On Tuesday, NASA adjusted the flight path of Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft on for delivering the rover Curiosity to a landing target at Gale Crater.The car-size, one-ton rover is bound for arrival the evening of Aug. 5, 2012, PDT (early Aug. 6, EDT and Universal Time). The landing will mark the beginning of a two-year prime mission to investigate whether one of the most intriguing places on Mars ever offered an environment favorable for microbial life.
Continue reading "NASA Tweaks Flight Path of Mars Science Lab --On Track for August 5th Touchdown at Gale Crater" »
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have found a puzzling arc of light behind an extremely massive cluster of galaxies residing 10 billion light-years away. The galactic grouping, discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, was observed as it existed when the universe was roughly a quarter of its current age of 13.7 billion years.
Continue reading "Giant Arc of Light --A Mystery Observed Behind a Super-Massive Galaxy 10 Billion Light Years Away" »
For over a decade astronomers have been probing a region of the northern sky, not far from the handle of the Big Dipper, that is relatively free of bright stars and the diffuse glow of the Milky Way. The scientists want to take advantage of the clarity of the sky there to peer beyond our galaxy to study remote galaxies in the distant universe. This region, about half the angular size of the full moon, is now known to have over 50,000 galaxies.
Continue reading ""Look North of the Big Dipper": A Tiny Field of View Yields 50,000 Galaxies" »
SETICon 2 conference ran this past weekend in Santa Clara, California to share ideas on what has been discovered of late regarding the possibility of life on other planets and what might lie ahead.Much of the discussion was focused on findings by NASA’s Kepler mission which is dedicated to looking for extraterrestrial life, regardless of form or degree of intelligence in a field of view that represents 1/400th of the Milky Way (image above). Since 2009, the mission has uncovered the existence of over 2,300 exoplanets that researchers believe hold the possibility of harboring some forms of life.
Continue reading "SETICON 2 & Beyond --"Mankind Will Make Contact with Intelligent Alien Life within Two Decades"" »
The image above shows unusually large halos for the brightest galaxies as well as unusual faint streams of stars connecting galaxies of the Virgo Cluster that previously appeared unrelated. The cluster is a mixture of some 1300 spiral and elliptical galaxies, with the spirals of the cluster distributed in an oblong filament, approximately 4 times as long as wide, stretching along the line of sight from the Milky Way, while the elliptical galaxies are more centrally concentrated.
Continue reading "Image of the Day: The Virgo Cluster --"Proof of the Cosmic Thread Connecting Us to the Vast Expanse of the Universe"" »
Saturn's turbulent jet streams, regions where winds blow faster than in other places, churn east and west across the giant gas planet. Scientists have been trying to understand for years the mechanism that drives these wavy structures in Saturn's atmosphere and the source from which the jets derive their energy.
Continue reading "Saturn's Jet Streams --Powered by Heat from Inside the Giant Planet" »
Why is it that some massive old star far out in the Milky Way fail to explode in a supernova phemonena? "We don't fully understand how supernovas of massive stars work yet," says Fiona Harrison, an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology.
Continue reading "Titanium-44 --The Key to Predicting Massive Supernova Explosions" »
The image above is from the screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center and released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and Tiangong-1 lab module, partly seen on left, are conjoined again Sunday, June 24, 2012. Three Chinese astronauts Sunday successfully completed a manual docking between of the spacecraft and the orbiting module, the first such attempt in China's history of space exploration.The mission, which is expected to last at least 10 days, is China's fourth manned mission. Shenzhou 9 launched June 16 from the Jiuquan center on the edge of the Gobi desert in northern China.
Continue reading "News Update: Manned Chinese Spacecraft Completes Docking with Orbiting Module Tiangong 1" »
If our eyes could see radio waves, the nearby galaxy Centaurus A would be one of the biggest and brightest objects in the sky, nearly 20 times the apparent size of a full moon. But our eyes can only see wavelengths between 0.00004 and 0.00008 of a centimeter (where, not surprisingly, the Sun and stars emit most of their energy). The human visual spectrum from violet to red, notes astronomer, James Kaler, is but one octave on an imaginary electromagnetic piano with a keyboard hundreds of kilometers long.
Continue reading ""Invisible Galaxy Centaurus A" --Would Appear 20 Times Size of Full Moon If Human Eyes Could See It (Weekend Feature)" »