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Author Topic: The Space News Archive *Warning, massive resolution pictures inside*  (Read 371647 times)
Offline DarkLink

Sage of Forest

Posts: 1,296

« #200 on: November 29, 2010 »

Wow, that black hole thing is amazing. I'm always fascinated in how the universe came to be. That's a magnificent explanation for it. Though I suppose there are holes (get it) in it. Can't wait to learn more on that one.

"Happiness is such hard work: it gets harder every day. And it can kill you. But no one wants to be that tacky about it."
Offline Bidet to you sir


Posts: 2,479

« #201 on: December 02, 2010 »

Entirely seperate double post because this could be cool.

2pm EST nasa astrobiology announcement, so far all info has been blocked to the press, the most common thought on what the announcement will be?

There are two forms of life on earth, one using phosphate, one using arsenic.

To a biochemist like me, this is fucking crazy interesting, and I definitely hope it's the case.

Also if it's true does that mean God created life twice, but once just randomly in mono lake?

Oh god, it's gonna be fun watching the creationists squirm if it turns out evolution happened twice.


Offline Adam

Undiluted Awesome

Flies in His Eyes

Posts: 3,441

« #202 on: December 02, 2010 »

Quote from: Zim
There are two forms of life on earth, one using phosphate, one using arsenic.

The way I'm reading that, it doesn't necessarily mean that evolution happened twice.  Use of arsenic may be a unique metabolic pathway, but we've already got tons of those in the known tree of life.  We've already identified and studied all sorts of weird chemolithotrophs: things that get energy from ammonia, iron ions, sulfur, carbon monoxide, even hydrogen gas.  I don't see how arsenic based metabolism necessitates a new tree of life.

However, that article is a little vague on the actual science, so it's very likely I'm missing something.

AKA: Chibi
Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #203 on: December 02, 2010 »

^ Glad someone enjoyed the story!  I hope I explained it well.  Neat thing about that theory, many other theories that conflicted with each other... FITS IN THIS THEORY so it explains many other theories and says they could be right as well!  Also, it is provable!  All they have to do is find the cosmic bathtub ring and the deal is solid.... this could also give a nod to the multiverse theory too..


NEW SUNSPOT:  A sunspot is emerging over the sun's northeastern limb, and it appears to be one of the largest of the new solar cycle. This composite image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sunspot's dark core (inset) and plumes of plasma shooting up from the active region:

It is too soon to say whether this sunspot poses a threat for strong solar flares. At the moment we are seeing the region almost edge-on, so the sunspot's magnetic field (the source of flares) is not fully available for inspection. One thing is certain: It's photogenic. Readers with backyard solar telescopes are encouraged to monitoor developments.

RETURN OF JUPITER'S MISSING STRIPE:  The revival of Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt (SEB), missing for nearly a year, is now well underway. The roiling, turbulent disturbance that heralds the brown stripe's full return stretches almost halfway around the giant planet. "Here is a projection map showing the revival on Nov. 29th," says amateur astronomer Wayne Jaeschke of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Note the region bracketed by arrows:

"I made the map by combining two pictures of Jupiter I took using my 14-inch Celestron telescope," says Jaeschke. "The disturbance has grown dramatically since it first appeared in late October." Indeed, it is now so large that even novice observers are starting to notice it in the eyepieces of backyard telescopes.

The spreading disturbance is not the SEB itself. Instead, it is thought to be a progressive clearing of high clouds that will eventually reveal the brown stripe hiding below. When the SEB finally returns, Jupiter will have two brown stripes again and the planet's appearance will return to normal. Meanwhile, amateur astronomers are encouraged to monitor the revival. Point your optics south after sunset

POSSIBLE EARTH-DIRECTED ERUPTION:  A magnetic filament in the sun's northeastern quadrant erupted during the late hours of Nov. 30th. Click on the image to play a movie recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory--and pay attention to the bright splash below the movie arrow:

The blast produced a B-class solar flare and hurled a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. Preliminary coronagraph images from NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft suggest that the cloud might be heading toward Earth. Further analysis is required, however, to confirm that the CME is coming our way. Stay tuned for updates.

SPACE PLANE SET TO LAND:  The US Air Force's X-37B space plane is reportedly  going to land at the Vandenberg AFB in California as early as this Friday, Dec. 3rd. The goal of the X-37B program is to trim turnaround time between space flights from months to days at a fraction of the cost of NASA's shuttle program. Prior to landing, the X-37B will make a series of nightime flybys over North America. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker or your cellphone for last-chance sighting opportunities. Update: Southern California residents might hear sonic booms when the X-37B comes in for landing.


Life discovered on Rea?

NASA is holding a press conference on Thursday "to discuss an astrobiology finding." Are they going to announce that they've found evidence of extraterrestrial life?

Blogger Jason Kottke took a look at NASA's press release, which touts "an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life" (astrobiology, besides being a cool word, is "the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe"), and decided to investigate further by looking at the participants' resumes. So who are the participants?

* A geobiologist who's written about "geology and life on Mars";
* an oceanographer who's done extensive work on arsenic-based photosynthesis;
* a biologist examining Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and its similarities to early Earth;
* and an ecologist investigating the "chemistry of environments where life evolves."

Now, yes, obviously, throw in a grizzled marine and you've got the making of an awesome movie about discovering aliens. But that's not (the only reason) why Kottke thinks the announcement will be about life on another world. Here's what he says:

So, if I had to guess at what NASA is going to reveal on Thursday, I'd say that they've discovered arsenic on Titan and maybe even detected chemical evidence of bacteria utilizing it for photosynthesis (by following the elements). Or something like that. (thx, sippey)

Of course, the announcement could be something totally different! Or, it could be that NASA has been contacted by a warlike race of space aliens and a certain-to-fail mission carried out by a ragtag bunch of scientists is our only hope of survival.



So what does NASA have up its sleeve? The conference will be streamed online on Thursday at http://www.nasa.gov/. Until then, let the speculation fly!









AURORA SURPRISE: A solar wind gust hit Earth's magnetic field on Nov. 27th, sparking a geomagnetic storm (Kp=6) and an outburst of auroras that surprised onlookers.



Offline Bidet to you sir


Posts: 2,479

« #204 on: December 02, 2010 »

Quote from: Zim
There are two forms of life on earth, one using phosphate, one using arsenic.

The way I'm reading that, it doesn't necessarily mean that evolution happened twice.  Use of arsenic may be a unique metabolic pathway, but we've already got tons of those in the known tree of life.  We've already identified and studied all sorts of weird chemolithotrophs: things that get energy from ammonia, iron ions, sulfur, carbon monoxide, even hydrogen gas.  I don't see how arsenic based metabolism necessitates a new tree of life.

However, that article is a little vague on the actual science, so it's very likely I'm missing something.
Ok, the second part was based on the speculation going around that this was a bacteria that ONLY uses arsenic in its DNA backbone which would suggest it evolved independently of the rest of life or is an incredibly early branch off.

what has come about is this http://www.astrobiology.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=32183 and this http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/03/science/03arsenic.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss
This indicates that it can use arsenic in it's sugar phosphate backbone but is well, now sugar arsenic backbone.
What this has shown though is that well, life can exist in an arsenic rich, phostphate poor environment, which increases the scope of our looking for life in the universe by quite a vast margin.

As they say, it could be possible that there are truly utterly arsenic based life on this planet, that would be truly alien, and that could realistically be found on other planets or moons based on this incredible new discovery.

Also yeah, telegraph science coverage is shit.

« Last Edit: December 02, 2010 by Matt Smith in a dress » Logged

Offline Bidet to you sir


Posts: 2,479

« #205 on: December 02, 2010 »

They've found life on earth that heavily uses arsenic rather than phosphate, this increases the scope of possible life that could be found in the rest of the universe.

I've been posting about this in the lounge, hisak please merge.


Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #206 on: December 08, 2010 »

Thanks for the merge.  I appreciate anyone contributing to this thread. 

Massive update coming tonight but for now, quick update on the sun.

On Dec. 6th, a magnetic filament stretching more than 700,000 km around the sun's southeastern limb erupted, producing a blast of epic proportions. Earth was not in the line of fire

 Last night (Dec. 7th) a minor gust of solar wind gently buffeted Earth's magnetic field. At the Aurora Sky Station in Sweden, above the Arctic Circle, a gentle gust is all it takes to ignite auroras you can reach out and touch ... almost:

MAGNIFICENT FILAMENT:  A dark magnetic filament more than 400,000 km long is snaking around the sun's southeastern limb. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed it rotating into view during the early hours of Dec. 4th:

In this extreme ultraviolet image, blues and yellows trace million-degree gas in the sun's atmosphere. Dense plasma bottled up inside the filament is about ten times cooler, so it appears dark in contrast to the hot atmosphere around it.

The arrival of the filament comes as no surprise. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft has been monitoring the filament for days as it approached the sun's horizon from behind. So far the massive structure has hovered quietly above the stellar surface, showing no signs of instability. How long can the quiet last? Long filaments like this one have been known to collapse with explosive results when they hit the stellar surface below. Stay tuned!

New sunspots 1132 and 1133 are crackling with minor B-class  solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #207 on: December 13, 2010 »

TRIPLE ERUPTION:  Solar activity surged on Sunday, Dec. 12th, when the sun erupted three times in quick succession, hurling a trio of bright coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into space. Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the action:

A preliminary analysis suggests that none of the CMEs will be geoeffective. The expanding clouds should miss our planet.

Are these CMEs related? According to images from NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft and the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the clouds emerged from three distinct blast sites separated by great distances. In each case, a magnetic filament erupted--one near the sun's southeastern limb (CME#1), one near the north pole (CME#2), and one on the far side of the sun (CME#3). Because all three eruptions occurred within a matter of hours, the coronagraph images suggest a single 3-lobed cloud; in fact, they are distinct CMEs.


SPIRAL ASTEROID:  On Dec. 12th, the International Astronomical Union issued a telegram (CBET nr.2583) announcing the discovery of a spiral structure around main belt asteroid (596) Scheila. Steve Larson of the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) found the curious shape in images obtained Dec. 11th through the Catalina 0.68-m Schmidt telescope. Other observers have since confirmed the phenomenon. The following picture was taken on Dec. 12th by Italian astronomers Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero using a remotely-controlled 0.25m telescope in New Mexico:

What's going on? There are at least two possibilities. (1) A small asteroid might have hit 596 Scheila, raising a cloud of dust which forms a nebula around the larger space rock. A 1-meter class impactor would be large enough to do the trick. (2) 596 Scheila might be a rare main belt comet, a body with the orbital characteristics of an asteroid and the physical characteristics of a comet. If so, a pocket of volatile ice might be vaporizing to produce the spiraling tail.

How the tail evolves in the days ahead could provide important clues. Amateur astronomers with experience in asteroid imaging are encouraged to monitor developments


GEMINID METEOR UPDATE:  Spotters for the International Meteor Organization are now counting more than 30 meteors per hour as the Geminid meteor shower intensifies. On peak night, Dec. 13th-14th, forecasters expect rates to soar as high as 120 per hour for observers with dark rural skies:

BUSY ICE HALO:  In Stockholm, Sweden, the sun was only up for a little while Wednesday, but it made good use of its time. Sunbeams lanced through ice crystals in the air, producing a busy halo of surpassing beauty:

And now, the news:

December 11, 2010 - Darkest Moon in the Solar System.

NASA: “Phobos, the largest and innermost of two Martian moons, is the darkest moon in the
entire Solar System. Its unusual orbit and color indicate that it may be a captured asteroid
composed of a mixture of ice and dark rock. The above picture of Phobos near the limb of Mars
was captured in November 2010, by the robot spacecraft Mars Express currently orbiting Mars. Phobos is heavily cratered and is covered by perhaps a meter of loose dust. Phobos orbits so
close to Mars that from some places it would appear to rise and set twice a day, but from
other places it would not be visible at all. Phobos' orbit around Mars is continually decaying.
It will likely break up with pieces crashing to the Martian surface in
about 50 million years.”  Image by Mars Express.


December 9, 2010 - Space X Is First Private Company
to Recover A Spacecraft from Orbit.

“I'm sort of in semi-shock. It's just mind-blowingly awesome!”

- Elon Musk, CEO, Space Exploration Technologies Inc., Hawthorne, California

“We've arrived at the dawn of a new era in U. S. space exploration
that should ensure America remains a leader in space exploration.”

- U. S. Senator Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat

Fully deployed, the three main parachutes gently lower
the Dragon spacecraft for a water splashdown on Wednesday,
December 8, 2010 - a milestone in Earth's space history since this is
the first time a private company has launched and retrieved
a space orbiter. Space X launched from USAF Station Launch
Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Image © 2010 by Chris Thompson/SpaceX.

nly five nations - United States, Russia, China, Japan and India - had launched a spacecraft into low-Earth orbit and then retrieved the craft at a pre-determined location. This time a Space X capsule called “Dragon” came down on its target in the Pacific Ocean and was retrieved by its builder, Space Exploration Technologies Inc. SETI, or Space X, is run by CEO Elon Musk, founder of PayPal. With NASA's space shuttle phasing out and the federal space agency having to pay millions of dollars to Russia for upcoming space launches, will private Space X be the new path for American independence in space?  For more information, see: Space X.


Beyond Carbon-Based Life Forms -
How Different Could E. T. Be?  

“We describe a bacterium, strain GFAJ-1 of the Halomonadaceae family,
isolated from Mono Lake, California, which substitutes arsenic for phosphorus
to sustain its growth. ...Exchange of one of the major bioelements may have
profound evolutionary and geochemical significance.”
Researchers working in the harsh, arsenic-rich environment of Mono Lake, California,
have discovered arsenic-eating bacteria called GFAJ-1 able to thrive and reproduce using arsenic, changing the fundamental knowledge about what comprises all known life on Earth. Image NASA.


- Felisa Wolfe-Simon, Ph.D., Biochemist, USGS;  NASA Astrobiology Institute

io9s take on it:

New Estimate of Stars in Universe:
300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000  (300 Sextillion).

“We're seeing 10 or 20 times more stars than we expected.”

- Pieter van Dokkum, Ph.D., Yale University Astronomer

 First Oxygen in Atmosphere
Discovered Beyond Earth.

“The new results suggest that active, complex chemistry
involving oxygen may be quite common throughout the solar
system and even our universe.”

- Ben Teolis, Ph.D., Cassini Team, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX

Saturn's second largest moon, icy Rhea, now is confirmed by NASA's
Cassini spacecraft to have a tenuous atmosphere of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has a thick nitrogen-methane atmosphere,
but very little carbon dioxide and oxygen.

Fresh, Dark Sand Dunes in Martian Proctor Crater.

Each blackness is at least 300 feet wide and is a dark,
rippled sand dune on the floor of Proctor Crater on Mars.
The lighter rock is older and the geography shifts with Martian winds.
NASA reports that similar long, dark sand dunes were first seen in
Proctor Crater by Mariner 9 some 35 years ago. Current image by
HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

Giant Stealth Planet May Explain Rain of Comets from Solar System's Edge

Gigantic hidden planet could be hurling comets at the rest of the solar system



Steamy alien planet reveals atmosphere of giant "super-Earth" for the first time ever

Planet made of Diamonds?

Why Armstrong didn't go running wild on the moon.

Space X successful!

New era for NASA?

Another "Earth 2" discovered?

4 giant planets puzzle astronomers

More studies on that "new life form" found story

X particle:

Remember that huge prominence on the sun?

Some news about Olympus Mons on Mars

Super Earth atmosphere measured.

How to save an astronaut that floated away

Shuttle film, everything you want to know about the shuttle.

« Last Edit: December 13, 2010 by LLR » Logged
Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #208 on: December 14, 2010 »

MAGNETIC ERUPTION :  On Dec. 14th around 1530 UT, a filament of magnetism lifted up from the surface of the sun and--snap!--erupted. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action:

The blast produced an hours-long C2-class  solar flare and hurled a magnificent CME into space: SOHO movie.
The expanding cloud is not heading directly toward Earth, but it might deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field two or three days hence. Stay tuned for a more refined analysis later today.


GLOBAL ERUPTION ROCKS THE SUN:  A global eruption on the sun has shattered old ideas about solar activity. Researchers presented their surprising findings at a press conference yesterday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

GEMINID METEOR UPDATE: Although the peak of the Geminid meteor shower has probably passed, the show is not over. Earth is still inside a stream of debris from Geminid parent 3200 Phaethon, and bits of Phaethon-dust (http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/06dec_geminids/)
 are still streaking out of the constellation Gemini. Keep an eye on the sky after midnight--or try listening to the Geminids on Space Weather Radio. http://spaceweatherradio.com/

Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #209 on: December 21, 2010 »

One from last week first...  last activity by the Sun.

UPWARD BLAST:  Magnetic filaments have been erupting on the sun with uncommon frequency these past two weeks. The latest event occurred On Dec. 16th around 0800 UT when a filament lifted off the stellar surface and propelled a coronal mass ejection into space. Coronagraphs  onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded the expanding cloud:

Earth was not in the line of fire; no planets were. The cloud is heading up and away from the plane of the solar system where it will dissipate with little effect a week or two hence

Now the news!

RARE LUNAR ECLIPSE:  The lunar eclipse of Dec. 21st falls on the same date as the northern winter solstice. Is this rare? It is indeed, according to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory, who inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. "Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is Dec. 21, 1638," says Chester. "Fortunately we won't have to wait 372 years for the next one...that will be on Dec. 21, 2094."

WHEN TO LOOK: The total eclipse lasts more than an hour from 02:41 am to 03:53 am EST on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st. Any time within that interval is a good time to look. For other time zones, consult Shadow & Substance's animated eclipse-

DRAGON STORM:  Saturn's great "Dragon Storm" has returned. The ferocious thunderstorm observed for years by NASA's Cassini spacecraft has recently been hiding under high clouds, but now it is showing itself again. Using an 11-inch Celestron telescope, Christopher Go of the Philippines photographed the white tempest on Dec. 13th:

"The storm was so bright, I was even able to see it visually [through the eyepiece]," says Go. In years past, the storm was located in Saturn's southern hemisphere, "but images taken by me and other amateur astronomers show that it is now in the northern hemisphere." The shift is consistent with findings that the Dragon Storm is a long-lived disturbance deep within the gas giant's atmosphere that moves around and periodically flares-up to produce large, visible storm regions.

Now the other news -

I'm sure most of you have heard about the Navy making a working Rail Gun by now..  if not, science fiction technology just became a lot more realistic.  Check these videos out for more -





Now why would I post this in the solar news?  Well..  Naturally - NASA has applications  for this technology. 

NASA wants to send scramjet spacecraft into space using a railgun

NASA has been working on creating a new, cheaper method to launch spacecrafts. Their latest proposal involves train tracks, a rail gun and a scramjet. Here's what they're trying to do:

In April, President Obama urged NASA to come up with, among other things, a less expensive method than conventional rocketry for launching spacecraft. By September, the agency's engineers floated a plan that would save millions of dollars in propellant, improve astronaut safety, and allow for more frequent flights. All it will take is two miles of train track, an airplane that can fly at 10 times the speed of sound, and a jolt of electricity big enough to light a small town.

The system calls for a two-mile- long rail gun that will launch a scramjet, which will then fly to 200,000 feet. The scramjet will then fire a payload into orbit and return to Earth. The process is more complex than a rocket launch, but engineers say it's also more flexible. With it, NASA could orbit a 10,000-pound satellite one day and send a manned ship toward the moon the next, on a fraction of the propellant used by today's rockets.

It may sound too awesome to ever be a reality. But unlike other rocket-less plans for space entry, each relevant technology is advanced enough that tests could take place in 10 years, says Stan Starr, a physicist at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. NASA's scramjets have hit Mach 10 for 12 seconds; last spring, Boeing's X-51 scramjet did Mach 5 for a record 200 seconds. Rail guns are coming along too. The Navy is testing an electromagnetic launch system to replace the hydraulics that catapult fighter jets from aircraft carriers. "We have all the ingredients," says Paul Bartolotta, a NASA aerospace engineer working on the project. "Now we just have to figure out how to bake the cake."
How To Fly Into Orbit:

Rev Up The Rail Gun
A 240,000-horsepower linear motor converts 180 megawatts into an electromagnetic force that propels a scramjet carrying a spacecraft down a two-mile-long track. The craft accelerates from 0 to 1,100 mph (Mach 1.5) in under 60 seconds- fast, but at less than 3 Gs, safe for manned flight.

Fire The Scramjet
The pilot fires a high-speed turbojet and launches from the track. Once the craft hits Mach 4, the air flowing through the jet intake is fast enough that it compresses, heats to 3,000ºF, and ignites hydrogen in the combustion chamber, producing tens of thousands of pounds of thrust.

Get Into Orbit
At an altitude of 200,000 feet, there isn't enough air for the scramjet, now traveling at Mach 10, to generate thrust. Here spaceflight begins. The two craft separate, and the scramjet pitches downward to get out of the way as the upper spacecraft fires tail rockets that shoot it into orbit.

Stick The Landing
The scramjet slows and uses its turbojets to fly back to Earth for a runway landing. Once the spacecraft delivers its payload into orbit, it reenters the atmosphere and glides back to the launch site. The two craft can be ready for another mission within 24 hours of landing.

Offline Bidet to you sir


Posts: 2,479

« #210 on: December 21, 2010 »

Lunar eclipse last night, any amerihylians view it? obviously not visible from my part of europe.


Offline Twilight Wolf

El Cid


Posts: 2,448

« #211 on: December 21, 2010 »

I'm gonna try, but I think clouds might get in the way.

Quote from: "Duck and Cover" by The Donots
Duck and cover, they're out to get you, they're out to get you, and they're taking over, your block, your God, your country.  Duck and cover, they're gonna get you, gonna get you, but we got you covered, believe, be good, be one now
Offline Adam

Undiluted Awesome

Flies in His Eyes

Posts: 3,441

« #212 on: December 21, 2010 »

I tried, but it was way too overcast to even see the damn thing.


AKA: Chibi
Offline Twilight Wolf

El Cid


Posts: 2,448

« #213 on: December 21, 2010 »

I saw part of it (get it?) But seriously I went out and saw it as it was half covered, went out later to see the full thing and it was too overcast.

Quote from: "Duck and Cover" by The Donots
Duck and cover, they're out to get you, they're out to get you, and they're taking over, your block, your God, your country.  Duck and cover, they're gonna get you, gonna get you, but we got you covered, believe, be good, be one now
Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #214 on: January 10, 2011 »

Quite the long time since I updated, First time this year!  Sorry, I've been quite busy with that project.  

Recent first and older sun news descending.  

Sunspots 1140 and 1146 are mostly quiet. Solar activity remains low. Credit: SDO/HMI

X-RAY ECLIPSE:  Japan's Hinode spacecraft has beamed back a unique view of the Jan. 4th partial solar eclipse. While the people of Earth marveled at crescent sunrises and sickle-shaped sunbeams, Hinode's x-ray telescope captured a glorious ring of fire:

From Hinode's point of view in Earth orbit, the Moon transited the sun almost dead center. The Moon was not, however, wide enough to cover the entire solar disk. Astronomers call this an "annular solar eclipse." Hinode's record of the event has little direct research value, but it does help calibrate Hinode's x-ray telescope and detectors. The apparent sharpness of the Moon's circular edge and the blackness of the lunar disk reveal much about the performance of the system. And, of course, it looks fantastic.


WEEKEND AURORAS:  "For the third day in a row, the aurora forecast has been correct and just looking out the window is a true pleasure!" reports Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway. This is what he saw on Jan. 8th:

TRIPLE PUNCH HOLE CLOUDS:  "I've lived by the sea for many years, but never seen anything like this," reports Wesley Tyler of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "On Friday, Jan. 7th, there were three punch hole clouds in the same place." He grabbed his camera and recorded the phenomenon:

Recently meteorologists have penetrated the mystery: punch holes form when airplanes fly through thin layers of high altitude clouds. If water droplets in the cloud are supercooled (below freezing but still liquid), they can suddenly turn to snow when shocked by the passage of the plane. This mini-snowstorm occurs over a circular area much wider than the airplane itself.

AURORA WATCH :  As expected, a solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field during the early hours of Jan. 7th. The impact sparked a G1-class (Kp=5) geomagnetic storm and bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. "It was just amazing," says Kjetil Skogli, who sends this picture from Tromsø, Norway:

EXPLODING COMET FRAGMENTS:  According to counts  from around the world, the Quadrantid meteor shower peaked during the early hours of Jan. 4th with nearly 100 shooting stars per hour. The source of the Quadrantids is shattered comet 2003 EH1. During the peak, Mike Hankey watched a fragment explode just above his home in Freeland, Maryland:

"Here's a video of a Quadrantid fireball and the smoke trail it left behind," says Hankey. "It took 10 minutes for the trail to dissipate." The fireball itself produced a magnitude -9 flash, about ten times brighter than Venus.

Observers say most Quadrantids were faint, but the shower was spiced by occasional fireballs such as the one Hankey recorded.


All three visible sunspot groups are quiet, producing only low-level B-class  flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

CORONAL HOLE:  NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft is monitoring a vast hole in the sun's atmosphere--a "coronal hole." It's the dark region denoted by arrows in this extreme ultraviolet image taken during the early hours of Dec. 30th:

Coronal holes are places in the sun's atmosphere where the solar magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. A stream of solar wind flowing from this coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 2nd or 3rd--the first solar wind stream of the New Year

GIANT STORM ON SATURN:  Got a telescope for Christmas? Point it at Saturn. A giant storm even brighter than Saturn's rings is raging through the planet's cloudtops. "I've never seen anything like this," says veteran planetary photographer Anthony Wesley. "It's possible that this is the biggest storm on Saturn in many decades." Here it is recorded by Wesley's 16-inch telescope on Dec. 22nd:

Instruments on NASA's Cassini spacecraft are picking up strong bursts of radio static. Apparently, lightning is being generated in multiple cells across the storm front. Cassini's cameras are also beaming back fantastic images of the tempest.

*more on this later*****

Various news stories:

THUNDERSTORMS MAKE ANTIMATTER: A NASA spacecraft designed to measure high-energy events in the deep cosmos has found them instead right here on Earth. Ordinary thunderstorms, it turns out, produce potent bursts of antimatter hundreds of times a day.























More on these in the next post:


« Last Edit: January 13, 2011 by LLR » Logged
Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #215 on: January 15, 2011 »

FARSIDE ERUPTION:  An active region on the far side of the sun erupted this morning, hurling a bright CME into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) saw the cloud emerging over the sun's eastern limb:

NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft happens to be stationed almost directly over the blast site. The spacecraft's extreme UV telescope caught the explosion from the beginning; this movie shows the eruption and the shadowy shock wave it propelled through the sun's atmosphere.

The source of this activity, probably a big sunspot, is on the farside of the sun now, but won't remain there. The sun's rotation is turning it toward Earth. Geoeffective solar activity could commence within days.

Today's eruption was almost as dramatic as yesterday's, and suggests that more eruptions are in the offing.

These explosions are occuring almost directly beneath NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft. An onboard telescope has recorded bright flashes of extreme UV radiation and shadowy shock waves emanating from the blast site (Jan. 13th movie). The telescope has also pinpointed the source: It is located just over the sun's eastern limb. Solar rotation is turning the region toward Earth, so geoeffective solar activity could commence within days

NORTHERN LIGHTS:  Last night in Tromsø, Norway, the solar wind combined with moonlight and snow to produce a scene that had onlookers asking themselves, can it get any better than this? One of those onlookers was Thilo Bubek, and he took this picture:

"The whole evening was a perfect show with strong auroras in many colours," says Bubek. "We were able to capture some fantastic images."

But can it get any better? Maybe later today: A solar wind stream is due to hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 14-15, possibly sparking even stronger displays. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of high-latitude geomagnetic activity when the solar wind stream arrives.

Note* the following story is a work in progress.  New data is sill coming in about it.  I will give you the links and we can talk about it once all the facts are in.




Dead birds:

there has since been millions all over the world....  what does it mean?


.........  need more facts..
Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #216 on: January 22, 2011 »

Listen, first I will do the recent news of the Sun and goings on out there.... but then there is a large story I have written at the bottom.  If your one of those casual "Oh look at that pretty picture this guy posted..  I think I'll read this bit and not look at the rest of the wall of text" kind of reader... don't be on this post.  Read the last story.. TL;DR?  No, read it.  srsly....

PLASMA RAIN:  A sheet of plasma more than 350,000 km wide is rising and falling along the sun's southwestern limb today. It's so big, it makes an easy target for backyard observatories. Amateur astronomer Michael Buxton sends this time lapse movie from Ocean Beach, California:

"I made the movie at 1 minute intervals from 1753-1934 UT on Jan. 18th," he explains. "It was a real jaw dropper. Even in my small telescope (a 4-inch Takahashi refractor with a H-alpha solar filter) you could clearly see blobs of plasma falling to the stellar surface."


RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY:  The rainstorm is over. A prominence that was raining plasma onto the sun's southwestern limb yesterday erupted during the early hours of Jan. 20th. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action:

The prominence hurled part of itself into space, but the resulted plasma cloud was not directed toward Earth. This eruption was merely photogenic, not geoeffective. Now attention turns to the sun's northwestern limb where another eruption is in progress.

SUNSPOT ACTIVITY:  A rash of small spots is rapidly emerging near the main core of sunspot group 1147, and this could herald an increase in solar activity. Click on the image, below, to launch a 9 MB movie from Solar Dynamics Observatory:


The reason this rash is interesting has to do with its magnetic characteristics. It is an evolving jumble of magnetic polarities, with positive (+) pressing against negative (-) in many places. These are favorable condition for magnetic reconnection and solar flares. researchers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the region for further developments.

BIG AND SPOOKY:  The largest rocket ever launched from the west coast of the USA blasted off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Jan. 20th at 1:10 pm PST. "The 23 story-high Delta IV Heavy rocket used three boosters, which produced more than two millions pounds of thrust to carry its payload into orbit," says photographer Anthony Galvan III, who recorded the launch on Figueroa Mountain some 40 miles from the Air Force base

The massive rocket's "spooky" payload was a top-secret spy satellite belonging to the US National Reconaissance Office. Any doubts about the covert nature of the mission were dispelled 10 minutes after liftoff when the rocket's live feed went deliberately black. Only a twisting contrail in the blue Pacific sky reminded onlookers that, yes, it really happened.




Other stories:


US tax dollars hard at work in NASA
(that was a horrible pun.. my apologies)



SOLAR SAIL STUNNER:  When NASA's prototype solar sail, NanoSail-D, got stuck onboard its FASTSAT mothership in Dec. 2010, most observers figured the mission was lost. Not so fast. On Jan. 17th, NanoSail-D spontaneously ejected itself into Earth orbit, and the sail could be deployed as early as Jan. 20th. NASA is asking amateur radio operators to listen for NanoSail-D's beacon signal at 437.270 MHz to verify that NanoSail-D is operating.

SOLAR SAIL UPDATE:  Evidence is mounting that NASA's NanoSail-D spacecraft has successfully unfurled its solar sail in Earth orbit. Radio beacon data picked up on Jan. 20th and 21st by amateur radio operators in Canada and the USA are consistent with an open sail. NASA mission controllers plan to confirm the deployment with additional data in the hours ahead. Radio operators can help by listening for NanoSail-D's beacon signal at 437.270 MHz, which contains information about the status of the spacecraft.

Alright, now for the bit about you needing a tin foil hat.  Here it is.  There are several separate stories and they may or may not be related.  I have no way to tell if it is or isn't but what I can do is bring it up to you and attempt to connect the dots.  Whether you think they are related is up to you, all I can do is tell you about it.  So, this might actually be pretty neat!  Something no one in history has ever seen and recorded before.  First, I think this is a totally natural cycle and the Earth goes through it every X thousand years.  Well, lets get down to it...  enough beating around the bush.

The Earth's magnetic field is changing.  Yes, it has done this in the past, we have evidence to support it.  (Forgive my lack of sources on some of this.  I know it to be true but I can't find a link.  I'll keep looking though)  Some thousands of years ago, Alaska somehow either actually was facing south OR The magnetic north pole was located around or below it.  They know this because volcano erupted (as they always do) and spew magma down the sides of mountains.  This magma had magnetic ions in it - while the magma was still hot and liquidish the magnetic ions aligned themselves with magnetic north.  When the magma cooled into rock the ions were stuck that way forever.  Today we can find these rocks and see which direction the magnetic north was at that time.  We know it was very different thousands of years ago.  That being said... it is happening again at a much faster - all of a sudden - "orly? wow that snuck up on us" kinda way.  **Note** this site looks bad BUT... I don't think it will be at all like this, I'm just using it for the data.  If any of this is wrong do not hesitate to myth bust it and get the actual data on here.  Keeping this data accurate is very important and fact checking must be done.   I'm trying with the knowledge I have on this subject to not only present the data do you but do it in a way that makes sense.  That being said..


The new magnetic north pole will be Russia very soon.

Due to the shift Airport runways will have to be REPAVED because the airplanes autopilot uses the magnetic north pole to land.  The shift has been so great and so recently that airplanes would now crash into the dirt after skimming over the runway.  In short, the planes GPS will tell it to drive on the sidewalk and through that store over there because the ground isn't where it was when the GPS mapped the area.  Story -

Ok, so is the Earth actually tilting? Well...  yes.. but I think it has been gradually doing that for quite some time.  It may not be related to the previous story.  Know all that astrology mumbo jumbo?  There are 12 signs of the zodac, one for each month.... which ever constellation was in the middle of the sky when you were born is what your sign is.  Got it?  Ok, now forget it.  The stars aren't where they were when this whole astronomy thing was made up.
Story =

Ok, so who follows that crap?  Lets see something that clearly would indicate the Earth itself has shifted position.  How about those  places in the North and South poles that a day lasts something like 5 months.  You know, the places where half the year is dark and half the year is sunny 24 hours a day because of the curvature of the Earth.  If the Earth really has shifted those would be the places to notice the change.. as soon as a day was longer/shorter than it was in previous years.... something would be up!.........  Oh, that really happened..  my bad..



For a month and a half, there's absolutely no Sun in Greenland because of Earth's angle in relation to our home star. People there eagerly await for January 13, when the Sun rises again, every year. Except this one.

This year, the Sun rose 48 hours ahead of its projected date. Around 1pm, the first rays appeared on the horizon. The occurrence left everyone baffled, scientists included. But no, this doesn't mean that Earth's inclination has changed or that we are off our orbit or that the Sun has changed its position.

Ok, so there is a few things... but wait, there's more!  What about those dead birds that died off earlier this year?  Millions of birds simply dropped dead on certain days this month.  Not only that but fish as well!  (well not "dropped" per say)  IMO, (I gotta stress that) IMO these two animals are related to each other in this sense: both use the Earths magnetic field to travel.  


Fish do as well:
(the little fish, not the big ones)

Interestingly, I think BEES do this as well....  and our bees have been dying off for years now.  now, perhaps a change in the Earth's magnetic field might kill off the groups of animals that can't adapt to the new magnetic field.  You follow?  The creatures (even if the same species survives else where, maybe something is just wrong with this certain strain of genetically close related (inbred) groups and they die off.) that can't adjust their GPS to the new location just malfunction and die.  Who knows!  Thats just a theory of mine.  This next article says that the die off is because of these new clouds.
story =


From what I can understand in this article is that these new clouds existed only in the upper atmosphere some time ago and for what ever reason - just the past few years - they have been getting closer to the surface.  Now people noticed these clouds because they glow.  Neat!  But all the time these clouds glowed (is that a word?)  no one was brave enough to climb into a Pilot Wings 64 style Gyro copter and take a sample of whats IN that cloud  What was in it, apparently is cyanide.  Yes, glowing poison clouds.  (I donno about this stuff) and the birds flew into these and dropped dead.  Well, that's fine and can be tested but what about the fish?  Bah.   Anyway, I'm rambling now and I think I've gave you all the info I have on this subject.  I know you can easily say this is "2012 stuff man!  Its game over!  Game over, man!"  But I don't think so.  Sure the Sun is going through a whopper of a new cycle and the Earth seems to be going through one as well.  And from our point of view, our solar system will align with the center of our galaxy.  All neat things happening in real time before our eyes!  I don't think these things spell doom (at least I hope they don't) but regardless of that.. these events are historic and people should be made aware of it.

Thats just my 2 cents.  I hope you can understand that mess of ramblings up there.  Heh.  I'm out.

« Last Edit: January 22, 2011 by LLR » Logged
Offline Bidet to you sir


Posts: 2,479

« #217 on: January 22, 2011 »

Or you could go with the obvious which is this shit happens all the time, but one happened to happen over a residential area so it wasn't just scientists that noticed it and now the media is covering every weird animal death.

Also bees, navigate by the sun, not by magnets, also their ridiculously good sense of smell...soooo.

http://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/bee5.htm in a nice lil explanation

Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #218 on: January 23, 2011 »

not really an explanation to all that but thanks for trying.  The bird die off wasn't in one residential area... it was over about 20 areas all over the world including the UK.  I'm surprised you didn't know that.


Bee deaths over the past few years is irrelevant, I threw that out there because it might be related.

I really didn't expect to be back so soon with big news.  I don't think I can get any bigger than this...

Betelgeuse supernova will turn night into day on Earth

The Earth could soon have a second sun, at least for a week or two.

The cosmic phenomenon will happen when one of the brightest stars in the night sky explodes into a supernova.

And, according to a report yesterday, the most stunning light show in the planet’s history could happen as soon as this year.

Cosmic phenomenon: The Earth could soon see two suns - just like Luke Skywalker saw on Tatooine in the Star Wars film (pictured)

Earth will undoubtedly have a front row seat when the dying red supergiant star Betelgeuse finally blows itself into oblivion.

The explosion will be so bright that even though the star in the Orion constellation is 640 light-years away, it will still turn night into day and appear like there are two suns in the sky for a few weeks.

The only real debate is over exactly when it will happen.

In stellar terms, Betelgeuse is predicted to crash and burn in the very near future. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rush out and buy sunglasses.

Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, claimed yesterday that the galactic blast could happen before 2012 – or any time over the next million years.

‘This old star is running out of fuel in its centre,’ Dr Carter told te Austalian website news.com.au.

‘This fuel keeps Betelgeuse shining and supported. When this fuel runs out the star will literally collapse in upon itself and it will do so very quickly.

‘This is the final hurrah for the star. It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up - we’ll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time for a couple of weeks and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all,’ he added.

Look out: Betelgeuse, which is in the Orion constellation, is set to blow itself into oblivion - which will give the effect of two suns in the sky for us on Earth

The Internet is abuzz with doomsday theories linking the supernova to the Mayan calendar’s prediction of an Armageddon in 2012, fuelled by the association of the word ‘Betelgeuse’ with the devil.

But experts claimed that even if the big bang is looming, it will still happen way too far from Earth to do us any harm.

‘When a star goes bang, the first we will observe of it is a rain of tiny particles called nuetrinos,’ said Dr Carter.

‘They will flood through the Earth and bizarrely enough, even though the supernova we see visually will light up the night sky, 99% of the energy in the supernova is released in these particles that will come through our bodies and through the Earth with absolutely no harm whatsoever.’

When it happens, the Betelgeuse supernova will almost certainly be the most dramatic ever seen.

It is the ninth brightest star in the night sky and the second brightest in the constellation of Orion, outshining its neighbour Rigel – or Beta Orionis – only very rarely.

It’s distinct orange-red colour makes it easy to spot in the night sky.

If it was at the centre of our solar system, its surface would extend past the asteroid belt, wholly engulfing Mercury, Venus, Mars and the Earth.

Giving this only might happen this year... it could still be several thousand... it just might happen soon.. so if you look outside at midnight and it is day light.... you'll know why.

Now the Solar news:

SUNSPOT ACTIVITY:  The biggest sunspots of the year are putting on a show for amateur astronomers. From his backyard observatory in Brazil, Rogerio Marcon photographed a maelstrom of hot gas swirling around the dark cores of AR1147-1149 on Jan. 22nd:

Sunspot 1149 (the southern half of the complex) has a tangled magnetic field that harbors energy for strong flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% chance of M-class eruptions during the next 24 hours. Readers with solar telescopes should continue to monitor the region for explosive developments

Sunspot 1149 poses a threat for M-class  solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Other news:
Offline LLR


Back in my day, games had one button!

Posts: 1,059

« #219 on: February 02, 2011 »

*Cough, hack, sputter*  Almost over the flu now... I'm climbing out of my mech to give you a news update.  Boy, there has been a lot of news!  I'll post the older SUN news first to build up what has happened recently.  Then as always, random space news and articles.

Lets get started.


SPITTING PLASMA: Departing sunspot 1149 is spitting plasma as it rounds the sun's northwestern limb.

Earth is not in the line of fire. No planet is. The plasma clouds ejected by these blasts will billow approximately midway between Mercury and Venus tomorrow without disturbing either world. After that, the clouds should dissipate harmlessly in the outer solar system. The eruptions are ongoing, so the movie will likely grow longer as the day wears on.

DOUBLE ERUPTION: Jan. 28th began with not one but two major eruptions on the sun. Separated by more than a million kilometers, the two blasts occurred almost simultaneously on opposite corners of the solar disk. Click on the image to view a movie recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:


On the lower left, a magnetic filament became unstable and erupted, hurling a portion of itself into space. On the upper right, departing sunspot 1149 produced an M1-class solar flare and a bright coronal mass ejection (SOHO movie). Is this all a big coincidence? Maybe not. New research shows that eruptions on the sun can "go global" with widely separated blasts unfolding in concert as they trigger and feed off of one another.

These blasts are going to miss in concert, too. Plasma clouds ejected by the two eruptions will sail wide of our planet, one on the left and one on the right. No Earth-effects are expected

AURORA BOREALIS: Earth's magnetic field is mostly quiet. Nevertheless, some bright auroras were caught swirling around the Arctic Circle on Jan. 28th. Military satellites photographed the lights from above, while sky watchers in Canada saw them from ground level. An even bigger display is expected on Feb. 3-4 when an incoming solar wind stream reaches Earth.

CORONAL HOLE: A dark croissant-shaped hole has opened up in the sun's atmosphere, and it is spewing a stream of solar wind into space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took this picture of the vast opening during the early hours of Jan. 30th:


Researchers call this a "coronal hole." Solar rotation is turning the coronal hole toward Earth. The stream of solar wind pouring from it will swing around and hit our planet in early February, possibly sparking polar magnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras between Feb. 2nd and 4th.

AURORA-BURST: According to the official forecast, the odds of geomagnetic activity on Jan. 31st were less than 10%. That was good enough for Kjetil Skogli of Troms, Norway. "We went out to look in spite of the low expectations--and there it was!" An aurora-burst was in progress directly overhead:


The unexpected display was caused by a disturbance in the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth. The IMF tilted south,

opening a hole in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in and ignited the auroras.

More auroras are in the offing. A solar wind stream is heading for Earth, due to arrive on Feb. 2nd and 3rd. NOAA forecasters peg the chances of geomagnetic activity on those dates at 20% to 35%--much better odds than Skogli had. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

(IMF = http://www.spaceweather.com/glossary/imf.html?PHPSESSID=vc5k4s2vj29548fi6ngptt69e7)


NO LEGS, NO PROBLEM: NASA's Robonaut 2 ("R2") doesn't have legs yet, but that isn't stopping the humanoid robot. R2 is set to leave Earth in February to join the crew of the International Space Station. Legs will follow R2's busy torso on a later flight. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

Check a few pages back on my post on R2 and how that robot came to be.  Good read!





!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome video^




A FIZZY OCEAN ON ENCELADUS: Evidence is mounting that Saturn's moon Enceladus harbors a bubbly subterranean ocean where conditions might be friendly to life. Get the full story from Science@NASA.

And I leave you with this:
(I would have posted this sooner but I've had the flu and not been able to get on here)

They did a good job of summing that day up.  I doubt many of you were alive then - but I was.  I was almost 6 and was watching Bugs Bunny Cartoons when the news interrupted the cartoons to show the live launch.  That was back when launching the Shuttle meant something HUGE, a shining achievement of humanity.  They interrupted tv shows all the time to show those launches.  I remember sitting there in front of that huge wooden tv set and seeing the explosion.  As a kid, I thought it looked cool.  I was just watching Bugs Bunny and I couldn't help but think that the explosion resembled the head of a rabbit.  I thought it was just staged and was part of the "show".  It took awhile for my parents to tell me what happened and that people actually just died on live tv.  I remember I cried and thought how horrible it was and that I saw it.  My parents told me there was a teacher on board, just like the teachers I saw in school everyday...  I can remember that day as if it were yesterday... even at just 5 years old...  

<S>  Challenger.....
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