humanoidhistory:

Astronaut James Newman waves at the camera during a 7-hour, 21-minute spacewalk, December 7, 1998. (NASA)

humanoidhistory:

Astronaut James Newman waves at the camera during a 7-hour, 21-minute spacewalk, December 7, 1998. (NASA)

thedemon-hauntedworld:

International Space Station Silhouetted against The Moon[credit]

thedemon-hauntedworld:

International Space Station Silhouetted against The Moon
[credit]

sagansense:

Regarding the recent NASA Kepler discovery of what is being dubbed the closest “Earth-like” or “Earth twin” planet…

"This planet Kepler-186f orbits a star that’s cooler and dimmer than the sun. So while we may have found a planet that’s the same size as Earth, and receives the same amount of energy to what Earth receives, it orbits a very different star. So, perhaps, instead of an Earth twin, we have discovered an Earth cousin," said NASA Ames Research Scientist Thomas Barclay, of BAERI.

imageStanding on the surface of Kepler-186f, this is how the view may appear. Credit: Danielle Futselaar

Not to downplay this hype, however. There’s no mistaking it…THIS IS A MAJOR MOMENT IN HUMAN HISTORY.

Astronomers have discovered planets that reside in the Goldilocks or Habitable Zone of solar systems outside of our own. This, however, is the first confirmed find of a planet as close in size (10% larger) to that of Earth.

image"This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock solid. The planet itself may not be [rocky], but I’d bet my house on it. In any case, it’s a gem," Geoff Marcy, Astronomer at the University of California Berkeley told Space.com.

imageimageimageimageKepler-186f’s potential for liquid water and perhaps, life, is what make its existence that much more intriguing. [view larger]

"Some people call these habitable planets, which of course we have no idea if they are, we simply know that they are in the habitable zone, and that is the best place to start looking for habitable planets," San Francisco State University astronomer and study co-author Stephen Kane said in a statement to Space.com.

image"The four companion planets — Kepler-186b, Kepler-186c, Kepler-186d and Kepler-186e — whiz around their sun every four, seven, 13 and 22 days, respectively, making them too hot for life as we know it. These four inner planets all measure less than 1.5 times the size of Earth," noted in an official statement from NASA.

Geoff Marcy said, "This planet is modestly illuminated by its host star, a red dwarf. This planet basks in an orange-red glow from that star, much [like what] we enjoy at sunset."

image
Kepler-186f is 1 of 5 planets around its host star, which is a red dwarf, taking 130 days to orbit. As seen in the comparison-worthy artistic rendering above, Kepler-186f and our Earth would share similar views at dawn and dusk.

image
Whether or not Kepler-186f does contain life, one thing is for certain, there’s a whole lot more space to explore. If Carl were here to share in these continued findings, I believe he’d revert to a self-quoted suggestion from his novel-turned-motion-picture, Contact

“The universe is a pretty big place. If it is just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”

Stay curious. This is just the beginning.

astronomicalwonders:

A Close Up Of Star Formation
This very detailed enhanced-colour image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows the dramatic effects of very young stars on the dust and gas from which they were born in the star-forming region NGC 6729. The baby stars are invisible in this picture, being hidden behind dust clouds at the upper left of the picture, but material they are ejecting is crashing into the surroundings at speeds of that can be as high as one million kilometres per hour. This picture was taken by the FORS1 instrument and records the scene in the light of glowing hydrogen and sulphur.
Credit: ESO/Sergey Stepanenko

astronomicalwonders:

A Close Up Of Star Formation

This very detailed enhanced-colour image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows the dramatic effects of very young stars on the dust and gas from which they were born in the star-forming region NGC 6729. The baby stars are invisible in this picture, being hidden behind dust clouds at the upper left of the picture, but material they are ejecting is crashing into the surroundings at speeds of that can be as high as one million kilometres per hour. This picture was taken by the FORS1 instrument and records the scene in the light of glowing hydrogen and sulphur.

Credit: ESO/Sergey Stepanenko

spaceplasma:

Ganymede and Callisto are similar in size and are made of a similar mixture of ice and rock, but data from the Galileo and Voyager spacecraft show that they look different at the surface and on the inside. Just like Earth and Venus, Ganymede and Callisto are twins, and understanding how they were born the same and grew up to be so different is of tremendous interest to planetary scientists.

Ganymede and Callisto’s evolutionary paths diverged about 3.8 billion years ago during the Late Heavy Bombardment, the phase in lunar history dominated by large impact events. Impacts during this period melted Ganymede so thoroughly and deeply that the heat could not be quickly removed. All of Ganymede’s rock sank to its center the same way that all the chocolate chips sink to the bottom of a melted carton of ice cream. Callisto received fewer impacts at lower velocities and avoided complete melting. Ganymede is closer to Jupiter and therefore is hit by twice as many icy impactors as Callisto, and the impactors hitting Ganymede have a higher average velocity.

Image Credit: NOAA/GSD

distant-traveller:

Exoplanets soon to gleam in the eye of NESSI

The New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument (NESSI) will soon get its first “taste” of exoplanets, helping astronomers decipher their chemical composition. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars beyond our sun.



NESSI got its first peek at the sky on April 3, 2014. It looked at Pollux, a star in the Gemini constellation, and Arcturus, in the Boötes constellation, confirming that all modes of the instrument are working.
"After five years of development, it’s really exciting to turn on our instrument and see its first light," said Michele Creech-Eakman, the principal investigator of the project at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, N.M. "Planet hunters have found thousands of exoplanets, but what do we know about them? NESSI will help us find out more about their atmospheres and compositions."
Partly funded by NASA’s EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), in partnership with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, the NESSI instrument is located on the institute’s 2.4-meter Magdalena Ridge Observatory in Socorro County, N.M.
NESSI will focus on about 100 exoplanets, ranging from massive versions of Earth, called super-Earths, to scorching gas giants known as “hot Jupiters.” All of the instrument’s targets orbit closely to their stars. Future space telescopes will use similar technology to probe planets more akin to Earth, searching for signs of habitable environments and even life itself.
NESSI is one the first ground-based instruments specifically crafted to study the atmospheres of exoplanets that transit, or eclipse, their stars, from our point of view on Earth. It uses a technique called transit spectroscopy, in which a planet is observed as it crosses in front of, then behind, its parent star. The instrument, called a spectrometer, breaks apart the light of the star and planet, ultimately exposing chemicals that make up the planet’s atmosphere. The technique is challenging because a planet’s atmospheric signal accounts for only one part in 1,000 of the star’s light. It’s like looking for a firefly in a searchlight.
To work around Earth’s atmospheric blurring problem, the NESSI instrument has a relatively wide field of view, covering a patch of sky about half the size of the full moon. This allows it to place two or more stars in its sight at once — both the star it is analyzing as the target planet circles around, and other control stars. When the atmosphere moves around during an observation, it affects both stars similarly. This allows the researchers to isolate and remove the blurring distortions.

Image credit: New Mexico Tech

distant-traveller:

Exoplanets soon to gleam in the eye of NESSI

The New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument (NESSI) will soon get its first “taste” of exoplanets, helping astronomers decipher their chemical composition. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars beyond our sun.

NESSI got its first peek at the sky on April 3, 2014. It looked at Pollux, a star in the Gemini constellation, and Arcturus, in the Boötes constellation, confirming that all modes of the instrument are working.

"After five years of development, it’s really exciting to turn on our instrument and see its first light," said Michele Creech-Eakman, the principal investigator of the project at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, N.M. "Planet hunters have found thousands of exoplanets, but what do we know about them? NESSI will help us find out more about their atmospheres and compositions."

Partly funded by NASA’s EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), in partnership with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, the NESSI instrument is located on the institute’s 2.4-meter Magdalena Ridge Observatory in Socorro County, N.M.

NESSI will focus on about 100 exoplanets, ranging from massive versions of Earth, called super-Earths, to scorching gas giants known as “hot Jupiters.” All of the instrument’s targets orbit closely to their stars. Future space telescopes will use similar technology to probe planets more akin to Earth, searching for signs of habitable environments and even life itself.

NESSI is one the first ground-based instruments specifically crafted to study the atmospheres of exoplanets that transit, or eclipse, their stars, from our point of view on Earth. It uses a technique called transit spectroscopy, in which a planet is observed as it crosses in front of, then behind, its parent star. The instrument, called a spectrometer, breaks apart the light of the star and planet, ultimately exposing chemicals that make up the planet’s atmosphere. The technique is challenging because a planet’s atmospheric signal accounts for only one part in 1,000 of the star’s light. It’s like looking for a firefly in a searchlight.

To work around Earth’s atmospheric blurring problem, the NESSI instrument has a relatively wide field of view, covering a patch of sky about half the size of the full moon. This allows it to place two or more stars in its sight at once — both the star it is analyzing as the target planet circles around, and other control stars. When the atmosphere moves around during an observation, it affects both stars similarly. This allows the researchers to isolate and remove the blurring distortions.

Image credit: New Mexico Tech

digitalmovie:

this is me about 98 percent of the time.

Me everyday in Calculus.

digitalmovie:

this is me about 98 percent of the time.

Me everyday in Calculus.

A message from Anonymous


Hi i'm 15 years old and i love astronomy. I live in central america, but in my country there are no universitys where i can study astronomy so when i grow older i'm thinking of studying in another place. Can you tell me the best universitys for studying astronomy? Sorry if my english is bad.

astronomicalwonders:

I’ll start by telling you something my Multivariate Calculus professor told me this semester. I was talking to him about MIT because that’s where he graduated from with a degree in mathematics. I was very curious to know what it was like to go to arguably the best school for mathematics in the world and he told me this:

"do you know what the difference between math at MIT and math at UGA is?"

I looked at him skeptically because I knew he was trying to trick me and I answered, “no”

He then said, “nothing. no matter where you study math it is always the same. 2 + 2 = 4 everywhere. That’s the beauty of it.”

And that really changed my perspective on things. Just because you may not go to the best university for something does not mean that you will have an less of an understanding of the subject. (well, your opportunities might be a little different but that’s another story)

Honestly, If you are planning on going into astronomy/astrophysics your graduate school is the most important step. Just getting into any US school that has a decent physics program will set you up for some of the best astrophysics graduate schools. Really it you just have to work hard as an undergraduate so that you can make the next step.

But if you insist on having a list here you go, a list of top schools for physics and astronomy:

  • MIT
  • UC Berkley
  • Stanford
  • Cal Tech
  • (insert other top ivy leagues here)

once again, I would like to stress that the laws of physics are the same everywhere and you will find enjoyment in learning where ever you go. Good luck with your future endeavors! thanks for the ask!

image


Universe Grows Like a Giant Brain
The universe may grow like a giant brain, according to a new computer simulation.
Image: A fundamental law of nature may govern the growth of brain networks, social networks, and the expansion of the Universe, a new computer simulation suggests Credit: WGBH Educational Foundation
The results, published Nov.16 in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports, suggest that some undiscovered, fundamental laws may govern the growth of systems large and small, from the electrical firing between brain cells and growth of social networks to the expansion of galaxies.
"Natural growth dynamics are the same for different real networks, like the Internet or the brain or social networks," said study co-author Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist at the University of California San Diego.
The new study suggests a single fundamental law of nature may govern these networks, said physicist Kevin Bassler of the University of Houston, who was not involved in the study.
"At first blush they seem to be quite different systems, the question is, is there some kind of controlling laws can describe them?".
By raising this question, “their work really makes a pretty important contribution,” he said.
Similar Networks
Past studies showed brain circuits and the Internet look a lot alike. But despite finding this functional similarity, nobody had developed equations to perfectly predict how computer networks, brain circuits or social networks grow over time, Krioukov said.
Using Einstein’s equations of relativity, which explain how matter warps the fabric of space-time, physicists can retrace the universe’s explosive birth in the Big Bang roughly 14 billion years ago and how it has expanded outward in the eons since.
So Krioukov’s team wondered whether the universe’s accelerating growth could provide insight into the ways social networks or brain circuits expand.
Brain cells and galaxies
The team created a computer simulation that broke the early universe into the tiniest possible units — quanta of space-time more miniscule than subatomic particles. The simulation linked any quanta, or nodes in a massive celestial network, that were causally related. (Nothing travels faster than light, so if a person hits a baseball on Earth, the ripple effects of that event could never reach an alien in a distant galaxy in a reasonable amount of time, meaning those two regions of space-time aren’t causally related.)
As the simulation progressed, it added more and more space-time to the history of the universe, and so its “network” connections between matter in galaxies, grew as well, Krioukov said.
When the team compared the universe’s history with growth of social networks and brain circuits, they found all the networks expanded in similar ways: They balanced links between similar nodes with ones that already had many connections. For instance, a cat lover surfing the Internet may visit mega-sites such as Google or Yahoo, but will also browse cat fancier websites or YouTube kitten videos. In the same way, neighboring brain cells like to connect, but neurons also link to such “Google brain cells” that are hooked up to loads of other brain cells.
The eerie similarity between networks large and small is unlikely to be a coincidence, Krioukov said.
"For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works," Krioukov said.
It’s more likely that some unknown law governs the way networks grow and change, from the smallest brain cells to the growth of mega-galaxies, Krioukov said.
"This result suggests that maybe we should start looking for it," Krioukov told LiveScience.

Universe Grows Like a Giant Brain

The universe may grow like a giant brain, according to a new computer simulation.

Image: A fundamental law of nature may govern the growth of brain networks, social networks, and the expansion of the Universe, a new computer simulation suggests Credit: WGBH Educational Foundation

The results, published Nov.16 in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports, suggest that some undiscovered, fundamental laws may govern the growth of systems large and small, from the electrical firing between brain cells and growth of social networks to the expansion of galaxies.

"Natural growth dynamics are the same for different real networks, like the Internet or the brain or social networks," said study co-author Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist at the University of California San Diego.

The new study suggests a single fundamental law of nature may govern these networks, said physicist Kevin Bassler of the University of Houston, who was not involved in the study.

"At first blush they seem to be quite different systems, the question is, is there some kind of controlling laws can describe them?".

By raising this question, “their work really makes a pretty important contribution,” he said.

Similar Networks

Past studies showed brain circuits and the Internet look a lot alike. But despite finding this functional similarity, nobody had developed equations to perfectly predict how computer networks, brain circuits or social networks grow over time, Krioukov said.

Using Einstein’s equations of relativity, which explain how matter warps the fabric of space-time, physicists can retrace the universe’s explosive birth in the Big Bang roughly 14 billion years ago and how it has expanded outward in the eons since.

So Krioukov’s team wondered whether the universe’s accelerating growth could provide insight into the ways social networks or brain circuits expand.

Brain cells and galaxies

The team created a computer simulation that broke the early universe into the tiniest possible units — quanta of space-time more miniscule than subatomic particles. The simulation linked any quanta, or nodes in a massive celestial network, that were causally related. (Nothing travels faster than light, so if a person hits a baseball on Earth, the ripple effects of that event could never reach an alien in a distant galaxy in a reasonable amount of time, meaning those two regions of space-time aren’t causally related.)

As the simulation progressed, it added more and more space-time to the history of the universe, and so its “network” connections between matter in galaxies, grew as well, Krioukov said.

When the team compared the universe’s history with growth of social networks and brain circuits, they found all the networks expanded in similar ways: They balanced links between similar nodes with ones that already had many connections. For instance, a cat lover surfing the Internet may visit mega-sites such as Google or Yahoo, but will also browse cat fancier websites or YouTube kitten videos. In the same way, neighboring brain cells like to connect, but neurons also link to such “Google brain cells” that are hooked up to loads of other brain cells.

The eerie similarity between networks large and small is unlikely to be a coincidence, Krioukov said.

"For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works," Krioukov said.

It’s more likely that some unknown law governs the way networks grow and change, from the smallest brain cells to the growth of mega-galaxies, Krioukov said.

"This result suggests that maybe we should start looking for it," Krioukov told LiveScience.

ageofdestruction:

icaria: Surface of Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 29th September 2005.

Composite of 3 visible light images, but not necessarily producing true colour. Covers 50 to 57°S, 245 to 247°E; about 470 by 70km. The crater at top is Porter: See also.

Image credit: ESA. Composite: AgeOfDestruction.