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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Astronomers Capture Photo of ‘Space Butterfly’ From Thousands of Light Years Away

    08/11/2020 11:31:33 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 17 replies ^ | August 11, 2020 Updated: August 11, 2020 | Staff
    (Courtesy of ESO) ===================================================================================== Thousands of light years away, there’s a “space butterfly” colored with brilliant blues and clouds of purple and red. It’s an image we’ve never seen in this much detail before. So named for its resemblance to the winged insect, the “butterfly” is actually a planetary nebula—a giant cloud of gas that forms around an ancient star that hasn’t yet exploded. The European Space Observatory’s (ESO) aptly named Very Large Telescope, stationed in host country Chile, recently captured a vibrant image of the interstellar object. This image of the planetary nebula NGC 2899 is the most detailed...
  • Mars-sized 'Light-bridge' on Surface of Sun Appears to Signal Break-up of Vast Sunspot

    08/10/2020 8:57:01 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 23 replies
    Newsweek ^ | 8/10/20 | Aristos Georgiou
    Amateur astronomer and Florida resident Howard Eskildsen snapped an image of the "light bridge"—which has a length that's roughly equal to the diameter of Mars—in a recently formed sunspot dubbed AR2770, reported. These phenomena are caused by strong magnetic field concentrations, which inhibit convection—the transfer of heat from one place to another within gases and liquids. This process heats the solar surface. Hot "bubbles" of plasma—charged particles that are one of the four fundamental states of matter—are transported from deeper, hotter layers to the surface, whereas cooler plasma is transported back to the interior... According to Felipe, light bridges...
  • Perseid Meteor Shower Reaches Peak Starting Tonight

    08/10/2020 6:59:11 PM PDT · by metmom · 29 replies ^ | Aug 10, 2020 | Courtney Sexton
    very August stargazers in the Northern hemisphere eagerly await the Perseid meteor shower. The annual celestial light show is caused by cosmic dust and debris left in Earth’s orbital path by Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. The comet last entered our solar system in 1992, and won’t be back until 2126, but we still get treated to its glowing remnants of its tail every year. More than 4.5 billion years ago, comets formed out of the same gas and dust that created Earth and the other planets in our solar system. But unlike planets that orbit the sun on more circular orbits, comets...
  • NASA to Reexamine Nicknames for Cosmic Objects

    08/08/2020 10:05:38 AM PDT · by River Hawk · 69 replies
    NASA website ^ | Aug. 5, 2020 | Tricia Talbert
    Distant cosmic objects such as planets, galaxies, and nebulae are sometimes referred to by the scientific community with unofficial nicknames. As the scientific community works to identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality in all aspects of the field, it has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful. NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As an initial step, NASA will no longer refer to planetary nebula NGC 2392, the glowing remains of a Sun-like star that is...
  • Planet Ceres is an 'ocean world' with sea water beneath surface, mission finds

    08/10/2020 4:46:24 PM PDT · by NRx · 60 replies
    The Guardian ^ | 08-10-2020 | AFP
    The dwarf planet Ceres – long believed to be a barren space rock – is an ocean world with reservoirs of sea water beneath its surface, the results of a major exploration mission showed on Monday. Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and has its own gravity, enabling the Nasa Dawn spacecraft to capture high-resolution images of its surface. Now a team of scientists from the United States and Europe have analysed images relayed from the orbiter, captured about 35km (22 miles) from the asteroid. They focused on the 20-million-year-old Occator crater and...
  • Beyond the Fermi Paradox V: What is the Aestivation Hypothesis?

    08/08/2020 2:27:32 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 49 replies
    Universe Today ^ | Matt Williams
    In 1950, Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi sat down to lunch with some of his colleagues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he had worked five years prior as part of the Manhattan Project. According to various accounts, the conversation turned to aliens and the recent spate of UFOs. Into this, Fermi issued a statement that would go down in the annals of history: “Where is everybody?“ This became the basis of the Fermi Paradox, which refers to the high probability estimates for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) and the apparent lack of evidence. But despite seventy years of...
  • Massive sunspot is turning towards Earth this can result in major solar flares that can effect electrical systems

    08/07/2020 7:10:31 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 73 replies
    First Post ^ | 08/07/2020
    A massive sunspot on the Sun is turning towards our planet and this could result in strong solar flares. The sunspot AR2770 was detected earlier this week and is expected to grow in size in the upcoming days. A report by - a space weather forecasting website - said that multiple minor flares have been emitted by the sunspot already as it faced towards the earth. These flares have caused "minor waves of ionization to ripple through Earth's upper atmosphere" but nothing major yet. A clear picture of the AR2770 has also surfaced that gives a better idea into...
  • Mysterious 'fast radio burst' detected closer to Earth than ever before

    08/07/2020 7:21:56 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 27 replies ^ | 08-07-2020 | By Brandon Specktor - Senior Writer
    Most FRBs originate hundreds of millions of light-years away. This one came from inside the Milky Way. Thirty thousand years ago, a dead star on the other side of the Milky Way belched out a powerful mixture of radio and X-ray energy. On April 28, 2020, that belch swept over Earth, triggering alarms at observatories around the world. The signal was there and gone in half a second, but that's all scientists needed to confirm they had detected something remarkable: the first ever "fast radio burst" (FRB) to emanate from a known star within the Milky Way, according to a...
  • It's a Great Day to be Alive

    08/04/2020 2:48:32 PM PDT · by Shark24 · 5 replies
    Nasa Johnson ^ | Aug 4, 2020 | Chris Cassidy
    From 250 miles above the Earth, Expedition 63 is very much aware of the hard times which exist in the neighborhoods of the world rotating below. Even amid the uncertainty and difficulties of battling through these challenging times, we encourage everyone to be the best “crewmates” & take care of each other. Cherish the people you love. -Commander Chris Cassidy
  • Asteroid Passed 'Extremely Close' To Earth Without Smacking Any Satellites [Hello And Goodbye, Asteroid 2020 OY4]

    08/02/2020 6:26:14 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 42 replies
    YouTube ^ | recently | AstroBytes
    An asteroid named 2020 OY4, made its closest approach to our planet on July 28, when it was discovered just 26,000 miles away from Earth. It flew by earth at the range that rivals the orbits of some high-flying satellites. This is extremely close in astronomical terms, and just 11 percent of the average distance between the Earth and the moon. In fact, the data from NASA that tracks near-Earth objects suggests that the close approach of this asteroid was the closest that any asteroid will come to our planet for the next year. However, if you measure by the...
  • Apollo 11 Moon Landing & Communion on the Moon

    08/02/2020 2:40:41 PM PDT · by Perseverando · 25 replies
    American Minute ^ | July 20, 2020 | Bill Federer
    "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind," stated Astronaut Neil Armstrong, JULY 20, 1969, as he became the f irst man to walk on the moon, almost 238,900 miles away from the Earth. The second man on the moon was Colonel Buzz Aldrin, who described it as "magnificent desolation." Aldrin earned a Ph.D. from M.I.T. and helped develop the technology necessary for the mission, especially the complicated lunar module rendezvous with the command module. Buzz Aldrin's popularity was the inspiration for the character "Buzz Lightyear" in Pixar's animated movie Toy Story (1995). Buzz Aldrin shared a...
  • Enigmatic Rupture in Earth’s Magnetic Field Caused New Type of Aurora, NASA Scientist Reveals

    12/29/2019 8:11:48 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    Sputnik ^ | 12/26/2019
    What prompted this “massive, but localised compression”, which looked like something punched the magnetic field, is unclear. The edge of the bubble rushed towards the Earth by about 25,000 kilometres, taking just 1 minute and 45 seconds. The researchers suggested that there might have been an unprecedented storm in the area where the solar particles sneak through our protective bubble, the magnetosphere. What caused the storm is not known. "This motion is something that we've never seen before. This eastward and then westward and then spiralling motion is not something that we've ever seen, not something we currently understand", Briggs...
  • Alaskan seismometers record the northern lights

    07/29/2020 7:04:47 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 18 replies ^ | 07/29/2020 | Seismological Society of America
    By comparing data collected by all-sky cameras, magnetometers, and seismometers during three aurora events in 2019, University of Alaska Fairbanks seismologist Carl Tape and colleagues show that it's possible to match the striking display of lights with seismic signals, to observe the same phenomenon in different ways. Researchers have known for a while that seismometers are sensitive to magnetic fluctuations—and have worked hard to find ways to shield their instruments against magnetic influence or to remove these unwanted signals from their seismic data. But the aurora study offers an example of how seismometers could be paired with other instruments to...
  • Indian schoolgirls discover asteroid moving toward Earth

    07/30/2020 3:20:38 PM PDT · by voicereason · 32 replies
    CNN ^ | 07/28/2020 | Swati Gupta and Amy Woodyatt
    Two Indian schoolgirls have discovered an asteroid which is slowly shifting its orbit and moving toward Earth. Radhika Lakhani and Vaidehi Vekariya, both studying in 10th grade, were working on a school project when they discovered the asteroid, which they named HLV2514. The girls, from the city of Surat in the western Indian state of Gujarat, were participating in a Space India and NASA project, which allows students to analyze images taken by a telescope positioned at the University of Hawaii. Aakash Dwivedi, senior educator and astronomer at Space India, told CNN that students across India were taught how to...
  • Astronomers pinpoint the best place on Earth for a telescope: High on a frigid Antarctic plateau

    07/30/2020 7:46:18 AM PDT · by zeestephen · 39 replies ^ | 29 July 2020 | University of British Columbia
    Dome A, the highest ice dome on the Antarctic Plateau, could offer the clearest view on Earth of the stars at night, according to new research..."The combination of high altitude, low temperature, long periods of continuous darkness, and an exceptionally stable atmosphere, makes Dome A a very attractive location for optical and infrared astronomy."
  • “Snowball Earths” May Have Been Triggered by a Plunge in Incoming Sunlight – “Be Wary of Speed”

    07/29/2020 11:08:46 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 42 replies ^ | By Jennifer Chu, July 29, 2020
    Findings also suggest exoplanets lying within habitable zones may be susceptible to ice ages. ============================================================================= At least twice in Earth’s history, nearly the entire planet was encased in a sheet of snow and ice. These dramatic “Snowball Earth” events occurred in quick succession, somewhere around 700 million years ago, and evidence suggests that the consecutive global ice ages set the stage for the subsequent explosion of complex, multicellular life on Earth. Scientists have considered multiple scenarios for what may have tipped the planet into each ice age. While no single driving process has been identified, it’s assumed that whatever triggered...
  • NGC 6188: The Dragons of Ara (astronomy Picture of the Day)

    07/28/2020 7:09:36 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 12 replies
    APOD.NASA ^ | 28 Jun, 2020 | Ariel L. Cappelletti / NASA
    Explanation: Dark shapes with bright edges winging their way through dusty NGC 6188 are tens of light-years long. The emission nebula is found near the edge of an otherwise dark and large molecular cloud in the southern constellation Ara, about 4,000 light-years away. Born in that region only a few million years ago, the massive young stars of the embedded Ara OB1 association sculpt the fantastic shapes and power the nebular glow with stellar winds and intense ultraviolet radiation. The recent star formation itself was likely triggered by winds and supernova explosions, from previous generations of massive stars, that swept...
  • Miniature moon tech wins big with NASA challenge

    07/27/2020 4:16:24 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 2 replies ^ | 26 July 2020 | Chelsea Gohd
    The public challenge called for people to design instruments that could one day be tiny payloads for future missions to the moon. And on July 14, JPL announced the miniature winners. This challenge was inspired by a need to reduce the amount of payload weight for future missions, as big, heavy payloads require a lot of fuel (and, therefore, money) to get from Earth to the moon. By developing tiny payloads, researchers can work using smaller (and often more mobile) platforms that would cost less to launch, making that research more accessible. The challenge called for payloads no larger than...
  • "Phobos” –Mars' Strange ‘Science-Fiction’ Moon May Hold Clues to Ancient Life

    07/26/2020 10:15:39 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 26 replies
    DailyGalaxy ^ | July 25, 2020 |
    A mysterious origin and Arthur C. Clarke-level science-fiction speculation about the 17-mile-wide, deeply-grooved moon as an alien artifact captured in the ancient past by Mars gravitational field, may explain Russia’s almost mystical obsession with Phobos. First the Soviet Union, then more recently, Russia, made three attempts to reach the enigmatic object, but software errors and launch disasters have aborted each attempt. In 2016 the BBC reported that a mysterious monolith object was spotted several years ago by a NASA probe, and to this day nobody is quite sure what it is or how it got there. Japan is on deck,...
  • Likely active volcanoes found on Venus, defying theory of dormant planet

    07/26/2020 6:33:28 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 32 replies
    The Guardian ^ | Monday, July 20, 2020 | Agence France-Presse
    Scientists have identified 37 volcanic structures on Venus that appear to have been recently active - and probably still are today - painting the picture of a geologically dynamic planet and not a dormant world as long thought. The research focused on ring-like structures called coronae, caused by an upwelling of hot rock from deep within the planet's interior, and provided compelling evidence of widespread recent tectonic and magma activity on Venus's surface, researchers have said. Many scientists had long thought that Venus, lacking the plate tectonics that gradually reshape Earth's surface, was essentially dormant geologically, having been so for...