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This gigantic wall calendar is full of amazing color images, daily space facts, historical references, and it even shows you where you can look in the sky for all the best astronomical sights.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. [click to continue…]
This illustration shows a star behind a shattered comet. Observations of the star KIC 8462852 by NASA’s Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes suggest that its unusual light signals are likely from dusty comet fragments, which blocked the light of the star as they passed in front of it in 2011 and 2013. The comets are thought to be traveling around the star in a very long, eccentric orbit. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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.
Planets and other objects in our Solar System. Credit: NASA.
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:
The first RS-25 flight engine, No. 2059, is placed on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The engines were built by Aerojet Rocketdyne and are being tested in 2015 and 2016 to certify them to fly on NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. SLS-1 will launch on its first uncrewed mission in 2018. Credit: NASA
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.
The launch of the New Shepard rocket from Blue Origin’s launch site in Texas on Nov. 23, 2015. Credit: Blue Origin.
Commercial space company Blue Origin achieved a huge milestone by successfully launching their New Shepard rocket to suborbital space and landing it dead center on target – and upright – back at their proving grounds in West Texas. This is the first successful landing of a reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) rocket that has reached space.
“This flight validates our vehicle architecture and design,” said founder Jeff Bezos, the billionaire who also started Amazon.com. [click to continue…]
Dr. Stephen Hawking of Cambridge University alongside illustrations of a black hole and an event horizon with Hawking Radiation. Credit: BBC/Illus.: T.Reyes
When we think of major figures in the history of science, many names come to mind. Einstein, Newton, Kepler, Galileo – all great theorists and thinkers who left an indelible mark during their lifetime. In many cases, the full extent of their contributions would not be appreciated until after their death. But those of us that are alive today are fortunate to have a great scientist among us who has made considerable contributions, and is still alive and kicking – Dr. Stephen Hawking.
Considered by many to be the “modern Einstein”, Hawking’s work in cosmology and theoretical physics is unmatched among his contemporaries. In addition to his work on gravitational singularities and quantum mechanics, he is also responsible for discovering that black holes emit radiation. On top of that, Hawking is a cultural icon, endorsing countless causes, appearing on many television shows as himself, and penning several books that have made science accessible to a wider audience. [click to continue…]
All fundamental particles are either fermions or bosons. Last week we talked about quarks, which are fermions. This week we’ll talk about bosons, including the famous Higgs boson, recently confirmed by the Large Hadron Collider. [click to continue…]
Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina shows off a compact green coma and two tails in this photo taken this morning (Nov. 22, 2015) at dawn from Arizona. The green color comes from carbon compounds fluorescing in UV sunlight. Credit: Chris Schur
Amateur astronomer Chris Schur of Arizona had only five minutes to observe and photograph Comet Catalina this morning before twilight got the better of the night. In that brief time, he secured two beautiful images and made a quick observation through his 80mm refractor. He writes:
“Very difficult observation on this one. (I observed) it visually with the 35mm Panoptic ocular. It was a round, slightly condensed object with no sign of the twin tails that show up in the images. After five minutes, we lost it visually as it was 2° degrees up in bright twilight. Images show it for a longer time and a beautiful emerald green head with two tails forming a Y shaped fan.” [click to continue…]