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Old 06-20-2014, 12:53 PM   #101
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Drones are the fashionable technology I see. We're sending them all over the damned place.

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Old 06-20-2014, 09:33 PM   #102
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

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Originally Posted by DJ_KiDDvIcIOUs View Post
NASA wants to send a quadcopter drone to Titan





Now that the tech is feasible this seems like the only way we should proceed
Thats very cool.

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Old 06-21-2014, 10:31 PM   #103
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Here's Why You Should Be Excited About The James Webb Space Telescope



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Peter Cullen, voice of Optimus Prime, recently lent his legendary voice to a slick animated introduction to the successor of the ridiculously prolific Hubble Telescope, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. But Cullen's velvety voice is far from the only reason to be excited about JWST.



If you're not excited about JWST, you might be dead inside. That, or you just don't know enough about it to be excited. JWST is so powerful that astrophysicists aren't even sure what they'll be able to use it for once it's out in space. Sure, they have plans for it – but, like Hubble, it's likely that Webb's biggest scientific milestones will be discoveries we can't even begin to anticipate today. Just listen to what Michael Shara, Curator in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, had to say about it when we spoke with him about the future of space exploration:

[The James Webb Space Telescope] has, in many ways, 100 times the capabilities that the Hubble Space Telescope does. We're actually going to be able to see the first stars forming, the first galaxies forming after the Big Bang. We're also going to be able to — we think — directly image planets orbiting other stars.

There isn't a field in all of astrophysics that will not benefit tremendously. Just as Hubble was… not just a leap, but an enormous leap forward for all of astrophysics, including the discovery of Dark Energy (70% of… the energy of the Universe was unknown before Hubble), I find it almost impossible to believe that we won't make the same kinds of discoveries with the James Webb Telescope.

Once [we] started seeing things with Hubble that [we'd] never seen before, [we] pushed it harder and harder to do new things. The same will happen with the James Webb Space Telescope. We will discover new things that we have no way of knowing about today, no way of guessing [because] our intuition isn't able to take us there. And those will be the great discoveries that actually show up in the coming 20 years, in the coming 30 years. It is really, in many ways, the golden age of astronomy — it's the very best time ever to be an astronomer.


If that doesn't send chills up your spine, I don't know what will.


Seriously I can't wait to see the amazing images this thing is going to send back. Can't wait for this to launch

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Old 06-22-2014, 02:22 PM   #104
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

A New Mantra, 'Follow the Methane,' May Advance Search For Alien Life

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Astronomers have developed a powerful new tool that could boost the search for extraterrestrial life.

To date, that search has been largely limited to the search for water. We look for exoplanets at the correct distances from their stars for water to flow freely on their surfaces, and even scan radiofrequencies in the "water hole" between the 1,420 MHz emission line of neutral hydrogen and the 1,666 MHz hydroxyl line.

When it comes to extraterrestrial life, our mantra has always been to "follow the water." But now, it seems, astronomers are turning their eyes away from water and toward methane — the simplest organic molecule, also widely accepted to be a sign of potential life.

Astronomers at the University College London (UCL) and the University of New South Wales have created a powerful new methane-based tool to detect extraterrestrial life, more accurately than ever before.

In recent years, more consideration has been given to the possibility that life could develop in other mediums besides water. One of the most interesting possibilities is liquid methane, inspired by the icy moon Titan, where water is as solid as rock and liquid methane runs through the river valleys and into the polar lakes. Titan even has a methane cycle.

Astronomers can detect methane on distant exoplanets by looking at their so-called transmission spectrum. When a planet transits, the star's light passes through a thin layer of the planet's atmosphere, which absorbs certain wavelengths of the light. Once the starlight reaches Earth it will be imprinted with the chemical fingerprints of the atmosphere's composition.

But there's always been one problem. Astronomers have to match transmission spectra to spectra collected in the laboratory or determined on a supercomputer. And "current models of methane are incomplete, leading to a severe underestimation of methane levels on planets," said co-author Jonathan Tennyson from UCL in a press release.

So Sergei Yurchenko, Tennyson and colleagues set out to develop a new spectrum for methane. They used supercomputers to calculate about 10 billion lines — 2,000 times bigger than any previous study. And they probed much higher temperatures. The new model may be used to detect the molecule at temperatures above that of Earth, up to 1,500 K.

"We are thrilled to have used this technology to significantly advance beyond previous models available for researchers studying potential life on astronomical objects, and we are eager to see what our new spectrum helps them discover," said Yurchenko.

The tool has already successfully reproduced the way in which methane absorbs light in brown dwarfs, and helped correct our previous measurements of exoplanets. For example, Yurchenko and colleagues found that the hot Jupiter, HD 189733b, a well-studied exoplanet 63 light-years from Earth, might have 20 times more methane than previously thought.
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-artic...ethane-spectra

This could lead to some really cool stuff

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Old 06-22-2014, 03:01 PM   #105
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

In otherwords: alien farts.

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Old 06-23-2014, 04:50 PM   #106
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Mysterious "Magic Island" appears on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan



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A mysterious new geographical feature has appeared on Saturn's moon Titan. These two Cassini's radar images show a "mysterious geologic object" surfacing in the Ligeia Mare, Titan's second largest sea. Cornell University's astronomers call it "Magic Island" because they are puzzled by its origin and nature.

According to Jason Hofgartner—a Cornell's graduate student and lead author of the paper published on June 22 in the journal Nature Geoscience—"this discovery tells us that the liquids in Titan's northern hemisphere are not simply stagnant and unchanging, but rather that changes do occur. We don't know precisely what caused this 'magic island' to appear, but we'd like to study it further."

The new image sent by Cassini on July 10, 2013, shows a large bright spot appearing in the dark hydrocarbon sea that was never there. The scientists have four theories about what could this be:

-Northern hemisphere winds may be kicking up and forming waves on Ligeia Mare. The radar imaging system might see the waves as a kind of "ghost" island.

-Gases may push out from the sea floor of Ligeia Mare, rising to the surface as bubbles.

-Sunken solids formed by a wintry freeze could become buoyant with the onset of the late Titan spring warmer temperatures.

-Ligeia Mare has suspended solids, which are neither sunken nor floating, but act like silt in a terrestrial delta.


I like to think is some giant monster emerging from the sea, but that's just me. This the time where we need that Titan exploration quadcopter that some engineers at NASA are proposing.
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v.../ngeo2190.html

Mysterys in space > Mysteries on Earth

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Old 06-24-2014, 02:15 PM   #107
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

NASA space rover drives on the underside of the ice

http://forums.superherohype.com/show...&postcount=645

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Old 06-25-2014, 12:27 AM   #108
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

The Coldest White Dwarf Ever Discovered Is An Earth-Sized Diamond



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Astronomers have detected an ancient stellar remnant that's 10 times fainter than the dimmest white dwarf ever discovered. Fortuitously orbited by a pulsar, this cold and collapsed star consists of crystallized carbon — essentially making it an Earth-sized diamond in space.

Indeed, this white dwarf would have never been discovered if it hadn't been for the pulsar that spins around it.

White dwarfs are stars in their end-state — extremely dense and compact objects that have collapsed to form an object approximately the size of Earth. Packed with carbon and oxygen, they burn at an agonizingly slow rate, requiring billions of years to fade away. In fact, this particular white dwarf is estimated to be about 11 billion years old, which is the same age as the Milky Way. On their own, these objects are incredibly difficult to detect owing to their low intrinsic brightness.



Artistic impression of an unrelated but similar duo, PSR J0348 +0432. ESO / L. Calçada.

Pulsars, on the other hand, are like signal beacons just asking to be discovered. They're rapidly spinning neutron stars — the super-dense remnants of massive stars that have exploded as supernovas. They spin like crazy, spewing powerful beams of radio waves from their poles into space.



First You Find the Pulsar

This pulsar, dubbed PSR J2222-0137, was detected by Jason Boyles of West Virginia University in Morgantown using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The object is about 900 light-years away and it spins more than 30 times each second.

Further analysis showed that it wasn't alone; this pulsar was gravitationally bound to something. Astronomers figured that it was another neutron star, or more likely a white dwarf. The two were calculated to orbit one another every 2.45 days.

Einstein Brought in to Help

To confirm that it was a white dwarf, the researchers applied Einstein's theory of relativity. They studied how the gravity of the companion star warped space, causing delays in the radio signal as the pulsar passed behind it. Delays in travel times allowed the astronomers to determine the precise orientation of their orbit and the individual masses of the two stars; the pulsar has a mass 1.2 times that of our Sun, while the companion has a mass 1.05 times that of the Sun.



So the pulsar's companion object couldn't possibly be a neutron star — the orbits appear far too orderly for a second supernova to have occurred.

Freakishly Elusive

Fascinatingly, the astronomers figured that the white dwarf should be detectable in optical and infrared light. So they tried to use the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope in Chile and the 10-meter Keck telescope in Hawaii to detect it, but those surveys yielded nothing. It's that dim.

"Our final image should show us a companion 100 times fainter than any other white dwarf orbiting a neutron star and about 10 times fainter than any known white dwarf, but we don't see a thing," noted Bart Dunlap, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "If there's a white dwarf there, and there almost certainly is, it must be extremely cold."

And by cold they mean a comparatively cool 3,000 degrees Kelvin (2,700 degrees C), which is 5,000 times colder than our Sun, which blazes away at 15 million degrees Kelvin.

Like a Diamond in the Sky

This cool, collapsed star should largely be comprised of crystallized carbon, which is for all intents-and-purposes a diamond. Other diamond-like stars have been discovered, so this isn't the first — nor are these objects considered rare. It's just that owing to their low intrinsic brightness, they're exceptionally hard to find. Relatedly, our galaxy may also contain diamond planets — super-Earths with a mass-to-volume ratio comparable to lead.
http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.0488

Imagine if they could mine that and then watching the diamond industry collapse

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Old 06-25-2014, 03:55 PM   #109
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

This Is What Space Debris Does to the Kevlar Skins of Spacecraft



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Gravity wasn't too far off the mark. You're looking through a hole, made by simulated space debris, in the reinforced Kevlar–Nextel fabric that makes up the outer skin of European Space Agency spacecraft.

The test was carried out by researchers from the Fraunhofer Ernst Mach Institut for High-Speed Dynamics, who fired a 7.5 mm-diameter aluminum bullet at 7 km/second towards sample of material. According to the ESA, that represents the upper end of the type of debris the its craft need to be able to survive.

The Kevlar–Nextel material, developed by Stephanie Kwolek of the DuPont company, is stronger than steel—but still struggles in the face of hyper-velocity aluminum bullets. Still, the good news is that in the ESA's spacecraft this kevlar cladding covers a 3-mm-thick aluminium wall, which actually survived the impact. Phew.
http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Ima...er_impact_test

That is crazy but it's something we will have to solve if we ever want to get to Mars

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Old 06-25-2014, 04:00 PM   #110
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

NASA detects mysterious signal ​240 million light years away from Earth



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Astronomers have detected a mysterious signal 240 million light years away from Earth, in the Perseus Cluster (top), one of the most massive objects in the Universe. The unidentified signal is a "spike of intensity at a very specific wavelength of X-ray light." Scientists don't know yet what is the origin.

One of their theories is really interesting: It may be "produced by the decay of sterile neutrinos, a type of particle that has been proposed as a candidate for dark matter." According to Esra Bulbul, at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

We know that the dark matter explanation is a long shot, but the pay-off would be huge if we're right. So we're going to keep testing this interpretation and see where it takes us.

They are now working in finding confirmation of this interpretation, which would be a major breakthrough as nobody has been able to directly detect dark matter yet, even while astronomers estimate that dark matter constitutes 85% of all matter in the Universe. Some scientists are even suggesting that the origin may not be sterile neutrinos. Instead, they say, "different types of candidate dark matter particles, such as the axion, may have been detected."

Listening to the music notes of the Perseus Cluster

To find this signal, a team lead by Bulbul went through 17 days worth of observations of the Perseus Cluster taken over ten years with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton.

This cluster is a titan of the skies, one of the most massive known objects in the Universe. It houses "thousands of galaxies immersed in a vast cloud of multimillion degree gas." It's not the first time that scientists have detected cool stuff here. Back in 2003, researchers "listened" to "one of the deepest notes ever detected," one that has an oscillation period of 9.6 million years .That's "57 octaves below the keys in the middle of a piano." Here's that note, accelerated:



This video shows the location of the Perseus Cluster on Earth's sky, as well as zooming into some of the galaxies contained in it.

http://www.nasa.gov/chandra/news/mys...l#.U6n9jF5vnRo

Space mysteries! Would be cool to have confirmation of Dark matter though

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Old 06-26-2014, 12:21 PM   #111
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Nearby Alien Planet May Be Capable of Supporting Life

http://www.space.com/26357-exoplanet...iese-832c.html

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Old 07-02-2014, 07:05 PM   #112
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

The "Grand Finale" To Cassini's Tour of Saturn Sounds Pretty Damn Epic



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On Monday, NASA's Cassini probe celebrated ten years of Saturnian exploration – a decade of stunning images and insights about the planet and its moons. But in late 2016, Cassini will begin the dramatic final phase of its mission – a newly annointed "Grand Finale" that will culminate with an intentional dive into Saturn's atmosphere.

Via NASA:

Starting in late 2016, the Cassini spacecraft will begin a daring set of orbits that is, in some ways, like a whole new mission. The spacecraft will repeatedly climb high above Saturn's north pole, flying just outside its narrow F ring. Cassini will probe the water-rich plume of the active geysers on the planet's intriguing moon Enceladus, and then will hop the rings and dive between the planet and innermost ring 22 times.

Because the spacecraft will be in close proximity to Saturn, the team had been calling this phase "the proximal orbits," but they felt the public could help decide on a more exciting moniker. In early April, the Cassini mission invited the public to vote on a list of alternative names provided by team members or to suggest ideas of their own.


The winning alternative? "The Cassini Grand Finale." We like it.

"We chose a name for this mission phase that would reflect the exciting journey ahead while acknowledging that it's a big finish for what has been a truly great show," said Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

We can't wait to see what Cassini beams back in the leadup to its final dramatic dive.
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-213

That sounds so good it makes my brain hurt. Those are going to be some truly remarkable last days of an epic run in space. I really hope they live stream the final descent into the planet. How often will humans get to watch footage beamed back from another planet live in our lifetimes?

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Old 07-11-2014, 06:42 PM   #113
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Scientist find that 80 percent of all light in the Universe is missing



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According to observations made by the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope, the Universe is missing 80 percent of all its light. Astronomers are completely baffled: "We still don't know for sure what it is, but at least one thing we thought we knew about the present day universe isn't true."

Those are the strong words of the co-author of the paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters by Ohio State University's David Weinberg. The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph detected that the tendrils of hydrogen that bridge the galaxies are not lighting up as expected. They are lighting up too much and we can see neither the light nor the sources from which the light is coming from:

When these hydrogen atoms are struck by highly energetic ultraviolet light, they are transformed from electrically neutral atoms to charged ions. The astronomers were surprised when they found far more hydrogen ions than could be explained with the known ultraviolet light in the universe, which comes primarily from quasars. The difference is a stunning 400 percent.



A simulation of the filaments that bind the galaxies together.

A new mystery that may pinned on Dark Matter

Astrophysicists don't know what is happening and what is responsible for the effects we are seeing on the hydrogen tendrils. They only know that this finding matches neither our understanding of hydrogen in the Universe nor our current simulations. And the mystery gets even weirder when you compare their results in the near and faraway Universe:

Strangely, this mismatch only appears in the nearby, relatively well-studied cosmos. When telescopes focus on galaxies billions of light years away—which shows astronomers what was happening when the universe was young—everything seems to add up. The fact that the accounting of light needed to ionize hydrogen works in the early universe but falls apart locally has scientists puzzled.

Another co-author of the story, CU-Boulder's Center for Astrophysics' Benjamin Oppenheimer, says that we don't know yet where this missing light is coming from:

If we count up the known sources of ultraviolet ionizing photons, we come up five times too short. We are missing 80 percent of the ionizing photons, and the question is where are they coming from? The most fascinating possibility is that an exotic new source, not quasars or galaxies, is responsible for the missing photons.

One of the possibilities is that this exotic matter is "the mysterious dark matter, which holds galaxies together but has never been seen directly." The light might be a product of this dark matter decaying over time.
http://www.colorado.edu/news/release...E2%80%99-light

I love how just when we think we have something figured out we get flipped on our collective heads. Can't wait for the new Webb telescope to go up and find out more of the mysteries of space

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Old 07-14-2014, 01:31 PM   #114
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Astronomers Invent New Telescope by Tying Telephoto Lenses Together



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A team of Yale astronomers got a little crafty recently. In an attempt to see parts of space that their big fancy telescopes weren't showing them, they tied eight telephoto lenses together to create their own little homemade array. And then, thanks to their new invention, they quickly discovered seven new galaxies.

"These are the same kind of lenses that are used in sporting events like the World Cup. We decided to point them upward instead," said Pieter van Dokkum, chair of Yale's astronomy department, who helped design the telescope. The team decided to call the invention the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, since it resembled the insect's eyes. Meanwhile, a special coating that suppresses internally scattered light made it easier for the telescope to see the diffuse light of the new dwarf galaxies.

The Yale team hopes that their new telescope will help them see all kinds of previously undiscovered celestial objects, including debris caused by galaxies colliding long ago. It all goes to show you don't have to blow up mountains in South America to make exciting new astronomical discoveries.
http://news.yale.edu/2014/07/10/hi-h...dwarf-galaxies

Crafty buggers

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Old 07-28-2014, 09:13 AM   #115
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Want to Colonize an Alien Planet? Send 40,000 People

http://www.space.com/26603-interstel...tion-size.html

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Old 07-30-2014, 03:46 PM   #116
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Milky Way drops in mass by 50 percent per new study by astrophysicists

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The mass of the Milky Way is only 50 percent of the original estimates of its mass compared to the mass of the nearest neighboring galaxy called Andromeda. The difference is suspected to be caused by dark matter. Dr. Jorge Peñarrubia, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics and Astronomy, led a group of scientists from the University of British Colombia, Carnegie Mellon University, and NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in determining the new findings. The research was published in the July 29, 2014, edition of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Measuring the mass of a galaxy is not easy. One cannot just estimate the weight of a galaxy from telescopic measurements from all the suns, moons, planets, and other celestial bodies that are a part of a given galaxy. This effort would eliminate the mass of that which is too small to be seen and that which cannot be seen in visible light or any other type of light that is presently used in telescopes.

The researchers used the most recently recorded distance from the center of the Milky Way to the center of the Andromeda galaxy. The researchers collected records of all the movements of the two galaxies recorded by space telescopes and Earth telescopes to produce the most accurate estimate of the velocity of rotation of each galaxy. Rotation is a function of mass and gravity. The accumulated data produced a computer model that determined the most accurate mass of both galaxies to date.

The study found that both galaxies contain about 90 percent matter that is invisible. The research also showed that the two galaxies are expanding at a rate consistent with the expected rate of the expansion of the universe. The scientists found that Andromeda weighs twice as much as the Milky Way. This discovery is a first because previous thought was that both galaxies weighed the same because they are almost the same physical size.

The difference in mass is attributed to the presence of more dark matter in Andromeda than in the Milky Way. This discovery affords a close source to study dark matter. Andromeda is 2.5 million light years from the Milky Way. The research also agrees with NASA’s recent finding that some of the arms of the Andromeda galaxy will intrude on the Milky Way in about four billion years.

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Old 08-02-2014, 12:19 AM   #117
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

'Impossible' Space Engine May Actually Work, NASA Test Suggests

http://www.space.com/26713-impossibl...nasa-test.html

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Old 08-02-2014, 12:41 AM   #118
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Read about that today. Said we could possibly send humans to Mars in weeks and not months.

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Old 08-03-2014, 03:36 AM   #119
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Very misleading to put up an illustration of an Alcubierre warp ship with the title referencing an impossible space engine.

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Old 08-21-2014, 04:48 PM   #120
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Black Hole’s Bug Out Conjured By Sony PS3 Super-Cluster

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Super massive black holes can spiral around and even out of their host galaxies after gobbling stars or smaller black holes. This surprising finding spun out of Astrophysicist Gaurav Khanna’s supercomputer, built from hundreds of Sony PlayStation 3s.

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Old 08-28-2014, 12:35 PM   #121
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Is the Universe a 2D Hologram? Experiment Aims to Find Out

http://www.livescience.com/47600-uni...xperiment.html

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Old 09-08-2014, 11:07 AM   #122
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

I get the feeling we'll be seeing a few more stories like this...

Nicaragua Hit by Meteor as Major Asteroid Narrowly Misses Earth
http://mashable.com/2014/09/07/nicaragua-meteor-strike/


Quote:
The mystery surrounding a loud booming sound heard in Nicaragua this weekend has been explained as the result of a meteor strike, according to government officials.

According to a report from the Nicaragua Dispatch, the meteor made impact sometime around 11 p.m. on Saturday.

"[The meteor] appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth," government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo told the Associated Press.

However, despite Murillo's comments, there have been no official confirmations of any connection between the Nicaragua incident and asteroid 2014 RC, which is scheduled to narrowly miss the Earth on Sunday.

Termed as a "relatively small" incident by Murillo, the strike, which occurred near Managua's International Airport and the country's air force base, nevertheless left a crater that is 16 feet deep and has a radius of 39 feet.

Small compared to meteor disaster movie scenarios, but huge when considering the potentially disastrous effects had it landed in a densely populated area.
Meteorite that hit Nicaragua 'dropped off' larger asteroid
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29106439

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Old 09-12-2014, 02:58 PM   #123
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

http://www.natureworldnews.com/artic...headed-way.htm

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Consequences of 'Significant' Solar Flare Headed Our Way



We may be due for the consequences of an intense solar storm passing over the Earth tomorrow after what NASA is calling a "significant" solar flare burst from the Sun yesterday afternoon.

According to NASA, the flare is a X1.6 class, where X-class solar flares are the most intense of solar flares, and 1.6 denotes that this specific flare is somewhere between the "small" and "medium" of this class. An X3 flare, for instance, would be three times as intense as an X1 class solar flare, and an X1 flare would be significantly stronger than any M-class flare - the stage of flare known to cause small to medium radio blackouts and moderate radiation storms.

"Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground," NASA reported. " However - when intense enough - they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel."

In the case of this flare, the NOAA expects it to be followed by moderate geomagnetic storms as early as tomorrow, as the consequence of two coronial mass ejections (CME) associated with the flare.

Now "a G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Watch has been issued for September 13th due to the combined influence of these two events with G1 (Minor) storming anticipated to continue into September 14th," as reported by the NOAA.

Geomagnetic storms occur when solar wind presses on Earth's magnetosphere. Not only can this cause auroras as far as over North America, but it can also disrupt magnetic navigation and even energize ground induced currents (GICs) - which can disrupt power distribution through underground cables.

Bob Berman, an astronomer manning the Slooh Space Telescope, told Business Insider that that is what solar experts fear most.

"A government-sponsored panel in 2008 estimated that [a severe GIC] event today would likely destroy the US electrical grid, inflict a staggering $1 to $2 trillion dollars worth of damage, and require over a year to repair," he explained. "So it's more than of mere academic interest to monitor and observe these violent events as they unfold. Plus, they're amazing to watch."
According to the NOAA, aurora watchers in the northern US should start looking for activity on Thursday and Friday night. They might get a pretty spectacular show, especially if all the lights suddenly go out.

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Old 09-12-2014, 04:10 PM   #124
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

I am hoping to see some of the northern lights tonight. Not sure if it makes it's way down here though.

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Old 10-01-2014, 11:11 AM   #125
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Default Re: Space and Astronomy Megathread (MERGED) - Part 1

Moon Seismometers From Apollo Are Still Helping Solve Physics Mysteries



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When Apollo astronauts landed on the moon, they left flags and footprints, yes, but also dozens of scientific instruments. Among them was a network of seismometers originally meant to study moonquakes. Forty years later, data from these seismometers are still helping physicists understand how to detect elusive gravitational waves—a challenge even with our fancy modern technology.

What are gravitational waves and why do we care about finding them in the first place? Well, it goes back to a guy you may have heard of called Albert Einstein. Einstein's theory of general relativity says that gravity is caused by warps in the space-time continuum, and the warping also creates vibrations we call gravitational waves. These gravitational waves are tiny amounts of energy rippling through the universe.

Primordial gravitational waves that originated from the Big Bang may or may not have been detected earlier this year, but gravitational waves can also come from things like black holes merging or two stars orbiting around each other. There's evidence for these waves, but we've never directly detected gravitational waves of any sort.

But there are indirect ways, and that's where the moon comes in. As gravitational waves ripple through a celestial object, its energy causes the object to vibrate. The Earth is rife with seismometers that could theoretically detect this vibration, but the Earth's crust is constantly moving, drowning out the gravitational wave signal. The moon is seismically quieter. And conveniently, between 1969 and 1972, four Apollo missions left a network of seismometers that operated until 1977.

A couple of physicists had the bright idea to sift through this decades-old data. (Their paper was uploaded to the preprint repository ArXiv, and the Physics ArXiv Blog has a wonderful write-up about it.) The seismometers couldn't actually detect any gravitational waves, but this lack of data was scientifically illuminating. We know the sensitivity of the moon seismometers; that they couldn't pick up gravitational waves means the activity of the waves must be below a certain threshold—a threshold that turns out to be 1000 times lower than previously limits for waves of a certain frequency.

To detect gravitational waves directly, we still need to build modern detectors—on Earth or in space. But it's a pleasant surprise that data from Apollo missions long ago can still tell us something about a 21st century cosmological mystery.
https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv...s-6469679256d3

Very cool

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