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.
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.
"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.
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]
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.
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]
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]
Haunting images of the night sky above UNESCO world heritage sites: the ruins of the Mayan city of Tikal and Easter Island by astronomer Stéphane Guisard; above Uluru by Kwon O Chul. Much more. [more inside]
"The theme of this blog is not only and obviously space, but in particular places in space that a person might theoretically be able to one day visit. So for the most part, nebula, galaxies and the like are not a part of this forum. I tend to focus on “terrestrial” places or places that host such places. I suppose I would like to find out more about these places that we may one day inhabit or simply visit."
Hat tip to Nice Guy Mike!
Hat tip to Nice Guy Mike!
The zodiac calendar has been corrected based on the original Babylonian setup. "When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it's really not in Pisces," said Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society. [more inside]
The Royal Society's lost women scientists. Women published in the Royal Society, 1890-1930. Most influential British women in the history of science. Women at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Heroines of Science. Women Biochemists, 1906-1939. Women in Science. Previously: The Women of ENIAC.
Yesterday there was a partial solar eclipse over most of Europe and northwestern Asia. There were a lot of great pictures, but the most spectacular may have been the solar transit of the International Space Station during the partial eclipse, taken by French astrophotographer, Thierry Legault. Bad Astronomy has more on why he chose the Sultanate of Oman, and how he captured a picture that was possible for less than a second. Bad Astronomy also covered his picture of the lunar transit of ISS, captured December 21, 2010.
Cosmic Journeys is a documentary series on various astronomical and space-related subjects, e.g. supermassive black holes, Apollo 12, whether the universe is infinite and many more. The creators, SpaceRip have a lot of other, shorter videos online as well. They are indexed here. Most, if not all, of the videos are available in HD.
The most detailed photo of the surface of the sun looks like this. It was taken by the team at CA's Big Bear Solar Observatory. They have some other neat images of our nearest star at their website. [more inside]
Planet Hunters lets users comb through data from the Kepler mission in search of exoplanets. [via Bad Astronomy]
A hot carbon-rich gas giant exoplanet, WASP-12b, has been discovered. As the lead author of the paper being published today, Nikku Madhusudhan, says: ""This planet reveals the astounding diversity of worlds out there". In particular, the discovery supports theories that there are likely to be planets made of diamond and graphite out there.
Amid news of new extrasolar planet discoveries, including a system with a possible 7 planets, Greg Laughlin and Sam Arbesman have released a paper that will be published next month in the open-access journal PLoS One. "A Scientometric Prediction of the Discovery of the First Potentially Habitable Planet with a Mass Similar to Earth" (pdf of full paper) boldly predicts that: "the first potentially habitable planet will be discovered, in this case, as early as May 2011, and likely by the end of 2013." NASA's Kepler mission is set to release data on hundreds of candidate planets early next year. The mission has discovered 7 so far. (Pre-vio-usly)
Emily Lakdawalla has published the first 42 of 99 Voyager Mission Status Bulletins (thanks to space fan Tom Faber). Before the days of the internet, updates on space missions were distributed via newsletter. From 1977-1990 NASA published these Voyager newsletters to update scientists and enthusiasts. Both Voyager I and Voyager II are still out there, hurtling toward the stars. Voyager I and II weekly status updates from 1995-present are currently available online. Lakdawalla will be publishing the rest of the bulletins after she indexes them.
This may just be the most peaceful, beautiful 5-1/2 minutes of your entire day: An audio slideshow look at some of the winning images, guided by one of the judges, of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich's 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. Interested in "giving it a go"? Here are some guides to photographing different aspects of the night sky.
Time lapse footage of Earth taken by Don Pettit during his time on the International Space Station. [more inside]
Asteroid Discovery From 1980 - 2010: an animation of the solar system that highlights asteroids as they are discovered. I would suggest watching it in a high resolution.
Jack Horkheimer, host of "Star Gazer" (formerly known as "Star Hustler") has died. See this excellent post on Horkheimer's work.
The Ice Fracture Explorer is Joseph Shoer's concept for an unmanned expedition into the oceans of Europa. [via]
"A moment, a moment long, it sail’d its balls of unearthly light over our heads, Then departed, dropt in the night, and was gone" Walt Whitman wrote these words in the poem Year of Meteors, 1859 ’60. Not until this year did a team of forensic astronomers at Texas State University, with the assistance of a painting from the Hudson River School, figure out what he was really talking about. [more inside]
Back in January, Dr. Megan Argo and an international team working at Jodrell Bank detected a powerful jet of energy from supernova 2007gr. Her way of announcing it? Doctor Who fan fiction describing the event from a TARDIS eye view. [via]
Astronomers using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have detected gamma-rays from a nova for the first time, a finding that stunned observers and theorists alike. (via)
The Perseids Meteor shower will peak Thursday night through early Friday morning. Use the Dark Sky Finder to find a good place to watch. The Perseids is visible every year, but it's easier to see during the new moon. [more inside]
Don't continue fooling yourself. The earth is growing and expanding rapidly. Despite plate tectonics' popular acceptance in the 60s, Samuel Warren Carey, the father of modern expansion tectonics, was publicly promoting his theories of an expanded earth as late as 1981. One of the theory's most prominent modern spokesmen is comics artist Neal Adams, who has created a number of informative videos about a new model of the universe that even manages to explain why the dinosaurs died out. [more inside]
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have for the first time obtained a three-dimensional view of the distribution of the innermost material expelled by a recently exploded star. The original blast was not only powerful, according to the new results, it was also more concentrated in one particular direction. This is a strong indication that the supernova must have been very turbulent, supporting the most recent computer models. Super-cool zooming video.
"Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the Context of the World Heritage Convention" (also available here) is a collaborative study by the IAU Working Group on Astronomy and World Heritage and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The study has been endorsed by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, at its 34th session in Brasília, Brazil, marking the first time a study in scientific heritage has been so endorsed. [more inside]
On July 17th, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite completed its first survey of the entire sky viewable from Earth. After just seven months in orbit, WISE -- a precursor to the planned James Webb Space Telescope -- has returned more than a million images that provide a close look at celestial objects ranging from distant galaxies to asteroids. The first release of WISE data, covering about 80 percent of the sky, will be delivered to the astronomical community in May of next year, but in the meantime we can see some of the images and animations that NASA has released to date: Galleries (containing just a small selection of images): 1, 2, 3, 4. Videos and Animations: 1, 2 [more inside]
Tom Taylor's Twitter project, Low Flying Rocks, scrapes the NASA Near Earth Object database, and tweets when an object passes within 0.2 AU (30 million kilometres/18.6 million miles) of the Earth - something that apparently happens "a few times a week". [more inside]
The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla has prepared a scale image of every asteroid and comet ever visited by a spacecraft. [more inside]
The European Space Agency's Rosetta craft has returned stunning images of the asteroid 21 Lutetia, including this one which couples Lutetia with a member of our planetary family. [more inside]
Planck telescope reveals ancient cosmic light. "The picture is the first full-sky image from Europe's Planck telescope which was sent into space last year to survey the oldest light in the cosmos. It took the 600m-euro observatory just over six months to assemble the map. It shows what is visible beyond the Earth to instruments that are sensitive to light at very long wavelengths - much longer than what we can sense with our eyes." [more inside]
The whole of Mars' surface was shaped by liquid water around four billion years ago, say scientists. Scientists with the best names possible for the job. [more inside]
The Carnegie Institution for Science reports "a much higher water content in the Moon’s interior than previous studies." For decades, the moon's water content was estimated at less than 1 part per billion; the new estimates range from 64 ppb to 5 parts per million. A scientist at Washington University said, "We can now finally begin to consider the implications—and the origin—of water in the interior of the Moon.” There's more at NASA and the BBC, and the full paper is available at PNAS (PDF).
Early this morning, local time, two amateur astronomers independently captured images of something colliding with Jupiter. Anthony Wesley (cache) in Broken Hill, Australia noticed it first. Wesley spread the word and Christopher Go (cache) in Cebu City, Philippines also found that he'd documented the event, which occurred at 20:31 June 3, Universal Time. [more inside]
I take massive NASA images and make them easily viewable. Milky Way. Carina. To zoom, click on the pics. All Hubble Images Sorted by Resolution. Excellent Video Narrated by Morgan Freeman [clip from Cosmic Voyage]. [more inside]
Hubble spots a planet-eating star. The list of confirmed extrasolar planets numbers only 455; the first ones being discovered in 1990. That count is about to decrease. [more inside]
Moon Zoo is another project from Oxford astrophysicist Chris Lintott, the creator of Galaxy Zoo (previously: 1, 2, 3). Moon Zoo calls for citizen scientists to record the craters and boulders, among other things, on the Moon's surface. [more inside]
Obese, gluttonous, and cannibalistic is no way to go through life, son: profile of a multi-core galaxy 20 times larger than the Milky Way.