he International Space Station as seen by the departing STS-134 crew aboard space shuttle Endeavour in May 2011. Credit: NASA

he International Space Station as seen by the departing STS-134 crew aboard space shuttle Endeavour in May 2011. Credit: NASA

TORONTO, CANADA – NASA isn’t “reading too much” into a report that the Russians will spend $8 billion on the International Space Station through 2025, the head of the agency says. That date is five years past the international agreements to operate the space station.

The Russian announcement comes at a pivotal time for NASA, which is looking to extend operations on the station to at least 2024. Other space agency heads have not yet signed on. Russia is the major partner for NASA on the station, given it operates several modules and sends astronauts to and from Earth on Soyuz spacecraft.

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Behold: 100 Planetary Nebulas

by Nancy Atkinson on September 29, 2014

100 colorful planetary nebulae, at apparent size relative to one another. Image processing and collection by Judy Schmidt.

100 colorful planetary nebulae, at apparent size relative to one another. Image processing and collection by Judy Schmidt.

If you like planetary nebulas, you’re in luck. Multimedia artist Judy Schmidt has put together an amazing collection of 100 of these colorful glowing shells of gas and plasma, all at apparent size relative to one another. There’s even a giant-sized 10,000 pixel-wide version available on Flickr.

How many of these planetary nebulae can you identify?

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Stunning Astrophoto: Milky Way Over Fünfländerblick

by Nancy Atkinson on September 29, 2014

'Fu?nfla?nderblick Milchstrasse,' the Milky Way over a dark country sky in Switzerland. Credit and copyright: Christian Kamber.

‘Fu?nfla?nderblick Milchstrasse,’ the Milky Way over a dark country sky in Switzerland. Credit and copyright: Christian Kamber.

Hey, it’s #MilkyWayMonday! This gorgeous photo of the Milky Way was taken by astrophotographer Christian Kamber near Fu?nfla?nderblick, Switzerland (you can see the region on a map here). This is a stack of 20 shots, made with Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop.

Lovely!
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Comet C/2012 K1 PANSTARRS photographed on September 26, 2014 by Rolando Ligustri. Like most comets, we see two tails. K1's dust tails points off to the left, it's gas or ion tail to the right. Credit: Rolando Ligustri

Comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS photographed on September 26, 2014. Two tails are seen – a dust tail points off to the left and the gas or ion tail to the right. Copyright: Rolando Ligustri

Thank you K1 PanSTARRS for hanging in there!  Some comets crumble and fade away. Others linger a few months and move on. But after looping across the night sky for more than a year, this one is nowhere near quitting. Matter of fact, the best is yet to come. [click to continue…]

Time Dilation Confirmed in the Lab

by Shannon Hall on September 29, 2014

Blah.

The GSI accelerator in Germany. Credit: A. Zschau, GSI

It sounds like science fiction, but the time you experience between two events depends directly on the path you take through the universe. In other words, Einstein’s theory of special relativity postulates that a person traveling in a high-speed rocket would age more slowly than people back on Earth.

Although few physicists doubt Einstein was right, it’s crucial to verify time dilation to the best possible accuracy. Now, an international team of researchers, including Nobel laureate Theodor Hänsch, director of the Max Planck optics institute, has done just this.

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