Skip navigation
Help

Astronomy

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/vhosts/sayforward.com/subdomains/recorder/httpdocs/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

Publication: Epic new book reveals previously unseen photographs of the surface of Mars

Posted by Liv Siddall,
Thursday 03 October 2013

Everyone’s talking about going to visit Mars now that the option is now sort of available. To be honest, there are actually some people I would happily wave off as they careered off to an uninhabitable planet that can be up to 250 million miles away. For those of us who prefer a simple life on watery, flowery earth, here is a truly exciting book to be released this year by Aperture.

The coffee-table-groaning publication is made up of astounding and previously unseen photographs of the surface of Mars. Cosy it is not, but epic, cratered and cracked it is. The surface is like monochrome close-up of a Dominos pizza, round, fiery and has been on fire for the majority of it’s life. As well as the jaw-dropping imagery that reside on its glossy pages, the design of This is Mars has been impeccably thought out by Xavier Barral. “Conceived as a visual atlas, the book takes the reader on a fantastic voyage — plummeting into the breathtaking depths of the Velles Marineris canyons; floating over the black dunes of Noachis Terra; and soaring to the highest peak in our solar system, the Olympus Mons volcano. The search for traces of water also uncovers vast stretches of carbonic ice at the planet’s poles.” See and blow your mind even more here on their site then call up NASA to pre-book your seat on the one-way rocket to the planet itself.

  • 11
0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
(author unknown)

Photographers around the world looked up to the sky this past weekend to capture the "supermoon." This is the phenomenon when the moon makes its closest approach to Earth, appearing 30 percent brighter and about 14 percent larger than a typical full moon. It occurs about once every 14 months and is technically called a perigee full moon. At 221,823 miles from Earth, the supermoon was a feast for the eyes.-Leanne Burden Seidel (24 photos total)
A cotton candy vendor walks in from of the moon during the Los Angeles Angels' baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, June 22 in Anaheim, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)    

0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
(author unknown)

This was a weekend of the Sun and Moon -- a coincidence of the summer solstice and the "Supermoon". Friday was the summer solstice (in the northern hemisphere), welcomed by humans for thousands of years as the longest day of the year. In ancient times, people celebrated this day as the center point of summer. Some still observe the solstice with ceremonies and prayers, gathering on mountaintops or at spiritual landmarks. Over the weekend, skywatchers around the world were also treated to views of the so-called Supermoon, the largest full moon of the year. On Sunday, the moon approached within 357,000 km (222,000 mi) of Earth, in what is called a perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system (perigee: closest point of an elliptical orbit; syzygy: straight line made of three bodies in a gravitational system). Photographers across the globe set out to capture both events, and collected here are 24 images of our two most-visible celestial neighbors. [24 photos]

The largest full moon of 2013, a "supermoon" scientifically known as a "perigee moon", rises over the Tien Shan mountains and the monument to 18th century military commander Nauryzbai Batyr near the town of Kaskelen, some 23 km (14 mi) west of Almaty, Kazakhstan, on June 23, 2013. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov)     

0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
Michael D. Lemonick

Amateur astronomers call it the Penguin, and no wonder. Even through a good-size backyard telescope, that’s exactly what seems to be out there, hanging in distant space 326 million light years from Earth. With the clear-eyed vision of the Hubble Space Telescope, the resemblance is even more striking: it’s as though some cosmic artist has captured a bright-eyed, sharp-beaked bird leaning protectively over a reddish egg, with two stars — one shooting — in the skies above.

Both bird and egg are fully certified galaxies, though, lying in the constellation Hydra. The bird is a spiral galaxy, officially known as NGC 2936, and it would normally look like the Milky Way — a great, majestically spinning pinwheel made up of hundreds of billions of stars.

But the egg has changed all that. It’s a blob-shaped elliptical galaxy, NGC 2937, and its gravity has pulled and elongated the spiral, stretching one side into a sharp, beak-shaped projection and smearing the other side into the penguin’s body. (The reddish streaks are clouds of interstellar dust that formerly permeated the galaxy’s spiral arms). The two bright spots hovering above the penguin’s head are plain old stars within the Milky Way that just happen to lie in the same direction as the two galaxies — and the streak that seems to be flying away from the right-hand star is yet another galaxy, far in the background.

(MORE: Meet the Itsy-Bitsy, Teeny-Weeny Galaxy)

Back in the 1960s, astronomer Halton Arp included this weird configuration in his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, but as telescopes have gotten more powerful, scientists now know that such distorted shapes are usually caused when two or more galaxies venture too close to each other, “exchanging matter and causing havoc” as a press release puts it.

The explanation is prosaic, but the image, taken recently in both infrared and visible light by the Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 3, is anything but. It’s just one more in a long list of space objects that look at least passingly biological — the Horsehead Nebula, the Crab Nebula, the Cat’s Eye Nebula, Jupiter’s moon Europa (which looks something like a bloodshot eyeball), and the infamous Face on Mars are just a few examples. Even the structure of the universe itself resembles the structure of the human brain, according to some scientists.

It’s no surprise, though: humans are hard-wired to see patterns in nature. That’s why we see all manner of creatures, not just in the heavens, but also in clouds. It’s a consequence of evolution — but it also transforms the world around us into a sort of living poetry.

(PHOTOS: The Solar-Powered Plane Soars Across America)

Michael D. Lemonick is a regular contributor to TIME, writing on science, space and technology. 

0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
WSJ Staff

NASA released a false-color image of one of the first close-up views of a massive hurricane churning above Saturn's north pole today.

0
Your rating: None

MESTAVAINIO IC 1396 Nebula

The truly massive clouds of gas and dust that we call Nebulae are often the subjects of some spectacular photography, but these pictures leave the task of visualizing the 3D-space a nebula takes up to our imagination. That challenge inspired Finnish astrophotographer J-P Mestävainio to create artistically-interpreted 3D animations of nebula he's photographed. His method involves adding interpretations and educated guesses based on the formation of the nebula and a rule-of-thumb that brighter stars are closer than darker ones to known data about the nebula, like distance and the location of certain stars around it to create a 3D model of the nebula. It may not have much scientific merit, but it's a fantastic way to see these structures...

Continue reading…

0
Your rating: None


The star V838 Monocerotis erupted catastrophically in 2002, growing from obscurity to become one of the brightest known stars in the Milky Way. As the comic strip above shows, it shed a lot of mass during the process. A new model may explain how this happened, if the star was actually part of a binary.

NASA/ESA/The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Stars are plasma, gas ionized as the result of extreme internal temperatures. A solitary star will be mostly spherical under the force of its own gravity. However, when stars are in close binaries, their mutual attraction distorts their shapes. The extreme version of this is the common envelope stage, wherein the stars' outer regions merge to make a single, huge double star. According to theory, that is. While nobody seriously doubts this model, all the observational evidence for common envelope binaries is indirect.

A new Science paper proposes that a class of violent astronomical events that we've observed may be due to common envelope stars, providing more direct evidence for their existence. These cataclysms are known as "red transient outbursts," and in brightness terms, they're somewhere between novas (flares of nuclear activity at the surfaces of white dwarfs) and supernovas, the violent deaths of stars. N. Ivanova, S. Justham, J. L. Avendado Nandez, and J. C. Lombardi Jr. identified a possible physical model for these outbursts, based on the recombination of electrons and ions in the plasma when the stars' envelopes merge.

The most famous red transient outburst came from the star euphoniously known as V838 Monocerotis. Before 2002, nobody had noticed the star at all, but for a brief period of time, it expanded hugely, flared brightly, and shed an impressive amount of gas and dust into surrounding space. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) tracked the outburst over the intervening years, but despite the regular check-ins, there is no widely accepted explanation for it.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

0
Your rating: None

Quasar (Nasa)

An international team of astronomers led by the University of Central Lancashire in the UK has discovered "the largest known structure in the universe." The team says that the recently observed large quasar group — comprised of dozens of highly energetic star-like objects — has a typical size of 500 Megaparsecs, but the size of the cluster is closer to 1200 Mpc at its widest point. To put that into perspective, the distance between our own Milky Way galaxy and Andromeda is about 0.75 Mpc.

The discovery has larger implications for the study of cosmology too. Albert Einstein’s Cosmological Principle states that the universe looks the same regardless of the observation point when viewed at a large enough scale. Einstein’s principle...

Continue reading…

0
Your rating: None

scibri writes "Photographs of Einstein's brain taken shortly after his death, but never before analysed in detail, have now revealed that it had several unusual features, providing tantalizing clues about the neural basis of his extraordinary mental abilities. The most striking observation was 'the complexity and pattern of convolutions on certain parts of Einstein's cerebral cortex,' especially in the prefrontal cortex, and also parietal lobes and visual cortex. The prefrontal cortex is important for the kind of abstract thinking that Einstein would have needed for his famous thought experiments on the nature of space and time, such as imagining riding alongside a beam of light. The unusually complex pattern of convolutions there probably gave the region a larger-than-normal surface area, which may have contributed to his remarkable abilities."


Share on Google+

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

0
Your rating: None