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Nasa: Moon's Crust Being Pulled Apart - In Places. Last updated 09:44 21/02/2012 New images acquired by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft show that the moon's crust is being slightly stretched.

Nasa: Moon's Crust Being Pulled Apart - In Places

The moon's crust is being pulled apart in places, according to surprising new Nasa findings. Minute valleys have been discovered on the moon's surface. Scientists believed the geologic activity occurred less than 50 million years ago - recent compared to the moon's age of more than 4.5 billion years. The new find was spotted on high-resolution images from Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LOR) spacecraft. The images showed small, narrow trenches much longer than they were wide, indicating the lunar crust was being pulled apart in some locations. The valleys, known as graben, form when the crust stretches, breaks and drops along two bounding faults. The graben were an unexpected discovery for scientists, as in August 2010 it was discovered the moon was shrinking. - © Fairfax NZ News.

Supernova Blast: Giant Star Eta Carinae to Explode Any Day. When the sun finally dies some 5 billion years from now, the end will come quietly, the conclusion of a long, uneventful life.

Supernova Blast: Giant Star Eta Carinae to Explode Any Day

Our star will, in a sense, go flabby, swelling first, releasing its outer layers into space and finally shrinking into the stellar corpse known as a white dwarf. Things will play out quite differently for a supermassive star like Eta Carinae, which lies 7,500 light-years from Earth. Weighing at least a hundred times as much as our sun, it will go out more like an adolescent suicide bomber, blazing through its nuclear fuel in a mere couple of million years and exploding as a supernova, a blast so violent that its flash will briefly outshine the entire Milky Way. The corpse this kind of cosmic detonation leaves behind is a black hole. For Eta Carinae, that violent end might not be long in coming, according to a report in the latest Nature. But as the Nature report makes clear, that understanding may now be at hand. It gets even better. The future of space with Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Pamela Gay, and Lawrence Krauss discuss our future in space. Space News : Black Holes, Eclipse, Nasa, Space.

Discovered: The first habitable 'Earth-like' planet. Logy Magazine. The Earth wobbles.

logy Magazine

Like a spinning top touched in mid-spin, its rotational axis fluctuates in relation to space. This is partly caused by gravitation from the sun and the moon. At the same time, the Earth's rotational axis constantly changes relative to the Earth's surface. On the one hand, this is caused by variation in atmospheric pressure, ocean loading and wind. These elements combine in an effect known as the Chandler wobble to create polar motion.

Capturing these movements is crucial to create a reliable coordinate system that can feed navigation systems or project trajectory paths in space travel. "Locating a point to the exact centimeter for global positioning is an extremely dynamic process – after all, at our latitude, we are moving at around 350 meters to the east per second," explains Prof. The orientation of the Earth's axis relative to space and its rotational velocity are currently established in a complicated process that involves 30 radio telescopes around the globe. Rare Sight! See All 7 Planets in the Night Sky This Week. This week presents a rare opportunity to see all the major planets of the solar system in a single night. Just after sunset tonight (Dec. 21) the two brightest planets will be shining, weather permitting.

Venus, the brightest, rides low in the southwest just above the setting sun. Jupiter, the second brightest planet, is high in the south. If you have a telescope, you can find Uranus and Neptune between Venus and Jupiter. The sloping line across the sky that the four planets define is called the ecliptic, because it is the line along which eclipses take place. The sky maps of the planets available here show where to look to try to spot them this week. Get up around 6 a.m. local time tomorrow morning, and you can see the rest of the planets. Pay particular attention to Spica because, over the next year, the moon will make numerous close passes near Spica, actually passing in front of the star and occulting it on a few occasions. CREDIT: Starry Night Software. The Promise of Kepler-22b Video. SpaceX. Two Suns? Twin Stars Could Be Visible From Earth By 2012. By Dean Praetorius | Earth could be getting a second sun, at least temporarily.

Two Suns? Twin Stars Could Be Visible From Earth By 2012

Dr. Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland, outlined the scenario to Betelgeuse, one of the night sky’s brightest stars, is losing mass, indicating it is collapsing. It could run out of fuel and go super-nova at any time. When that happens, for at least a few weeks, we’d see a second sun, Carter says. The Star Wars-esque scenario could happen by 2012, Carter says... or it could take longer.

But doomsday sayers should be careful about speculation on this one. In fact, a neutrino shower could be beneficial to Earth. UPDATE: To clarify, the article does not say a neutrino shower could be beneficial to Earth, but implies a supernova could be beneficial, stating, "Far from being a sign of the apocalypse, according to Dr Carter the supernova will provide Earth with elements necessary for survival and continuity. " Top Image: Source. Dark alien planet discovered by NASA. An alien world blacker than coal, the darkest planet known, has been discovered in the galaxy.

Dark alien planet discovered by NASA

The world in question is a giant the size of Jupiter known as TrES-2b. NASA's Kepler spacecraft detected it lurking around the yellow sun-like star GSC 03549-02811 some 750 lightyears away in the direction of the constellation Draco. The researchers found this gas giant reflects less than 1 percent of the sunlight falling on it, making it darker than any planet or moon seen up to now.

[The Strangest Alien Planets] "It's just ridiculous how dark this planet is, how alien it is compared to anything we have in our solar system," study lead-author David Kipping, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told "However, it's not completely pitch black," co-author David Spiegel of Princeton University said in a statement.

"It's a mystery as to what's causing it to be so dark," Kipping said. This article was reprinted with permission from Astronomer discovers 18 giant alien planets the size of Jupiter orbiting massive dying stars outside our own solar system. By Michael Zennie Updated: 00:08 GMT, 4 December 2011 A patient astronomer has discovered 18 massive new alien planets orbiting dying giant stars outside our solar system.

Astronomer discovers 18 giant alien planets the size of Jupiter orbiting massive dying stars outside our own solar system

It is a finding that could help scientists better understand the origins of our own sun and the planets that orbit it. This is the second-largest batch of such planets ever found -- and increases the number of known alien bodies orbiting massive stars by 50 percent. California Institute of Technology Professor John Johnson and his team of astronomers spent nearly 10 years staring at 300 solar systems, searching for a tell-tale wobble caused by the gravitational pull from planets. Gas giants: All 18 planets found by Professor John Johnson and his team are roughly the size of Jupiter 'Looking for a wobble': These alien planets were found by looking for a tell-tale change in the gravity of their stars as they orbited 'I liken it to a garden. 'Then, a decade in, your garden is big and flourishing.

Record-Breaking Photo Reveals a Planet-sized Object as Cool as the Earth. Click on image below for a larger version.

Record-Breaking Photo Reveals a Planet-sized Object as Cool as the Earth

These two infrared images were taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2004 and 2009. They show a faint object moving through space together with a white dwarf. The brown dwarf, named WD 0806-661 B, is the coldest companion object to be directly imaged outside our solar system. Credit: Kevin Luhman, Penn State University, October 2011 19 October 2011 — The photo of a nearby star and its orbiting companion -- whose temperature is like a hot summer day in Arizona -- will be presented by Penn State Associate Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kevin Luhman during the Signposts of Planets conference at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on 20 October 2011. "This planet-like companion is the coldest object ever directly photographed outside our solar system," said Luhman, who led the discovery team.

Click on either image below for a high-resolution version. Gravity Probe B - Special & General Relativity Questions and Answers. No.

Gravity Probe B - Special & General Relativity Questions and Answers

Experiments continue to show that there is no 'space' that stands apart from space-time arena in which matter, energy and gravity operate which is not affected by matter, energy and gravity. General relativity tells us that what we call space is just another feature of the gravitational field of the universe, so space and space-time can and do not exist apart from the matter and energy that creates the gravitational field.

This is not speculation, but sound observation. Return to the Special & General Relativity Questions and Answers page. All answers are provided by Dr. An SUV Heads to Mars - The Top 10 Everything of 2011. Think the existing Mars rovers or the lunar dune buggies from the Apollo days were fun?

An SUV Heads to Mars - The Top 10 Everything of 2011

Wait till Curiosity — an SUV-size rover that left Cape Canaveral in November — arrives on Mars on Aug. 6. The rover will be the biggest, most capable machine on the Red Planet by far, and it will get there in an improbable way — plunging through the Martian atmosphere, slowing itself down with parachutes and air resistance and then being lowered by cables from a hovering propulsion shell. A first act like that will be hard to follow, but the second act — at least two years of Martian exploration — will probably be more than up to the job. Next ET Arrives — or at Least His Raw Material. Japan Calls it Quits on Infrared Space Telescope. Japan announced last week that its Akari infrared space telescope was switched off after five years of scanning the sky in search of star-forming dust clouds, ancient galaxies in the distant universe, and asteroids within the solar system.

Japan Calls it Quits on Infrared Space Telescope

The Akari mission succumbed to trouble in its power generation system, which first appeared in May and ended the satellite's scientific observations in June. The observatory stopped receiving electricity on the night side of its orbit around Earth, an indication its batteries were not charging sufficiently. The craft remained powered in sunlight. The anomaly appeared May 24 when Akari shifted to a low-power mode and haulted science observations. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, concluded the problem was probably within the satellite's electrical system.

In a written statement released in English on Friday, JAXA said it turned off Akari's transmitters at 0823 GMT (3:23 a.m. Akari launched in February 2006 on an 18-month primary mission. Unbelievable comet pictures from the space station. The International Space Station's commander has again seen the grandeur of comet Lovejoy in new pictures taken from the orbiting outpost, this time also capturing the Earth's horizon and background stars in exquisite detail.

These shots were snapped Thursday, two nights after NASA astronaut Dan Burbank serendipitously witnessed comet Lovejoy rising from behind the Earth as the station orbited 250 miles above the planet and the following night after producing this pictures. Spaceflight Now+Plus subscribers can download and save the stunning high-definition television video of the comet encounter. Photo credit: NASA. Higgs boson: Have they found it? › News in Science (ABC Science) News in Science Monday, 12 December 2011 ABC/Reuters Zeroing in There are loud rumours that scientists at the CERN physics research centre in Europe have seen the first strong signs of a particle vital to support Einstein's ideas on the working of the universe. While warning there would be no announcement of a full scientific discovery, scientists say even confirmation that something like the long-sought Higgs boson had been spotted would point the way to major advances in knowledge of the cosmos.

"I am feeling quite a level of excitement," says Dr Oliver Buchmueller, a senior member of one of the two teams seeking the particle amid vast volumes of data gathered in CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) this year. And science bloggers with close contacts among the tight-lipped front-line research groups, known as ATLAS and CMS, say their understanding was that both had found signals that look very much like the Higgs. Answer possible next year Taylor, who is part of the ATLAS team, agrees. One People, One Sky, One App! Astronomers Without Borders Endorses SkySafari for iOS and Mac OS X. San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) November 28, 2011 Southern Stars Group, LLC, makers of the award-winning SkySafari astronomy apps, announced a major endorsement by Astronomers Without Borders, a global non-profit organization promoting better international relations through shared interest in astronomy and space exploration.

Coinciding with the endorsement, Southern Stars has launched a two-week promotion of its products, where 40% of the proceeds will be donated to Astronomers Without Borders. AWB founder Mike Simmons writes, "We're very pleased to endorse SkySafari 3 and recommend it to our members. Because SkySafari 3 is developed by amateur astronomers, it's built with the accuracy and features needed for observational astronomy. This is no toy meant just to impress friends. The promotion runs through December 8th, 2011. To download SkySafari 3 for iOS from the iTunes Store, follow this link: To download SkySafari for Mac OS X, follow this link: About Southern Stars Group, LLC. Radio telescopes capture best-ever snapshot of black hole jets. An international team, including NASA-funded researchers, using radio telescopes located throughout the Southern Hemisphere has produced the most detailed image of particle jets erupting from a supermassive black hole in a nearby galaxy.

"These jets arise as infalling matter approaches the black hole, but we don't yet know the details of how they form and maintain themselves," said Cornelia Mueller, the study's lead author and a doctoral student at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. The new image shows a region less than 4.2 light-years across -- less than the distance between our sun and the nearest star. Radio-emitting features as small as 15 light-days can be seen, making this the highest-resolution view of galactic jets ever made. The study will appear in the June issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics and is available online. Mueller and her team targeted Centaurus A (Cen A), a nearby galaxy with a supermassive black hole weighing 55 million times the sun's mass.

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