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Posts

April 23, 2014

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12:15 AM | A record-breaking brown dwarf: as cold as ice and just 6 light years away
About a year ago I wrote about how Kevin Luhman at Penn State had discovered a pair of brown dwarfs that were the just 2 parsecs (about 6 lightyears) from the Sun. Well he’s gone and done it again, discovering another brown dwarf at about 2pc, only this time it’s colder, much, much colder. A […]

April 22, 2014

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11:25 PM | Happy Earth Day from the Universe (Synopsis)
“It took less than an hour to make the atoms, a few hundred million years to make the stars and planets, but five billion years to make man!” -George Gamow Whenever Earth Day comes around, I see a lot of different reactions from people. Some express their passion for the environment, others express disdain for…
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10:06 PM | Upcoming public appearances: me, Bill Nye, and Planetary Radio Live in Washington and Los Angeles
I have a spate of several public appearances coming up; I hope some of you can come out and see me and other Planetary Society folks, including Bill Nye and two, count them, two Planetary Radio Live events!
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10:00 PM | Google Book Project is Fair Use
A US Federal Court judge has ruled that Google’s book scanning project constitutes “fair use” under copyright law. In 2004, Google began digitally copying books from several major libraries — initially Harvard, the University of Michigan, the New York Public Library, Oxford, and Stanford. More than 20 million books have been scanned so far. According … Continue reading →
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9:20 PM | Saturn Moon's Weird Ridge Rained Down From Space
Saturn certainly has some oddball moons and astronomers think they're close to explaining how a weird feature formed on one of them.
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8:24 PM | An interacting pair of galaxies in Easter night
Date: 19./20.4.2014 Time: 23:00-02:30 Observing site: Ulvila observatory, Finland Instrument: C280/2750mm NELM: 6.0 SQM: 20.80 Darkness of the background sky: …Continue reading →
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6:41 PM | Hagfish Slime Could Be Eco-Friendly Fabric
A new study on the defensive goo raises new mysteries and suggests it could be an eco-friendly alternative to nylon.
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6:30 PM | Asteroids Whack Earth More Often Than Thought
An infrasound network detected 26 explosions between 2000 and 2013 caused by asteroids blasting apart in Earth's atmosphere.
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5:46 PM | Rosetta update: Instrument commissioning going well; Philae cameras activated
Rosetta and Philae have very nearly completed a six-week phase of spacecraft and instrument checkouts to prepare the mission to do science. Recently, the lander used its cameras for the first time since hibernation, producing some new photos of Rosetta in space.
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5:11 PM | Saving Goat Islands, Jamaica
Text and photos by Robin Moore, Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers Guardian of the Reptiles “You’ve got to respect another life, so that the other life can respect yours,” says Booms, whose real name is Mr. Kenroy Williams, a young Jamaican who has devoted the past seven years of his life to protecting…
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4:22 PM | The ABCs of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management—Part II
Forage Fish: The Oceans’ Little Heroes Most Americans don’t think about fisheries policy when eating fish. But in fact, the supply of popular species such as cod, tuna, and salmon depends very much on how we manage them in the sea. If anglers, chefs, and diners want to continue catching, cooking, and eating fish, we…
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4:00 PM | How Do You Do That In Space?
Some of the simple things that we take for granted in a gravity filled world are really difficult in space. Going to the bathroom, just for example. But other vital obstacle will need to be overcome prior to long space flights.  Along the way the possibility that the crew may have to make some repairs … Continue reading →
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3:52 PM | DNews: Why NASA is Experimenting on Twins in Space
To understand the the long-term effects of space on the human body, NASA is conducting an experiment involving twins! Join Tara as she explains what they hope to learn by sending one twin to space, but not the other.
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3:48 PM | Il colore dell'accuratezza?
L'accuratezza ha un colore? La legalità? E l'indipendenza? Può sembrare paradossale, ma si tratta di domande perfettamente legittime. Esiste infatti un’associazione naturale e sistematica tra colori e concetti astratti, che ci porta immediatamente a mente determinate tinte cromatiche quando pensiamo a moltissimi termini relativi a tematiche etiche. A dimostrarlo è uno studio del Centro Mente/Cervello dell’Università di Trento, pubblicato sulla rivista […]
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3:09 PM | Cleaning Up Maryland’s Little Falls Branch Creek
By Jo Dickison April 12th was a perfect day for a creek cleanup event. The morning air was crisp and the Little Falls Branch Creek in suburban Maryland was sparkling in the warm spring sun. The stream cleanup is an annual event hosted by the Westmoreland Hills Garden Club, Montgomery County Parks M-NCPPC (Maryland-National Capital Park…
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1:51 PM | Transcendence, oltre ogni previsione avveniristica
"Per 130 mila anni, la nostra capacità di ragionare è rimasta invariata. L'intelletto combinato dei neuroscienziati, matematici e ingegneri impallidisce in confronto all'intelligenza artificiale più elementare. Una volta on-line, una macchina senziente supererà rapidamente i limiti della biologia: in breve tempo, il suo potere analitico prevarrà sull'intelligenza collettiva di ogni persona nata nella storia del mondo. Alcuni scienziati si riferiscono a questo […]
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1:50 PM | A white dwarf magnifier
Gravitational lenses provide some of the most incredible images in astronomy. As the gravity from massive objects — generally galaxies or galaxy clusters — bends the path of light from more distant sources, it produces multiple distorted images, rings, crosses, and other wonderful things. Even stars can serve as lenses, but they are too small […]
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1:42 PM | Everything is Connected | Chapter 3: Ancient Woods
Like other indigenous First Nation communities throughout Canada, the Tla-o-qui-aht people are survivors. Over a century of cultural genocide, Christianisation, forced assimilation, land alienation and re-settlement reduced their numbers tenfold and pushed them to the brink of extinction. But despite environmental, social and cultural upheavals, the Tla-o-qui-aht are slowly but surely strengthening their ability to cope…
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12:46 PM | Appreciating our pale blue dot
"It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."- Carl SaganIt was just over 20 years ago that the famous "pale blue dot" image was captured by Voyager 1.  In this image, Earth is a tiny […]
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12:00 PM | April 22nd: Diversifying Exploration !
Podcaster: Host: Dr Pamela Gay ; Guests: Guests: ハクト/HAKUTO
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11:30 AM | 10 Planetary Facts For Earth Day 2014
Today is Earth Day, a worldwide celebration of our home planet. I know you’ll be hearing a lot of talk about the environment today, humanity’s global impact, and more… which is great, and I wholly support that conversation (obviously). But as an astronomer and science dork, I do love me some fun factoids. So I gathered together/calculated a few to give you a better appreciation of our planet’s place in the Universe. You might want to check out the ones I posted last […]
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10:25 AM | WSJ editorial criticizes California tax break bill that benefits SpaceX
Earlier this month, the California Senate approved AB 777, legislation that would exempt space companies from paying taxes on certain property related to spaceflight, including an “orbital space facility, space propulsion system, space vehicle, launch vehicle, satellite, or space station of any kind,” as well as components of such systems. The bill is slightly different [...]
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10:03 AM | Un selfie per la giornata mondiale della Terra
Un colibrì rosso, uno stercorario, due macachi giapponesi, una medusa quadrifoglio e un pesce palla. Sono questi gli animali che oggi Google ha deciso di ospitare nel suo doodle per celebrare l’Earth Day 2014, la Giornata mondiale della Terra, nata nel 1970 per celebrare e salvaguardare il nostro pianeta. Quest’anno l’evento, celebrato in più di 190 paesi in tutto il mondo, è dedicato alle Green City, ovvero punta a sensibilizzare chiunque nel mondo a […]
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8:00 AM | How losing my smart phone made me smarter
A few weekends ago, I hiked a deep canyon with a couple of friends. As has become my habit, I toted my smart phone along. I set it to mute so that I’d remain undisturbed by pings and rings, and I pulled it out of my pack only to take a few photos. After the […]
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7:46 AM | Are we observing the end of an Active Galactic Nucleus?
From Denney et al. (2014)Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are among the most interesting cosmic sources. According to the unified model (see here for a recent review), there is a central supermassive black hole (with masses in the million to billion solar masses range) surrounded by an accretion disk. As the matter is spiraling toward the event horizon, it loses energy by emitting electromagnetic radiation. This radiation can ionize or excite the surrounding gas, which in turn reprocesses part of […]
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7:02 AM | Tra moglie e marito metti un candito
Diciamoci la verità. Che aver fame fosse collegato con l’essere più irritabili non era una grande novità. Ma, si sa, nella scienza tutto va dimostrato: lo hanno appena fatto gli psicologi della Ohio State University, che hanno messo in correlazione i livelli di zucchero nel sangue di 214 coniugi (107 coppie, dunque) con grado di fastidio e aggressività nei confronti del partner. Come c’era da aspettarsi, gli scienziati hanno scoperto che le persone con […]
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6:57 AM | Così uovo e spermatozoo si riconoscono
Quando Izumo incontra Juno: così nasce un embrione. È quanto suggerisce uno studio effettuato presso il Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute di Cambridge nel Regno Unito e pubblicato su Nature. Usando un metodo messo a punto nel loro laboratorio su cellule germinali di topo, gli autori hanno dimostrato che la proteina-recettore Juno presente sulla membrana degli ovociti interagisce con Izumo, presente sugli spermatozoi. È il legame tra queste due proteine a permettere il […]
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5:59 AM | to siding spring observatory!
taking a road trip tomorrow to siding spring observatory.   it's a pleasant ~7 hour drive across a fair chunk of australia!from sydney to coonabarabran!i'll be up during the nights for the next week observing for the SAMI survey.  i also plan to update that front page as, weather permitting, we will observe the 700th SAMI galaxy this week!  that's more galaxies with integral field spectroscopy (IFS) than previously observed by all other surveys combined! IFS allows a unique view […]
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5:00 AM | La scoperta di Kepler-186f conferma l’esistenza di pianeti terrestri nella zona abitabile
Nonostante la recente scoperta di un pianeta extraterrestre delle dimensioni della Terra abbia fatto il giro del web, siamo ancora lontani dall’affermare che possa essere potenzialmente abitabile e perciò ospitare […]
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2:00 AM | Messier Monday: A Most Unusual Elliptical, M105 (Synopsis)
“The line that describes the beautiful is elliptical. It has simplicity and constant change. It cannot be described by a compass, and it changes direction at every one of its points.” -Rudolf Arnheim It’s not every day that a nearby, well-studied galaxy turns your understanding of an entire class of common objects — in this…
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