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'Brighter than a full moon': The biggest star of 2013... could be Ison - the comet of the century - Science - News

'Brighter than a full moon': The biggest star of 2013... could be Ison - the comet of the century - Science - News
Comet Ison could draw millions out into the dark to witness what could be the brightest comet seen in many generations – brighter even than the full Moon. It was found as a blur on an electronic image of the night sky taken through a telescope at the Kislovodsk Observatory in Russia as part of a project to survey the sky looking for comets and asteroids – chunks of rock and ice that litter space. Astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok were expecting to use the International Scientific Optical Network's (Ison) 40cm telescope on the night of 20 September but clouds halted their plans. It was a frustrating night but about half an hour prior to the beginning of morning twilight, they noticed the sky was clearing and got the telescope and camera up and running to obtain some survey images in the constellations of Gemini and Cancer. When the images were obtained Nevski loaded them into a computer program designed to detect asteroids and comets moving between images.

Hubble Telescope Classics Hubble Telescope Classics The final frontier of a son’s awe – and abject fear For most people, Feb. 1, 2003, passed like any other day. Sure, a pretty big disaster dominated the headlines: The space shuttle Columbia disintegrated as it re-entered the atmosphere, raining down bits of metal and debris on the lawns of some Texans. But at the end of the news cycle, most people ate dinner and drifted off to sleep. For me, however, it was different. Growing up the son of an astronaut sounds glamorous, and in many ways it is. I didn’t quite understand how lucky we were to have that access, but I always expected it to be there. Columbia changed all that. The news networks milked the disaster as long as they could, then moved on. My father’s previous spaceflight (STS-100) had occurred less than two years before Columbia, which meant that, regardless of scheduling changes related to the disaster, he wouldn’t be flying again any time soon. Then, in early 2008, Dad got a new assignment. I’d learned what failure means in my father’s line of work. Yes, I’m terrified.

Want to be the Next Neil deGrasse Tyson? Be Yourself. | Think Tank There are many ways to describe Neil de Grasse Tyson. Astrophysicist. Popularizer of science. TV and radio host. Tyson should not be described, however, as Carl Sagan: the Sequel. What's the Big Idea? In an interview with Big Think, Tyson says he is often asked by fans and admirers the question "What can I do to be you?" In other words, don't aim to be a version of someone else. Watch the video here: What's the Significance? Tyson says he thinks about his good fortune every day. Your task, Tyson says, is to find opportunities that allow you to express your unique talents in ways that society will value and reward.

OMG SPACE OMG SPACE is the thesis project of Margot Trudell, an OCAD graduate of their graphic design program in Toronto, Canada. This website aims to illustrate the scale and the grandeur of our solar system, as well as illustrate through the use of infographics our work in the exploration of our solar system with various spacecraft. Despite all the work that scientists are putting into space exploration and research, and all that we've learned and acheived over the past half-century, the general public isn't very aware of it. I believe that this mostly due to how this information is communicated to the general public, in a very academic and scientific manner. It's hard for most people without backgrounds in these areas to really comprehend what it means when we send a probe past Jupiter for example, or how far away Eris really is, and it's simply difficult to truly grasp the magnitude of our solar system and all it's celestial inhabitants.

Why Explore Space? . Specifically, she asked how he could suggest spending billions of dollars on such a project at a time when so many children were starving on Earth. Stuhlinger soon sent the following letter of explanation to Sister Jucunda, along with a copy of "Earthrise," the iconic photograph of Earth taken in 1968 by astronaut William Anders, from the Moon (also embedded in the transcript). May 6, 1970Dear Sister Mary Jucunda:Your letter was one of many which are reaching me every day, but it has touched me more deeply than all the others because it came so much from the depths of a searching mind and a compassionate heart. The photograph which I enclose with this letter shows a view of our Earth as seen from Apollo 8 when it orbited the moon at Christmas, 1968.

13 Must-See Stargazing Eventsof 2013 | Skywatching Guide As 2012 comes to a close, some might wonder what is looming sky-wise for 2013.What celestial events might we look forward to seeing? I’ve selected what I consider the top 13"skylights" (get it?) for the coming year, and have listed them in chronological order. The next year also promises two potentially bright comets: PANSTARRS and ISON. In general, 2013 promises an action-packed 12 months for stargazers. Jan. 21: Very Close Moon/Jupiter Conjunction For North Americans, this is a real head-turner, one easily visible even from brightly lit cities. These two bright luminaries will make their closest approach high in the evening sky for all to see. Jupiter shines bright near a halo-wrapped moon in this amazing photo by stargazer Hunter Davis of Durango, Colo., on Dec. 25, 2012.Credit: Hunter Davis Feb. 2 to 23: Best Evening View of Mercury Mercury, the "elusive" innermost planet, will travel far enough from the glare of the sun to be readily visible in the western sky, soon after sunset.

Dark Energy, Dark Matter Dark Energy, Dark Matter In the early 1990s, one thing was fairly certain about the expansion of the Universe. It might have enough energy density to stop its expansion and recollapse, it might have so little energy density that it would never stop expanding, but gravity was certain to slow the expansion as time went on. Eventually theorists came up with three sorts of explanations. What Is Dark Energy? More is unknown than is known. One explanation for dark energy is that it is a property of space. Another explanation for how space acquires energy comes from the quantum theory of matter. Another explanation for dark energy is that it is a new kind of dynamical energy fluid or field, something that fills all of space but something whose effect on the expansion of the Universe is the opposite of that of matter and normal energy. A last possibility is that Einstein's theory of gravity is not correct. What Is Dark Matter? Recent Discoveries

Elon Musk's Mission to Mars | Wired Science Maverick entrepreneur Elon Musk Photo: Art Streiber When a man tells you about the time he planned to put a vegetable garden on Mars, you worry about his mental state. But if that same man has since launched multiple rockets that are actually capable of reaching Mars—sending them into orbit, Bond-style, from a tiny island in the Pacific—you need to find another diagnosis. That’s the thing about extreme entrepreneurialism: There’s a fine line between madness and genius, and you need a little bit of both to really change the world. All entrepreneurs have an aptitude for risk, but more important than that is their capacity for self-delusion. I have never met an entrepreneur who fits this model more than Elon Musk. And he is leading the private space race with SpaceX, which is poised to replace the space shuttle and usher us into an interplanetary age. It’s no wonder the character of Tony Stark in Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., was modeled on Musk: This is superhero-grade stuff.

Andromeda Project About PHAT The Andromeda galaxy is the closest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way. For a hundred years, Andromeda (also known by its Messier Catalog identifier, M31) has played an important role in shaping our view of the Universe. In the early 1920's, Edwin Hubble's observations of Andromeda confirmed for the first time that galaxies lie outside of the Milky Way, and that Andromeda must contain billions of stars. Today, Andromeda is a template for understanding how spiral galaxies form and evolve. The Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) survey (public webpage here) opens a new window on Andromeda. The Andromeda galaxy with the PHAT coverage footprint overlaid (top). Hunting for Stellar Clusters Star clusters are collections of hundreds to millions of stars that were born at the same time from the same cloud of gas. Star clusters vary greatly in terms of mass, size, age, and local environment. Distant Galaxies Peeking Through Andromeda's Stars

HoneyMap Magnetosphere in Sound One of NASA's newest missions has recorded the radio waves coming from our magnetosphere. Musicians: Sample away. A graphic of Earth's twin rings of plasma known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts in our planet's magnetosphere (NASA) Surrounding our planet are rings of plasma, part of Earth's magnetosphere, which are pulsing with radio waves. Those waves are not audible to the human ear alone, but radio antennae can pick them up, and that's just what an instrument -- the Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science (EMFISIS) -- on NASA's recently launched Radiation Belt Storm Probes has done. The noises, often picked up here on Earth by ham-radio operators, are called Earth's "chorus" as they are reminiscent of a chorus of birds chirping in the early morning.