Astronomy

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  • A New Map of the Galaxy in the Light of Atomic Hydrogen

    Astronomy Cmarchesin
    21 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    A new image of the Lagoon Nebula as seen with the VPHAS+ survey in the light of atomic hydrogen. The survey has just begun to return science results; there are roughly 300 million objects in its catalog. (Video link) Atomic hydrogen is the lightest and by far most abundant element in the universe. When it is exposed to ultraviolet light, its single electron can be stripped from the atom, a situation that arises near stars that are hot. When a free electron then reunites with a proton to form a neutral atom it emits light including the visible H-alpha emission line. A region of H-alpha…
  • An X-ray view of the COSMOS field

    Astronomy Cmarchesin
    22 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    An X-ray view of the COSMOS fieldCopyright: ESA/XMM-Newton/Gunther Hasinger, Nico Cappelluti, and the XMM-COSMOS collaboration.  When we gaze up at the night sky, we are only seeing part of the story. Unfortunately, some of the most powerful and energetic events in the Universe are invisible to our eyes – and to even the best optical telescopes.Luckily, these events are not lost; they appear vividly in the high-energy sky, making them visible to space-based telescopes like ESA's XMM-Newton, which observes the Universe in the X-ray part of the spectrum.This image shows a patch of sky…
  • The Moon in the Morning Sky

    The Urban Astronomer
    21 Apr 2014 | 8:16 pm
    Waning MoonI enjoy the waning phases of the Moon, seeing it out my kitchen window as the light of dawn fills the eastern horizon and the shiny Moon offers itself in a gradually-decreasing shape each morning. Today at Last Quarter phase, the half-lit Moon was distinctive and dominant from the first light of dawn until the Sun had risen. But each day as the remaining disk of the Moon diminishes and the location moves farther east and nearer to the sunrise, the Moon will become harder to find in the glare of the first light of the day. It's a fitting end of the cycle for this amazing orb that…
  • Hubble’s View of NGC 3455

    Astronomy News
    Tom
    23 Apr 2014 | 5:28 am
    Hubble used the Advance Camera for Surveys to get this look at NGC 3455. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Nick Rose Located at RA: 10 51 52/DEC: 17 33.1 in the constellation Leo. The photo caption at NASA and included below pegs the distance at 65 million light-years what it doesn’t say is the red-shift velocity is about 1102 km sec / 685 miles per second! The companion galaxy mentioned in the press release NGC 3454 can be seen here. NGC 3455 is the galaxy at the  center and above that you can see the bright star (from the Hubble image) in the center and the cigar shaped…
  • In Search of Noctilucent Clouds

    Astronomy Today
    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…
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    Astronomy Today

  • 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…
  • Supernova in M82

    Kelly
    27 Jan 2014 | 9:38 am
    The Supernova 2014J in M82. Credit: UCL/University of London Observatory/Steve Fossey/Ben Cooke/Guy Pollack/Matthew Wilde/Thomas Wright With the recent supernova in M82, it’s a good time for us to review how to spot the fairly accessible galaxies M81 and M82, which reside in close quarters in the easy-to-find galaxy Ursa Major, known for its Big Dipper asterism. The first days of February will be the peak of brightness for the new supernova, named SN 2014J. At 11th magnitude, a telescope will be required to capture the light from the explosion as it brightens a point near the end of the…
  • The Brightest Stars of Winter

    Kelly
    30 Dec 2013 | 10:31 am
    Jupiter and the Winter Triangle by John Chumack In a large portion of the world, stargazing in December, January, and February is not ideal. As I write this it is -11 degrees Fahrenheit or -24 Celsius. I’m also battling with some sort of sinus illness that is starting to feel reminiscent of the plague, which only makes me want to stay indoors all the more. But the thing about winter’s sky is that some of the brightest stars reside there. You can spot them from inside your warm home. Turn off all the lights (except for the orange glow coming off the fireplace) and peer outside at the…
  • Winter’s Brightest Nebulae

    Kelly
    29 Nov 2013 | 5:58 pm
    M78 in the Orion Nebula by John Chumack Some of the brightest nebulae are found close together in the winter sky in the Northern Hemisphere. Taurus leads Orion up over the eastern horizon, both constellations distinctive with their bright stars and prominent shapes. Taurus is notable for the V-shape that forms the bull’s head along with the little star cluster known as the Pleiades. Orion is famous for its belt and the three stars that lie tightly in a row, outlined by a large rectangle that makes up the Hunter’s body. The two constellations contain some of the easiest nebulae for amateur…
 
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    Astronomy News

  • Spacewalk Success

    Tom
    24 Apr 2014 | 5:11 am
    NASA Astronauts Steve Swanson and Rick Mastracchio completed a spacewalk today to replace a failed Multiplexer/Demultiplexer (MDM) back up computer, think of it as kind of a relay computer used to run some of the robotics on the spacecraft. The problem was discovered during a routine check by Mission Control. This was a backup system and there was no problem with the primary system so there was never a danger to either the crew or the station. Still the back up is kind of an urgent need. The failed computer has been in place since April 2002 when is was delivered already installed on a…
  • Hubble’s View of NGC 3455

    Tom
    23 Apr 2014 | 5:28 am
    Hubble used the Advance Camera for Surveys to get this look at NGC 3455. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Nick Rose Located at RA: 10 51 52/DEC: 17 33.1 in the constellation Leo. The photo caption at NASA and included below pegs the distance at 65 million light-years what it doesn’t say is the red-shift velocity is about 1102 km sec / 685 miles per second! The companion galaxy mentioned in the press release NGC 3454 can be seen here. NGC 3455 is the galaxy at the  center and above that you can see the bright star (from the Hubble image) in the center and the cigar shaped…
  • 3,000 for MESSENGER

    Tom
    22 Apr 2014 | 5:45 am
    The peak-ring basin Scarlatti as seen from MESSENGER on 18 April 2014. Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington On 20 April 2014 the MESSENGER spacecraft completed 3,000 orbits of the planet Mercury and is about to get closer to the planet than ever before at an altitude of 199 km / 124 miles. From the MESSENGER website: “We are cutting through Mercury’s magnetic field in a different geometry, and that has shed new light on the energetic electron population,” said MESSENGER Project Scientist Ralph McNutt, of the Johns…
  • LADEE Interfaces with Moon

    Tom
    21 Apr 2014 | 5:47 am
    Artist concept of LADEE. Image Credit: NASA Ames/Dana Berry The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) interfaced with lunar surface, NASA speak for it hit the moon – hard. The impact occurred between 21:30 and 22:22 PDT on 17 April. Not bad, my guess was 19:20 on 18 April. I was kind of hoping to hear where it hit this weekend, apparently I was over-simplifying things. The spacecraft was moving about 5,800 kmh or 3,600 mph. Not likely to be anything recognizable on the surface except for small impact craters. We might get a good look at the impact site from the Lunar…
  • New Horizons

    Tom
    20 Apr 2014 | 9:37 am
    New Horizons: On the Space Frontier Glad to hear anything about New Horizons as I patiently wait out the long journey. Source
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    Universe Today

  • LADEE Sees Zodiacal Light before Crashing into Moon, but Apollo Mystery Remains

    Bob King
    24 Apr 2014 | 12:39 pm
    Sunrise over the surface of the moon: a series of star tracker images taken by LADEE Saturday, April 12. The lunar horizon is ahead, a few minutes before orbital sunrise. Image Credit: NASA Ames. NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) literally ‘saw the light’ just days before crashing into the lunar farside last Thursday April 17. Skimming just a few kilometers above the moon’s surface, mission controllers took advantage of this unique low angle to gaze out over the moon’s horizon in complete darkness much like the Apollo astronauts…
  • Take a Fly-by Of All the Known Exoplanets

    Nancy Atkinson
    24 Apr 2014 | 12:31 pm
    Here’s a fun trip through the galaxy, put together by PhD student Tom Hands at the University of Leicester: In the above video, you can fly to of all the known exoplanets (around single stars only), ordered roughly by semi-major axis of largest orbit. Hands said the video is designed to give the viewer an overview of the current distribution of exoplanets. Hands used data from the Open Exoplanet Catalogue. (...)Read the rest of Take a Fly-by Of All the Known Exoplanets (36 words) © nancy for Universe Today, 2014. | Permalink | No comment | Post tags: exoplanets, Extrasolar Planets Feed…
  • Asteroids VS. Your Hometown: Fun but Frightening Graphics Compare Asteroid Sizes to Places on Earth

    Nancy Atkinson
    24 Apr 2014 | 10:40 am
    This graphic imagines asteroid 243 Ida as it would fantastically hover over the city of St. Louis, Missouri. Credit and copyright: Ciro Villa. So, how big is that space rock? Sometimes when I see data on sizes and distances in relation to stuff out in space, it’s hard to get a frame of reference, since those two categories tend to lean towards the super-big. But now, I’ve got a little help. Space enthusiast and software engineer Ciro Villa has brought some of these references closer to home with these fun graphics that provide accurate size ratios and proportions of objects in…
  • Why Inflation Didn’t Get the Same Hype as the Higgs

    Shannon Hall
    24 Apr 2014 | 9:51 am
    Shown here are the B-mode polarization patterns on the cosmic microwave background. Image Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Last month astronomers provided evidence that the universe underwent a brief but stupendous expansion at the very beginning of time. It was a landmark discovery. And while the media worldwide gleamed with fantastical headlines, I’m left overwhelmed with the feeling that it didn’t quite get the spotlight it deserves. The day of the announcement was ablaze with excitement. When I first started to cover the news, I told my mother I was writing on…
  • Pingpong! How You Could Send Something Small High In The Atmosphere

    Elizabeth Howell
    24 Apr 2014 | 8:01 am
    A view of “PongSats” containing student experiments in a high-altitude balloon that goes to about 100,000 feet. Credit: John Powell / JP Aerospace / Kickstarter Spring is a time of treasures in eggs — think about the Easter weekend that just passed, for example, or the number of chicks hatching in farms across the world. That’s also true of “near-space” exploration. A project called PongSats has sent thousands of tiny experiments into space, and is ready to send up another batch this coming September. (...)Read the rest of Pingpong! How You Could Send…
 
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    Astroblog

  • The Sky This Week - Thursday April 24 to Thursday May 1

    22 Apr 2014 | 6:46 am
    The New Moon is Tuesday April 29. There is a partial solar eclipse visible on the afternoon of the 29th. Jupiter is the brightest object in the early evening sky, visible in the early evening. Mars is prominent in the evening sky. Saturn rises higher in the evening sky. Venus is prominent in the morning sky, the Moon is close to Venus on the 26th.  Mercury is lost in the twilight. The asteroids Vesta and Ceres are visible in binoculars.Partial Eclipse as seen from Hobart near maximum eclipse, 4:55 pm AEST. Simulated in Celestia. Click to embiggen The New Moon is Tuesday April 29. …
  • Dark Sky Events April 20-29

    21 Apr 2014 | 3:13 pm
    Dark skies are something we appreciate in the outback, when the full canopy of glittering stars are drawn over us. For those of us in suburbs and cities, the experience of dark skies is becoming rarer and rarer as light pollution encroaches.International Dark Sky Week is an initiative of the International Dark Sky Association which aims to raise awareness of this issue, and runs from April 20-26 (April 21-27 in Australia). Why not check your local  astronomical societies or the local planetariums and see if they are running dark sky events.There is also the 5th International Earth…
  • The 2014 Australian Lyrid Meteor Shower, Morning 23 April

    20 Apr 2014 | 4:39 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 between 4-15 hrs UT on April 22 .That's between 2pm -April 22 to 1 am 23 April in east coast Australia, but as the radiant doesn't rise…
  • Carnival of Space #350 is Here!

    19 Apr 2014 | 6:54 am
    Carnival of Space #350 is now up at CosmoQuest. There's the first true Earth-sized world in a habitable zone around another star, planet formation, a new Moon for Saturn, sobering statistics on asteroid impacts and lots, lots more. Take a spin on over and have a read.
  • Aurora Watch issued for April 20-21 (Easter Sunday-Monday)

    19 Apr 2014 | 2:27 am
    The Australian IPS has issued both a geomagnetic alert and an Aurora Watch for April 20-21. Tasmania, Southern New Zealand, and possibly southern Victoria, southern WA and the North Island should be on the lookout for Aurora from around astronomical twilight (and hour and a half after sunset) on the 20th until twilight on the morning of the 21st. At the moment it is most likely that any serious geomagnetic storm, and hence aurora, will occur after midnight in the early hours of the morning of the 21st, but the solar wind streams might arrive early, of the combination of the two CME events may…
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    Hogg's Research

  • UnDisLo, day 3

    23 Apr 2014 | 8:59 pm
    Another impressively productive day just happened in our work bunker on the Central Coast. Conroy (UCSC) came in again, with his student Jieun Choi (UCSC). We discussed ways to generalize "stacking" of spectra in "bins"; it is often (usually?) better to regress. This can be expressed as a wavelength-by-wavelength weighted linear least-square fit. We worked through the linear-regression math in the morning and Choi implemented in the afternoon. The results look sweet. Choi used them to look for consistent residuals in rest-frame (redshifted) and observed-frame (spectrograph) space and it looks…
  • UnDisLo, day 2

    22 Apr 2014 | 8:59 pm
    There is nothing like being isolated in the middle of nowhere with bad internet! Johnson (UCSC) and Foreman-Mackey worked on Johnson's problem of fitting simultaneously photometry and spectroscopy, with an extremely flexible model for spectrograph calibration (or calibration residuals). The key idea that moved us forward is that you can fit the large-scale calibration "vector" with a polynomial and then pick up the small remaining residuals with a Gaussian Process. The latter is analytic to marginalize out, so it doesn't increase the number of parameters in the MCMC sampling (and hence…
  • UnDisLo, day 1

    21 Apr 2014 | 8:59 pm
    Foreman-Mackey and I drove down to an undisclosed location on Monterey Bay to work with Charlie Conroy, Dan Weisz, and Ben Johnson (all UCSC). On the way down we discussed my new optimized photometry program. Once we arrived, we got to planning the week of hacking. We decided to focus on a few areas of mutual interest involving non-trivial data analysis. One area is combining spectroscopic and photometric information on galaxies and stars, where the spectroscopy is less reliable but far larger in total bytes. We have ideas about this. Another is learning a population distribution from noisy…
  • Napa

    18 Apr 2014 | 8:59 pm
    I am on quasi-vacation this week (just staying up with email); hence no posts. But today I crashed a meeting in Napa Valley hosted by Wechsler (KIPAC), Conroy (UCSC), and others. I saw just a few talks, but they were excellent: Jeremiah Murphy (UFl) on supernovae explosions, Conroy on abundance anomalies on globular clusters, Blanton (NYU) on photometry, Finkbeiner (CfA) on photometric calibration, and Sarah Tuttle (UT) on the HETDEX spectrograph hardware. Great stuff.Murphy showed us that there are crazy neutrino dynamics in the first fraction of a second in a supernova explosion; in…
  • red giants as clocks

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

  • Astronomical Forensics Uncover Planetary Disks in Hubble Archive

    24 Apr 2014 | 3:38 pm
    Circumstellar Disks HD 141943 and HD 191089Image Credit: NASA ESA, and R. Soummer and A. Feild (STScI).  Science Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Soummer (STScI), and M. Perrin (STScI), L. Pueyo (STScI/Johns Hopkins University), C. Chen and D. Golimowski (STScI), J.B. Hagan (STScI/Purdue University), T. Mittal (University of California, Berkeley/Johns Hopkins University), E . Choquet, M. Moerchen, and M. N’Diaye (STScI), A. Rajan (Arizona State University), S. Wolff (STScI/Purdue University), J. Debes and D. Hines (STScI), and G. Schneider (Steward Observatory/University of Arizona). Release…
  • An X-ray view of the COSMOS field

    22 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    An X-ray view of the COSMOS fieldCopyright: ESA/XMM-Newton/Gunther Hasinger, Nico Cappelluti, and the XMM-COSMOS collaboration.  When we gaze up at the night sky, we are only seeing part of the story. Unfortunately, some of the most powerful and energetic events in the Universe are invisible to our eyes – and to even the best optical telescopes.Luckily, these events are not lost; they appear vividly in the high-energy sky, making them visible to space-based telescopes like ESA's XMM-Newton, which observes the Universe in the X-ray part of the spectrum.This image shows a patch of sky…
  • A Dance of Black Holes

    22 Apr 2014 | 3:21 am
    Artist’s impression of a pair of black holes. One of them is accreting the 'debris' of the disrupted star, while the second is temporarily interrupting the stream of gas toward the other black hole. © ESA/C. Carreau Unique pair of supermassive black holes in an ordinary galaxy discovered by XMM-NewtonA pair of supermassive black holes in orbit around one another have been discovered by an international research team including Stefanie Komossa from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany. This is the first time such a pair could be found in an ordinary galaxy. They…
  • A New Map of the Galaxy in the Light of Atomic Hydrogen

    21 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    A new image of the Lagoon Nebula as seen with the VPHAS+ survey in the light of atomic hydrogen. The survey has just begun to return science results; there are roughly 300 million objects in its catalog. (Video link) Atomic hydrogen is the lightest and by far most abundant element in the universe. When it is exposed to ultraviolet light, its single electron can be stripped from the atom, a situation that arises near stars that are hot. When a free electron then reunites with a proton to form a neutral atom it emits light including the visible H-alpha emission line. A region of H-alpha…
  • Sun Emits a Mid-level Solar Flare

    20 Apr 2014 | 8:00 pm
    The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.A mid-level flare burst from the sun on April 18, 2014, as seen as a bright spot in the center of this image. The image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics…
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    The Urban Astronomer

  • The Moon in the Morning Sky

    21 Apr 2014 | 8:16 pm
    Waning MoonI enjoy the waning phases of the Moon, seeing it out my kitchen window as the light of dawn fills the eastern horizon and the shiny Moon offers itself in a gradually-decreasing shape each morning. Today at Last Quarter phase, the half-lit Moon was distinctive and dominant from the first light of dawn until the Sun had risen. But each day as the remaining disk of the Moon diminishes and the location moves farther east and nearer to the sunrise, the Moon will become harder to find in the glare of the first light of the day. It's a fitting end of the cycle for this amazing orb that…
  • KALW Broadcast - April 8, 2014

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

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

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

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

  • WHY EINSTEIN PROPOSED HIS SECOND POSTULATE

    24 Apr 2014 | 8:55 am
    http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Special-Relativity-James-Smith/dp/048668895X Introduction to Special Relativity, James H. Smith, p. 42: "We must emphasize that at the time Einstein proposed it [his second postulate], there was no direct experimental evidence whatever for the speed of light being
  • A CORRECTION -- Rush Limbaugh the World's Greatest Snake-Oil Salesman

    24 Apr 2014 | 6:35 am
    <            SORRY, CHARLIE! < <            CRIME IN RHYME < Evolutionists, their interests so vested And Poor Truth, for too long molested. Their deceit and deception Near the point of perfection If it were my call, they'd ALL be arrested < <    DISCOVERED BETWEEN COAL VEINS http://www.edconrad.com
  • Re: THE FALSE ABSOLUTE OF RELATIVITY

    24 Apr 2014 | 12:22 am
    In order to vindicate the introduction of Einstein's 1905 false constant-speed-of-light postulate (directly adopted from the otherwise discarded ether theory), Einsteinians teach the following two blatant lies: 1. Maxwell's 19th century electromagnetic theory predicted that the speed of light (rela
  • THE FALSE ABSOLUTE OF RELATIVITY

    23 Apr 2014 | 9:59 am
    http://www.amazon.com/What-Relativity-Intuitive-Introduction-Einsteins/dp/0231167261 What Is Relativity?: An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein's Ideas, and Why They Matter, Jeffrey Bennett: "THE ABSOLUTES OF RELATIVITY. The name "theory of relativity" is in some sense a good name, in that the rela
  • WHY AMERICANS ARE GETTING DUMBER AND DUMBER EVERY YEAR

    22 Apr 2014 | 6:31 am
    <          CRIME IN RHYME < Evolutionists, their interests so vested And Poor Truth, for too long molested. Their deceit and deception Near the point of perfection If it were my call, they'd ALL be arrested < <    DISCOVERED BETWEEN COAL VEINS http://www.edconrad.com/pics/FINGERSx.jpg < <         =
 
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    Big Picture Science

  • Happily Confused

    21 Apr 2014 | 12:00 am
    Do you feel happy today? How about happily disgusted? Maybe sadly surprised, or sadly disgusted? Human emotions are complex. But at least they’re the common language that unites us all – except when they don’t. A tribe in Namibia might interpret our expression of fear as one of wonderment. And people with autism don’t feel the emotions that others do. So if you’re now delightfully but curiously perplexed, tune in and discover the evolutionary reason for laughter … how a computer can diagnose emotional disorders that doctors miss … and why the world’s most famous autistic…
  • That's Containment!

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

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

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

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

  • Moon and Venus

    damonddb
    23 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    Many skywatching treats require either some knowledge of the night sky or some careful work to track them down. But a few are so dazzling that they take no effort at all — just look skyward and there they are. Among the most prominent of these is a conjunction between the Moon and the planet Venus, the two brightest objects in the night sky. And there’s a fine one on display at dawn tomorrow. Venus, the “morning star,” perches just to the lower left of the crescent Moon. As long as you have a clear eastern horizon you just can’t miss them. The Moon shines so brightly because it’s…
  • Time Bombs

    damonddb
    22 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    Several ticking time bombs are in view as darkness falls this evening. The list includes most of the bright stars of Orion, which is low in the west: orange Betelgeuse, the three stars of Orion’s Belt below it, and Rigel below the belt. And over in the southeast there’s Spica, the brightest star of Virgo. Each of these stars — and several others that are visible to the unaided eye — is destined to explode as a supernova — a blast that can outshine billions of normal stars. A supernova is bad news for any nearby planet. The explosion can strip away a planet’s protective ozone layer…
  • Time Bomb

    damonddb
    22 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    An artist's concept shows a supernova, with energy from the exploding star slamming into a ring of gas ejected from the star long before the explosion itself. Several bright stars visible in the night sky will someday end their lives in such titanic explosions, perhaps endangering life on any planets within a few dozen light-years. None of the stars is close enough to endanger Earth, however. [Alexandra Angelich/NRAO/AUI/NSF] Text ©2014 The University of Texas at Austin McDonald ObservatoryFor more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.
  • Space Fair

    damonddb
    21 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    The Space Age was on display at the 1964 World's Fair in New York, which opened 50 years ago. Visitors could see a movie about Moon (top left), a Mercury capsule (bottom left), a Titan rocket and Gemini spacecraft (top right), and concepts about lunar bases (bottom right), among many other space-themed attractions. At center, the grand symbol of the fair was the Unisphere, a stainless steel sphere encircled by rings representing the orbits of early spacecraft. The fair ran for two years, drawing more than 50 million visitors. Text ©2014 The University of Texas at Austin McDonald…
  • Space Fair

    damonddb
    21 Apr 2014 | 10:00 pm
    NEWSREEL: Everyone is counting the days until the opening of the great New York World’s Fair — an exposition symbolized by the Unisphere, that dominates the grounds. The 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, New York, was all about the future. It opened 50 years ago today, offering visitors a chance to see TV phones, a computer that could read handwriting, and a futuristic new sports car: the Ford Mustang. Mostly, though, the fair was about the Space Age. Fountains and courtyards were named for the astronauts, the planets, and the universe, and many pavilions offered space exhibits. The…
 
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    About.com Space / Astronomy

  • Hubble Measures Distances in the Cosmos

    23 Apr 2014 | 11:00 pm
    How Far Away is that Star... or Galaxy... or Cluster of Galaxies? One of Hubble Space Telescope's most fascinating discoveries isn't necessarily a pretty picture. It's something quite profound: refining distance measurements of the universe. Yes, it sounds rather boring, but knowing the dimensions of the universe is an important part of understanding the universe itself....Read Full Post
  • Look Deep Into the Universe

    17 Apr 2014 | 10:29 am
    See Galaxies! What do you see if you look out at the universe? From Earth's surface, you see stars, planets, and galaxies. Of all these objects, galaxies are the most fascinating and evocative, but also tougher to spot in the sky than the others. Yes, there are a few naked-eye galaxies: the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. If you want to be complete, of course the Milky Way Galaxy is extremely easy to spot, but only because we're IN it. Most other galaxies are outside ours and they require magnification (binoculars and telescopes) if you want to see more than fuzzy…
  • Cosmos for the Next Generation

    16 Apr 2014 | 8:37 pm
    Are you watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey?  In the U.S., it airs on Sundays on Fox TV and on Mondays on National Geographic Channel. You can also see episodes online at CosmosOnTV.com. For space enthusiasts, astronomers, and others simply interested in learning more about our universe, this program is the one to see. It's the next generation of a series begun by Dr. Carl Sagan in 1980, a series that set a whole generation of astronomers and science writers on their career paths....Read Full Post
  • Saturn May Have a New Moon

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

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

  • Well, it's in the public domain now - UKIRT's future

    24 Apr 2014 | 2:05 am
    Latest news can be seen here -SFGate news about UKIRT. I'm sure other media sources will pick things up over the next day or so. Local rags picked it up quickly but aren't the places I want to direct people to. Don't know anything about SFGate, but haven't hit a paywall there yet.
  • The Long Goodbye

    15 Mar 2014 | 1:23 am
    Eddie, the cat on the right, has been with me almost since the day I arrived in Hawaii. She's approaching 18 years old now and as a kitten wasn't expected to survive her first year. She was 10-weeks old and just skin and bones and clearly the runt of the litter when I adopted her. The person at the Humane Society told me she needed a lot of love and care to survive, and when her adopted sister, Patsy, died just a few weeks later from FIP, the vet said it was likely she had contracted the disease as well and would die young.Well, over 17 years later she is still with me, nearly as energetic as…
  • A room with a view

    18 Dec 2013 | 9:33 pm
    Well, Pam opened her Christmas present early, so I can post it here now as well! This was the view from our hotel room in Astoria, Oregon, of the Columbia River and the Astoria-Megler Bridge (you can click on the picture for a much larger version). I can't say enough good things about the Cannery Pier Hotel, it's one of the best places we have ever stayed at, I highly recommend a visit if you ever get the chance. I now have only a short trip in the future to achieve and complete a small ambition of mine, which is to have driven the entire coast of California and Oregon: Los Angeles to San…
  • California sunset

    15 Dec 2013 | 1:30 am
     It's been almost a year since I last posted anything here. Sorry about that. The reasons are both personal and professional and I'm not up to updating anyone on either of those right now. But I did want to share an amazing sunset both Pam and I saw a week or so before Thanksgiving.This was a sunset seen from Carpinteria Beach. Apparently it's the safest beach in America, or something like along those lines.I felt very safe, especially as I wasn't in the water and I didn't see any muggers or assassins near me. Lots of people were there that evening because the sunset the previous evening…
  • So what?

    31 Jan 2013 | 1:15 am
    We don't care about publication rates. We want our dinner. Now. Otherwise your phone book isn't going anywhere.
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    Remanzacco Observatory - Comets & Neo

  • Comet 209P/LINEAR & its Meteor Shower

    Team
    17 Apr 2014 | 10:32 am
    209P/LINEAR is a periodic comet discovered by the Lincoln Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey on five images taken on 2004, February 3.40 (discovery magnitude ~18.1). Reported by LINEAR as an apparent asteroidal object, it has been found to show a narrow 1'.1 tail in p.a. 274 deg (slightly expanding toward the end) on CCD images obtained by R. H. McNaught with the 1.0-m f/8 reflector at Siding Spring on Mar. 30.8 UT. This comet has been assigned the permanent designation 209P on 2008, December 12 (previous designation were P/2008 X2 (LINEAR) = P/2004 CB). We performed…
  • New Comet: C/2014 F1 (HILL)

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

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

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

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

  • President Obama Hears From Space Station Astronauts, Crew Relaxes After Spacewalk

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Apr 2014 | 3:41 pm
    President Barack Obama and astronaut Soichi Noguchi heard a message from International Space Station astronauts Steve Swanson, Koichi Wakata and Rick Mastracchio at Miraikan, national museum for emerging science and innovation on April 24, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. President Obama is on an Asian tour where he is due to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Philippines. Expedition 39 is relaxing the day after a short spacewalk to replace a backup computer. The crew members are also preparing to welcome back a Russian resupply freighter that undocked a couple of days ago.NASA astronauts Rick…
  • Hubble Instruments Highlight New National Air and Space Museum Exhibit

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Apr 2014 | 1:54 pm
    Two instruments that played critical roles in discoveries made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope now are on display in an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. "Repairing Hubble" recognizes the 24th anniversary of Hubble's launch into space aboard space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. The exhibit features Hubble's Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) instrument and the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2).Soon after Hubble began sending back images in 1990, scientists discovered the telescope's primary mirror had a flaw called…
  • NASA Tests Orion’s Parachute Performance over Arizona

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Apr 2014 | 12:48 pm
    The team designing the parachute system for NASA’s Orion spacecraft has demonstrated almost every parachute failure they could imagine. But on April 23, they tested how the system would perform if the failure wasn’t in the parachutes. Orion is the safest spacecraft ever built to carry humans, and its Launch Abort System can take a good deal of the credit for that distinction. In an emergency on the launch pad or during the early stages of ascent, it can activate in milliseconds to pull the crew to safety. Once it has pulled the crew away from the emergency, it’s up to the parachutes to…
  • Russia Readies Proton Rocket for Launch

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Apr 2014 | 12:31 pm
    A Proton-M rocket to be launched next week carrying two satellites has been loaded with propellant, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said Wednesday. “Pre-launch propellant servicing has been successfully completed,” Roscosmos said in a statement. The launch of the Proton-M from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, scheduled for Monday, is planned to place two satellites into orbit, the KazSat-3 telecommunications satellite and the Luch-5V relay satellite.KazSat-3 is Kazakhstan’s second satellite designed to ensure its information independence and security.“Our country will launch…
  • NASA Boss Discusses Human Path to Mars

    Tomasz Nowakowski
    24 Apr 2014 | 9:43 am
    NASA Administrator Charles Bolden outlined human exploration path to Mars during a keynote address at the April 22 Humans to Mars Summit 2014, held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Bolden defended the space agency's 20-year timeline for sending astronauts to the Red Planet. That timeline calls for NASA to develop a new Orion crew capsule and a heavy-lift rocket called the Space Launch System while continuing research on the International Space Station. By the mid-2020s, astronauts would travel to a near-Earth asteroid that was brought to the vicinity of the moon. That'd set…
 
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