Showing posts with label astronomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label astronomy. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Largest Digital Sky Survey Has Been Released By Astronomers

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
This compressed view of the entire sky visible from Hawai’i by the Pan-STARRS1 Observatory is the result of half a million exposures, each about 45 seconds in length, taken over a period of 4 years. The shape comes from making a map of the celestial sphere, like a map of the Earth, but leaving out the southern quarter. The disk of the Milky Way looks like a yellow arc, and the dust lanes show up as reddish brown filaments. The background is made up of billions of faint stars and galaxies. If printed at full resolution, the image would be 1.5 miles long, and you would have to get close and squint to see the detail.

SCiTechDaily: Astronomers Release the Largest Digital Sky Survey

The Pan-STARRS project is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

“The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,” said Dr. Ken Chambers, Director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories. “Pan-STARRS has made discoveries from Near Earth Objects and Kuiper Belt Objects in the solar system to lonely planets between the stars; it has mapped the dust in three dimensions in our galaxy and found new streams of stars; and it has found new kinds of exploding stars and distant quasars in the early universe.”

“With this release we anticipate that scientists – as well as students and even casual users – around the world will make many new discoveries about the universe from the wealth of data collected by Pan-STARRS,” Chambers added.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Cool.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Advances In Astronomy Will Help Find Other Worlds

The first super-Earth identified as a rocky exoplanet

BBC: Advance in astronomy 'can help find other worlds'

The pull of gravity on a distant star can now be measured more accurately, shedding light on other worlds, say astronomers.

The method makes it possible to study even the faintest of stars.

"Our technique can tell you how big and bright is the star, and if a planet around it is the right size and temperature to have water oceans, and maybe life," said Prof Jaymie Matthews.
The findings appear in the journal, Science Advances.

Surface gravity is the intensity of the force that pulls everything on the surface of a star or celestial body towards the centre.

It is usually calculated by measuring a star's light or brightness - but this only works well for the closest, brightest stars.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: It is only a question of time that we will be able to not only determine how many planets may be revolving around a distant star .... but to also be able to determine what are the  gases/climate/conditions on these distant planets.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is This The 'End Of Days'?

APOCALYPSE NOW: Why A Rare Astrological Event TONIGHT Could Herald The 'End Of Days' -- Express

IF YOU'RE feeling out of sorts today don't worry, it isn't just you.

Mars, Earth, and the Sun will all align tonight, a rare 'opposition of the planets' that only happens once every 778 days.

But what makes this so remarkable is that it comes precisely a week before everyone on earth will see the first of FOUR dark red 'blood moons', an extraordinary event some Christians believe represents the End of Days and the second coming of Christ.

The King James Bible predicts: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD comes," [Joel 2:31].

And, according to NASA, a highly unusual 'Tetrad' - four successive total 'blood-red' lunar eclipses each followed by six full moons - will, indeed, start a week today and finish on September 28 next year.

Read more ....

My Comment: As a lifelong amateur astronomer .... I love these events. Unfortunately .... it has been cloudy in my neck of the woods all day and now all night. As to the "End of Days" .... I suspect that I am still going to be blogging in the weeks/months/and years ahead.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Did An 8th Century Gamma Ray Burst Irradiate Earth?

An artist’s impression of the merger of two neutron stars. Short duration gamma-ray bursts are thought to be caused by the merger of some combination of white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes. Theory suggests that they are short lived as there is little dust and gas to fuel an ‘afterglow’. (Credit: NASA / Dana Berry) 

Did An 8th Century Gamma Ray Burst Irradiate Earth? -- Science Daily 

Jan. 21, 2013 — A nearby short duration gamma-ray burst may be the cause of an intense blast of high-energy radiation that hit the Earth in the 8th century, according to new research led by astronomers Valeri Hambaryan and Ralph Neuh”ďuser.

The two scientists, based at the Astrophysics Institute of the University of Jena in Germany, publish their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Read more ....  

My Comment: I could only imagine what would be the reaction if such an event happened today.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Oldest Star In The Universe

An artist's impression of how the oldest known star in the universe might look 

The Oldest Star In The Universe: Astronomers Find HD 140283 Is At Least 13.2 billion Years Old -- Daily Mail 

* Star known as HD 140283 has been observed for more than a century
 * It formed within the first 600 million years of the Big Bang
 * Earth lies just 186 light years away from the oldest known star

More than a century after it was first observed by astronomers a star has been identified as the oldest yet seen in the universe.

The star is just 186 light years away from Earth and is at least 13.2 billion years old, and quite possibly many millions of years older than that.

The Big Bang is calculated by scientists to have taken place about 13.77 billion years ago and the star, known only as HD 140283, was among the earliest stars to form.

Read more ....  

My Comment: 13.2 billion years old .... just a blink of time to the universe.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Astronomers Estimate That at Least 100 Billion Planets Populate the Galaxy

A new analysis of data from NASA's Kepler mission finds evidence for at least 100 billion planets in our galaxy. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) 

Planets Abound: Astronomers Estimate That at Least 100 Billion Planets Populate the Galaxy -- Science Daily 

Look up at the night sky and you'll see stars, sure.

But you're also seeing planets -- billions and billions of them. At least. That's the conclusion of a new study by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) that provides yet more evidence that planetary systems are the cosmic norm. The team made their estimate while analyzing planets orbiting a star called Kepler-32 -- planets that are representative, they say, of the vast majority in the galaxy and thus serve as a perfect case study for understanding how most planets form.

Read more ....  

My Comment: Only a 100 billion?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Two Planets ... Two Stars

Two Planets ... Two Stars: Nasa Detects Strange New Solar System (And One Of The Planets Occupies The Life-Supporting 'Goldilocks Zone') -- Daily Mail

* First time that planets have been seen orbiting a two-star system
* 'Theorists will be going back to the drawing board to improve our understanding of how planets are assembled'

Nasa has announced the discovery of a solar system which is home to not one, but two stars.

The Kepler solar system, 4,900 light-years away from Earth, has two stars - called a binary system - orbiting each other in a cosmic dance.

What makes this discovery exciting is the discovery of two planets circling the system - and one of them inhabits the so-called 'Goldilocks Zone', where the planet is the right distance ('not too hot, not too cold') to support liquid water and potentially support life.

Before today, it was unknown whether planets could form around a two-star system.

Read more

My Comment
: Another mystery solved.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Attack Of The Vampire Sun!

Vampire star! New research using data from ESO¿s Very Large Telescope has revealed close binaries transfer mass from one star to another, a kind of stellar vampirism depicted in this artist's impression

Attack Of The Vampire Sun! Astronomers Spot Binary System Where One Star Sucks The Life Out Of Another -- Daily Mail

The Universe is a diverse place, and many stars are quite unlike the Sun.

Now an international team has used the Very Large Telescope in Chile to study what are known as O-type stars, which have very high temperature, mass and brightness.

These stars have short and violent lives and play a key role in the evolution of galaxies. They are also linked to extreme phenomena such as 'vampire stars', where a smaller companion star sucks matter off the surface of its larger neighbour.

Read more ....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Europe To Build World's Biggest Telescope

An artist's impression of the European Extremely Large Telescope on Cerro Armazones, a 3,060-metre mountaintop in Chile's Atacama Desert: For comparison, look at the size of the cars

Europe To Build World's Biggest Telescope Powerful Enough To See Mountains On Planets Beyond Our Solar System -- Daily Mail

A coalition of 15 European countries has announced plans to build the biggest telescope in the world.

The mirror inside the telescope will measure 39metres across - four times wider than today's biggest telescope - and it will be so powerful that astronomers will even be able to observe dark, rocky planets far beyond our solar system.

The European Southern Observatory project is supported by 15 members of the European Union and has the catchy name 'European Extremely Large Telescope'... even if it will be built in Chile, to avoid light pollution.

The twin infrared/optical telescope will sit on top of a 3,060metre mountaintop, giving unparralled views of the sky above, and should hopefully come online in 2022.

Read more

My Comment: OK .... I am very impressed.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

NASA Gets Two Ex-Military Satellites For Astronomy

This artwork shows one of the concepts for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, also known as WFIRST. NASA officials say that the telescopes being made available by the National Reconnaissance Office could address some of the questions to be resolved by the WFIRST mission, including the nature of dark energy and characteristics of extrasolar planets. NASA

US Military Gives NASA Two Better-Than-Hubble Telescopes -- The Register

Double Hubble budget bubble trouble.

In a surprise reminder that NASA is not the only US space program – nor likely the best-funded one – the US military's National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is giving the perennially underfunded space administration two better-than-Hubble-class space telescopes, prosaically named Telescope One and Telescope Two.

One would think that the space boffins would be overjoyed at receiving such delectable crumbs dropped from the military's overstocked table – after all, One and Two are not only equipped with the same 7.9-foot mirrors as is the Hubble, they're also fitted with secondary mirrors that improve focusing.

Read more ....

More News On NASA Receiving Two Ex-Military Satellites For Astronomy

Spy agency's gift could save NASA big bucks on super-Hubble mission -- MSNBC
NASA Adopts Two Spare Spy Telescopes, Each Maybe More Powerful Than Hubble -- Popular Science
Ex-Spy Telescope May Get New Identity as a Space Investigator -- New York Times
NASA gets two military spy telescopes for astronomy -- Washington Post
Spy telescopes could help NASA pin down dark energy -- New Scientist

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Day When The Milky Way And Andromeda Crash Together

The Milky Way and Andromeda Crash Together -- Popular Science

First, the bad news: In four billion years it's going to get a lot more crowded around here. The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are on a collision course. The good news is that a new video from NASA shows how it'll go down.

It's been suggested for some time that the two galaxies might have it in for each other, but today NASA says they can "predict with certainty" that Andromeda, which is still 2.5 million light years away but heading toward us at 250,000 miles per hour, will collide with the Milky Way because of the mutual pull of their gravity.

Read more

My Comment: Cool.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Witnessing The Death Of An Exoplanet

Artist concept of the curious events going at the star named KIC 12557548. Credit: MIT

Doomed Mercury-Sized Exoplanet May Be Turning to Dust -- Universe Today

The old saying of the universe being stranger than we can imagine definitely applies to a newfound exoplanet orbiting a star about 1,500 light years from Earth. Researchers using the Kepler space observatory have detected what appears to be a planet about the size of Mercury literally turning to dust. A long tail of debris — almost like a comet’s tail — is following the planet as it whirls around the star, KIC 12557548. Scientists think the planet could be evaporating under the blistering heat of the star, and that by analyzing the dust, they could decipher the history of the planet. But they better hurry. According to the team’s calculations, the planet will completely disintegrate within 100 million years.

Read more ....

My Comment: I suspect that the info that they are getting is awesome.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Origins Of The Universe

Origins Of The Universe Exposed In Dazzling 3D Videos -- Live Science

Some of the greatest mysteries of the universe, such as how the first stars were formed, spring to life in a new series of awe-inspiring 3D videos that will be shown at museums and universities in California and New York.

The full-color, high-definition 3D animations depict a range of compelling cosmic scenes, including swirling veils of gas and dust from exploding stars, colorful galaxy clusters, dynamic star formation and enigmatic dark matter.

Read more

My Comment: Awesome video.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Billion Stars In One Picture

Earth sits just in the galactic plane which appears as a very dense but very long strip of stars arcing across the sky. The galactic centre and the surrounding bulge of stars is here pulled out to show more detail

Picture Captures A Billion Stars -- BBC

Scientists have produced a colossal picture of our Milky Way Galaxy, to reveal the detail of a billion stars.

It is built from thousands of individual images acquired by two UK-developed telescopes operating in Hawaii and in Chile.

Archived data from the project, known as the Vista Data Flow System, will be mined by astronomers to make new discoveries about the local cosmos.

But more simply, it represents a fabulous portrait of the night sky.

Read more

Update #1: Milky Way as Never Seen Before -- Sci-News
Update #2: New Milky Way Photo Captures 1 Billion Stars --

My Comment: Just a billion stars within our little part of the universe.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Close Encounter Between Jupiter And Venus Dazzles Amateur Astronomers

Jupiter And Venus Conjunction Dazzles Amateur Astronomers -- The Telegraph

Jupiter and Venus last night appeared next to each other in the night sky in a display that delighted amateur astronomers.

The planets are 450 million miles apart in space, but because they are aligned in the same direction from Earth they last night appeared just three degrees apart.

They were visible towards the West just after sunset and before the stars appeared. They will appear bright and relatively close over the next few weeks, and will be most visible in rural areas where there is less light pollution.

Read more

Friday, March 9, 2012

Is Our Galaxy Warped?

ESO 510-13: Warped Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), C. Conselice (U. Wisconsin/STScI) et al., NASA

Hubble Catches a Warped Spiral Galaxy in Profile -- Popular Science

The Hubble Heritage Team captured the warped structure of spiral galaxy ESO 510-13 so beautifully in this pretty space pic. Behold, the product of galactic collisions.

At least, that’s one theory. Most spiral galaxies are flat disks made up of millions of stars and gas and planets and whatnot orbiting a galactic center (which is thought to be, at least in the case of large galaxies, a supermassive black hole). These disks are thought to flatten out the way they do by the nature of the collision of gas clouds early in a galaxy’s lifespan.

Read more

Saturday, February 25, 2012

100 Billion Stars In The Milky Way

An Otherworldly Discovery: Billions of Other Planets -- Wall Street Journal

Astronomers said Wednesday that each of the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way probably has at least one companion planet, on average, adding credence to the notion that planets are as common in the cosmos as grains of sand on the beach.

The finding underscores a fundamental shift in scientific understanding of planetary systems in the cosmos. Our own solar system, considered unique not so long ago, turns out to be just one among billions.

Until April 1994, there was no other known solar system, but the discoveries have slowly mounted since then: The Kepler space telescope, designed for planet-hunting, now finds them routinely.

Read more ....

My Comment: And how many planets?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Astronomers Discover A Water World

GJ1214b, a super-Earth orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth Photo: AFP

Astronomers Discover New Type Of Planet – The Water World -- The Telegraph

A watery planet with a thick, steamy atmosphere has left astronomers fumbling for their classification books.

The water world, which has been named GJ1214b, is 2.7 times bigger than earth but weighs almost seven times as much.

GJ1214b orbits a red-dwarf star at a distance of two million kilometres, suggesting temperatures may reach up to 200C.

Astronomers believe the planet is an entirely new classification of celestial body, with the mixture of water and high temperatures meaning there is a chance new alien materials could have been produced.

Previous types of planetary body known to exist include a rocky surface similar to earth, gas giants like Jupiter, and ice giants like Uranus.

Read more

My Comment: That must be quite a site to see.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gravitational Lensing Helps Redraw the Map of Space

The observations show that dark matter in the Universe is distributed as a network of gigantic dense (white) and empty (dark) regions, where the largest white regions are about the size of several Earth moons on the sky. Van Waerbeke / Heymans / CFHTLens collaboration

A Cosmic Illusion: Gravitational Lensing Helps Redraw the Map of Space -- Time

You can hardly accuse Albert Einstein of being short on imagination. The man who invented General Relativity and helped invent quantum theory probably had more creative thoughts in an hour than most folks have in a year. But one of Einstein's more intriguing scientific papers, which appeared in Science in 1936, wasn't really his idea in the first place. It came instead from a Czech electrical engineer named Rudi Mandl, who was intrigued by one of relativity's implications.

Read more ....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Supernova 'Of A Generation'

This Hubble Space Telescope image of the face-on spiral galaxy Messier 101, known as the Pinwheel Galaxy, was released in 2006. Newscom/File

Supernova 'Of A Generation': How You Can See It With Binoculars -- Christian Science Monitor

A supernova in the nearby Pinwheel Galaxy is the closest supernova in 25 years. Situated near the Big Dipper, the SN 2011fe supernova can be seen with binoculars this week.

If you’ve got a decent pair of binoculars and clear skies, you’ll have a good view Wednesday night of the closest and brightest supernova display of the past 25 years.

The supernova, named SN 2011fe, is the 136th seen by astronomers this year, but its proximity makes it significant not only for stargazers but to the scientific community.

The event was first observed on Aug. 24, only hours after it first became visible from Earth. Located within the Pinwheel Galaxy, the explosion happened 21 million light-years away – a relatively small distance by astronomical standards.

Read more ....