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Universe Today — Space and astronomy news

Universe Today — Space and astronomy news
The Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule stand ready for launch prior to the detection of a helium leak in one of the engines forcing a scrub of the launch attempt on April 14. 2014 – now reset to April 18, 2014. Credit: nasatech.net NASA and SpaceX are marching forward towards a Friday, April 18 liftoff attempt for the Falcon 9 rocket sending a commercial Dragon cargo craft on the company’s third resupply mission to the International Space Station following the scrubbed launch attempt on Monday, April 14 – forced by the discovery of a Helium gas leak inside the rocket during the latter stages of the countdown. An on time blastoff of the upgraded Falcon 9 sets the stage for an Easter Sunday rendezvous and berthing of the Dragon resupply spacecraft at the massive orbiting outpost packed with almost 5000 pounds of science experiments and supplies for the six person crew. However the weather prognosis is rather [click to continue…]

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Space diamond, larger than Earth, spotted by astronomers - Technology & science - Space - Space.com Move over, Hope Diamond. The most famous gems on Earth have new competition in the form of a planet made largely of diamond, astronomers say. The alien planet, a so-called "super-Earth," is called 55 Cancri e and was discovered in 2004 around a nearby star in our Milky Way galaxy. The Universe is Alive “Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery When you look out into the Universe, what is it that you typically think of? Do you think of reliable, fixed stars and constellations? The vast expanse of the Milky Way, with its memorable dust lanes and amorphous shapes?

Glossary of Astronomical Terms Glossary Absolute magnitude- the brightness a star would be as seen from a distance of 10 parsecs Absolute Zero- the lowest possible temperature, at which substances contain no heat energy, and atomic movement has stopped Accretion- accumulation of dust and gas into larger bodies such as stars, planets, and moons Accretion disk- a disk of hot, glowing matter spiraling into a black hole Active galaxy- a galaxy under-going a violent outburst in its central regions Science for celebrities In January 2007, exasperated by the tide of influential and misleading claims made by celebrities in the public sphere, we worked with scientists to produce Making Sense of Science for Celebrities. Each year since, Sense About Science has reviewed the odd science claims people in the public eye have made - about diets, cancer, magnets, radiation and more - sent in to us by scientists and members of the public. Many of these claims promote theories, therapies and campaigns that make no scientific sense.

Lingua Franca Writing tutors, teaching assistants, usage columnists, and even word-processor grammar-checkers flag passives for “correction” because they have been told they should. (The disastrously confused Page 18 of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style is often implicated—but don’t get me started on them.) These critics are often clearly inexpert at accurate identification of what they deprecate: collecting published critical comments about the passive by soi-disant rhetoric gurus, I have found that the most frequently occurring score for telling passives from actives is zero (I put this extraordinary statistic aside to discuss another day). Naturally, the critics also have no idea how many they use themselves.

A Rocket To Nowhere A Rocket To Nowhere The Space Shuttle Discovery is up in orbit, safely docked to the International Space Station, and for the next five days, astronauts will be busy figuring out whether it's safe for them to come home. In the meantime, the rest of the Shuttle fleet is grounded (confined to base, not allowed to play with its spacecraft friends) because that pesky foam on the fuel tank keeps falling off. There are 28 Space Shuttle flights still scheduled, firmly or tentatively, through 2010, when the current orbiter is supposed to retire in favor of a yet-to-be-designed replacement (which will not fly until 2014). On the eve of this launch, NASA put the likelihood of losing an orbiter at 1 in 100, a somewhat stunning concession by an agency notorious for minimizing the risk of its prize program.

The Planet's Most Powerful Digital Camera Captures Its First Images of the Universe - Megan Garber The device could help astronomers figure out why the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Zoomed-in image from the Dark Energy Camera of the center of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae, which lies about 17,000 light years from Earth (Dark Energy Survey Collaboration) The Dark Energy Camera is the world's most powerful digital camera. About the size of a phone booth and boasting 570 megapixels, the device took eight years to construct -- by astronomers, technicians, and engineers collaborating across three continents -- and is currently mounted to the Blanco telescope in Chile. From that perch, it is able to observe light from over 100,000 galaxies.

Astronomy I missed the Occultation of Lambda Aquarii by Venus, but Tom Harradine didn't Partial Solar Eclipse, April 29 2014 Intel community willing to allow higher resolution commercial imagery For the last few years, commercial satellite remote sensing company DigitalGlobe (and, before its merger with DigitalGlobe, GeoEye) has been lobbying the government to allow it to sell sharper satellite imagery that it’s currently allowed. DigitalGlobe is currently restricted to selling imagery with resolution no sharper than 0.5 meters per pixel, but has been pushing [...] Foundational Questions Institute The Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) To catalyze, support, and disseminate research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources. FQXi has five goals: {*style:<ul style="padding-left:20px;"><li> To expand the purview of scientific inquiry to include scientific disciplines fundamental to a deep understanding of reality, but which are currently largely unsupported by conventional grant sources To redress incrementalism in research programming by establishing or expanding new "islands" of understanding via flexible funding of high-risk, high-reward research in these areas

150 Free Textbooks: A Meta Collection Free textbooks (aka open textbooks) written by knowledgable scholars are a relatively new phenomenon. Below, find a meta list of 200 Free Textbooks, and check back often for new additions. Also see our online collection, 1200 Free Online Courses from Top Universities. Art History

The Space Shuttle Since 1981, NASA space shuttles have been rocketing from the Florida coast into Earth orbit. The five orbiters — Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour — have flown more than 130 times, carrying over 350 people into space and travelling more than half a billion miles, more than enough to reach Jupiter. Designed to return to Earth and land like a giant glider, the shuttle was the world's first reusable space vehicle. The Elegant Universe: Series ... The Elegant Universe: Part 3 PBS Airdate: November 4, 2003 NARRATOR: Now, on NOVA, take a thrill ride into a world stranger than science fiction, where you play the game by breaking some rules, where a new view of the universe pushes you beyond the limits of your wildest imagination. This is the world of "string theory," a way of describing every force and all matter from an atom to earth, to the end of the galaxies—from the birth of time to its final tick, in a single theory, a "Theory of Everything." Our guide to this brave new world is Brian Greene, the bestselling author and physicist.

Solar System, Solar System Information Our Cosmic Neighborhood From our small world we have gazed upon the cosmic ocean for thousands of years. Ancient astronomers observed points of light that appeared to move among the stars. They called these objects "planets," meaning wanderers, and named them after Roman deities—Jupiter, king of the gods; Mars, the god of war; Mercury, messenger of the gods; Venus, the goddes of love and beauty, and Saturn, father of Jupiter and god of agriculture. The stargazers also observed comets with sparkling tails, and meteors or shooting stars apparently falling from the sky. Since the invention of the telescope, three more planets have been discovered in our solar system: Uranus (1781), Neptune (1846), and, now downgraded to a dwarf planet, Pluto (1930).

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