are the Pinnacles, unusual rock spires in Nambung National Park in Western Australia. Made of ancient sea shells (limestone), how these human-sized picturesque spires formed remains unknown. In the background, just past the end of the central Pinnacle, is a bright crescent Moon. The eerie glow around the Moon is mostly zodiacal light, sunlight reflected by dust grains orbiting between the planets in the Solar System. Arching across the top is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. Many famous stars and nebulas are also...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Virgo Cluster Galaxies

    10/10/2020 5:40:18 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 13 replies ^ | 10 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Fernando Pena
    Explanation: Galaxies of the Virgo Cluster are scattered across this deep telescopic field of view. The cosmic scene spans about three Full Moons, captured in dark skies near Jalisco, Mexico, planet Earth. About 50 million light-years distant, the Virgo Cluster is the closest large galaxy cluster to our own local galaxy group. Prominent here are Virgo's bright elliptical galaxies from the Messier catalog, M87 at the top left, and M84 and M86 seen (bottom to top) below and right of center. M84 and M86 are recognized as part of Markarian's Chain, a visually striking line-up of galaxies vertically on the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Very Large Array at Moonset

    10/09/2020 4:01:22 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 16 replies ^ | 9 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit: Jeff Hellermann, NRAO / AUI / NSF
    Explanation: An inspirational sight, these giant dish antennas of the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) rise above the New Mexico desert at moonset. Mounted on piers but transportable on railroad tracks to change the VLA’s configuration, its 27 operating antennas are each house-sized (25 meters across) and can be organized into an array spanning the size of a city (35 kilometers). A prolific radio astronomy workhorse, the VLA has been used to discover water on planet Mercury, radio-bright coronae around stars, micro-quasars in our Galaxy, gravitationally-induced Einstein rings around distant galaxies, and radio counterparts to cosmologically distant gamma-ray...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Mare Frigoris

    10/08/2020 3:33:03 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 20 replies ^ | 8 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Matt Smith
    Explanation: Lighter than typically dark, smooth, mare the Mare Frigoris lies in the far lunar north. Also known as the Sea of Cold, it stretches across the familiar lunar nearside in this close up of the waxing gibbous Moon's north polar region. Dark-floored, 95 kilometer wide crater Plato is just left of the center. Sunlit peaks of the lunar Alps (Montes Alpes) are highlighted below and right of Plato, between the more southern Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) and Mare Frigoris. The prominent straight feature cutting through the mountains is the lunar Alpine Valley (Vallis Alpes). Joining the Mare Imbrium...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Ou4: A Giant Squid in a Flying Bat

    10/07/2020 3:38:48 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 17 replies ^ | 7 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Yannick Akar
    Explanation: A very faint but very large squid-like nebula is visible in planet Earth's sky -- but inside a still larger bat. The Giant Squid Nebula cataloged as Ou4, and Sh2-129 also known as the Flying Bat Nebula, are both caught in this cosmic scene toward the royal royal constellation Cepheus. Composed with 55 hours of narrowband image data, the telescopic field of view is 3 degrees or 6 Full Moons across. Discovered in 2011 by French astro-imager Nicolas Outters, the Squid Nebula's alluring bipolar shape is distinguished here by the telltale blue-green emission from doubly ionized oxygen atoms. Though...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Mars Approach 2020

    10/06/2020 4:19:16 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 26 replies ^ | 6 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit: Jonathan T. Grayson
    Explanation: Look to the east just after sunset tonight and you'll see a most impressive Mars. Tonight, Mars will appear its biggest and brightest of the year, as Earth passes closer to the red planet than it has in over two years -- and will be again for another two years. In a week, Mars will be almost as bright -- but at opposition, meaning that it will be directly opposite the Sun. Due to the slightly oval shape of the orbits of Mars and Earth, closest approach and opposition occur on slightly different days. The featured image sequence shows...
  • This Week, Mars Is The Closest to Earth It'll Be For Another 15 Years

    10/06/2020 7:57:37 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 40 replies ^ | 5 OCTOBER 2020 | JACINTA BOWLER
    JACINTA BOWLER 5 OCTOBER 2020 Mars, our second closest cosmic cousin, has been in our collective imagination for decades. Between fantasies of martian visits and the promise of water under its icy surface, Mars doesn't need to do much to be in our collective good books. But very soon, Mars is not just going to be close to our hearts, but also nearest to our actual planet - a mere 62.1 million kilometres (38.6 million miles) away from Earth. This is the closest it'll be for the next 15 years. And it means that stargazing is highly recommended as Mars...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - NGC 5643: Nearby Spiral Galaxy from Hubble

    10/05/2020 4:01:29 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 30 replies ^ | 5 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Riess et al.; Acknowledgement: Mahdi Zamani
    Explanation: What's happening at the center of spiral galaxy NGC 5643? A swirling disk of stars and gas, NGC 5643's appearance is dominated by blue spiral arms and brown dust, as shown in the featured image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The core of this active galaxy glows brightly in radio waves and X-rays where twin jets have been found. An unusual central glow makes NGC 5643 one of the closest examples of the Seyfert class of galaxies, where vast amounts of glowing gas are thought to be falling into a central massive black hole. NGC 5643, is a...