astronomy round-up: 26 july 2013

Moon and Venus

The weekly science and astronomy round-up was delayed for a few hours this morning due to Flickr’s downtime. But here we are . . . !

  • Curiosity Mars rover passes kilometer of driving
    Astronomy Magazine
    “The latest drive by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover brought the total distance that the rover has driven on Mars to more than 0.62 mile (1 kilometer).”
  • Earth’s gold came from colliding dead stars
    Astronomy Magazine
    “We value gold for many reasons: its beauty, its usefulness as jewelry, and its rarity. Gold is rare on Earth in part because it?s also rare in the universe. Unlike elements like carbon or iron, it cannot be created within a star. Instead, it must be born in a more cataclysmic event like one that occurred last month known as a short gamma-ray burst (GRB).”
  • Hubble shows link between stars’ ages and their orbits
    Astronomy Magazine
    “Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have determined the orbital motion of two distinct populations of stars in an ancient globular star cluster, offering proof they formed at different times and providing a rare look back into the Milky Way Galaxy’s early days.”
  • Shelf-life: explore stars with library telescope
    “Do you find delight in gazing at the stars? Now you?ll have a chance to get a closer look at them. That?s because the Missoula Public Library and the Western Montana Astronomy Association recently partnered up to provide a telescope for patrons to check out from the library.”
  • Holiday reading: the dark glamour of astronomy
    New Scientist
    “There’s more to travel than sunshine. Clear, cloudless nights, far from the pollution of the city, invite us to look up in wonder. ? Three recent novels also remind us of astronomy’s dark glamour. They share a familiar irony: those seeking certainty in the heavens are likely to miss vital human operations around them. The authors understand the pull and charm of stellar observation, conveying it with sympathy, and, sometimes, real power.”
  • A warmer planetary haven around cool stars
    Astronomy Magazine
    “In a bit of cosmic irony, planets orbiting cooler stars may be more likely to remain ice-free than planets around hotter stars. This is due to the interaction of a star?s light with ice and snow on the planet?s surface.”
  • UTB team travels to Andean peak on astronomical quest
    The Brownsville Herald
    “? A team of UTB faculty and students recently traveled to a secluded Andean peak in Argentina where they are gearing up to try to build a large enough telescope that can capture the image of kilonova, an exotic astronomical phenomena that describes as having the luminosity of 1,000 novas.”
  • Revealed: how galaxies go from burst to bust
  • Newsmax
    “Astrophysicists have long puzzled why the Universe has very few galaxies with a high mass, even though there are many galaxies that create stars at a phenomenal rate, sometimes a hundred times greater than our own Milky Way. In theory, these “starburst” galaxies should have become super-sized — but until now, no one has known why.”
  • NASA’s Van Allen Probes Discover Particle Accelerator in the Heart of Earth?s Radiation Belts
    “Scientists have discovered a massive particle accelerator in the heart of one of the harshest regions of near-Earth space, a region of super-energetic, charged particles surrounding the globe called the Van Allen radiation belts. Scientists knew that something in space accelerated particles in the radiation belts to more than 99 percent the speed of light but they didn’t know what that something was. New results from NASA’s Van Allen Probes now show that the acceleration energy comes from within the belts themselves. Particles inside the belts are sped up by local kicks of energy, buffeting the particles to ever faster speeds, much like a perfectly timed push on a moving swing.”

Creative Commons photo: Moon and Venus by lrargerich.

Posted in astronomy & science.

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