Astronomy

  • Most Topular Stories

  • The Constellation Virgo

    The Urban Astronomer
    30 May 2014 | 3:59 pm
    Late spring and summer skies are dominated by the big constellation Virgo, the Maiden. This grouping of stars is the second largest in the night sky (after Hydra), and includes the first magnitude star Spica, the double star system Porrima, and the Virgo Cluster, a region of the universe that has 1000s of galaxies in one place. [More on the Virgo Cluster and Supercluster in a future post]The Constellation VirgoA member of the 12-constellation zodiac, Virgo is directly in the path of the Moon, Sun and planets and consequently is host to wandering celestial objects. Now and for the coming…
  • Busy Galaxy

    StarDate Online
    damonddb
    23 Jul 2014 | 11:27 pm
    The Milky Way forms a glowing arch that passes high overhead on summer nights, outlining the flat disk of our home galaxy. This view, toward the center of the galaxy, shows vast fields of stars, dark dust lanes, glowing clouds of gas and dust that are giving birth to new stars, and much more. The colorful wisps at right include the nebula Rho Ophiuchi and the region around Antares, the bright orange star at the heart of Scorpius, the scorpion. Two nebulae, the Lagoon the Trifid, are at upper right. [ESO/S. Guisard] Text ©2014 The University of Texas at Austin McDonald ObservatoryFor more…
  • The Most Precise Measurement of an Alien World's Size

    Astronomy Cmarchesin
    23 Jul 2014 | 8:00 pm
    Using data from NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the size of a world outside our solar system, as illustrated in this artist's conception.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.  Full image and caption Thanks to NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside our solar system. The size of the exoplanet, dubbed Kepler-93b, is now known to an uncertainty of just 74 miles (119 kilometers) on either side of the planetary body.The findings…
  • Hubble Shows Us NGC 121

    Astronomy News
    Tom
    24 Jul 2014 | 2:59 am
    Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) shows us NGC 121. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgment: Stefano Campani This is one of those “southern gems” I cannot see. Not far away is NGC 104 and the bright NGC 292 among a host of others in an around the Small Magellanic Cloud. It’s little wonder I like globulars. I found some of the images I took in the back yard, I’ll post some, nothing like this Hubble image though. Here is a nice tutorial on Globular Clusters from SEDS. The NASA caption: This image shows NGC 121, a globular cluster in the…
  • Apollo 11 Splashdown 45 Years Ago on July 24, 1969 Concludes 1st Moon Landing Mission – Gallery

    Universe Today
    Ken Kremer
    24 Jul 2014 | 6:07 pm
    Apollo 11 Comes Home The Apollo 11 crew await pickup by a helicopter from the USS Hornet, prime recovery ship for the historic lunar landing mission. The fourth man in the life raft is a United States Navy underwater demolition team swimmer. All four men are wearing biological isolation garments. The splashed down at 12:49 a.m. EDT, July 24, 1969, about 812 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii and only 12 nautical miles from the USS Hornet. Credit: NASA The three man crew of NASA’s Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean 45 years ago today on July 24, 1969 – successfully…
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    Astronomy News

  • Hubble Shows Us NGC 121

    Tom
    24 Jul 2014 | 2:59 am
    Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) shows us NGC 121. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgment: Stefano Campani This is one of those “southern gems” I cannot see. Not far away is NGC 104 and the bright NGC 292 among a host of others in an around the Small Magellanic Cloud. It’s little wonder I like globulars. I found some of the images I took in the back yard, I’ll post some, nothing like this Hubble image though. Here is a nice tutorial on Globular Clusters from SEDS. The NASA caption: This image shows NGC 121, a globular cluster in the…
  • The Crescent Saturn

    Tom
    23 Jul 2014 | 3:46 am
    Cassini sees a crescent on Saturn from 2 million km. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Cassini treats us to a view we would otherwise not get, a crescent Saturn. The view is from the unilluminated side of the rings and was taken in green light. The angle us just right at 43 degrees below the ringplane so the rings don’t appear to interrupt the crescent. You may notice the “dark” area outside the crescent is faintly illuminated and that is from “ringshine”. Get a full res version here at JPL’s Cassini site.
  • Moon Eclipses Saturn

    Tom
    22 Jul 2014 | 2:52 am
    Moon eclipses Saturn. Copyright: Carlo Di Nallo This photo taken from Buenos Aires, presumably by Carlo Di Nallo – my hat is off to him. Bravo! Here’s the caption from ESA: What happened to half of Saturn? Nothing other than Earth’s Moon getting in the way. As pictured above on the far right, Saturn is partly eclipsed by a dark edge of a Moon itself only partly illuminated by the Sun. This year the orbits of the Moon and Saturn have led to an unusually high number of alignments of the ringed giant behind Earth’s largest satellite. Technically termed an occultation,…
  • Tire Wear

    Tom
    21 Jul 2014 | 3:16 am
    The wheel wear on the rover Curiosity. Credit: JPL / NASA Driving around on Mars is tough. I’ve been watching the wheel wear since I noticed what I thought was unusual wear back in November 2013. I know NASA is watching also, they are taking regular images of the wheels and possibly watching the substrate under the rover too (I think I read that at some point but I could be wrong too). So just to keep you updated, this particular image was taken a couple of days ago on 17 July (Sol 691) and you can plainly see the wear. Hard to say if things are getting worse or not, I’m going…
  • One Small Step

    Tom
    20 Jul 2014 | 3:28 am
    20 July 1969. This is part 1 of 15. If you have some time, you can read  Mission Transcript: Apollo 11. Spoiler alert: The Eagle has Landed – page 178 of the AS_11 CM.PDF link.
 
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    Universe Today

  • Apollo 11 Splashdown 45 Years Ago on July 24, 1969 Concludes 1st Moon Landing Mission – Gallery

    Ken Kremer
    24 Jul 2014 | 6:07 pm
    Apollo 11 Comes Home The Apollo 11 crew await pickup by a helicopter from the USS Hornet, prime recovery ship for the historic lunar landing mission. The fourth man in the life raft is a United States Navy underwater demolition team swimmer. All four men are wearing biological isolation garments. The splashed down at 12:49 a.m. EDT, July 24, 1969, about 812 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii and only 12 nautical miles from the USS Hornet. Credit: NASA The three man crew of NASA’s Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean 45 years ago today on July 24, 1969 – successfully…
  • Hubble Finds 3 (Relatively) Dry Exoplanets, Raising Questions About Water Outside The Solar System

    Elizabeth Howell
    24 Jul 2014 | 7:13 am
    Artist’s conception of gas giant planet HD 209458b in the constellation Pegasus, which has less water vapor in its atmosphere than expected. Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI) and N. Madhusudhan (UC) Surprise! Three planets believed to be good candidates for having water vapor in their atmosphere actually have much lower quantities than expected. The planets (HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b) are “hot Jupiters” that are orbiting very close to their parent star, at a distance where it was expected the extreme temperatures would turn water into a vapor that could be seen…
  • Neck Of Rosetta’s ‘Rubby Duckie’ Comet Shows A Bright Ring

    Elizabeth Howell
    24 Jul 2014 | 6:29 am
    Rosetta imaged its target comet, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, from about 3,417 miles (5,500 kilometers) away. The “neck” of the comet appears to be brighter than the rest of the nucleus. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA Rosetta’s “rubber duckie” comet appears to be wearing a collar! New images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from the spacecraft, which is speeding towards an orbit of the comet next month, show that the “neck” region of the nucleus appears to be brighter than the rest. Last week,…
  • Risk Reduction Milestone Tests Move Commercial Dream Chaser Closer to Critical Design Review and First Flight

    Ken Kremer
    23 Jul 2014 | 11:25 am
    Dream Chaser commercial crew vehicle built by Sierra Nevada Corp docks at ISS The winged Dream Chaser mini-shuttle under development by Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) has successfully completed a series of risk reduction milestone tests on key flight hardware systems thereby moving the private reusable spacecraft closer to its critical design review (CDR) and first flight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program aimed at restoring America’s indigenous human spaceflight access to low Earth orbit and the space station. SNC announced that it passed NASA’s Milestones 9 and 9a involving numerous Risk…
  • Ultra-Deep Astrophoto: 75 Hours of the Antenna Galaxies

    Nancy Atkinson
    23 Jul 2014 | 8:58 am
    75 hours of observing time allows for this ‘amateur’ view of the Antennae galaxies in the constellation Corvus. Look closely to see the myriad of distant background galaxies that show up in the image, as well. Credit and copyright: Rolf Wahl Olsen. You might think the image above of the famous Antenna Galaxies was taken by a large ground-based or even a space telescope. Think again. Amateur astronomer Rolf Wahl Olsen from New Zealand compiled a total of 75 hours of observing time to create this ultra-deep view. “To obtain a unique deep view of the faint tidal streams and…
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    Astroblog

  • The Cresent Moon vists Venus and Mercury, Morning July 25-26, 2014

    24 Jul 2014 | 4:56 am
    Morning sky on Friday July 25 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST. The crescent Moon is close to Venus. Mercury is close to the horizon. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).Morning sky on Saturday July 26 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST. VThe crescent Moon is close to Mercury . Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).On the morning of Friday July 25 and Saturday July 26 respectively, the crescent Moon is close to Venus and Mercury…
  • The Sky This Week - Thursday July 24 to Thursday July 31

    22 Jul 2014 | 4:51 am
    The New Moon is Sunday July 27. Jupiter is lost in the twilight. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Venus is prominent in the morning sky. The crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 25th, and Mercury on the 26th. A brightish comet may be glimpsed under good conditions low in the morning skies. The Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower is on the 30th.The New Moon is Sunday July 27. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 28th.Evening sky on Saturday July 26 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and…
  • The Sky This Week - Thursday July 17 to Thursday July 21

    15 Jul 2014 | 6:58 am
    The Last Quarter Moon is Saturday July 19. Jupiter is lost in the twilight. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Venus is prominent in the morning sky, and is near Mercury.The Last Quarter Moon is Saturday July 19. Mars is at Quadrature on the 19th. Evening sky on Saturday July 19 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Spica are close together. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen). The insets show telescopic views of Mars and Saturn at this time,Jupiter is lost in the…
  • Southern Skywatch July, 2014 edition is now out!

    9 Jul 2014 | 2:44 am
    Morning sky on  July 25 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.   Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).The July edition of Southern Skywatch is now up. Sorry it's late, but this happened. This month is a bit more sedate than previous months, but there is still some nice sky watching to be done. There's a bit of planetary action this month with Venus, Saturn and Mars meeting the Moon. Mars and Spica close and Venus and Mercury close.Jupiter is lost in the twilight.Mars is obvious in the western evening…
  • The Sky This Week - Thursday July 10 to Thursday July 17

    8 Jul 2014 | 7:47 pm
    The Full Moon is Saturday July 12. Jupiter is lost in the twilight. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Mars is closest to Spica on the 13-14th. Venus is prominent in the morning sky, and is approached by rapidly brightening Mercury during the week. They are closest on the 16thThe Full Moon is Saturday July 12. The Moon is at Perigee, closest to Earth, on the 13th. Evening sky on Sunday July 13 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Spica are close together. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time…
 
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    Hogg's Research

  • quasar continuum blueward of Lyman alpha, Galactic center

    23 Jul 2014 | 8:59 pm
    If you go to the blue side of Lyman alpha, at reasonable redshifts (say 2), the continuum is not clearly visible, since the forest is dense and has a range of equivalent widths. Any study of IGM physics or radiation or clustering or ionization depends on an accurate continuum determination. What to do? Obviously, you should fit your continuum simultaneously with whatever else you are measuring, and marginalize out the posterior uncertainties on the continuum. Duh!That said, few have attempted this. Today I had a long conversation with Hennawi, Eilers, Rorai, and KG Lee (all MPIA) about this;…
  • extinction and dust, H-alpha photons

    22 Jul 2014 | 8:59 pm
    While "off the grid" for a long weekend, I spent time writing documents for Coryn Bailer-Jones (MPIA) and Dennis Zaritsky (Arizona). The former was about using spatial priors for inference of the three-dimensional dust density constrained by Gaia data. If you use a Gaussian Process spatial prior, you can perform the inference in extinction space (not dust space) and transfer extinction predictions to new points given extinction data without ever explicitly instantiating the dust density field. This is not a genius idea; it flows from the fact that any linear projection of a Gaussian pdf is…
  • coffee, objectives in calibration

    17 Jul 2014 | 8:59 pm
    At MPIA Galaxy Coffee, Schmidt (UCSB) showed resolved spectroscopy of some highly magnified high-redshift galaxies to look for spatial variations of metallicity. Beautiful data! He also talked about the photon density at high redshift and the implications for reionization. McConnell (Hawaii) spoke about the need for more good black-hole mass determinations. He (inadvertently perhaps) showed that the BH-sigma (velocity dispersion) relation could easily have zero scatter, when you consider the uncertainties in both directions and the possibility that the sigma uncertainties are under-estimated.
  • spiral structure in the Milky Way, K2

    16 Jul 2014 | 2:13 pm
    In Milky Way group meeting, Bovy showed results from a red-clump-star catalog derived from SDSS-III APOGEE and Schlafly showed extinction-corrected stellar maps sliced by distance from PanSTARRS. Both of these data sets plausibly contain good evidence of the spiral arms in stellar density, but neither of the first authors were willing to show me that evidence! I couldn't convince Bovy to help me out, but I think Schlafly might make the plot I want, which is the density as a function of Galactic X and Y for stars at low Z, divided by a smooth Galaxy model.In a phone call late in the day, Ian…
  • exoplanet photometry, crossing the streams

    15 Jul 2014 | 8:59 pm
    Nick Cowan (Northwestern, Amherst) was in town today to give a seminar about exoplanet thermodynamics and climate. He showed nice results inferring the temperature distribution on the surfaces of hot jupiters and the same for degraded data on the Earth. He spent a lot of time talking about thermostats and carbon and water cycles on the Earth and Earth-like planets. In the morning I discussed my OWL photometry with him, and we proposed to try it on his massive amounts of Spitzer IRAC data on transiting exoplanets.After lunch, a group of the willing (Rix, Bovy, Sesar, Price-Whelan, myself)…
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    Astronomy Cmarchesin

  • New mass map of a distant galaxy cluster is the most precise yet

    24 Jul 2014 | 8:10 pm
    PR Image heic1416aColour image of galaxy cluster MCS J0416.1–2403 PR Image heic1416bColour image of galaxy cluster MCS J0416.1–2403, annotated PR Image heic1416cMass map of galaxy cluster MCS J0416.1–2403 using strong and weak lensing Stunning new observations from Frontier FieldsAstronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have mapped the mass within a galaxy cluster more precisely than ever before. Created using observations from Hubble's Frontier Fields observing programme, the map shows the amount and distribution of mass within MCS J0416.1–2403, a massive galaxy cluster…
  • A slice of stars

    24 Jul 2014 | 8:00 pm
    NGC 3501Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA Acknowledgement: Nick RoseThe thin, glowing streak slicing across this image cuts a lonely figure, with only a few foreground stars and galaxies in the distant background for company.However, this is all a case of perspective; lying out of frame is another nearby spiral. Together, these two galaxies make up a pair, moving through space together and keeping one another company.The subject of this Hubble image is called NGC 3501, with NGC 3507 as its out-of-frame companion. The two galaxies look very different — another example of the importance of…
  • Hubble Finds Three Surprisingly Dry Exoplanets

    24 Jul 2014 | 7:16 am
    This is an artistic illustration of the gas giant planet HD 209458b (unofficially named Osiris) located 150 light-years away in the constellation Pegasus. This is a "hot Jupiter" class planet. Estimated to be 220 times the mass of Earth. The planet's atmosphere is a seething 2,150 degrees Fahrenheit. It orbits very closely to its bright sunlike star, and the orbit is tilted edge-on to Earth. This makes the planet an ideal candidate for the Hubble Space Telescope to be used to make precise measurements of the chemical composition of the giant's atmosphere as starlight filters though it. To the…
  • The Most Precise Measurement of an Alien World's Size

    23 Jul 2014 | 8:00 pm
    Using data from NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the size of a world outside our solar system, as illustrated in this artist's conception.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.  Full image and caption Thanks to NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside our solar system. The size of the exoplanet, dubbed Kepler-93b, is now known to an uncertainty of just 74 miles (119 kilometers) on either side of the planetary body.The findings…
  • Lives and Deaths of Sibling Stars

    23 Jul 2014 | 4:45 am
    PR Image eso1422bThe star cluster NGC 3293 in the constellation of Carina  PR Image eso1422bThe star cluster NGC 3293 in the constellation of Carina VideosPR Video eso1422aZooming in on the bright star cluster NGC 3293 PR Video eso1422bA close-up look at the star cluster NGC 3293 In this striking new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile young stars huddle together against a backdrop of clouds of glowing gas and lanes of dust. The star cluster, known as NGC 3293, would have been just a cloud of gas and dust itself about ten million years ago, but as stars began to form it…
 
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    The Urban Astronomer

  • Binocular Astronomy

    20 Jul 2014 | 12:02 am
    From an urban setting such as my home in San Francisco, I have a reasonable view of the night sky, knowing that from my own backyard I can see a good number of stars if I have clear skies and I am patient, allowing my eyes to dark adapt. In a city setting you are limited in the depth of the night sky you can experience by the ambient light in your exact setting, and the light pollution dispersed into the sky. But you can overcome these factors somewhat, by using binoculars.Every time I am at a star party or astronomy gathering, in addition to a telescope I bring my binoculars. These are the…
  • Mars and Spica Align

    14 Jul 2014 | 6:33 pm
    Mars and Spica AlignI've been watching Mars over the past few months as it slips steadily along the Ecliptic. It was near the bright star Spica several months ago as it was near opposition, then moved retrograde toward Porrima on the other side of the constellation Virgo, and now is back near Spica as it resumes prograde motion toward an August rendezvous with Saturn. The image shows where to spot the two bright objects in the south-west sky this week.Image courtesy of Sky Safari.
  • The Start of a Lunar Cycle

    26 Jun 2014 | 4:50 pm
    Young Moon movementsEach time a lunar cycle begins, I look forward to each evening to see where the Moon is going to be, starting with a dark night sky at New Moon, and over the course of a week enjoying the waxing crescent of our celestial neighbor as it grows into First Quarter. Along this journey, I await alignments and close encounters, and in the early days of the current lunar cycle there are many objects in the path of the Moon.Moon & MarsNew Moon is on Friday June 27th, and the first chance to spot the young Moon is Saturday 28th (which, if sighted, will start the month of…
  • Why You Should See An Eclipse

    10 Jun 2014 | 4:01 pm
    Shadows during an eclipseI gave a talk recently at an event in San Francisco called Ignite, a fun evening of short, fast-paced talks on a wide variety of subjects. Click here to watch my 5 minute video on the subject of eclipses. I think you'll be inspired (and if not, then it's only 5 minutes :-)
  • The Constellation Virgo

    30 May 2014 | 3:59 pm
    Late spring and summer skies are dominated by the big constellation Virgo, the Maiden. This grouping of stars is the second largest in the night sky (after Hydra), and includes the first magnitude star Spica, the double star system Porrima, and the Virgo Cluster, a region of the universe that has 1000s of galaxies in one place. [More on the Virgo Cluster and Supercluster in a future post]The Constellation VirgoA member of the 12-constellation zodiac, Virgo is directly in the path of the Moon, Sun and planets and consequently is host to wandering celestial objects. Now and for the coming…
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    sci.astro

  • God likes stars

    24 Jul 2014 | 3:31 pm
    it could be true particles like electrons protons and neutrons are a super conductor a super fluid and a Bose Einstein condensate there are stars a lot like black holes - they are the most cold parts of the universe - tidal forces make particles have a big wave length - particles almost do not move
  • Re: EINSTEIN'S RELATIVITY : CLOCKS RUN BOTH FAST AND SLOW

    24 Jul 2014 | 3:02 pm
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/specrel/www/ ON THE ELECTRODYNAMICS OF MOVING BODIES, by A. Einstein, June 30, 1905: "From this there ensues the following peculiar consequence. If at the points A and B of K there are stationary clocks which, viewed in the stationary system, are synchronous;
  • ASHES TO ASHES, RUST TO RUST

    24 Jul 2014 | 8:29 am
    ========================== BREAKING NEWS ========================== MAHANOY CITY, Pa. (Rueters) -- There were tears and gnashing of teeth as Ed Conrad was slowly lowered into the ground this morning. "Gone rest his soul," said Father Guido Sarducci, who told the thousands at the grave site that he s
  • Re: EINSTEIN'S RELATIVITY : CLOCKS RUN BOTH FAST AND SLOW

    24 Jul 2014 | 7:18 am
    http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/HPS_0410/chapters/Reciprocity/index.html John Norton: "The figure shows the bare essentials of the moving clock and all the other clocks spread out through space. The moving clock agrees with the reading of the leftmost clock--my wristwatch--as it passes by. H
  • EINSTEIN'S RELATIVITY : CLOCKS RUN BOTH FAST AND SLOW

    23 Jul 2014 | 3:50 pm
    According to Einstein's relativity, if a single moving clock successively passes multiple synchronized clocks which are stationary, observers in both frames see that the difference between the reading of the stationary clock just being passed and that of the moving clock increases with the number of
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    uk.sci.astronomy

  • Re: The colorful elements of our moon and otherwise Venus, each have their issues

    19 Jul 2014 | 1:08 pm
    Our moon is on average quite physically dark, but it isn't nearly as monochromatic and inert as our Apollo era discovered of so many areas of nearly off-white terrain with little or nothing of physically dark stuff, much less of any mineral/element colors (not even of any UV secondary/recoil hues) t
  • Re: The colorful elements of our moon and otherwise Venus, each have their issues

    14 Jul 2014 | 8:46 am
    There should be some new amateur color images of our super-moon getting posted and otherwise picked up by the Google image archive.  Don't bother to share any of this with our colorblind NASA, DARPA, ASU and JPL, because any such color enhanced images are supposed to be fakes and otherwise entirely
  • Re: The colorful elements of our moon and otherwise Venus, each have their issues

    11 Jul 2014 | 1:16 pm
    In addition to all the heavier elements as typically hard as well as mostly paramagnetic stuff that our moon has to offer, it seems our moon offers a treasure trove of a few diamagnetic elements plus numerous low density elements that can be easily mined and exploited (some of which like 3He/He3
  • New meteorite gives clues to origins of Earth impactors

    3 Jul 2014 | 9:17 am
    "The space rock is a 470-million-year-old fossil meteorite first spotted three years ago by workers at Sweden's Thorsberg quarry [...] its texture and exposure age distinguish the new meteorite from the other 49,000 or so meteorites found so far on Earth." http://www.livescience.com/46563-new-meteo
  • Re: The colorful elements of our moon and otherwise Venus, each have their issues

    16 Jun 2014 | 5:49 pm
    How wet are those innards of our moon? http://www.rdmag.com/news/2014/06/new-evidence-oceans-deep-earth This exact same analogy of geologically sequestered water should apply as for a significant cache of water within our moon. After all, according to those of our NASA/Apollo era, our moon is m
 
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    Big Picture Science

  • A Stellar Job

    21 Jul 2014 | 12:00 am
    The stars are out tonight. And they do more than just twinkle. These boiling balls of hot plasma can tell us something about other celestial phenomena. They betray the hiding places of black holes, for one. But they can also fool us. Find out why one of the most intriguing discoveries in astrobiology – that of the potentially habitable exoplanet Gliese 581g – may have been just a mirage. Plus, the highest levels of ultraviolet light ever mentioned on Earth’s surface puzzles scientists: is it a fluke of nature, or something manmade? And a physicist suggests that stars could be…
  • Skeptic Check: About Face

    14 Jul 2014 | 12:00 am
    ENCORE Face it – humans are pattern-seeking animals. We identify eyes, nose and mouth where there are none. Martian rock takes on a visage and the silhouette of Elvis appears in our burrito. Discover the roots of our face-tracking tendency – pareidolia – and why it sometimes leads us astray. Plus, why some brains can’t recognize faces at all … how computer programs exhibit their own pareidolia … and why it’s so difficult to replicate human vision in a machine Guests: Phil Plait – Astronomer, Skeptic, and author of Slate Magazine’s blog Bad Astronomy Josef…
  • Deep Time

    7 Jul 2014 | 12:00 am
    ENCORE Think back, way back. Beyond last week or last year … to what was happening on Earth 100,000 years ago. Or 100 million years ago. It’s hard to fathom such enormous stretches of time, yet to understand the evolution of the cosmos – and our place in it – your mind needs to grasp the deep meaning of eons. Discover techniques for thinking in units of billions of years, and how the events that unfold over such intervals have left their mark on you. Plus: the slow-churning processes that turned four-footed creatures into the largest marine animals that ever graced the planet and…
  • Time for a Map

    30 Jun 2014 | 12:00 am
    ENCORE It’s hard to get lost these days. GPS pinpoints your location to within a few feet. Discover how our need to get from A to B holds clues about what makes us human, and what we lose now that every digital map puts us at the center. Plus, stories of animal navigation: how a cat found her way home across Florida, and the magnetic navigation systems used by salmon and sea turtles. Also, why you’ll soon be riding in driverless cars. And, how to map our universe. Guests: John Bradshaw – Director of the University of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute, author of Dog Sense: How the…
  • What Do You Make Of It?

    23 Jun 2014 | 12:00 am
    You are surrounded by products. Most of them, factory-made. Yet there was a time when building things by hand was commonplace, and if something stopped working, well, you jumped into the garage and fixed it, rather than tossing it into the circular file. Participants at the Maker Faire are bringing back the age of tinkering, one soldering iron and circuit board at a time. Meet the 12-year old who built a robot to solve his Rubik’s Cube, and learn how to print shoes at home. Yes, “print.” Plus, the woman who started Science Hack Day … the creation of a beard-slash-cosmic-ray detector…
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    StarDate Online

  • Messier Clusters

    damonddb
    24 Jul 2014 | 10:00 pm
    One of the first items on almost any amateur astronomer’s “to-do” list is completing the Messier marathon — looking at all 110 objects cataloged by Charles Messier. Messier himself began the first marathon 250 years ago. Charles Messier ca. 1770Messier was most interested in finding comets. Indeed, the French astronomer discovered one in January of 1764. Not long afterward, though, he discovered something that looked like a comet but wasn’t. Today, we know that it’s a globular cluster — a tight grouping of ancient stars. All Messier knew, though, was that it was in the way of…
  • Busy Galaxy

    damonddb
    23 Jul 2014 | 11:27 pm
    The Milky Way forms a glowing arch that passes high overhead on summer nights, outlining the flat disk of our home galaxy. This view, toward the center of the galaxy, shows vast fields of stars, dark dust lanes, glowing clouds of gas and dust that are giving birth to new stars, and much more. The colorful wisps at right include the nebula Rho Ophiuchi and the region around Antares, the bright orange star at the heart of Scorpius, the scorpion. Two nebulae, the Lagoon the Trifid, are at upper right. [ESO/S. Guisard] Text ©2014 The University of Texas at Austin McDonald ObservatoryFor more…
  • Sagittarius

    damonddb
    23 Jul 2014 | 10:00 pm
    A big, steaming teapot floats across the southern horizon on summer evenings: the constellation Sagittarius, the archer. To modern eyes, its brightest stars form a teapot, with the handle to the left and the spout to the right. The pot looks like it’s steaming because it’s immersed in the Milky Way — the combined glow of millions of stars in the disk of our Milky Way galaxy. You need dark skies to see it; city lights overpower its subtle glow. But if your skies are dark enough for you to see the Milky Way, then you can look for some of the most prominent star clusters and nebulae in all…
  • Moon and Venus

    damonddb
    22 Jul 2014 | 10:00 pm
    There’s nothing like a trip to the mountains to escape the summer heat — whether you’re here on Earth or on Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor. The coolest place on the entire planet is its tallest mountain range, Maxwell Montes. Of course, cool is a relative term — temperatures on the mountain peaks probably top 700 degrees Fahrenheit. The Maxwell Montes range is more than 500 miles long, and its highest peaks extend almost seven miles above the surrounding volcanic plains. The mountains may have formed as portions of the crust pushed together, forcing the rock between them…
  • Outcast Star

    damonddb
    21 Jul 2014 | 10:00 pm
    The star that anchors the Big Dipper’s handle is a bit of an outcast. The five stars that make up the dipper’s middle are members of the same family — the Ursa Major Moving Group. They were born from the same cloud of gas and dust, and they move through space together. The stars at the ends are different. Tens of thousands of years from now, they will have moved a good distance from the others as seen from here on Earth, pulling the “dipper” apart. Alkaid is the end of the dipper’s handle. It’s farther away than the members of the moving group — 100 light-years. And it’s…
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    Remanzacco Observatory - Comets & Neo

  • New Comet: C/2014 N3 (NEOWISE)

    Team
    13 Jul 2014 | 8:44 am
    Cbet nr. 3921, issued on 2014, July 13, announces the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 17) by the  Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (or NEOWISE; formerly the WISE satellite) team on images taken with the NEOWISE satellite on 2014, July 04.5. The new comet has been designated C/2014 N3 (NEOWISE).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, July 09.6 from Q62 (iTelescope network - Siding Spring) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer,…
  • Close Approach of PHA Asteroid 2014 MF6

    Team
    9 Jul 2014 | 4:27 am
    The asteroid 2014 MF6 was discovered (at magnitude ~17.0) on 2014, June 23.3 by Catalina Sky Survey (MPC code 703) with a 0.68-m Schmidt + CCD. According to the preliminay orbit, 2014 MF6 is an Apollo type asteroid. This class of asteroids are defined by having semi-major axes greater than that of the Earth (> 1 AU) but perihelion distances less than the Earth's aphelion distance (q < 1.017 AU). It is also flagged as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid". PHA are asteroids larger than approximately 100m that might have threatening close approaches to the Earth (they can come closer to…
  • New Comet: P/2014 L2 (NEOWISE)

    Team
    16 Jun 2014 | 5:00 am
    Cbet nr. 3901, issued on 2014, June 15, announces the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 16.5) by the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) team on images taken with the NEOWISE satellite on 2014, June 07.4. The new comet has been designated P/2014 L2 (NEOWISE).We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 12 unfiltered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely on 2014, June 15.4 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…
  • Update on comet C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS)

    Team
    9 Jun 2014 | 6:42 am
    C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS) is a comet discovered on 17 May 2012 (see CBET circular 3112 & MPEC 2012-K36) in two r-band 40-s exposures taken with the 1.8-m Pan-STARRS 1 telescope at Haleakala (MPC code F51). The comet is currently at visual magnitude ~ 8.5 and it will reach the perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 27 August 2014 at a distance of 1.05 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) from the Sun. Comet C/2012 K1 is expected to brighten up to mag ~6-7 in mid-October 2014 (with an elongation of about 75-80 degree from the Sun). Below you can see the light curve (click on it for a…
  • PHA Asteroid 2014 KP4

    Team
    24 May 2014 | 2:55 am
    The MPEC 2014-K35 issued on May 23, 2014 announced the discovery of a new PHA asteroid officially designated 2014 KP4. This asteroid (~ magnitude 16) was discovered by C. Jacques, E. Pimentel & J. Barros through a 0.20-m f/2.2 Schmidt-Cassegrain + CCD telescope of SONEAR Observatory (MPC code Y00), on images obtained on May 20.2, 2014. According to the preliminay orbit, 2014 KP4 is an Apollo type asteroid. This class of asteroids are defined by having semi-major axes greater than that of the Earth (> 1 AU) but perihelion distances less than the Earth's aphelion distance (q < 1.017…
 
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    Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch

  • Russian 'Gecko' Satellite Not Responding to Commands

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Jul 2014 | 5:07 pm
    Russia's mission control center has lost communications with a research satellite carrying five geckos, fruit flies and plant seeds less than a week after its launch. The Foton-M science satellite, launched on July 19, is currently on a nonintended orbit, with the spacecraft’s engines unable to start, Mission Control Center (MCC) at Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) told RIA Novosti. "The experts are currently working to restore the transmission of commands aboard the satellite,” Roscosmos said. “We currently receive telemetric data from Foton, however, we cannot transmit…
  • New Approach in Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Targeting Alien Polluters

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Jul 2014 | 4:24 pm
    Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs? They might, if they spew industrial pollution into the atmosphere. New research by theorists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) shows that we could spot the fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions. This would…
  • Fireball Flashes Across Calgary Sky

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Jul 2014 | 3:46 pm
    Some Albertans who were up early Tuesday were treated to a rare sight when a fireball lit up the night sky. The Rothney Observatory reports that a fireball - which is larger than a meteor - was seen at 1:24 a.m. Tuesday. “They’re so bright that if you’re standing, you’ll see your shadow, just like in the daytime,” said Dr. Phil Langill, who directs the University of Calgary observatory. A meteor is a small rock from outer space that burns up as it enters Earth’s atmosphere. Langill said a fireball is even larger. “Essentially they’re the same thing; it’s just a matter of…
  • Australian Researchers Pioneer a 'Google Street View' of Galaxies

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Jul 2014 | 3:14 pm
    A new home-grown instrument based on bundles of optical fibres is giving Australian astronomers the first 'Google street view' of the cosmos — incredibly detailed views of huge numbers of galaxies. Developed by researchers at the University of Sydney and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, the optical-fibre bundles can sample the light from up to 60 parts of a galaxy, for a dozen galaxies at a time. By analysing the light's spectrum astronomers can learn how gas and stars move within each galaxy, where the young stars are forming and where the old stars live. This will allow them to…
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation Partners with Japanese Space Agency

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Jul 2014 | 2:57 pm
    Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced Wednesday the expansion of its Dream Chaser Space System’s global partnership to include Asia and the Pacific Rim through a recently signed memorandum of cooperative understanding with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). SNC will work with JAXA on potential applications of Japanese technologies and the development of mission concepts for the Dream Chaser spacecraft. Additionally, SNC and JAXA will explore the possibility of launching and landing the Dream Chaser spacecraft in Japan. This international collaboration will widen the…
 
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    Controversy Solved

  • Transformers:The Rise of the Writer Robots

    Word Smith
    12 Jul 2014 | 4:23 am
    Dear Readers I bring to you this alarming bulletin immediately after stumbling upon the disturbing news that I am actually, a computer program. Hold on! Wait! Wait just a second…I’m getting a new update…After further experimentation, which involved slapping myself in the face (which hurt) and a swift sharp kick in the crotch (delivered by my girl friend ,which hurt even more; not because of her betrayal but more by the action itself) it is safe to conclude that, I, am real. Not so fast Geppetto, whether I’m a real boy or a girl shall be determined after doctors examine my…
  • Minecraft: Asteroid edition

    Word Smith
    27 Jun 2014 | 5:34 am
    Dear readers If you think this to be a misleading ploy, utilizing a famous franchise/brand; to attract views then you would be nothing short of utterly correct. It was cleverly devised by a devious friend of mine. Ok, ok you caught me; I have no friends hahaha. This is the kind of self effacing humor which can be expected from this blog.What you can also expect is Controversy. To find it we once again look to the celestial heavens, more specifically to the rocky masses rolling through space AKA Asteroids.  In case the title didn’t already give it away (In which case you probably…
  • Just Dusting The Big Bang Theory

    Word Smith
    19 Jun 2014 | 8:51 am
    Dear Readers I apologize for being off the interweb for some time. Contrary to popular belief I do have a life, but that is a controversy for another time. On this auspicious day I have decided to tackle the fascinating, the intriguing and extremely controversial topic regarding the recent detection of gravitational waves, and as I do so I am completely aware that I am miles behind the whole band wagon. FYI, I was waiting for some time to ensure its validity. But first, lemme t.......ell you that I do not under any circumstance employ or even think to paraphrase cheesy "trending"…
  • Valentines Day. If I Do Quote So Myself.

    Word Smith
    16 Feb 2014 | 10:53 pm
    Dear Astute Readers This is just a quote I came up with ,albeit late,for Valentines.Be it single or plural I hope you had a brilliant day. Photo credit: http://stazzix.deviantart.com/
  • Science Guy vs God. Let the Battle Begin.

    Word Smith
    5 Feb 2014 | 9:41 pm
    Dear Astute readers.Firstly I address that although the title of this post conveys a hostile atmosphere it is further from the truth. In all honesty it is a marketing ploy which most bloggers use to get that much needed ego-boosting traffic. Before starting to write I contemplated whether relating my opinion in a vastly religious world would be the best thing to do. But then I thought more on the subject and realised only God can judge me so I went ahead. This article could be considered ideologically sensitive I suppose, so be warned. I’m also bad with disclaimers.In case you didn't know…
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