1. Screenshots from Universe Sandbox, currently a part of the Humble Weekly Bundle until July 24, pay what you want for it (available as a direct  download or Steam key, for Windows only).  With this simulator you can see the solar system in 3D from multiple point of views, see each planet with its moons, change the mass of any element, add an element (a planet, a moon, an asteroid), observe a collision, create your own system and more.  More than 70 simulations are included, like a 3d map of the constellations and the passage of Voyager II near neptune in 1989.  

    You can see videos on youtube, like this one, and there is a demo available.  

     
  2. 13:16 22nd Jun 2014

    notes: 12614

    reblogged from: skunkbear

    tags: astronomy

    skunkbear:

    The Gigantic Peanut In The Sky

    This is an artist’s representation of the largest yellow star ever found. It is more than 1,300 times larger than the Sun and it is rapidly getting even larger. According to the study leader, Olivier Chesneau:

    The two stars are so close that they touch and the whole system resembles a gigantic peanut.

    The double star’s boring official name is HR 5171, but I propose we call it The Great Sky Peanut.  Even though it is 12,000 light-years from earth, a keen sighted person could see it on a dark night, twinkling in the constellation Centaurus.

    This representation was made by the European Southern Observatory (hat tip to NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel for sending it my way). You can read more about the star here.

    Image credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

     
  3. 13:05 18th Jun 2014

    notes: 1960

    reblogged from: afro-dominicano

    tags: astronomy

    image: download

    afro-dominicano:

Storms on ‘Failed Stars’ Rain Molten Iron

Violent storm clouds and molten-iron rain may be common occurrences on the failed stars known as brown dwarfs, new research suggests.
Image: This artist’s concept shows what the weather might look like on cool star-like bodies known as brown dwarfs. These giant balls of gas start out life like stars, but lack the mass to sustain nuclear fusion at their cores, and instead, fade and cool with time. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Western Ontario/Stony Brook University
Astronomers used NASA’s infrared Spitzer Space Telescope to observe brown dwarfs, finding changes in brightness that they believe signify the presence of storm clouds. These storms appear to last at least several hours, and may be as tempestuous as the famous Great Red Spot on Jupiter.
"A large fraction of brown dwarfs show cyclical variability in brightness, suggesting clouds or storms," study researcher Aren Heinze of Stony Brook University said in a news conference here today (Jan. 7) at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

    afro-dominicano:

    Storms on ‘Failed Stars’ Rain Molten Iron

    Violent storm clouds and molten-iron rain may be common occurrences on the failed stars known as brown dwarfs, new research suggests.

    Image: This artist’s concept shows what the weather might look like on cool star-like bodies known as brown dwarfs. These giant balls of gas start out life like stars, but lack the mass to sustain nuclear fusion at their cores, and instead, fade and cool with time. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Western Ontario/Stony Brook University

    Astronomers used NASA’s infrared Spitzer Space Telescope to observe brown dwarfs, finding changes in brightness that they believe signify the presence of storm clouds. These storms appear to last at least several hours, and may be as tempestuous as the famous Great Red Spot on Jupiter.

    "A large fraction of brown dwarfs show cyclical variability in brightness, suggesting clouds or storms," study researcher Aren Heinze of Stony Brook University said in a news conference here today (Jan. 7) at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

     
  4. 10:15 16th Jun 2014

    notes: 126

    reblogged from: strictlyastronomy

    tags: astronomy

    image: download

    strictlyastronomy:

Just in time for World Cup 2014 madness: a dying star puffs out a “soccer ball” in space. This object is known as Kronberger 61 and is an example of a planetary nebula, so named for their resemblance in early telescopes to distant Solar System planets like Uranus and Neptune.
As a star with roughly the mass of the Sun ends the main phase of life, having exhausted its supply of hydrogen fuel, its core contracts and its outer layers expand. For a few tens of millions of years, it shines brightly as a red giant star, fusing the helium ash of its former hydrogen-burning existence into carbon. Eventually even the helium runs out, and the core contracts further; despite vastly increased core temperatures, it is unable to fuse the carbon and the star’s life effectively runs out.
The red giant then sheds its outer layers to space, creating a planetary nebula. The core, consisting mostly of carbon, some oxygen and a little leftover helium, is exposed and becomes known as a white dwarf. A shadow of its former self, this “star” will cool over billions of years as remnant interior heat from the fires of nuclear fusion in its past slowly radiate away. The outer layers of the star blown out into space become seed material for future generations of stars.
The oldest white dwarf stars in the Universe may now have surface temperatures similar to those of household ovens. In the distant future of the Universe, these stars should cool until they come into equilibrium with the cosmic background radiation as “black dwarfs”.
Very few planetary nebulae are this spherical, says astronomer George Jacoby of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization in Pasadena, California, who helped image the nebula with the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii. “They’re usually elongated and look like butterflies and other objects,” he said. The origin of the complex structures seen among planetary nebulae is still not well understood by astronomers. 
In terms of the mass required to produce a planetary nebula, “The sun is right on the edge of being able to do this. It’s not quite massive enough,” Jacoby said. “I suspect it’ll have trouble.”
The new soccer-ball nebula image was presented Monday at an International Astronomical Union symposium in Puerto de la Cruz, Spain.

    strictlyastronomy:

    Just in time for World Cup 2014 madness: a dying star puffs out a “soccer ball” in space. This object is known as Kronberger 61 and is an example of a planetary nebula, so named for their resemblance in early telescopes to distant Solar System planets like Uranus and Neptune.

    As a star with roughly the mass of the Sun ends the main phase of life, having exhausted its supply of hydrogen fuel, its core contracts and its outer layers expand. For a few tens of millions of years, it shines brightly as a red giant star, fusing the helium ash of its former hydrogen-burning existence into carbon. Eventually even the helium runs out, and the core contracts further; despite vastly increased core temperatures, it is unable to fuse the carbon and the star’s life effectively runs out.

    The red giant then sheds its outer layers to space, creating a planetary nebula. The core, consisting mostly of carbon, some oxygen and a little leftover helium, is exposed and becomes known as a white dwarf. A shadow of its former self, this “star” will cool over billions of years as remnant interior heat from the fires of nuclear fusion in its past slowly radiate away. The outer layers of the star blown out into space become seed material for future generations of stars.

    The oldest white dwarf stars in the Universe may now have surface temperatures similar to those of household ovens. In the distant future of the Universe, these stars should cool until they come into equilibrium with the cosmic background radiation as “black dwarfs”.

    Very few planetary nebulae are this spherical, says astronomer George Jacoby of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization in Pasadena, California, who helped image the nebula with the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii. “They’re usually elongated and look like butterflies and other objects,” he said. The origin of the complex structures seen among planetary nebulae is still not well understood by astronomers. 

    In terms of the mass required to produce a planetary nebula, “The sun is right on the edge of being able to do this. It’s not quite massive enough,” Jacoby said. “I suspect it’ll have trouble.”

    The new soccer-ball nebula image was presented Monday at an International Astronomical Union symposium in Puerto de la Cruz, Spain.

     
  5. 11:38 17th May 2014

    notes: 1049

    reblogged from: spaceplasma

    tags: astronomyastronomerKepler

    teded:

Astronomer Johannes Kepler proved that planetary orbits are elliptical and that the Sun is not the center of the orbit.
From the TED-Ed Lesson Reasons for the seasons - Rebecca Kaplan
Animation by Marc Christoforidis

    teded:

    Astronomer Johannes Kepler proved that planetary orbits are elliptical and that the Sun is not the center of the orbit.

    From the TED-Ed Lesson Reasons for the seasons - Rebecca Kaplan

    Animation by Marc Christoforidis

     
  6. christinetheastrophysicist:

A Second Sedna
Title: A Sedna-like body with a perihelion of 80 astronomical units
Authors: C. A. Trujillo & S. S. Sheppard
Sedna, a dwarf planet that resides far out in the depths of the solar system, is the first known objects that belongs to the inner Oort cloud. Discovered in 2003, Sedna became a very important trans-Neptunian object, aiding in the quest to learn about the evolution of the Solar System. With a perihelion of 76 AU, Sedna was the farthest known body in the Solar System. Recently, an object called 2012VP113 was found to be another inner Oort cloud object. This confirms that Sedna is not an isolated body and that there may be more inner Oort cloud objects out there.
The authors conducted a sky survey that focused on objects with perihelion distances between 50 AU to around 300 AU. 2012VP113 was found to have a perihelion distance of 80 AU, making it farther away from the Sun than Sedna is. The surface color of 2012VP113 is moderately red, which is consistent with formation in the gas giant region, not in the classical Kuiper belt region.
An important question from the discoveries of Sedna and 2012VP113 is how do these inner Oort cloud objects form? Currently there are two preferred models, along with one lesser studied model. One model explores the possibility that a Kuiper belt object is perturbed by some planet-sized object out towards the inner Oort cloud region. The next model suggests that inner Oort cloud objects could have been created from a close stellar encounter during the formation of the early Solar System. The third model suggests that inner Oort cloud objects could be extrasolar planetesimals captured in the formation of the early Solar System. Each theory has different possibilities, and the discovery of additional inner Oort cloud objects would provide more insight into the formation of these bodies as well as our Solar System.
Image: A combination of three images showing 2012VP113, each taken two hours apart, on November 5, 2012. (Credit: Scott S. Sheppard/Carnegie Institution for Science)

    christinetheastrophysicist:

    A Second Sedna

    Sedna, a dwarf planet that resides far out in the depths of the solar system, is the first known objects that belongs to the inner Oort cloud. Discovered in 2003, Sedna became a very important trans-Neptunian object, aiding in the quest to learn about the evolution of the Solar System. With a perihelion of 76 AU, Sedna was the farthest known body in the Solar System. Recently, an object called 2012VP113 was found to be another inner Oort cloud object. This confirms that Sedna is not an isolated body and that there may be more inner Oort cloud objects out there.

    The authors conducted a sky survey that focused on objects with perihelion distances between 50 AU to around 300 AU. 2012VP113 was found to have a perihelion distance of 80 AU, making it farther away from the Sun than Sedna is. The surface color of 2012VP113 is moderately red, which is consistent with formation in the gas giant region, not in the classical Kuiper belt region.

    An important question from the discoveries of Sedna and 2012VP113 is how do these inner Oort cloud objects form? Currently there are two preferred models, along with one lesser studied model. One model explores the possibility that a Kuiper belt object is perturbed by some planet-sized object out towards the inner Oort cloud region. The next model suggests that inner Oort cloud objects could have been created from a close stellar encounter during the formation of the early Solar System. The third model suggests that inner Oort cloud objects could be extrasolar planetesimals captured in the formation of the early Solar System. Each theory has different possibilities, and the discovery of additional inner Oort cloud objects would provide more insight into the formation of these bodies as well as our Solar System.

    Image: A combination of three images showing 2012VP113, each taken two hours apart, on November 5, 2012. (Credit: Scott S. Sheppard/Carnegie Institution for Science)

     
  7. 12:42 3rd May 2014

    notes: 105

    reblogged from: extracts

    tags: astronomyphysics

    image: download

    extracts:

The Theory of Inflation
     
  8. nevver:

We are hurtling through space at over a million miles an hour (a truer orbit of the planets)

    nevver:

    We are hurtling through space at over a million miles an hour (a truer orbit of the planets)

     
  9. 11:16 24th Apr 2014

    notes: 10608

    reblogged from: mucholderthen

    tags: astronomy

    mucholderthen:

    Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Potentially Support Life
    Astronomers have discovered a planet about the size of Earth,
    orbiting its star in the zone where oceans of liquid water would be possible.

    From Space.com

    A study of the newly-found planet indicates it could have an Earth-like atmosphere and water at its surface. The planet Kepler-186f is the fifth planet of the star Kepler-186, 490 light-years away.

    The planet has 1.11 times the Earth’s mass. Its radius is 1.1 times that of Earth. Kepler-186f orbits at 32.5 million miles (52.4 million kilometers) from its parent star. Its year is 130 Earth days. 

    The planet orbits Kepler-186, an M-type dwarf star less than half as massive as the sun. Because the star is cooler than the sun, the planet receives solar energy less intense than that received by Mars in our solar system, despite the fact that Kepler-186f orbits much closer to its star.

     
  10. 21:18 18th Apr 2014

    notes: 17770

    reblogged from: benjamingrimes

    tags: astronomymoon

    image: download

    benjamingrimes:

Blood Moon eclipse. Next time I’m going to rent a longer lens.
4/15/14

    benjamingrimes:

    Blood Moon eclipse. Next time I’m going to rent a longer lens.

    4/15/14