Fiery Planetary Nebula
This image shows off the impressive imaging capabilities of the new CCD detectors in the Mosaic 1.1 camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The image is of Sharpless 2-188 (Sh2-188), an unusual planetary nebula located in the constellation Cassiopeia. The expanding gas from the planetary nebula is colliding with ambient gas in the interstellar medium. The nebula is nearly circular in shape but is much brighter to the southeast (lower left) because the central star is moving rapidly in that direction. Faint wisps of gas can also be seen in the opposite direction. The image was generated with deep observations in the Hydrogen alpha filter (red) and the Oxygen [OIII] filter (cyan). In this image, North is up and East is to the left.
Image Credit: T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN AND NOAO/AURA/NSF
high resolution →

Fiery Planetary Nebula

This image shows off the impressive imaging capabilities of the new CCD detectors in the Mosaic 1.1 camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The image is of Sharpless 2-188 (Sh2-188), an unusual planetary nebula located in the constellation Cassiopeia. The expanding gas from the planetary nebula is colliding with ambient gas in the interstellar medium. The nebula is nearly circular in shape but is much brighter to the southeast (lower left) because the central star is moving rapidly in that direction. Faint wisps of gas can also be seen in the opposite direction. The image was generated with deep observations in the Hydrogen alpha filter (red) and the Oxygen [OIII] filter (cyan). In this image, North is up and East is to the left.

Image Credit: T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN AND NOAO/AURA/NSF

spaceplasma:

Titan’s Atmosphere

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It is the only natural satellite known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object other than Earth for which clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found

Titan is primarily composed of water ice and rocky material. Much as with Venus prior to the Space Age, the dense, opaque atmosphere prevented understanding of Titan’s surface until new information accumulated with the arrival of the Cassini–Huygens mission in 2004, including the discovery of liquid hydrocarbon lakes in Titan’s polar regions.

The atmosphere is largely nitrogen; minor components lead to the formation of methane and ethane clouds and nitrogen-rich organic smog. Titan’s lower gravity means that its atmosphere is far more extended than Earth’s and about 1.19 times as massive. It supports opaque haze layers that block most visible light from the Sun and other sources and renders Titan’s surface features obscure. Atmospheric methane creates a greenhouse effect on Titan’s surface, without which Titan would be far colder. Conversely, haze in Titan’s atmosphere contributes to an anti-greenhouse effect by reflecting sunlight back into space, cancelling a portion of the greenhouse effect warming and making its surface significantly colder than its upper atmosphere.

Titan’s clouds, probably composed of methane, ethane or other simple organics, are scattered and variable, punctuating the overall haze.The findings of the Huygens probe indicate that Titan’s atmosphere periodically rains liquid methane and other organic compounds onto its surface. Clouds typically cover 1% of Titan’s disk, though outburst events have been observed in which the cloud cover rapidly expands to as much as 8%. One hypothesis asserts that the southern clouds are formed when heightened levels of sunlight during the southern summer generate uplift in the atmosphere, resulting in convection. This explanation is complicated by the fact that cloud formation has been observed not only after the southern summer solstice but also during mid-spring.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

child-of-thecosmos:

On Black Holes

I should warn you that we are entering uncharted scientific territory. For all we know, there may be undiscovered laws of physics that govern events at the center of the black hole. But until the next Einstein comes along, let’s perform a thought experiment.

If you could survive the trip into a black hole, you might emerge in another place and time in our own universe, circumventing the first commandment of relativity: Thou shall not travel faster than light.

Nothing can move through space faster than light, but space is not near emptiness. It has properties. It can stretch and shrink. It can be deformed. And when that happens, time is deformed, too.

Einstein discovered that space and time are just two aspects of the same thing - space-time. Space-time itself can deform enough to carry you anywhere at any speed. Black holes may very well be tunnels through the universe.

On this intergalactic subway system, you can travel through the farthest reaches of space-time. Or you might arrive in some place even more amazing.

We might find ourselves in an all together different universe. But how can a whole universe fit inside of a black hole, which is only a small part of our universe? It’s another magic trick of space-time. The phenomenal gravity of a black hole can warp the space of an entire universe inside it. Our local gravity may be a drag to us, but it’s really feeble compared with what goes inside of a collapsed star.

As far as we know, when a giant star collapses to make a black hole, the extreme density and pressure at the center mimic the Big Bang, which gave rise to our universe. And a universe inside a black hole might give rise to its own black holes, and those could lead to other universes.

Maybe that’s how our own cosmos came to be.

- Episode 5: A Sky Full Of Ghosts, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey

Galaxies That Are Too Big To Fail, But Fail Anyway
Dark matter exists, but there is still a lot we don’t know about it. Presumably it’s some kind of particle, but we don’t know how massive it is, what forces it interacts with, or how it was produced. On the other hand, there’s actually a lot we do know about the dark matter. We know how much of it there is; we know roughly where it is; we know that it’s “cold,” meaning that the average particle’s velocity is much less than the speed of light; and we know that dark matter particles don’t interact very strongly with each other. Which is quite a bit of knowledge, when you think about it.
Fortunately, astronomers are pushing forward to study how dark matter behaves as it’s scattered through the universe, and the results are interesting. We start with a very basic idea: that dark matter is cold and completely non-interacting, or at least has interactions (the strength with which dark matter particles scatter off of each other) that are too small to make any noticeable difference. This is a well-defined and predictive model: ΛCDM, which includes the cosmological constant (Λ) as well as the cold dark matter (CDM). We can compare astronomical observations to ΛCDM predictions to see if we’re on the right track.
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Galaxies That Are Too Big To Fail, But Fail Anyway

Dark matter exists, but there is still a lot we don’t know about it. Presumably it’s some kind of particle, but we don’t know how massive it is, what forces it interacts with, or how it was produced. On the other hand, there’s actually a lot we do know about the dark matter. We know how much of it there is; we know roughly where it is; we know that it’s “cold,” meaning that the average particle’s velocity is much less than the speed of light; and we know that dark matter particles don’t interact very strongly with each other. Which is quite a bit of knowledge, when you think about it.

Fortunately, astronomers are pushing forward to study how dark matter behaves as it’s scattered through the universe, and the results are interesting. We start with a very basic idea: that dark matter is cold and completely non-interacting, or at least has interactions (the strength with which dark matter particles scatter off of each other) that are too small to make any noticeable difference. This is a well-defined and predictive model: ΛCDM, which includes the cosmological constant (Λ) as well as the cold dark matter (CDM). We can compare astronomical observations to ΛCDM predictions to see if we’re on the right track.

Continue Reading

Many people object to “wasting money in space” yet have no idea how much is actually spent on space exploration. The CSA’s budget, for instance, is less than the amount Canadians spend on Halloween candy every year, and most of it goes toward things like developing telecommunications satellites and radar systems to provide data for weather and air quality forecasts, environmental monitoring and climate change studies. Similarly, NASA’s budget is not spent in space but right here on Earth, where it’s invested in American businesses and universities, and where it also pays dividends, creating new jobs, new technologies and even whole new industries.

Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (via thedragoninmygarage) —

spaceplasma:

Microwave Induced Plasma

This coaxial microwave plasma source (MPS) generates plasma without using a magnetic field. It works like an inverse luminescent tube excited by microwaves. The coaxial microwave plasma generator consists of a copper rod (antenna) as inner conductor surrounded by quartz tube filled with argon gas, the plasma is the outer conductor. The inside of the tube is at atmospheric pressure whereas the outside is at low pressure. The plasma formed around the quartz tube acts as an outer conductor in such a way that a spatially extended surface wave is created, just in an equivalent (‘inverse’) situation to that found in the Surfatron source (where the plasma is inside the tube instead of outside).
The microwave with a frequency of 2.45 GHz generated by two magnetrons is fed into the copper rods at both ends. On the outside of the tube, in the low pressure, the microwave fields ignite the plasma. The plasma represents a conductive medium so by increasing microwave power the plasma grows from both ends along the tube, and a homogeneous plasma is formed. The high power microwave breakdown at atmospheric pressure leads to the formation of filamentary structures. These striations or string-like structures, also known as birkeland currents, are seen in many plasmas, like the plasma ball, the aurora,lightning,electric arcs, solar flares, and even supernova remnants.

spaceplasma:

Microwave Induced Plasma

This coaxial microwave plasma source (MPS) generates plasma without using a magnetic field. It works like an inverse luminescent tube excited by microwaves. The coaxial microwave plasma generator consists of a copper rod (antenna) as inner conductor surrounded by quartz tube filled with argon gas, the plasma is the outer conductor. The inside of the tube is at atmospheric pressure whereas the outside is at low pressure. The plasma formed around the quartz tube acts as an outer conductor in such a way that a spatially extended surface wave is created, just in an equivalent (‘inverse’) situation to that found in the Surfatron source (where the plasma is inside the tube instead of outside).

The microwave with a frequency of 2.45 GHz generated by two magnetrons is fed into the copper rods at both ends. On the outside of the tube, in the low pressure, the microwave fields ignite the plasma. The plasma represents a conductive medium so by increasing microwave power the plasma grows from both ends along the tube, and a homogeneous plasma is formed. The high power microwave breakdown at atmospheric pressure leads to the formation of filamentary structures. These striations or string-like structures, also known as birkeland currents, are seen in many plasmas, like the plasma ball, the aurora,lightning,electric arcs, solar flares, and even supernova remnants.

How Do You Estimate Impact Force?
If you have watched MythBusters, you are aware that they often crash things into each other.  In the latest episode, the MythBusters dropped a piano onto the roof of a house. Before the drop, they stated that the piano weighed 700 pounds and would be dropped 50 feet above the roof. Right before impact, the piano would be traveling at 38 mph and have an impact force of 12,000 pounds.
So, how did they get these values? Clearly they could just measure the mass and the starting height. But what about the speed and the impact force? Let me show you how you calculate these values. The great thing about this piano drop is that it’s a perfect introductory physics problem that uses both the Work-Energy Principle and the Momentum Principle.
Continue Reading

How Do You Estimate Impact Force?

If you have watched MythBusters, you are aware that they often crash things into each other.  In the latest episode, the MythBusters dropped a piano onto the roof of a house. Before the drop, they stated that the piano weighed 700 pounds and would be dropped 50 feet above the roof. Right before impact, the piano would be traveling at 38 mph and have an impact force of 12,000 pounds.

So, how did they get these values? Clearly they could just measure the mass and the starting height. But what about the speed and the impact force? Let me show you how you calculate these values. The great thing about this piano drop is that it’s a perfect introductory physics problem that uses both the Work-Energy Principle and the Momentum Principle.

Continue Reading

The Moral Hazards and Legal Conundrums of Our Robot-Filled Future
The robots are coming, and they’re getting smarter. They’re evolving from single-task devices like Roomba and its floor-mopping, pool-cleaning cousins into machines that can make their own decisions and autonomously navigate public spaces. Thanks to artificial intelligence, machines are getting better at understanding our speech and detecting and reflecting our emotions. In many ways, they’re becoming more like us.
Whether you find it exhilarating or terrifying (or both), progress in robotics and related fields like AI is raising new ethical quandaries and challenging legal codes that were created for a world in which a sharp line separates man from machine. Last week, roboticists, legal scholars, and other experts met at the University of California, Berkeley law school to talk through some of the social, moral, and legal hazards that are likely to arise as that line starts to blur.
Continue Reading
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The Moral Hazards and Legal Conundrums of Our Robot-Filled Future

The robots are coming, and they’re getting smarter. They’re evolving from single-task devices like Roomba and its floor-mopping, pool-cleaning cousins into machines that can make their own decisions and autonomously navigate public spaces. Thanks to artificial intelligence, machines are getting better at understanding our speech and detecting and reflecting our emotions. In many ways, they’re becoming more like us.

Whether you find it exhilarating or terrifying (or both), progress in robotics and related fields like AI is raising new ethical quandaries and challenging legal codes that were created for a world in which a sharp line separates man from machine. Last week, roboticists, legal scholars, and other experts met at the University of California, Berkeley law school to talk through some of the social, moral, and legal hazards that are likely to arise as that line starts to blur.

Continue Reading

Cancer treatment clears two Australian patients of HIV
Patients’ virus levels became undetectable after bone-marrow therapy with stem cells.
Scientists have uncovered two new cases of HIV patients in whom the virus has become undetectable.
The two patients, both Australian men, became apparently HIV-free after receiving stem cells to treat cancer. They are still on antiretroviral therapy (ART) “as a precaution”, but those drugs alone could not be responsible for bringing the virus to such low levels, says David Cooper, director of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, who led the discovery. A year ago, a different group of researchers had reported cases with a similar outcome.
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Cancer treatment clears two Australian patients of HIV

Patients’ virus levels became undetectable after bone-marrow therapy with stem cells.

Scientists have uncovered two new cases of HIV patients in whom the virus has become undetectable.

The two patients, both Australian men, became apparently HIV-free after receiving stem cells to treat cancer. They are still on antiretroviral therapy (ART) “as a precaution”, but those drugs alone could not be responsible for bringing the virus to such low levels, says David Cooper, director of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, who led the discovery. A year ago, a different group of researchers had reported cases with a similar outcome.

Continue Reading

Neuroscience Might Be Taking Over the World
Neuroscience might be taking over the world with data on brain connections and replica projects, as well as applying data onto digital software applications for use in clinical studies. Recent reports praise, dispute, and test how the study of neuroscience is claiming to ease addiction, build a computerized replica of the human brain, and even improve focus by 400 percent.
Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Medical School are applying neuroscience research to areas of the brain which concentrate on addiction. In an interview with Boston’s NPR news station, W.B.U.R., scientists explain how addiction effects areas of the brain that would “hard-wire” it into recognizing and supporting an addiction. Searching for the “neural roots of addiction,” these scientists apply techniques like meditation and technology to ward off symptoms of addiction.
Continue Reading
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Neuroscience Might Be Taking Over the World

Neuroscience might be taking over the world with data on brain connections and replica projects, as well as applying data onto digital software applications for use in clinical studies. Recent reports praise, dispute, and test how the study of neuroscience is claiming to ease addiction, build a computerized replica of the human brain, and even improve focus by 400 percent.

Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Medical School are applying neuroscience research to areas of the brain which concentrate on addiction. In an interview with Boston’s NPR news station, W.B.U.R., scientists explain how addiction effects areas of the brain that would “hard-wire” it into recognizing and supporting an addiction. Searching for the “neural roots of addiction,” these scientists apply techniques like meditation and technology to ward off symptoms of addiction.

Continue Reading

afro-dominicano:


Comet Lovejoy by Bernhard Hubl
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afro-dominicano:

Comet Lovejoy by Bernhard Hubl

Temple of the Moon
Image Credit: Royce’s NightScapes
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Temple of the Moon

Image Credit: Royce’s NightScapes

(Source: facebook.com)

libutron:

Common Blue Jewel (male) 
Heliocypha perforata (Chlorocyphidae) is an elegant damselfly species, with distinctive blue markings on its thorax and abdomen. Males are easily recognizable by the neon purple markings on its wings.
The Common Blue Jewel can be found in China, Hong Kong, Laos, Taiwan, Viet Nam, India, Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand.
References: [1]
Photo credit: ©Wong Hock Weng
Locality: Gunung Belumut (Mount Belumut), Johor, Malaysia
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libutron:

Common Blue Jewel (male) 

Heliocypha perforata (Chlorocyphidae) is an elegant damselfly species, with distinctive blue markings on its thorax and abdomen. Males are easily recognizable by the neon purple markings on its wings.

The Common Blue Jewel can be found in China, Hong Kong, Laos, Taiwan, Viet Nam, India, Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand.

References: [1]

Photo credit: ©Wong Hock Weng

Locality: Gunung Belumut (Mount Belumut), Johor, Malaysia

athankyou:

Ancient reptile birth preserved in fossil: Ichthyosaur fossil may show oldest live reptilian birth.
Scientists report a new fossil specimen that belongs to Chaohusaurus (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia), the oldest of Mesozoic marine reptiles that lived approximately 248 million years ago. The partial skeleton was recovered in China and may show a live birth. The maternal skeleton was associated with three embryos and neonates: one inside the mother, another exiting the pelvis-with half the body still inside the mother-and the third outside of the mother.

athankyou:

Ancient reptile birth preserved in fossil: Ichthyosaur fossil may show oldest live reptilian birth.

Scientists report a new fossil specimen that belongs to Chaohusaurus (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia), the oldest of Mesozoic marine reptiles that lived approximately 248 million years ago. The partial skeleton was recovered in China and may show a live birth. The maternal skeleton was associated with three embryos and neonates: one inside the mother, another exiting the pelvis-with half the body still inside the mother-and the third outside of the mother.

Nearby Galaxy’s Star Cluster Sparkles
Photography by ESA/HUBBLE/NASA
NGC 121, a ten-billion-year-old star cluster seen in this July 14 Hubble Space Telescope picture, sits in a neighboring galaxy.
The star cluster is the oldest one residing in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy circling our own Milky Way.
Star clusters orbit the center of galaxies; the Milky Way has about 150 of them. Why NGC 121 is much older than the other clusters in its galaxy is a mystery under study by astronomers.

Nearby Galaxy’s Star Cluster Sparkles

Photography by ESA/HUBBLE/NASA

NGC 121, a ten-billion-year-old star cluster seen in this July 14 Hubble Space Telescope picture, sits in a neighboring galaxy.

The star cluster is the oldest one residing in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy circling our own Milky Way.

Star clusters orbit the center of galaxies; the Milky Way has about 150 of them. Why NGC 121 is much older than the other clusters in its galaxy is a mystery under study by astronomers.

(Source: National Geographic)