Spacebuzz

Blog posts tagged with astronomy

Posts in the past four weeks

Sunday
May 29 2016
14:20 UTC

NASA SDO Year 6 in Ultra-HD

The sun is always changing and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is always watching. Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the sun's atmosphere, the corona. SDO's sixth year in orbit was no exception. This video shows that entire sixth year -- from Jan. 1, 2015, to Jan. 28, 2016, as one time-lapse sequence. At full quality on YouTube, this video is ultra-high definition 3840x216

Posted by OrbitalHub

Thursday
May 26 2016
22:26 UTC

Next Time You're Late To Work, Blame Dark Energy!

Ever since Lemaitre and Hubble's first proposed it in the 1920s, scientists and astronomers have been aware that the Universe is expanding. And from these observations, cosmological theories like the Big Bang Theory and the "Arrow of Time" emerged. Whereas the former addresses the origins and evolution of our Universe, the latter argues that the flow of time in one-direction and is linked to the expansion of space. For many years, scientists have been trying to ascertain why this is. Why does tim

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
May 26 2016
10:13 UTC

A Lord of Rings: Saturn at Opposition 2016

They're back. After a wintertime largely devoid of evening worlds, the planets are once again in the evening sky. First Jupiter, then Mars have crossed opposition over the past few months, and now Saturn is set to take center stage later next week, reaching opposition at 7:00 Universal Time (UT) on the night of June 2/3rd. This places the ringed world in a position of favorable evening viewing, rising in the east as the Sun sets in the west, and riding highest near local midnight across the meri

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
May 25 2016
19:44 UTC

The Bigelow Expandable Module Is About To Blow Up

People who aren't particularly enthusiastic about space science and space exploration often accuse those of us who are, of "living in a bubble." There are so many seemingly intractable problems here on Earth, so they say, that it's foolish to spend so much money and time on space exploration. But if all goes well with the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) at the ISS this week, astronauts may well end up living in a sort of bubble.[embed]https://www. youtube. com/watch?v=RlApew9O3TE&feature

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
May 25 2016
18:06 UTC

Take A Virtual Reality Tour Of Pluto

... scientists and the astronomy enthusiasts here at Earth have been treated to an unending stream of breathtaking images and scientific discoveries about this distant world. And thanks to the New York Times and the Universities Space Research Association's Lunar and Planetary Institute in

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
May 25 2016
16:25 UTC

Finding Aliens May Be Even Easier Than Previously Thought

Finding examples of intelligent life other than our own in the Universe is hard work. Between spending decades listening to space for signs of radio traffic - which is what the good people at the SETI Institute have been doing - and waiting for the day when it is possible to send spacecraft to neighboring star systems, there simply haven't been a lot of options for finding extra-terrestrials. But in recent years, efforts have begun to simplify the search for intelligent life. Thanks to the effort

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
May 25 2016
16:16 UTC

Space Weather Causing Martian Atmospherics

Strange plumes in Mars' atmosphere first recorded by amateur astronomers four year ago┬have planetary scientists still scratching their heads. But new data from European Space Agency's orbiting Mars Express┬points to coronal mass ejections from the Sun as the culprit. On two occasions in 2012 amateurs photographed cloud-like features rising to altitudes of over 155 miles (250 km) above the same region of Mars. By comparison, similar features seen in the past haven't exceeded 62 miles (100 k

Posted by Universe Today

Saturday
May 21 2016
22:30 UTC

What is the Surface Temperature of Neptune?

Our Solar System is a fascinating place. Between its eight planets and many dwarf planets, there are some serious differences in terms of orbit, composition, and temperature. Whereas conditions within the inner Solar System, where planets are terrestrial in nature, can get pretty hot, planets that orbit beyond the Frost Line - where it is cold enough that volatiles (i. e. water, ammonia, methane, CO and CO┬) condense into solids - can get mighty cold!While Neptune has no "surface" to speak of, E

Posted by Universe Today

Saturday
May 21 2016
13:00 UTC

What is the Difference Between Lava and Magma?

Few forces in nature are are impressive or frightening as a volcanic eruption. In an instant, from within the rumbling depths of the Earth, hot lava, steam, and even chunks of hot rock are spewed into the air, covering vast distances with fire and ash. And thanks to the efforts of geologists and Earth scientists over the course of many centuries, we have to come to understand a great deal about them. However, when it comes to the nomenclature of volcanoes, a point of confusion often arises. Again

Posted by Universe Today

Friday
May 20 2016
17:37 UTC

Hubble Telescope Zooms In On Mars

We're in store for an exciting weekend as the Earth and Mars get closer to each other than at any time in the last ten years. To take advantage of this special┬opportunity,┬the Hubble Space Telescope, normally busy eyeing remote galaxies, was pointed at our next door neighbor to capture this lovely close-up image. As Universe Today writer David Dickinson described in his excellent Mars guide, the planet┬reaches opposition on Sunday morning May 22. That's when the planet will be directly opposi

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
May 19 2016
19:31 UTC

New Horizons Sends Back First Science On Distant Kuiper Belt Object

Even the most curmudgeonly anti-space troll has to admit that the New Horizons mission to Pluto has been an overwhelming success. It's not like New Horizons discovered life or anything, but it did bring an otherwise cold, distant lump to life for humanity. Vivid images and detailed scientific data revealed Pluto as a dynamic, changing world, with an active surface and an atmosphere. And we haven't even received all of the data from New Horizons' mission to Pluto yet. Fresh off its historic visit

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
May 18 2016
18:45 UTC

Friendly Giants Have Cozy Habitable Zones Too

It is an well-known fact that all stars have a lifespan. This begins with their formation, then continues through their Main Sequence phase (which constitutes the majority of their life) before ending in death. In most cases, stars will swell up to several hundred times their normal size as they exit the Main Sequence phase of their life, during which time they will likely consume any planets that orbit closely to them. However, for planets that orbit the star at greater distances (beyond the sys

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
May 16 2016
19:34 UTC

ESA Regrets Not Buying Windshield Insurance

It is known as the Cupola, an observation and work area that was installed aboard the International Space Station in 2010. In addition to giving the crew ample visibility to support the control of the Station's robotic arms, it is also the best seat in the house when it comes to viewing Earth, celestial objects and visiting vehicles. Little wonder then why sp many breathtaking pictures have been taken from inside it over the years. So you can imagine how frustrating it must be for the crew when a

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
May 16 2016
11:13 UTC

A May Full Blue Moon' on Tap For This Weekend?

Brace yourselves. You are about to hear talk this week of an astronomical non-occurrence of the utmost in obscurity. We're talking about this weekend's Blue Moon. Now, I know what you're thinking. Isn't a 'Blue Moon' the second Full Moon of the month? How can a Blue Moon fall on the 21st? Trust me, we're both correct... in a sense. The term 'Blue Moon' has taken on several meanings over the last few decades, with the 'the second Full Moon in a calendar month containing two Full Moons' now in vogu

Posted by Universe Today

Sunday
May 15 2016
22:03 UTC

Japanese 3D Galaxy Map Confirms Einstein Was One Smart Dude

On June 30th, 1905, Albert Einstein started a revolution with the publication of theory of Special Relativity. This theory, among other things, stated that the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the source. In 1915, he followed this up with the publication of his theory of General Relativity, which asserted that gravity has a warping effect on space-time. For over a century, these theories have been an essential tool in astrophysics, explaining the behavior o

Posted by Universe Today

Saturday
May 14 2016
19:14 UTC

Rock Around the Comet Clock with Hubble

Remember 252P/LINEAR? This comet┬appeared low in the morning sky last month and for a short time grew bright enough to see with the naked eye from a dark site. 252P swept closest to Earth on March 21, passing just 3. 3 million miles away or about 14 times the distance between our planet and the moon. Since then, it's been gradually pulling away and fading though┬it remains┬bright enough to see in small telescope during late evening hours. While amateurs set their clocks to catch the comet befor

Posted by Universe Today

Saturday
May 14 2016
14:49 UTC

Mercury Transit Recorded by SDO

Around 13 times per century, Mercury passes between Earth and the sun in a rare astronomical event known as a planetary transit. The 2016 Mercury transit occurred on May 9, between roughly 7:12 a. m. and 2:42 p. m. EDT. Please visit OrbitalHub to read more...

Posted by OrbitalHub

Friday
May 13 2016
19:48 UTC

Is Earth's Magnetic Field Ready to Flip?

Although invisible to┬the eye, Earth's magnetic field plays a huge role in both keeping us safe from the ever-present solar and cosmic winds while making possible the opportunity to witness incredible displays of the northern lights.┬Like a giant bar magnet, if you could sprinkle iron filings around the entire Earth, the particles would align to reveal the nested arcs of our magnetic domain. The same field makes your compass needle align north to south. We can picture our magnetic domain┬as a

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
May 12 2016
10:27 UTC

177 — Angus Wright — ICRAR and GAMA

... GAMA project and radio astronomy, and the work he is doing as part of his PhD in the GAMA collaboration. Download MP3 of Ep 177 This episode is supported by the Monash Centre for Astrophysics .

Posted by Brains Matter

Thursday
May 12 2016
10:00 UTC

Watch Mercury Race Across the Sun, Courtesy of the Big Bear Solar Observatory

Just. Wow. Just when we thought┬we'd seen every amazing image and video sequence from Monday's transit of Mercury, a new one surfaces that makes our jaw hit the floor. The folks at the Big Bear Solar Observatory may have just won the internet this week with this amazing high-definition view of Mercury racing across the surface of the Sun:Remember, Mercury is tiny a world, just 1. 4 times the diameter of our Moon, at 4,880 kilometers across. At about 9" arc seconds across during the transit, it too

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
May 11 2016
20:15 UTC

Thanks, Comet Pluto. Solar System Nomenclature Needs A Major Rethink

Pluto can't seem to catch a break lately. After being reclassified in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union, it seemed that what had been the 9th planet of the Solar System was now relegated to the status of "dwarf planet" with the likes of Ceres, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake. Then came the recent announcements that the title of "Planet 9" may belong to an object ten times the mass of Earth located 700 AU from our Sun. And now, new research has been produced that indicates that Pluto may nee

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
May 09 2016
20:15 UTC

SpaceX Maiden Falcon Heavy Launch May Carry Satellite In November

Move over Arianespace and United Launch Alliance. SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket is set for its maiden launch this November. The long-awaited Falcon Heavy should be able to outperform both the Ariane 5 and the ULA Delta-4 Heavy, at least in some respects. The payload for the maiden voyage is uncertain so far. According to Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's President and CEO, a number of companies have expressed interest in being on the first flight. Shotwell has also said that it might make more sense for

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
May 09 2016
14:05 UTC

Images of Today's Transit of Mercury From Around the World

(Note: Awesome images are being added as they come in!)It's not every day you get to see a planet pass in front of the Sun. But today, skywatchers worldwide got to see just that, as diminutive Mercury passed in front of the disk of the Sun as seen from the Earth. This was the first┬transit of Mercury┬across the face of the Sun since November 8th, 2006, and the last one until November 11th, 2019. Public events worldwide put the unique spectacle on display. Transits of innermost Mercury are much m

Posted by Universe Today

Sunday
May 08 2016
16:55 UTC

Give Mom the Aurora Tonight / Mercury Transit Update

Simple choices can sometimes lead to dramatic turns of events in our lives.┬Before turning in for the night last night, I opened the front door for one last look at the night sky. A brighter-than-normal auroral arc arched over the northern horizon. Although no geomagnetic activity had been forecast, there was something about that arc that┬hinted of possibility. It was 11:30 at the time, and it would have been easy to go to bed, but I figured one quick drive north for a better look couldn't hurt

Posted by Universe Today

Saturday
May 07 2016
00:57 UTC

Unveiled Webb Telescope Mirrors Mesmerize in Golden' Glory

NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER, MD - It's Mesmerizing ! That's the overwhelming feeling expressed among the fortunate few setting their own eyeballs on the newly exposed golden primary mirror at the heart of NASA's mammoth James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) - a sentiment shared by the team building the one-of-its-kind observatory and myself during a visit this week by Universe Today. The telescope is cup up now [concave]. So you see it in all its glory! said John Durning, Webb Tel

Posted by Universe Today

Thursday
May 05 2016
19:32 UTC

How Do We Terraform Ceres?

We continue our "Definitive Guide to Terraforming" series with a look at another body in our Solar System - the dwarf planet Ceres. Like many moons in the outer Solar System, Ceres is a world of ice and rock, and is the largest body in the Asteroid Belt. Humans beings could one day call it home, but could its surface also be made "Earth-like"?In the Solar System's Main Asteroid Belt, there are literally millions of celestial bodies to be found. And while the majority of these range in size from

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
May 04 2016
23:22 UTC

2016 Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower Peaks May 5-6

Itching to watch a meteor shower┬and don't mind getting up at an early hour? Good because this should be a great year for the annual Eta Aquarid (AY-tuh ah-QWAR-ids) shower which peaks on Thursday and Friday┬mornings May 5-6. While the shower is best viewed from tropical and southern latitudes, where a single observer might see between 25-40┬meteors an hour, northern views won't be too shabby. Expect to see between 10-15 per hour in the hours before dawn. Most showers trace their parentage to

Posted by Universe Today

Wednesday
May 04 2016
17:21 UTC

Starshade Prepares To Image New Earths

For countless generations, people have looked up at the stars and wondered if life exists somewhere out there, perhaps on planets much like ours. But it has only been in recent decades that we have been able to confirm the existence of extrasolar planets (aka. exoplanets) in other star systems. In fact, between 1988 and April 20th of 2016, astronomers have been able to account for the existence of 2108 planets in 1350 different star systems, including 511 multiple planetary systems. Most of these

Posted by Universe Today

Tuesday
May 03 2016
11:33 UTC

A Summer Comet: Our Guide to Observing X1 PanSTARRS

Ready for one of the better binocular comets of 2016? Emerging from behind the Sun and a surprise outburst in January, Comet C/2013 X1 PanSTARRS is about to put on its summer show. The waning crescent Moon just crossed paths with the comet in the dawn sky on its way to New on May 6th, and the time to start tracking it is now as it plunges southward across the ecliptic this weekend. Discovered on December 4th 2013 by the prolific PanSTARRS 1 survey, early signs suggested that Comet C/2013 X1 PanST

Posted by Universe Today

Monday
May 02 2016
17:30 UTC

Three New Earth-sized Planets Found Just 40 Light-Years Away

Three more┬potentially Earthlike worlds have been discovered in our galactic┬backyard, announced online today by the European Southern Observatory.┬Researchers using the 60cm TRAPPIST telescope at ESO's La Silla observatory in Chile have identified three Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting a star just 40 light-years away. The star, originally classified as 2MASS J23062928-0502285 but now known as TRAPPIST-1, is an dim "ultracool" brown┬dwarf only . 05% as bright as our Sun . Located in the constel

Posted by Universe Today

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