No, I'm not joking. Watch it here, if you dare. Enjoy? Please leave reviews below if you actually watch it...
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
It is nowhere as scary as it sounds. There are anti-matter particles constantly bombarding the Earth's atmosphere, where they promptly annihilate and never make it to the surface. Go here to read about a new experiment to be placed on the ISS to detect these and figure out where they come from.
Straight from the emails of NASA headquarters:
NASA is challenging high school teams to design software to program small satellites aboard the International Space Station. The competition centers on the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. SPHERES are bowling ball-sized spherical satellites used to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. Three of these satellites fly inside the station's cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment.
The Zero-Robotics investigation, run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. The teams are asked to address challenges of satellite docking, assembly and flight formation. The 2010 Zero-Robotics Challenge expands on a limited pilot program performed in fall 2009. This expanded pilot, called HelioSPHERES, will involve
high schools from across the country during the 2010 - 2011 academic year. This new education program builds critical engineering skills for students, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, teamwork and presentation skills. The first 100 high school teams to register by Sept. 10 will be selected for the competition. Their full proposals are due by Sept. 14. More information and registration instructions are available here. Twenty teams selected from the 100 candidates will compete using simulations and ground-based testing at MIT. The software of the top 10 winners will be sent to the station, and an astronaut aboard the orbiting laboratory will program the SPHERES satellites to run the students' tests. For additional information on NASA and MIT's Zero-Robotics program,
visit this webpage.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
Well, so said John Updike. They don't have no mass, but very very little mass, and it now appears that they have even less mass than people thought as you can read here. And while to them "The earth is just a silly ball," by detecting them deep underground you can learn quite about the Earth, which you can read about here. Enjoy, and my apologies for butchering that quite cute poem.
Every ten year, the National Academy of Science convenes a panel of astronomers to come up with a plan for what research should be accomplished over the next ten years. It is a nerve wracking process for many, and was recently completed. Go here to read more about it and see the results.
Posted by You'd Prefer an Astronaut at 8:26 AM
Saturday, August 28, 2010
as three non-scientists recently did using the Einstein@Home software. Go here and here and here to read more. I personalize also use this software as my laptop screen saver, it does science and looks nice all at the same time!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft recently completed its third flyby of Mercury and the initial science results are available here, here, and here. Imagine what it will accomplish when it is actually in orbit around Mercury!
Well, you are a US citizen and a college undergraduate, NASA has the program just for you! NASA is offering undergraduate students an opportunity to test an experiment in weightless science as part of the agency's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. Proposals are due by Oct. 27. The program provides aspiring explorers a chance to propose, design and fabricate a reduced gravity experiment. Selected teams will get to test and evaluate their experiment aboard a microgravity aircraft. The specially modified jet aircraft flies approximately 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips to produce periods of micro and hyper-gravity, ranging from weightlessness to three times the force of Earth's gravity. Interested teams also should submit a letter of intent by Sept. 22. This step is optional, but serves as an introductory notice that a team plans to submit a proposal for the competition. All applicants must be U.S. citizens. Full-time students must be at least 18 years old. For more information about the Reduced Gravity Education Flight
Program or to submit a proposal, contact email@example.com or visit
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Type Ia supernovae are believed to be the results of white dwarfs somehow gaining enough mass to push them above the limit where they can support themselves, but nobody knows what these white dwarfs look like before they explode. Until now, possibly. Read more about it here and here.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Maybe because they happen to be accreting a large gas cloud from the inter-galactic medium (the space between clouds)? This process is supposed to play an important role in the growth of galaxies. Read about this possibility here.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Instead of just measuring the dip of light from a star by a planet passing between us and it, measure the time of this dip occurs and look for changes around the orbital period resulting from the gravitation tug of a different planet in this system. It is called "Transit Timing Variation," and you can read more about it here.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Most comets are believe to reside in the Oort Cloud, the most distant part of the Solar System, and were though to form from the dust and gas left behind from the formation of our Solar System. Well, this article argues that it was formed from the dust and gas stolen from other Solar Systems. Wow!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
.. it can make such a big hole. Remember how a couple of days ago I linked to a post stating that astronomer now think that most of the X-ray emission from a black hole is generated by fast-moving material ejected (called "jets") which are from the disk of infalling material? Well, there is now evidence that these jets can clear out large cavities around the black hole, pushing the surrounding medium far away - as you can read here and here or in its full scientific glory here (library access required, sorry). This isn't new necessarily, evidence for such behavior from the supermassive black holes located in the center of galaxies has been around a for a while, but seeing it in a low-mass black hole that is nearby is new and suggests we may be able to study this process a lot better than before. Enjoy!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
ESA's Planck satellite, designed to detect very tiny fluctuations in the light emitted by the Big Bang (the Cosmic Microwave Background), has just released its first all-sky image here. Got to get rid of that pesky Milky Way before you can study the CMB. For more about the CMB, list to this interview with Dr. Dan Babich, recorded and broadcast all-too-long ago. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Huh? Well, yes, black holes are "black" because their gravity is so strong that any light emitted from inside them can't escape. However, light can be emitted from outside black holes, and in fact it often is - it believed that many of the most luminous objects in the universe (quasars) are powered by material falling into a black hole. A recent study by RXTE suggests that the X-ray emitted by these objects is not from material falling into the black hole, but material flowing away from the black hole very rapidly in a narrow cone, called jets (go here for details). Very interesting indeed. To learn more about RXTE, listen to this interview I broadcast a while back.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
In Physics classes, they'll teach you that all of the randomness and weirdness that makes Quantum Mechanics so interesting/fun/confusing/painful only is important for really tiny things (like subatomic particles and atoms) and not for big things like you and me. Well, this might not always be the case. Go here to read more. I know this isn't about astronomy, per se, but still pretty interesting.
Posted by You'd Prefer an Astronaut at 6:11 PM
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Now you don't. Kids, don't let you satellites re-enter the Earth's atmosphere unless you WANT it to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere (which JAXA actually did for this mission since it was returning samples to Earth). Watch the re-entry here.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
As is it surveys the entire sky, the small WISE satellite has detected 14 new brown dwarfs - the lowest mass "stars" there are, with a mass so low that it is debatable if they are even stars since they have no fusion in their core. Read more about it here.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Not only (with very large optical telescopes and lots of observing time) is it possible to determine the chemical composition of the atmosphere of a planet observing another star, but it is possible to study its weather as well. Wow! Go here to read all about it.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Most likely created by the gravitational interaction between two merging galaxies, GALEX has captured this beautiful image of a stream of stars trailing their host galaxy. Go here to see and read more. Enjoy!