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My God, it's full of stars

Chandra Sky Map - Joe DePasquale runs through the process of creating the map and some helpful tips for using the interactive tool.
posted by unliteral on Oct 2, 2013 - 8 comments

Dung beetles and the Milky Way

Dung beetles and the Milky Way "When you view the Milky Way, you are gazing through the plane of this disk and at the universe around and beyond—which, astronomers report, is imponderably vast and contains billions of other galaxies ... On Earth, at least, humans suppose that we alone seek out the sweep of our own galaxy. But we’re wrong. In a paper in Current Biology, Marie Dacke, and her colleagues revealed that at least one other species takes guidance from the Milky Way: the dung beetle".
posted by dhruva on Feb 3, 2013 - 20 comments

So high, so low, so many things to know.

January 13, 2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society. The Magazine is celebrating by taking a yearlong look at the past and future of exploration. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 8, 2013 - 10 comments

The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos, to know itself.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series of one hour shows written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, that was aired at the tail end of 1980 and was - at the time - the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. It is best introduced by an audio excerpt of one of his books, The Pale Blue Dot. Inside is a complete annotated collection of the series. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 3, 2012 - 46 comments

One billion stars; billions and billions of pixels

Want to see what a billion stars look like from the comfort of your chair? [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 11, 2012 - 29 comments

What you see is real, but you can't see it this way with the naked eye.

Temporal Distortion "What you see is real, but you can't see it this way with the naked eye. It is the result of thousands of 20-30 second exposures, edited together to produce the time lapse. This allows you to see the Milky Way, Aurora and other Phenomena, in a way you wouldn't normally see them." More info here.
posted by HuronBob on Feb 27, 2012 - 18 comments

"A situation in many respects similar to ours"

For a time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was erroneously believed that there were canals on Mars.
Maps of the Martian canals. List of Martian Canals. Historical Globes of the Red Planet.
A modern perspective. The Planet Mars: A History of Observation and Discovery .
posted by timshel on Feb 12, 2012 - 26 comments

The color of our galaxy

The best description I can give
Would be that if you looked at new spring snow
Which has a fine grain size
About an hour after dawn or an hour before sunset
You'd see the same spectrum of light
That an alien astronomer in another galaxy would see
Looking at the Milky Way
[more inside]
posted by thirteenkiller on Jan 13, 2012 - 10 comments

Black Hole Sun

A collection of timelapse night photographs, beautifully edited to demonstrate light pollution, complete with Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun," ISS, the Milky Way and a lot of spendy Nikon cameras.
posted by Lynsey on Dec 20, 2011 - 14 comments

Best Of 2011: Space and Astronomy

Timelapse of the Year: an awe-inspiring trailer for the movie TimeScapes by Tom Lowe (full 4K version on YouTube/MP4 direct link). (Previously)
Rover Newcomer: Where In The Solar System is Curiosity?
Astronomy Photographer of the Year. The Top 24 Deep Space Pictures of 2011Top 14 Solar System PhotosTop 16 Space Photos.  (Images of a million-light-year long collision of galaxy clusters and a “stellar snow angel” didn’t make the cut, but should have).
Discovery of the Year: Opportunity uncovers conclusive proof that water flowed on Mars.
Astronomy Animation of the year: a zoom to the center of the Milky Way, and the supermassive black hole that is feeding there.
Lifetime Achievement: The Known Universe, a stunning three-minute zoom from the peak of the Himalayas to the edge of the cosmos, finally available in HD. (Previously).
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Dec 15, 2011 - 6 comments

The Bolshoi Simulation - visualization of dark matter

Visualization of the dark matter in 1/1000 of the gigantic Bolshoi cosmological simulation, zooming in on a region centered on the dark matter halo of a very large cluster of galaxies. ... The Bolshoi simulation is the most accurate cosmological simulation of the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe yet made (“bolshoi” is the Russian word for “great” or “grand”). (The Formation of the Milky Way and its Neighbors is cool too.)
posted by nickyskye on Oct 2, 2011 - 6 comments

The Hidden Night

The Photopic Sky Survey is a 5,000 megapixel, 360 degree panorama of the entire night sky stitched together from 37,440 exposures. (via)
posted by gruchall on Apr 27, 2011 - 25 comments

Have yourself some shivers.

"Not a sun rise, but a galaxy rise. A morning filled with 400 billion suns. The rising of the Milky Way." Beautiful time-lapse of the Milky Way over Lake Tahoe.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Feb 27, 2011 - 38 comments

Planck unveils the Universe

Planck telescope reveals ancient cosmic light. "The picture is the first full-sky image from Europe's Planck telescope which was sent into space last year to survey the oldest light in the cosmos. It took the 600m-euro observatory just over six months to assemble the map. It shows what is visible beyond the Earth to instruments that are sensitive to light at very long wavelengths - much longer than what we can sense with our eyes." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jul 5, 2010 - 30 comments

Smooth Neck of the Moon

Clouds and Stars over Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador
posted by puny human on May 26, 2010 - 13 comments

The Milky Way at different wavelengths

Zoom around the Milky Way at different wavelengths with Chromoscope: X-Ray, Visible, Hydrogen α, Far-IR, Microwave, Radio. (You can also download it.)
posted by Korou on Dec 8, 2009 - 12 comments

Star light, star bright, how many stars can I see tonight?

"The arc of the Milky Way seen from a truly dark location is part of our planet's natural heritage," said Connie Walker, and astronomer from the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. Yet "more than one fifth of the world population, two thirds of the U.S. population and one half of the European Union population have already lost naked eye visibility of the Milky Way." In these areas, people are effectively living in perennial moonlight. They rarely realize it because they still experience the sky to be brighter under a full moon than under new moon conditions. "Reducing the number of lights on at night could help conserve energy, protect wildlife and benefit human health," astronomer Malcolm Smith of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. One study found an increased risk of breast cancer for women living in areas with the most light pollution (abstract). Some communities are embracing their dark skies, such as the New Zealand community of Tekapo, possibly home to first "Starlight Reserve," waiting on UNESCO's official approval. Not sure where to look in the vast night sky? Follow some guidelines, or check the view in Chile, Queensland, Australia, or Texas.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 13, 2009 - 74 comments

Across The Night

A time lapse video of the night sky as it passes over the 2009 Texas Star Party in Fort Davis, Texas. The galactic core of the Milky Way is brightly displayed.
posted by Effigy2000 on May 19, 2009 - 67 comments

Make That A RASPBERRY Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Astronomers searching for amino acids in space have discovered something unexpected -- the center of our galaxy tastes like raspberries and smells like rum. [more inside]
posted by EmpressCallipygos on Apr 22, 2009 - 41 comments

Milky Way Transit Authority

The Milky Way Transit Authority. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 8, 2009 - 18 comments

Dark Skies Awareness

Time to turn off the lights. "Cities needlessly shine billions of dollars directly into the sky each year and, as a result, a fifth of the world's population cannot see the Milky Way. Malcolm Smith explains why a dark sky has much to offer everyone." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 1, 2009 - 47 comments

Sagittarius A*

A sixteen year long astronomical study, led by Dr. Reinhard Genzel of the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, has provided what is considered to be the best empirical evidence yet of the existence of supermassive black holes, specifically one a relatively cozy 27,000 light years away.... "The stellar orbits [QT] in the Galactic Centre [QT] show that the central mass concentration of four million solar masses must be a black hole, beyond any reasonable doubt." [more inside]
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on Dec 13, 2008 - 43 comments

AKARI IR Sky map

The AKARI mission has produced the first infra-red sky map in over 20 years.
posted by nthdegx on Jul 19, 2007 - 20 comments

Hubble harvest 100 new planets

Hubble harvests 100 new planets during a 7-day sweep of the bulge of the Milky Way.. If confirmed it would almost double the number of known planets to about 230. "I think this work has the potential to be the most significant advance in discovering extra-solar planetary systems since the first planets were discovered in the mid-1990s."
posted by stbalbach on Jul 1, 2004 - 17 comments

Eating The Galaxy Next Door

Nearer, My Galaxy, to Thee. The only thing I find more surprising than the discovery of a galactic collision-in-progress is the fact that a similar nearby galaxy had already been found last decade. I need to get up to date and throw out all my astronomy books which still cite the Magellanic Clouds as being our closest neighbors.
posted by brownpau on Nov 4, 2003 - 9 comments

A computer aided simulation builds a spiral galaxy from its beginning. In all, 390,000 particles were placed in an arrangement similar to a newborn galaxy. The end result after three months is an event that is believed to take billions of years to occur. (animation)
posted by samsara on Aug 7, 2002 - 7 comments

Feeling small or feeling big?

Feeling small or feeling big? 39 orders of magnitude that take you from the Milky Way to the proton in an oak leaf.
posted by Chief Typist on Jun 20, 2002 - 9 comments

Power of Ten

Power of Ten View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
posted by Tarrama on Jan 30, 2002 - 19 comments

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