Spacebuzz

Blog posts tagged with astronomy

Posts in the past four weeks

Wednesday
Nov 26 2014
16:00 UTC

NASA Airship Could Watch The Stars Without The Need Of a Rocket

Dreams of space are often tied to jet engines or solar sails or taking a ride on a rocketship. But it's often quite efficient to do research from Earth, especially from the high reaches of the atmosphere where there are few molecules to get in the way of observations. NASA wants to do more of […]

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
Nov 26 2014
14:15 UTC

New Analysis Sets a Space & Time Zone for Complex Life

If too close to an environment harboring complex life, a gamma ray burst could spell doom for that life. But could GRBs be the reason we haven't yet found evidence of other civilizations in the cosmos? To help answer the big question of “where is everybody?” physicists from Spain and Israel have narrowed the time […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 25 2014
15:06 UTC

Communicating Across the Cosmos, Part 3: Bridging the Vast Gulf

If extraterrestrial civilizations exist, the nearest is probably at least hundreds or thousands of light years away. Still, the greatest gulf that we will have to bridge to communicate with extraterrestrials is not such distances, but the gulf between human and alien minds. In mid-November, the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California sponsored an academic […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 25 2014
14:41 UTC

Astronomers Discover First Mulitiple-image Gravitationally-lensed Supernova

How about┬four supernovae for the price of one? Using the Hubble Space Telescope, Dr. Patrick Kelly of the University of California-Berkeley along with the GLASS (Grism Lens Amplified Survey from Space) and Hubble Frontier Fields┬teams,┬discovered a remote supernova lensed into four copies of itself by the powerful gravity of a foreground galaxy cluster.┬Dubbed SN Refsdal, […]

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
Nov 24 2014
17:31 UTC

What is it about Mars?

Our Fascination Dates Back through History This Friday, November 28th, about 90,000 messages sent from the people of┬Earth will make their way┬to the planet Mars. They're part of the “Beam Me to Mars” effort put together by Uwingu. com to celebrate the 50th anniversary of NASA's Mariner 4 mission in 1964. This spacecraft was the first […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Monday
Nov 24 2014
14:50 UTC

Searching for Alien Worlds and Gravitational Lenses from the Arctic

The quest for optimal sites to carry out astronomical observations has taken┬scientists to the frigid Arctic. ┬Eric┬Steinbring, who led┬a team of┬National Research Council Canada experts, noted┬that a high Arctic site can, “offer excellent image quality that is maintained during many clear, calm, dark periods that can last 100 hours or more.”┬ The new article by […]

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
Nov 24 2014
14:15 UTC

Flash! Iridium Flares Captured in Real Time by Thierry Legault

There are so many fun sights to see in the sky that are pure astronomical magic. And then there are the spectacular human-created sights. One of those sights is watching satellites from the Iridium constellation that — because of their odd shape — produce spectacular flares that can be brighter than the planet Venus. Because […]

Posted by Universe Today

Friday
Nov 21 2014
15:19 UTC

Communicating Across the Cosmos, Part 2: Petabytes from the Stars?

Since it was founded in 1984, the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California, has been a principal American venue for scientific efforts to discover evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations. In mid-November, the institute sponsored a conference, “Communicating across the Cosmos”, on the problems of devising and understanding messages from other worlds. The […]

Posted by Universe Today

Friday
Nov 21 2014
14:38 UTC

Subaru Telescope Spots Galaxies From The Early Universe

It's an amazing thing, staring into deep space with the help of a high-powered telescope. In addition to being able to through the vast reaches of space, one is also able to effectively see through time. Using the Subaru Telescope's Suprime-Cam, a team of astronomers has done just that. In short, they looked back 13 […]

Posted by Universe Today

Friday
Nov 21 2014
14:20 UTC

New Simulation Offers Stunning Images of Black Hole Merger

... black hole is an extraordinarily┬massive, improbably dense┬knot of spacetime┬that makes a living swallowing or slinging away┬any morsel of energy that strays too close to its dark, twisted core. Anyone fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to directly observe one of these beasts in the wild would immediately notice the way its colossal┬gravitational field warps all of […]

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
Nov 20 2014
16:00 UTC

A Thousand Days Til Totality: Anticipating the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Where will YOU be on August 21st, 2017? Astronomy is all about humility and thinking big in terms of space and time. It's routine for astronomers to talk of comets on thousand year orbits, or stars with life spans measured in billions of years(...)Read the rest of A Thousand Days ‘Til Totality: Anticipating the 2017 […]

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
Nov 20 2014
15:29 UTC

Communicating Across the Cosmos, Part 1: Shouting into the Darkness

Over the last 20 years, astronomers have discovered several thousand planets orbiting other stars. We now know that potentially habitable Earth-like planets are abundant in the cosmos. Such findings lend a new plausibility to the idea that intelligent life might exist on other worlds. Suppose that SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researchers succeed in their […]

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
Nov 19 2014
20:38 UTC

Higgs Boson Threatened The Early Universe, But Gravity Saved The Day

All the physical properties of our Universe –┬indeed, the fact that we even exist within a Universe that we can contemplate┬and explore – owe to events that occurred very early in its history. Cosmologists believe that our Universe looks the way it does thanks to┬a rapid period of inflation immediately before the Big Bang that […]

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
Nov 19 2014
18:09 UTC

Quasars Align across the Cosmos

The Universe Throws Yet Another Solveable Mystery at Us So many cool science stories, so little time! Against the backdrop of the ongoing saga of Rosetta at Comet 67P (and cool results are starting to flow from the Philae lander, which I'll talk about in another entry), the rest of the universe has been ticking […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Wednesday
Nov 19 2014
15:20 UTC

Observing Challenge: Watch Asteroid 3 Juno Occult a +7th Magnitude Star Tonight

One of the better asteroid occultations of 2014 is coming right up tonight, and Canadian and U. S. observers in the northeast have a front row seat. The event occurs in the early morning hours of Thursday, November 20th, when the asteroid 3 Juno occults the 7. 4 magnitude star SAO 117176. (...)Read the rest of Observing […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 18 2014
17:19 UTC

Philae Lander Early Science Results: Ice, Organic Molecules and Half a Foot of Dust

An uncontrolled, chaotic landing. ┬Stuck in the shadow of a cliff without energy-giving sunlight. ┬Philae and team persevered.┬┬With just 60 hours of battery power, the lander drilled, hammered and gathered science data on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko before going into hibernation. Here's what we know.┬(...)Read the rest of Philae Lander Early Science Results: Ice, […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 18 2014
15:18 UTC

The Origins of Life Could Indeed Be Interstellar

Some of science's most pressing questions involve the origins of life on Earth. How did the first lifeforms emerge from the seemingly hostile conditions that plagued our planet for much of its history? What enabled the leap from simple, unicellular organisms to more complex organisms consisting of many cells working together to metabolize, respire, and […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 18 2014
14:00 UTC

How Do Planets Form? Semarkona Meteorite Shows Some Clues

It may seem all but impossible to determine how the Solar System formed, given that it happened roughly 4. 5 billion years ago. Luckily, much of the debris that was left over from the formation process is still available today for study, circling our Solar System in the form of rocks and debris that sometimes make […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 18 2014
11:55 UTC

bouncing on a comet.

humans landed a robot on a comet last week for the first time. yeehaw! a collaboration of scientists and engineers from 20 countries made this happen through the european space agency. the rosetta spacecraft traveled through the solar system for 10 years, getting gravity assists from earth a few times and mars before reaching its destination: Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. space craft selfie with its solar panel and comet 67Pthe philae lander drifitng away from rosetta on its way to comet

Posted by astropixie

Monday
Nov 17 2014
21:28 UTC

Wow! The Solar System Keeps Surprising Us

Comet 67: the┬Gift that Keeps on Giving Okay, I've just seen two “wow!!!” images today that I have to share with you. ┬The first is a sequence of images taken by the Rosetta mission's OSIRIS imaging system that shows the Philae lander making its first “bounce” on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and then lifting […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Monday
Nov 17 2014
16:39 UTC

We are not Alone: Government Sensors Shed New Light on Asteroid Hazards

How hazardous are the thousands and millions of asteroids that surround the third rock from the Sun — Earth? Since an asteroid impact represents a real risk to life and property, this is a question that has been begging for answers for decades. But now, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have received data from […]

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
Nov 17 2014
14:30 UTC

Chaotic Wombs May Birth Wrong-way Planets

We've heard it time and time again. When it comes to new exoplanet findings, our conventional wisdom never holds. So the surprise that a batch of extrasolar planets are moving retrograde, orbiting in directions opposite to the way their stars are spinning, shouldn't come as a surprise. Then again, maybe it should. These discoveries turned […]

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
Nov 17 2014
14:29 UTC

Curiosity Rover Snaps Photos of Comet Siding Spring, Giant Sunspot and Mars-shine

NASA's┬Curiosity Rover spends┬most of its time staring┬at the ground, but like humans, it looks up once in a while too. As┬reported earlier, NASA ground controllers pointed the rover's Mast Camera (mastcam) skyward to shoot a series of photos of Comet Siding Spring when it passed closest to the Red Planet on October 19th. ┬Until recently, […]

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
Nov 17 2014
10:59 UTC

Exploring the Planetary Graveyard

Over the past decade the study of planetary debris at white dwarfs has become an increasingly exciting area. Observations of this debris have allowed us to make unique discoveries about the chemical composition of extrasolar rocky planets, as well as revealing the endpoints of the evolution of planetary systems very similar to our own...

Posted by astrobites

Saturday
Nov 15 2014
22:29 UTC

Whittling Away At SN1987A

... team of Australian astronomers has been busy utilizing some of the world's leading radio telescopes located in both Australia and Chile to carve away at the layered remains of a relatively new supernova. Designated as SN1987A, the 28 year-old stellar cataclysm came to Southern Hemisphere observer's attention when it sprang into action at the […]

Posted by Universe Today

Saturday
Nov 15 2014
05:07 UTC

Philae Idled — Needs Luck, Sunshine to Awake

Contact with the Philae lander was lost at 6:36 p. m. (CST) this evening November 14th. Without sunlight to juice up its solar panels and recharge the battery, the craft will remain in “idle mode” – maybe for a long time. All its instruments and most systems on board have been shut down.┬(...)Read the rest of […]

Posted by Universe Today

Friday
Nov 14 2014
22:44 UTC

The 2015 Year in Space Calendars Are Here!

What brings you an entire year of awesome space news and pictures, each and every day? (Besides me, of course?) That's right: The Year in Space calendar! Produced by Starry Messenger Press in conjunction with The Planetary Society, the 2015 Year in Space calendar is (like its predecessors) a gorgeous 16″ x 22″ (40. 5 cm […]

Posted by Lights in the Dark

Friday
Nov 14 2014
20:48 UTC

Aurora on Venus Versus Solar Activity

It's a major mystery posed by our sister world. Does the atmosphere of Venus possess upper atmospheric phenomena similar to the Earth, such as aurora or nightglow? Now, a recent announcement out of the American Astronomical Society's┬46th┬annual meeting┬of the Division of Planetary Science being held this week in Tucson, Arizona has shed new light on […]

Posted by Universe Today

Friday
Nov 14 2014
17:55 UTC

Rosetta mission team makes final plans to save Philae lander - as it happened

Time is running out for Philae as its original battery charge is exhausted and it receives insufficient sunlight on its solar arrays to carry on working. However, many of its scientific objectives have already been achieved 5. 55pm GMT Thats it for today. The Philae mission looks almost certain to be coming to an end. Tomorrow we will know one way or the other whether it has survived the night. It has been an extraordinary rollercoaster. Amid all the anxiety about the landers limited lifetime, beh

Posted by Across the universe

Friday
Nov 14 2014
12:46 UTC

Rosetta mission: the race against time to save Philae - live

Philaes mission continues. Today we expect new pictures and new information. Science data is flowing in but time may be running out for Philae 12. 46pm GMT Eric Hand has written a piece for Science this morning. He has this to say about efforts to locate the lander:On Thursday, Holger Sierks, the principal investigator for the Rosetta orbiters main science camera, had hoped to find the lander in an image about 1 kilometer away from the target site (before coming to a rest, Philae bounced in a big

Posted by Across the universe

Thursday
Nov 13 2014
21:59 UTC

China Reveals Designs for Mars Rover Mission

For many space-faring nations, ambitions for Mars run broad and deep. Now, add China to the list of countries with Mars in their sights. News reports from China disclosed that country is considering a future Mars rover mission, with a potential 2020 launch date. Additionally came other hints that China may be looking to develop […]

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
Nov 13 2014
20:25 UTC

Rosetta mission: Philae comet landing photos released - live

European Space Agency scientists say theyre still trying to locate the Philae lander but it is stable and sending dataPhilae lander sends back first image from cometPhilaes landing in picturesA triumph of human ingenuity Guardian editorial 8. 20pm GMT Were going to close our coverage for the day of Philaes first 24 hours on a comet, with major updates from the European Space Agency (Esa) below: 7. 59pm GMT Some of Philaes experiments began shortly after landing, and Esa confirmed today that they

Posted by Across the universe

Thursday
Nov 13 2014
18:58 UTC

Rosetta mission: Philae comet landing photos released - live

European Space Agency scientists say theyre still trying to locate the Philae lander but it is stable and sending dataPhilae lander sends back first image from cometPhilaes landing in picturesA triumph of human ingenuity Guardian editorial 6. 54pm GMT We interrupt this record of a historic achievement in science with news theories of conspiracy surrounding the Philae landing, as compiled by my colleague Hannah Ellis-Petersen. Comet 67P is NOT a comet, the UFO site letter continues. Some 20

Posted by Across the universe

Thursday
Nov 13 2014
18:55 UTC

Radio Galaxy With Black Hole Has Fierce Electrical Thunderstorm' Raging In Its Depths

We know black holes are dangerous to people and galactic objects alike due to their immense gravity. But it turns out the galaxies that host supermassive black holes also have stormy interiors, at least according to one new study. Scientists have found gamma-ray euptions emerging from the center of the IC 310 radio galaxy in […]

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
Nov 13 2014
12:51 UTC

Rosetta mission: Philae lander may be 'up against a wall' - live coverage

European Space Agency scientists say Philae lander is stable and sending data. Stuart Clark is at Esa mission control in DarmstadtRosetta mission: Philae makes historic landing on cometThe ambitious mission to place a landing craft on a speeding cometRosettas success will help illuminate the origins of life, writes Usama Hasan 12. 51pm GMT Heres the livestream from mission control in Darmstadt. 12. 39pm GMT A key observation for helping determine the exact landing spot will be the day and night cy

Posted by Across the universe

Wednesday
Nov 12 2014
20:20 UTC

Uranus Bland? Nope, It's A Stormy Planet With Interesting Insides

Sometimes first impressions are poor ones. When the Voyager 2 spacecraft whizzed by Uranus in 1986, the close-up view of the gas giant revealed what appeared to a be a relatively featureless ball. By that point, scientists were used to seeing bright colors and bands on Jupiter and Saturn. Uranus wasn't quite deemed uninteresting, but […]

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
Nov 12 2014
20:11 UTC

Rosetta mission: Philae craft may have bounced during comet landing as it happened

The European Space Agency has landed a spacecraft called Philae on a comet. Stuart Clark was at Esa mission control in Darmstadt Rosetta mission: Philae makes historic landing on cometThe ambitious mission to place a landing craft on a speeding cometRosettas success will help illuminate the origins of life, writes Usama Hasan 8. 06pm GMT As Philae temporarily loses touch with Rosetta, we leave you with this artists impression of the lander on the surface. Thanks for joining us on this truly amazi

Posted by Across the universe

Wednesday
Nov 12 2014
18:50 UTC

Rosetta mission: Esa lands spacecraft on comet live coverage

The European Space Agency has landed a spacecraft called Philae on a comet. Stuart Clark is at Esa mission control in Darmstadt to bring you the news as it happensRosetta mission: Philae makes historic landing on cometThe ambitious mission to place a landing craft on a speeding cometRosettas success will help illuminate the origins of life, writes Usama Hasan 6. 50pm GMT Comets are the original source of Earth's water. That wee lander is now in position, poised to re-write what we know about ours

Posted by Across the universe

Wednesday
Nov 12 2014
18:27 UTC

Get a Look at Philae's First Photos

Hey, we're getting closer! This photo was taken by Philae's ROLIS instrument just 1. 8 miles (3 km) above the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 8:38 a. m. (CST) today. (...)Read the rest of Get a Look at Philae's First Photos (76 words) ┬ Bob King for Universe Today, 2014. | Permalink | No comment | Post tags: […]

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
Nov 12 2014
16:45 UTC

Philae Has Landed!

┬“We are the first to (land on a comet) and that will remain forever!” Congratulations to ESA and its partners for successfully landing the Philae probe on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ┬It was an incredibly intricate and difficult task, but they pulled it off! As of 8:03 a. m. MST (16:03 UT) the lander had […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Wednesday
Nov 12 2014
16:13 UTC

Touchdown! Philae Successfully Lands on Rosetta's Comet

We did it! We're on the comet!┬At about 9:37 a. m. (CST) Philae touched down on Rosetta's Comet. After traveling more than 315 million miles (508 million km) the lander's signal arrived 28 minutes later with the fabulous news. Telemetry is trickling in and the lander's in great health, but one small concern has arisen. We've […]

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
Nov 12 2014
12:41 UTC

Rosetta mission: ESA attempts to land spacecraft on comet live coverage

The Rosetta spacecraft is making its historic bid to land on a comet using the Philae lander. Stuart Clark is at the European Space Agencys mission control in Darmstadt to bring you the news as it happens 12. 41pm GMT Esa has put together highlights from todays events up to the separation of the lander from Rosetta. 12. 24pm GMT Dr Daniel Brown, an astronomer at Nottingham Trent University in theUK, thinks that Esa has already made history. What a mission and what a challenge. Rosetta has already m

Posted by Across the universe

Wednesday
Nov 12 2014
11:31 UTC

Rosetta comet landing - live stream

Watch live as the European Space Agency attempts to land a craft on comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the first time in history such a task has been attempted. The Philae landing craft has launched from the mother ship and is due to touch down between about 4pm GMT and 4. 40pm GMTRosetta spacecraft comet landing live coverage Continue reading...

Posted by Across the universe

Wednesday
Nov 12 2014
06:57 UTC

Rosetta comet landing live blog

The Rosetta spacecraft is making its historic bid to land on a comet using the Philae lander. Stuart Clark is at the European Space Agencys mission control in Darmstadt to bring you the news as it happens 6. 57am GMT The landing has just become riskier. The cold gas thruster appears not to be working on Philae. This thruster is on top of the lander and is designed to push the spacecraft onto the comet as the harpoons and drills anchor Philae to the surface. Without the thruster, the risk of Phila

Posted by Across the universe

Tuesday
Nov 11 2014
16:27 UTC

The Mysterious Singing Comet

Rosetta Has its Own SoundCloud Channel! Okay this one is pretty darned cool. According to the folks at the ESA/Rosetta blog, the Rosetta Plasma Consortium (a group of scientists using various instruments to measure the plasma environment around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko) have “heard” the comet's “song”. Listen to it here: Now, if you were sitting in […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Tuesday
Nov 11 2014
16:14 UTC

Rosetta comet landing on course despite wake-up glitch

Rosettas Philae lander did not wake up properly at the first attempt but everything is back on course nowOn Wednesday the European Space Agency will attempt a risky landing on a comet, and it seems the Philae lander wanted to catch a few extra winks of sleep before its big day. Overnight, the commands were sent to wake up Philae but the robotic lander began using a backup computer rather than the main computer. The result was that not all the telemetry data was being sent to Earth. Continue readi

Posted by Across the universe

Tuesday
Nov 11 2014
16:13 UTC

Philae’s great leap – landing on Comet 67P

Credit: ESA/ATG medialab; Comet image: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam Tomorrow ESA's Philae lander will leave its mothership Rosetta and attempt to land on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in what will undoubtedly be one of the most exciting, and nerve wracking, days in the history of space exploration. A few weeks ago I met some of the scientists […]

Posted by WillGater.com

Tuesday
Nov 11 2014
15:58 UTC

Midway Between Storms: Our Guide to the 2014 Leonid Meteors

If there's one meteor shower that has the potential to bring on a storm of epic proportions, it's the Leonids. Peaking once every 33 years, these fast movers hail from the Comet 55P Temple-Tuttle, and radiate from the Sickle, or backwards question mark asterism in the constellation Leo. ┬And although 2014 is an off year […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 11 2014
14:00 UTC

Poems in the heavens

Poetry is an ancient art, certainly predating written language. From the beginning, poets have described and wondered about the heavens: stars, planets, and the rarer transient events: eclipses, comets, meteors. And as our knowledge about the Universe has broadened, poetic descriptions have changed too. Sometimes studying the Universe can make us feel small, but poetry can be a way to regain perspective. Starting next week, astrophysicists Karen Knierman and Patrick Young will join poet Marco Do

Posted by CosmoQuest Blog

Tuesday
Nov 11 2014
13:14 UTC

Rosetta's audacious mission to land on a comet in pictures

On Wednesday, Rosetta will attempt to drop a lander called Philae onto the surface of a comet. This is the story of the European Space Agencys extraordinary decade-long mission in images Continue reading...

Posted by Across the universe

Tuesday
Nov 11 2014
02:31 UTC

Comet Discoveries Take Center Stage

Planetary Science on a Small (But Important) Scale The first day of the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences meeting (beginning today) was filled with amazing science talks. Some of the most eagerly awaited were about the Rosetta mission and its up-close-and-personal study of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Every instrument team for the mission had a report. ┬The […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Monday
Nov 10 2014
20:53 UTC

Naked' Comets Could Expose Solar System's Ancient Origin Story

What's a comet that doesn't look like a comet? The question sounds contradictory, but astronomers believe these objects exist. As comets pass through the solar system, they bleed ice and dust as the Sun's effects wash over their small bodies. Over time, some of the objects can keep going like ghost ships — just without […]

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
Nov 10 2014
14:25 UTC

A Snapshot of a Galactic Crash

Some galaxies shine with a red ghostly glow. Once these galaxies stop forming new stars, they can only host long-lived stars with low masses and red optical colors. Astronomers often call these ghostly galaxies red and dead. But the basics behind why some form so quickly is still a mystery. It is one of the […]

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
Nov 10 2014
13:58 UTC

NASA's Next Exoplanet Hunter Moves Into Development

NASA's ongoing hunt for exoplanets has entered a new phase as NASA officially confirmed that the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is moving into the development phase. This marks a significant step for the TESS mission, which will search the entire sky for planets outside our solar system (a. k. a. exoplanets). Designed as the first all-sky […]

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
Nov 10 2014
03:39 UTC

Planetary Science's Amazing 21st Century Role

Exploring and Defining Planetary Systems Now that we're about a decade and a half into the “new” century, it's not a bad time to look at where we are as we explore the cosmos. Planetary science has always been one of my great interests, so I'll take a look at that in this musing (and […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Saturday
Nov 08 2014
15:25 UTC

Review: In Interstellar, Christopher Nolan Shows He Has The Right Stuff

Science fiction aficionados, take heed. The highly-anticipated movie Interstellar is sharp and gripping. Nolan and cast show in the end that they have the right stuff.┬Nearly a┬three hour┬saga, it holds your attention and keeps you guessing. Only a couple of scenes seemed to drift and lose focus. Interstellar borrows style and substance from some of […]

Posted by Universe Today

Friday
Nov 07 2014
20:53 UTC

Mind-blowing Meteor Shower on Mars During Comet Flyby, Say NASA Scientists

“Thousands of meteors per hour would have been visible truly astounding to the human eye.” That's Nick Schneider's description of what you and I would have seen┬standing on┬Mars during Comet Siding Spring's close flyby last month.┬“It would have been┬really┬mind-blowing,” he added. Schneider is instrument lead for MAVEN's Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS). He and a […]

Posted by Universe Today

Friday
Nov 07 2014
19:07 UTC

A Comet's Tale — Rosetta's Philae, Five Days from Touchdown

In the recently released Rosetta short film called “Ambition”, the master begins a story to his apprentice – “Once upon a time.” The apprentice immediately objects to his triteness. But he promises that it is worth the slight tribulation. Who could have imagined┬ten years ago that Rosetta would become so successful in two such contrasting […]

Posted by Universe Today

Friday
Nov 07 2014
18:35 UTC

Carnival of Space #379

... week's space science and astronomy news. We are of course, all anxiously awaiting the landing of Philae from the Rosetta spacecraft this coming Wednesday. In preparation, on Friday (Oct. 31), the European Rosetta mission carried out its second and final deterministic' maneuver that put the satellite into its planned lander delivery orbit. The mission will see separation of the

Posted by CosmoQuest Blog

Friday
Nov 07 2014
13:49 UTC

It's Complicated: Hubble Survey Finds Unexpected Diversity in Dusty Discs Around Nearby Stars

Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have completed the largest and most sensitive visible-light imaging survey of the debris disks surrounding nearby stars. These dusty disks, likely created by collisions between leftover objects from planet formation, were imaged around stars as young as 10 million years old and as mature as more than 1 billion […]

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
Nov 06 2014
21:31 UTC

Curiosity Rover Sees a Pixel's-Worth of Comet Siding Spring

When Comet Siding Spring skimmed┬just 84,500 miles from Mars last month, NASA's Opportunity and Curiosity Rovers – along with several orbiting Mars spacecraft –┬readied their cameras┬to record the historic flyby. Opportunity's photos revealed a small, fuzzy blob against the stars of Cetus the Whale, but most of us searched in vain to find any trace […]

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
Nov 06 2014
17:00 UTC

RAISE: How to Capture 1,500 Solar Images in a Five Minute Flight

Quick: how do you aim an instrument at the Sun from a moving rocket on a fifteen minute suborbital flight? The answer is very carefully, and NASA plans to do just that today, Thursday, November 6th as the Rapid Acquisition Imaging Spectrograph Experiment, also known as RAISE, takes to the skies over White Sands, New […]

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
Nov 06 2014
13:37 UTC

ALMA Shows Off Baby Pictures Baby Planets, That Is!

In a test of its new high resolution capabilities, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is happily sharing some family snapshots with us. Astronomers manning the cameras have captured one of the best images so far of a newly-forming planet system gathering itself around a recently ignited star. Located about 450 light years from us […]

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
Nov 05 2014
18:24 UTC

Landing on a Comet

What Will we Learn? Now that the European Space Agency has chosen the name Agilkia (pronounced ah-ZHEEL-kia) for the next week's landing spot on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, our attention turns to the science that will be done by the Philae lander. What will we learn as this tiny probe settles down onto the icy surface of […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Wednesday
Nov 05 2014
15:27 UTC

Where Have All the Pulsars Gone? The Mystery at the Center of Our Galaxy

The galactic center┬is a happening place, with lots of gas, dust, stars, and surprising binary stars orbiting a supermassive black hole about three million times the size of our sun. With so many stars, astronomers estimate that there should be hundreds of dead ones. But to date, scientists┬have found only a single young pulsar at […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 04 2014
21:10 UTC

VLTI Detects Exozodiacal Light Around Exoplanets

If you've ever stood outside after twilight has passed, or a few hours before the sun rises at dawn,┬ then chances are you've witnessed the phenomenon known as zodiacal light. This effect, which looks like a faint, diffuse white glow in the night sky, is what happens when sunlight is reflected off of tiny particles […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 04 2014
17:09 UTC

Mysterious Object G2 at Galactic Center is Actually Binary Star

... mysterious object swinging around the supermassive black hole in the center our galaxy has surprised astronomers by actually surviving what many thought would be a devastating encounter. And with its survival, researchers have finally been able to solve the conundrum of what the object — known as G2 — actually is. Since G2 was […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 04 2014
16:28 UTC

Observing Challenge: Catch a Series of Mutual Eclipses by Jupiter's Moons

Missing the planets this month? With Mars receding slowly to the west behind the Sun at dusk, the early evening sky is nearly devoid of planetary action in the month of November 2014. Stay up until about midnight local, however, and brilliant Jupiter can be seen rising to the east. ┬Well placed for northern hemisphere […]

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
Nov 04 2014
04:39 UTC

What's Up in November

Stargazing this Month While it's not yet officially winter for those of us in the northern hemisphere and a few weeks from high summer for southern hemisphere observers, there are some objects in the sky that we can share together. I'm talking about planets and star clusters and the Leonid Meteor shower. ┬The shower itself […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Monday
Nov 03 2014
19:07 UTC

Media Jumping to Conclusions Before Facts are In

... Rush to Judge the Pilots This morning comes statements of FACTS from the NTSB about the breakup of SpaceShip Two over the Mojave Desert. It appears from the FACTS that the fuel and engine were recovered intact, and were apparently not the problem that caused the breakup. The FACTS show that the feathers deployed […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Monday
Nov 03 2014
14:00 UTC

Hubble Spots the Ghostly Light From Dead Galaxies

In a patch of sky 3. 5 billion light-years away there are hazy elliptical galaxies, colorful spirals, blue arcs and distorted shapes seen clumping together. It's the result of a vast cosmic collision that took place over the course of 350 million years. The mess is a treasure trove of information for astronomers, allowing them to […]

Posted by Universe Today

Saturday
Nov 01 2014
04:32 UTC

Slipping the Surly Bonds of Earth

Space Flight Tragedy, II Today's crash of the SpaceShip Two Enterprise craft is the second space-related tragedy in a week. I've already written about the Antares explosion at Wallops Island, VA, and the story on that crash is being thoroughly investigated. The story is coming out and the process is working. The crash today over […]

Posted by TheSpacewriter's Ramblings

Friday
Oct 31 2014
18:46 UTC

Earth Dodges a Bullet New Radar Images of Asteroid 2014 SC324

Looks like we dodged a bullet. A bullet-shaped asteroid that is. The 70-meter Goldstone radar dish, part of NASA's Deep Space Network, grabbed a collage of photos of Earth-approaching asteroid 2014 SC324 during its close flyby last Friday October 24. These are the first-ever photos of the space rock┬which was discovered┬September 30 this year by […]

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
Oct 30 2014
17:06 UTC

Possible Bright Supernova Lights Up Spiral Galaxy M61

... sat straight up in my seat when I learned of the discovery of a possible new supernova in the bright Virgo┬galaxy M61. Since bright usually means close, this newly exploding star may soon become visible in smaller telescopes. It was discovered at magnitude +13. 6 on October 29th by Koichi Itagaki of Japan who holds […]

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
Oct 30 2014
13:54 UTC

Mercury Pierces the Zodiacal Light at Dawn this Weekend

Psst! Ever spy the planet Mercury? The most bashful of all the naked eye planets makes its best dawn appearance of 2014 this weekend for northern hemisphere observers. And not only will Mercury be worth getting up for, but you'll also stand a chance at nabbing that most elusive of astronomical phenomena the zodiacal […]

Posted by Universe Today

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