astronomy

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Ron Miller’s Planet Art Shows How Night Sky Would Look If Earth Had Planets Instead Of Moon (PHOTOS)


Here’s a crazy idea: what if you looked up at night and saw not the moon but an enormous Saturn looming over the horizon? Or if Jupiter filled the night sky?

For the eye-popping images below, Ron Miller, former art director for the National Air and Space Museum’s Albert Einstein Planetarium, reveals how the planets in our solar system would look if they were as close to Earth as the moon.

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This is what astronauts see when they look out the window…

Hubble Observes One-of-a-Kind Star Nicknamed ‘Nasty’

By Ray Villard

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the star is so weird that astronomers have nicknamed it “Nasty 1,” a play on its catalog name of NaSt1. The star may represent a brief transitory stage in the evolution of extremely massive stars.

First discovered several decades ago, Nasty 1 was identified as a Wolf-Rayet star, a rapidly evolving star that is much more massive than our sun. The star loses its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning core.

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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2015 May 25

The Galaxy Tree

First came the trees. In the town of Salamanca, Spain, the photographer noticed how distinctive a grove of oak trees looked after being pruned. Next came the galaxy. The photographer stayed up until 2 am, waiting until the Milky Way Galaxy rose above the level of a majestic looking oak. From this carefully chosen perspective, dust lanes in the galaxy appear to be natural continuations to branches of the tree. Last came the light. A flashlight was used on the far side of the tree to project a silhouette. By coincidence, other trees also appeared as similar silhouettes across the relatively bright horizon. The featured image was captured as a single 30-second frame earlier this month and processed to digitally enhance the Milky Way.

Andromeda and Milky Way Might Collide Sooner Than We Think

By Bob King

The merger of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy won’t happen for another 4 billion years, but the recent discovery of a massive halo of hot gas around Andromeda may mean our galaxies are already touching. University of Notre Dame astrophysicist Nicholas Lehner led a team of scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope to identify an enormous halo of hot, ionized gas at least 2 million light years in diameter surrounding the galaxy.

The Andromeda Galaxy is the largest member of a ragtag collection of some 54 galaxies, including the Milky Way, called the Local Group. With a trillion stars — twice as many as the Milky Way — it shines 25% brighter and can easily be seen with the naked eye from suburban and rural skies.

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So what is solar sailing?

It’s often thought that the days of exploration are firmly embedded in the history books, their days confined to long-dried ink. 

Exploration was easier back then. To get somewhere new all you had to do was sail forward long enough. Here there be dragons became the destination, the edge of the world an ever-present threat.

The dragons were never quite found though and the edge of the world was always being delegated to a new unknown; that is, until the quest of Ferdinand Magellan wedded both sides of the map.

The edge of the world we now know is constantly beneath our feet. Maps are two-dimensional things and when you think of the unknown as a location on a flat piece of paper it’s perhaps not surprising that we forgot the unknown exists above our heads, glimmering to the steady thrum of the frequencies of the stars.

Our first step into the final frontier must always be on stairs of fire, carried aloft by rocketry. It’s a mistake to assume though that once we’re up there, we need those rockets any more.

Heavy, expensive, dangerous and ineffective, rockets are violent enough to break free of Earth’s grip but in their splendor, they spend themselves soon after their lives begin.

This begs a question:

How can humanity continue to be a race of explorers? What tools can we make of physical law that would allow us to leave the shores of Earth and voyage forth to new worlds?

The answer is beautiful, simple and even romantic.

Light, it turns out, has momentum. When it reflects off something, it pushes that thing. Stars constantly emit enormous amounts of light.

In the vacuum of space, we’ve finally found our answer. Like wind, light would push against the reflective sails of a space ship so that it drifts forth into the unknown depths of the universe.

This star-like wind never stops. Such a vessel could reach unimaginable speeds, opening access to both robotic and human exploration around alien stars.

Navigating such a ship holds analogies to the days of Ferdinand Magellan too. Such ships would tack inwards to stars to approach, although the sheer momentum built from the other starlight alone could carry us tremendously far into other star systems.

“Tristan, this sounds incredibly romantic and I’m sure it would make a good science fiction movie, but how many generations of people will be born before this happens?”

None!

Even as I type the Planetary Society is maneuvering a prototype spacecraft with solar sails in low-Earth orbit. Next year our primary mission, LightSail-1, begins.

At the Planetary Society, we aim to convince NASA that this technology is going to be crucial to the advancement of the human exploration of space. 

If solar sails were attached to small satellites we could afford to send a fleet of robotic explorers into space, capable of swooping and swishing to new destinations, riding the glimmering of starlight into strange new places.

Carl Sagan once said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” With our sails hoisted, our ships stand ready. The wind is favorable. All we have to do is push out… and let the light carry us away.

(If anyone’s curious about our mission, you can follow it on the website here. I’ll also post periodically about it right here on Tumblr too)

(Image credit: NASA artist conception)

The Bubble Nebula : Blown by the wind from a massive star, this interstellar apparition has a surprisingly familiar shape. Cataloged as NGC 7635, it is also known simply as The Bubble Nebula. Although it looks delicate, the 10 light-year diameter bubble offers evidence of violent processes at work. Below and left of the Bubble’s center is a hot, O star, several hundred thousand times more luminous and around 45 times more massive than the Sun. A fierce stellar wind and intense radiation from that star has blasted out the structure of glowing gas against denser material in a surrounding molecular cloud. The intriguing Bubble Nebula and associated cloud complex lie a mere 11,000 light-years away toward the boastful constellation Cassiopeia. This tantalizing view of the cosmic bubble is composed from narrowband image data, recording emission from the region’s ionized hydrogen and oxygen atoms. To create the three color image, hydrogen and oxygen emission were used for red and blue and combined to create the green channel. via NASA

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Catch a Glimpse of Hidden Milky Way Treasures

At first glance this region of the Summer Milky Way is full of well-known types of objects. There are glowing red hydrogen emission nebulae, the Omega and the Eagle Nebulae, star clusters such as M23 in the upper right corner, extensive star clouds, obscure dark nebulae and dust clouds, like the dark areas covering whole sections of the image. All these objects are a mere few thousand light years away, the farthest of them in the neighboring Sagittarius spiral arm of our galaxy.

It’s lesser known, though, that there is a tunnel opening up in the interstellar dust that lets us see some 15,000 light years into the more central regions of our galaxy. The large bluish star cloud M24 slightly below and right off the center is the view through a hole in the Sagittarius Arm, revealing stars in the spiral arms that are closer to the central bar of our galaxy. The other name of M24, Small Sagittarius Star Cloud, may be the reason for the common misconception found in many sources on the internet that it is the Sagittarius Arm that is visible in this spot. In fact, it is the Sagittarius Arm we are looking through.

With the Summer Milky Way coming up again in the evenings, this star cloud is among the most beautiful to observe in the night sky. Gazing through binoculars, one will see several hundreds of stars in the field of view. M24 spans about 2.5 degrees in length, which corresponds to five full moons. It is truly inviting and rewarding to take a look at M24 one of those summer nights, because this far away region is full of its own remote treasures, star clusters and, of course, a lot of very distant suns.

The image was shot by project nightflight with a Canon DSLR from a rural site on stars island La Palma. 45 subframes with a total exposure time of 2 hours were digitally combined to produce this high dynamic range (HDR) image.


Credit: www.project-nightflight.net

anonymous asked:

why do you actually believe in astrology smh. what a waste of time. you new age spiritual types know nothing of real science.

hi! lemme clear a few things up:

1. Astrology exists whether we choose to believe in it or not :) Me choosing to read a hilariously inaccurate magazine horoscope by an inexperienced astrologer does not give it power over my life and choices!

2. Everybody, and I mean everybody, recognises astrology for what it is… not a science.

3. Where do you think astronomy came from? You know, one of your most cherished ‘real sciences’. Do you know what astronomy means? Law/culture of the stars. You know what astrology means? Study of the stars. Astrology was the accepted name for the branch of study observing and recording the movement of celestial bodies and constellations before mainstream science was even a thing. Sit back down, anon.

4. There is nothing wrong with belonging to a neo-pagan or earth-based religion. Much like there is nothing wrong in actively believing in nothing. Please find acceptance within yourself for all belief systems before someone meaner than me beats it into you. Which brings me to point number five:

5. PEOPLE WHO STUDY ASTROLOGY DO NOT NECESSARILY BELONG TO ITS ASSOCIATED RELIGIONS. Kind of like how people who practice witchcraft aren’t necessarily Wiccan, pagan, shamanic or satanic. Generalisation only proves how little you know about the things you slam online.

6. So what if, at the end of the day, it isn’t real? The entire foundation of science is understanding that everything we know may not be entirely true and finding ways to prove or disprove our ideas. This said, did you not just say astrology is not a ‘real science’? Hm? So why are you treating it like one? If it is not a science, you shouldn’t try so hard to prove it with scientific methods.

7. The way I see it, astrology is one thing - beautiful. There are dualities, triplicities, quadriplicities; all working together in perfectly synchronised harmony to form a plethora, an absolute harvest, of what - of coincidences? Even so - even if everything we know about it is wrong - what harm is there in learning for the love of what is being learned? Is that not beautiful?

Educate yourself. Here are some of my favourites:

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