Tom's Astronomy Blog 4 Jun 2009, 00:11 UTC Tethys Shadow. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute Ok I admit, they got me. I was looking around and ran across this image of the shadow of the Saturn moon Tethys. I exclaimed HA!. . . . then I read the caption. It turns out to be a pretty amazing shot and since it owes to the angle of the rings it occurs at regular intervals but is very uncommon for us to be able to witness such a sight.
Universe Today 3 Jun 2009, 23:19 UTC Compared to Earth, Mercury doesn’t have much of an atmosphere. The smallest rocky planet has weak surface gravity, only 38% that of Earth. And the scorching-hot daytime surface temperatures of 800 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 450 degrees Celsius) should have boiled away any trace of Mercury’s atmosphere long ago. Yet recent flybys of the MESSENGER spacecraft clearly revealed Mercury somehow retains a thin layer of gas near its surface. Where does this atmosphere come from?(...)Read the rest of How Magnetic Tornadoes Might Regenerate Mercury’s Atmosphere (627 words) © Brian Ventrudo for Universe Today, 2009. |Permalink |No comment |Add todel.icio.us Post tags: Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh
Cosmic Diary 3 Jun 2009, 23:00 UTC In August 2008 I travelled on the Silk Road to Samarkand, following in the footsteps of many a famous traveller who passed through that Central Asian thoroughfare. Alexander the Great came and plundered there in the fourth century BC, Genghis Khan came from the east in 1220, Marco Polo came en route to China a half century later and Tamerlane conquered the whole of Central Asia in the late 14th century, establishing a centre of learning in Samarkand. He is the Uzbek national hero. His grandson, the famous astronomer Ulugh Beg, produced the first star catalogue since Ptolemy in 1437. I owe my visit to Uzbekistan to Ulugh Beg, as I visited the Ulugh Beg Astronomical Institute in Tashkent with sponsorship from the International Astronomical Union.
Universe Today 3 Jun 2009, 17:48 UTC The Fermi Gamma-ray Telescope has found a new class of active galaxies with some of the fastest particles jets ever detected, accelerating particles near the speed of light. Using Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT), astronomers detected gamma rays from a Seyfert 1 galaxy cataloged as PMN J0948+0022, which lies 5.5 billion light-years away in the constellation Sextans. Previously, it was know that two classes of active galaxies emitted gamma rays – blazars and radio galaxies. “With Fermi, we’ve found a third — and opened a new window in the field, “said Luigi Foschini at Brera Observatory of the National Institute for Astrophysics in Merate, Italy.(...)Read the rest of Fermi Finds a New Class of Super Particle Accelerator Galaxies (336 words) © nancy for Universe Today, 2009.
Cosmic Diary 3 Jun 2009, 14:09 UTC There are always meetings happening at CERN… Every day the ATLAS calendar is filled with a plethora of different meetings on different topics. Luckily you don’t attend all of them, because that would be impossible. The ATLAS collaboration is organised quite complicatedly but rather efficiently into various groups and subgroups under a management level (the model is quite complicated but available here for those of you who like to get their hands into this sort of thing). There are various physics and performance working groups which focus on data analysis and preparation in their various areas. Some groups (such as the Higgs working group) are divided into subgroups, in the Higgs case the taxonomy of choice is the particular decay channel the Higgs boson takes.Each group or subgroup is overseen by two convenors, whose job it is to monitor and direct work within the group, and report to the people above them, a process that is realized in meetings. (Typically, you attend the meetings of the groups that you are directly working in, and get on with actual work for the rest of the time) (apart from things like ATLAS weeks, which are sort of internal-ATLAS mini-conferences). One of my ...
Space Fellowship 3 Jun 2009, 07:48 UTC (NASA) - The six-member Expedition 20 crew of the International Space Station focused Tuesday on preparations for an upcoming spacewalk. Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mike Barratt reviewed spacewalk procedures and configured their Orlan spacesuits in advance of a 5 ½ hour excursion slated to begin Friday at 2:45 a.m. EDT. Image above: A [...]
Out of the Cradle 3 Jun 2009, 05:46 UTC Howdy everyone! Yours truly is fresh back from this year’s International Space Development Conference and wow, what a terrific event. They are so much more fun when one is an attendee instead of an organizer.I was unfortunately not able to attend the Space Investment Summit, only arriving late Wednesday night at the Omni [...]
Cosmic Ray: Discovery Space 3 Jun 2009, 01:55 UTC So what do we do if nobody wants to talk to us? If we get really lucky, plain old astronomical research might stumble across artifacts of a very advanced alien civilization, hence SETT. On the 50th anniversary of first attempt tolisten for artificial radio signals transmitted from an extraterrestrialcivilization orbiting a nearby star, astronomer Jill Tarter says it's time torename the acronym SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). She’sproposing SETT: The Search for Extraterrestrial Technology. The deafening radio silence from the stars could still meanthe galaxy may have plenty of civilizations, but they use something other than radio waves to send out greetings, they are predominantlynon-technological, or they just do not engage in attempts at interstellar communication. They don't want to pay the roaming charges. Years ago I proposed the “Proxmire Effect” was behind thesilence. William Proxmire (1915-2005) was a senator from Wisconsin who found agreat gimmick for getting into the headlines. He gave “Golden Fleece” awards towasteful government spending projects. Government funded science researchwas a convenient target. Science was easy to belittle in mainstream American culture,which is mostly science illiterate and anti-intellectual. The once NASA-fundedSETI effort won two Golden Fleece awards. Congress finally decided to stopfunding for the project. (It ...
Universe Today 2 Jun 2009, 23:41 UTC This just in from the ‘things kids can giggle about’ department: British scientists are using satellite images to find colonies of emperor penguins in Antarctica. While their natural camouflage makes them blend into the shadows of the sea ice where they breed, their droppings, or guano, show up perfectly from space. [...] An emporer penguin colony at Halley Bay. Credit: British Antarctic SurveyThis just in from the ‘things kids can giggle about’ department: British scientists are using satellite images to find colonies of emperor penguins in Antarctica. While their natural camouflage makes them blend into the shadows of the sea ice where they breed, their droppings, or guano, show up perfectly from space. “We can’t see actual penguins on the satellite maps because the resolution isn’t good enough,” said mapping expert Peter Fretwell. “But during the breeding season the birds stay at a colony for eight months. The ice gets pretty dirty and it’s the guano stains that we can see.”(...)Read the rest of Scientists Follow the Poop to Find Penguin From Space (209 words) © nancy for Universe Today, 2009. |Permalink |No comment |Add todel.icio.us Post tags: Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh