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Latest Activity: 7 hours ago
Cosmology - Astrophysics - Astronomy
Hubble Wallpaper - Awesome Hubble Images
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The E-Cat is back, and people are still falling for it!
Messier Monday: A Hyper-Smooth Globular Cluster, M5
Weekend Diversion: Against Scientific Racism
“Einstein’s Greatest Blunder” was REALLY a blunder!
The Rise and Fall of Supersymmetry
Explanation: It's easy to get lost following the intricate filaments in this detailed mosaic image of faint supernova remnant Simeis 147 (S147). Also cataloged as Sh2-240, it covers nearly 3 degrees or 6 full moons on the sky. That's about 150 light-years at the stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. Anchoring the frame at the right, bright star Elnath (Beta Tauri) is seen towards the boundary of the constellations Taurus and Auriga, almost exactly opposite the galactic center in planet Earth's sky. This sharp composite includes image data taken through a narrow-band filter to highlight emission from hydrogen atoms tracing the shocked, glowing gas. The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth 40,000 years ago. But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original star's core.
Explanation: Ghostly in appearance, Abell 39 is a remarkably simple, spherical nebula about five light-years across. Well within our own Milky Way galaxy, the cosmic sphere is roughly 7,000 light-years distant toward the constellation Hercules. Abell 39 is aplanetary nebula, formed as a once sun-like star's outer atmosphere was expelled over a period of thousands of years. Still visible, the nebula's central star is evolving into a hot white dwarf. Although faint, the nebula's simple geometry has proven to be a boon toastronomers exploring the chemical abundances and life cycles of stars. In this deep image recorded under dark night skies, very distant background galaxies can be found -- some visible right through the nebula itself.
The ISS sends a few mini-experiments on their way.
Behold three CubeSats launched from the International Space Station, aka The Mothership. Future ISS commander Chris Hatfield tweeted the photo this morning, calling it (accurately) "surreal." Two other CubeSats were launched from the ISS, as well. They were all part of a technology demonstration by the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA.
The CubeSat program has been a cheap way for researchers at universities and elsewhere to fly experiments in orbit without paying for a whole launch themselves. The tiny satellites are only about 4" on a side, so they can be piggybacked on larger missions. That means the total cost of a CubeSat can be kept under $100,000.
The basic tech was developed at Cal Poly and Stanford in the late 1990s, and roughly 75 of the cute little guys have made it into space.
Via Tim Maly
Explanation: Are square A and B the same color? They are! To verify this, either run your cursor over the image or click here to see them connected. The above illusion, called the same color illusion, illustrates that purely human observations in science may beambiguous or inaccurate. Even such a seemingly direct perception as relative color. Similar illusions exist on the sky, such as the size of the Moon near the horizon, or the apparent shapes of astronomical objects. The advent of automated, reproducible, measuring devices such as CCDs have made science in general and astronomy in particular less prone to, but not free of, human-biased illusions.
Explanation: Near the center of this sharp cosmic portrait, at the heart of the Orion Nebula, are four hot, massive stars known as the Trapezium. Gathered within a region about 1.5 light-years in radius, they dominate the core of the dense Orion Nebula Star Cluster. Ultraviolet ionizing radiation from the Trapezium stars, mostly from the brightest star Theta 1 Orionis C powers the complex star forming region's entire visible glow. About three million years old, the Orion Nebula Cluster was even more compact in its younger years and a recent dynamical study indicates that runaway stellar collisions at an earlier age may have formed a black hole with more than 100 times the mass of the Sun. The presence of a black hole within the cluster could explain the observed high velocities of the Trapezium stars, The Orion Nebula's distance of some 1500 light-years would make it the closest known black hole to planet Earth.
A pair of NASA space telescopes have captured a spectacular new photo of the Helix Nebula, a glowing celestial vision that resembles a giant cosmic eye.
The Helix Nebula (also known as NGC 7293) represents a dying star known as a planetary nebula. The new picture, released Wednesday (Oct. 3), combines data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which observes in long-wavelength infrared light, and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), which picked out the short-wavelength ultraviolet light coming from the object.
The Helix Nebula is located about 650 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Aquarius. It provides a sneak peak at the future of our own sun, which is expected to turn into a planetary nebula in about 5 billion years.
This object, called the Helix nebula, lies 650 light-years away, in the constellation of Aquarius. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech
What could they be? Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, from Hungary, from the European Space Agency have all proposed explanations; the leading one is so weird, it's transformed my idea of what it's like to be on Mars. For 20 years, I've thought the planet to be magnificently desolate, a dead zone, painted rouge. But imagine this: Every spring, the sun beats down on a southern region of Mars, morning light melts the surface, warms up the ground below, and a thin, underground layer of frozen CO2 turns suddenly into a roaring gas, expands, and carrying rock and ice, rushes up through breaks in the rock, exploding into the Martian air.
Explanation: A mere seven hundred light years from Earth, in the constellation Aquarius, a sun-like star is dying. Its last few thousand years have produced the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a well studied and nearby example of a Planetary Nebula, typical of this final phase of stellar evolution. A total of 58 hours of exposure time have gone in to creating this deep view of the nebula. Accumulating narrow band data from emission lines of hydrogen atoms in red and and oxygen atoms in blue-green hues, it shows remarkable details of the Helix's brighter inner region, about 3 light-years across, but also follows fainter outer halo features that give the nebula a span of well over six light-years. The white dot at the Helix's center is this Planetary Nebula's hot, central star. A simple looking nebula at first glance, the Helix is now understood to have a surprisingly complex geometry.
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