astronomy round-up: 27 september 2013

Astronomy now demands bodily abstraction of its devotee

The astronomy and science round-up will be on hiatus for the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, enjoy your stargazing!

  • Hundreds attempt world record for largest astronomy lesson
    Bozeman Daily Chronicle
    “To break the record, more than 526 people needed to be present for the entire lesson. The previous record was set earlier this year at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.”
  • Mysterious alignment of ghostly stars discovered
    Astronomy Now
    “Astronomers have used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and ESO’s New Technology Telescope to explore more than 100 planetary nebulae in the central bulge of our galaxy. They have found that butterfly-shaped members of this cosmic family tend to be mysteriously aligned – a surprising result given their different histories and varied properties.”
  • Kaboom! Milky Way’s black hole erupted 2 million years ago
    Discovery News
    “Gargantuan black holes are thought to exist in the center of the majority of galaxies. In fact, these spacetime-warping behemoths are thought to be key in the evolution of galaxies; they consume vast quantities of stellar material, eject powerful streams of energy, and have the power to switch on and even extinguish star formation in their host galaxies.”
  • Cygnus rendezvous postponed to no earlier than Saturday
    Astronomy Magazine
    “Due to a data format mismatch, the Orbital Sciences spacecraft couldn’t berth to the International Space Station as planned.”
  • ‘Alien life’ claim far from convincing, astronomy experts say
    Huffington Post
    “Have scientists found alien life in our atmosphere? Researchers from the University of Sheffield in England think so. They reported that tiny organisms that came back aboard a balloon sent high into the stratosphere are too big to have floated up from the surface of our planet.”
  • Star-gazing Flanders man would gladly fly to Mars
    Mount Olive Chronicle
    “Ken Taylor is absolutely certain there is intelligent life elsewhere in the solar system; although, he?s not sure about such life on Earth.”
  • NASA Curiosity rover detects no methane on Mars
    Astronomy Magazine
    “Whether the martian atmosphere contains traces of the gas has been a question of high interest for years because methane could be a potential sign of life, although it also can be produced without biology.”
  • Long-stressed Europa likely off-kilter at one time
    Astronomy Magazine
    “The jovian moon?s tilt could influence calculations of how much of the moon’s history is recorded in its frozen shell, how much heat is generated by tides in its ocean, and even how long the ocean has been liquid.”
  • Scientists create light-matter like Darth Vader’s lightsaber
    “Light-matter existed previously only in theory, but now, for the first time, it has been observed in reality, researchers from the Center for Ultracold Atoms say.”
  • First light of powerful new camera on APEX
    Astronomy Magazine
    “A new instrument called ArTeMiS has been successfully installed on the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX). APEX is a 12-meter-diameter telescope located high in the Atacama Desert, which operates at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths ? between infrared light and radio waves in the electromagnetic spectrum ? providing a valuable tool for astronomers to peer further into the universe. The new camera has already delivered a spectacularly detailed view of the Cat?s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334).”
  • Mars rover Curiosity inspects pebbly rocks at martian waypoint
    Astronomy Magazine
    “The rover used instruments on its arm to inspect rocks, which bear evidence of ancient wet environments.”
  • Are we screwing ourselves by transmitting signals into space?
    Dave Reneke’s World of Space and Astronomy
    “A new paper assesses the potential danger presented by such signals, concluding that the benefits outweigh the risks. But how can we really know? We?ve been shouting out into the cosmos for quite some time now. Electromagnetic waves of various intensities and frequencies have been streaming away from Earth for well over a century, the remnants of TV broadcasts, mobile phone conversations, satellite transmissions, and military, civil and astronomical radars.”

Creative Commons photo: Astronomy now demands bodily abstraction of its devotee by brewbooks.

Posted in astronomy & science.

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