Tuesday, July 7, 2015

the Not-so-final Frontier

There are so many new stories about space today, I haven't stopped posting.

They are all of interest ... at least to me.

How does the universe appear to you - big or small?
Can you move your consciousness to the edges? What do you see?

Can you go through a back hole? What do you see?

It's all about your perception of space-time and beyond.

A pinch of metaphysics and two-parts physics and we have a blog.

Trending in Space on 7/7

Astronomers use cosmic gravity to create a 'black-hole-scope'   PhysOrg - July 7, 2015
The Integral, Fermi and Swift space observatories have used the magnifying power of a cosmic lens to explore the inner regions of a supermassive black hole. Massive cosmic objects, from single stars to galaxy clusters, bend and focus the light that flows around them with their gravity, acting like giant magnifying glasses. Dr Neronov and colleagues used a star sitting between their target and Earth to 'zoom in' to the black hole and measure the size of the jet-emitting region - the first time this method has ever been used with gamma rays.

What is the newest planet?   PhysOrg - July 7, 2015
With astronomers discovering new planets and other celestial objects all the time, you may be wondering what the newest planet to be discovered is. Well, that depends on your frame of reference. If we are talking about our Solar System, then the answer used to be Pluto, which was discovered by the American astronomer Clyde William Tombaugh in 1930. Unfortunately, Pluto lost its status as a planet in 2006 when it was reclassified as a dwarf planet.

Catching Earth at aphelion   PhysOrg - July 7, 2015
Do you feel a little distant today? The day after the 4th of July weekend brings with it the promise of barbecue leftovers and discount fireworks. It also sees our fair planet at aphelion, or its farthest point from the sun. In 2015, aphelion (or apoapsis) occurs at 19:40 Universal Time (UT)/3:40 PM EDT today, as we sit 1.01668 astronomical units (AU) from the sun. This translates to 152.1 million kilometres, or 94.5 million miles. We're actually 3.3% closer to the sun in early January than we are today. This also the latest aphelion has occurred on the calendar year since 2007, and it won't fall on July 6th again until 2018. The insertion of an extra day every leap year causes the date for Earth aphelion to slowly vary between July 3rd and July 6th in the current epoch.

NASA's Dawn holding in second mapping orbit   PhysOrg - July 7, 2015
On June 30, shortly after turning on its ion engine to begin the gradual spiral down to the next mapping orbit, its protective software detected the anomaly. Dawn responded as designed by stopping all activities (including thrusting), reconfiguring its systems to safe mode and transmitting a radio signal to request further instructions. On July 1 and 2, engineers made configuration changes needed to return the spacecraft to its normal operating mode. The spacecraft is out of safe mode, using the main antenna to communicate with Earth.

Earth and Mars could share a life history   PhysOrg - July 7, 2015
While life is everywhere on Earth, there is much debate about how it began. Some believe it originated naturally from the chemistry found on our planet as it evolved. Others hypothesize that life - or at least the building blocks of it like DNA - crashed onto our planet from such extraterrestrial bodies as comets.

Martian gems could point to evidence of life   PhysOrg - July 7, 2015
Scientists have discovered for the first time direct physical evidence of the existence of opals on Mars. The traces of the precious stone, which were found in a Martian meteorite, could help future exploration missions decide where to look for evidence of life on the red planet.

Transition discs in Ophiuchus and Taurus   PhysOrg - July 7, 2015
A star is typically born with a disk of gas and dust encircling it, from which planets develop as dust grains in the disk collide, stick together and grow. These disks, warmed by the star to a range of temperatures above the cold, ambient interstellar material, can be detected at infrared or millimeter wavelengths, and their infrared color used to characterize their properties.

Great video ...
  Reaching Pluto, and the End of an Era of Planetary Exploration   New York Times - July 6, 2015
On July 14, we are to clear the last of the big hills. After a journey of nine and a half years and three billion miles, the New Horizons spacecraft is to go past Pluto, once the ninth and outermost planet, the last of the known worlds to be explored. This is the beginning of the end of a phase of human exploration. The crawling-out-of-our-cradle-and-looking-around part is over.

Astronomers see pebbles poised to make planets   Astronomy.com - July 7, 2015
team of astronomers led from St. Andrews and Manchester universities has announced the discovery of a ring of rocks circling a young star. This is the first time these Òpebbles,Ó thought to be a crucial link in building planets, have been detected. Planets are thought to form from the dust and gas that encircles young stars in a disk. Over time, dust particles stick together until they build up bigger clumps. Eventually, these have enough mass that gravity becomes significant, and over millions of years the clumps crash together to make planets and moons. In our own solar system, this process took place about 4.5 billion years ago, with the giant planet Jupiter the first to form.

Starry Vortex Takes Top Spot in Nightscapes Photo Contest   Live Science - July 7, 2015

A vortex of stars seems to swirl above Table Mountain in South Africa in the winning image of this year's International Earth & Sky Photo Contest. The contest highlights stunning "nightscapes," or images that combine the night sky with Earthly scenery. Winner Eric Nathan, a self-taught freelance photographer, stacked more than 900 30-second exposures to create the image, which shows star trails caused by the rotation of the Earth.