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Make your own astronomical calendar

Several months ago, Bill Rankin of Radical Cartography (previously and previouslier) created an astronomical calendar of events for New Haven, Connecticut, where he lives, featuring all of the inexorable rhythms of the Solar System in one handy PNG file. Now you can create such a calendar for any location on the planet, with information as basic as the hours of daylight or as esoteric as the tilt of Saturn's rings, all lovingly rendered in soothing translucent pastels. [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Feb 7, 2011 - 18 comments

A portfolio of space imagery and videos

"The theme of this blog is not only and obviously space, but in particular places in space that a person might theoretically be able to one day visit. So for the most part, nebula, galaxies and the like are not a part of this forum. I tend to focus on “terrestrial” places or places that host such places. I suppose I would like to find out more about these places that we may one day inhabit or simply visit."
wanderingspace.net
Hat tip to Nice Guy Mike!
posted by boo_radley on Jan 14, 2011 - 4 comments

Cosmic Journeys and other space-related videos

Cosmic Journeys is a documentary series on various astronomical and space-related subjects, e.g. supermassive black holes, Apollo 12, whether the universe is infinite and many more. The creators, SpaceRip have a lot of other, shorter videos online as well. They are indexed here. Most, if not all, of the videos are available in HD.
posted by Kattullus on Dec 30, 2010 - 2 comments

This Is What a Sunspot Looks Like

The most detailed photo of the surface of the sun looks like this. It was taken by the team at CA's Big Bear Solar Observatory. They have some other neat images of our nearest star at their website. [more inside]
posted by fantodstic on Dec 18, 2010 - 46 comments

A better top ten

Bad Astronomer Phil Plait presents "The Top 14 Astronomy Pictures of 2010". [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Dec 14, 2010 - 10 comments

Planets made of diamond and graphite?

A hot carbon-rich gas giant exoplanet, WASP-12b, has been discovered. As the lead author of the paper being published today, Nikku Madhusudhan, says: ""This planet reveals the astounding diversity of worlds out there". In particular, the discovery supports theories that there are likely to be planets made of diamond and graphite out there.
posted by philipy on Dec 8, 2010 - 43 comments

Earth from Day to Night

Time lapse footage of Earth taken by Don Pettit during his time on the International Space Station. [more inside]
posted by gman on Sep 3, 2010 - 19 comments

RIP, Mr. Horkheimer. We'll keep looking up!

Jack Horkheimer, host of "Star Gazer" (formerly known as "Star Hustler") has died. See this excellent post on Horkheimer's work.
posted by achmorrison on Aug 20, 2010 - 106 comments

WISE: Beyond Hubble

On July 17th, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite completed its first survey of the entire sky viewable from Earth. After just seven months in orbit, WISE -- a precursor to the planned James Webb Space Telescope -- has returned more than a million images that provide a close look at celestial objects ranging from distant galaxies to asteroids. The first release of WISE data, covering about 80 percent of the sky, will be delivered to the astronomical community in May of next year, but in the meantime we can see some of the images and animations that NASA has released to date: Galleries (containing just a small selection of images): 1, 2, 3, 4. Videos and Animations: 1, 2 [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 24, 2010 - 11 comments

"All these worlds are (like) yours except . . . "

More than 100 Earth-like planets found . . . [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Jul 23, 2010 - 48 comments

"The planet . . . was scarcely any larger than a house!"

The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla has prepared a scale image of every asteroid and comet ever visited by a spacecraft. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Jul 21, 2010 - 15 comments

"We know you; you'll never be just a speck of light again."

The European Space Agency's Rosetta craft has returned stunning images of the asteroid 21 Lutetia, including this one which couples Lutetia with a member of our planetary family. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Jul 13, 2010 - 21 comments

Water is likely to be widespread in the moon’s interior

The Carnegie Institution for Science reports "a much higher water content in the Moon’s interior than previous studies." For decades, the moon's water content was estimated at less than 1 part per billion; the new estimates range from 64 ppb to 5 parts per million. A scientist at Washington University said, "We can now finally begin to consider the implications—and the origin—of water in the interior of the Moon.” There's more at NASA and the BBC, and the full paper is available at PNAS (PDF).
posted by Stan Carey on Jun 15, 2010 - 21 comments

Heads Up, Citizen Scientists: The Moon Needs You!

Moon Zoo is another project from Oxford astrophysicist Chris Lintott, the creator of Galaxy Zoo (previously: 1, 2, 3). Moon Zoo calls for citizen scientists to record the craters and boulders, among other things, on the Moon's surface. [more inside]
posted by kro on May 24, 2010 - 7 comments

"I'm huntin' now trying to find...a belt in the Jovian morn..."

Something is missing on Jupiter.
posted by Burhanistan on May 13, 2010 - 56 comments

At the limit of humankind's ability

Scientists at NASA will announce the first findings from the Kepler mission next month. The results have caught scientists off-guard but they aren't giving any hints as to what mission co-investigator David Latham "was not prescient enough to anticipate". [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Dec 16, 2009 - 94 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

The sun is a mass of incandescent (Blue) gas...

Astronomy Picture of the Day presents a truly magnificent sight: the blue sun.
posted by Taft on Nov 4, 2009 - 36 comments

Bubble Nebula

Reprocess of Bubble Nebula Data. NGC 7635, also called the Bubble Nebula, is an emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia. It's created by stellar winds from a superhot star 40 times the size of our sun which whip the cloud of gas around the star into a bubble. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Sep 20, 2009 - 18 comments

The Sun Is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma

...the lyrics to that last song were basically taken from an encyclopedia written in the 50s, and since the 50s, some remarkable things have happened...
In 1959, a number of songs about science were released on an album called Space Songs. One of these was later covered by the band They Might Be Giants: Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass of Incandescent Gas). Only one problem: it isn't--the song was based on an incorrect text from 1951. So they wrote an answer song to themselves: Why Does The Sun Really Shine? (The Sun Is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma). Bonus link: see for yourself! (previously)
posted by Upton O'Good on Sep 6, 2009 - 35 comments

Please Prepare For Landing

1,512 high-resolution images of Mars from the viewpoint of an airplane passenger. Previous photos: 1 2 3
posted by msalt on Sep 4, 2009 - 14 comments

cosmic spiral visuals

The Anatomy of Spiral Arms, shows how galaxies naturally evolve to form grand-design two-arm spirals. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 28, 2009 - 18 comments

The Size of Things

Welcome to the Universe - III: The Size of Things . . .we take a breif trip through the Solar System and beyond to see the size of the Universe. A youtube video by AndromedasWake about the scale of the Universe.
posted by nola on Jul 8, 2009 - 20 comments

Zeta Reticuli is watching the Brady Bunch

If extraterrestrial civilizations are monitoring our TV broadcasts, then this is what they are currently watching.
posted by Artw on Jul 7, 2009 - 52 comments

Happy 40th anniversary, mankind.

Moon Landing Tapes Found! [more inside]
posted by sexyrobot on Jul 2, 2009 - 93 comments

It's full of stars

One of the hardest things for people to understand about the universe is just how big it is. There are three approaches typically used in describing its size. The first, the song, was pioneered by Monty Python (NSFWish, wireframe of naked woman) and then done just as masterfully by the Animaniacs. The second, the zoom method has been featured twice before here on the blue. The third method is the comparison method (skip to 1:30, unless you like looking at a image of the solar system with terrible distorted orbits), yielding some truly beautiful videos (this one found via the fantastic Bad Astronomy blog). These videos go, at most, as far as looking at the local cluster or the Virgo Supercluster. There are two videos that attempt to show the size of the entire universe, one unsuccessfully (although with great music) and one successfully. (Warning, all links except the first one, are to YT videos). [more inside]
posted by Hactar on Jul 1, 2009 - 74 comments

The seeming nonsensicalness of this incredible universe

"Workmanlike" astronomy: The Vatican Observatory, among the oldest astronomical centers in the world, brings a team of Jesuits to the papal summer residence. Its scientists play a large part in the church's efforts to reconcile faith with reason. [Previously.] [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Jun 22, 2009 - 31 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

But that's where the fun is

Atlantis. Hubble. And a big, yellow friend. Astrophotographer Thierry Legault managed to get amazing shots of Space Shuttle Atlantis approaching the Hubble Space Telescope during a transit of the sun. [more inside]
posted by dhartung on May 15, 2009 - 46 comments

Did that star just blink?

Tonight NASA is scheduled to launch the Kepler Mission (named after planetary legislator Johannes Kepler) with the goal of finding Earth size planets in orbit around stars in the Cygnus-Lyra region of the sky. Over the next 3 and a half years it will maintain a nearly unblinking gaze on the approximately 100 thousand stars in the region. NASA expects it to find about 50 Earth size planets, as well as hundreds that are larger. You can watch the launch live on NASA TV. [more inside]
posted by borkencode on Mar 6, 2009 - 42 comments

Venus's Missing Water

Where did Venus’s water go? Water may have once been as abundant on Venus as it is on Earth. New data from the Venus Express suggests that the planet's lack of a magnetic field has allowed water in the atmosphere to be stripped apart and carried into space by the solar wind.
posted by homunculus on Dec 29, 2008 - 30 comments

Enceladus

Source Of Geysers On Saturn's Moon Enceladus May Be Underground Water. Earlier this year the Cassini spacecraft detected organic material in the geysers of Enceladus. The question now is, how's the fishing?
posted by homunculus on Dec 10, 2008 - 53 comments

Mammoth Stars

WR 25 And Tr16-244: Previously Unseen Mammoth Stars Get The Hubble Treatment.
posted by homunculus on Nov 27, 2008 - 11 comments

Dark Flow

Mysterious New 'Dark Flow' Discovered in Space. "As if the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy weren't vexing enough, another baffling cosmic puzzle has been discovered. Patches of matter in the universe seem to be moving at very high speeds and in a uniform direction that can't be explained by any of the known gravitational forces in the observable universe. Astronomers are calling the phenomenon 'dark flow.' The stuff that's pulling this matter must be outside the observable universe, researchers conclude." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Sep 25, 2008 - 73 comments

Universe Sandbox

An Interactive Space Simulator "Smash planets together, introduce rogue stars, and build new worlds from spinning discs of debris. Fire a moon into a planet or destroy everything you've created with a super massive black hole. You can simulate and interact with our solar system: the 8 planets,160+ moons, and hundereds of asteroids, the nearest 1000 stars to our Sun, and our local group of galaxies." [31Mb, Windows only, sorry, but see inside for similar Mac and Linux apps] [more inside]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Jul 11, 2008 - 27 comments

“A most dread portent took place, the sun gave forth its light without brightness.”

The Atlantic has an interesting article about the high probability of "space rocks" hitting the earth, possibly as high as a 1 in 10 chance of a major catastrophe each century. Not a new theme, but the article has some new developments suggesting it is more common than once thought. Includes a 10 minute video.
posted by stbalbach on May 30, 2008 - 19 comments

Gravitic Mayhem

" It looks as if our Milky Way will be subsumed into its giant neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy...." A (not so) little trove of images of galactic collisions has been released to mark the 18th anniversary of the Hubble telescope's launch. Gravitic Mayhem. (via)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on Apr 24, 2008 - 21 comments

Stars In Your Eyes

See Saturn this Saturday April 12 is the second annual International Sidewalk Astronomy Night, a worldwide event coordinated by the Sidewalk Astronomers. The group, founded in 1968 by John Dobson (subject of this documentary), is dedicated to a sort of guerrilla astronomy -- experienced stargeeks bringing their really good telescopes out to places where people are. So even on your way to the bars, the shows, and the honky-tonk you can see stuff like this and this - like these people did.
posted by Miko on Apr 10, 2008 - 16 comments

HobbySpace

HobbySpace hosts an exhaustive collection of information and links about space-related hobbies, including amateur astronomy, satellite design, and rocketry for both beginners and experts.
posted by Upton O'Good on Dec 2, 2007 - 3 comments

We live in a wonderfully insane universe.

NASA Astronomers Find Bizarre Planet-Mass Object Orbiting Neutron Star [via]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 13, 2007 - 45 comments

Race To Mars

"Somewhere on the planet are ten-year-olds who, someday, will be the first people to set foot on Mars" 300 scientists and space-experts contributed to what's billed as "a realistic vision of the first Human Mission to Mars" -- Race to Mars. Discovery Channel Canada used Hollywood special effects, but for added realism rather than ray-guns and aliens. On the website, you can argue about whether they got it right. www.racetomars.ca
posted by richlach on Sep 7, 2007 - 24 comments

Space Oddity

Mars and Beyond - 50 years ago, this animated episode of Tomorrowland aired on Disneyland a few months after the launch of Sputnik - an entertaining melange of astronomy, sci-fi, pop culture, science, speculation, and surreality. Walt himself and Wernher von Braun make guest appearances and clip 5 is particularly trippy. (Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 10, 2007 - 9 comments

Ice hot planet

Scientists have discovered a planet composed of scorching hot ice. Originally thought to be a gas giant due to its mass, its actually only four times the size of Earth and most likely composed of exotic forms of ice, such as Ice VII and Ice X with s surface temperature of 300° C.
posted by Artw on May 16, 2007 - 30 comments

And the baths of all the western stars, until I die

Under alien skies: Start with the simply stunning Exosolar, a flash-based interface for navigating through 2,000 nearer stars in 3-D, including all discovered planets outside our solar system. See what the skies would look like from other planets and suns. Explore star maps from many science fiction universes, from Star Trek to Dune. Watch the Big Dipper change its shape over a hundred thousand years. Zoom into a face-on map of the Milky Way that would cover 16 square meters if printed, and see the Atlas of the Universe. [prev. on extrasolar planets, prev. on star maps]
posted by blahblahblah on May 6, 2007 - 9 comments

Cake to person ratio = infinite

To celebrate the 17th birthday of the Hubble Space Telescope, please feast your eyes on a very detailed (Flash) picture of the Carina Nebula.
posted by WolfDaddy on Apr 30, 2007 - 27 comments

Far distant lands

The first was found just fifteen years ago, after centuries of speculation. As of today, we're up to 227 and counting. Most are just wobbles in data, but we have pictures and exotica too. And we are looking for more (although some think we shouldn't look very hard and others are drawing some surprising conclusions). The science and technology of finding the most fascinating and elusive types demands some of the cleverest engineering, yet you can even have a go for yourself. Previously on Metafilter
posted by Devonian on Apr 22, 2007 - 23 comments

Astronomy Day 2007

This Saturday, April 21, 2007, is Astronomy Day 2007. This annual promotion of astronomy started in California (pdf) in 1973 and has since spread around the country and the world. Science museums and observatories all over are hosting special events to celebrate Astronomy Day. Find a local club near you and start enjoying the night sky!
posted by achmorrison on Apr 17, 2007 - 5 comments

Wikisky - Online Starmap and Wiki

It's like Google Maps...for space. Wikisky is a draggable, zoomable, web-based star map. And if you click on a star or other object, it brings up a page with all the information you could want on it, including recent articles and astrophotos that contain that object. And it does lots more. Go explore.
posted by Jimbob on Mar 22, 2007 - 25 comments

Art imitates Life imitates Cosmos

Super-sized cosmic double helix For all the many different (sometimes ignominious) ways in which we imitate nature, sometimes it is nice to see the dynamic change a bit - this time, in the guise of something at the heart of our essence found at the heart of our local island miniverse.
posted by anatinus on Feb 11, 2007 - 14 comments

The Lights in the Sky Are Stars

Universe Today is a news site for astronomy geeks. Don't miss its sibling, the Bad Astronomy Forum, which not only features examples of bad astronomy, but also discussions of space exploration and astrophotography. (If you like astrophotography, you're probably already aware of NASA's astronomy photo of the day.) But my favorite part of the whole site is the free astronomy eBook, What's Up 2007: 365 Days of Skywatching. If only it would only stop raining, maybe I'd grab some binoculars and go outside for some stargazing...
posted by jdroth on Jan 3, 2007 - 6 comments

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