I’m losing mine, but the Solar System may be way hairier than we ever thought, with thick crops of filamentary dark matter streaming through Earth’s core and back out again even as you read this. [click to continue…]
If we could dig a tunnel through the Earth, what would happen? And is this even possible?
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After years of construction, the first of 18 primary flight mirrors has been installed onto NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, signifying the start of the final assembly phase for the mammoth observatory that will eventually become the most powerful telescope ever sent to space.
The milestone first mirror installation was achieved this week just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday as the engineering team, working inside the massive clean room at NASA Goddard, used a robotic arm to precisely lift and lower the gold coated mirror into place on the observatory’s critical mirror holding backplane assembly.
Each of the 18 hexagonal-shaped primary mirror segments [click to continue…]
We’ve featured the photography of André van der Hoeven here many times, and all of his photos are wonderful. Well, now you can get them all in one big book, titled Treasures of the Universe.
This 150+ page book contains photos of most of the major objects in the Solar System as well as deep sky objects, like galaxies, star clusters and nebulae. van der Hoeven provides many of the pictures in the book, and then fills out the rest with the highest quality photos from the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer, Subaru and many of the top observatories around the world. There are also great photos from rovers and spacecraft sent to distant worlds (including the latest pictures of Pluto from New Horizons). If you want a coffee table book with great images of space, it’s a great choice.
The book is currently being run as a Kickstarter, but unlike most campaigns, this book is complete and ready to go to the printers, so you’re really just deciding if you want a copy or not – a printed, signed copy or an electronic PDF.
At the time I’m writing this, there are just 5 days left in the Kickstarter, which is already fully funded. This project is already happening, but you can help André reach the stretch goal of 25,000 Euros.
The Kickstarter ends on Monday, November 30th at 3:00pm Pacific Time.
Pluto takes 6.4 Earth days (6 days 9 hours and 36 minutes) to complete one rotation, so this is how long a day is on Pluto.
When the New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto and its moons in July of 2015, it took hundreds of images. The montage above shows Pluto rotating over the course of a full day. It provides our first close-up look at what a day on Pluto might be like.
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Author’s note: In the wake of the November 13th terrorist attacks, the French Space Agency CNES canceled the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the launch of Asterix. This post commemorates the launch of France’s first satellite 50 years ago this week, and pays a small tribute to the noblest of human endeavors, namely the exploration of space and the pioneering spirit of humanity exemplified by a heroic nation. [click to continue…]
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: when the new Year In Space Wall Calendars become available! These wonderful calendars are back for 2016: they are big and are the perfect gift for all the space enthusiasts on your holiday shopping list.
This gigantic wall calendar is full of amazing color images, daily space facts, historical references, and it even shows you where you can look in the sky for all the best astronomical sights.
Thanks to calendar creator Steve Cariddi, Universe Today has 5 copies of the Year in Space wall calendar to giveaway.
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The story of KIC 8462852 appears far from over. You’ll recall NASA’s Kepler mission had monitored the star for four years, observing two unusual incidents, in 2011 and 2013, when its light dimmed in dramatic, never-before-seen ways. Models to explain its erratic behavior were so lacking that some considered the possibility that alien megastructures built to capture sunlight around the host star (think Dyson Spheres) might be the cause.
But a search using the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array for two weeks in October detected no significant radio signals or other signs of intelligent life emanating from the star’s vicinity. Something had passed in front of the star and blocked its light, but what? [click to continue…]
Remembering the order of the planets can be a tricky task. With eight celestial bodies, and all the names taken from classical nomenclature, getting them mixed up is a common mistake. First the quick facts: Our Solar System has eight “official” planets which orbit the Sun. Here are the planets listed in order of their distance from the Sun:
NASA took another big step on the path to propel our astronauts back to deep space and ultimately on to Mars with the long awaited decision to formally restart production of the venerable RS-25 engine that will power the first stage of the agency’s mammoth Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket, currently under development.
Aerojet Rocketdyne was awarded a NASA contract to reopen the production lines for the RS-25 powerplant and develop and manufacture a certified engine for use in NASA’s SLS rocket. The contract spans from [click to continue…]