Lightning Shared The Sky With A RainbowWhen a rainbow formed in the sky people stopped and stared at the natural wonder.
But then lightning sparked across the evening panorama as two of nature's most spectacular phenomenon created an unusual alliance.
The clash of weather was seen above the affluent city of Fort Smith, in the Southern state Arkansas.
One onlooker said: "It was awe inspiring. The lightning made a huge rumbling sound and when you looked up there was also this........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 7/17/2006 7:17:03 PM)
Kidney Stone Prevention In AstronautsAs the space shuttle Discovery prepares to launch on July 1, researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified a way for astronauts to reduce their risk of developing kidney stones while in space.
Astronauts lose calcium in their bones and strength in their muscles while in space because of the zero-gravity environment. This calcium can end up in their kidneys, putting them at risk for developing kidney stones.
At least 14........Go to the Astronomy-news (Added on 6/28/2006 12:12:59 AM)
EpimetheusEpimetheus Multimedia Gallery.
Epimetheus [ep-eh-MEE-thee-us] is an irregularly shaped moon covered with several large and small grooves, valleys and ridges. Several craters larger than 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) can be seen on its surface. The extensive cratering indicates that its surface must be several billion years old.
Epimetheus and Janus, another similarly shaped moon, share the same orbit. As these two moons approach each other........Go to the Astronomy-facts (Added on 6/26/2006 11:08:21 PM)
Saturnian Moon BalletThe cold, icy orbs of the Saturn system come to life in a slew of new movie clips showing the ringed planet's moons in motion.
In addition to their drama and visual interest, researchers use these movies to refine their understanding of the orbits of Saturn's moons. Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., use the same images, and the orbital positions of the moons, to help them navigate the Cassini spacecraft, which........Go to the Astronomy-news (Added on 6/21/2006 11:25:10 PM)
Astronomers Planning Close-ups Of MarsThe two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have accomplished more than their creators thought possible. Stoic, plodding and reliable, they have muscled across the planet's rugged terrain for more than two years, collecting data about the composition of its rocks and soils in the process.
Even the most dogged workhorses, however, have limitations. In their entire time on the planet, the slow-moving rovers have traversed less than 10 square........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/18/2006 11:56:59 AM)
Russia to Land on Mars in 2009The Russians are gearing up for a mission to Mars and one of its moons in 2009. As per Russia's space agency, it is planning to send a space exploration capsule up to the Red Planet to analyze its surface and also collect test samples from one of its moons.
The launching of the space exploration capsule, 'Phobos-Grunt' is scheduled for October 2009. It will take three years for the expedition to complete. At its first stage, the capsule will........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/18/2006 11:35:44 AM)
Three New Asteroids Sharing Neptune's OrbitThree new objects locked into roughly the same orbit as Neptune--called "Trojan" asteroids--have been found by scientists from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) and the Gemini Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii. The discovery offers evidence that Neptune, much like its big cousin Jupiter, hosts thick clouds of Trojans in its orbit, and that these asteroids probably share a common source. It also brings the total of........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/15/2006 11:59:38 PM)
Images Contrast Evolution Of StarsTwo new images from the Gemini Observatory released recently (Monday June 5th 2006) at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Calgary, Canada, show a pair of beautiful nebulae that were created by two very different types of stars at what may be similar points in their evolutionary timelines.
One is a rare type of very massive spectral-type "O" star surrounded by material it ejected in an explosive event earlier in its life that........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/5/2006 9:35:16 PM)
Hundreds Of Young, Distant Galaxy ClustersAstronomers have found the largest number of the most distant, youngest galaxy clusters yet, a feat that will help them observe the developing universe when it was less than half its current age and still in its formative stages.
The team of astronomers from the University of Florida, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has found nearly 300 new galaxy clusters and groups, including nearly 100 at........Go to the Astronomy-news (Added on 6/5/2006 9:01:36 PM)
Planemos May Spawn Planets And MoonsForget our traditional ideas of where a planetary system forms - new research led by a University of Toronto astronomer reveals that planetary nurseries can exist not only around stars but also around objects that are themselves not much heftier than Jupiter. It suggests that miniature versions of the solar system may circle objects that are some 100 times less massive than our sun.
That's the dramatic conclusion of two studies being........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/5/2006 8:58:32 PM)
New Views Of Near-Earth ObjectA Japanese spacecraft has delivered an unprecedented look at one of the near-Earth asteroids that frequently fly by our planet.
Hayabusa, Japanese for "falcon," achieved a close encounter with asteroid 25143 Itokawa last November.
At 1,640 feet (500 meters) long, the asteroid is a small, rocky, "S-type" usually found in the inner regions of the main asteroid belt (virtual solar system).
To some observers Itokawa resembles a lumpy........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/4/2006 1:10:08 PM)
The Case of the Neutron StarA long observation with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory revealed important new details of a neutron star that is spewing out a wake of high-energy particles as it races through space. The deduced location of the neutron star on the edge of a supernova remnant, and the peculiar orientation of the neutron star wake, pose mysteries that remain unresolved.
"Like a kite flying in the wind, the behavior of this neutron star and its wake tell us........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/1/2006 7:23:16 PM)
From Dark To Bright And Red To WhiteCassini's landmark investigation of Saturn's yin-yang moon Iapetus, with its bright and dark hemispheres, continues to provide insights into the nature of this intriguing body.
These two views of Iapetus primarily show terrain in the southern part of the moon's dark leading hemisphere -- the side of Iapetus that is coated with dark material. The bright south pole of Iapetus is visible, along with some terrain (at the bottom) that lies on the........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/1/2006 6:38:50 PM)
A Fleet Of Solar ObservatoriesNew funding, to extend the mission of ESA's venerable solar watchdog SOHO, will ensure it plays a leading part in the fleet of solar spacecraft scheduled to be launched over the next few years.
Since its launch on 2 December 1995, The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) has provided an unprecedented view of the Sun - and not just the side facing the Earth. Two teams have now developed techniques for using SOHO to recreate the........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 5/30/2006 6:45:24 AM)
Clues To Milky Way EvolutionThe measurements, released at an astrophysics workshop at the Aspen Center for Physics in Colorado and available today online to other astronomers, includes examination of old "fossil" stars that were born when our Milky Way galaxy was in its infancy. Team members posit that such data may eventually provide evidence to back up theories that our galaxy has -- over time -- "cannibalized" other, smaller galaxies and is "digesting" them.
"Our........Go to the Astronomy-facts (Added on 5/24/2006 6:49:02 PM)
Internet AstronomyFor a number of generations various human cultures have had great knowledge about the star constellations. However, these days most of the so-called modernized breed of human can't tell you much about what's around us in the infinite Universe. The funny thing is, technically we now know more about what's there than ever before, we've even got photos. With the Hubble Telescope we now have access to the most unbelievable pictures imaginable:........Go to the Astronomy-facts (Added on 5/23/2006 9:29:57 PM)
Astronomy And AstrophysicsAstronomy, which etymologically means laws of the stars, is the science whose subject is the observation and explanation of events outside the earth. Astrophysics was born as the application of physics to the phenomena observed by astronomy, this was only possible once it was understood that the elements that made up the "celestial objects" were the same that made up the Earth, and that the same laws of physics applied. Nearly all astronomers........Go to the Astronomy-facts (Added on 5/23/2006 9:08:30 PM)
Largest-ever 3D Map of a Million GalaxiesAn international team of astronomers has released new results on the Cosmos, based on the largest map of the heavens ever produced.
This massive atlas emphatically confirmed recent findings that the Universe is full of 'dark energy', a mysterious substance that makes up three-quarters of our Universe, together with 'dark matter' which accounts for most of the remaining quarter. Understanding this composition is now one of the most important........Go to the Astronomy-news (Added on 5/23/2006 8:54:38 PM)
Moonrocks that BreathAn early, persistent problem noted by Apollo astronauts on the Moon was dust. It got everywhere, including into their lungs. Oddly enough, that may be where future Moon explorers get their next breath of air: The moon's dusty layer of soil is nearly half oxygen.
"All you have to do is vaporize the stuff," says Eric Cardiff of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He leads one of several teams developing ways to provide astronauts oxygen........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 5/23/2006 8:43:08 PM)
Explosions In Gigantic Dusty Potato CrispESO's Very Large Telescope, equipped with the multi-mode FORS instrument, took an image of NGC 3190, a galaxy so distorted that astronomers gave it two names. And as if to prove them right, in 2002 it fired off, almost simultaneously, two stellar explosions, a very rare event.
This beautiful edge-on spiral galaxy with tightly wound arms and a warped shape that makes it resemble a gigantic potato crisp lies in the constellation Leo ('the........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 5/18/2006 8:46:58 PM)
Gassendi craterThis mosaic of two images, taken by the advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft, shows the inside of crater Gassendi on the Moon.
AMIE obtained these images on 13 January 2006, one minute apart from each other, from a distance of about 1220 kilometres (top frame) and 1196 kilometres (bottom frame) from the surface, with a ground resolution of 110 and 108 metres per pixel, respectively.
The area shown in........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 7/9/2006 8:36:20 PM)
The Hooked GalaxyBecause of the importance of exploding stars, and especially of supernovae of Type Ia , for cosmological studies (e.g. relating to claims of an accelerated cosmic expansion and the existence of a new, unknown, constituent of the universe - the so called 'Dark Energy'), they are a preferred target of study for astronomers. Thus, on several occasions, they pointed ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) towards a region of the sky that portrays a........Go to the Astronomy-news (Added on 6/28/2006 11:47:10 PM)
EnceladusEnceladus [en-SELL-ah-dus] is one of the brightest objects in our solar system. Covered in water ice that reflects sunlight like freshly fallen snow, Enceladus reflects almost 100 percent of the sunlight that strikes it. Because Enceladus reflects so much sunlight, the surface temperature is extremely cold, about -201 degree C (-330 degree F).
About as wide as Arizona, Enceladus is quite similar in size to Mimas but has a smoother,........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/26/2006 11:04:27 PM)
Asteroid Probe Offers New ViewsA Japanese spacecraft has delivered an unprecedented look at one of the near-Earth asteroids that frequently fly by our planet.
Hayabusa, Japanese for "falcon," achieved a close encounter with asteroid 25143 Itokawa last November.
At 1,640 feet (500 meters) long, the asteroid is a small, rocky, "S-type" commonly found in the inner regions of the main asteroid belt (virtual solar system).
To some observers Itokawa resembles a lumpy........Go to the Astronomy-facts (Added on 6/18/2006 12:04:25 PM)
Mini-planet Systems Get StrangerMini planetary systems may orbit cosmic objects that are 100 times smaller than our Sun, research suggests.
Discs of gas and dust, the ingredients needed to create such systems, have been seen circling these relatively small objects, dubbed "planemos".
If the discs were capable of evolving larger aggregations of material, it would blur the definition of the word "planet", scientists said.
The work was presented at the American........Go to the Astronomy-news (Added on 6/18/2006 12:01:35 PM)
The Sky is FallingEvery day, more than a metric ton of meteoroids hits the Moon," says Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center's Meteoroid Environment Office. They literally fall out of the sky, in all shapes and sizes, from specks of comet dust to full-blown asteroids, traveling up to a hundred thousand mph. And when they hit, they do not disintegrate harmlessly in the atmosphere as most would on Earth. On the airless Moon, meteoroids hit the ground.
........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/18/2006 11:51:53 AM)
FUSEing Carbon PlanetsScientists using NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, or FUSE, have discovered abundant amounts of carbon gas in a dusty disk surrounding a well-studied young star named Beta Pictoris.
Asteroids and comets orbiting Beta Pictoris might contain large amounts of carbon-rich material, such as graphite and methane. Planets forming from or impacted by such bodies would be very different from those in our solar system and might have........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/11/2006 12:45:38 PM)
Mysterious Carbon Excess Found In Infant Solar SystemD.C. Astronomers detected uncommonly high quantities of carbon, the basis of all terrestrial life, in an infant solar system around nearby star Beta Pictoris, 63 light-years away. "For years we've looked to this early forming solar system as one that might be going through the same processes our own solar system did when the rocky planets, including Earth, were forming," commented lead author Aki Roberge,* who began the research while at........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/8/2006 12:04:56 AM)
Galaxy Evolution In Cyber UniverseScientists at the University of Chicago have bolstered the case for a popular scenario of the big bang theory that neatly explains the arrangement of galaxies throughout the universe. Their supercomputer simulation shows how dark matter, an invisible material of unknown composition, herded luminous matter in the universe from its initial smooth state into the cosmic web of galaxies and galaxy clusters that populate the universe.
Previous........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/5/2006 9:09:31 PM)
The Lovell TelescopeI've just been looking though some of my photos from a few years ago so thought I would share one.
This is a photo of the University of Manchester's Lovell Telescope. It's a radio telescope and is 76m across (equivalent to about three public swimming pool lengths). It was the largest radio telescope in the world when it was built in 1957. It had cost rather a lot of public money and was in financial difficulties before it was even finished.........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/4/2006 1:43:17 PM)
Close-up On Zucchius CraterThis image, taken by the advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft, shows the central peaks of crater Zucchius.
AMIE obtained this image on 14 January 2006 from a distance of about 753 kilometres from the surface, with a ground resolution of 68 metres per pixel.
The imaged area is centred at a latitude of 61.3º South and longitude 50.8º West. Zucchius is a prominent lunar impact crater located near the........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/1/2006 7:36:30 PM)
Huge Crater Found Under IcePlanetary scientists have found evidence of a meteor impact much larger and earlier than the one that killed the dinosaurs -- an impact that they believe caused the biggest mass extinction in Earth's history.
The 300-mile-wide crater lies hidden more than a mile beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. And the gravity measurements that reveal its existence suggest that it could date back about 250 million years -- the time of the........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 6/1/2006 6:43:25 PM)
Finding Fourth Dimension of SpaceResearchers at Duke and Rutgers universities have developed a mathematical framework they say will enable astronomers to test a new five-dimensional theory of gravity that competes with Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.
Charles R. Keeton of Rutgers and Arlie O. Petters of Duke base their work on a recent theory called the type II Randall-Sundrum braneworld gravity model. The theory holds that the visible universe is a membrane (hence........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 5/30/2006 11:53:04 PM)
Discovery Moves to Launch PadThe Space Shuttle Discovery stands at its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The shuttle arrived at 8:30 p.m. EDT Friday on top of a giant vehicle known as the crawler transporter.
"Rollout of Space Shuttle Discovery signifies the last major processing milestone in preparation for our next mission, STS-121," said Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale. "The entire team has worked tremendously hard to ensure we were prepared to........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 5/27/2006 10:29:41 AM)
Generations Of Astronomers Survey The StarsThe speeds of stars reveal where they were born," said George Seabroke, a graduate student at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge. "We're trying to find out whether stars in our own Milky Way galaxy were actually made here or whether some of them existed in other galaxies, before becoming part of our Galaxy. Such a large survey wasn't possible in my great-great-grandfather's era."
Current galaxy formation theories predict that some of........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 5/24/2006 6:32:39 PM)
The moonIgnoring the occasional pre-telescopic appearance of exceptionally large sunspots, the Moon is the only heavenly body which shows features to the naked eye--the Man in the Moon. These features are permanent, and it was therefore obvious that the Moon always keeps its same face turned to us (eventhough there are minor perturbations that were not noticed until later). In the philosophy of Aristotle (384-322 BCE), these features presented somewhat........Go to the Astronomy-facts (Added on 5/23/2006 9:18:07 PM)
Milky Way CompanionsThe Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-II) announced recently the discoveries of two new, very faint companion galaxies to the Milky Way.
The first was found in the direction of the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dog) by SDSS-II researcher Daniel Zucker at Cambridge University (UK). His colleague Vasily Belokurov discovered the second in the constellation Bootes (the Herdsman).
"I was poring over the survey's map of distant stars........Go to the Astronomy-news (Added on 5/23/2006 8:59:38 PM)
Multiple Galaxy Mergers Continue in Milky WayA new map of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, constructed with data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-II), reveals a night sky criss-crossed with streams of stars, left behind by satellite galaxies and star clusters spiraling to their deaths.
Analyzing five years of data spanning nearly one-quarter of the sky, Cambridge University (UK) scientists Vasily Belokurov and Daniel Zucker created a dramatic new image of the outer Milky Way,........Go to the Astronomy-news (Added on 5/23/2006 8:51:50 PM)
Spitzer Spies Remnants of a Shy StarBig stars commonly aren't shy about anything, not even death. At the end of their lives, they throw explosive tantrums, called supernovae, flinging abundant amounts of hot gas and radiation into space. Remnants of this cosmic fury can last for several thousand years and be easily detected by most telescopes used by professional astronomers.
But not all stars like attention. Thirty thousand light-years away in the Cepheus constellation,........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 5/22/2006 11:17:43 PM)
Looking Beyond The Birth Of The UniverseAs per Einstein's general theory of relativity, the Big Bang represents The Beginning, the grand event at which not only matter but space-time itself was born. While classical theories offer no clues about existence before that moment, a research team at Penn State has used quantum gravitational calculations to find threads that lead to an earlier time. "General relativity can be used to describe the universe back to a point at which matter........Go to the Astronomy-blog (Added on 5/18/2006 8:37:00 PM)