Posts

December 16, 2014

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6:40 PM | Week 30: Closing the Circle in Macon, Georgia
A Grinch Xmas tree! (All photos by the author). We’ve done it. This week sees us close the circle in our 2014 trek through the “lower” 48 contiguous United States. The auspicious event occurred in the state of Georgia just north of Macon, which was our final press stop for the 2014 tour. Fans of [...]
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6:33 PM | Scientists trying to create “exoplanet zoo”
Scientists are working to simulate and catalogue the properties of Earth-like planets to create an “exoplanet zoo,”—a collection of worlds with similar compositions but different levels of habitability. That’s the goal of a new modeling approach presented by Cayman Unterborn during a poster session Monday morning at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
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6:30 PM | Curiosity Detects Mysterious Methane Spikes on Mars
A gas strongly associated with life on Earth has been detected again in the Martian atmosphere, opening a new chapter in a decade-old mystery about the on-again, off-again appearance of methane on Mars.
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5:24 PM | Meteor Not?
So in my post about the Geminid meteor shower yesterday, I said that I didn't catch a single Geminid in my photos, and that's true. But going over them carefully, I happened to see something a bit weird, and I'm not sure what to make of it. I took many shots of Orion, since it was perfectly placed over a tree, and any meteors going across it would make for a great photograph. I kept the exposures to 20-30 seconds, since the sky background was pretty bright, and I didn't want the stars to trail […]
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5:00 PM | Tour of NGC 2207
When galaxies get together, there is also the chance of a spectacular light show.
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4:00 PM | Another Hibernating Spacecraft Wakes Up.
After nine years and a journey of 3 billion miles (4.8 billion km), NASA’s New Horizons robotic probe awoke from hibernation to begin its mission to study the planet Pluto and other worlds in the Kuiper Belt. A pre-set alarm clock awoke New Horizons at 3 p.m. EST, and 6 1/2 hours later, NASA’s ground … Continue reading →
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2:05 PM | La relatività generale: dal 1905 al 2005
In questo video, che fa parte di una serie di lectio magistralis che si sono tenute al Caltech come parte dell’Einstein Centennial Lecture Series, Kip Thorne presenta la teoria della relatività generale. Tra gli argomenti discussi la curvatura dello spaziotempo, i buchi neri, le onde gravitazionali e l’espansione accelerata dell’Universo. A partire dal 1905, Einstein … Continue reading La relatività generale: dal 1905 al 2005 →
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1:43 PM | NASA’s Pathways Interns
All About That Space …we’re doing exploration! Apparently it’s not all work and no play for the Pathways Interns of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Following their hard work with the recent Orion launch they decided to celebrate while reminding us what it’s REALLY all about. In an effort to promote ‘bringing rockets back’, they’ve rewritten […]
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12:30 PM | 50 Shades of 67/P
That picture shown above is, seriously, a full-color photo of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It was taken by the Rosetta spacecraft on Aug. 6, 2014, when the probe was still 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the comet (long before the Philae lander was deployed). The OSIRIS camera on board has red, green, and blue filters that allow the camera to mimic what the human eye sees. It’s not exact, but it’s close. And what you see is … gray. Which means the comet really is just […]
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12:19 PM | Uovo e spermatozoo, un incontro che fa scintille
Una serie di bagliori che accendono la cellula uovo: è quello che succede dopo la fecondazione. A immortalare il fenomeno, per la prima volta, è stato un gruppo di ricercato statunitensi
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9:00 AM | Who Gives Press Releases Their Power?
Newsflash — Press releases about medical studies may contain hype. That was the conclusion of a report published last week in the medical journal BMJ. Petroc Sumner, a professor at Cardiff University, compared 462 press releases on medical studies from leading United Kingdom universities in 2011 and found that 33 to 40 percent of the […]
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8:37 AM | Un avatar cellulare (italiano) per combattere l’autismo
Si chiama “disease modeling”: è una tecnica che usa le cellule staminali per studiare l'evoluzione genetica delle malattie. Un'équipe di ricercatori italiani ha applicato la tecnica allo studio dell'autismo: ecco cosa ha scoperto
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8:14 AM | Insetti come mangimi, l’idea è made in Italy
Si chiama Diptera ed è una delle start-up che hanno vinto l'ultima edizione del Premio Nazionale per l'Innovazione. Il suo ideatore ci spiega meglio come e perché trasformare gli insetti in cibo per animali
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7:03 AM | Descent into Siberia's mystery crater
No summary available for this post.
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4:00 AM | Messaggeri dell’Universo ‘invisibile’
Abbiamo detto varie volte che la materia ordinaria rappresenta quasi il 5% dell’Universo, tutto il resto è qualcosa di invisibile a cui gli scienziati hanno dato il nome di materia scura ed energia scura. Oggi, un gruppo di ricercatori che lavoreranno ad un nuovo esperimento che sarà condotto presso il Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility … Continue reading Messaggeri dell’Universo ‘invisibile’ →
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2:24 AM | Cells of the century
No summary available for this post.
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2:01 AM | Growing forests with fire
In the summer of 2012, Heather Alexander traveled to a remote larch forest in eastern Siberia, gathered together piles of dry twigs and branches, and lit a match. Alexander, a biologist at the University of Texas at Brownsville, is a fire starter. Her work aims to understand whether increasingly common fires in the boreal larch forests of north-eastern Siberia are unleashing more carbon into the atmosphere or, paradoxically, helping the forests capture and store atmospheric carbon by promoting […]
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1:58 AM | Memory Monday: Our Universe Changes (Synopsis)
“Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” -Carl Sagan 34 years ago, Carl Sagan became the first person to present —…
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1:57 AM | Memory Monday: Our Universe Changes
In 1980, Carl Sagan laid out the story of the Universe to the best of our knowledge. Here are the three biggest advances.Continue reading on Medium »
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1:28 AM | Help NASA Spacecraft Name Mercury's Craters
The MESSENGER mission is approaching the end of its operational life, but before it dies, you can help NASA name 5 of Mercury's craters.

December 15, 2014

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11:00 PM | New Joint Effort to Showcase American Innovation.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Smithsonian Institution will collaborate on a five-year project to develop programs and exhibitions showcasing American innovation. There will be a major new intellectual property (IP) exhibition at the National Museum of American History.    Additionally, there will be an Innovation Festival and educational programs at … Continue reading →
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9:07 PM | Tidally Squished Exoplanets Could Soon be Detected
Astronomers have detected a huge array of exoplanets of different sizes -- now we are on the verge of detecting worlds of different shapes.
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6:52 PM | Comical Immunity
Speaking of vaccines, my pal Maki Naro is a fantastic illustrator and pro-science guy, and he just put up a wonderful comic about why vaccines are important. I love this. He hits on lots of critical topics, like how our immune system works, how vaccines prime that system to fight off diseases, why herd immunity is important, and why it's hard to keep up with evolving viruses. Just as importantly, he hammers the anti-vaxxers who so richly deserve it, like Jenny McCarthy, Andrew Wakefield, and […]
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6:31 PM | New Japanese ALMA Video Is Breathtaking
Topically transcending cultures, the reasons the new Japanese ALMA video below might not get be as widely shared in America would be insignificant reasons.ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) is one of my favorite projects in astronomy, yielding some of the most freaking ridiculously beautiful data humans have yet to discover and render.  The most well known ALMA related image is probably this one, the Antennae Galaxies composite of ALMA and Hubble […]
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5:53 PM | Reporting from the 2014 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union
In San Francisco, in an annual tradition, more than 20,000 geologists are descending on the Moscone Center. I'll be attending #AGU14 this week, but you can also watch press briefings and many of the sessions online.
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5:44 PM | Ep. 359: Modern Women: Margaret Geller
Margaret Geller is best known for her work on the large scale structure of the Universe, helping us understand the large clusters, super clusters and cosmic filaments that matter clumps into. Ep. 359: Modern Women: Margaret Geller Jump to Shownotes Jump to Transcript Show Notes Sponsors: 8th Light and Swinburne Astronomy Online Astronomy Cast on […]
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5:00 PM | Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Is As Grey As Its Name Is Difficult To Pronounce.
Admittedly, my Russian is rusty, but these names, I think, even native speakers are baffled by the names.  The comet named after them is apparently as bland as it is difficult to pronounce. The latest image released, and the first color image, of the comet shows a dark grey mass floating in space.  The image … Continue reading →
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4:27 PM | A Rain of (Teeny) Asteroids
Over the weekend, the Geminid meteor shower came to a peak. This annual event occurs when the Earth plows through debris left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon as it orbits the Sun (it gets so close to the Sun that bits of the rock vaporize and blow off the asteroid). Each little bit of interplanetary detritus is moving at about 35 kilometers/sec (22 miles/sec), fast enough that as it rams through our air, it heats up enough to become incandescent, and we see a “shooting star.” I […]
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4:05 PM | Mostra Food: quante ne sai sul cibo?
A Milano fino al 28 giugno, il Museo di Storia naturale ospita una mostra sulla scienza che si nasconde dentro i piatti. Evoluzione, storia e segreti del cibo, aspettando Expo
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3:44 PM | What would you like to learn in 2015?
As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, I’m director of CosmoAcademy: the branch of the CosmoQuest public outreach/citizen science organization that runs online classes. We’ve had a good year, offering a variety of classes on many topics. Now we’re looking ahead to 2015 and the sorts of things we want to offer in the new year. […]
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