You’ll have to forgive me for posting my face again but my Lunar Mission One T-shirt finally arrived! Lunar Mission One is a crowd funded unmanned mission to the South Pole of the Moon. The concept is very cool, they fund it by selling a “place in space”, i.e. storage space so you can send photos, etc. to be buried in a hole on the Moon! They’re also going to be doing some interesting astronomy up there. They’re going to drill a hole, and I wish I could tell you why but I forgot, and it’s also a fantastic location for radio astronomy! I love the idea of getting the public involved in funding space exploration. It’s also a great way to show how enthusiastic people are about space! (In other news I had an exam today. But we won’t talk about this. Three down, four to go…)

The Fairy of The Eagle Nebula - M16

“The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined asmythical beasts. Pictured above is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy. This fairy, however, is ten light years tall and spews radiation much hotter than common fire. The greater Eagle Nebula, M16, is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust inside of which is a growing cavity filled with a spectacular stellar nursery currently forming an open cluster of stars. The above image in scientifically re-assigned colors was released in 2005 as part of the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.”

Credit: NASA/Hubble/APOD

Spotting black holes is tricky. Because they don’t give off light, astronomers have a difficult time pinpointing their location. But when a black hole gets close enough to an object, like a star, for example, and begins consuming the object’s mass, the matter that pours into its gravitational clutches can get so hot that it glows and releases energy in the form of X-ray light. The most powerful X-rays are emitted from the hottest material swirling just outside the edge of the black hole. By observing this light with space telescopes, scientists can determine where black holes are hiding in the cosmos. Watch the video to see a black hole in action.

Credit: NASA/Swift


How a pair of astrophysicists are defying expectations with a science fashion blog

“People are aware that there’s sort of a galaxy theme out there that sometimes are real images and sometimes they’re just artistic renditions, but I don’t think people are aware of the extent of it and how much that expands into all different types of product lines,” Ash told the Daily Dot.

There’s something for everyone on the blog from everyday wear to runway styles, pricy to affordable products, and options for men, women, and children. Looking through all the options is a lot of fun, but you’ll also learn something. As often as possible, they include the name of what you’re seeing displayed on each product such as a galaxy, along with information about it like its age and why scientists are interested in studying it. Dr. Ash said it’s a “come for the fashion, stay for the science” approach.

[Read more]

Using several telescopes, including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have found evidence that a white dwarf star - the dense core of a star like the Sun that has run out of nuclear fuel - may have ripped apart a planet as it came too close.
The European Space Agency’s INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) enabled to discover a new X-ray source near the center of the globular cluster NGC 6388. The rate at which the X-ray brightness dropped agrees with theoretical models of a disruption of a planet by the gravitational tidal forces of a white dwarf.
A new composite image shows NGC 6388 with X-rays detected by Chandra in pink and visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope in red, green, and blue, with many of the stars appearing to be orange or white. read more here

By 2008, Hawking’s hand was too weak to use the clicker. His graduate assistant at the time then devised a switching device called the “cheek switch.” Attached to his glasses, it could detect, via a low infrared beam, when Hawking tensed his cheek muscle. Since then, Hawking has achieved the feat of writing emails, browsing the internet, writing books and speaking using only one muscle. Nevertheless, his ability to communicate continued to decline. By 2011, he managed only about one or two words per minute, so he sent a letter to Moore, saying: “My speech input is very, very slow these days. Is there any way Intel could help?”

MOREHow Intel Gave Stephen Hawking a Voice

anonymous asked:

I read once that Jupiter is a failed star and ended up just shy of enough mass to become one. Is that true? Any other facts about Jupiter you can share? Thanks!

cool idea, Fun Facts About Jupiter!

Formation: You are only partially correct when you say that Jupiter is a nearly failed star. It is a little misleading to say that Jupiter is a failed star because the majority of astronomers believe it formed very differently than the sun. This model of formation is known as the NICE Model (depiction below). Simply put, the NICE Model theorizes that planets formed after the sun in stages. The terrestrial planets formed first, and then the gas giants. The orbiting bodies formed from the accumulation of derbies from the sun’s proto-planetary gas disk:

It is generally though that Jupiter formed in a 2-step process, first with solid matter at the time when the terrestrial planets were forming. When the mass of proto-jupiter became about 10x that of earth, then it’s mass was great enough to begin the second stage of its planetary formation. During this second stage Jupiter gained about 318x the mass of earth very quickly. This quick increase in mass is what solidified Jupiter’s position as the “king” of the planets. (artists concept of young Jupiter):

A Failed Star? (partially correct): When people refer to Jupiter as being a failed star they are most likely referring to the Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism that we observe in Jupiter. Astronomers use this same mechanism to explain the immense pressure found in the sun. The Mechanism “occurs when the surface of a star or a planet cools. The cooling causes the pressure to drop, and the star or planet shrinks as a result. This compression, in turn, heats up the core of the star/planet.”. This is why Jupiter is “like” a failed star, in fact Jupiter generates more energy through this mechanism than it gets from the sun. However, It simply never had enough mass to begin fussing atoms in and around its core. (this image depicts the balance of pressure that can lead to a heated core & potentially fusion & it’s from my university’s Astrophysics Department!):

Gas Giant? - wrong - Liquid and Metallic Giant: It is a bit of a misnomer that we call the outer planets Gas Giants, when they contain significantly more liquids and metallic-states than gasses. The Only portion of the surface atmosphere is gas, and most of Jupiter is Liquid Metallic Hydrogen and Liquid Molecular Hydrogen. This image shows a breakdown of the interior of the Gas (Liquid) Giants:

Another Nice model of the layering of Jupiter:

The Great Red Spot: Everyone loves the Great Red Spot, So I thought I’d at least mention it. I mean, check out this image taken by the Voyager 1 space craft. 3 earths can fit inside this thing. As far as we know this spot has been here for hundreds of years, or even sense the planet formed. Jupiter’s atmosphere is a complex place and it takes some heavy computing to run simulations to test theories about it. The thought is, the better we understand Jupiter’s Atmosphere (the most complex one that we know of), the better we can understand our own.

And I’ll end with this .gif of the voyager one spacecraft on it’s approach to Jupiter. At the time, this was the farthest humans had ever gone. This was the first time we began to fully explore or solar system. We were taking our first big steps away from home.

Credit: (NICE Model), NASA, Voyager 1, Scientific American, UT Astrophysics - Liquid, UGA Physics and Astronomy,


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