≡ Menu

Astronomy Cast Ep. 378: Rutherford and Atoms

Physicists knew the interior of the atom contained protons, neutrons and electrons, but they didn’t understand exactly how they were organized. It took Ernest Rutherford to uncover our modern understanding.
[click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

How Long Will Our Spacecraft Survive?


There are many hazards out there, eager to disrupt and dismantle the mighty machines we send out into space. How long can they survive to perform their important missions?
[click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

Carnival of Space #406

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Stefan Lamoureaux at the Links Through Space blog.

Click here to read Carnival of Space #406.
[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }
Martian Reminder of a Pioneering Flight.  Names related to the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic have been informally assigned to a crater NASA's Opportunity Mars rover is studying. This false-color view of the "Spirit of St. Louis Crater" and the "Lindbergh Mound" inside it comes from Opportunity's panoramic camera.  Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

Martian Reminder of a Pioneering Flight. Names related to the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic have been informally assigned to a crater NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover is studying. This false-color view of the “Spirit of St. Louis Crater” and the “Lindbergh Mound” inside it comes from Opportunity’s panoramic camera. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.
See additional Opportunity photo mosaics below

The science team leading NASA’s long-lived Opportunity rover mission is honoring the pioneering solo nonstop trans-Atlantic flight of aviator Charles Lindbergh by assigning key features of the Mars mountain top crater area the rover is now exploring with names related to the historic flight.

Opportunity is now studying an elongated crater called “Spirit of St. Louis” and an unparalleled rock spire within the crater called “Lindbergh Mound” which are [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }
A shadowed cliff on comet 67P/C-G imaged by Rosetta in Oct. 2014 (Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

A shadowed cliff on comet 67P/C-G imaged by Rosetta in Oct. 2014 (Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

The latest image to be revealed of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comes from October 27, 2014, before the Philae lander even departed for its surface. Above we get a view of a dramatically-shadowed cliff separating two regions on 67P, the high, smooth plateaus of Babi and the boulder-strewn, slumped valley of Aten. Both are located on the larger lobe of the comet, while parts of the Ma’at region on the smaller “head” lobe can be seen in the distance at upper left. (You can see a regional map of comet 67P here.)

The image scale is about 75 cm (2.4 feet) per pixel and the entire image spans 770 meters across – about half a mile. Based on that, the cliff is easily over 190 meters (630 feet) high!

[click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain)
Special Guest:Dr. Rhys Taylor, Former Arecibo Post Doc; Current research involves looking for galaxies in the 21cm waveband.

Guests:
Morgan Rehnberg (cosmicchatter.org / @MorganRehnberg )
Alessondra Springmann (@sondy)
[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

What Are Extrasolar Planets?

An exoplanet about ten times Jupiter's mass located some 330 light years from Earth. X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/I.Pillitteri et al; Optical: DSS; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Artist’s illustration of WASP-18b, an exoplanet about ten times Jupiter’s mass located some 330 light years from Earth, along with optical and x-ray data in the lower right. Credit:  NASA/Chandra

For countless generations, human beings have looked out at the night sky and wondered if they were alone in the universe. With the discovery of other planets in our Solar System, the true extent of the Milky Way galaxy, and other galaxies beyond our own, this question has only deepened and become more profound.
[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }
Latest image released by NASA of the spatter of white spots in the 57-mile-wide crater on the dwarf planet Ceres. Scientists with the Dawn mission believe they're highly reflective material, likely ice. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Latest image released by NASA of the white spots in the 57-mile-wide crater on the dwarf planet Ceres. Scientists with the Dawn mission believe they’re highly reflective material, likely ice. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The latest views of Ceres’ enigmatic white spots are sharper and clearer, but it’s obvious that Dawn will have to descend much lower before we’ll see crucial details hidden in this overexposed splatter of white dots. Still, there are hints of interesting things going on here. [click to continue…]

{ 27 comments }
Release of SpaceX-6 Dragon on May 21, 2015 from the International Space Station for Pacific Ocean splashdown later in the day. Credit: NASA/Terry Virts

Release of SpaceX-6 Dragon on May 21, 2015 from the International Space Station for Pacific Ocean splashdown later in the day. Credit: NASA/Terry Virts
Story updated with further details and photos

SpaceX Dragons seem to be flying nearly everywhere these days, coming and going at a record pace to the delight and relief of NASA, researchers and the space faring crews serving aboard the International Space Station (ISS). As one Dragon returned to Earth from space today, May 21, another Dragon prepares to soar soon to space.

The commercial SpaceX-6 cargo Dragon successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:42 p.m. EDT (1642 GMT) today, Thursday, about 155 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, some five hours after it was released from the grip of the stations robotic arm this morning at 7:04 a.m. EDT by the Expedition 43 crew as [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

How Bad Can Solar Storms Get?


Our Sun regularly pelts the Earth with all kinds of radiation and charged particles. Just how bad can these solar storms get?
[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }