astronomy round-up: 2 august 2013

2013-07-12 at 01-43-34

  • Capturing black-hole spin could further understanding of galaxy growth
    Astronomy Magazine
    “Astronomers have found a new way of measuring the spin in supermassive black holes, which could lead to better understanding about how they drive the growth of galaxies.”
  • Spitzer discovers young stars with a “hula hoop”
    NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    “Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have spotted a young stellar system that “blinks” every 93 days. Called YLW 16A, the system likely consists of three developing stars, two of which are surrounded by a disk of material left over from the star-formation process.”
  • New data help astronomers explore the hidden Milky Way
    Astronomy Magazine
    “Astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III) have released a new online public data set featuring 60,000 stars that are helping to tell the story of how our Milky Way Galaxy formed.”
  • Astrophysicists find new way to determine how fast supermassive black holes spin
    “A new way of measuring the spin in supermassive black holes, reported in a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, could lead to better understanding about how they drive the growth of galaxies.”
  • Next blue moon coming up August 21-22 2013
    “The next Blue Moon will fall on August 20-21, 2013. It?ll be a Blue Moon by the seasonal definition, that is, the third of four full moons to take place in a season, in this case between the June 2013 solstice and September equinox. The last Blue Moon by this definition happened on November 21, 2010.”
  • Team sets new record for cosmic x-ray sightings
    Astronomy Magazine
    “The new X-ray catalog contains over half a million X-ray source detections and is home to some of the rarest and most extreme phenomena in the universe.”
  • Giants of science: Tycho Brahe, astronomy?s most tumultuous genius
    “Geniuses often have problems. They tend to suffer from depression more often than their less gifted colleagues, and their gifts in the rational brain are often offset by retarded social development. At the very least, they tend to be quiet, introspective, and absolutely consumed by their work. And then there?s Tycho Brahe.”
  • Bored with astronomy? These 5 projects are for you!
    Discovery News
    “Are you bored with astronomy? Have you seen the planets a million times over or had enough of looking at the same old stars? Well sit up, pay attention and I will tell you why there’s no need to be bored any longer. Whether it is spotting planets, hunting down glittering stars or finding elusive galaxies that floats your boat, there is an celestial project for everyone.”
  • WISE finds mysterious centaurs may be comets
    Astronomy Magazine
    “The true identity of centaurs, the small celestial bodies orbiting the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune, is one of the enduring mysteries of astrophysics. Are they asteroids or comets? A new study of observations from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) finds most centaurs are comets.”
  • Cracking how life arose on Earth may help clarify where else it might exist
    Anne’s Astronomy News
    “A unique theory about how life arose on Earth may reveal clues to whether and where else it might have arisen in the Universe.”
  • Hubble’s COSMOS survey solves “quenched” galaxy mystery
    Astronomy Magazine
    “Scientists found that a large number of bigger galaxies switch off at later times, joining their smaller quenched siblings and giving the mistaken impression of individual galaxy growth over time.”
  • Telescope on IRIS sees first light
    Astronomy Magazine
    “The observatory has produced its first images of a little understood region of the Sun.”
  • The limits to galactic growth
    Space Daily
    “Astronomers have long assumed that when a galaxy produces too many stars too quickly, it greatly reduces its capacity for producing stars in the future. Now, a group of astronomers that includes Fabian Walter from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy were able to obtain the first detailed images of this type of self-limiting galactic behaviour: an outflow of molecular gas, the raw material needed for star formation that is coming from star-forming regions in the Sculptor Galaxy (NGC 253).”
  • Archaeologists confirm pyramid in Mexico?s Chichen Itza was used in astronomy
    Latin American Herald Tribune
    “New observations confirm that the main pyramid in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, located in Mexico?s southeastern Yucatan state, was built to serve as an astronomical marker for making adjustments to the calendar, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.”
  • Write about astronomy
    The Spacewriter’s Ramblings
    “There?s an old joke about an astronomy exam question that says, ?Describe the universe; give three examples?. It?s kind of silly, but in a way it identifies the immensity of the subject of astronomy (and the universe) and how you can?t just teach to the test in science. Particularly astronomy.”
  • Valley network suggests ancient snowfall on Mars
    Astronomy Magazine
    “Valley networks branching across the martian surface leave little doubt that water once flowed on the Red Planet. But where that ancient water came from ? whether it bubbled up from underground or fell as rain or snow ? is still debated by scientists. A new study by researchers at Brown University puts a new check mark in the precipitation column.”
  • Opening the skies to everyone
    Slate: Bad Astronomy
    “I have long advocated that the best way to hook someone on astronomy is to get them outside and get them to look up. People see the stars all the time, but they don?t see them. The sky is just part of the landscape, so to speak, and gets ignored.”

Creative Commons photo: 2013-07-12 at 01-43-34 by sergelen1.

Posted in astronomy & science.

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