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Black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... black... small pale dot... black... black... black...

Astronomical... the solar system in book form
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 28, 2012 - 24 comments

"...very little everything and more nothing than you could imagine."

The size of the known universe - A six and a half minute video which provides a view of the scale of the universe.
posted by quin on Jan 19, 2012 - 34 comments

The tiniest star system

Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission have discovered the three smallest planets yet detected orbiting a star beyond our sun. The planets orbit a single star, called KOI-961, and are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The smallest is about the size of Mars.
posted by IvoShandor on Jan 11, 2012 - 29 comments

OpenCode

Today, NASA goes open source with its code, joining endeavours such as SpaceHack [previously], WorldWind and (for more worldly coders) Github, GoogleCode, and the venerable SourceForge.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jan 8, 2012 - 11 comments

"We Stopped Dreaming"

King of the Cosmos (A Profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson) by Carl Zimmer. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 3, 2012 - 20 comments

Stargazing

Spacedex has well organized worldwide viewing information for meteor showers, like the brief Quadrantids on Tuesday and Wednesday. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 2, 2012 - 3 comments

Comet falls into sun

Today, a comet falls into the sun. Via
posted by hot_monster on Dec 15, 2011 - 27 comments

Best Of 2011: Space and Astronomy

Timelapse of the Year: an awe-inspiring trailer for the movie TimeScapes by Tom Lowe (full 4K version on YouTube/MP4 direct link). (Previously)
Rover Newcomer: Where In The Solar System is Curiosity?
Astronomy Photographer of the Year. The Top 24 Deep Space Pictures of 2011Top 14 Solar System PhotosTop 16 Space Photos.  (Images of a million-light-year long collision of galaxy clusters and a “stellar snow angel” didn’t make the cut, but should have).
Discovery of the Year: Opportunity uncovers conclusive proof that water flowed on Mars.
Astronomy Animation of the year: a zoom to the center of the Milky Way, and the supermassive black hole that is feeding there.
Lifetime Achievement: The Known Universe, a stunning three-minute zoom from the peak of the Himalayas to the edge of the cosmos, finally available in HD. (Previously).
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Dec 15, 2011 - 6 comments

Other earths, circling different suns

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog is a database of the planets outside our solar system which are considered the most suitable for life according to certain steps and metrics. So far 16 have been identified as possible candidates. This Guardian article is a good introduction. You can also just dive into the catalogue, which ranks planets on two main scales, similarity to Earth and surface habitability (note that all images are computer renderings). The catalog is a project of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo (home to the world's largest radiotelescope).
posted by Kattullus on Dec 5, 2011 - 42 comments

SciGuy Eric Berger

One of my favorite blogs happens to be local to me. Eric Berger, the Houston Chronicle's "SciGuy" usually reports on the weather. But he also posts entertaining and serious stuff as well. [more inside]
posted by PapaLobo on Nov 22, 2011 - 3 comments

We're all made of star stuff

Carl Sagan famously said that we are all made of star stuff. In his vision the basic building blocks of life were jettisoned into interstellar space by the massive explosions of stars going supernova. Now scientists from Hong Kong University have claimed that the results of their latest study(paywall), published in Nature, indicate that stars can create complex organic compounds on the very short timescale of weeks. [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Oct 27, 2011 - 48 comments

Pons-Brooks

A reanalysis of historical astronomical observations suggests that Earth narrowly avoided an extinction event just over a hundred years ago in 1883. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 17, 2011 - 29 comments

The Bolshoi Simulation - visualization of dark matter

Visualization of the dark matter in 1/1000 of the gigantic Bolshoi cosmological simulation, zooming in on a region centered on the dark matter halo of a very large cluster of galaxies. ... The Bolshoi simulation is the most accurate cosmological simulation of the evolution of the large-scale structure of the universe yet made (“bolshoi” is the Russian word for “great” or “grand”). (The Formation of the Milky Way and its Neighbors is cool too.)
posted by nickyskye on Oct 2, 2011 - 6 comments

The Space of Imagination

Dr. Dan Durda [bio; vita] is a veritable Renaissance Man, having hobbies that others would call careers; most notably, he is an accomplished astronomer, jet pilot, cave diver, and Fellow of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.

Oh yeah, about that art stuff -- there's a lot [more inside]
posted by troll on Oct 1, 2011 - 5 comments

Apollo 11, as seen through Google Moon

The descent of the Apollo 11, plotted with Google Moon Pictures from the actual moon landing side-by-side with Google Earth, as the lander descends. [via]
Also, try the Google Earth KML file for the Apollo 11 landing.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike on Sep 28, 2011 - 22 comments

"The first image I made was purely for beauty..." photographing the analemma

"As noted elsewhere, more men have walked on the moon than have successfully photographed the analemma." (details) [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Sep 19, 2011 - 51 comments

George Lucas was ahead of his time after all!

A team of astronomers monitoring data from the Kepler, a craft designed to identify potenially habitable stars, have just announced today that they have located one orbiting a double star system (NYT Link). Early data suggests it's a gaseous planet, but it is also within the range considered "sustainable for life". Still, if there's no life there, Kepler's got over a thousand other exoplanets to check out. Officially, the newly-discovered planet is named "Kepler 16b," but astronomers have already nicknamed it "Tatooine".
posted by EmpressCallipygos on Sep 15, 2011 - 59 comments

What if we treated the rest of science like climate science?

Sure, the diamond planet is real....if you believe the liberal media. One of the scientists involved in making this discovery (actual abstract here) discusses how his experience would have been different if he was a climate scientist. [more inside]
posted by lumpenprole on Sep 13, 2011 - 83 comments

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Astronomy Photographer of the Year The Royal Observatory has announced the Astronomy Photographers of the Year for 2011. A BBC slideshow talks you through the category winners, casting more light on the judges decisions. [more inside]
posted by biffa on Sep 10, 2011 - 20 comments

Star in Leo shouldn't exist

ESO scientists have found an 'extremely primitive star' in the Milky Way's halo - 4/5 the size of the Sun, one of the oldest ever found - that theory says is impossible. It has fifty times less lithium in it than expected in the material produced by the Big Bang. [more inside]
posted by Twang on Sep 3, 2011 - 79 comments

It's solar noon, do you know what time your clock says?

Saturday August 27 Bill Nye dedicated a solar noon clock he designed. The clock is embedded in the facade of Rhodes Hall. At Solar Noon, when the Sun culminates, that is, reaches its highest point in the sky, the sun-shaped feature will light up. It is the marrying of mechanical and electrical engineering with astronomy. What could be better?
posted by IvoShandor on Aug 29, 2011 - 27 comments

No one hears you scream but these mythological figurines

NASA's Juno spacecraft launched this morning and is en route to Jupiter (launch video). Equipped with microwave, ultraviolet, infrared, and visible light detectors Juno will investigate the origins, atmosphere, and magnetosphere of the Solar System's largest planets over one year beginning with its arrival in 2016. Using its awesome solar-powered technology Juno will show Jupiter's magnetic field in detail never before seen. We probably won't hear much from Juno again until 2013, when it makes a fly-by of Earth. You can follow Juno on Twitter, so if it types out its scream, someone will hear it. Also screaming traveling aboard Juno are three very special LEGO mini-figurines.
posted by IvoShandor on Aug 5, 2011 - 35 comments

Awwwwww!

Jupiter has lots. Mars has some, too, as does Neptune. Turns out Earth's got a trojan asteroid of its own. Meet 2010 TK7, the blue planet's new baby brother.
posted by Sys Rq on Jul 29, 2011 - 51 comments

Happy anniversary, Neptune!

Tomorrow evening, at roughly 9:50 in the evening GMT, marks the first anniversary (more or less) of the discovery of Neptune.
posted by Dim Siawns on Jul 10, 2011 - 35 comments

It's SOHOt

On July 5th the SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured video of a comet, known as a sungrazer, in route to collide with our star. SOHO is equipped with an occluding coronograph that blocks direct sunlight and reveals the corona, but also prevents direct study of the terminal impact of sungrazers. But on July 6th, with the help of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), astronomers were able to observe the comet (slyt) streaking in front of the surface of the sun for the first time in history. It likely disintegrated before impact due to extreme heat and radiation.
posted by troll on Jul 8, 2011 - 18 comments

Space ... the final fronti[FUNDING CANCELLED]

The House appropriations panel that oversees NASA has proposed a spending bill that would cut funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble and the telescope many astronomers consider the best chance to continue and expand the Hubble's legacy. Here are the Subcommittee Members.
posted by kyrademon on Jul 6, 2011 - 76 comments

Doggone.

One hundred years ago today, the Nakhla meteorite fell to earth in Abu Hommos, Egypt, bearing possible evidence of life on Mars. And possibly vaporizing a dog. [more inside]
posted by MrVisible on Jun 28, 2011 - 15 comments

May have a chilling effect

Sunspots, first observed by Galileo, normally follow an 11-year cycle. We are into a few years into (recorded) cycle number 24 but according to NASA it's looking rather underpowered. Nobody is certain exactly what the consequences will be, but one distinct possibility is a cold period; a previous low in solar activity, the Maunder minimum, is correlated with a brief Little Ice Age. Nobody really knows how this unusual solar weather pattern might interact with human-caused climate change. Previously, albeit somewhat controversially.
posted by anigbrowl on Jun 14, 2011 - 28 comments

Turns out we ARE hosting an intergalactic kegger down here

The twin Voyager probes launched by NASA in 1977 have discovered something new in the heliosheath at the edge of the solar system: it's frothy out there. Video. Press Release. Via. Voyager: Previously.
posted by zarq on Jun 13, 2011 - 33 comments

Clearly, it's not a rock...

An 'armchair astronomer' named David Martines has found something on Google Mars which he believes is some kind of space station. Allegedly, NASA is investigating the image. Another theory says that what he sees is a "linear streak artifact produced by a cosmic ray".
posted by anastasiav on Jun 6, 2011 - 104 comments

French scientists reportable habitable planet orbiting another star

French scientists have just published a paper entitled "Gliese 581d is the 1st discovered terrestrial-mass exoplanet in the habitable zone", claiming that their computer model suggests the exoplanet "will have a stable atmosphere and surface liquid water for a wide range of plausible cases." We've discovered a lot of exoplanets. And there are a lot of sites to help you keep track. Previously.
posted by Ipsifendus on May 26, 2011 - 47 comments

It's full of stars!

VLT (Very Large Telescope) HD Timelapse Footage (8min SLYT)
posted by jermsplan on May 26, 2011 - 29 comments

She was a woman, so we asked her if she could handle it, because it was big, Mrs. Donovan said

They might not teach you how to be an alligator trapper who works barefoot in Florida, but The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Becoming an Outdoors Woman program is patterned after a similar one that began in Wisconsin, and Becoming an Outdoors Woman programs are available across the U.S. and Canada. [more inside]
posted by cashman on May 22, 2011 - 11 comments

Now, witness the power of this fully-armed and operational battle station

The discovery indicates there are many more free-floating Jupiter-mass planets that can't be seen. The team estimates there are about twice as many of them as stars. In addition, these worlds are thought to be at least as common as planets that orbit stars. This would add up to hundreds of billions of lone planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone.
posted by anigbrowl on May 18, 2011 - 52 comments

Puny Earthlings, you will be reduced to a smoldering sphere

The International Academy of Astronautics is holding the Planetary Defense Conference: Protecting Earth from Asteroids May 9-12, 2011. in Bucharest, Romania [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on May 12, 2011 - 13 comments

Broadcast your cosmicity

365 Days of Astronomy is a 5-minute podcast where each episode is written and recorded by volunteers. Monthly night sky surveys; the early universe; seeing far– these podcasts are made by volunteers, and more are needed.
posted by jjray on May 9, 2011 - 1 comment

The Wonder of God in Nature

Die Wunder Gottes in der Natur (1744) illustrates astronomical, meteorological, geological, spiritual, and psychological visions, based on the work of 16th century Alsatian encyclopedist Conrad Lycosthenes.

The cover and title page.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 5, 2011 - 7 comments

The Hidden Night

The Photopic Sky Survey is a 5,000 megapixel, 360 degree panorama of the entire night sky stitched together from 37,440 exposures. (via)
posted by gruchall on Apr 27, 2011 - 25 comments

Andreas Cellarius and his Harmonia Macrocosmica

Andreas Cellarius was a scholar of the 17th Century who produced one of the most famous cosmological atlases of all time, Harmonia Macrocosmica, featuring 29 beautiful plates (large, high-quality scans), illustrating various aspects of the Universe as understood by the Western science of his time. It's impossible to pick favorites among them, but here are three examples: Phases of the Moon, Sizes of the Celestial Bodies and Stars and Constellations of the Northern Sky.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 23, 2011 - 16 comments

Timelapse

El Tiede: The Mountain. A timelapse of shots taken from the El Tiede mountain, known for being an excellent site for astrological observations. Includes a timelapse of the Milky Way, as seen through a sandstorm coming off from the Sahara Desert. (SLYT)
posted by flibbertigibbet on Apr 16, 2011 - 15 comments

The Galileo Lectures, from Radio New Zealand

Galileo Lectures In 2009, to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo first turning a telescope skywards, Radio New Zealand National, in partnership with the Royal Society of New Zealand, released this kickin' series of five lectures spanning the evolution of cosmology, extra-solar planets, near-earth objects, the nascent field of neutrino astronomy and prospects for the future as the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope comes online early in the next decade. It's a great listen and best of all, it's free to download as MP3 or Ogg Vorbis!
posted by treyka on Apr 14, 2011 - 4 comments

Four billion years ago a star left its legacy as it met its physically inevitable demise

A gamma ray burst nicknamed GRB 110328A (i.e. detected 3/28/2011) appears to be the legacy of a star being torn apart by a supermassive black hole, leaving a peak brightness one trillion times the sun's brightness as it met its ancient inevitable end.
posted by jjray on Apr 8, 2011 - 51 comments

Cosmic

National Geographic's Journey To The Edge Of The Universe. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 11, 2011 - 5 comments

Watch a spacewalk from your backyard.

Amateur astronomer Martin Lewis used a home-made telescope and digital camera to take a picture of the International Space Station, and caught NASA astronaut Steve Bowen on a spacewalk.
posted by jjray on Mar 4, 2011 - 30 comments

Dude, where's my planet?

Where's Tyche, the 10th 9th planet? Getting the full story. John Matese and Daniel Whitmire of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette recently made the news when they announced the possible discovery of a gas giant planet they named Tyche in the Oort Cloud, at the extreme edge of the Solar System (previously). Now ars electronica breaks down the evidence behind the announcement, what can be done to confirm or disprove its existence & how long it could take.
posted by scalefree on Mar 3, 2011 - 17 comments

Have yourself some shivers.

"Not a sun rise, but a galaxy rise. A morning filled with 400 billion suns. The rising of the Milky Way." Beautiful time-lapse of the Milky Way over Lake Tahoe.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Feb 27, 2011 - 38 comments

Tempel 1 Part Deux

On February 14 NASA's Stardust-NExT mission revisited the comet Tempel 1. Tempel 1 was first visited by NASA's Deep Impact, which smashed into the comet back in July 2005. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Feb 21, 2011 - 16 comments

with depravity / i break lots of gravity

Our solar system may have a ninth planet -- or a tenth, if you're a Pluto sentimentalist. Tyche, which astronomers suspect lurks in the Oort cloud, fifteen thousand times farther away from the sun than the Earth, is thought to be a gas giant four times the size of Jupiter. We may know for sure in April.
posted by eugenen on Feb 14, 2011 - 99 comments

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

1000 worlds

NASAs Kepler mission has discovered over 1,100 extrasolar planet candidates. Including, "68 Earth-sized, 288 super-Earth-sized, 662 Neptune-sized, and 165 Jupiter-sized planets". 54 are found in their star's habitable zone, with five of those considered "near-Earth sized" [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Feb 3, 2011 - 65 comments

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