Astronomy

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  • Lyrids Meteor Shower

    Astronomy News
    Tom
    21 Apr 2015 | 10:05 pm
    Hopefully tonight you have clear skies because it’s time for the Lyrid meteor shower. Actually the shower goes from about 16 April to 26 April and tonight should be near the peak. The meteor rate is usually about 10 per hour with occasional outburst years of over 100 per hour. This meteor shower has observations that go back 2600 years or more. Have a look at Meteor Showers Online for a concise history on the Lyrids and finders charts for both northern and southern hemispheres. ScienceAtNASA just published this video, it’s pretty good with some great tips. You might have to…
  • 25 Years of Hubble

    Astronomy News
    Tom
    23 Apr 2015 | 10:05 pm
    Source: Hubblesite.org Happy Anniversary Hubble! Hubble was launched 25 years ago today on 24 April 1990 aboard the Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-31. The Hubble was deployed on 25 April 1990 and immediately a problem with the optics was noticed and it would take a couple of years to get a correction in place. Once the corrective optics, kind of like “eye-glasses” for the telescope were flown up in December 1993 aboard the Shuttle Endeavour along with a few other upgrades and the repairs were made, the images were stunning. Hubble has be serviced a few times since and continues…
  • Weekly Space Hangout – April 24, 2015: Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One

    Universe Today
    Fraser Cain
    24 Apr 2015 | 11:56 am
    Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain) Special Guest: Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One Guests: Morgan Rehnberg (cosmicchatter.org / @MorganRehnberg ) Brian Koberlein (@briankoberlein) Alessondra Springmann (@sondy) Dave Dickinson (@astroguyz / www.astroguyz.com) This Week’s Stories: 25 years of Hubble Rosetta spots a jet form on 67P Japan to attempt lunar landing in 2018 (maybe!) Dark matter interactions seen CMB cold spot mystery solved The 2015 Lyrids Advanced LIGO and the Hunt for Gravitational Waves A close pass of asteroid 2015 HD1 Alien Supercivilizations Absent from 100,000 Nearby Galaxies Fix…
  • Geomagnetic Alert (22 April, 2015)

    Astroblog
    22 Apr 2015 | 2:49 am
    A geomagnetic alert has been issued by the Australian IPS for the 22nd (yes tonight) to possibly the morning of the 23rd due to a high speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole. Geomagnetic activity is rated at "Unsettled to Active, isolated minor storm periods possible." Aurora, if they occur, are likely to be seen only in Tasmania (possibly Victoria if the minor storm eventuates)Aurora can occur at any time after nightfall (although around midnight or just after seems to be common). Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to…
  • vary all the exposure times!

    Hogg's Research
    20 Apr 2015 | 8:59 pm
    [OMG I have been behind on posting. I will catch up this weekend (I hope).]I have been batting around for years the idea of writing a paper about varying the exposure times in a survey. Typically, I have been thinking about such variation to test the shutter, look for systematics (like non-linearity) in the devices, extend dynamic range (that is, vary the brightness at which saturation happens) , and benefit from the lucky-imaging-like variation in the point-spread function. For all these reasons, I think the LSST project would be crazy to proceed with its (current) plan of doing 15+15 sec…
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    Astronomy News

  • 25 Years of Hubble

    Tom
    23 Apr 2015 | 10:05 pm
    Source: Hubblesite.org Happy Anniversary Hubble! Hubble was launched 25 years ago today on 24 April 1990 aboard the Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-31. The Hubble was deployed on 25 April 1990 and immediately a problem with the optics was noticed and it would take a couple of years to get a correction in place. Once the corrective optics, kind of like “eye-glasses” for the telescope were flown up in December 1993 aboard the Shuttle Endeavour along with a few other upgrades and the repairs were made, the images were stunning. Hubble has be serviced a few times since and continues…
  • Mickiewicz Crater

    Tom
    22 Apr 2015 | 10:05 pm
    This picture of Mickiewicz crater on the planet Mercury from the MESSENGER spacecraft. will be one of the last from the spacecraft as it spirals in towards the planet surface. This particular image was acquired on 21 April 2015 with the Narrow Angle Camera. The image scale is only 5 km / 3 miles across and the resolution is 5 meters/pixel and every day the resolution is increasing as the spacecraft’s altitude decreases. The impact is very close. After a successful Orbit Correction Maneuver planned for tomorrow (24 April 2015) the MESSENGER spacecraft will impact the surface of Mercury…
  • Lyrids Meteor Shower

    Tom
    21 Apr 2015 | 10:05 pm
    Hopefully tonight you have clear skies because it’s time for the Lyrid meteor shower. Actually the shower goes from about 16 April to 26 April and tonight should be near the peak. The meteor rate is usually about 10 per hour with occasional outburst years of over 100 per hour. This meteor shower has observations that go back 2600 years or more. Have a look at Meteor Showers Online for a concise history on the Lyrids and finders charts for both northern and southern hemispheres. ScienceAtNASA just published this video, it’s pretty good with some great tips. You might have to…
  • Hubble and NGC 2865

    Tom
    20 Apr 2015 | 10:05 pm
    Yes the galaxy NGC 2865 is a bit different, an elliptical with lots of young stars is not what we would first think of in an elliptical galaxy. I’ll let ESA/NASA explain, but be sure to click the image and get the larger version. The number of galaxies much further away is amazing and one of the hallmarks of Hubble images. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows an elliptical galaxy called NGC 2865. It lies just over 100 million light-years away from us in the constellation of Hydra — The Sea Serpent — and was discovered in 1835 by astronomer John Herschel. Elliptical…
  • 10 km for Curiosity

    Tom
    19 Apr 2015 | 10:05 pm
    The HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter gives is this look at the rover Curiosity’s trek since about mid-July 2014. The image shows an area about 2 km / 1.25 miles wide. We can follow the path though shallow valleys from the Pahrump Hills where it has been for six months towards its next destination: Logan Pass. The green star marks Curiosity’s location on Sol 957 (16 April 2015) when the rover odometer turned to 10 km / 6.2 miles. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona by
 
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    Universe Today

  • Weekly Space Hangout – April 24, 2015: Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One

    Fraser Cain
    24 Apr 2015 | 11:56 am
    Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain) Special Guest: Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One Guests: Morgan Rehnberg (cosmicchatter.org / @MorganRehnberg ) Brian Koberlein (@briankoberlein) Alessondra Springmann (@sondy) Dave Dickinson (@astroguyz / www.astroguyz.com) This Week’s Stories: 25 years of Hubble Rosetta spots a jet form on 67P Japan to attempt lunar landing in 2018 (maybe!) Dark matter interactions seen CMB cold spot mystery solved The 2015 Lyrids Advanced LIGO and the Hunt for Gravitational Waves A close pass of asteroid 2015 HD1 Alien Supercivilizations Absent from 100,000 Nearby Galaxies Fix…
  • 13 MORE Things That Saved Apollo 13, part 9: Avoiding Gimbal Lock

    Nancy Atkinson
    24 Apr 2015 | 10:00 am
    The Display & Keyboard (DSKY) mounted in the Main Display Console of the Apollo 13 spacecraft, Odyssey. Note the gimbal lock display in the second row. Credit: NASA/The Apollo Flight Journal It was an unlikely case, having an Apollo command ship disabled thousands of miles from Earth. But during the Apollo 9 mission, the crew had actually conducted a test of firing the Lunar Module’s engines while it was docked to the Command Module. It turned out to be fortuitous to have considered such a situation, but Apollo 9 didn’t have to perform the type of maneuvering under the myriad of…
  • 13 MORE Things That Saved Apollo 13, part 8: The Indestructible S-Band/Hi-Gain Antenna

    Nancy Atkinson
    23 Apr 2015 | 7:25 am
    This view of the severely damaged Apollo 13 Service Module (SM) was photographed from the Lunar Module/Command Module (LM/CM) following SM jettisoning. As seen here, an entire panel on the SM was blown away by the apparent explosion of oxygen tank number two located in Sector 4 of the SM. Credit: NASA. The explosion of a liquid oxygen tank in Apollo 13’s Service Module violently propelled debris and a 13-foot (4 meter) outer panel of the SM out into space. Later, the crew saw the damage when they jettisoned the SM prior to reentering Earth’s atmosphere. Commander Jim Lovell described the…
  • Hubble Telescope Celebrates 25 Years in Space With Spectacular New Image

    Nancy Atkinson
    23 Apr 2015 | 6:36 am
    This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the cluster Westerlund 2 and its surroundings has been released to celebrate Hubble’s 25th year in orbit and a quarter of a century of new discoveries, stunning images and outstanding science. Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team. Click the image for access to larger versions. Images from space don’t get any prettier than this. A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope was released today to commemorate a quarter century of exploring the Solar System and beyond since…
  • 13 MORE Things That Saved Apollo 13, part 7: Isolating the Surge Tank

    Nancy Atkinson
    22 Apr 2015 | 12:31 pm
    Schematics of the Apollo command module interior. The surge tank was located in the left hand intermediate equipment bay. Credit: NASA. Join Universe Today in celebrating the 45th anniversary of Apollo 13 with insights from NASA engineer Jerry Woodfill as we discuss various turning points in the mission. Within minutes of the accident during the Apollo 13 mission, it became clear that Oxygen Tank 2 in the Service Module had failed. Then Mission Control radioed up procedures and several attempts were made to try to save the remaining oxygen in Tank 1. But the pressure readings continued to…
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    Astroblog

  • Geomagnetic Alert (22 April, 2015)

    22 Apr 2015 | 2:49 am
    A geomagnetic alert has been issued by the Australian IPS for the 22nd (yes tonight) to possibly the morning of the 23rd due to a high speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole. Geomagnetic activity is rated at "Unsettled to Active, isolated minor storm periods possible." Aurora, if they occur, are likely to be seen only in Tasmania (possibly Victoria if the minor storm eventuates)Aurora can occur at any time after nightfall (although around midnight or just after seems to be common). Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to…
  • The 2015 Australian Lyrid Meteor Shower, Morning 23 April

    22 Apr 2015 | 2:31 am
    The morning sky looking north as seen from Brisbane at 5:00 am AEST on April 23. The Lyrid radiant is marked with a yellow cross. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at an equivalent local time. The radiant will be higher in northern Australia, and lower in southern Australia (click to embiggen).  The Lyrids, the debris of comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher) are a weak but reliable shower that occurs every year between April 16- April 25, with the peak this year around 24 hrs UT on April 22 .That's  around 10 am 23 April in east coast Australia, the radiant doesn't rise until 1 am on the…
  • Venus, Moon and Aldebaran, April 21 2015

    21 Apr 2015 | 8:01 am
    Venus, the Moon and the Hyades on 21 April 2015. Orion is visible above them. Stack of 10x10 second exposures 400 ISO with my Canon IXUS. Click to embiggen to see both the Moon and Venus reflected in the sea..Venus, the Moon, Aldebaran (the brightest star) and the Hyades on 21 April 2015. Stack of 10x8 second exposures 400 ISO and 3 x Zoom with my Canon IXUS. Click to embiggen.After days of terrible weather and inconvenient cloud, the sky was perfectly clear and I could see Venus and the crescent Moon clearly on the train on the way home. Got the camera set up at home and then watched the…
  • The Sky This Week - Thursday April 23 to Thursday April 30

    21 Apr 2015 | 6:47 am
    This is Global Astronomy Month. The First Quarter Moon is Sunday April 26. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky. Mars is lost in the twilight. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky once Venus has set. The Moon visits Jupiter on the 26th. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and now visible in the evening. Mercury is lost to view. Lyrid Meteor shower morning 23rd.The First Quarter Moon is Sunday April 26. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from Earth, on the 29th.Evening sky on  Saturday April 21 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:30 (6:30 pm) ACST in…
  • Aurora Watch (17-18 April)

    17 Apr 2015 | 4:04 am
    An Aurora Watch and a geomagnetic alert has been issued by the Australian IPS for the 17th (yes tonight) to the 18th due to a high speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole. Given long lasting effects for the unexpected aurora on the 15th (which lasted into the morning of the 16th) and the bursts of geomagnetic activity that occurred during daylight hours today this could translate into aurora at any time. Geomagnetic activity is rated at "unsettled to active with isolated Minor Storm levels." Aurora, if they occur, are likely to be seen only in Tasmania (possibly Victoria if the minor…
 
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    Hogg's Research

  • vary all the exposure times!

    20 Apr 2015 | 8:59 pm
    [OMG I have been behind on posting. I will catch up this weekend (I hope).]I have been batting around for years the idea of writing a paper about varying the exposure times in a survey. Typically, I have been thinking about such variation to test the shutter, look for systematics (like non-linearity) in the devices, extend dynamic range (that is, vary the brightness at which saturation happens) , and benefit from the lucky-imaging-like variation in the point-spread function. For all these reasons, I think the LSST project would be crazy to proceed with its (current) plan of doing 15+15 sec…
  • Phil Marshall

    17 Apr 2015 | 8:59 pm
    Phil Marshall showed up today to give the astrophysics seminar. He also attended the CampHogg group meeting. In his seminar, he talked about finding and exploiting strong gravitational lenses in large sky surveys to make precise (and, importantly, accurate) inferences about the expansion history (or redshift—distance relation). He showed that when you are concerned that you might be affected by severe systematics, the best approach is to make your model much more flexible but then learn the relationships among the new nuisance parameters that make the much more flexible model…
  • recap

    16 Apr 2015 | 8:59 pm
    The only real research I did today was a recap of projects with Foreman-Mackey as he prepares to complete his thesis. There are a lot of projects open, and there is some decision-making about what ought to be highest priority.
  • tracking the sky, spectroscopically

    15 Apr 2015 | 8:59 pm
    At group meeting today, Blanton spoke at length about telluric corrections and sky subtraction in the various spectroscopic surveys that make up SDSS-IV. His feeling is that the number of sky and telluric-standard fibers assigned in the surveys might not be optimal given the variability of the relevant systematics. He enlisted our help in analyzing that situation. In particular, what model complexity does the data support? And, given that model complexity, what is the best sampling of the focal plane with telluric standards (and sky fibers)? I agreed to write down some ideas for the SDSS-IV…
  • #astrohackny, week N+1

    14 Apr 2015 | 8:59 pm
    The day started at #astrohackny with Foreman-Mackey and I arguing about convolutions of Gaussians. The question is: Consider a model (probability of the data given parameters) with two (linear) parameters of importance and 150 (linear) nuisance parameters. There is a very weak Gaussian prior on the nuisance parameters. How to write down the marginalized likelihood such that you only have to do a 2x2 least squares, not a 152x152 least squares? I had a very strong intuition about the answer but no solid argument. Very late at night I demonstrated that my intuition is correct, by the method of…
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    Astronomy Cmarchesin

  • Astronomers Find Runaway Galaxies

    24 Apr 2015 | 8:00 pm
    This schematic illustrates the creation of a runaway galaxy. In the first panel, an "intruder" spiral galaxy approaches a galaxy cluster center, where a compact elliptical galaxy (cE) already revolves around a massive central elliptical galaxy. In the second panel, a close encounter occurs and the compact elliptical receives a gravitational kick from the intruder. In the third panel, the compact elliptical escapes the galaxy cluster while the intruder is devoured by the giant elliptical galaxy in the cluster center. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team. High Resolution (jpg) Low…
  • Celestial fireworks celebrate Hubble’s 25th anniversary

    23 Apr 2015 | 8:00 pm
    PR Image heic1509aWesterlund 2 — Hubble’s 25th anniversary image PR Image heic1509bWide-field image of Westerlund 2 (ground-based image) PR Image heic1509cThe star cluster Westerlund 2 PR Image heic1509dStar-forming region Gum 29 PR Image heic1509ePillars around Westerlund 2 PR Image heic1509fNew stars around Westerlund 2 VIDEOS PR Video heic1509aHubblecast Episode 84: A starry snapshot for Hubble’s 25th PR Video heic1509bZoom into Westerlund 2 PR Video heic1509cWesterlund 2 for fulldome PR Video heic1509dPan across Westerlund 2 PR Video heic1509eFlight through star cluster…
  • Cosmologically Complicating Dust

    23 Apr 2015 | 6:37 pm
    The Planck astronomy satellite's new submillimeter wavelength image of ripples in the cosmic background, as refined with data taken with the South Pole BICEP2/Keck Array facilities. Scientists from the two teams combined their data to conclude that previously reported measurements attributed to the effects of cosmic inflation are instead almost certainly due to the effects of galactic dust. Credit: ESA, NASA, Planck/BICEP.The universe was created 13.7 billion years ago in a blaze of light: the big bang. Roughly 380,000 years later, after matter (mostly hydrogen) had cooled enough for neutral…
  • Tau Ceti: The next Earth? Probably not

    22 Apr 2015 | 8:00 pm
    How would an alien world like this look? That’s the question that undergraduate art major Joshua Gonzalez attempted to answer. He worked with Professor Patrick Young’s group to learn how to analyze stellar spectra to find chemical abundances, and inspired by the scientific results, he created two digital paintings of possible unusual extrasolar planets, one being Tau Ceti for his Barrett Honors Thesis. Credit: Joshua Gonzalez.The list of potential life-supporting planets just got a little shorter As the search continues for Earth-size planets orbiting at just the right distance from…
  • First Exoplanet Visible Light Spectrum

    22 Apr 2015 | 5:08 am
    PR Image eso1517aArtist’s impression of the exoplanet 51 Pegasi b PR Image eso1517bThe star 51 Pegasi in the constellation of PegasusPR Image eso1517cWide-field view of the sky around the star 51 Pegasi Videos PR Video eso1517aZooming in on 51 Pegasi PR Video eso1517bArtist’s impression of the exoplanet 51 Pegasi b New technique paints promising picture for futureAstronomers using the HARPS planet-hunting machine at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile have made the first-ever direct detection of the spectrum of visible light reflected off an exoplanet. These observations also revealed…
 
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    The Urban Astronomer

  • Brilliant Venus and the Pleiades

    11 Apr 2015 | 10:38 am
    Venus and PleiadesVenus is the dominant celestial object of the evening sky now and for the coming months. As its brilliant light pierces the western sky long after sunset, it is passing near to different areas of interest along the ecliptic, this week passing near the well-known star clusters the Pleiades and the Hyades. These open clusters of stars are very near the ecliptic and as a consequence has many visitors throughout the year. Binoculars bring out the best in the Pleiades and Hyades so if you have a moment look west after sunset and enjoy the spectacle.Image courtesy Sky…
  • Viewing Party for the April 4th Total Lunar Eclipse

    2 Apr 2015 | 9:52 pm
    Total Lunar EclipseThe San Francisco Amateur Astronomers are hosting a public event to view the April 4th Total Lunar Eclipse at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Details are found in this Press Release and on the SFAA website. And here is some great information and ideas about the eclipse from Sky & Telescope Magazine. We hope to see you in the early morning hours of Saturday April 4th.
  • Total Lunar Eclipses Explained: Videos from NASA and the California Academy of Sciences

    31 Mar 2015 | 9:47 pm
    A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video ten thousand. Here are some excellent video resources that provide solid science and fun learning about Lunar Eclipses:California Academy of Sciences, courtesy of Bing Quock.Science At NASA.NASA Goddard: Understanding Lunar Eclipses
  • The Spring 2015 Eclipse Season

    22 Mar 2015 | 5:07 pm
    We are in an Eclipse Season, a period of time approximately every six months when we experience 2 or 3 eclipses in a short period of time. Just a few days ago Europe experienced a Total Solar Eclipse far in the north of the continent, and by coincidence I was in the region on a business trip and experienced a partial eclipse. Being there reignited the love I have for eclipses and now that I am back in San Francisco, I am counting down the days to the next Total Lunar Eclipse on the early morning hours of April 4th. This is the third in a 'Tetrad of Total Lunar Eclipses' that started in 2014…
  • Saturn and Scorpius in the morning

    9 Mar 2015 | 3:51 pm
    Saturn and ScorpiusWith the onset of daylight savings time, there is plenty of darkness in the morning to step outside and appreciate the view to the south, with the constellation Scorpius dominating the southern horizon. Over the past months, the planet Saturn has slowly moved from Libra into Scorpius where it will spend the next two years on a slow journey eastward across the constellation. The Moon joins the pair for the next few days in a lovely showing in the pre-sunrise sky.Image courtesy of Sky & Telescope.
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    sci.astro

  • Re: YOU SHOULD'VE SEEN THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY . . .

    24 Apr 2015 | 7:37 am
    < Mr. Ed Conrad: I am writing on behalf of my clients: Plato, Tom Edison, Norman Macbeth, CLayton Lennon and Prof. Ernie Hooton. How much longer do they have to wait to get paid for those excellent quotes they gave you? Please reimburse soonest or you'll find your ass in LARGE CLAIMS cour
  • Re: New computer technology imminent.

    24 Apr 2015 | 7:34 am
    be >> slowing, diverging from what might be expected by Moore's law. However, a >> new technology may ramp up speeds as well as storage density again via the >> memristor: >> >> Machine Dreams. >> To rescue its struggling business, Hewlett-Packard is making a long-shot bid >> to change the
  • YOU SHOULD'VE SEEN THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY . . .

    24 Apr 2015 | 7:29 am
    Folks, as all of you know, I've been dishing out plenty of good news on these pages for decades. THAT MAN INDEED IS AS OLD AS COAL Unfortunately, 99.9999 percent of you have refused to believe -- or accept - it. But today, instead of good news, we're bringing you
  • Re: New computer technology imminent.

    24 Apr 2015 | 3:08 am
    In article , rgregoryclark@gmSPAMBLOACKail.com says... > > Advent of the memristor. > > I was interested to note that the advance in processor speeds seemed to be > slowing, diverging from what might be expected by Moore's law. However, a > new technology may r
  • Re: Technology that's just been used to genetically modify a human embryo

    23 Apr 2015 | 4:26 pm
    Was there ever a better reason to have the 2nd amendment? -- Liberalism equals mediocrity.
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    Big Picture Science

  • Life in Space

    SETI Institute
    20 Apr 2015 | 7:26 am
    Discovering bacteria on Mars would be big news. But nothing would scratch our alien itch like making contact with intelligent life. Hear why one man is impatient for the discovery, and also about the new tools that may speed up the “eureka” moment. One novel telescope may help us find E.T. at home, by detecting the heat of his cities. Also, the father of modern SETI research and how decoding the squeals of dolphins could teach us how to communicate with aliens. Guests: •Lee Billings – Journalist and author of Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars…
  • Skeptic Check: Monster Mashup

    SETI Institute
    13 Apr 2015 | 8:06 am
    ENCORE  Monsters don’t exist. Except when they do. And extinction is forever, except when it isn’t. So, which animals are mythical and which are in hiding? Bigfoot sightings are plentiful, but real evidence for the hirsute creature is a big zilch. Yet, the coelacanth, a predatory fish thought extinct, actually lives. Today, its genome is offering clues as to how and when our fishy ancestors first flopped onto land. Meanwhile, the ivory-billed woodpecker assumes mythic status as it flutters between existence and extinction. And, from passenger pigeons to the wooly mammoth, hi-tech…
  • Raising the Minimum Age

    SETI Institute
    6 Apr 2015 | 7:48 am
    We all try to fight it: the inexorable march of time. The fountain of youth doesn’t exist, and all those wrinkle creams can’t help. But modern science is giving us new weapons in the fight against aging. So how far are we willing to go? Hear when aging begins, a summary of the latest biotech research, and how a lab full of youthful worms might help humans stay healthy. Also, a geneticist who takes a radical approach: collect the DNA that codes for longevity and restructure our genome. He finds inspiration – and perhaps genes as well – in the bi-centenarian bowhead whale. But what if…
  • Hidden History

    SETI Institute
    28 Mar 2015 | 4:12 pm
    Archeologists continue to hunt for the city of Atlantis, even though it may never have existed. But, what if it did? Its discovery would change ancient history. Sometimes when we dig around in the past, we can change our understanding of how we got to where we are. We thought we had wrapped up the death of the dinosaurs: blame it on an asteroid. But evidence unearthed in Antarctica and elsewhere suggests the rock from space wasn’t the sole culprit. Also, digging into our genetic past can turn up surprising – and sometimes uncomfortable truths – from ancestral origins to genes that code…
  • Power to the People

    SETI Institute
    23 Mar 2015 | 8:01 am
    ENCORE  Let there be light! Well, it’s easy to do: just flip a switch. But it took more than the invention of the light bulb to make that possible. It required new technology for the distribution of electricity. And that came, not so much from Thomas Edison, but from a Serbian genius named Nikola Tesla. Hear his story plus ideas on what might be the breakthrough energy innovations of the future. Perhaps hydrogen-fueled cars, nuclear fusion electrical generators or even orbiting solar cells? Plus, a reminder of cutting-edge technology back in Napoleon’s day: lighthouses. Guests: •W.
 
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    StarDate

  • Hubble at 25 III

    damonddb
    23 Apr 2015 | 10:00 pm
    In 1990, estimates of the age of the universe ranged from 10 billion to 20 billion years. Today, just a quarter of a century later, there’s widespread agreement that the universe is a bit less than 14 billion years old. That’s one of the most important discoveries made with Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched 25 years ago today. It’s provided new insights into everything from our own solar system to the most-distant quasars — giant disks of hot gas around supermassive black holes. It’s peered into stellar nurseries, stellar retirement centers, and even stellar graveyards. And…
  • Anniversary Portrait

    damonddb
    23 Apr 2015 | 2:26 pm
    NASA released this Hubble Space Telescope image of a busy star cluster to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the telescope's launch. Known as Westerlund 2, the cluster contains about 3,000 infant stars, plus the raw materials for making many more stars. The cluster is about 20,000 light-years away, in the southern constellation Carina, the keel. It is about two million years old and is dominated by hot, massive stars. These stars produce strong winds and torrents of ultraviolet radiation, which erode the clouds of gas and dust that are giving birth to new stars. [NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage…
  • Hubble at 25 II

    damonddb
    22 Apr 2015 | 10:00 pm
    In late 1990, a “Far Side” cartoon depicted a jittery flying saucer with a jittery planet in the background. The caption read, “Another photograph from the Hubble telescope.” Hubble was launched 25 years ago tomorrow amid much fanfare. Within weeks, though, it was a national joke. Time magazine called it the “Blunder of the Century,” and columnist Dave Barry christened it the “Hubble Space paperweight.” David Letterman offered a “Top 10 Hubble Telescope Excuses” list, which included “The guy at Sears promised it would work fine.” Even though the telescope was years…
  • Hubble at 25

    damonddb
    21 Apr 2015 | 10:00 pm
    It was years late and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget, but 25 years ago this week, Hubble Space Telescope was finally ready to fly. The telescope was designed to provide especially sharp views of the universe by escaping Earth’s atmosphere, which blurs the view and blocks some wavelengths of energy. It included a 96-inch mirror to gather and focus starlight, and a set of instruments to study that light. PAO: 3, 2, 1, and liftoff of the space shuttle Discovery with the Hubble Space Telescope, our window on the universe. Discovery carried Hubble into orbit on April 24th, 1990. And…
  • Moon and Venus

    damonddb
    20 Apr 2015 | 10:00 pm
    The crescent Moon and the planet Venus stage a beautiful encounter this evening. Venus is the “evening star,” and stands to the right of the Moon. As a bonus, the bright orange star Aldebaran, the eye of the bull, stands close below the Moon. Venus has no moons of its own. Several observers in the 17th and 18th centuries thought they saw one. But detailed searches haven’t turned up anything. A study conducted about a decade ago suggested that Venus might have had a moon early on. In this scenario, the young planet was hit by another large body, blasting debris into orbit around Venus.
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    Remanzacco Observatory - Comets & Neo

  • New Comet: C/2015 G2 (MASTER)

    Team
    10 Apr 2015 | 1:04 pm
    CBET nr. 4092, issued on 2015, April 10, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~11) on R-band images taken by P. Balanutsa et al. with the MASTER (Mobile Astronomical System of the Telescope-Robots) 0.4-m f/2.5 reflector at the South African Astronomical Observatory.  The new comet has been designated C/2015 G2 (MASTER).We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 10 unfiltered exposures, 30-sec each, obtained remotely on 2015, April 08.8 from Q62 (iTelescope network - Siding Spring) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD +…
  • New Comet: C/2015 F4 (JACQUES)

    Team
    31 Mar 2015 | 2:56 am
    CBET nr. 4085, issued on 2015, March 31, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~16) by C. Jacques on CCD images taken on 2015, March 27.2  by C. Jacques, E. Pimentel and J. Barros with a 0.28-m f/2.2 astrograph at the SONEAR Observatory (Oliveira, Brazil).  The new comet has been designated C/2015 F4 (JACQUES).We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 14 unfiltered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely on 2015, March 27.7 from Q62 (iTelescope network - Siding Spring) through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD, shows…
  • New Comet: C/2015 F2 (POLONIA)

    Team
    26 Mar 2015 | 3:44 pm
    CBET nr. 4083, issued on 2015, March 26, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17) by R. Reszelewski, M. Kusiak, M. Gedek and M. Zolnowski on CCD images taken on 2015, March 23 with a remote-controlled 0.1-m f/5 astrograph of the Polonia Observatory at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, in the course of their comet-search program. The new comet has been designated C/2015 F2 (POLONIA). We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 14 unfiltered exposures, 30 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2015, March 23.8 from Q62 (iTelescope…
  • Bright Nova in Sgr - (PNV J18365700-2855420)

    Team
    16 Mar 2015 | 6:43 am
    Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible bright Nova in Sgr (TOCP Designation: PNV J18365700-2855420) we performed some follow-up of this object remotely through a 0.61-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD) of  iTelescope network (MPC Code  U69 - Auberry, California - USA).On our images taken on March 16.5, 2015 we can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with R-CCD magnitude 5.9 at coordinates:R.A. = 18 36 56.85, Decl.= -28 55 40.0 (equinox 2000.0; UCAC-4 catalogue reference stars).Our wide-Field colour image of Nova Sagittarii…
  • Possible Nova in Sco - (PNV J17032620-3504140)

    Team
    13 Feb 2015 | 11:10 am
    Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible Nova in Sco (TOCP Designation: PNV J17032620-3504140) we performed some follow-up of this object remotely through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer) of iTelescope network (MPC Code  Q62 - Siding Spring).On our images taken on February 13.7, 2015 we can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with R-CCD magnitude 8.6 at coordinates:R.A. = 17 03 26.19, Decl.= -35 04 18.1(equinox 2000.0; UCAC3 catalogue reference stars).Our annotated confirmation image. Click on it…
 
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    Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch

  • Giant Cosmic Tsunami Brings Galaxies Back to Life

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Apr 2015 | 4:20 pm
    Galaxies are often found in clusters, with many 'red and dead' neighbours that stopped forming stars in the distant past. Now an international team of astronomers, led by Andra Stroe of Leiden Observatory and David Sobral of Leiden and the University of Lisbon, have discovered that these comatose galaxies can sometimes come back to life. If clusters of galaxies merge, a huge shock wave can drive the birth of a new generation of stars – the sleeping galaxies get a new lease of life. The scientists publish their work in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.Galaxy…
  • Hubble Space Telescope Turns 25

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Apr 2015 | 2:18 pm
    On 24 April 1990 the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope was sent into orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery as the first space telescope of its kind. It offered a new view of the Universe and has, for 25 years, reached and surpassed all expectations, beaming back data and images that have changed scientists’ understanding of the Universe and the public’s perception of it. "Even the most optimistic person to whom you could have spoken back in 1990 couldn’t have predicted the degree to which Hubble would re-write our astrophysics and planetary science textbooks," said Charlie Bolden, NASA…
  • Lyrid Meteor Shower Lights Up the Night Sky

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Apr 2015 | 11:51 am
    The dazzling Lyrid meteor shower reached its peak Wednesday night and early Thursday morning with as many as 20 meteors per hour darting through the night sky. The meteors are pieces of the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher and have made an appearance every April for at least the past 2,600 years as Earth runs into a stream of debris from the comet. Bits and pieces shed by this comet litter its orbit and bombard the Earth’s upper atmosphere at 177,000 kilometers (110,000 miles) per hour. The vaporizing debris streaks the nighttime with medium-fast Lyrid meteors.The ancient Chinese are said to have…
  • Researchers Illuminate Understanding of Cosmological 'Dark Ages'

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Apr 2015 | 11:17 am
    The first stars in the Universe were born several hundred million years after the Big Bang, ending a period known as the cosmological 'dark ages' – when atoms of hydrogen and helium had formed, but nothing shone in visible light. Now two researchers from Western University, Canada, have calculated what these objects were like. Alexander DeSouza and Shantanu Basu from Western's Faculty of Science found that the first stars could have clustered together in phenomenally bright groups with periods when they were as luminous as 100 million Suns. The findings were published in Monthly Notices of…
  • Small Victims of Galactic Threesomes Can Run Away

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    23 Apr 2015 | 3:48 pm
    Astronomers think, that there are dozens of billions undetectable free floating planets that straggle along our Milky Way galaxy, being not gravitationally bound to any star. Moreover, there are about two dozens known stars that escaped from our Galaxy at high velocities, and even one runaway star cluster hosting a million stars that fled the giant galaxy Messier 87 in the Virgo cluster. All those objects have one thing in common - they have been thrown away from their home systems by gravitational perturbations. Two Russian astronomers, Igor Chilingarian and Ivan Zolotukhin of Sternberg…
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    Insight Observatory

  • Methods for Observing the Lyrid Meteor Shower

    Michael Petrasko
    22 Apr 2015 | 6:41 am
    Lyrid meteor photographed back in the 2012 showerThis month’s Lyrid meteor shower isn't one of the year's strongest displays, and with Moon being in a thin, waxing crescent, it won't offer much competition. As with January’s Quadrantids, the Lyrids put on a fairly brief performance, and this year the predicted peak on April 22nd at 23:00 UT.The Lyrid meteors appear to radiate from a location near the Hercules-Lyra border, which is high in the sky from about 11 p.m. until dawn. The Lyrid meteor shower has been observed for more than 2,000 years; Chinese records say "stars fell like…
  • The March 2015 Solar Eclipse

    Muir Evenden
    11 Apr 2015 | 9:15 am
    The author's image of the March 20, 2015Solar Eclipse visible from Krakow, PolandWhen I heard that the March 20, 2015 total solar eclipse would be visible as a partial solar eclipse from Krakow, Poland, I had a dilemma: how can I observe this event when I possessed no adequate filter to protect my camera so I could photograph it? In the past I used to own a specialized solar filter made from mylar, and so I thought: what do I have now that has such a similar property? The answer was remarkably simple: a blank DVD. Luckily I possessed a blank DVD with no artwork on the top that might…
  • Astronomical Sketching

    Michael Petrasko
    28 Mar 2015 | 10:20 am
    Lunar Crater Gassendl Sketched by Achim RoheI guess its valid to say that this post is a follow-up to one of my most recent posts called "Keeping an Observing Log". Recently, I was searching for some good RSS Feed content for our Insight Observatory's blog and stumbled upon a website that is similar to NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website. The difference is that its entitled "Astronomy Sketch of the Day" and features astronomical sketches of astronomical objects or phenomena observed in detail submitted by amateur astronomers around the globe. As I may have mentioned before in one…
  • Cloudy Sky Blues and a Visit to the Planetarium

    Muir Evenden
    14 Mar 2015 | 2:48 am
    Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium, Warsaw, PolandI needed a little inspiration: too many cloudy days here this winter in Poland...what else should I expect? Luckily relief was not too far behind. In early February I found myself on a trip to Warsaw with my wife to explore the city and it's culture, including a visit to the new Copernicus Science Center, and most importantly to their Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium. It was my first visit to one of the newer style of planetariums that utilize a number of digital projectors (no large Zeiss or Spitz dumbbell projector here), as well as a…
  • Astronomy Bingo Games

    Michael Petrasko
    8 Mar 2015 | 12:14 pm
    Recently I was browsing the Las Cumbres Global Telescope Network's education section of their website and came across an entertaining and fun way for students to participate in astronomy education... Play Bingo with Charles Messier. Charles Messier was an astronomer who lived in Paris in the 18th century. He wanted to become famous by discovering comets. When he looked through his telescope he often re-discovered objects which were already known and were not comets. So he didn't waste time, each time he found an object that did not move in the sky he catalogued it.As I read more on…
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    SkySlab

  • Decommissioning Celestron 9.25″ SCT

    simon
    14 Apr 2015 | 8:21 pm
    So far, all the shots that SkySlab has taken have been using a Celestron 9.25″ Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube (with one or two exceptions using a William Optics GT-81).  I originally chose this scope because of it’s ease of use and as a good introduction into astrophotography.  There are a plethora of accessories available for them, … Continue reading Decommissioning Celestron 9.25″ SCT →
  • Contact SkySlab

    simon
    11 Apr 2015 | 3:51 am
    New form for contacting SkySlab, making requests for objects to be photographed (celestial objects that is), suggestions and feedback on functions or things that might make the site better, etc.  All welcome and very much appreciated.  The page is here but it’s also a menu item above.  
  • Podcasts

    simon
    9 Apr 2015 | 7:28 am
    …no, not mine – although that might happen one day, but not soon.  I’ve just completed a new page that brings together some great resources for education, keeping up with news and events related to astronomy and science.  I especially like the Titanium Physicist but also listen to ABCs Star Stuff regularly.  Any suggestions, I’m … Continue reading Podcasts →
  • ATIK EFW2 USB Electronic Filter Wheel

    simon
    5 Apr 2015 | 12:51 am
    I’ve used the ATIK EFW2 USB Electronic filter wheel on a few occasions.  It’s a great piece of engineering, simple but very effective.  It’s easy to set up, easy to maintain, works very well and easy to adjust. I prefer one shot colour photography and will likely not get into mono photography for some time, … Continue reading ATIK EFW2 USB Electronic Filter Wheel →
  • William Optics GT-81 Triplet Refractor

    simon
    4 Apr 2015 | 12:58 am
    SkySlab has used this little beautiful refractor for a few photos in 2013 but is currently taking closer field of view shots of objects rather than wide field of view shots.  The WO-GT81 will produce stunning wide-field shots, is very fast in terms of light gathering and has no negative coma or chroma effects.  They … Continue reading William Optics GT-81 Triplet Refractor →
 
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    Nerdynaut - Cyber

  • OH Yeah! This is How to Make Custom Domain E-Mail Accounts for Free

    28 Mar 2015 | 7:02 pm
    May be you have a company, May be you have a website for your company, But do your company members use E-mails with your company’s web domain like dcshehan@nerdynaut.gaMay be your answer is “Yeah”. But let me guess are those E-Mail address made from Google Apps  or Microsoft Office 365. But let me ask you a question, Are they free of charge. Yep, it’s not free. Because of this reason I also don’t like these services. But Finally I found a free solution for this work. It’s Yandex Mail. Yandex  is Russian company and it’s is a…
  • Best funny Facebook apps to be silly

    6 Feb 2015 | 12:24 am
    This article is a list of funny Applications that work using the details and permission of your Facebook Account and sometimes other social accounts too… All these apps are individually tested by me and the result of mine also here and guys please don’t take serious when you have bad result from some apps because these are just apps that work using different algorithms, Never mind your date of death, your ambitions etc.  For What You will be Always Remembered? What thing people will always remember about you? A fun app to know what people will remember about you whenever…
  • Google Web Designer - Bring ideas to life across screens

    23 Jan 2015 | 2:44 am
    Google Web Designer is a free and professional-grade HTML5 authoring tool for Windows, Mac and Linux for building interactive, animated and creative HTML 5 contents.  No coding knowledge necessary for this.  An Overview of the updated Google Web Designer Download Google Web Designer  Mac 10.7.x or later, Win 7 or later, Linux (Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora/openSUSE) Hi I am DCShehan. I am a researcher of Hackengine. Click to know more about me. by DCShehan
  • How to catch the hide and seekers on Facebook

    22 Jan 2015 | 8:40 pm
    Any of your friends, family members and love ones stay online Facebook by hiding from Facebook chat. If you want to find the people who hide from you, use following Facebook apps. Sneak Online  1,100+ monthly users https://apps.facebook.com/sneakonline Online Now  50,000+ monthly users https://apps.facebook.com/newonlinenow Online People  100,000+ monthly users https://apps.facebook.com/onlineusers Hi I am DCShehan. I am a researcher of Hackengine. Click to know more about me. by DCShehan
  • The Anatomy of Nerds & Geeks (infographic)

    19 Jan 2015 | 9:06 pm
    Are you a geek or a nerd? Compare which one you may be with this infographic!  Hi I am DCShehan. I am a researcher of Hackengine. Click to know more about me. by DCShehan
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