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 -
A very well designed site on the Analemma
. Don't be scared off by the math, as there are excellent diagrams and quicktime movies on this difficult to visualize phenomena. Difficult, but not impossible, to photograph (probably less than 10 photos are in existence) Ulrich Bienert
came close, and has a gallery and some tips if you're so inclined.
posted by quercus
on Aug 6, 2002 -
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 -
An asteroid the size of a football field
just missed the Earth last Friday. Coming in fast out of the sun, where we ain't watching, it missed us by an astro-paltry 75,000 miles (a third the distance to the Moon). If it had hit, the impact would have been about 10 megatons -- not a planet-killer, but enough to spoil your picnic.
In related news, Attorney General Ashcroft arrested a box of moon rocks and the entire staff of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA for questioning. The director of the Office of Orbital Security was at a pro-am golf tournament in Fond du Lac, WI and unavailable for a statement.
posted by anser
on Jun 20, 2002 -
A dazzling solar eclipse...
will be on display across a broad swath of the western United States, Mexico, Canada and Asia on Monday, with as much as 99 percent of the sun obscured by the moon. The eclipse will begin at 5:13 p.m. PDT, with best viewing time around 6:20.
posted by GatorDavid
on Jun 6, 2002 -
A supernova in our galactic backyard may be on the verge of exploding. In the (unlikely) event that it happens tomorrow, how would you spend your last day on earth?
posted by Jubey
on May 25, 2002 -
Quark Star Observations of two stars, one unusually small and the other unusually cold, have led astronomers to think they are seeing evidence of a new form of matter and a new kind of star, one possibly made of elementary particles known as quarks and denser than any cosmic object other than a black hole.
(NYT link: yada yada) Here's a related link
on neutron stars and quark matter. I rather like the phrase strange quark matter
... Anybody else hear about this?
posted by y2karl
on Apr 11, 2002 -
The Solar System Simulator
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
posted by RobertLoch
on Mar 27, 2002 -
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 -
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 -
It ain't so dark anymore.
Dark matter seems poised to assume its place among those astronomical phenomena that were predicted to exist before being observed. The planet Neptune
and black holes
to mention two of them. The last 100 years have really been a boom time for astronomy, and they're not slowing down.
posted by holycola
on Feb 9, 2002 -
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 -
So you think the expansion of the universe is accelerating? Think again!
(Contains links to full paper in .pdf etc.)
posted by stuporJIX
on Dec 21, 2001 -
is predicting another aurora showing this weekend due to the sun erupting a coronal mass ejection toward earth on Nov. 22nd. Although I live in the far west Chicago suburbs, others around my area saw the wild aurora showings on October 28th and November 6th. I missed them both because I didn't know about these events (which is why I now subscribe to the SpaceWeather.com mailing list). Had I known, maybe I could have seen this
, or this
, or maybe this
, all from around the midwest! One thing's for sure, I'll be outside this weekend. The sky is very busy this fall!
posted by Sal Amander
on Nov 24, 2001 -
Once in a blue moon
. Not only will the full moon on Halloween be the first in 40(i think) and the last for another 19 years, it is also a 'blue moon' which means that the moon is full twice
in the same month. Notwithstanding any MeFi visitors from Detroit
, are you feeling strange yet?
posted by donkeysuck
on Oct 30, 2001 -
Reflections on a Mote of Dust
"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam."
Carl Sagan "Pale Blue Dot"
posted by crasspastor
on Sep 11, 2001 -
Did the Viking landers find life on Mars 25 years ago?
Some scientists think so. I have too much faith in planetary scientists and
the newly minted field of exobiology, to believe this is a just a ploy to
rekindle waning public interest in space exploration. I think this is
genuine 20/20 hindsight coupled with better scientific understandings of life
existing in the extreme hinterlands of possibility. . .
posted by crasspastor
on Jul 30, 2001 -
So maybe rolling blackouts are a good thing.
"Light pollution" means we don't see the universe today that we saw it when we were kids. What's the balance between being able to see that hazy something we know as the milky way (aka "us") and safe streets, aesthetics and convenience?
posted by dchase
on Jul 14, 2001 -
in a search for evidence of Big Bangs! So far the popular vote indicates most are in favor of the spending--whatever the cnn data is worth. Am I the only one who'd prefer it spent on my undergrad work, or even biosciences research?
posted by greyscale
on Jul 1, 2001 -
A £900,000 mirror sculpture destined for a square in Nottingham, UK, will have to be shielded to prevent it focusing the Sun's rays and barbecuing passing birds. Anish Kapoor's
highly polished concave steel mirror is six metres in diameter. Direct sunlight hitting the mirror would be focused into a narrow beam of light as hot as the surface of the Sun, says astronomer Michael Merrifield of Nottingham University.
posted by zeoslap
on Mar 7, 2001 -
It's official. There was life on Mars!!!
"I am convinced that this is supporting evidence for the presence of ancient life on Mars,'' said Kathie Thomas-Keprta, an astrobiologist at the space center and the first author of a study appearing Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
posted by zeoslap
on Feb 26, 2001 -
of the Space Shuttle and the ray of "shadow" from the moon is pretty cool. I even think I buy the explanation.
posted by aflakete
on Feb 19, 2001 -
NEAR shoemaker lands and survives.
The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touched down on a barren space rock called Eros on Monday, in history’s first attempt to land an object on an asteroid. Scientists said the probe still appeared to be sending signals back to Earth after making contact, hinting that the car-sized probe survived the descent. The speed at impact was between 1.5-1.8 m/s. This marks the first time that a US spacecraft was the first to land on another body of the solar system. And, if the server is back up, it's worth checking out the project's website
posted by warhol
on Feb 12, 2001 -
Space U-Haul Atlantis on its way.
Atlantis is climbing orbit to reach Alpha carrying with it the Destiny module for Space Station Freedom. The module only has 2 inches of clearance from the shuttle itself and will take one hell of a can opener to get it out.
posted by Brilliantcrank
on Feb 8, 2001 -
New career option! Be slave worker on the Martian surface!
This is pretty cool, actually. It's an internet based pilot study run by NASA to identify and classify all of the craters on the surface of Mars. This is a big job. All you need is a IE 5 or Netscape 6 web browser. Since its inception on November 17, web users combined have contributed 111,938 crater-markings and 26,877 crater-classification.
posted by lagado
on Jan 9, 2001 -
Water found on Jupiter moon
"After months and months of wrestling with the data ... we believe there is very strong evidence of a layer of melted water beneath Ganymede's icy surface," said Margaret Kivelson, a space physicist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
posted by owillis
on Dec 17, 2000 -