Friday, January 11, 2013

Changing things up a bit...

As some of you have noticed, the few who visit here, I have not posted much lately. This is due to the fact that I am changing things up a bit. For right now Im going to stop posting the WEATHER calendar facts. This is mainly due to the fact the calendar is so big, and lugging it around at work everyday is not ideal. I think I may bring it back later when I can figure out how to better transport it.

Filling in this gap will be the "Sky Tonight" feature. They come from the Sky & Telescope App and are great little bit about whats up in the night sky. I do also recommend getting this app for your self as it has lots more info than I'm providing. Also along with the "Sky Tonight" updates I will be posting images from NASA's astronomy image of the day. The archives are massive! I have some awesome ideas for weekly features using these photos. The only real change to this is I'm thinking of posting more than one of these images a day.

I also have plenty of other ideas for posts, but im so well versed in procrastination that those may take a little longer to get out Lol. One small step at a time.

Please let me know what you guys think. I know I have only posted a few things but let me know if you like it so far. Leave a comment or something.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, January 10, 2013 AIA 304 ***TEST***

 (2012-12-25 09:48:31 - 2012-12-25 12:47:43 UTC)

The Orion Bullets

Cosmic bullets pierce the outskirts of the Orion Nebula some 1500 light-years distant in this sharp infrared close-up. Blasted out by energetic massive star formation the bullets, relatively dense, hot gas clouds about ten times the size of Pluto's orbit, are blue in the false color image. Glowing with the light of ionized iron atoms they travel at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second, their passage traced by yellowish trails of the nebula's shock-heated hydrogen gas. The cone-shaped wakes are up to a fifth of a light-year long. The detailed image was created using the 8.1 meter Gemini South telescope in Chile with a newly commisioned adaptive optics system (GeMS). Achieving a larger field of view than previous generation adaptive optics, GeMS uses five laser generated guide stars to help compensate for the blurring effects of planet Earth's atmosphere.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rogue Planetary Orbit for Fomalhaut b

This false-color composite image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, reveals the orbital motion of the planet Fomalhaut b. Based on these observations, astronomers calculated that the planet is in a 2,000-year-long, highly elliptical orbit. The planet will appear to cross a vast belt of debris around the star roughly 20 years from now. If the planet's orbit lies in the same plane with the belt, icy and rocky debris in the belt could crash into the planet's atmosphere and produce various phenomena. The black circle at the center of the image blocks out the light from the bright star, allowing reflected light from the belt and planet to be photographed. The Hubble images were taken with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph in 2010 and 2012.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley and SETI Institute) Mission: Hubble

The Sky Tonight via Sky and Telescope

Jan. 9, 2013

As dawn brightens Thursday morning, Venus shines near the hairline crescent Moon very low in the southeast. Look well to their upper right for twinkly, fire-colored Antares.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Size of Kepler Planet Candidates

Since the last Kepler catalog was released in February 2012, the number of candidates discovered in the Kepler data has increased by 20 percent and now totals 2,740 potential planets orbiting 2,036 stars. Based on observations conducted May 2009 to March 2011, the most dramatic increases are seen in the number of Earth-size and super Earth-size candidates discovered, which grew by 43 and 21 percent respectively. Scientists analyzed more than 13,000 transit-like signals called 'threshold crossing events' to eliminate known spacecraft instrumentation and astrophysical false positives, phenomena that masquerade as planetary candidates, to identify the potential new planets.

Image credit: NASA Mission: Kepler

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Wanderer Dances the Dance of Stars and Space

The Hubble Space Telescope captured a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. In this image, the larger-scale structure of the galaxy is barely visible its comparatively dim spiral arms, which surround its heart in a loose embrace, reach out beyond the edges of this frame.

This face-on galaxy, lying 45 million light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), is particularly attractive for astronomers. NGC 1097 is a Seyfert galaxy. Lurking at the very center of the galaxy, a supermassive black hole 100 million times the mass of our sun is gradually sucking in the matter around it. The area immediately around the black hole shines powerfully with radiation coming from the material falling in.

The distinctive ring around the black hole is bursting with new star formation due to an inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy. These star-forming regions are glowing brightly thanks to emission from clouds of ionized hydrogen. The ring is around 5000 light-years across, although the spiral arms of the galaxy extend tens of thousands of light-years beyond it.

Image Credit NASA/ESA/Hubble