Thursday, May 31, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the expanse of stars in NGC 6744. 175,000 light years wide (24,000 light years in this image), how many civilizations are we looking at? (How many highly-rated SF TV shows are looking to be renewed?)
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video depicting the asteroids that have been captured by Jupiter's attraction. Most orbit Jupiter in the same direction and have clustered around the "Trojan Points" (and, if named, they are named after various characters in the Iliad). However, look at 2015 BZ509. Why does it swim against the stream?
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows some of the activity that happens in the thin skin of our planetary protection barrier (the atmosphere) and what happens when it is penetrated by a visitor.
What is the cost of going to space? What are the differences between the advertised costs of various launch vehicles? The answer breaks down into a complex interplay between engineering, politics and public relations.
The cost per vehicle type is depicted above. Below, the hypothetical launch costs of various future vehicles.
Monday, May 28, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings new color to a familiar celestial object: the WISE spacecraft images the Pleiades (the "Seven Sisters") and teases out the interplay of dust and gas around those stars. "Mouseover" the image in the link in order to see an "ordinary" view of the open cluster.
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows an ice-cold world that is always a hot topic of debate. Saturn's major moon Titan, shrouded in a dense atmosphere, sprinkled with liquid (I did not say water!) rain and covered with liquid (again, not water!) oceans. Is there life there? To use that (in)famous phrase found in so much science fiction "...as we know it?"
Friday, May 25, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day peers into galaxy cluster Abell S0740. The most prominent (elliptical) galaxy in the field of view contains about 100 billion stars. The rest of the galaxies visible contain at least as many (probably many more than that). How many civilizations are dancing on the heads of how many pins out there?
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a good example of some of the wonders that are hidden in our night sky. The Gum Nebula, covering areas of the constellations of Vela and Puppis, covers such a large field of view that it ought to be visible to the unaided eye, but is so dim that it needs to be teased out with aid.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 4038 and NGC 4039. Two spiral galaxies are in the process of a very slow collison (or an aggressive merger). More popularly known as The Antennae, it can be found in the constellation of Corvus.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a waning last quarter Moon. The terminator (the line between day and night) shows the jagged surface into sharp detail thanks to shadows. Is the Moon grey? Is the Moon white? Look carefully and you'll see a variety of colors in this image.
Is the Moon a boring object in the night sky? Not at all! It's a great target for the backyard amateur. As the level of light changes, different details appear and change. The Moon "rocks" slightly, so from time to time you'll see objects on the edge (or limb) that are normally hidden. Give it a try!
Monday, May 21, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video taken from the Juno Orbiter. The clouds of Jupiter: infinite patterns and fractals. Makes you wish for a continuous feed along with an ambient Brian Eno soundtrack!
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Friday, May 18, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the European Southern Observatory apparently firing lasers into the sky. Yes, that's what is happening: the observatory is employing a method of firing a laser at the sky in order to determine sky conditions and allow for adjustment of atmospheric blurring.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day takes data gathered from the Gaia satellite depicting the rotation of stars in one of our galactic satellites, the Large Cloud of Magellan.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Monday, May 14, 2018
Sunday, May 13, 2018
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Friday, May 11, 2018
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a Hubble Space Telescope image of the Red Rectangle Nebula in Monoceros. We're looking at a short-lived (only a few million years) phenomena, down the timestream we will probably see it blossom into a more "ordinary" planetary nebula.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Monday, May 7, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a wonderful image courtesy of the overlooked Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (launched to pave the wave for one of the previous returns to the Moon, which then was backwatered because we were going to Mars, then we were going to capture an asteroid, but now we're going back to the Moon, but let's not mention the cancellation of a mission which could have been a key to a sustained effort there...). We zoom in on Tycho, one of the easiest to spot of craters (you see it every time you look at the Moon near at at full phase). What's that sitting there in Tycho? One heck of a boulder!
Sunday, May 6, 2018
On Episode 49 of The Three Hoarsemen, Jeff Patterson (in person), John Stevens (in spirit) and I talk to returning guests Paul Weimer and Patrick Hester about what they've been up to since they last appeared on the podcast.
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an image of Phobos, one of the tiny moons of Mars, centering on Stickney Crater. Named for Chloe Angeline Stickney, mathematician, it was imaged by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Friday, May 4, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Messier 101 in the constellation of Ursa Major. As you look at this beautiful spiral seen from above, can you spot other extra-galactic objects in the field of view?
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings a new perspective to auroral activity. From the perch of the International Space Station, astronauts and cosmonauts can look down at the thin layer of atmosphere and the play of the aurora.