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Re: The Astronomy Thread PostFri Dec 03, 2010 8:36 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1814.html

Originally released Aug. 1, 2007, this Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image shows an ridge in Mars' Terra Meridiani that is most likely a former streambed, now exposed in inverted relief. The stream that formed this ridge must have been ancient as the ridge is buried by brighter rocks, which are themselves very old, having been thickly deposited and then heavily eroded. The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity landed in the same region of Mars, and the rocks it has examined are likely part of a sequence similar to that exposed here. The rocks exposed at the Opportunity landing site are mostly wind-deposited sandstone, but show evidence of past water, reaching the surface at times.

Opportunity has access to only a few meters of a stack of sediments that is hundreds of meters thick.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostMon Dec 20, 2010 9:33 am Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
Eclipse of the Moon, December 20-21:

Read this notice from NASA:

And enjoy the eclipse :D

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/de ... lipse.html
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostMon Dec 20, 2010 9:40 am Offline
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Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:43 pm18780I was over nah, but now I'm over heah.
*gasp* This may be the chance that PT has been looking for!
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostTue Dec 21, 2010 5:14 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
From The Washington Post

Lunar eclipse: Rare event delights skywatchers
The total lunar eclipse falls on the same day as the winter solstice, a rare cosmic event that hasn't occurred in centuries.

By Martin Weil and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 21, 2010; 9:38 AM
There are not many days like Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010. Take it from people who know: astronomers. There was maybe one day like this Tuesday in the past 2,000 years.

THIS STORY
Lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice
Lunar eclipse: Rare event delights skywatchers

The total eclipse of the moon, which delighted skywatchers in the pre-dawn hours, will be followed later in the day by the arrival of the winter solstice.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth blocks the sun's rays from the face of the moon. The moon is then fully in the shadow cast in space by the Earth.

In a clear, cold sky over Washington, the full moon slowly slipped into shadow starting just after 1:30 a.m. People gathered at the Washington Monument, along the George Washington Parkway and at other prime viewing spots - or on their decks and in their backyards - to watch as its bright white glow gave way to a coppery, luminescent orange.

Scattered across the rest of the night sky, the stars appeared brighter than usual in contrast.

The last time the solstice coincided with a total lunar eclipse on the same calendar day was long before any of our lifetimes, experts say. The year, according to Geoff Chester, public affairs officer at the U.S. Naval Observatory, was 1638. (Starhawk, a prominent Wiccan, told The Washington Post in an essay that the two events have not coincided since 1544.)

Chester said his research took him back to the first year of the common era and involved consulting with "a number of well-respected sources." His finding, essentially was this: "It's a comparatively rare event."

For scientists, Chester added, the coinciding of the two celestial events does not appear to have any cosmic significance.

But for Wiccans, astrologists and others, Starhawk wrote, the coincidence offers an opportunity to "step out of time. We are free of the past, and we can consciously create the future, for ourselves, for our communities, for the earth."

Few alive today are likely to see a recurrence. The next time the winter solstice and a total lunar eclipse will occur on the same calendar day will be Dec. 21, 2094.

The total eclipse began about 2:40 a.m. and lasted 72 minutes, until 3:52 a.m. The moon then continued moving through the Earth's shadow, emerging completely sometime after 5 a.m.

The winter solstice, which occurs later in the day, is the time when the sun reaches its lowest point in the northern sky. The Naval Observatory said this year's solstice will be at 6:38 p.m.

The day of the solstice is essentially the shortest of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Many people consider to be the official start of the winter season.

This year, however, many people will require little convincing that winter has already begun. If temperature is any measure of wintriness, it is clear that December has been much colder than average in Washington.

37°

Mostly cloudy
°F | °C
Feels like: 33°F
Wind: 9 mph WNW
Pressure: 30.01"
Humidity: 44%
Dew point: 18°

Capital Weather Gang
Connect with us:

PM Update: Cold transitions to cool
For the first time in more than a week, we escaped the 30s. But the (unofficial) high of 41 is still four degrees below average. We remain locked in a cold pattern which shows no immediate sign of meaningfully relaxing. As such, a chilly evening and Wednesday lie ahead.

weilm@washpost.com wilgorend@washpost.com
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostThu Dec 23, 2010 8:04 am Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1829.html

Where Stars Are Born

This mosaic image is the sharpest wide-angle view ever obtained of the starburst galaxy, Messier 82 (M82). The galaxy is remarkable for its bright blue disk, webs of shredded clouds and fiery-looking plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out of its central regions.

Throughout the galaxy's center, young stars are being born 10 times faster than they are inside our entire Milky Way Galaxy, which results in a huge concentration of young stars carved into the gas and dust at the galaxy's center. The fierce galactic superwind generated from these stars compresses enough gas to make millions of more stars.

In M82, young stars are crammed into tiny but massive star clusters. These, in turn, congregate by the dozens to make the bright patches, or starburst clumps, in the central parts of M82. The clusters in the clumps can only be distinguished in the sharp Hubble images. Most of the pale, white objects sprinkled around the body of M82 that look like fuzzy stars are actually individual star clusters about 20 light-years across and contain up to a million stars.

The rapid rate of star formation in this galaxy eventually will be self-limiting. When star formation becomes too vigorous, it will consume or destroy the material needed to make more stars. The starburst then will subside, probably in a few tens of millions of years.

The observation was made in March 2006, with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys' Wide Field Channel. Astronomers assembled this six-image composite mosaic by combining exposures taken with four colored filters that capture starlight from visible and infrared wavelengths, as well as the light from the glowing hydrogen filaments.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin), M. Mountain (STScI), and P. Puxley (National Science Foundation)
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostMon Dec 27, 2010 7:52 am Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1830.html

This mosaic image taken by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features three nebulae that are part of the giant Orion Molecular Cloud--the Flame nebula, the Horsehead nebula and NGC 2023. Despite its name, there is no fire roaring in the Flame nebula. What makes this nebula shine is the bright blue star seen to the right of the central cloud.

This star, Alnitak, is the easternmost star in Orion's belt. Wind and radiation from Alnitak blasts away electrons from the gas in the Flame nebula, causing it to become ionized and glow in visible light. The infrared glow seen by WISE is from dust warmed by Alnitak's radiation. The famous Horsehead nebula appears in this image as a faint bump on the lower right side of the vertical dust ridge. In visible light, this nebula is easily recognizable as a dramatic silhouette in the shape of a horse's head. It is classified as a dark nebula because the dense cloud blocks out the visible light of the glowing gas behind it. WISE's infrared detectors can peer into the cloud to see the glow of the dust itself. A third nebula, NGC 2023, can be seen as a bright circle in the lower half of the image. NGC 2023 is classified as a reflection nebula, meaning that the dust is reflecting the visible light of nearby stars. But here WISE sees the infrared glow of the warmed dust itself.

Color in this image represents specific infrared wavelengths. Blue represents light emitted at 3.4-micron wavelengths, mainly from hot stars. Relatively cooler objects, such as the dust of the nebulae, appear green and red. Green represents 4.6-micron light and red represents 12-micron light. This image was made from data collected after WISE began to run out of its supply of solid hydrogen cryogen in August 2010. Cryogen is a coolant used to make infrared detectors more sensitive. WISE mapped the entire sky by July using four infrared detectors, but during the period from August to October 2010, while the cryogen was depleting, WISE had only three detectors operational, and the 12-micron detector was less sensitive. This turned out to be a good thing in the case of this image, because the less-sensitive detector reduced the glare of the Flame portion of the nebula enough to bring out details of the rest of the nebula.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostTue Dec 28, 2010 1:23 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1831.html

This photograph features two of China’s most populous cities--Beijing and Tianjin--both located in the northern part of the country near the Bohai Gulf.

The United Nations estimated 2010 population for the Beijing metropolitan area is approximately 12 million, with the population of the Tianjin metropolitan area estimated to be over 7 million. Taken at night time by the Expedition 26 crew, the image dramatically illustrates the extent of both metropolitan areas. The smaller city of Langfang, located midway between Beijing and Tianjin, also is clearly visible, as are several other smaller developed areas to the northeast. The dark regions surrounding the well-lit urban areas are mainly agricultural fields, with wheat and corn being the major crops.

Beijing is one of the recognized ancient capital cities--and the current capital--of the People’s Republic of China. The regular grid pattern of the city is clearly visible at lower upper right; concentric rings of major roadways around the city center have been added as the metropolitan area has expanded. Tianjin is a major trade center with connection to seaports on the Bohai Gulf. The city was established following the integration of the Grand Canal of China, a major artificial waterway extending from Beijing southwards to Hangzhou.

Image Credit: NASA
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostTue Dec 28, 2010 1:25 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chand ... 0-173.html

This colorful composite image from Chandra and Hubble shows a star field and gas that have been "shocked" by an expanding blast wave.
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostTue Dec 28, 2010 4:48 pm Offline
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Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm5686The Mormon Homeland
zzyzx 1 wrote:
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1831.html

This photograph features two of China’s most populous cities--Beijing and Tianjin--both located in the northern part of the country near the Bohai Gulf.

Tianjin (the one on the lower right) looks strikingly similar to Houston, Texas from space:
Houston:
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=29.79418,-95.21164&z=10&t=S
Tianjin:
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=39.06931,117.36557&z=11&t=S

Big city near, but not on, the ocean with concentric ring roads, lots of industry, lots of pollution; there's even huge rice fields outside both.
Image
You read it! You can't unread it!
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostTue Dec 28, 2010 6:17 pm Offline
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Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:15 pm5110
BRMBug wrote:
*gasp* This may be the chance that PT has been looking for!


I missed it! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!

On a serious note, I was saddened recently to learn that Jack Horkheimer died in August of this year. (he should have been in the celebrity death thread)

He had this program on public TV that was on FOREVER, even when I was relatively young, it was always broadcast at five minutes til midnight, when PBS signed off the air for the night, and it was about "naked eye" astronomy. Jack, with his kooky but lovable way would point out the major celestial events that would be taking place during the week, observable on clear nights without a telescope or even binocculars.

It's because of this show that I was turned on to one of my favorite classical music pieces of all time, Debussy's Arabesque #1.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Horkh ... Star_Gazer

Last ever broadcast...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrC2OCLvbxE

:cry:
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostTue Dec 28, 2010 7:45 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
Pip Tweek wrote:
On a serious note, I was saddened recently to learn that Jack Horkheimer died in August of this year. (he should have been in the celebrity death thread)


:shock:

I had no idea of his passing! Both this thread and the celebrity death threads are of course appropriate for the listing of his passing (both threads actually) :(

He had some great broadcasts and information. "Sagittarius our teapot" is one that kept repeating in the mid 2000's for some reason that I'll never forget: (Well, I forgot the reason for all the repeats, but the phrase: "Sagittarius our teapot" is one that I'll never forget).

(Right-Click):

Image

Pip Tweek wrote:

:cry:
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostTue Dec 28, 2010 10:16 pm Offline
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Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:43 pm18780I was over nah, but now I'm over heah.
[quote="Pip Tweek"
On a serious note, I was saddened recently to learn that Jack Horkheimer died in August of this year. (he should have been in the celebrity death thread) [/quote]
I think he was. I remember the show. I don't think I had seen/thought about it in over 10 years though.
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostWed Dec 29, 2010 5:02 pm Offline
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Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:24 pm5686The Mormon Homeland
Sagittarius; isn't that the constellation where our galaxy's supermassive blackhole is located?
Image
You read it! You can't unread it!
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostWed Jan 05, 2011 1:16 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegal ... _1836.html

This hemispheric view of Venus was created using more than a decade of radar investigations culminating in the 1990-1994 Magellan mission, and is centered on the planet's North Pole.

The Magellan spacecraft imaged more than 98 percent of the planet Venus and a mosaic of the Magellan images (most with illumination from the west) forms the image base. Gaps in the Magellan coverage were filled with images from the Earth-based Arecibo radar in a region centered roughly on 0 degree latitude and longitude, and with a neutral tone elsewhere (primarily near the south pole).

This composite image was processed to improve contrast and to emphasize small features, and was color-coded to represent elevation. Gaps in the elevation data from the Magellan radar altimeter were filled with altimetry from the Venera spacecraft and the Pioneer Venus missions.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS
Re: The Astronomy Thread PostWed Jan 05, 2011 1:22 pm Offline
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Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:20 pm5070
triplemultiplex wrote:
Sagittarius; isn't that the constellation where our galaxy's supermassive blackhole is located?


Well, paraphrasing from Wiki, at this link:

Supermassive black hole

If the apparent position of Sagittarius A* was exactly centered on the black hole, it would be possible to see it magnified beyond its actual size, due to gravitational lensing. According to general relativity, this would result in a minimum observed size of at least 5.2 times the black hole's Schwarzschild radius, which, for a black hole of around 4 million solar masses, corresponds to a minimum observed size of approximately 52 μas.

This is much larger than the observed size of 37 μas and so suggests that the Sagittarius A* radio emissions are not centered on the hole but arise from a bright spot in the region around the black hole, close to the event horizon, possibly in the accretion disc or a relativistic jet of material ejected from the disc.[6]....

... More recently, measurement of the proper motions of a sample of several thousand stars within approximately one parsec from the black hole, combined with a statistical technique, has yielded both an estimate of the black hole's mass, and also of the distributed mass in this region. The black hole mass was found to be consistent with the values measured from individual orbits; the distributed mass was found to be 1.0 ± 0.5 million solar masses.[8].....

.....While, strictly speaking, there are other mass configurations that would explain the measured mass and size, such an arrangement would collapse into a single supermassive black hole on a timescale much shorter than the life of the Milky Way.
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