Voyager 1 Can ‘Taste’ the Interstellar Shore: “Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun’s environment, we now can taste what it’s like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway,” Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at Caltech in Pasadena said. “We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it’s likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn’t what we expected, but we’ve come to expect the unexpected from Voyager.”
Posts tagged astronomy.
What Does A Black Hole Sound Like?
Sept. 9, 2003: Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have found, for the first time, sound waves from a supermassive black hole. The “note” is the deepest ever detected from any object in our Universe. The tremendous amounts of energy carried by these sound waves may solve a longstanding problem in astrophysics.
The black hole resides in the Perseus cluster of galaxies located 250 million light years from Earth. In 2002, astronomers obtained a deep Chandra observation that shows ripples in the gas filling the cluster. These ripples are evidence for sound waves that have traveled hundreds of thousands of light years away from the cluster’s central black hole.
“The Perseus sound waves are much more than just an interesting form of black hole acoustics,” says Steve Allen, of the Institute of Astronomy and a co-investigator in the research. “These sound waves may be the key in figuring out how galaxy clusters, the largest structures in the Universe, grow.”
In what’s beginning to look like a case of planetary measles, a third red spot has appeared alongside its cousins — the Great Red Spot and Red Spot Jr. — in the turbulent Jovian atmosphere.
This third red spot, which is a fraction of the size of the two other features, lies to the west of the Great Red Spot in the same latitude band of clouds.
The new red spot was previously a white oval-shaped storm. The change to a red color indicates its swirling storm clouds are rising to heights like the clouds of the Great Red Spot. One possible explanation is that the red storm is so powerful it dredges material from deep beneath Jupiter’s cloud tops and lifts it to higher altitudes where solar ultraviolet radiation — via some unknown chemical reaction — produces the familiar brick color.
Detailed analysis of the visible-light images taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on May 9 and 10, and near-infrared adaptive optics images taken by the W.M. Keck telescope on May 11, is revealing the relative altitudes of the cloud tops of the three red ovals. Because all three oval storms are bright in near-infrared light, they must be towering above the methane in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which absorbs the Sun’s infrared light and so looks dark in infrared images.
Turbulence and storms first observed on Jupiter more than two years ago are still raging, as revealed in the latest pictures. The Hubble and Keck images also reveal the change from a rather bland, quiescent band surrounding the Great Red Spot just over a year ago to one of incredible turbulence on both sides of the spot.
Red Spot Jr. appeared in spring of 2006. The Great Red Spot has persisted for as long as 200 to 350 years, based on early telescopic observations. If the new red spot and the Great Red Spot continue on their courses, they will encounter each other in August, and the small oval will either be absorbed or repelled from the Great Red Spot. Red Spot Jr. which lies between the two other spots, and is at a lower latitude, will pass the Great Red Spot in June.
NASA Voyager Recordings - Symphonies of the Planets 2
The wonder of the cosmos.The beauty of the heavens. Such phrases come easily to mind when contemplating space, which is just such a photogenic place.
Looking up at the night sky has inspired humanity for eons, and the first photographs taken of space changed our relationship with the sky forever. Then, the first photos taken from space, both of distant galaxies and of our own planet, revolutionized our understanding of our place in the cosmos again.
Many seminal images stand out in the history of astrophotography, with some pictures universally adored and others special to individuals for personal reasons.
We asked scientists, photographers, authors and historians for their favorite space photographs and found a diversity of choices, as well as some popular recurring favorites.
The most distant star explosions in the universe have now been discovered, suggesting scientists may one day see the deaths of the first stars to arise after the Big Bang, researchers say.
Image: High-resolution simulation of a galaxy hosting a super-luminous supernova and its chaotic environment in the early Universe. Credit: Adrian Malec and Marie Martig (Swinburne University)
Future research into such remote, powerful explosions could shed light on the evolution of the universe since the Big Bang, investigators added.
The most powerful star explosionsare supernovas, which are bright enough to briefly outshine all the stars in their home galaxies. In the past 12 years, astronomers have detected a new class of supernova, so-called super-luminous supernovas, which areup to 100 times brighter than all the others.
“Super-luminous supernovae are very energetic events and extremely rare,” lead study author Jeff Cooke, an astronomer at the Swinburne University of Technology in Hawthorn, Australia, told SPACE.com. “They are very destructive as well. In the early universe, many galaxies were quite small but vigorously forming stars. A single supernova of this type could disrupt a significant fraction of such a galaxy and, in some cases, cause the star formation process to come to a halt.”
However, in larger galaxies where super-luminous supernovas make less of an overall impact, the material blown off them “provides the seeds to form new stars, and the shock waves from the explosions can help to compress gas in those galaxies to accelerate the star formation process,” Cooke added. “So they can be the bringers of death or the bringers of life to stars. Detecting and measuring the rate of super-luminous supernovae in the early universe helps clarify their role in the formation and evolution of galaxies.”
They Came From Outer Space - Phil Plait’s gallery of spooky images from space: moaning nebulae, screaming stars and more
Here’s a screenshot from the online live broadcast of the historic transit of Venus.
Saturn’s Most Habitable Moon Offers Ice, Water, Killer Views
1. Enceladus’ southern tiger stripes are actively spewing jets of ice into space. The region is also anomalously warm relative to the rest of the planet, and releasing three times more heat than a similar sized area on Earth. Until recently, scientists didn’t know why.
A study in Nature Geoscience in January explains that the heat is caused by blobs of warmer ice moving toward the surface and pushing colder ice down. Scientists think these eras of churning ice last around 10 million years, while the intervening quiet times last 100 million to 2 billion years, so Cassini is lucky to have visited during one of the active times that make up between 1 and 10 percent of the moon’s history.
“Cassini appears to have caught Enceladus in the middle of a burp,” UC Santa Cruz planetary scientist Francis Nimmo, co-author of the new study, said in a press release. “These tumultuous periods are rare, and Cassini happens to have been watching the moon during one of these special epochs.”
2. Enceladus is the sixth largest of Saturn’s 62 moons. The plumes emanating from its southern pole are just visible in this image.
3. This spectacular image of Enceladus nestled next to Saturn below the planet’s rings was taken by Cassini on Christmas Day, 2009. It was captured by the spacecraft’s wide-angle camera from 384,000 miles away.
4. Here, Enceladus is speeding by Dione, a moon more than twice its size. Enceladus orbits faster and closer to Saturn than Dione. The ring is Saturn’s outermost F-ring.
The Milky Way
These are two wide angle photographs of the Milky Way taken in the 1953. The camera itself is located at the apex of the tripod and is looking down at the spherical mirror, giving it a field of view of up to 150 degrees. The pictures were taken by Theodore E. Houck and Arthur D. Code.
Plate 2: Galactic Bulge (between 285 and 65 degrees galactic longitude)
May 21/22, 1953, T. E. Houck and A. D. Code
Blue filter, 45 minute integration
Plate 10: Galactic Bulge (between 275 and 35 degrees galactic longitude)
June, 1953, observer unknown
Hydrogen Alpha filter, unknown integration time
Saturn is in Virgo at the edge of the field
Types of galaxies according to the Hubble classification scheme.
An E indicates a type of elliptical galaxy; an S is a spiral; and SB is a barred-spiral galaxy.
Designed for the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. The Map of the Universe is a fictional visualization of routes to different planets, galaxies, nebulas, and more across the known universe.