Author Topic: Astronomy  (Read 68858 times)

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Offline nacho

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2009, 01:35:25 PM »
Ugh.  Set my alarm for the early AM, eh? 

Offline nacho

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2009, 01:47:09 PM »
While we're at it...

Quote
Traces of planet collision found

A Nasa space telescope has found evidence of a high-speed collision between two burgeoning planets orbiting a young star.

Astronomers say the cosmic smash-up is similar to the one that formed our Moon some four billion years ago, when a Mars-sized object crashed into Earth.

In this case, two rocky bodies are thought to have slammed into one another in the last few thousand years.

Details are to be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

The collision involved one object that was at least as big as our Moon and another that was at least as big as Mercury.

The impact destroyed the smaller body, vaporising huge amounts of rock and flinging plumes of hot lava into space.

Infrared detectors on Nasa's Spitzer Space Telescope were able to pick up the signatures of the vaporised rock, along with fragments of hardened lava, known as tektites.

Melted glass

"This collision had to be huge and incredibly high-speed for rock to have been vaporised and melted," said lead author Carey M Lisse of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory at Laurel in Maryland, US.

"This is a really rare and short-lived event, critical in the formation of Earth-like planets and moons. We're lucky to have witnessed one not long after it happened."

Dr Lisse and his team observed a star called HD 172555, which is about 12 million years old and situated about 100 light-years away in the far southern constellation Pavo (the Peacock).

The astronomers used a spectrograph instrument on Spitzer to look for the fingerprints of chemicals in the spectrum of light from the star.

The researchers identified large amounts of amorphous silica - melted glass.

Silica can be found on Earth in obsidian rocks and tektites.

Obsidian is black, shiny volcanic glass. Tektites are hardened chunks of lava thought to have formed when meteorites hit the Earth.

Large quantities of orbiting silicon monoxide gas were also detected, created when much of the rock was vaporised. In addition, the astronomers found rocky rubble that was probably flung out from the planetary wreck.

The two bodies must have been travelling at a speed of at least 10km/s (about 22,400mph) relative to one other before the collision.

Rocky planets form and grow in size by colliding and sticking together. This process merges their cores and causes some of their surfaces to be shed.

Though things have settled down in the Solar System today, impacts still occur, as was observed last month when a small comet or asteroid struck Jupiter.

"The collision that formed our Moon would have been tremendous, enough to melt the surface of Earth," said co-author Geoff Bryden of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

"Debris from the collision most likely settled into a disc around Earth that eventually coalesced to make the Moon. This is about the same scale of impact we're seeing with Spitzer."

"We don't know if a moon will form or not, but we know a large rocky body's surface was red hot, warped and melted."

The Spitzer telescope has witnessed the dusty aftermath of large impacts before, but did not find evidence for rock that had been melted and vaporised.

Instead, large amounts of dust, gravel, and boulder-sized rubble were observed, indicating collisions that were slower-paced.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8195467.stm

Offline Sirharles

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2009, 09:51:27 AM »
Interesting video of the two planets colliding.  Obviously a computer rendering.


http://www.space.com/common/media/video/player.php?videoRef=SP_090810_Planets-Collide

Offline Cassander

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2009, 12:14:08 AM »
You ain't a has been if you never was.

Offline Reginald McGraw

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2009, 02:52:16 PM »
Very cool!

Offline monkey!

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2009, 09:15:08 PM »
You think they're looking for a place to escape 2012? That's what I think.

The spice must flow!

I can hear the worms.
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Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2009, 10:41:07 AM »
But does it have the SPICE?!?

Quote
Found: Firm place to stand outside solar system

WASHINGTON – Astronomers have finally found a place outside our solar system where there's a firm place to stand — if only it weren't so broiling hot.

As scientists search the skies for life elsewhere, they have found more than 300 planets outside our solar system. But they all have been gas balls or can't be proven to be solid. Now a team of European astronomers has confirmed the first rocky extrasolar planet.

Scientists have long figured that if life begins on a planet, it needs a solid surface to rest on, so finding one elsewhere is a big deal.

"We basically live on a rock ourselves," said co-discoverer Artie Hatzes, director of the Thuringer observatory in Germany. "It's as close to something like the Earth that we've found so far. It's just a little too close to its sun."

So close that its surface temperature is more than 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit, too toasty to sustain life. It circles its star in just 20 hours, zipping around at 466,000 mph. By comparison, Mercury, the planet nearest our sun, completes its solar orbit in 88 days.

"It's hot, they're calling it the lava planet," Hatzes said.

This is a major discovery in the field of trying to find life elsewhere in the universe, said outside expert Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution. It was the buzz of a conference on finding an Earth-like planet outside our solar system, held in Barcelona, Spain, where the discovery was presented Wednesday morning. The find is also being published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The planet is called Corot-7b. It was first discovered earlier this year. European scientists then watched it dozens of times to measure its density to prove that it is rocky like Earth. It's in our general neighborhood, circling a star in the winter sky about 500 light-years away. Each light-year is about 6 trillion miles.

Four planets in our solar system are rocky: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

In addition, the planet is about as close to Earth in size as any other planet found outside our solar system. Its radius is only one-and-a-half times bigger than Earth's and it has a mass about five times the Earth's.

Now that another rocky planet has been found so close to its own star, it gives scientists more confidence that they'll find more Earth-like planets farther away, where the conditions could be more favorable to life, Boss said.

"The evidence is becoming overwhelming that we live in a crowded universe," Boss said.

___

On the Net:

European Southern Observatory: http://www.eso.org/

Offline nacho

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2009, 05:10:50 PM »

Offline nacho

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2009, 10:21:13 PM »
Tomorrow we start our Moon War!

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/10/lcross-crash/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LCROSS

Quote
LCROSS is a fast-track, low-cost companion mission to the LRO. The LCROSS payload was added after NASA moved the LRO from the Delta II to a larger launch vehicle. It was chosen from 19 other proposals.[6]

LCROSS launched with the LRO aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 18, 2009, at 21:32 UTC (17:32 EDT). On June 23, four and a half days after launch, LCROSS and its attached Centaur booster rocket successfully completed a lunar swingby and entered into polar Earth orbit with a period of 37 days, positioning LCROSS for impact on a lunar pole.[7][8]

LCROSS suffered a malfunction on August 22, depleting half of its fuel and leaving very little fuel margin in the spacecraft[9].

Lunar impact, after approximately three orbits, is projected for October 9, 2009, at 11:30 UTC, ± 30 minutes. The mission team initially announced that Cabeus A will be the target crater for the LCROSS dual impacts scheduled for 11:30 UTC on October 9, 2009,[10] but later refined the target to be the larger, main Cabeus crater.[11]

On final approach, the Shepherding Spacecraft and Centaur will separate and the Centaur upper stage will act as a heavy impactor to create a debris plume that will rise above the lunar surface. Following four minutes after impact of the Centaur upper stage, the Shepherding Spacecraft will fly through this debris plume, collecting and relaying data back to Earth before impacting the lunar surface and creating a second debris plume. NASA expects the impact velocity will be over 9,000 km/h (5,600 mph).[12] The Centaur impact will excavate greater than 350 tonnes of lunar material and create a crater 20 m (66 feet) in diameter to a depth of 4 m (13 feet). The Shepherding Spacecraft impact will excavate an estimated 150 tonnes and with a crater 14 m (46 feet) in diameter to a depth of 2 m (6 feet). Most of the material in the Centaur debris plume will remain at (lunar) altitudes below 10 km (6.2 miles).[1]

It is hoped that spectral analysis of the resulting impact plume will help to confirm preliminary findings by the Clementine and Lunar Prospector missions which hinted that there may be water ice in the permanently shadowed regions. LCROSS will fly through the debris plume and will then crash itself into a different part of the crater approximately four minutes after the Centaur impact. Mission scientists estimate that the Centaur impact plume may be visible through amateur-class telescopes with apertures as small as 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches).[13] Both impacts will also be monitored by Earth-based observatories and possibly by other orbital assets.

Offline nacho

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2009, 09:47:45 PM »
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/09apr_theia.htm




Quote
April 9, 2009: NASA's twin STEREO probes are entering a mysterious region of space to look for remains of an ancient planet which once orbited the Sun not far from Earth. If they find anything, it could solve a major puzzle--the origin of the Moon.

"The name of the planet is Theia," says Mike Kaiser, STEREO project scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center. "It's a hypothetical world. We've never actually seen it, but some researchers believe it existed 4.5 billion years ago—and that it collided with Earth to form the Moon."

The "Theia hypothesis" is a brainchild of Princeton theorists Edward Belbruno and Richard Gott. It starts with the popular Great Impact theory of the Moon's origin. Many astronomers hold that in the formative years of the solar system, a Mars-sized protoplanet crashed into Earth. Debris from the collision, a mixture of material from both bodies, spun out into Earth orbit and coalesced into the Moon. This scenario explains many aspects of lunar geology including the size of the Moon's core and the density and isotopic composition of moon rocks.

And much more at the link.

Offline Cassander

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2010, 09:42:19 AM »
Quote
Welcome Copernicum, Our Newest Element.

The newest element on the periodic table will likely be named in honor of scientist and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. Element 112 will be named Copernicum, with the element symbol "Cp."

"We would like to honor an outstanding scientist, who changed our view of the world", says Sigurd Hofmann, head of the team who discovered the element.

Element 112 is the heaviest element in the periodic table, 277 times heavier than hydrogen. With that distinction, several interesting suggestions for a name have recently been floating around the blogosphere (Fat Bottomum was my favorite; another was naming it to honor Carl Sagan). But the scientists said they wanted to honor the scientist who paved the way for our view of the modern world by discovering that the Earth orbits the Sun. Our solar system is a model for other physical systems, such as the structure of an atom, where electrons orbit the atomic nucleus. Exactly 112 electrons circle the atomic nucleus in an atom of copernicium.

Thirteen years ago, element 112 was discovered by an international team of scientists at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (Center for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt, Germany.

The element is produced by a nuclear fusion, when bombarding zinc ions onto a lead target. As the element already decays after a split second, its existence can only be proved with the help of extremely fast and sensitive analysis methods. Twenty-one scientists from Germany, Finland, Russia and Slovakia have been involved in the experiments that led to the discovery of element 112.

A few weeks ago, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, IUPAC, officially confirmed their discovery. In around six months, IUPAC will officially endorse the new element's name. This period is set to allow the scientific community to discuss the suggested name "copernicium" before the IUPAC naming.

Since 1981, GSI accelerator experiments have yielded the discovery of six chemical elements, which carry the atomic numbers 107 to 112. The discovering teams at GSI already named five of them: element 107 is called bohrium, element 108, hassium; element 109, meitnerium; element 110, darmstadtium; and element 111 is named roentgenium.
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Offline nacho

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2010, 10:36:15 AM »
Quote
A moon probe has found millions of tons of water on the moon’s north pole, NASA reported Monday. The vast source of water could one day be used to generate oxygen or sustain a moon base.

A NASA radar aboard India’s Chandrayaan-I lunar orbiter found 40 craters, ranging in size from 1 to 9 miles across, with pockets of ice. Scientists estimate at least 600 million tons of ice could be entombed in these craters.

The radar, called the Mini-SAR, sends pulses of left-polarized radio waves out to measure the surface roughness of the moon. While smooth surfaces send back a reversed, right-polarized wave, rough areas return left-polarized waves.

Ice, which is transparent to radio waves, also sends back left-polarized waves. The Mini-SAR measures the ratio of left to right circular polarized power sent back, or the circular polarized ratio (CPR). However, a high CPR alone can’t distinguish between rough patches and regions with ice.

The north pole craters had a high CPR on the inside, with a low CPR on the edges. That suggests a material enclosed in the craters, rather than surface roughness, caused the high CPR signal. According to NASA, the ice would have to be relatively pure ice and at least several feet thick to give this signature.

In November, NASA crashed a probe into the Cabeus crater near the moon’s south pole and also found evidence of water.

Offline Cassander

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2010, 09:29:49 PM »
Chilean Quake Likely Shifted Earth’s Axis, NASA Scientist Says

Quote

The earthquake that killed more than 700 people in Chile on Feb. 27 probably shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said.

Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects the Earth’s rotation, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who uses a computer model to calculate the effects.

“The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second),” Gross, said today in an e-mailed reply to questions. “The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches).”

The changes can be modeled, though they’re difficult to physically detect given their small size, Gross said. Some changes may be more obvious, and islands may have shifted, according to Andreas Rietbrock, a professor of Earth Sciences at the U.K.’s Liverpool University who has studied the area impacted, though not since the latest temblor.

Santa Maria Island off the coast near Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, may have been raised 2 meters (6 feet) as a result of the latest quake, Rietbrock said today in a telephone interview. He said the rocks there show evidence pointing to past earthquakes shifting the island upward in the past.

‘Ice-Skater Effect’

“It’s what we call the ice-skater effect,” David Kerridge, head of Earth hazards and systems at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, said today in a telephone interview. “As the ice skater puts when she’s going around in a circle, and she pulls her arms in, she gets faster and faster. It’s the same idea with the Earth going around if you change the distribution of mass, the rotation rate changes.”

Rietbrock said he hasn’t been able to get in touch with seismologists in Concepcion to discuss the quake, which registered 8.8 on the Richter scale.

“What definitely the earthquake has done is made the Earth ring like a bell,” Rietbrock said.

The magnitude 9.1 Sumatran in 2004 that generated an Indian Ocean tsunami shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds and shifted the axis by about 2.3 milliarcseconds, Gross said.

The changes happen on the day and then carry on “forever,” Benjamin Fong Chao, dean of Earth Sciences of the National Central University in Taiwan, said in an e-mail.

“This small contribution is buried in larger changes due to other causes, such as atmospheric mass moving around on Earth,” Chao said.
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Offline Nubbins

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2010, 07:18:36 PM »
My Uncle posted that article to his Facebook page yesterday followed by about 1000 words of Revelations, Jesus stuff about the end of the world.
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Offline monkey!

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Re: Astronomy
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2010, 09:05:40 PM »
SEVEN HEADED CHIMERA!
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