Naked Science Forum

General Science => General Science => Topic started by: NakedScientist on 16/05/2004 07:03:10

Title: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: NakedScientist on 16/05/2004 07:03:10
In view of the success of Question of The Week (QOTW), I thought we should have a scientific image of the week.

Please keep these scientifically relevant. Each image should be accompanied by a few lines of description, and a reference / acknowledgement of the source if it is not yourself.

Please do not converse about the photos in this forum, it's intended as an image library. Instead start a separate thread to discuss them.

I reserve the right to remove inappropriate images or comments.

TNS
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: NakedScientist on 16/05/2004 07:07:09
"Residents of Tainan learned a lesson in whale biology after the decomposing remains of a 60-ton sperm whale exploded on a busy street, showering nearby cars and shops with blood and organs and stopping traffic for hours."

Source : MSNBC


* exploding_whale.jpg (32.68 kB . 463x273 - viewed 34143 times)

Links : Naked Scientists Radio Show coverage of this story 1st February 2004 http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/news/news/523/
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/05/2004 14:30:58

  Dying Star Sculpts Rungs of Gas and Dust




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* 171910main_image_feature_783_ys_full.jpg (108.54 kB . 1041x781 - viewed 8733 times)

Astronomers may not have observed the fabled "Stairway to Heaven," but
 they have photographed something almost as intriguing: ladder-like
structures surrounding a dying star. A new image, taken with NASA's
Hubble Space Telescope, reveals startling new details of one of the
most unusual nebulae known in our Milky Way. Cataloged as HD 44179,
this nebula is more commonly called the "Red Rectangle" because of its
 unique shape and color as seen with ground-based telescopes.

I acknowldege that I 'borrowed' this info from the hubble website and
that I did not take this picture myself....my ladder is just not long
enough !!

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 20/05/2004 01:18:02

* Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 12.14.07.png (126.65 kB . 263x382 - viewed 8250 times)
The particles were seen in arteries with calcified aneurysms
(Image: American Physiological Society)

Doctors claim to have uncovered new evidence that the tiny particles
known as "nannobacteria" are indeed alive and may cause a range of
human illnesses.

The existence of nannobacteria is one of the most controversial of
scientific questions - some experts claim they are simply too small to
 be life forms.

But US scientists report they have now isolated these cell-like
structures in tissue from diseased human arteries.

<u>Source: BBCi News</u>

Link for more info:

http://www.msstate.edu/dept/geosciences/4site/nannobacteria.htm (http://www.msstate.edu/dept/geosciences/4site/nannobacteria.htm)

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/05/2004 18:25:39
Imaging Study Shows Brain Maturing

The brain's center of reasoning and problem solving is among the last
to mature, a new study graphically reveals. The decade-long magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) study of normal brain development, from ages 4
 to 21, by researchers at NIH's National Institute of Mental Health
 (NIMH) and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) shows that
such "higher-order" brain centers, such as the prefrontal cortex,
don't fully develop until young adulthood.


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Time-Lapse Imaging Tracks Brain Maturation from ages 5 to 20

-- Constructed from MRI scans of healthy children and teens, the
time-lapse "movie", from which the above images were extracted,
compresses 15 years of brain development (ages 5 - 20) into just a few
 seconds. Red indicates more gray matter, blue less gray matter. Gray
 matter wanes in a back-to-front wave as the brain matures and neural
 connections are pruned. Areas performing more basic functions mature
 earlier; areas for higher order functions mature later. The
prefrontal cortex, which handles reasoning and other "executive"
functions, emerged late in evolution and is among the last to mature.
 Studies in twins are showing that development of such late-maturing
areas is less influenced by heredity than areas that mature earlier.
(Source: Paul Thompson, Ph.D., UCLA Laboratory of Neuroimaging


Source:   NIH/National Institute Of Mental Health
 


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 29/05/2004 17:55:52
NASA has announced new findings from the Spitzer Space Telescope, including the discovery of significant amounts of icy organic materials sprinkled throughout several "planetary construction zones," or dusty planet-forming discs, which circle infant stars.
These materials, icy dust particles coated with water, methanol and carbon dioxide, may help explain the origin of icy planetoids like comets. Scientists believe these comets may have endowed Earth with some of its water and many of its biogenic, life-enabling materials.
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Out of the dust, a planet is born as depicted in this artist's illustration. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)


SOURCE NASA

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: NakedScientist on 31/05/2004 05:50:46


* electron micrographs6.jpg (6.86 kB . 150x182 - viewed 10004 times)

* corona virus.gif (87 kB . 510x451 - viewed 10020 times)

Sources : Genome News Network (top), CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) (below).

Electron micrographs showing particles of the 100 nm diameter SARS coronavirus, so named because the particles carry a corona (crown) of glycoproteins around their envelope

The virus is a relative of the common cold and first appeared in China in late 2002.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/06/2004 22:51:25
SATURN'S STORM ALLEY
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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

This image shows several dark storms confined to a region below 30
degrees south latitude in Saturn's atmosphere. This turbulent region
has produced quite a few storms during Cassini's approach to Saturn,
 including some that have merged. A number of other interesting
smaller-scale atmospheric features are also becoming visible.


The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on
 May 11, 2004, from a distance of 26.4 million kilometers (16.4
million miles) from Saturn through a filter centered at 750
nanometers. The image scale is 157 kilometers (98 miles) per pixel.
Contrast in the image was enhanced to aid visibility.


SOURCE  SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 12/06/2004 20:35:44
Record-Breaking Ice Core May Hold Key to Climate Variation

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Image: BAS

Scientists have successfully drilled through an Antarctic ice sheet to extract the longest ice core ever recovered, according to a report published today in the journal Nature. The cylinder of ice dates back nearly three quarters of a million years and will help researchers better understand our planet’s history of cyclical climate variation. "This has the potential to separate the human-caused impacts from the natural and place it in a much clearer context," explains James White of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who was not involved in the research but penned a commentary on the find for this week’s issue of the journal Science.

Source: Scientific American

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/06/2004 20:10:23


Saturn's moon reveals violent past
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Phoebe may be a captured comet CLICK (Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

Images of Saturn's battered, icy moon Phoebe have been captured by the Cassini spacecraft

The mysterious moon is an outsider, lying further out than any of Saturn's other major moons, and being the only major moon to orbit backwards. Because of these quirks it has been suggested that Phoebe was either an asteroid or comet captured by the giant planet's gravitational field.

The new pictures show that most of the moon is dark, but impacts have blasted holes in the surface to reveal much brighter material underneath, which is probably a mixture of ices. So Phoebe looks like a dirty snowball - the term coined to describe comets.

SOURCE:NewScientist.com news service



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/06/2004 19:23:41
Insect enjoys warmer UK climate
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Experts say its arrival in the UK is a clear sign of climate change




An insect that normally inhabits warm countries has been found living and breeding in the UK, entomologists say.
The green "shield" bug, which attacks a broad range of crops, is usually seen in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Australia, North America and Africa.

Its arrival in Britain is a clear sign of climate change, claim experts from the Natural History Museum, London.

"I'm always reluctant to invoke global warming but it's the only explanation," said curator of beetles, Max Barclay.

Stink bugs

The green vegetable bug (Nezara viridula) is similar to the UK's native green shield bug (Palomena prasina), but is paler in colour and has a longer, narrower shape. Also, unlike its British cousin, the green vegetable bug has no brown markings.

The insects - sometimes known as "stink" bugs, because of the foul odour they emit when threatened - are regular stowaways to the UK.

They often get shipped in with imported vegetables but, until recently, they have not been able to stand Britain's cold climate.

Now three healthy colonies have been found in London - two in the Queen's Park area and one in Kings Cross.


SOURCE BBC NEWS

I've seen these little critters the last couple of years...I just figured they were an insect I hadn't seen before......well...in a way I was right. I've never smelt the pong but that's probably because I'm an angel, and I've never threatened one !![}:)]

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/06/2004 14:44:17
Countdown to private space trip

SpaceShipOne, the first private manned spacecraft, is undergoing final preparations before its historic flight to the edge of space on Monday.
The craft, built by aviation pioneer Burt Rutan, will be launched into the sky by its carrier, White Knight, then rocket upwards to 100km (62 miles).

No private craft has ever been so high. In May, it reached 64km (40 miles) in a test flight, doubling its last best.

"It's all been done privately on essentially a shoestring budget compared to what the governments spend," former Nasa astronaut Rick Searfoss told the BBC. "It's a whole different model and we should all be excited about the prospects it can lead to."

The attempt over California's Mojave Desert is due to launch at 1330 GMT.


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Leading the way
On Monday, SpaceShipOne will attempt to become the first private vehicle to take an individual above the Earth’s atmosphere.

The rocket plane, developed in just a few years by the Californian company Scaled Composites, has room for a pilot and two passengers.

The passenger seats will be empty for the first space flight.


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Two steps up
SpaceShipOne is carried to more than 14km (47,000ft), slung beneath the White Knight craft.

SpaceShipOne is then released and glides for a few seconds before the pilot lights the rocket and points the vehicle straight up.

Its speed will exceed Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound).


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Out of this world
SpaceShipOne will just break the Earth’s atmosphere.

The pilot will experience three minutes in a near-weightless environment.

At the top of its flight, the vehicle must adjust its wings into a high-drag configuration so that when it falls back to Earth its speed is controlled and heating of the airframe is minimised.


SOURCE BBC NEWS

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/06/2004 20:25:11
SpaceShipOne rockets into history
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Melvill climbs from SpaceShipOne after landing as Allen approaches. Credit: William Harwood

MOJAVE, Calif. - A privately-built rocket plane soared into space today, boosting a 63-year-old test pilot on a thrilling, at times scary ride out of Earth's discernible atmosphere and into history as the first non government-sponsored astronaut.
The successful voyage sets the stage for a possible attempt later this summer to win the coveted Ansari X-Prize, a $10 million award that will go to the first team that can launch a privately developed, manned craft on sub-orbital flights to space twice in two weeks.
But SpaceShipOne, funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and built by legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan, will not fly again until Rutan's team of pilots and engineers figures out what triggered the failure of a critical flight control system during the climb to space.
"There is no way we would fly again without knowing the cause and without assuring we have totally fixed it because it's a very critical system," Rutan told reporters later. He called it "the most serious flight safety systems problem that we have had in entire program."
Based on a preliminary analysis of flight data, engineers believe a component called a trim actuator failed, causing the sleek rocket plane to suddenly roll as it streaked through the extreme upper atmosphere.
Pilot Mike Melvill quickly activated a backup system that "saved the day," but by the time the roll problem was corrected, SpaceShipOne was off course. It re-entered the atmosphere 22 miles from its planned 5-by-5 mile re-entry zone.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 23/06/2004 16:07:11
INCREDIBLE DISCOVERY OF NEW SEA HORSE FOUND



* new_sea_horse.jpg (47.36 kB . 432x576 - viewed 8393 times)


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/06/2004 11:58:06
Hubble IMAX film gives ride through space and time
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Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

This unforgettable cosmic journey is presented in the award-winning IMAX short film, "Hubble: Galaxies Across Space and Time," which transforms images and data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope into a voyage that sweeps viewers across the cosmos. Using the 650-megapixel-mosaic image created by the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS), more than 11,000 galaxy images were extracted and assembled into an accurate 3-D model for the three-minute movie. The large-format film was created by a team of Hubble image and visualization experts in the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md. The film was directed by Frank Summers, an astrophysicist and science visualization specialist.

Galaxies are vast assemblages of stars, gas, and dust. And viewers experience these majestic cities of stars on a movie screen as tall as a five-story building. The film opens with looming images of two mature galaxies that are relatively nearby Earth, and then pans through the vibrant and diverse panorama of thousands of galaxies in the GOODS mosaic.

The ensuing 3-D journey through these galaxies provides more than just a new perspective in space, it also takes the audience back in time. Because light takes time to cross space, the galaxies farther away from Earth are seen further back in cosmic history. The virtual voyage reveals galaxies as they appeared billions of years ago, when they were still in the process of forming.

SOURCE...SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 29/06/2004 14:39:37
Rings of success
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Close encounter: The Cassini spacecraft has captured this image of Saturn.

AUSTRALIA will be the ears of the world when a tiny spacecraft named Cassini completes a seven-year journey to Saturn on Thursday.
Cassini will fly through Saturn's outer rings to establish itself in the planet's orbit early on Thursday afternoon.
The Canberra deep space communication complex at Tidbinbilla will tune its three main antennas to pick up the faint success signal.
Cassini will spend four years orbiting the planet taking pictures and analysing the composition of its rings, moons, how the planet was formed and why it has rings.


SOURCE: HERALDSUN.NEWS.COM
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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/07/2004 12:31:17
Cassini mission hinges on Wednesday's engine firing
 
* soi640.jpg (64.47 kB . 640x480 - viewed 8255 times)

Cassini fires its engine to enter orbit around Saturn as illustrated in this artist's concept.


After a seven-year voyage from Earth, NASA's $3.3 billion Cassini probe is racing toward a make-or-break rocket firing Wednesday, a 96-minute maneuver designed to put the craft in orbit around the ringed planet Saturn for a four-year scientific odyssey.

Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., sent final commands to Cassini over the weekend, setting the stage for main engine ignition at 10:35:42 p.m. Wednesday.

Operating more than 930 million miles from Earth - so far it takes radio signals an hour and 23 minutes to make a one-way trip - Cassini's on-board computer system must carry out the all-important rocket firing on its own.
To achieve orbit around Saturn, the 12,600-pound Cassini must reduce its velocity by about 1,400 mph using a rocket engine that only produces 100 pounds of push. As a result, the engine must fire for 96.4 minutes to put Cassini into the desired orbit.

If the engine shuts down early, the computer will switch to a spare. But the end result must be roughly the same - 96 minutes of braking - or Cassini might not be able to achieve its long-awaited mission.


SOURCE...SPACEFILGHTNOW.COM

UPDATE 1st July 2004
Cassini successfully arrives at Saturn

NASA's $3.3 billion Cassini probe completed a seven-year, 2.2-billion mile voyage tonight, firing its main engine for a nerve-wracking 96 minutes to successfully brake into orbit around the ringed planet Saturn.
Throughout the all-or-nothing rocket firing, flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., could only sit and wait, monitoring events that had already taken place 934 million miles away.

At that distance, radio signals, moving at 186,000 miles per second, needed an hour and 24 minutes to complete a one-way trip between Saturn and Earth. As a result, Cassini's on-board computer was responsible for carrying out the most critical maneuver since launch Oct. 15, 1997, a maneuver that simply had to work or the mission would end in failure.

To everyone's relief, Cassini's main engine fired up on time at 10:36 p.m. EDT and shut down at 12:12 a.m., putting the craft in its planned initial orbit around Saturn.



Men are the same as women...just inside out ! ;D
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/07/2004 21:39:04
First pictures from Saturn orbit show rich ring detail

The first batch of photographs snapped by the Cassini Saturn orbiter earlier today reached the Jet Propulsion Laboratory around 8:30 a.m., zoomed-in shots of the planet's myriad rings showing a ghostly tapestry of icy, back-lit particles arrayed in sharply defined bands.
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One of the images taken by Cassini from orbit of Saturn shows a close-up view of the planet's rings. Credit: NASA/JPL

Much brighter shots showing the rings from the sunlit side were expected to reach Earth later this morning, but scientists were elated at the initial results.

"Look at that structure, it's so regular!" marveled imaging team leader Carolyn Porco as a picture came in showing well-defined bands of brightness and darkness. "I'm wondering if we're looking at a density wave. This looks like it might be a density wave, but I'm not quite sure."

Density waves, caused by gravitational interactions with nearby moons, are thought to be "kissing cousins" of the waves that produce the spiral structure seen in galaxies like Earth's Milky Way.

SOURCE SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 03/07/2004 18:44:33
African Skull Fills Gap, Fuels Debate


* 920x920.jpg (66.49 kB . 741x920 - viewed 8738 times)

Remains of the hominids that lived in Africa between a million and half a million years ago are frustratingly rare in the fossil record. Bones from this time period have been recovered in Europe and Asia, but the paucity of finds from Africa has prevented a full understanding of just what members of the species Homo erectus looked like. Indeed, some paleontologists posit that hominids from this time period should be divided into multiple lineages, whereas others suggest that there was simply wide variation within H. erectus. A discovery described today in the journal Science is helping to fill the fossil gap.
Richard Potts of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and his colleagues found 11 fragments of a single hominid skull during excavations at an archaeological site in Olorgesailie, Kenya. Together these finds mark the first discovery of ancient human bone at the site since exploration began in 1942. Based on radiometric dating and sedimentary evidence, the team estimates that the fossil is between 900,000 and 970,000 years old. The skull is from an adult or near-adult and shares some features with H. erectus. If it is a member of this species, it is a very petite representative. The researchers note that it is the smallest individual yet known from the time interval spanning 1.7 million and half a million years ago. Because many of the tools recovered from the same site are large and would have required significant strength and size to handle, Potts and his collaborators conclude that there was wide physical variation in the population to which this hominid belonged, with both large and small individuals present.
Other researchers interpret the new find differently, however. “[The skull] doesn't look like anything else we know so far,” contends Jeffrey H. Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh, who penned an accompanying commentary in Science. He argues that a number of the fossils categorized as H. erectus show too much variation from the original, or type, H. erectus skull discovered in the late 19th century in Java to be considered members of the same species.

SOURCE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.COM

Men are the same as women...just inside out ! ;D
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/07/2004 17:07:21
Sticky bees combat insect pests

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The mites have killed off many colonies
A powder that exploits the natural stickiness of honey bees could help control a devastating insect pest.

The Varroa mite is endemic in British hives and in large numbers can sap a bee colony's strength.

The powder has proved useful in helping spread chemical anti-mite agents much more widely around a hive than other mite-controlling substances.

The powder could help suppress the mite to low levels and ensure the usefulness of other controls is not exhausted

* varroa_mite04.jpg (55.81 kB . 500x390 - viewed 8197 times)

Varroa destructor: Mites make bees susceptible to disease

A Varroa species of mite was first discovered in Britain in 1992 but was thought to be present in hives long before then.

The first outbreak devastated honey bee numbers, with many keepers losing up to 75% of their colonies.
Chemical controls known as pyrethroids have proved effective in controlling Varroa but lax use has produced mites resistant to them.

Beekeepers fear this means mite numbers are set to boom again leading to more lost colonies.
But now Southampton-based Exosect has developed a novel way of distributing another Varroa-controlling chemical around hives.

The Exomite system uses a powder that can be made to stick to the bee by exploiting its natural electrostatic charge.

The wax powder being used as a carrier medium is a harmless food grade substance.

The charged powder can be dosed with oils, such as thymol, used in other anti-mite products.

SOURCE: BBC NEWS



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 07/07/2004 17:54:16
New view of a stellar nursery
EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


* zEsQcH.jpg (70.66 kB . 1440x900 - viewed 6826 times)
Credit: European Southern Observatory
Orion the Hunter is perhaps the best-known constellation in the sky, well placed in the winter for observers in both the northern and southern hemispheres, and instantly recognisable. Just below Orion's belt (three distinctive stars in a row), the hilt of his sword holds a great jewel in the sky, the beautiful Orion Nebula. Bright enough to be seen with the naked eye, the nebula, also known as Messier 42, is a wide complex of gas and dust, illuminated by several massive and hot stars at its core, the famous Trapezium stars.
For astronomers, Orion is surely one of the most important constellations, as it contains one of the nearest and most active stellar nurseries in the Milky Way, the galaxy in which we live. Here tens of thousands of new stars have formed within the past ten million years or so - a very short span of time in astronomical terms. For comparison: our own Sun is now 4,600 million years old and has not yet reached half-age. Reduced to a human time-scale, star formation in Orion would have been going on for just one month as compared to the Sun's 40 years.

In fact, located at a distance of 1500 light years, the Orion Nebula plays such an important role in astrophysics that it can be argued that our understanding of star formation is for a large part based on the Orion Nebula.

It is thus no surprise that the Orion Nebula is one of the most studied objects in the night sky.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM






Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 07/07/2004 18:53:48
Cassini photos thrill, mystify scientists
New pictures of Saturn's enigmatic moon Titan, taken by cameras aboard the Cassini probe that are capable of penetrating the thick smog-like haze that blankets the frigid world, show strange looking surface features and a deck of methane clouds the size of Arizona. But so far, the instruments have not detected reflections from the surfaces of lakes or small seas of liquid hydrocarbons many scientists believe must form in the ultra-cold environment
But like the sun glint off rivers and lakes visible from airplanes on Earth, the reflections in question can only be seen in a small region of Titan, about 1 percent of the visible surface, based on the relative positions of the sun and Cassini.

"If we go by 30 times and we haven't seen it, we're going to start getting worried," said Kevin Baines, a member of Cassini's Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer team. "But I'd say so far, just going by once, it may have been that the specular reflection point was a continent, a dry area. So the planet could have plenty of liquids and we just got faked out. We don't know," he said in a telephone interview. "It's just 1 percent of the planet, we shouldn't reach any conclusions from that."

Cassini's first flyby of Titan, the day after the craft braked into orbit around the ringed planet, was at a distance of more than 200,000 miles. In October, the nuclear-powered probe will pass within just 745 miles of Titan and "we really expect to get a great view then," said Elizabeth Turtle, a member of the Cassini imaging team.



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Piercing the ubiquitous layer of smog enshrouding Titan,
 this combination of images from the Cassini visual and infrared
 mapping spectrometer reveals an exotic surface covered with a
variety of materials in the southern hemisphere. Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

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A mosaic of Titan's south polar region acquired as Cassini
passed by at a range of 339,000 kilometers (210,600 miles) on July 2.
 These images were acquired through special filters designed to see
through the thick haze and atmosphere. The surface features become
more blurry toward the limb, where the light reflected off the surface
 must pass through more atmosphere before reaching the camera. The
 bright spots near the bottom represent a field of clouds near the
 south pole. Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.



SOURCE: SPACEFIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/07/2004 18:04:48
Ultraviolet pictures hint at origin of Saturn's rings

The best view ever of Saturn's rings in the ultraviolet indicates there is more ice toward the outer part of the rings, hinting at ring origin and evolution, say two University of Colorado at Boulder researchers involved in the Cassini mission.
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From the inside out, the "Cassini division" in faint red at left is followed
by the A ring in its entirety. The A ring begins with a "dirty" interior of red
followed by a general pattern of more turquoise as it spreads away from the planet,
 which indicates denser material made up of ice. The red band roughly three-fourths of
the way outward in the A ring is known as the Encke gap.

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This image shows the outer C and inner B rings respectively from left to right,
 with the inner B ring beginning a little more than halfway across the image. The general pattern
is from "dirty" red particles to the denser ice shown in turquoise as the ringlets spread outward.

The ring system begins from the inside out with the D, C, B and A rings followed by
the F, G and E rings. The red in both images indicates sparser ringlets likely made of "dirty," and possibly smaller, particles than in the denser,
 icier turquoise ringlets.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/07/2004 12:15:40
<font size="4">How to fail at being a star</font id="size4">
<font size="1">HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE</font id="size1">

At the 13th Cambridge Workshop on "Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun," Dr. Kevin L. Luhman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) announced the discovery of a unique pair of newborn brown dwarfs in orbit around each other. Brown dwarfs are a relatively new class of objects discovered in the mid-1990s that are too small to ignite hydrogen fusion and shine as stars, yet too big to be considered planets. "Are brown dwarfs miniature failed stars, or super-sized planets, or are they altogether different from either stars or planets?" asks Luhman. The unique nature of this new brown dwarf pair has brought astronomers a step closer to the answer

* press1_sm.jpg (11.67 kB . 175x137 - viewed 6591 times)
Newly discovered young brown dwarfs with masses of 50 and 25 times the mass of Jupiter orbit each other at a distance of about 20 billion miles (six times the distance of Pluto from the Sun). Credit: K. Luhman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

One possible explanation for the origin of brown dwarfs is that they are born in the same way as stars. Stars form in huge interstellar clouds in which gravity causes clumps of gas and dust to collapse into "seeds," which then steadily pull in more and more material until they grow to become stars. However, when this process is studied in detail by computer, many simulations fail to produce brown dwarfs. Instead, all the seeds grow into full-fledged stars. This result led some astronomers to wonder if brown dwarfs and stars are created in different ways.

"In one alternative that has been proposed recently," explains Luhman, "the seeds in an interstellar cloud pull on each other through their gravity, causing a slingshot effect and ejecting some of the seeds from the cloud before they have a chance to grow into stars. These small bodies are what we see as brown dwarfs, according to that hypothesis."
Testing these ideas for the birth of brown dwarfs is hampered by the fact that brown dwarfs are normally extremely faint and hard to detect in the sky. For most of their lives, they are not hot enough to ignite hydrogen fusion, so they do not shine brightly like stars, and instead are relatively dim like planets. However, for a short time immediately following their birth, brown dwarfs are relatively bright due to the leftover heat from their formation. As a result, brown dwarfs are easiest to find and study at an age of around 1 million years, which is newborn compared to the 4.5 billion year age of our Sun.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHT.COM


Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/07/2004 13:16:09
<font size="4">Clearing Up Blurry Vision: Scientists gaze toward causes of myopia</font id="size4">
Next time you can't make out a distant highway sign, blame your parents. Scientists in the United Kingdom have found that myopia, or nearsightedness, is predominantly hereditary, and they're beginning to unravel the genetic mechanism that causes the vision problem.

Roughly a third of people in the United States suffer from myopia—they clearly see close objects, such as words in a book, but things in the distance appear blurry. The anatomic root of the problem is an elongation of the eye as it grows, causing incoming light to focus in front of the retina, instead of squarely on it, explains Christopher J. Hammond of St. Thomas' Hospital in London.

Using a noninvasive technique, Hammond measured the sizes of the eyeballs of 280 sets of fraternal adult twins and 226 sets of identical twins. By mathematically modeling the differences in the eye sizes, Hammond found that genes accounted for 89 percent of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and other refractive vision problems, he reports in the August American Journal of Human Genetics.

To investigate what regions of DNA in the general population might have a connection to myopia, Hammond scanned the entire genome of the fraternal twins and found four sections linked to the eye problem. The most strongly linked segment contains 44 genes, including one specified as PAX6, which is already well-known to vision researchers. From fruit flies to humans, this gene is fundamental to eye growth in nearly all species that scientists have examined.
To investigate what regions of DNA in the general population might have a connection to myopia, Hammond scanned the entire genome of the fraternal twins and found four sections linked to the eye problem. The most strongly linked segment contains 44 genes, including one specified as PAX6, which is already well-known to vision researchers. From fruit flies to humans, this gene is fundamental to eye growth in nearly all species that scientists have examined.


If scientists can determine the genetic mechanisms for myopia, they might develop targeted pharmaceutical agents that can halt or slow the excessive eye growth that causes it.




* Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 12.08.25.png (265.46 kB . 399x607 - viewed 6650 times)

ODD EYES. Elongated, myopic eyeball (top) focuses light in front of the retina, making distant images appear blurry. Normal eye (bottom) focuses light directly on the retina.




SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS. ORG

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/07/2004 19:47:10
Intelligence
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Key Points
   
 
  IQ depends on your culture, class and gender because of the way tests are written. Controversially, in the 1920s IQ tests were used to assess the suitability of immigrants for US citizenship  


What is intelligence?

Defining intelligence is highly problematic. Is there an 'intelligence' that equips us to solve all kinds of problems and answer all questions, regardless of their nature? Or are there different intelligences that help us deal with particular problems and solutions? The scientific community is divided on the issue.
One of the main tenet's underpinning the idea of a single entity 'intelligence' is the concept of 'General Intelligence', or 'g'. Devised by English Psychologist, Charles Spearman, in the early 20th Century 'g' was a statistical measure of performance across a variety of tests.

Spearman found that the same people who did well in a variety of mental tests tended to use a part in their brains that he termed 'g'. This 'g' laid the foundation for the notion of a single intelligence, which enables us to undertake everyday mental tasks.

A recent study seems to endorse Spearman's theory. Research has found that a part of the brain called the 'lateral prefrontal cortex' is the only area of the brain to increase in blood flow when volunteers tackle complicated puzzles.

Spearman's concept, however, is still highly controversial with many people questioning both the statistical process and the simplistic nature of 'g'. There is also a body of research that states that our mental ability is a function of social factors such as education and not one's inherent biological make-up.
Intelligence and the brain
The early Greeks thought the brain was the home of your soul, rather than your intellect. They believed that thinking happened somewhere around the lungs! Not until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was the brain seen as an organ of intelligence and thought, when the concept of the mind emerged.

Using new forms of technology, scientists have been able to look at how the brain performs when we undertake different tasks. Roll the pointer over the brain below to find out how our brain processes language.

 
SOURCE: BBC SCIENCE AND NATURE


 


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/07/2004 19:14:17
Cassini exposes Saturn's two-face moon Iapetus

* Iapetus_706_1419_1.jpg (335.96 kB . 1663x1558 - viewed 6604 times)
Credit: Wikipedia

The moon with the split personality, Iapetus, presents a perplexing appearance in the latest images snapped by the Cassini spacecraft.
One hemisphere of the moon is very dark, while the other is very bright. Scientists do not yet know the origin of the dark material or whether or not it is representative of the interior of Iapetus.

Iapetus (pronounced eye-APP-eh-tuss) is one of Saturn's 31 known moons. Its diameter is about one third that of our own moon at 1,436 kilometers (892 miles). This image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on July 3, 2004, from a distance of 3 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) from Iapetus. The brightness variations in this image are not due to shadowing, they are real.

During Cassini's four-year tour, the spacecraft will continue to image Iapetus and conduct two close encounters. One of those encounters, several years from now, will be at a mere 1,000 kilometers (622 miles).

Iapetus was discovered by the Italian-French astronomer Jean Dominique Cassini in 1672. He correctly deduced that the trailing hemisphere is composed of highly reflective material, while the leading hemisphere is strikingly darker.

This sets Iapetus apart from Saturn's other moons and Jupiter's moons, which tend to be brighter on their leading hemispheres. Voyager images show that the bright side of Iapetus, which reflects nearly 50 percent of the light it receives, is fairly typical of a heavily cratered icy satellite. The leading side consists of much darker, redder material that has a reflectivity of only about 3 to 4 percent.
Iapetus is odd in other respects. It is in a moderately inclined orbit, one that takes it far above and below the plane in which the rings and most of the moons orbit. It is less dense than many of the other satellites, which suggests a higher fraction of ice or possibly methane or ammonia in its interior.

SOURCE SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 17/07/2004 20:10:16
 Chocolate is made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree
 
 Research suggests chocolate may have health benefits
 
 Chocolate cravings may be a symptom of addiction
 
 Chocolate contains the same 'happy' chemicals found in some recreational drugs.


* ChocolateA-500x389.jpg (38.09 kB . 500x389 - viewed 6606 times)
A Stack of chocolate relaxing yesterday.

The first chocolate bars
In the 1800s, solid chocolate became popular, with the invention of moulding processes. Mechanical grinders crushed cocoa beans to a fine powder that could be heated and poured into moulds, forming shapes as it cooled.

Dutchman Coenrad Van Houten perfected the extraction of cocoa butter from cocoa beans in 1825. The beans are crushed to a paste, which is subjected to very high pressure, forming chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. The extracted butter is smoothed and treated to remove any odours.

In the 1880s, Rudolphe Lindt of Switzerland started adding extra cocoa butter during chocolate manufacture, to make it smoother and glossier. Cocoa butter melts at around 97°F, which is human body temperature. That's why chocolate melts in the mouth.

* cocoapods-trunk-image.jpg (135.89 kB . 1024x600 - viewed 6665 times)
Some Cocoa Pods hanging around yesterday


Chocolate craving
 
The love of chocolate goes beyond the call of sweetness. Chocolate can induce craving in a way that other sugary products like toffee or marshmallow don't. Chocolate makes us feel good, but can it really be addictive?
General sweetness aside, there are various chemical elements specific to chocolate that may help to stimulate cravings. In fact, chocolate contains over 300 chemicals and it is not known how all of these affect humans.

* best-hot-chocolate-recipe-coconut-milk.jpg (74.02 kB . 575x384 - viewed 6698 times)
A Cup of chocolate...err..yesterday !

Many women report particular chocolate cravings when pre-menstrual. This is possibly because chocolate contains magnesium, a shortage of which can exacerbate pre-menstrual tension. Similar cravings during pregnancy could indicate mild anaemia, which chocolate's iron content may help to cure.

Love drug?

Chocolate contains a natural 'love drug'. Tryptophan is a chemical that the brain uses to make a neurotransmitter called serotonin. High levels of serotonin can produce feelings of elation, even ecstasy - hence the name of the designer drug that also works by increasing serotonin levels.

* ggggg.png (168.89 kB . 293x252 - viewed 6660 times)
A chocolate orgy earlier today !


Lust drug?
While tryptophan could be considered 'chocolate's ecstasy', another chemical called phenylethylamine has earned the nickname 'chocolate amphetamine.' High levels of this neurotransmitter help promote feelings of attraction, excitement, giddiness and apprehension. Phenylethylamine works by stimulating the brain's pleasure centres and reaches peak levels during orgasm.


* Chocolate Cake With Chocolate-Orange Sauce_2.jpg (31.98 kB . 528x330 - viewed 6623 times)
A Cake with some chocolate sauce earlier today !



Chocolate chemistry

Like other sweet food, chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins, natural body hormones that generate feelings of pleasure and well-being.General sweetness aside, there are various chemical elements specific to chocolate that may help to stimulate cravings. In fact, chocolate contains over 300 chemicals and it is not known how all of these affect humans.

Many women report particular chocolate cravings when pre-menstrual. This is possibly because chocolate contains magnesium, a shortage of which can exacerbate pre-menstrual tension. Similar cravings during pregnancy could indicate mild anaemia, which chocolate's iron content may help to cure.


* HD-201210-ss-aged-foods-coffee-beans.jpg (57.32 kB . 660x660 - viewed 6636 times)
Errrrhm..not chocolate but coffee beans !!


SOURCE: BBC
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/07/2004 18:08:25
NASA's Mars rovers roll into martian winter
As winter approaches on Mars, NASA's Opportunity rover continues to inch deeper into the stadium-sized crater dubbed "Endurance." On the other side of the planet, the Spirit rover found an intriguing patch of rock outcrop while preparing to climb up the "Columbia Hills" backward. This unusual approach to driving is part of a creative plan to accommodate Spirit's aging front wheel.

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A picture from Spirit. Credit: NASA/JPL
 
Spirit, with an odometer reading of over 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles), has already traveled six times its designed capacity. Its right front wheel has been experiencing increased internal resistance, and recent efforts to mitigate the problem by redistributing the wheel's lubricant through rest and heating have been only partially successful.

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A new picture from Opportunity showing the floor of Endurance Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL
Opportunity will roll down even farther into the crater in the next few days to see if this trend continues. It also will investigate a row of sharp, teeth-like features dubbed "Razorback," which may have formed when fluid flowed through cracks, depositing hard minerals. Scientists hope the new data will help put together the pieces of Meridiani's mysterious and watery past. "Razorback may tell us more about the history of water at Endurance Crater," said Dr. Jack Farmer, a rover science-team member from Arizona State University, Tempe.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW







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A Martian yesterday

   



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/07/2004 19:20:46
New martian meteorite found in Antarctica


* meteorite.jpg (12.84 kB . 398x263 - viewed 6559 times)
While rovers and orbiting spacecraft scour Mars searching for clues to its past, researchers have uncovered another piece of the red planet in the most inhospitable place on Earth -- Antarctica.

CREDIT: NASA


The new specimen was found by a field party from the U.S. Antarctic Search for Meteorites program (ANSMET) on Dec. 15, 2003, on an ice field in the Miller Range of the Transantarctic Mountains, roughly 750 km (466 miles) from the South Pole. This 715.2-gram (1.6-pound) black rock, officially designated MIL 03346, was one of 1358 meteorites collected by ANSMET during the 2003-2004 austral summer.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/07/2004 19:28:09
Doughnut-shaped cloud has 'black hole' filling
NASA NEWS RELEASE
An international team of scientists has found more evidence that massive black holes are surrounded by a doughnut-shaped gas cloud which, depending on our line of sight, blocks the view of the black hole in the center.



* 111196917main_doughnut_esa_m.jpg (38.55 kB . 600x450 - viewed 6506 times)
An artist's concept shows a dark doughnut-shaped ring deep in the core of a galaxy encircles what appears to be a supermassive black hole. Credit: ESA


Using two European Space Agency orbiting observatories, INTEGRAL and XMM-Newton, scientists looked "edge on" into this doughnut, called a torus, to see features never before revealed in such clarity. They could infer the doughnut structure and distance from the black hole by virtue of light that was either reflected or completely absorbed. How the doughnut forms, however, remains a mystery.
Black holes are objects so dense and with gravity so strong that not even light can escape from them. Scientists say that "supermassive" black holes are located in the cores of most galaxies, including our Milky Way galaxy, and contain the mass of millions to billions of suns confined within a region no larger than our Solar System.

Supermassive black holes appear to be surrounded by a hot, thin disk of accreting gas and, farther out, the thick doughnut-shaped torus. Astronomers often view black holes that are aligned face-on or at a slight angle in relation to Earth, thus avoiding the dark, enshrouding torus to study the hot accretion disk.



* 222296924main_ngc4388_ibis_m.jpg (129.86 kB . 600x470 - viewed 6592 times)
This image shows two bright gamma-ray sources: NGC 4388, the nearby "Seyfert" galaxy which is the subject of this press release; and 3C 273, a very distant quasar. Credit: Volker Beckmann et al. / ESA / IBIS.


* 3333396926main_ngc4388_subaru_m.jpg (59.09 kB . 600x516 - viewed 6549 times)
An image of NGC 4388 in infrared wavelengths, captured by ground-based Subaru telescope. We see the entire galaxy. The black hole (and its accretion disk and doughnut ring) would be just a dot in the galaxy core. Seeing galaxies in all wavelengths -- that is, with radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray telescopes -- reveals the entire workings the galaxy, from star creation (birth) to black hole activity (death). Credit: NAOJ/Subaru


* 4444496922main_ngc4261_hubble_m.jpg (52.48 kB . 600x476 - viewed 6522 times)
NGC 4261 is an elliptical galaxy, unlike NGC 4388, a spiral galaxy. However, both galaxies share a common bond -- that is, a supermassive black hole at their core. This Hubble Space Telescope image zooms into the galaxy center to reveal what appears to be a doughnut-shaped cloud around a bright core (an active black hole). Credit: NASA/HST/WFPC2

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/07/2004 18:07:50
 
A day in the lives of galaxies

SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
 
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2Fgalaxies.jpg&hash=69168f9ec9f1d641b7e2e98c5eaf6d5f)Credits: NASA, ESA, J. Blakeslee and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University

This link downloads a larger version of the above piccy but be warned, if you have a slow connection (I don't..so there nyahh nyahh nyahh !!) it might take a while (700k)http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/21/images/a/formats/print.jpg

Like a photographer clicking random snapshots of a crowd of people, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken a view of an eclectic mix of galaxies. In taking this picture, Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys was not looking at any particular target. The camera was taking a picture of a typical patch of sky, while Hubble's infrared camera was viewing a target in an adjacent galaxy-rich region.

The jumble of galaxies in this image, taken in September 2003, includes a yellow spiral whose arms have been stretched by a possible collision [lower right]; a young, blue galaxy [top] bursting with star birth; and several smaller, red galaxies.

But the most peculiar-looking galaxy of the bunch -- the dramatic blue arc in the center of the photo -- is actually an optical illusion. The blue arc is an image of a distant galaxy that has been smeared into the odd shape by a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. This "funhouse- mirror effect" occurs when light from a distant object is bent and stretched by the mass of an intervening object.

In this case the gravitational lens, or intervening object, is a red elliptical galaxy nearly 6 billion light-years from Earth. The red color suggests that the galaxy contains older, cooler stars.

The distant object whose image is smeared into the long blue arc is about 10 billion light-years away. This ancient galaxy existed just a few billion years after the Big Bang, when the universe was about a quarter of its present age. The blue color indicates that the galaxy contains hot, young stars.

SOURCE SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/07/2004 18:25:02
Deep-Sea Cukes Can't Avoid the Weather: El Niño changes life 2.5 miles down(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F%3Cbr+%2F%3E%3Cbr+%2F%3EEven+though+the+water+now+deep+in+the+ocean+won%27t+mingle+with+upper+layers+for+hundreds+of+years%2C+topside+climate+still+drives+the+short-term+booms+and+busts+of+bottom+dwellers.+%3Cbr+%2F%3E%3Cbr+%2F%3E%5Bimg%5Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2F1913.jpg&hash=171d29dca7e0d8ecead90ea9e5e2080e)
LOW LIFE. The sea cucumber Scotoplanes globosa, a species with appendages, lives miles below the ocean surface but grew more abundant after an El Niño and a La Niña.

That's the conclusion of a 14-year study of sea cucumbers, brittle stars, and other mobile bottom dwellers off the California coast, says Henry A. Ruhl of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. What links the top to the bottom is the fall of dead plankton and other debris that provides food in the depths, he and Kenneth L. Smith Jr., also of Scripps, say in the July 23 Science. They link changes in the abundance of certain species some 2.5 miles underwater to the El Niño and La Niña weather shifts between 1997 and 1999.

Marine scientists have discussed possible associations between year-by-year surface weather and deep-sea life. But "there are few actual examples in the modern ocean," comments Andrew Gooday of the Southampton Oceanography Center in England.

"There has been a paradigm shift," Gooday says. "If you go back 30 years, the idea was that the deep-ocean floor was very stable." In the 1970s, though, biologists found evidence that even creatures living at great depths reproduce in accord with the surface seasons. As evidence has appeared for longer-term changes in deep-sea communities, marine scientists have come to see the ocean floor "as a more dynamic environment," says Gooday.

SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/07/2004 18:04:12

Cassini's rear-view image of Saturn's moon Titan released
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


A day after entering orbit around Saturn, Cassini sped silently past Titan, imaging the moon's south polar region. This natural color image represents Cassini's view only about two hours after closest approach to the moon.

 
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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
The superimposed coordinate system grid in the accompanying image at right illustrates the geographical regions of the moon that are illuminated and visible, as well as the orientation of Titan -- lines of longitude converge on the South Pole above the center of the image. The yellow curve marks the position of the boundary between day and night on Titan.

Images taken through blue, green and red filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained using the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera on July 2, 2004, from a distance of about 347,000 kilometers (216,000 miles) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase angle of 62 degrees. This view is an improvement in resolution of nearly a factor of four over the previously released natural color view of Titan (see PIA06081). The image scale is 21 kilometers (13 miles) per pixel.

Source: Spaceflightnow.com

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 29/07/2004 18:19:24
Stellar pair shot out from supernova birthplace
NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: July 28, 2004

Astronomers studying data from the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and other telescopes have concluded that a binary pair of stars forming an energetic microquasar was blasted out of the cluster in which it was born by a supernova explosion some 1.7 million years ago. This is the first time that a fast-moving stellar pair has been tracked back to a specific star cluster.



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The microquasar, circled in red, and stars of the cluster (yellow) in visible-light image. Green arrow indicates microquasar's motion in sky and yellow arrow indicates star cluster's motion. Red arrow indicates microquasar's motion relative to (away from) star cluster. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF


The scientists analyzed numerous observations of a microquasar called LSI +61 303, and concluded that it is moving away from a star cluster named IC 1805 at nearly 17 miles per second.

A microquasar is a pair of stars, one of which is either a dense neutron star or a black hole, in which material sucked from a "normal" star forms a rapidly-rotating disk around the denser object. The disk becomes so hot it emits X-rays, and also spits out "jets" of subatomic particles at nearly the speed of light.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 03/08/2004 19:05:13

Titan's purple covering points to a fuzzy past

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


Encircled in purple stratospheric haze, Saturn's largest moon, Titan, appears as a softly glowing sphere in this colorized image taken on July 3, 2004, one day after Cassini's first flyby of that moon. Titan has a dense atmosphere composed primarily of nitrogen with a few percent methane. The atmosphere can undergo photochemical processes to form hazes.

 
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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Images like this one reveal some of the key steps in the formation and evolution of Titan's haze. The process is thought to begin in the high atmosphere, at altitudes above 400 kilometers (250 miles), where ultraviolet light breaks down methane and nitrogen molecules. The products are believed to react to form more complex organic molecules containing carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen that can combine to form the very small particles seen as haze.

This ultraviolet view of Titan has been falsely colored. The main body is colored pale orange as seen in true color images. Above the orange disc are two distinct layers of atmospheric haze that have been brightened and falsely colored violet to enhance their visibility. It is not currently understood why there are two separate haze layers. This and other questions await answers as the four-year Cassini tour continues, with many more planned flybys of Titan. The upcoming October 2004 flyby of Titan will be 30 times closer than that of July 2.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.com


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/08/2004 19:25:50
Terra spacecraft snaps image of Hurricane Alex
NASA PHOTO RELEASE(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2Fhurricanealex.jpg&hash=b129c0a6211883b4c881b884cec5ccbb)

NASA's Terra satellite captured this true-color image of Hurricane Alex, the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, at noon EDT on Tuesday, August 3. Around that time, the Category 2 storm was pounding North Carolina's Outer Banks with winds of up to 100 miles an hour. It's expected to eventually turn east and head out to sea.

The resolution on this photo, from Terra's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), is 2 kilometers per pixel

LINK TO A MUCH LARGER PICTURE http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/63308main_image_feature_201_jwfull.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/08/2004 12:08:54
Spitzer shows dying star that goes out with a ring

NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE

A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the shimmering embers of a dying star, and in their midst a mysterious doughnut-shaped ring.

"Spitzer's infrared vision has revealed what could not be seen before - a massive ring of material that was expelled from the dying star," said Dr. Joseph Hora, a Spitzer scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass. "The composition of the ring and how it formed are mysteries we hope to address with further Spitzer studies."



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Credit: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
These cosmic beauties last a relatively brief time, about a few thousand years, in the approximately 10-billion-year lifetime of a star. The name "planetary nebula" came from early astronomers who thought the rounded clouds looked like planets.:

SOURCE: (as if you didn't know by now)..SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/08/2004 12:16:47
Lighting the Way for Water: New strategy for steering drops with finesse

Alexandra Goho

Several years ago, a team of researchers in Japan used a beam of light to move drops of oil around on a surface. They could not do the same thing with water drops, however. Now, with inspiration from lotus leaves, a second team has succeeded in manipulating water with a beam of ultraviolet light. That could open new routes for controlling biochemical reactions, the scientists say.


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PHOTO SWITCH. Ultraviolet light can move a water drop along a rough photosensitive surface (left), whereas a drop on a smooth photosensitive surface (right) stays put and spreads out.
R. Rosario


The difficulty of moving drops of water with light stems from the way water molecules interact with surfaces. In previous experiments, Antonio Garcia and his colleagues at Arizona State University in Tempe tried to sidestep that challenge by manipulating the drops on very smooth surfaces. Yet, while the front end of the drop would move toward the light, the back end would stick to the surface.
The new water-controlling tactic could improve microfluidic chips that many researchers are designing for applications ranging from medical diagnostics to environmental monitoring. In such devices, microscopic valves and pumps direct tiny amounts of fluid through specified channels and into specific microchambers

SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/08/2004 16:19:23
Savvy Sieve: Carbon nanotubes filter petroleum, polluted water
Alexandra Goho

Bridging the gap between the nanoworld and the macroworld, researchers have created a membrane out of carbon nanotubes and demonstrated its potential for filtering petroleum and treating contaminated drinking water.

Scientists have long valued carbon nanotubes for their high strength and thermal properties yet it's been a challenge to assemble nanotubes into useful materials large enough for people to hold in their hands.


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CLEAR PASSAGE. The wall of this tube-shaped filter is made of a single layer of densely packed carbon nanotubes.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, have now devised a method for making such large-scale structures and found an application for them.

The researchers injected a solution of benzene and ferrocene—the materials needed to assemble the carbon nanotubes—into a stream of argon gas and then sprayed the mixture into a quartz tube. The tube was located inside a furnace heated to 900°C.

A dense forest of carbon nanotubes formed on the inner walls of the quartz tube, yielding a hollow black cylinder. The researchers carefully removed the cylinder, which measured several centimeters long and up to a centimeter in diameter. It was composed of trillions of nanotubes. Each nanotube was only a few hundred microns long, essentially the thickness of the carbon cylinder's wall.

SOURCE:SCIENCNEWS.ORG

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/08/2004 20:04:38
Disk shows signs of planets
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII NEWS RELEASE


The sharpest image ever taken of a dust disk around another star has revealed structures in the disk which are signs of unseen planets.


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Dust grains orbiting the star AU Mic. The light from the star itself has been been removed from the center of this image, which was obtained with the Keck Telescope on Mauna Kea. Irregularities in the shape of the disk indicate the presence of unseen planets in orbit around the star. The image is 100 Astronomical Units wide (9.3 billion miles), about the size of our solar system. Image Credit: M. Liu, IfA-Hawaii/Keck Observatory

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/08/2004 23:23:48
Out from the shadows: Two new Saturnian moons
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


With eyes sharper than any that have peered at Saturn before, the Cassini spacecraft has uncovered two moons, which may be the smallest bodies so far seen around the ringed planet.



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This image shows the tiny 'worldlet,' temporarily dubbed S/2004 S1, as it makes its way around the planet. A white box frames the moon's location in the image. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

The moons are approximately 3 kilometers (2 miles) and 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) across -- smaller than the city of Boulder, Colorado. The moons, located 194,000 kilometers (120,000 miles) and 211,000 kilometers (131,000 miles) from the planet's center, are between the orbits of two other saturnian moons, Mimas and Enceladus.

Source: Spaceflightnow.com

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/08/2004 23:30:15
How old is the Milky Way?
EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


Observations by an international team of astronomers with the UVES spectrometer on ESO's Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory have thrown new light on the earliest epoch of the Milky Way galaxy.



* NGC6397_RGB_Crop_2000px.jpg (847.73 kB . 2000x1500 - viewed 5858 times)

This  image shows the globular cluster NGC 6397, located at a distance of approx. 7,200 light-years in the southern constellation Ara. It has undergone a "core collapse" and the central area is very dense. Credit: ESO

The first-ever measurement of the Beryllium content in two stars in a globular cluster (NGC 6397) - pushing current astronomical technology towards the limit - has made it possible to study the early phase between the formation of the first generation of stars in the Milky Way and that of this stellar cluster. This time interval was found to amount to 200 - 300 million years.

The age of the stars in NGC 6397, as determined by means of stellar evolution models, is 13,400 +/- 800 million years. Adding the two time intervals gives the age of the Milky Way, 13,600 +/- 800 million years.

The currently best estimate of the age of the Universe, as deduced, e.g., from measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background, is 13,700 million years. The new observations thus indicate that the first generation of stars in the Milky Way galaxy formed soon after the end of the ~200 million-year long "Dark Ages" that succeeded the Big Bang.



How old is the Milky Way ? When did the first stars in our galaxy ignite ?

A proper understanding of the formation and evolution of the Milky Way system is crucial for our knowledge of the Universe. Nevertheless, the related observations are among the most difficult ones, even with the most powerful telescopes available, as they involve a detailed study of old, remote and mostly faint celestial objects.

Source: Saceflightnow.com

Full story: http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0408/17milkyway/



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 20/08/2004 20:48:59
Latest colour pictures from Cassini look like artwork
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

NASA has released three new stunning color pictures taken by the Cassini spacecraft exploring the planet Saturn. The images show the giant planet, its golden rings and several moons.


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FIRST IMAGE: Saturn's atmosphere is prominently shown with the rings emerging from behind the planet at upper right. The two moons on the left of the image are Mimas and Enceladus.

This image was taken on August 8, 2004, with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera in red, green, and blue filters. This image was taken 8.5 million kilometers (5.3 million miles) from Saturn. Contrast has been enhanced to aid visibility.

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SECOND IMAGE: Saturn's rings appear golden as the planet's shadow drapes across nearly the whole span of the rings. In the upper left corner is Saturn's moon Mimas.

This color image was taken on August 15, 2004, with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera, using the red, green, and blue filters. The image was taken 8.8 million kilometers (5.5 million miles) from Saturn. Contrast has been enhanced to aid visibility



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THIRD IMAGE: Saturn and its rings are prominently shown in this color image, along with three of Saturn's smaller moons. From left to right, they are Prometheus, Pandora and Janus.

Prometheus and Pandora are often called the "F ring shepherds" as they control and interact with Saturn's interesting F ring, seen between them.

This image was taken on June 18, 2004, with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera 8.2 million kilometers (5.1 million miles) from Saturn. It was created using the red, green, and blue filters. Contrast has been enhanced to aid visibility.


Links to larger pictures:
1 http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06423.jpg
2 http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06424.jpg
3 http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06422.jpg

Source : Spaceflightnow.com

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 20/08/2004 21:03:05
Virtual veins give nurses a hand
By Jo Twist
BBC News Online science and technology staff  

A virtual reality hand, complete with vital veins, that "feels" could help trainee nurses practise their jabs.
The tactile 3D virtual reality system uses force feedback technology that is usually found in video game controllers, known as haptics.

It could help in learning sensitive venopuncture skills on a variety of hand types, instead of plastic models.

The system, developed by UK Haptics, is still at an early stage, but could be used for training nurses next year.
Haptics is the term for physical sensors that provide a sense of touch at skin level and force feedback information from muscles and joints.  


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The hand has realistic and complex vein structures

Nurses sit in front of a PC wearing 3D goggles. A mirror in front of them lets them see the projected hand image in 3D too.
All the nurse has to do is sit in front of the machine and stick the cannula, which they see as a syringe, into the hand.
The system feeds back information about pressure, and blood appears to fill the syringe when the vein has been punctured.

SOURCE: BBC NEWS

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: bezoar on 22/08/2004 04:28:47
They didn't have that kind of technology back in the Dark Ages when I was in school.  We just got the real thing to practice on.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/09/2004 15:52:11
Deepest image of exploded star uncovers bipolar jets
NASA NEWS RELEASE
A spectacular new image of Cassiopeia A released today from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has nearly 200 times more data than the "First Light" Chandra image of this object made five years ago. The new image reveals clues that the initial explosion, caused by the collapse of a massive star, was far more complicated than suspected.



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This spectacular image of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A is the most detailed image ever made of the remains of an exploded star. The one million second image shows a bright outer ring (green) ten light years in diameter that marks the location of a shock wave generated by the supernova explosion. A large jet-like structure that protrudes beyond the shock wave can be seen in the upper left. In this image, the colors represent different ranges of X-rays with red, green, and blue representing, low, medium, and higher X-ray energies. Credit: NASA/CXC/GSFC/U.Hwang et al.

Source: Spaceflightnow.com



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/09/2004 15:58:12
Brightest supernova in a decade captured by Hubble
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY NEWS RELEASE

A University of California, Berkeley, astronomer has turned the NASA Hubble Space Telescope on the brightest and nearest supernova of the past decade, capturing a massive stellar explosion blazing with the light of 200 million suns.



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The explosion of a massive star blazes with the light of 200 million Suns in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image. The arrow at top right points to the stellar blast, called a supernova. Credit: NASA, ESA, A.V. Filippenko (University of California, Berkeley), P. Challis (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), et al.
The supernova, called SN 2004dj, is so bright in the Hubble image that it easily could be mistaken for a foreground star in our Milky Way Galaxy. Yet it lies 11 million light-years from Earth in the outskirts of a galaxy called NGC 2403, nestled in a cluster of mostly massive bright blue stars only 14 million years old.

Source:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/09/2004 16:08:44
UK moths reveal 35-year decline
By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent  


British moths are in serious trouble, possibly because of changing climate, a scientist will reveal later this week.
Dr Kelvin Conrad of Rothamsted Research will tell the British Association's annual meeting in Exeter that about two-thirds of UK moths are declining.
He says about a fifth of all British moths are losing numbers sharply enough to cause conservationists concern.

Moths are seen as a good indicator of the general health of the environment, because they occupy most habitats.

Rothamsted Research, north of London, is the UK's largest agricultural research centre.

Dr Conrad will be presenting data from a 35-year study of moths caught in Rothamsted's nationwide network of light traps to the BA Festival of Science on 9 September.





 
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The hedge rustic: Two-thirds of UK moths show some decline


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Scarce footman: Some species are doing better


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The moth decline mirrors that of UK butterflies

SOURCE: BBC NEWS  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3625296.stm




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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/09/2004 00:57:32
Dying star creates fantasy-like sculpture of gas and dust
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE

In this detailed view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the so-called Cat's Eye Nebula looks like the penetrating eye of the disembodied sorcerer Sauron from the film adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings."




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Credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

The nebula, formally cataloged NGC 6543, is every bit as inscrutable as the J.R.R. Tolkien phantom character. Though the Cat's Eye Nebula was one of the first planetary nebula to be discovered, it is one of the most complex such nebulae seen in space. A planetary nebula forms when Sun-like stars gently eject their outer gaseous layers that form bright nebulae with amazing and confounding shapes.
As if the Cat's Eye itself isn't spectacular enough, this new image taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) reveals the full beauty of a bull's eye pattern of eleven or even more concentric rings, or shells, around the Cat's Eye. Each 'ring' is actually the edge of a spherical bubble seen projected onto the sky -- that's why it appears bright along its outer edge.

Observations suggest the star ejected its mass in a series of pulses at 1,500-year intervals. These convulsions created dust shells, each of which contain as much mass as all of the planets in our solar system combined (still only one percent of the Sun's mass). These concentric shells make a layered, onion-skin structure around the dying star. The view from Hubble is like seeing an onion cut in half, where each skin layer is discernible.


SOURCE: Spaceflightnow.com

Guess we won't be looking for life around that star !!..but, phew !!..that's an incredible picture....here's the link for the much bigger version  (484k)http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/27/images/a/formats/print.jpg

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: OmnipotentOne on 14/09/2004 03:27:23
Umm I think this is relevant.  Back in May like many know we have a overpopulation of cicadas Known as brude X.  My house was covered in them and you could hear there low buzzing noise everywhere, protruding wheve ever you went.  Heres some pictures of what it looked like when they died...
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There were so many dead it killed the grass, and it stank for weeks[xx(]

To see a world in a grain of sand.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/09/2004 22:08:45
Dark matter 'superstructure' revealed by Chandra
CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE

A nearby galaxy cluster is facing an intergalactic headwind as it is pulled by an underlying superstructure of dark matter, according to new evidence from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Astronomers think that most of the matter in the universe is concentrated in long large filaments of dark matter and that galaxy clusters are formed where these filaments intersect.




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A Chandra mosaic of images of the Fornax galaxy cluster reveals that the vast cloud of ten-million-degree Celsius gas surrounding the cluster core has a swept-back cometary shape that extends for more than half a million light years. This geometry suggests that the hot gas cloud is moving through a larger, but less dense cloud of gas, creating a ram pressure, or intergalactic headwind. Credit: NASA/CXC/Columbia U./C.Scharf et al.

Source: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/09/2004 22:12:52
Falling into Place: Atom mist yields nanobricks and mortar

Nanotechnologists envision using tiny structures to create ultrastrong materials and to build memory chips that store entire libraries. But these visions require making matter behave in exceptionally orderly ways.



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NEAT TRICK. Orderly arrays of nanodots are spawning new materials and light-emitting devices. Only 7 nanometers across, these nickel dots occupy an aluminum-oxide matrix.
Narayan and Tiwari


Now, materials scientists Jagdish Narayan and Ashutosh Tiwari of North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh have induced tiny particles, or nanodots, of nickel to spontaneously assemble into exceptionally uniform, three-dimensional arrays of macroscopic size.


With this method, they've also created blends of copper nanodots and tin that they say are harder than steel. The company Kopin in Taunton, Mass., is already applying the technique to semiconductors that they use to manufacture unusually efficient light-emitting diodes.

Narayan and Tiwari describe their work in the September Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.


SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG





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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/09/2004 23:52:35
Galactic contortionists captured in amazing image
GEMINI OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


A stunning image released by the Gemini Observatory captures the graceful interactions of a galactic ballet, on a stage some 300 million light years away, that might better be described as a contortionist's dance.


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Stephan's Quintet as imaged by the Gemini Observatory using the Multi-Object Spectrograph on Gemini North.  The interacting members of the cluster are almost 300 million light years away.  The galaxy NGC 7320 (top-center) is thought by most astronomers to be in the foreground (about 8-times closer) and is distinguished in this image by multiple red blobs indicating hydrogen clouds where stars are forming. Credit: Gemini Observatory Image/Travis Rector, University of Alaska Anchorage

The galaxies, members of a famous troupe called Stephan's Quintet, are literally tearing each other apart. Their shapes are warped by gravitational interactions occurring over millions of years. Sweeping arches of gas and dust trace the interactions and possible ghost-like passage of the galaxies through one another. The ongoing dance deformed their structures while spawning a prolific fireworks display of star formation fueled by clouds of hydrogen gas that were shocked into clumps to form stellar nurseries.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Other Sources: Tomato, Tabasco, Barbeque and Worcestershire

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/09/2004 19:51:37
Huygens test successful
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE

ESA's Huygens probe, now orbiting Saturn on board the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini spacecraft, is in good health and successfully passed its fifteenth 'In-Flight Checkout' on 14 September 2004.



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An artist's concept shows Huygens parachuting to Titan after deployment from the Cassini orbiter. Credit: EADS Astrium
 

This in-flight checkout procedure was the last but one planned before separation of the Huygens probe from Cassini in December this year, and it included some specific activities that were intended to prepare for the separation. The main difference in this procedure from previous checkouts was that there was a test of the Master Timer Unit (MTU).
The MTU is the 'triple-redundant' alarm-clock that has the most important job of waking up Huygens a few hours before its entry into Titan's atmosphere

Source: Spaceflightnow.com

Other sauces: Treacle, strawberry and cherry sauce


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/09/2004 20:06:29
Green, Leafy Spinach May Soon Power More Than Popeye’s Biceps
For the first time, MIT researchers have incorporated a plant’s ability to convert sunlight to energy into a solid-state electronic “spinach sandwich” device that may one day power laptops and cell phones.

At the heart of the device is a protein complex dubbed Photosystem I (PSI). Derived from spinach chloroplasts, PSI is 10 to 20 nanometers wide. Around 100,000 of them would fit on the head of a pin. “They are the smallest electronic circuits I know of,” said researcher Marc A. Baldo, assistant professor of electronic engineering and computer science at MIT.
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 protein complex named Photosystem I, which is derived from spinach chloroplasts, functions as an extremely small electronic circuit. About 100,000 of them would fit on the head of a pin. (Image courtesy of Massachusetts Institute Of Technology

SOURCE:SCIENCEDAILY.COM
Original Source: MIT


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 26/09/2004 02:53:42
Massive merger of galaxies is most powerful on record
NASA NEWS RELEASE

An international team of scientists, led by a NASA-funded researcher, announced today, they observed a nearby head-on collision of two galaxy clusters. The clusters smashed together thousands of galaxies and trillions of stars. It is one of the most powerful events ever witnessed. Such collisions are second only to the Big Bang in total energy output.


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This artist's concept shows what the scientists are calling the perfect cosmic storm: galaxy clusters that collided like two high-pressure weather fronts and created hurricane-like conditions, tossing galaxies far from their paths and churning shock waves of 100-million-degree gas through intergalactic space. Credit: NASA

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/09/2004 18:09:15
Big Gulp? Neck ribs may have given aquatic beast unique feeding style

The fossilized neck bones of a 230-million-year-old sea creature have features suggesting that the animal's snakelike throat could flare open and create suction that would pull in prey. Such a feeding strategy has never before been proposed for an ancient aquatic reptile.



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THAT'S A STRETCH. Features of the fossilized neck bones of Dinocephalosaurus suggest that the creature, at least 3 meters long, captured its prey by creating water suction as it struck.
C. Cain/AAAS, Science


SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 29/09/2004 03:52:14

Mars orbiter sees rover, lander and even wheel tracks
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
 

NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, starting its third mission extension this week after seven years of orbiting Mars, is using an innovative technique to capture pictures even sharper than most of the more than 170,000 it has already produced.



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Wheel tracks left by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, and even the rover itself, are visible in this image from the Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
Download a larger image version here: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/PIA06879_fig1.jpg


One dramatic example from the spacecraft's Mars Orbiter Camera shows wheel tracks of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and the rover itself. Another tells scientists that no boulders bigger than about 1 to 2 meters (3 to 7 feet) are exposed in giant ripples created by a catastrophic flood.

Source: Spaceflightnow.com



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/10/2004 23:17:23
Medieval surgeons were advanced
Surgeons were carrying out complicated skull operations in medieval times, the remains of a body found at an archaeological dig show.
A skull belonging to a 40-year-old peasant man, who lived between 960 and 1100AD, is the firmest evidence yet of cranial surgery, say its discoverers.

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The peasant's skull had been operated on

The remains, found in Yorkshire, show the man survived an otherwise fatal blow to the head thanks to surgery.

Nearly 700 skeletons were unearthed by English Heritage at a site near Malton.


SOURCE: BBC



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/10/2004 15:24:05
Unraveling a 400-year-old supernova mystery
NASA NEWS RELEASE


Four hundred years ago, sky watchers, including the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler, best known as the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, were startled by the sudden appearance of a "new star" in the western sky, rivaling the brilliance of the nearby planets.

 

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NASA's three Great Observatories ‹ the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory - joined forces to probe the expanding remains of a supernova, called Kepler's supernova remnant, first seen 400 years ago by sky watchers, including famous astronomer Johannes Kepler. Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Sankrit and W. Blair (Johns Hopkins University)
Download larger image version here
http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/29/images/a/formats/print.jpg

Modern astronomers, using NASA's three orbiting Great Observatories, are unraveling the mysteries of the expanding remains of Kepler's supernova, the last such object seen to explode in our Milky Way galaxy.

When a new star appeared Oct. 9, 1604, observers could use only their eyes to study it. The telescope would not be invented for another four years. A team of modern astronomers has the combined abilities of NASA's Great Observatories, the Spitzer Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, to analyze the remains in infrared radiation, visible light, and X-rays. Ravi Sankrit and William Blair of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore lead the team.

The combined image unveils a bubble-shaped shroud of gas and dust, 14 light-years wide and expanding at 6 million kilometers per hour (4 million mph). Observations from each telescope highlight distinct features of the supernova, a fast-moving shell of iron-rich material, surrounded by an expanding shock wave sweeping up interstellar gas and dust.


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These images represent views of Kepler's supernova remnant taken in X-rays, visible light, and infrared radiation. Each top panel shows the entire remnant. Each color in this image represents a different region of the electromagnetic spectrum, from X-rays to infrared light. The X-ray and infrared data cannot be seen with the human eye. Astronomers have color-coded those data so they can be seen in these images. The bottom panels are close-up views of the remnant. Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Sankrit and W. Blair (Johns Hopkins University)Download larger image version http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/29/images/g/formats/web_print.jpg

The explosion of a star is a catastrophic event. The blast rips the star apart and unleashes a roughly spherical shock wave that expands outward at more than 35 million kilometers per hour (22 million mph) like an interstellar tsunami. The shock wave spreads out into surrounding space, sweeping up any tenuous interstellar gas and dust into an expanding shell. The stellar ejecta from the explosion initially trail behind the shock wave. It eventually catches up with the inner edge of the shell and is heated to X-ray temperatures.

SOUCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/10/2004 19:50:14
What is it? Mystery object discovered by astronomersNATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


Astronomers using the Gemini North and Keck II telescopes have peered inside a violent binary star system to find that one of the interacting stars has lost so much mass to its partner that it has regressed to a strange, inert body resembling no known star type.


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A close-up view of the EF Eridanus system as it might appear today given that most of the radiation emitted by the system is in the infrared part of the specrum and not visible to the human eye. Credit: Gemini Observatory/Jon Lomberg
 
Unable to sustain nuclear fusion at its core and doomed to orbit with its much more energetic white dwarf partner for millions of years, the dead star is essentially a new, indeterminate type of stellar object.


SOURCE: Spaceflightnow.com



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/10/2004 20:05:40
Discovery of the oldest remains of a woman who died in childbirth
3,000 years ago.



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A woman of the Argaric culture went into a difficult labour with a badly positioned foetus. The outcome was fatal: the woman and her child died. The remains of the grave were found at the "El cerro de las Viñas" site in 1996. Now a team of anthropologists from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have established that these are the oldest remains of this type to have been described by scientists.

SOURCE: EUREKALERT.ORG

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: gsmollin on 13/10/2004 04:03:46
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

What is it? Mystery object discovered by astronomersNATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


Astronomers using the Gemini North and Keck II telescopes have peered inside a violent binary star system to find that one of the interacting stars has lost so much mass to its partner that it has regressed to a strange, inert body resembling no known star type.


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A close-up view of the EF Eridanus system as it might appear today given that most of the radiation emitted by the system is in the infrared part of the specrum and not visible to the human eye. Credit: Gemini Observatory/Jon Lomberg
 
Unable to sustain nuclear fusion at its core and doomed to orbit with its much more energetic white dwarf partner for millions of years, the dead star is essentially a new, indeterminate type of stellar object.


SOURCE: Spaceflightnow.com



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I thought this was called a "brown dwarf", and can be very numerous. Most are thought to form from nebulae that are simply not massive enough to produce a star. This method, loss through a Roche radius to a more massive partner, may be more common than we think. There could be another twist. If the star losses enough mass to its binary partner so that the white dwarf exceeds the Chandesakar limit, the white dwarf will supernova, and the blast could blow away enough of the less massive star to leave a brown dwarf behind.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: gsmollin on 13/10/2004 04:09:11
Well that sucked. It didn't post my thoughtful reply. Well, anyway, this is what I wrote:

I think this is called a "brown dwarf" because it is a failed star that radiates gravitational binding energy in the infrared. Most are thought to form in nebula simply not massive enough to form a star. This could be a second way. I can think of a third. If the star losses enough mass through its Roche radius to the white dwarf companion, the white dwarf can exceed the Chandrasakar limit and supernova. The blast could blow away enough stellar mass to produce a brown dwarf, orbiting a neutron star.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/10/2004 23:03:39
Photo gallery: Soyuz rocket rolls to the launch pad

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The Soyuz rocket to launch the Expedition 10 crew to the International Space Station is rolled from its assembly building to the Baikonur Cosmodrome pad. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Source: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/10/2004 22:27:20
Astronomers discover planet building is big messNASA NEWS RELEASE
Planets are built over a long period of massive collisions between rocky bodies as big as mountain ranges, astronomers announced today.

New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal surprisingly large dust clouds around several stars. These clouds most likely flared up when rocky, embryonic planets smashed together. The Earth's own moon may have formed from such a catastrophe. Prior to these new results, astronomers thought planets were formed under less chaotic circumstances.



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This animation illustrates a massive collision between rocky, embryonic planets as big as mountain ranges. Such collisions form the basis of the planet-building process. New findings from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that these catastrophes continue to occur around stars even after they have developed full-sized planets, when they are as old as one hundred million years. For reference, our own Sun, at 4.5 billion years old, is far past this late stage of planet formation. Credit: NASA/JPL

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 23/10/2004 00:14:37
Science salutes its ocean giant
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All great careers come to an end and the deep-sea manned submersible Alvin goes into retirement after 40 years of remarkable work in the world's oceans.
The sub has taken 12,000 people on over 4,000 dives, to observe the lifeforms that must cope with super-pressures and move about in total darkness.

It is said Alvin research has featured in nearly 2,000 scientific papers.

It helped confirm the theory of plate tectonics and continental drift, and discovered hydrothermal vents.


SOURCE: By Virginia Phillips
BBC Science



Come on people post your science piccys here...and remember to CREDIT the source

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/10/2004 20:51:37
Graphite in Flatland: Carbon sheets may rival nanotubes

Anyone who has written with a pencil may have unwittingly made a few traces of a promising new nanomaterial. Among the thick smears of graphite deposited when a pencil rubs along paper are probably some carbon films only a few atoms thick, says physicist Andre K. Geim of the University of Manchester in England.

In laboratory experiments, he and his colleagues at Manchester and in Russia have now created freestanding carbon films as thin as one atom. The researchers call the surprising material "few-layer graphene."

In the Oct. 22 Science, the team also reports that it formed the material into a novel prototype transistor that's expected to produce less heat than a conventional transistor does.

"I find this one of the most interesting discoveries that has emerged in condensed-matter physics in the last decade," comments Laurence Eaves of the University of Nottingham in England.

These new findings are "truly outstanding" and "bear huge significance in this field" of carbon nanostructures, adds Philip Kim of Columbia University, who says he has made slightly thicker carbon layers with similar properties



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WHAT FLAKES. A 1-atom-thick flake of graphene has settled onto a silicon dioxide surface (burnt-orange background in above image). In some regions, it folds back on itself like fabric (lightest orange). Atomic-force-microscope image represents a field 10 micrometers wide.
K. Novoselov, et al./Science


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A gauzy patch of atom-thick graphene 200 nanometers long connects two electrodes (gold

SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 26/10/2004 23:54:23
Eyes on Xanadu
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

 
Eyes on Xanadu
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: October 25, 2004

This image taken on Oct. 24, 2004, reveals Titan's bright "continent-sized" terrain known as Xanadu. It was acquired with the narrow angle camera on Cassini's imaging science subsystem through a spectral filter centered at 938 nanometers, a wavelength region at which Titan's surface can be most easily detected. The surface is seen at a higher contrast than in previously released imaging science subsystem images due to a lower phase angle (Sun-Titan-Cassini angle), which minimizes scattering by the haze
 

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The image shows details about 10 times smaller than those seen from Earth. Surface materials with different brightness properties (or albedos) rather than topographic shading are highlighted. The image has been calibrated and slightly enhanced for contrast. It will be further processed to reduce atmospheric blurring and to optimize mapping of surface features. The origin and geography of Xanadu remain mysteries at this range. Bright features near the south pole (bottom) are clouds. On Oct. 26, Cassini will acquire images of features in the central-left portion of this image from a position about 100 times closer.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/10/2004 21:04:46
Cassini radar shows diversity on Saturn's moon Titan
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

This radar image of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan was acquired on October 26, 2004, when the Cassini spacecraft flew approximately 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) above the surface and acquired radar data for the first time. It reveals a complex geologic surface thought to be composed of icy materials and hydrocarbons.

A wide variety of geologic terrain types can be seen on the image; brighter areas may correspond to rougher terrains and darker areas are thought to be smoother. A large dark circular feature is seen at the western (left) end of the image, but very few features resembling fresh impact craters are seen. This suggests that the surface is relatively young. Enigmatic sinuous bright linear features are visible, mainly cutting across dark areas.

 


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The image is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) wide and 250 kilometers (155 miles) long, and is centered at 50 N, 82 W in the northern hemisphere of Titan, over a region that has not yet been imaged optically. The smallest details seen on the image are about 300 meters (186 miles) across.


WELL BIG IMAGE HERE !!http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06988.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/10/2004 21:10:05
Evolutionary Shrinkage:
Stone Age Homo find offers small surprise

Big evolutionary insights sometimes come in little packages. Witness the startling discovery, in a cave on the eastern Indonesian island of Flores, of the partial skeleton of a half-size Homo species that lived there at the same time that ancient Homo sapiens inhabited nearby regions.




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LITTLE BIG FIND. The newly discovered Homo floresiensis skull (left) comes up short next to a Homo sapiens skull (right).

The new species, dubbed Homo floresiensis, reached the island at least 38,000 years ago and lived there until it died out near the end of the Stone Age, roughly 20,000 years later, conclude the authors of two papers in the Oct. 28 Nature. The researchers say that the Flores find represents an adult, probably a female, who stood about 3 feet, 3 inches tall (1 meter) and weighed approximately 35 pounds (16 kilograms).

This individual's brain was only about as large as those of australopithecines, which were apelike members of the human evolutionary family that preceded Homo.


SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/11/2004 19:25:21
Pit chains hint at recent marsquakes on red planet
SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE


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Strings of depressions dotting the Martian landscape indicate that seismic activity - marsquakes - may still be reshaping the surface of the planet, according to Dr. David Ferrill of Southwest Research Institute in a paper published in GSA Today. These pit chains occur along dilational faults, partially filled or open cavities that served as conduits for past groundwater flow.

"These faults could now serve as reservoirs for water or ice, making these locations of potentially great interest to the scientific community searching for signs of life on Mars," said Ferrill, a senior program manager at SwRI.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/11/2004 19:35:28
Who laid the first egg?
Scientists move a step closer to linking embryos of earth's first animals to adult form
Public Release: 1-Nov-2004


Blacksburg, Va. – In 1998, Shuhai Xiao and colleagues reported finding thousands of 600 million year old embryo microfossils in the Neoproterozoic Doushantuo Formation, a fossil site near Weng'an, South China, (Xiao, S., Zhang, Y., and Knoll, A.H., 1998, "Three-dimensional preservation of algae and animal embryos in a Neoproterozoic phosphorite," Nature, v. 391). Within the egg cases they examined at that time, they discovered animals in the first stages of development – from a single cell to only a few dozen cells. "The cellular preservation is amazing," says Xiao, assistant professor of geosciences at Virginia Tech.


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Animal embryos




But what kind of adult would these ancient embryos have hatched into?

In 2000, Xiao's team reported the discovery of a coral-like animal that might be a candidate for parenthood (Xiao, S., Yuan, X., and Knoll, A.H., 2000, "Eumetazoan fossils in terminal Proterozoic phosphorites?" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, v. 97). "It was tubular, not spherical. But in some of the best specimens, we could see that the tube branches and has cross-walls," Xiao said. "But can it be linked to the embryos?"

Upon examination of more embryos collected from the original site, Xiao's research team has discovered some embryos that may be at the hatching stage. He will report on this latest finding at the Geological Society of America meeting in Denver Nov. 7-10.

"Looking now at these egg cases, we can see clockwise spiral grooves, as if a knife sliced the egg open," Xiao said. "The embryo was beginning to hatch. When we removed the egg case, we found that the post blastula but pre-hatching embryo at this stage is beginning to transform into a spiral animal. Each such animal had three clockwise spires. After hatching, the spiral organism began to uncoil slightly," Xiao said.

"They look as if they can unwind to a tube structure. We are looking for more evidence, but if that is true, it might link the embryo fossils to the tubular coral-like animal."

The researchers will slice open a hatched embryo specimen that appears to be unwinding to see if it has cross-walls. "That would indicate it is related to the tubes," Xiao said.

"These organisms lived 600 million years ago – before big animals. This the very first moment of animal evolution preserved in the fossil record."



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Branched tubular fossils preserved in Doushantuo phosphorites

SOURCE: eurekalert.org



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/11/2004 20:55:19

Laser technology helps track changes in Mount St. Helens

NASA NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA scientists studying Mount St. Helens are using high-tech Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to analyze changes in the surface elevation of the crater, which began deforming in late September 2004.


 
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Elevation differences in the crater were found between two airborne LIDAR surveys conducted in September 2003 and October 4, 2004. The image is a computer-generated representation of the October 4 topography. The superimposed colors indicate areas of change: areas where elevation has lowered between 0.5 to 30 meters (blue); areas where elevation has increased between 1.5 to 40 m, 40 m to 80 m, and 80 m to 120 m are green, yellow, and orange, respectively.  Credit: USGS and NASA

With data derived from airborne LIDAR, scientists can accurately map, often in exquisite detail, the dimensions of the uplift and create better models to forecast volcanic hazards. LIDAR shows, in the two weeks before Oct. 4, the new uplift grew to the height of a 35-story building (110 meters or 360 feet) and the area of 29 football fields (130,000 square meters).

SOURCE:spaceflightnow.com

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/11/2004 19:48:52
Radar image shows Titan's surface live and in colour
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: November 6, 2004

Saturn's moon Titan shows a sharp contrast between its smooth and rough edges in a new false-color radar image.

Titan's surface lies beneath a thick coat of hazy clouds, but Cassini's radar instrument can peer through to show finer surface features. Scientists have added color to emphasize finer details on Titan, as shown in the image.

To provide a better perspective of the surface features, the color image is shown next to a black-and-white image that was previously released.



* Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 11.26.34.png (912.2 kB . 626x734 - viewed 2420 times)


The area shown is in the northern hemisphere of Titan and is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) wide by 300 kilometers (186 miles) long. The image is a part of a larger strip created from data taken on Oct. 26, 2004, when the Cassini spacecraft flew approximately 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) above Titan's surface.

WELL BIG version of piccy here  (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06992.jpg)
SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

What's YOUR favourite source ?...I love Toffee and maple Syrup and praline.....*sigh*....I'm sooooooooooo alone on this thread aren't I ?



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: roberth on 08/11/2004 22:20:04
This is one of my favourite threads, Neil. Look at how many views there's been. Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/11/2004 22:38:21
*sigh*...thanks Roberth....you're a star and I'll continue the work....

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/11/2004 16:58:56
Cassini sees objects, density waves in Saturn's rings
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO-BOULDER NEWS RELEASE

A University of Colorado at Boulder-built instrument riding on the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is being used to resolve objects in Saturn's rings smaller than a football field, making them twice as sharp as any previous ring observations.




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This false color image of two density waves in Saturn's A ring was made from the stellar occultation
 observed by Cassini's ultraviolet imaging spectrograph. Bright areas indicate the denser regions of the rings.
 The bright bands in the left part of the image are the "peaks" of a density wave caused by gravitational stirring of
the rings by Saturn's moon, Janus. A smaller density wave in the right half of the image is produced by the moon Pandora.
 The ultraviolet imaging spectrograph observed the brightness of the star Xi Ceti as the rings passed in front of it, and the
flickering of the starlight was converted into the ring density depicted by the image. The image represents a distance of
 about 724 kilometers (450 miles), and the smallest features are about one-half mile across. Credit: NASA/JPL/University
 of Colorado at Boulder


Joshua Colwell of CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics said the observations were made with Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph, or UVIS, when Cassini was about 4.2 million miles, or 6.75 million kilometers, from Saturn in July. Saturn orbits the Sun roughly 1 billion miles distant from Earth.

Colwell and his colleagues used a technique known as stellar occultation to image the ring particles, pointing the instrument through the rings towards the star, Xi Ceti. The fluctuations of starlight passing through the rings provide information on the structure and dynamics of the particles within them, said Colwell, a UVIS science team member.

He likened the Saturn system to a mammoth phonograph record, with the planet in the middle and the rings stretching outward more than 40,000 miles, or 64,000 kilometers. The size of the ring particles varies from dust specks to mountains, with most ranging between the size of marbles and boulders, he said.

Bigger image here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06994.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: roberth on 10/11/2004 22:35:14
quote:
Originally posted by neilep
"It is high time we did field studies to assess the situation or else a big natural catastrophe could hit us anytime," said Arun Bhakta Shrestha from Nepal's Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.



Don't you love these blokes. Why isn't he doing the study instead of talking about it? Typical bloody public servant, it sounds like it is his department's responsibility. C'mon Mr Shrestha, do the bloody study.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/11/2004 19:12:29
   
Spitzer discovery is good news for planet Pluto

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA NEWS RELEASE


Pluto's status as our solar system's ninth planet may be safe if a recently discovered Kuiper Belt Object is a typical "KBO" and not just an oddball. Astronomers have new evidence that KBOs are smaller than previously thought.

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Our distant sun twinkles in this artist's conception of a distant Kuiper Belt Object. Illustration: NASA/JPL



KBOs - icy cousins to asteroids and the source of some comets - are the leftover building blocks of the outer planets. Astronomers using the world's most powerful telescopes have discovered about 1,000 of these objects orbiting beyond Neptune since discovering the first one in 1992. These discoveries fueled debate on whether Pluto is a planet or a large (1,400-mile diameter) closer-in KBO.

Researchers estimate that the total mass of the Kuiper Belt is about a tenth of Earth's mass. Most theorize that there are more than 10,000 KBOs with diameters greater than 100 kilometers (62 miles), compared to 200 asteroids known to be that large in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/11/2004 19:20:55
Weird weather of Uranus
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN NEWS RELEASE


Capitalizing on the incomparable optical capabilities of the Keck Telescope, scientists have gained an unprecedented look at the atmosphere of Uranus, providing new insight into some of the most enigmatic weather in the solar system.

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The two sides of the planet Uranus, as viewed in this composite image,
 by the Keck II Telescope at near infrared wavelengths. These new
images of the seventh planet from the sun promise to help scientists
unravel the mysteries of the weather on Uranus. Credit: courtesy
Lawrence Sromovsky, UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center


BIG PICCY HERE http://www.news.wisc.edu/newsphotos/images/uranus_comp4Adcc04.jpg

A pair of images unveiled here  at a meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, reveal more cloud features - an abundance of atmospheric phenomena that vary dramatically in size, brightness and longevity - than have been observed before on Uranus.

"The cloud features range from small to large, from dim and diffuse to sharp and bright, from rapidly-evolving systems to stable features that last for years," says Lawrence Sromovsky, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center.

What's more, the new Keck images captured several Uranian weather oddities, including a big southern hemisphere storm feature that, during the course of several years, seesaws over 5 degrees of latitude.

"It's weird behavior that hasn't been recognized before on Uranus. It's similar to what's been seen on Neptune, although there the oscillation is much more rapid," Sromovsky explains. "It is not surprising to see cloud features drifting in latitude, but our models don't show these oscillations. We don't know what makes it keep coming back to its starting point."

Another unusual Uranian weather feature is a long, narrow complex of cloud features that is probably the largest group of atmospheric features ever seen on the planet. Spotted in the northern hemisphere of Uranus, the 18,000-mile-long complex of clouds dissipated completely during the span of a month.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/11/2004 23:21:22
Mars rover Opportunity looking for crater exit
MISSION CONTROL STATUS REPORT


Operators of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity have determined that a proposed route eastward out of "Endurance Crater" is not passable, so the rover will backtrack to leave the crater by a southward route, perhaps by retracing its entry path.

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Opportunity captured this view from the base of "Burns Cliff" during the
 rover's 280th martian day (Nov. 6). This cliff in the inner wall of "Endurance Crater"
 displays multiple layers of bedrock for the rover to examine with its panoramic camera
and miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover team has decided that
the farthest Opportunity can safely advance along the base of the cliff is
close to the squarish white rock near the center of this image. Credit: NASA/JPL


BIGGY PICCY http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/mer/2004-11-11/opportunity_sol_280-med.jpg

Before turning around, Opportunity will spend a few days examining the rock layers in scarp about 10 meters (33 feet) high, dubbed "Burns Cliff." From its location at the western foot of the cliff, the rover will use its panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer to collect information from which scientists hope to determine whether some of the layers were deposited by wind, rather than by water. The rover will not reach an area about 15 meters (50 feet) farther east where two layers at different angles meet at the base of the cliff.
Opportunity entered the stadium-size crater on June 8 at a site called "Karatepe" along the crater's southern rim. Inside the crater, it has found and examined multiple layers of rocks that show evidence of a wet environment in the area's distant past.

Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, successfully completed their primary three-month missions on Mars in April. NASA has extended their missions twice, most recently on Oct. 1, because the rovers have remained in good condition to continue exploring Mars longer than anticipated.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/11/2004 23:44:57
   
Martian moon Phobos in color for close-up look

EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE

These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, are Europe's highest-resolution pictures so far of the Martian moon Phobos

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fphobos.jpg&hash=a2d943f791f683812ec8224f8ea1486c)
Bigger Piccy..(but not that bigger if you have a dial up it should be ok) http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/marsexpress/115-051004-0756-6-co-02-Phobos_hires.jpg

These HRSC images show new detail that will keep planetary scientists busy for years, working to unravel the mysteries of this moon. The images show the Mars-facing side of the moon, taken from a distance of less than 200 kilometres with a resolution of about seven metres per pixel during orbit 756.
The Mars Express spacecraft periodically passes near Phobos about one hour before it flies at an altitude of only 270 kilometres above the Martian surface, just above the atmosphere. Within minutes, the orbiting spacecraft turns from its attitude where it points at Mars to train its camera on this little world.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/11/2004 19:31:12
Spacecraft launched to observe cataclysmic blasts

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA launched a $250 million quick-response satellite today to study enigmatic gamma ray flashes from brief-but-titanic deep space explosions that may be the "death cries" of massive stars imploding to form black holes.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2F041120swiftlaunch.jpg&hash=bf70c2647df10b8194596f6a5a3f0746)

The Swift satellite's 126-foot-tall Boeing Delta 2 rocket roared to life at 12:16 p.m. and quickly thundered away through a mostly clear sky. Arcing east over the Atlantic Ocean, the slender rocket put on a spectacular sky show for area residents and tourists as it climbed away toward space.

It will take engineers about a month to check out and calibrate the satellite's three gamma ray, X-ray and optical telescopes before scientific observations can begin. If all goes well, Swift will detect at least 200 gamma ray bursts during its two-year primary mission.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/11/2004 19:56:49
Weird Blobby Thing Found Inside My Mind

Reports are coming in of a weird blobby thing found inside my head just now. The phenomenah materialised whilst taking deep breaths and in a fit of spontaneity found itself created.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2FImage3.jpg&hash=a6f8ae1b437d13a8aafb9e6c00de4a0d)
BLOB, Created just now, enjoying existence.

I remain mystified as all attempts at contact with 'Blob' have failed. Understandably men in white coats are attempting to enter my house armed with what looks like, Mace, Tranquilizers and a Straight Jacket and what appears to be Enema equipment !!

NEWSFLASH:...report just in, the men in white coats have entered the house and are attempting entrance into my study.

LATEST: Blob has not attempted to assist me, as the men have now managed to infiltrate their way in and........................oomph....struggle....!!!!


SOURCE: Butterscotch Praline and Toffy.





'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 23/11/2004 20:20:30
Science taps into ocean secrets

Some 13,000 new marine species have been discovered in the past year, according to information released by an international alliance of scientists.

The Census of Marine Life (COML) has also uncovered previously unknown migration routes used by fish such as tuna and shark.

The $1bn 10-year project, which is building a huge database, involves researchers in more than 70 countries.

The new knowledge will inform future conservation and fisheries policies.

   
In some of the results we've had you can see a kind of doughnut of circulation which seems to concentrate life in deep water

Dr Fred Grassle of Rutgers University says

"We know something about the first 100m at this point but we know almost nothing about what lies down in the deep.

"Our analysis shows that if you catch a fish below 2,000m it is 50 times more likely to be new to science," he told the BBC News website.

 
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2F_40557517_goby_coml_416.jpg&hash=049340c94df513a660ed07ecc9013274)
This goby fish from Guam lives in tandem with a shrimp; the shrimp digs a burrow and the fish acts as sentinel.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2F_40553583_microb_coml_203.jpg&hash=0ee3fd702de6ca629cf0fffd16c646d6)
About 90% of the ocean biomass is microbia

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2F_40553581_lobate_coml_203.jpg&hash=0280cc3c8bac55dd45feb1fde7cf7fe9)
More than 80,000 specimens were collected during an expedition to the mid-Atlantic ridge

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2F_40553577_angler_coml_203.jpg&hash=027a2c19a6a00f68d4e40878c3caa037)
Some bizarre creatures lurk in the very deep

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2F_40553575_plank_coml_203.jpg&hash=e236aa13ad6eb81bd7642ef8812c2df5)
The census is shedding more light on zooplankton


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2Fbumfish.jpg&hash=fec631c890cb8a9b0110ae2230da16b2)
Surely the most bizarre of them all. The  Jet Powered Hairybumakisfishafartimus !!


SOURCE: BBC I

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: roberth on 23/11/2004 22:06:24
We're going fishing on the weekend. I wanna catch a Jet Powered Hairybumakisfishafartimus.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/11/2004 22:38:33
Hee hee....good luck Robert.....don't know if it'll make good eating though !!...and I'd be careful how you cook it..it may explode !!

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/11/2004 22:43:37
A Titan of a Mission

Parachuting through smog to Saturn's moon


On Jan. 14, a flying saucer will parachute through the thick orange haze of a distant moon's atmosphere. Descending through the hydrocarbon smog, the probe could crash into an icy mountain, plop in a pool of organic goo, or dive into a methane ocean. Welcome to Saturn's largest moon, Titan, a place where organic chemistry appears to be a carbon copy of the infant Earth's just before life got a foothold. The saucer-shaped Huygens probe, named for the 17th-century Dutch astronomer who discovered Titan, has been riding piggyback on the Cassini spacecraft since it left Earth in October 1997. The craft arrived at Saturn on June 30 and has now embarked on a 4-year tour of the planet and its moons.

Radar data from Cassini, taken during its first close flyby of Titan on Oct. 26, reveal dark patches that might be lakes of methane. Streaks imaged by visible-light cameras during that flyby could be caused by the flow of a hydrocarbon fluid or by wind eroding solid material

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fa5564_1938.jpg&hash=6813d849e29870e70022297fa7d2e6e3)
BAM, SPLAT, PLOP. When the
 Huygens probe plunges through
 Titan's atmosphere, it may land
 (top to bottom) on an icy surface,
in an organic goo, or on a sea of
 hydrocarbons.
J. Garry/Fastlight Illustration

SOURCE:ScienceNews.org

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/11/2004 01:05:18
Precocious black holes challenge theories

CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has obtained definitive evidence that a distant quasar formed less than a billion years after the Big Bang contains a fully-grown supermassive black hole generating energy at the rate of twenty trillion Suns. The existence of such massive black holes at this early epoch of the Universe challenges theories of the formation of galaxies and supermassive black holes.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2Fblackhole.jpg&hash=24caeb19c40dd8f13210fd490e90d024)
The X-rays observed by Chandra (inset) from the quasar SDSSp
J1306 (or J1306) have taken 12.7 billion light years to reach Earth,
 only a billion years less than the estimated 13.7-billion-year age of
 the Universe. Surprisingly, in this quasar, which is seen as it was
at an early epoch, the distribution of X-rays with energy - the X-ray
 spectrum - is indistinguishable from that of nearby, older quasars.
 The smaller object in the upper left of the image is a foreground
galaxy. Credit: NASA/CXC/D.Schwartz & S.Virani; Illustration:
CXC/M.Weiss



Astronomers Daniel Schwartz and Shanil Virani of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA observed the quasar, known as SDSSp J1306, which is 12.7 billion light years away. Since the Universe is estimated to be 13.7 billion years old, we see the quasar as it was a billion years after the Big Bang. They found that the distribution of X-rays with energy, or X-ray spectrum, is indistinguishable from that of nearby, older quasars. Likewise, the relative brightness at optical and X-ray wavelengths of SDSSp J1306 was similar to that of the nearby group of quasars. Optical observations suggest that the mass of the black hole is about a billion solar masses.

BIGGER PICCY HERE (200k) http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2004/j1306/j1306_xray_ill.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/11/2004 19:11:48

Transparent Transistor: See-through component for flexible displays



Imagine a car windshield that suddenly lights up to reveal a map of the city and directions to your next destination. Or picture a computer display that you can not only see through but also roll into a tube and slip into your coat pocket. Scientists in Japan have taken a major step to fulfilling such visions with the creation of a transparent transistor deposited on plastic.
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2Fa5624_1924.jpg&hash=501ed5cd10da231196bdc4d53243c3d7)
NOW YOU SEE IT. Transparent transistors on a
 sheet of plastic can be seen only at certain angles.
 Such circuitry could find its way into computer displays
 in car windshields and other curved surfaces


Hideo Hosono and his colleagues at the Tokyo Institute of Technology developed a transparent semiconductor material out of indium gallium zinc oxide. Although other research groups have previously made transparent circuitry, "their performance was not so good," says Hosono. In contrast, prototype transistors made from his team's new material are 10 times as conductive as the silicon transistors used in today's liquid-crystal displays.

SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/11/2004 19:15:43
Color at Night: Geckos can distinguish hues by dim moonlight



Of all the vertebrates, a gecko has just become the first to ace behavioral tests for seeing color in very low illumination.

People, for example, go color-blind in light equivalent to dim moonlight, but helmet geckos, Tarentola chazaliae, don't. They can still tell a blue from a gray of the same intensity, report Lina S.V. Roth and Almut Kelber, both of the University of Lund in Sweden, in an upcoming Biology Letters.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2Fa5621_1144.jpg&hash=642070916d8f945632577179c9378c93)
A Gecko enjoying the Sun yesterday:
TWILIGHT ZONE. In dim light, the helmet gecko can tell blue
 from gray, even when people can't. Inset: Pupil nearly closed
in bright light (left) and wide open in dim light (right).


SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG




'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/11/2004 19:20:36
Hovering over Titan

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
A mosaic of nine processed images recently acquired during Cassini's first very close flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on Oct. 26, 2004, constitutes the most detailed full-disc view of the mysterious moon.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2F041124titan.jpg&hash=9597e0aeafa5b4e1d77ed2fd71427617)

The view is centered on 15 degrees South latitude, and 156 degrees West longitude. Brightness variations across the surface and bright clouds near the south pole are easily seen.

The images that comprise the mosaic have been processed to reduce the effects of the atmosphere and to sharpen surface features. The mosaic has been trimmed to show only the illuminated surface and not the atmosphere above the edge of the moon. The Sun was behind Cassini so nearly the full disc is illuminated. Pixels scales of the composite images vary from 2 to 4 kilometers per pixel (1.2 to 2.5 miles per pixel).

Surface features are best seen near the center of the disc, where the spacecraft is looking directly downwards; the contrast becomes progressively lower and surface features become fuzzier towards the outside, where the spacecraft is peering through haze, a circumstance that washes out surface features.

BIGG JPEG HERE (500k) http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06141.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/12/2004 19:51:38
   
A baby galaxy uncovered in a grown-up universe

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA NEWS RELEASE


Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a University of Virginia scientist has identified what may be the youngest galaxy ever seen in the universe. By cosmological standards it is a mere toddler. Called I Zwicky 18, it may be as young as 500 million years old. Comparatively, our Milky Way galaxy is more than 20 times older - or about 12 billion years old, the typical age of galaxies across the universe.
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fbabygalaxy.jpg&hash=8f5424e5148fcd81d3de2c429c91aab4)
Hubble snapped a view of what may be the youngest galaxy
ever seen. This "late bloomer" may not have begun active star
formation until about 13 billion years after the Big Bang. Called I
Zwicky 18 , the galaxy may be as young as 500 million
years old. This youngster has gone though several sudden bursts of
star formation ‹ the first only some 500 million years ago and the
latest only 4 million years ago. This galaxy is typical of the kinds
 of galaxies that inhabited the early universe. The galaxy is
classified as a dwarf irregular galaxy and is much smaller than our
Milky Way. Credit: NASA, ESA, Y. Izotov (Main Astronomical
Observatory, Kyiv, UA) and T. Thuan (University of Virginia)


BIG PICCY (511k)http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/35/images/a/formats/print.jpg

The finding, reported in the Dec. 1 issue of the Astrophysical Journal, provides new insight into how galaxies first formed. The galaxy I Zwicky 18 offers a glimpse of how the early Milky Way may have looked.

The baby galaxy managed to remain in an embryonic state as a cold gas cloud of primeval hydrogen and helium for most of the universe's evolution. As innumerable galaxies blossomed all over space, this late-bloomer did not begin active star formation until some 13 billion years after the Big Bang, and went through a sudden first starburst only about 500 million years ago.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/12/2004 19:56:18
Nature's canvas at Saturn
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


In a splendid portrait created by light and gravity, Saturn's lonely moon Mimas is seen against the cool, blue-streaked backdrop of Saturn's northern hemisphere. Delicate shadows cast by the rings arc gracefully across the planet, fading into darkness on Saturn's night side.
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2F041129canvas.jpg&hash=b9a1e11b65eb4b734b6d4a38ab00fcec)

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06142.jpg
 
The part of the atmosphere seen here appears darker and more bluish than the warm brown and gold hues seen in Cassini images of the southern hemisphere, due to preferential scattering of blue wavelengths by the cloud-free upper atmosphere.

The bright blue swath near Mimas (398 kilometers, or 247 miles across) is created by sunlight passing through the Cassini division (4,800 kilometers, or 2,980 miles wide). The rightmost part of this distinctive feature is slightly overexposed and therefore bright white in this image. Shadows of several thin ringlets within the division can be seen here as well. The dark band that stretches across the center of the image is the shadow of Saturn's B ring, the densest of the main rings. Part of the actual Cassini division appears at the bottom, along with the A ring and the narrow, outer F ring. The A ring is transparent enough that, from this viewing angle, the atmosphere and threadlike shadows cast by the inner C ring are visible through it.

Images taken with red, green and blue filters were combined to create this color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Nov. 7, 2004, at a distance of 3.7 million kilometers (2.3 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 22 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/12/2004 20:03:18
Gazing down on Saturn
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: December 1, 2004

Cassini pierced the ring plane and rounded Saturn on Oct. 27, 2004, capturing this view of the dark portion of the rings. A portion of the planet's atmosphere is visible here, as is its shadow on the surface of the rings.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2F041201gazingdown.jpg&hash=bbd018f3d990217767d99dfd098f15de)
BIG PIUCCY http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06532.jpg (120k)


Night side ringplane

The usually bright B ring (at center in below picture) appears very dim in this view of the rings taken on the side of the rings that is not illuminated. The scene resembles a photographic negative, with bright and dark areas reversed (although in some places in the rings, the blackness of space is seen.) From this viewing angle, the rings are lit from below: both dense and empty regions are dark, and regions of intermediate particle density are bright.
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2F041201ringplane.jpg&hash=7140ff94b8a268fb087f0454cf7f5308)

THE BIGGY PICCY http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06533.jpg  (120k)

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/12/2004 20:22:56
Sacrificial burial deepens mystery at Teotihuacan (MEXICO), but confirms the city's militarism
A spectacular new discovery from an ongoing excavation at the Teotihuacan's Pyramid of the Moon is revealing a grisly sacrificial burial from a period when the ancient metropolis was at its peak, with artwork unlike any seen before in Mesoamerica.

Though archaeologists hope that discoveries at the pyramid will answer lingering questions about the distinctive culture that built the great city, the new find deepens the mystery, with clear cultural connections to other burials found at the site, but with some markedly new elements.


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Farizona120204.jpg&hash=189bb8de4f6600b2e2a574c21b1bfe0f)
 Partially uncovered figurine, carved in jade, found in
connection with three unbound, seated bodies and other objects at
the top of the pyramid's fifth stage (the offering was presumably
made in the construction of the sixth stage), circa 350 AD.
 This object is notable in that it is carved from jade that originated in
Guatemala, and appears to be Mayan in style. Other jade objects on
top of the figurine are beads and earspools.

THE BIG PIC
http://www.eurekalert.org/images/release_graphics/arizona120204.1.jpg (420k)



With the excavation of the pyramid nearly complete, one important conclusion is emerging: combined with past burials at the site, the new find strongly suggests that the Pyramid of the Moon was significant to the Teotihuacano people as a site for celebrating state power through ceremony and sacrifice. Contrary to some past interpretation, militarism was apparently central to the city's culture.

SOURCE: EUREKALAERT.ORG
Source: Saburo Sugiyama,

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 03/12/2004 21:15:03

     
Saturn's ring gap

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


An intriguing knotted ringlet within the Encke Gap is the main attraction in this Cassini image. The Encke Gap is a small division near the outer edge of Saturn's rings that is about 300 kilometers (190 miles) wide. The tiny moon Pan (20 kilometers, or 12 miles across) orbits within the gap and maintains it. Many waves produced by orbiting moons are visible.
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2F041202ringgap.jpg&hash=337b9ffb6e850f17b768af9acb9f4190)

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Oct. 29, 2004, at a distance of about 807,000 kilometers (501,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) per pixel.

Bigger Pic here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06534.jpg

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: GOD on 03/12/2004 21:31:27
I put that gap there just to freak you guys out !

I am GOD..You are Not..I don't exist !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/12/2004 17:05:22
Explosions in majestic spiral galaxy beauties


Images of beautiful galaxies, and in particular of spiral brethren
of our own Milky Way, leaves no-one unmoved. It is difficult indeed
to resist the charm of these impressive grand structures.
Astronomers at Paranal Observatory used the versatile VIMOS
instrument on the Very Large Telescope to photograph two magnificent
examples of such "island universes", both of which are seen in a
southern constellation with an animal name. But more significantly, both galaxies
 harboured a particular type of supernova, the
explosion of a massive star during a late and fatal evolutionary stage.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fspiralgalaxy1.jpg&hash=0fdbe6a9ed3d031bfb1c55e717f4108b)
A composite colour-coded image shows the "grand design" spiral

galaxy NGC 6118, at a distance of 80 million light-years. Credit: ESO


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fspiralgalaxy2.jpg&hash=c022dff7bfe426b7a35381fb1928d4e0)
Another magnificent spiral galaxy, NGC 7424, is seen at a
distance of 40 million light-years. Credit: ESO


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 07/12/2004 21:04:27
Darfur aid workers receiving assistance from orbit
 

It is hard to overstate the scale of the humanitarian emergency unfolding in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region: by current estimates there are 1.45 million people displaced from their homes across an area the size of France. However, images from space are assisting aid workers as they cope with the crisis.


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2Fmap1_L.jpg&hash=5aaed5766cfe06d587340e9910da450c)

The map displays the Al Fashir region in Sudan/Darfur based on LANDSAT archive images and SPOT and Envisat's ASAR fresh acquisitions of August 2004. The background image allows different surface properties to be pictured, such as desert with dunes and rocks as well as wadis and riverbeds.






(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2Fmap2_L.jpg&hash=b34de37179a151e68ee2d1119ecc15ee)

This map shows the impact of potentially flooded wadis on the road network in Al Junaynah area, obtained using SPOT, RADARSAT and Envisat's ASAR acquisitions of August 2004. The Ardamata IDP camp is located within the area marked in yellow.



(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2Fmap3_L.jpg&hash=d5cdd20677cdb765a717c5757aee364f)

The IKONOS 1-metre resolution image, acquired on 14 August 2004, shows the Guba Clinic within Al Fashir, the capital of north Darfur state and distribution point for food and supplies.


 An ESA-supported consortium called Respond is supplying Earth Observation-derived maps and other geographical information products direct to users in the field including the German Red Cross (DRK), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and the German federal disaster relief agency Technisches Hilfswerk (THW).

The Respond team made use of ten different sensors from nine separate spacecraft, including instruments on ESA's Envisat satellite - the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) and the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), with imagery delivered in near-real time.

SOURCE:ESA.INT (European Space Agency)



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 09/12/2004 21:48:42
Saturn's moon Iapetus as you've never seen it

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: December 8, 2004

New details on Iapetus are illuminated by reflected light from Saturn in this revealing Cassini image. Never-before-seen features on the Saturn-facing part of Iapetus' bright trailing hemisphere are visible for the first time, including many dark spots, and a sharper view of a dark, circular structure that was first seen at very low resolution by NASA's Voyager 1 in 1980. Iapetus diameter is 1,436 kilometers (892 miles).

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The image shows mainly the night side of Iapetus; part of the far brighter sunlit side appears at the right and is overexposed due to the long integration time of 180 seconds. Despite this long exposure time, almost no blurring due to the spacecraft's motion is apparent. This technique for imaging the night side of Iapetus will be used again during a flyby on Jan. 1, 2005, when Cassini will pass 13 times closer to the icy moon.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 09/12/2004 22:50:36
INCREDIBLE IRREFUTABLE PROOF OF LIFE ON MARS REVEALED


The answer as to whether we are alone in the Universe has today been answered by the dramatic picture below.

"It's Life Jim, but not as we know it" were the words quoted by Leonard Nimoy in a mad and crazy cacophony of a newscast aired on the news today.

"It is without a doubt the most fundamental discovery of all time" said a passing down-and-out on his way to a hostel for his free tea and fish 'n' chips.

I stopped a cat in mid tracks and asked for it's reaction "Meow" it said..........Well !!...there you have it ladies and gentleman !!

Early indications are, is that the Martian is friendly and wishes to make contact.......

" There is more to report but I must leave to do a poo poo " I have just reported myself saying.



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The Martian saying 'hello' on what appears to be a distinctly non red but BLUE landscape !!




'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: bezoar on 11/12/2004 00:32:00
That looks like the space alien who kidnapped me a couple of years ago.  I thought they were all in Roswell!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/12/2004 18:26:08

Cassini makes Titan return pass

The pictures are the closest ever taken of the moon


The Cassini spacecraft has made one last flyby of Titan before it despatches the Huygens probe for a rendezvous with the Saturnian moon.

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It will give engineers a final chance to obtain detailed information on the behaviour of the satellite's atmosphere

This data will be essential if Huygens is to have a fighting chance of surviving its 6km/s entry into Titan's thick "air" on 14 January next year.

The flyby will also give scientists another peek at the mysterious moon.

Because of the smoggy conditions on Titan, the two previous Cassini flybys in July and October failed to give any clear indication of the surface conditions Huygens is likely to meet - if it makes it that far.

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1. Antennas enabling communication with Earth
2. Boom carrying instrument to measure magnetic fields
3. Two cameras will take 300,000 pictures of the planet
4. Infra-red spectrometer analyses Saturn's temperature and composition
5. Radioisotope thermoelectric generators supply 750W of power
6. Cassini has two engines - one is a back-up
7. Thrusters used for small changes of direction or speed
8. Huygens probe will land on Saturn's largest moon, Titan
9. Plasma spectrometer measures charged particles and solar winds

SOURCE: BBC

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/12/2004 17:46:13
Mars rovers spot water-clue mineral, frost, clouds

NASA NEWS RELEASE

Scientists have identified a water-signature mineral called goethite in bedrock that the NASA's Mars rover Spirit examined in the "Columbia Hills," one of the mission's surest indicators yet for a wet history on Spirit's side of Mars.

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Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured this view of "Burns
Cliff" after driving right to the base of this southeastern portion
 of the inner wall of "Endurance Crater." Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell


Big Pic here http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/mer/2004-12-13/Burns_Cliff_L2-med.jpg

"Goethite, like the jarosite that Opportunity found on the other side of Mars, is strong evidence for water activity," said Dr. Goestar Klingelhoefer of the University of Mainz, Germany, lead scientist for the iron-mineral analyzer on each rover, the Moessbauer spectrometer. Goethite forms only in the presence of water, whether in liquid, ice or gaseous form. Hematite, a mineral that had previously been identified in Columbia Hills bedrock, usually, but not always, forms in the presence of water.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/12/2004 18:46:02
   
Symphony of colors in the Tarantula Nebula

HUBBLE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY INFORMATION CENTRE RELEASE


The Tarantula Nebula is the most vigorous star forming region known in the local Universe. Using the power of the freely available ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator package a young amateur astronomer has created this amazing panorama of the centre of the Tarantula. The original image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and subsequently retrieved from the ESO/ST-ECF Science Archive in Munich, Germany.


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Just imagine seeing this for the first time through your space ship porthole...big piccy 330k http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/screen/heic0416a.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/12/2004 20:20:26
An Electron Runs through It
Surprising rivulets and ripples complicate the microchip picture

Peter Weiss

Most paintings or prints lose their definition the closer you get to them. That doesn't happen
when you put your nose near the arresting prints of Harvard University physicist
Eric J. Heller. The closer you approach Heller's prints, which resemble swaying seaweed,
 rippling silks, and Georgia O'Keeffe flowers, the more refined the images get. By the
standard artistic metrics of form, color, and composition, these are stunning artworks.
 Yet each one tells a scientific tale as well: Heller's prints depict the subtle
 interplay between some microchip electrons and the crystalline landscape in which they move.

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IN A DIFFERENT VEIN. This and the two richly branching
images below show artistic renderings of simulated electron-flow
paths in thin sheets of electrons.


Within a stack of various semiconductor materials are infinitesimally thin zones
where one semiconductor layer ends and another begins. Each zone can harbor a sheet of electrons.
 Physicists refer to such sheets as electron gases. Cool to cryogenic temperatures a chip
made of precisely deposited gallium arsenide and aluminum gallium arsenide, for example,
and a curious branching of the flow of electrons in the sheet becomes detectable.

That's the physical phenomenon that Heller models in computers and portrays with his prints,
 which now go for hundreds of dollars or more.
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ROUGH TERRAIN. A topographic-type plot of energy variation
across a patch of a two-dimensional electron gas shows uneveness that shapes electron paths.


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SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 20/12/2004 17:50:56
A new twist on an old nebula

SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE


Looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to celestial objects like galaxies and nebulas.
 These objects are so far away that astronomers cannot see their three-dimensional structure.
The Helix Nebula, for example, resembles a doughnut in colorful images. Earlier images of this
complex object -- the gaseous envelope ejected by a dying, sun-like star -- did not allow
astronomers to precisely interpret its structure. One possible interpretation was that the
Helix's form resembled a snake-like coil.

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The top composite image is a view of the colorful Helix
Nebula taken with the Hubble Space Telescope and the Cerro Tololo
Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The object is so large that
both telescopes were needed to capture a complete view. The bottom
illustration shows how the Helix would appear if viewed from the
side. Credits for the image and illustration: NASA, ESA, C.R. O'Dell
(Vanderbilt University), and M. Meixner, P. McCullough, and G. Bacon
(Space Telescope Science Institute)


Now, a team of astronomers using observations from several observatories, including NASA's
Hubble Space Telescope, has established that the Helix's structure is even more perplexing.
 Their evidence suggests that the Helix consists of two gaseous disks nearly perpendicular
to each other.

A team of astronomers, led by C. Robert O'Dell of Vanderbilt University in Nashville,
Tenn., made its finding using highly detailed images from the Hubble telescope's Advanced Camera
 for Surveys, pictures from Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, and measurements
from ground-based optical and radio telescopes which show the speed and direction of the
outflows of material from the dying star. The Helix, the closest planetary nebula to
Earth, is a favorite target of professional and amateur astronomers. Astronomers hope this
finding will provide insights on how expelled shells of gas from dying stars like our
Sun form the complex shapes called planetary nebulas. The results are published in the
November issue of the Astronomical Journal.

Big Pic (497k)http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/32/images/a/formats/print.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/12/2004 20:15:03
Delta 4-Heavy hits snag on test flight
BY JUSTIN RAY
SPACEFLIGHT NOW


The test launch of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket began with a breath-taking blastoff from Cape
Canaveral Tuesday afternoon but lower-than-expected performance during the initial minutes
 of flight ultimately caused the mission to fall short of its intended orbit. Nonetheless,
 Boeing officials called the demonstration flight a success.


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The 23-story rocket roared to life while enveloped in a hellish fire at pad 37B as free hydrogen
from the three Rocketdyne RS-68 engines ignited. As the countdown reached zero, a dozen bolts
 that held the rocket to the pad for the past year popped and the 1.6-million pound vehicle
 thundered into a clear blue sky at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT)

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Gulping three tons of propellant per second, the engines won the battle against gravity to
blast the rocket away from Earth as the powerplants raged at full throttle.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/12/2004 03:25:00
Cassini orbiter deploys Titan descent probe

BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

note...All times in the following story refer to Earth-received time, i.e., when events are confirmed to have happened, not
the actual time an event happens at Saturn. One-way light time from Saturn to Earth currently is about 68 minutes.



In a long-awaited milestone, a European-built probe carrying cameras and a suite of scientific
 instruments was released from NASA's Cassini Saturn orbiter Christmas Eve, setting up
a dramatic Jan. 14 plunge into the atmosphere of the ringed planet's mysterious moon Titan.

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An artist's concept shows Cassini deploying Huygens. Credit: ESA


Ejected by springs designed to impart a 7-rpm rotation for stability, the Huygens probe
 was jettisoned from the Cassini mothership around 10:08 p.m. EST. Flight controllers at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., verified a clean separation 16 minutes later.

"The short story is the release went absolutely nominally," said Earl Maize, Cassini deputy
program manager. "As near as we can tell from all the telemetry we've seen, we've had a
perfect separation. The release sequence was executed on board the spacecraft at 7:07 this
evening Pacific Standard Time. We were out of radio contact at the time, we expected the
 release to impart a recoil to the spacecraft and it would take it some minutes to recover
 radio contact with the Earth. We got back into contact at 7:24 and telemetry soon thereafter
 verified that all of the events went just as we expected."

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An artist's concept shows Huygens en route to Titan. Credit: ESA

To reach Titan's surface, Huygens first must survive its high-speed plunge into the moon's atmosphere.
 After slowing to about 870 mph due to atmospheric friction, Huygens' aft cover will be
pulled away by a pilot chute and the spacecraft's 27-foot-wide main parachute will deploy.
The chute will be jettisoned 15 minutes after entry begins and from that point on, Huygens will
ride beneath a smaller 9.8-foot-wide parachute. Impact on the surface at some 11 mph is
expected around 7:31 a.m. on Jan. 14

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An artist's concept shows the Huygens craft making its descent to Titan on Jan. 14. Credit: ESA

Assuming the 705-pound Huygens doesn't splash down in a hydrocarbon lake, "we have good confidence
the probe will survive landing," said Jean-Pierre Lebreton, European Space Agency project scientist.
 "The landing speed is very low and there is a very good probability the probe will survive landing
and we have capability to do measurements for half an hour on the surface. During the three-hour
 measurement phase, the probe will transmit its data to the overflying orbiter."

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/12/2004 03:29:16
Huygens timeline


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'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 31/12/2004 17:57:53
Aging universe may still be spawning massive galaxies

NASA NEWS RELEASE


NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer has spotted what appear to be massive "baby" galaxies
in our corner of the universe. Previously, astronomers thought the universe's birth rate
had dramatically declined and only small galaxies were forming.

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These animation stills show a typical young galaxy, teeming with
hot, newborn stars and exploding supernovas. The supernovas are seen
 as white flashes of light. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


"We knew there were really massive young galaxies eons ago, but we thought they had all
 matured into older ones more like our Milky Way. If these galaxies are indeed newly formed,
 then this implies parts of the universe are still hotbeds of galaxy birth," said Dr.
Chris Martin. He is principal investigator for the Galaxy Evolution Explorer at the
 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., and co-author of the study.

Martin and colleagues, led by Dr. Tim Heckman of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore,
Md., unearthed three-dozen bright, compact galaxies that greatly resemble the youthful
 galaxies of more than 10 billions years ago. These new galaxies are relatively close to us,
 ranging from two to four billion light-years away. They may be as young as 100 million to
one billion years old. The Milky Way is approximately 10 billion years old.

The Galaxy Evolution Explorer was launched on April 28, 2003. Its mission is to study
the shape, brightness, size and distance of galaxies across 10 billion years of cosmic
 history. The Explorer's 50-centimeter-diameter (19.7-inch) telescope sweeps the skies
 in search of ultraviolet-light sources.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 31/12/2004 18:00:51
    
Cassini shows moon's influence at ringed Saturn


CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


Mimas orbits beyond the outer fringes of Saturn's main rings, perturbing the orbits of
 ring particles and creating gaps like the Huygens Gap within the Cassini Division
 (the wide, dark gap near lower left). The outer edge of the B ring (lower left corner)
and the thin, outermost section of the A ring appear notably brighter than the bulk
 of the A ring, suggesting differences in ring particle density or composition. Small knots
in the thin F ring are visible at lower right. Mimas is 398 kilometers (247 miles) across

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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06550.jpg

This view is from Cassini's vantage point beneath the ring plane. The image was taken
in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Nov. 18, 2004,
 at a distance of approximately 4.7 million kilometers (2.9 million miles) from Saturn.
The image scale is 27 kilometers (17 miles) per pixel. Contrast was enhanced to aid visibility.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 31/12/2004 18:11:28
Mars rover Opportunity visits heat shield impact site



NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has returned this view of its discard heat shield,
 which crashed to the planet's surface during the craft's descent and landing last January.

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Credit: NASA/JPL
Download a larger version here
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07157.jpg

The image was taken during the rover's 325th martian day (December 22) and released
by NASA on Tuesday.

The main structure from the successfully used shield is to the far left. Additional fragments
 of the heat shield lie in the upper center of the image. The heat shield's impact mark
 is visible just above and to the right of the foreground shadow of Opportunity's camera mast.
 This view is a mosaic of three images taken with the rover's navigation camera.

Opportunity has driven well over one mile on the plains of Meridiani while searching for
evidence of past water on the Red Planet.

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This orbital view shows the course the rover drove from its
landing to its 324th martian day, or sol (Dec. 21, 2004), including
the historic path of Opportunity's six months of exploration inside Endurance Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/OSU

Download a larger version here
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07154.jpg

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/01/2005 20:11:46
Most powerful eruption in the universe discovered
NASA NEWS RELEASE


Astronomers have found the most powerful eruption in the universe using NASA's Chandra X-ray
 Observatory. A super massive black hole generated this eruption by growing at a remarkable rate.
This discovery shows the enormous appetite of large black holes, and the profound impact they have
 on their surroundings.

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This Chandra image shows two vast cavities - each 600,000
light years in diameter - in the hot, X-ray emitting gas that
 pervades the galaxy cluster MS 0735.6+7421 (MS 0735 for short).
Although the cavities contain very little hot gas, they are filled with a two-sided,
 elongated, magnetized bubble of extremely high-
energy electrons that emit radio waves. Credit: NASA/CXC/Ohio
U./B.McNamara


The huge eruption was seen in a Chandra image of the hot, X- ray emitting gas of a
galaxy cluster called MS 0735.6+7421. Two vast cavities extend away from the super massive
black hole in the cluster's central galaxy. The eruption, which has lasted for more than 100
million years, has generated energy equivalent to hundreds of millions of gamma-ray bursts.

This event was caused by gravitational energy release, as enormous amounts of matter fell
 toward a black hole. Most of the matter was swallowed, but some of it was violently ejected
 before being captured by the black hole. "I was stunned to find that a mass of about 300
million suns was swallowed," said Brian McNamara of Ohio University in Athens. "This is as large
 as another super massive black hole." He is lead author of the study about the discovery,
which is in the January 6, 2005, issue of Nature.

Astronomers are not sure where such large amounts of matter came from. One theory is gas
from the host galaxy catastrophically cooled and was swallowed by the black hole.
The energy released shows the black hole in MS 0735 has grown dramatically during this eruption.
 Previous studies suggest other large black holes have grown very little in the recent past,
and that only smaller black holes are still growing quickly.

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An artist's depiction shows the eruption from a supermassive
black hole. Credit: NASA/CXC/A.Hobart


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

ps: That explosion is dwarfed by my bum after chilli beans !![:D]


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 07/01/2005 08:44:07
Ancient DNA helps solve the legend of giant eagles


Hamilton, ON - Gigantic eagles swooping from the skies to rescue Frodo and Sam in the
Lord of the Rings may not be just the stuff of legends and fairytales, according
to research published in the journal PloS Biology.

McMaster University anthropologist Michael Bunce has shed new light on the evolution of
the extinct Haast’s eagle, the giant bird that once ruled the skies over New Zealand.

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 Haast's Eagle hunting moa, Image courtesy of John Megahan.'

Weighing between 20 and 30 pounds, the enormous Haast's Eagle dominated its environment.
 It was 30 to 40 per cent heavier than the largest living bird of prey around today,
the Harpy Eagle of Central and South America.

Working in New Zealand, Bunce extracted DNA from fossil eagle bones dating back about 2000 years.


SOURCE: EUREKALERT.ORG


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/01/2005 12:30:11

Twinkle Toes: How geckos' sticky feet stay clean

Peter Weiss

So strong is the stickiness of some geckos' feet that the lizards can hang from a ceiling
 by a single toe. Despite that clinginess, the forest of adhesive fibers on the underside
 of each toe stays nearly dirtfree without grooming or washing.

 (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2Fa5757_1486.jpg&hash=6966e167e8bb736c4bb8881aa48e0dc1)
TOE PRINT. When the underside of a gecko toe (left) was
 dusted with microspheres and pressed onto glass, millions of sticky
 fibers in the thin, platelike structures shed microspheres onto the
glass, leaving a print visible under laser light (right).


Now, researchers say they've figured out the secret. Moreover, because dirt typically
weakens adhesive bonds, the findings could inspire improved surface-attachment schemes for
 mountain climbers and robots.

In the new study, Wendy R. Hansen and Kellar Autumn coated the feet of live Tokay geckos with
ceramic microspheres. This mock dirt counteracted the weak van der Waals forces that usually
sum into a lizard's tenacious grip on surfaces.

Using glass as a model surface, the researchers determined the foot-glass attraction as the
 lizards took a series of steps. With each step, the grip became stronger, indicating
that microspheres were being shed
SOURCE: SCIENCE NEWS.ORG


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/01/2005 15:29:23
Tiny, Atom-based Detector Senses Weak Magnetic Fields

A low-power, magnetic sensor about the size of a grain of rice that can detect magnetic field
 changes as small as 50 picoteslas—a million times weaker than the Earth's magnetic field—has
 been demonstrated by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST). Described in the Dec. 27 issue of Applied Physics Letters,* the device can be powered
with batteries and is about 100 times smaller than current atom-based sensors with similar
 sensitivities, which typically weigh several kilograms (about 6 pounds).



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Photo of the NIST chip-scale magnetometer. The sensor is
about as tall as a grain of rice. The widest block near the top of
the device is an enclosed, transparent cell that holds a vapor of
rubidium atoms. (Photo by Peter Schwindt/NIST)


The new magnetic sensor is based on the principles of a NIST chip-scale atomic clock,
announced in August 2004. Expected applications for a commercialized version of the new sensor
 could include hand-held devices for sensing unexploded ordnance, precision navigation,
 geophysical mapping to locate minerals or oil, and medical instruments.

Magnetic fields are produced by the motion of electrons either in the form of an electrical
current or in certain metals such as iron, cobalt and nickel. The NIST miniature magnetometer
is sensitive enough to detect a concealed rifle about 12 meters (40 feet) away or a
six-inch-diameter steel pipeline up to 35 meters (120 feet) underground.
The sensor works by detecting minute changes in the energy levels of electrons in the presence
of a magnetic field.


SOURCE: SCIENCEDAILY.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/01/2005 19:42:28
Encountering Iapetus
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

On New Year's Eve 2004, Cassini flew past Saturn's intriguing moon Iapetus, capturing the
four visible light images that were put together to form this global view.


The scene is dominated by a dark, heavily-cratered region, called Cassini Regio, that covers
nearly an entire hemisphere of Iapetus. Iapetus is 1,436 kilometers (892 miles) across.
The view is centered on the moon's equator and on roughly 90 degrees west longitude -- a location
that always faces the direction of Iapetus's orbital motion around Saturn.

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BIG PIC http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06166.jpg
The most unique, and perhaps most remarkable feature discovered on Iapetus in Cassini images
is a topographic ridge that coincides almost exactly with the geographic equator.
The ridge is conspicuous in the picture as an approximately 20-kilometer wide (12 miles)
 band that extends from the western (left) side of the disc almost to the day/night boundary
 on the right. On the left horizon, the peak of the ridge reaches at least 13 kilometers
(8 miles) above the surrounding terrain. Along the roughly 1,300 kilometer (800 mile)
length over which it can be traced in this picture, it remains almost exactly parallel
 to the equator within a couple of degrees. The physical origin of the ridge has yet to be
explained. It is not yet clear whether the ridge is a mountain belt that has folded upward,
or an extensional crack in the surface through which material
from inside Iapetus erupted onto the surface and accumulated locally, forming the ridge.


The origin of Cassini Regio is a long-standing debate among scientists. One theory
 proposes that its dark material may have erupted onto Iapetus's icy surface from the interior.
 Another theory holds that the dark material represented accumulated debris ejected by impact
 events on dark, outer satellites of Saturn. Details of this Cassini image mosaic do not
definitively rule out either of the theories. However, they do provide important new
insights and constraints.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/01/2005 19:46:59
Giant landslide on Iapetus
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


A spectacular landslide within the low-brightness region of Iapetus's surface known
as Cassini Regio is visible in this image from Cassini. Iapetus is one of the moons of Saturn.
 

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The landslide material appears to have collapsed from a scarp 15 kilometers high (9 miles)
 that forms the rim of an ancient 600 kilometer (375 mile) impact basin. Unconsolidated
rubble from the landslide extends halfway across a conspicuous, 120-kilometer diameter (75-mile) flat-floored impact crater that lies just inside
 the basin scarp.

The BIGGY http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06171.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/01/2005 17:39:16
Satellite sees matter speed-racing around a black hole

EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE

Using a 'radar-gun' technique, typical of police speed-traps, scientists have clocked three
 separate clumps of hot iron gas whipping around a black hole at 30,000 kilometres per second,
 about a tenth of the speed of light.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2Fblafckhole.jpg&hash=9471064e7583cc9ea607a789d7448271)
This animation depicts three hot chunks of matter orbiting a
black hole. If placed in our Solar System, this black hole would

appear like a dark abyss spread out nearly as wide as Mercury's
orbit. And the three chunks (each as large as the Sun) would be as
 
far out as Jupiter. They orbit the black hole in a lightning-quick
30 000 kilometres per second, over a tenth of the speed of light.
Credits: NASA/Dana Berry, SkyWorks Digital


The observation, made with ESA's XMM-Newton observatory, marks the first time scientists
could trace individual blobs of shredded matter on a complete journey around a black hole.
 This provides a crucial measurement that has long been missing from black hole studies:
 an orbital period. Knowing this, scientists can measure black hole mass and other characteristics
 that have long eluded them.

It's noted that if this black hole were placed in our Solar System, it would appear like a
dark abyss spread out nearly as wide as Mercury's orbit. And the three clumps of matter
 detected would be as far out as Jupiter. They orbit the black hole in a lightning-quick 27 hours
 (compared to the 12 years it takes Jupiter to orbit the Sun).

Black holes are regions in space in which gravity prevents all matter and light from escaping.
 What scientists see is not the black hole itself but rather the light emitted close to
it as matter falls towards the black hole and heats to extremely high temperatures



SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/01/2005 17:45:16
Beyond Einstein: Spacetime wave orbits black hole

HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS RELEASE


Astronomers Jon Miller (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and Jeroen Homan (MIT) have
 seen evidence of hot iron gas riding a ripple in spacetime around a black hole. This spacetime
wave, if confirmed, would represent a new phenomenon that goes beyond Einstein's general
 relativity.

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Astronomers have discovered evidence for physics beyond
Einstein's general relativity. This artist's conception shows a

galactic black hole being orbited by a ripple in spacetime--a
distortion in the fabric of space itself. Credit: Dana Berry
(CfA/NASA)
 


These observations confirm one important theory about how a black hole's extreme gravity
can stretch light. The data also paint an intriguing image of how a spinning black hole can
 drag the very fabric of space around with it, creating a choppy spacetime sea that distorts
 everything falling into the black hole.

Miller and Homan observed the phenomenon with NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer.
They present this result today at a press conference at the 205th meeting of the American
 Astronomical Society in San Diego, Calif.

"Black holes are such extreme objects that they can actually warp and drag the fabric of
spacetime around with them as they spin," said Miller, who is the lead author on an article
to be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. "Gas whipping around the black hole
 has no choice but to ride that wave. Albert Einstein predicted this over 80 years ago,
and now we are starting to see evidence for it."

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This artist's conception shows the binary system
GRS1915+105, which shows evidence for a wave of spacetime in its

accretion disk. A 10 solar mass black hole at the center of the disk
pulls gas from a nearby companion star. The gas spiraling into the

black hole heats so much that it emits X-ray radiation. Credit: Dana
Berry (CfA/NASA)


Using the Rossi Explorer, Miller and Homan studied a black hole named GRS 1915+105,
 about 40,000 light years away in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle. They noticed
that a low-frequency QPO of 1 to 2 hertz was tied to changes in the broad iron K line,
as if the two features knew of each other. The fact that the two signals were in synch
and were unaffected by other phenomena-such as black hole jet activity-strongly
suggests that both are occurring very close to the black hole. And this, the scientists
say, rules out a theory stating that broad iron lines are created in black hole winds far
 from the black hole itself.

This discovery raised the question of what could be causing the connection. "High-frequency
 QPOs are likely from matter racing around the black hole, glowing like lightbulbs on a merry-go-round,"
said Homan. "Of course, matter is moving much faster around a black hole than on any amusement
park attraction. We see frequencies of hundreds of hertz, or hundreds of revolutions
 of the disk per second. That's quite a ride."

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW>COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/01/2005 17:50:36
See-through galaxy

HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS RELEASE

The center of our galaxy is hidden behind a "brick wall" of obscuring dust so thick
 that not even the Hubble Space Telescope can penetrate it. Astronomers Silas Laycock
 and Josh Grindlay (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and colleagues have lifted that
 veil to reveal a beautiful vista swarming with stars. Moreover, their hunt for specific stars
associated with X-ray-emitting sources has ruled out one of two options for the nature of
these X-ray sources: most apparently are not associated with massive stars, which would have
shown up as bright counterparts in their deep infrared images. This points to the X-ray sources
 being white dwarfs, not black holes or neutron stars, accreting matter from low-mass binary
 companion stars.


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This deepest-ever infrared view of a region near the
galactic center shows thousands of stars crowded into an area only 6

light-years across. Locations of bright stars don't match locations
of X-ray sources, indicating that the galactic center may contain

many faint Sun-like stars with X-ray-emitting white dwarf
companions. Credit: Silas Laycock (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for

Astrophysics)


To peer into the galactic center, Laycock and Grindlay used the unique capabilities
of the 6.5-meter-diameter Magellan Telescope in Chile. By gathering infrared light that
more easily penetrates dust, the astronomers were able to detect thousands of stars that
otherwise would have remained hidden. Their goal was to identify stars that orbit,
and feed, X-ray-emitting white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes - any of which could
yield the faint X-ray sources discovered originally with NASA's Chandra X-ray
 Observatory.

"If we found that most of the hard X-ray sources were high-mass X-ray binaries, it would
tell us that there had been a lot of recent star formation because massive stars don't live
 long," says Laycock. "Instead, we found that most of the X-ray sources are likely to
 be older systems associated with low-mass stars."

That conclusion comes from a null result: that is, most of the counterparts to the
X-ray sources must be fainter than the brightness expected if the X-ray sources had massive
 companions. Since massive stars are both rare and bright, an association with the
X-ray sources would have been easy to spot. Smaller stars are more common and fainter,
 making it difficult to match them to a specific X-ray source. Analysis of the infrared
images found only a chance number of matches between stars and the locations of X-ray sources.
 Many of those matches likely were due to the crowded field of view.

"The fact that we found no significant excess of bright infrared counterparts means that
the galactic center Chandra sources are probably low-mass binaries. Since by far the most
 common low-mass binaries with X-ray luminosities, spectra, and variability similar to
 the galactic center Chandra sources are accreting magnetic white dwarfs, we conclude
these are the most likely identification," says Grindlay.

If the X-ray sources near the galactic center are accreting white dwarfs, the large numbers
of compact low-mass binaries required could suggest that they formed in the very dense star
cluster around the galactic center or that they have been "deposited" there
by the destruction of globular clusters. Deeper infrared observations and spectra
 of the sources are needed
to make actual identifications and constrain the masses of the accreting compact objects.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/01/2005 18:02:18
Lottery Ball Machine and Chicken Display Their Offspring !!



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SOURCE: Lottery Ball and Chicken Monthly !

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 12/01/2005 21:24:33
Saharan dust affects Florida thunderstorms
NASA NEWS RELEASE


Scientists using NASA satellite data have discovered tiny particles of dust blowing across
the Atlantic Ocean from the Sahara Desert can affect Florida thunderstorms.

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Saharan dust is seen blowing off Northwest Africa by NASA's
 SeaWiFS orbiting satellite instrument. Credit: NASA


Dust affects the size of the top or "anvil" of a thunderstorm, the strength
and number of updrafts of warm winds. It also affects the strength of convective
(heat generated) thunderstorms by influencing the amount of rain that builds up and falls.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/01/2005 23:01:43
First Huygens images show strange new world

BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

The European Space Agency unveiled the first raw images from the Huygens Titan probe today,
 black-and-white pictures showing ice blocks strewn across the surface and hard-to-interpret
features resembling drainage channels and, possibly, a frigid shoreline of sorts.

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This is one of the first raw images returned by the ESA
Huygens probe during its successful descent. It was taken from an
altitude of 16.2 kilometres with a resolution of approximately 40
metres per pixel. It apparently shows short, stubby drainage
channels leading to a shoreline. Credit: ESA/NASA TV


As of 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT), more than 350 images from the Huygens main camera were on
the ground, shot at altitudes above and below the haze layer that marks Titan's thick
nitrogen atmosphere. The first picture shown to reporters was shot at an altitude of
 about 10 miles with a surface resolution of about 50 feet.

"I think it's pretty clear you see things that look pretty much like drainage channels,
 maye not like drainage
channels like on rivers on the Earth, but perhaps stubby box canyons with seepage out of
 the walls, flowing down towards what looks very much like a shoreline,"
said Martin Tomasko, principal investigator for Huygens' descent imager.

"We suspected there would be liquid on the surface of Titan, we suspected we would see
things that looked like drainage channels and shorelines, but we've never been able to
 see them with this clarity."

A second photo showed the surface of Titan surrounding the Huygens probe after it touched
down on the frigid moon. The scene resembled recent photos from NASA's Mars rovers,
 showing a rock-strewn plain stretching away toward a hazy horizon.

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This raw image was returned by the Descent Imager/Spectral
Radiometer camera onboard the European Space Agency's Huygens probe
after the probe descended through the atmosphere of Titan. It shows
the surface of Titan with ice blocks strewn around. The size and
distance of the blocks will be determined when the image is properly processed. Credit: ESA/NASA/University of Arizona


Said European Space agency science chief David Southwood: "I am just delighted. I just
wanted to know that there was complexity down there, that this really was a world
that was going to yield totally new science. I'm now convinced we're going to do it.
it's the end of a wonderful day, I'm going to remember it for the rest of my life."

Despite Tomasko's off-the-cuff interpretation of the initial picture, it was not
 immediately clear whether the images did, in fact, show liquid ethane or related
compounds theorized to exist on the surface.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW>COM




'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/01/2005 13:01:33
First Huygens pictures


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This image was returned January 14 by ESA's Huygens probe during its successful descent
to land on Titan. This is the coloured view, following processing to add reflection spectra
data, gives a better indication of the actual colour of the surface. Initially thought
 to be rocks or ice blocks, they are more pebble-sized. The two rock-like objects just
 below the middle of the image are about 15 centimetres (left) and 4 centimetres (centre) across
respectively, at a distance of about 85 centimetres from Huygens. The surface is darker
 than originally expected, consisting of a mixture of water and hydrocarbon ice.
There is also evidence of erosion at the base of these objects, indicating possible
 fluvial activity. Credits: ESA/NASA/University of Arizona
 

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 20/01/2005 12:35:33
Huygens descent probe landed in Titanian mud

EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE

Although Huygens landed on Titan's surface last Friday, activity at ESA's European Space
 Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, continues at a furious pace. Scientists
 are still working to refine the exact location of the probe's landing site.


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A view of Huygens probable landing site based on initial,
best-guess estimates. Scientists on the Huygens Descent
 Imager/Spectral Radiometer (DISR) science team are still working to
 refine the exact location of the probe's landing site, but they
estimate that it lies within the white circle shown in this image.
Credits: ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona


While Huygens rests frozen at -180 degrees Celsius on Titan's landscape, a symbolic
 finale to the engineering and flight phase of this historic mission, scientists
have taken little time off to eat or sleep.

They have been processing, examining and analysing data, and sometimes even
dreaming about it when they sleep. There's enough data to keep Huygens scientists
 busy for months and even years to come.

Landing with a splat
Scientists had theorised that the probe would drop out of the haze at between 70 and
50 kilometres. In fact, Huygens began to emerge from the haze only at 30 kilometres
above the surface.

When the probe landed, it was not with a thud, or a splash, but a 'splat'. It landed in Titanian 'mud'.

"I think the biggest surprise is that we survived landing and that we lasted so long," said
DISR team member Charles See. "There wasn't even a glitch at impact. That landing was a
 lot friendlier than we anticipated."

DISR's downward-looking High Resolution Imager camera lens apparently accumulated
some material, which suggests the probe may have settled into the surface. "Either that or we steamed
hydrocarbons off the surface and they collected onto the lens," said See.

"The probe's parachute disappeared from sight on landing, so the probe probably isn't
 pointing east, or we would have seen the parachute," said DISR team member Mike Bushroe.

When the mission was designed, it was decided that the DISR's 20-Watt landing lamp
 should turn on 700 metres above the surface and illuminate the landing site for
as long as 15 minutes after touchdown.

"In fact, not only did the landing lamp turn on at exactly 700 metres, but also
it was still shining more than an hour later, when Cassini moved beyond Titan's
horizon for its ongoing exploratory tour of the giant moon and the Saturnian system," said Tomasko.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/01/2005 20:07:11
Titan forecast calls for rain, Huygens data shows
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

Liquid methane apparently falls like rain on Saturn's smog-shrouded moon Titan, washing down
icy channels that ultimately spill into broad lakebeds dotted with ice islands and shoals,
 according to the latest data from Europe's Huygens probe. While the spacecraft did not detect
 any standing pools of
liquefied natural gas in its immediate area, the data indicate rainfall is common on
Titan and that liquid methane is present within a few inches of its surface.



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This mosaic of three frames provides unprecedented detail of
 the high ridge area including the flow down into a major river
channel from different sources. Credits: ESA/NASA/JPL/University of
Arizona

Download larger image version here

http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/cassini_huygens/huygens_land/press_release_050120/HRICoastLineMoasic_H.jpg

This isn't Mars, where the liquid that's done the erosion is buried underneath a solid," said
 Toby Owen, an interdisciplinary scientist with the Cassini-Huygens mission. "This is a
 planet where the liquids are right there. It might have rained yesterday. This is
 really a very active situation. That's the important news about detecting methane.
It isn't that we think methane is there. It's really there in the liquid state."

Said Martin Tomasko, principal investigator with the Huygens descent imager instrument:
"What we know is the place we landed is dry at the moment. But the liquid is not 200
meters underground, the liquid was within a few centimeters of the surface, indicating
that it must have rained not very long ago. Does that mean yesterday or the day before,
 the week before? We don't really know. But the feeling is, in the place we landed,
it must rain fairly frequently. But we can't be more precise than that."




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A view of Titan from the VIMS instrument on the Cassini
orbiter. The Huygens probe landed in the small red circle on the
boundary of the bright and dark regions. The size of the circle
shows the field of view of the Huygens DISR imager from an altitude
of 20 kilometres. Credits: ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Download larger image version here

http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/cassini_huygens/huygens_land/press_release_050120/VIMS_HuygensLandingSite_H.jpg

Data from Huygens shows nitrogen is the dominant gas in the upper atmosphere of Titan.
 But as the probe descended, methane concentrations shot up.


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A single image from the Huygens DISR instrument of a dark
plain area on Titan, seen during descent to the landing site, that
indicates flow around bright 'islands'. The areas below and above
the bright islands may be at different elevations. Credits:
 ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

 


"We don't think we have open pools of liquid methane, but the methane kind of
sinks down into the surface material," he said. "It's more like Arizona or someplace
 like that where the river beds are dry most of the time but after rain, you might
 have open flowing liquids and pools. These pools gradually dry out, the liquid sinks
down into the surface. Perhaps it's very seasonal."

No one yet knows. But Jean-Pierre Lebreton, the Huygens mission scientist for the
European Space Agency, said Titan would make an ideal target for some future robot lander.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/01/2005 20:10:38
Opportunity rover finds an iron meteorite on Mars

NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE


NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has found an iron meteorite, the first
meteorite of any type ever identified on another planet.

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Opportunity finds meteorite on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

The pitted, basketball-size object is mostly made of iron and nickel according to readings
from spectrometers on the rover. Only a small fraction of the meteorites fallen
on Earth are similarly metal-rich. Others are rockier. As an example, the meteorite
 that blasted the famous Meteor Crater in Arizona is similar in composition.


"This is a huge surprise, though maybe it shouldn't have been," said Dr. Steve Squyres of
 Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for the science instruments
 on Opportunity and its twin, Spirit.

The meteorite, dubbed "Heat Shield Rock," sits near debris of Opportunity's heat
shield on the surface of Meridiani Planum, a cratered flatland that has been Opportunity's
home since the robot landed on Mars nearly one year ago.

"I never thought we would get to use our instruments on a rock from someplace other
than Mars," Squyres said. "Think about where an iron meteorite comes from: a destroyed
planet or planetesimal that was big enough to differentiate into a metallic core and a rocky mantle."

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW>COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/01/2005 20:31:30
Desertification alters regional ecosystem climate interactions

Stanford, CA. Using advanced remote-sensing techniques from a U-2 surveillance plane
and field studies, scientists from the Carnegie Institution Department of Global
Ecology have for the first time determined large-scale interactions between ecosystems
and the climate during the process of desertification. The study, to be published in
the January 2005 issue of Global Change Biology, is a milestone both for the new methods
 employed and for understanding what is happening as agricultural and grazing lands
change into desert--a top environmental worry of the United Nations.

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This image shows how spectral data, information contained in reflected light, obtained from the
 NASA Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) is organized into "data cubes. " It also
shows what the reflecting light reveals as the sensor collects data from the canopy to the soil. The different
types of vegetation are grasslands, transition areas, and desert shrublands in the Northern Chihuahua region
 of New Mexico.  


Typically, remote-sensing for ecological research looks at the greenness of the top layer
of vegetation, which is used to determine the amount of plant growth, or net primary
production (NPP). NPP data are useful for understanding the global carbon cycle as plants
breath in and lock up the greenhouse gas CO2 . NPP data, though, are not as important as are
 the changes in the type and distribution of vegetation as an area transitions into desert.
 Using the (AVIRIS), the scientists are able to analyze the physical structure of ecosystems
including the live and dead plants. The data are viewed in 3-dimensions at very high
 resolution and can give a much broader picture of the processes at work, including carbon
cycling and other chemical and biological activities.

SOURCE:EURAKAALERT.ORG



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/01/2005 14:05:14
Rare leopard 'faces extinction'  

By Richard Black
BBC environment correspondent  

The world's rarest cat, the Amur leopard, is facing extinction in the wild, conservationists
have warned.

They have blamed a recent decision by the Russian government to approve an oil pipeline
through the leopards' only habitat, on the harsh eastern coast.
 


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Amur leopards are a little lighter in colour than other leopards
 

It is estimated that only about 30 of the animals survive in the wild.

Human settlements and forest fires have already pushed the Amur leopard to the brink
of extinction - there are more in captivity than there are in the wild.


At the end of December, Russia approved a plan for a pipeline bringing oil from Siberia
to a new terminal on the coast, opening up export routes to east Asia.

The pipeline will pass through the Amur leopards' only remaining range - and conservationists
 working with the Zoological Society of London say it could be the last straw.

They are appealing to the Russian government to re-route the pipeline and give the
world's rarest cat one more life.

SOURCE: BBC


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 25/01/2005 10:53:28
Swirls in the south

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

The turbulent boundaries between dark belts and bright zones are seen prominently
in this processed image of Saturn's southern atmosphere. Disturbed boundaries
between these cloud bands are due to wind shear and density differences between adjacent bands.

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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06568.jpg
 

The planet appears more bland in natural color images, but this infrared view
 uncovers far more detail.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera at a distance of
approximately 614,000 kilometers (382,000 miles) from Saturn through a filter sensitive
to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 890 nanometers. The image scale is 37
kilometers (23 miles) per pixel.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/01/2005 17:50:41
A Carrot Rainbow
Janet Raloff

Thanksgiving menus typically include root vegetables. Although some of those vegetables can
 be slightly exotic—from kohlrabi and rutabaga to ginger—many are familiar standbys, such
 as carrots. Long, fat, and orange, they make good snacks, add moisture to cakes, and
sometimes serve as the nose on a snowman's face.

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High beta-carotene carrots developed from lines initially
bred at the USDA's Madison, Wis., laboratory.
USDA




Orange was not the carrot's original tint, however. A native of western Asia, this
cool-season member of the parsley family started out in various shades of white,
yellow, and purple. It took on orange shades only under the hand of 16th century Dutch
horticulturalists, according to researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

In recent years, other USDA scientists have enhanced the now-familiar orange carrots
 by breeding lines with elevated concentrations of the pigment beta-carotene—a material
 from which the body fashions vitamin A. The result: Most U.S. carrots now offer about
 75 percent more beta-carotene than they did 25 years ago.

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In some cases, such as the purple carrot shown above, the deep hue goes all the way through the root.
In other instances, the intense color tints only the outer edges of the root (below).



However, plant geneticist Philipp Simon and his carrot-breeding colleagues at USDA's
Vegetable Crops Research Unit in Madison, Wis., didn't stop there. They've been breeding
carrots in a rainbow of antique hues, including red and deep purple, to survive in U.S. soils
and appeal to American flavor preferences.
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Some carrot slices doing synchronized line dancing yesterday

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A sampling of USDA's nontraditional carrots.
Stephen Ausmus



Red carrots have proven a particular challenge. Many haven't proven too tasty without heavy
cooking—a problem since the vast majority of U.S. carrots is eaten raw. Most imported red
carrots, from Asia, fall prey to the root-rot fungus Sclerotium rolfsii that's present in most U.S. soils.



SOURCE:SCIENCENEWS>ORG
 'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/01/2005 20:11:29
Asteroid collisions may explain star's appearance

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA NEWS RELEASE


The recent collision of two huge asteroids or tiny planets may be the cause of the mysterious
lopsided appearance of the most famous of the universe's planet-forming stars, a team of
astronomers says.

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This is an artist's rendering of a possible collision scenario between two huge asteroids or tiny planets. University of
Florida astronomers say such a collision may be the cause of the lopsided appearance of Beta Pictoris. Credit: Gemini Observatory
 illustration by Jon Lomberg

 
Relying on observations from the Gemini South telescope in Chile, the University of Florida-led
team has concluded that differences in brightness in the dust disc surrounding a star known as
Beta Pictoris stem from an extra bright clump on one side of the disc. This clump, the
astronomers say, is composed of dust particles that are consistently smaller than particles
 elsewhere in the disc -- likely evidence of a collision of two massive asteroids or
tiny developing planets known as planetismals that may have occurred as recently as in the
past few decades.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/01/2005 20:17:12
Dark matter haloes were first objects in the universe

UNIVERSITY OF ZURICH NEWS RELEASE


Ghostly haloes of dark matter as heavy as the earth and as large as our solar system were
 the first structures to form in the universe, according to new calculations from scientists
 at the University of Zurich, published in this week's issue of Nature.

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A zoom into the first object to form in the universe. The two inset regions are each expanded by a scale of a hundred so you
 can see the single earth mass dark matter halo which is about the size of the solar system. The large blue region is 10,000 light
 years across.

 
Our own galaxy still contains quadrillions of these halos with one expected to pass by
Earth every few thousand years, leaving a bright, detectable trail of gamma rays in its
 wake, the scientists say. Day to day, countless random dark matter particles rain down upon
the Earth and through our bodies undetected.

"These dark matter haloes were the gravitational 'glue' that attracted ordinary matter,
 eventually enabling stars and galaxies to form," said Prof. Ben Moore of the Institute for
 Theoretical Physics at the University of Zurich, a co-author on the Nature report. "These structures,
 the building blocks of all we see today, started forming early, only about 20 million years
after the big bang."

Dark matter comprises over 80 percent of the mass of the universe, yet its nature is unknown.
 It seems to be intrinsically different from the atoms that make up matter all around us.
 Dark matter has never been detected directly; its presence is inferred through its gravitational
 influence on ordinary matter.

The Zurich scientists based their calculation on the leading candidate for dark matter,
a theoretical particle called a neutralino, thought to have been created in the big bang.
Their results entailed several months of number crunching on the zBox, a new supercomputer
 designed and built at the University of Zurich by Moore and Drs. Joachim Stadel and Juerg
Diemand, co-authors on the report.


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 31/01/2005 17:38:20
Pluto-Charon origin may mirror Earth and Moon

SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
The evolution of Kuiper Belt objects, Pluto and its lone moon Charon may have something in common
with Earth and our single Moon: a giant impact in the distant past.

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Credit: Southwest Research Institute


Dr. Robin Canup, assistant director of Southwest Research Institute's (SwRI)
 Department of Space Studies, argues for such an origin for the Pluto-Charon pair in
an article for the January 28 issue of the journal Science.


In both the Earth-Moon and Pluto-Charon cases, Canup's smooth particle hydrodynamic
simulations depict an origin in which a large, oblique collision with the growing planet
 produced its satellite and provided the current planet-moon system with its angular momentum.

While the Moon has only about 1 percent of the mass of Earth, Charon accounts for a much
larger 10 to 15 percent of Pluto's total mass. Canup's simulations suggest that a
proportionally much larger impactor -- one nearly as large as Pluto itself -- was
responsible for Charon, and that the satellite likely formed intact as a direct result of the collision.

According to Canup, a collision in the early Kuiper Belt -- a disk of comet-like objects
 orbiting in the outer solar system beyond Neptune -- could have given rise to a
planet and satellite with relative sizes and angular rotation characteristics
consistent with those of the Pluto-Charon pair. The colliding objects would
have been about 1,600 to 2,000 kilometers in diameter, or each about half the size of the Earth's Moon.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 31/01/2005 17:52:01

Arid Australian interior linked to landscape burning
 by ancient humans


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The image of a controlled
 burn in the interior of Australia today,
 featured on the cover of the January 2005
 issue of Geology, illustrates how Australia
 might have looked 50,000 years ago.
Photo courtesy Gifford Miller, University of
Colorado at Boulder


 Landscape burning by ancient hunters and gatherers may have triggered the failure
 of the annual Australian Monsoon some 12,000 years ago, resulting in the desertification
of the country's interior that is evident today, according to a new study.

University of Colorado at Boulder Professor Gifford Miller said the study builds on his
research group's previous findings that dozens of giant animal species went extinct
in Australia roughly 50,000 years ago due to ecosystem changes caused by human burning.
 The new study indicates such burning may have altered the flora enough to decrease the
exchange of water vapor between the biosphere and atmosphere, causing the failure of
the Australian Monsoon over the interior.

"The question is whether localized burning 50,000 years ago could have had a continental-scale
effect," said Miller, a fellow at CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.
"The implications are that the burning practices of early humans may have changed the
climate of the Australian continent by weakening the penetration of monsoon moisture into the interior."

SOURCE:EUREKAALERT.ORG


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/02/2005 21:11:50
Light continues to echo three
 years after stellar outburst


SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: February 3, 2005

The Hubble Space Telescope's latest image of the star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) reveals
dramatic changes in the illumination of surrounding dusty cloud structures. The effect,
 called a light echo, has been unveiling never-before-seen dust patterns ever since
the star suddenly brightened for several weeks in early 2002.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)
Download larger image version here

http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2005/02/images/a/formats/print.jpg


The illumination of interstellar dust comes from the red supergiant star at the middle of the image, which gave off a pulse of light three years ago, somewhat similar to setting off a flashbulb in a darkened room. The dust surrounding V838 Mon may have been ejected from the star during a previous explosion, similar to the 2002 event.

The echoing of light through space is similar to the echoing of sound through air.
 As light from the stellar explosion continues to propagate outwards, different
parts of the surrounding dust are illuminated, just as a sound echo bounces off of objects
 near the source, and later, objects further from the source. Eventually, when light
from the back side of the nebula begins to arrive, the light echo will give the illusion
 of contracting, and finally it will disappear.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/02/2005 21:16:04
Lost and found: Chandra locates missing matter

CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE



NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has discovered two huge intergalactic clouds of
diffuse hot gas. These clouds are the best evidence yet that a vast cosmic web of hot gas
 contains the long-sought missing matter - about half of the atoms and ions in the Universe.


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This illustration shows the absorption of X-rays from the quasar Mkn 421
 by two intergalactic clouds of diffuse hot gas.
 These distant clouds (located 150 million and 370 million light years from Earth),
 are likely part of a predicted diffuse web-like
system of hot gas clouds - the cosmic web - from which
galaxies and clusters of galaxies are thought to have formed. Credit: CXC/M.Weiss
 


Various measurements give a good estimate of the mass-density of the baryons - the neutrons
and protons that make up the nuclei of atoms and ions - in the Universe 10 billion years ago.
 However, sometime during the last 10 billion years a large fraction of the baryons, commonly
referred to as "ordinary matter" to distinguish them from dark matter and dark energy,
 have gone missing.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/02/2005 21:19:39
Swift sees Pinwheel Galaxy
 as satellite goes operational


PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE


The Swift satellite's Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) has seen first light, capturing
an image of the Pinwheel Galaxy, long loved by amateur astronomers as the "perfect" face-on
spiral galaxy. The UVOT now remains poised to observe its first gamma-ray burst.

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M101 is a bright, face-on, spiral galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major
(containing the Big Dipper), about 15 million light years from Earth.


Swift is a NASA-led mission dedicated to the gamma-ray burst mystery.
 These random and fleeting explosions likely signal the birth of black holes.
With the UVOT turned on, Swift now is fully operational. Swift's two other instruments -- the
 Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) and the X-ray Telescope (XRT) -- were turned on over the past
 several weeks and have been snapping up gamma-ray bursts ever since.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 07/02/2005 20:28:15
Saturn has strange hot spot

W. M. KECK OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


Astronomers using the Keck I telescope in Hawaii are learning much more about a strange,
 thermal "hot spot" on Saturn that is located at the tip of the planet's south pole.
In what the team is calling the sharpest thermal views of Saturn ever taken from the ground,
 the new set of infrared images suggest a warm polar vortex at Saturn's south pole
 -- the first to ever be discovered in the solar system. This warm polar cap is home to
 a distinct compact hot spot, believed to contain the highest measured temperatures
 on Saturn. A paper announcing the results appears in the Feb. 4th issue of "Science."


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Mosaic false-color image of thermal heat emission from
Saturn and its rings taken on February 4, 2004, with the Keck I
telescope at 17.65 micron wavelengths. The black square at 4 o'clock
 represents missing data. Credit: W. M. Keck Observatory/NASA/JPL-G.
Orton
Download larger image version here
http://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/news/science/saturn/saturn2004a.jpg



A "polar vortex" is a persistent, large-scale weather pattern, likened to a jet stream
on Earth that occurs in the upper atmosphere. On Earth, the Arctic Polar Vortex is typically
 located over eastern North America in Canada and plunges cold artic air to the Northern Plains
in the United States. Earth's Antarctic Polar Vortex, centered over Antarctica, is responsible
 for trapping air and creating unusual chemistry, such as the effects that create the
 "ozone hole." Polar vortices are found on Earth, Jupiter, Mars and Venus, and are colder than
 their surroundings. But new images from the W. M. Keck Observatory show the first evidence
of a polar vortex at much warmer temperatures. And the warmer, compact region at the
 pole itself is quite unusual.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/02/2005 11:31:10
Mini-planet system seen in growth
   
Astronomers believe there may be mini solar systems out there - planets which orbit small, failed stars


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An artist's impression of a brown dwarf surrounded by a swirling disc of planet-building dust. OTS 44's disc has enough
mass to make one small gas giant and a few Earth-sized rocky planets, scientists say. (Image: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/T.Pyle-SSC)


The suggestion is based on Spitzer telescope observations, which detail a dusty disc
around a brown dwarf, a star too small to ignite its nuclear fuel.

The star, named OTS 44, is only about 15 times the mass of Jupiter.

This is much smaller than any other brown dwarf known to be surrounded by a disc
 of planet-building material, says US researcher Dr Kevin Luhman.

"This leads to all sorts of new questions, like 'Could life exist on such planets?' or
'What do you call a planet circling a planet-sized body? A moon or a planet?'," he added.

Previously, the smallest brown dwarf known to host a planet-forming disc was 25 to 30
times more massive than Jupiter.

The finding should ultimately help astronomers better understand how and where planets -
 including rocky ones resembling our own - form, the US space agency (Nasa) said in a statement.

OTS 44 was first discovered by the Gemini Observatory in Chile and then subjected to
 further investigation with orbiting Spitzer telescope.

The brown dwarf is located 500 light-years away in the Chamaeleon constellation.

Spitzer's speciality is in the infrared, where the detail in the dim glow of dust can be
more easily discerned.

The Spitzer results are being published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

SOURCE:BBC.CO.UK

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 09/02/2005 23:18:39
Mimas blues
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


Mimas drifts along in its orbit against the azure backdrop of Saturn's northern
 latitudes in this true color view. The long, dark lines on the atmosphere are shadows
cast by the planet's rings.

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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06176.jpg

Saturn's northern hemisphere is presently relatively cloud-free, and rays of sunlight take
 a long path through the atmosphere. This results in sunlight being scattered at shorter
(bluer) wavelengths, thus giving the northernmost latitudes their bluish appearance at
visible wavelengths.

At the bottom, craters on icy Mimas (398 kilometers, or 247 miles across) give the moon
 a dimpled appearance.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/02/2005 23:22:29
First stellar outcast discovered by astronomers

HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE


Using the MMT Observatory in Tucson, AZ, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics (CfA) are the first to report the discovery of a star leaving our galaxy,
speeding along at over 1.5 million miles per hour. This incredible speed likely resulted
 from a close encounter with the Milky Way's central black hole, which flung the star
outward like a stone from a slingshot. So strong was the event that the speedy star
eventually will be lost altogether, traveling alone in the blackness of intergalactic space.

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Astronomers at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory have
discovered the first star flung out of the Milky Way, speeding away at over 1.5 million
 miles per hour. The so-called outcast star is shown in this artist's depiction
in its current location as it travels through the distant outskirts of the Milky Way.
 Credit: Ruth Bazinet, CfA


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/02/2005 23:22:23
Ring beholds a delicate flower, Spitzer reveals

SPITZER PHOTO RELEASE
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope finds a delicate flower in the Ring Nebula, as shown
in this image. The outer shell of this planetary nebula looks surprisingly similar
to the delicate petals of a camellia blossom.


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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA
Download larger image version herehttp://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07343.jpg




A planetary nebula is a shell of material ejected from a dying star.

Located about 2,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Lyra, the Ring
 Nebula is also known as Messier Object 57 and NGC 6720. It is one of the best examples
 of a planetary nebula and a favorite target of amateur astronomers.

The "ring" is a thick cylinder of glowing gas and dust around the doomed star.
 As the star begins to run out of fuel, its core becomes smaller and hotter, boiling
off its outer layers. The telescope's infrared array camera detected this material expelled
from the withering star.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/02/2005 20:03:45
Blast affected Earth from halfway across the Milky Way

CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE


Forget "Independence Day" or "War of the Worlds." A monstrous cosmic explosion last
December showed that the earth is in more danger from real-life space threats than
from hypothetical alien invasions.


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Artist's conception of the December 27 gamma ray flare expanding from SGR 1806-20 and impacing Earth's atmosphere. Credit: NASA

The gamma-ray flare, which briefly outshone the full moon, occurred within the Milky Way galaxy.
 Even at a distance of 50,000 light-years, the flare disrupted the earth's ionosphere.
If such a blast happened within 10 light-years of the earth, it would destroy the much
of the ozone layer, causing extinctions due to increased radiation.

"Astronomically speaking, this explosion happened in our backyard. If it were in our living room,
we'd be in big trouble!" said Bryan Gaensler (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics),
lead author on a paper describing radio observations of the event.

Gaensler headed one of two teams reporting on this eruption at a special press event
today at NASA headquarters. A multitude of papers are planned for publication.

The giant flare detected on December 27, 2004, came from an isolated, exotic
neutron star within the Milky Way. The flare was more powerful than any blast previously
 seen in our galaxy.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

One calculation has the giant flare unleashing about 10,000 trillion trillion trillion watts, that's more energy in a tenth of a second than our sun emits in 100,000 years:...source BBC

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/02/2005 16:11:48
Solar Tadpoles Wave at Astrophysicists
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Researchers at the University of Warwick's Department of Physics have gained insight
 into the mysterious giant dark "tadpoles" that appear to swim towards the surface
 of the Sun during solar flares - enormous energy releases happening in the atmosphere of the Sun.

The tadpoles - colossal physical structures with dark heads and attendant wiggly
 tails that seem to swim sunwards against tides of hot matter being thrown away from
the Sun during flares - have puzzled astrophysicists for several years, as they
are so unlike any other phenomena observed on the Sun.

University of Warwick researchers Dr Valery Nakariakov and Dr Erwin Verwichte believe
 they have managed to understand the physics of this process. They analysed observations
 obtained with NASA's "Transition Region And Coronal Explorer" (TRACE) space mission
and put forward the idea that the wiggles of the tadpoles' tails are huge waves - similar
to the flying of flags in the wind - though, these solar wiggles are several times larger
than the Earth. The scientists think that the waves are produced by a peculiar physical
mechanism known as "negative energy waves", when waves suck energy from the medium they
 propagate through.

The understanding of the wiggles allowed the researchers to conclude that the tadpoles
themselves are not material features, but optical illusions, as the solar matter is not
 falling down but is being continuously thrown upwards. The apparently descending
tadpole head marks the falling start point of the matter's upward acceleration.

SOURCE:EUREKALERT.ORG



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/02/2005 20:39:14
   
Cassini captures greatest Saturn portrait yet

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

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BigPicture here..(and I mean BIG...5.4MB !!)http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06193.jpg

 
While cruising around Saturn, Cassini captured a series of images that have been composed
 into the largest, most detailed, global natural color view of Saturn and its rings ever made.

This grand mosaic consists of 126 images acquired in a tile-like fashion, covering
one end of Saturn's rings to the other and the entire planet in between. The images
were taken over the course of 2 hours on Oct. 6, 2004, while Cassini was approximately 6.3 million kilometers
(3.9 million miles) from Saturn. Since the view seen by Cassini during this time changed
very little, no re-projection or alteration of any of the images was necessary.

Three images (red, green and blue) were taken each of 42 locations, or "footprints", across the planet.
 The full color footprints were put together to produce a mosaic that is 8,888 pixels across
and 4,544 pixels tall.




SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/03/2005 20:01:34
Spitzer exposes dusty galactic hideouts

NASA NEWS RELEASE


How do you hide something as big and bright as a galaxy? You smother it in cosmic dust.
 NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope saw through the cosmic dust to uncover a hidden
population of monstrously bright galaxies approximately 11 billion light-years away.


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This artist's animation demonstrates that an invisible galaxy shrouded
 in dust can become glaringly bright when viewed in
infrared light. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



These strange galaxies are among the most luminous in the universe, shining with the equivalent
 light of 10 trillion suns. But, they are so far away and so drenched in dust, it took
Spitzer's highly sensitive infrared eyes to find them.

"We are seeing galaxies that are essentially invisible," said Dr. Dan Weedman of Cornell
 University, Ithaca, N.Y., co-author of the study detailing the discovery. It will be
published in today's issue of the Astrophysical Journal letters. "Past infrared
 missions hinted at the presence of similarly dusty galaxies over 20 years ago, but those
galaxies were closer. We had to wait for Spitzer to peer far enough into the distant
 universe to find these," he said.

Where is all this dust coming from? The answer is not quite clear. Dust is churned out
 by stars, but it is not known how the dust wound up sprinkled all around the galaxies.
 Another mystery is the exceptional brightness of the galaxies. Astronomers speculate
 a new breed of unusually dusty quasars, the most luminous objects in the universe,
 may be lurking inside. Quasars, like giant light bulbs at the centers of galaxies,
 are powered by huge black holes.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.CPM

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/03/2005 20:00:37
Hubble sees impending destruction of galaxy

SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE

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What happens when a galaxy falls in with the wrong crowd? The irregular galaxy NGC 1427A
is a spectacular example of the resulting stellar rumble. Under the gravitational grasp
 of a large gang of galaxies, called the Fornax cluster, the small bluish galaxy is
 plunging headlong into the group at 600 kilometers per second or nearly 400 miles per second.

NGC 1427A, which is located some 62 million light-years away from Earth in the direction
 of the constellation Fornax, shows numerous hot, blue stars in this newly released image
obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope. These blue stars have been formed very recently,
showing that star formation is occurring extensively throughout the galaxy.

Le Grande Piccy ici http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2005/09/images/a/formats/print.jpg


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/03/2005 20:47:48
Martian Landscaping: Spacecraft eyes evidence of a frozen sea

Ron Cowen

A flat region near the Red Planet's equator may hold a frozen ocean that was once as deep
 and big as the North Sea. The region's relatively craterless facade suggests that water gushed
 to the surface and froze recently, raising the possibility that life might exist today
on or just beneath the surface, says Mars Express researcher John Murray. Last week, his
team reported its analysis of images that were taken by the orbiting Mars Express spacecraft.

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MARTIAN OCEAN? A frozen sea could have sculpted this flat region near the Martian equator.
ESA


SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/03/2005 22:19:20
Newly seen force may help gravity in star formation
NASA-GSFC NEWS RELEASE


Scientists have pierced through a dusty stellar nursery to capture the earliest and most
detailed view of a collapsing gas cloud turning into a star, analogous to a baby's first ultrasound.

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This image comes from the R Corona Australis star-forming region,
about 500 light years from Earth. This image was created with the
University of Hawaii 88-inch telescope in the "near" infrared
waveband, which is slightly lower in energy than what is visible to
our eyes. Many protostars (reddish) and young stars (bright white)
 are seen here. Credit: UH88/Nedachi et al.


"We are seeing star formation at its embryonic stage," said Dr. Kenji Hamaguchi,
 a NASA-funded researcher at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., lead
author on a report in The Astrophysical Journal. "Previous observations have
captured the shape of such gas clouds but have never been able to peer inside.
 The detection of X-rays this early indicates that gravity alone is not the only force
 shaping young stars."





Big Pic http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/107415main_region_88.jpg


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/03/2005 22:42:25
Hubble weighs in on the heaviest stars in the galaxy

NASA NEWS RELEASE


Astronomers have taken an important step toward establishing an upper limit to
the masses of stars. Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, they made the first direct
 measurement within our Milky Way Galaxy, and concluded stars cannot get any larger
than about 150 times the mass of our sun.


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This artist's impression shows how the Arches star
cluster appears from deep inside the hub of our Milky Way Galaxy.
 Although hidden from our direct view, the massive cluster lies
25,000 light-years away and is the densest known gathering of young
stars in our galaxy. The illustration is based on infrared
observations with Hubble and with ground-based telescopes, which
pierced our galaxy's dusty core and snapped images of the luminous
cluster of about 2,000 stars. Credit: NASA, ESA and A. Schaller (for
 STScI)



A star's weight ranges from less than one-tenth to more than 100 times the mass of our sun.
 Although astronomers know stars come in a variety of masses, they don't know if the bodies
have a weight limit at birth. Knowing how large a star can form may offer important clues to
 how the universe makes them.

Astronomers have been uncertain about how large a star can get before it cannot hold
itself together and blows apart. Astronomers don't know enough about the details of the star-
formation process to estimate a star's upper mass. Consequently, theories have predicted
stars can be anywhere between 100 to 1,000 times more massive than the sun.




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This illustration compares the different masses of
stars. Credit: NASA, ESA and A. Feild (STScI)

 






SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/03/2005 18:42:46
SUPERVOLCANO

Pictures from scenes of the BBCs Factual Drama:

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SOURCE: BBC

....and here's the link to the web pages dedictaed to Supervolcanos and about the making of the program. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/supervolcano/programme.shtml


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/03/2005 23:20:15
Dark energy evidence in local galactic neighborhood

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON NEWS RELEASE

Astrophysicists in recent years have found evidence for a force they call dark energy in
observations from the farthest reaches of the universe, billions of light years away.


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A supercomputer-produced cross-section of part of the
universe shows galaxies as brighter dots along filaments of matter,
 with a sea of dark energy filling in between the galactic islands.
 Credit: James Wadsley, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario


The data paint a picture of the universe as a virtual sea of dark energy, with billions
of galaxies as islands emerging from the sea, said Fabio Governato, a University of Washington
research associate professor of astronomy and a researcher with Italy's National
Institute for Astrophysics.

In 1929 astronomer Edwin Hubble demonstrated that galaxies are moving away from each other,
 which supported the theory that the universe has been expanding since the big bang. In 1999
cosmologists reported evidence that an unusual force, called dark energy, was actually
causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate.

However, the expansion is slower than it would be otherwise because of the tug of gravity
among galaxies. As the battle between the attraction of gravity and the repellent force of
 dark energy plays out, cosmologists are left to ponder whether the expansion will continue
 forever or if the universe will collapse in a "big crunch."

In 1997, Governato designed a computer model to simulate evolution of the universe from
the big bang until the present. His research group found the model could not duplicate
the smooth expansion that had been observed among galaxies around the Milky Way, the
galaxy in which Earth resides. In fact, the model produced deviations from a
purely radial expansion that were three to seven times higher than astronomers had
actually observed, Governato said.

"The observed motion was small, and we could not duplicate it without the presence
of dark energy," he said. "When we added the dark energy, we got a perfect match."


SOURCE: spaceflightnow.com



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 25/03/2005 21:10:48
Sliced-up craters on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
During its very close flyby of Enceladus on March 9, Cassini took high resolution images
 of the icy moon that are helping scientists interpret the complex topography of this
 intriguing little world.

This scene(above) is an icy landscape that has been scored by tectonic forces. Many of the
craters in this terrain have been heavily modified, such as the 10-kilometer-wide (6-mile-wide)
 crater near the upper right that has prominent north-south fracturing along its northeastern slope.

Biggy http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06217.jpg


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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

This view (above)of Saturn's moon Enceladus shows an area that has undergone a very intriguing --
and in places puzzling -- sequence of events. The craters here are subdued, as seen elsewhere
on Enceladus, and most, but not all, are older than the fractures. Fracturing has occurred at
 a wide variety of scales, from the wide rift running through the center of the image to much
narrower sets of shorter fractures that crosscut the craters (and each other) to the left.

Biggy: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06215.jpg


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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

This image (above)of Saturn's moon Enceladus shows a region of craters softened by time and torn
 apart by tectonic stresses. Fractures 100 to 400 meters (330 to 1,300 feet) in width crosscut
 the terrain: One set trends northeast-southwest and another trends northwest-southeast.
North is up. A region of "grooved terrain" is visible on the left. A broad canyon, its floor
partly concealed by shadow, is notable on the right.

Biggy: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06213.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 25/03/2005 21:18:00
Young and exotic stellar zoo

EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE

Super star clusters are groups of hundreds of thousands of very young stars packed
into an unbelievably small volume. They represent the most extreme environments in which
 stars and planets can form.



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This is a composite image of the super star
cluster "Westerlund 1" from 2.2-m MPG/ESO Wide-Field Imager (WFI)
 observations. The foreground stars appear blue, while the hot
massive members of the cluster look orange, and the cool massive
ones come out red. Credit: ESO



Until now, super star clusters were only known to exist very far away, mostly in pairs or
groups of interacting galaxies. Now, however, a team of European astronomers have used
ESO's telescopes to uncover such a monster object within our own Galaxy, the Milky Way,
almost, but not quite, in our own backyard!

The newly found massive structure is hidden behind a large cloud of dust and gas and this
is why it took so long to unveil its true nature. It is known as "Westerlund 1" and
is a thousand times closer than any other super star cluster known so far. It is close
enough that astronomers may now probe its structure in some detail.

Westerlund 1 contains hundreds of very massive stars, some shining with a brilliance of
almost one million suns and some two-thousand times larger than the Sun (as large as the
 orbit of Saturn)! Indeed, if the Sun were located at the heart of this remarkable cluster,
our sky would be full of hundreds of stars as bright as the full Moon. Westerlund 1 is
 a most unique natural laboratory for the study of extreme stellar physics, helping astronomers
to find out how the most massive stars in our Galaxy live and die.
 

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 25/03/2005 21:23:08

Fastest supercomputer gets faster
Blue Gene (Image: IBM)


Blue Gene snatched the crown from Japan in November
Blue Gene/L, the fastest supercomputer in the world, has broken its own speed record,
 reaching 135.5 teraflops - a trillion calculations a second.

That is double the speed it clocked up to take it to the number one spot in the Top 500
 supercomputer league.


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The IBM Blue Gene machine that achieved the new mark is being assembled for the
 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a US Department of Energy (DOE) lab.

It did 70.72 teraflops last year to beat Japan's NEC Earth Simulator.

The Blue Gene/L is due to be completed for the Livermore labs in 2005.

   
WORLD TOP 5 SUPERCOMPUTERS
1. Blue Gene/L, USA
2. Columbia, USA
3. Earth Simulator, Japan
4. MareNostrum, Spain
5. Thunder, USA
Its peak theoretical performance is expected to be 360 teraflops, with the machine
taking up 64 full racks.


SOURCE: BBC.CO.UK


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/03/2005 14:46:08
Old Softy: Tyrannosaurus fossil yields flexible tissue


Sid Perkins

Scientists analyzing fragments of a Tyrannosaurus rex's leg bone have recovered pliable
 material containing structures that appear to be cells and blood vessels.


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TENDER TOUCH. Demineralized fragments from a Tyrannosaurus
 rex leg bone contain fibrous areas (arrows) yielding structures
 that appear to be cells of a type found in living bone.
Science


Paleontologists usually find only a creature's hard body parts, such as bones, teeth,
or shells, preserved as fossils. In the rare instances when internal organs, muscles,
skin, and other soft body parts turn up, the original tissue has been replaced by
minerals that create hard replicas, says Mary H. Schweitzer, a paleontologist at
 North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Sometimes, a soft tissue's shape is
 recorded by sediments that surround it.

Now, the first report of flexible material from a fossil describes an extraction
from the femur, or upper leg bone, of a T. rex that lived about 68 million years ago in
 what is now Montana.

SOURCE:SCIENCENEWS.ORG

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/04/2005 20:55:57
Hubble telescope spies cosmic dust bunnies

SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE


Like dust bunnies that lurk in corners and under beds, surprisingly complex loops and blobs
 of cosmic dust lie hidden in the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 1316. This image made from
 data obtained with the NASA Hubble Space Telescope reveals the dust lanes and star clusters
of this giant galaxy that give evidence that it was formed from a past merger of two
gas-rich galaxies.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Download larger image version here
http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2005/11/images/a/formats/large_web.jpg

The combination of Hubble's superb spatial resolution and the sensitivity of the
Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), installed onboard Hubble in 2002 and used for these images,
 enabled uniquely accurate measurements of a class of red star clusters in NGC 1316.
 Astronomers conclude that these star clusters constitute clear evidence of the occurrence
 of a major collision of two spiral galaxies that merged together a few billion years ago
 to shape NGC 1316 as it appears today.

source: spaceflightnow.com

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/04/2005 20:59:55
New image of Earth, seen through gamma-ray eyes
NASA-GSFC NEWS RELEASE


A NASA-funded scientist has produced a new type of picture of the Earth from space,
which complements the familiar image of our "blue marble". This new picture is the first
 detailed image of our planet radiating gamma rays, a type of light that is millions to
billions of times more energetic than visible light.

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Here we see a false-color image of the Earth in three
gamma-ray energy bands, analogous to the colors red (lower energy),
 green (mid energy) and blue (higher energy) in the visible
spectrum. For the complete caption and print-resolution versions,
see the links at the end of this article. Credit: NASA/CGRO/EGRET/
Dirk Petry


The image portrays how the Earth is constantly bombarded by particles from space.
These particles, called cosmic rays, hit our atmosphere and produce the gamma-ray light high
 above the Earth. The atmosphere blocks harmful cosmic rays and other high-energy radiation
 from reaching us on the Earth's surface.

source: spaceflightnow.com



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 17/04/2005 18:08:09
Planets galore like Earth await discovery

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY NEWS RELEASE


How many planets like the Earth are there among the 130 or so known planetary systems beyond our own?
 How many of these "Earths" could be habitable?

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An artist's impression shows an Earth-like planet. Credit: Julian Baum/Take 27 Ltd.

 Recent theoretical work by Barrie Jones, Nick Sleep, and David Underwood at the Open University
in Milton Keynes indicates that as many as half of the known systems could be harbouring habitable
 "Earths" today.

Unfortunately, existing telescopes are not powerful enough to see these relatively small, distant
"Earths". Orbiting close to a much brighter star, these very faint worlds resemble glow-worms
hidden in the glare of a searchlight.

All of the planets that have been detected so far are giants the mass of Neptune or larger.
 Even so, they cannot be directly seen with ground-based instruments. Almost all
 of the known exoplanets have been found through the "wobbling" motion they induce in
 their star as they orbit it, like a twirling dumb-bell in which the mass at one end (the star)
 is much greater than the mass at the other end (the giant planet).

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
 



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 17/04/2005 18:12:52
LISA and the search for elusive gravity waves

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY NEWS RELEASE


For almost 100 years, scientists have been searching for direct evidence of the existence
 of gravity waves - faint ripples in the fabric of spacetime predicted in Albert
 Einstein's theory of General Relativity.



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An artist's concept shows the search for gravitational waves with LISA. Credit: ESA


 Today, the hunt for gravity waves has become a worldwide effort involving hundreds of scientists.
A number of large, ground-based facilities have been developed in Europe, the United States
and Japan, but the most sophisticated search of all will soon take place in space.

Speaking on Tuesday 5 April at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Birmingham, Professor Mike Cruise
 described a joint ESA-NASA project called LISA (Laser Interferometric Space Antenna),

Scheduled for launch in 2012, LISA will comprise three spacecraft flying in formation around the Sun,
 making it the largest scientific instrument ever placed in orbit.

"LISA is expected to provide the best chance of success in the search for the exciting,
 low frequency gravity waves," said Professor Cruise. "However, the mission is one of the most complex,
 technological challenges ever undertaken."

According to Einstein's theory, gravity waves are caused by the motion of large masses
(e.g. neutron stars or black holes) in the Universe. The gravitational influence
between distant objects changes as the masses move, in the same way that moving electric
charges create the "electromagnetic waves" that radio sets and TV's can detect.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 17/04/2005 18:21:47
Case of Sedna's missing moon reported solved
HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE


When the distant planetoid Sedna was discovered on the outer edges of our solar system,
 it posed a puzzle to scientists. Sedna appeared to be spinning very slowly compared to most
solar system objects, completing one rotation every 20 days. Astronomers hypothesized that
 this world possessed an unseen moon whose gravity was slowing Sedna's spin. Yet Hubble
Space Telescope images showed no sign of a moon large enough to affect Sedna.


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CfA astronomer Scott Gaudi and his colleagues have
solved the case of Sedna's missing moon. That distant solar system
world (shown in this artist's conception) spins more rapidly than
originally thought, rotating once every 10 hours. Although Sedna is
unusual in many other ways, its rotation period is normal, meaning
 that no moon is required to slow it down. Credit: David A. Aguilar
(CfA)


New measurements by Scott Gaudi, Krzysztof (Kris) Stanek and colleagues at the Harvard-Smithsonian
 Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have cleared up this mystery by showing that a moon wasn't needed
after all. Sedna is rotating much more rapidly than originally believed, spinning once on its axis
every 10 hours. This shorter rotation period is typical of planetoids in our solar system,
 requiring no external influences to explain.

"We've solved the case of Sedna's missing moon. The moon didn't vanish because it was never
 there to begin with," said Gaudi.

Sedna is an odd world whose extreme orbit takes it more than 45 billion miles from the Sun,
or more than 500 astronomical units (where one astronomical unit is the average Earth-Sun distance
of 93 million miles). Sedna never approaches the Sun any closer than 80 astronomical units,
 and takes 10,000 years to complete one orbit. In comparison, Pluto's 248-year-long oval
 orbit takes it between 30 and 50 astronomical units from the Sun.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 17/04/2005 18:26:40
Space explosions may have triggered extinction on Earth

NASA NEWS RELEASE


Scientists at NASA and the University of Kansas say that a mass extinction on Earth hundreds
 of millions of years ago could have been triggered by a star explosion called a gamma-ray burst.
 The scientists do not have direct evidence that such a burst activated the ancient extinction.
 The strength of their work is their atmospheric modeling -- essentially a "what if" scenario.

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In this artist's conception we see the gamma rays
hitting the Earth's atmosphere. The gamma rays would destroy the
 ozone layer, breaking apart and ultimately converting ozone
molecules into brown, smog-like nitrogen dioxide. Credit: NASA


The scientists calculated that gamma-ray radiation from a relatively nearby star explosion,
hitting the Earth for only ten seconds, could deplete up to half of the atmosphere's protective
 ozone layer. Recovery could take at least five years. With the ozone layer damaged,
ultraviolet radiation from the Sun could kill much of the life on land and near the surface
of oceans and lakes, and disrupt the food chain.

Gamma-ray bursts in our Milky Way galaxy are indeed rare, but the scientists estimate that
at least one nearby likely hit the Earth in the past billion years. Life on Earth is thought
 to have appeared at least 3.5 billion years ago. This research, supported by a NASA
astrobiology grant, represents a thorough analysis of the "mass extinction" hypothesis
 first announced by members of this science team in September 2003.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 17/04/2005 18:32:34
   
Classic galaxy with glamour

NASA/JPL PHOTO RELEASE


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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/OCIW
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07828.jpg)




This color composite image of nearby NGC 300 combines the visible-light pictures from
Carnegie Institution of Washington's 100-inch telescope at Las Campanas Observatory
(colored red and yellow), with ultraviolet views from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer.
Galaxy Evolution Explorer detectors image far ultraviolet light (colored blue).

This composite image traces star formation in progress. Young hot blue stars dominate the
outer spiral arms of the galaxy, while the older stars congregate in the nuclear regions which
appear yellow-green. Gases heated by hot young stars and shocks due to winds from massive stars
and supernova explosions appear in pink, as revealed by the visible-light image of the galaxy.

Located nearly 7 million light years away, NGC 300 is a member of a nearby group of galaxies
known as the Sculptor Group. It is a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way.



SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/04/2005 13:40:10

Egg-Citing Discovery: Dinosaur fossil includes eggshells


Sid Perkins

For the first time, scientists have found eggs with shells inside a dinosaur fossil,
strengthening previous conjectures about the ancient reptiles' reproductive physiology.



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READY TO GO. This fossil egg, one of two found in a female dinosaur's pelvic cavity, retains its shell and external texture.
Y.-N. Cheng


The dinosaur remains were unearthed in southern China from petrified sediments laid down
between 100 million and 65 million years ago. The fragmentary fossil includes six back
vertebrae, two adjacent tail vertebrae, and other bones from the dinosaur's pelvic
area, says Tamaki Sato of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

The remains were too scant to assign to a particular species but enough for Sato and
her colleagues to identify the creature generally as an oviraptorosaur,
 a member of a group of dinosaurs that includes the feathered Caudipteryx

SOURCE: SCIENCENEWSONLINE



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/04/2005 19:37:19
Stunning view of Saturn's moon Enceladus

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06628.jpg)


Saturn's bright moon Enceladus hovers here, in front of rings darkened by Saturn's shadow. Enceladus is 505 kilometers (314 miles) across.

This view is from less than one degree beneath the ring plane. If seen from directly
beneath the rings, the planet's giant shadow would appear as an elongated half-ellipse;
the acute viewing angle makes the shadow look more like a strip here. The dark shadow
 first takes a bite out of the rings at the right, where the distant, outermost
ring material appears to taper and fade.

Ring features visible in this image from the outer ring edge inward include: the A ring,
 the Cassini Division and the B ring. The C ring is the darker region that dominates
the rings here. The two gaps visible near the center and below the left of the center are
 the Titan Gap, about 77,800 kilometers (48,300 miles) from Saturn, and an unnamed gap
about 75,800 kilometers (47,100 miles) from the planet.


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.com


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Andrew K Fletcher on 23/04/2005 19:18:18
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.osu-tcom.net%2Fimages%2Fsamuelarmas.jpg&hash=b81c7a6eb7eab2badd524b81ace40ef2)
This amazing photo, taken by Michael Clancy and originally published in USA Today and The Tennessean on September 7, 1999, is authentic. It began circulating via email within weeks of its first appearance in newspapers.  
It should be "The Picture of the Year," or perhaps, "Picture of the Decade." It won't be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the paper, you probably never saw it. The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by a gifted surgeon named Joseph Bruner.

The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse from Atlanta, and she had heard of
Dr. Bruner's remarkable
surgical talents.


It should be "The Picture of the Year," or perhaps, "Picture of the Decade." It won't be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the paper, you probably never saw it. The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by a gifted surgeon named Joseph Bruner.

The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse from Atlanta, and she had heard of
Dr. Bruner's remarkable
surgical talents.

Large version http://www.michaelclancy.com/main_lrg.htm

Death is natures way of telling us to slow down.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/04/2005 12:19:39

Trap-building ants torture prey

A fierce species of Amazonian ant has been seen building elaborate traps on which hapless
 prey are stretched like medieval torture victims, before being slowly hacked to pieces.



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With cunning and patience, the ants cut hairs from the
 stem of the plant they inhabit, and use the tiny fibres to build a
spongy platform. The elaborate trap snares its prey, which is then
stretched like a victim on a mediaeval rack before being hacked to
pieces.



With cunning and patience, Allomerus decemarticulatus worker-ants cut hairs from the stem of
 the plant they inhabit, and use the tiny fibres to build a spongy snare, Nature magazine reports.
This ingenious feat of engineering has only ever been observed in one other species of
related ant, French researchers say.
What the ants do is cut hairs to clear a path under the plant stem, while leaving some
hairs standing to form "pillars" on top of which the lethal platform will sit.
Using the plant hairs they have harvested, the ants weave the platform itself,
 which is bound together and strengthened using a special fungus.

When the ants have completed the chamber they puncture holes all along its surface,
each just big enough to poke their heads through.
Then, hundreds of
worker ants climb into the chamber and wait for an unfortunate victim.


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There is no limit to the ants' ambition - they will try to catch any mammoth of the insect world

Ancient sacrifice

"Workers will hide inside the platform, with their mandibles just inside the hole and
they will wait there for prey to come," co-author Jerome Orivel of the University of Toulouse, France said.
Anything with legs slim enough to fit through the carefully constructed holes
 will meet a miserable fate if they are foolish enough to enter the trap.


"They will catch almost anything that goes on the trap," continued Dr Orivel. "And they will
 grab anything they can - legs, antenna, anything."
Once the prey is well
 secured by jaws fastening all its extremities, it is stretched over the platform like an ancient sacrifice to the gods.
Scores of worker
 ants then stream out from inside the trap and sting it vigorously to cause paralysis.

Once the creature is dead or fully immobilised, the ants will carry it to their nest, where they will dismember their prey before carrying it inside.

"Small insects will be immediately dismembered and transported to the nest," said
Dr Orivel. "But bigger insects will stay on the trap for up to 12 hours."
There is no limit to the ants' ambition and they will attempt to catch any mammoth
of the insect world - so long as it has slender legs.

"Their success depends on the type of insect," Dr Orivel told the BBC News website.
 "The insects' legs have to be smaller than the holes otherwise they cannot get hold of them.

"The ants must have something to catch - for example, caterpillars will have nothing to
get hold of so they will not be preyed upon."

SOURCE: BBC










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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 25/04/2005 20:58:32
Cassini produces three stunning new views of Titan

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE




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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06227.jpg)


These three views of Titan from the Cassini spacecraft illustrate how different the same
place can look in different wavelengths of light. Cassini's cameras have numerous filters
 that reveal features above and beneath the shroud of Titan's atmosphere.

The first image, a natural color composite, is a combination of images taken through
three filters that are sensitive to red, green and violet light. It shows approximately
what Titan would look like to the human eye: a hazy orange globe surrounded by a tenuous,
 bluish haze. The orange color is due to the hydrocarbon particles which make up Titan's atmospheric haze.

The second, monochrome view shows what Titan looks like at 938 nanometers, a near-infrared
 wavelength that allows Cassini to see through the hazy atmosphere and down to the surface.

The third view, which is a false-color composite, was created by combining two infrared images
(taken at 938 and 889 nanometers) with a visible light image (taken at 420 nanometers).
Green represents areas where Cassini is able to see down to the surface. Red represents
areas high in Titan's stratosphere where atmospheric methane is absorbing sunlight.
Blue along the moon's outer edge represents visible violet wavelengths at which
 the upper atmosphere and detached hazes are better seen.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/04/2005 21:38:54
The Whirlpool Galaxy and companion

SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE


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Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Download larger image version here (http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2005/12/images/a/formats/1024_wallpaper.jpg)


The graceful, winding arms of the majestic spiral galaxy M51 (NGC 5194) appear like a grand
spiral staircase sweeping through space. They are actually long lanes of stars and gas
laced with dust.

This sharpest-ever image of the Whirlpool Galaxy, taken in January 2005 with the Advanced Camera
for Surveys aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, illustrates a spiral galaxy's grand design,
 from its curving spiral arms, where young stars reside, to its yellowish central core, a home
 of older stars. The galaxy is nicknamed the Whirlpool because of its swirling structure.

The Whirlpool's most striking feature is its two curving arms, a hallmark of so-called
grand-design spiral galaxies. Many spiral galaxies possess numerous, loosely shaped arms which
 make their spiral structure less pronounced. These arms serve an important purpose in spiral
 galaxies. They are star-formation factories, compressing hydrogen gas and creating clusters
 of new stars. In the Whirlpool, the assembly line begins with the dark clouds of gas on the
inner edge, then moves to bright pink star-forming regions, and ends with the brilliant blue
 star clusters along the outer edge.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/04/2005 21:42:46
Hubble shows stellar spire in the Eagle Nebula

SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE



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Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Download larger image version here (http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2005/12/images/b/formats/1024_wallpaper.jpg)


Appearing like a winged fairy-tale creature poised on a pedestal, this object is actually
 a billowing tower of cold gas and dust rising from a stellar nursery called the
Eagle Nebula. The soaring tower is 9.5 light-years or about 57 trillion miles high,
about twice the distance from our Sun to the next nearest star.

Stars in the Eagle Nebula are born in clouds of cold hydrogen gas that reside in chaotic
 neighborhoods, where energy from young stars sculpts fantasy-like landscapes in the gas.
 The tower may be a giant incubator for those newborn stars. A torrent of ultraviolet
 light from a band of massive, hot, young stars [off the top of the image] is eroding the pillar.

The starlight also is responsible for illuminating the tower's rough surface. Ghostly streamers
of gas can be seen boiling off this surface, creating the haze around the structure and
highlighting its three-dimensional shape. The column is silhouetted against the background
 glow of more distant gas.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/04/2005 21:47:04
Cassini finds particles near Saturn's moon Enceladus
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 26, 2005

The Cassini spacecraft has discovered intriguing dust particles around Saturn's
moon Enceladus. The particles might indicate the existence of a dust cloud around Enceladus,
or they may have originated from Saturn's outermost ring, the E-ring.

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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06208.jpg)


Enceladus is rapidly becoming a very interesting target for Cassini. So much so that scientists
 and engineers are planning to revise the altitude of the next flyby to get a closer look.
 Additional Cassini encounters with Enceladus are scheduled for July 14, 2005, and March 12, 2008.
The July 14 flyby was to be at an altitude of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), but the mission
team now plans to lower that altitude to about 175 kilometers (109 miles). This will be
Cassini's lowest-altitude flyby of any object during its nominal four-year tour.

Scientists have speculated that Enceladus is the source of Saturn's E ring, the planet's widest,
 stretching 302,557 kilometers (188,000 miles). It's possible, the scientists say, that tidal
 interactions between Enceladus and Mimas, two other moons of Saturn, have heated Enceladus'
 interior causing water volcanism

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 29/04/2005 23:27:53
'Wonderful' star reveals its hot nature

CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE


For the first time an X-ray image of a pair of interacting stars has been made by NASA's
Chandra X-ray Observatory.

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The Chandra image shows Mira A (right), a highly
evolved red giant star, and Mira B (left), a white dwarf. To the
right of the image is an artist's conception of the Mira star
system. Mira A is losing gas rapidly from its upper atmosphere via a
stellar wind. Mira B exerts a gravitational tug that creates a
gaseous bridge between the two stars. Gas from the wind and bridge
accumulates in an accretion disk around Mira B and collisions
between rapidly moving particles in the disk produce X-rays. Credit:
X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/M. Karovska et al.; Illustration: CXC/M.Weiss


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM     Other sauces, Soy, Strawberry , raspberry, Mustard and Ketchup....all good sauces.[:)]


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/05/2005 03:22:16
Saturn's Odd Moon Out
by Amit Asaravala

Scientists this week got two steps closer to proving that Saturn
adopted one of its 34 known moons, thanks to two new studies of data
captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.


The studies, which explore the density and chemistry of the moon
Phoebe, show how the moon is closer in composition to the mysterious
 balls of ice and rock at the outer edges of the solar system than
it is to Saturn's other moons.

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New studies support the theory that Saturn's moon
Phoebe was captured from the outer solar system by the planet's
gravitational pull rather than formed in place. The discovery gives
scientists the chance to study an object that has not changed much
since the birth of the solar system.

Photo: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


The results add weight to the theory that Phoebe is a planetary
building-block left over from the birth of the solar system -- a
rare find that may give scientists insight into how the solar system
was formed.


"If Phoebe is a body that came from the deep outer solar system --
if it formed farther out and was captured -- that's giving us a
snapshot of what was going on early on," said the density study's
 co-author Jonathan Lunine, a planetary scientist at the University of
Arizona.


SOURCE: www.wired.com

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/05/2005 16:26:14
Cassini shows amazing icy moons of Saturn

CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06642.jpg)


A scene straight out of science fiction, this fantastic view shows, from left to right,
 Saturn's moon's Mimas, Dione and Rhea, on the far side of Saturn's nearly edge-on rings.


The trailing hemispheres of all three moons are sunlit here, and wispy markings can
 be seen on the limbs of both Dione and Rhea. The diameter of Mimas is 397 kilometers (247 miles),
Dione is 1,118 kilometers (695 miles) and Rhea is 1,528 kilometers (949 miles).

The image was taken in visible blue light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle
camera at a distance of approximately 2.4 million kilometers (1.5 million miles) from Saturn.
 The image scale is 14 kilometers (9 miles) per pixel.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/05/2005 16:44:59
Spitzer observatory spies spectacular Sombrero
NASA/JPL PHOTO RELEASE


NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope set its infrared eyes on one of the most famous objects
 in the sky, Messier 104, also called the Sombrero galaxy. In this striking infrared picture,
 Spitzer sees an exciting new view of a galaxy that in visible light has been likened to
a "sombrero," but here looks more like a "bulls-eye."



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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/STScI; NASA/STScI/AURA
Download larger image version
here  (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/PIA07899_fig1.jpg)

The new picture of Messier 104 combines a recent infrared observation from NASA's
Spitzer Space Telescope with a well-known visible light image from the Hubble Space Telescope.
 In the Hubble Space Telescope's visible light image (lower left panel), only the near rim
 of dust can be clearly seen in silhouette. Recent observations using Spitzer's infrared
array camera (lower right panel) uncovered the bright, smooth ring of dust circling the galaxy,
 seen in red. Spitzer's infrared view of the starlight, pierced through the obscuring dust,
 is easily seen, along with the bulge of stars and an otherwise hidden disk of stars within
the dust ring.



Viewed from Earth, the Sombrero galaxy is seen nearly edge-on, just six degrees away from
its equatorial plane. This spiral galaxy is located 28 million light years away and is 50,000
light-years across. The Sombrero is one of the most massive objects at the southern edge
of the Virgo cluster of galaxies, and is equal in size to 800 billion Suns. It hosts
 a rich system of nearly 2,000 globular clusters, 10 times as many as orbit our Milky Way galaxy.
 It is also interesting that the Sombrero galaxy may harbor a super-massive black hole,
accounting for the electromagnetic glow emitted from its center.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.com

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/05/2005 16:55:06
First full mosaics of Titan’s surface



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Stereographic projection of Titan's surface seen from Huygens

bigger picture here (http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/cassini_huygens/Titan_Low_Altitude_Horizon_15Apr_3K_big_ster_H.jpe)

13 May 2005
As the large amount of data collected by the ESA Huygens probe during its descent onto
 Titan is being processed, new views of this fascinating world become available.
 
The Descent Imager Spectral Radiometer (DISR) team have now produced the first complete
 ‘stereographic’ and ‘gnomonic’ mosaic images. Using special image projection techniques,
the team combined a series of images captured by Huygens while rotating on its axis
at an altitude of about 20 kilometres.

SOURCE: European Space Agency

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/05/2005 18:48:58
Canadian astronomers look deep into stellar cocoon

GEMINI OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


Using a giant telescope on Mauna Kea Hawaii is a dream for most amateur sky watchers.
 Recently a Canadian amateur astronomy group took advantage of a rare opportunity and
used one of the largest telescopes in the world, the Gemini 8-meter telescope, to look more
deeply into the remains of a particular stellar nursery than anyone ever has.


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Gemini North image of stellar nursery RY Tau was
imaged by the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) as part of a
Canadian contest for amateur astronomers. The image reveals
tremendous detail in the wispy remains of the gas cloud that formed
the bright star at bottom/center.


Download larger image version here  (http://www.gemini.edu/files/docman/press_releases/pr2005-4/ry_tau_trim.jpg)

The observations of a star emerging from its cocoon were the result of a proposal submitted
 as part of a nationwide contest in Canada. The winning group from Quebec received its data/images
during a special ceremony at the annual meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society at
 the University of Montreal on Sunday May 15, 2005.

"Our group knew that this object was unique and hadn’t been observed in detail with a big
telescope like Gemini," said Gilbert St-Onge, the club member who submitted the proposal.
 "I feel like we’ve not only made a pretty picture, but probably provided some new and valuable
 data for the pros!"

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: johndiver on 23/05/2005 22:58:37
I have a hobby of collecting photos of rocks, stones, and trees that resemble human faces and bodies. One day I will upload them to a website for everyone's amusement. Here are a few of the appropriate ones.
The first one is a piece of petrified wood enveloped within a dead tree I found on the beach of Hornby Island, Canada.
The second I call the "petrified Chinaman", photographed on a black neoprene scuba dry-suit.
The third is a tree twisted to resemble a man's legs and waist, complete with a penis. Not set up, this was how I found it laying!
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=3cd4f4119996b42d10f5ed9eb0e8d712)(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=3cd4f4119996b42d10f5ed9eb0e8d712)(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=3cd4f4119996b42d10f5ed9eb0e8d712)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 07/07/2005 16:16:39
Deep Impact is a smashing success

BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE"


PASADENA, Calif. (CBS) - A scientific smart bomb crashed into Comet
Tempel 1 early today, blasting a sparkling shower of icy debris into
 space in a 23,000-mph Fourth of July spectacular 83 million miles
from Earth.


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This image shows the initial ejecta that resulted when
 NASA's Deep Impact probe collided with comet Tempel 1 at 1:52 a.m.
 EDT. The picture was taken by the mothership's medium-resolution
camera 16 seconds after impact. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD


"Jeez, and we thought it was going to be subtle!" marveled comet expert Donald Yeomans
 as images of the impact were received at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "We've had a
 far bigger explosion than we anticipated. ... I can't imagine how this could go any better."


Said Rick Grammier, the Deep Impact project manager: "It came together quite well, just
 phenomenal. It went very much like clockwork. We didn't exercise a single contingency plan."


As it closed in on Tempel 1 at 11 times the speed of a rifle bullet, the impactor beamed back
a stream of ever more detailed pictures, showing circular craters, plain-like areas, a long,
 snaking ridge and jumbled-looking terrain similar to regions on the moon.

"It's illuminating some extremely interesting surface features," Yeomans said, describing
the pictures as they as they came in. "That's going to keep the scientists going for a
 long time. The navigation was perfect, it couldn't have been any better. The impact was
bigger than I expected, bigger than most of us expected. So this is going to tell us a great
deal about how this comet is put together."

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 07/07/2005 16:48:50
DINOSAUR TRACK FOUND IN ALASKAN PARK


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In this photo provided by the National Park Service, a track from a three-toed dinosaur
 thought to be about 70 million years old is measured June 2005 in Denali National Park ,
Alaska. The track of a theropod, a meat-eater, discovered by a University of Alaska
Fairbanks student is the first dinosaur evidence found in the park. (AP Photo/National Park Service )


SOURCE: YAHOO NEWS

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 07/07/2005 16:50:59
quote:
Originally posted by johndiver

I have a hobby of collecting photos of rocks, stones, and trees that resemble human faces and bodies. One day I will upload them to a website for everyone's amusement. Here are a few of the appropriate ones.
The first one is a piece of petrified wood enveloped within a dead tree I found on the beach of Hornby Island, Canada.
The second I call the "petrified Chinaman", photographed on a black neoprene scuba dry-suit.
The third is a tree twisted to resemble a man's legs and waist, complete with a penis. Not set up, this was how I found it laying!
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=3cd4f4119996b42d10f5ed9eb0e8d712)(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=3cd4f4119996b42d10f5ed9eb0e8d712)(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F&hash=3cd4f4119996b42d10f5ed9eb0e8d712)



Hi John, any chance of resubmitting your piccys ?...if you have a problem with posting them ,let me know...I have some experience.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Finstagiber.net%2Fsmiliesdotcom%2Fcontrib%2Ficw%2F003.gif&hash=f326f525e3f6c60d4ea3ecbb24d1df2a)Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Finstagiber.net%2Fsmiliesdotcom%2Fcontrib%2Ficw%2F003.gif&hash=f326f525e3f6c60d4ea3ecbb24d1df2a)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 08/07/2005 21:55:26
Red Light-Flashing Jellyfish Lures Prey

WASHINGTON - The first deep sea red-light district — glowing
appendages on a newly discovered jellyfish relative — appear to
flash their come-hither message to lure prey.

Jellyfish and other types of sea creatures are known to produce
light, but this is the first deep ocean invertebrate known to use red fluorescent light, said Steven H. D. Haddock of the Monterey Bay
Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif.


Three of the animals were found by scientists using a remote
controlled research vehicle at depths of between 5,200 feet and
7,500 feet off the coast of California. The discovery is reported in
Friday's issue of the journal Science.




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These undated images released by 'Science' show an
Erenna specimen, a deep sea relative of the jellyfish, found off the
 coast of California, and the first-know marine invertebrates to
produce red luminescent light. Top left, the Erenna specimen; bottom
 left, a partial view showing the fluorescing appendages or tentilla




SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS VIA YAHOO NEWS

Wish I could make my appendages glow !!


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: memasa on 10/07/2005 12:23:34
Northern lights

Nature's screensaver


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SEE THIS LINK: http://www.fmi.fi/research_space/space_9.html
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/07/2005 18:09:15
Fundamental limitation to quantum computers

Quantum computers that store information in so-called quantum bits (or qubits) will be
confronted with a fundamental limitation. This is the claim made by Dutch theoretical
physicists from the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) and Leiden
 University in an article recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

A quantum computer can only function if the information exists for long enough to be
processed. The so-called coherence of the qubit ensures that the quantum information
remains intact. The researchers have now discovered that the coherence spontaneously
disappears over the course of time and with this the stored information as well.
 This could pose a considerable problem for the development of a quantum computer.

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Electron microscope image of a qubit from Hans Mooij's
research group at Delft University of Technology.


A quantum computer makes use of the fact that a quantum mechanical system -an electron,
 an atom or even a larger system such as a superconducting quantum bit - can simultaneously
 exist in two states. Normally one of the two states disappears as soon as the system comes
 into contact with the outside world. The coherence then disappears as a result of the
decoherence process and the information in a quantum bit is lost.

A quantum bit typically consists of a large number of particles, with an unavoidably
large number of possibilities to be influenced by the environment and thus be subjected
to decoherence. Jasper van Wezel, Jeroen van den Brink (FOM) and Jan Zaanen, all attached
 to the Lorentz Institute of Leiden University have now investigated whether it is possible
 to maintain the coherence in an isolated qubit.

Much to their surprise they discovered that the coherence tends to spontaneously disappear
, even without external influences. The degredation process is linked to the occurrence
 of quantum mechanical spontaneous symmetry breaking. In classical physics an equivalent
 example of this process is spontaneous crystallisation in a solution. At a certain
 position a crystal is spontaneously formed, as a result of which the fluid structure is broken.

According to the researchers' predictions, the coherence in some highly promising concepts
for qubits will disappear after about a second. Moreover, the smaller the qubits the
 faster that process occurs. All of this would seem to pose a fundamental limitation
on the development of qubits. Experimental research will now have to demonstrate whether
this phenomenon actually occurs.

SOURCE: NETHERLANDS ORGANISATION FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 20/07/2005 22:32:49
Saturn fantasy made real
CASSINI NEWS RELEASE

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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


Le grande image ici (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07545.jpg)


The majesty of Saturn overwhelms in this image from Cassini.
Saturn's moon Tethys glides past in its orbit, and the icy rings
mask the frigid northern latitudes with their shadows. Tethys is
1,071 kilometers (665 miles) across.
 

The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera at a distance of approximately 1.4
million kilometers (900,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is
80 kilometers (50 miles) per pixel.

SOUCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM





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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 20/07/2005 22:38:40
Will oldest known dust disk ever form planets?
HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE

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Astronomers were surprised to discover a 25-million-year-old
protoplanetary disk around a pair of red dwarf stars 350 light-years
away. Gravitational stirring by the binary star system (shown in
this artist's conception) may have prevented planet formation.
Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)


..do i really have to point out that this is an artists impression ?..well..yes I do...but I'm impressed at how the artist managed to get there, I mean, he could have taken a camera eh ?

Every rule has an exception. One rule in astronomy, supported by considerable evidence,
 states that dust disks around newborn stars disappear in a few million years. Most likely,
 they vanish because the material has collected into full-sized planets. Astronomers have
 discovered the first exception to this rule -- a 25-million-year-old dust disk that shows
no evidence of planet formation.

"Finding this disk is as unexpected as locating a 200-year-old person," said astronomer
Lee Hartmann of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), lead author on
the paper announcing the find.

The discovery raises the puzzling question of why this disk has not formed planets despite
its advanced age. Most protoplanetary disks last only a few million years, while the oldest
 previously known disks have ages of about 10 million years.

"We don't know why this disk has lasted so long, because we don't know what makes the
 planetary formation process start," said co-author Nuria Calvet of CfA.

The disk in question orbits a pair of red dwarf stars in the Stephenson 34 system,
 located approximately 350 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. Data from NASA's
Spitzer Space Telescope shows that its inner edge is located about 65 million miles from
the binary stars. The disk extends to a distance of at least 650 million miles. Additional
material may orbit farther out where temperatures are too low for Spitzer to detect it.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHT NOW.COM








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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 25/07/2005 04:26:34
Soon in Japan, it'll be raining ads

YOKOSUKA, Japan (AFP) - After being bombarded by commercials on the way to work and watching promotions pop up on the Internet, the Japanese consumer could soon be hit by advertisements where they least expect it: on their hands.
 
Researchers are working on "information rain", taking advertisements to the realm of mock meteorology.

A projector on a tall tripod shows images of raindrops hitting the ground and making ripples,
 in hopes that people will enter the "rainy" area and hold out their palms.


A camera tracks the entrants' movements and sends the data to connected computers.
Then the projector shoots out a round-shaped advertisement -- which can post words such
 as "SALE" -- right onto their hands.

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.(AFP/File/Yoshikazu Tsuno) Yoko Ishii, a chief researcher of Japan's
 telecommunication giant NTT's Cyber Solution Laboratory shows round-shaped...


SOURCE: YAHOO NEWS



(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Finstagiber.net%2Fsmiliesdotcom%2Fcontrib%2Ficw%2F003.gif&hash=f326f525e3f6c60d4ea3ecbb24d1df2a)Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Finstagiber.net%2Fsmiliesdotcom%2Fcontrib%2Ficw%2F003.gif&hash=f326f525e3f6c60d4ea3ecbb24d1df2a)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/07/2005 19:03:34
Tenth planet found!
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

A team of astronomers systematically scanning the far reaches of the
 solar system has discovered a distant, icy world that is bigger
than Pluto but so far away the head of a pin held at arm's length
would blot out the sun. The discovery, if confirmed, would force
astronomers to re-write their textbooks and give school kids a 10th
planet to memorize once a governing body sanctions the still-secret
 name proposed by a trio of discoverers.





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This artist's concept shows the planet catalogued as
2003UB313 at the lonely outer fringes of our solar system. Our Sun
can be seen in the distance. The new planet, which is yet to be
formally named, is at least as big as Pluto and about three times
farther away from the Sun than Pluto. It is very cold and dark. The planet was discovered by the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar
Observatory near San Diego, Calif., on Jan. 8, 2005. Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech


Currently known by the catalog number 2003UB313, the newly
discovered planet wheels about in an elliptical orbit tilted some 45
 degrees to the plane of the solar system's eight major planets,
taking 560 years to complete one trip around the sun.
 

At its most distant, the planet is a remote 97 times farther from
the sun than the Earth. At its closest, it passes inside the orbit
 of Pluto at a distance of some 36 astronomical units. It is
currently the most distant object known in the solar system, so far
 removed that its surface temperature is a frigid 30 degrees above absolute zero

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/08/2005 14:07:19
Dinosaur Embryos Reveal 'Ridiculous' Proportions

The oldest fossilized dinosaur embryos ever found reveal how the
creatures grew from tiny hatchlings to become such giant land beasts.



 
The embryos, including one that was ready to hatch before being
frozen in time, had no teeth. That is further evidence that at least some dinosaurs must have tended their young, scientists said today.



The embryos are 190 million years, dating from the beginning of the
Jurassic Period.



"Most dinosaur embryos are from the Cretaceous period (146 to 65
millions years ago)," said biologist Robert Reisz of the University
of Toronto at Mississauga. "The work on the embryo, its
 identification, and the fact we can see the detailed anatomy of the
earliest known dinosaur embryo is extremely exciting."


'Ridiculous' proportions


The dinosaur is called Massospondylus. It was common in what is now
South Africa.




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 Combo picture of a fossilised 190-million-year-old
unhatched dinosaur embryo (L) and an artist's impression (R),
provided by South Africa's Wits University in Johannesburg and
University of Toronto at Mississauga in Canada, July 29, 2005.

Unhatched dinosaur eggs dating back 190 million years carried fully
developed embryos that would have been born clumsy and helpless,
 scientists said on Thursday. Their finding, published in Friday's
issue of the journal Science, suggests even the earliest dinosaurs
tended carefully to their young. It also raises questions about how
the giant four-legged dinosaurs called sauropods evolved.
REUTERS/Handout Email Photo Print Photo


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SOURCE: REUTERS VIA YAHOO NEWS

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: simeonie on 01/08/2005 20:34:53
Imagine if no one had ever really discovered all these dinosaurs but it was just one big conspiracy by a world government that is above any worl government. The fossils were all planted by secret agent dudes and discovered by unsuspecting archeoligists.

WOW YOU NEVER KNOW!

----------------------
-__- my website!!!!
http://www.simeonie.co.uk
has forums too!
Think about it! lolz
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: finchbeak on 04/08/2005 14:13:59
quote:
Originally posted by simeonie

Imagine if no one had ever really discovered all these dinosaurs but it was just one big conspiracy by a world government that is above any worl government. The fossils were all planted by secret agent dudes and discovered by unsuspecting archeoligists.



Or if they were planted by God in order to trick us into committing the sin of critical thinking, as a shockingly large number of fundamentalist christians really do believe.[V]
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/08/2005 16:04:18
Scan Finds Mummy Between 4 and 6 Years Old
 By GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press Writer

 


SAN FRANCISCO - Researchers led by Stanford University and Silicon
Graphics Inc. have uncovered some of the mysteries surrounding a
2,000-year-old mummy without peeling back any of its bandages, or
even opening its gold-plated coffin.

 
Using a state-of-the-art CT scanner that rotated all the way around
the tiny mummified girl, San Jose-based Silicon Graphics Inc. took
60,000 images, and then created 3-D models that allowing scientists
to look at her resin-filled body cavities, her facial features, even
her baby teeth.


Among their conclusions: the girl was between 4 and 6 years old, and
must have been breast-fed until shortly before her death.
Researchers also discovered a painting of a sphinx on the mask covering her mummified face as they virtuallly peeled back layer
after layer of the resin-covered bandages.




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In this photo released by Silicon Graphics, Inc., a high
resolution state-of-the-art CT scan of a 2,000 year-old girl mummy
in Stanford, Calif., taken Friday May 6, 2005, is shown. Silicon
 Graphics Inc. created 3-D models of the four to six -year-old
girl's tiny body that let scientists visualize her resin-filled body
cavities, her cause of death, even her baby teeth. (AP Photo/
courtesy of Silicon Graphics, Inc., Stanford University, and Volume
 Graphics GmbH)



SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS VIA YAHOO NEWS


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Finstagiber.net%2Fsmiliesdotcom%2Fcontrib%2Ficw%2F003.gif&hash=f326f525e3f6c60d4ea3ecbb24d1df2a)Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Finstagiber.net%2Fsmiliesdotcom%2Fcontrib%2Ficw%2F003.gif&hash=f326f525e3f6c60d4ea3ecbb24d1df2a)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/08/2005 21:56:34
Spitzer telescope finds hidden, hungry black holes

NASA NEWS RELEASE


Most of the biggest black holes in the universe have been eating
cosmic meals behind closed doors - until now.

With its sharp infrared eyes, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (SST)
peered through walls of galactic dust to uncover what may be the
long-sought missing population of hungry black holes known as quasars





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This false-color image from NASA's Spitzer Space
Telescope shows a distant galaxy (yellow) that houses a quasar, a
super-massive black hole circled by a ring, or torus, of gas and
dust. Spitzer's infrared eyes cut through the dust to find this
 hidden object, which appears to be a member of the long-sought
 population of missing quasars. The green and blue splotches are
 galaxies that do not hold quasars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/A.
 Martinez-Sansigre (Oxford University)


Quasars are super-massive black holes that are circled by a giant
ring of gas and dust. They live at the heart of distant galaxies and
 can annually consume up to the equivalent mass of one thousand
stars. As their black holes suck in material from their dusty rings,
 the material lights up brilliantly, making quasars the brightest
objects in the universe. This bright light comes in many forms,
 including X-rays, visible and infrared light.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/08/2005 22:47:16
First tourist trip to the moon eyed for 2008

NEW YORK (AFP) - A US company associated with the Russian Space
Agency hopes to send tourists to circle the moon, perhaps as soon as
2008. The ticket price: a cool 100 million dollars.
 





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AFP-NASA/File - Wed Aug 10, 3:57 PM ET

Image taken by cameras on board the Cassini Orbiter spacecraft and
released by NASA shows the Earth's Moon. A US company associated
with the Russian Space Agency hopes to send tourists to circle the
moon, perhaps as soon as 2008.(AFP-NASA/File)

SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS VIA YAHOO NEWS


Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/08/2005 21:43:55

 
Atlas 5 launches Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The first interplanetary Atlas 5 rocket launches August 12 at 7:43
a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 to propel NASA's Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter on its seven-month voyage to the Red Planet.

 

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Photo: Patrick H. Corkery & Adam Mattivi/Lockheed Martin
 

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Photo: Patrick H. Corkery & Adam Mattivi/Lockheed Martin
 


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Photo: Patrick H. Corkery & Adam Mattivi/Lockheed Martin


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Photo: Ben Cooper/Spaceflight Now




SOURCE: SPACFLIGHTNOW.com


Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 17/08/2005 19:22:25
Hubble pinpoints doomed star that exploded
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE


Amidst the glitter of billions of stars in the majestic spiral galaxy called the Whirlpool
 (M51), a massive star abruptly ends its life in a brilliant flash of light. NASA's Hubble
Space Telescope snapped images of the exploding star, called supernova (SN) 2005cs, 12
days after its discovery. Astronomers then compared those photos with Hubble images of the
same region before the supernova blast to pinpoint the progenitor star (the star that exploded).
 
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Credit: NASA, ESA, W. Li and A. Filippenko (University
 of California, Berkeley), S. Van Dyk (Spitzer Science Center,
Caltech), S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team
(STScI/AURA)
Download a larger image here (http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2005/21/images/a/formats/print.jpg)


The color image at left shows a section of M51 taken in January 2005 with the Advanced Camera
for Surveys. The small green square marks the region where the progenitor star resides.
 The lower-right image shows a picture of SN 2005cs (the central bright object), taken
July 11, 2005, by Hubble. By comparing the lower-right image with the color image at left,
astronomers identified the supernova's progenitor star [marked by the arrow in the (pre-explosion)
upper-right image]. The star was found to be a red supergiant whose mass is about seven to 10 times
that of the Sun.

Every second, a star somewhere in the universe explodes as a supernova. Astronomers
 cannot see every supernova. Of the supernovas astronomers have seen, only six progenitor
stars have been identified. Since Hubble can easily resolve stars in nearby galaxies, such as
the Whirlpool, it allowed astronomers to track down the exploding star's identity in archival pictures.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/08/2005 23:00:31
Galactic survey reveals a new look for the Milky Way

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON NEWS RELEASE



With the help of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have conducted the most comprehensive
 structural analysis of our galaxy and have found tantalizing new evidence that the Milky Way is
much different from your ordinary spiral galaxy.






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The Milky Way, it turns out, is no ordinary spiral
 galaxy. According to a massive new survey of stars at the heart of
the galaxy by Wisconsin astronomers the Milky Way has a definitive
bar feature -- some 27,000 light years in length -- that
distinguishes it from pedestrian spiral galaxies, as shown in this
artist's rendering. Illustration courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt
(SSC/Caltech)



The survey using the orbiting infrared telescope provides the fine details of a long central bar
 feature that distinguishes the Milky Way from more pedestrian spiral galaxies.


"This is the best evidence ever for this long central bar in our galaxy," says Ed Churchwell,
a UW-Madison professor of astronomy and a senior author of a paper describing the new work in an
upcoming edition of Astrophysical Journal Letters, a leading astronomy journal.


Using the orbiting infrared telescope, the group of astronomers surveyed some 30 million stars
 in the plane of the galaxy in an effort to build a detailed portrait of the inner regions
of the Milky Way. The task, according to Churchwell, is like trying to describe the boundaries of
a forest from a vantage point deep within the woods: "This is hard to do from within the galaxy."

Spitzer's capabilities, however, helped the astronomers cut through obscuring clouds of interstellar
 dust to gather infrared starlight from tens of millions of stars at the center of the galaxy.
The new survey gives the most detailed picture to date of the inner regions of the Milky Way.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/08/2005 19:03:34
Meteor dust could affect climate, study suggests

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This November 2000 NASA image shows a meteor streaking
across the sky. A space boulder that disintegrated in a fiery
descent over Antarctica last year has sparked a theory that meteor
dust may play a hidden role in our climate system.(AFP/NASA/File)


PARIS (AFP) - A space boulder that disintegrated in a fiery descent over Antarctica last year has sparked
 a theory that meteor dust may play a hidden role in our climate system.

 
The rock, estimated at 1,000 tonnes, entered the upper atmosphere above Antarctica last September 3,
 becoming a fireball spotted by the infrared eyes of US defence satellites, a study published on
 Thursday says.

Friction with air molecules stripped away the rock, transforming it into a cloud of dust that
 trailed from 56 to 18 kilometers (35 to 11 miles) in altitude. The rock was consumed in the plunge.

Closer inspection of the lingering cloud, using instruments at an Antarctic ground station, suggests
its particles were as large as 20 microns (20 millionths of a metre) -- around a thousand
times bigger than previous estimates for the size of meteor debris.

The finding is significant, because large quantities of dust are dumped in Earth's atmosphere
 from tiny pieces of asteroid rubble or debris left by passing comets, although no-one
knows for sure how much is deposited.

Previous research has already shown that particles which are larger than one micron, spewed out
by volcanoes, can play a crucial role in affecting weather.

Their relatively large size helps them to reflect the Sun's rays, thus creating a local
 cooling effect, and also provides a nucleus for attracting atmospheric moisture
 -- they encourage clouds to form.

In addition, large particles tend to linger longest in the atmosphere, sometimes
taking months to reach the planet's surface.

Space dust is mostly deposited by rubble that is consumed in the fiery descent.
 To the human eye, the event is visible as a reddish-golden streak, a meteor, that may
also leave a smoke-like trail.


SOURCE: AFP Via YAHOO NEWS
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/08/2005 23:10:33
A Chinese dragon and a knotted galactic embrace
GEMINI OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


The Gemini Observatory has released a pair of images that capture the dynamics of two very
different interactions in space. One is a cold, dark dust cloud that resembles an ethereal-looking
Chinese dragon. The other shows a distant duo of galaxies locked in a knot-like embrace that
could portend the long-term future of our own Milky Way galaxy.



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NGC 6559 is part of a larger star-forming region in the southern
constellation Sagittarius. The dark structure that resembles a
Chinese dragon is caused by cool dust that absorbs background
radiation from hydrogen gas that glows in red light due to
ionization from nearby stars. This region lies less than one degree
away from the popular Lagoon Nebula (M8), and is located some 5,000
light-years away toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. At this
distance the length of the cloud (diagonally across the image) is
about 7 light-years. Credit: Gemini Observatory
Download larger image version here (http://www.gemini.edu/images/stories/websplash/websplash2005-15/ngc6559Adj_Full.jpg)


The processes shown in these views occur on a tremendous range of size scales. NGC 6559 is a
relatively small, nearby dust cloud in our Milky Way galaxy that measures about seven light-years across,
while NGC 520 features two completely entwined galaxies that stretch across 150,000 light-years.
While both images hint at how dynamic and active these objects can be, their evolution occurs on
astronomical timescales. According to Ian Robson, Director of the UK's Astronomy Technology Center,
"If we could see either of these objects as an extreme time-lapse movie made over millions of years,
 the galaxy pair would dance in a graceful orbital embrace that is likely similar to the fate between
 our Milky Way and the great Andromeda Galaxy, while the dusty cloud would probably resemble waving
 smoke from an extinguished candle."






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NGC 520 has a unique shape that is the result of two galaxies
colliding with each other. One galaxy's dust lane can be seen easily
 in the foreground and a distinct tail is visible at bottom center.
 These features are a result of the gravitational interactions that
have robbed both of the galaxies of their original shapes. Some
astronomers speculate that each member of the pair was originally
similar to the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy. This collision could
 be providing us a glimpse at what might happen to our own galaxy in
 about five billion years as the Andromeda Galaxy collides with our
 Milky Way. Credit: Gemini Observatory
Download larger image version here (http://www.gemini.edu/images/stories/websplash/websplash2005-15/ngc520_Full.jpg)


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.world-of-smilies.com%2Fhtml%2Fimages%2Fsmilies%2Fugly%2Fugly38.gif&hash=66ed582db2e5f75ae8e6f77646fc3bb0)Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.world-of-smilies.com%2Fhtml%2Fimages%2Fsmilies%2Fugly%2Fugly38.gif&hash=66ed582db2e5f75ae8e6f77646fc3bb0)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/09/2005 03:45:02
Instant River Outside My House !



(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Froad.jpg&hash=9cf940a1302f9675ea668713cf5e2493)

This is what happens when I finally cleared my loo blockage

When I came home earlier today this is what I found !..I had the
kids in the car with me and I of course just had to drive through it
[:D][:D]....I didn't need to but I wanted to.....Yea !! [:D]....my
neighbours were standing on the opposite side and were worried that
 it was going to reach their house....when I drove through it I made
a really big splash and soaked their driveway [:D][:D]....it was
embarassing because I had to turn around and go through it again to
get back to my house !!![:D][:D][:D]......for some reason they
weren't in their driveway when I came back !!!


SOURCE: ME !

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/09/2005 04:24:04
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

Instant River Outside My House !



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This is what happens when I finally cleared my loo blockage

When I came home earlier today this is what I found !..I had the
kids in the car with me and I of course just had to drive through it
[:D][:D]....I didn't need to but I wanted to.....Yea !! [:D]....my
neighbours were standing on the opposite side and were worried that
 it was going to reach their house....when I drove through it I made
a really big splash and soaked their driveway [:D][:D]....it was
embarassing because I had to turn around and go through it again to
get back to my house !!![:D][:D][:D]......for some reason they
weren't in their driveway when I came back !!!


SOURCE: ME !

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!



CAT SAYS  " YOU WILL NOT USE ME TO SPONGE UP RIVER "
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Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/09/2005 13:08:59
Probe begins daring close encounter with asteroid
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW


A $100 million Japanese space explorer parked in the vicinity of an
enigmatic asteroid this week, allowing scientists to get a first
 glimpse of the mid-sized rock that will become the source of the
first samples of such an object to ever be returned to Earth.





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WOOSH !!
An artist's concept shows the Hayabusa
nearing its asteroid target.
Credit: JAXA


After methodically tweaking its course - first by electrical ion
propulsion, then by conventional chemical thrusters - toward its
target over the past few months, the Hayabusa probe finally arrived
at its station keeping position some 12 miles from the asteroid
early Monday



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Hmmmm !!...Looks like a cheesy Wotsit !!
 Images from
Hayabusa are revealing what the asteroid Itokawa looks like.
 Credit: JAXA


Hayabusa will deploy a tiny 1.3-pound rover known as MINERVA, which
will leap, hop, and jump across the surface in the extreme low-
gravity environment. MINERVA carries three stereo cameras for
pictures, and a suite of six thermometers to measure temperatures

Ahhhhhh !!..aint that cute !!


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
 



Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/09/2005 13:14:22
Treadmill Arrives for Alaska's Elephant

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In this photo released by the Alaska Zoo, workers at the Alaska Zoo
in Anchorage, Alaska, install what is believed to be the world's
first elephant treadmill, Monday, Sept. 12, 2005. John Seawell,
elephant house project manager, says the conveyer belt reaches
speeds of up to eight miles-per-hour. Zoo officials hope to get
Maggie, the zoo's elephant, walking on the treadmill at least two
hours a day. Seawell says he and the other trainers have not worked
out how they will persuade the elephant to usethe treadmill.

(AP Photo/Courtesy of The Alaska Zoo, John Gomes)

SOURCE: AP Via YAHOO NEWS

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: ukmicky on 19/09/2005 02:36:33
Blackhole with no home

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Astronomers have observed what appears to be a quasar floating all by its lonesome in space. If confirmed, it would be the first instance of a quasar – and therefore a black hole – without a surrounding galaxy.

Quasars are extremely bright light emissions from super-massive black holes, caused when gas is drawn in by a hole’s enormous gravity. The process heats the gas to extreme temperatures, creating brilliance observable from Earth.

The new discovery raises questions about whether super-massive black holes could form before galaxies and whether a halo of dark matter around a black hole could spark a quasar.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile, an international team examined 20 quasars and found that quasar HE0450-2958 did not appear to have a galaxy surrounding it.



Massive collision
Magain's team did find a distorted galaxy nearby that was rapidly forming stars. They also saw a "blob" of gas floating nearby. This gas is probably feeding the black hole, enabling it to become a quasar, they believe.

The existence of these two unusual objects near the quasar could have been associated with a massive collision 100 million years ago. The black hole could have captured the blob of gas from the neighbouring galaxy as it was slowly passing by, resulting in the ignition of the quasar. But that fails to explain what happened to the quasar’s original host galaxy.

One of Magain's favoured explanations for the appearance of the lone quasar is that it may actually be surrounded by a halo of dark matter, invisible to telescopes.

"It's a logical possibility – you could have a dark object made only of dark matter," says Abraham Loeb, an astronomer at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, who was not involved with the observations. "It could be that for some reason the black hole was created at the middle of such an object. But it’s very unlikely."
FULL ARTICLE
http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/dn7997-orphaned-quasar-seeks-galaxy-to-call-home.html
original article from
the Newscientistspace.com
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/09/2005 20:36:07
<font size="5">Cassini radar shows dramatic shoreline on Titan</font id="size5">

NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE


Images returned during Cassini's recent flyby of Titan show
captivating evidence of what appears to be a large shoreline cutting
across the smoggy moon's southern hemisphere. Hints that this area
was once wet, or currently has liquid present, are evident



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<font color="blue"><font size="1">Radar image of Titan showing that the boundary of the
 bright (rough) region and the dark (smooth) region appears to be a
shoreline. Credit: NASA/JPL
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA03563_modest.jpg)</font id="size1"></font id="blue">



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<font color="blue"><font size="1">This bright terrain is cut by channels that are variable in
width; they form both radial and branching networks. Such patterns are reminiscent
 of networks formed by rainfall on Earth. Credit:
 NASA/JPL
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA03565_modest.jpg)</font id="size1"></font id="blue">

<font size="4">SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM</font id="size4">




Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/09/2005 19:12:18
<font size="4">Mysterious disk of blue stars found around a black hole</font id="size4">

HUBBLE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY INFORMATION CENTRE RELEASE

Posted: September 20, 2005

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have
identified the source of a mysterious blue light surrounding a
supermassive black hole in our neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy (M31).
 Though the light has puzzled astronomers for more than a decade,
the new discovery makes the story even more mysterious


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Photo Credit for image at left: ©2002, R. Gendler, Photo by Robert
Gendler; Credits for image at upper, right: NASA, ESA and T. Lauer
(NOAO/AURA/NSF); Credits for illustration at lower, right: NASA, ESA
 and A. Feild (STScI)

Download larger image version[url=http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2005/26/images/a/formats/print.jpg] here] (http://[/url)
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Photo Credit for image at left: ©2002, R. Gendler, Photo by Robert
Gendler; Credits for image at upper, right: NASA, ESA and T. Lauer
(NOAO/AURA/NSF); Credits for illustration at lower, right: NASA, ESA
 and A. Feild (STScI)

Download larger image version here (http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2005/26/images/a/formats/print.jpg)
 
The blue light is coming from a disk of hot, young stars. These
 stars are whipping around the black hole in much the same way as
planets in our solar system are revolving around the Sun.
Astronomers are perplexed about how the pancake-shaped disk of stars
 could form so close to a giant black hole. In such a hostile
environment, the black hole's tidal forces should tear matter apart,
making it difficult for gas and dust to collapse and form stars. The
observations, astronomers say, may provide clues to the activities
in the cores of more distant galaxies.


By finding the disk of stars, astronomers also have collected what
they say is ironclad evidence for the existence of the monster black
hole. The evidence has helped astronomers rule out all alternative
theories for the dark mass in the Andromeda Galaxy's core, which
scientists have long suspected was a black hole.


<font size="5">
Hubble Probes Strange Blue Light</font id="size5">

Astronomer Ivan King of the University of Washington and colleagues
first spotted the strange blue light in 1995 with the Hubble Space
Telescope. He thought the light might have come from a single,
bright blue star or perhaps from a more exotic energetic process.
Three years later, Lauer and Sandra Faber of the University of
California at Santa Cruz used Hubble again to study the blue light.
Their observations indicated that the blue light was a cluster of
blue stars.


Now, new spectroscopic observations by Hubble's Space Telescope
Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) reveal that the blue light consists of
more than 400 stars that formed in a burst of activity about 200
million years ago. The stars are tightly packed in a disk that is
only a light-year across. The disk is nested inside an elliptical
ring of older, cooler, redder stars, which was seen in previous
Hubble observations.


<font color="blue"><font size="4">SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM</font id="size4"></font id="blue">

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/09/2005 23:53:43
<font size="4">Washington Plans Exhibit for Baby Panda </font id="size4">

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<font size="1">The 10-week-old male giant panda cub at the Smithsonian's National
 Zoo sits in a container after he received his sixth health exam at
 the Washington Zoo, September 19, 2005. The cub, born on July 9,
 now weighs 9.57 pounds (4.3 kg) and is 22.51 inches long. The cub
 and his parents live at the zoo's Giant Panda Habitat</font id="size1">
PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - The National Zoo hopes to put its giant panda cub on
exhibit sometime in November.

 
The Panda House was closed shortly before first-time mother Mei
Xiang gave birth to the male cub on July 9. The public can still see
her mate, Tian Tian, in his yard, and Mei Xiang sometimes ventures
outside as well.


Zoo officials will set a date for reopening the exhibit after
keepers determine how Mei Xiang adjusts to the additional noise and
traffic, zoo spokeswoman Peper Long said in a story in Thursday's
 Washington Post.


Zoo officials plan to deal with the expected crush of visitors by
giving out timed admission tickets.


The cub will be named before it meets the public. Visitors to the
zoo's Web site have cast about 143,000 votes in a naming contest
that ends Sept. 30. Officials will announce the winning name Oct. 17.


The giant panda cub is the first at the zoo to survive more than a
few days. He now weighs about 10 pounds, measures nearly two feet
from head to tail and is beginning to crawl in circles but hasn't
started to walk.

SOURCE: REUTERS VIA YAHOO NEWS



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 29/09/2005 18:24:10
<font size="4">Scientists find mature galaxy eight times larger than Milky Way </font id="size4">

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<font size="1">Composite of visible-light (Hubble) and infraed (Spitzer)
images of the distant galaxy HUDF-JD2 in the Hubble Deep Ultra Field.
(AFP/NASA/ESA) </font id="size1">


WASHINGTON (AFP) - US astronomers said they had found a vast, mature
 galaxy using     NASA's Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes.

They were particularly impressed by the fact stars seemed to have
been formed in the galaxy.

"This is truly a significant object," says Richard Ellis, of the
California Institute of Technology and a member of the discovery
team.


"Although we are looking back to when the universe was only six
percent of its present age, this galaxy has already built up a mass
 in stars eight times that of the Milky Way."

He said the fact such a galaxy had already completed its star
formation "implies a yet earlier period of intense activity."


"It's like crossing the ocean and meeting a lone seagull, a
forerunner of land ahead. There is now every reason to search beyond
 this object for the cosmic dawn when the first such systems
switched on," he said.

Though astronomers generally believe most galaxies were built up by
 mergers of smaller galaxies, the new discovery suggests that at
least a few galaxies formed quickly and wholly long ago. For such a
 large galaxy, this would have been a vastly explosive star birth
event.

SOURCE: AFP via YAHOO NEWS.




Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/10/2005 17:54:24
<font size="5">Amazing pictures of Saturn's spongy moon Hyperion</font id="size5">
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE



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<font size="1"><font color="blue">Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07740.jpg)</font id="blue"></font id="size1">

This stunning false-color view of Saturn's moon Hyperion reveals
crisp details across the strange, tumbling moon's surface.
Differences in color could represent differences in the composition
of surface materials. The view was obtained during Cassini's close
flyby on Sept. 26, 2005.


Hyperion has a notably reddish tint when viewed in natural color.
 The red color was toned down in this false-color view, and the
other hues were enhanced, in order to make more subtle color
variations across Hyperion's surface more apparent.


Images taken using infrared, green and ultraviolet spectral filters
were combined to create this view. The images were taken with the
Cassini spacecraft's narrow-angle camera at a distance of
approximately 62,000 kilometers (38,500 miles) from Hyperion and at
a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 52 degrees. The image
scale is 362 meters (1,200 feet) per pixel.



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Well big piccy
here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07741.jpg)

This high-resolution Cassini mosaic shows that Hyperion truly has a
surface different from any other in the Saturn system.




The mosaic is composed of five clear filter images taken during
Cassini's close flyby of Hyperion on Sept. 26, 2005. The spacecraft
 passed approximately 500 kilometers (310 miles) above the moon's
surface. Hyperion is 266 kilometers (165 miles) in diameter.

Scientists are extremely curious to learn what the dark material is
that fills many craters on this oddball moon. Features within the
dark terrain, including a 200-meter-wide (650-foot) impact crater
surrounded by rays to the right of center and numerous bright-rimmed
craters, indicate that the dark material may be only tens of meters
(hundreds of feet) thick with brighter material beneath.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM






Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/10/2005 21:28:46
<font size="5">New optics produce ultrasharp images of sunspot</font id="size5">

NATIONAL SOLAR OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: October 5, 2005

Advanced technologies now available at the National Science
Foundation's Dunn Solar Telescope at Sunspot, New Mexico, are
revealing striking details inside sunspots and hint at features
remaining to be discovered in solar activity.
 



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<font size="1"><font color="blue">High-resolution image of sunspot produced with the new
camera attached to the Dunn's adaptive optics system. Credit:
Friedrich Woeger, KIS, and Chris Berst and Mark Komsa, NSO/AURA/NSF
</font id="blue"></font id="size1">

 
 
This image, spanning an area more than three times wider than Earth,
was made possible by the Dunn's recently completed AO76 advanced
adaptive optics image correction system and a new high-resolution
CCD camera.


The Dunn is the nation's premier high-resolution solar telescope.
The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy operates
the Dunn as part of the National Solar Observatory under a
cooperative agreement with the NSF.
 

This ultrasharp image of sunspot AR 10805 shows several objects of
current scientific interest. G-band bright points, which indicate
 the presence of small-scale magnetic flux tubes, are seen near the
sunspot and between several granules (columns of hot gas circulating
upward).


source:spaceflightnow.com




Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Andrew K Fletcher on 12/10/2005 09:54:46
Some great pics my son sent me from this site.
http://www.anothersite.co.uk/gallery/index.php?action=showpic&cat=3&pic=536


http://www.anothersite.co.uk/gallery/index.php?action=showpic&cat=3&pic=1926

http://www.anothersite.co.uk/gallery/index.php?action=showpic&cat=3&pic=1515
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/10/2005 20:04:34
<font size="4">It takes three to decipher one mystery object</font id="size4">

HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE

In an exercise that demonstrates the power of a multiwavelength
investigation using diverse facilities, astronomers at the Harvard-
Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have deciphered the true
nature of a mysterious object hiding inside a dark cosmic cloud.
They found that the cloud, once thought to be featureless, contains
 a baby star, or possibly a failed star known as a "brown dwarf,"
that is still forming within its dusty cocoon.






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<font color="blue"><font size="1">At top left is the optical image of L1014, with
contours of 1.2 mm dust emission, and the field-of-view of the
Spitzer images indicated by the box. The position of young brown
dwarf or protostar (dubbed L1014-IRS) is indicated. At top right is
a 3-color image using the Spitzer data, color-coded by wavelength.
At bottom left is the 8-micron-only image, at bottom middle is a
near-infrared image from the MMT revealing a scattered light nebula
typically seen around young stellar objects, thought to be due to a
cavity evacuated by an outflow. At bottom right is the confirmation
that L1014-IRS drives a bipolar outflow, seen with the Submillimeter
Array. The outflow velocities associate the infrared source with
starless core L1014 at a distance of 200 parsecs, thus confirming
its low luminosity and mass. Credit: Tyler Bourke & Tracy Huard
(CfA) </font id="size1"></font id="blue">

 
 
Observations indicate that the mystery object has a mass about 25
times that of Jupiter, which would place it squarely in the realm of
brown dwarfs. However, its mass may eventually grow large enough to
qualify it as a small star. The object also is cool and faint,
shining with less than 1/20 the sun's luminosity.

The combined capabilities of Spitzer, the SMA and the MMT were
essential for finding and examining this object. Those facilities
undoubtedly will prove useful in studying similar very dim, very
young objects - objects so young that they are still growing.
 


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 03/11/2005 19:36:28
Light seen from possibly first objects in universe

NASA-GODDARD NEWS RELEASE


Scientists using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope say they have
detected light that may be from the earliest objects in the
universe. If confirmed, the observation provides a glimpse of an era
 more than 13 billion years ago when, after the fading embers of the
theorized Big Bang gave way to millions of years of pervasive
darkness, the universe came alive.





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The top panel is an image from NASA's Spitzer Space
Telescope of stars and galaxies in the constellation Draco, covering
 about 50 by 100 million light-years (6 to 12 arcminutes). This is
an infrared image showing wavelengths of 3.6 microns, below what the
human eye can detect. The bottom panel is the resulting image after
all the stars, galaxies and artifacts were masked out. The remaining
background has been enhanced to reveal a glow that is not attributed
 to galaxies or stars. This might be the glow of the first stars in
the universe. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/A. Kashlinsky (GSFC)
Download larger image version here (http://ipac.jpl.nasa.gov/media_images/ssc2005-22a_medium.jpg)


This light could be from the very first stars or perhaps from hot
gas falling into the first black holes. The science team, based at
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., describes the
observation as seeing the glow of a distant city at night from an
airplane. The light is too distant and feeble to resolve individual
objects.


"We think we are seeing the collective light from millions of the
first objects to form in the universe," said Dr. Alexander
Kashlinsky, Science Systems and Applications scientist and lead
author on the Nature article that appears in the Nov. 3 issue. "The
objects disappeared eons ago, yet their light is still traveling
across the universe."


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOw.COM





Men are the same as women.... just inside out !! (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.world-of-smilies.com%2Fhtml%2Fimages%2Fsmilies%2Fparty%2Fballoons.gif&hash=f9f40e7ab655ca9089398c3f3719f593)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/11/2005 14:57:16
NASA Telescope Gets Image of Young Stars

This undated infrared image captured by NASA's Spitzer Space
Telescope, released by NASA on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, shows
colossal pillars of cool gas and dust that provide scientists with
an intimate look at the star-forming process. The image reflects a
region in space known as W5, in the constellation Cassiopeia 7,000
light years away, which is dominated by a single massive star. (AP
 Photo/NASA, JPL, CalTech)


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SOURCE: Associated Press via Yahoo News



Men are the same as women.... just inside out !! (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.world-of-smilies.com%2Fhtml%2Fimages%2Fsmilies%2Fparty%2Fballoons.gif&hash=f9f40e7ab655ca9089398c3f3719f593)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/11/2005 13:48:55
EXHIBIT FEATURES HUMAN SPECIMANS

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A healthy human lung, left, and a smokers lung injected with a
polymer preservative are on display during a press preview
of 'Bodies...The Exhibition,' Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005 in New York.
The exhibit which feature 22 whole body specimens, as well as more
 than 260 additional organs and body specimens opens at the South
Street Seaport Nov. 19, 2005. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


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A human brain, left, and a cross section of a human brain which
 suffered a massive stroke, injected with a polymer preservative

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2F0351.jpg&hash=09e0673e7e3af0e100828d1b4321f130)

 A full body human specimen injected with a polymer preservative.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2Fma101.jpg&hash=d69a4594b183afb23491b1ba37cd59aa)

Dr. Roy Glover, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at
the University of Michigan and Chief Medical Advisor
for 'Bodies...The Exhibition,' explains the facial tissues on a
human specimen injected with a polymer preservative during a press
preview of the exhibiT.

source: Associated Press vis Yahoo News


Men are the same as women.... just inside out !! (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.world-of-smilies.com%2Fhtml%2Fimages%2Fsmilies%2Fparty%2Fballoons.gif&hash=f9f40e7ab655ca9089398c3f3719f593)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 26/11/2005 19:33:28
Giant ape lived alongside humans


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2FMM111005_2sm.jpg&hash=aef8d1a0607576fc1e2edc49a95d6e96)
Much bigger piccy here (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v185/neilep/MM111005_2.jpg)

Hamilton, ON– A gigantic ape, measuring about 10 feet tall and
weighing up to 1,200 pounds, co-existed alongside humans, a
 geochronologist at McMaster University has discovered.


Using a high-precision absolute-dating method (techniques involving
electron spin resonance and uranium series), Jack Rink, associate professor of geography and earth sciences at McMaster, has
determined that Gigantopithecus blackii, the largest primate that
ever lived, roamed southeast Asia for nearly a million years before
the species died out 100,000 years ago. This was known as the
Pleistocene period, by which time humans had already existed for a
million years.

Research into Gigantopithecus blackii began in 1935, when the Dutch
paleontologist G.H. von Koenigswald discovered a yellowish molar
among the "dragon bones" for sale in a Hong Kong pharmacy.
Traditional Chinese medicine maintains that dragon bones, basically
fossil bones and teeth, possess curative powers when the fossils are
ground into a fine powder, and ingested.


For nearly 80 years, Gigantopithecus blackii has intrigued
scientists, who have pieced together a description using nothing
more than a handful of teeth and a set of jawbones.


SOURCE: UKMICKYS FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM [:)]AND EUREKALERT.ORG


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Cierra on 30/11/2005 19:45:08
Hi guys! This is my first post! I thought these pictures were crrraaaazy! I knew praying mantis eat insects and sometimes each other...but humming birds????

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.birdwatchersdigest.com%2Fsite%2Fimages%2Fbackyard_birds%2FMantis_hummingbird.jpg&hash=40d1aafc47e936defbce441275645105)

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.birdwatchersdigest.com%2Fsite%2Fimages%2Fbackyard_birds%2FMantis_hummer2.jpg&hash=626994a945fe187ea60049eed02db9aa)
From http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com

-Cierra

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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/12/2005 19:17:25
Those Praying mantis photos above are amazing !!!

Herschel sees the Sun
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2F051127herschel.jpg&hash=7bf54094f90b0ebad958e170f390b86d)
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07639.jpg)



Impact-battered Mimas steps in front of Saturn's rings, showing off
its giant 130-kilometer (80-mile) wide crater Herschel.


The illuminated terrain seen here is on the moon's leading
hemisphere. North on Mimas is up and rotated 20 degrees to the left.
 Mimas is 397 kilometers (247 miles) across.


The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini narrow-
angle camera at a distance of approximately 711,000 kilometers
(442,000 miles) from Mimas and at a Sun-Mimas-spacecraft, or phase,
 angle of 112 degrees. The image scale is 4 kilometers (3 miles) per
pixel.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/12/2005 19:21:49
On approach to Dione
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE



(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2F051125dione.jpg&hash=d9acfa381cb96d6120665146614647e0)
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image versionhere (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07637.jpg)



Cassini captured Saturn's moon Dione -- a brilliant, cratered
iceball -- in front of its shadow-draped planet in this picture
 taken during a recent rendezvous by the NASA spacecraft.


The terrain seen here becomes notably darker toward the west, and is
crosscut by the bright, fresh canyons that form wispy markings on
Dione's trailing hemisphere. Dione is 1,126 kilometers (700 miles)
across.


The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini wide-angle
camera at a distance of approximately 24,500 kilometers (15,200
miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of
22 degrees. The image scale is about 2 kilometers (1 mile) per
pixel.


SOURCE: spaceflightnow.com



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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/12/2005 19:27:38
Sharp vision reveals intimacy of stars
EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE

Using the newly installed AMBER instrument on ESO's Very Large
Telescope Interferometer, which combines the light from two or three
8.2-m Unit Telescopes thereby amounting to observe with a telescope
of 40 to 90 metres in diameter, two international teams of
astronomers observed with unprecedented detail the environment of
two stars. One is a young, still-forming star and the new results
provide useful information on the conditions leading to the creation
of planets. The other is on the contrary a star entering the latest
stages of its life. The astronomers found, in both cases, evidence
for a surrounding disc.




(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fstaeefrs.jpg&hash=76df44681b7bb2cddffd19ec95c31b23)

It is amazing to see the amount of details the astronomers could
achieve while observing an object located more than 800 light-years
away and hidden by a large amount of gas and dust. They found the
object to be surrounded by a proto-planetary disc extending to about
 the size of our Solar System, but truncated in his inner part until
about half the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Moreover, the
scientists found the object to be surrounded by an outflowing wind,
the velocity of which increased by a factor 9, from about 70 km/s
near the disc to 600 km/s in the polar regions.

saucy sexy sauces: whipped cream and maple syrup !

sorry...wrong type of source !!...SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/12/2005 22:04:58

Chandra proves black hole influence is far reaching
CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE


Scientists using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have discovered
evidence of energetic plumes - particles that extend 300,000 light
years into a massive cluster of galaxies. The plumes are due to
explosive venting from the vicinity of a supermassive black hole,
 and they provide dramatic new evidence of the influence a black
hole can have over intergalactic distances.
 

 

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2Fblackfhole.jpg&hash=88e909c6518bdb7672680159135464e0)
An accumulation of 270 hours of Chandra observations
of the central regions of the Perseus galaxy cluster reveals
 evidence of the turmoil that has wracked the cluster for hundreds
 of millions of years. One of the most massive objects in the
 universe, the cluster contains thousands of galaxies immersed in a
 vast cloud of multimillion degree gas with the mass equivalent of
trillions of suns. Credit: NASA/CXC/IoA/A.Fabian et al.

"In relative terms, it is as if a heat source the size of a
fingernail affects the behavior of a region the size of Earth," said
Andrew Fabian of Cambridge University, U.K. Fabian is lead author of
a report on this research that will appear in an upcoming issue of
 the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Fabian's group discovered the plumes by studying data from 280 hours
(more than 1 million seconds) of Chandra observations of the Perseus
 cluster, the longest X-ray observation ever taken of a galaxy
cluster. The cluster contains thousands of galaxies immersed in a
vast cloud of multi-million degree gas with the mass equivalent of trillions of suns.


The plumes showed up in the X-ray data as low pressure regions in
the hot gas extending outward from the giant galaxy in the center of
the cluster. The low gas pressure measured in the plumes is likely
the result of the displacement of the gas by bubbles of unseen high-
energy particles.


The bubbles appear to be generated by high-speed jets blasting away
from the vicinity of the giant galaxy's supermassive black hole.
Individual bubbles seen in the inner regions expand and merge to
create vast plumes at larger distances.


"The plumes show that the black hole has been venting for at least
 100 million years, and probably much longer," said co-author Jeremy
 Sanders also of Cambridge University.





SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
 






Men are the same as women.... just inside out !! (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.world-of-smilies.com%2Fhtml%2Fimages%2Fsmilies%2Fugly%2Fugly_bums.gif&hash=e21c0210a2673ae990b27e26bb7f6440)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 31/12/2005 22:57:18
Chandra picture shows hot supernova remains
CHANDRA PHOTO RELEASE


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fsupernonovava.jpg&hash=7c717b169ae861c226f787a2f7978ead)
Credit: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Hughes et al.

 
 
This false-color Chandra image of a supernova remnant shows X-rays
produced by high-energy particles (blue) and multimillion degree gas
(red/green). In 1006 AD, what was thought to be a "new star"
suddenly appeared in the sky and over the course of a few days
became brighter than the planet Venus.


The supernova of 1006, or SN 1006, may have been the brightest
supernova on record.


We now know that SN 1006 heralded not the appearance of a new star,
 but the cataclysmic death of an old one located about 7,000 light
years from Earth. It was likely a white dwarf star that had been
pulling matter off an orbiting companion star. When the white dwarf
mass exceeded the stability limit (known as the Chandrasekhar
limit), it exploded.


The supernova ejected material at millions of miles per hour,
generating a forward shock wave that raced ahead of the ejecta.
Particles accelerated to extremely high energies by this shock wave
produce the bright blue filaments seen in the upper left and lower
right of the image. Why the bright filaments occur only in the
observed locations and do not encircle the remnant is not
understood. One possibility is that they are due to the orientation
of the interstellar magnetic field which may be roughly
perpendicular to the filaments.


High pressure behind the forward shock wave pushes back on the
supernova ejecta, causing a reverse shock that heats the ejecta to
millions of degrees. The fluffy red features seen throughout the
interior of the remnant are from gas heated by the reverse shock.
The X-ray spectrum of this gas indicates that it is enriched in
oxygen and other elements synthesized by nuclear reactions during
the stellar explosion.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: DoctorBeaver on 01/01/2006 03:19:27
Fascinating pics and info. Well done!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/01/2006 21:16:31
Near-complete Titanosaurus discovered in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - Argentine paleontologists have discovered the
largely intact skeleton of a young titanosaurus that lived 71
 million years ago.


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2F331x384.jpg&hash=c36cd53577ff282924bdcc0fb82d7eb2)
AFP/File Photo:  An Amargasaurus dinosaur, the largest
herbivore to live, discovered in Argentina, seen here in Melbourne,...



"What's extraordinary about this is that the remains were
articulated, as if the animal had fallen or lain down and remained
that way. There were no signs that it was preyed on," local media
reported geologist and paleontologist Bernardo Gonzalez Riga as saying.
Scientists discovered the remains of a foot "with all its toes and
claws in an exceptional state of preservation," as well as the
complete rear bones, tail, "and part of the pelvis," Gonzalez said.

Such finds are rare, said Gonzalez, adding that there are only one
or two titanosauruses in the world with complete feet.
Gonzalez is a professor at Cuyo University, one of two universities
with teams that excavated the remains.
"This now adds to that and brings new data of regional national and
international relevance," he said.
The remains were discovered while German petroleum company
Wintershall Energy was prospecting for oil in Nuequen province,
where many paleontological discoveries have been made.


An initial examination of the remains suggest a small young
titanousaurus about 10 meters (yards) long that weighed about 12
 tons. The giant herbivores, which grew up to 35 meters long, lived
during the late Cretaceous period (83-65 million years ago).
While the skeleton is almost complete from ribs to tale, there is no
sign of the head and neck, which were likely washed away over the
millennia, said Gonzalez.
The fossils were taken to the Lago Barreales Palentological Center
in Neuquen for analysis, the report said.

SOURCE: AFP VIA YAHOO NEWS


Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 03/01/2006 19:03:39
Nasa team sees explosion on Moon  
 

Nasa scientists have witnessed a rare explosion on the Moon, caused
by a "meteoroid" slamming into it.
The blast was equal in energy to about 70kg of TNT and was seen near
the edge of Mare Imbrium (the Sea of Rains).

The object that hit the Moon was probably part of a shower
of "taurids" which peppered Earth in late October and early
November.

Understanding lunar impacts could help protect astronauts when Nasa
sends humans back to the Moon.

Meteoroids are small rocky or metallic objects in orbit around the
Sun, or another star. One of the astronomers who observed the impact
estimates that it gouged a crater 3m wide and 0.4m deep.

Rob Suggs of Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, US,
 was testing a new 10-in telescope and video camera they assembled
to monitor the moon for space strikes
 


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2Fx248.jpg&hash=429355c8e2231f3679136d784ecb6401)
Artists impression...though why the explosion should look
like a bunch of tossed daffodils is another mystery !![:)]



Here is 2.2mb of meteoriod lunar hitting moon joy !!

http://www.nasa.gov/mov/139981main_impact.mov

Source: An orgy of sources between NASA and BBC

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/01/2006 20:32:41
This is down to DRBEAVERS link in his thread about HIV

Study Reveals How Virus Harpoons Your Cells
By Ker Than
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 04 January 2006

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A three-dimensional model of the HIV virus. Image Courtesy 3DScience.com

Researchers have deciphered the structure of a harpoon-like protein
some viruses use to enter cells and begin infection.


The protein is known as fusion (F) protein and is found on the outer
surface of parainfluenza virus 5, a so-called "enveloped" virus that
fuses its membrane with the membrane of its host cell before
infection.

Once the membranes are fused, the virus dumps its genetic content
into the healthy human cell's interior, hijacking the cell's
replication machinery to clone itself.


Enveloped viruses are responsible for a wide variety of human
diseases, including mumps, measles, HIV, SARS and Ebola. The finding
could help researchers develop drugs that prevent infection by
 blocking viral entry into cells.

The researchers crystallized the F protein and used x-ray
crystallography to determine its three-dimensional structure. Doing
 so revealed a hydrophobic (meaning water-repellant) tip that allows
the viral harpoon to latch on more securely to the cell membrane,
which is also hydrophobic. It also provided researchers with more
insight into the dramatic structural change that the F protein
undergoes while performing its task
When not in use, the F protein looks like a mushroom and its
hydrophobic tip is folded into a compact form, safely hidden inside
the cap. When the virus comes into contact with a target cell, the
cap unfurls and the hydrophobic tip is hurled like a harpoon into
the cell's outer membrane.

The F protein then brings the virus and the cell together so their
two membranes can merge. It does this by collapsing back on itself
like a metal rod bent so that its ends meet.


"The collapse of the protein acts like a hairpin that snaps together
and brings the two membranes together to make them fuse," said
Theodore Jardetzky, a structural biologist from Northwestern
University and the study's principle investigator.


The research, led by Hsien-Sheng Yin of Northwestern University, is
detailed in the Jan. 5 issue of the journal Nature.


SOURCE: DRBEAVER & www.livescience.com


Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/01/2006 18:55:03
Looking down the mouth of an interstellar cavern
GEMINI OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


A storm of billowing clouds blown by the winds from massive stars,
and set aglow by their light, is the focus of a striking image
released by Gemini Observatory.





(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2Funiverse.jpg&hash=45a1f8571ec2186dad07c0af3617170a)
Gemini Legacy Image of superbubble complex N44 as imaged with GMOS
on the Gemini South Telescope in Chile.  Composite color image by
Traivs Rector, University of Alaska Anchorage
Download larger image version here  (http://www.gemini.edu/images/stories/press_release/pr2005-12/fig1_screen.jpg)...it's worth it..it's a fantastic piccy !
 


Known as the N44 superbubble complex, this cloudy tempest is
dominated by a vast bubble about 325 by 250 light-years across. A
cluster of massive stars inside the cavern has cleared away gas to
form a distinctive mouth-shaped hollow shell. While astronomers do
not agree on exactly how this bubble has evolved for up to the past
10 million years, they do know that the central cluster of massive
 stars is responsible for the cloud's unusual appearance. It is
likely that the explosive death of one or more of the cluster's most
massive and short-lived stars played a key role in the formation of
the large bubble.


One of the mysteries surrounding this object points to the role that
supernova explosions (marking the destruction of the most massive of
the central cluster's stars) could have played in sculpting the
cloud. Philip Massey of Lowell Observatory, who studied this region
along with Oey, adds "When we look at the speed of the gases in this
cloud we find inconsistencies in the size of the bubble and the
expected velocities of the winds from the central cluster of massive
stars. Supernovae, the ages of the central stars, or the orientation
 and shape of the cloud might explain this, but the bottom line is
that there's still lots of exciting science to be done here and
these new images will undoubtedly help."

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: DoctorBeaver on 10/01/2006 20:30:08
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.livescience.com%2Fimages%2F060110_oneeyed_cat_04.jpg&hash=c3b16067c5f66dd49159ab56d11530c8)

This kitten was born with only one eye and no nose. Named Cy—short for Cyclopes—it’s shown here in a photo provided by its owner in Redmond, Oregon, on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005.
The kitten, a ragdoll breed, died after living for one day. It was one of two in the litter, and its sibling was born normal and healthy.

photo from http://www.livescience.com
Credit: AP Photo/Traci Allen

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/01/2006 18:52:42

ESA and ANU make space propulsion breakthrough
 
11 January 2006
The European Space Agency and the Australian National University
have successfully tested a new design of spacecraft ion engine that
 dramatically improves performance over present thrusters and marks
a major step forward in space propulsion capability.

 
Ion engines are a form of electric propulsion and work by
accelerating a beam of positively charged particles (or ions) away
from the spacecraft using an electric field. ESA is currently using
electric propulsion on its Moon mission, SMART-1. The new engine is
over ten times more fuel efficient than the one used on SMART-
1. “Using a similar amount of propellant as SMART-1, with the right
power supply, a future spacecraft using our new engine design
wouldn’t just reach the Moon, it would be able to leave the Solar
System entirely,” says Dr Roger Walker of ESA’s Advanced Concepts
Team, Research Fellow in Advanced Propulsion and Technical Manager
of the project.



(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2FDS4G_3_L.jpg&hash=b84b0e76841f520eaea0ad281fd5c66e)
DS4G thruster firing during tests in the ESTEC Electric Propulsion facility (CORONA vacuum chamber)

Credits: ESA

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DS4G thruster firing during tests in the ESTEC Electric Propulsion facility (CORONA vacuum chamber)

Credits: ESA

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv185%2Fneilep%2FDS4G_2_L.jpg&hash=e2746a19d144fa8b1372de54decd3ca7)
DS4G thruster firing during tests in the ESTEC Electric Propulsion facility (CORONA vacuum chamber)

Credits: ESA

SOURCE: ESA NEWS



Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/01/2006 22:51:18
News - heic0601: Hubble panoramic view of Orion Nebula reveals thousands of stars

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fheic0601a.jpg&hash=841aeb046862fc210b89c64f423fd463)
Bigger one here (http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/screen/heic0601a.jpg)...it's worth it !

11-Jan-2006: In one of the most detailed astronomical images ever
produced, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is offering an
unprecedented look at the Orion Nebula. This turbulent star-
formation region is one of astronomy’s most dramatic and photogenic
celestial objects.



The crisp image reveals a tapestry of star formation, from the dense
 pillars of gas and dust that may be the homes of fledgling stars to
 the hot, young, massive stars that have emerged from their gas-and-
dust cocoons and are shaping the nebula with their powerful
ultraviolet light.


The new picture reveals large-scale structures never seen before,
according to C. Robert O'Dell of Vanderbilt University in Nashville,
 USA "Only with the Hubble Space Telescope can we begin to
understand them," O’Dell said.


In a mosaic containing a billion pixels, Hubble’s Advanced Camera
for Surveys (ACS) uncovered 3,000 stars of various sizes. Some of
them have never been spied in visible light. Some are merely 1/100
the brightness of stars seen previously in the nebula.


Among the stars Hubble spotted are possible young brown dwarfs, the
 first time these objects have been seen in the Orion Nebula in
visible light. Brown dwarfs are so-called "failed stars." These cool
objects are too small to be ordinary stars because they cannot
sustain nuclear fusion in their cores the way our Sun does.


The Hubble Space Telescope also spied for the first time a small
population of possible binary brown dwarfs – two brown dwarfs
orbiting each other. Comparing the characteristics of newborn stars
and brown dwarfs in their natal environment provides unique
information about how they form.

Source: ESA

EXTRA !..thought I'd chuck these extra links to big pictures here (about 2mb each) cos they're bloody bootiful !

http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/large/heic0601h.jpg

http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/large/heic0601g.jpg

http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/large/heic0601e.jpg

http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/large/heic0601d.jpg

http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/large/heic0601c.jpg





Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 29/01/2006 20:38:35

Scientists Discover World's Smallest Fish





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BANGKOK, Thailand - Scientists say they have discovered the world's
 smallest known fish in threatened swampland in Indonesia.


The fish, a member of the carp family, has a translucent body and a
 head unprotected by a skeleton.


Mature females grow to less than a third of an inch long. The males
have enlarged pelvic fins and muscles that may be used in
reproduction, researchers wrote in a report published Wednesday by
the Royal Society in London.


"This is one of the strangest fish that I've seen in my whole
career,' said Ralf Britz, a zoologist at the Natural History Museum
in London. "It's tiny, it lives in acid and it has these bizarre
grasping fins. I hope we'll have time to find out more about them
before their habitat disappears completely."


The fish are found in an acidic peat swamp on the Indonesian island
of Sumatra. Indonesian peat swamps are under threat from fires lit
by plantation owners and farmers as well as unchecked development
and farming. Researchers say several populations of the tiny fish,
Paedocypris progenetica, have already been lost, according to the
Natural History Museum.


The previous record for world's smallest fish, according to the
Natural History Museum, was held by a species of Indo-Pacific goby
one-tenth of a millimeter longer.


"You don't wake up in the morning and think, 'Today we will find the
smallest fish in the world,'" Swiss fish expert Maurice Kottelat,
who helped discover the fish, said in a telephone interview from his
home in Switzerland.


According to researchers, the little fish live in dark, tea-colored
water at least 100 times more acidic than rainwater. Such acidic
swamps was once thought to harbor few animals, but recent research
has revealed that they are highly diverse and home to many unique
species.


SOURCE: YAHOO



Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: sharkeyandgeorge on 30/01/2006 11:08:19
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Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that "glow in the dark".

They claim that while other researchers have bred partly fluorescent pigs, theirs are the only pigs in the world which are green through and through.

The pigs are transgenic, created by adding genetic material from jellyfish into a normal pig embryo.

The researchers hope the pigs will boost the island's stem cell research, as well as helping with the study of human disease.

The scientists, from National Taiwan University's Department of Animal Science and Technology, say that although the pigs glow, they are otherwise no different from any others.

Taiwan is not claiming a world first. Others have bred partially fluorescent pigs before; but the researchers insist the three pigs they have produced are better. They are the only ones that are green from the inside out. Even their heart and internal organs are green, the researchers say.

To create them, DNA from jellyfish was added to about 265 pig embryos which were implanted in eight different sows. Four of the female pigs became pregnant and three male piglets were born three months ago.

Green generation

In daylight, the researchers say the pigs' eyes, teeth and trotters look green. Their skin has a greenish tinge.

In the dark, shine a blue light on them and they glow torch-light bright.

The scientists will use the transgenic pigs to study human disease. Because the pig's genetic material encodes a protein that shows up as green, it is easy to spot.

So if, for instance, some of its stem cells are injected into another animal, scientists can track how they develop without the need for a biopsy or invasive test.

But creating them has not been easy. Many of the altered embryos failed to develop.

The researchers say they hope the new, green pigs will mate with ordinary female pigs to create a new generation - much greater numbers of transgenic pigs for use in research.



"Defender of the Sea"
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/02/2006 22:57:32
Autonomous underwater vehicle maps ancient Greek shipwreck
After lying hidden for centuries off the coast of Greece, a sunken
4th century B.C. merchant ship and its cargo have been surveyed by
an international team using a robotic underwater vehicle. The team
accomplished in two days what it would take divers years to do. The
project, the first in a new collaboration between US and Greek
researchers, demonstrates the potential of new technology and
imaging capabilities to rapidly advance marine archaeology


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This image shows a sample of the data collected by the SeaBed
autonomous underwater vehicle as it swam over the Chios shipwreck in
July 2005. The 3-D color mesh represents a topographic map of the
sea floor, created using data collected by multibeam sonar. The
brown strip shows the area captured in digital images, which were
used to create the photomosaic of the wreck.Image © / Chios 2005
Shipwreck Survey -- WHOI, Hellenic Ministry of Culture: Ephorate of
Underwater Antiquities, Hellenic Center for Marine Research


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This photomosaic strip of a section of the Chios
shipwreck site is composed of 14 individual images. The autonomous
 underwater vehicle collected this data in just 42 seconds. Most of
the wreck's visible remains consist of ceramic storage jars (called
amphoras) made on the island of Chios. Archaeologists surmise that
 wine composed the bulk cargo carried aboard the wrecked vessel.
Small, fish, starfish and sponges can also be seen. Image © / Chios
2005 Shipwreck Survey -- WHOI, Hellenic Ministry of Culture:
Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, Hellenic Center for Marine
Research



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Detail from photomosaic strip showing ancient ceramic storage jars
at the Chios shipwreck site. Image © / Chios 2005 Shipwreck Survey --
 WHOI, Hellenic Ministry of Culture: Ephorate of Underwater
Antiquities, Hellenic Center for Marine Research


SOURCE: Eurekaalert.org






Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/02/2006 22:59:55
PLEASE REMEMBER TO CREDIT THE SOURCE WHEN YOU POST ARTICLES HERE

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/02/2006 18:34:56
System found where planets may orbit backward
NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE

Posted: February 14, 2006

Astronomers studying a disk of material circling a still-forming
 star inside our Galaxy have found a tantalizing result -- the inner
 part of the disk is orbiting the protostar in the opposite
direction from the outer part of the disk.
 



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A huge star-forming region is rotating globally in the
direction shown by the white arrow. This large region can give birth
 to multiple stellar systems. Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF



"This is the first time anyone has seen anything like this, and it
means that the process of forming planets from such disks is more
complex than we previously expected," said Anthony Remijan, of the
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, who with his colleague Jan M.
 Hollis, of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, used the National
Science Foundation's Very Large Array radio telescope to make the
discovery.


"The solar system that likely will be formed around this star will
include planets orbiting in different directions, unlike our own
solar system in which all the planets orbit the Sun in the same
direction," Hollis explained.


Stars and planets, scientists believe, are formed when giant clouds
of gas and dust collapse. As the cloud collapses, a flattened,
rotating disk of material develops around the young star. This disk
provides the material from which planets form. The disk and the
resulting planets rotate in the same direction as the original
cloud, with the rotation speed increasing closer to the center, much
as a spinning figure skater spins faster when they draw their arms
inward.



If all the material in the star and disk come from the same
prestellar cloud, they all will rotate in the same direction. That
is the case with our own solar system, in which the planets all
orbit the Sun in the same direction as the Sun itself rotates on its
axis.


In the case of a young star some 500 light-years from Earth in the
direction of the constellation Ophiuchus, Remijan and Hollis found
the inner and outer parts of the disk rotating in opposite
directions.


"We think this system may have gotten material from two clouds
instead of one, and the two were rotating in opposite directions,"
Remijan said. There is sufficient material to form planets from both
parts of the disk, he added. The object is in a large, star-forming
region where chaotic motions and eddies in the gas and dust result
in smaller cloudlets that can rotate in different directions.


In the solar system that probably will form around this young star,
the innermost planets will orbit in one direction and the outer
planets will orbit in the opposite direction.


The scientists studied the star-forming clouds by analyzing radio
waves emitted at specific, known frequencies by molecules within the
clouds. Because the molecules emit radio waves at specific
frequencies, shifts in those frequencies caused by motions (called
Doppler Shift) can be measured, revealing the direction in which the
gas is moving relative to Earth.


The newest VLA observations of the region showed the motion of
silicon monoxide (SiO) molecules, which emit radio waves at about 43
GigaHertz (GHz). When the astronomers compared their new VLA
measurements of the motion of SiO molecules close to the young star
with earlier measurements of other molecules farther away from the
protostar, they realized the two were orbiting the star in opposite
directions.


Though this is the first time such a phenomenon has been seen in a
disk around a young star, "Similar structures and dynamics commonly
occur on small and large scales throughout the Universe. Thus, it is
not surprising to find counter-rotation in a protostellar disk since
the phenomenon has been previously reported in the disks of
 galaxies," Hollis said.


The astronomers' report on their results will appear in the April 1
edition of the Astrophysical Journal.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the
National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by
Associated Universities, Inc.


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
 


Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/02/2006 19:07:35
 
How to steal a million stars?

EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: February 11, 2006

Based on observations with European Southern Observatory's Very
Large Telescope, a team of Italian astronomers reports that the
stellar cluster Messier 12 must have lost to our Milky Way galaxy
close to one million low-mass stars.

 


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This photo shows the centre of the globular cluster
 Messier 12 as observed with the FORS-1 multi-mode instrument on
ESO's Very Large Telescope. Credit: ESO


 
 
"In the solar neighbourhood and in most stellar clusters, the least
massive stars are the most common, and by far", said Guido De Marchi
(ESA), lead author of the study. "Our observations with ESO's VLT
show this is not the case for Messier 12".


The team, which also includes Luigi Pulone and Francesco Paresce
(INAF, Italy), measured the brightness and colours of more than
16,000 stars within the globular cluster Messier 12 with the FORS1
multi-mode instrument attached to one of the Unit Telescopes of
ESO's VLT at Cerro Paranal (Chile). The astronomers could study
stars that are 40 million times fainter than what the unaided eye
can see (magnitude 25).


Messier 12 is one of about 200 globular clusters known in our
Galaxy. These are large groupings of 10,000 to more than a million
stars that were formed together in the youth of the Milky Way, about
 12 to 13 billion years ago. Globular clusters are a key tool for
astronomers, because all the stars in a globular cluster share a
common history. They were all born together, at the same time and
place, and only differ from one another in their mass. By accurately
 measuring the brightness of the stars, astronomers can determine
their relative sizes and stage of evolution precisely. Globular
clusters are thus very helpful for testing theories of how stars
evolve.





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An artist's impression of the orbit of the globular
 cluster Messier 12 in the Milky Way. Due to gravitational
disruption, this cluster continuously loses stars, in particular
light ones. This process is enhanced when it passes through the
central plane in which most of the Galaxy's stars and nebulae are
located. The cluster emerges in a less dense state after such a
passage. The stars that are lost move on in orbits similar to that
of the cluster and populate the halo of the Milky Way. Credit: ESO

 

 
Located at a distance of 23,000 light years in the constellation
Ophiuchus (The Serpent-holder), Messier 12 got its name by being the
12th entry in the catalogue of nebulous objects compiled in 1774 by
French astronomer and comet chaser Charles Messier. It is also known
to astronomers as NGC 6218 and contains about 200 000 stars, most of
 them having a mass between 20 and 80 percent of the mass of the
Sun.


"It is however clear that Messier 12 is surprisingly devoid of low-
mass stars", said De Marchi. "For each solar-like star, we would
expect roughly four times as many stars with half that mass. Our VLT
observations only show an equal number of stars of different
masses."


Globular clusters move in extended elliptical orbits that
periodically take them through the densely populated regions of our
Galaxy, the plane, then high above and below, in the ‘halo'. When
venturing too close to the innermost and denser regions of the Milky
Way, the ‘bulge', a globular cluster can be perturbed, the smallest
 stars being ripped away.


"We estimate that Messier 12 lost four times as many stars as it
still has", said Francesco Paresce. "That is, roughly one million
stars must have been ejected into the halo of our Milky Way".
 

The total remaining lifetime of Messier 12 is predicted to be about
 4.5 billion years, i.e. about a third of its present age. This is
 very short compared to the typical expected globular cluster's
lifetime, which is about 30 billion years.


The same team of astronomers had found in 1999, another example of a
globular cluster that lost a large fraction of its original content.
 

The scientists hope to discover and study many more clusters like
these, since catching clusters while being disrupted should clarify
the dynamics of the process that shaped the halo of our home galaxy,
 the Milky Way.



SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/02/2006 19:14:01
Spacecraft spots powerful Saturn storm at night
CICLOPS NEWS RELEASE
Posted: February 14, 2006

Following the recent detection of Saturnian radio bursts by NASA's
Cassini spacecraft that indicated a rare and powerful atmospheric
storm, Cassini imaging scientists have spotted the storm in an
unlikely fashion: they looked for it in the dark.

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This image shows a rare and powerful storm on the
night side of Saturn. Light from Saturn's rings (called "ringshine")
 provided the illumination, allowing the storm and other cloud
features to be seen. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07788.jpg)

 
 
When lightning-generated radio noise from the storm was detected by
Cassini on January 23, the spacecraft was at a place in its orbit
where it was unable to image the sunlit side of Saturn. Instead,
 imaging scientists searched for the southern hemisphere storm in
images of the planet's night side. Fortunately, the small amount of
sunlight reflecting off Saturn's rings and illuminating the night
side is enough to make features in the atmosphere visible.


The storm is located on the side of Saturn that faces the spacecraft
when the radio emissions are detected; Cassini does not observe the
radio emissions for half a Saturnian day when the storm is on the
planet's other side.


The latitude of the new storm matches that of the "Dragon storm,"
which was a powerful emitter of radio noise and was imaged by
Cassini in 2004. It lies in a region of the southern hemisphere
referred to as "storm alley" by scientists because of the high level
of storm activity observed there by Cassini. The storm's north-south
dimension is about 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles).


"It's really the only large storm on the whole planet," says Andrew
Ingersoll, a member of the Cassini imaging team. "It's in the right
place and it appeared at the right time to match the radio
emissions, so it has to be the right storm," he said.



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The storm's north-south dimension is about 3,500
kilometers (2,175 miles); it is located at minus 36 degrees
(planetocentric) latitude and 168 degrees west longitude. This
places it on the side of the planet that faces the spacecraft when
the radio emissions are detected; the radio emissions shut down for
half a Saturnian day when the storm is on the other side. Credit:
 NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07789.jpg)

 
Cassini's investigation of the storm has also been aided by the
efforts of Earth-based amateur astronomers, who were able view
Saturn's dayside with their telescopes when Cassini could not. The
amateurs' images of Saturn provided the first visual confirmation of
the storm, now revealed in detail by the new views from Cassini


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


Personally I think the storm looks like an alien
 with floppy ears and it wouldn't suprise me if this doesn't get the
conspiracy theorists busy !!



 



Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/02/2006 22:55:05
Pluto's new moons likely born with Charon
SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: February 22, 2006

In a paper published today in Nature, a team of U.S. scientists led
by Dr. S. Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI),
concludes that two newly discovered small moons of Pluto were very
likely born in the same giant impact that gave birth to Pluto's much
larger moon, Charon. The team also argues that other, large binary
Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) may also frequently harbor small moons,
and that the small moons orbiting Pluto may generate debris rings
around Pluto.





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This artist's rendering illustrates a giant impact
scenario similar to one that likely resulted in the two, newly
discovered moons of Pluto. Credit: Southwest Research Institute,
painting by Don Davis
 


(I'm so pleased that they mention it's an artists impression !!)

The team making these findings included Drs. Bill Merline, John
Spencer, Andrew Steffl, Eliot Young and Leslie Young of SwRI; Dr.
 Hal Weaver of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory; Max Mutchler of the Space Telescope Science Institute;
and Dr. Marc Buie of the Lowell Observatory. This team discovered
Pluto's two small moons in 2005 using sensitive images obtained by
the Hubble Space Telescope, as reported by Weaver et al. in an
accompanying paper in the February 23 issue of Nature.
 

"The evidence for the small satellites being born in the Charon-
forming collision is strong; it is based around the facts that the
small moons are in circular orbits in the same orbital plane as
Charon, and that they are also in, or very near, orbital resonance
with Charon," says lead author Stern, executive director of the SwRI
Space Science and Engineering Division.



Collisions, both large and small, are major processes that shaped
many aspects of our solar system. Scientists use computer
simulations to study the origin of planetary systems formed by
impact events of a scale much larger than could be simulated in a
laboratory. Another large collision, like the one thought to have
created Charon and Pluto's small moons, is believed responsible for
the formation of the Earth-moon pair.


"The idea that Pluto's small moons and Charon resulted from a giant
impact now seems compelling. Future simulations to determine the
characteristics of the impact required to produce all three
satellites should provide improved constraints on the early
dynamical history of the Kuiper Belt," adds Dr. Robin Canup,
director of SwRI's Space Studies Department, who in 2005 produced
the most comprehensive models to date of the Charon-forming impact.



Source: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.com

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/02/2006 18:17:56
Rhea's wisps in colour
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: February 23, 2006



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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08120.jpg), it's worth it...makes a nice desktop image


Bright, wispy markings stretch across a region of darker terrain on
Saturn's moon Rhea. In this extreme false-color view, the roughly
north-south fractures occur within strips of material (which appear
greenish here) that are a different color from the surrounding
cratered landscape.


To create the false-color view, ultraviolet, green and infrared
images were combined into a single black and white picture that
isolates and maps regional color differences. Most of the large-
scale variations in brightness across the surface are removed by
this process. This "color map" was then superimposed over a clear-
filter image.


The origin of the color differences is not yet understood, but it
may be caused by subtle differences in the surface composition or
grain sizes making up the icy soil.


Wispy markings were seen on the trailing hemispheres of both Rhea
and Dione in images taken by NASA's Voyager spacecraft, and were
hypothesized by some researchers to be the result of material
extruded onto the surface by ice volcanism. Cassini's earlier
revelation of the braided fractures on Dione led to speculation that
Rhea's wisps might also be created by fractures.

This view shows terrain on the trailing hemisphere of Rhea (1,528
kilometers, or 949 miles across). North is up.


The image was taken using the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera
 at a distance of approximately 245,000 kilometers (152,000 miles)
from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 30
degrees. Image scale is 1 kilometer (4,771 feet) per pixel.



SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/03/2006 12:29:33
Hubble's largest galaxy portrait showcases Pinwheel
HUBBLE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: February 28, 2006



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This new Hubble image reveals the gigantic Pinwheel Galaxy, one of
the best known examples of "grand design spirals," and its
supergiant star-forming regions in unprecedented detail. The image
is the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy ever
released. Credit: European Space Agency & NASA

Download larger image version here (http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/screen/heic0602a.jpg)


Giant galaxies weren't assembled in a day. Neither was this Hubble
Space Telescope image of the face-on spiral galaxy Messier 101 (the
Pinwheel Galaxy). The image is the largest and most detailed photo
 of a spiral galaxy ever released from Hubble. The galaxy's portrait
is actually composed from 51 individual Hubble exposures, in
addition to elements from images from ground-based photos. The final
 composite image measures a whopping 16,000 by 12,000 pixels.
 

The Hubble observations that went into assembling this image
 composite were retrieved from the Hubble archive and were
 originally acquired for a range of Hubble projects: determining the
expansion rate of the universe; studying the formation of star
clusters in giant starbirth regions; finding the stars responsible
for intense X-ray emission and discovering blue supergiant stars. As
an example of the many treasures hiding in this immense image, a
group led by K.D. Kuntz (Johns Hopkins University and NASA) recently
catalogued nearly 3000 previously undetected star clusters in it.

The giant spiral disk of stars, dust and gas is 170,000 light-years
across or nearly twice the diameter of our Milky Way. The galaxy is
estimated to contain at least one trillion stars. Approximately 100
billion of these stars alone might be like our Sun in terms of
temperature and lifetime. Hubble's high resolution reveals millions
of the galaxy's individual stars in this image.





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Upper left: Background galaxies far behind the Pinwheel Galaxy. The
galaxies are clearly reddened by the dust in the Pinwheel. Upper
middle: Dust lanes in the Pinwheel galaxy. The dust particles
scatter blue light the most and therefore colour the light from
background stars red. The same effect is seen in sunsets on the
Earth. Upper right: A selection of some of the millions of
individual stars visible in Messier 101 with Hubble's sharp vision.
 In total it is estimated that the Pinwheel galaxy contains about
one trillion stars. Lower left: An example of some of the 3000
bright clusters of sizzling newborn blue stars in the Pinwheel
galaxy. Lower middle: Another "grand design" spiral lies behind the
Pinwheel Galaxy itself and is visible through its disk. Lower right:
 Two distant galaxies behind Messier 101 and a collection of
individual foreground stars from one of its spiral arms. Credit:
European Space Agency & NASA

Download larger image version here (http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/screen/heic0602b.jpg)


The Pinwheel's spiral arms are sprinkled with large regions of star-
forming nebulae. These nebulae are areas of intense star formation within molecular hydrogen clouds. Brilliant young clusters of
sizzling newborn blue stars trace out the spiral arms. The disk of
the galaxy is so thin that Hubble easily sees many more distant
galaxies lying behind the foreground galaxy.


The Pinwheel Galaxy lies in the northern circumpolar constellation,
Ursa Major (The Great Bear) at a distance of 25 million light-years
from Earth. We are seeing the galaxy from Earth today as it was at
the beginning of Earth's Miocene Period when mammals flourished and
the Mastodon first appeared on Earth. The galaxy fills an area on
the sky of one-fifth the area of the full moon


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/03/2006 14:13:22
A frozen fountain near Paris' Luxembourg Park
AFP Thursday March 2, 01:54 PM




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A frozen fountain near Paris' Luxembourg Park in January 2006. The
WWF environmental group warned that northern European countries will
be more exposed to severe winter storms unless power stations in
particular drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions. A frozen
fountain near Paris' Luxembourg Park in January 2006. The WWF
environmental group warned that northern European countries will be
more exposed to severe winter storms unless power stations in
particular drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions.


SOURCE: AFP Via YAHOO NEWS

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/03/2006 20:53:10
A shocking surprise in Stephan's Quintet

NASA/JPL PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: March 3, 2006
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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Max Planck Institute
Download larger image version here
 (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA02587.jpg)


This false-color composite image of the Stephan's Quintet galaxy
cluster clearly shows one of the largest shock waves ever seen
(green arc). The wave was produced by one galaxy falling toward
another at speeds of more than one million miles per hour. The image
is made up of data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and a ground-
based telescope in Spain.


Four of the five galaxies in this picture are involved in a violent
collision, which has already stripped most of the hydrogen gas from
the interiors of the galaxies. The centers of the galaxies appear as
bright yellow-pink knots inside a blue haze of stars, and the galaxy
 producing all the turmoil, NGC7318b, is the left of two small
bright regions in the middle right of the image. One galaxy, the
large spiral at the bottom left of the image, is a foreground object
and is not associated with the cluster.


The titanic shock wave, larger than our own Milky Way galaxy, was
detected by the ground-based telescope using visible-light
wavelengths. It consists of hot hydrogen gas. As NGC7318b collides
with gas spread throughout the cluster, atoms of hydrogen are heated
in the shock wave, producing the green glow.


Stephan's Quintet is located 300 million light-years away in the
Pegasus constellation.




SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
 



Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: JimBob on 07/03/2006 11:52:48
Nice happy face, Niel.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 07/03/2006 20:56:19
quote:
Originally posted by JimBob

Nice happy face, Niel.



Here's another happy face , just for you Jim !! [:D]

Japanese researchers extract vanilla from cow dung

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A milk cow eats grain at a farm. Japanese researchers
have succeeded in making the sweet smell of vanilla come out of the
last thing people could imagine -- cow dung



In a world-first recycling project, a one-hour heating and
pressuring process allows cow feces to produce vanillin, the main
component of the vanilla-bean extract, according to researcher Mayu
Yamamoto.


The vanillin extracted from the feces could be used in products such
as shampoo and aromatic candles but not in food, said Yamamoto, who
works for the Research Institute of the state-run International
Medical Center of Japan.


Compared with usual vanilla, "this component is exactly the same but
it would be difficult for people to accept it in food, given the
recent rules of disclosing the origins of ingredients," she said.

The production cost using dung is less than a half of making
vanillin out of vanilla beans, she added.


The feces of grass-eating animals is abundant with lignin, the
chemical compound that exists in plants and trees and is used to
produce vanilla aroma, Yamamoto said.


"Lignin is difficult to decompose," she said. "Farmers are troubled
by how to dispose properly of animal excrement. We tried to solve
this from a recycling viewpoint," she said.


After taking the vanillin, the processed feces could be returned to
the soil, she said.


The research has been done in cooperation with major Japanese
chemicals firm Sekisui Chemical.


The research team aims to develop a machine to handle several tons
of feces a day and put it in practical use in two-to-three years.


SOURCE: AFP vIA yahoonews



Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: JimBob on 08/03/2006 18:20:43
THANKS, NEIL !!!!!!

She is cute. Is she married?  [8D]
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/03/2006 14:15:16
quote:
Originally posted by JimBob

THANKS, NEIL !!!!!!

She is cute. Is she married?  [8D]



I think she is Jim, but I believe there are udder cuties available !![:D]

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/03/2006 14:22:13
   

Impact of Climate Warming on Polar Ice Sheets Confirmed03.08.06
   

In the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of the massive ice
sheets covering both Greenland and Antarctica, NASA scientists
confirm climate warming is changing how much water remains locked in
Earth's largest storehouse of ice and snow.

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Antarctica lost much more ice to the sea than it
gained from snowfall, resulting in an increase in sea level.
Antarctica lost much more ice to the sea than it gained from
snowfall, resulting in an increase in sea level. Credit: NASA/SVS


Other recent studies have shown increasing losses of ice in parts of
these sheets. This new survey is the first to inventory the losses
of ice and the addition of new snow on both in a consistent and
comprehensive way throughout an entire decade.


The survey shows that there was a net loss of ice from the combined
polar ice sheets between 1992 and 2002 and a corresponding rise in
sea level. The survey documents for the first time extensive
thinning of the West Antarctic ice shelves and an increase in
snowfall in the interior of Greenland, as well as thinning at the
edges. All are signs of a warming climate predicted by computer
 models.

The survey, published in the Journal of Glaciology, combines new
satellite mapping of the height of the ice sheets from two European
Space Agency satellites. It also used previous NASA airborne mapping
 of the edges of the Greenland ice sheets to determine how fast the
thickness is changing.

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The Greenland ice sheet gained more ice from snowfall at high
altitudes than it lost from melting ice along its coast. The
Greenland ice sheet gained more ice from snowfall at high altitudes
than it lost from melting ice along its coast. Credit: NASA/SVS


In Greenland, the survey saw large ice losses along the southeastern
 coast and a large increase in ice thickness at higher elevations in
the interior due to relatively high rates of snowfall. This study
suggests there was a slight gain in the total mass of frozen water
in the ice sheet over the decade studied, contrary to previous
assessments.


This situation may have changed in just the past few years,
according to lead author Jay Zwally of NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, Md. Last month NASA scientists at the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., reported a speed up of ice
flow into the sea from several Greenland glaciers. That study
included observations through 2005; Zwally's survey concluded with
2002 data.


When the scientists added up the overall gains and losses of ice
from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, there was a net loss of
ice to the sea. The amount of water added to the oceans (20 billion
tons) is equivalent to the total amount of freshwater used in homes,
businesses and farming in New York, New Jersey and Virginia each year.

"The study indicates that the contribution of the ice sheets to
recent sea-level rise during the decade studied was much smaller
than expected, just two percent of the recent increase of nearly
three millimeters a year," says Zwally. "Continuing research using
NASA satellites and other data will narrow the uncertainties in this
important issue."


NASA is continuing to monitor the polar ice sheets with the Ice,
 Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), launched in January
2003. ICESat uses a laser beam to measure the elevation of ice
sheets with unprecedented accuracy three times a year. The first
comprehensive ice sheet survey conducted by ICESat is expected early
next year, said Zwally, who is the mission's project scientist.


SOURCE: NASA


Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/03/2006 18:43:32
Double helix nebula found in center of the Milky Way
UCLA NEWS RELEASE
Posted: March 15, 2006

Astronomers report an unprecedented elongated double helix nebula
near the center of our Milky Way galaxy, using observations from
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The part of the nebula the
astronomers observed stretches 80 light years in length. The
research is published March 16 in the journal Nature



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The double helix nebula. The spots are infrared-luminous
 stars, mostly red giants and red supergiants. Many other stars are
present in this region, but are too dim to appear even in this
sensitive infrared image. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA


 
 
"We see two intertwining strands wrapped around each other as in a
DNA molecule," said Mark Morris, a UCLA professor of physics and
astronomy, and lead author. "Nobody has ever seen anything like that
before in the cosmic realm. Most nebulae are either spiral galaxies
full of stars or formless amorphous conglomerations of dust and gas -
 space weather. What we see indicates a high degree of order."


The double helix nebula is approximately 300 light years from the
enormous black hole at the center of the Milky Way. (The Earth is
more than 25,000 light years from the black hole at the galactic
center.)

The Spitzer Space Telescope, an infrared telescope, is imaging the
sky at unprecedented sensitivity and resolution; Spitzer's
sensitivity and spatial resolution were required to see the double
helix nebula clearly.


"We know the galactic center has a strong magnetic field that is
highly ordered and that the magnetic field lines are oriented
perpendicular to the plane of the galaxy," Morris said. "If you take
these magnetic field lines and twist them at their base, that sends
what is called a torsional wave up the magnetic field lines.


"You can regard these magnetic field lines as akin to a taut rubber
band," Morris added. "If you twist one end, the twist will travel up
the rubber band."

Offering another analogy, he said the wave is like what you see if
you take a long loose rope attached at its far end, throw a loop,
and watch the loop travel down the rope.



"That's what is being sent down the magnetic field lines of our
galaxy," Morris said. "We see this twisting torsional wave
propagating out. We don't see it move because it takes 100,000 years
to move from where we think it was launched to where we now see it,
 but it's moving fast - about 1,000 kilometers per second - because
the magnetic field is so strong at the galactic center - about 1,000
times stronger than where we are in the galaxy's suburbs."


A strong, large-scale magnetic field can affect the galactic orbits
of molecular clouds by exerting a drag on them. It can inhibit star
formation, and can guide a wind of cosmic rays away from the central
 region; understanding this strong magnetic field is important for
understanding quasars and violent phenomena in a galactic nucleus.
Morris will continue to probe the magnetic field at the galactic
center in future research.

This magnetic field is strong enough to cause activity that does not
occur elsewhere in the galaxy; the magnetic energy near the galactic
center is capable of altering the activity of our galactic nucleus
and by analogy the nuclei of many galaxies, including quasars, which
are among the most luminous objects in the universe. All galaxies
that have a well-concentrated galactic center may also have a strong
magnetic field at their center, Morris said, but so far, ours is the
only galaxy where the view is good enough to study it.


Morris has argued for many years that the magnetic field at the
galactic center is extremely strong; the research published in
Nature strongly supports that view.


The magnetic field at the galactic center, though 1,000 times weaker
than the magnetic field on the sun, occupies such a large volume
that it has vastly more energy than the magnetic field on the sun.
It has the energy equivalent of 1,000 supernovae.


What launches the wave, twisting the magnetic field lines near the
center of the Milky Way? Morris thinks the answer is not the
monstrous black hole at the galactic center, at least not directly.
 

Orbiting the black hole like the rings of Saturn, several light
years away, is a massive disk of gas called the circumnuclear disk;
 Morris hypothesizes that the magnetic field lines are anchored in
this disk. The disk orbits the black hole approximately once every
10,000 years.


"Once every 10,000 years is exactly what we need to explain the
twisting of the magnetic field lines that we see in the double helix
nebula," Morris said.


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/03/2006 01:45:17
Huge crowds extend Darwin exhibit in New York

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A variety of skulls are on display as part of an
exhibition on Charles Darwin at the American Museum of Natural History in
New York. The exhibition has been extended by five months amid an
overwhelming public response to what was touted as a scholarly rebuke to
opponents of teaching evolution in US schools


NEW YORK (AFP) - A monumental Charles Darwin exhibition in New York has been extended by five months amid an overwhelming public response to what was touted as a scholarly rebuke to opponents of teaching evolution in US schools.

The American Museum of Natural History said Wednesday that nearly 200,000 people had visited "Darwin" since it opened three months ago.

Originally slated to close at the end of this month, the exhibition will now run through August 20, said museum spokesman Joshua Schnakenberg.

"Darwin" had opened amid furious debate in many school districts over the teaching of the 19th century naturalist's evolutionary theory and the first trial on the teaching of the God-centered alternative favoured by many religious groups, "intelligent design," or ID.

That trial, in Pennsylvania, ended in defeat for the evangelical right with the judge in the case decrying the "breathtaking inanity" of the school board in the town of Dover which backed the concept that nature is so complex it must be the work of a superior being.

"Our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom," the judge said in his ruling in December.

An early section of the New York exhibit is devoted to the question, "What is a Theory?" and seeks to clarify the distinction between scientific theories and non-scientific explanations about the origins and diversity of life.

"This is really for the schoolchildren of America. This is the evidence of evolution," said the exhibit's curator, Niles Eldridge.

In a Gallup poll released last October, 53 percent of American adults agreed with the statement that God created humans in their present form exactly the way the Bible describes it.

Thirty-one percent stood by the "intelligent design" stance, while only 12 percent said humans have evolved from other forms of life and "God has no part."


SOURCE: YAHOO NEWS via AFP

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/03/2006 01:48:30
Great galactic buddies
SPITZER SCIENCE CENTER RELEASE


Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have conducted a cosmic safari to seek out a rare galactic species. Their specimens -- clusters of galaxies in the very distant universe -- are few and far between, and have hardly ever been detected beyond a distance of 7 billion light-years from Earth.




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In this false-color composite, some of the oldest
galaxy clusters in the universe pose for Spitzer's infrared array
camera. The individual galaxies that make up the distant clusters
are shown as red dots in all four images. The green blobs are Milky
Way stars along the line of sight, and the blue specks are faint
galaxies at various distances along the line of sight. The green and
blue data are from a visible-light, ground-based telescope. Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCDavis/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Download larger image versionhere (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA02038.jpg)

 
To find the clusters, the team carefully sifted through Spitzer infrared pictures and ground-based catalogues; estimated rough distances based on the cluster galaxies' colors; and verified suspicions using a spectrograph instrument at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

Ultimately, the expedition resulted in quite a galactic catch -- the most distant galaxy cluster ever seen, located 9 billion light-years away. This means the cluster lived in an era when the universe was a mere 4.5 billion years old. The universe is believed to be 13.7 billion years old.

"Detecting a galaxy cluster 9 billion light-years away is very exciting," said the study's lead investigator, Dr. Peter Eisenhardt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "It's really amazing that Spitzer's 85-centimeter telescope can see 9 billion years back in time."

Using the same methods, the astronomers also found three other clusters living between 7 and 9 billion light-years away.

"Spitzer is an excellent instrument for detecting very distant galaxy clusters because they stand out so brightly in the infrared," said co-investigator Dr. Mark Brodwin, also of JPL. "You can think of these distant galaxy cluster surveys as a game of 'Where's Waldo?' With an optical telescope you can spot 'Waldo,' or the distant galaxy clusters, by carefully searching for them amongst a sea of faint galaxies."

"But in the Spitzer data, it's as though Waldo is wearing a bright neon hat and can be easily picked out of the crowd," Brodwin added.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. A typical cluster can contain thousands of galaxies and trillions of stars. Because of their huge size and mass, they are relatively rare. For example, if Earth were to represent the entire universe, then countries would be the equivalent of galaxies, and continents would be the galaxy clusters.

Galaxy clusters grow like snowballs, picking up new galaxies from gravitational interactions over billions of years. For this reason, team members say these behemoths should be even rarer in the very distant universe.

"The ultimate goal of this research is to find out when the galaxies in this and other distant clusters formed," said co-investigator Dr. Adam Stanford, of the University of California at Davis. Stanford is the lead author of a paper on the most distant galaxy cluster's discovery, which was published in the December 2005 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

This is the second time Eisenhardt and Stanford have broken the record for capturing the most distant galaxy cluster. Both say they accidentally broke the record in 1997 when they detected a cluster located 8.7 billion light-years away. The discovery was made by a deep survey of a 0.03-degree patch of sky, or an area significantly smaller than a pea held out at arms length, for 30 nights at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.

"We were lucky in 1997 because we weren't looking for galaxy clusters and found the most distant one ever detected in a very small patch of sky," said Stanford. "Because galaxy clusters are so massive and rare, you typically need to deeply survey a large area of sky to find them."

"With Spitzer's great infrared sensitivity we surveyed more deeply in 90 seconds than we could in hours of exposure in the 1997 observations, and we used this advantage to survey a region 300 times larger," adds Eisenhardt.

The 9 billion-year-old cluster is just one of 25 the team captured on their Spitzer safari. They are currently preparing for more observations this spring at the W.M. Keck Observatory to confirm the distance of additional galaxy clusters from their sample. According to Eisenhardt, some of the clusters awaiting confirmation may be even more distant than the current record holder.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/03/2006 20:37:43
Cannibal stars like their food hot, XMM-Newton reveals
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: March 26, 2006

The European Space Agency's XMM-Newton observatory has seen vast clouds of superheated gas, whirling around miniature stars and escaping from being devoured by the stars' enormous gravitational fields - giving a new insight into the eating habits of the galaxy's "cannibal" stars.

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Artist's impression of a vast cloud of superheated gas
 whirling around an asteroid-sized cannibal star, part of a low-mass
 X-ray binary star system. Credit: ESA

 


The clouds of gas range in size from a few hundred thousand kilometres to a few million kilometres, ten to one hundred times larger than the Earth. They are composed of iron vapour and other chemicals at temperatures of many millions of degrees.

"This gas is extremely hot, much hotter than the outer atmosphere of the Sun," said Maria Diaz Trigo of ESA's European Science and Technology Research Centre (ESTEC), who led the research.

ESA's XMM-Newton x-ray observatory made the discovery when it observed six so-called 'low-mass X-ray binary' stars (LMXBs). The LMXBs are pairs of stars in which one is the tiny core of a dead star.

Measuring just 15-20 kilometres across and comparable in size to an asteroid, each dead star is a tightly packed mass of neutrons containing more than 1.4 times the mass of the Sun.

Its extreme density generates a powerful gravitational field that rips gas from its 'living' companion star. The gas spirals around the neutron star, forming a disc, before being sucked down and crushed onto its surface, a process known as 'accretion'.

The newly discovered clouds sit where the river of matter from the companion star strikes the disc. The extreme temperatures have ripped almost all of the electrons from the iron atoms, leaving them carrying extreme electrical charges. This process is known as 'ionisation'.

The discovery solves a puzzle that has dogged astronomers for several decades. Certain LMXBs appear to blink on and off at X-ray wavelengths. These are 'edge-on' systems, in which the orbit of each gaseous disc lines up with Earth.

In previous attempts to simulate the blinking, clouds of low-temperature gas were postulated to be orbiting the neutron star, periodically blocking the X-rays. However, these models never reproduced the observed behaviour well enough.

XMM-Newton solves this by revealing the ionised iron. "It means that these clouds are much hotter than we anticipated," said Diaz. With high-temperature clouds, the computer models now simulate much better the dipping behaviour.

Some 100 known LMXBs populate our galaxy, the Milky Way. Each one is a stellar furnace, pumping X-rays into space. They represent a small-scale model of the accretion thought to be taking place in the very heart of some galaxies. One in every ten galaxies shows some kind of intense activity at its centre.

This activity is thought to be coming from a gigantic black hole, pulling stars to pieces and devouring their remains. Being much closer to Earth, the LMXBs are easier to study than the active galaxies.

"Accretion processes are still not well understood. The more we understand about the LMXBs, the more useful they will be as analogues to help us understand the active galactic nuclei," says Diaz.

SOURCE;SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM





Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 26/04/2006 16:58:34
Images from Venus Give Clues About Planet's Climate

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This image from Thursday shows a composite view of Venus' south pole


Scientists in Europe have released their first photos of Venus'
southern pole sent from the Venus Express spacecraft. They show
dense, swirling clouds similar to formations found at the planet's
northern pole.


The images are the first pictures ever taken of the neighboring
planet's southern pole and provide researchers with new data about
Venus' largely unknown atmosphere. The spacecraft's monitoring
camera will take photographs over the next few months with aim of
getting a more comprehensive picture of cloud formations and climate
developments.


 

"We can see there is a twister here that is similar to that which we
know from the northern pole," said Horst Uwe Keller, leader of the
 team operating the craft's wide-angle, multichannel camera.


The clouds are 13 miles deep and completely enclose Venus. With
infrared technology that enables the camera to peer though the
clouds, scientists hope to determine how the sulphuric acid around
the planet was formed, and find the cause of the high winds that
send it billowing in massive clouds.


 
Shared characteristics with Earth?

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Venus Express is studying the cloud system in the planet's violent atmosphere

Researchers want to learn when and why the planet's extreme
atmosphere developed the way it did, featuring temperatures reaching
 up to 500 degrees Celsius and hurricane-like storms. They also want
 to find out if Venus ever had an atmosphere or other features more
similar to Earth's.


 

"There's also the question of how large the zone in the universe is
 where life can develop," said Keller.


 

Europe's first space probe to Venus slipped smoothly into orbit on
Tuesday. In the next several weeks, scientists will run more
thorough tests on the spacecraft's instruments and by June, all
instruments should be fully functioning.


 

In the coming months, the Venus Express will tighten its orbit
around the planet, providing scientists more detailed and revealing
images of the planet from a distance of about 155 miles (250
kilometers).

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A picture released Thursday shows clouds at the south pole

SOURCE: /www.dw-world.de/

Other sauces are Banana & Toffee sauce ...yummy !!

:D

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 26/04/2006 17:03:35
Crescent Titan with rings
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: April 15, 2006


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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08157.jpg)
 

This poetic scene shows the giant, smog-enshrouded moon Titan behind
 Saturn's nearly edge-on rings. Much smaller Epimetheus (116
kilometers, or 72 miles across) is just visible to the left of Titan
(5,150 kilometers, or 3,200 miles across).
 

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft
narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 4.1 million
kilometers (2.5 million miles) from Titan. The image scale is 25
kilometers (16 miles) per pixel on Titan. The brightness of
Epimetheus was enhanced for visibility.


The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the
European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science
Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its
two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL.
 The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science
Institute in Boulder, Colo



SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 26/04/2006 17:09:37
Hubble spies gemstones in the southern sky
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 18, 2006


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<font color="blue"><b>Image credit: European Space Agency & NASA
Download larger image version </font id="blue"> here (http://www.spacetelescope.org/goodies/printlayouts/screen/heic0603.jpg)</b>
 
 
The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the most detailed images to
 date of the open star clusters NGC 265 and NGC 290 in the Small
Magellanic Cloud -- two sparkling sets of gemstones in the southern
sky.
 

These images, taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, show
a myriad of stars in crystal clear detail. The brilliant open star
clusters are located about 200,000 light-years away and are roughly
65 light-years across.


Star clusters can be held together tightly by gravity, as is the
case with densely packed crowds of hundreds of thousands of stars,
 called globular clusters. Or, they can be more loosely bound,
irregularly shaped groupings of up to several thousands of stars,
 like the open clusters shown in this image.


The stars in these open clusters are all relatively young and were
born from the same cloud of interstellar gas. Just as old school-
friends drift apart after graduation, the stars in an open cluster
will only remain together for a limited time and gradually disperse
into space, pulled away by the gravitational tugs of other passing
clusters and clouds of gas. Most open clusters dissolve within a few
hundred million years, whereas the more tightly bound globular
clusters can exist for many billions of years.


Open star clusters make excellent astronomical laboratories. The
stars may have different masses, but all are at about the same
distance, move in the same general direction, and have approximately
the same age and chemical composition. They can be studied and
compared to find out more about stellar evolution, the ages of such
clusters, and much more.


The Small Magellanic Cloud, which hosts the two star clusters, is
one of the small satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. It can be seen
with the unaided eye as a hazy patch in the constellation Tucana
(the Toucan) in the Southern Hemisphere. The Small Magellanic Cloud
is rich in gas nebulae and star clusters. It is most likely that
this irregular galaxy has been disrupted through repeated
interactions with the Milky Way, resulting in the vigorous star-
forming activity seen throughout the cloud. NGC 265 and NGC 290 may
very well owe their existence to these close encounters with the
Milky Way.



The images were taken in October and November 2004 through F435W,
F555W, and F814W filters (shown in blue, green, and red,
respectively).


The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation
between NASA and the European Space Agency. The Space Telescope
Science Institute in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations.
The Institute is operated for NASA by the Association of
Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., Washington.



<u>SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM</u>




<font color="blue">Men are the same as women, just inside out !</font id="blue">
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: time-cop on 28/04/2006 02:28:28
well mr hubble aint so clever,he missed out m3227895beta a small binary star to the right of ngc285,  naaah im talking tosh,ace piccy tho [8D]

http://www.armybarmy.org
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/05/2006 15:08:49
XMM-Newton observes fossil galaxy cluster

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XMM-Newton observations of the fossil
galaxy cluster RX J1416.5+2315, show a cloud of hot gas emitting X-rays (in
blue). The cloud, reaching temperatures of about 50 million degrees, extend
over 3.5 million light years and surround a giant elliptical galaxy believed to
have grown to its present size by cannibalising its neighbours.

Credit: Credits: Khosroshahi, Maughan,
Ponman, Jones, ESA, ING





 
Taking advantage of the high sensitivity of ESA's XMM-Newton and the sharp vision of NASA's Chandra X-Ray space observatories, astronomers have studied the behaviour of massive fossil galaxy clusters, trying to find out how they find the time to form…
Many galaxies reside in galaxy groups, where they experience close encounters with their neighbours and interact gravitationally with the dark matter - mass which permeates the whole intergalactic space but is not directly visible because it doesn't emit radiation. These interactions cause large galaxies to spiral slowly towards the centre of the group, where they can merge to form a single giant central galaxy, which progressively swallows all its neighbours.

If this process runs to completion, and no new galaxies fall into the group, then the result is an object dubbed a 'fossil group', in which almost all the stars are collected into a single giant galaxy, which sits at the centre of a group-sized dark matter halo. The presence of this halo can be inferred from the presence of extensive hot gas, which fills the gravitational potential wells of many groups and emits X-rays.

A group of international astronomers studied in detail the physical features of the most massive and hot known fossil group, with the main aim to solve a puzzle and understand the formation of massive fossils. In fact, according to simple theoretical models, they simply could not have formed in the time available to them!

The fossil group investigated, called 'RX J1416.4+2315', is dominated by a single elliptical galaxy located one and a half thousand million light years away from us, and it is 500 thousand million times more luminous than the Sun.

The XMM-Newton and Chandra X-ray observations, combined with optical and infrared analyses, revealed that group sits within a hot gas halo extending over three million light years and heated to a temperature of 50 million degrees, mainly due to shock heating as a result of gravitational collapse.

Such a high temperature, about as twice as the previously estimated values, is usually characteristic of galaxy clusters. Another interesting feature of the whole cluster system is its large mass, reaching over 300 trillion solar masses. Only about two percent of it in the form of stars in galaxies, and 15 percent in the form of hot gas emitting X-rays. The major contributor to the mass of the system is the invisible dark matter, which gravitationally binds the other components.

According to calculations, a fossil cluster as massive as RX J1416.4+2315 would have not had the time to form during the whole age of the universe. The key process in the formation of such fossil groups is the process known as 'dynamical friction', whereby a large galaxy loses its orbital energy to the surrounding dark matter. This process is less effective when galaxies are moving more quickly, which they do in massive 'clusters' of galaxies.

This, in principle, sets an upper limit to the size and mass of fossil groups. The exact limits are, however, still unknown since the geometry and mass distribution of groups may differ from that assumed in simple theoretical models.

"Simple models to describe the dynamical friction assume that the merging galaxies move along circular orbits around the centre of the cluster mass", says Habib Khosroshahi from the University of Birmingham (UK), first author of the results. "Instead, if we assume that galaxies fall towards the centre of the developing cluster in an asymmetric way, such as along a filament, the dynamic friction and so the cluster formation process may occur in a shorter time scale," he continues. Such a hypothesis is supported by the highly elongated X-ray emission we observed in RX J1416.4+2315, to sustain the idea of a collapse along a dominant filament."

The optical brightness of the central dominant galaxy in this fossil is similar to that of brightest galaxies in large clusters (called 'BCGs'). According to the astronomers, this implies that such galaxies could have originated in fossil groups around which the cluster builds up later. This offers an alternative mechanism for the formation of BCGs compared to the existing scenarios in which BCGs form within clusters during or after the cluster collapse.

"The study of massive fossil groups such as RX J1416.4+2315 is important to test our understanding of the formation of structure in the universe," adds Khosroshahi. "Cosmological simulations are underway which attempt to reproduce the properties we observe, in order to understand how these extreme systems develop," he concludes.

SOURCE: EUREKALERT

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/05/2006 15:33:40
Evolutionary Back Story: Thoroughly modern spine supported human ancestor
Bruce Bower

Bones from a spinal column discovered at a nearly 1.8-million-year-old site in central Asia support the controversial possibility that ancient human ancestors spoke to one another.



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WIDE OPEN. A recently discovered Homo erectus vertebra
from central Asia (left) displays a larger spinal cord canal than does
 a corresponding bone (right) from a skeleton that had been found in
Kenya.

Meyer



Excavations in 2005 at Dmanisi, Georgia, yielded five vertebrae from a Homo erectus individual, says anthropologist Marc R. Meyer of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The finds occurred in previously dated sediment that has yielded several skulls now attributed to H. erectusThe new discoveries represent the oldest known vertebrae for the genus Homo, Meyer announced last week at the annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The fossils consist of one lumbar, two thoracic, and two cervical vertebrae.

Meyer and his colleagues—David Lordkipanidze and Abesalom Vekua, both of the Georgian State Museum in Tbilisi—compared the size, shape, and volume of the Dmanisi vertebrae with more than 2,200 corresponding bones from people, chimpanzees, and gorillas.

"The Dmanisi spinal column falls within the human range and would have comfortably accommodated a modern human spinal cord," Meyer says.

Moreover, the fossil vertebrae would have provided ample structural support for the respiratory muscles needed to articulate words, he asserts. Although it's impossible to confirm that our prehistoric ancestors talked, Meyer notes, H. erectus at Dmanisi faced no respiratory limitations on speech.

In contrast, the 1984 discovery in Kenya of a boy's 1.6-million-year-old skeleton, identified by some researchers as H. erectus and by others as Homo ergaster, yielded small, chimplike vertebrae. Researchers initially suspected that the ancient youth and his presumably small-spined comrades lacked the respiratory control to talk as people do today.

In the past 5 years, investigators including Bruce Latimer of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History have suggested that the prehistoric boy offers a misleading view of H. erectus' backbone. They contend that growth of the bony canal encasing his spinal cord had been stunted, and spinal cord compression would have impeded his movement and caused limb weakness.

Finding ancient, humanlike vertebrae at Dmanisi fits with Latimer's view, Meyer says. Infant malnutrition, which often arrests growth of the human vertebral canal, may have affected the H. erectus youth, Meyer suggests.

The ancient boy, who died at age 10 or so, would have required intensive protection and provisioning, Meyer asserts. "Both altruism and spoken language may have been part of the behavioral repertoire of early Homo," the Pennsylvania researcher says.

The modern-looking vertebrae at Dmanisi, remarks David Frayer of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, comport with earlier fossil-skull studies indicating that early Homo possessed a speech-ready vocal tract.

Robert C. McCarthy of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton disagrees. At the Paleoanthropology Society meeting, he presented vocal-tract reconstructions for various ancient Homo species suggesting that the capacity to articulate speech as well as people do now emerged exclusively in Homo sapiens around 50,000 years ago.

Before then, all members of the Homo genus—including H. sapiens—possessed a short set of neck vertebrae, resulting in a vocal tract with a restricted range of speech sounds, McCarthy and his coworkers argue.

Many populations today, including Australian aborigines, possess neck vertebrae comparable in length to those that McCarthy's team considered inadequate for modern speech, Meyer responds.


SOURCE:SCIENCENEWS.COM

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/05/2006 18:18:14
The record of Rhea
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: May 14, 2006


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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image versionhere  (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08173.jpg)


Cassini looks down upon Rhea, whose cratered surface was already ancient before any complex life developed on Earth. The terrain seen here has probably changed little in the past billion years.

This view shows terrain on the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Rhea (1,528 kilometers, or 949 miles across). North is up.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 94,000 kilometers (59,000 miles) from Rhea and at a Sun-Rhea-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 109 degrees. Image scale is 558 meters (1,832 feet) per pixel.

SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/05/2006 14:43:17
Dwarfs gave way to giants
HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE
Posted: May 17, 2006

The first galaxies were small - about 10,000 times less massive than the Milky
 Way. Billions of years ago, those mini-furnaces forged a multitude of hot,
massive stars. In the process, they sowed the seeds for their own
destruction by bathing the universe in ultraviolet radiation. According to
theory, that radiation shut off further dwarf galaxy formation by both ionizing
 and heating surrounding hydrogen gas. Now, astronomers Stuart Wyithe
(University of Melbourne) and Avi Loeb (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics) are presenting direct evidence in support of this theory.


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This artist's conception shows a collection of hot, blue stars
comprising an early dwarf galaxy surrounded by red hydrogen gas. Credit:
David A. Aguilar (CfA)

 
 
Wyithe and Loeb showed that fewer, larger galaxies, rather than more
numerous, smaller galaxies, dominated the billion-year-old universe. Dwarf
galaxy formation essentially shut off only a few hundred million years after the
 Big Bang.


"The first dwarf galaxies sabotaged their own growth and that of their
siblings," says Loeb. "This was theoretically expected, but we identified the
first observational evidence for the self-destructive behavior of early
galaxies."

Their research is being reported in the May 18, 2006 issue of Nature.


Nearly 14 billion years ago, the Big Bang filled the universe with hot matter in
the form of electrons and hydrogen and helium ions. As space expanded and
cooled, electrons and ions combined to form neutral atoms. Those atoms
efficiently absorbed light, yielding a pervasive dark fog throughout space.
Astronomers have dubbed this era the "Dark Ages."


The first generation of stars began clearing that fog by bathing the universe
in ultraviolet radiation. UV radiation splits atoms into negatively charged
electrons and positively charged ions in a process called ionization. Since the
 Big Bang created an ionized universe that later became neutral, this second
phase of ionization by stars is known as the "epoch of reionization." It took
place in the first few hundred million years of existence.


"We want to study this time period because that's when the primordial soup
evolved into the rich zoo of objects we now see," said Loeb.


During this key epoch in the history of the universe, gas was not only ionized
, but also heated. While cool gas easily clumps together to form stars and
galaxies, hot gas refuses to be constrained. The hotter the gas, the more
massive a galactic "seed" must be to attract enough matter to become a
galaxy.


Before the epoch of reionization, galaxies containing only 100 million solar
masses of material could form easily. After the epoch of reionization, galaxies
required more than 10 billion solar masses of material to be assembled.


To determine typical galaxy masses, Wyithe and Loeb looked at light from
quasars - powerful light sources visible across vast distances. The light from
 the farthest known quasars left them nearly 13 billion years ago, when the
universe was a fraction of its present age. Quasar light is absorbed by
intervening clouds of hydrogen associated with early galaxies, leaving telltale
 bumps and wiggles in the quasar's spectrum.

By comparing the spectra of different quasars along different lines of sight,
Wyithe and Loeb determined typical galaxy sizes in the infant universe. The
presence of fewer, larger galaxies leads to more variation in the absorption
seen along various lines of sight. Statistically, large variation is exactly what
 Wyithe and Loeb found.

"As an analogy, suppose you are in a room where everybody is talking,"
explains Wyithe. "If this room is sparsely populated, then the background
noise is louder in some parts of the room than others. However if the room is
 crowded, then the background noise is the same everywhere. The fact that
we see fluctuations in the light from quasars implies that the early universe
was more like the sparse room than the crowded room."


Astronomers hope to confirm the suppression of dwarf galaxy formation using
the next generation of telescopes - both radio telescopes that can detect
distant hydrogen and infrared telescopes that can directly image young
galaxies. Within the next decade, researchers using these new instruments
will illuminate the "Dark Ages" of the universe.


Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian
Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA
scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution
and ultimate fate of the universe.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 25/05/2006 15:07:53

Hubble captures a 'five-star' rated gravitational lens
HUBBLE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY INFORMATION CENTRE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: May 22, 2006

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the first-ever picture of a distant quasar lensed into five images. In addition, the image holds a treasure of lensed galaxies and even a supernova.

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Credit: ESA, NASA, K. Sharon (Tel Aviv University) and E. Ofek (Caltech)
Download larger image version here (http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2006/23/images/a/formats/web_print.jpg)

 
 
The most unique feature in a new image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is a group of five quasar images produced by a process called gravitational lensing, in which the gravitational field of a massive object - in this case, a cluster of galaxies - bends and amplifies light from an object - in this case, a quasar - farther behind it.

Although other multiply lensed quasars have been seen before this newly observed ³quintuple quasar² is the only case so far in which multiple quasar images are produced by an entire galaxy cluster acting as a gravitational lens.

The background quasar is the brilliant core of a galaxy. It is powered by a black hole, which is devouring gas and dust and creating a gusher of light in the process. When the quasar's light passes through the gravity field of the galaxy cluster that lies between us and the quasar, the light is bent by the space-warping gravity field in such a way that five separate images of the object are produced surrounding the cluster's centre. The fifth quasar image is embedded to the right of the core of the central galaxy in the cluster. The cluster also creates a cobweb of images of other distant galaxies gravitationally lensed into arcs.

The galaxy cluster creating the lens is known as SDSS J1004+4112 and was discovered as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. It is one of the more distant clusters known (seven billion light-years, redshift z=0.68), and is seen when the Universe was half its present age.

Gravitational lensing occurs for extremely concentrated masses like the cores of galaxies or galaxy clusters. Their strong gravity warps the surrounding space, and light travelling through that warped space bends its direction. Multiple images of a distant light source may be seen, each taking a different path through the warped space.


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Credit: ESA, NASA, K. Sharon (Tel Aviv University) and E. Ofek (Caltech)
 
 
A gravitational lens will always produce an odd number of lensed images, but one image is usually very weak and embedded deep within the light of the lensing object itself. Though previous observations of SDSS J1004+4112 have revealed four of the images of this system, Hubble's sharp vision and the high magnification of this gravitational lens combine to place a fifth image far enough from the core of the central imaging galaxy to make it visible as well.

The galaxy hosting the background quasar is at a distance of 10 billion light years (at redshift 1.74). The quasar host galaxy can be seen in the image as faint red arcs. This is the most highly magnified quasar host galaxy ever seen.

The Hubble picture also shows a large number of stretched arcs that are more distant galaxies lying behind the cluster, each of which is split into multiple distorted images. The most distant galaxy identified and confirmed so far is 12 billion light years away (a redshift of 3.33, corresponding to only 1.8 billion years after the Big Bang).

By comparing this image to a picture of the cluster obtained with Hubble a year earlier, the researchers discovered a rare event - a supernova exploding in one of the cluster galaxies. This supernova exploded seven billion years ago, and the data, together with other supernova observations, are being used to try to reconstruct how the Universe was enriched by heavy elements through these explosions.

SOURCE;SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 25/05/2006 15:12:33

A new ruler available to measure the universe

LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: May 22, 2006

A team of astronomers led by Nikhil Padmanabhan and David Schlegel has published the largest three-dimensional map of the universe ever constructed, a wedge-shaped slice of the cosmos that spans a tenth of the northern sky, encompasses 600,000 uniquely luminous red galaxies, and extends 5.6 billion light-years deep into space, equivalent to 40 percent of the way back in time to the Big Bang.


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A schematic view of the new SDSS three-dimensional map,
which includes regular galaxies (black points) and luminous red
galaxies (red points) and extends 5.6 billion light-years, 40
percent of the distance to the edge of the visible universe. Credit:
LBNL
 


Schlegel is a Divisional Fellow in the Physics Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Padmanabhan will join the Lab's Physics Division as a Chamberlain Fellow and Hubble Fellow in September; presently he is at Princeton University. They and their coauthors are members of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), and have previously produced smaller 3-D maps by using the SDSS telescope in New Mexico to painstakingly collect the spectra of individual galaxies and calculate their distances by measuring their redshifts.

"What's new about this map is that it's the largest ever," says Padmanabhan, "and it doesn't depend on individual spectra."

The principal motive for creating large-scale 3-D maps is to understand how matter is distributed in the universe, says Padmanabhan. "The brightest galaxies are like lighthouses -- where the light is, is where the matter is."

Schlegel says that "because this map covers much larger distances than previous maps, it allows us to measure structures as big as a billion light-years across."

A natural ruler in space


The variations in galactic distribution that constitute visible large-scale structures are directly descended from variations in the temperature of the cosmic microwave background, reflecting oscillations in the dense early universe that have been measured to great accuracy by balloon-borne experiments and the WMAP satellite.

The result is a natural "ruler" formed by the regular variations (sometimes called "baryon oscillations," with baryons as shorthand for ordinary matter), which repeat at intervals of some 450 million light-years.

"Unfortunately it's an inconveniently sized ruler," says Schlegel. "We had to sample a huge volume of the universe just to fit the ruler inside."

Says Padmanabhan, "Although the universe is 13.7 billion years old, that really isn't a whole lot of time when you're measuring with a ruler that's marked only every 450 million light-years."

The distribution of galaxies reveals many things, but one of the most important is a measure of the mysterious dark energy that accounts for some three-fourths of the universe's density. (Dark matter accounts for roughly another 20 percent, while less than 5 percent is ordinary matter of the kind that makes visible galaxies.)

"Dark energy is just the term we use for our observation that the expansion of the universe is accelerating," Padmanabhan remarks. "By looking at where density variations were at the time of the cosmic microwave background" -- only about 300,000 years after the Big Bang -- "and seeing how they evolve into a map that covers the last 5.6 billion years, we can see if our estimates of dark energy are correct."

The new map shows that the large-scale structures are indeed distributed the way current ideas about the accelerating expansion of the universe would suggest. The map's assumed distribution of dark matter, which although invisible is affected by gravity just like ordinary matter, also conforms to current understanding.

Dead, red galaxies

What made the big new 3-D map possible were the Sloan Digital Sky Survey's wide-field telescope, which covers a three-degree field of view (the full moon is about half a degree), plus the choice of a particular kind of galactic "lighthouse," or distance marker: luminous red galaxies.

"These are dead, red galaxies, some of the oldest in the universe -- in which all the fast-burning stars have long ago burned out and only old red stars are left," says Schlegel. "Not only are these the reddest galaxies, they're also the brightest, visible at great distances."

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey astronomers worked with colleagues on the Australian Two-Degree Field team to average the color and redshift of a sample of 10,000 red luminous galaxies, relating galaxy color to distance. They then applied these measurements to 600,000 such galaxies to plot their map.

Padmanabhan concedes that "there's statistical uncertainty in applying a brightness-distance relation derived from 10,000 red luminous galaxies to all 600,000 without measuring them individually. The game we play is, we have so many that the averages still give us very useful information about their distribution. And without having to measure their spectra, we can look much deeper into space."

Schlegel agrees that the researchers are far from achieving the precision they want. "But we have shown that such measurements are possible, and we have established the starting point for a standard ruler of the evolving universe."

He says "the next step is to design a precision experiment, perhaps based on modifications to the SDSS telescope. We are working with engineers here at Berkeley Lab to redesign the telescope to do what we want to do."

"The Clustering of Luminous Red Galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Imaging Data," by Nikhil Padmanabhan, David J. Schlegel, Uros Seljak, Alexey Makarov, Neta A. Bahcall, Michael R. Blanton, Jonathan Brinkmann, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Douglas P. Finkbeiner, James E. Gunn, David W. Hogg, Zeljko Ivezic', Gillian R. Knapp, Jon Loveday, Robert H. Lupton, Robert C. Nichol, Donald P. Schneider, Michael A. Strauss, Max Tegmark, and Donald G. York, will appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 03/06/2006 21:20:07
Underwater Hotel

Currently under construction in Dubai, Hydropolis is the world's
first underwater luxury hotel. It will include three elements: the
land station, where guests will be welcomed, the connecting tunnel,
which will transport people by train to the main area of the hotel,
and the 220 suites within the submarine leisure complex.

This will be a hotel where those who do not dive - or do not even
swim - can experience the tranquillity and inspiration of the
underwater world.



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In order to enter this surreal space, visitors will begin at the
 land station. This 120m woven, semicircular cylinder will arch over
a multi-storey building.




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The upper storeys of the land station house a variety of facilities,
including a cosmetic surgical clinic, a marine biological research
laboratory and conference facilities.


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The world of science fiction becoming reality.

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SOURCE: http://www.alltraveltips.com/underwaterhotel.html



Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/06/2006 15:33:57
Crunch time for Planet Pluto  
By Nicola Cook
BBC Horizon  


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Pluto moves from 30 to 50 times the Sun-Earth distance over its 248-
year orbit. It has two moons in addition to Charon (the smaller
object pictured here). The gravity on Pluto is about 6% of Earth's;
the surface temperature -233C.



 
At its conference this August, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will make a decision that could see Pluto lose its status as a planet.

For the first time, the organisation will be officially defining the word "planet", and it is causing much debate in the world of astronomy.

There is only one thing that everyone seems to agree on: there are no longer nine planets in the Solar System.

Matters were brought to a head by the discovery in January of last year of a potential 10th planet, temporarily named 2003 UB313.

Professor Mike Brown and his team at the California Institute of Technology have already discovered several large objects on the edge of the Solar System, but 2003 UB313 is special because it is bigger than Pluto.

The question now facing the IAU is whether to make this new discovery a planet.

Pressing issue

Co-discoverer Dr Chad Trujillo thinks the solution is pretty straightforward.

"The logically consistent thing would be to either have 2003 UB313 a planet, and Pluto be a planet; or have neither be a planet," he told the BBC's Horizon programme.

But Pluto is already an unusual planet. It is made predominantly of ice, and is smaller even than the Earth's Moon.

 



In 1992, Professor Dave Jewitt and Dr Jane Lu at the University of Hawaii discovered a new collection of objects beyond Neptune called the Kuiper Belt. Some suggest Pluto should no longer be considered a planet, but a Kuiper Belt Object.

As Professor Jewitt says: "We always say we found plus one Kuiper Belt, and minus one planet. And the one we lost, of course, is Pluto."

There are many astronomers who agree with Dave Jewitt and would opt for an eight-planet Solar System, with neither Pluto or 2003 UB313 making the grade; but a number of astronomers are arguing for a more specific definition of a planet.

Kuiper Belt researcher Dr Marc Buie, of the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, has come up with a clear planetary definition he would like to see the IAU adopt.

Different categories

"I believe the definition of planet should be as simple as possible, so I've come up with two criteria," he said.

"One is that it can't be big enough to burn its own matter - that's what a star does. On the small end, I think the boundary between a planet and not a planet should be, is the gravity of the object stronger than the strength of the material of the object? That's a fancy way of saying is it round?"

 

This definition could lead to a Solar System with as many as 20 planets, including Pluto, 2003 UB313, and many objects previously classified as moons or asteroids.

One possible resolution to the debate is for new categories of planet to be introduced. Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars would be "rocky planets". The gas-giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune would be a second category.

Pluto, 2003 UB313, and any other objects passing the "roundness test", would be reclassified as a third type of planet - perhaps "icy dwarfs".

Whatever the final outcome, by September there will no longer be nine planets in the Solar System.

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Bye-Bye Planet Pluto is broadcast on BBC Two at 2100 BST this Thursday, 22 June
 



SOURCE: BBC.CO.UK

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 29/06/2006 19:44:34
Hubble reveals two dust disks around nearby star
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: June 28, 2006

Detailed images of the nearby star Beta Pictoris, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, confirm the existence of not one but two dust disks encircling the star. The images offer tantalizing new evidence for at least one Jupiter-size planet orbiting Beta Pictoris.

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Larger versionHERE (http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2006/25/images/a/formats/large_web.jpg)


The finding ends a decade of speculation that an odd warp in the young star's debris disk may actually be another inclined disk. The recent Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys view ­ the best visible-light image of Beta Pictoris ­ clearly shows a distinct secondary disk that is tilted by about 4 degrees from the main disk. The secondary disk is visible out to roughly 24 billion miles from the star, and probably extends even farther, said astronomers.

The finding, by a team of astronomers led by David Golimowski of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., appears in the June 2006 issue of the Astronomical Journal. To see the faint disk, astronomers used the Advanced Camera for Surveys' coronagraph, which blocked the light from Beta Pictoris. The disk is fainter than the star because its dust only reflects light.

The best explanation for the observations is that a suspected unseen planet, about one to 20 times the mass of Jupiter and in an orbit within the secondary disk, is using gravity to sweep up material from the primary disk.

"The Hubble observation shows that it is not simply a warp but two concentrations of dust in two separate disks," Golimowski said. "The finding suggests that planetary systems could be forming in two different planes. We know this can happen because the planets in our solar system are typically inclined to Earth's orbit by several degrees. Perhaps stars forming more than one dust disk may be the norm in the formative years of a star system."

Dynamical computer models by David Mouillet and Jean-Charles Augereau of Grenoble Observatory in France suggest how a secondary dust disk can form. A planet in an inclined orbit gravitationally attracts small bodies of rock and/or ice, called planetesimals, from the main disk, and moves them into an orbit aligned with that of the planet. These perturbed planetesimals then collide with each other, producing the tilted dust disk seen in the new Hubble images.

Astronomers do not know how the planet, if it exists, settled into an inclined orbit. However, computer simulations by multiple research teams show that planet embryos which start out in a very thin plane, can, through gravitation interactions, rapidly scatter into orbits that become inclined to the primary disk. Whatever the process, the four degree inclination of the suspected perturbing planet in Beta Pictoris is not unlike the several degree spread seen in our solar system.

"The actual lifetime of a dust grain is relatively short, maybe a few hundred thousand years," Golimowski explained. "So the fact that we can still see these disks around a 10- to 20-million-year-old star means that the dust is being replenished by collisions between planetesimals."

Beta Pictoris is located 63 light-years away in the southern constellation Pictor. Although the star is much younger than the Sun, it is twice as massive and nine times more luminous. Beta Pictoris entered the limelight over 20 years ago when NASA's Infrared Astronomical Satellite detected excess infrared radiation from the star. Astronomers attributed this excess to the presence of warm circumstellar dust.

The dust disk was first imaged by ground-based telescopes in 1984. Those images showed that the disk is seen nearly edge-on from Earth. Hubble observations in 1995 revealed an apparent warp in the disk.

Subsequent images obtained in 2000 by Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph confirmed the warp. The latter study was led by Sara Heap of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. At that time, Heap and her colleagues suggested that the warp may be a secondary disk tilted about 4 degrees from the main disk. Several teams of astronomers attributed the warp to a planet in a tilted orbit out of the plane of the main disk.

Astronomers using ground-based telescopes also found various asymmetries in the star's disk. Infrared images taken in 2002 by the Keck II Observatory in Hawaii showed that another, smaller inner disk may exist around the star in a region the size of our solar system. Golimowski's team did not spot the disk because it is small and is blocked by the Advanced Camera's coronagraph. This possible inner disk is tilted in the opposite direction from the disk seen in the new Hubble images. This misalignment implies that the tilted disks are not directly related. Nevertheless, they both may bolster evidence for the existence of one or more planets orbiting the star.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/07/2006 18:43:54
FSU Etruscan expert announces historic discovery at ancient site

Tallahassee, Fla. -- Digging on a remote hilltop in Italy, a Florida State University classics professor and her students have unearthed artifacts that dramatically reshape our knowledge of the religious practices of an ancient people, the Etruscans.


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View of the Etruscan site at Cetamura, with a rock platform hypothesized to be an Etruscan altar of the second century BCE.




"We are excavating a monumental Etruscan building evidently dating to the final years of Etruscan civilization," said Nancy Thomson de Grummond, the M. Lynette Thompson Professor of Classics at FSU and director of the university's archaeology programs in Italy. Within the building, de Grummond's team located in early June what appears to be a sacrificial pit and a sanctuary -- finds remarkable for the wealth of items they are yielding that appear to have been used in religious rituals.

Nearly every summer since 1983, de Grummond has taken groups of FSU students into Italy's Tuscany region to participate in archaeological digs at Cetamura del Chianti, a site once inhabited by the Etruscans and ancient Romans. In the final days of this year's program, de Grummond and her students unearthed what she calls "the most thrilling" find she has seen in 23 years at Cetamura.

She explained that the Etruscans, who once ruled most of the Italian peninsula, were conquered and absorbed by the Romans in the second and first centuries B.C.E. ("Before the Common Era"). Prior to that time, however, they were a highly advanced civilization that constructed roads, buildings and sewer systems and developed the first true cities in Europe. They also built large, complex religious sanctuaries -- which may have been the purpose served, in part, by the Cetamura structure.

"The building has a highly irregular plan, with stone foundations 3 or 4 feet thick," she said. "One wing of the building is about 60 feet long, flanking a space that has walls running at right angles. Some walls run on a diagonal to the grid, or are curved. There are paved areas alternating with beaten earth floors and what I believe to be a large courtyard in the middle. Some of the foundations are so heavy and thick that they could easily have supported multistoried elements.

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Etruscan potsherd with an incised inscription with the name of the god Lurs, worshipped at Cetamura.


Within the building's courtyard, de Grummond said, is a freestanding sandstone platform that likely served as an altar. A few feet away, she and her students unearthed "the most fascinating find of all -- a pit filled with burnt offerings for the gods.

"In all, the pit contained approximately 10 vessels, some miniature and thus clearly intended only as gifts for the gods," de Grummond said. "On the other hand, several of the vessels were quite large, including one storage vessel, probably for grain, and a huge pitcher, probably for wine. There also were little cups for drinking and a bowl for eating, as well as a small beaker of the type that holds oil or spices. All of these vessels were ceramic, some ritually broken and but with most or all of the fragments buried together in the pit. Further, most of the pots seem to be locally made rather than imported. They were offering to the gods their own special creations.

"We should be able to restore these vases and have quite a splendid array of Etruscan pottery dating from a single moment and a particular place in their history," de Grummond said.

Also of great interest to de Grummond was the discovery of some 10 iron nails deposited in the pit, all in an excellent state of preservation.

"These reflect what we know from ancient texts in Latin that note that the Etruscans treated nails as sacred, and regarded them as symbolizing inexorable fate," she said. "They had a ritual practice in regard to their deity Nurtia in which they would hammer a nail into the wall of the temple each year as a tribute to the goddess. We cannot yet be sure about the cultic significance of the nails of Cetamura, but they may well relate to the passage of time and thus to the sacred calendar of the Etruscans."

One of de Grummond's students also unearthed an Etruscan inscription on a shard of pottery that contained the name of a little-known Etruscan god, Lurs.
.

"Almost nothing is known about Lurs, but we may have at Cetamura some very rare evidence about his worship," she said.

De Grummond is a leading scholar on the religious practices of the Etruscans, a people whose culture profoundly influenced the ancient Romans and Greeks. "The Religion of the Etruscans," a book written and edited by de Grummond and Erika Simon, another expert in classical archaeology who served as the Langford Family Eminent Scholar in Classics at FSU in 1999, was published last spring. De Grummond soon will release another book, "Etruscan Myth, Sacred History and Legend."

De Grummond said she hopes to continue excavating the Cetamura sacred area, and building on nearly a quarter-century of knowledge that she has gathered there.

"It is a bit eerie to have excavated something so central to my own lifelong interest in the myth, religion and rituals of the Etruscans," she said. "Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting of the discoveries I have experienced."

SOURCE: EUREKAALERT.

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: 4getmenot on 04/08/2006 04:14:45
Now i know why they say "it's just the tip of the iceburg"lol..

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k
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/08/2006 18:08:36
Cassini's radar mapper finds possible lakes on Titan
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


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Want a bigger piccy ?..then click HERE (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08630.jpg)

The Cassini spacecraft, using its radar system, has discovered very strong evidence for hydrocarbon lakes on Titan. Dark patches, which resemble terrestrial lakes, seem to be sprinkled all over the high latitudes surrounding Titan's north pole.

Scientists have speculated that liquid methane or ethane might form lakes on Titan, particularly near the somewhat colder polar regions. In the images, a variety of dark patches, some with channels leading in or out of them, appear. The channels have a shape that strongly implies they were carved by liquid. Some of the dark patches and connecting channels are completely black, that is, they reflect back essentially no radar signal, and hence must be extremely smooth. In some cases rims can be seen around the dark patches, suggesting deposits that might form as liquid evaporates. The abundant methane in Titan's atmosphere is stable as a liquid under Titan conditions, as is its abundant chemical product, ethane, but liquid water is not.

For all these reasons, scientists interpret the dark areas as lakes of liquid methane or ethane, making Titan the only body in the solar system besides Earth known to possess lakes. Because such lakes may wax and wane over time, and winds may alter the roughness of their surfaces. Repeat coverage of these areas should test whether indeed these are bodies of liquid.

These two radar images were acquired by the Cassini radar instrument in synthetic aperture mode on July 21, 2006. The top image centered near 80 degrees north, 92 degrees west measures about 420 kilometers by 150 kilometers (260 miles by 93 miles). The lower image centered near 78 degrees north, 18 degrees west measures about 475 kilometers by 150 kilometers (295 miles by 93 miles). Smallest details in this image are about 500 meters (1,640 feet) across.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the United States and several European countries.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/08/2006 21:44:35
Going out with a bang
Lunar orbiter to impact
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW


A pioneering space probe has set a course for a dramatic end to its three-year mission in September, when it will collide with the Moon in a spectacular send-off for scientists to learn new information about the lunar surface.

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This artist's impression shows the trajectory of the SMART-1 spacecraft in the final phase of its mission. Credits: ESA

BIG PICCY right here (http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/smart_1/Orbite01_H.jpg)

 
Going out with a bang
Lunar orbiter to impact
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: July 24, 2006

A pioneering space probe has set a course for a dramatic end to its three-year mission in September, when it will collide with the Moon in a spectacular send-off for scientists to learn new information about the lunar surface.


This artist's impression shows the trajectory of the SMART-1 spacecraft in the final phase of its mission. Credits: ESA
Download larger image version here
 
 
The innovative SMART-1 technology demonstrator is about to wrap up a highly successful mission testing a range of new spacecraft concepts and systems for potential use in the future. The Swedish-built craft also conducted a broad science program using an array of instruments.

The end will come with a fiery crash into the Moon's nearside at about 0541 GMT (1:41 a.m. EDT) on September 3, according to the best data now available. This time is only certain within seven hours.

The exact timing of the impact will slightly change as the probe's orbit evolves in several upcoming trim maneuvers designed to fine-tune the craft's approach. Five such burns are planned for July 27, July 28, August 25, and on the final two days before SMART-1 hits the surface.

Scientists' "best guess" on the impact site puts it in the Moon's mid-southern latitudes in a region known as the Lake of Excellence. The location is believed to be of mostly volcanic origin and areas of highlands and hills are also nearby. The area is also known as Lacus Excellentiae in Latin.

At the time of impact, the Lake of Excellence will be shrouded in darkness - only slightly illuminated by light from the Earth in a phenomenon called "earthshine." The boundary between bright sunshine and nighttime on the Moon will be located not far away, possibly allowing material blown above the surface to reach altitudes high enough to be lit by sunlight.

Ground controllers in Germany had to command a two-week series of thruster firings to raise the low point of SMART-1's trek around the Moon to push back the inevitable crash from about August 17 to the current date of September 3. The plan also brought the forecasted impact site into the direct view of scientists on the ground. If left undisturbed, the 630-pound probe would have smacked into the far side of the Moon facing away from Earth.

The set of orbit-raising maneuvers began June 19 and ended on July 2 - about five days ahead of schedule.

Astronomers at observatories across the globe plan to try to see the plume of debris ejected high above the lunar surface as SMART-1 drives into the Moon. Organized groups at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, Kitt Peak in Arizona, telescopes in Hawaii, and other locations will attempt to spot the impact and its aftermath

The most favorable position for observing an on-time impact will be in North and South America and Hawaii. There, the quarter Moon will be high in the sky for prime viewing.

Larger telescopes could detect a flash at the moment of impact due to vaporized hydrazine fuel. A few minutes later, dust and rocks thrown high above the Moon might be seen. If the debris reaches an altitude of over 12 miles, it could be lit by sunlight. If so, amateur astronomers with smaller backyard telescopes could see the dust cloud backdropped by the darker lunar surface.

"We are calling upon astronomical observatories and amateurs worldwide to participate in a coordinated observation effort with SMART-1, including the final orbits until impact," said European Space Agency SMART-1 project scientist Bernard Foing.

Instruments to be operating during SMART-1's final hours include an infrared spectrometer, an X-ray spectrometer, and a tiny camera to take pictures of the Moon as the spacecraft passes near the surface.

The material propelled into sunlight will be closely analyzed to determine details such as its mineral composition and physical properties. Some of the debris could be excavated from underground during SMART-1's crash, so scientists are especially interested in learning about the sub-surface of the Moon.

During SMART-1's final orbits, the spacecraft should be speeding just a few miles above the lunar surface. Accurate predictions of the expected impact time and location are hard to produce because of unknown variations in topography along the probe's trajectory over the Moon. Officials say an unexpected mountain or cliff could cause the craft to crash earlier than anticipated.

By early September, SMART-1 will complete one orbit of the Moon about every five hours. With each orbit's closest approach to the surface, the probe will slowly descend further.

Two low passes before the most likely impact time are also being closely watched in case SMART-1 hits the Moon early. If the spacecraft strikes the Moon at 0037 GMT, observers in South America and the Canary Islands will garner the best view of the event. One orbit earlier - at 1933 GMT on September 2 - astronomers based in Europe and Africa will have the best chance to view the crash.

At first contact, engineers believe SMART-1 will gently glide down at a vertical speed of just under 45 miles per hour, assuming the impact is on a relatively flat surface. However, the craft will be traveling at a horizontal clip of well over 4,000 miles per hour. The low-angle impact could carve a crater up to three feet deep and a couple dozen feet wide.

The testbed carries an efficient ion engine that is fueled by a relatively small amount of xenon fuel and electricity. Strides have also been made in autonomous navigation through ground software that can remotely track the craft's position and velocity through images of stars taken by an on-board camera. Several communications tests through lasers and higher radio frequencies were also carried out.

On the scientific front, SMART-1 has captured and returned up to 1,000 images per week during the past 15 months. Its miniature visible camera is fitted with several color filters, so scientists were also able to take several black-and-white pictures of the same area and artificially create a color image.

The spacecraft's instruments have also been working on studies of lunar composition and the search for ice hidden in the bottoms of polar craters. SMART-1 has also collected evidence on the Moon's evolution and origin. Extensive mapping operations have also been a priority for planning in advance of future lunar missions.

SMART-1 has been circling the Moon since November 2004, almost 14 months after launching aboard an Ariane 5 rocket in September 2003. The probe took a circuitous route to the Moon, completing 332 orbits around Earth while using its electric propulsion system to gently nudge it higher before finally slipping into lunar orbit.

While transitioning to a stable science orbit a few months later, SMART-1 was quickly granted a mission extension in February 2005 that allowed the mission to continue operations through August of this year.

The mission is the first member of the European Space Agency's Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology program. SMART missions are designed to test new technologies before employing them on more expensive projects.
 
SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/08/2006 21:47:43
New view of quasar emerges
HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE


In the distant, young universe, quasars shine with a brilliance unmatched by anything in the local cosmos. Although they appear starlike in optical telescopes, quasars are actually the bright centers of galaxies located billions of light-years from Earth.


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This artist's conceptual drawing shows the core of a quasar known as
 Q0957+561. Observations indicate that the quasar contains a 4-billion solar-mass object that astronomers have dubbed a
magnetospheric eternally collapsing object, or MECO for short.
Credit: Christine Pulliam (CfA)


The seething core of a quasar currently is pictured as containing a disk of hot gas spiraling into a supermassive black hole. Some of that gas is forcefully ejected outward in two opposing jets at nearly the speed of light. Theorists struggle to understand the physics of the accretion disk and jets, while observers struggle to peer into the quasar's heart. The central "engine" powering the jets is difficult to study telescopically because the region is so compact and Earth observers are so far away.

Astronomer Rudy Schild of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and his colleagues studied the quasar known as Q0957+561, located about 9 billion light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major, near the Big Dipper. This quasar holds a central compact object containing as much mass as 3-4 billion Suns. Most would consider that object to be a "black hole," but Schild's research suggests otherwise.

"We don't call this object a black hole because we have found evidence that it contains an internally anchored magnetic field that penetrates right through the surface of the collapsed central object, and that interacts with the quasar environment," commented Schild.

The researchers chose Q0957+561 for its association with a natural cosmic lens. The gravity of a nearby galaxy bends space, forming two images of the distant quasar and magnifying its light. Stars and planets within the nearby galaxy also affect the quasar's light, causing small fluctuations in brightness (in a process called "microlensing") when they drift into the line of sight between Earth and the quasar.

Schild monitored the quasar's brightness for 20 years, and led an international consortium of observers operating 14 telescopes to keep the object under steady around-the-clock watch at critical times.

"With microlensing, we can discern more detail from this so-called 'black hole' two-thirds of the way to the edge of the visible universe than we can from the black hole at the center of the Milky Way," said Schild.

Through careful analysis, the team teased out details about the quasar's core. For example, their calculations pinpointed the location where the jets form.

"How and where do these jets form? Even after 60 years of radio observations, we had no answer. Now the evidence is in, and we know," said Schild.

Schild and his colleagues found that the jets appear to emerge from two regions 1,000 astronomical units in size (about 25 times larger than the Pluto-Sun distance) located 8,000 astronomical units directly above the poles of the central compact object. (An astronomical unit is defined as the average distance from the Earth to the Sun, or 93 million miles.) However, that location would be expected only if the jets were powered by reconnecting magnetic field lines that were anchored to the rotating supermassive compact object within the quasar. By interacting with a surrounding accretion disk, such spinning magnetic field lines spool up, winding tighter and tighter until they explosively unite, reconnect and break, releasing huge amounts of energy that power the jets.

"This quasar appears to be dynamically dominated by a magnetic field internally anchored to its central, rotating supermassive compact object," stated Schild.

Further evidence for the importance of the quasar's internally anchored magnetic field is found in surrounding structures. For example, the inner region closest to the quasar appears to have been swept clean of material. The inner edge of the accretion disk, located about 2,000 astronomical units from the central compact object, is heated to incandescence and glows brightly. Both effects are the physical signatures of a swirling, internal magnetic field being pulled around by the rotation of the central compact object - a phenomenon dubbed the "magnetic propeller effect."

Observations also suggest the presence of a broad cone-shaped outflow from the accretion disk. Where lit by the central quasar, it shines in a ring-like outline known as the Elvis structure after Schild's CfA colleague, Martin Elvis, who theorized its existence. The surprisingly large angular opening of the outflow that is observed is best explained by the influence of an intrinsic magnetic field contained within the central compact object in this quasar.

In light of these observations, Schild and his colleagues, Darryl Leiter (Marwood Astrophysics Research Center) and Stanley Robertson (Southwestern Oklahoma State University), have proposed a controversial theory that the magnetic field is intrinsic to the quasar's central, supermassive compact object, rather than only being part of the accretion disk as thought by most researchers. If confirmed, this theory would lead to a revolutionary new picture of quasar structure.

"Our finding challenges the accepted view of black holes," said Leiter. "We've even proposed a new name for them - Magnetospheric Eternally Collapsing Objects, or MECOs," a variant of the name first coined by Indian astrophysicist Abhas Mitra in 1998. "Astrophysicists of 50 years ago did not have access to the modern understanding of quantum electrodynamics that is behind our new solutions to Einstein's original equations of relativity."

This research suggests that, in addition to its mass and spin, the quasar's central compact object may have physical properties more like a highly redshifted, spinning magnetic dipole than like a black hole. For that reason, most approaching matter does not disappear forever, but instead feels the motor-like rotating magnetic field and gets spun back out. According to this theory, a MECO does not have an event horizon, so any matter that is able to get by the magnetic propeller is gradually slowed down and stopped at the MECO's highly redshifted surface, with just a weak signal connecting the radiation from that matter to a distant observer. That signal is very hard to observe and has not been detected from Q0957+561.

This research was published in the July 2006 issue of the Astronomical Journal.



SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/08/2006 21:50:04
 
Planet-forming disks might put the brakes on stars

JET PROPULSION LABORATORY NEWS RELEASE


Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have found evidence that dusty disks of planet-forming material tug on and slow down the young, whirling stars they surround.
 

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This artist's concept demonstrates how a dusty planet-forming disk
can slow down a whirling young star, essentially saving the star
from spinning itself to death. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Young stars are full of energy, spinning around like tops in half a day or less. They would spin even faster, but something puts on the brakes. While scientists had theorized that planet-forming disks might be at least part of the answer, demonstrating this had been hard to do until now.

"We knew that something must be keeping the stars' speed in check," said Dr. Luisa Rebull of NASA's Spitzer Science Center, Pasadena, Calif. "Disks were the most logical answer, but we had to wait for Spitzer to see the disks."

Rebull, who has been working on the problem for nearly a decade, is lead author of a new paper in the July 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal. The findings are part of a quest to understand the complex relationship between young stars and their burgeoning planetary systems.

Stars begin life as collapsing balls of gas that spin faster and faster as they shrink, like twirling ice skaters pulling in their arms. As the stars whip around, excess gas and dust flatten into surrounding pancake-like disks. The dust and gas in the disks are believed to eventually clump together to form planets.

Developing stars spin so fast that, left unchecked, they would never fully contract and become stars. Prior to the new study, astronomers had theorized that disks might be slowing the super speedy stars by yanking on their magnetic fields. When a star's fields pass through a disk, they are thought to get bogged down like a spoon in molasses. This locks a star's rotation to the slower-turning disk, so the shrinking star can't spin faster.

To prove this principle, Rebull and her team turned to Spitzer for help. Launched in August of 2003, the infrared observatory is an expert at finding the swirling disks around stars, because dust in the disks is heated by starlight and glows at infrared wavelengths.

The team used Spitzer to observe nearly 500 young stars in the Orion nebula. They divided the stars into slow spinners and fast spinners, and determined that the slow spinners are five times more likely to have disks than the fast ones.

"We can now say that disks play some kind of role in slowing down stars in at least one region, but there could be a host of other factors operating in tandem. And stars might behave differently in different environments," Rebull said.

Other factors that contribute to a star's winding down over longer periods of time include stellar winds and possibly full-grown planets.

If planet-forming disks slow down stars, does that mean stars with planets spin more slowly than stars without planets? Not necessarily, according to Rebull, who said slowly spinning stars might simply take more time than other stars to clear their disks and develop planets. Such late-blooming stars would, in effect, give their disks more time to put on the brakes and slow them down.

Ultimately, the question of how a star's rotation rate is related to its ability to support planets will fall to planet hunters. So far, all known planets in the universe circle stars that turn around lazily. Our sun is considered a slowpoke, currently plodding along at a rate of one revolution every 28 days. And, due to limits in technology, planet hunters have not been able to find any extrasolar planets around zippy stars.

"We'll have to use different tools for detecting planets around rapidly spinning stars, such as next-generation ground and space telescopes," said Dr. Steve Strom, an astronomer at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, Ariz.

Other members of Rebull's team include Drs. John Stauffer of the Spitzer Science Center; S. Thomas Megeath at the University of Toledo, Ohio; and Joseph Hora and Lee Hartmann of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass. Hartmann is also affiliated with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.



SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
 


Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/08/2006 16:56:11
New definition would add 3 "planets" to Solar System
ASTRONOMICAL UNION NEWS RELEASE
Posted: August 16, 2006

The world's astronomers, under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), have concluded two years of work defining the difference between "planets" and the smaller "solar system bodies" such as comets and asteroids. If the definition is approved by the astronomers gathered 14-25 August 2006 at the IAU General Assembly in Prague, our Solar System will include 12 planets, with more to come: eight classical planets that dominate the system, three planets in a new and growing category of "plutons" - Pluto-like objects - and Ceres. Pluto remains a planet and is the prototype for the new category of "plutons."



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If the definition is approved by the astronomers gathered at the IAU
 General Assembly in Prague, our Solar System will consist of 12
planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn,
Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon and 2003 UB313. The three new
proposed planets are Ceres, Charon (Pluto's companion) and 2003
UB313. Credit: The International Astronomical Union/Martin Kornmesser




With the advent of powerful new telescopes on the ground and in space, planetary astronomy has gone though an exciting development over the past decade. For thousands of years very little was known about the planets other than they were objects that moved in the sky with respect to the background of fixed stars. In fact the word "planet" comes from the Greek word for "wanderer". But today hosts of newly discovered large objects in the outer regions of our Solar System present a challenge to our historically based definition of a "planet".

At first glance one should think that it is easy to define what a planet is - a large and round body. On second thought difficulties arise, as one could ask "where is the lower limit?" - how large, and how round should an asteroid be before it becomes a planet - as well as "where is the upper limit?" - how large can a planet be before it becomes a brown dwarf or a star?

IAU President Ron Ekers explains the rational behind a planet definition: "Modern science provides much more knowledge than the simple fact that objects orbiting the Sun appear to move with respect to the background of fixed stars. For example, recent new discoveries have been made of objects in the outer regions of our Solar System that have sizes comparable to and larger than Pluto. These discoveries have rightfully called into question whether or not they should be considered as new ‘planets.' "

The International Astronomical Union has been the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919. The world's astronomers, under the auspices of the IAU, have had official deliberations on a new definition for the word "planet" for nearly two years. IAU's top, the so-called Executive Committee, led by Ekers, formed a Planet Definition Committee (PDC) comprised by seven persons who were astronomers, writers, and historians with broad international representation. This group of seven convened in Paris in late June and early July 2006. They culminated the two year process by reaching a unanimous consensus for a proposed new definition of the word "planet

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The three new planets. Credit: The International Astronomical Union/Martin Kornmesser

Owen Gingerich, the Chair of the Planet Definition Committee says: "In July we had vigorous discussions of both the scientific and the cultural/historical issues, and on the second morning several members admitted that they had not slept well, worrying that we would not be able to reach a consensus. But by the end of a long day, the miracle had happened: we had reached a unanimous agreement."

The part of "IAU Resolution 5 for GA-XXVI" that describes the planet definition, states "A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet." Member of the Planet Definition Committee, Richard Binzel says: "Our goal was to find a scientific basis for a new definition of planet and we chose gravity as the determining factor. Nature decides whether or not an object is a planet."

According to the new draft definition, two conditions must be satisfied for an object to be called a "planet." First, the object must be in orbit around a star, while not being itself a star. Second, the object must be large enough (or more technically correct, massive enough) for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape. The shape of objects with mass above 5 x 1020 kg and diameter greater than 800 km would normally be determined by self-gravity, but all borderline cases would have to be established by observation.

If the proposed Resolution is passed, the 12 planets in our Solar System will be Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon and 2003 UB313. The name 2003 UB313 is provisional, as a "real" name has not yet been assigned to this object. A decision and announcement of a new name are likely not to be made during the IAU General Assembly in Prague, but at a later time. The naming procedures depend on the outcome of the Resolution vote. There will most likely be more planets announced by the IAU in the future. Currently a dozen "candidate planets" are listed on IAU's "watchlist" which keeps changing as new objects are found and the physics of the existing candidates becomes better known.

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There will most likely be more planets announced by the IAU in the
future. Currently a dozen "candidate planets" are listed on
IAU's "watchlist" which keeps changing as new objects are found and
the physics of the existing candidates becomes better known. A
number of these planet candidates are shown here. Credit: The
International Astronomical Union/Martin Kornmesser


The IAU draft Resolution also defines a new category of planet for official use: "pluton". Plutons are distinguished from classical planets in that they reside in orbits around the Sun that take longer than 200 years to complete (i.e. they orbit beyond Neptune). Plutons typically have orbits that are highly tilted with respect to the classical planets (technically referred to as a large orbital inclination). Plutons also typically have orbits that are far from being perfectly circular (technically referred to as having a large orbital eccentricity). All of these distinguishing characteristics for plutons are scientifically interesting in that they suggest a different origin from the classical planets.

The draft "Planet Definition" Resolution will be discussed and refined during the General Assembly and then it (plus four other Resolutions) will be presented for voting at the 2nd session of the GA 24 August between 14:00 and 17:30 CEST.

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together distinguished astronomers from all nations of the world. IAU's mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers. The IAU General Assembly is held every three years and is one of the largest and most diverse meetings in the astronomical community's calendar.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM  Hmmm...sticky toffee sauce is also nice ! [:)]








Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/08/2006 17:02:32

Digging up troves of possible solar systems in Orion

NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: August 14, 2006

Astronomers have long scrutinized the vast and layered clouds of the Orion nebula, an industrious star-making factory visible to the naked eye in the sword of the famous hunter constellation. Yet, Orion is still full of secrets.

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This infrared image from Spitzer shows the Orion nebula, our closest
massive star-making factory, 1,450 light-years from Earth. The
nebula is close enough to appear to the naked eye as a fuzzy star in
the sword of the popular hunter constellation. The nebula itself is
located on the lower half of the image, surrounded by a ring of
dust. It formed in a cold cloud of gas and dust and contains about 1,000 young stars. These stars illuminate the cloud, creating the
beautiful nebulosity, or swirls of material, seen here in infrared. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ T. Megeath (University of Toledo)
Download larger image version here (http://ipac.jpl.nasa.gov/media_images/ssc2006-16a.jpg)


A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope probes deep into the clouds of dust that permeate the nebula and its surrounding regions. The striking false-color picture shows pinkish swirls of dust speckled with stars, some of which are orbited by disks of planet-forming dust.

Spitzer, with its powerful infrared vision, was able to unearth nearly 2,300 such planet-forming disks in the Orion cloud complex, a collection of turbulent star-forming clouds that includes the well-known Orion nebula.

The disks - made of gas and dust that whirl around young suns - are too small and distant to be seen by visible-light telescopes; however, the infrared glow of their warm dust is easily spotted by Spitzer's infrared detectors. Each disk has the potential to form planets and its own solar system.

"This is the most complete census of young stars with disks in the Orion cloud complex," said Dr. Thomas Megeath of the University of Toledo, Ohio, who led the research. "Basically, we have a census of potential solar systems, and we want to know how many are born in the cities, how many in small towns, and how many out in the countryside."

A look at Orion's demographics reveals that the potential solar systems populate a variety of environments. Megeath and his colleagues found that about 60 percent of the disk-sporting stars in the Orion cloud complex inhabit its bustling "cities," or clusters, containing hundreds of young stars. About 15 percent reside in small outer communities, and a surprising 25 percent prefer to go it alone, living in isolation.

Prior to the Spitzer observations, scientists thought that up to 90 percent of young stars, both with and without disks, dwelled in cities like those of Orion.

"The Orion image shows that many stars also appear to form in isolation or in groups of just a few stars," said team member Dr. John Stauffer of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "These new data may help us to determine the type of environment in which our sun formed."

Astronomers do not know whether our middle-aged sun grew up in the stellar equivalent of the city or countryside, though most favor a large city scenario. Newborn stars like the ones in Orion tend to drift away from their siblings over time, so it is hard to trace an adult star's origins.

Megeath and his colleagues estimate that about 60 to 70 percent of the stars in the Orion cloud complex have disks. "It is an interesting question why this number isn't 100 percent. Eventually, we may be able to understand why some stars don't have disks," said Megeath.

Spitzer's infrared vision also dug up 200 stellar embryos in the Orion cloud complex, most of which had never been seen before. Stellar embryos are still too young to have developed disks.

The Orion cloud complex is about 1,450 light-years from Earth and spans about 240 light-years of space. Spitzer's wide field of view allowed it to survey most of the complex, an area of the sky equivalent to 28 full moons. The featured image shows a slice of this survey, the equivalent of four full moons-worth of sky, and includes the Orion nebula itself.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. Spitzer's infrared array camera, which made the observations, was built by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The instrument's principal investigator is Dr. Giovanni Fazio of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Hmmm..caramel sauce is yummy too !!...[:)]
 






Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/08/2006 17:09:51
Large and small stars in harmonious coexistence
HUBBLE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY INFORMATION CENTRE
Posted: August 14, 2006

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Credit: NASA, ESA and D. A. Gouliermis (MPIA)
Download larger image version here  (http://www.spacetelescope.org/goodies/printlayouts/large/heic0607.jpg) (careful if you have dial up...it's BIG !!



The latest photo from the Hubble Space Telescope, presented at the 2006 General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Prague this week, shows a star forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This sharp image reveals a large number of low-mass infant stars coexisting with young massive stars.

This is a Hubble Space Telescope image of one of the hundreds of star- forming stellar systems, called stellar associations, located 180,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The LMC is the second closest known satellite galaxy of our Milky Way, orbiting it roughly every 1.5 billion years.

Earlier ground-based observations of such systems had only allowed astronomers to study the bright blue giant stars in these systems, and not the low-mass stars.

This new, most detailed view to date of the star-forming association LH 95 was taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and provides a extraordinarily rich sample of newly formed low-mass stars, allowing a more accurate calculation of their ages and masses. An international team of astronomers, led by Dimitrios Gouliermis of the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, is currently studying the Hubble data.

According to Dr. Gouliermis "Hubble's sharp vision has over the years dramatically changed the picture that we had for stellar associations in the Magellanic Clouds". The LMC is a galaxy with relatively small amounts of elements heavier than hydrogen, giving astronomers an insight into star-formation in environments different from our Milky Way.


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These images reveal details of the LH 95 region. From
top to bottom and left to right they show a dense part of the
parental molecular cloud, a compact cluster of faint infant stars,
the main part of LH 95, where massive and low-mass stars coexist
close to a dusty lane, and one of the remarkable background
galaxies. Credit: NASA, ESA

Download larger image version here
 (http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/screen/heic0607c.jpg)




 
Once massive stars - those with at least 3 times the mass of the Sun - have formed, they generate strong stellar winds and high levels of ultraviolet radiation that ionize the surrounding interstellar gas. The result is a nebula of glowing hydrogen that will expand out into the molecular cloud that originally collapsed to form these stars. The blue haze seen throughout the image around LH 95 is actually part of this bright nebula, known as DEM L 252.

Some dense parts of this star-forming region have not been completely eroded by the stellar winds and can still be seen as dark dusty filaments in the picture. Such dust lanes absorb parts of the blue light from the stars behind them, making them appear redder. Other parts of the molecular cloud have already contracted to turn into glowing groups of infant stars, the fainter of which have a high tendency to cluster.

The new Hubble view of LH 95 shows that there are at least two small compact clusters associated with such groups, one to the right, above the centre of the picture and one to the far left. These stellar nurseries host hundreds of newly discovered infant low- mass stars. Such stars have also been found by Hubble in the main part of LH 95 amongst its massive bright stellar members.

This deep image also reveals a variety of distant galaxies, seen as reddish spirals and elliptical galaxies decorating the background of LH 95.

The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds can be seen by the naked eye in the southern hemisphere.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.


Source: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Tomato sauce is nice with sausages ! [:)]

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 16/08/2006 17:14:25

Surprising observations shake up galactic theories
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO-BOULDER NEWS RELEASE
Posted: August 14, 2006

A heavy form of hydrogen created just moments after the Big Bang has been found to exist in larger quantities than expected in the Milky Way, a finding that could radically alter theories about star and galaxy formation, says a new international study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.


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This is a false-color image of the star AE Aurigae (bright source of
light slightly off center of image) embedded in a region of space
containing smoke-like filaments of carbon-rich dust grains, a common
phenomenon. Such dust might be hiding deuterium, an isotope of
hydrogen, and stymieing astronomers' efforts to study star and
galaxy formation. The FUSE satellite has surveyed the local
deuterium concentration in the galaxy and found far more than
expected. Because deuterium is a tracer of star and galaxy
evolution, this discovery could radically alter theories about how
stars and galaxy form. Credit: T.A. Rector and B.A. Wolpa, NOAO,
AURA, and NSF
Download larger image versionhere (http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/154617main_fuse_1_full.jpg)


CU-Boulder astrophysicist Jeffrey Linsky said new data gathered by NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, or FUSE, satellite, shows why deuterium appears to be distributed unevenly in the Milky Way Galaxy. It apparently has been binding to interstellar dust grains, changing from an easily detectable gaseous form to an unobservable solid form, said Linsky, a fellow of JILA, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The FUSE deuterium study, six years in the making, solves a 35-year- old mystery concerning the distribution of deuterium in the Milky Way while posing new questions about how stars and galaxies are made, according to the research team. A paper on the subject by a team of international researchers led by Linsky is being published in the Aug. 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

"Since the 1970s, we have been unable to explain why deuterium levels vary all over the place," said Linsky. "The answer we found is as unsettling as it is exciting."

Since deuterium -- a hydrogen isotope containing a proton and a neutron -- is believed burned and lost forever during star formation, scientists think the amount of deuterium present in the universe is "pure" and serves as a tracer for star creation and galaxy building over billions of years, said Linsky. While primordial deuterium in the distant, early universe has been measured at concentrations of about 27 parts per million parts hydrogen atoms, measurements by FUSE and NASA's Copernicus satellite have shown a "patchy" distribution of the element in the Milky Way galaxy, often at far lower levels.

In 2003, Princeton University's Bruce Draine, a co-author on the new study, developed a model showing that deuterium, when compared to hydrogen, might preferentially bind to interstellar dust grains. The observations by FUSE -- which can detect the telltale spectral fingerprints of deuterium in the ultraviolet energy range -- strongly support the theory, according to The Astrophysical Journal paper authors.

"Where there are high concentrations of interstellar dust in the galaxy, we see lower concentrations of deuterium gas with FUSE," said Linsky. "And where there is less interstellar dust, we are measuring higher levels of deuterium gas."

In relatively undisturbed areas of the universe -- like regions around Earth's sun, for example -- deuterium atoms systematically "leave" the gas phase and replace normal hydrogen atoms in dust grains, said Linsky. When a pocket of the universe is disturbed by events like a supernova shock wave or violent activity triggered by nearby hot stars, the dust grains are vaporized, releasing deuterium atoms back into a gas, which has been measured by FUSE, the researchers said.

Scientists assumed from astrophysical theories that at least one- third of the primordial deuterium present in the Milky Way was destroyed over time as it cycled through the stars, said Linsky. But according to the new FUSE findings, the present-day deuterium abundance is less than 15 percent below the primordial values.

"This implies that either significantly less material has been converted to helium and heavier elements in stars or that much more primordial gas has rained down onto the galaxy over its lifetime than had been thought," said Linsky. "In either case, our models of the chemical evolution of the Milky Way will have to be revised significantly to explain this important new result."

Launched in 1999, FUSE is a NASA Explorer mission developed in cooperation with the French and Canadian Space Agencies and by Johns Hopkins University, CU-Boulder and the University of California, Berkeley. CU-Boulder's Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy designed and built the mission's $9 million spectrograph, which collects and funnels UV light from the satellite's four telescopes.

The paper was co-authored by scientists from Princeton, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern universities, the Space Telescope Science Institute, CU-Boulder, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Texas-Austin, NASA-Goddard, the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique in Marseille, France, and the Observatoire de Paris- Meudon in Meudon, France.

Other CU-Boulder co-authors include JILA's Brian Wood, CASA's Michael Shull and CASA doctoral graduate Seth Redfield.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Maple sauce is ace with bananas and pancakes !..[:)]



 



Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/08/2006 19:20:55
Hubble images some of galaxy's dimmest stars
RICE UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: August 17, 2006

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have imaged some of
 the galaxy's oldest and dimmest stars, offering a rare experimental
 glimpse of two mysterious star types tiny, slow burners less than
one-tenth the size of our sun and once giant stars that still glow
more than 10 billion years after their deaths.


 

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Looking like glittering jewels, the stars in this
Hubble Space Telescope image at left are part of the ancient
globular star cluster NGC 6397. The image at lower right shows the
faintest red dwarf star (the red dot within the red circle) spied by
 Hubble. The image at upper right pinpoints one of the dim white
dwarfs (the blue dot within the blue circle) seen by Hubble. Credit:
NASA, ESA, and H. Richer (University of British Columbia)



The research appears in this week's issue of the journal Science.

"This project pushed the limits of what even Hubble can do," said study co-author Jay Anderson, a research scientist at Rice University. "These stars can't be reliably detected in a single image. You have to combine a large number of images to find them."

In total, the research team trained Hubble's cameras on the same patch of sky for more than 75 hours, gathering 378 overlapping images. The target was a region of space containing about 1 percent of the globular cluster NGC 6397 a collection of stars that formed early in our galaxy's history.

"When we look at random stars in the sky they have a variety of ages," Anderson said. "Globular clusters offer unique opportunities for astronomers to study a population of stars that are all the same age. All the stars we see in clusters are ancient, because they were created when the galaxy was forming. They're fossils from the galaxy's earliest days."

There are about 150 globular clusters in our galaxy, and most contain between 100,000 and 1 million stars. While most of the galaxy's stars including our own sun orbit the galactic center in the plane of the galaxy, globular clusters predate the flattening of the Milky Way, so they're scattered in a more spherical distribution.

NGC 6397 is one of the nearest clusters to Earth, located just 8,500 light years away. But even at this relatively close astronomical distance, the light from NGC 6397's faintest stars is easily lost in the glare from its brightest stars.

To survey the dimmest objects, Anderson and colleagues relied on computers. Anderson, whose specialty is writing programs to sift through astronomical data, spent months writing and refining software that could examine each Hubble image, pixel by pixel, and find the faintest stars.

The two types of object imaged represent the heavy end and the light end of the stellar mass spectrum.

A star's destiny is determined by its mass. There's a minimum mass that a star must have in order to burn hydrogen, and objects below that threshold cool rapidly and fade away. From the NGC 6397 survey, Anderson and his colleagues identified the smallest visible stars yet seen in a globular cluster, stars less than one-tenth the mass of Earth's sun. This is very near the predicted theoretical threshold, and Anderson said data from the survey will be helpful for verifying and refining theories about the structure and evolution of low-mass stars.

On the other end of the stellar mass spectrum are stars that are significantly larger than the sun. Stars about eight times the mass of the sun burn quickly and die in spectacular planetary nebulae, explosions that spew much of the star's material into space. Upon their final collapse, these stars become white dwarfs, extremely dense objects that radiate heat for billions of years as they slowly fade into darkness. Anderson said that while the brightest and therefore youngest white dwarfs have been seen in many clusters, the new survey yielded the first images of the faintest and oldest white dwarfs in an ancient cluster. The brightness of the white dwarfs at this end of the scale can help astronomers find out how long the stars have been cooling. From that, they can better determine the age of the cluster, which in turn can be used to narrow estimates of the lower limit of the age of the universe.

SOURCE: spaceflightnow.com

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/08/2006 19:26:13
Mystery of Quintuplet stars in Milky Way solved
ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: August 17, 2006

For the first time, scientists have identified the cluster of Quintuplet stars in the Milky Way's galactic center, next to the super massive black hole, as massive binary stars nearing the end of their life cycle, solving a mystery that had dogged astronomers for more than 15 years.


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A Yin and Yang in the Galactic Center. High-resolution infrared
images of the dusty pinwheel nebulae are shown inset overlaid on a
Hubble Space Telescope image of the Quintuplet cluster. Each of the
five bright red stars is now thought to be a pinwheel nebula.
Credit: Peter Tuthill (Sydney U.), Keck Observatory, Donald Figer

(RIT).
 

 
The nature of the stars was not entirely clear until now. In a paper published in the Aug. 18 issue of Science, co-authors Peter Tuthill of the University of Sydney and Donald Figer of Rochester Institute of Technology show that the Quintuplet cluster consists of young massive binary stars that produce large amounts of dust. Their data reveal that five bright red stars are nearing the end of their "short" lives of approximately 5 million years. These quickly evolving stars burn fast and bright, but die younger than fainter stars, which live for billions of years. The study captures the Quintuplet stars just before disintegrating in supernovae explosions.

Using advanced imaging techniques on the world's biggest telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the scientists captured the stars at the highest attainable resolution for the instrument, far exceeding the capability of the Hubble Space Telescope, which imaged the cluster a decade ago. The extra-resolution gives scientists a new glimpse of the dust plumes surrounding the stars and the swirling spirals Tuthill likened to pinwheels when he identified the first one in 1999 elsewhere in the galaxy.

"Only a few pinwheels are known in the galaxy," Figer says. "The point is, we've found five all next to each other in the same cluster. No one has seen anything like this before."

According to Figer, the swirling dust in pinwheel stars is key to the presence of the most evolved massive stars and points to the presence of pairs of stars. The geometry of the plume allows scientists to measure the properties of the binary stars, including the orbital period and distance.

"The only way that pinwheels can form is if they have two stars, swirling around each other. The stars are so close that their winds collide, forming dust in a spiral shape, just like water sprayed from a garden hose of a twirling sprinkler," Figer says. "A single star wouldn't be able to produce the dust and wouldn't have the spiral outflow."

An earlier study by Figer in 1996 claimed the Quintuplet cluster consists of evolved massive stars that produce dust. Figer's research could not be confirmed until now with the use of the Keck telescope.

"If you want to understand star formation, you have to understand if they are forming alone or if they have partners," Figer says. "The answer gives us a clue as to whether stars form alone or with companions."


Source: spaceflightnow.com








Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/09/2006 21:10:23

Eternal life of stardust portrayed in Spitzer image
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA NEWS RELEASE

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This vibrant image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope
shows the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to our own
Milky Way galaxy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Meixner (STScI) & the
 SAGE Legacy Team

Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/PIA07137_fig1.jpg)

 

 
Astronomers have combined hundreds of thousands of Spitzer Space Telescope images into a map of the whole Large Magellanic Cloud. They see features throughout the galaxy in such sharp detail that they can count newly formed stars, determine how much dust old stars are pumping into the galaxy and, for the first time, to sensitively map the rate at which stars are forming across an entire galaxy.

"We can use this amazing map to really start to understand in detail how a galaxy evolves," said Karl Gordon of the University of Arizona Steward Observatory. Gordon heads the UA group who processed 600,000 images that Spitzer's Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) took of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way about 160,000 light years away, is an ideal astrophysical laboratory for studying the lifecycle of galaxies.

Using Spitzer's unprecedented sensitivity across a spectrum of infrared wavelengths, "We now can study some details in another galaxy that so far we've been able to study only in our own galaxy," Gordon said.

Spitzer scientists combined some of the MIPS images with others taken by the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC), a Spitzer instrument that takes images at shorter infrared wavelengths than MIPS does. The result is a composite picture of 300,000 images of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a picture that shows everything from hot stars to cold dust between the stars, or the interstellar medium.

"What's exciting and significant is that our images go really deep in the galaxy, deep enough to get a life cycle of the interstellar medium, a life cycle of dust. We see young stars which consume dust as they form in dusty molecular clouds and old stars which are ejecting dust back into the interstellar medium.

"We can now test sophisticated theories about how stars form, how they evolve, what the different populations are, and how important they are in a global galaxy environment," Gordon said. "One of the strengths of this is not just that we've measured a small piece of the galaxy, but we've measured almost the entire galaxy in deep, sharp detail."

The survey of the Large Magellanic Cloud is among 19 key "Legacy" projects undertaken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which was launched August 2003. The project is headed by Margaret Meixner of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Others from the UA Steward Observatory who are reporting this research in the Astronomical Journal are Charles W. Engelbracht, Bi-Qing For, Karl Misselt, Jason Harris, Douglas Kelly, Pablo Perez-Gonzalez and Dennis Zaritsky.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM





Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/09/2006 21:15:47
Incredible cliffs of Dione
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08256.jpg)

 
 
This splendid view showcases Dione's tortured complex of bright cliffs. At lower right is the feature called Cassandra, exhibiting linear rays extending in multiple directions.

The trailing hemisphere of Dione (1,126 kilometers, or 700 miles across) is seen here. North is up.

The image was taken in polarized green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 263,000 kilometers (163,000 miles) from Dione. Image scale is 2 kilometers (1 mile) per pixel.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/09/2006 21:22:20
Space station streaks over Atlantis
SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: September 5, 2006

As space shuttle Atlantis stands bathed in powerful flood lights at launch pad 39B on the evening before blastoff, its destination -- the International Space Station -- soars overhead as photographed in this time-lapse image from the Kennedy Space Center press site.

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Credit: Ben Cooper/Spaceflight Now
 

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW>COM





Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/09/2006 00:15:19
Planet or failed star? Hubble finds strange object
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: September 7, 2006

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have photographed one of the smallest objects ever seen around a normal star beyond our Sun. Weighing in at 12 times the mass of Jupiter, the object is small enough to be a planet. The conundrum is that it's also large enough to be a brown dwarf, a failed star.


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This Hubble image shows the brown dwarf candidate,
called CHXR 73 B, as the bright spot at lower right. It orbits a red
 dwarf star, dubbed CHXR 73, which is a third less massive than the
Sun. Credit: NASA, ESA and K. Luhman (Penn State University)

Download larger image version here (http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2006/31/images/a/formats/web_print.jpg)

 
 
The Hubble observation of the diminutive companion to the low-mass red dwarf star CHXR 73 is a dramatic reminder that astronomers do not have a consensus in deciding which objects orbiting other stars are truly planets -- even though they have at last agreed on how they will apply the definition of "planet" to objects inside our solar system.

Kevin Luhman of Penn State University in University Park, Pa., leader of the team that found the object, called CHXR 73 B, is casting his vote for a brown dwarf. "New, more sensitive telescopes are finding smaller and smaller objects of planetary-mass size," said Luhman. "These discoveries have prompted astronomers to ask the question, are planetary-mass companions always planets?"

Some astronomers suggest that an extrasolar object's mass determines whether it is a planet. Luhman and others advocate that an object is only a planet if it formed from the disk of gas and dust that commonly encircles a newborn star. Our solar system planets formed 4.6 billion years ago out of a dust disk around our Sun.

Brown dwarfs, by contrast, form just like stars: from the gravitational collapse of large, diffuse clouds of hydrogen gas. Unlike stars, brown dwarfs do not have quite enough mass to ignite hydrogen fusion reactions in their cores, which power stars such as our Sun.

CHXR 73 B is 19.5 billion miles from its red dwarf sun. That's roughly 200 times farther than Earth is from our Sun. At 2 million years old, the star is very young when compared with our middle-aged 4.6-billion-year-old Sun.

"The object is so far away from its star that it is unlikely to have formed in a circumstellar disk," Luhman explained. Disks around low-mass stars are about 5 to 10 billion miles in diameter. There isn't enough material at that distance from the red dwarf to create a planet. Theoretical models show that giant planets like Jupiter form no more than about 3 billion miles from their stars.


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This is an artist's concept of the red dwarf star CHXR
73 (upper left) and its companion CHXR 73 B in the foreground (lower
right) weighing in at 12 Jupiter masses. Credit: NASA, ESA and G.
Bacon (STScI)

Download larger image version here (http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2006/31/images/b/formats/xlarge_web.jpg)

 
Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys discovered the object while conducting a survey of free-floating brown dwarfs. Astronomers have found hundreds of brown dwarfs in our galaxy since the first brown dwarfs were spied about a decade ago. Most of them are floating through space and not orbiting stars.

"It is important to study young star systems to understand how small bodies formed. Young brown dwarfs are brighter than older, cooler brown dwarfs. This allows them to be seen even at lower masses, where older dwarfs would still be undetectable," said team member John Wilson of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

One way to further settle the uncertainty would be if a disk of dust could be observed around CHXR 73's companion. Like stars, brown dwarfs have circumstellar disks, too. They would be no more than about 2 billion miles in diameter.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected disks around several free-floating brown dwarfs. But CHXR 73 B is too close to its star for Spitzer to detect the disk. So astronomers will have to wait for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2013 to determine if this companion has a disk. The Webb telescope will combine Hubble's sharpness, which is needed for detecting close companions, and Spitzer's infrared sensitivity, which is necessary for seeing cool, dusty disks.

The team's result will appear in the Sept. 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM





Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/09/2006 21:23:12
Earliest New World Writing Discovered

 A heap of debris taken from a quarry in Veracruz, Mexico has yielded a stone block inscribed with what appears to be the oldest writing ever found in the Americas. Numerous symbols are carved across the block in rows. Experts say the block dates back almost 3,000 years, and was created by people from the Olmec civilization. The Olmec were an early central American people who rose to prominence before the heyday of the Maya.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery, says Stephen Houston, an archeologist at Brown University.

The inscriptions are hieroglyphics -- 62 small drawings in rows, with some of the signs repeated up to four times.

"It's not just a set of symbols that might be placed together the way you might see, let's say, on medieval French or English painting," Houston says. "Rather, they are arranged in a sequence that is meant to reflect a language with grammatical elements and with a word order that makes sense."

There are 28 different glyphs -- as archeologists call the signs for short. Some look like vegetables. One looks like a sharp awl or pick. Some symbols are repeated, such as a symbol that looks like an insect. Houston suspects that one symbol might be some sort of punctuation. Some sequences of symbols are separated from the rest, in what look like poetic couplets.

Not all of these symbols are unfamiliar to archeologists. Mary Pohl at Florida State University is an expert on the Olmec. She's analyzed Olmec symbols on jewelry and a cylindrical seal that dates almost as far back as the inscribed tablet. She says a few of the symbols are clearly written versions of carved stone objects, like an ear of corn, previously found at Olmec archeological sites.

"One sign looks actually like a corn cob with silk coming out the top," Pohl says. Other signs are unique, she says, and never before seen, like one of an insect.

Pohl says these objects -- and thus probably the writing -- had a special value in rituals.

"We see that the writing is very closely connected with ritual and the early religious beliefs, because they are taking the ritual carvings and putting them into glyphs and making writing out of them," Pohl says. "And all of this is occurring in the context of the emergence of early kings and the development of a centralized power and stratified society."

The tablet and inscriptions are described in the journal Science. Its date is based on other artifacts found nearby, and may need further confirmation.

Houston and scientists from Mexico who first identified the text say they have no idea what it actually says. With no previous text to work from, deciphering it will be difficult.

What's needed are more texts for comparison. Archeologists say there are a lot of Olmec sites in Mexico that are still unexplored, and any one could hold the key to reading the oldest known language in the Americas.

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Front view of a stone block recently discovered in
Veracruz, Mexico. It's inscribed with 28 different signs, some of
them repeated.  Science © 2006



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A recreation of the symbols and their placement on the
Veracruz stone block.  Science © 2006


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A previously discovered cylinder seal from San Andres,
Tabasco, Mexico, showing glyphs also created by the Olmec
civilization. The writings are estimated to date from 650 B.C.

 


SOURCE:NPR.ORG



Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/09/2006 16:09:21
Meet the Earliest Baby Girl ever Discovered!

Discovery of an Australopithecus afarensis child will help to answer important questions concerning human evolution
   
   
   


3.3 million years ago, a three year old girl died in present day Ethiopia, in an area called Dikika. Though a baby, she provides researchers with a unique account of our past, as would a grandmother. Her completeness, antiquity, and age at death combine make this find unprecedented in the history of paleoanthropology and open many new research avenues to investigate into the infancy of early human ancestors. The extraordinary discovery reported this week in the scientific journal Nature, was found in north-eastern Ethiopia, by a paleoanthropological research team led by Dr. Zeresenay Alemseged of the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany. The scientific significance of the new find is multi-fold, contributing substantially to our comprehension of the morphology, body plan, behaviour, movement and developmental patterns of our early ancestors. After full cleaning and preparation of the fossil it will be possible to reconstruct, for the first time, much of an entire body of a 3 year-old Australopithecus afarensis child, which will resolve many pending questions regarding early human evolution.


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Fig. 1: The skull of the Australopithecus afarensis child.

Image: National Museum of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa



The new find consists of a skeleton of the earliest and most complete juvenile human ancestor ever found that lived 150,000 years before Lucy. She was only three years old when she died and belongs to Australopithecus afarensis (the Lucy species) and was found in an area called Dikika, in Ethiopia, by a paleoanthropological team, the DRP (Dikika Research Project) led by Dr. Zeresenay Alesmeged of the Max Planck Institute. The DRP is an international and multidisciplinary project including several researchers with diverse areas of expertise, and about 40 assistants conducting field research in Ethiopia every year. The first piece of the baby was found on December 10th, 2000, but recovering the partial skeleton required intensive searching and sifting over four successive field seasons

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 Some of the postcranial (the skeleton other than the head) elements of the Dikika skeleton.

Image: National Museum of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa



SOURCE: EUREKAALERT.ORG

Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Hadrian on 23/09/2006 17:45:20
You may like the picture I posted in this topic.
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5360


What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 25/09/2006 17:42:12
Hundreds of young galaxies found in early universe
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: September 24, 2006

Astronomers analyzing two of the deepest views of the cosmos made with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered a gold mine of galaxies, more than 500 that existed less than a billion years after the Big Bang. These galaxies thrived when the cosmos was less than 7 percent of its present age of 13.7 billion years. This sample represents the most comprehensive compilation of galaxies in the early universe, researchers said.


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The discovery is scientifically invaluable for understanding the origin of galaxies, considering that just a decade ago early galaxy formation was largely uncharted territory. Astronomers had not seen even one galaxy that existed when the universe was a billion years old, so finding 500 in a Hubble survey is a significant leap forward for cosmologists.

The galaxies unveiled by Hubble are smaller than today's giant galaxies and very bluish in color, indicating they are ablaze with star birth. The images appear red because of the galaxies' tremendous distance from Earth. The blue light from their young stars took nearly 13 billion years to arrive at Earth. During the journey, the blue light was shifted to red light due to the expansion of space.

"Finding so many of these dwarf galaxies, but so few bright ones, is evidence for galaxies building up from small pieces -- merging together as predicted by the hierarchical theory of galaxy formation," said astronomer Rychard Bouwens of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who led the Hubble study.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 03/10/2006 15:35:25
Opportunity rover arrives at dramatic vista
NASA NEWS RELEASE
Posted: September 27, 2006

NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity has arrived at the rim of a crater approximately five times wider than a previous stadium-sized one it studied for half a year.

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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08779.jpg)
 
 
Initial images from the rover's first overlook after a 21-month journey to "Victoria Crater" show rugged walls with layers of exposed rock and a floor blanketed with dunes. The far wall is approximately one-half mile from the rover.

"This is a geologist's dream come true," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for NASA's twin rovers Opportunity and Spirit. "Those layers of rock, if we can get to them, will tell us new stories about the environmental conditions long ago. We especially want to learn whether the wet era that we found recorded in the rocks closer to the landing site extended farther back in time. The way to find that out is to go deeper, and Victoria may let us do that."

Opportunity has been exploring Mars since January 2004, more than 10 times longer than its original prime mission of three months. It has driven more than 5.7 miles. Most of that was to get from "Endurance" crater to Victoria, across a flat plain pocked with smaller craters and strewn with sand ripples. Frequent stops to examine intriguing rocks interrupted the journey, and one large sand ripple kept the rover trapped for more than five weeks

SOURCE : SPACEFLIHTNOW.COM


Men are the same as women, just inside out !
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/10/2006 00:51:46
Hubble finds extrasolar planets far across galaxy
NASA NEWS RELEASE

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered 16 extrasolar planet candidates orbiting a variety of distant stars in the central region of our Milky Way galaxy.

The planet bonanza was uncovered during a Hubble survey called the Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS). Hubble looked farther than has ever successfully been searched before for extrasolar planets. Hubble peered at 180,000 stars in the crowded central bulge of our galaxy 26,000 light-years away. That is one-quarter the diameter of the Milky Way's spiral disk. The results will appear in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Nature.

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This illustration presents a purely speculative view of what such a
"hot Jupiter" might look like. Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Schaller (for STScI)



This tally is consistent with the number of planets expected to be uncovered from such a distant survey, based on previous exoplanet detections made in our local solar neighborhood. Hubble's narrow view covered a swath of sky no bigger in angular size than two percent the area of the full moon. When extrapolated to the entire galaxy, Hubble's data provides strong evidence for the existence of approximately six billion Jupiter-sized planets in the Milky Way.

Five of the newly discovered planets represent a new extreme type of planet not found in any nearby searches. Dubbed Ultra-Short-Period Planets (USPPs), these worlds whirl around their stars in less than one Earth day.

"Discovering the very short-period planets was a big surprise," said team leader Kailash Sahu of the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore. "Our discovery also gives very strong evidence that planets are as abundant in other parts of the galaxy as they are in our solar neighborhood."

Hubble could not directly view the 16 newly found planet candidates. Astronomers used Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys to search for planets by measuring the slight dimming of a star due to the passage of a planet in front of it, an event called a transit. The planet would have to be about the size of Jupiter to block enough starlight, about one to 10 percent, to be measurable by Hubble.

The planets are called candidates, because astronomers could only obtain follow-up mass measurements for two of them due to the distance and faintness of these systems. Following an exhaustive analysis, the team ruled out alternative explanations such as a grazing transit by a stellar companion that could mimic the predicted signature of a true planet. The finding could more than double the number of planets spied with the transit technique to date.

There is a tendency for the planet candidates to revolve around stars more abundant in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, such as carbon. This supports theories that stars rich in heavy elements have the necessary ingredients to form planets.

The planet candidate with the shortest orbital period, named SWEEPS-10, swings around its star in 10 hours. Located only 740,000 miles from its star, the planet is among the hottest ever detected. It has an estimated temperature of approximately 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

"This star-hugging planet must be at least 1.6 times the mass of Jupiter, otherwise the star's gravitational muscle would pull it apart," said SWEEPS team member Mario Livio. "The star's low temperature allows the planet to survive so near to the star."

"Ultra-Short-Period Planets seem to occur preferentially around normal red dwarf stars that are smaller and cooler than our sun," Sahu explained. "The apparent absence of USPPs around sun-like stars in our local neighborhood indicates that they might have evaporated away when they migrated too close to a hotter star."

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This is an image of one-half of the Hubble Space Telescope field of view in
 the Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS). The green
circles identify 9 stars that are orbited by planets with periods of a few days.
 The bottom frame identifies one of two stars in the field where astronomers
were able to spectroscopically measure the star's back-and-forth wobble due to
the pull of the planet. Credit: NASA, ESA, K. Sahu (STScI) and the SWEEPS Science Team


There is an alternative reason why Jupiter-like planets around cooler stars may migrate in closer to the star than such planets around hotter stars. The circumstellar disk of gas and dust out of which they formed extends in closer to a cooler star. Since the discovery of the first "hot Jupiter" around another star in 1995, astronomers have realized this unusual type of massive planet must have spiraled in close to its parent star from a more distant location where it must have formed. The inner edge of a circumstellar disk halts the migration.

Planetary transits occur only when the planet's orbit is viewed nearly edge-on. However, only about 10 percent of hot Jupiters have edge-on orbits that allow the planet to be observed transiting a star. To be successful, transit surveys must view a large number of stars at once. The SWEEPS transit survey covered a rich field of stars in the Sagittarius Window.

The term "window" implies a clear view into the galactic center, but much of the galactic plane is obscured by dust. Hubble monitored 180,000 stars for periodic, brief dimming in a star's brightness. The star field was observed over a continuous seven-day period Feb. 23-29, 2004.

To ensure the dimming was caused by an object orbiting a star, the team used Hubble to detect from two to 15 consecutive transits for each of the16 planet candidates. Two stars in the field are bright enough that the SWEEPS team could make an independent confirmation of a planet's presence by spectroscopically measuring a slight wobble in the star's motion due to the gravitational pull of an unseen companion. They used the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, located on Mount Paranal in Chile, to measure a slight wobble in the star.

One of the planetary candidates has a mass below the detection limit of 3.8 Jupiter masses. The other candidate is 9.7 Jupiter masses, which is below the minimum mass of 13 Jupiter masses for a brown dwarf. A brown dwarf is an object that forms like a star but does not have enough mass to shine by nuclear fusion.

Since the stars are so faint and the field of view is so densely packed with stars, measuring the slight wobble in the star's motion using spectroscopy to confirm most of the planet candidates is not feasible. Future telescopes such as NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will provide the needed sensitivity to confirm most of the planet candidates.

The Hubble SWEEPS program is an important proof-of-concept for NASA's future Kepler Mission, scheduled for launch in 2008. The Kepler observatory will continuously monitor a region of the Milky Way galaxy to detect transiting planets around mostly distant stars. Kepler will be sensitive enough to detect possibly hundreds of Earth-size planet candidates in or near the habitable zone, the distance from a star where liquid water could feasibly exist on a planet's surface.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM




Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 27/10/2006 22:56:12
Spitzer peels back layers of star's explosion
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: October 26, 2006

Astronomers using NASA's infrared Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered that an exploded star, named Cassiopeia A, blew up in a somewhat orderly fashion, retaining much of its original onion-like layering.


 [ Invalid Attachment ]
This image from Spitzer shows the scattered remains of
 an exploded star named Cassiopeia A. In this false-color
 image, the faint, blue glow surrounding the dead star is
material that was energized by a shock wave, called the
 forward shock, which was created when the star blew up.
 The forward shock is now located at the outer edge of
the blue glow. Stars are also seen in blue. Green, yellow
and red primarily represent material that was ejected in
the explosion and heated by a slower shock wave, called the
 reverse shock wave. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Download larger image version http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA01903.jpg

 
 
"Spitzer has essentially found key missing pieces of the Cassiopeia A puzzle," said Jessica Ennis of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, lead author of a paper to appear in the Nov. 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

"We've found new bits of the 'onion' layers that had not been seen before," said Dr. Lawrence Rudnick, also of the University of Minnesota, and principal investigator of the research. "This tells us that the star's explosion was not chaotic enough to stir its remains into one big pile of mush."

Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, is what is known as a supernova remnant. The original star, about 15 to 20 times more massive than our sun, died in a cataclysmic "supernova" explosion relatively recently in our own Milky Way galaxy. Like all mature massive stars, the Cas A star was once neat and tidy, consisting of concentric shells made up of various elements. The star's outer skin consisted of lighter elements, such as hydrogen; its middle layers were lined with heavier elements like neon; and its core was stacked with the heaviest elements, such as iron.

Until now, scientists were not exactly sure what happened to the Cas A star when it ripped apart. One possibility is that the star exploded in a more or less uniform fashion, flinging its layers out in successive order. If this were the case, then those layers should be preserved in the expanding debris. Previous observations revealed portions of some of these layers, but there were mysterious gaps.

Spitzer was able to solve the riddle. It turns out that parts of the Cas A star had not been shot out as fast as others when the star exploded. Imagine an onion blasting apart with some layered chunks cracking off and zooming away, and other chunks from a different part of the onion shooting off at slightly slower speeds.

"Now we can better reconstruct how the star exploded," said Dr. William Reach of NASA's Spitzer Science Center, Pasadena, Calif. "It seems that most of the star's original layers flew outward in successive order, but at different average speeds depending on where they started."

How did Spitzer find the missing puzzle pieces? As the star's layers whiz outward, they are ramming, one by one, into a shock wave from the explosion and heating up. Material that hit the shock wave sooner has had more time to heat up to temperatures that radiate X-ray and visible light. Material that is just now hitting the shock wave is cooler and glowing with infrared light. Consequently, previous X-ray and visible-light observations identified hot, deep-layer material that had been flung out quickly, but not the cooler missing chunks that lagged behind. Spitzer's infrared detectors were able to find the missing chunks ­ gas and dust consisting of the middle-layer elements neon, oxygen and aluminum.

Cassiopeia A is the ideal target for studying the anatomy of a supernova explosion. Because it is young and relatively close to our solar system, it is undergoing its final death throes right in front of the watchful eyes of various telescopes. In a few hundred years or so, Cas A's scattered remains will have completely mixed together, forever erasing important clues about how the star lived and died.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 23/11/2006 21:43:27
On the cutting edge: Carbon nanotube cutlery
Scanning electron micrograph of a prototype 'nanoknife' shows a single carbon nanotube stretched between two tungsten needles. Triangular probe is the tip of an atomic force cantilever used to determine...
Click here for more information.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) have designed a carbon nanotube knife that, in theory, would work like a tight-wire cheese slicer. In a paper presented this month at the 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition*, the research team announced a prototype nanoknife that could, in the future, become a tabletop tool of biology, allowing scientists to cut and study cells more precisely than they can today.

For years, biologists have wrestled with conventional diamond or glass knives, which cut frozen cell samples at a large angle, forcing the samples to bend and sometimes later crack. Because carbon nanotubes are extremely strong and slender in diameter, they make ideal materials for thinly cutting precise slivers of cells. In particular, scientists might use the nanoknife to make 3D images of cells and tissues for electron tomography, which requires samples less than 300 nanometers thick.

By manipulating carbon nanotubes inside scanning electron microscopes, 21st-century nanosmiths have begun crafting a suite of research tools, including nanotweezers, nanobearings and nano-oscillators. To design the nanoknife, the NIST and CU scientists welded a carbon nanotube between two electrochemically sharpened tungsten needles. In the resulting prototype, the nanotube stretches between two ends of a tungsten wire loop. The knife resembles a steel wire that cuts a block of cheese.

To begin demonstrating the feasibility of their knife design, the researchers assessed its mechanical strength in force tests, applying increasing pressure to the device. The team found that the welds were the weakest point of the nanoknife, and they are now experimenting with alternative welding techniques. The researchers plan to test the nanoknife on a block of wax later this year (cells typically are immobilized in wax for dissection and microscopy.)

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
Caption: Scanning electron micrograph of a prototype
"nanoknife" shows a single carbon nanotube stretched between two tungsten
needles. Triangular probe is the tip of an atomic force cantilever used to
 determine the breaking point of the knife. (Color added for clarity.)

Credit: NIST/CU


SOURCE: EUREKA ALERT
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/12/2006 04:50:52
Hubble Finds Evidence for Dark Energy in the Young Universe

Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that dark energy is not a new constituent of space, but rather has been present for most of the universe's history. Dark energy is a mysterious repulsive force that causes the universe to expand at an increasing rate. Investigators used Hubble to find that dark energy was already boosting the expansion rate of the universe as long as nine billion years ago. This picture of dark energy is consistent with Albert Einstein's prediction of nearly a century ago that a repulsive form of gravity emanates from empty space. Data from Hubble provides supporting evidence to help astrophysicists to understand the nature of dark energy. This will allow them to begin ruling out some competing explanations that predict that the strength of dark energy changes over time.

Researchers also have found that the class of ancient exploding stars, or supernovae, used to measure the expansion of space today look remarkably similar to those that exploded nine billion years ago and are just now being seen by Hubble. This important finding gives additional credibility to the use of these supernovae for tracking the cosmic expansion over most of the universe's lifetime. Supernovae provide reliable measurements because their intrinsic brightness is well understood. They are therefore reliable distance markers, allowing astronomers to determine how far away they are from Earth. These snapshots, taken by Hubble reveal five supernovae and their host galaxies. The arrows in the top row of images point to the supernovae. The bottom row shows the host galaxies before or after the stars exploded. The supernovae exploded between 3.5 and 10 billion years ago.


 [ Invalid Attachment ]


SOURCE: HUBBLESITE.ORG



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/12/2006 15:51:36
World's oldest ritual discovered
Worshipped the python 70,000 years ago



A startling archaeological discovery this summer changes our understanding of human history. While, up until now, scholars have largely held that man’s first rituals were carried out over 40, 000 years ago in Europe, it now appears that they were wrong about both the time and place.

Associate Professor Sheila Coulson, from the University of Oslo, can now show that modern humans, Homo sapiens, have performed advanced rituals in Africa for 70,000 years. She has, in other words, discovered mankind’s oldest known ritual.

The archaeologist made the surprising discovery while she was studying the origin of the Sanpeople. A group of the San live in the sparsely inhabited area of north-western Botswana known as Ngamiland.


 [ Invalid Attachment ]
In the excavation they found more than 13,000 artifacts.



Coulson made the discovery while searching for artifacts from the Middle Stone Age in the only hills present for hundreds of kilometers in any direction. This group of small peaks within the Kalahari Desert is known as the Tsodilo Hills and is famous for having the largest concentration of rock paintings in the world.

The Tsodilo Hills are still a sacred place for the San, who call them the “Mountains of the Gods” and the “Rock that Whispers”.

The python is one of the San’s most important animals. According to their creation myth, mankind descended from the python and the ancient, arid streambeds around the hills are said to have been created by the python as it circled the hills in its ceaseless search for water.

Sheila Coulson’s find shows that people from the area had a specific ritual location associated with the python. The ritual was held in a little cave on the northern side of the Tsodilo Hills. The cave itself is so secluded and access to it is so difficult that it was not even discovered by archaeologists until the 1990s.

When Coulson entered the cave this summer with her three master’s students, it struck them that the mysterious rock resembled the head of a huge python. On the six meter long by two meter tall rock, they found three-to-four hundred indentations that could only have been man-made.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]

PYTHON STONE


"You could see the mouth and eyes of the snake. It looked like a real python. The play of sunlight over the indentations gave them the appearance of snake skin. At night, the firelight gave one the feeling that the snake was actually moving".

They found no evidence that work had recently been done on the rock. In fact, much of the rock’s surface was extensively eroded.

When they saw the many indentations in the rock, the archaeologists wondered about more than when the work had been done. They also began thinking about what the cave had been used for and how long people had been going there. With these questions in mind, they decided to dig a test pit directly in front of the python stone.

At the bottom of the pit, they found many stones that had been used to make the indentations. Together with these tools, some of which were more than 70,000 years old, they found a piece of the wall that had fallen off during the work.

In the course of their excavation, they found more than 13,000 artifacts. All of the objects were spearheads and articles that could be connected with ritual use, as well as tools used in carving the stone. They found nothing else.

As if that were not enough, the stones that the spearheads were made from are not from the Tsodilo region but must have been brought from hundreds of kilometers away.

The spearheads are better crafted and more colourful than other spearheads from the same time and area. Surprisingly enough, it was only the red spearheads that had been burned.

"Stone age people took these colourful spearheads, brought them to the cave, and finished carving them there. Only the red spearheads were burned. It was a ritual destruction of artifacts. There was no sign of normal habitation. No ordinary tools were found at the site. Our find means that humans were more organised and had the capacity for abstract thinking at a much earlier point in history than we have previously assumed. All of the indications suggest that Tsodilo has been known to mankind for almost 100,000 years as a very special place in the pre-historic landscape.” says Sheila Coulson.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
The spearheads were particularly beautiful and were brought from hundreds of kilometers away.


Sheila Coulson also noticed a secret chamber behind the python stone. Some areas of the entrance to this small chamber were worn smooth, indicating that many people had passed through it over the years.

"The shaman, who is still a very important person in San culture, could have kept himself hidden in that secret chamber. He would have had a good view of the inside of the cave while remaining hidden himself. When he spoke from his hiding place, it could have seemed as if the voice came from the snake itself. The shaman would have been able to control everything. It was perfect.” The shaman could also have “disappeared” from the chamber by crawling out onto the hillside through a small shaft.

While large cave and wall paintings are numerous throughout the Tsodilo Hills, there are only two small paintings in this cave: an elephant and a giraffe. These images were rendered, surprisingly, exactly where water runs down the wall.

Sheila Coulson thinks that an explanation for this might come from San mythology.

In one San story, the python falls into a body of water and cannot get out by itself. The python is pulled from the water by a giraffe. The elephant, with its long trunk, is often used as a metaphor for the python.

"In the cave, we find only the San people’s three most important animals: the python, the elephant, and the giraffe. That is unusual. This would appear to be a very special place. They did not burn the spearheads by chance. They brought them from hundreds of kilometers away and intentionally burned them. So many pieces of the puzzle fit together here. It has to represent a ritual." concludes Sheila Coulson.



It was a major archaeological find five years ago that made it possible for Sheila Coulson to date the finds in this little cave in Botswana. Up until the turn of the century, archaeologists believed that human civilisation developed in Europe after our ancestors migrated from Africa. This theory was crushed by Archaeologist Christopher Henshilwood when he published his find of traces from a Middle Stone Age dwelling in the Blombos Cave in Southern Cape, South Africa.


SOURCE: EURELAALERT.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 23/12/2006 02:13:59
 Portrait of a Dramatic Stellar Crib


A new, stunning image of the cosmic spider, the Tarantula Nebula and its surroundings, finally pays tribute to this amazing, vast and intricately sculpted web of stars and gas. The newly released image, made with ESO's Wide Field Imager on the 2.2-m ESO/MPG Telescope at La Silla, covers 1 square degree on the sky and could therefore contain four times the full Moon.

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fphot-50a-06-preview.jpg&hash=817d8ab0a6aa7eeb93a777abcbfdeae4)
ESO PR Photo 50a/06
The Tarantula Nebula
(WFI/2.2m)


Known as the Tarantula Nebula for its spidery appearance, the 30 Doradus complex is a monstrous stellar factory. It is the largest emission nebula in the sky, and can be seen far down in the southern sky at a distance of about 170,000 light-years, in the southern constellation Dorado (The Swordfish or the Goldfish). It is part of one of the Milky Way's neighbouring galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The Tarantula Nebula is thought to contain more than half a million times the mass of the Sun in gas and this vast, blazing labyrinth hosts some of the most massive stars known. The nebula owes its name to the arrangement of its brightest patches of nebulosity, that somewhat resemble the legs of a spider. They extend from a central 'body' where a cluster of hot stars (designated 'R136') illuminates and shapes the nebula. This name, of the biggest spiders on the Earth, is also very fitting in view of the gigantic proportions of the celestial nebula - it measures nearly 1,000 light-years across and extends over more than one third of a degree: almost, but not quite, the size of the full Moon. If it were in our own Galaxy, at the distance of another stellar nursery, the Orion Nebula (1,500 light-years away), it would cover one quarter of the sky and even be visible in daylight.

Because astronomers believe that most of the stars in the Universe were formed in large and hectic nurseries such as the 30 Doradus region, its study is fundamental. Early this year, astronomers took a new, wide look at the spider and its web of filaments, using the Wide Field Imager on the 2.2-m MPG/ESO telescope located at La Silla, Chile, while studying the dark clouds in the region. Dark clouds are enormous clouds of gas and dust, with a mass surpassing a million times that of the Sun. They are very cold, with temperatures about -260 degrees Celsius, and are difficult to study because of the heavy walls of dust behind which they hide. Their study is however essential, as it is in their freezing wombs that stars are born.


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv280%2Fwithdrawnmist%2Fphot-50b-06-preview.jpg&hash=453b4ebedc6464d930136b6af6f85112)

ESO PR Photo 50b/06
SN 1987A and the Honeycomb Nebula (WFI/2.2m)


Observing in four different bands, the astronomers made a mosaic of the half-degree field of view of the instrument to obtain an image covering one square degree. With each individual image containing 64 million pixels, the resultant mosaic thus contained 4 times as many, or 256 million pixels! The observations were made in very good image quality, the 'seeing' being typically below 1 arcsecond.

The image is based on data collected through four filters, including two narrow-band filters that trace hydrogen (red) and oxygen (green). The predominance of green in the Tarantula is a result of the younger, hotter stars in this region of the complex.

It would be easy to get lost in the meanderings of the filamentary structures or get stuck in the web of the giant arachnid, as is easily experienced with the zoom-in feature provided on the associated photo page, and it is therefore difficult to mention all the unique objects to be discovered. Deserving closer attention perhaps is the area at the right-hand border of the Tarantula. It contains the remains of a star that exploded and was seen with the unaided eye in February 1987, i.e. almost 20 years ago. Supernova SN 1987A, as it is known, is the brightest supernova since the one observed by the German astronomer Kepler in 1604. The supernova is known to be surrounded by a ring, which can be distinguished in the image.

A little to the left of SN 1987A, another distinctive feature is apparent: the Honeycomb Nebula. This characteristic bubble-like structure results apparently from the interaction of a supernova explosion with an existing giant shell, which was itself generated by the combined action of strong winds from young, massive stars and supernova explosions.


The image is based on observations carried out by João Alves (Calar Alto, Spain), Benoit Vandame and Yuri Bialetski (ESO) with the Wide Field Imager (WFI) at the 2.2-m telescope on La Silla. The colour composite was made by Bob Fosbury (ST-EcF).

Super Massive Piccys here http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2006/phot-50-06.html

Excellent Zoomify here  http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2006/images/phot-50a-06-w0.html

SOURCE:


>European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere      
ESO
European Organisation
for Astronomical
Research in the
Southern Hemisphere
www.eso.rg
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/01/2007 16:56:04
Psychedelic Saturn
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE



(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2F070126saturn.jpg&hash=0199dbe265dff913be0ae910817405d9)

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08858.jpg


This psychedelic view of Saturn and its rings is a composite made from images taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera using spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 728, 752 and 890 nanometers.

Cassini acquired the view in December at a distance of approximately 822,000 kilometers (511,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 46 kilometers (28 miles) per pixel.



SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/01/2007 17:03:55
 
Shadows on ice
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

Canyons and mountain peaks snake along the terminator on the crater-covered, icy moon Dione. With the Sun at a low angle on their local horizon, the line of mountain ridges above center casts shadows toward the east.

Sunlit terrain seen here is on the anti-Saturn hemisphere of Dione (1,126 kilometers, or 700 miles across) -- the side that always faces away from Saturn. North is up.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera in December at a distance of approximately 299,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 81 degrees. Image scale is 2 kilometers (1 mile) per pixel.





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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08856.jpg[/color]




SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/01/2007 17:14:19
Pan's progress
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE



(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv286%2Fneilneil%2F070126pan.jpg&hash=a43829bf8b2fb1b50d8cc4878a716caf)
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here


http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08857.jpg

Pan is seen in this color view as it sweeps through the Encke Gap with its attendant ringlets. As the lemon-shaped little moon orbits Saturn, it always keeps its long axis pointed along a line toward the planet. From this vantage point, the dark side of the moon is visible.

This view looks toward Pan (26 kilometers, or 16 miles across) within the Encke Gap (325 kilometers, or 200 miles wide), on the unlit side of the rings, and from an inclination of about 33 degrees above the ringplane.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera in December at a distance of approximately 779,000 kilometers (484,000 miles) from Pan and at a Sun-Pan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 83 degrees. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 miles) per pixel.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.ORG



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/02/2007 22:47:55
Cassini images mammoth cloud engulfing Titan’s North Pole
 
1 February 2007
A giant cloud half the size of the United States has been imaged on Saturn’s moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft. The cloud may be responsible for the material that fills the lakes discovered last year by Cassini's radar instrument.
 
Cloaked by winter's shadow, this cloud has now come into view as winter turns to spring. The cloud extends down to 60 degrees north latitude, is roughly 2400 kilometers in diameter and engulfs almost the entire north pole of Titan.

The new image was acquired on 29 December 2006, by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS). Scientific models predicted this cloud system but it had never been imaged with such details before.

"We knew this cloud had to be there but were amazed at its size and structure," said Dr. Christophe Sotin of the University of Nantes, France, a member of the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team and distinguished visiting scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "This cloud system may be a key element in the global formation of organics and their interaction with the surface."

The same cloud system seen on 29 December 2006, was still there two weeks later during the flyby which took place on 13 January 2007, even though observing conditions were slightly less favorable than in December.



* PIA09171__H.jpg (83.36 kB . 991x752 - viewed 5537 times)r=blue]Titan's Giant North Pole Cloud[/color][/size]

The Cassini radar team reported last year that the lakes at the north pole are partly filled and some appear to have evaporated, likely contributing to this cloud formation, which is made up of ethane, methane and other organics.

These findings reinforce the idea that methane rains down onto the surface to form lakes, and then evaporates to form clouds. Scientists compare this methane cycle to the hydrological cycle on Earth, dubbing it 'methane-ologic cycle'.

Ground-based observations show this Titan cloud system comes and goes with the seasons. A season on Titan lasts approximately seven Earth years. Based on the global circulation models, it seems that such cloud activity can last about 25 Earth years before almost vanishing for four to five years, and then appearing again for 25 years.

Scientists expect this cloud to be around for several years. As the seasons change, scientists expect a shift of these clouds and lakes from the north pole to the south pole. On Titan's south pole, scientists have seen only one kidney-shaped lake with Cassini’s imaging cameras.

"With 16 more flybys to come this year, we should have the opportunity to monitor the evolution of this cloud system over time," said Dr. Stephane Le Mouelic, working with the Cassini visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team, and also at the University of Nantes.
 



* PIA09102_L.jpg (73.93 kB . 248x324 - viewed 5401 times)olor=blue]Liquid lakes on Titan[/color][/b][/size]



SOURCE: EUREKAALERT.ORG & European Space Agency










Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/02/2007 03:58:33
Photo Release - heic0703: The colourful demise of a Sun-like star


* heic0703a.jpg (64.32 kB . 639x622 - viewed 5590 times)

   

13-Feb-2007: A brand new image taken with Hubble’s Wide
 Field Planetary Camera 2 shows the planetary nebula NGC 2440
- the chaotic structure of the demise of a star.


This image, just taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the colourful “last hurrah” of a star like our Sun. The star is ending its life by casting off its outer layers of gas, which formed a cocoon around the star’s remaining core. Ultraviolet light from the dying star makes the material glow. The burned-out star, called a white dwarf, is the white dot in the centre. Our Sun will eventually burn out and shroud itself with stellar debris, but not for another 5 billion years.

Our Milky Way Galaxy is littered with these stellar relics, called planetary nebulae. The objects have nothing to do with planets. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century astronomers called them the name because through small telescopes they resembled the disks of the distant planets Uranus and Neptune. The planetary nebula in this image is called NGC 2440. The white dwarf at the centre of NGC 2440 is one of the hottest known, with a surface temperature of more than 200,000 degrees Celsius. The nebula’s chaotic structure suggests that the star shed its mass episodically. During each outburst, the star expelled material in a different direction. This can be seen in the two bowtie-shaped lobes. The nebula also is rich in clouds of dust, some of which form long, dark streaks pointing away from the star. NGC 2440 lies about 4,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Puppis.

The material expelled by the star glows with different colours depending on its composition, its density and how close it is to the hot central star. Blue samples helium; blue-green oxygen, and red nitrogen and hydrogen. The image was taken 6 February, 2007 with Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.



Credit: NASA, ESA, and K. Noll (STScI)

Acknowledgment: The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/03/2007 19:36:13
Hubble Sees 'Comet Galaxy' Being Ripped Apart By Galaxy Cluster



NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, in collaboration with several other ground- and space- based telescopes, has captured a galaxy being ripped apart by a galaxy cluster's gravitational field and harsh environment.

The finding sheds light on the mysterious process by which gas-rich spiral-shaped galaxies might evolve into gas-poor irregular- or elliptical-shaped galaxies over billions of years. The new observations also reveal one mechanism for forming the millions of "homeless" stars seen scattered throughout galaxy clusters.




Hubble Sees 'Comet Galaxy' Being Ripped Apart By Galaxy Cluster


* web_print.jpg (83.07 kB . 1000x800 - viewed 5374 times)ESITE
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/03/2007 19:38:41
NASA's Hubble Telescope Celebrates SN 1987A's 20th Anniversary


Twenty years ago, astronomers witnessed one of the brightest stellar explosions in more than 400 years. The titanic supernova, called SN 1987A, blazed with the power of 100 million suns for several months following its discovery on Feb. 23, 1987. Observations of SN 1987A, made over the past 20 years by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and many other major ground- and space-based telescopes, have significantly changed astronomers' views of how massive stars end their lives. Astronomers credit Hubble's sharp vision with yielding important clues about the massive star's demise.

This Hubble telescope image shows the supernova’s triple-ring system, including the bright spots along the inner ring of gas surrounding the exploded star. A shock wave of material unleashed by the stellar blast is slamming into regions along the inner ring, heating them up, and causing them to glow. The ring, about a light-year across, was probably shed by the star about 20,000 years before it exploded.


A String of 'Cosmic Pearls' Surrounds an Exploding Star

* web_prinrt.jpg (86.94 kB . 1000x800 - viewed 5315 times)



SOURCE: HUBBLESITE

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/03/2007 19:44:42
Hubble Illuminates Cluster of Diverse Galaxies

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the diverse collection of galaxies in a galaxy cluster called Abell S0740, located more than 450 million light-years away in the constellation Centaurus. The giant elliptical galaxy ESO 325-G004 looms large at the cluster's center. This galaxy is as massive as 100 billion suns. Hubble resolves thousands of globular star clusters orbiting ESO 325-G004. Globular clusters are compact groups of hundreds of thousands of stars that are gravitationally bound together. At the galaxy's distance they appear as pinpoints of light contained within the diffuse halo. Other elliptical and spiral galaxies appear in the image. The photo was made from images taken using Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys in January 2005 and February 2006.



* web_prrrrint.jpg (92.63 kB . 640x800 - viewed 5470 times)LESITE
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/04/2007 03:05:50
 
European spacecraft tracking turbulence at Venus

EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE


New images and data from the European Space Agency's mission to Venus provide new insights into the turbulent and noxious atmosphere of Earth's sister planet. What causes violent winds and turbulences? Is the surface topography playing a role in the complex global dynamics of the atmosphere? Venus Express is on the case.

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Four different views of the Venusian cloud system are seen here from
 Venus Express. The grey-scale of the images is such that black means
 more transparency, therefore less clouds, while white means more opacity,
 therefore more cloud concentration. Credits: ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA  

 
 
Venus' atmosphere represents a true puzzle for scientists. Winds are so powerful and fast that they circumnavigate the planet in only four Earth days - the atmospheric 'super-rotation' - while the planet itself is very slow in comparison, taking 243 Earth days to perform one full rotation around its axis.

At the poles things get really complicated with huge double-eyed vortices providing a truly dramatic view. In addition, a layer of dense clouds covers the whole planet as a thick curtain, preventing observers using conventional optical means from seeing what lies beneath.

Venus Express is on the contrary capable of looking through the atmosphere at different depths, by probing it at different infrared wavelengths. The Ultraviolet, Visible and Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board is continuing its systematic investigation of Venus' atmospheric layers to solve the riddle of the causes for such turbulent and stormy atmosphere.

The images presented with this article focus on Venusian atmospheric turbulences and cloud features, whose shape and size vary with planetary latitudes. At the equator, clouds are irregular and assume a peculiar 'bubble'-shape. At mid latitudes they are more regular and streaky, running almost parallel to the direction of the super rotation with speed reaching more than 400 kilometres per hour. Going higher up in latitude, in the polar region, the clouds end up in entering a vortex shape.
 

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHT.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/04/2007 03:13:47
Beauty of barred spiral galaxy shown by Hubble
HUBBLE INFORMATION CENTER NEWS RELEASE


The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has delivered an unrivalled snapshot of the nearby barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672. This remarkable image provides a high definition view of the galaxy's large bar, its fields of star-forming clouds and dark bands of interstellar dust.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Download larger image version here http://www.spacetelescope.org/goodies/printlayouts/screen/heic0706.jpg

 
 
NGC 1672, visible from the Southern Hemisphere, is seen almost face on and shows regions of intense star formation. The greatest concentrations of star formation are found in the so-called starburst regions near the ends of the galaxy's strong galactic bar. NGC 1672 is a prototypical barred spiral galaxy and differs from normal spiral galaxies in that the spiral arms do not twist all the way into the centre. Instead, they are attached to the two ends of a straight bar of stars enclosing the nucleus.

Astronomers believe that barred spirals have a unique mechanism that channels gas from the disk inwards towards the nucleus. This allows the bar portion of the galaxy to serve as an area of new star generation. It appears that the bars are short-lived, begging the question: will non-barred galaxies develop a bar in the future, or have they already hosted one that has disappeared?

In the new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, clusters of hot young blue stars form along the spiral arms, and ionize surrounding clouds of hydrogen gas that glow red. Delicate curtains of dust partially obscure and redden the light of the stars behind them. NGC 1672's symmetric look is emphasised by the four principal arms, edged by eye-catching dust lanes that extend out from the centre.

Galaxies lying behind NGC 1672 give the illusion they are embedded in the foreground galaxy, even though they are really much farther away. They also appear reddened as they shine through NGC 1672's dust. A few bright foreground stars inside our own Milky Way Galaxy appear in the image as bright, diamond-like objects.

NGC 1672 is a member of the family of Seyfert galaxies, named after the astronomer, Carl Keenan Seyfert, who studied a family of galaxies with active nuclei extensively in the 1940s. The energy output of these nuclei can sometimes outshine their host galaxies. The active galaxy family include the exotically named quasars and blazars. Although each type has distinctive characteristics, they are thought to be all driven by the same engine - supermassive black holes - but are viewed from different angles.

The new Hubble observations, performed with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the observatory, have shed light on the process of starburst activity and on why some galaxies are ablaze with extremely active star formation.

NGC 1672 is more than 60 million light-years away in the direction of the Southern constellation of Dorado. These observations of NGC 1672 were taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys in August of 2005. This composite image contains filters that isolate light from the blue, green, and infrared portions of the spectrum, as well as emission from ionized hydrogen.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.


Source: spaceflightnow.com
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/04/2007 19:58:48
Future space telescopes could detect Earth twin
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 11, 2007

For the first time ever, NASA researchers have successfully demonstrated in the laboratory that a space telescope rigged with special masks and mirrors could snap a photo of an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. This accomplishment marks a dramatic step forward for missions like the proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder, designed to hunt for an Earth twin that might harbor life.

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Three simulated planets -- one as bright as Jupiter, one half as bright as
Jupiter and one as faint as Earth -- stand out plainly in this image created
 from a sequence of 480 images captured by the High Contrast Imaging Testbed
at JPL. The asterisk marks the location of the system's simulated star.
 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
 

 
Trying to image an exoplanet - a planet orbiting a star other than the sun - is a daunting task, because its relatively dim glow is easily overpowered by the intense glare of its much bigger, brighter parent star. The challenge has been compared to looking for a firefly next to a searchlight.

Now, two researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have shown that a fairly simple coronagraph - an instrument used to "mask" a star's glare - paired with an adjustable mirror, could enable a space telescope to image a distant planet 10 billion times fainter than its central star.

"Our experiment demonstrates the suppression of glare extremely close to a star, clearing a field dark enough to allow us to see an Earth twin. This is at least a thousand times better than anything demonstrated previously," said John Trauger, lead author of a paper appearing in the April 12 issue of Nature. This paper describes the system, called the High Contrast Imaging Testbed, and how the technique could be used with a telescope in space to see exoplanets. The lab experiment used a laser as a simulated star, with fainter copies of the star serving as "planets."

To date, scientists have used various techniques to detect more than 200 exoplanets. Most of these exoplanets are from five to 4,000 times more massive than Earth, and are either too hot, too cold or too much of a giant gas ball to be considered likely habitats for life. So far, no one has managed to capture an image of an exoplanetary system that resembles our own solar system. Scientists are eager to take a closer look at nearby systems, to hunt for and then characterize any Earth-like planets - those with the right size, orbit and other traits considered friendly for life.

In the lab demonstration, the High Contrast and Imaging Testbed overcame two significant hurdles that all telescopes face when trying to image exoplanets - diffracted and scattered light.

When starlight hits the edge of a telescope's primary mirror, it becomes slightly disturbed, producing a pattern of rings or spikes surrounding the major source of light in the focused image. This diffracted light can completely obscure any planets in the field of view.

To address this problem, Trauger and his colleagues at JPL fashioned a pair of masks for their system. The first, which resembles a blurry barcode, directly blocks most of the starlight, while the second clears away the diffracted rings and spikes. The combination creates enough darkness to allow the light of any planets to shine through.

"Mathematically, and sort of magically, this coronagraph blocks both the central star and its rings," said Wesley Traub of JPL, co-author of the new paper and Terrestrial Planet Finder project scientist.

Scattered light presents the additional hurdle. Minor ripples on a telescope's mirror produce "speckles" - faint copies of a star, shifted to the side, which can also hide planets. In the High Contrast Imaging Testbed, a deformable mirror the size of a large coin limits scattered light. With a surface that can be altered ever so slightly by computer-controlled actuators, this mirror compensates for the effects of minor imperfections in the telescope and instrument.

"This result is important because it points the way to building a space telescope with the ability to detect and characterize Earth-like planets around nearby stars," Traub said.

For their next steps, Trauger and Traub plan to improve the suppression of speckles by a factor of 10, and extend the method to accommodate many wavelengths of light simultaneously.

JPL manages the Terrestrial Planet Finder mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.



SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/04/2007 20:35:28
Mystery of galaxy's spiral arms possibly explained
NASA-GSFC NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 12, 2007

Using a quartet of space observatories, University of Maryland astronomers may have cracked a 45-year mystery surrounding two ghostly spiral arms in the galaxy M106.

The Maryland team, led by Yuxuan Yang, took advantage of the unique capabilities of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, and data obtained almost a decade ago with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

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In this composite image of spiral galaxy M106 (NGC 4258), radio data from
the Very Large Array appears as blue, X-ray data from Chandra is coded red,
 and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope appears green. The
anomalous arms appear as purple and blue emission.
 Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Maryland/A.S. Wilson et al. IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; VLA & NRAO/AUI/NSF

 
 
M106 (also known as NGC 4258) is a stately spiral galaxy 23.5 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. In visible-light images, two prominent arms emanate from the bright nucleus and spiral outward. These arms are dominated by young, bright stars, which light up the gas within the arms. "But in radio and X-ray images, two additional spiral arms dominate the picture, appearing as ghostly apparitions between the main arms," says team member Andrew Wilson of the University of Maryland. These so-called "anomalous arms" consist mostly of gas.

"The nature of these anomalous arms is a long-standing puzzle in astronomy," says Yang. "They have been a mystery since they were first discovered in the early 1960s."

By analyzing data from XMM-Newton, Spitzer, and Chandra, Yang, Bo Li, Wilson, and Christopher Reynolds, all at the University of Maryland at College Park, have confirmed earlier suspicions that the ghostly arms represent regions of gas that are being violently heated by shock waves.

Previously, some astronomers had suggested that the anomalous arms are jets of particles being ejected by a supermassive black hole in M106's nucleus. But radio observations by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Long Baseline Array, and the Very Large Array in New Mexico, later identified another pair of jets originating in the core. "It is highly unlikely that an active galactic nucleus could have more than one pair of jets," says Yang.

In 2001, Wilson, Yang, and Gerald Cecil, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, noted that the two jets are tipped 30 degrees with respect to the galaxy disk. But if one could vertically project the jets onto the disk, they would line up almost perfectly with the anomalous arms. Figuring that this alignment was not strictly a matter of chance, Wilson, Yang, and Cecil proposed that the jets heat the gas in their line of travel, forming an expanding cocoon. Because the jets lie close to M106's disk, the cocoon heats gas in the disk and generates shock waves, heating the gas to millions of degrees and causing it to radiate brightly in X-rays and other wavelengths.

To test this idea, Yang and his colleagues looked at archival spectral observations from XMM-Newton. With XMM-Newton's superb sensitivity, the team could measure the gas temperature in the anomalous arms and also see how strongly X-rays from the gas are absorbed en route by intervening material.

"One of the predictions of this scenario is that the anomalous arms will gradually be pushed out of the galactic disk plane by jet-heated gas," says Yang. The XMM-Newton spectra show that X-rays are more strongly absorbed in the direction of the northwest arm than in the southeast arm. The results strongly suggest that the southeast arm is partly on the near side of M106's disk, and the northwest arm is partly on the far side.

The scientists noted that these observations show clear consistency with their scenario. Confirmation of this interpretation has recently come from archival observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, whose infrared view shows clear signs that X-ray emission from the northwest arm is being absorbed by warm gas and dust in the galaxy's disk. Moreover, Chandra's superior imaging resolution gives clear indications of gas shocked by interactions with the two jets.

Besides addressing the mystery of the anomalous arms, these observations allowed the team to estimate the energy in the jets and gauge their relationship to M106's central black hole. The team's paper will appear in the May 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW,COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Seany on 16/04/2007 14:01:08
The Red Square Nebula

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MWC 922: The Red Square Nebula
Explanation: What could cause a nebula to appear square? No one is quite sure. The hot star system known as MWC 922, however, appears to be imbedded in a nebula with just such a shape. The above image combines infrared exposures from the Hale Telescope on Mt. Palomar in California, and the Keck-2 Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. A leading progenitor hypothesis for the square nebula is that the central star or stars somehow expelled cones of gas during a late developmental stage. For MWC 922, these cones happen to incorporate nearly right angles and be visible from the sides. Supporting evidence for the cone hypothesis includes radial spokes in the image that might run along the cone walls. Researchers speculate that the cones viewed from another angle would appear similar to the gigantic rings of supernova 1987A, possibly indicating that a star in MWC 922 might one day itself explode in a similar supernova
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/04/2007 21:50:55
 
Astronomers map out planetary danger zone
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE


PASADENA, Calif. - Astronomers have laid down the cosmic equivalent of yellow "caution" tape around super hot stars, marking the zones where cooler stars are in danger of having their developing planets blasted away.

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This infrared image from Spitzer shows the Rosette nebula,
 a pretty star-forming region more than 5,000 light-years away in the constellation
 Monoceros. In optical light, the nebula looks like a rosebud, or the "rosette"
adornments that date back to antiquity. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Z. Balog
(Univ. of Ariz./Univ. of Szeged)

 
 
In a new study from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists report the first maps of so-called planetary "danger zones." These are areas where winds and radiation from super hot stars can strip other young, cooler stars like our sun of their planet-forming materials. The results show that cooler stars are safe as long as they lie beyond about 1.6 light-years, or nearly 10 trillion miles, of any hot stars. But cooler stars inside the zone are likely to see their potential planets boiled off into space.

"Stars move around all the time, so if one wanders into the danger zone and stays for too long, it will probably never be able to form planets," said Zoltan Balog of the University of Arizona, Tucson, lead author of the new report, appearing May 20 in the Astrophysical Journal.

The findings are helping astronomers pinpoint the types of environments where planets beyond our solar system, including some that might be hospitable to life, are most likely to form.

Planets are born out of a flat disk of gas and dust, called a protoplanetary disk, that swirls around a young star. They are believed to clump together out of the disk over millions of years, growing in size like dust bunnies as they sweep through the dust.

Previous studies revealed that these protoplanetary disks can be destroyed by the most massive, hottest type of star in the universe, called an O-star, over a period of about a million years. Ultraviolet radiation from an O-star heats and evaporates the dust and gas in the disk, then winds from the star blow the material away. Last year, Balog and his team used Spitzer to capture a stunning picture of this "photoevaporation" process at work.

The team's new study is the first systematic survey for disks in and around the danger zone, or "blast radius" of an O-star. They used Spitzer's heat-seeking infrared eyes to look for disks around 1,000 stars in the Rosette Nebula, a turbulent star-forming region 5,200 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros. The stars range between one-tenth and five times the mass of the sun and are between 2 and 3 million years old. They are all near at least one of the region's massive O-stars.


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This artist's concept illustrates an O-star near the top right,
 just behind a young, cooler star and its swirling disk of planet-forming
 material. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

 
 
The observations revealed that, beyond 10 trillion miles of an O-star, about 45 percent of the stars had disks - about the same amount as there were in safer neighborhoods free of O-stars. Within this distance, only 27 percent of the stars had disks, with fewer and fewer disks spotted around stars closest to the O-star. In other words, an O-star's danger zone is a sphere whose damaging effects are worst at the core. For reference, our sun's closest star, a small star called Proxima Centauri, is nearly 30 trillion miles away.

In addition, the new study indicates that a protoplanetary disk will boil off faster in the zone's perilous core. For example, a disk two times closer to an O-star than another disk will evaporate twice as fast. "The edges of the danger zone are sharply defined," said Balog. "It is relatively safe for protoplanetary disks outside it, whereas a disk that gets dragged along by its star to be really close to an O-star could disappear in as fast as a hundred thousand years."

Despite this doomsday scenario, there is a chance some planets could survive a close encounter with an O-star. According to one alternative theory of planet formation, some gas giants like Jupiter might form in less than one million years. If such a planet already existed around a young star whose disk is blown away, the gas giant would stay put while any burgeoning rocky planets like Earth would be forever swept away.

Some astronomers think our sun was born in a similarly violent neighborhood studded with O-stars before migrating to its present, more spacious home. If so, it was lucky enough to escape a harrowing ride into any danger zones, or our planets, and life as we know it, wouldn't be here today.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

 
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/04/2007 21:54:58
Casting a shadow
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE


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Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Download larger image version here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08921.jpg
 
 
Blazing like an icy torch, the plume of Enceladus shines in scattered sunlight as the moon casts a shadow onto Saturn's E ring. Some of the tiny ice particles erupted from the moon's south polar region go into Saturn orbit, forming the doughnut-shaped ring, onto which the moon's shadow is cast in this view.

The shadow of Enceladus (505 kilometers, or 314 miles across) stretches away to the upper left at around the 10 o'clock position. The Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle is 164 degrees here, with the Sun being located toward the lower right. This means that Enceladus' shadow extends toward the Cassini spacecraft -- through part of the E ring.

Some of the bright dots in this heavily processed view are background stars. Others are due to cosmic ray hits on the camera detector.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 11, 2006 at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Enceladus. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 miles) per pixel.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 22/04/2007 21:58:54
Cosmic weight loss: The lowest mass white dwarf
HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE


Astronomers have found the lowest mass white dwarf known in our galaxy: a Saturn-sized ball of helium containing only about one-fifth the mass of the Sun. In addition, they have spotted the source of the white dwarf's radical weight-loss plan. An unseen companion, likely another white dwarf, has sucked away much of the tiny white dwarf's material, leaving it a shadow of its former self.

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This artist's conception shows the lowest-mass white dwarf known in our galaxy
 and its companion star, which likely is another white dwarf. The foreground white
 dwarf underwent a radical weight-loss plan about 500 million years ago, losing
 mass to its companion. The low-mass white dwarf now weighs only about 17 percent
 as much as the Sun. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

 
 
"This star is bizarre," said Warren Brown of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "It takes extraordinary circumstances to make such a low mass white dwarf."

When a Sun-like star ages and dies, it becomes a white dwarf. The newfound white dwarf, with the unwieldy designation of SDSS J091709.55+463821.8 (hereafter J0917+46) lies about 7,400 light-years from Earth near the border of the constellations Lynx and Ursa Major. Where a typical white dwarf holds about half a Sun's worth of material, the newfound white dwarf contains only a fraction of that mass.

"Our white dwarf is skinny in terms of mass, yet it looks fat in terms of its physical size," stated first author Mukremin Kilic of Ohio State University. "It's about nine times bigger than a typical white dwarf in diameter."

When the astronomers first found J0917+46, they predicted that it must have an unseen companion that had aided its weight loss. A subsequent radial velocity search, which looked for signs that the white dwarf wobbled when tugged by a companion's gravity, confirmed the prediction. The astronomers ruled out the possibility that the companion is either a low-mass main sequence star or a black hole. It must be either another white dwarf or a neutron star, with a white dwarf being the more likely candidate.

"No star is old enough to produce such an extremely low-mass white dwarf by itself," explained Brown. "Therefore, we knew that mass must have been stripped from the white dwarf by a companion."

"Finding the companion means that stellar evolution theories have passed a major test," added co-author Scott Kenyon of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. "The fact that the companion is a more massive white dwarf or neutron star is also consistent with theory."

The team also described the oddball pair's history. This binary system began with one star about twice the mass of the Sun and a second star slightly less massive than the Sun. The more massive star was the first to evolve, becoming a white dwarf weighing perhaps one-third as much as the Sun. Ten billion years later, its companion became another white dwarf. In each step, the puffed-up outer layers of the evolving star enveloped the companion, causing friction that moved the two stars closer together. They now orbit each other every 7.6 hours at a distance of about 650,000 miles and a stunning speed of 335,000 miles per hour.

"The relation between our white dwarf and its companion is like a cosmic marriage in which both people have to give a lot," said Kilic. "Two stars start out close to each other. One of them engulfs the other (like a hug) and gives continuously (losing mass), and they get closer. Then the other star evolves and becomes a giant and engulfs the first star (hugging back) and now it has to give a lot, or lose a lot of mass. They get closer and closer and end up dancing continuously."

The astronomers predict that the two white dwarfs eventually will merge. However, that merger will not take place for 10 billion years or more.

Key observations were made with the MMT Observatory in Arizona, which is operated jointly by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the University of Arizona

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/04/2007 21:43:37
Hubble sees extreme star birth in the Carina Nebula
HUBBLE NEWS RELEASE


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Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Bigger piccy here (http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/screen/heic0707a.jpg)

 
 
One of the largest panoramic images ever taken with Hubble's cameras has been released to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the launch and deployment of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The image shows a 50 light-year-wide view of the tumultuous central region of the Carina Nebula where a maelstrom of star birth - and death - is taking place.

Hubble's new view of the Carina Nebula shows the process of star birth at a new level of detail. The bizarre landscape of the nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno. These stars are shredding the surrounding material that is the last vestige of the giant cloud from which the stars were born.

This immense nebula contains a dozen or more brilliant stars that are estimated to be at least 50 to 100 times the mass of our Sun. The most opulent is the star eta Carinae, seen at far left. Eta Carinae is in the final stages of its brief eruptive lifespan, as shown by two billowing lobes of gas and dust that presage its upcoming explosion as a titanic supernova.

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A series of so-called Bok globules from a mosaic of the Carina Nebula assembled
 from 48 frames taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The island-like
 clumps of dark clouds scattered across the nebula are nodules of dust and gas
that have so far resisted being eaten away by photoionisation. Credit: NASA, ESA,
 N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
 
 

 
The fireworks in the Carina region started three million years ago when the nebula's first generation of newborn stars condensed and ignited in the middle of a huge cloud of cold molecular hydrogen. Radiation from these stars carved out an expanding bubble of hot gas. The island-like clumps of dark clouds scattered across the nebula are nodules of dust and gas that have so far resisted being eaten away by photoionisation.

The hurricane-strength blast of stellar winds and blistering ultraviolet radiation within the cavity is now compressing the surrounding walls of cold hydrogen. This is triggering a second stage of new star formation.

Our Sun and Solar System may have been born inside such a cosmic crucible 4.6 billion years ago. In looking at the Carina Nebula we are seeing star formation as it commonly occurs along the dense spiral arms of a galaxy.

This immense nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina, the Keel of the old southern constellation Argo Navis, the ship of Jason and the Argonauts from Greek mythology.

This image is an immense (29,566 x 14,321 pixels) mosaic of the Carina Nebula assembled from 48 frames taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The Hubble images were taken in the light of ionized hydrogen. Colour information was added with data taken at the Cerro Tololo Inter- American Observatory in Chile. Red corresponds to sulphur, green to hydrogen, and blue to oxygen emission.

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These three snapshots reveal nuggets of cold molecular hydrogen in the Carina Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

 
 
In its 17 years of exploring the heavens, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made nearly 800,000 observations and snapped nearly 500,000 images of more than 25,000 celestial objects. Hubble does not travel to stars, planets and galaxies. It takes pictures of them as it whirls around Earth at 17,500 miles an hour. In its 17-year lifetime, the telescope has made nearly 100,000 trips around our planet. Those trips have racked up plenty of frequent-flier-miles, about 2.4 billion, which is the equivalent of a round trip to Saturn.

The 17 years' worth of observations has produced more than 30 terabytes of data, equal to about 25 percent of the information stored in the Library of Congress.

Each day the orbiting observatory generates about 10 gigabytes of data, enough information to fill the hard drive of a typical home computer in two weeks.

The Hubble archive sends about 66 gigabytes of data each day to astronomers throughout the world.

Astronomers using Hubble data have published nearly 7,000 scientific papers, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.



SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/05/2007 20:46:11
Next solar cycle will likely start in March, NOAA says
NOAA NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 29, 2007

The next 11-year cycle of solar storms will most likely start next March and peak in late 2011 or mid-2012 - up to a year later than expected - according to a forecast issued by the NOAA Space Environment Center in coordination with an international panel of solar experts. The NOAA Space Environment Center led the prediction panel and issued the forecast at its annual Space Weather Workshop in Boulder, Colo. NASA sponsored the panel.

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The solar cycle. Credit: NOAA
 
 
Expected to start last fall, the delayed onset of Solar Cycle 24 stymied the panel and left them evenly split on whether a weak or strong period of solar storms lies ahead, but neither group predicts a record-breaker.

During an active solar period, violent eruptions occur more often on the sun. Solar flares and vast explosions, known as coronal mass ejections, shoot energetic photons and highly charged matter toward Earth, jolting the planet's ionosphere and geomagnetic field, potentially affecting power grids, critical military and airline communications, satellites, Global Positioning System (GPS) signals, and even threatening astronauts with harmful radiation. These same storms illuminate night skies with brilliant sheets of red and green known as auroras, or the northern or southern lights.

Solar cycle intensity is measured in maximum number of sunspots-dark blotches on the sun that mark areas of heightened magnetic activity. The more sunspots there are, the more likely it is that major solar storms will occur.

In the cycle forecast issued Wednesday, half of the panel predicts a moderately strong cycle of 140 sunspots, plus or minus 20, expected to peak in October 2011. The other half predicts a moderately weak cycle of 90 sunspots, plus or minus 10, peaking in August 2012. An average solar cycle ranges from 75 to 155 sunspots. The late decline of Cycle 23 has helped shift the panel away from its earlier leaning toward a strong Cycle 24. Now the group is evenly split between strong and weak.

The first year after solar minimum, marking the end of Cycle 23, will provide the information scientists need to arrive at a consensus. NOAA and the panel decided to issue their best estimate now and update the forecast as the cycle progresses, since NOAA Space Environment Center customers have been requesting a forecast for more than a year.

"By giving a long-term outlook, we're advancing a new field-space climate-that's still in its infancy," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the NOAA National Weather Service. "Issuing a cycle prediction of the onset this far in advance lies on the very edge of what we know about the sun."

Scientists have issued cycle predictions only twice before. In 1989, a panel met to predict Cycle 22, which peaked that same year. Scientists met again in September of 1996 to predict Cycle 23-six months after the cycle had begun. Both groups did better at predicting timing than intensity, according to NOAA Space Environment Center scientist Douglas Biesecker, who chairs the current panel. He describes the group's confidence level as "high" for its estimate of a March 2008 onset and "moderate" overall for the two estimates of peak sunspot number and when those peaks would occur.

One disagreement among the current panel members centers on the importance of magnetic fields around the sun's poles as the previous cycle decays. End-cycle polar fields are the bedrock of the approach predicting a weak Cycle 24. The strong-cycle forecasters place more importance on other precursors extending over a several-cycle history. Another clue will be whether Cycle 24 sunspots appear by mid 2008. If not, the strong-cycle group might change its forecast.

"The panelists in each camp have clear views on why they believe in their prediction, why they might be wrong, and what it would take to change their minds," said Biesecker. "We're on the verge of understanding and agreeing on which precursors are most important in predicting future solar activity."

The NOAA Space Environment Center is the nation's first alert of solar activity and its affects on Earth. Just as NOAA's hurricane experts predict the upcoming season of Atlantic storms and forecast individual hurricanes, the agency's space weather experts issue outlooks for the next 11-year solar cycle and warn of storms occurring on the sun that could impact Earth. Both the NOAA National Hurricane Center and NOAA Space Environment Center are among nine NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction, part of the NOAA National Weather Service. The NOAA Space Environment Center also is the world warning agency of the International Space Environment Service, a consortium of 11 member nations.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/05/2007 20:48:49
AWESOME FOR PROF !


Hawking enjoys zero G
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: April 26, 2007

Physicist Stephen Hawking, the wheelchair-bound theorist known for his insights into the nature of black holes and gravity, experienced weightlessness today during an eagerly anticipated airplane ride off Florida's East Coast.

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Credit: Zero Gravity Corp.
 
 
Attended by a team of physicians, nurses and supporters, Hawking enjoyed 20 to 25 seconds of weightlessness during eight parabolic arcs aboard the Zero Gravity Corp.'s Boeing 727 jet. Passengers on such flights are weightlessness as they "fall" toward Earth inside the plane's foam-padded interior.

At the bottom of each arc, the nose of the plane is pulled up, briefly subjecting the passengers to about 1.5 times the force of gravity. Hawking, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS - Lou Gehrigs Disease - was closely monitored throughout the afternoon flight. After returning to the Kennedy Space Center's shuttle runway, he was all smiles and officials said he enjoyed the ride.

"Many people have asked me why I am taking this flight," the renowned physicist told reporters earlier today at the Shuttle Landing Facility. "I am doing it for many reasons. First of all, I believe that life on Earth is at an ever increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers.

"I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space. I therefore want to encourage public interest in space," he said, speaking through a computer in his famously robotic "voice." "I have long wanted to go into space and the zero gravity flight is a first step toward space travel. I also want to demonstrate to the public that everyone can participate in this type of weightless experience."

Peter Diamandidis, president of Zero Gravity Corp., said the flight was organized to benefit four charities - Easter Seals, the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation, Augie's Quest and the X Prize Foundation. Eight seats were auctioned off, raising some $150,000. Rides on the plane normally sell for $3,500 per passenger.

"We're really excited," Diamandis said. "The entire team is pumped and ready to go to fulfill his dream of being weightless."

To ensure's Hawking's safety, the physicist was closely monitored by his personal team of physicians and nurses. During a test flight Wednesday using an eighth grade student as a stand in, the team perfected the way they will gently lower Hawking to the padded floor after each parabola to make sure he remains comfortable during the half-minute or so when he will be subjected to 1.5 times the normal force of gravity.

"We've done a tremendous amount to ensure safety on this flight," Diamandis said. "We feel we have an excellent safety plan."

Diamandis said Hawking's doctors planned to assess blood pressure, oxygen levels and other factors after the first parabola to make sure it is safe to proceed. Diamandis said he would be happy with a single parabola, prompting Hawking to interject a computer-synthesized "no!"

"As you can imagine, I am very excited," Hawking said earlier. "I have been wheelchair bound for almost four decades and the chance to float free in zero G will be wonderful."

Hawking is considered one of the world's leading authorities on quantum black holes and big bang cosmology. Along with his scholarly achievements, Hawking is the author of the popular bestseller "A Brief History of Time."

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/05/2007 20:52:26
 
Black holes may fill the universe with seeds of life
HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 30, 2007

CAMBRIDGE, MA - New research shows that black holes are not the ultimate destroyers that are often portrayed in popular culture. Instead, warm gas escaping from the clutches of enormous black holes could be one source of the chemical elements that make life possible.

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The black hole at the center of the NGC 4051 galaxy emits a hot wind of chemical elements,
 including elements like carbon and oxygen that are critical for life. The hot wind originates
 very close to the black hole, at a distance about five times the size of Neptune's orbit.
 Although speedy, the wind is weaker than expected and ejects only 2 to 5 percent of accreting
 material. Credit: George Seitz/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
 

 
Immediately after the Big Bang, the universe contained only hydrogen and helium. Heavier chemical elements had to be cooked up inside the first stars, then scattered throughout space to be incorporated in next-generation stars and their planets. Black holes may have helped to distribute those elements across the cosmos.

Black holes are not all-consuming monsters. Until gas crosses the boundary known as the event horizon, it can still escape if it is heated sufficiently.

"One of the big questions in cosmology is how much influence massive black holes exert on their surroundings," said co-author Martin Elvis of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "This research helps answer that question."

An international team of astronomers has found that hot winds from giant black holes in galactic centers may blow heavy elements like carbon and oxygen into the vast tracts of space between galaxies.

The team, led by Yair Krongold of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, studied the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy NGC 4051. They found that gas was escaping from much closer to the black hole than previously thought. The outflow source is located about 2,000 Schwarzschild radii from the black hole, or about five times the size of Neptune's orbit. (The Schwarzschild radius is the black hole's "point of no return" - about 4 million miles for the black hole in NGC 4051.)

The team could also determine the fraction of gas that was avoiding being swallowed. That fraction ended up being smaller than earlier studies suggested.

"We calculate that between 2 to 5 percent of the accreting material is flowing back out," says team member Fabrizio Nicastro of the CfA.

Winds from black holes have been clocked at speeds of up to 4 million miles per hour. Over thousands of years, the chemical elements such as carbon and oxygen in those winds can travel immense distances, eventually becoming incorporated into the cosmic clouds of gas and dust, called nebulae, that will form new stars and planets.

This research, which used data from the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton satellite, is being reported in the April 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
 
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 05/05/2007 20:06:34
Spitzer digs up hidden stars
HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS NEWS RELEASE
Posted: May 3, 2007

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Two rambunctious young stars are destroying their natal dust cloud with powerful jets of radiation, in an infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The stars are located approximately 600 light-years away in a cosmic cloud called BHR 71.


* base.jpg (482.17 kB . 2001x1001 - viewed 1840 times)
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Bourke (CfA)
 
 
"BHR 71 has been a favorite object of mine for years," said Tyler Bourke of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "This spectacular new Spitzer image really shows off the changes in the jets, in ways impossible at other wavelengths."

The visible light image (left) was taken by the European Space Agency's ground-based Very Large Telescope. In this image BHR 71 is just a large black structure. The burst of yellow light toward the bottom of the cloud is the only indication that stars might be forming inside.

In the infrared image (middle), the baby stars are shown as the bright yellow smudges toward the center. Both of these yellow spots have wisps of green shooting out of them. The green wisps reveal the beginning of a jet. Like a rainbow, the jet begins as green, then transitions to orange, and red toward the end.

The jets' changing colors reveals a cooling effect, and may suggest that the young stars are spouting out radiation in regular bursts. The green tints at the beginning of the jet reveal really hot hydrogen gas, the orange shows warm gas, and the wisps of red at the end represent the coolest gas.

The fact that gas toward the beginning of the jet is hotter than gas near the middle, suggests that the stars must give off regular bursts of energy - and the material closest to the star is being heated by shockwaves from a recent stellar outburst. Meanwhile, the tints of orange reveal gas that is currently being heated by shockwaves from a previous stellar outburst. By the time these shockwaves reach the end of the jet, they have slowed down so significantly that the gas is only heated a little, and looks red.

The combined visible-light infrared composite (right) shows that a young star's powerful jet is responsible for the rupture at the bottom of the dense cloud in the visible-light image. We know this because the burst of light in the visible-light image overlaps exactly with a jet spouting out of the left star, shown in the infrared image.

The combination of views also brings out some striking details that evaded visible-light detection. For example, the yellow dots scattered throughout the image are actually young stars forming inside BHR 71. Spitzer also uncovered another young star with jets, located to the right of the powerful jet seen in the visible-light image.

Spitzer can see details, that visible-light telescopes don't, because its infrared instruments are sensitive to "heat."

The infrared image is made up of data from Spitzer's infrared array camera. Blue shows infrared light at 3.6 microns, green is light at 4.5 microns, and red is light at 8.0 microns.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Karen W. on 16/06/2007 07:36:11
Green Glasses from Deep inside the Moon

John Longhi has pondered magma formation in the Moon for a long time, basing his work on careful experiments at high pressure and temperature, computer calculations based on the results of those experiments, and a vast knowledge of phase equilibria (what happens when rocks melt and crystallize). One of his interests has been the origin of the magma that produced the Apollo 15 green glass, a volcanic deposit. The green glass is what cosmochemists call "primitive," which means that it was not altered as it migrated from deep in the Moon to the surface. Thus, it reflects the composition of the lunar interior in the region where it formed.


                        lunar green glass

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Spherules of green glass (most about 0.1 millimeter across) collected during the Apollo 15 mission. The spherules formed by fire fountaining, a type of volcanic eruption in which escaping gases disrupt the magma into countless droplets of magma (see PSRD article: Explosive Volcanic Eruptions on the Moon). The Apollo 15 green glass magma was modified only slightly if at all from the region of the lunar mantle in which it formed, so its composition provides a window to at least some parts of the lunar interior.

Citation: Taylor, G. J. (April, 2007) Two Views of the Moon's Composition. Planetary Science Research Discoveries.




Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Karen W. on 13/07/2007 00:30:42
   Taken from National Aeronautics and space administration

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FEATURE   
NASA Satellite Captures First View of 'Night-Shining Clouds'

   06.28.07

A NASA satellite has captured the first occurrence this summer of mysterious shiny polar clouds that form 50 miles above Earth’s surface.

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FEATURE   
NASA Satellite Captures First View of 'Night-Shining Clouds'

   06.28.07

A NASA satellite has captured the first occurrence this summer of mysterious shiny polar clouds that form 50 miles above Earth’s surface.

One of the first ground sightings of noctilucent clouds in the 2007 season.
Click image to enlarge.

Image above: This image shows one of the first ground sightings of noctilucent clouds in the 2007 season. Credit: Veres Viktor of Budapest, Hungary taken on June 15, 2007.

The first observations of these "night-shining" clouds by a satellite named "AIM" which means Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, occurred above 70 degrees north latitude on May 25. People on the ground began seeing the clouds on June 6 over Northern Europe. AIM is the first satellite mission dedicated to the study of these unusual clouds.

These mystifying clouds are called Polar Mesospheric Clouds, or PMCs, when they are viewed from space and referred to as "night-shining" clouds or Noctilucent Clouds, when viewed by observers on Earth. The clouds form in an upper layer of the Earth’s atmosphere called the mesosphere during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer season which began in mid-May and extends through the end of August and are being seen by AIM’s instruments more frequently as the season progresses. They are also seen in the high latitudes during the summer months in the Southern Hemisphere.


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Image above: On June 11, 2007 the cameras on the AIM satellite returned some of the first data documenting noctilucent clouds over the Arctic regions of Europe and North America. This new data reveals the global extent and structure of these mysterious clouds, to a degree that was previously unattainable. White and light blue represent noctilucent cloud structures. Black indicates areas where no data is available. Credit: Cloud Imaging and Particle Size Experiment data processing team at the University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Very little is known about how these clouds form over the poles, why they are being seen more frequently and at lower latitudes than ever before, or why they have been growing brighter. AIM will observe two complete cloud seasons over both poles, documenting an entire life cycle of the shiny clouds for the first time.

"It is clear that these clouds are changing, a sign that a part of our atmosphere is changing and we do not understand how, why or what it means," stated AIM principal investigator James Russell III of Hampton University, Hampton, Va. "These observations suggest a connection with global change in the lower atmosphere and could represent an early warning that our Earth environment is being changed."

AIM is providing scientists with information about how many of these clouds there are around the world and how different they are including the sizes and shapes of the tiny particles that make them up. Scientists believe that the shining clouds form at high latitudes early in the season and then move to lower latitudes as time progresses. The AIM science team is studying this new data to understand why these clouds form and vary, and if they may be related to global change.

Once the summer season ends in the Northern Hemisphere around mid- to late August, the Southern Hemisphere spring season starts about three months later in the period around mid- to late November. AIM will then be watching for shining clouds in the Southern Hemisphere from November through mid-March when that season ends.

AIM and is managed at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md and the AIM Project Data Center is located at Hampton University.


Cynthia O'Carroll
Goddard Space Flight Center
   



Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/07/2007 22:23:06
Stellar explosion brightest supernova ever seen
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY NEWS RELEASE


BERKELEY -- An exploding star first observed last September is the largest and most luminous supernova ever seen, according to University of California, Berkeley, astronomers, and may be the first example of a type of massive exploding star rare today but probably common in the very early universe.

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The brightest stellar explosion ever recorded may be a long-sought new type
of supernova, according to observations by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory
and ground-based optical telescopes. Credit: Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss;
 X-ray: NASA/CXC/UC Berkeley/N.Smith et al.; IR: Lick/UC Berkeley/J.Bloom & C.Hansen


Unlike typical supernovas that reach a peak brightness in days to a few weeks and then dim into obscurity a few months later, SN2006gy took 70 days to reach full brightness and stayed brighter than any previously observed supernova for more than three months. Nearly eight months later, it still is as bright as a typical supernova at its peak, outshining its host galaxy 240 million light years away.

UC Berkeley post-doctoral fellows Nathan Smith and David Pooley estimate the star's mass at between 100 and 200 times that of the sun. Such massive stars are so rare that galaxies like our own Milky Way may contain only a dozen out of a stellar population of 400 billion.

"This was a truly monstrous explosion, a hundred times more energetic than a typical supernova," said Smith, who led a team of astronomers from UC Berkeley and the University of Texas. "That means the star that exploded might have been as massive as a star can get, about 150 times that of our sun. We've never seen that before."

"Of all exploding stars ever observed, this was the king," said Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley astronomer and leader of the ground-based observations at the University of California's Lick Observatory in California and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. "We were astonished to see how bright it got, and how long it lasted."

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This artist's illustration shows what the brightest supernova ever recorded,
known as SN 2006gy, may have looked like. The fireworks-like material (white)
 shows the explosive death of an extremely massive star. Before it exploded,
 the star expelled the lobes of cool gas (red). As the material from the
explosion crashes into the lobes, it heats the gas in a shock front (green,
 blue and yellow) and pushes it backward. Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss


Based on the Lick and Keck observations, plus data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Smith, Pooley, Filippenko and their colleagues argue that the stellar explosion was not your run-of-the-mill supernova, but a possible pair-instability supernova. They have submitted a paper describing the discovery and their conclusions to The Astrophysical Journal.

Stars with masses at least 10 times greater than our sun end their lives after burning hydrogen to helium, helium to carbon, and on to larger elements until they reach iron, when fusion stops. Toward the end of this process, the heat produced in the core of the star becomes insufficient to support the outer layers, which collapse inward, finishing the fusion process and crunching the core to a neutron star or black hole. The outer layers of the star are blown off in a bright flare-up we observe as a supernova.

For stars much more massive than this, ranging from 140 solar masses to as many as 250, the temperature at the core becomes so great that before the fusion cascade is complete, high-energy gamma rays in the core start annihilating one another, creating matter-antimatter pairs, mostly electron-positron pairs. Since gamma radiation is the energy that prevents collapse of the outer layers of the star, once the radiation starts disappearing, the outer layers fall inward. The net result is a thermonuclear explosion that, theoretically, would be brighter than any typical supernova. In this type of supernova, the star is blown to smithereens, leaving behind no black hole.

"This discovery forces us to go back to the drawing board to understand how the most massive stars die," Smith said. "Instead of just winking away into a black hole, they apparently can suffer these brilliant explosions that can be seen far across the universe. The fact that this thing is so bright, and stayed bright for a long time, makes our chances of detecting them in the early universe much better."

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This graphic gives a summary of our best current understanding of the
 evolution of stars, showing their birth, middle age and eventual demise.
 Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss


Such pair-instability supernovas should theoretically produce a greater percentage of heavy elements. According to Smith, the radioactive decay of nickel-56 produces most of the light of a supernova, and this pair-instability supernova produced about 20 solar masses of nickel, compared to maybe 0.6 solar masses in a Type Ia supernova. Astronomers think that a large proportion of the universe's first stars were supermassive stars like this that, upon exploding, seeded the early universe with the heavy elements from which planets and later, humans, were made.

"We may have witnessed a modern-day version of how the first generation of the most massive stars ended their lives, when the universe was very young," Filippenko said.

The star that produced SN 2006gy apparently expelled a large amount of mass prior to exploding, reminiscent of the star eta Carinae, a so-called luminous blue variable which, at 100 to 120 solar masses, is the most massive star in our galaxy.

"This is also very exciting because it suggests that eta Carinae, only 7,500 light years away, might possibly explode in a similar manner, becoming a spectacularly bright star in our sky," Filippenko said.

"We don't know for sure if Eta Carinae will explode soon, but we had better keep a close eye on it just in case," added Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., who was not involved in the research. "Eta Carinae's explosion could be the best star-show in the history of modern civilization


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Estimated to be 100 times heftier than our Sun, Eta Carinae is one of the
most massive stars in our galaxy. It may also turn out to be one of the
 shortest-lived, because results for SN 2006gy suggest that it may be
destroyed by a supernova at any time. This Hubble telescope image of
Eta Carinae shows a huge, billowing pair of gas and dust clouds, caused
by a giant eruption about 160 years ago, when it became one of the brightest
stars in the southern sky. Credit: NASA/N.Smith & J.Morse



University of Texas graduate student Robert Quimby first observed the supernova on Sept. 18, 2006 in the galaxy NGC 1260, located in the constellation Perseus. Filippenko's team immediately began observing it with its dedicated supernova search and monitor telescope at Lick, the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope.

Filippenko and his graduate student Ryan Foley subsequently obtained spectra of the star using the Lick 3-meter Shane telescope and the DEIMOS spectrograph mounted on the Keck II telescope.

Pooley led the Chandra observation, which allowed the team to rule out the most likely alternative explanation for the supernova, namely that it was an explosion of a white dwarf star into a dense, hydrogen-rich environment.

"If that were the case, this supernova would have been 1,000 times brighter in X-rays than what we detected with Chandra," said Pooley. "This must have been an extremely massive star."

"In terms of the effect on the early universe, there's a huge difference between these two possibilities," said Smith. "One pollutes the galaxy with large quantities of newly synthesized elements, and the other locks them up forever in a black hole."

"One exciting repercussion of this is that, if pair-instability supernovas really are this bright, it gives us hope that the James Webb Space Telescope might actually be able to detect these explosions from the first stars, thereby verifying that they may actually exist," he added.

The results from Smith, Pooley, Filippenko and their colleagues, including Weidong Li, Ryan Chornock, Jeffrey M. Silverman, Joshua S. Bloom and Charles Hansen of UC Berkeley and J. Craig Wheeler of the University of Texas, will appear in The Astrophysical Journal.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for the agency's Science Mission Directorate. The work also was supported by the National Science Foundation and the W. M. Keck Foundation


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM














Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/07/2007 13:15:26
Hubble observatory discovers ring of dark matter
HUBBLE ESA INFORMATION CENTRE NEWS RELEASE


An international team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a ghostly ring of dark matter that was formed long ago during a titanic collision between two massive galaxy clusters. It is the first time that a dark matter distribution has been found that differs substantially from the distribution of ordinary matter.

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This Hubble Space Telescope composite image shows a ghostly "ring" of dark
matter in the galaxy cluster ZwCl0024+1652. Credit: NASA, ESA, M.J. Jee and
 H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University)
Download larger image version here  (http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/screen/heic0709a.jpg)

 
 
Astronomers have long suspected the existence of the invisible substance of dark matter as the source of additional gravity that holds together galaxy clusters. Otherwise, astronomers say, the clusters would fly apart if they relied only on the gravity from their visible stars. Although astronomers don't know what dark matter is made of, they hypothesize that it is a type of elementary particle that pervades the Universe.

In a result just published, astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope report the discovery of a ring of dark matter in the cluster ZwCl0024+1652. The ring's discovery is among the strongest evidence yet that dark matter exists.

"This is the first time we have detected dark matter as having a unique structure that is different from the gas and galaxies in the cluster," said astronomer M. James Jee of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, a member of the team that spotted the dark matter ring.

The ring, which measures 2.6 million light-years across, was found in the cluster ZwCl0024+1652, located 5 billion light-years away from Earth. The team found the ring unexpectedly while they were mapping the distribution of dark matter within the cluster. Although astronomers cannot see dark matter, they can infer its existence in galaxy clusters by observing how its gravity bends the light of more distant background galaxies.

"Although the invisible matter has been found before in other galaxy clusters, it has never been detected to be so largely separated from the hot gas and the galaxies that make up galaxy clusters," Jee continued. "By seeing a dark matter structure that is not traced by galaxies and hot gas, we can study how it behaves differently from normal matter."

During the team's dark-matter analysis, they noticed a ripple in the mysterious substance, somewhat like the ripples created in a pond from a stone plopping into the water.

"I was annoyed when I saw the ring because I thought it was an artifact, which would have implied a flaw in our data reduction," Jee explained. "I couldn't believe my result. But the more I tried to remove the ring, the more it showed up. It took more than a year to convince myself that the ring was real. I've looked at a number of clusters and I haven't seen anything like this."

Curious about why the ring was in the cluster and how it had formed, Jee found previous research that suggested the cluster had collided with another cluster 1 to 2 billion years ago. The research, published in 2002 by Oliver Czoske of the Argelander-Institut für Astronomie at Bonn University, was based on spectroscopic observations of the cluster's three-dimensional structure. The study revealed two distinct groupings of galaxies clusters, indicating a collision between both clusters.


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/07/2007 13:23:41
Hubble catches Jupiter changing its stripes
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: July 9, 2007

Massive Jupiter is undergoing dramatic atmospheric changes that have never been seen before with the keen "eye" of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Jupiter's turbulent clouds are always changing as they encounter atmospheric disturbances while sweeping around the planet at hundreds of miles per hour. But these Hubble images reveal a rapid transformation in the shape and color of Jupiter's clouds near the equator, marking an entire face of the globe.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon-Miller (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), A. Sanchez-Lavega,
 R. Hueso, and S. Perez-Hoyos (University of the Basque Country), E. Garcia-Melendo
(Esteve Duran Observatory Foundation, Spain), and G. Orton (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)


 
The planet is wrapped in bands of yellows, browns, and whites. These bands are produced by the atmosphere flowing in different directions at various latitudes. Lighter-hued areas where the atmosphere rises are called zones. Darker regions where the atmosphere falls are called belts. When these opposing flows interact, storms and turbulence appear.

Between March 25 and June 5, Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 captured entire bands of clouds changing color. Zones have darkened into belts and belts have lightened and transformed into zones. Cloud features have rapidly altered in shape and size.

The image at left shows a thin band of white clouds above Jupiter's equator. The white color indicates clouds at higher altitudes in Jupiter's atmosphere. In the image at right, the band's white hue has turned brown, showing clouds deep within the planet's atmosphere. The whole band appears to have merged with the one below it.

In the same cloud band above the equator, the small swirls in the left-hand image have morphed into larger wave-like features in the right-hand photo. Dominating the band is a dark streak that resembles a snake. This serpent-shaped structure is actually a small tear in the cloud deck, which gives astronomers a view deep within the atmosphere.

Below the equatorial region, the brownish upside-down shark fin in the left-hand image disappears in the photo at right. Appearing instead are brownish tongue-shaped clouds with a stream of white swirls below them.

These global upheavals have been seen before, but not with Hubble's sharp resolution. Astronomers using ground-based telescopes first spied drastic atmospheric transformation in the 1980s. Another major disturbance was seen in the early 1990s, after Hubble was launched into space. The telescope, however, did not have the resolution to view the upheaval in fine detail. These higher-quality Hubble images may help astronomers understand how such global upheavals develop on Jupiter.


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/07/2007 13:28:16
Stellar fireworks are ablaze in galaxy, Hubble shows
HUBBLE ESA INFORMATION CENTRE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: July 9, 2007

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Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Aloisi (ESA/STScI) and The Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Download larger image version here  (http://www.spacetelescope.org/goodies/printlayouts/screen/heic0711.jpg)
 
 
Nearly 12.5 million light-years away in the dwarf galaxy NGC 4449 a veritable stellar "fireworks" is on display - here shown in exquisite detail through the eyes of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Hundreds of thousands of vibrant blue and red stars are visible in this new image of galaxy NGC 4449 taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Hot bluish white clusters of massive stars are scattered throughout the galaxy, interspersed with numerous dustier reddish regions of current star formation. Massive dark clouds of gas and dust are silhouetted against the flaming starlight.

NGC 4449 has been forming stars since several billion years ago, but currently it is experiencing a star formation event at a much higher rate than in the past. This unusual explosive and intense star formation activity qualifies as a starburst. At the current rate, the gas supply that feeds the stellar production would only last for another billion years or so.

Starbursts usually occur in the central regions of galaxies, but NGC 4449 has a more widespread star formation activity, since the very youngest stars are observed both in the nucleus and in streams surrounding the galaxy.

A "global" starburst like NGC 4449 resembles primordial star forming galaxies which grew by merging with and accreting smaller stellar systems. Since NGC 4449 is close enough to be observed in great detail, it is the ideal laboratory for the investigation of what may have occurred during galactic formation and evolution in the early Universe.

It's likely that the current widespread starburst was triggered by interaction or merging with a smaller companion. NGC 4449 belongs to a group of galaxies in the constellation Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs. Astronomers think that NGC 4449's star formation has been influenced by interactions with several of its neighbours.

This image was taken in November 2005 by an international science team led by Alessandra Aloisi of European Space Agency (ESA)/the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore. Other team members include Francesca Annibali (STScI), Claus Leitherer (STScI), Jennifer Mack (STScI), Marco Sirianni (ESA/STScI), Monica Tosi (INAF-OAB), and Roeland van der Marel (STScI).

Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys observed the NGC 4449 in blue, visible, infrared, and Hydrogen-alpha light.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 30/07/2007 15:07:06
Planets with four parents?


How many stars does it take to "raise" a planet? In our own solar system, it took only one -- our Sun. However, new research from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows that planets might sometimes form in systems with as many as four stars.

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This artist concept depicts a quadruple-star system called HD 98800. The system is approximately 10 million years old, and is located 150 light-years away in the constellation TW Hydrae. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
 
Astronomers used Spitzer's infrared vision to study a dusty disk that swirls around a pair of stars in the quadruple-star system HD 98800. Such disks are thought to give rise to planets. Instead of a smooth, continuous disk, the telescope detected gaps that could be caused by a unique gravitational relationship between the system's four stars. Alternatively, the gaps could indicate planets have already begun to form, carving out lanes in the dust.

"Planets are like cosmic vacuums. They clear up all the dirt that is in their path around the central stars," said Dr. Elise Furlan, of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. Furlan is the lead author of a paper that has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

HD 98800 is approximately 10 million years old, and is located 150 light-years away in the constellation TW Hydrae.

Before Spitzer set its gaze on HD 98800, astronomers had a rough idea of the system's structure from observations with ground-based telescopes. They knew the system contains four stars, and that the stars are paired off into doublets, or binaries. The stars in the binary pairs orbit around each other, and the two pairs also circle each other like choreographed ballerinas. One of the stellar pairs, called HD 98800B, has a disk of dust around it, while the other pair has none.

Although the four stars are gravitationally bound, the distance separating the two binary pairs is about 50 astronomical units (AU) -- slightly more than the average distance between our Sun and Pluto. Until now, technological limitations have hindered astronomers' efforts to look at the dusty disk around HD 98800B more closely.

With Spitzer, scientists finally have a detailed view. Using the telescope's infrared spectrometer, Furlan's team sensed the presence of two belts in the disk made of large dust grains. One belt sits at approximately 5.9 AU away from the central binary, HD 98800B, or about the distance from the Sun to Jupiter. This belt is likely made up of asteroids or comets. The other belt sits at 1.5 to 2 AU, comparable to the area where Mars and the asteroid belt sit, and probably consists of fine grains.

"Typically, when astronomers see gaps like this in a debris disk, they suspect that a planet has cleared the path. However, given the presence of the diskless pair of stars sitting 50 AU away, the inward-migrating dust particles are likely subject to complex, time-varying forces, so at this point the existence of a planet is just speculation," said Furlan.

Astronomers believe that planets form like snowballs over millions of years, as small dust grains clump together to form larger bodies. Some of these cosmic rocks then smash together to form rocky planets, like Earth, or the cores of gas-giant planets like Jupiter. Large rocks that don't form planets often become asteroids and comets. As these rocky structures violently collide, bits of dust are released into space. Scientists can see these dust grains with Spitzer's supersensitive infrared eyes.

According to Furlan, the dust generated from the collision of rocky objects in the outer belt should eventually migrate toward the inner disk. However, in the case of HD 98800B, the dust particles do not evenly fill out the inner disk as expected, due to either planets or the diskless binary pair sitting 50 AU away and gravitationally influencing the movement of dust particles.

"Since many young stars form in multiple systems, we have to realize that the evolution of disks around them and the possible formation of planetary systems can be way more complicated and perturbed than in a simple case like our solar system," Furlan added.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 12/08/2007 19:03:46
Cassini finds possible origin to one of Saturn's rings
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE


PASADENA, Calif. - Cassini scientists may have identified the source of one of Saturn's more mysterious rings. Saturn's G ring likely is produced by relatively large, icy particles that reside within a bright arc on the ring's inner edge.

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Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
 
 
The particles are confined within the arc by gravitational effects from Saturn's moon Mimas. Micrometeoroids collide with the particles, releasing smaller, dust-sized particles that brighten the arc. The plasma in the giant planet's magnetic field sweeps through this arc continually, dragging out the fine particles, which create the G ring.

The finding is evidence of the complex interaction between Saturn's moons, rings and magnetosphere. Studying this interaction is one of Cassini's objectives. The study is in the Aug. 2 issue of the journal Science and was based on observations made by multiple Cassini instruments in 2004 and 2005.

"Distant pictures from the cameras tell us where the arc is and how it moves, while plasma and dust measurements taken near the G ring tell us how much material is there," said Matthew Hedman, a Cassini imaging team associate at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and lead author on the Science paper.

Saturn's rings are an enormous, complex structure, and their origin is a mystery. The rings are labeled in the order they were discovered. From the planet outward, they are D, C, B, A, F, G and E. The main rings -- A, B and C from edge-to-edge, would fit neatly in the distance between Earth and the moon. The most transparent rings are D -- interior to C -- and F, E and G, outside the main rings.

Unlike Saturn's other dusty rings, such as the E and F rings, the G ring is not associated closely with moons that either could supply material directly to it -- as Enceladus does for the E ring -- or sculpt and perturb its ring particles -- as Prometheus and Pandora do for the F ring. The location of the G ring continued to defy explanation, until now.

Cassini images show that the bright arc within the G ring extends one-sixth of the way around Saturn and is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) wide, much narrower than the full 5,955-kilometer width (3,700 miles) of the G ring. The arc has been observed several times since Cassini's 2004 arrival at the ringed planet and thus appears to be a long-lived feature. A gravitational disturbance caused by the moon Mimas exists near the arc.

As part of their study, Hedman and colleagues conducted computer simulations that showed the gravitational disturbance of Mimas could indeed produce such a structure in Saturn's G ring. The only other places in the solar system where such disturbances are known to exist are in the ring arcs of Neptune.

Cassini's magnetospheric imaging instrument detected depletions in charged particles near the arc in 2005. According to the scientists, unseen mass in the arc must be absorbing the particles. "The small dust grains that the Cassini camera sees are not enough to absorb energetic electrons," said Elias Roussos of the Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research, Germany, and member of the magnetospheric imaging team. "This tells us that a lot more mass is distributed within the arc."

The researchers concluded that there is a population of larger, as-yet-unseen bodies hiding in the arc, ranging in size from that of peas to small boulders. The total mass of all these bodies is equivalent to that of an ice-rich, small moon that's about 100 meters wide (328 feet wide).

Joe Burns, a co-author of the paper from Cornell University and a member of the imaging team, said, "We'll have a super opportunity to spot the G ring's source bodies when Cassini flies about 600 miles from the arc 18 months from now."

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at the laboratory. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. The magnetospheric imaging instrument team is based at Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Md.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 12/08/2007 19:10:47
A monster galaxy pileup
YALE UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: August 6, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Four galaxies are slamming into each other and kicking up billions of stars in one of the largest cosmic smash-ups ever observed.

The clashing galaxies, spotted by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the WIYN Telescope, will eventually merge into a single, behemoth galaxy up to 10 times as massive as our own Milky Way. This rare sighting provides an unprecedented look at how the most massive galaxies in the universe form.

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This artist's concept shows what the night sky might look like from
 a hypothetical planet around a star tossed out of the ongoing collision between big galaxies (yellow blobs). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

 
 
"Most of the galaxy mergers we already knew about are like compact cars crashing together," said Kenneth Rines of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass. "What we have here is like four sand trucks smashing together, flinging sand everywhere." Rines, who was a Mead postdoctoral fellow at Yale from 2003-6 when much of this work was done, is lead author of a paper accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Collisions, or mergers, between galaxies are common in the universe. Gravity causes some galaxies that are close together to tangle and ultimately unite over a period of millions of years. Though stars in merging galaxies are tossed around like sand, they have a lot of space between them and survive the ride. Our Milky Way galaxy will team up with the Andromeda galaxy in five billion years.

Mergers between one big galaxy and several small ones, called minor mergers, are well documented. For example, one of the most elaborate known minor mergers is taking place in the Spiderweb galaxy - a massive galaxy that is catching dozens of small ones in its "web" of gravity. Astronomers have also witnessed "major" mergers among pairs of galaxies that are similar in size. But no major mergers between multiple hefty galaxies - the big rigs of the galaxy world - have been seen until now.

The new quadruple merger was discovered serendipitously during a survey of a distant cluster of galaxies, called CL0958+4702, located nearly five billion light-years away. The telescopes first spotted an unusually large fan-shaped plume of light coming out of a gathering of four blob-shaped, or elliptical, galaxies. Three of the galaxies are about the size of the Milky Way, while the fourth is three times as big.

"The colors from the WIYN and Spitzer data show that the stars are old, but the higher resolution WIYN images show that the light from the disrupted galaxy does not have small-scale structure but is instead smoothly distributed telling us that the galaxies involved in the merger are elliptical rather than spiral galaxies," said Jeffrey Kenney, professor and chair of Astronomy at Yale.

According to Kenney, WIYN (named for it¹s joint ownership by the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, Yale University, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory) is one of the best imaging telescopes in the world. "The sharpness of the WIYN images helps show that we are in fact seeing a merger, and what type of galaxies have merged."

"The WIYN telescope provides some of the sharpest images possible from ground-based telescopes. The WIYN images show that the four galaxies have well-defined cores that have held together during the merger, much like egg yolks stay together longer than egg whites if you "merge" them in a mixing bowl," said Rines.

Further analysis of the plume revealed that it is made up of billions of older stars flung out and abandoned in an ongoing clash.  About half of the stars in the plume will later fall back into the galaxies. "When this merger is complete, this will be one of the biggest galaxies in the universe," said Rines.

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One of the biggest galaxy collisions ever observed is taking place
at the center of this image. The four yellow blobs in the middle are
 large galaxies that have begun to tangle and ultimately merge into
 a single gargantuan galaxy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CXO/WIYN/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

 
 
The Spitzer observations also show that the new merger lacks gas. Theorists predict that massive galaxies grow in a variety of ways, including gas-rich and gas-poor mergers. In gas-rich mergers, the galaxies are soaked with gas that ignites to form new stars. Gas-poor mergers lack gas, so no new stars are formed. Spitzer found only old stars in the quadruple encounter.

"The Spitzer data show that these major mergers are gas-poor, unlike most mergers we know about," said Rines. "The data also represent the best evidence that the biggest galaxies in the universe formed fairly recently through major mergers."

Some of the stars tossed out in the monstrous merger will live in isolated areas outside the borders of any galaxies. Such abandoned stars could theoretically have planets. If so, the planets' night skies would be quite different from our own, with fewer stars and more visible galaxies.

In addition to Spitzer and WIYN, Rines and his team used a telescope formerly known as the Multiple Mirror Telescope and now called MMT near Tucson, Ariz., to confirm that the four galaxies are intertwined, and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to weigh the mass of the giant cluster of galaxies in which the merger was discovered. Both Spitzer and WIYN, also near Tucson, Ariz., were used to study the plume.

Other authors of this paper include Rose Finn of Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y.; and Alexey Vikhlinin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. Spitzer's infrared array camera was built by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The instrument's principal investigator is Giovanni Fazio of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

 
SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 23/08/2007 19:36:31
Dark matter mystery deepens in 'train wreck'
CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE
Posted: August 22, 2007

Astronomers have discovered a chaotic scene unlike any witnessed before in a cosmic "train wreck" between giant galaxy clusters. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and optical telescopes revealed a dark matter core that was mostly devoid of galaxies, which may pose problems for current theories of dark matter behavior.

"These results challenge our understanding of the way clusters merge," said Dr. Andisheh Mahdavi of the University of Victoria, British Columbia. "Or, they possibly make us even reexamine the nature of dark matter itself."


* darkmatter.jpg (34.5 kB . 398x398 - viewed 7786 times)
This multi-wavelength image of Abell 520 shows the aftermath of
 a complicated collision of galaxy clusters, some of the most massive objects in the
Universe. In this image, the hot gas as detected by Chandra is colored red. Optical data
 from the Canada-France-Hawaii and Subaru telescopes shows the starlight from the
individual galaxies (yellow and orange). The location of most of the matter in the
cluster (blue) was also found using these telescopes, by tracing the subtle
light-bending effects on distant galaxies. This material is dominated by dark matter.
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UVic./A.Mahdavi et al. Optical/Lensing: CFHT/UVic./A.Mahdavi et
 
 

 
There are three main components to galaxy clusters: individual galaxies composed of billions of stars, hot gas in between the galaxies, and dark matter, a mysterious substance that dominates the cluster mass and can be detected only through its gravitational effects.

Optical telescopes can observe the starlight from the individual galaxies, and can infer the location of dark matter by its subtle light-bending effects on distant galaxies. X-ray telescopes like Chandra detect the multimillion-degree gas.

A popular theory of dark matter predicts that dark matter and galaxies should stay together, even during a violent collision, as observed in the case of the so-called Bullet Cluster. However, when the Chandra data of the galaxy cluster system known as Abell 520 was mapped along with the optical data from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and Subaru Telescope atop Mauna Kea, HI, a puzzling picture emerged. A dark matter core was found, which also contained hot gas but no bright galaxies.

"It blew us away that it looks like the galaxies are removed from the densest core of dark matter," said Dr. Hendrik Hoekstra, also of University of Victoria. "This would be the first time we've seen such a thing and could be a huge test of our knowledge of how dark matter behaves."

In addition to the dark matter core, a corresponding "light region" containing a group of galaxies with little or no dark matter was also detected. The dark matter appears to have separated from the galaxies.

"The observation of this group of galaxies that is almost devoid of dark matter flies in the face of our current understanding of the cosmos," said Dr. Arif Babul, University of Victoria. "Our standard model is that a bound group of galaxies like this should have a lot of dark matter. What does it mean that this one doesn't?"

In the Bullet Cluster, known as 1E 0657-56, the hot gas is slowed down during the collision but the galaxies and dark matter appear to continue on unimpeded. In Abell 520, it appears that the galaxies were unimpeded by the collision, as expected, while a significant amount of dark matter has remained in the middle of the cluster along with the hot gas.

Mahdavi and his colleagues have two possible explanations for their findings, both of which are uncomfortable for prevailing theories. The first option is that the galaxies were separated from the dark matter through a complex set of gravitational "slingshots." This explanation is problematic because computer simulations have not been able to produce slingshots that are nearly powerful enough to cause such a separation.

The second option is that dark matter is affected not only by gravity, but also by an as-yet-unknown interaction between dark matter particles. This exciting alternative would require new physics and could be difficult to reconcile with observations of other galaxies and galaxy clusters, such as the aforementioned Bullet Cluster.

In order to confirm and fully untangle the evidence for the Abell 520 dark matter core, the researchers have secured time for new data from Chandra plus the Hubble Space Telescope. With the additional observations, the team hopes to resolve the mystery surrounding this system.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/09/2007 22:32:51
New study on role of climate in Neanderthal extinction
   
 
   


Questions remain unresolved as to whether the Neanderthals died out because of competition with modern people or because of deteriorating climatic conditions. Although scientists have gained increased knowledge of past climate it has been difficult to pinpoint the climatic character at the time of the Neanderthal disappearance. A new study by an international team of researchers, published this week in the prestigious journal Nature, has developed a breakthrough approach to address this issue (Nature, September 13, 2007).


* skeImage1.jpg (41.32 kB . 366x552 - viewed 14476 times)
Fig.: Comparison of Neanderthal and modern human skeletons.

Image: (Photo: K. Mowbray, Reconstruction: G. Sawyer and B. Maley, Copyright: Ian Tattersall).[/b][/color][/size]

"Our findings suggest that there was no single climatic event that caused the extinction of the Neanderthals" says palaeoanthro-pologist Katerina Harvati. Only a controversial date for very late Neanderthal survival places their disappearance just before a major environmental shift. "Even in this case" continues Harvati "the role of climate would have been indirect, perhaps promoting competition with other human groups".

"There are three main limitations to understanding the role of climate in the Neanderthal extinction" explains palaeoecologist Chronis Tzedakis: uncertainty over the exact timing of the Neanderthal disappearance; uncertainties in converting radiocarbon dates to actual calendar years; and the chronological imprecision of the ancient climate record. "Our novel method circumvents the last two problems" adds palaeoclimatologist Konrad Hughen. "We were therefore able to provide a much more accurate picture of the climatic background at the time of the Neanderthal disappearance". "More generally," continues Hughen "our approach offers the huge potential to unravel the role of climate in critical events of the recent fossil record as it can be applied to any radiocarbon date from any deposit".

The new method was applied by the researchers to three possible dates for the Neanderthal extinction obtained from Gorham’s cave, Gibraltar - a site thought to have been occupied by some of the latest surviving Neanderthals. The first two of these dates (~32 and ~28 thousand radiocarbon years ago) relate to conditions that are not distinct from the general climatic instability of the last glacial period. The much more controversial date of ~24 thousand radiocarbon years ago places the last Neanderthals just before a major environmental shift, with an expansion of ice sheets and onset of cold conditions in northern Europe. Gibraltar’s climate, however, remained relatively unaffected "perhaps as a result of warm water from the subtropical Atlantic entering the western Mediterranean" according to palaeoceanographer Isabel Cacho.

The study was conducted by Chronis Tzedakis (University of Leeds); Konrad Hughen (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution); Isabel Cacho (University of Barcelona); Katerina Harvati (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology).

SOURCE:EUREKALERT.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/09/2007 22:37:53
A Warm South Pole? Yes, on Neptune!
Summer season on Neptune creates escape route for methane


* phot-41-07-preview.jpg (63.67 kB . 400x400 - viewed 7840 times)]Neptune's 'Hot' South Pole (VISIR/VLT)[/color][/b]


Thermal images of planet Neptune taken with VISIR on ESO's Very Large Telescope, obtained on 1 and 2 September 2006. These thermal images show a 'hot' south pole on Neptune. These warmer temperatures provide an avenue for methane to escape out of the deep atmosphere. Scientists say Neptune's south pole is 'hotter' than anywhere else on the planet by about 10 degrees Celsius. The average temperature on Neptune is about minus 200 degrees Celsius. The upper left image samples temperatures near the top of Neptune's troposphere (near 100 mbar pressure). The hottest temperatures are located at the lower part of the image at Neptune's south pole (see the graphic at the upper right). The lower two images, taken 6.3 hours apart, sample temperatures at higher altitudes in Neptune's stratosphere. They do show generally warmer temperatures near, but not at, the south pole. In addition they show a warm area which can be seen in the lower left image and rotated completely around the planet in the lower right image.

Credit: VLT/ESO/NASA/JPL/Paris Observatory
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Alandriel on 11/10/2007 19:09:44
Super stuff in here. Thanks to this thread, I now have a pletora of new screen wallpapers.
Planets with four parents? C[8D] [8D]L

Mom - where's that? Is that real?
Perhaps honey, perhaps.....
 [;D]



Now I know they're not exactly 'last weeks' and if they're a really old hat for ya then I'll happily bazook this post..... just yell!

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Cell on the move
Dr Aleksandar Ivetic, of Imperial College, London, won the British Heart Foundation picture of the year with this image of a migrating cell. The vivid colours come from the markers used to visualise the location of different cytoskeleton proteins essential for cell movement.
Reference url (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/health_heart_pictures/html/1.stm)


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Mysterious microbubble
Injected preparations of tiny ‘microbubbles’ can be used to enhance the contrast and distinguish different structures within the body during ultrasound diagnosis of heart disease. This image by Raniska Tente, of the University of Edinburgh, is a computer-enhanced microscope image of a microbubble, just 100 millionths of a metre in diameter.
Reference url (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/health_heart_pictures/html/3.stm)


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbc.co.uk%2Fnol%2Fshared%2Fspl%2Fhi%2Fpop_ups%2F05%2Fhealth_heart_pictures%2Fimg%2F4.jpg&hash=eca6e0cf70605c6b6d649f59372f5e40)
Heart muscle  
Heart muscle is made of different cell types that ‘talk’ to each other so the tissue can respond to changing conditions and efficiently pump blood round the body. This image by Patrizia Camelliti and Peter Kohl shows the microscopic architecture of heart muscle, showing the muscle in red closely associated with fibroblast cells in green.  Reference url (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/health_heart_pictures/html/4.stm)


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbc.co.uk%2Fnol%2Fshared%2Fspl%2Fhi%2Fpop_ups%2F05%2Fhealth_heart_pictures%2Fimg%2F6.jpg&hash=2d719db2fdbce1cadb93d7730d87d03c)
Diseased blood vessels
DNA microarray technology allows scientists to quickly analyse the activity of thousands of genes in a single tissue sample. Here, Marianna Papaspyridonos and David Greaves from Oxford University, have tested gene activity in white blood cells from diseased blood vessels. Each spot represents a single gene – the brightest are the most active. Reference url (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/health_heart_pictures/html/6.stm)


A human heart - ART ! [;D]

 
 




Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/10/2007 15:17:06
Cassini is on the trail of a runaway mystery
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: October 8, 2007

NASA scientists are on the trail of Iapetus' mysterious dark side, which seems to be home to a bizarre "runaway" process that is transporting vaporized water ice from the dark areas to the white areas of the Saturnian moon.


* iapetus.jpg (42.68 kB . 398x409 - viewed 7388 times)lor=blue]Cassini captures the first high-resolution glimpse of the bright
trailing hemisphere of Saturn's moon Iapetus in this false-color mosaic. This false-color
 mosaic shows the entire hemisphere of Iapetus. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Download larger image version here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08384.jpg)[/color][/b][/size]
 
 
This "thermal segregation" model may explain many details of the moon's strange and dramatically two-toned appearance, which have been revealed exquisitely in images collected during a recent close flyby of Iapetus by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Infrared observations from the flyby confirm that the dark material is warm enough (approximately minus 230 degrees Fahrenheit or 127 Kelvin) for very slow release of water vapor from water ice, and this process is probably a major factor in determining the distinct brightness boundaries.

"The side of Iapetus that faces forward in its orbit around Saturn is being darkened by some mysterious process," said John Spencer, Cassini scientist with the composite infrared spectrometer team from the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.

Using multiple instruments on Cassini, scientists are piecing together a complex story to explain the bright and dark faces of Iapetus. But yet to be fully understood is where the dark material is coming from. Is it native or from outside the moon? It has long been hypothesized that this material did not originate from within Iapetus, but instead was derived from other moons orbiting at a much greater distance from Saturn in a direction opposite to Iapetus.

Scientists are now converging on the notion that the darkening process in fact began in this manner, and that thermal effects subsequently enhanced the contrast to what we see today.

"It's interesting to ponder that a more than 30-year-old idea might still help explain the brightness difference on Iapetus," said Tilmann Denk, Cassini imaging scientist at the Free University in Berlin, Germany. "Dusty material spiraling in from outer moons hits Iapetus head-on, and causes the forward-facing side of Iapetus to look different than the rest of the moon."

Once the leading side is even slightly dark, thermal segregation can proceed rapidly. A dark surface will absorb more sunlight and warm up, explains Spencer, so the water ice on the surface evaporates. The water vapor then condenses on the nearest cold spot, which could be Iapetus's poles, and possibly bright, icy areas at lower latitudes on the side of the moon facing in the opposite direction of its orbit. So the dark stuff loses its surface ice and gets darker, and the bright stuff accumulates ice and gets brighter, in a runaway process.

Scientists say the result is that there are virtually no shades of gray on Iapetus. There is only white and very dark.

Ultraviolet data also show a non-ice component in the bright, white regions of Iapetus. Spectroscopic analysis will reveal whether the composition of the material on the dark hemisphere is the same as the dark material that is present within the bright terrain.

"The ultraviolet data tell us a lot about where the water ice is and where the non-water ice stuff is. At first glance, the two populations do not appear to be present in the pattern we expected, which is very interesting," said Amanda Hendrix, Cassini scientist on the ultraviolet imaging spectrograph team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Because of the presence of very small craters that excavate the bright ice beneath, scientists also believe that the dark material is thin, a result consistent with previous Cassini radar results. But some local areas may be thicker. The dark material seems to lie on top of the bright region, consistent with the idea that it is a residual left behind by the sublimated water ice.

Some other mysteries are coming together. There are more data on the signature mountain ridge that gives Iapetus its "walnut" appearance. In some places it appears subdued. One big question that remains is why it does not go all the way around.

Was it partially destroyed after it formed, or did it never extend all the way around the moon? Scientists have ruled out that it is a youthful feature because it is pitted with craters, indicating it is old. And the ridge looks too solid and competent to be the result of an equatorial ring around the moon collapsing onto its surface. The ring theory cannot explain features that look like tectonic structures in the new high resolution images.

Over the next few months, scientists hope to learn more about Iapetus' mysteries.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW>COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/10/2007 15:34:57
Uncovering The Veil Nebula



* large_web.jpg (114.27 kB . 585x752 - viewed 7163 times)

Source: Hubblesite.org

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/10/2007 22:49:17
Solar Telescope Reaches 120,000 Feet on Jumbo-Jet-Sized Balloon





* ONEIMG_6490.jpg (90.71 kB . 476x686 - viewed 7013 times)

Slender hoses, blown into arcs by the wind, partially fill the balloon
 with helium before launch. A large portion of the balloon is left unfilled so it can
expand as it ascends into the stratosphere, where air pressure is considerably lower.
 (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR. News media terms of use*)
 

 

BOULDER—In a landmark test flight, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and a team of research partners this month successfully launched a solar telescope to an altitude of 120,000 feet, borne by a balloon larger than a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The test clears the way for long-duration polar balloon flights beginning in 2009 that will capture unprecedented details of the Sun's surface.

"This unique research project will enable us to view features of the Sun that we've never seen before," says Michael Knölker, director of NCAR's High Altitude Observatory and a principal investigator on the project. "We hope to unlock important mysteries about the Sun's magnetic field structures, which at times can cause electromagnetic storms in our upper atmosphere and may have an impact on Earth's climate."

The project, known as Sunrise, is an international collaboration involving NCAR, NASA, Germany's Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research and Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics, Spain's Astrophysics Institute of the Canary Islands, and the Swedish Space Corporation. Additional U.S. partners include the Lockheed Martin Corporation and the University of Chicago. Funding for NCAR's work on the project comes from NASA and from the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR's primary sponsor.

The project may usher in a new generation of balloon-borne scientific missions that cost less than sending instruments into space. Scientists also can test an instrument on a balloon before making a commitment to launch it on a rocket.

The balloon, with its gondola of scientific instruments, was launched successfully on the morning of October 3 from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. It flew for about 10 hours, capturing stable images of the solar surface and additional data from the various instruments of the sophisticated payload. The gondola then separated from the balloon and descended with a parachute, landing safely in a field outside Dalhart, Texas.

"We were able to verify the workings of the entire system end to end," says David Elmore, an NCAR engineer who oversaw the test flight. "We can now move on to planning the first full-scale mission with confidence."

Observing the midnight Sun


The ultimate goal of the Sunrise project is to investigate the structure and dynamics of the Sun's magnetic fields. The fields fuel solar activity, including plasma storms that buffet Earth's outer atmosphere and affect sensitive telecommunications and power systems. The fields also cause variations in solar radiation, which may be significant factors in long-term changes in Earth's climate.

The Sunrise project is scheduled next for a multiday flight over the Arctic in the summer of 2009, launching from Kiruna, Sweden. By taking advantage of the midnight Sun, the telescope will be able to capture continuous images for a period of several days to as long as two weeks, possibly orbiting the Arctic. It may be launched later on another long-distance flight over the Arctic or the Antarctic.

At an altitude of 120,000 feet, the telescope will rise above most of the turbulence of the atmosphere and ultraviolet-absorbing water vapor and ozone. It will be able to view stable images in the ultraviolet range, which allow for higher resolution than can be obtained from Earth's surface.

The telescope will capture features on the solar surface as small as 30 kilometers across (about 19 miles), more than double the resolution achieved by any other instrument to date. This will enable scientists to examine structures on the Sun that are believed to be key to understanding the mechanisms driving solar activity. In addition, by observing the same area during an entire flight over high latitudes in summer, the telescope will enable scientists to continually witness changes in the magnetic fields without the interruption of night.




* TWOIMG_6423.jpg (57.06 kB . 438x292 - viewed 6770 times)=blue]The Sun rises behind the silhouetted Sunrise telescope just
prior to launch on October 3.  (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR. News media terms of use*)
[/color][/size]

 
A sharp focus from a twisting balloon


The Sunrise project has presented engineers with a number of extraordinary challenges. The balloon is designed to carry 6,000 pounds of equipment, including a 1-meter (39-inch) solar telescope, additional observing instruments, communications equipment, computers and disk drives, solar panels, and roll cages and crush pads to protect the payload on landing. The equipment must be able to withstand dramatic changes in temperature, and the steel and aluminum gondola cannot vibrate in ways that could interfere with the operation of the telescope.

One of the most difficult aspects of the engineering work was to design the gondola in such a way that the telescope in flight would remain focused on a specific and relatively tiny area of the Sun, even while twisting on a soaring balloon for a week or longer during the full-scale research missions. To accomplish this, the gondola includes both a torque motor drive to keep the gondola and telescope in the correct orientation and a precision guiding and compensation system to constantly correct the telescope's aim.

In addition to the telescope, the gondola on its full-scale research missions will carry a polarimetric spectrograph that will measure wavelengths in the Sun's electromagnetic spectrum and enable scientists to make inferences about its magnetic fields. Another instrument, known as an imaging magnetograph, will provide two-dimensional magnetic field maps.

Because the gondola is designed to withstand considerable force when it lands, the instruments can be launched on repeated missions.

"This is a very economical way of rising above the atmosphere and capturing images that cannot be captured from Earth," Knölker says. "What we are doing is laying the groundwork for the next generation of space flights."

SOURCE: The University Corporation For Atmospheric Research
http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2007/sunrise.shtml

 
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 11/11/2007 13:21:19
A Galaxy for Science and Research
European Commissioner captures stunning image of twisted spiral galaxy with ESO's VLT

During his visit to ESO's Very Large Telescope at Paranal, the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, participated in an observing sequence and took images of a beautiful spiral galaxy.


* eso0749a.jpg (200.91 kB . 1280x1317 - viewed 1786 times)

ESO PR Photo 49/07
Twisted Spiral Galaxy NGC 134


The visit took place on 27 October and the Commissioner observed with one of the FORS instruments on Antu, the first 8.2-m Unit Telescope of the VLT.

"Two hours bus ride from the nearest town, Antofagasta, in the middle of nowhere and at 2 600 m altitude, rises a state of the art astronomical observatory at which scientists from across Europe venture to exploit some of the most advanced technologies and sophisticated techniques available within astronomy. One of the facilities is the VLT, the Very Large Telescope, with which, together with the other telescopes, scientists can study objects at the far edge of the Universe," wrote Potočnik on his blog.

Known until now as a simple number in a catalogue, NGC 134, the 'Island in the Universe' that was observed by the Commissioner is replete with remarkable attributes, and the VLT has clapped its eyes on them. Just like our own Galaxy, NGC 134 is a barred spiral with its spiral arms loosely wrapped around a bright, bar-shaped central region.

One feature that stands out is its warped disc. While a galaxy's disc is often pictured as a flat structure of gas and stars surrounding the galaxy's centre, a warped disc is a structure that, when viewed sideways, resembles a bent record album left out too long in the burning Sun.

Warps are actually not atypical. More than half of the spiral galaxies do show warps one way or another, and our own Milky Way also has a small warp.

Many theories exist to explain warps. One possibility is that warps are the aftermath of interactions or collisions between galaxies. These can also produce tails of material being pulled out from the galaxy. The VLT image reveals that NGC 134 also appears to have a tail of gas stripped from the top edge of the disc.

So did NGC 134 have a striking encounter with another galaxy in the past? Or is some other galaxy out there exerting a gravitational pull on it? This is a riddle astronomers need to solve.

The superb VLT image also shows that the galaxy has its fair share of ionised hydrogen regions (HII regions) lounging along its spiral arms. Seen in the image as red features, these are glowing clouds of hot gas in which stars are forming. The galaxy also shows prominent dark lanes of dust across the disc, obscuring part of the galaxy's starlight.

Studying galaxies like NGC 134 is an excellent way to learn more about our own Galaxy.

NGC 134 was discovered by Sir John Herschel at the Cape of Good Hope and is located in the Sculptor southern constellation. The galaxy is located about 60 million light-years away - when the light that was captured by the VLT originally left the galaxy, a dramatic episode of mass extinction had led to the disappearance of dinosaurs on Earth, paving the way for the appearance of mammals and later specifically of humans, who have built unique high-tech installations in the Atacama desert to satisfy their curiosity about the workings of the Universe. Still, NGC 134 is not very far away, by cosmological standards. It is the dominant member of a small group of galaxies that belongs to the Virgo or Local Supercluster and is one of the 200 brightest galaxies in our skies.

SOURCE:www.eso.org
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: the1andonlydjt on 11/11/2007 21:17:37
I just want to say Thank You for all of the good pictures.  I've enjoyed looking at them!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: ukmicky on 11/11/2007 21:30:10
Welcome to the forum and thankyou for your kind comments but i feel Neil is the one who deserves your praise the most.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Alandriel on 12/11/2007 20:30:19

Neil likes the really biiiiiiiiiiiiig things - I get just as much kick out of the really tiiiiiiiiiiiny things

minature wonders  [;D]

(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.discoverlife.org%2FIM%2FI_PD%2F0000%2F320%2FPorpita_porpita%2C_Blue_button%2C_from_NOAAs_Ocean_Explorer%2CI_PD2.jpg&hash=3a6af3af501d6fedf8dfdcf64e8f40ef)
Porpita porpita, Blue button (jellyfish relative) - not one organism but many joined at the gas-filled hub that keeps the colony afloat. Each tentacle has a specialized role in the cooperative: catching prey, digesting or reproducing. The pigment blocks UV rays.
Chondrophore on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chondrophore)


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fenvironment.newscientist.com%2Fdata%2Fimages%2Fns%2Fcms%2Fdn9108%2Fdn9108-1_600.jpg&hash=995884695c62e19edf8e60fb80be57e1)
Clio pyramidata is a pteropod - a swimming snail - with a shell made out of aragon and was one of the first zooplankton species ever to have its genes sequenced at sea.


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.helgrensportfishing.com%2Fbaby%2520octapus.jpg&hash=d647d46a6f29421240915f53a0d9f111)
Baby octopus


(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oceanexplorer.noaa.gov%2Fexplorations%2F05deepscope%2Fbackground%2Ffluorescence%2Fmedia%2Fjellyfish_400.jpg&hash=951f2b668154f3616279abf0e9cb9e59)
Another jelly - Small planktonic jellyfish with bright green-fluorescent tentacles. The red fluorescence in the middle of the jellyfish comes from chlorophyll in the ingested algae. Image curtesy of Mikhail Matz.




Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: JimBob on 12/11/2007 21:02:42
Hi

I think you mean "made of aragonite" not made of a part of Catalonia.

 [:I]
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Alandriel on 12/11/2007 22:33:21

LOL - Doh! Of course - a wee speller. Thanks JimBob
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/11/2007 15:11:44
Spitzer telescope spies a stellar bubble blower
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: November 14, 2007

A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a baby star 1,140 light-years away from Earth blowing two massive "bubbles." But instead of bubble gum, this youngster, called HH 46/47, is using powerful jets of gas to make bubbles in outer space.


* hh46-47-browse.jpg (68.82 kB . 648x519 - viewed 8476 times)


In this processed Spitzer Space Telescope image, baby star HH 46/47 can be
 seen blowing two massive "bubbles." The star is 1,140 light-years away
from Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Download larger image version here (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/spitzer/20071108/hh46-47-browse.jpg)

 
 
The infant star can be seen as a white spot toward the center of the Spitzer image. The two bubbles are shown as hollow elliptical shells of bluish-green material extending from the star. Wisps of green in the image reveal warm molecular hydrogen gas, while the bluish tints are from starlight scattered by surrounding dust.

These bubbles formed when powerful jets of gas, traveling at 200 to 300 kilometers per second, or about 120 to 190 miles per second, smashed into the cosmic cloud of gas and dust that surrounds HH 46/47. Red specks at the end of each bubble show the presence of hot sulfur and iron gas where the star's narrow jets are currently crashing head-on into the cosmic cloud's gas and dust material.

According to Thangasamy Velusamy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., baby stars and their potential planet-forming disks grow by gravitationally pulling in and absorbing surrounding gas and dust. Scientists suspect that these disks stop growing when the central baby star develops powerful winds and jets that blow away surrounding material.

"Spitzer can image these jets and winds in infrared light and help us understand the details of these phenomena," says Velusamy.

For astronomers who know what to look for, Spitzer's supersensitive infrared instruments are excellent tools for studying young stars embedded within thick clouds of cosmic dust and gas, revealing information about their growth. However, Velusamy notes that it is often difficult for most people to get a clear, detailed picture of infant stars and their "growing pains."

"When you see a star through a telescope, its image is blurred in a known way, and the smaller the telescope the larger is the blurring," he says.

To clear up this blurring, astronomers at JPL developed an advanced image-processing technique for Spitzer data called Hi-Res deconvolution. This process reduces blurring and makes the image sharper and cleaner, enabling astronomers to see the emissions around forming stars in greater detail. When Velusamy and his team applied this technique to the Spitzer image of HH 46/47, they were able to see winds from the star and jets of gas that are carving the celestial bubbles.

According to William Langer, also of JPL, this image will help scientists determine which of many different mechanisms are responsible for producing the winds and jets of baby stars.

This infrared image is a three-color composite, with data at 3.6 microns represented in blue, 4.5 and 5.8 microns shown in green, and 24 microns represented as red.

This paper on HH46/47 by Velusamy, Langer, and Kenneth Marsh, all of JPL, was published in the October issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

SOURCE: SPACELFIGHTNOW.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/11/2007 19:07:27
Rosetta: OSIRIS’ view of Earth by night
 
15 November 2007


* Imseweage1.jpg (28.72 kB . 557x549 - viewed 7008 times)
This is a composite of four images combined to show the illuminated crescent of Earth and the cities of the northern hemisphere. The images were acquired with the OSIRIS Wide Angle Camera (WAC) during Rosetta’s second Earth swing-by on 13 November.

This image showing islands of light created by human habitation was taken with the OSIRIS WAC at 19:45 CET, about 2 hours before the closest approach of the spacecraft to Earth. At the time, Rosetta was about 80 000 km above the Indian Ocean where the local time approached midnight (the angle between Sun, Earth and Rosetta was about 160°). The image was taken with a five-second exposure of the WAC with the red filter.

This image showing Earth’s illuminated crescent
 was taken with the WAC at 20:05 CET as Rosetta
 was about 75 000 km from Earth. The crescent
 seen is around Antarctica. The image is a colour
 composite combining images obtained at various wavelengths.


Credits: ESA ©2005 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/11/2007 19:17:05
    Maunder Crater, perspective view
)





* -MaunderCrater_H1.jpg (118.62 kB . 500x400 - viewed 6126 times)/b]
    The above image shows the striking Maunder crater located in the region of Noachis Terra on Mars. The crater lies at 50° South and 2° East. The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on ESA’s Mars Express orbiter took pictures of the Noachis Terra region during orbits 2412 and 2467 on 29 November and 14 December 2005 respectively, with a ground resolution of approximately 15 metres per pixel.

    Named after the british astronomer Edward W. Maunder, the crater located halfway between Argyre Planitia and Hellas Planitia on the southern Highlands of Mars.

    This perspective view has been calculated from the digital terrain model derived from the HRSC stereo channels.

Credits:
    ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neuku
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 14/12/2007 14:31:04
Return To Europa: A Closer Look Is Possible
December 13, 2007

Jupiter’s moon Europa is just as far away as ever, but new research is bringing scientists closer to being able to explore its tantalizing ice-covered ocean and determine its potential for harboring life.

“We’ve learned a lot about Europa in the past few years,” says William McKinnon, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

“Before we were almost sure that there was an ocean, but now the scientific community has come to a consensus that there most certainly is an ocean. We’re ready to take the next step and explore that ocean and the ice shell that overlays it. We have a number of new discoveries and techniques that can help us do that.”

McKinnon is discussing some of these recent findings and new opportunities for exploring Europa in a news briefing today at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. He is joined by colleagues Donald Blankenship, research scientist at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences., and Peter Doran, associate professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago.

McKinnon points to refined methods that can use combined measurements of gravity and the magnetic field made from orbit to characterize Europa's ocean. By observing how the moon flexes and deforms and by measuring magnetic variations, researchers can determine how thick or thin the ice is over the ocean and even learn how salty the ocean is. A new model shows that radiation on Europa is much less, up to two-thirds less, than previous models predicted, making the environment much more hospitable for orbiting spacecraft or landers to operate.

Sophisticated reprocessing of data from the Galileo mission has revealed new information about the chemistry of Europa’s surface. It maps the presence of carbon dioxide, an important chemical for life, most probably coming from the ocean beneath the surface. This indicates that improved measurements from orbit have the chance to detect compounds not found in the Galileo data.

Future explorations of Europa will benefit from lessons learned from the Cassini spacecraft’s recent findings of active geysers on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. “Europa is a young, geologically active body like Enceladus,” says McKinnon. Galileo didn’t see any plumes on Europa like those spouting from Enceladus, but it didn’t have the best instrumentation to detect the telltale hot spots. “Now we know what we should look for,” says McKinnon, “and we should expect the unexpected.”



* Thin.Thick.Shell.jpg (87.26 kB . 758x375 - viewed 6329 times)olor=blue]Thick or thin ice shell on Jupiter’s moon Europa? Scientists are all but certain that
 Europa has an ocean underneath its surface ice, but do not know how thick this ice might
 be. This artists’ conception illustrates two possible cut-away views through Europa’s ice
 shell. In both heat escapes, possibly volcanically, from Europa’s rocky mantle and is
carried upward by buoyant oceanic currents. If the heat from below is intense and the ice
 shell is thin enough (left), the ice shell can directly melt, causing what are called
“chaos” on Europa, regions of what appear to be broken, rotated, and tilted ice blocks. On
 the other hand, if the ice shell is sufficiently thick (right), the less intense interior
 heat will be transferred to the warmer ice at the bottom of the shell, and additional
heat is generated by tidal squeezing of the warmer ice. This warmer ice will slowly rise,
 flowing as glaciers do on Earth, and the slow but steady motion may also disrupt the
extremely cold, brittle ice at the surface. Europa is no larger than Earth’s moon, and its
 internal heating stems from its eccentric orbit about Jupiter, seen in the distance. As
tides raised by Jupiter in Europa’s ocean rise and fall, they may cause cracking,
additional heating, and even venting of water vapor into the airless sky above Europa’s
icy surface. (Artwork by Michael Carroll.)
Credit: NASA/JPL.[/color][/b][/size]


New radar sounding techniques will be a key component for exploring Europa. “There have been theories about whether the ice above the ocean is thick or thin, and now we have the ability to determine this with radar,” says Blankenship. “That’s been proved by the radar on Mars Express, which imaged the north polar cap of Mars, and the higher-resolution radar on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Radar can give us a detailed cross section through the ice shell on Europa.” The ice-penetrating radar will also be able to locate liquid water both within and beneath the shell, he continues, just as it can spot water within crevasses and lakes beneath the ice of Antarctica. "Free water within the icy shell and its relationship to the underlying ocean will be a critical factor in determining the habitability of Europa."




Byrd Glacier, Antarctica. Analogs in Antarctica's ice-covered lakes will provide critical testing grounds for the technology needed to explore Europa's ice-covered ocean. More info>>Researchers are also preparing for the day in the future when they will be able to get to Europa's surface and ultimately into its ocean to explore it directly. "In the meantime, we're using extreme environments on Earth as our laboratory," says Doran. "Ice-covered lakes in Antarctica are good, small-scale analogs to what we might find on Europa." Doran is lead investigator of a project called Endurance, which, in collaboration with Stone Aerospace, is developing an autonomous underwater robotic vehicle, to test approaches and procedures for exploring Europa's ocean. The project is funded by NASA's Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets program.

"We're testing the vehicle in Wisconsin in February 2008," Doran says, "and then we'll be deploying it in Antarctica later in the year." The robotic explorer will be able to create three-dimensional maps of the subsurface Antarctic lake. It will also be able to map the biochemistry of the water body, pinpointing the chemical signatures that may indicate life.

For Europa, under-ice exploration lies in the distant future. In the meantime, say the researchers, a closer look at Europa is possible from an orbiting spacecraft able to measure gravity and magnetic fields, determine surface composition, search for active or recent eruptions, and use radar to understand the relationship between the surface and the sub-surface.

SOURCE: JACKSON SCHOOL OF GEOSCIENCES
http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/news/releases.html

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 20/12/2007 19:48:02
'Death Star' galaxy black hole fires at neighbor
NASA NEWS RELEASE
Posted: December 17, 2007

WASHINGTON - A powerful jet from a super massive black hole is blasting a nearby galaxy, according to new findings from NASA observatories. This never-before witnessed galactic violence may have a profound effect on planets in the jet's path and trigger a burst of star formation in its destructive wake.


* blackhole.jpg (9.73 kB . 398x290 - viewed 5540 times)
This composite image shows the jet from a
black hole at the center of a galaxy striking
 the edge of another galaxy, the first time
such an interaction has been found. X-rays
from Chandra (colored purple), optical and
ultraviolet (UV) data from Hubble (red and
orange), and radio emission from the Very
Large Array (VLA) and MERLIN (blue) show
how the jet from the main galaxy on the
lower left is striking its companion galaxy
to the upper right.

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/D.Evans et al.; Optical/UV: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/VLA/CfA/D.Evans et al., STFC/JBO/MERLIN
 
 
Known as 3C321, the system contains two galaxies in orbit around each other. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory show both galaxies contain super massive black holes at their centers, but the larger galaxy has a jet emanating from the vicinity of its black hole. The smaller galaxy apparently has swung into the path of this jet.

This "death star" galaxy was discovered through the combined efforts of both space and ground-based telescopes. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope were part of the effort. The Very Large Array telescope, Socorro, N.M., and the Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN) telescopes in the United Kingdom also were needed for the finding.

"We've seen many jets produced by black holes, but this is the first time we've seen one punch into another galaxy like we're seeing here," said Dan Evans, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and leader of the study. "This jet could be causing all sorts of problems for the smaller galaxy it is pummeling."

Jets from super massive black holes produce high amounts of radiation, especially high-energy X-rays and gamma-rays, which can be lethal in large quantities. The combined effects of this radiation and particles traveling at almost the speed of light could severely damage the atmospheres of planets lying in the path of the jet. For example, protective layers of ozone in the upper atmosphere of planets could be destroyed.


* blackholeart.jpg (24.46 kB . 398x290 - viewed 5709 times)
An artist's illustration of the system,
 showing the main galaxy and the companion
 galaxy. A jet of particles generated by a
supermassive black hole at the center of the
 main galaxy is striking the companion galaxy.
 The jet is disrupted and deflected by this impact.
 The key features of this system are labeled in
the final view.


Credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss
 
 
Jets produced by super massive black holes transport enormous amounts of energy far from black holes and enable them to affect matter on scales vastly larger than the size of the black hole. Learning more about jets is a key goal for astrophysical research.

"We see jets all over the universe, but we're still struggling to understand some of their basic properties," said co-investigator Martin Hardcastle of the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. "This system of 3C321 gives us a chance to learn how they're affected when they slam into something like a galaxy and what they do after that."

The effect of the jet on the companion galaxy is likely to be substantial, because the galaxies in 3C321 are extremely close at a distance of only about 20,000 light years apart. They lie approximately the same distance as Earth is from the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

A bright spot in the Very Large Array and MERLIN images shows where the jet has struck the side of the galaxy, dissipating some of the jet's energy. The collision disrupted and deflected the jet.

Another unique aspect of the discovery in 3C321 is how relatively short-lived this event is on a cosmic time scale. Features seen in the Very Large Array and Chandra images indicate that the jet began impacting the galaxy about one million years ago, a small fraction of the system's lifetime. This means such an alignment is quite rare in the nearby universe, making 3C321 an important opportunity to study such a phenomenon.

It is possible the event is not all bad news for the galaxy being struck by the jet. The massive influx of energy and radiation from the jet could induce the formation of large numbers of stars and planets after its initial wake of destruction is complete.

The results from Evans and his colleagues will appear in The Astrophysical Journal. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for the agency's Science Mission Directorate. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 06/01/2008 19:40:40
Far side of the Moon


* farside_apollo16_big.jpg (112.36 kB . 590x605 - viewed 7261 times)e far side of the Moon is the lunar hemisphere that is permanently turned away from the Earth. The far hemisphere was first photographed by the Soviet Luna 3 probe in 1959, and was first directly observed by human eyes when the Apollo 8 mission orbited the Moon in 1968. The rugged terrain is distinguished by a multitude of crater impacts, as well as relatively few lunar maria. It includes the largest known impact feature in the Solar System: the South Pole-Aitken basin. The far side has been suggested as a potential location for a large radio telescope, as it would be shielded from possible radio interference from Earth

SOURCE:Wikipedia

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: turnipsock on 06/01/2008 23:33:26
It looks like the moon has taken quite a few blows for us. I, for one, will never swear at it again.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/01/2008 20:00:26
Sunspot is harbinger of the new solar cycle
NOAA NEWS RELEASE
Posted: January 7, 2008

A new 11-year cycle of heightened solar activity, bringing with it increased risks for power grids, critical military, civilian and airline communications, GPS signals and even cell phones and ATM transactions, showed signs it was on its way last week when the cycle's first sunspot appeared in the sun's Northern Hemisphere, NOAA scientists said.




* sunspot.jpg (57.91 kB . 398x398 - viewed 6449 times)lor=blue]First official sunspot belonging to the new Solar Cycle 24. Credit: NOAA
 [/color][/size][/b]
 
"This sunspot is like the first robin of spring," said solar physicist Douglas Biesecker of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center. "In this case, it's an early omen of solar storms that will gradually increase over the next few years."

A sunspot is an area of highly organized magnetic activity on the surface of the sun. The new 11-year cycle, called Solar Cycle 24, is expected to build gradually, with the number of sunspots and solar storms reaching a maximum by 2011 or 2012, though devastating storms can occur at any time.

During a solar storm, highly charged material ejected from the sun may head toward Earth, where it can bring down power grids, disrupt critical communications, and threaten astronauts with harmful radiation. Storms can also knock out commercial communications satellites and swamp Global Positioning System signals. Routine activities such as talking on a cell phone or getting money from an ATM machine could suddenly halt over a large part of the globe.

"Our growing dependence on highly sophisticated, space-based technologies means we are far more vulnerable to space weather today than in the past," said Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "NOAA's space weather monitoring and forecasts are critical for the nation's ability to function smoothly during solar disturbances."

Last April, in coordination with an international panel of solar experts, NOAA issued a forecast that Solar Cycle 24 would start in March 2008, plus or minus six months. The panel was evenly split between those predicting a strong or weak cycle. Both camps agree that the sooner the new cycle takes over the waning previous cycle, the more likely that it will be a strong season with many sunspots and major storms, said Biesecker. Many more sunspots with Solar Cycle 24 traits must emerge before scientists consider the new cycle dominant, with the potential for more frequent storms.

The new sunspot, identified as #10,981, is the latest visible spot to appear since NOAA began numbering them on January 5, 1972. Its high-latitude location at 27 degrees North, and its negative polarity leading to the right in the Northern Hemisphere are clear-cut signs of a new solar cycle, according to NOAA experts. The first active regions and sunspots of a new solar cycle can emerge at high latitudes while those from the previous cycle continue to form closer to the equator.

SWPC is the nation's first alert for solar activity and its affects on Earth. The center's space weather forecasters issue outlooks for the next 11-year solar "season" and warn of individual storms occurring on the sun that could impact Earth. SWPC is one of NOAA's nine National Centers for Environmental Prediction and is also the warning agency of the International Space Environment Service (ISES), a consortium of 11 member nations.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 10/01/2008 20:07:13
Hot cyclones churn at both ends of Saturn
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: January 5, 2008

Despite more than a decade of winter darkness, Saturn's north pole is home to an unexpected hot spot remarkably similar to one at the planet's sunny south pole. The source of its heat is a mystery. Now, the first detailed views of the gas giant's high latitudes from the Cassini spacecraft reveal a matched set of hot cyclonic vortices, one at each pole.




* saturn.jpg (33.32 kB . 398x381 - viewed 6236 times)lor=blue]This image shows newly discovered "hot spot"
 on Saturn's north pole and the mysterious
hexagon that encircles the pole.
 Credit: NASA/JPL/GSFC/Oxford University[/color][/b][/size]
 
 
While scientists already knew about the hot spot at Saturn's south pole from previous observations by the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the north pole vortex was a surprise. The researchers report their findings in the Jan. 4 issue of Science.

"We had speculated that the south pole hot spot was connected to the southern, sunlit conditions," said Glenn Orton, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and co-investigator on Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer. "Since the north pole has been deprived of sunlight since the arrival of winter in 1995, we didn't expect to find a similar feature there."

The infrared data show that the shadowed north pole vortex shares much the same structure and temperature as the one at the sunny south pole. The cores of both show a depletion of phospine gas, an imbalance probably caused by air moving downward into the lowest part of Saturn's atmosphere, the troposphere. Both polar vortices appear to be long-lasting and intrinsic parts of Saturn and are not related to the amount of sunlight received by one pole or the other.

"The hot spots are the result of air moving polewards, being compressed and heated up as it descends over the poles into the depths of Saturn," said Leigh Fletcher, a planetary scientist from the University of Oxford, England, and the lead author of the Science paper. "The driving forces behind the motion, and indeed the global motion of Saturn's atmosphere, still need to be understood."

Though similar, the two polar regions differ in one striking way. At the north pole, the newly discovered vortex is framed by the distinctive, long-lived and still unexplained polar hexagon. This mysterious feature encompassing the entire north pole was first spotted in the 1980s by NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. Cassini's infrared cameras also detected the hexagon in deep atmospheric clouds early in 2007.

In their paper, Fletcher and his colleagues report that the bright, warm hexagon is much higher than previous studies had shown. "It extends right to the top of the troposphere," says Fletcher. "It is associated with downward motion in the troposphere, though the cause of the hexagonal structure requires further study."

Winter lasts about 15 years on Saturn. Researchers anticipate that when the seasons change in the coming years and Saturn's north pole is once again in sunlight, they will be able to see a swirling vortex with high eye walls and dark central clouds like the one now visible at the south pole. "But Saturn may surprise us again," says Fletcher.

"The fact that Neptune shows a similar south polar hot spot whets our appetite for the strange dynamics of the poles of the other gas giants," Fletcher says.

More information about Jupiter's poles will come from NASA's Juno mission, currently scheduled for launch in 2011 and arrival in 2016.

Fletcher's research was funded by the United Kingdom's Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The science team for Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer team is based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/01/2008 18:33:45
Even thin galaxies can grow fat black holes
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: January 14, 2008

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected plump black holes where least expected -- skinny galaxies.

Like people, galaxies come in different shapes and sizes. There are thin spirals both with and without central bulges of stars, and more rotund ellipticals that are themselves like giant bulges. Scientists have long held that all galaxies except the slender, bulgeless spirals harbor supermassive black holes at their cores. Furthermore, bulges were thought to be required for black holes to grow.


* blackholes.jpg (16.41 kB . 398x318 - viewed 7200 times)olor=blue]
This artist's concept illustrates the two types
 of spiral galaxies that populate our universe:
 those with plump middles, or central bulges
(upper left), and those lacking the bulge
(foreground). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech[/color][/b][/size]
 
 
The new Spitzer observations throw this theory into question. The infrared telescope surveyed 32 flat and bulgeless galaxies and detected monstrous black holes lurking in the bellies of seven of them. The results imply that galaxy bulges are not necessary for black hole growth; instead, a mysterious invisible substance in galaxies called dark matter could play a role.

"This finding challenges the current paradigm. The fact that galaxies without bulges have black holes means that the bulges cannot be the determining factor, " said Shobita Satyapal of the George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. "It's possible that the dark matter that fills the halos around galaxies plays an important role in the early development of supermassive black holes."

Satyapal presented the findings at the 211th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas. A study from Satyapal and her team will be published in the April 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

Our own Milky Way is an example of a spiral galaxy with a bulge; from the side, it would look like a plane seen head-on, with its wings out to the side. Its black hole, though dormant and not actively "feeding," is several million times the mass of our sun.

Previous observations had suggested that bulges and black holes flourished together like symbiotic species. For instance, supermassive black holes are almost always about 0.2 percent the mass of their galaxies' bulges. In other words, the more massive the bulge, the more massive the black hole. Said Satyapal, "Scientists reasoned that somehow the formation and growth of galaxy bulges and their central black holes are intimately connected."

But a wrinkle appeared in this theory in 2003, when astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Pasadena, Calif., discovered a relatively "lightweight" supermassive black hole in a galaxy lacking a bulge. Then, earlier this year, Satyapal and her team uncovered a second supermassive black hole in a similarly svelte galaxy.

In the latest study, Satyapal and her colleagues report the discovery of six more hefty black holes in thin galaxies with minimal bulges, further weakening the "bulge-black hole" theory. Why hadn't anybody seen these black holes before? According to the scientists, bulgeless galaxies tend to be very dusty, letting little visible light escape. But infrared light can penetrate dust, so the team was able to use Spitzer's infrared spectrograph to reveal the "fingerprints" of active black holes lurking in galaxies millions of light years away.

"A feeding black hole spits out high-energy light that ionizes much of the gas in the core of the galaxy," said Satyapal. "In this case, Spitzer identified the unique fingerprint of highly ionized neon -- only a feeding black hole has the energy needed to excite neon to this state." The precise masses of the newfound black holes are unknown.

If bulges aren't necessary ingredients for baking up supermassive black holes, then perhaps dark matter is. Dark matter is the enigmatic substance that permeates galaxies and their surrounding halos, accounting for up to 90 percent of a galaxy's mass. So-called normal matter makes up stars, planets, living creatures and everything we see around us, whereas dark matter can't be seen. Only its gravitational effects can be felt. According to Satyapal, dark matter might somehow determine the mass of a black hole early on in the development of a galaxy.

"Maybe the bulge was just serving as a proxy for the dark matter mass -- the real determining factor behind the existence and mass of a black hole in a galaxy's center," said Satyapal.

Other authors of this study include: D. Vega of the George Mason University; R.P. Dudik of the George Mason University and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; N.P. Abel of the University of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Tim Heckman of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. Spitzer's infrared spectrograph was built by Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Its development was led by Jim Houck of Cornell.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/01/2008 18:38:53
The violent lives of galaxies: Caught in dark matter web
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: January 20, 2008





Astronomers are using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to dissect one of the largest structures in the universe as part of a quest to understand the violent lives of galaxies. Hubble is providing indirect evidence of unseen dark matter tugging on galaxies in the crowded, rough-and-tumble environment of a massive supercluster of hundreds of galaxies.


[
* web_print.jpg (244.8 kB . 1000x650 - viewed 2542 times)

The images are part of the Space Telescope Abell 901/902 Galaxy Evolution Survey (STAGES), which covers one of the largest patches of sky ever observed by the Hubble telescope. The area surveyed is so wide that it took 80 Hubble images to cover the entire STAGES field. The new work is led by Meghan Gray of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and Catherine Heymans of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, along with an international team of scientists.

The Hubble study pinpointed four main areas in the supercluster where dark matter has pooled into dense clumps, totaling 100 trillion times the Sun's mass. These areas match the location of hundreds of old galaxies that have experienced a violent history in their passage from the outskirts of the supercluster into these dense regions. These galaxies make up four separate galaxy clusters.

"Thanks to Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, we are detecting for the first time the irregular clumps of dark matter in this supercluster," Heymans said. "We can even see an extension of the dark matter toward a very hot group of galaxies that are emitting X-rays as they fall into the densest cluster core."

The dark matter map was constructed by measuring the distorted shapes of over 60,000 faraway galaxies. To reach Earth, the galaxies' light traveled through the dark matter that surrounds the supercluster galaxies and was bent by the massive gravitational field. Heymans used the observed, subtle distortion of the galaxies' shapes to reconstruct the dark matter distribution in the supercluster using a method called weak gravitational lensing. The dark matter map is 2.5 times sharper than a previous ground-based survey of the supercluster.

"The new map of the underlying dark matter in the supercluster is one key piece of this puzzle," Gray explained. "At the same time we're looking in detail at the galaxies themselves." The survey's broader goal is to understand how galaxies are influenced by the environment in which they live.

On Earth, the pace of quiet country life is vastly different from the hustle of the big city. In the same way, galaxies living lonely isolated lives look very different from those found in the most crowded regions of the universe, like a supercluster. "We've known for a long time that galaxies in crowded environments tend to be older, redder, and rounder than those in the field," Gray said.

"Galaxies are continually drawn into larger and larger groups and clusters by the inevitable force of gravity as the universe evolves."

In such busy environments galaxies are subject to a life of violence: high-speed collisions with other galaxies; the stripping away of gas, the fuel supply they use to form new stars; and distortion due to the strong gravitational pull of the underlying invisible dark matter. "Any or all of these effects may play a role in the transformation of galaxies, which is what we're trying to determine," Gray said.

The STAGES survey's simultaneous focus on both the big picture and the details can be likened to studying a big city. "It's as if we're trying to learn everything we can about New York City and New Yorkers," Gray explained. "We're examining large-scale features, like mapping the roads, counting skyscrapers, monitoring traffic. At the same time we're also studying the residents to figure out how the lifestyles of people living downtown differ from those out in the suburbs. But in our case the city is a supercluster, the roads are dark matter, and the people are galaxies."

Further results by other team members support this view. "In the STAGES supercluster we clearly see that transformations are happening in the outskirts of the supercluster, where galaxies are still moving relatively slowly and first feel the influence of the cluster environment," said Christian Wolf, an Advanced Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in the U.K.

Assistant professor Shardha Jogee and graduate student Amanda Heiderman, both of the University of Texas in Austin, concur. "We see more collisions between galaxies in the regions toward which the galaxies are flowing than in the centers of the clusters," Jogee said. "By the time they reach the center, they are moving too fast to collide and merge, but in the outskirts their pace is more leisurely, and they still have time to interact."

The STAGES team also finds that the outer parts of the clusters are where star formation in the galaxies is slowly switching off and where the supermassive black holes at the hearts of the galaxies are most active.

Added Heiderman: "The galaxies at the centers of the clusters may have been there for a long time and have probably finished their transformation. They are now old, round, red, and dead."

The team plans more studies to understand how the supercluster environment is responsible for producing these changes.

Abell 901/902 resides 2.6 billion light-years from Earth and measures more than 16 million light-years across.

This work was supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK), NASA, the National Science Foundation Long Term Space Astrophysics (NASA LTSA) program, a Marie Curie Fellowship, a CITA National Fellowship, CIfAR, and CFI.


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/01/2008 18:42:05
Circumstellar dust takes flight in 'The Moth'
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: January 20, 2008

What superficially resembles a giant moth floating in space is giving astronomers new insight into the formation and evolution of planetary systems.

This is not your typical flying insect. It has a wingspan of about 22 billion miles. The wing- like structure is actually a dust disk encircling the nearby, young star HD 61005, dubbed "The Moth." Its shape is produced by starlight scattering off dust.


* moth.jpg (24.44 kB . 398x269 - viewed 6339 times)ge here (http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2008/01/images/a/formats/web_print.jpg)
 
 
Dust disks around roughly 100-million-year-old stars like HD 61005 are typically flat, pancake-shaped structures where planets can form. But images taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of "The Moth" are showing that some disks sport surprising shapes.

"It is completely unexpected to find a dust disk with this unusual shape," said senior research scientist Dean Hines of the Space Science Institute, New Mexico Office in Corrales, New Mexico, and a member of the Hubble team that discovered the disk. "We think HD 61005 is plowing through a local patch of higher-density gas in the interstellar medium, causing material within HD 61005's disk to be swept behind the star. What effect this might have on the disk, and any planets forming within it, is unknown."

Hines called this possible collision "unusual, because we don't expect very much interstellar material to be in the solar neighborhood. That's because the area through which our Sun is moving was evacuated within the past few million years by at least one supernova, the explosion of a massive star. Yet, here's evidence of dense material that's very close, only 100 light-years away."

Astronomers have found evidence that the environment in which a star forms influences its prospects for planet formation. Hubble has actually seen that young planet-forming disks can be affected directly by their environment. The harsh stellar radiation from the Trapezium stars in the Orion Nebula has altered some disks. It is unclear, however, what effect passage through a cloud similar to the one in which HD 61005 finds itself would have on planet formation. Researchers have speculated that passage through dense regions of the interstellar medium could impact the atmospheres of evolving planets.

The Moth is part of a survey of Sun-like stars that Hines and collaborators observed with Hubble's Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to study the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Under the lead of Michael Meyer of the University of Arizona in Tucson, the team initially used Spitzer to look for heat radiation‹the tell-tale sign of dust warmed by the star‹to identify interesting star systems.

Hines then teamed with Glenn Schneider of the University of Arizona to use Hubble's high- contrast imaging capability of the NICMOS coronagraph to image these disks and reveal where the dust detected by Spitzer resides. The NICMOS coronagraph blocked out the starlight so that astronomers could see details in the surrounding disk.

"These symbiotic capabilities, uniquely implemented in NASA's Great Observatories, provide astronomers with the powerful observational tools to study the circumstellar environments of potentially planet-forming systems," Schneider said.

Added Meyer: "Combining observations from these two spacecraft gives us information about the composition of the dust grains, whether they're icy or sandy, or whether they're like the sooty smoke particles rising from a chimney. The composition and sizes of the dust can tell us a lot about the dynamics and evolution of a solar system. In our solar system, for example, astronomers have evidence of rocks smashing into each other and generating dust, as in the asteroid and Kuiper belts. We're seeing these same processes unfold in other planetary systems


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/02/2008 16:50:44
Unusual supernovae may reveal black holes
UC-SANTA CRUZ NEWS RELEASE
Posted: January 29, 2008

* supernova.jpg (29.61 kB . 398x586 - viewed 5848 times)
A strange and violent fate awaits a white dwarf star that wanders too close to a moderately massive black hole. According to a new study, the black hole's gravitational pull on the white dwarf would cause tidal forces sufficient to disrupt the stellar remnant and reignite nuclear burning in it, giving rise to a supernova explosion with an unusual appearance. Observations of such supernovae could confirm the existence of intermediate-mass black holes, currently the subject of much debate among astronomers.

This series of images shows the interaction of a white dwarf
star with a black hole. As it passes the black hole, the white
 dwarf becomes strongly compressed and heated (top left),
triggering an explosion. Most of the stellar mass is ejected
 into space (the "bubble" in the upper right part of the debris
 in the top right image), while the rest (the cusp-like part
of the image) falls toward the black hole. While the ejected
matter expands rapidly, the infalling matter builds a violent,
thick accretion disk around the black hole

 
 
"Our supercomputer simulations show a peculiar supernova that would be a unique signature of an intermediate-mass black hole," said Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Ramirez-Ruiz and his collaborators--Stephan Rosswog of Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, and William Hix of Oak Ridge National Laboratory--used detailed computer simulations to follow the entire process of tidal disruption of a white dwarf by a black hole. Their simulations included gas dynamics, gravity, and nuclear physics, requiring weeks of computer time to simulate events that would take place in a fraction of a second. A paper describing their results has been accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters, and a preprint is currently available online.

"Every star that is not too massive ends up as a white dwarf, so they are very common. We were interested in whether tidal disruption can bring this stellar corpse to life again," said Rosswog, the first author of the paper.

A white dwarf can explode as a "type Ia" supernova if it accumulates enough mass by siphoning matter away from a companion star. When it reaches a critical mass (about 1.4 times the mass of the Sun), the white dwarf collapses and explodes. Astronomers use these type Ia supernovae as "standard candles" for cosmic distance measurements because their brightness evolves over time in a predictable manner.

The new paper describes a distinctly different mechanism for igniting a white dwarf, in which tidal disruption by a black hole causes drastic compression of the stellar material. The white dwarf is flattened into a pancake shape aligned in the plane of its orbit around the black hole. As each section of the star is squeezed through a point of maximum compression, the extreme pressure causes a sharp increase in temperatures, which triggers explosive burning.

The explosion ejects more than half of the debris from the disrupted star, while the rest of the stellar material falls into the black hole. The infalling material forms a luminous accretion disk that emits x-rays and should be detectable by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the researchers said.

"This is a new mechanism for ignition of a white dwarf that results in a very different type of supernova than the standard type Ia, and it is followed by an x-ray source," Ramirez-Ruiz said.

He estimated that this type of event would occur about 100 times less frequently than the standard type Ia supernovae, but should be detectable by future surveys designed to observe large numbers of supernovae. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), planned for completion in 2013, is expected to discover hundreds of thousands of type Ia supernovae per year.

"These exotic creatures will start showing up in the data from the LSST," Ramirez-Ruiz said. "We want to predict the light curves so we can look for them in the survey data."

The mechanism described in the paper requires a black hole that is neither too small nor too big. Such intermediate-mass black holes (500 to 1,000 times the mass of the Sun) may reside in some globular star clusters, but there is much less evidence for their existence than there is for the relatively small stellar black holes (tens of times the mass of the Sun) or for supermassive black holes (a few million times the mass of the Sun), found at the centers of galaxies.

The new paper describes in detail the disruption of a white dwarf with two-tenths the mass of the Sun by a black hole 1,000 times the mass of the Sun. The researchers also found that they can vary the mass of the white dwarf and still get the same outcome--tidal disruption and ignition of the white dwarf.

"We can ignite the whole mass range of white dwarfs if they get close enough to the black hole," Rosswog said.

This research was supported by the Department of Energy's Program for Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing


SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/03/2008 00:31:41
Spacecraft photographs avalanches on Mars
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE


PASADENA, Calif. - A NASA spacecraft in orbit around Mars has taken the first ever image of active avalanches near the Red Planet's north pole. The image shows tan clouds billowing away from the foot of a towering slope, where ice and dust have just cascaded down.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]


Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
[biggy piccy HERE (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA10245.jpg)

 
 
The High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took the photograph Feb. 19. It is one of approximately 2,400 HiRISE images being released today.

Ingrid Daubar Spitale of the University of Arizona, Tucson, who works on targeting the camera and has studied hundreds of HiRISE images, was the first person to notice the avalanches. "It really surprised me," she said. "It's great to see something so dynamic on Mars. A lot of what we see there hasn't changed for millions of years."

The camera is looking repeatedly at selected places on Mars to track seasonal changes. However, the main target of the Feb. 19 image was not the steep slope.

"We were checking for springtime changes in the carbon-dioxide frost covering a dune field, and finding the avalanches was completely serendipitous," said Candice Hansen, deputy principal investigator for HiRISE, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The full image reveals features as small as a desk in a strip of terrain 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) wide and more than 10 times that long, at 84 degrees north latitude. Reddish layers known to be rich in water ice make up the face of a steep slope more than 700 meters (2,300 feet) tall, running the length of the image.

"We don't know what set off these landslides," said Patrick Russell of the University of Berne, Switzerland, a HiRISE team collaborator. "We plan to take more images of the site through the changing Martian seasons to see if this kind of avalanche happens all year or is restricted to early spring."

More ice than dust probably makes up the material that fell from the upper portion of the scarp. Imaging of the site during coming months will track any changes in the new deposit at the base of the slope. That will help researchers estimate what proportion is ice.

"If blocks of ice broke loose and fell, we expect the water in them will be changing from solid to gas," Russell said. "We'll be watching to see if blocks and other debris shrink in size. What we learn could give us a better understanding of one part of the water cycle on Mars."



SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHNOW.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: turnipsock on 18/03/2008 00:39:22
It looks like a glacial flow sort of thing, and there is a big drop at the edge.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 21/03/2008 13:15:44
SNR 0509-67.5:
Action Replay Of Powerful Stellar Explosion


 [ Invalid Attachment ]
SNR 0509-67.5
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Warren, J.Hughes; Optical (Light Echo): NOAO/AURA/NSF/Harvard/A.Rest et al.; Optical (LMC): NOAO/AURA/NSF/S.Points, C.Smith & MCELS team

Bigger PICCY HERE (http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2008/snr0509/snr0509.jpg)

This combination of X-ray and optical images shows the aftermath of a powerful supernova explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small galaxy about 160,000 light years from Earth. The debris from this explosion, the supernova remnant SNR 0509-67.5, is shown in a Chandra X-ray Observatory image (upper inset), where the lowest energy X-rays are shown in red, the intermediate energies are green and the highest energies are blue. In 2004, scientists used Chandra to show that SNR 0509-67.5 was likely caused by a Type Ia supernova, using an analysis of the elements, such as silicon and iron, that were detected. A Type Ia is thought to result from a white dwarf star in a binary system that reaches a critical mass and explodes.


The light echo image , from the National Science Foundation's Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile, shows optical light from the original supernova explosion that has bounced off dust clouds in the neighboring regions of the LMC (the light echoes are shown in blue and stars in orange). The light from these echoes travels a longer path than the light that travels straight toward us, and so can be seen hundreds of years after the supernova itself. This image is one of a sequence of 5 images taken between 2001 and 2006 that are shown separately in a time-lapse movie. (http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2008/snr0509/animations.html#snr0509_anim1)


The large optical image is from the Magellanic Cloud Emission Line Survey (MCELS), obtained with the University of Michigan's 0.9-meter Curtis Schmidt telescope at CTIO. Emission lines of hydrogen (H-alpha) are red, singly-ionized sulfur is green and doubly-ionized oxygen is blue. The image highlights regions of star formation in the LMC, including supernova remnants and giant structures carved out by multiple supernovas.

For the first time astronomers have used two methods - X-ray observations of a supernova remnant and optical observations of the expanding light echoes from the explosion - to estimate the energy of a supernova explosion. In two separate papers, astronomers concluded that the supernova occurred about 400 years ago (in Earth's time frame), and was unusually bright and energetic. This is the best ever determination of the power of a supernova explosion long after it was visible from Earth.

In the new optical study spectra of the light echo, obtained with Gemini Observatory, were used to confirm that the supernova was a Type Ia and to unambiguously determine the particular class of explosion and therefore its energy. In the new X-ray study, spectra from Chandra and ESA's XMM-Newton Observatory were then independently used to calculate the amount of energy involved in the original explosion, using an analysis of the supernova remnant and state-of-the-art explosion models. The X-ray work also concluded that the explosion was an especially energetic and bright variety of Type Ia supernova, confirming the validity of the explosion models.


SOURCE:chandra.harvard.edu
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/03/2008 19:21:47
Molecular Cloud Barnard 68

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
Credit: FORS Team, 8.2-meter VLT Antu, ESO

Explanation: Where did all the stars go? What used to be considered a hole in the sky is now known to astronomers as a dark molecular cloud. Here, a high concentration of dust and molecular gas absorb practically all the visible light emitted from background stars. The eerily dark surroundings help make the interiors of molecular clouds some of the coldest and most isolated places in the universe. One of the most notable of these dark absorption nebulae is a cloud toward the constellation Ophiuchus known as Barnard 68, pictured above. That no stars are visible in the center indicates that Barnard 68 is relatively nearby, with measurements placing it about 500 light-years away and half a light-year across. It is not known exactly how molecular clouds like Barnard 68 form, but it is known that these clouds are themselves likely places for new stars to form. It is possible to look right through the cloud in infrared light.

SOURCE:http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080323.html
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Simulated on 24/03/2008 19:23:54
Thanks Neil [:)] I like that picture :)
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 24/03/2008 19:28:23
Thanks Neil [:)] I like that picture :)

You're welcome chum...here's a link to big version http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0803/barnard68_vlt_big.jpg
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/03/2008 22:02:00
Across the Universe


 How far can you see? Even the faintest stars visible to the eye are merely hundreds or thousands of light-years distant, all well within our own Milky Way Galaxy. Of course, if you know where to look you can also spot the Andromeda Galaxy as a pale, fuzzy cloud, around 2.5 million light-years away. But staring toward the northern constellation Bootes on March 19th, even without binoculars or telescope you still could have witnessed a faint, brief, flash of light from a gamma-ray burst. The source of that burst has been discovered to lie over halfway across the Universe at a distance of about 7.5 billion light-years. Now holding the distinction of the most distant object that could be seen by the unaided eye and the intrinsically brightest object ever detected, the cosmic explosion is estimated to have been over 2.5 million times more luminous than the brightest known supernova. The monster burst was identified and located by the orbiting Swift satellite, enabling rapid distance measurements and follow-up observations by large ground-based telescopes.



 [ Invalid Attachment ]

 The fading afterglow of the gamma-ray burster, cataloged as GRB080319B, is shown in these two panels in X-rays (left) and ultraviolet light (right).


Credit: NASA Swift Team, Stefan Immler (GSFC) et al


Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/03/2008 22:05:06
The N44 Complex


 A truly giant complex of emission nebulae, N44 is about 1,000 light-years across. It shines in southern skies as a denizen of our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, 170,000 light-years away. Winds and intense radiation from hot, young, luminous stars in N44 excite and sculpt filaments and streamers of the glowing nebular gas. But supernovae - the death explosions of the massive short lived stars - have also likely contributed to the region's enormous, blown-out shapes. The cluster of young stars seen near the center lies in a superbubble nearly 250 light-years across. This detailed, false-color view of the intricate structures codes emission from hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur in shades of blue and green.


 [ Invalid Attachment ]




Credit & Copyright: Don Goldman, Macedon Ranges Observatory
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 28/03/2008 22:08:02
Galaxy Wars: M81 versus M82

 On the left, surrounded by blue spiral arms, is spiral galaxy M81. On the right marked by red gas and dust clouds, is irregular galaxy M82. This stunning vista shows these two mammoth galaxies locked in gravitational combat, as they have been for the past billion years. The gravity from each galaxy dramatically affects the other during each hundred million-year pass. Last go-round, M82's gravity likely raised density waves rippling around M81, resulting in the richness of M81's spiral arms. But M81 left M82 with violent star forming regions and colliding gas clouds so energetic the galaxy glows in X-rays. In a few billion years only one galaxy will remain.



 [ Invalid Attachment ]


 Credit: Rainer Zmaritsch & Alexander Gross
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 02/04/2008 20:30:49
Embryonic planet imaged around young star
BY EMILY BALDWIN
ASTRONOMY NOW
Posted: April 2, 2008



 [ Invalid Attachment ]


This is an image from
 the computer simulation of HL Tau and its
surrounding disc. In the model the dense clump
 (seen here at top right) forms with a mass
of about 8 times that of Jupiter at a distance
 from the star about 75 times that from the
Earth to the Sun. Image: Greaves, Richards,
 Rice & Muxlow 2008
).


The youngest planet ever to be seen has been captured in its earliest stage of formation in a disc of gas and rocky debris around a star 520 light years away.

Using the MERLIN and Very Large Array radio observatories in the UK and US respectively, a team of astronomers lead by Dr Jane Greaves of the University of St Andrews studied the disc of gas and rocky particles surrounding the extremely young star HL Tau and identified a 'clump' of material at a distance of about 65 AU from the parent star, twice as far from HL Tau as Neptune is from our Sun.

 
 
"This star is probably less than 100,000 years old," says Greaves, "and we see a distinct ball of gas and dust orbiting around it, which is exactly how a protoplanet should look." The protoplanet is made up of dust grains and fist-sized rocks, and could form a planet about 14 times as massive as Jupiter.

Using computer simulations, team member Dr Ken Rice of the University of Edinburgh showed that a massive protoplanet of around 8 Jupiter masses could condense out of a disc into a self-constrained structure at a distance comparable to that observed by the radio telescopes. "The simulations show that the gravitational instability model really does work," comments Greaves. "This is the first image of a protoplanet that has ever been made and we've also captured the environment in which the planet is forming."

The team hope to use the eMERLIN telescope array to make similar observations of other protoplanetary discs, which may be able to resolve Earth-sized exoplanets.

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.ORG
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 04/04/2008 13:27:38
South of Orion
Credit & Copyright: Johannes Schedler (Panther Observatory)


 [ Invalid Attachment ]

BIGGY PICCY (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0804/HH34F3_schedler.jpg)

This tantalizing array of nebulae and stars can be found about 2 degrees south of the famous star-forming Orion Nebula. The region abounds with energetic young stars producing jets and outflows that push through the surrounding material at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second. The interaction creates luminous shock waves known as Herbig-Haro (HH) objects. For example, the graceful, flowing arc just right of center is cataloged as HH 222, also called the Waterfall Nebula. Seen below the Waterfall, HH 401 has a distinctive cone shape. The bright bluish nebula below and left of center is NGC 1999, a dusty cloud reflecting light from an embedded variable star. The entire cosmic vista spans over 30 light-years, near the edge of the Orion molecular cloud complex some 1,500 light-years distant.

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/04/2008 13:22:53
'Focused' solar explosions get millions of degrees hotter
NASA-GODDARD NEWS RELEASE


A NASA-funded researcher has discovered that solar flares -- explosions in the atmosphere of the sun -- get much hotter when they stay "focused".

"A flare typically divides its energy between directly heating the solar atmosphere and accelerating particles," said Dr. Ryan Milligan of the Oak Ridge Association of Universities, Tennessee, who is stationed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "This flare seemed to focus on one task, devoting all its energy to heating, allowing it to become millions of degrees hotter than its multi-tasking cousins." The result was presented at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting 2008 at Queen's University, Belfast, United Kingdom.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
An image of the solar flare taken using the X-Ray
 Telescope onboard Hinode on June 7, 2007. This
shows the flare loops in the solar atmopshere
at temperatures exceeding 10 million degree Celsius. Credit: JAXA

 
 
Solar flares are caused by the sudden release of magnetic energy. The largest can release as much energy as a billion one-megaton nuclear bombs. However, the flare observed in this study was a less powerful "micro" flare. NASA researchers want to understand flares because they generate radiation that can be hazardous to unprotected astronauts, like those walking on the surface of the moon.

Flares normally occur above loops of electrically conducting gas, called plasma, in the sun's atmosphere. When a typical flare goes off, it heats the plasma and sends beams of electrons racing down the sides of the loops. The electron beams evaporate more plasma from the sun's visible surface, which expands back up the loops.

"This evaporated plasma has traditionally been believed to be the source of the hottest temperatures seen in solar flares," said Milligan. "However, the flare in this new observation reached a temperature of almost 27 million degrees Fahrenheit -- some nine million degrees hotter than expected for a flare of this size -- without any evidence for beams of accelerated electrons."

Milligan used the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) and Hinode spacecraft to make his observation of the microflare on June 7, 2007. RHESSI revealed that the flare had a peak temperature of 27 million degrees, and also that the flare showed no evidence for high-energy electrons. Hinode was able to show the effects of the energy released at various layers in the solar atmosphere. In particular, the Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer instrument was used to detect signatures of plasma evaporation from the sun's surface through Doppler shifts of emission lines. The low-velocities observed confirmed the RHESSI observation that high-energy electrons were not present.

"If our assumption is correct, then this result tells us that the energy released during a solar flare is more efficient at achieving a higher temperature if the energy is used to directly heat the plasma in the sun's atmosphere, instead of being divided between heating and particle acceleration. This very effect has recently been shown in computer simulations of energy release during microflares," said Milligan.

The research was funded by the NASA Postdoctoral Program administered by the Oak Ridge Association of Universities, Tennessee.

Hinode is a Japanese mission, collaborating with NASA and the Science and Technology Facilities Council, United Kingdom, as international partners. The RHESSI project is a NASA Small Explorer mission managed by the Space Sciences Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley. The Explorers Program Office at Goddard provides management and technical oversight under the direction of the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNEWS.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 18/04/2008 13:26:31
Black hole found in center of enigmatic Omega Centauri
HUBBLE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY INFORMATION CENTRE RELEASE

Omega Centauri has been known as an unusual globular cluster for a long time. A new result obtained by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Observatory reveals that the explanation behind Omega Centauri's peculiarities may be a black hole hidden in its center. One implication of the discovery is that it is very likely that Omega Centauri is not a globular cluster at all, but a dwarf galaxy stripped of its outer stars, as some scientists have suspected for a few years.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
Image credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
 
 
A new discovery has resolved some of the mystery surrounding Omega Centauri, the largest and brightest globular cluster in the sky. Images obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys onboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and data obtained by the GMOS spectrograph on the Gemini South telescope in Chile show that Omega Centauri appears to harbour an elusive intermediate-mass black hole in its center.

"This result shows that there is a continuous range of masses for black holes, from supermassive, to intermediate-mass, to small stellar mass types," explained astronomer Eva Noyola of the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, and leader of the team that made the discovery.

Omega Centauri is visible from Earth with the naked eye and is one of the favourite celestial objects for stargazers from the southern hemisphere. Although the cluster is 17 000 light-years away, located just above the plane of the Milky Way, it appears almost as large as the full Moon when the cluster is seen from a dark rural area. Exactly how Omega Centauri should be classified has always been a contentious topic.

It was first listed in Ptolemy's catalogue nearly two thousand years ago as a single star. Edmond Halley reported it as a nebula in 1677. In the 1830s the English astronomer John Herschel was the first to recognise it as a globular cluster. Now, more than a century later, this new result suggests Omega Centauri is not a globular cluster at all, but a dwarf galaxy stripped of its outer stars.

Globular clusters consist of up to one million old stars tightly bound by gravity and are found in the outskirts of many galaxies including our own. Omega Centauri has several characteristics that distinguish it from other globular clusters: it rotates faster than a run-of-the-mill globular cluster, its shape is highly flattened and it consists of several generations of stars - more typical globulars usually consist of just one generation of old stars.

Moreover, Omega Centauri is about 10 times as massive as other big globular clusters, almost as massive as a small galaxy. These peculiarities have led astronomers to suggest that Omega Centauri may not be a globular cluster at all, but a dwarf galaxy stripped of its outer stars by an earlier encounter with the Milky Way.

"Finding a black hole at the heart of Omega Centauri could have profound implications for our understanding of its past interaction with the Milky Way," said Noyola.

Eva Noyola and her colleagues measured the motions and brightnesses of the stars at the center of Omega Centauri. The measured velocities of the stars in the center are related to the total mass of the cluster and were far higher than expected from the mass deduced from the number and type of stars seen. So, there had to be something extraordinarily massive (and invisible) at the center of the cluster responsible for the fast-swirling dance of stars ‹ almost certainly a black hole with a mass of 40 000 solar masses.

"Before this observation, we had only one example of an intermediate-mass black hole ‹ in the globular cluster G1, in the nearby Andromeda Galaxy," said astronomer Karl Gebhardt of the University of Texas at Austin, USA, and a member of the team that made the discovery.

Although the presence of an intermediate-mass black hole is the most likely reason for the stellar speedway near the cluster's center, astronomers have analysed a couple of other possible causes: a collection of unseen burnt-out stars such as white dwarfs or neutron stars adding extra mass, or a group of stars with elongated orbits that would make the stars closest to the center appear to speed up.

According to Noyola these alternative scenarios are unlikely: "The normal evolution of a star cluster like Omega Centauri should not end up with stars behaving in those ways. Even if we assume that either scenario did happen somehow, both configurations are expected to be very short-lived. A clump of burnt-out stars, for example, is expected to move farther away from the cluster center quickly. For stars with elongated orbits, these orbits are expected to become circular very quickly."

According to scientists, these intermediate-mass black holes could turn out to be "baby" supermassive black holes. "We may be on the verge of uncovering one possible mechanism for the formation of supermassive black holes. Intermediate-mass black holes like this could be the seeds of full-sized supermassive black holes." Astronomers have debated the existence of intermediate-mass black holes because they have not found strong evidence for them and there is no widely accepted mechanism for how they could form. They have ample evidence that small black holes of a few solar masses are produced when giant stars die. There is similar evidence that supermassive black holes weighing the equivalent of millions to billions of solar masses sit at the heart of many galaxies, including our own Milky Way.

Intermediate-mass black holes may be rare and exist only in former dwarf galaxies that have been stripped of their outer stars, but they could also be more common than expected, existing at the centers of globular clusters as well. A previous Hubble survey of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies showed a correlation between the mass of a black hole and that of its host. Astronomers estimate that the mass of the dwarf galaxy that may have been the precursor of Omega Centauri was roughly 10 million solar masses. If lower mass galaxies obey the same rule as more massive galaxies that host supermassive black holes, then the mass of Omega Centauri does match that of its black hole.

The team will use the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Paranal, Chile to conduct follow-up observations of the velocity of the stars near the cluster's center to confirm the discovery.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/04/2008 21:25:46
Stellar birth observed in the galactic wilderness
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE


A new image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows baby stars sprouting in the backwoods of a galaxy -- a relatively desolate region of space more than 100,000 light-years from the galaxy's bustling center.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]




The blue and pink pinwheel in the center is the
 Southern pinwheel galaxy's main stellar disk,
 while the flapping, ribbon-like structures are
its extended arms. Image credit:
 NASA/JPL-Caltech/VLA/MPIA

 
 
The striking image, a composite of ultraviolet data from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer and radio data from the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array in New Mexico, shows the Southern Pinwheel galaxy, also known simply as M83.

In the new view, the main spiral, or stellar, disk of M83 looks like a pink and blue pinwheel, while its outer arms appear to flap away from the galaxy like giant red streamers. It is within these so-called extended galaxy arms that, to the surprise of astronomers, new stars are forming.

"It is absolutely stunning that we find such an enormous number of young stars up to 140,000 light-years away from the center of M83," said Frank Bigiel of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, lead investigator of the new Galaxy Evolution Explorer observations. For comparison, the diameter of M83 is only 40,000 light-years across.

Some of the "outback" stars in M83's extended arms were first spotted by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer in 2005. Remote stars were also discovered around other galaxies by the ultraviolet telescope over subsequent years. This came as a surprise to astronomers because the outlying regions of a galaxy are assumed to be relatively barren and lack high concentrations of the ingredients needed for stars to form.

The newest Galaxy Evolution Explorer observations of M83 (colored blue and green) were taken over a longer period of time and reveal many more young clusters of stars at the farthest reaches of the galaxy. To better understand how stars could form in such unexpected territory, Bigiel and his colleagues turned to radio observations from the Very Large Array (red). Light emitted in the radio portion of the electromagnetic spectrum can be used to locate gaseous hydrogen atoms, or raw ingredients of stars. When the astronomers combined the radio and Galaxy Evolution Explorer data, they were delighted to see they matched up.

"The degree to which the ultraviolet emission and therefore the distribution of young stars follows the distribution of the atomic hydrogen gas out to the largest distances is absolutely remarkable," said Fabian Walter, also of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, who led the radio observations of hydrogen in the galaxy.

The astronomers speculate that the young stars seen far out in M83 could have formed under conditions resembling those of the early universe, a time when space was not yet enriched with dust and heavier elements.

"Even with today's most powerful telescopes, it is extremely difficult to study the first generation of star formation. These new observations provide a unique opportunity to study how early generation stars might have formed," said co-investigator Mark Seibert of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Pasadena.

M83 is located 15 million light-years away in the southern constellation Hydra.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNEWS.COM

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 23/04/2008 19:01:25
ABOVE THE CLOUDS

 [ Invalid Attachment ]




From the windswept peak of Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, your view of the world at night could look like this. At an altitude of about 13,500 feet, the mountain top is silhouetted in the stunning skyscape recorded near dusk in early December of 2005. The volcanic peak rises just above a sea of storm clouds illuminated by a bright Moon. Planet Venus is setting near the Moon as the brilliant evening star. The scene also includes the faint, milky band of our own galaxy's disk of stars and cosmic dust clouds stretching from the horizon into the sky along the right edge of the frame.

SOURCE:http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: rosalind dna on 23/04/2008 21:04:23
Neil I think that your Hawaiian (sp) picture is fantastic !!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: Ronny on 28/04/2008 09:02:41
(https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencephotogallery.co.uk%2Fmedia%2Fgallery%2FE1550070_363.jpg&hash=6175a1d40f20425642b86c9a1191156d)
Hurricane Florence was photographed by the crew on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis in November 1994. The hurricane is located over the Atlantic Ocean about 600 km from the coast of Bermuda. The image shows the typical pattern of hurricane systems: a large-scale line of clouds spiralling from bottom centre towards the central and thicker part of the storm, with the small clear "eye" at its very centre.
Source:sciencephotogallery.co.uk
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/05/2008 14:46:06
Neil I think that your Hawaiian (sp) picture is fantastic !!!!!!!!!

Glad you like it Rosalind !..it is rather spectacular isn't it ?
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/05/2008 19:43:22
NASA spacecraft tracks raging Saturn storm
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 29, 2008

PASADENA, Calif. -- As a powerful electrical storm rages on Saturn with lightning bolts 10,000 times more powerful than those found on Earth, the Cassini spacecraft continues its five-month watch over the dramatic events.



 [ Invalid Attachment ]


The view at left was created by combining images
taken using red, green and blue spectral filters,
 and shows Saturn in colors that approximate what
 the human eye would see. The storm stands out
with greater clarity in the sharpened, enhanced
color view at right.
 Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

 
 See a larger image here (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA08411.jpg)


Scientists with NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission have been tracking the visibly bright, lightning-generating storm -- the longest continually observed electrical storm ever monitored by Cassini.

Saturn's electrical storms resemble terrestrial thunderstorms, but on a much larger scale. Storms on Saturn have diameters of several thousand kilometers (thousands of miles), and radio signals produced by their lightning are thousands of times more powerful than those produced by terrestrial thunderstorms.

Lightning flashes within the persistent storm produce radio waves called Saturn electrostatic discharges, which the radio and plasma wave science instrument first detected on Nov. 27, 2007. Cassini's imaging cameras monitored the position and appearance of the storm, first spotting it about a week later, on Dec. 6.

"The electrostatic radio outbursts have waxed and waned in intensity for five months now," said Georg Fischer, an associate with the radio and plasma wave science team at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. "We saw similar storms in 2004 and 2006 that each lasted for nearly a month, but this storm is longer-lived by far. And it appeared after nearly two years during which we did not detect any electrical storm activity from Saturn."

The new storm is located in Saturn's southern hemisphere -- in a region nicknamed "Storm Alley" by mission scientists -- where the previous lightning storms were observed by Cassini.

"In order to see the storm, the imaging cameras have to be looking at the right place at the right time, and whenever our cameras see the storm, the radio outbursts are there," said Ulyana Dyudina, an associate of the Cassini imaging team at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

Cassini's radio plasma wave instrument detects the storm every time it rotates into view, which happens every 10 hours and 40 minutes, the approximate length of a Saturn day. Every few seconds the storm gives off a radio pulse lasting for about a tenth of a second, which is typical of lightning bolts and other electrical discharges. These radio waves are detected even when the storm is over the horizon as viewed from Cassini, a result of the bending of radio waves by the planet's atmosphere.

Amateur astronomers have kept track of the storm over its five-month lifetime. "Since Cassini's camera cannot track the storm every day, the amateur data are invaluable," said Fischer. "I am in continuous contact with astronomers from around the world."

The long-lived storm will likely provide information on the processes powering Saturn's intense lightning activity. Cassini scientists will continue to monitor Storm Alley as the seasons change, bringing the onset of autumn to the planet's southern hemisphere.

SOURCE: SPACELIGHTNOW.COM

Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 01/05/2008 20:05:17
Compact galaxies in early universe pack a big punch
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 29, 2008


Imagine receiving an announcement touting the birth of a baby 20 inches long and weighing 180 pounds. After reading this puzzling message, you would immediately think the baby's weight was a misprint.

Astronomers looking at galaxies in the universe's distant past received a similar perplexing announcement when they found nine young, compact galaxies, each weighing in at 200 billion times the mass of the Sun. The galaxies, each only 5,000 light-years across, are a fraction of the size of today's grownup galaxies but contain approximately the same number of stars. Each galaxy could fit inside the central hub of our Milky Way Galaxy.

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
This illustration from a hypothetical planet
in a distant ultradense galaxy reveals a sky
packed with thousands of stars. There are 200
 times more stars in this sky than in our Earth's
 nighttime sky. Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI),
 and P. van Dokkum (Yale University)
 

 
Astronomers used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to study the galaxies as they existed 11 billion years ago, when the universe was less than 3 billion years old.

"Seeing the compact sizes of these galaxies is a puzzle," said Pieter G. van Dokkum of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., who led the study. "No massive galaxy at this distance has ever been observed to be so compact. It is not yet clear how they would build themselves up to become the large galaxies we see today. They would have to change a lot over 11 billion years, growing five times bigger. They could get larger by colliding with other galaxies, but such collisions may not be the complete answer."

To determine the sizes of the galaxies, the team used the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer on Hubble. The Keck observations were carried out with assistance of a powerful laser to correct for image blurring caused by the Earth's atmosphere. "Only Hubble and Keck can see the sizes of these galaxies because they are very small and far away," van Dokkum explained.

Van Dokkum and his colleagues studied the galaxies in 2006 with the Gemini South Telescope Near-Infrared Spectrograph, on Cerro Pachon in the Chilean Andes. Those observations provided the galaxies' distances and showed that the stars are a half a billion to a billion years old. The most massive stars had already exploded as supernovae.

"In the Hubble Deep Field, astronomers found that star-forming galaxies are small," said Marijn Franx of Leiden University, The Netherlands. "However, these galaxies were also very low in mass. They weigh much less than our Milky Way. Our study, which surveyed a much larger area than in the Hubble Deep Field, surprisingly shows that galaxies with the same weight as our Milky Way were also very small in the past. All galaxies look really different in early times, even massive ones that formed their stars early."

 [ Invalid Attachment ]
This illustration shows the comparative sizes
 of our Milky Way Galaxy and an ultracompact
galaxy, which existed in the early universe.
 Although the compact galaxy is only a fraction
 of the size of our Milky Way, it contains the
same number of stars. The small, dense galaxy
could fit inside the central hub of our Milky Way.
 Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Feild (STScI), and P.
van Dokkum (Yale University)
 

 
The ultradense galaxies might comprise half of all galaxies of that mass 11 billion years ago, van Dokkum said, forming the building blocks of today's largest galaxies.

How did these small, crowded galaxies form? One way, suggested van Dokkum, involves the interaction of dark matter and hydrogen gas in the nascent universe. Dark matter is an invisible form of matter that accounts for most of the universe's mass. Shortly after the Big Bang, the universe contained an uneven landscape of dark matter. Hydrogen gas became trapped in puddles of the invisible material and began spinning rapidly in dark matter's gravitational whirlpool, forming stars at a furious rate.

Based on the galaxies' masses, which are derived from their color, the astronomers estimated that the stars are spinning around their galactic disks at roughly 890,000 to 1 million miles an hour (400 to 500 kilometers a second). Stars in today's galaxies, by contrast, are traveling at about half that speed because they are larger and rotate more slowly than the compact galaxies.

These galaxies are ideal targets for the Wide Field Camera 3, which is scheduled to be installed aboard Hubble during Servicing Mission 4 in the fall of 2008. "We hope to use the Wide Field Camera 3 to find thousands of these galaxies. The Hubble images, together with the laser adaptive optics at Keck and similar large telescopes, should lead to a better understanding of the evolution of galaxies early in the life of the universe," said Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Lick Observatory.

The findings appeared in the April 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/05/2008 13:02:36
Moon Meets Mercury
Credit & Copyright: P-M Hedén (Clear Skies, TWAN)


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 On Tuesday, May 6, while standing on planet Earth and sweeping your binoculars along the western horizon just after sunset, you might have encountered this arresting skyscape. The view features a slender crescent Moon and bright planet Mercury separated on the sky by only about 2 degrees. Cradled in the sunlit lunar crescent, the night side of the Moon is faintly illuminated by earthshine -- sunlight reflected from planet Earth. Of course, the clouds in silhouette and fading twilight colors are common elements in pictures of the sky after sunset, but much less often seen is inner planet Mercury, usually hiding close to the Sun in Earth's sky. Still, the coming week will be a good time to spot Mercury near the western horizon about 30 minutes after sunset. As for the Moon, tonight and tomorrow night the crescent Moon will wander close to Mars in the early evening sky.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 13/05/2008 13:06:41
The Gegenschein Over Chile
Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (ESO)


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BIG PICCY HERE (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0805/gegenschein_eso_big.jpg)



 Is the night sky darkest in the direction opposite the Sun? No. In fact, a rarely discernable faint glow known as the gegenschein (German for "counter glow") can be seen 180 degrees around from the Sun in an extremely dark sky. The gegenschein is sunlight back-scattered off small interplanetary dust particles. These dust particles are millimeter sized splinters from asteroids and orbit in the ecliptic plane of the planets. Pictured above from last October is one of the most spectacular pictures of the gegenschein yet taken. Here a deep exposure of an extremely dark sky over Paranal Observatory in Chile shows the gegenschein so clearly that even a surrounding glow is visible. In the foreground are several of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescopes, while notable background objects include the Andromeda galaxy toward the lower left and the Pleiades star cluster just above the horizon. The gegenschein is distinguished from zodiacal light near the Sun by the high angle of reflection. During the day, a phenomenon similar to the gegenschein called the glory can be seen in reflecting air or clouds opposite the Sun from an airplane.


Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/05/2008 19:21:32
Part of missing matter in the universe now discovered
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE


ESA's orbiting X-ray observatory XMM-Newton has been used by a team of international astronomers to uncover part of the missing matter in the universe.

Ten years ago, scientists predicted that about half of the 'ordinary' or normal matter made of atoms exists in the form of low-density gas, filling vast spaces between galaxies.
 
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Composite optical and X-ray image of galaxy
clusters Abell 222 and Abell 223. The cluster
 pair is connected by a filament permeated by
 hot X-ray emitting gas. Credits:
 ESA/ XMM-Newton/ EPIC/ ESO (J. Dietrich)/
 SRON (N. Werner)/ MPE (A. Finoguenov)
 

 
All the matter in the universe is distributed in a web-like structure. At dense nodes of the cosmic web are clusters of galaxies, the largest objects in the universe. Astronomers suspected that the low-density gas permeates the filaments of the web.

The low density of the gas hampered many attempts to detect it in the past. With XMM-Newton's high sensitivity, astronomers have discovered its hottest parts. The discovery will help them understand the evolution of the cosmic web.

Only about 5% of our universe is made of normal matter as we know it, consisting of protons and neutrons, or baryons, which along with electrons, form the building blocks of ordinary matter. The rest of our universe is composed of elusive dark matter (23%) and dark energy (72%).   

Small as the percentage might be, half of the ordinary baryonic matter is unaccounted for. All the stars, galaxies and gas observable in the universe account for less than a half of all the baryons that should be around.

Scientists predicted that the gas would have a high temperature and so it would primarily emit low-energy X-rays. But its very low density made observation difficult.

Astronomers using XMM-Newton were observing a pair of galaxy clusters, Abell 222 and Abell 223, situated at a distance of 2300 million light-years from Earth, when the images and spectra of the system revealed a bridge of hot gas connecting the clusters.

"The hot gas that we see in this bridge or filament is probably the hottest and densest part of the diffuse gas in the cosmic web, believed to constitute about half the baryonic matter in the universe," says Norbert Werner from SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, leader of the team reporting the discovery.

"The discovery of the warmest of the missing baryons is important. That's because various models exist and they all predict that the missing baryons are some form of warm gas, but the models tend to disagree about the extremes," adds Alexis Finoguenov, a team member.

Even with XMM-Newton's sensitivity, the discovery was only possible because the filament is along the line of sight, concentrating the emission from the entire filament in a small region of the sky. The discovery of this hot gas will help better understand the evolution of the cosmic web.

"This is only the beginning. To understand the distribution of the matter within the cosmic web, we have to see more systems like this one. And ultimately launch a dedicated space observatory to observe the cosmic web with a much higher sensitivity than possible with current missions. Our result allows to set up reliable requirements for those new missions." concludes Norbert Werner.

ESA's XMM-Newton Project Scientist, Norbert Schartel, comments on the discovery, "This important breakthrough is great news for the mission. The gas has been detected after hard work and more importantly, we now know where to look for it. I expect many follow-up studies with XMM-Newton in the future targeting such highly promising regions in the sky."
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/05/2008 19:25:38
Hubble sees the Antennae Galaxies moving closer
HUBBLE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY INFORMATION CENTRE RELEASE

New research on the Antennae Galaxies using the Advanced Camera for Surveys onboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows that this benchmark pair of interacting galaxies is in fact much closer than previously thought - 45 million light-years instead of 65 million light-years.

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Credit: NASA, ESA & Ivo Saviane (European Southern Observatory)
 See larger image here (http://www.spacetelescope.org/goodies/printlayouts/screen/heic0812.jpg)
 
 
The Antennae Galaxies are among the closest known merging galaxies. The two galaxies, also known as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, began interacting a few hundred million years ago, creating one of the most impressive sights in the night sky. They are considered by scientists as the archetypal merging galaxy system and are used as a standard against which to validate theories about galaxy evolution.

An international group of scientists led by Ivo Saviane from the European Southern Observatory has used Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 to observe individual stars spawned by the colossal cosmic collision in the Antennae Galaxies. They reached an interesting and surprising conclusion. By measuring the colours and brightnesses of red giant stars in the system, the scientists found that the Antennae Galaxies are much closer than previously thought: 45 million light-years instead of the previous best estimate of 65 million light-years.

The team targeted a region in the relatively quiescent outer regions in the southern tidal tail, away from the active central regions. This tail consists of material thrown from the main galaxies as they collided. The scientists needed to observe regions with older red giant stars to derive an accurate distance. Red giants are known to reach a standard brightness, which can then be used to infer their distance. The method is known as the tip of the red giant branch (TRGB).

The proximity of the Antennae system means it is the best-studied galaxy merger in the sky, with a wealth of observational data to be compared to the predictions of theoretical models. Saviane says: "All aspiring models for galaxy evolution must be able to account for the observed features of the Antennae Galaxies, just as respectable stellar models must be able to match the observed properties of the Sun. Accurate models require the correct merger parameters, and of these, the distance is the most essential".

The previous canonical distance to the Antennae Galaxy was about 65 million light-years although values as high as 100 million light years have been used. Our Sun is only eight light-minutes away from us, so the Antennae Galaxies may seem rather distant, but if we consider that we already know of galaxies that are more than ten billion light-years away, the two Antennae Galaxies are really our neighbours.

The previous larger distance required astronomers to invoke some quite exceptional physical characteristics to account for the spectacular system: very high star-formation rates, supermassive star clusters, ultraluminous X-ray sources etc. The new smaller distance makes the Antennae Galaxies less extreme in terms of the physics needed to explain the observed phenomena. For instance, with the smaller distance its infrared radiation is now that expected of a 'standard' early merging event rather than that of an ultraluminous infrared galaxy. The size of the star clusters formed as a consequence of the Antennae merger now agree with those of clusters created in other mergers instead of being 1.5 times as large.

The Antennae Galaxies are named for the two long tails of stars, gas and dust that resemble the antennae of an insect. These 'antennae' are a physical result of the collision between the two galaxies. Studying their properties gives us a preview of what may happen when our Milky Way galaxy collides with the neighbouring Andromeda galaxy in several billion years. Although galaxy mergers today are not common, it is believed that in the past they were an important channel of galaxy evolution. Therefore understanding the physics of galaxy mergers is a very important task for astrophysicists.

The Antennae are located in the constellation of Corvus, the Crow.

The findings appeared in the May 2008 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 15/05/2008 19:35:45
ARCHEOLOGY
Oldest bust of Caesar found in France

French archaeologists have found what is thought to be the oldest existing statue of Julius Caesar in southern France. The bust is believed to be the sole portrait made during his life.

A bust of Julius Caesar, believed to be the oldest representation of the Roman emperor yet known, has been found at the bottom of the River Rhone in Arles, a town founded by him in 46 BC, the French culture ministry said Tuesday.
 
The imperial bust, showing a balding and aging man, was found with other artefacts in the bed of the river in the south of France.

 
It is "the oldest representation yet known of Caesar," and "typical of a series of realistic portraits from the period of the (Roman) republic," said a ministry statement.
 
Three other statues, including one of the god Neptune dating from the beginning of the third century AD, were found at the same site.
 
"I suspect the bust was thrown in the river after he was assassinated  because it would not have been good at that time to be considered a follower of his," said French archaeologist Luc Long, who directed excavations at the underwater site.
 
"In Rome you don't find any statues of Caesar dating from the time he lived, they were all posthumous," he added.


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Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 19/05/2008 21:22:28
Discovery of most recent supernova in our galaxy
NASA NEWS RELEASE


WASHINGTON -- The most recent supernova in our galaxy has been discovered by tracking the rapid expansion of its remains. This result, using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array, will help improve our understanding of how often supernovae explode in the Milky Way galaxy.



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Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al.
); Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/Cambridge/D.Green et al.)

 
 
The supernova explosion occurred about 140 years ago, making it the most recent in the Milky Way. Previously, the last known supernova in our galaxy occurred around 1680, an estimate based on the expansion of its remnant, Cassiopeia A.

Finding such a recent, obscured supernova is a first step in making a better estimate of how often the stellar explosions occur. This is important because supernovae heat and redistribute large amounts of gas, and pump heavy elements out into their surroundings. They can trigger the formation of new stars as part of a cycle of stellar death and rebirth. The explosion also can leave behind, in addition to the expanding remnant, a central neutron star or black hole.

The recent supernova explosion was not seen with optical telescopes because it occurred close to the center of the galaxy and is embedded in a dense field of gas and dust. This made the object about a trillion times fainter, in optical light, than an unobscured supernova. However, the remnant it caused can be seen by X-ray and radio telescopes.

"We can see some supernova explosions with optical telescopes across half of the universe, but when they're in this murk we can miss them in our own cosmic backyard," said Stephen Reynolds of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who led the Chandra study. "Fortunately, the expanding gas cloud from the explosion shines brightly in radio waves and X-rays for thousands of years. X-ray and radio telescopes can see through all that obscuration and show us what we've been missing."

Astronomers regularly observe supernovae in other galaxies like ours. Based on those observations, researchers estimate about three explode every century in the Milky Way.

"If the supernova rate estimates are correct, there should be the remnants of about 10 supernova explosions that are younger than Cassiopeia A," said David Green of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who led the Very Large Array study. "It's great to finally track one of them down."

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Clear expansion is seen between these Very
Large Array images obtained in 1985 and 2008.
 Credit: NSF/NRAO/VLA/Cambridge/D.Green et al.

 
 
The tracking of this object began in 1985, when astronomers, led by Green, used the Very Large Array to identify the remnant of a supernova explosion near the center of our galaxy. Based on its small size, it was thought to have resulted from a supernova that exploded about 400 to 1000 years ago.

Twenty-two years later, Chandra observations revealed the remnant had expanded by a surprisingly large amount, about 16 percent, since 1985. This indicates the supernova remnant is much younger than previously thought.

That young age was confirmed in recent weeks when the Very Large Array made new radio observations. This comparison of data pinpoints the age of the remnant at 140 years - possibly less if it has been slowing down - making it the youngest on record in the Milky Way.

Besides being the record holder for youngest supernova, the object is of considerable interest for other reasons. The high expansion velocities and extreme particle energies that have been generated are unprecedented and should stimulate deeper studies of the object with Chandra and the Very Large Array.

"No other object in the galaxy has properties like this," Reynolds said. "This find is extremely important for learning more about how some stars explode and what happens in the aftermath."

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHNOW.COM
Title: Re: Science Photo of the Week
Post by: neilep on 20/05/2008 14:27:59
The Perseus Cluster of Galaxies
Credit & Copyright:
 Jean-Charles Cuillandre (CFHT) & Giovanni
Anselmi (Coelum Astronomia), Hawaiian Starlight


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