Category Archives: Space

Solar Max

We are nearing Solar Maximum, which means that we will have some effects to radio spectrum telecommunications, like the X1.4 flare detailed below:

NASA has confirmed that a powerful X-class solar flare erupted from the sun on Apr. 24. Thanks to the space agency’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, there is photographic evidence of the solar event.

According to NASA, a solar flare is a “sudden, rapid and intense variation in brightness.” A flare takes place when magnetic energy that has accumulated in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released.

While harmful radiation from a flare cannot penetrate Earth’s atmosphere to physically impact humans on the ground, it can impact the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

Here’s more about the Solar Max from NASA:

360-Degree View of the Milky Way From NASA – JPL

This video shows a continually-looping infrared view of our Milky Way galaxy, as seen by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. MORE INFO BELOW…

The icon in the lower right corner shows how the view changes over time, from our position in the Milky Way.

The mosaic comes primarily from the GLIMPSE360 project, which stands for Galactic Legacy Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire. It consists of more than 2 million snapshots taken in infrared light over ten years, beginning in 2003 when Spitzer launched.

This infrared image reveals much more of the galaxy than can be seen in visible-light views. Whereas visible light is blocked by dust, infrared light from stars and other objects can travel through dust to reach Spitzer’s detectors. For instance, when looking up at our night skies, we see stars that are an average of 1,000 light-years away; the rest are hidden. In Spitzer’s mosaic, light from stars throughout the galaxy — which stretches 100,000 light-years across — shines through. This picture covers only about three percent of the sky, but includes more than half of the galaxy’s stars and the majority of its star formation activity.

The red color shows dusty areas of star formation. Throughout the galaxy, tendrils, bubbles and sculpted dust structures are apparent. These are the result of massive stars blasting out winds and radiation. Stellar clusters deeply embedded in gas and dust, green jets and other features related to the formation of young stars can also be seen for the first time. Looking towards the galactic center, the blue haze is made up of starlight — the region is too far away for us to pick out individual stars, but they contribute to the glow. Dark filaments that show up in stark contrast to the bright background are areas of thick, cold dust that not even infrared light can penetrate.

The GLIMPSE360 map will guide astronomers for generations, helping them to further chart the unexplored territories of our own Milky Way.

via 360-Degree View of the Milky Way – YouTube.

Gamma Rays From Thunderstorms and Dark Lightning

There are amazing things happening in the skies above thunderstorms.

Researchers studying thunderstorms have made a surprising discovery: The lightning we see with our eyes has a dark competitor that discharges storm clouds and flings antimatter into space. Astrophysicists and meteorologists are scrambling to understand "dark lightning."

via ScienceCasts: Dark Lightning – YouTube.

Night of Meteors

From EsoCast. Look closely and see a meteor shower captured in this series of timelapse shots. On 14–16 December 2012, the Geminid meteor shower made a spectacular appearance over ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. As the meteors showered down over the site, photographer Gianluca Lombardi spent over 40 hours recording it.

The Geminids is a shower of shooting stars appearing to emanate from within the constellation of Gemini (The Twins). This shower occurs when the Earth cuts through the orbit of an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon, which happens once each year, in December. Particles in the trail of dust along the orbit of Phaethon burn up in our atmosphere, creating the brilliant, fast-moving points of light characteristic of meteor showers.

via Night of Meteors – YouTube.

Orion

I took this an hour and half before sunrise today from my yard, it took quite a bit of fiddling about in photoshop to get the white balance and light levels correct. The thumbnail will look mostly black, so click on it to get to full size.

Big things have Small Beginnings: Prometheus – Official Full HD Trailer – Ridley Scott

In the distant future, two superpowers control Earth and fight each other for all the solar system’s natural resources. When one side dispatches a team to a distant planet to terraform it for human colonization, the team discovers an indigenous race of bio-mechanoid killers.

Ridley Scott, director of ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace
Release Date: June 8, 2012

… and I for one welcome our new nanalienbot overlords.