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Weekly Space Hangout – Nov. 21, 2014

Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain)

Guests:
Morgan Rehnberg (cosmicchatter.org / @cosmic_chatter)
Brian Koberlein (@briankoberlein)
Ramin Skibba (@raminskibba)

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The Allen Telescope Array is the first radio telescope designed specifically for SETI Photo by Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill

The Allen Telescope Array is the first radio telescope designed specifically for SETI Photo by Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill

Since it was founded in 1984, the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California, has been a principal American venue for scientific efforts to discover evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations. In mid-November, the institute sponsored a conference, “Communicating across the Cosmos”, on the problems of devising and understanding messages from other worlds. The conference drew 17 speakers from numerous disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, archeology, mathematics, cognitive science, philosophy, radio astronomy, and art.

This is the second of four installments of a report on the conference. Today, we’ll look at the SETI Institute’s current efforts to find an extraterrestrial message, and some of their future plans. If they find something, just how much information can we expect to receive? How much can we send?
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Wow! Epic 4K Timelapse of Aurora Over Iceland and Greenland

Holy Northern Lights, Batman! This new timelapse is just beautiful! Photographer Joe Capra traveled to Greenland and Iceland to shoot 10 nights of the arctic Aurora. Not only was the aurora absolutely stunning, but the landscape is equally beautiful. Joe said that all the footage was shot in super high resolution 4K Ultra HD, and you can even see the bright aurora reflected in small rivers and streams.
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Global Warming Watch: How Carbon Dioxide Bleeds Across The Earth

High concentrations of carbon dioxide (in red) tend to congregate in the northern hemisphere during colder months, when plants can't absorb as much from the atmosphere. This picture is based on a NASA Goddard computer model from ground-based observations and depicts concentrations on March 30, 2006. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/B. Putman/YouTube (screenshot)

High concentrations of carbon dioxide (in red) tend to congregate in the northern hemisphere during colder months, when plants can’t absorb as much from the atmosphere. This picture is based on a NASA Goddard computer model from ground-based observations and depicts concentrations on March 30, 2006. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/B. Putman/YouTube (screenshot)

Red alert — the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing year-by-year due to human activity. It’s leading to a warming Earth, but just how quickly — and how badly it will change the environment around us — is hard to say.

NASA released a new video showing how carbon dioxide — a product mainly of fossil fuels — shifts during a typical year. Billed as the most accurate model to date, the emissions shown in 2006 (tracked by ground-based sources) show how wind currents across the globe spread the gas across the globe. The red you see up there indicates high concentrations. The full video is below the jump.

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Subaru Telescope Spots Galaxies From The Early Universe

The expansion of the universe over most of its history has been relatively gradual. The notion that a rapid period "inflation" preceded the Big Bang expansion was first put forth 25 years ago. The new WMAP observations favor specific inflation scenarios over other long held ideas.

A team of astronomers have used the Subaru Telescope to look back more than 13 billion years to find 7 early galaxies. Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team

It’s an amazing thing, staring into deep space with the help of a high-powered telescope. In addition to being able to through the vast reaches of space, one is also able to effectively see through time.

Using the Subaru Telescope’s Suprime-Cam, a team of astronomers has done just that. In short, they looked back 13 billion years and discovered 7 early galaxies that appeared quite suddenly within 700 million years of the Big Bang. In so doing, they discovered clues to one of astronomy’s most burning questions: when and how early galaxies formed in our universe. [click to continue…]

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