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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

Earth from Mars

Pale Blue Dot: The Earth and Moon as photographed from Mars. Just in case you needed a bit of perspective.
posted by aladfar on May 22, 2003 - 14 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

Lunar eclipse

Total Lunar Eclipse Coming May 15-16 with prime viewing in the US, Europe, and Africa. Looks like the best viewing will be thursday night, on the east coast of the US.
posted by mathowie on May 13, 2003 - 17 comments

Hot Shots of Mercury

The transit of Mercury. About thirteen times a century, the orbits of Earth and Mercury align in such a way that Mercury can be observed passing across the disk of the sun. The next transit is from 0740 to 1317 GMT, May 7th, and will be webcast from NASA's orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Hot Shots page. NASA also has a piece on the seventeenth century mathematician and astronomerJohannes Kepler, who predicted (but died before observing) transits of Mercury and Venus.More info on space. com, including a viewer's guide and a history of previous observations.
posted by carter on May 6, 2003 - 17 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

2MASS

The Two Micron All Sky Survey at IPAC has been completed after 4 years and 5 million images. Detailed infrared images have been mapped into beautiful false color images. Be sure to check out the 2MASS home page at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. So, what's your favorite astronomy related site or image? (via CNN)
posted by onhazier on Mar 28, 2003 - 5 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

The oldest light in the cosmos

BAM! The Microwave Anisotropy Probe's long-awaited map of the afterglow of the big bang was released today, and all of a sudden, most of the uncertainty in the concordance model of cosmology has disappeared. We now know, to within 1%, that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. We now know that Hubble constant is 71, plus or minus 4. And though the results agreed stunningly well with the weird picture that cosmologists have about the nature of the cosmos, there was one surprise -- the first stars were born way before expected. Great day for science, and a likely future Nobel.
posted by ptermit on Feb 11, 2003 - 25 comments

The sounds of the aurora.

Ever wondered what the Aurora Borealis sounds like? The northern (or southern) lights generate VLF radio waves as well as light. These sounds have been captured here as hundreds of free mp3 downloads, and they make amazing ambient soundtracks. Random clicks, whirrs, pops and whistles, direct from outer space. The site also features other "weather sounds" generated by lightning storms and such, and explains how you can get your hands on a VLF receiver to hear the sounds yourself.
posted by Jimbob on Jan 31, 2003 - 12 comments

The moon does not exist!

The moon does not exist! This is no lie. Until recently, I, too, believed in the traditional, establishment view of the moon. But any thinking person, untainted by the biases imposed on us by the controlled media, will have no choice but to reach the conclusion I did once faced with the facts described in this account.
posted by CrunchyFrog on Jan 30, 2003 - 25 comments

Doomed planet found

A Doomed planet orbiting a distant star has been located. No, not Krypton. The planet is going to be consumed by the star soon, but astronomers are not going to wait up for it.
posted by kaemaril on Jan 28, 2003 - 7 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

Black Holes Merge. Massive layoffs expected throughout galaxy.

Black Holes Merge. Massive layoffs expected throughout galaxy. Analysts predict big payoffs for the economy, however. "A burst of gravitational waves that could warp the very fabric of space will go a long way towards increasing shareholding value," said one economist. Both black holes had recently suffered a dramatic drop in stock price, and were under the threat of hostile takeover from industry leader Black Hole 86184-B before the merger was announced, which took Wall Street pundits off guard. "Much to our surprise, we found that both were active black holes," Stefanie Komossa of the Max Planck Astro-Economics Institute in Germany, said in a statement. Proponents of big business greeted the announcement with pleasure: "This supports the idea that black holes can grow to enormous masses in the centres of galaxies by merging with other black holes."
posted by tweebiscuit on Nov 19, 2002 - 17 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

Coolest sun picture ever

Coolest sun picture ever - sunspot closeup... The Swedish Institute for Solar Physics web site has some other cool pictures. (As an aside, I wonder what equivalent shutter speed, aperture, and focal length would be?)
posted by notsnot on Nov 15, 2002 - 15 comments

Amateur Scientists

Amateurs, Mere Amateurs still make significant contributions to astronomy [The Canadian Laval group's website is typically enthusiastic] and may yet make a difference in other sciences, according to Freeman J. Dyson in this review of Steve Guttenberg lookalike Timothy Ferris's latest book [Here's an enticing glimpse of his home-made Rocky Hill Observatory.]. I wonder just how much easier it's becoming for amateurs to contribute to specific areas of scientific knowledge? Or is it, in fact, increasingly more difficult? And would it still be strictly limited to the observational sciences?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Nov 15, 2002 - 8 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

In 1900 a sponge diver called Elias Stadiatos discovered the wreck of an ancient merchant ship off the tiny island of Antikythera near Crete. The corbita, dating from the first century B.C., was heavily laden with treasure of all kinds, original bronze life-size statues, marble reproductions of older works, jewelry, wine, fine furniture and one immensely complicated scientific instrument. The Antikythera mechanism was originally housed in a wooden box about the size of a shoebox with dials on the outside and a complex clockwork assembly of gears inscribed and configured to produce solar and lunar positions in synchronization with the calendar year. By rotating a handle on its side, its owner could read on its front and back dials the progressions of the lunar and synodic months over four-year cycles. The device has been estimated to be accurate to 1 part in 40,000. (more inside...)
posted by lagado on Sep 24, 2002 - 15 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

Spectacular atmospheric optics.

Spectacular atmospheric optics.
Beautiful pictures of atmospheric phenomena, common and rare. You can also run your own halo simulations if you like... (Found in New Scientist's Weblinks, an extensive, annotated collection of all kinds of science links from all over the web.)
posted by talos on Sep 12, 2002 - 13 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

Celestial Atlases are perhaps some of the most beautiful scientific books ever published, capturing the mystery and the grandeur of the heavens, and rife with beautiful and often intimidating interpretations of the constellations. Out Of This World has been my favorite website since the dawning of time, and one I go back to over and over again even though it never changes. The period from 1603 to 1801 produced the most beautiful star maps, and you don't have to know a thing about astronomy to appreciate how heavenly these are.
posted by iconomy on Sep 10, 2002 - 9 comments

Archaeoastronomy

Archaeoastronomy examines how ancient cultures studied and worshipped the heavens. From the arrangement of the Stonehenge stelae to the Mayan reverence for the planet Venus, this science has resulted in some fascinating and often beautiful discoveries, including star charts found in tombs in Ireland and Japan, the Lascaux caves in France, and rock paintings of a supernova in 1054 that resulted in the Crab Nebula. My personal favorite is the “Sun Dagger” in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico (scroll down for photos).
posted by gottabefunky on Aug 19, 2002 - 11 comments

Perseid Meteor Shower-(Peaks Sunday & Monday)

Perseid Meteor Shower-(Peaks Sunday & Monday) "The August Perseids are among the strongest of the readily observed annual meteor showers, and at maximum activity can yield 50 or 60 meteors per hour. However, observers with exceptional sky conditions often record even larger numbers. Also, during an overnight watch, the Perseids are capable of producing a number of bright, flaring and fragmenting meteors, which leave fine trains in their wake."
posted by DailyBread on Aug 12, 2002 - 13 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

The Analemma

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 - 12 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

An asteroid the size of a football field

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 - 39 comments

APOD turns seven.

APOD turns seven. The Astronomy Picture of the Day hit the seven-year mark on Sunday (full archive list here). Simple and consistent in design, (possibly a record-holder for longest consistent design of an updated site) it's still maintained by astronomers Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell.
posted by kokogiak on Jun 17, 2002 - 10 comments

Beautiful eclipse yesterday.

Beautiful eclipse yesterday. The shadows were amazing too. p.s. - some audio CDs can be used as an eclipse filter.
posted by xowie on Jun 11, 2002 - 17 comments

A dazzling solar eclipse...

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 - 8 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

Instant Suntan.

Instant Suntan. 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 - 42 comments

I saw all five of the visible planets in our solar system tonight!

I saw all five of the visible planets in our solar system tonight! And so can you, if you have clear skies and go outside between 8:45 and 9 p.m. your time this week. Disclaimer - my naked eyes weren't good enough to see Mercury but I could see it with binoculars.
posted by Lynsey on May 6, 2002 - 4 comments

Quark Star and Strange Quark Matter

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 - 8 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

It ain't so dark anymore.

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 - 5 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

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

Wot, no black holes?

Wot, no black holes? Those wacky boffins in science land have already had a pop at the Higg's boson, but now they're moving on to everybody's favourite theoretical singularity, with a new theory about what happens when a star kicks the astral bucket.
posted by stuporJIX on Jan 26, 2002 - 6 comments

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 - 2 comments

Interesting hypothesis that Europa's seas are swimming with bacteria.

Interesting hypothesis that Europa's seas are swimming with bacteria. Preliminary results show that all three species, the ordinary gut bacteria Escherichia coli, and extremophiles Deinococcus radiodurans and Sulfolobus shibatae, are just as good at explaining Europa's IR spectrum as the [magnesium sulphate] salts.
posted by skallas on Dec 13, 2001 - 10 comments

SpaceWeather.com

SpaceWeather.com 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 - 9 comments

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