- There has been a lot of interest recently in an upcoming series of lunar eclipses that begins April 15. These are usually described as "Four Blood Moons" and taken by some to prophesy upcoming disasters.
- The only sizable objects that are closer to the Sun than the Earth is are Venus, Mercury, and (at this time of the lunar month) the Moon. See all three grouped low in the southeast in early dawn of Saturday the 6th.
Friday, February 5
• You can still see all five naked-eye planets at dawn, though Mercury is getting lower. On Saturday morning the 6th, the crescent Moon, Venus, and Mercury form a triangle low in the southeast, as shown here. See Bob King's article It's Not Over Till the Fast
- Stars are born inside a rotating cloud of interstellar gas and dust, which contracts to stellar densities thanks to its own gravity. Before finding itself on the star, however, most of the cloud lands onto a circumstellar disk forming around the star owing to conservation of angular momentum.The manner in which the material is transported through the disk onto the star, causing the star to grow in mass, has recently become a major research topic in astrophysics.
- New images of four disks around forming stars known as protostars suggest that the star formation process is much more violent than previously thought.A model shows what a violent circumstellar disk should look like.
Hauyu Baobab Liu et al.
A star’s birth is somewhat of a mystery. Because they form behind an enormous veil of dusty — and often beautiful — molecular clouds, nature blocks the details from view. But astronomers think that within these clouds, small pockets of
- The largest national association of astronomers is now the new home of a virtual observatory known as the WorldWide Telescope.American Astronomical Society
Imagine a future in which astronomy research comes to life. Rather than read a dry paper abstract, researchers will soon watch the paper’s author show and explain the observations. Scrolling through an article on, say, star formation, researchers can click on the images within and explore the actual regions where stars are born.
- An Atlas V rocket carrying the GPS IIF-12 satellite successfully took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:38 a.m. EST (1338 GMT) today (Feb. 5). The satellite is the 12th and final member of the IIF series.
- The minute-long ad, which will air Sunday (Feb. 7) during Super Bowl 50, stars actor Liam Neeson as "The Man from the Future," who travels back in time to tell a younger version of himself about the coming revolution in viewing technology.
- Two planets and a pretty crescent Moon gather low above the southeastern horizon before dawn on February 6th.
Mercury won't be well up in the morning sky for long, but on February 6th it creates a terrific triad with much brighter Venus and a very thin crescent Moon.
Sky & Telescope diagram
Don't sleep in tomorrow morning. Sure, it's Saturday, but it'll be worth getting up early to see dazzling Venus, elusive Mercury, and a razor-thin crescent Moon clustered together low in the southeast.
- The congressionally-mandated Space Launch System, currently in development, is built upon legacy technology. This NASA video compares the giant of Apollo to the Shuttle-derived ‘new’ SLS.
- Elon Musk founded SpaceX with ambitions to explore Mars.
- If the United States shifts priorities from landing on Mars to orbiting it, the mission can start with a single component ready to launch.
- Using sophisticated computer simulations, an international research team have discovered new insights into the chemical composition of the dust grains that formed in the solar system 4.5 billion years ago.
- The Dark Ages Radio Explorer (DARE) mission would dodge Earth's noisy, disruptive environment to shine some light on the universe's early "dark ages" — with a little help from Earth's moon.
- Technicians have installed the 18th and final primary mirror segment on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, an $8.8 billion observatory that's scheduled to launch in 2018 to investigate some of the biggest questions in astronomy.
- It rains slightly less when the moon is high overhead.
- The 305-meter William E. Gordon Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico is the largest single-dish radio telescope on our planet. Observing proposals to use it during the six-month (or, in some cases, one-year) period beginning 1 July 2016 are due by 21:00 UTC on 3 March 2016.
The Arecibo Observatory (AO) is part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC), which is operated by SRI International under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation and in alliance with Ana G. M
- A newly released photo captured by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft during its historic Pluto flyby last July shows that the vast Sputnik Planum region within the dwarf planet's "heart" is studded with chains and clusters of water-ice hills.
- Edgar Dean Mitchell, who in February 1971 became the sixth man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 85. The lunar module pilot on Apollo 14, Mitchell died at his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, sources close to his family confirmed.
- Planet watching in February will be a slow build — not much at first, but patient skywatchers can end the night with glimpses of five bright planets in the sky.
- Gravity measurements taken by the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft show the body of comet 67 P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is about 75 percent dust and 25 percent ice all the way through.
- Fifty-five years after Yuri Gagarin became the first human to launch into space, a documentary about the Soviet space program seeks to reveal how Russia actually "won the space race."
- Built in 1933, the historic Hangar One at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA was stripped of its wood in 2012. Today, those hallowed boards reside at Levi's Stadium (home of the 49ers) in Santa Clara, CA.
- In the May 2016 issue of Sky & Telescope, Shannon Hall covers the past, present, and future of adaptive optics (AO), the technology that has allowed astronomers to conquer the tempestuous atmosphere.
The effect of adaptive optics is immediately visible (and astounding), so we're including here a full gallery of images that demonstrate the before and after, including several images that we didn't have room for in the magazine.
This simple animation shows how turning on the AO system at the Ke
- This announcement is posted on behalf of Patrick Mulvey of the AIP SRC:
A new report from the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center (SRC) presents trend data on the status of physics PhDs one year after receiving their degree. For the last decade, postdoctoral fellowships were the most commonly reported positions taken by physics PhDs in the year after receiving their degree. The type of initial employment for physics PhDs varied depending on the subfield of their diss
- The post NGC 891 Wide field appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The post NGC 891 Cropped appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The National Science Board (NSB) is essentially the board of directors for the National Science Foundation. By law, NSB must report to the President and the Congress on "indicators of the state of science and engineering in the United States" in each even-numbered year. The Science and Engineering Indicators report (SEI) fulfills this requirement.
The press release, "U.S. Science and Technology Leadership Increasingly Challenged by Advances in Asia," has a top-level summary of the report.
- The post Rosette Nebula DSLR appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The post Orion Nebula trapezium close up appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
- The post Orion Nebula and the Running Man appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
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