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In Saturn's Shadow

In Saturn's Shadow. Pictures of Saturn like none you've seen before, taken by Cassini while the planet was in between the probe and the sun. You can just make out Earth in the photos. Previously.
posted by cerebus19 on Oct 16, 2006 - 17 comments

I guess we need a new mnemonic...

Ceres, Charon, and 2003 UB313 (a.k.a. Xena) may join the 9 planets we already know (and strive to remember) if a resolution by the International Astronomical Union is passed next week. So what makes a planet, according to the IAU? Having sufficient mass to achieve hydrostatic equilibrium (i.e. be round enough...welcome former asteroid Ceres) and being in orbit around a star without being a star itself or a satellite of another planet (apparently Charon and Pluto are actually a double planet.) Mike Brown, discoverer of "10th planet" Sedna and alleged "Pluto-hater", doesn't really like the idea.
posted by nekton on Aug 16, 2006 - 75 comments

Function Follows Form in Quantum Mechanics and Astronomy. The need for a NEW Black Hole.

Function Follows Form in Quantum Mechanics and Astronomy. The need for a NEW Black Hole. A Weblog.
posted by nthdegx on Apr 14, 2006 - 22 comments

March 2006 Solar Eclipse Photos

There was a lovely total solar eclipse over parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia yesterday. See the photo galleries from Spaceweather, BBC, various Flickr users, and the International Space Station.
posted by brownpau on Mar 29, 2006 - 12 comments

Astronomers: want to watch a supernova?

Odd Supernova Amateur and professional astronomers rejoice , point your telescopes at RA: 03:21:39.71 Dec: +16:52:02.6 to watch a new phenomenon that could turn into a supernova explosion
posted by elpapacito on Feb 24, 2006 - 17 comments

Portraits of a Universe in Motion

Galaxy Dynamics GRAVITAS is an ongoing project to visualize and animate the dynamics of galaxies using supercomputer simulations.
posted by ZippityBuddha on Feb 2, 2006 - 21 comments

Space Nerds Rejoice!

Stardust@home. The Stardust spacecraft (discussed recently here) should land in Utah early Saturday, carrying in its hold a sprinkling of grains of interstellar dust. Researchers are seeking the public's help in pinpointing the submicroscopic bits of dust. Participants will sift through the hundreds of thousands of pictures of the roughly square-foot collector plate.
posted by ND¢ on Jan 11, 2006 - 21 comments

Stunning Saturn/Dione Photo

Stunningly beautiful photo of Dione and Saturn with rings. Such a sensation of depth and grandeur. Thanks, Cassini/JPL/NASA. [animation] [planetary photojournal entry] [B/W mirror from kokogiak] [now you play fun Flash spaceship game].
posted by brownpau on Oct 21, 2005 - 18 comments

Cassini Flies by Tethys

Cassini Flies by Tethys and Hyperion, and the photos so far have been awesome and weird. I especially want to point out this fascinating view, which, if you look at it closely, reveals what appears to be a string of small impact craters, in a straight line over older terrain. What kind of meteor impact could have produced such an excellent formation of craters? Hyperion photos are coming. (Kokogiak's got backup in case the JRUNS strike.)
posted by brownpau on Sep 26, 2005 - 29 comments

Spirit photographs Phobos and Deimos

Two Moons Passing in the Night. Mars rover Spirit took these sequential photos of Martian moons Phobos and Deimos passing overhead in the night sky. Those rovers are still going strong!
posted by brownpau on Sep 10, 2005 - 17 comments

Cassini Photos of Saturn's Rings and Moons

Rocks Among the Rings. The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla has compiled some of the loveliest imagery of Saturn's ring-and-moon system from Cassini. More on Saturn from the Planetary Society here. Also see the Cassini at Saturn photoset, from our very own kokogiak, and watch for updates on the latest Enceladus flyby.
posted by brownpau on Jul 15, 2005 - 5 comments

avast ye maties! set sail for the milky way, yarr!

Cosmos 1 is officially lost! However, fellow solar sailors, it's not too late to buy a t-shirt. I, however, can't help but focus my attention on this educational BBC News article; I believe I'm having some sort of pavlovian response to that last diagram, but thankfully it seems I'm not the first solar sailing pervert out there.
posted by analogue on Jun 29, 2005 - 15 comments

Pioneer Anomaly

The Pioneer Anomaly. Something's up in deep space: the Pioneer spacecraft, now out of contact, have shown an unexplained Doppler drift, indicating sunward acceleration, effectively decelerating the probes cumulatively. The effect may be be nongravitational, and could be explained by any number of factors: an undiscovered twist in Newtonian physics, localized cosmological contraction issues, or just venting gas. Other deep space probes may have experienced the anomaly as well, and a new mission could explore the puzzle; but for now, all we have is past Pioneer data, and that's stored on old 9 track tape which can only be read by antique readers. What's to be done? (Also see Pioneer Odyssey for a nostalgic romp through those early days of deep space exploration. And NASA, bring back the original Pioneer home page plz, kthx.)
posted by brownpau on Jun 13, 2005 - 21 comments

Water on earth's moon?

Come and get it? Some researchers believe there's water on the Moon in reach of human explorers....as we look towards the Moon with thoughts of setting up a permanent home there, one new question is paramount: does the Moon have water? Although none has been definitely detected, recent evidence suggests that it's there.
posted by Cranberry on Apr 14, 2005 - 24 comments

Huygens Makes it!

It worked! Huygens has successfully landed on Saturn's moon Titan and the Cassini orbiter is sending good data back to Earth as I type. Isn't it amazing how we can take a probe the size of a compact car, send it on a 7 year journey in the most inhospitable environment imaginable, deploy a sub-probe that has been dormant for that entire time and land it where we had planned on another solar body so far away that it takes 67 minutes to get a signal back and forth. Exploration and research has never been so cool.
posted by tgrundke on Jan 14, 2005 - 37 comments

There can be no escape. . .

NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory recently detected [reg required] the largest explosion ever detected in the universe: an eruption releasing the energy of hundreds of millions of gamma ray bursts. Just to put it in perspective, a single GRB releases enough radiation to wipe out just about everything human beings would require for survival in a 1000 light year radius. (The Milky Way spans ~100,000 light years, while the United Federation of Planets spans about 8,000). Arthur C. Clarke has gone so far as suggesting that GRBs might be one of the reasons for Extra-Terrestrial silence: Gamma Ray Bursts are so large and inescapable, a single one would wipe out even an enormous galactic empire. Makes killer asteroids seem downright quaint.
posted by absalom on Jan 8, 2005 - 24 comments

Ring-around-the-posie

" It was beyond description, really, it was mind-blowing," she said. "I'm surprised at how surprised I am at the beauty and the clarity of these images. They are shocking to me."
posted by moonbird on Jul 2, 2004 - 2 comments

90 Sols in 90 Seconds

With all this talk of wars in distant countries, it's easy to forget that there's exciting things going on just 300 million km from your back porch. NASA has provided 90 second videos of the first 90 sols of the Spirit [5MB .mov] and Opportunity rovers [5MB .mov].
posted by fatbobsmith on May 18, 2004 - 11 comments

Life On Mars's Meethane Traces Thought To Be Detected

Life on Mars? Methane has been found in the Martian atmosphere which scientists say could be a sign of present-day life on Mars. It was detected by telescopes on Earth and has recently been confirmed by instruments onboard the European Space Agency's orbiting Mars Express craft. Methane lives for a short time in the Martian atmosphere so it must be being constantly replenished. There are two possible ways to do this. Either active volcanoes, but none have yet been found on Mars, or microbes. The Independent has it as Methane find on Mars may be sign of life. The second group to detect signals of methane in the Martian atmosphere is led by Michael Mumma of Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, who used powerful spectroscopic telescopes based on Earth. This team is even believed to have detected variations in the concentrations of methane, with a peak coming from the ancient Martian seabed of Meridiani Planum, which is being explored by a Nasa rover. This could indicate a subterranean source of methane which is pumping out the gas, either due to some residual geological activity or because of the presence of living organisms producing it as a waste gas. Asked whether the continual production of methane is strong evidence of a biological origin of the gas, Dr Mumma said: "I think it is, myself personally." As to how...
posted by y2karl on Mar 28, 2004 - 25 comments

Observing the five planets

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, the five planets visible to the naked eye, can all be seen simultaneously after sunset over the next few weeks. Viewing details. The next opportunity will be in 2036.
posted by carter on Mar 21, 2004 - 8 comments

Mars Rover, Quicktime.

Next Best Thing to Being There. A Quicktime Mars Rover Simulation.
posted by kozad on Jan 17, 2004 - 8 comments

European Space Agency's webpage about the Mars Express / Beagle 2 project.

Mars ho! In about 24 hours, the Beagle 2 lander will descend to the surface of Mars, courtesy of the European Space Agency. After a few mighty bounces, encased in a giant rubber ball, the lander will open up and allow its instrument payload to start sampling the surface. This is the first in a trifecta of landers destined for Mars during the next month. NASA's landers, Spirit and Opportunity, land on January 3rd and January 24th.
posted by warhol on Dec 23, 2003 - 25 comments

Spitzer Space Telescope

The first images from the Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility and renamed after astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr., were released on Thursday. Launched on August 25, it obtains images by detecting the infrared energy radiated by objects in space, and it will drift behind the Earth as the planet orbits the sun.
posted by homunculus on Dec 20, 2003 - 3 comments

The Best of Hubble

The Best of Hubble Its mission will end in 2010. Four years later it will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. Many astronomers are calling for Hubble to be refurbished and its mission extended to 2020. Here are some of it's best pictures.
posted by reverendX on Dec 10, 2003 - 14 comments

solar system

solar system [note: requires anark plugin]
posted by crunchland on Nov 15, 2003 - 14 comments

Intense Solar Flare

The largest solar flare of the current solar cycle shot off the sun earlier today. After the media latched on to what was predicted to be mostly a non-event last week (probably due to a NASA article released around the same time about a super spacestorm) , it's not making as much news this time. But you should pay attention this time. This could be the best and last chance for a lot of us farther south to see some auroras before the sun dives into solar minimum, assuming all the variables line up correctly this time. I recommend watching the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch, as it is a great all around resource for solar activity and auroras that includes live data and sightings reports by the general public. Unfortunately though, no doubt as word IS spreading, that site is being hammered again and may be quite slow.
posted by yupislyr on Oct 28, 2003 - 21 comments

My God, it's full of stars!

Breathtaking Hubble picture of the Sombrero Galaxy (also identified as M104). The Hubble Heritage team took the original images during May and June of this year using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and multiple color filters. They then stitched 6 images together to make the final composite image.
posted by Irontom on Oct 10, 2003 - 39 comments

Galileo Dies.

NASA's Official 'Galileo Dies' Page. Galileo is set to crash into Jupiter on Sunday. Responsible for many great images and tons of information, Galileo served well. Find a complete history of the Galileo mission here. Also, don't forget to watch the End of Mission webcast this Sunday at approx. 2 PM EST here.
posted by Ufez Jones on Sep 16, 2003 - 7 comments

Talk about Johnny One-Note

In space, you can hear a black hole sing (WaPo link). Using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, astrophysicists have detected a supermassive black hole in the Perseus Cluster which has been "playing" a B-flat for 3 billion years.

Fascinating as this seemingly counterintuitive discovery (sound carrying through space) is, the real significance lies in that these "sound waves" may explain why the superhot gases in such regions aren't cooling down and forming more stars.
posted by GreyWingnut on Sep 10, 2003 - 19 comments

Oh, the humanity!

Asteroid orbits Enter the designation or name of any asteroid or comet, and a 3D orbit visualization tool will appear for that object. If Chicken Little had this link he might have calmed down a little. Or not...Find out if your favorite asteroid is about to rock your world.
posted by konolia on Sep 2, 2003 - 5 comments

3-D Maps of Nearby Space

3-D Maps of Nearby Space "The first detailed map of space within about 1,000 light years of Earth places the solar system in the middle of a large hole that pierces the plane of the galaxy...The new map, produced by University of California, Berkeley, and French astronomers, alters the reigning view of the solar neighborhood." (one view|another view|links to bigger images)
posted by kirkaracha on May 30, 2003 - 5 comments

Lunar Eclipse

Just a reminder that the lunar eclipse occurs tonight, starting at 7:00pm Pacific Daylight Time (and lasting about three hours). Various webcasts have been set up for the darkness-impaired. Apologies for the double-post, and I am aware that I'll probably get like 5 comments that say "SpaceFilter".
posted by hammurderer on May 15, 2003 - 41 comments

Celestial spheres

This guy can build an orrery for you. Or you can make your own armillary sphere. These two devices are quite possibly the most elegant and beautiful scientific instruments ever created.
posted by WolfDaddy on May 2, 2003 - 10 comments

Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. Journals, records and some images from the Apollo lunar missions.
posted by plep on Mar 10, 2003 - 13 comments

Is there Life on Mars?

Is there Life on Mars? As NASA announce a nuclear-powered Mars and beyond project, British scientists are looking forward to the launch of the Beagle 2 which will search for signs of life on the Red Planet. Is this the return of the Space Race in a new form? And will they find any sign of life?
posted by anyanka on Jan 22, 2003 - 3 comments

Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics

"I was willing to bet that there was going to be a universe, and I hit the nail on the head." The other day we had Avram Davidson, which got me thinking of Calvino's Invisible Cities, but all the recent talk about black holes made me remember that Italo Calvino is at his most charming when he's playing with physics, math, and cosmology in Cosmicomics.
posted by vraxoin on Nov 20, 2002 - 15 comments

Aonther massive celestial object, with a companion star in tow,

Another massive celestial object, with a companion star in tow, has been discovered hurtling through the Milky Way. Unlike similar discoveries confirming the bow shock theory of stellar dynamics, this week's phenomenon is considerably older, as it's an aftereffect of the galactic core's formation. The French and Argentine astromoners making the discovery believe what they've witnessed may be a black hole, though theoretically, the collasped matter may be a gravistar.
posted by Smart Dalek on Nov 19, 2002 - 10 comments

Leonid Meteor Storm 2002

They're back--and promise to as brighter or brighter than last year:
NASA scientists' predictions for the 2002 Leonid meteor storm.

Such meteor storms rarely happen in consecutive years, but 2001 and 2002 are exceptions. Experts have just released their predictions: Depending on where you live (Europe and the Americas are favored) Leonid meteor rates in 2002 should equal or exceed 2001 levels.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the Moon will be full when the storm begins on Nov. 19th. Glaring moonlight will completely overwhelm many faint shooting stars. Indeed, I often hear that the Moon is going to "ruin the show."


We shall see.
posted by y2karl on Nov 16, 2002 - 22 comments

Swan song for a great explorer.

Swan song for a great explorer. Tomorow, the Galileo explorer will make a flyby of Jovian moon Amalthea ending pehaps the geatest unmanned mission in NASA history. Galileo telemetry may not survive the flyby having already receieved much more radiation than it was designed for. Even if it does survive, this will be its final orbit scheduled to crash into Jupiter in September of next year. In spite of antenna difficulties, the spacecraft returned many beautiful images of Jupiter's moons, along with coverage of the Shoemaker-Levy collision and the first atmospheric probe to decend into Jupiter's weather.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 3, 2002 - 9 comments

There's something out there

There's something out there
Target Body: J002E3 Spacecraft (UNCONFIRMED)
Observer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Coordinates: 118°14'27.6''W, 34°03'15.1''N

Since September 5th, the Minor Planet Mailing List (MPML) has been abuzz with speculation about an unidentified 16th- magnitude object. During the next 10 days the object will be moving rapidly across Aries and then Taurus, passing between the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters.
posted by riley370 on Sep 13, 2002 - 29 comments

Earth has a third satellite?

Earth has a third satellite? Somehow I missed that a second one, Cruithne, was discovered in 1986. Is there a size or distance limit to something being considered a satellite?
posted by onhazier on Sep 11, 2002 - 31 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

Sol: A Great Big Ball of Burning....Iron?

Sol: A Great Big Ball of Burning....Iron? Well that's what a UMRolla professor thinks anyway -- instead of being mostly hydrogen, that the sun is actually mostly iron. He's going against all popular belief, and indeed lots of evidence, but his theory states that our sun formed around the iron core of an old supernova.
posted by LuxFX on Jul 24, 2002 - 13 comments

Next Thursday, NASA will announce the discovery of huge water ice oceans on Mars. Lying less than a metre beneath the surface south of 60° latitude, the water ice reservoirs if melted would form an ocean 500m deep covering the entire planet. NASA insiders believe these findings could result in a manned landing within 20 years.
posted by adrianhon on May 26, 2002 - 24 comments

The Solar System Simulator

The Solar System Simulator 'is designed to simulate - as realistically as possible - what one would actually see from any point in the Solar System. The software looks up the positions of the Sun, planets and satellites from ephemeris files developed here at JPL, as well as star positions and colors from a variety of stellar databasees, and uses special-purpose renderers to draw a color scene. Texture maps for each of the planets and physical models for planetary rings have been derived (in most cases) from scientific data collected by various JPL spacecraft.' Far too complicated for me to even begin to understand, still I've always wondered what Saturn looks like from Triton.
posted by RobertLoch on Mar 27, 2002 - 15 comments

Space, Here We Come!

Space, Here We Come! The Chinese make significant progress in their quest for the stars. A good bit of background from Wired explains that they're leveraging off of Russian tech but China still considered the program their #1 sci-tech advance last year. As an aside, some nice spy pictures are available of the Jiuquan Space Facility although I imagine it's been a developed a bit since then.

So, will getting a man into space signficantly change the world's opinion of China as it slowly evolves in a major world player? For Americans, will it be 1957 all over again except the little beep beep is replaced by a Chinese man waving back at them?
posted by warhol on Mar 26, 2002 - 27 comments

Clueless! But wouldn't this have made a big dent in the middle east peace process?
posted by BentPenguin on Mar 19, 2002 - 28 comments

Puzzling X-rays from Jupiter

Puzzling X-rays from Jupiter "We weren't surprised to find x-rays coming from Jupiter." Other observatories had done that years ago. The surprise is what Chandra has revealed for the very first time: the location of the beacon -- surprisingly close the planet's pole -- and the regular way it pulses. (Via Fark.)
posted by Mwongozi on Mar 7, 2002 - 8 comments

Huge ice field found on Mars

Huge ice field found on Mars The Mars Odyssey orbiter has found a vast field of water ice stretching from the Martian south pole to 60 degrees south.
posted by Zool on Mar 4, 2002 - 29 comments

Public Survey for Input to the Planetary Decadal Survey.

Public Survey for Input to the Planetary Decadal Survey. The Planetary Society is seeking input from the public for NASA's planetary research priorities for the next 10 years. The deadline for taking the survey is January 31st.
posted by homunculus on Jan 26, 2002 - 4 comments

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