Astronomy

  • Most Topular Stories

  • Looking in all the right places: the Sloan Digital Sky Survey extends its reach

    Astronomy Cmarchesin
    27 Jul 2014 | 8:00 pm
    Fig. 1:The Milky Way Galaxy as seen in infrared light. The pink shaded region is not visible from the Northern Hemisphere, so has not been studied previously by the SDSS. The new phase of the SDSS will see the entire galaxy. Credit: The SDSS collaboration, Galaxy image credit: Two Micron All Sky Survey / Infrared Processing and Analysis Center / Caltech & University of Massachusetts Fig. 2:MaNGA galaxy plate, showing the holes for the MaNGA IFUs and sky fibers. (credit: D.R. Law) Fig. 3:SDSS images of the galaxies observed during the March 2014 MaNGA commissioning run at the Apache Point…
  • Binocular Astronomy

    The Urban Astronomer
    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…
  • Getting IXV Ready

    Astronomy News
    Tom
    27 Jul 2014 | 7:30 am
    ESA is getting ready to launch the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle or IXV. This will test technologies and critical systems for Europe’s autonomous reentry for return missions from low Earth orbit. The IXV is said to be about the size of a car being 5 m long, 1.5 m high, 2.2 m wide and weighs almost 2 tons. The IXV is to be launched atop a Vega rocket from the Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana) in November. The flight will collect an immense amount of data during the 1 hour and 40 minute flight to the Pacific Ocean. The flight will be short in duration and will have HUGE…
  • Update on comet C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS)

    Remanzacco Observatory - Comets & Neo
    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…
  • Re: EINSTEIN 1918 CONTRADICTS EINSTEIN 1905

    sci.astro
    27 Jul 2014 | 1:45 pm
    Consider stationary ants spread out in the rectangular line: http://www.wpclipart.com/page_frames/animal/ant/ant_border_rectangle_portrait.png If a single ant is travelling along the rectangular line, consecutively meeting its stationary brothers, this is the original twin-paradox scenario. The t
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    Astronomy Today

  • Observing Summer Constellations

    Kelly
    28 Jul 2014 | 12:45 pm
    The Milky Way and Vega by John Chumack On summer evenings as adults sit around bonfires and kids run in the yard playing flashlight tag, eyes turn skyward. Teach your friends and family the most important summer constellations with this handy guide on what star formations are overhead. Start with the easiest constellation just to orient yourself in the star-filled sky. The Big Dipper is neither a true constellation or a specifically summer constellation, but it will help you get started. The Big Dipper is easy to located in the northwest on summer evenings and is circumpolar, meaning that it…
  • Crossing off the Bucket List: Zodiacal Light

    Kelly
    27 May 2014 | 12:11 pm
    The Zodiacal Light looks pyramidal shaped from horizon stretching upward. Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky Amateur astronomers never really take a vacation from stargazing. And in fact, sometimes vacations provide for the best stargazing. Over spring break this year my family and I did a tour of the national parks, starting and ending our vacation in Las Vegas, one of the most light polluted locations on Earth. But McCarran International airport made for a good spot to begin our travels first to Utah’s national parks, then to Great Basin National Park in Nevada along the loneliest highway in…
  • Up for the Lunar Eclipse

    Kelly
    30 Apr 2014 | 6:14 am
    The Moon in Eclipse with Mars and Spica, April 2014 As a chronic insomniac, I didn’t feel the need to set my alarm for the April lunar eclipse. Just the night before I had been awake from 3:45 to 5:30, so I figured that there was a good chance that sometime within the window of the eclipse I would be awake. At my location, totality would last from 2:07 to 3:25 a.m. with partial phases for an hour on either side of that. Surely I would be awake for some of it. I was actually deep asleep around 2:15 a.m. when my phone buzzed beside me three times. Someone who follows my twitter feed was…
  • In Search of Noctilucent Clouds

    Kelly
    31 Mar 2014 | 6:13 am
    Noctilucent Clouds as seen by the ISS On a list of elusive observing targets, noctilucent clouds are one of the most challenging and one I have yet to spy. These clouds, also called polar mesospheric clouds or night-shining clouds, are found in the mesosphere, higher than all other clouds. Most clouds and weather on earth are confined to the troposphere, or layer of air closest to the ground. The mesosphere is located 80 kilometers above our planet’s surface. The mesosphere is a region that’s extremely cold and dry, and because of this, it is uncommon for clouds to form in an area that is…
  • The Importance of the Stars

    Kelly
    28 Feb 2014 | 7:04 am
    The stars around the nebula Thor’s Helmet, by John Chumack We spend the vast majority of our lives indoors. We’re at work, at school, or at home, with activities such as sleeping, watching TV, or having dinner with the family. This is especially true during the winter months when making the short sprint from a building to our cars can be a test of our endurance. Add to that the places most of us live. These restaurants, offices, industries, schools, and homes all cluster together in cities and suburbs. It is not often that we find ourselves away from the hubbub and associated light…
 
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    Astronomy News

  • Comet Siding Spring’s Path

    Tom
    28 Jul 2014 | 2:50 am
    The orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring up to the close pass of Mars on 19 Oct 2014. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech I was looking all over for a graphic on the Mars encounter last Thursday and NASA published this on Friday. Great timing! So now I need to figure out if the comet might be visible with a telescope. Could be, the moon won’t be a factor and Mars should be visible for a time after sunset. I just need to upload the ephemeris for Siding Spring into Stellarium. One thing I will be able to see (and so will you) on that night is Venus and Spica very close together — easy…
  • Getting IXV Ready

    Tom
    27 Jul 2014 | 7:30 am
    ESA is getting ready to launch the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle or IXV. This will test technologies and critical systems for Europe’s autonomous reentry for return missions from low Earth orbit. The IXV is said to be about the size of a car being 5 m long, 1.5 m high, 2.2 m wide and weighs almost 2 tons. The IXV is to be launched atop a Vega rocket from the Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana) in November. The flight will collect an immense amount of data during the 1 hour and 40 minute flight to the Pacific Ocean. The flight will be short in duration and will have HUGE…
  • A Big Mystery

    Tom
    26 Jul 2014 | 7:52 am
    A mysterious X-ray signal might be a clue to Dark Matter.  
  • U.K. — The Place for Space?

    Tom
    25 Jul 2014 | 2:57 am
    U.K Spaceport concept. Image: U.K. Space Agency via Spaceref The UK is considering to open a spaceport and do it by 2018. The idea is for the UK to become a leader in the growing space market. Business Secretary Vince Cable: “Space is big business for the UK. It already contributes £11.3 billion to the economy each year, supporting nearly 35,000 jobs. That’s why it’s important for us to prepare the UK for new launcher technology and take steps towards meeting our ambition of establishing the first British spaceport by 2018.” Exploring the opportunities that commercial…
  • 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…
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    Universe Today

  • Book Review: Neil Armstrong – A Life of Flight by Jay Barbree

    Ken Kremer
    28 Jul 2014 | 7:34 pm
    Book Cover: Neil Armstrong – A Life of Flight; by Jay Barbree “Neil Armstrong – A Life of Flight” is a thoroughly enjoyable new biography about the first human to set foot on the Moon on NASA’s Apollo 11 mission written with gusto by Emmy winning NBC News space correspondent Jay Barbree. Jay Barbee is a veteran NBC News reporter who has covered America’s manned space program from the start. And he has the distinction of being the only reporter to cover every single American manned space launch – all 166 from Alan Shepard in 1961 to STS-135 in 2011 – from his…
  • Observing Alert – Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower Peaks This Week

    Bob King
    28 Jul 2014 | 3:34 pm
    Watch for the southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower to peak over the next two mornings July 29-30. The best time for viewing for northern observers will be the hour before the start of dawn. Credit: John Chumack With the southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower peaking tomorrow morning, the summer meteor-watching season officially begins. While not a rich shower from mid-northern latitudes, pleasant weather and a chance to see the flaming remains of a comet seem motivation enough to go out for a look. With a rate 10-15 per meteors an hour you’re bound to catch a few. (...)Read the rest…
  • The Little Rover that Could: Opportunity Reaches Odometer Milestone

    Shannon Hall
    28 Jul 2014 | 1:42 pm
    This scene from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows “Lunokhod 2 Crater.” The site was named earlier this year as Opportunity neared the mileage record. Image Credit: NASA NASA’s Opportunity mars rover now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles of driving. Given that the rover has been roaming the Red Planet for over a decade, that’s a travel speed of roughly 2.5 miles per year, and it’s one to be proud of. “Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world,” said Mars Exploration Rover…
  • When Good Meteor Showers Go Bad: Prospects for the 2014 Perseids

    David Dickinson
    28 Jul 2014 | 12:01 pm
    A brilliant capture of a 2013 Perseid fireball. Credit: Fred Locklear. It’s that time of year again, when the most famous of all meteor showers puts on its best display. Why are the Perseids such an all ‘round favorite of sky watchers?  Well, while it’s true that other annual meteor showers such as the Quadrantids and Geminids can exceed the Perseids in maximum output, the Perseids do have a few key things going for them. (...)Read the rest of When Good Meteor Showers Go Bad: Prospects for the 2014 Perseids (869 words) © David Dickinson for Universe Today, 2014. | Permalink | No…
  • Annual Atlanta Star Party Coming Soon!

    Susie Murph
    28 Jul 2014 | 8:42 am
    The 2012 Atlanta Star Party. Credit: Bruce Press If you happen to be attending DragonCon or just live near Atlanta, come and listen to some fantastic speakers and help do astronomy research and education at the Annual Atlanta Star Party! What: Since 2009, this annual charity event celebrates science and space, and brings people together for a great cause. (...)Read the rest of Annual Atlanta Star Party Coming Soon! (135 words) © susie for Universe Today, 2014. | Permalink | No comment | Post tags: astronomers, Astronomy Cast, CosmoQuest, DragonCon, education, Pamela Gay, star party Feed…
 
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    Astroblog

  • Who discovered the Southern Cross?

    27 Jul 2014 | 6:07 am
     A chart of the Southern Sky as seen from Adelaide at 10:00 pm this month, with the Karuna (pronounced Gah-Nah) names for the Southern Cross and the Coal Sack indicated (Click to embiggen). I recently received an email asking me, amongst other things, who discovered the Southern Cross.The question of who "discovered" Crux, the Southern Cross, is complex. The Southern Cross would have been familiar to the Ancient humans who lived in Africa, before they expanded out of Africa and in to the rest of the World. Some modern South African groups see the Southern Cross as part of a group of…
  • Southern Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower 29-31 July, 2014

    25 Jul 2014 | 6:06 am
    Evening sky looking east from Adelaide at 10 pm local time in South Australia. The cross marks the radiant  (the point where the meteors appear to originate from) of the Southern Delta Aquariids. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).The Southern Delta-Aquarids meteor shower runs from from 12 July to 23rd August, peaking on Wednesday July the 30th. The number of meteors you will see depends on how high the radiant is above the horizon, and how dark your sky is. This shower is fairly faint, with the highest rate of around a meteor every 4…
  • 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…
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    Hogg's Research

  • empirical models for APOGEE spectra

    25 Jul 2014 | 1:57 pm
    I spent a chunk of the day with Melissa Ness (MPIA), fitting empirical models to APOGEE infrared spectra of stars. The idea is to do a simple linear supervised classification or regression, in which we figure out the dependence of the spectra on key stellar parameters, using a "training set" of stars with good stellar parameters. We worked in the pair-coding mode. By the end of the day we could show that we are able to identify regions of the spectrum that might serve as good metallicity indicators, relatively insensitive to temperature and log-g. The hopes for this project range from…
  • dust priors and likelihoods

    24 Jul 2014 | 8:59 pm
    Richard Hanson and Coryn Bailer-Jones (both MPIA) and I met today to talk about spatial priors and extinction modeling for Gaia. I showed them what I have on spatial priors, and we talked about the differences between using extinction measurements to predict new extinctions, using extinction measurements to predict dust densities, and so on. A key difference between the way I am thinking about it and the way Hanson and Bailer-Jones are thinking about it is that I don't want to instantiate the dust density (latent parameters) unless I have to. I would rather use the magic of the Gaussian…
  • 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.
 
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    Astronomy Cmarchesin

  • NASA-funded X-ray Instrument Settles Interstellar Debate

    28 Jul 2014 | 8:00 pm
    Colors indicate the density of interstellar helium near Earth and its enhancement in a downstream cone as the neutral atoms respond to the sun's gravity (blue is low density, red is high). Also shown are the observing angles for DXL and ROSAT. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Hi-Res ImageNew findings from a NASA-funded instrument have resolved a decades-old puzzle about a fog of low-energy X-rays observed over the entire sky. Thanks to refurbished detectors first flown on a NASA sounding rocket in the 1970s, astronomers have now confirmed the long-held suspicion that much of…
  • Looking in all the right places: the Sloan Digital Sky Survey extends its reach

    27 Jul 2014 | 8:00 pm
    Fig. 1:The Milky Way Galaxy as seen in infrared light. The pink shaded region is not visible from the Northern Hemisphere, so has not been studied previously by the SDSS. The new phase of the SDSS will see the entire galaxy. Credit: The SDSS collaboration, Galaxy image credit: Two Micron All Sky Survey / Infrared Processing and Analysis Center / Caltech & University of Massachusetts Fig. 2:MaNGA galaxy plate, showing the holes for the MaNGA IFUs and sky fibers. (credit: D.R. Law) Fig. 3:SDSS images of the galaxies observed during the March 2014 MaNGA commissioning run at the Apache Point…
  • A New Approach to SETI: Targeting Alien Polluters

    25 Jul 2014 | 8:00 pm
    In this artist's conception, the atmosphere of an Earth-like planet displays a brownish haze - the result of widespread pollution. New research shows that the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope potentially could detect certain pollutants, specifically CFCs, in the atmospheres of Earth-sized planets orbiting white dwarf stars. Credit: Christine Pulliam (CfA). High Resolution (jpg) Low Resolution (jpg) Cambridge, MA -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…
  • 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…
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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

  • ▶ Misconceptions About the Universe - YouTube

    28 Jul 2014 | 7:43 pm
    Much of the observable universe is already moving away from us faster than the speed of light. However, we can still see them, how come? This video explains the difference between the Hubble Sphere and the Particle Sphere. http://youtu.be/XBr4GkRnY04 Yousuf Khan
  • Re: RICHARD FEYNMAN AND NEWTON'S EMISSION THEORY OF LIGHT

    28 Jul 2014 | 1:41 pm
    Other authoritative confirmations of Newton's emission theory of light: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Development_of_Our_Views_on_the_Composition_and_Essence_of_Radiation Albert Einstein: "A large body of facts shows undeniably that light has certain fundamental properties that are better expl
  • RICHARD FEYNMAN AND NEWTON'S EMISSION THEORY OF LIGHT

    28 Jul 2014 | 12:53 pm
    Richard P. Feynman, "QED: The strange theory of light and matter", Princeton University Press, 1985, p. 15: "I want to emphasize that light comes in this form - particles. It is very important to know that light behaves like particles, especially for those of you who have gone to school, where you p
  • Re: EINSTEIN 1918 CONTRADICTS EINSTEIN 1905

    27 Jul 2014 | 1:45 pm
    Consider stationary ants spread out in the rectangular line: http://www.wpclipart.com/page_frames/animal/ant/ant_border_rectangle_portrait.png If a single ant is travelling along the rectangular line, consecutively meeting its stationary brothers, this is the original twin-paradox scenario. The t
  • Hey, Ed Conrad, we know it's YOU!

    27 Jul 2014 | 10:22 am
    ========================= <      THIS JUST IN ========================= WASHINGTON, D.C. (Rueters) -- Just when the FBI and the Smithsonian thought they had enough deep mysteries to solve, they have another one The revolvers carried by the three Security policemen were stolen sometime in the wee hou
 
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    uk.sci.astronomy

  • Fireball over Somerset

    27 Jul 2014 | 3:32 pm
    Seen over North Somerset today at 2203 UTC, SW to NE, duration about 2s, about a quarter the diameter of the moon, brighter than a full moon.
  • 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

  • Replace What Ails You

    28 Jul 2014 | 12:00 am
    Germs can make us sick, but we didn’t know about these puny pathogens prior to the end of the 19th century. Just the suggestion that a tiny bug could spread disease made eyes roll. Then came germ theory, sterilization, and antibiotics. It was a revolution in medicine. Now we’re on the cusp of another one. This time we may cure what ails us by replacing what ails us. Bioengineers use advancements in stem cell therapy to grow red and white cells for human blood. Meanwhile, a breakthrough in 3D printing: scientists print blood vessels and say that human organs may be next. Plus, implanting…
  • 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…
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    StarDate Online

  • The Brick

    damonddb
    27 Jul 2014 | 10:00 pm
    The center of the Milky Way is already crowded with stars. But in a few million years, tens of thousands more could flare to life in a region known as the Brick. It’s a vast cloud of cold, dark gas and dust that’s shaped like a brick. The Brick may be the biggest future star cluster in the entire galaxy. It’s more than a hundred thousand times the mass of the Sun. And recent observations with a giant new radio telescope show that it contains at least 50 dense blobs of material — embryos that could be giving birth to stars even now. Stars are born when such blobs collapse under their…
  • Galactic Track

    damonddb
    26 Jul 2014 | 10:00 pm
    Big clouds of gas and dust appear to be taking a roller-coaster ride around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The oval track is about 600 light-years long by 400 light-years wide, with a big hump on each side of the track. The track was discovered a few years ago in images from the Herschel space telescope, which looked at the infrared glow of the galaxy’s heart. Cool clouds of gas and dust shine brightest in the infrared. The observations revealed several big clouds that outline the ring-like structure. The clouds are moving along the track at a couple of hundred thousand miles per hour.
  • Old Family

    damonddb
    25 Jul 2014 | 10:00 pm
    When a typical star cluster is born, it’s a tightly packed family — hundreds of stars that were born from the same big cloud of gas and dust, all jammed into a fairly small volume of space. As the cluster orbits the center of the galaxy, though, the stars tend to head their separate ways. The cluster is pulled apart by the gravity of the rest of the galaxy, and pushed apart by interactions between members of the cluster itself. So within a billion years or so, most clusters fall apart. A rare exception is Ruprecht 147, a cluster in Sagittarius. The constellation is in the south this…
  • 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…
 
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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

  • The Moon of One Hundred and One Geysers

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    28 Jul 2014 | 4:00 pm
    Scientists using mission data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have identified 101 distinct geysers erupting on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. Their analysis suggests it is possible for liquid water to reach from the moon's underground sea all the way to its surface. These findings, and clues to what powers the geyser eruptions, are presented in two articles published in the current online edition of the Astronomical Journal. Over a period of almost seven years, Cassini's cameras surveyed the south polar terrain of the small moon, a unique geological basin renowned for its four prominent "tiger…
  • Opportunity Rover Sets Off-World Driving Record

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    28 Jul 2014 | 3:40 pm
    NASA's Opportunity Mars rover, which landed on the Red Planet in 2004, now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving. The previous record was held by the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 rover. "Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance. But what is really important…
  • Cassini Sees Tethys in Sunlight

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    28 Jul 2014 | 3:19 pm
    Tethys, like many moons in the solar system, keeps one face pointed towards the planet around which it orbits. Tethys' anti-Saturn face is seen here, fully illuminated, basking in sunlight. On the right side of the moon in this image is the huge crater Odysseus. The Odysseus crater is 280 miles (450 kilometers) across while Tethys is 660 miles (1,062 kilometers) across. The surface of Tethys is one of the most reflective (at visual wavelengths) in the solar system, with a visual albedo of 1.229. This very high albedo is the result of the sandblasting of particles from Saturn's E-ring, a faint…
  • UAE’s Space Programme Could Inspire Innovation

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    28 Jul 2014 | 3:04 pm
    The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) space programme could inspire innovation and spur further diversification of the country’s economy. A mission to Mars would promote a focus on making breakthroughs in the development of new technologies, which could be patented and sold to foreign space agencies. It could also inspire thousands of Emiratis to pursue careers in the space industry, opening the door to new research bodies and university courses in aerospace engineering. Robert Zubrin, the president of the Mars Society, said the government was encouraging Emiratis to “become a pioneer and an…
  • MESSENGER Spacecraft Gets Closer to Mercury than Ever Before

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    28 Jul 2014 | 2:08 pm
    On July 25, MESSENGER moved closer to Mercury than any spacecraft has before, dropping to an altitude at closest approach of only 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the planet's surface. "The science team is implementing a remarkable campaign that takes full advantage of MESSENGER's orbital geometry, and the spacecraft continues to execute its command sequences flawlessly as the 14th Mercury year of the orbit phase comes to a close," said MESSENGER Mission Operations Manager Andy Calloway, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL).The latest observational campaign includes…
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    Controversy Solved

  • The Chronicles of NASA: The Man,the Moon & the Myth

    Word Smith
    27 Jul 2014 | 5:52 am
    It’s that merry time that comes once every year.The Celebration of our first trek off of this earthly sphere. It fills most Americans with patriotic cheer, as their rivals the Russians,boo and jeer. And in the middle of all this, what do I see? An age old controversy and so I shall end this rhyme, so weird and queerI now regret starting it, Oh dear, Oh dear Diminished hopes of being his peerI’m afraid this can’t compare to a sonnet of Shakespeare Thus concludes my short lived poet’s careerBut Wait! Oh Dear readers, the point is missed I fear!I have gone off on a tangent it would…
  • 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/
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