Posts

April 30, 2015

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10:58 PM | Throwback Thursday: The Physics of Happy Gilmore
Can a running start really improve your driving distance in golf?Continue reading on Medium »
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10:01 PM | Observer's Guide - May 2015
It's a new month and here in the Southern Hemisphere we're starting to enter into winter when the stargazing is at its best.  Cold dry air, with the best the southern skies have to offer all neatly presented, capped off with a nice selection of planets throughout the night makes for what should be an excellent month. I say "should be" because the weather doesn't seem to realise what's expected of it.  The rainy season should have stopped months ago, and we should long since have […]
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9:56 PM | NASA Chief Statement on House Budget Bill
As I wrote this morning, Republicans on the House Committee for Science, Space, and Technology passed a nakedly partisan budget authorization bill for NASA that drastically and brutally slashes hundreds of millions of dollars from NASA's Earth Science Division, which studies how climate change is affecting our planet. Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, issued a statement that is brief, to the point, and clearly states his feelings. The NASA authorization bill making its way through the House […]
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8:23 PM | Forever Farewell: NASA's Mercury Probe is now an Impact Crater
At 3:26 p.m. ET today (Thursday), NASA's MESSENGER mission to the innermost planet of the solar system came to a dramatic end, smashing into Mercury's surface at a speed of over 8,700 miles per hour.
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6:59 PM | This is Where NASA's MESSENGER Mercury Mission Will Die
NASA has released a map of the region where the spacecraft is expected to crash.
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6:56 PM | “It Just Gets More Exciting from Here!”
Possible Pluto Features Sighted The news from the New Horizons mission just keeps getting better. The latest images, combined into an animation, show what might be a polar cap on the dwarf planet. It’s the best picture yet of this distant, tiny world. The good news is, as the spacecraft gets closer, the images are just going to [...]
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6:10 PM | Amazon Founder's Suborbital Spaceship Blasts Off
Blue Origin, a startup space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, launched its New Shepard spaceship on its first flight into suborbital space on Wednesday.
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5:49 PM | Sun's Beautiful Magnetism Captured in Stunning Eclipse Photo
When you block out the glare of the sun, usually invisible -- and beautiful -- phenomena pop into view.
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5:00 PM | Chandra Sketches: The Nuts and Bolts of Astronomy
My mom works for NASA, for a telescope that studies X-rays from space. She told me about how the telescope, called Chandra, was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle.
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3:40 PM | The Big Lie of science
The venom may arise because some people are deeply invested in a narrative of persistent and pervasive bias against women in academic science, perhaps because of ideological beliefs in the ubiquity of gender discrimination. Some people may be attempting to salve their disappointment at a job market that keeps thousands of well-qualified people from having […]
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2:00 PM | Farewell, Good MESSENGER
Today, sometime around 19:30 UTC (3:30 p.m. Eastern U.S. time), the MESSENGER spacecraft will slam into the planet Mercury at nearly four kilometers per second. That will bring to an end an astonishingly successful mission, one that was ridiculously difficult to pull off. Getting a probe to Mercury is hard. Mercury orbits the Sun far faster than Earth does, but, ironically, dropping the probe straight down from Earth would accelerate it too much to achieve orbit. On its way to the inner solar […]
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1:50 PM | Spacecraft Set for Death Plunge Into Mercury
The spacecraft is expected to crash onto the planet's surface at a searing 8,750 miles per hour -- fast enough to carve out a crater 52 feet wide.
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1:28 PM | Supermassive Black Holes Running at Full Tilt
Bin Luo We are very pleased to welcome Bin Luo as a guest blogger today. He led the study on supermassive black holes that is the subject of our latest press release. Bin obtained a PhD degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the Pennsylvania State University in 2010, working on the Chandra Deep Field surveys. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and later back at the Pennsylvania State University. He will start a faculty position in […]
Editor's Pick
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1:27 PM | NASA's Chandra Suggests Black Holes Gorging at Excessive Rates
Astronomers have studied 51 quasars with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and found they may represent an unusual population of black holes that consume excessive amounts of matter, as described in our latest press release. Quasars are objects that have supermassive black holes that also shine very brightly in different types of light. By examining the X-ray properties with Chandra, and combining them with data from ultraviolet and visible light observations, scientists are trying to determine […]
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1:26 PM | Kathmandu si è sollevata di un metro dopo il terremoto
La capitale nepalese si è sollevata di un metro a causa del terremoto. Lo svelano le analisi del Cnr di Napoli
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11:13 AM | La navicella russa fuori controllo brucerà in atmosfera
Dopo l'impossibilità di ristabilire il controllo di Progress 59, la navicella che avrebbe dovuto rifornire la Iss, si attende ora il suo impatto con l'atmosfera, dove brucerà la prossima settimana
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11:00 AM | House GOP Wants to Eviscerate NASA Earth Sciences in New Budget
There’s no other way to put this, so I’ll be succinct: A passel of anti-science global warming denying GOP Representatives have put together a funding authorization bill for NASA which at best cuts over $300 million from the agency’s current Earth Science budget. At worst? Over $500 million. The actual amount of the cut depends on whether some caps enacted in 2011 are removed or not. If they are, then Earth Sciences gets $1.45 billion. If not, it gets $1.2 billion. The current […]
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8:00 AM | Guest Post: Young Astronomer Looks Back
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard the aptly named Space Shuttle Discovery, 25 years ago this month. This past week (past month, past year) there have been gobs of events to mark the occasion: special talks, videos, a re-released IMAX movie, panel discussions, banquets, art exhibits, and a video contest. There was even an […]
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7:53 AM | Il dinosauro con le ali da pipistrello
E’ stato riportato alla luce in Cina lo scheletro di un piccolo dinosauro, lontano cugino degli uccelli, dotato di ali di pelle simili per struttura a quelle dei pipistrelli. Lo studio su Nature.
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7:06 AM | La scienza di Messenger, la sonda che si schianta su Mercurio
Attesa per la sera del 30 aprile la fine della missione che per 4 anni ha orbitato attorno al più piccolo dei pianeti del Sistema solare. Ecco cosa ci ha svelato su Mercurio
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4:46 AM | First Movies of Pluto (Not Much Detail, But Still Amazing to Have)
Scientists working with the New Horizons spacecraft, which is scheduled to reach Pluto in July, released the first ever long-distance movies of Pluto and its giant moon Charon today.Check them out at: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20150429 The spacecraft was between 69 and 64 million miles away from Pluto when the images were taken, still roughly 3/4 of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. So these movies are very crude compared to what we will have […]
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4:00 AM | Il ‘complotto’ della materia scura
Un gruppo internazionale di astronomi guidati da Michele Cappellari dell’Università di Oxford ha utilizzato i dati del telescopio di 10m del Keck Observatory situato nelle Hawaii per analizzare i moti delle stelle nelle regioni più esterne delle galassie ellittiche, nella prima di una serie di survey allo scopo di osservare un numero sempre più grande di questa … Continue reading Il ‘complotto’ della materia scura →
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1:06 AM | New Horizons sees surface features on Pluto, begins raw image release
Today the New Horizons team released a new animation of images taken on approach to Pluto. The animation clearly shows how Pluto wobbles around the Pluto-Charon barycenter. It also shows something more exciting to the scientists: variations in brightness across the surface of Pluto. They also began releasing raw images to the Internet.
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12:04 AM | And the Saga Continues: The Story of Exoplanet WASP-12b
Although this planet is far from habitable, scientists have confirmed the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere of the WASP-12 system. What does this infer about its planetary atmosphere? Is this in agreement with other studies? The story is not as black and white as we might have thought.

April 29, 2015

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9:39 PM | What does “scientific consensus” mean? (Synopsis)
“Those who know that the consensus of many centuries has sanctioned the conception that the earth remains at rest in the middle of the heavens as its center, would, I reflected, regard it as an insane pronouncement if I made the opposite assertion that the earth moves.” –Nicolaus Copernicus There are certain words that simply…
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9:38 PM | What Does “Scientific Consensus” Mean?
Should we get vaccinated? Fluoridate our water? Fight global warming? Believe in evolution? The Big Bang? Dark matter? Find out.Continue reading on Medium »
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9:13 PM | NASA Probe Spies Possible Polar Ice Cap on Pluto
In the latest series of observations beamed back from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, surface features are becoming evident including the stunning revelation that Pluto may possess a polar ice cap.
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8:13 PM | New Horizons Sees Features on Pluto!
At a press conference on Wednesday astronomers working on the New Horizons space probe revealed new images that show surface features on Pluto for the first time! The probe was just over 100 million kilometers from Pluto when the images were taken on April 12–18 (the Earth is 150 million km from the Sun, for comparison). Hubble images taken over the years have shown the diminutive world has darker and lighter patches on its surface, and these images match that.  In fact, these images […]
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7:21 PM | Science and Fandom at Denver StarFest
Fans Explore Hubble, Pluto and Beyond Every year I visit with the denizens of dozens of different worlds at the annual StarFest Entertainment Con in Denver (organized by Starland.com). These are the Star Trek and Star Wars citizens, along with Dr. Whovians, Middle Earthers, visitors from the many different flavors of anime and comic-dom, and others [...]
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7:00 PM | Sol 971-972: Approaching outcrop
  by Ken Herkenhoff This morning the MSL science team used all of the available data to decide whether to approach one of the nearby outcrops or drive away.  Ultimately we decided to approach the closer of the large outcrops in front of the rover to set up for contact science this weekend.  Planning is still “restricted,” so we planned two sols of activities today.  ChemCam and Mastcam will observe …
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