Author Topic: Astronomy  (Read 73632 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Astronomy
« on: June 12, 2009, 12:27:56 PM »
Yet another collection thread...this for space shit.  Hubble, space shuttles, whatever replaces the space shuttle, Japanese satellites smashing into the moon and sending it hurtling into space, and so on.

First up -- Ford Prefect is gonna be pissed:


Quote
The nearby, well-known and very bright star may soon explode in a supernova, according to data released by U.C. Berkeley researchers Tuesday.

The red giant Betelgeuse, once so large it would reach out to Jupiter's orbit if placed in our own solar system, has shrunk by 15 percent over the past decade in a half, although it's just as bright as it's ever been.

"To see this change is very striking," said retired Berkeley physics professor Charles Townes, who won the 1964 Nobel Prize for inventing the laser. "We will be watching it carefully over the next few years to see if it will keep contracting or will go back up in size."

Betelgeuse, whose name derives from Arabic, is easily visible in the constellation Orion. It gave Michael Keaton's character his name in the movie "Beetlejuice" and was the home system of Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Red giant stars are thought to have short, complicated and violent lifespans. Lasting at most a few million years, they quickly burn out their hydrogen fuel and then switch to helium, carbon and other elements in a series of partial collapses, refuelings and restarts.

Betelgeuse, which is thought to be reaching the end of its lifespan, may be experiencing one of those collapses as it switches from one element to another as nuclear-fusion fuel.

"We do not know why the star is shrinking," said Townes' Berkeley colleague Edward Wishnow. "Considering all that we know about galaxies and the distant universe, there are still lots of things we don't know about stars, including what happens as red giants near the ends of their lives."

Eventually, the huge star may become a nesting doll of elements, with a mixed iron-nickel core surrounded by onion-like layers of silicon, oxygen, neon, carbon, helium and hydrogen.

As the iron fuel runs out, it may explode into a supernova, blasting newly created elements out into the universe and leaving behind a small, incredibly dense neutron star.

All the heavier elements in the universe — including all the oxygen, carbon and iron in your own body — were created in such a way.

It's possible we're observing the beginning of Betelgeuse's final collapse now.

If so, the star, which is 600 light-years away, will already have exploded — and we'll soon be in for a spectacular, and perfectly safe, interstellar fireworks show.

Offline Nubbins

  • Powerful Poots
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 15530
  • maybe you shouldn't dress like a bumblebee, bitch
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2009, 12:34:54 PM »
THAT is freakin cool.
8=o tation

Offline RottingCorpse

  • Old Timer
  • You're a kitty!
  • ***
  • Posts: 23938
  • We got this by the ass!
    • http://www.lonniemartin.com
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2009, 04:20:03 PM »
Sweet!

Offline nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2009, 05:29:48 PM »
Quote
A Betelgeuse supernova could easily outshine the Moon in the night sky. It will likely be the brightest supernova in recorded Human history, easily outshining SN 1006. After it explodes, it will likely linger for several months, being visible in the daytime sky and lighting up nighttime skies in the Solar System for a long time, after which the "right shoulder" of Orion will disappear forever.


Offline monkey!

  • Monkey
  • You're a kitty!
  • *********
  • Posts: 17057
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2009, 11:29:39 AM »
I would like to see that.
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline Nubbins

  • Powerful Poots
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: 15530
  • maybe you shouldn't dress like a bumblebee, bitch
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2009, 01:02:09 PM »
Seconded!  This is exciting! 

I remember being able to see Hale Bopp my Freshman year of college and I thought that was awesome... this would be incredible.
8=o tation

Offline nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2009, 11:15:40 AM »
New black hole type -- Monkey's soul.


http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/07/mediumblackhole/

Quote
Only two sizes of black holes have ever been spotted: small and super-massive. Scientists have long speculated that an intermediate version must exist, but they’ve never been able to find one until now.

Astrophysicists identified what appears to be the first-ever medium-sized black hole, pictured in an artist’s rendition above, with a mass at least 500 times that of our Sun. Researchers from the Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements in France detected the middling hole in a galaxy about 290 million light-years from Earth.

The discovery may shed some light on the origins of super-sized black holes like the one at the center of our own galaxy. These astral heavyweights top out at several million to several billion times the mass of the Sun, but their origin remains a mystery.

Small black holes, between three and 20 times the mass of the sun, are created when big stars collapse and leave behind a gravitational pull strong enough to block nearby light rays. Researchers have speculated that super-massive black holes result from the successive fusion of many smaller black holes. But without finding evidence of a medium-size hole, it was a tough theory to prove.

“The existence of such intermediate-mass black holes is in dispute,” the French scientists wrote Wednesday in Nature, “and though many candidates have been proposed, none are widely accepted as definitive.”

The new discovery is the most convincing evidence to date that medium black holes exist. Using the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray space telescope, the researchers identified a radiation source that gives off X-rays 260 million times brighter than the radiation of the Sun.

Called “Hyper-Luminous X-ray Source 1,” the structure sits on the edge of galaxy ESO 243-49. Because of the source’s physical characteristics and the pattern of its radiation, the researchers conclude it must be a black hole more than 500 times the mass of the sun: not too big, not too small, and the first of its kind.

Offline monkey!

  • Monkey
  • You're a kitty!
  • *********
  • Posts: 17057
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2009, 11:48:30 PM »
Hawking and Bekenstein once tested me.
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2009, 04:19:10 PM »

Offline Sirharles

  • Old Timer
  • Nacho Ruined My Life
  • ***
  • Posts: 2220
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2009, 11:20:10 AM »
Just a cool photo and description.


Quote
This image provided by NASA this July 23, 2009 is a photo made by the Spitzer Space Telescope of the galaxy, called NGC-1097, is located 50 million light-years away. It is spiral-shaped like our Milky Way, with long, spindly arms of stars. The 'eye' at the center of the galaxy is actually a monstrous black hole surrounded by a ring of stars. In this color-coded infrared view from Spitzer, the area around the invisible black hole is blue and the ring of stars, white. The black hole is huge, about 100 million times the mass of our sun, and is feeding off gas and dust along with the occasional unlucky star. The galaxy's red spiral arms and the swirling spokes seen between the arms show dust heated by newborn stars. Older populations of stars scattered through the galaxy are blue. The fuzzy blue dot to the left, which appears to fit snuggly between the arms, is a companion galaxy. This image was taken during Spitzer's cold mission, before it ran out of liquid coolant

Offline nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2009, 11:24:29 AM »
Oh no!!

The Mote in God's Eye<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=santafewriterspr&l=as2&o=1&a=0671741926" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

Get the Crazy Eddie Probe ready!

Offline nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2009, 05:11:56 PM »
Quote
The Kepler Space Telescope, which launched earlier this year to find Earth-like planets elsewhere in our galaxy, showed it’s open for business with NASA’s announcement that an exoplanet we thought we knew is like nothing we’ve seen before.

Peering at a large planet orbiting very close to its star, HAT-P-7b, the telescope delivered what one scientist called “exquisite” data, proving that it’s ready to start looking for Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones around stars.

Analyzing just 10 days of data, the scientists even turned up a major surprise: HAT-P-7b isn’t like Jupiter at all. It has a “dark” side and its atmosphere could be made of relatively exotic chemicals like titanium oxide.

“This planet is not like anything in Earth’s solar system,” said Sara Seager, an exoplanetary scientist at MIT.

The hottest spot on Hat-P-7b could be more than 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the coldest spot. There is no comparable planet around our star.

The new discovery, Seager said, augurs a new level of exoplanetary research.

“This exquisite data is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “We’re going to see a new world of exoplanet exploration where discoveries will come much more rapidly than they’ve come in the last 10 years.”

But while we’ll be learning more about planets in the universe every month, Kepler’s ultimate mission — finding Earth-like planets in the habitable zone — is still going to take years.

The habitable zone is the term astronomers use to denote the distance from a star where orbiting planets wouldn’t get fried or frozen. In those locations, liquid water could exist — and that’s something that is necessary for life as we know it. In our solar system, Venus, Earth, and Mars lie within the zone. The more planets that Kepler finds in its survey of 100,000 stars, the more likely that Earth-like planets exist in large numbers throughout the universe. And the more Earths out there, the better our chances get of finding life outside our solar system.

The announcement that Kepler is working as designed is great news for the exoplanetary research community, which had been eagerly awaiting the first data from the instrument. 225993main_kepler-browse

“It appears Kepler is working at its design precision — the noise level of just 40 parts per million per data point is amazing!” Matthew Muterspaugh, an exoplanet researcher at Tennessee State University, wrote in an email to Wired.com.

Kepler’s mission is primarily statistical. It will tell us how many solar systems like ours likely exist in the universe, but the stars in its field of vision are too far away to characterize in much detail. Kepler will be able to tell us that the planet is in the right place, but not whether it’s suitable for or home to life.

“[Kepler] will be able to say it’s a rocky planet like Venus or Earth, but won’t be able to say whether it’s more like Venus or Earth,” Muterspaugh said.

So, while Kepler will help sort out how likely life is around the universe, it won’t actually find any definitive signs of it. The stars that it’s looking at are just too far away.

“The downside to the Kepler technique is that the stars tend to be very far away and faint,” said Muterspaugh. “This set of stars will not be well optimized for the follow up observations.”

The ultimate quest to find other planets that support life will require a series of other missions and telescopes, which focus on planets much closer to home.

First, we’ll have to find out which local stars have rocky planets. NASA’s first potential mission with that capability is the SIM Lite Astrometric Observatory. It will be able to find Earth-sized planets around 60 stars in our neighborhood.

Once these planets are identified by SIM or other missions like Gaia and CoRoT, NASA will be able to peer at them with the powerful James Webb Space Telescope or a dedicated planet-hunting telescope like the agency’s proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder missions.

For planets larger than Earth, the James Webb telescope will be able to characterize them effectively, but for the true Earths, we’ll need the more powerful instrumentation of the TPF. It will be a long road from finding the first Earth-like planet with Kepler to knowing how habitable any extrasolar planet is, but if all goes well, scientists think we could have answers by 2020.

“The timeline is set for in 2020 having that image of our brother world out there,” Muterspaugh said. “I think that this is a fantastic thing for our generation to do, answering a question that’s thousands of years old: are we alone?”

Offline RottingCorpse

  • Old Timer
  • You're a kitty!
  • ***
  • Posts: 23938
  • We got this by the ass!
    • http://www.lonniemartin.com
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2009, 09:51:54 PM »
You think they're looking for a place to escape 2012? That's what I think.

Offline nacho

  • Hallowed are the Ori.
  • Walter The Farting Dog
  • You're a kitty!
  • *****
  • Posts: I am a geek!!
    • GS
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2009, 10:09:50 PM »
You think they're looking for a place to escape 2012? That's what I think.

The spice must flow!

Offline Sirharles

  • Old Timer
  • Nacho Ruined My Life
  • ***
  • Posts: 2220
Re: Astronomy
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2009, 01:30:18 PM »