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The Astronomy Thread PostMon Jun 14, 2010 9:31 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
While we are in between SP seasons, I for one am interested in astronomy. It fills the time between SP seasons.

This year, for example, will be the last flights ever of the Space Shuttle. Only two more flights to go.

So, if you have anything to say about astronomy, post it here :)

I'll start:

NASA-funded scientists estimate from recent research that the volume of water molecules locked inside minerals in the moon's interior could exceed the amount of water in the Great Lakes here on Earth.

Scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory in Washington, along with other scientists across the nation, determined that the water was likely present very early in the moon's formation history as hot magma started to cool and crystallize. This finding means water is native to the moon.

Also, The Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft is rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Sunday, June 13, 2010. The launch of the Soyuz spacecraft with Expedition 24 astronauts Shannon Walker and Doug Wheelock, and Russian Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 15. Here's a pic of it:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1689.html
Last edited by zzyzx 1 on Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostMon Jun 14, 2010 10:31 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
NASA's Cassini spacecraft looked at the north polar region of Saturn's moon Titan last weekend, scanning the moon's land o' lakes.

At the closest approach last week on Friday afternoon, June 4 Pacific time, Cassini glided to within about 2,000 kilometers (1,300 miles) of the Titan surface.

Here is some NASA'a artist concept of the Cassini flyby of Saturn's moon Titan:

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Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostMon Jun 14, 2010 10:38 pm Offline
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Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:51 pm4292San Jose, California
Don't quote me on this, but I believe that we've only sent spacecraft to study the planet Neptune once, in 1989. Voyager II was sent all the way out there to snap photos, and we haven't sent any other probes or explorers out there since. I think we should definately try and study it more. I've been fascinated by Neptune since doing a report on it in elementary school and reading that the average wind speed is over 1,300 miles an hour.

Right now, NASA's concentrating too much on what lies far beyond our own solar system when we still have questions to be answered about our own planets. There's only so much you can observe in full detail outside our galaxy. Spacecraft can't go that far yet.

Though I will admit the Hubble Deep Field is the most amazing photograph ever taken anywhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Deep_Field
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostMon Jun 14, 2010 11:24 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
You're right, Niels. We (and NASA) should find out more about our own little corner of the galaxy, and not so much in the farther outer regions.

But, what would an astronomy thread be without at least one pic of our own moon here at the start of this thread?

http://www.rc-astro.com/php/phpthumb/ca ... 01085.jpeg
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostMon Jun 14, 2010 11:34 pm Offline
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Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:51 pm4292San Jose, California
Just imagine how incredibly huge Earth is.

Yes, our very own planet - also the only planet in the Solar System which is not named after a god - is a very massive place. Imagine how long it would take to walk across the Earth.

Now look at this scale size comparison between Earth and the fifth planet from the sun; Jupiter.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... arison.jpg
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostMon Jun 14, 2010 11:45 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
That really shows the scale of an inner planet (Earth) and the outer planets (gas giants). Wow.

As for the planets being named after gods, Earth was not as you said. But the Earth was mentioned in Genesis, used by three religions (Muslim, Christian, Jewish), so while not a god, Earth is religiously mentioned I guess.

Here is the scale of all the planets; I count Pluto as the ninth planet, no matter what scientists say now :) (right-click):

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Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostTue Jun 15, 2010 2:42 pm Offline
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Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm5689The Mormon Homeland
zzyzx 1 wrote:
NASA's Cassini spacecraft looked at the north polar region of Saturn's moon Titan last weekend, scanning the moon's land o' lakes.


That Titan flyby produced some interesting data regarding the ratios of various hydrocarbon gases on that moon. And one of the possible causes could be organic; or in other words, life. However this is just one of several plausible explanations as to why the gases observed are different than what was predicted.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=astrobiologist-tries-to-set-the-rec-2010-06-08

It certainly behooves us to sniff around more closely at all these moons that are whipping around Jupiter and Saturn.


I'm a sucker for space most of the time. I usually catch every Discovery Channel, et. al. show about The Universe and the unbelievably cool sh*t that exists in it. Pulsars, super-massive black holes, gamma ray bursts, colliding galaxies, the shear size of the observable universe; there's just awesome stuff to discover out there. I love it.
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You read it! You can't unread it!
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostTue Jun 15, 2010 4:47 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
(1) NASA's Kepler Mission has released 43 days of science data on more than 156,000 stars. These stars are being monitored for subtle brightness changes as part of an ongoing search for Earth-like planets outside of our solar system.

Astronomers will use the new data to determine if orbiting planets are responsible for brightness variations in several hundred stars. These stars make up a full range of temperatures, sizes and ages. Many of them are stable, while others pulsate. Some show starspots, which are similar to sunspots, and a few produce flares that would sterilize their nearest planets.

Kepler, a space observatory, looks for the data signatures of planets by measuring tiny decreases in the brightness of stars when planets cross in front of, or transit them. The size of the planet can be derived from the change in the star's brightness.

(2) Here's a pic from 1967; the S-II stage of the Saturn V rocket as it was hoisted onto the A-2 test stand at the Mississippi Test Facility (now the Stennis Space Center). This was the second stage of the 364-foot tall moon rocket, which was powered by five J-2 engines:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1687.html

(3) As I said in my first post in this thread, there are only two missions left for the Space Shuttle this year and these two missions are the last time ever the Space Shuttle will go into space. Today technicians installed the first of three main engines a few days ago on Monday on the space shuttle Discovery in preparation for the STS-133 launch targeted for September 2010. The remaining two engines will be installed today as the spacecraft continues its regular preparations for spaceflight. And the crew of STS-133 continue to train at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Today, the astronauts are involved in a variety of systems training classes. This will be the 133rd flight of a Space Shuttle since the program began :)
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostTue Jun 15, 2010 4:53 pm Offline
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Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:51 pm4292San Jose, California
I remember that on my birthday in 2003, Mars came closest to the Earth than it's been in over 60,000 years. I got a great view of it with the naked eye.

And speaking of red things, I recall reading once about the Red Square Nebula - one of the most symmetrical celestial objects ever captured on photograph.

Image

But the Hourglass Nebula (MYCN-18) is by far the weirdest thing I've seen from outer space.

Image
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostTue Jun 15, 2010 6:18 pm Offline
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Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:15 pm5110
It's a vast universe full of fascinating things, and we're all mired on this little blue-green craphole.

My plan to destroy the moon continues unabated.
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostTue Jun 15, 2010 8:19 pm Offline
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Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:51 pm4292San Jose, California
I read once some interesting facts on how long it would take to reach different planets if you were to travel at a certain speed.

If you were to travel at 62,000 miles per hour, it would take five and a half years to reach Neptune.

With spacecraft, at least, they're aligned with the succeeding planet's orbit before they take off. When Voyager II went from Earth to Mars, it hovered around Earth, gaining momentum from the gravitational pull of its orbit, before it "flung" itself toward Mars. It's like a slingshot effect. I can imagine when it took off from Jupiter, it went flying.
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostWed Jun 16, 2010 2:34 pm Offline
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Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm5689The Mormon Homeland
Pip Tweek wrote:
My plan to destroy the moon continues unabated.


Fool! You'll destroy us all!!



Astronomy lesson from Fake Science blog:
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http://fakescience.tumblr.com/
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You read it! You can't unread it!
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostWed Jun 16, 2010 5:43 pm Offline
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Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:15 pm5110
triplemultiplex wrote:

Astronomy lesson from Fake Science blog:


That's funny. Where are Copernicus, Aphrodite, and Urmama? Those are planets I think.
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostThu Jun 17, 2010 2:12 am Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
Well, in September the second to last Space Shuttle will launch out of Florida. This time it's the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Space shuttle Discovery's three main engines have been installed already. Technicians will begin tests today for the payload the shuttle will carry to the International Space Station.

In the Vehicle Assembly Building, workers attached the 15-story external fuel tank to the twin solid rocket booster Discovery will use during its climb into orbit. The tank holds about 500,000 gallons of super-cold propellants to power the shuttle's three main engines. The boosters provide the bulk of the power at liftoff, providing some 6 million pounds of thrust to push the shuttle stack off the launch pad.

The astronauts for Discovery are training today at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to make heat shield repairs during spacewalks.
Re: In Between SP Seasons, Who's Interested in Astronomy? PostThu Jun 17, 2010 7:27 pm Offline
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Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:51 pm4292San Jose, California
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