It is stealing that planet's moon! Go here to read more.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Not supernovae, which are the result of either a white dwarf blowing up or the core of a massive star collapsing upon itself, but a nova - a flash of light resulting from Hydrogen fusion beginning on the surface of a white dwarf resulting from material falling onto it from a companion star. The detection of gamma-rays means that particles are accelerated to really high energies in these explosions, just like in supernovae. Go here and here and here to learn more. Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Mountains on the Earth form from continental plates colliding with each other. Mountains on Saturn's moon, Titan? Well, it has to be something different because it has no plates. So what is it? Well, this moon appears to be shrinking ever so slightly as it cools, wrinkling the surface and forming mountains. Go here and here to read more.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Not because it is concentrated deep underground, but because it can penetrate that far and little else can. Go here to read about a new type of experiment designed to detect these mysterious particles believed to make up 25% of the universe.
Monday, October 25, 2010
GALEX, an ultraviolet satellite, recently discovered rings of ultraviolet light (only produced by young, massive stars) around the core of galaxies which show no sign of ongoing star formation. Go here and here and here to read what is going on!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Thanks to the Doppler Effect, the wavelength of light observed from an object moving relative to us is shifted depending on its velocity. Using this technique, astronomers were recently able to measure the velocity of the innermost gas ejected in a very nearby supernova explosion SN1987a, probing exactly how this star exploded in the first place. Read more about it here and here. Very exciting stuff!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
You really ruin the quality of my astronomy image. Ordinarily this would mean getting rid of the atmosphere (in general a bad thing) or building a telescope above it (e.g. Hubble), but people are developing techniques to take the twinkle out using something called "adaptive optics". Go here to read about a recent breakthrough in this technique.
Posted by You'd Prefer an Astronaut at 9:00 AM
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Well, at least according to this article. While it is entirely true that the Sun should have gravitational captured some dark matter particles - assuming, of course, that dark matter is truly composed of massive fundamental particles as currently believed but not yet proven - over its lifetime, but to say this is cooling the Sun's core is more than a bit extreme and speculative. Interesting idea though.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Just like the Earth, Saturn powers a strong magnetic field. And just like the Earth's particles trapped in this magnetic field both emit radio waves as well as optical light (called aurora) when they enter the atmosphere. Saturn's radio emission as observed from Earth is pulsed due to its rotation, and it now turns out that its aurorae are pulsed with the same period and phase. Read more about it here.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Further adding to the debate if brown dwarfs - objects more massive than planets but don't have enough mass to have Hydrogen fusion in their core and turn into true stars - form like planets or stars. Read more here about this discovery.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Well, it might have been possible according to this article. There is a region of Mars with rocks similar to those on Earth formed near warm geothermal vents which on Earth are abundant on life. If any life formed at this location, the chemicals it produced (called "biomarkers") should still be detectable. That's it. Interesting, and something to definitely look for.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Sand dunes are shaped by wind as they blow across sand. Simple enough. They face the direction of the wind. Again, simple enough. Winds typically flow in the same directly as a planet rotate. Okay, makes sense. Yet the dunes on Titan are facing the direction opposite rotation. Huh? It's all the season's fault. Go here, here and here to read more.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Cosmic rays are very energetic charged particles produced in many places out in space which are constantly bombarding the Earth, just like photons - light particles. However, unlike photons, the paths of these particles are bent by the various magnetic fields which surround the Earth, fill our Solar System, stretch between stars, etc. Due to this bending, one expects cosmic rays to come equally from all regions of the sky assuming their original sources are fairly far away. However, there is mounting evidence that this isn't what is observed, as you can read here and here. Why? No one knows, though a nearby supernova remnant may provide some of the answer. Yet another mystery to be solved.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
NASA's infrared telescope in a Boeing 747 - so it can go far above the Earth's atmosphere since infrared light is absorbed by water - is over-budget but is finally ready. Nature magazine doesn't approve, as you can read here and here.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Pulsars are believed to rapidly spinning neutron stars whose spin period increases very slowly but regularly - so regularly that there has been talking of using some of them as clock standards, even better than the atomic clocks currently used! However, not all pulsars spin-down so regularly. Read one possibility about why this might be the case here.