September192011
September122011
cwnl:

The Fabric of Space-time
Image: What happens to light as it passes through a point of space-time in where mass has been applied, as well as why objects in space orbit the way they do (planets, galaxies, clusters, etc.)
Also known as the Space-time Continuum, I’ve always been fascinated about the very space that holds the planet we live on, stars we see at night, solar system we observe, and supernovas we stargaze on telescopes. In astronomy you hear the term space-time get used a lot and I thought I’d highlight key features that describe what this fabric is. I find it odd that not that many people stop to think what holds us up, how are we  suspended in space-time? Well, technically we’re not suspended. We’re constantly moving, constantly orbiting. And it’s not just Earth and the solar system joining in on this cosmic dance, you can include star clusters, galaxies, super clusters and even Blackholes, just about everything in our Universe. Keep in mind that even as you read this post, our solar system is orbiting the Milky Way galaxy, traveling at roughly 220 kilometers a second!
What is Space-time?

Einstein visualized gravity as a manifestation of the curvature of space-time - the three space dimensions and a fourth time dimension. Most of us cannot visualize a curvature of four dimensional space-time, so visualize a curved two dimensional rubber sheet. Placing a mass on the rubber sheet curves it downward like space-time curves in the presence of a mass. On such a rubber sheet a small mass can circle around the curvature produced by a large mass, just as planets orbit the Sun. Or a mass can roll straight downward just as an object falls to the Earth. Space-time being the very “material” these events and masses take place on.
Einstein explained gravity as a result of the curvature of space-time near the presence of a mass. The differences between general relativity and Newton’s law of gravity only become noticeable when the gravitational force is very strong.
Einstein’s general theory of relativity is one of the crowning intellectual achievements of the 20th century and led to such predictions as black holes, gravitational lenses, and the expanding universe. So far it has passed every experimental test with flying colors.
Info via Suite101

cwnl:

The Fabric of Space-time

Image: What happens to light as it passes through a point of space-time in where mass has been applied, as well as why objects in space orbit the way they do (planets, galaxies, clusters, etc.)

Also known as the Space-time Continuum, I’ve always been fascinated about the very space that holds the planet we live on, stars we see at night, solar system we observe, and supernovas we stargaze on telescopes. In astronomy you hear the term space-time get used a lot and I thought I’d highlight key features that describe what this fabric is. I find it odd that not that many people stop to think what holds us up, how are we suspended in space-time? Well, technically we’re not suspended. We’re constantly moving, constantly orbiting. And it’s not just Earth and the solar system joining in on this cosmic dance, you can include star clusters, galaxies, super clusters and even Blackholes, just about everything in our Universe. Keep in mind that even as you read this post, our solar system is orbiting the Milky Way galaxy, traveling at roughly 220 kilometers a second!

What is Space-time?

Einstein visualized gravity as a manifestation of the curvature of space-time - the three space dimensions and a fourth time dimension. Most of us cannot visualize a curvature of four dimensional space-time, so visualize a curved two dimensional rubber sheet. Placing a mass on the rubber sheet curves it downward like space-time curves in the presence of a mass. On such a rubber sheet a small mass can circle around the curvature produced by a large mass, just as planets orbit the Sun. Or a mass can roll straight downward just as an object falls to the Earth. Space-time being the very “material” these events and masses take place on.

Einstein explained gravity as a result of the curvature of space-time near the presence of a mass. The differences between general relativity and Newton’s law of gravity only become noticeable when the gravitational force is very strong.

Einstein’s general theory of relativity is one of the crowning intellectual achievements of the 20th century and led to such predictions as black holes, gravitational lenses, and the expanding universe. So far it has passed every experimental test with flying colors.

Info via Suite101

(Source: kenobi-wan-obi)

September12011
thatsgoodsoup:

A New View of the Helix Nebula
This composite image is a view of the colorful Helix Nebula taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Mosaic II Camera on the 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The object is so large that both telescopes were needed to capture a complete view. The Helix is a planetary nebula, the glowing gaseous envelope expelled by a dying, sun-like star. The Helix resembles a simple doughnut as seen from Earth. But looks can be deceiving. New evidence suggests that the Helix consists of two gaseous disks nearly perpendicular to each other.  Credit: NASA, ESA, C.R. O’Dell (Vanderbilt University), and M. Meixner, P. McCullough, and G. Bacon ( Space Telescope Science Institute

thatsgoodsoup:

A New View of the Helix Nebula

This composite image is a view of the colorful Helix Nebula taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Mosaic II Camera on the 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The object is so large that both telescopes were needed to capture a complete view. The Helix is a planetary nebula, the glowing gaseous envelope expelled by a dying, sun-like star. The Helix resembles a simple doughnut as seen from Earth. But looks can be deceiving. New evidence suggests that the Helix consists of two gaseous disks nearly perpendicular to each other. Credit: NASA, ESA, C.R. O’Dell (Vanderbilt University), and M. Meixner, P. McCullough, and G. Bacon ( Space Telescope Science Institute

(via abcstarstuff)

August312011
sirmitchell:

The Earth and the Moon. Taken 6 million miles away by the Juno spacecraft which is on its way to Jupiter. 
Man, space is neat! Everything we love and hate and know is on that pale blue dot. 

sirmitchell:

The Earth and the Moon. Taken 6 million miles away by the Juno spacecraft which is on its way to Jupiter. 

Man, space is neat! Everything we love and hate and know is on that pale blue dot. 

(via itsfullofstars)

10PM

NGC 2024
Credit: Emil Ivanov

NGC 2024

Credit: Emil Ivanov

(Source: kenobi-wan-obi, via kenobi-wan-obi)

August292011
spacetimecontinumm:

 
Terrformation of Mars: A New Look
We look at Mars now as a forgotten Red Planet that almost seems barren and life-less judging from our available images and study of it. But study shows Mars was once as ecologically prosperous as our own Earth. But what happened to all of its waters? Better yet why is it so dry and lacking any plants? Once the abundance of oxygen left and the waters froze over or dried off the planet became what it is today. But what if we can in a way reactivate’ Mars? Welcome to Mars, Terraformed’.
About Terraforming
Transforming Mars will be a long and complicated process. But this is exactly the type of subject that interests space researchers like Christopher McKay of NASA Ames Research Center. First, greenhouse gases, like chlorofluorocarbons that contribute to the growing ozone layer on Earth, will be released into the atmosphere. This traps the heat from the Sun and raises the surface temperature by an average of 4 degrees Celsius. In order to achieve this, factories would manufacture chlorofluorocarbons derived from the air and soil. A single factory would require the power equivalent of a large nuclear power plant.
The increasing temperature would vaporize some of the carbon dioxide in the south polar cap. Introducing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would produce additional warming, melting more of the polar cap until it has been vaporized completely. This would produce an average temperature rise of 70 degrees Celsius.
With the temperature this high, ice will start melting, providing the water needed to sustain life. This water would raise the atmospheric pressure to the equivalent of some mountaintops. While this would be a survivable level, it may still require the use of an oxygen mask. The next step, which may take up to several centuries, would be to plant trees that thrive on carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.

NASA: Terraforming Mars
Terraforming is the process of transforming a hostile environment into one suitable for human life. Being that Mars is the most Earth-like planet, it is the best candidate for terraforming. Once just the subject of science fiction novels, it is now becoming a viable research area. The famed astronomer and Pulitzer prize winner, Carl Sagan, says that there is enormous promise in the search for ancient life on Mars. If life was once sustainable on Mars, it is important to know what caused Mars to evolve into the cold and lifeless planet it is today. With this knowledge, we can terraform Mars by reversing the process.
NASA scientists believe that it is technologically possible at the present time to create considerable global climate changes, allowing humans to live on Mars. But this will not be by any means an easy task. Raising the atmospheric pressure and surface temperature alone could be achieved in a few decades.
This research has strong environmental implications for Earth. What researchers are trying to do involves global warming, a sort of greenhouse effect on the cold planet Mars. Scientists may be able to test their hypotheses about global warming in their attempts to elevate Mars’ surface temperature. Likewise, once theories, they may be applied to our own planet in an attempt to reverse environmental damage done by pollution and deforestation.

spacetimecontinumm:

Terrformation of Mars: A New Look

We look at Mars now as a forgotten Red Planet that almost seems barren and life-less judging from our available images and study of it. But study shows Mars was once as ecologically prosperous as our own Earth. But what happened to all of its waters? Better yet why is it so dry and lacking any plants? Once the abundance of oxygen left and the waters froze over or dried off the planet became what it is today. But what if we can in a way reactivate’ Mars? Welcome to Mars, Terraformed’.

About Terraforming

Transforming Mars will be a long and complicated process. But this is exactly the type of subject that interests space researchers like Christopher McKay of NASA Ames Research Center. First, greenhouse gases, like chlorofluorocarbons that contribute to the growing ozone layer on Earth, will be released into the atmosphere. This traps the heat from the Sun and raises the surface temperature by an average of 4 degrees Celsius. In order to achieve this, factories would manufacture chlorofluorocarbons derived from the air and soil. A single factory would require the power equivalent of a large nuclear power plant.

The increasing temperature would vaporize some of the carbon dioxide in the south polar cap. Introducing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would produce additional warming, melting more of the polar cap until it has been vaporized completely. This would produce an average temperature rise of 70 degrees Celsius.

With the temperature this high, ice will start melting, providing the water needed to sustain life. This water would raise the atmospheric pressure to the equivalent of some mountaintops. While this would be a survivable level, it may still require the use of an oxygen mask. The next step, which may take up to several centuries, would be to plant trees that thrive on carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.

image

NASA: Terraforming Mars

Terraforming is the process of transforming a hostile environment into one suitable for human life. Being that Mars is the most Earth-like planet, it is the best candidate for terraforming. Once just the subject of science fiction novels, it is now becoming a viable research area. The famed astronomer and Pulitzer prize winner, Carl Sagan, says that there is enormous promise in the search for ancient life on Mars. If life was once sustainable on Mars, it is important to know what caused Mars to evolve into the cold and lifeless planet it is today. With this knowledge, we can terraform Mars by reversing the process.

NASA scientists believe that it is technologically possible at the present time to create considerable global climate changes, allowing humans to live on Mars. But this will not be by any means an easy task. Raising the atmospheric pressure and surface temperature alone could be achieved in a few decades.

This research has strong environmental implications for Earth. What researchers are trying to do involves global warming, a sort of greenhouse effect on the cold planet Mars. Scientists may be able to test their hypotheses about global warming in their attempts to elevate Mars’ surface temperature. Likewise, once theories, they may be applied to our own planet in an attempt to reverse environmental damage done by pollution and deforestation.

7PM
mothernaturenetwork:

Check out these 8 animals that have traveled in space.

And suddenly I begin to sing, “This monkey’s gone to heaven”.

mothernaturenetwork:

Check out these 8 animals that have traveled in space.

And suddenly I begin to sing, “This monkey’s gone to heaven”.

5AM
invaderxan:

Size comparison of Earth next to Sirius B (a white dwarf star).

invaderxan:

Size comparison of Earth next to Sirius B (a white dwarf star).

(via theehokeypokey)

5AM

This image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope highlights dramatic changes in phenomena referred to as light echoes (colored areas) around the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant 

This image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope highlights dramatic changes in phenomena referred to as light echoes (colored areas) around the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant 

(via lookatthesefuckinstars)

5AM
lookatthesefuckinstars:

Hickson 44 in Leo
—-
Explanation: Scanning the skies for galaxies, Canadian astronomer Paul Hickson and colleagues identified some 100 compact groups of galaxies, now appropriately called Hickson Compact Groups. The four prominent galaxies seen in this intriguing telescopic skyscape are one such group, Hickson 44, about 100 million light-years distant toward the constellation Leo. The two spiral galaxies in the center of the image are edge-on NGC 3190 with its distinctive, warped dust lanes, and S-shaped NGC 3187. Along with the bright elliptical, NGC 3193 at the right, they are also known as Arp 316. The spiral in the upper left corner is NGC 3185, the 4th member of the Hickson group. Like other galaxies in Hickson groups, these show signs of distortion and enhanced star formation, evidence of a gravitational tug of war that will eventually result in galaxy mergers on a cosmic timescale. The merger process is now understood to be a normal part of the evolution of galaxies, including our own Milky Way. For scale, NGC 3190 is about 75,000 light-years across at the estimated distance of Hickson 44.

lookatthesefuckinstars:

Hickson 44 in Leo

—-

Explanation: Scanning the skies for galaxies, Canadian astronomer Paul Hickson and colleagues identified some 100 compact groups of galaxies, now appropriately called Hickson Compact Groups. The four prominent galaxies seen in this intriguing telescopic skyscape are one such group, Hickson 44, about 100 million light-years distant toward the constellation Leo. The two spiral galaxies in the center of the image are edge-on NGC 3190 with its distinctive, warped dust lanes, and S-shaped NGC 3187. Along with the bright elliptical, NGC 3193 at the right, they are also known as Arp 316. The spiral in the upper left corner is NGC 3185, the 4th member of the Hickson group. Like other galaxies in Hickson groups, these show signs of distortion and enhanced star formation, evidence of a gravitational tug of war that will eventually result in galaxy mergers on a cosmic timescale. The merger process is now understood to be a normal part of the evolution of galaxies, including our own Milky Way. For scale, NGC 3190 is about 75,000 light-years across at the estimated distance of Hickson 44.

5AM

Supernovae
As frequent as almost every 2 seconds, a massive stellar explosion occurs in the cosmos. This is a Supernovae.
One of the most energetic explosive events known is a supernova. These occur at the end of a star’s lifetime, when its nuclear fuel is exhausted and it is no longer supported by the release of nuclear energy. If the star is particularly massive, then its core will collapse and in so doing will release a huge amount of energy. This will cause a blast wave that ejects the star’s envelope into interstellar space. The result of the collapse may be, in some cases, a rapidly rotating neutron star that can be observed many years later as a radio pulsar.
While many supernovae have been seen in nearby galaxies, they are relatively rare events in our own galaxy. The last to be seen was Kepler’s star in 1604. This remnant has been studied by many X-ray astronomy satellites, including ROSAT. There are, however, many remnants of Supernovae explosions in our galaxy, that are seen as X-ray shell like structures caused by the shock wave propagating out into the interstellar medium. Another famous remnant is the Crab Nebula which exploded in 1054. In this case a pulsar is seen which rotates 30 times a second and emits a rotating beam of X-rays (like a lighthouse). Another dramatic supernova remnant is the Cygnus Loop.
Via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Supernovae

As frequent as almost every 2 seconds, a massive stellar explosion occurs in the cosmos. This is a Supernovae.

One of the most energetic explosive events known is a supernova. These occur at the end of a star’s lifetime, when its nuclear fuel is exhausted and it is no longer supported by the release of nuclear energy. If the star is particularly massive, then its core will collapse and in so doing will release a huge amount of energy. This will cause a blast wave that ejects the star’s envelope into interstellar space. The result of the collapse may be, in some cases, a rapidly rotating neutron star that can be observed many years later as a radio pulsar.

While many supernovae have been seen in nearby galaxies, they are relatively rare events in our own galaxy. The last to be seen was Kepler’s star in 1604. This remnant has been studied by many X-ray astronomy satellites, including ROSAT. There are, however, many remnants of Supernovae explosions in our galaxy, that are seen as X-ray shell like structures caused by the shock wave propagating out into the interstellar medium. Another famous remnant is the Crab Nebula which exploded in 1054. In this case a pulsar is seen which rotates 30 times a second and emits a rotating beam of X-rays (like a lighthouse). Another dramatic supernova remnant is the Cygnus Loop.

Via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

(Source: kenobi-wan-obi, via kenobi-wan-obi)

August272011
August252011
itsfullofstars:

“Diamond” Planet Found; May Be Stripped Star Exotic crystalline world orbits fast-spinning stellar corpse, study says.
An exotic planet as dense as diamond has been found in the Milky Way, and astronomers think the world is a former star that got transformed by its orbital partner.
The odd planet was discovered orbiting what’s known as a millisecond pulsar—a tiny, fast-spinning corpse of a massive star that died in a supernova.
Astronomers estimate that the newfound planet is 34,175 miles (55,000 kilometers) across, or about five times Earth’s diameter.
In addition, “we are very confident it has a density about 18 times that of water,” said study leader Matthew Bailes, an astronomer at the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing in Melbourne, Australia.
“This means it can’t be made of gases like hydrogen and helium like most stars but [must be made of] heavier elements like carbon and oxygen, making it most likely crystalline in nature, like a diamond.”
Keep reading.

itsfullofstars:

“Diamond” Planet Found; May Be Stripped Star
 
Exotic crystalline world orbits fast-spinning stellar corpse, study says.

An exotic planet as dense as diamond has been found in the Milky Way, and astronomers think the world is a former star that got transformed by its orbital partner.

The odd planet was discovered orbiting what’s known as a millisecond pulsar—a tiny, fast-spinning corpse of a massive star that died in a supernova.

Astronomers estimate that the newfound planet is 34,175 miles (55,000 kilometers) across, or about five times Earth’s diameter.

In addition, “we are very confident it has a density about 18 times that of water,” said study leader Matthew Bailes, an astronomer at the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing in Melbourne, Australia.

“This means it can’t be made of gases like hydrogen and helium like most stars but [must be made of] heavier elements like carbon and oxygen, making it most likely crystalline in nature, like a diamond.”

Keep reading.

5AM
5AM
spacettf:

Carina Nebula Pillars by Hubble Heritage on Flickr.
Via Flickr: These one-light-year-tall pillars of cold hydrogen and dust, imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, are located in the Carina Nebula. Violent stellar winds and powerful radiation from massive stars are sculpting the surrounding nebula. Inside the dense structures, new stars may be born. This image of dust pillars in the Carina Nebula is a composite of 2005 observations taken of the region in hydrogen light along with 2010 observations taken in oxygen light, both  times with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The immense Carina Nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina.heritage.stsci.edu/2010/29/

spacettf:

Carina Nebula Pillars by Hubble Heritage on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
These one-light-year-tall pillars of cold hydrogen and dust, imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, are located in the Carina Nebula. Violent stellar winds and powerful radiation from massive stars are sculpting the surrounding nebula. Inside the dense structures, new stars may be born.

This image of dust pillars in the Carina Nebula is a composite of 2005 observations taken of the region in hydrogen light along with 2010 observations taken in oxygen light, both
times with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The immense Carina Nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina.

heritage.stsci.edu/2010/29/

(via abcstarstuff)

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