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Posts tagged "science"

kenobi-wan-obi:

First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life

For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-size alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an “Earth cousin” that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life.

Image 1: This artist illustration shows what it might be like to stand on the surface of the planet Kepler-186f, the first-ever Earth-size planet to be found in the habitable zone of its star. Credit: Danielle Futselaa

Image 2: This artist illustration shows the planet Kepler-186f, the first Earth-size alien planet discovered in the habitable zone of its star. Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-CalTech

The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. While the host star is dimmer than Earth’s sun and the planet is slightly bigger than Earth, the positioning of the alien world coupled with its size suggests that Kepler-186f could have water on its surface, scientists say. You can learn more about the amazing alien planet find in a video produced by Space.com.

"One of the things we’ve been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star," Tom Barclay, Kepler scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research, told Space.com. "This [Kepler-186f] is an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a cooler star. So, while it’s not an Earth twin, it is perhaps an Earth cousin. It has similar characteristics, but a different parent."

Scientists think that Kepler-186f — the outermost of five planets found to be orbiting the star Kepler-186 — orbits at a distance of 32.5 million miles (52.4 million kilometers), theoretically within the habitable zone for a red dwarf.

Earth orbits the sun from an average distance of about 93 million miles (150 million km), but the sun is larger and brighter than the Kepler-186 star, meaning that the sun’s habitable zone begins farther out from the star by comparison to Kepler-186.

"This is the first definitive Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone around another star," Elisa Quintana, of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center and the lead author of a new study detailing the findings, said in a statement.

Other planets of various sizes have been found in the habitable zones of their stars. However, Kepler-186f is the first alien planet this close to Earth in size found orbiting in that potentially life-supporting area of an extrasolar system, according to exoplanet scientists.

pennyfornasa:

Astronomers Find First Earth-Sized Planet That Could Support Life!

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star. The habitable zone is the region around a star in which planets are capable of supporting liquid water at their surface. This region is sometimes referred to as the Goldilocks zone because it defines the area where the conditions are not too hot or too cold, but “just right” for planets to support water on the surface. The discovery Kepler-186f confirms that planets of Earth’s size exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our Sun. It also marks a significant step forward in finding other planets similar to our own.

Read more about the exciting discovery of Kepler-186f here: http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasas-kepler-discovers-first-earth-size-planet-in-the-habitable-zone-of-another-star/index.html#.U1BDx6ZLtFt

kenobi-wan-obi:

Gum 41: A Study in Scarlet

This new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41.

In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that causes the surrounding hydrogen to glow with a characteristic red hue.

kenobi-wan-obi:

LIGO Lasers Could Help Reveal Aftermath of Black Hole Crashes

A powerful scientific tool set to come online in 2015 could help scientists spot gravitational waves: ripples in space-time born from violent cosmic crashes light-years from Earth.

Image: A still frame from a computer animation shows two binary neutron stars coalescing into a black hole. Taken from the video, “LIGO, A Passion for Understanding,” Credit: Kai Staats

The instrument, called LIGO (short for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatories), uses lasers to hunt for the gravitational aftermath created by two massive objects — like a neutron star and a black hole — colliding. Scientists theorize that, like a rock dropping into a pool of water, the fabric of space and time can ripple, sending out these gravitational waves across the universe at the speed of light. Understanding those waves could help scientists learn more about black holes.

The $205 million LIGO can potentially detect these gravitational waves from Earth. The interconnected LIGO observatories in Washington State and Louisiana make use of two 2.5-mile (4 kilometers) arms. A laser beam is split down the arms that are equipped with specifically placed mirrors. In theory, if a gravitational wave comes into contact with the instrument, it would change the length of one beam in relation to the other.

kenobi-wan-obi:

Under a Blood Moon: 1st Total Lunar Eclipse of 2014 Wows Stargazers

The moon took on an eerie blood-red hue early Tuesday during the first total lunar eclipse of 2014, a celestial sight that wowed potentially millions of stargazers across North and South America.

The total lunar eclipse of April 15 lasted about 3.5 hours between late Monday and early Tuesday, with the Earth’s shadow slowing darkening the face of the so-called “Blood Moon” in a jaw-dropping sight for stargazers willing to stay up extra late or rise super-early for the event.

kenobi-wan-obi:

Capturing the 2000 Lunar Eclipse from ‘Hell on Ice’

A composite of images form the January 2000 lunar eclipse captured by Victor Rogus.

kenobi-wan-obi:

Olafur Eliasson and the Weather Project

The subject of the weather has long shaped the content of everyday conversation. The eighteenth-century writer Samuel Johnson famously remarked ‘It is commonly observed, that when two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather; they are in haste to tell each other, what each must already know, that it is hot or cold, bright or cloudy, windy or calm.’

In The Weather Project, the fourth in the annual Unilever Series of commissions for the Turbine Hall, Olafur Eliasson takes this ubiquitous subject as the basis for exploring ideas about experience, mediation and representation.

In this installation, The Weather Project, representations of the sun and sky dominate the expanse of the Turbine Hall. A fine mist permeates the space, as if creeping in from the environment outside.

Throughout the day, the mist accumulates into faint, cloud-like formations, before dissipating across the space. A glance overhead, to see where the mist might escape, reveals that the ceiling of the Turbine Hall has disappeared, replaced by a reflection of the space below. At the far end of the hall is a giant semi-circular form made up of hundreds of mono-frequency lamps.

The arc repeated in the mirror overhead produces a sphere of dazzling radiance linking the real space with the reflection. Generally used in street lighting, mono-frequency lamps emit light at such a narrow frequency that colours other than yellow and black are invisible, thus transforming the visual field around the sun into a vast duotone landscape.

How to Ship a T. rex Across the Country

Museum officials are crating and shipping the “tyrant lizard king” from Montana to Washington, D.C

After more than a decade of trying, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will finally be getting its very own Tyrannosaurus rex, or “tyrant lizard king,” on April 15.

The Tuesday morning arrival of this iconic dinosaur will cap a 2,000-mile (3,219-kilometer) journey that scientists, movers, and museum officials have been preparing for months. (See "My T. rex Is Bigger Than Yours.”)

Rancher Kathy Wankel discovered the T. rex while out hiking with her family near Montana’s Fort Peck reservoir (map) in 1988, on land that belonged to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps kept the Wankel rex at the Museum of the Rockies (MOR) in Bozeman, Montana, for nearly 20 years, and have now loaned it to the Smithsonian for the next 50 years.

"We have the most T. rex specimens of any collection in the world,” says Patrick Leiggi, administrative director of paleontology at the MOR. Since the Smithsonian didn’t have its own T. rex, the MOR offered to help out.

Read The full article on National Geographic.

If you’re like me and slammed by cloud cover and light pollution, here’s a livestream of the Moon!

-D

emergentfutures:

Staples Wants to Bring 3D Printing to the Masses

Staples has been selling 3D printers for about a year. Now it wants to begin selling access to them.

The office supply retailer began offering 3D printing services in two stores on Thursday, one in New York and another in Los Angeles. Anyone can walk in and have Staples crank out a tchotchke—or 1,000 of them—while reveling in the glory of the 3D printing revolution without spending thousands on an actual printer. If the pilot takes off, Staples (SPLS) says it will expand 3D printing services to more stores.

Full Story: Business Week

(via kenobi-wan-obi)

kenobi-wan-obi:

Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have captured this eye-catching image of planetary nebula PN A66 33 — usually known as Abell 33.

Created when an aging star blew off its outer layers, this beautiful blue bubble is, by chance, aligned with a foreground star, and bears an uncanny resemblance to a diamond engagement ring. This cosmic gem is unusually symmetric, appearing to be almost circular on the sky.

A Cosmic Engagement Ring

kenobi-wan-obi:

Beauty From Chaos

Beautiful streamlined islands and narrow gorges were carved by fast-flowing water pounding through a small, plateau region near the southeastern margin of the vast Vallis Marineris canyon system.

Osuga Valles is an outflow channel that emanates from a region of chaotic terrain at the edge of Eos Chaos to the west (top in the main images). Such landscape is dominated by randomly oriented and heavily eroded blocks of terrain. Another example is seen at the bottom of this scene, filling the 2.5 km-deep depression into which Osuga Valles empties.

kenobi-wan-obi:

Ghostly Zodiacal Light Glows Over Death Valley

The zodiacal light appears roughly triangular in shape in this view. It is caused by sunlight scattering from dust particles lying in the ecliptic, the imaginary plane that contains the planets orbiting the sun. Zodiacal light sometimes goes by the name of “false dawn.”

kenobi-wan-obi:

First ‘Exomoon’ Around Alien Planet Possibly Found

For the first time ever, astronomers may have spotted a moon circling an alien planet — though they’ll probably never know for sure exactly what they’ve found.

A team of scientists detected a pair of faraway objects that could be a giant Jupiter-like alien planet and a rocky exomoon flying freely through space, or a small dim star hosting a planet about 18 times more massive than Earth.

The astronomers used a technique called gravitational microlensing, watching what happens a big foreground object passes in front of a star from our perspective on Earth. The nearby body’s gravitational field bends and magnifies the light from the distant star, acting like a lens.

Analyzing lensing events can reveal a great deal about the foreground object — for example, in the case of a star, whether it hosts a planet and, if so, how massive that world is compared to the star.

In the new study, the team observed one intriguing lensing event using telescopes in New Zealand and the Australian state of Tasmania. They determined that the foreground object has an orbiting companion about 0.05 percent as massive as itself.

"One possibility is for the lensing system to be a planet and its moon, which if true, would be a spectacular discovery of a totally new type of system," Wes Traub, chief scientist for NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement.

"The researchers’ models point to the moon solution, but if you simply look at what scenario is more likely in nature, the star solution wins," added Traub, who was not involved in the study.

kidsneedscience:

April is the month of Space Science anniversaries!  In addition to NASA naming the first American astronauts on April 9, 1959 and Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight on April 12, 1961, today marks the 33rd anniversary of the very first space Shuttle flight, STS-1.  Lifting off at 12:00:04 UTC on the twentieth anniversary of Gagarin’s historic flight,  Commander John W. Young and Pilot Robert L. Crippen would spend two days in space on the very first flight of the Space Transportation System.  When designing the Shuttle program, NASA was looking for a word to signify reliability, cost savings and re-usability.  The noun shuttle entered English first, in the mid-14th century to signify a weaving tool, from Old English scytel meaning a dart or arrow.  A hundred years later the verb shuttle arrived meaning to move back and forth quickly or to move rapidly to and fro, no doubt taken from the speedy action of the shuttle in use during weaving.  It did not acquire the modern sense of to move via a shuttle service until the advent of buses and public transportation.  NASA began using the word around 1969 as they began working on the Shuttle program.  Interestingly, the word rocket also derives from weaving:  the word rocket entered English in 1610 from the Italian word rocchetto, meaning a bobbin or spool head.  The Italian root probably derived from a Germanic root such as rocko with the same meaning.  The word was first used in English to describe a device propelled by a rocket engine in 1919. 

Image of the STS-1 Launch and crew courtesy NASA.

(via kenobi-wan-obi)