Monday, 21 April 2008

Sun takes offense to comet

What does it look like when a comet and a Coronal Mass Ejection meet?

Well, the answer is something like this.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Interesting Lectures - Part 1

Waking up too early is always an interesting experience, the day hasn't started yet and generally there's very little to do, so you need to find something to fill that space to stop yourself from going insane with boredom. Earlier today caught me combating this issue by browsing various interesting lectures on Google video. As there are so many of them worth watching, covering such a wide range of subjects I figure I'll make this a semi-regular thing on the blog.

So I bring you Part One of the new series, a lecture by Stephen Wolfram on the thesis of his book - A New Kind of Science.

The lecture itself is about the nature of experimental computation and the resulting implications in scientific methodology as can be applied to our understanding of the systems that govern our universe. Kapow!

It was certainly more than interesting enough to keep me going until I could grab some serious coffee with which to start the day. At around an hour and a half long be prepared to settle in for a good watch.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Scary stuff!

Ever wondered what the end of the world might look like? This shows a cool simulation of one possible scenario.

The reality is we'd have to have our heads buried in the ground not to notice something of this size coming right at us without a fair bit of advance warning. The question is what to do about it!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Take a picture

Imaging the cosmos is the very basis of modern astronomy, so whenever I find a site that has some good pictures, I make sure to bookmark it.

The latest discovery in this vein was this'un, which has some rather special pictures considering they're taken with a fairly small scope (6" f5 Newt) I'm impressed, and rather envious!

Seemed worth a share.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Closer to home

Far too often when people consider astronomy they look to the far reaches of the universe for their spectacular sights, it's something thats always best done at night right?

Wrong! Solar astronomy doesn't happen at night (for one rather self-evident reason), and just because the Sun is such a common sight don't be fooled into thinking it isn't utterly spectacular when viewed in the right way. By observing our closest star we can glean huge amounts of information about how stellar processes that are too far away to investigate in the same sort of detail might work.

And as per the usual this is all leading to a rather cool link.

This eclipse composite is my personal favourite.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

A dim view

Of a Brown dwarf!

Artwork like this is always inspiring, it really sparks the imagination and allows you to grasp that places like this can actually exist way out there in space. It is teh awesome.

Yeah yeah, Astronomers (and Protostronomers) are usually giant romantics about the universe...

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Fund the damn science already!

This sort of thing really ticks me off.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Exploding Stars

I'm probably a bit late to the news with this one, but it's good stuff, so here it is anyway.

Picture taken by Hubble (Nasa/Esa)

A few weeks ago Hubble managed to catch a rare glimpse of a supernova in its early stages located in the spiral galaxy NGC 2397. When something as hard to catch as this is found it usually provides us with fresh insight into the phenomena in question - in the case of supernovae such as this one, recent findings imply that stars of as low mass as a mere seven times that of the sun may undergo this process, previously thought to occur only in even more massive stars.


Jules Verne docks - Success!

After passing all the trials set before it, the unmanned freighter Jules Verne docked successfully with the ISS yesterday afternoon.

Congrats to the ESA for achieving this feat, considering the ultra tight tolerances involved in docking with a manned platform in space, it's fully deserved.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

More Hubble awesomeness

Ok, so this one is a good few weeks old news wise, but still worthy of note.

Dark matter, exoplanets, distant (and I mean distant) galaxies - all things that we can find through the observation of gravitational lensing effects way out there in the cosmos. This useful phenomena occurs when a light source is 'bent' around a sufficiently massive object in such a way as to focus the light towards the observer.

In the case of this recent study performed by a team of astronomers using the Hubble space telescope, these lenses were used to search for and catalogue galaxies so distant that without the focusing effect of gravitational lensing they would be virtually undetectable to us. In this way we can observe objects from the very early universe, which once studied, will enable the testing of current cosmological models.

Mmm, science.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008