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Category Archive: cosmology

Jun 22 2012

Voyager One: until we meet again

Voyager aftet being captured by a machine intelligence and greatly enhanced in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

After an epic journey by any standard, Voyager 1 is leaving the solar system, forever. And we stand, collectively, on the cusp of being just barely an interstellar species:

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Apr 19 2012

About those rogue planets I’m obsessed with

I’ve posted on rogue planets and nomads and even a few wandering worlds that reach incredible speeds. A new study confirms what common sense would tell us: some of these restless worlds end up in alien solar systems:

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Apr 09 2012

New solar system beats our own in planet count

An exosolar guide of planets by size vs density and theoretical composition.

What with Pluto being demoted and exosolar astronomy going gang busters, a solar system with more planets than our own was bound to turn up sooner or later. New data from a near twin of our sun 130 light-years away has come sooner:

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Mar 29 2012

What I did not know about M54

GlobClust

The image above is the globular cluster M54, a huge ball of mostly older stars 90,000 light-years away. I thought I knew about globular clusters, but the Bad Astronomer posted two points that are entirely new to me, and very cool:

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Mar 23 2012

Nomad planets could be traveling at near warp speeds

Call it planet Crank. A study slated to be published in the Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society finds that not only are nomad planets possible, under ideal conditions some of them could be ejected from the heart of large galaxies at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light:

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Mar 16 2012

Midnight treat: WISE releases a cosmic atlas in false color infrared

IR

The NASA WISE telescope spent a year imaging sections of the sky in infrared and astronomers have been working for the last few months to knit it together in a 360 degree map, all doped up with false color. It is spectacular. The limitations of this website can’t do it justice: that bad boy above is scalable …

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Feb 16 2012

The beautiful and incredibly violent Eta Carina

Eta Carinae and the lobed Homunculus Nebula which surrounds the star[s]. The massive blue-giant  appears as the white patch near the center of the image, where the 2 lobes. Image courtesy of the Hubble

Eta Carinae, 7th sun in its constellation, is not your ordinary star, or even a familiar crusty old red-giant. At the heart of the gorgeous double lobed cloud are at least two massive stars, and one of them is one the most unusual kinds of stellar objects in the universe: an unstable, misshapen blue-white colossus that could burst open and shower this …

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Feb 11 2012

NASA Mars program facing steep budget cuts

4_Vesta

The official budget won’t be released until Monday, but word is NASA’s unmanned program will see big cuts and Mars missions will take the brunt of them. Sadly, when it comes to our budget priorities as of late, we are one screwed-up country:

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Dec 12 2011

All eyes on CERN

The mystery may get a little less mysterious in this afternoon: (BBC) — Prof Stefan Soldner-Rembold, from the University of Manchester, called the quality of the LHC’s results “exceptional”, adding: “Within one year we will probably know whether the Higgs particle exists, but it is likely not going to be a Christmas present.” He told …

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Dec 09 2011

Lunar eclipse offers rare treat for some in the wee morning hours

2011Lunar

The image above courtesy of Anthony Ayiomamitis gives an idea of the treat in store for star-gazer tonight. In the wee morning hours a beautiful full moon will offer up a rare show in crystal winter skies as it sets gently wrapped in red and gold in the west: the 2011 lunar eclipse. Cosmic Log has a great rundown …

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