Free Republic 3rd Quarter Fundraising Target: $85,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $25,498
29%  
Woo hoo!! And the first 29% is in!! Thank you all very much!!

Keyword: science

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Zodiacal Light Panorama

    04/05/2012 8:07:48 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | April 05, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Sweeping from the eastern to western horizon, this 360 degree panorama follows the band of zodiacal light along the solar system's ecliptic plane. Dust scattering sunlight produces the faint zodiacal glow that spans this fundamental coordinate plane of the celestial sphere, corresponding to the apparent yearly path of the Sun through the sky and the plane of Earth's orbit. The fascinating panorama is a mosaic of images taken from dusk to dawn over the course of a single night at two different locations on Mauna Kea. The lights of Hilo, Hawaii are on the eastern (left) horizon, with the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Centaurus A

    04/05/2012 8:07:45 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | April 04, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's the closest active galaxy to planet Earth? That would be Centaurus A, only 11 million light-years distant. Spanning over 60,000 light-years, the peculiar elliptical galaxy is also known as NGC 5128. Forged in a collision of two otherwise normal galaxies, Centaurus A's fantastic jumble of young blue star clusters, pinkish star forming regions, and imposing dark dust lanes are seen here in remarkable detail. The colorful galaxy portrait was recorded under clear Chilean skies at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Near the galaxy's center, left over cosmic debris is steadily being consumed by a central black hole with...
  • Warm and fuzzy T. rex? New evidence surprises

    04/04/2012 12:03:18 PM PDT · by SatinDoll · 37 replies
    Xfinity ^ | 04/04/2012 | Alicia Chang
    LOS ANGELES — The discovery of a giant meat-eating dinosaur sporting a downy coat has some scientists reimagining the look of Tyrannosaurus rex. With a killer jaw and sharp claws, T. rex has long been depicted in movies and popular culture as having scaly skin. But the discovery of an earlier relative suggests the king of dinosaurs may have had a softer side. The evidence comes from the unearthing of a new tyrannosaur species in northeastern China that lived 60 million years before T. rex. The fossil record preserved remains of fluffy down, making it the largest feathered dinosaur ever...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M46 & M47: Star Clusters Young and Old

    04/03/2012 8:15:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | April 03, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Many stars form in clusters. Galactic or open star clusters are relatively young swarms of bright stars born together near the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Separated by about a degree on the sky, two nice examples are M46 (upper left) 5,400 light-years in the distance and M47 (lower right) only 1,600 light-years away toward the nautical constellation Puppis. Around 300 million years young M46 contains a few hundred stars in a region about 30 light-years across. Aged 80 million years, M47 is a smaller but looser cluster of about 50 stars spanning 10 light-years. But this portrait...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Tungurahua Erupts

    04/01/2012 9:39:26 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | April 02, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Volcano Tungurahua sometimes erupts spectacularly. Pictured above, molten rock so hot it glows visibly pours down the sides of the 5,000-meter high Tungurahua, while a cloud of dark ash is seen being ejected toward the left. Wispy white clouds flow around the lava-lit peak, while a star-lit sky shines in the distance. The above image was captured in 2006 as ash fell around the adventurous photographer. Located in Ecuador, Tungurahua has become active roughly every 90 years since for the last 1,300 years.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Dad Quiets Omicron Ceti

    03/31/2012 10:43:18 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | April 01, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Omicron Cetians have been silenced. After alien-like monsters were reported to disturb his daughter's sleep for four nights in a row, this father took action. When last questioned, the daughter seemed to indicate that the hullabaloo might have come from a planetary system possibly sounding like "Omicron Ceti". Getting to the root of the problem, the dad then took his daughter outside and used a powerful laser to blast the alien's home world. Humorously, the parent star Omicron Ceti now shows itself to be unstable and is dramatically increasing its brightness. Happy April Fool's Day from the folks...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Paris by Night

    03/31/2012 3:55:10 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | March 31, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Do you recognize the city lights of Paris in this picture? Taken on March 25 from the top of the 210 meter tall Montparnasse skyscraper, many will spot the looming Eiffel Tower, or the large domed structure of Les Invalides (right), or the colorfully lit elevated Metro train line gently curving toward picture center. You can even pick out the Arc de Triomphe close to the horizon on the right. But regardless of your location, the celestial lights near the western horizon should look very familiar. The lovely triple conjuntion of brilliant Venus (top), Jupiter, and a young crescent...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Grand Canyon in Moonlight

    03/31/2012 3:55:09 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | March 30, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In this alluring night skyscape recorded on March 26, a young Moon stands over the distant western horizon in conjunction with brilliant planet Venus. In the foreground, the Colorado River glistens in moonlight as it winds through the Grand Canyon, seen from the canyon's southern rim at Lipan Point. Of course, the Grand Canyon is known as one of the wonders of planet Earth. Carved by the river, the enormous fissure is about 270 miles (440 kilometers) long, up to 18 miles (30 kilometers) wide and approaches 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) deep. On this date, wonders of the night...
  • (FReep Poll) Which Science Fictional Scenario Is Most Likely to Happen in Your Lifetime?

    03/30/2012 7:45:41 PM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 70 replies
    IO9 ^ | Mar 28, 2012 | By Charlie Jane Anders
    Which Science Fictional Scenario Is Most Likely to Happen in Your Lifetime? Science fiction is full of fantastic and horrifying scenarios, many of which seem like they could come true any time. But which of them is really going to materialize — and which is most likely to happen in your lifetime? Vote in our poll for the science fictional scenario that you're most likely to live to witness for yourself: Which Science Fictional Scenario Is Most Likely to Happen in Your Lifetime? Global Pandemic Moonbase World War III/Nuclear Apocalypse Suspended Animation The Singularity Something Else (See Comments) Martian Colony...
  • German astronomers have discovered an ancient planetary system dating from 13 billion years ago

    03/30/2012 6:30:02 PM PDT · by U-238 · 37 replies
    Balkans.com ^ | 3/30/2012 | Balkans.com
    German astronomers have discovered an ancient planetary system thought to be a survivor of one of the earliest cosmic eras, from 13 billion years ago. The system consists of the star HIP 11952 and two planets. Such an old system will help shed light on planet formation in the early Universe, which occurred under conditions quite different from those of later planetary systems such as our own. Accepted planetary theory states that, generally speaking, a star that contains more 'metals', (i.e. chemical elements other than hydrogen and helium) is more likely to have planets; it is also widely accepted that...
  • Conservatives have lost faith in science, study shows (No bias here...)

    03/30/2012 8:57:04 AM PDT · by Qbert · 33 replies
    LA Times via Heraldnet.com ^ | 3/29/2012 | LA Times
    As the Republican presidential race has shown, the conservatives who dominate the primaries are deeply skeptical of science -- making Newt Gingrich, for one, regret he ever settled onto a couch with Nancy Pelosi to chat about global warming. A study released Thursday in the American Sociological Review concludes that trust in science among conservatives and frequent churchgoers has declined precipitously since 1974, when a national survey first asked people how much confidence they had in the scientific community. At that time, conservatives had the highest level of trust in scientists. Confidence in scientists has declined the most among the...
  • 2 Studies Point to Common Pesticide as a Culprit in Declining Bee Colonies

    03/29/2012 6:37:51 PM PDT · by neverdem · 38 replies
    NY Times ^ | March 29, 2012 | CARL ZIMMER
    Scientists have been alarmed and puzzled by declines in bee populations in the United States and other parts of the world. They have suspected that pesticides are playing a part, but to date their experiments have yielded conflicting, ambiguous results. In Thursday’s issue of the journal Science, two teams of researchers published studies suggesting that low levels of a common pesticide can have significant effects on bee colonies. One experiment, conducted by French researchers, indicates that the chemicals fog honeybee brains, making it harder for them to find their way home. The other study, by scientists in Britain, suggests that...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Rocket Trails in the Milky Way

    03/28/2012 9:12:55 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | March 29, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On March 27, five sounding rockets leapt into early morning skies from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Part of the Anomalous Transport Rocket EXperiment (ATREX), begining at 4:58 am EDT the rockets launched consecutively at 80 second intervals. Releasing a chemical tracer they created luminous white clouds within Earth's ionosphere at altitudes above 60 to 65 miles, swept along by the poorly understood high-altitude jet stream. (Not the same jet stream that airliners fly through at altitudes of 5 to 6 miles.) Seen along the mid-atlantic region of the United States, the clouds drifted through starry skies, captured...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Earthshine and Venus Over Sierra de Guadarrama

    03/28/2012 8:16:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 28, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What just above that ridge? The Moon. Specifically, the Earth's Moon was caught just above the horizon in a young crescent phase. The familiar Moon might look a bit odd as the exposure shows significant Earthshine -- the illumination of the part of the Moon hidden from direct sunlight by the sun-reflecting Earth. Also captured in the image is the bright planet Venus on the right. Venus and Jupiter passed only three degrees from each other last week during a photogenic planetary conjunction. The above image was taken two days ago near Madrid, Spain. The foreground horizon silhouette includes...
  • Recovering three-dimensional shape around a corner using ultrafast time-of-flight imaging

    03/20/2012 2:48:27 PM PDT · by Stoat · 4 replies · 2+ views
    Nature ^ | March 20, 2012 | Andreas Velten, et al
    The recovery of objects obscured by scattering is an important goal in imaging and has been approached by exploiting, for example, coherence properties, ballistic photons or penetrating wavelengths. Common methods use scattered light transmitted through an occluding material, although these fail if the occluder is opaque. Light is scattered not only by transmission through objects, but also by multiple reflection from diffuse surfaces in a scene. This reflected light contains information about the scene that becomes mixed by the diffuse reflections before reaching the image sensor. This mixing is difficult to decode using traditional cameras. Here we report the combination...
  • Elusive long-fingered frog found after 62 years

    03/27/2012 12:18:39 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies
    www.physorg.com ^ | 03-27-2012 | Provided by California Academy of Sciences
    Herpetologists from the California Academy of Sciences and University of Texas at El Paso discovered a single specimen of the Bururi long-fingered frog (Cardioglossa cyaneospila) during a research expedition to Burundi in December 2011. The frog was last seen by scientists in 1949 and was feared to be extinct after decades of turmoil in the tiny East African nation. For biologists studying the evolution and distribution of life in Africa, Burundi sits at an intriguing geographic crossroads since it borders the vast Congo River Basin, the Great Rift Valley, and the world's second largest freshwater lake, Lake Tanganyika. Many of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Unusual Hollows Discovered on Planet Mercury

    03/27/2012 4:33:25 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | March 27, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What are those unusual features on planet Mercury? The slightly bluish tinge of features dubbed hollows has been exaggerated on the above image by the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft currently orbiting Mercury. The rounded depressions appear different than impact craters and nothing like them has been noted on Earth's Moon or anywhere else in the Solar System. The above image is a section of the floor of Raditladi impact basin about 40 kilometers wide that includes the mountains of the central peak. One progenitor hypothesis is that the hollows formed from the sublimation of material exposed and heated during the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M82: Galaxy with a Supergalactic Wind

    03/26/2012 6:10:48 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies · 17+ views
    NASA ^ | March 26, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's lighting up the Cigar Galaxy? M82, as this irregular galaxy is also known, was stirred up by a recent pass near large spiral galaxy M81. This doesn't fully explain the source of the red-glowing outwardly expanding gas, however. Recent evidence indicates that this gas is being driven out by the combined emerging particle winds of many stars, together creating a galactic superwind.. The above photographic mosaic highlights a specific color of red light strongly emitted by ionized hydrogen gas, showing detailed filaments of this gas. The filaments extend for over 10,000 light years. The 12-million light-year distant Cigar...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300

    03/25/2012 11:05:15 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies · 1+ views
    NASA ^ | March 25, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Big, beautiful, barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300 lies some 70 million light-years away on the banks of the constellation Eridanus. This Hubble Space Telescope composite view of the gorgeous island universe is one of the largest Hubble images ever made of a complete galaxy. NGC 1300 spans over 100,000 light-years and the Hubble image reveals striking details of the galaxy's dominant central bar and majestic spiral arms. In fact, on close inspection the nucleus of this classic barred spiral itself shows a remarkable region of spiral structure about 3,000 light-years across. Unlike other spiral galaxies, including our own Milky...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms

    03/23/2012 9:38:06 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies · 1+ views
    NASA ^ | March 24, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Also known as the Moon's ashen glow, Earthshine is Earthlight illuminating the Moon's night side. Taken on Nowruz, the March 20 equinox, from Esfahan, Iran, planet Earth, this telescopic image captures strong Earthshine from an old Moon. The darker earthlit disk is in the arms of a bright sunlit crescent. But the view from the Moon would have been enchanting too. When the Moon appears in Earth's sky as a slender crescent, a dazzlingly bright, nearly full Earth would be seen from the lunar surface. The Earth's brightness due to reflected sunlight is known to be strongly influenced by...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Messier 9 Close-up

    03/23/2012 9:37:58 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies · 2+ views
    NASA ^ | March 23, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Renown 18th century astronomer Charles Messier described this 9th entry in his famous astronomical catalog as "Nebula, without star, in the right leg of Ophiuchus ...". But Messier 9 (M9) does have stars, known to modern astronomers as a globular cluster of over 300,000 stars within a diameter of about 90 light-years. It lies some 25,000 light-years distant, near the central bulge of our Milky Way galaxy. This Hubble Space Telescope close-up resolves the dense swarm of stars across the cluster's central 25 light-years. At least twice the age of the Sun and deficient in heavy elements, the cluster...
  • How Many Unbound Planets in Milky Way?

    03/23/2012 8:43:25 PM PDT · by U-238 · 21 replies · 4+ views
    Sky and Telescopeha ^ | 2/29/2012 | Monica Young
    Life as we know it exists on a cozy planet in a stable orbit around a sun shining brightly in its sky. But a new study hints that the most common life in the universe might exist deep inside eternal-night worlds far from any star, adrift in the icy dark of interstellar space. Researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University estimate that "nomad" planets, ejected from their home stellar system and now free-floating through the Milky Way, could outnumber stars by as many as 100,000 to 1. Earlier estimates were more like a...
  • How Big is the Sun, Really?

    03/23/2012 1:29:41 AM PDT · by U-238 · 28 replies · 3+ views
    Sky and Telescope ^ | 3/21/2012 | Kelly Beatty
    With all the attention that astronomers have lavished on old Sol over the centuries, you'd think that by now they'd know its diameter to, oh, 10 or 12 significant digits. During the past 40 years, astronomers have attempted to measure the Sun's sizedozens of times using various methods. The dashed line corresponds to a radius of 696,000 km, the value most often used. While the Sun's girth has indeed been measured dozens of times over the past 40 years, the results haven't converged on a single value and scatter by as much as ± 0.1%. One big reason is that,...
  • Scientists tell of 'runaway' planets

    03/22/2012 11:14:22 PM PDT · by U-238 · 27 replies · 2+ views
    UPI ^ | March 22, 2012 | UPI
    U.S. scientists studying "runaway" stars tossed out of our galaxy at great velocities say they've confirmed the same thing can happen to planets. The first runaway star was discovered seven years ago, heading out of the Milky Way at 1.5 million mph, and new research says planets must be doing the same thing -- at speeds up to 30 million mph, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reported Thursday. "These warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in our galaxy," astrophysicist Avi Loeb said. "If you lived on one of them, you'd be in for a wild ride from...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- M95 with Supernova

    03/21/2012 9:22:26 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | March 22, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Barred spiral galaxy M95 is about 75,000 light-years across, comparable in size to our own Milky Way and one of the larger galaxies of the Leo I galaxy group. In fact, it is part of a not quite so famous trio of Leo galaxies with neighbors M96 and M105, about 38 million light-years distant. In this sharp and colorful cosmic portrait, a bright, compact ring of star formation surrounds the galaxy's core. Surrounding the prominent yellowish bar are tightly wound spiral arms traced by dust lanes, young blue star clusters, and telltale pinkish star forming regions. As a bonus,...
  • Military-Funded Brain Science Sparks Controversy

    03/21/2012 1:57:55 AM PDT · by U-238 · 11 replies
    Live Science ^ | 3/21/2012 | Charles Choi
    Brain research and associated advances such as brain-machine interfaces that are funded by the U.S. military and intelligence communities raise profound ethical concerns, caution researchers who cite the potentially lethal applications of such work and other consequences. Rapid advances in neuroscience made over the last decade have many dual-use applications of both military and civilian interest. Researchers who receive military funding — with the U.S. Department of Defense spending more than $350 million on neuroscience in 2011 — may not fully realize how dangerous their work might be, say scientists in an essay published online today (March 20) in the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora Over Iceland

    03/20/2012 9:29:04 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies · 1+ views
    NASA ^ | March 21, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: If you see a sky like this -- photograph it. Three nights ago in Iceland, an adventurous photographer (pictured) chanced across a sky full of aurora and did just that. Afterwards, by stitching together five smaller photographs, the entire aurora-lit sky was recreated in this 180-degree panorama taken from Vatnajökull glacier. Auroras are sparked by energetic particles from the Sun impacting the magnetic environment around the Earth. Resultant energetic particles such as electrons and protons rain down near the Earth's poles and impact the air. The impacted air molecules obtain excited electrons, and when electrons in oxygen molecules fall...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Evolution of the Moon [ video ]

    03/20/2012 8:25:49 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | March 20, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What is the history of the Moon? The Moon was likely created from debris expelled when a Mars-sized object violently impacted the Earth about 4.5 billion years ago. Just after gravitationally condensing, as imagined above, the glowing-hot surface of the Moon cooled and cracked. Rocks large and small continued to impact the surface, including a particularly large impact that created Aitken Basin about 4.3 billion years ago. A Heavy Bombardment period then continued for hundreds of millions of years, creating large basins all over the lunar surface. Over the next few billion years lava flowed into Earth-side basins, eventually...
  • Message Encoded in Neutrino Beam Transmitted through Solid Rock

    03/18/2012 11:29:14 PM PDT · by U-238 · 18 replies · 1+ views
    Scientific American ^ | 3/16/2012 | John Matson
    Neutrinos are having a moment. They’re speeding across Europe (just how fast is under review), they’re changing flavors in China and, now, they’re carrying rudimentary messages through bedrock in Illinois. A team of physicists encoded a short string of letters on a beam of neutrinos at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., and sent the message to a detector more than a kilometer away. On the journey the neutrinos passed through 240 meters of solid rock, mostly shale. What was the word they transmitted in the preliminary demonstration? “Neutrino.” The experiment is described in a paper posted to the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunspot Group 1429 and the Distant Sun

    03/18/2012 9:46:14 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies · 1+ views
    NASA ^ | March 19, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's that on the Sun? Over the past two weeks, one of the most energetic sunspot regions of recent years crossed the face of the Sun. Active Region 1429, visible above as the group of dark spots on the Sun's upper right, blasted out several solar flares and coronal mass ejections since coming around the edge of the Sun almost a month ago. Fast moving particles from these solar explosions have impacted the Earth and been responsible for many colorful auroras seen over the past two weeks. The picturesque foreground features trees and birds near Merida, Spain, where the...
  • Vanity: Genesis As Science, Chapter 1

    03/18/2012 6:38:49 PM PDT · by EnglishCon · 146 replies
    03/18/2012 | EnglishCon
    A few people asked me to write this, after a couple of comments I made on another thread. The first few chapters of Genesis are, with minimal mental gymnastics, a clear and accurate statement of science, as we understand it today. I am not talking from any particular creed here. Though a Catholic, (and without any authority!), I am from a background of a devout Protestant and much less devout Jewish culture who is, like many people, simply looking for answers. My training was as a Biochemist, at a time when we were first starting to map the genome. So,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Jupiter and Venus from Earth

    03/17/2012 10:20:23 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies · 1+ views
    NASA ^ | March 18, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It was visible around the world. The sunset conjunction of Jupiter and Venus was visible last week almost no matter where you lived on Earth. Anyone on the planet with a clear western horizon at sunset could see them. This week the two are still notable, even though Jupiter has sunk below the brighter Venus. And if you look higher in the sky you can see Mars as well. Pictured above, a creative photographer traveled away from the town lights of Szubin, Poland to image a near closest approach of the two planets almost a week ago. The bright...
  • Lasers can 'unprint' documents

    03/17/2012 3:48:22 PM PDT · by U-238 · 52 replies · 2+ views
    British researchers say they've developed a laser process that can "uncopy" toner ink from paper as an alternative to traditional recycling. Scientists at the University of Cambridge say the process involves short laser pulses to erase words and images by heating the printed material to the point that it vaporizes. The technique works with commonly used papers and toner inks and is more eco-friendly than recycling, they said. "When you fire the laser, it hits the thin toner layer and heats it up until the point that you vaporize it," researcher David Leal-Ayala told the BBC. "Toner is mostly composed...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2683: Edge-On Spiral Galaxy

    03/17/2012 7:38:55 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies · 1+ views
    NASA ^ | March 17, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This elegant island universe is cataloged as NGC 2683. It lies a mere 16 million light-years distant toward the northern constellation Lynx. A spiral galaxy comparable to our own Milky Way, NGC 2683 is seen nearly edge-on in the cosmic vista. Blended light from a large population of old, yellowish stars forms the remarkably bright galactic core. Their starlight silhouettes the dust lanes along winding spiral arms, dotted with NGC 2683's young blue star clusters. The sharp image was recorded through the lens of a refracting telescope that shows brighter foreground Milky Way stars as colorful and round, lacking...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Bright Planets at McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope

    03/16/2012 12:18:41 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | March 16, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Bright planets Venus and Jupiter are framed by the National Solar Observatory's McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope in this very astronomical scene. The photo was taken at Kitt Peak National Observatory on March 9. A heliostat sits atop the 100 foot high solar telescope tower to focus the Sun's rays down a long diagonal shaft that reaches underground to the telescope's primary mirror. Of course, after sunset shadows were cast and the structure illuminated by light from the nearly full rising Moon. Opened to begin the night's work, the dome housing Kitt Peak's 2.1 meter reflector is included in the frame,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Solar Flare in the Gamma-ray Sky

    03/14/2012 9:20:06 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | March 15, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What shines in the gamma-ray sky? The answer is usually the most exotic and energetic of astrophysical environments, like active galaxies powered by supermassive black holes, or incredibly dense pulsars, the spinning remnants of exploded stars. But on March 7, a powerful solar flare, one of a series of recent solar eruptions, dominated the gamma-ray sky at energies up to 1 billion times the energy of visible light photons. These two panels illustrate the intensity of that solar flare in all-sky images recorded by the orbiting Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. On March 6, as on most days, the Sun...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Angry Sun Erupting

    03/14/2012 3:31:13 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | March 14, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It's one of the baddest sunspot regions in years. Active Region 1429 may not only look, to some, like an angry bird -- it has thrown off some of the most powerful flares and coronal mass ejections of the current solar cycle. The extended plumes from these explosions have even rained particles on the Earth's magnetosphere that have resulted in colorful auroras. Pictured above, AR 1429 was captured in great detail in the Sun's chromosphere three days ago by isolating a color of light emitted primarily by hydrogen. The resulting image is shown in inverted false color with dark...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The M81 Galaxy Group Through the Integrated Flux Nebula

    03/13/2012 3:58:05 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | March 13, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Large galaxies and faint nebulae highlight this deep image of the M81 Group of galaxies. First and foremost in the wide-angle 12-hour exposure is the grand design spiral galaxy M81, the largest galaxy visible in the image. M81 is gravitationally interacting with M82 just below it, a big galaxy with an unusual halo of filamentary red-glowing gas. Around the image many other galaxies from the M81 Group of galaxies can be seen, as well as a lucky satellite glint streaking across the image left. Together with other galaxy congregates including our Local Group of galaxies and the Virgo Cluster...
  • The Lost Siblings of the Sun

    03/12/2012 3:32:13 PM PDT · by U-238 · 28 replies · 1+ views
    Sky and Telescope ^ | 3/10/2009 | Alan MacRobert
    Most stars are born in clusters rather than singly, and there’s plenty of evidence that the Sun was too. For one thing, the material of the infant solar system (as preserved in the earliest meteorites) was enriched by fresh supernova debris from at least one very young, massive star (having 15 to 25 solar masses) that exploded less than 5 light-years away, no more than 2 million years after the Sun's formation. Today no such massive star exists within 300 light-years of the Sun. Clearly, the early solar system had stars close around it. But that was 4.57 billion years...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Scale of the Universe -- Interactive [Flash needed]

    03/11/2012 9:51:38 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | March 12, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What does the universe look like on small scales? On large scales? Humanity is discovering that the universe is a very different place on every proportion that has been explored. For example, so far as we know, every tiny proton is exactly the same, but every huge galaxy is different. On more familiar scales, a small glass table top to a human is a vast plane of strange smoothness to a dust mite -- possibly speckled with cell boulders. Not all scale lengths are well explored -- what happens to the smallest mist droplets you sneeze, for example, is...
  • Anti-gun spin: Study claims carrying a gun in bear country doesn’t make you any safer

    03/11/2012 11:06:28 AM PDT · by Askwhy5times · 55 replies · 2+ views
    Bluegrass Pundit ^ | Sunday, March 11, 2012 | Bluegrass Pundit
    An article in the Daily Mail, and other places, cites a study by BYU biologist and bear expert Tom S. Smith that claims carrying a gun in bear country does not make you safer. Many people have wandered into bear country reassured that their trusted gun would keep them safe if they ever come face-to-face with an aggressive grizzly. But experts have shattered that myth after carrying out a study of hundreds of animal attacks.A Brigham Young University study found using a gun is no more effective at keeping people safe than not using a firearm. The study is published...
  • Hydrogen takes a new form

    03/10/2012 10:36:13 PM PST · by U-238 · 19 replies
    Science News ^ | 3/1/2012 | Alexandra Witze
    Squeezing hydrogen at extreme pressures changes it into a mix of honeycombed atoms layered with free-floating molecules — an entirely new state of the element and the first new phase found in decades. If confirmed, the discovery will be only the fourth known phase of hydrogen, the simplest element and one long probed for basic insights into the nature of matter. “I think we have pretty bulletproof evidence that there is a new phase,” says Eugene Gregoryanz of the University of Edinburgh, leader of the team that will report the work in an upcoming Physical Review Letters. Hydrogen’s first three...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared

    03/10/2012 9:39:16 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | March 11, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This floating ring is the size of a galaxy. In fact, it is part of the photogenic Sombrero Galaxy, one of the largest galaxies in the nearby Virgo Cluster of Galaxies. The dark band of dust that obscures the mid-section of the Sombrero Galaxy in optical light actually glows brightly in infrared light. The above image, digitally sharpened, shows the infrared glow, recently recorded by the orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope, superposed in false-color on an existing image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in optical light. The Sombrero Galaxy, also known as M104, spans about 50,000 light years across...
  • How Many Loose Planets in the Milky Way?

    03/10/2012 11:28:34 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 83 replies
    Sky & Telescope ^ | February 29, 2012 | Monica Young
    Researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University estimate that "nomad" planets, ejected from their home stellar system and now free-floating through the Milky Way, could outnumber stars by as many as 100,000 to 1. Earlier estimates were more like a handful to 1, though previous studies have only counted unbound planets more massive than Jupiter. To estimate the number of unbound planets as small as Pluto that could be roaming the galaxy, Louis Strigari (KIPAC), lead author of the study, began with a basic rule of nature: where a few big objects are...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Lick Observatory Moonrise

    03/10/2012 9:36:43 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    NASA ^ | March 10, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: As viewed from a well chosen location at sunset, the gorgeous Full Moon rose behind Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California on March 7. The lunar disk frames historic Lick Observatory perched on the mountain's 4,200 foot summit. Both observatory and Moon echo the warm color of sunlight (moonlight is reflected sunlight) filtered by a long path through the atmosphere. Substantial atmospheric refraction contributes the Moon's ragged, green rim. Of course, the March Full Moon is also known as the Full Worm Moon. In the telescopic photo, Lick's 40 inch Nickel Telescope dome is on the left. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 1579: Trifid of the North

    03/09/2012 4:35:28 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | March 09, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Colorful NGC 1579 resembles the better known Trifid Nebula, but lies much farther north in planet Earth's sky, in the heroic constellation Perseus. About 2,100 light-years away and 3 light-years across, NGC 1579 is, like the Trifid, a study in contrasting blue and red colors, with dark dust lanes prominent in the nebula's central regions. In both, dust reflects starlight to produce beautiful blue reflection nebulae. But unlike the Trifid, in NGC 1579 the reddish glow is not emission from clouds of glowing hydrogen gas excited by ultraviolet light from a nearby hot star. Instead, the dust in NGC...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Seagull Nebula

    03/08/2012 3:00:48 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | March 08, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A broad expanse of glowing gas and dust presents a bird-like visage to astronomers from planet Earth, suggesting its popular moniker -- The Seagull Nebula. This portrait of the cosmic bird covers a 1.6 degree wide swath across the plane of the Milky Way, near the direction of Sirius, alpha star of the constellation Canis Major. Of course, the region includes objects with other catalog designations: notably NGC 2327, a compact, dusty emission region with an embedded massive star that forms the bird's head (aka the Parrot Nebula, above center). IC 2177 forms the sweeping arc of the seagull's...
  • Vatican astronomer: Science one of the best ways to know God

    03/08/2012 2:04:14 PM PST · by NYer · 27 replies
    cna ^ | March 8, 2012 | Hillary Senour
    Brother Guy Consolmagno with meteorites Denver, Colo., Mar 8, 2012 / 04:14 am (CNA).- The astronomer for the Vatican Observatory, Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., says that his study of the universe through science has helped him better understand the person of Christ. Despite people often having the “crazy idea” that science and religion conflict, science is “really one of our best principles for getting to know God,” he told CNA. Br. Consolmagno – who also serves as the Vatican's curator of meteorites – spoke on March 3 at the Living the Catholic Faith Conference in the Archdiocese of Denver, Colo.  During...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Conjunction Over Reunion Island

    03/06/2012 9:15:48 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | March 06, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: You don't have to be on Reunion Island to see this week's planetary conjunction. Only if you want to see this picturesque seascape as well. To see the conjunction from just about anywhere in the world, look to the west after sunset. The first planet you may notice is Venus, the brightest object in the western sky. Above Venus, the second brightest object is Jupiter. The hardest planet to spot is Mercury, which is visible only briefly after sunset as a faint dot just above the horizon. Picturesque rocks leading out from Reunion Island to the Indian Ocean populate...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2170: Celestial Still Life

    03/06/2012 9:10:12 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | March 06, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Is this a painting or a photograph? In this beautiful celestial still life composed with a cosmic brush, dusty nebula NGC 2170 shines near the image center. Reflecting the light of nearby hot stars, NGC 2170 is joined by other bluish reflection nebulae, a red emission region, many dark absorption nebulae, and a backdrop of colorful stars. Like the common household items still life painters often choose for their subjects, the clouds of gas, dust, and hot stars pictured above are also commonly found in this setting -- a massive, star-forming molecular cloud in the constellation of the Unicorn...