Tag Archive: astronomy

Jan 04 2016

Glorious exhibit of the quest to determine longitude at sea

In many ways, this was the space program of the 18th century. The current exhibit at Mystic Seaport is glorious and mesmerizing.

For centuries, longitude (east-west position) was a matter of life and death at sea. Ships that went off course had no way to re-discover their longitude…With life-changing sums of money on offer, the challenge became the talk of London’s 18th-century coffee houses and captured the imaginations and talents of astronomers, skilled artisans, politicians, seamen, and satirists; many of whom came up with ingenious methods and instruments designed to scoop the Board of Longitude’s tantalizing rewards and transform seafaring navigation forever.

The H3 timekeeper

 

Ships, Clocks & Stars

May 19 2014

Sun’s twin

A team of researchers led by University of Texas at Austin astronomer Ivan Ramirez has identified the first “sibling” of the Sun…

Astronomers Find Sun’s ‘Long-Lost Brother,’ Pave Way for Family Reunion

 

Apr 26 2014

Rediscovering the early images of space exploration

Once upon a time, NASA collected high resolution photos of the Moon and Earth on tapes, transmitted by early-generation satellites. Then they put the tapes away. Then the tape decks stopped working, and the companies stopped making them, and the engineers retired, and the tapes were forgotten.

And then one day someone found an old tape deck…

The Hackers Who Recovered NASA’s Lost Lunar Photos

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project

Mar 17 2014

Historic confirmation of the Big Bang and cosmic inflation

Looks like the Big Bang theory has been essentially indisputably confirmed with the discovery of microwave echoes of “inflation”, the incomprehensibly rapid expansion of the universe from a dimensionless point to the size of a marble in a trillionth of a second.

Big Bang’s Smoking Gun

Oct 24 2013

Laser-mediated broadband from lunar orbit

[NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer has]…a series of lasers on the outer hull designed to shoot back data to three base stations here on Earth much faster than traditional radio data links – and the agency reports the first tests have been a roaring success 

 

So this is probably faster than my broadband from Comcast.

622 Mbps Broadband Found On Moon

Apr 16 2013

We are starstuff

Apparently scientists at the Technical University of Munich in Germany have established a link between specific non-terrestrial isotopes of iron in fossilized bacteria, and a specific supernova: IOW, actual stellar debris collected from exploding stars into the tissues of an earth organism. Starstuff, indeed.

This apparent signal of iron-60, Bishop said, could be the remains of magnetite (Fe3O4) chains formed by bacteria on the sea floor as radioactive supernova debris showered on them from the atmosphere, after crossing inter-stellar space at nearly the speed of light.

Supernova left its mark in ancient bacteria

Feb 21 2013

The cosmos is a beautiful and terrifying place

A solar flare that never quite escapes the Sun’s gravity…

Oct 13 2012

The ultimate digital camera. Buy more disks.

 

 

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will survey the entire visible sky every week, creating an unprecedented public archive of data – about 6 million gigabytes per year, the equivalent of shooting roughly 800,000 images with a regular eight-megapixel digital camera every night, but of much higher quality and scientific value.

 

 

 

3.2 billion pixel sky-watcher a step closer

Oct 01 2012

The farthest ever view of the universe

Just in case you still have it in your head that we are alone in the universe…

Hubble Goes to the eXtreme to Assemble Farthest Ever View of the Universe

Oct 01 2012

The tipping point for orbital debris

One question this poses: are future launches of manned and unmanned missions at greater risk just because they must transit through the accumulating debris field? Could we be trapping ourselves on the planet by surrounding ourselves with broken glass?

We’ve Already Passed the Tipping Point for Orbital Debris

Aug 30 2012

Curiousity leaves Morse code in its tracks

Curiosity talks to itself as it drives around the surface of Mars by leaving Morse code for “JPL” imprinted in its tracks to help refine its navigation.

 NASA – Rover Leaves Tracks in Morse Code

Jun 11 2012

NASA’s view of the transit of Venus

NASA has compiled a series of solar videos into a terrific short movie of the transit of Venus on June 5…

 

Apr 26 2012

Spirals found on Mars: fire versus ice

Geologists disagree whether the odd spiral shapes in recent photos from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are caused by lava flows or by evaporating ice.

Huge Spirals Found on Mars—Evidence of New Lava Type?

via Huge Spirals Found on Mars—Evidence of New Lava Type?

Apr 06 2012

12-mile-high martian dust devil caught in act

A Martian dust devil roughly 12 miles high 20 kilometers was captured whirling its way along the Amazonis Planitia region of Northern Mars on March 14…They are spinning columns of air, made visible by the dust they pull off the ground. Unlike a tornado, a dust devil typically forms on a clear day when the ground is heated by the sun, warming the air just above the ground.

Mars' Stringbean Twistervia 12-Mile-High Martian Dust Devil Caught In Act – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Apr 02 2012

1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of astronomical data per day

Thunderbolt SSD RAIDs, anyone?

…the SKA represents a new step in terms of data management and the complexities of project coordination.  The instrument will generate an exabyte of data every day – that would be 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes – more than twice the information sent around the internet on a daily basis and 100 times more information than the LHC produces.

via What to do with 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 Bytes of Astronomical Data Per Day

Mar 28 2012

Habitable planets everywhere

…researchers estimate that tens of billions of these planets are to be found in the Milky Way, and about 100 should lie in the immediate neighborhood of the sun.

via Search for Life on Alien Planets

Mar 22 2012

Planet Mercury even weirder than we thought

 

…two new papers show that the planet had active geologic and tectonic processes occurring until at least the planet’s middle age, around 2 billion years ago.

Basin Rising

via Planet Mercury Even Weirder Than We Thought | Wired Science | Wired.com.

 

Mar 15 2012

Evolution of the Moon

Super video of the Moon’s history in 3 minutes.

(Of course, there’re no impact sounds in space. Oh, and no music.)

NASA | Evolution of the Moon – YouTube

Feb 29 2012

Rare galaxy at ‘dawn of time’

Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have discovered that one of the most distant galaxies known is churning out stars at a shockingly high rate. The blob-shaped galaxy, called GN-108036, is the brightest galaxy found to date at such great distances.

pia15251.html.jpg

Feb 29 2012

Amazing comet pictures from space

via Lovejoy Dazzles Holiday Sky-Watchers

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