Chandra Sky Map
- Joe DePasquale
runs through the process of creating the map and some helpful tips for using the interactive tool.
Cosmography of the Local Universe.
From the comments: "Best video display of our Universe and our exact position in it to date.... [more inside]
allows you to explore a virtual, computer-generated 3-d universe from your browser. Background, screen shots and hardware requirements
. (Requires WebGL and a little time to load on slower computers.) [more inside]
"A mission scientist with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, Natalie Batalha hunts for exoplanets — Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system that might harbor life. She speaks about unexpected connections between things like love and dark energy, science and gratitude, and how "exploring the heavens" brings the beauty of the cosmos and the exuberance of scientific discovery closer to us all
". (Audio link of interview at top left corner of page, other relevant links at bottom of page)
How Big is the Universe? Measured with a protractor
. Lots of Pictures!!!
When we talk about dark matter and its alternatives, we are talking about no less a task than explaining the structure of every large object in the Universe.
On the largest scales dark matter
blows all of its competitors
away. In terms of explaining
the large-scale structure of the Universe, not a single one of dark matter
's alternatives comes close to mirroring its success. But of course, that doesn't stop the sensationalist headlines from rolling in. We are understandably uncomfortable with the notion that we are not the most important thing in the Universe. We've just successfully figured out where the new material to form the Milky Way's young stars is coming from: high-velocity intergalactic gas clouds! About a Sun's worth of gas falls into the Milky Way (on average) every year, and this resupplies the Milky Way's gas reserves, which get eaten up as new stars form over billions of years.
But what about the other, larger mystery? What about reproducing the structure of the Milky Way itself?
"Space is big
. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. " -- Douglas Adams [more inside]
The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.
Amazing zoomable images of the Extended Groth Strip
and Orion Nebula
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.
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]
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]
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]
Have you ever wondered what a solar eclipse would look like from space? The STEREO
(Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) has just sent back its view (awe-inspiring video included).
It has also sent back some gorgeous pictures
of our sun (and the McNaught Comet). For more media, check out the other galleries
(including some 3D images). For more about the project, see NASA's STEREO homepage
. Be sure to also stop by the Johns Hopkins University STEREO Page,
where you can download a mission guide (pdf), view animations, watch a video of the launch,
or even make your own papercraft STEREO model (pdf).
You can also learn more in six minute segments with their series of short educational videos.
Imagining the Tenth Dimension
(Flash). 10th dimensional physics and string theory don't get any easier than this.
is a skill pretty much taken for granted now, but it wasn't
. Accurate maps were once prized state secrets, laborious efforts that cost a fortune and took years (or even decades) to complete.
How things have changed. (Yours now, $110
) It took almost 500 years to map North America, but it's only taken one tenth of that to map just everything else. In the last 50 years, we've been able to create acurate atlases of two planets
and one moon
(with a second
in the works). Actually, we've done a lot more than that
. We're actually running out of things to map.
The shape of the universe
may well be a dodecahedron
. New research from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
suggests a finite universe with a definite shape. One up for Plato
, who, following Pythagoras
, maintained that “God used this solid for the whole universe, embroidering figures on it.”
. So it appears. .. all expressed much more lucidly by the Economist.
Are there other universes?
It's mind-boggling to imagine how this might be so, but some scientists think it's possible. But if there's no way to detect something, does it really exist?