November 29, 2010
NASA Captures Pictures of Planetary Nebula
It was published on November 18, 2010 by Nasa.
WISE, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, recently captured an
image of an object known as NGC 1514, which was discovered in 1970. Until
now, the object was thought of as a system of binary stars. We now know it
is actually a planetary nebulae, which formed when a dying star exploded
its material into space. The image captured shows two views of the
planetary nebula, by using both a visible-light telescope and an infrared
light. The pictures show the fluorescing gas and two unusual rings that
surround the nebula. This object is also referred to as the "Crystal Ball"
Pictures are on the page of the link
November 23, 2010
"Should Pluto Be A Planet After All?"
After recalculating Eris' size, astronomers find that it is, in fact, not larger than Pluto. Astronomers on both ends of the spectrum give their views.
Some astronomers argue that Pluto, along with many other Kuiper Belt objects, should not be named planets, because of their many different characteristics from the eight currently recognized planets. "The dwarfs' orbits tend to be very different, much more elliptical and more inclined, relative to the plane of the solar system. And they're made of different stuff, with ices comprising more of their mass," the article states.
Alan Stern's view, "a planet is anything that meets the IAU definition's first two criteria — the bits about orbiting the sun and having enough mass to be roughly spherical, without the "clearing your neighborhood" requirement."
...But this definition would largely expand the solar system to include many more bodies in space as planets.
"Brown thinks stripping Pluto of its planethood doesn't make the icy body any less interesting or important. 'I think that Pluto as an example of a large Kuiper Belt object is so much more interesting than Pluto as this very weird planet at the outer edge of the solar system unlike anything else,' Brown said. 'We are going to learn so much more about the solar system with our new understanding of what Pluto is.'"
Given this information, do you believe Pluto should be reinstated as a Planet? Why or Why not?
November 17, 2010
Mars Atmosphere Is Going Away?
This article from NASA discusses how the solar wind is currently stripping Mars of its atmosphere. Mars doesn't have a magnetosphere like Earth does to protect it from the solar wind, so it is much more vulnerable.
Check out the article and the video about a mission to launch in 2013 (MAVEN) to find out more about the atmosphere's interaction with the solar wind.
November 13, 2010
Scientists Re-Create Big Bang in Lab
Scientists say they have created a mini Big Bang using the world's largest atom smasher! The experiment used lead ions and produced the highest densities and temperatures ever created by scientists.
November 12, 2010
"For NASA, A Closer Look at Mercury and Mars
This artcile published in the New York Times is a good overview of the current things N.A.S.A is working on, including the recent trip of the Messenger spacecraft that took extended pictures of Mercury. It also tells a little bit about previous and current rovers on Mars and what is the latest happenings with the International Space Station.
November 10, 2010
Scientists Discover Mysterious "Bubbles of Energy"
On November 9, 2010, scientists revealed that they found two "bubbles of energy" in the middle of our Milky Way galaxy. According to the scientists, who made this observation while studying data from Nasa's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, the bubbles stretch for 25,000 light years. While scientists are not certain of how these bubbles came about, they think that one possible source may have been the births and deaths of stars.
Check out the article:
Overbye, Dennis. "Bubbles of Energy Are Found in Galaxy." New York Times 9 Nov. 2010. Online.
November 07, 2010
Dinosaur Extinction Theory
Okay, so this wasn't really discussed that much in lecture but it was in the book, and so I found this animation/recreation of what likely happened with the dinosaurs. The video, which NASA produced, mirrors pretty closely what the text said and I think it's kind of cool!
"Earth Impact." YouTube. 26 Oct. 2006. Web. 07 Nov. 2010.