Astronomy

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  • red giants as clocks

    Hogg's Research
    11 Apr 2014 | 8:59 pm
    Lars Bildsten (KITP) was in town and gave two talks today. In the first, he talked about super-luminous supernovae, and how they might be powered by the spin-down of the degenerate remnant, when spin-down times and diffusion times become comparable. In the second, he talked about making precise inferences about giant stars from Kepler and COROT photometry. The photometry shows normal modes and mode splittings, which are sensitive to the run of density in the giants; this in turn constrains what fraction of the star has burned to helium. There is a lot of interesting unexplained phenomenology…
  • Don't Forget, Venus Occults Lambda Aquarii Morning April 17, 2014

    Astroblog
    16 Apr 2014 | 5:09 am
    The bright star Lambda Aquarii about to exit from the dark side of Venus at 4:04 AEST as seen from Brisbane. Most other Australian locations that see the occultation will see similar views, although Venus will be closer to the horizon. The insert shows the telescopic view, click to embiggen.Don't forget that tomorrow morning at 3:59 am AEST (3:29 am ACST) Venus will occult the bright star Lambda Aquarii.This is a rare occurrence, and the sight of the Star exiting from Venus's dark side will be quite different to a Lunar occultation due to Venus's atmosphere.Brisbane has the best view, with…
  • NASA Cassini Images May Reveal Birth of a Saturn Moon

    Astronomy Cmarchesin
    14 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn's A ring in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft could be caused by an object replaying the birth process of icy moons.  Full image and captionNASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known moons.Images taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera on April 15, 2013, show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's A ring -- the outermost of the planet's large, bright rings. One of these…
  • Moon and Saturn

    StarDate Online
    damonddb
    15 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    The Moon and the planet Saturn stage quite a performance tonight. They rise in late evening, with bright golden Saturn quite close to the upper left of the Moon. They remain close as they arc low across the south during the wee hours of the morning, with Saturn moving to the right of the Moon at first light. Saturn has quite a collection of moons of its own. More than 50 have been confirmed, with several more on the list of possibilities. Some of these moons are fascinating worlds in their own right. Titan, the largest of them, has a dense, cold atmosphere made of hydrocarbons. Lakes of…
  • Aussie Scientist Finds Rare Supernova at Keck Observatory

    Astronomy Cmarchesin
    15 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    Can you spot the supernova?Credit:  Forbes/WMKOIt was a dark and stormy night in the city of Angels. Well, actually it wasn't. But more on that later...It was a clear night on the summit of Mauna Kea at Keck Observatory on the 20th March. My colleagues and I were using the Echellette Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) instrument, which looks at faint objects in the visible wavelengths, to study star clusters and small galaxies.I was actually in our special ‘remote ops’ room at Swinburne University, with my postdoc, Joachim Janz. This is a room decked out with a computer, a backup…
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    Astronomy News

  • Name the Mission

    Tom
    16 Apr 2014 | 3:33 am
    The final journey of Cassini. Image: NASA As hard as it seems, the Cassini spacecraft soon enough enter the final phase of its mission. The new and final mission will begin in 2016 and promises to be incredible. During this final phase the spacecrafts orbit will take it well above the north pole of Saturn, it will then plunge between the inner ring and the planet itself. You can get the details of the final months of Cassini  here. In the mean time the Cassini team is looking for a name to call the mission and YOU can help. You can: Pick a name from a list. or Submit a name of your own.
  • Cassini and Peggy

    Tom
    15 Apr 2014 | 5:41 am
    A small icy object named Peggy in the rings of Saturn. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute An “object”, dubbed Peggy located at the edge of the rings seen here at the bottom is being described as a “Small Icy Object”; might it be a new moon forming? Maybe, although it’s not expected to grow any larger, Peggy gives a good look at how a moon could form. It’s all new to everybody because this has never been seen before – a common theme with the Cassini mission. An epic mission for sure. Here’s the story at NASA.
  • Lunar Eclipse (Watch Live)

    Tom
    14 Apr 2014 | 9:54 am
    Great animation but a little on the large size. Patience. Image: Tomruen / Creative Commons Tomorrow morning 15 April 2014 at 07:46 UTC / 03:46 EDT the moon will be at total eclipse. This will be the first of a Tetrad, four total lunar eclipses. All of the tetrad eclipses will be visible from North America. With this particular eclipse portions of Western Europe and Africa will get to see a little bit at the start, for example the British Isles should get to see the moon enter the penumbral shadow at 04:54 UTC, just barely before the moon sets. As one travels west say viewers in France, Spain…
  • Ring around the Asteroid

    Tom
    13 Apr 2014 | 9:42 am
    Until now we thought only big things had rings, really big things like Saturn and Jupiter. Turns out rings can occur around much smaller objects, like the asteroid Chariklo. Chariklo or more formally 10199 Chariklo is a minor planet orbiting beyond Saturn, in fact its orbit is such it gets out to the orbit of Uranus. Chariklo is only about 248 to 258 km / 154 to 160 miles in diameter (plus or minus 18 km), it has not one but two ring named Oiapoque and Chuí. It is almost unbelievable the rings could be detected, especially since Charilko was found only relatively recently, in February of…
  • Supersonic Parachute

    Tom
    12 Apr 2014 | 8:29 am
    What goes into a supersonic parachute test, more than I thought. Go big (and to Mars) or go home. Video
 
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    Universe Today

  • SpaceX Leases Historic Launch Complex 39A from NASA for new Era of Commercial Space Launches

    Ken Kremer
    16 Apr 2014 | 3:06 pm
    NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, left, Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana announce that NASA just signed a lease agreement with SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., for use and operation of NASA’s KSC Launch Complex 39A. Credit: Nicole Solomon The keys to NASA’s historic launch Pad 39A that propelled humanity’s first man to walk on the Moon – Neil Armstrong – during the history making flight of Apollo 11, have been handed over to new owners, namely the private aerospace firm SpaceX for a new purpose –…
  • Um, You Can See a Car on Mars

    Nancy Atkinson
    16 Apr 2014 | 12:04 pm
    A recent image taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of the Curiosity rover in “The Kimberly” area in Gale Crater on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona First of all, I completely stole this headline from NASA engineer Bobak Ferdowski (AKA The Mohawk Guy) on Twitter. Second, this is just a great image of the Curiosity rover sitting on Mars, including views of its tracks and where it did a wheelie or two. Plus, where the rover now sits is a very intriguing region called “The Kimberly.” Curiosity will soon whip out its drill to see if it…
  • Astronauts to Reveal Sobering Data on Asteroid Impacts

    Jason Major
    16 Apr 2014 | 8:28 am
    The bolide that impacted the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk in Feb. 2013 detonated with the equivalent of 530 kilotons of TNT, injuring over 1,200 people. This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… three to ten times more, in fact. A new visualization of data from a nuclear weapons warning network, to be unveiled by B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu during the evening event at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, shows that ”the only…
  • German Impact Crater Could Have Hosted Early Life On Earth

    Elizabeth Howell
    16 Apr 2014 | 7:14 am
    Aerial view of Nördlinger Ries crater in Germany, a formation so subtle it was not even known as an impact crater until the 1960s. Credit: Credit: Jesse Allen/NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS/ASTER Could life thrive in the devastated rock left behind after a meteorite impact? A new study hints that possibly, that could be the case. Researchers discovered what they think are geological records of biological activity inside of Nördlinger Ries, a crater in Germany that is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) wide. (...)Read the rest of German Impact Crater Could Have Hosted Early Life On Earth (170…
  • Speedy Satellite Beams Pictures Of Massive Floods Only Weeks After Reaching Orbit

    Elizabeth Howell
    16 Apr 2014 | 6:34 am
    The Zambezi River in Namibia floods the Caprivi plain in this April 2014 picture captured from Sentinel-1A. The satellite was not only noted for its high resolution of the flood, but its ability to send the image quickly — it was downloaded only two hours after it was acquired. Credit: European Space Agency After dodging space debris and living to tell the tale, Sentinel-1A is now being put through its paces for its primary mission: to beam back pictures of the Earth as quickly as possible, to provide officials with the information they need during natural disasters or weather events.
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    Astroblog

  • Don't Forget, Venus Occults Lambda Aquarii Morning April 17, 2014

    16 Apr 2014 | 5:09 am
    The bright star Lambda Aquarii about to exit from the dark side of Venus at 4:04 AEST as seen from Brisbane. Most other Australian locations that see the occultation will see similar views, although Venus will be closer to the horizon. The insert shows the telescopic view, click to embiggen.Don't forget that tomorrow morning at 3:59 am AEST (3:29 am ACST) Venus will occult the bright star Lambda Aquarii.This is a rare occurrence, and the sight of the Star exiting from Venus's dark side will be quite different to a Lunar occultation due to Venus's atmosphere.Brisbane has the best view, with…
  • The Sky This Week - Thursday April 17 to Thursday April 24

    15 Apr 2014 | 7:52 am
    The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday April 22.  Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky, visible in the early evening. Mars is prominent in the late evening sky. Saturn rises higher in the evening sky, the Moon is close to Saturn on the 17th. Venus is prominent in the morning sky and occults a star on the 17th.  Mercury is lost in the twilight. The asteroids Vesta and Ceres are visible in binoculars.The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday April 22.  The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on Wednesday April 23. Evening sky on Saturday April 19 looking…
  • Images from the April 15 Twilight Lunar Eclipse

    15 Apr 2014 | 5:37 am
    I had my viewing spot all picked out for the eclipse when I got home, but unfortunately I got lost driving there. I ended up on the lookout above Mutton Bird Cove, nice stable surface on a rise with only a low line of hills between me and the rising Moon. As the Sun set I scanned just above the hills while setting up the camera and the separate telescope camera combination (4" Newtonian reflector with 20 mm Plossl lens and Canon IXUS in infinity-infinity apposition). My mate Tony and his partner turned up and set up their cameras (serious cameras). Fortunately, they bought the one thing I…
  • Final Reminder, Twilight Total Lunar Eclipse, evening April 15, 2014

    14 Apr 2014 | 7:30 am
    Eastern horizon as seen from Sydney on April 15 at 6:30 pm AEST. Totality is just ending. Click to embiggenEastern horizon as seen from Adelaide on April 15 at 6:00 pm ACST Totality is just ending. Click to embiggenA final reminder that in the early evening of 15 April there there be a total eclipse of the Moon. This eclipse occurs mostly at twilight in the eastern and central states (Western Australia misses out entirely).In both the eastern and central states the Moon rises eclipsed just as the sun sets, which will be a rather unique sight if you can find a flat, obscured horizon.  To…
  • Mangrove, a floating installation

    12 Apr 2014 | 4:50 am
    Just came back from Mangrove, a floating installation at Gallery Yampu at the old Port Adelaide Yacht Club. Had a picnic watching the fantastic structures and watching the light show. Got to eat wood fired pizza as well.Last night is tomorrow night (sunset to 10 pm ish) , why not dress warnly and go along?
 
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    Hogg's Research

  • red giants as clocks

    11 Apr 2014 | 8:59 pm
    Lars Bildsten (KITP) was in town and gave two talks today. In the first, he talked about super-luminous supernovae, and how they might be powered by the spin-down of the degenerate remnant, when spin-down times and diffusion times become comparable. In the second, he talked about making precise inferences about giant stars from Kepler and COROT photometry. The photometry shows normal modes and mode splittings, which are sensitive to the run of density in the giants; this in turn constrains what fraction of the star has burned to helium. There is a lot of interesting unexplained phenomenology…
  • probabilistic halo mass inference

    10 Apr 2014 | 8:59 pm
    In a low-research day, at lunch, Kilian Walsh pitched to Fadely and me a project to infer galaxy host halo masses from galaxy positions and redshifts. We discussed some of the issues and previous work. I am out of the loop, so I don't know the current literature. But I am sure there is interesting work that can be done, and it would be fun to combine galaxy kinematic information with weak lensing, strong lensing, x-ray, and SZ effect data.
  • permitted kernel functions, cosmology therewith

    9 Apr 2014 | 8:59 pm
    I spent a while at the group meeting of applied mathematician Leslie Greengard (NYU, Simons Foundation), telling the group how cosmology is done, and then how it might be done if we had some awesome math foo. In part we got on to how you could make a non-parametric kernel function for a Gaussian Process for the matter density field at late times, given that you need to stay non-negative definite. Oh wait, I mean positive semi-definite. Oh the things you learn! Anyway, it turns out that this is not really a solved problem and possibly a project was born. Hope so! I would love to recreate our…
  • fit all your streams, gamma-Earth

    8 Apr 2014 | 5:38 pm
    I spoke with Kathryn Johnston's group by phone for a long time at midday, about the meeting last week at Oxford. I opined that "the competition" is going to stick with integrable orbits for a while, so we can occupy the niche of more general potentials and orbit families. We discussed at some length the disagreement between Sanders (Oxford) and Bovy about how and why streams are different from orbits. Towards the end of that meeting, we discussed Price-Whelan's PhD projects, which he wants to include a balance of theory and real-data inference. I argued strongly that Price-Whelan should…
  • probabilistic grammar, massive graviton

    7 Apr 2014 | 8:59 pm
    In a low-research day, I saw two absolutely excellent seminars. The first was Alexander Rush (MIT, Columbia) talking about methods for finding the optimal parsing or syntactical structure for a natural-language sentence using lagrangian relaxation. The point is that the number of parsings is combinatorially large, so you have to do clever things to find good ones. He also looked at machine translation, which is a very related problem. At the end of his talk he discussed extraction of structured information from unstructured text, which might be applicable to the scientific literature.Over…
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    Astronomy Cmarchesin

  • A Study in Scarlet

    16 Apr 2014 | 5:41 am
    PR Image eso1413aThe star formation region Gum 41 PR Image eso1413bThe star formation region Gum 41 in the constellation of Centaurus  ********************** VideosPR Video eso1413aZooming in on the star formation region Gum 41 PR Video eso1413bPanning across the star formation region Gum 41 This new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that causes the surrounding hydrogen to glow with a characteristic red hue.This area of the…
  • Aussie Scientist Finds Rare Supernova at Keck Observatory

    15 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    Can you spot the supernova?Credit:  Forbes/WMKOIt was a dark and stormy night in the city of Angels. Well, actually it wasn't. But more on that later...It was a clear night on the summit of Mauna Kea at Keck Observatory on the 20th March. My colleagues and I were using the Echellette Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) instrument, which looks at faint objects in the visible wavelengths, to study star clusters and small galaxies.I was actually in our special ‘remote ops’ room at Swinburne University, with my postdoc, Joachim Janz. This is a room decked out with a computer, a backup…
  • NASA Cassini Images May Reveal Birth of a Saturn Moon

    14 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn's A ring in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft could be caused by an object replaying the birth process of icy moons.  Full image and captionNASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known moons.Images taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera on April 15, 2013, show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's A ring -- the outermost of the planet's large, bright rings. One of these…
  • Faraway Moon or Faint Star? Possible Exomoon Found

    13 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    Researchers have detected the first "exomoon" candidate -- a moon orbiting a planet that lies outside our solar system. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.  Full image and captionTitan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system's pantheon of moons. Are there are other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun? NASA-funded researchers have spotted the first signs of an "exomoon," and though they say it's impossible to confirm its presence, the finding is a tantalizing first step toward locating others. The discovery was made by watching a chance encounter of…
  • Hubble Stretches Stellar Tape Measure 10 Times Farther into Space

    10 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    This illustration shows how the precision stellar distance measurements from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have been extended 10 times farther into our Milky Way galaxy than possible previously. This greatly extends the volume of space accessible to refining the cosmic yardstick needed for measuring the size of the universe. This most solid type of measurement is based on trigonometric parallax, which is commonly used by surveyors. Because the stars are vastly farther away than a surveyor's sightline, Hubble must measure extremely small angles on the sky.  Illustration Credit: NASA ESA,…
 
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    The Urban Astronomer

  • KALW Broadcast - April 8, 2014

    8 Apr 2014 | 8:11 pm
    I stopped by KALW to talk about some cosmic topics, including the new findings on Inflation, the new Cosmos TV series, and the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse. It's in the middle of the KALW news show "Crosscurrents" with host Ben Trefny. Click here to listen.
  • Get Involved: Star Parties on Mt. Tam and the Ritz Carlton

    3 Apr 2014 | 10:50 pm
    It's spring and time to get back out and about with public events, known as Star Parties. First, the monthly lecture and star party on Mt. Tam opens for the season this Saturday April 5th. Mt. Tam is a great spot high above the lights of San Francisco where the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers (SFAA) and the Friends of Mt. Tam collaborate with the State Park System to create an unforgettable evening of science combining lectures, star tours and telescope viewing. The events take place approximately every four weeks through October, so dress warmly and come out for a fun evening.Ritz Carlton…
  • Preview of the Aug 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

    27 Mar 2014 | 8:00 am
    August 2017 Eclipse PathI am a fan of total solar eclipses, and although it is a long time in the future, I want to provide some resources for those who want to learn about an incredible eclipse that will cross the entire North American continent in August of 2017. This summertime spectacle tracks from the Oregon coast to South Carolina and affords good views for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds of breathtaking totality. The summer climate is mostly reliable along the eclipse track and the interstate freeway system ensures that local climate problems will be manageable should there be inclement…
  • An Old Moon encounters Venus

    24 Mar 2014 | 11:52 pm
    Old Moon and VenusThe Moon travels its 29.5 day path around the Earth each month, presenting us with its changing phases and sweeping around the sky encountering planets and stars as it moves on its steady eastward course. With the onset of daylight savings time, mornings are again dark and I can see much in the morning sky before I get in my car to drive to the office. Today I spied the waning Moon at last quarter phase, and I look forward to the graceful encounter with Venus later this week. The image shows where to find the Moon and Venus, but a chart is hardly necessary this week since…
  • Urban Astronomy video from the Exploratorium

    16 Mar 2014 | 8:17 pm
    The Exploratorium is one of the finest science museums anywhere, a place I've found exciting and fun to visit for years. They bring science 'hands-on' to the visitor and provide endless learning moments where the visitor can discover something new and unique about science in a fun and engaged way. They have been building a video series for some time now, called "Science In The City" and I was recently invited to be a contributor to their feature on Urban Astronomy.Producer Jim Granato created a 10-minute piece that brings to life the ways in which one can experience astronomy even in the…
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    sci.astro

  • Re: Probability question

    16 Apr 2014 | 6:48 pm
    What's it to you Barry?  Why not answer the question?  As far as the double post..... shit happens.
  • Re: Probability problem

    16 Apr 2014 | 6:41 pm
    Martin I think you made the problem more complicated. Let's assume you toss three pennies at once and repeat this process 6 times.  The results are as stated above. What would be the probability of tossing the same 3 pennies 6 more times and come up with the exact same pattern?
  • Re: Probability problem

    16 Apr 2014 | 6:38 pm
    There's also the question of whether HHT is distinct from HTH and THH. If HHT simply means "two of the coins came up heads" then Martin's answer is correct.  But if the first H is a cent, the second H is a nickel and the T is a dime, and you always quote the results in that order, then each of them
  • Re: Probability question

    16 Apr 2014 | 5:59 pm
    On Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:18:24 -0700 (PDT), R T wrote: >What is the probability of having the following event occur on the very next try: > >Event 1: >Three coins are thrown at once, six consecutive times. > >1st toss - HHT >2nd toss -TTH >3rd toss - HHT >4th toss - TTT >5th toss-
  • VATICAN RESPONSE: PRICELESS 1834 PHOTOI SOLD ON EBAY FOR $9.99

    16 Apr 2014 | 5:36 pm
    <          "SANCTUM SANCTORUM CACAS!" < <    GOOGLE NOTE: Our staff has painstakingly translated this reply into English (below) because, as everybody knows, almost nobody speaks Latin anymore. < <              "HOLY SHIT!" < <         ======================== < <     RARE PHOTOGRAPH OF CHARLES DARW
 
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    Big Picture Science

  • That's Containment!

    14 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    ENCORE We all crave power: to run laptops, charge cell phones, and play Angry Birds. But if generating energy is easy, storing it is not. Remember when your computer conked out during that cross-country flight? Why can’t someone build a better battery? Discover why battery design is stuck in the 1800s, and why updating it is key to future green transportation (not to mention more juice for your smartphone). Also, how to build a new type of solar cell that can turn sunlight directly into fuel at the pump. Plus, force fields, fat cells and other storage systems. And: Shock lobster! Energy…
  • Since Sliced Bread

    7 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    Happy Birthday, World Wide Web! The 25-year-old Web, along with the Internet and the personal computer, are among mankind’s greatest inventions. But back then, who knew? A techno-writer reminisces about the early days of the WWW and says he didn’t think it would ever catch on. Also, meet an inventor who claims his innovation will leave your laptop in the dust. Has quantum computing finally arrived? Plus, why these inventions are not as transformative as other creative biggies of history: The plow. The printing press. And… the knot? And, why scientific discoveries may beat out technology…
  • Skeptic Check: Evolutionary Arms Race

    31 Mar 2014 | 12:00 am
    It’s hard to imagine the twists and turns of evolution that gave rise to Homo Sapiens. After all, it required geologic time, and the existence of many long-gone species that were once close relatives. That may be one reason why – according to a recent poll – one-third of all Americans reject the theory of evolution. They prefer to believe that humans and other living organisms have existed in their current form since the beginning of time. But if you’ve ever been sick, you’ve been the victim of evolution on a very observable time scale. Nasty viruses and bacteria take full…
  • Do the Math

    24 Mar 2014 | 12:00 am
    ENCORE One plus one is two. But what’s the square root of 64, divided by 6 over 12?* Wait, don’t run for the hills! Math isn’t scary. It helps us describe and design our world, and can be easier to grasp than the straight edge of a protractor. Discover how to walk through the city and number-crunch simultaneously using easy tips for estimating the number of bricks in a building or squirrels in the park. Plus, why our brains are wired for finger-counting … whether aliens would have calculators … and history’s most famous mathematical equations (after e=mc2). *The answer is 16…
  • You Think; You're So Smart

    17 Mar 2014 | 12:00 am
    Sure you have a big brain; it’s the hallmark of Homo sapiens. But that doesn’t mean that you’ve cornered the market on intelligence. Admittedly, it’s difficult to say, since the very definition of the term is elusive. Depending on what we mean by intelligence, a certain aquatic mammal is not as smart as we thought (hint: rhymes with “caulpin”) … and your rhododendron may be a photosynthesizing Einstein. And what I.Q. means for A.I. We may be building our brilliant successors. Guests: Laurance Doyle – Senior researcher, SETI Institute Justin Gregg…
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    StarDate Online

  • Moon and the Scorpion

    damonddb
    16 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    The heart of the scorpion is doomed. Sometime within the next million years or so, the star Antares is likely to blow itself apart as a supernova. Only its tiny, dead core will remain — a neutron star. That same fate awaits several other bright stars in Scorpius, including one that’s quite close to the Moon tonight. Acrab is to the right of the Moon as they climb into view after midnight, at the end of a short line of three stars that represents the scorpion’s head. Acrab is actually a stellar sextuplet. It consists of two tight pairs of stars, each of which has a distant companion. The…
  • Moon and Saturn

    damonddb
    15 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    The Moon and the planet Saturn stage quite a performance tonight. They rise in late evening, with bright golden Saturn quite close to the upper left of the Moon. They remain close as they arc low across the south during the wee hours of the morning, with Saturn moving to the right of the Moon at first light. Saturn has quite a collection of moons of its own. More than 50 have been confirmed, with several more on the list of possibilities. Some of these moons are fascinating worlds in their own right. Titan, the largest of them, has a dense, cold atmosphere made of hydrocarbons. Lakes of…
  • Giving Birth?

    damonddb
    15 Apr 2014 | 1:45 pm
    A bright streak at the bottom of Saturn's rings may be caused by a small, icy moon that is growing as it captures more ice particles from the rings. The scientists who discovered this possible moon, nicknamed "Peggy," say it could be migrating out from the rings, scattering ring particles in its path. The Cassini spacecraft snapped this image on April 15 at a distance of about 775,000 miles (1.2 million km). [NASA/JPL/SSI] Text ©2014 The University of Texas at Austin McDonald ObservatoryFor more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.
  • Bright and Fast

    damonddb
    14 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    The star patterns that form pretty pictures in the night sky are all temporary. Over time, their shapes will change, erasing the old pictures and creating new ones. It’s not something that’s visible in a human lifetime — or, with a few exceptions, in a hundred lifetimes. One of those exceptions is Arcturus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. The yellow-orange star is in the east as the sky gets good and dark, well to the upper left of the Moon. Don’t confuse it with the brighter orange light that’s above the Moon — the planet Mars. One reason Arcturus shines so brightly…
  • More Lunar Eclipse

    damonddb
    13 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    Tonight is one of the best skywatching nights of the year. The planet Mars blazes through the night like a brilliant orange beacon, with the bright star Spica nearby. But what really elevates the night is a total lunar eclipse, which takes place just a few degrees away from Mars. The eclipse occurs as the Moon passes through Earth’s long shadow. The Moon’s orbit is tilted a little, so most months the Moon passes outside the shadow. This month, though, the geometry is just right, creating a total eclipse. The Moon first touches the dark inner shadow at 12:58 a.m. Central Daylight Time.
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    About.com Space / Astronomy

  • Saturn May Have a New Moon

    14 Apr 2014 | 11:00 pm
    Cassini Spots a New Object in Saturn's Rings If you're out stargazing over the next few months, at some point, you will notice the planet Saturn. On these April nights, it's rising late in the evening (right now around 10 p.m. or thereabouts), so you have to stay up to find it. But, it's well worth the look. The rings alone give this planet an otherworldly and fascinating appearance....Read Full Post
  • Watch the Moon Turn Red

    11 Apr 2014 | 4:18 am
    How the April 14-15, 2014 lunar eclipse could look during totality. The Moon will be near the bright star Spica. Created by Carolyn Collins Petersen using Stellarium open source software. Click image for a larger version.)...Read Full Post
  • A Black Hole Cannibal at the Milky Way’s Heart

    7 Apr 2014 | 9:04 am
    How Black Holes Grow For the past few years, astronomers have been watching with great interest as a cloud of gas called G2 gets ever closer to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The cloud (shown in the image at left) is headed directly into Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short) and will get caught up in the accretion disk of material surrounding and feeding into our black hole. The collision is already starting to occur, although the largest mass of the cloud has not yet arrived at the disk. But, the outer edges are starting to feel the pull of the black hole and that is…
  • Ten Great Sky Sights for April 2014

    4 Apr 2014 | 4:06 pm
    I've been a stargazer since I was a child, and continue to go out and explore the sky when the conditions are right. Skygazing is an easy pastime, and a rewarding one. Want to check out the planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn? See the Moon turn red? Experience a meteor shower? They're all available on April evenings after the sky gets dark. You don't need any special equipment, but if you do have binoculars or a small telescope, use them. Here's a list of ten great sky sights for April for you to search out. Go to About.com's star chart page...Read Full Post
  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse ... Oct 18, 2013

    18 Oct 2013 | 10:06 am
    The Moon will be full this evening.  A full moon occurs approximately once every calendar month, when the Earth is positioned between the Sun and the Moon, so that observers located on the unlit side of the Earth are directly facing the fully-lighted face of the Moon....Read Full Post
 
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    Remanzacco Observatory - Comets & Neo

  • New Comet: C/2014 F1 (HILL)

    Team
    2 Apr 2014 | 1:31 am
    Cbet nr. 3840, issued on 2014, April 01, announces the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 18.6) on CCD images taken on 2014, March 29.4 by R. E. Hill with the Catalina Sky Survey's 0.68-m Schmidt telescope. The new comet has been designated C/2014 F1 (HILL).We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 10 unfiltered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely on 2014, March 30.4 from H06 (iTelescope network - New Mexico) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: coma about 5" in diameter…
  • New Comet: C/2014 E2 (JACQUES)

    Team
    14 Mar 2014 | 6:29 am
    Cbet nr. 3828, issued on 2014, March 14, announces the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 14.7) on CCD images taken by  C. Jacques, E. Pimentel and J. Barros using a 0.45-m f/2.9 reflector at the SONEAR Observatory near Oliveira, Brazil. The new comet has been designated C/2014 E2 (JACQUES).We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 19 unfiltered exposures, 30-sec each, obtained remotely from MPC code Q62 (iTelescope, Siding Spring) on 2014, March 13.6 through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet: very…
  • Close Approach of Asteroid 2014 DX110

    Team
    5 Mar 2014 | 5:23 am
    The asteroid 2014 DX110 was discovered (at magnitude ~20) on 2014, February 28 by F51 Pan-STARRS 1 , Haleakala survey. 2014 DX110 has an estimated size of 19 m - 43 m (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=25.7) and it will have a close approach with Earth at about 0.9 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0023 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) at 2100 UT on 2014, March 05. This asteroid will reach the peak magnitude ~14.8 on March 05, 2014. We performed some follow-up measurements of this object on 2014, March 05.6, remotely from the Q62 iTelescope network (Siding Spring)…
  • Close Approach of Asteroid 2006 DP14

    Team
    11 Feb 2014 | 11:35 am
    The Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) 2006 DP14 was discovered on 2006, February 23 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid  Research (LINEAR) program. PHAs are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.2006 DP14 has an estimated size of 460 m - 1.0 km (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=18.8) and it had a close approach with Earth at about 6.2 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000…
  • Possible Supernova 2014L in M99 galaxy

    Team
    28 Jan 2014 | 4:13 am
    Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible Supernova in M99 spiral galaxy (TOCP Designation: PSN J12184868+1424435) we performed some follow-up of this object through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer from MPC Code H06 (iTelescope, New Mexico).On our images taken on January 28.4, 2014 we can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with unfiltered CCD magnitude 15.7 and at coordinates:R.A. = 12 18 48.73, Decl.= +14 24 44.3(equinox 2000.0; UCAC-3 catalogue reference stars).Our confirmation image (click on it for a…
 
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    Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch

  • A Study in Scarlet

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    16 Apr 2014 | 9:58 pm
    This new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that causes the surrounding hydrogen to glow with a characteristic red hue. This area of the southern sky, in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur), is home to many bright nebulae, each associated with hot newborn stars that formed out of the clouds of hydrogen gas. The intense radiation from the stellar newborns excites the remaining hydrogen around them, making the gas glow in the…
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spies Curiosity Rover Near Martian Butte

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    16 Apr 2014 | 3:33 pm
    Scientists using NASA's Curiosity Mars rover are eyeing a rock layer surrounding the base of a small butte, called "Mount Remarkable," as a target for investigating with tools on the rover's robotic arm. The rover works near this butte in an image taken on April 11 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It is available at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA18081. The butte stands about 16 feet (5 meters) high. Curiosity's science team refers to the rock layer surrounding the base of Mount Remarkable as the…
  • Soyuz-U Rocket with Egyptian Satellite Successfully Launches from Baikonur

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    16 Apr 2014 | 3:01 pm
    A Soyuz-U rocket carrying an Egyptian communication satellite, EgyptSat-2, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, April 16, and entered terrestrial orbit. "At 8:28 pm the satellite successfully separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle," Roscosmos spokesman said. Soyuz-U took off from pad 31 in Baikonur at 8:20 pm. Egyptsat was designed and manufactured by Energia rocket and space corporation at orders from the Egyptian State Committee for Land Remote Sensing and Space Studies.Egyptian cabinet spokesman Hossam Al-Qaweish said that the 1,050 kg…
  • China's President Xi Jinping Urges Greater Military Use of Space

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    16 Apr 2014 | 2:40 pm
    Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the air force to adopt an integrated air and space defence capability, in what state media on Tuesday called a response to the increasing military use of space by the United States and others. While Beijing insists its space programme is for peaceful purposes, a Pentagon report last year highlighted China's increasing space capabilities and said Beijing was pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis. Fears of a space arms race with the United States and other powers mounted after China…
  • Business as Usual on Space Station, Despite Sanctions Against Russia, Says CSA Boss

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    16 Apr 2014 | 2:17 pm
    The head of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) says sanctions taken against Russia for its invasion of Crimea are not affecting operations on the International Space Station. NASA is continuing co-operation related to the space station but has severed its ties with Russia and forbidden its employees from travelling to the country. Canadian Space Agency president Walt Natynczyk says Canada continues to work with all its partners involved in the space station, which include the United States, Russia, Europe and Japan. "The space station is fully functioning and we have people living aboard," he…
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