AstroPicture

NASA’s Sun Watching Observatory Captures Picture of a Solar Flare

Image credits: NASA.

A solar flare is a sudden flash of brightness observed over the Sun’s surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release. The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 11:50 p.m. EST on Dec. 16, 2014. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Flares occur when accelerated charged…

News, Space

Now’s your chance to name craters on Mercury

Image via AstroBob.

If you’ve always wanted to choose the name of stuff from outer space but never got the chance… now’s your time to shine! NASA is offering you the chance to name one of the craters of Mercury in honour of the MESSENGER mission, which is nearing its final days. Apply or Vote HERE. NASA, together with Johns Hopkins University and the Carnegie…

News, Space

NASA Rover Finds Evidence of Organic Chemistry on Mars

Computer-generated image of Curiosity on Mars. Image credits: NASA/JPL.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover has discovered a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical which may indicate that there actually was life on Mars – or still is. The rover detected this high concentration in the atmosphere, as well as in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill. Curiosity on the Red Planet Curiosity has been on the Red Planet for…

News, Space

Solar winds penetrate Martian atmosphere, MAVEN finds – atmospheric loss mechanism unfolds

Artist impression of MAVEN spacecraft around MARS. Image: NASA

Only weeks after it became operational around Mars‘ orbit, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has uncovered a  new process by which the solar wind can penetrate deep into a planetary atmosphere, past the ionosphere even this shouldn’t have been possible. It seems like a magic trick at the moment, but in time this mechanism might help explain how Mars…

Great Pics, Observations, Space

Cassini’s Stunning Pictures of Jupiter’s Southern Hemisphere

This polar map is composed of 18 colour images taken by the narrow-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft following a flyby in 2000, but was only recently released.

When we think about Jupiter, we have a certain image in mind – the big red giant with a huge spot on its surface and rings around it. But if you look at it from “below” (from the southern Hemisphere), the planet looks entirely different, as the Cassini probe showed. “If you were to float just beneath the giant planet…

Space, Videos

This is what astronauts see on reentry

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Most of us have dreamed of being an actual astronaut at one point in our lives… but do you think you actually have what it takes? This is what astronauts see when they reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, tightly tucked inside a Soyuz capsule.   There is also a video captured by astronaut Mike Hopkins (Expedition 37/38) — who returned to Earth…

News, Physics

For the first time, physicists measure electron as it jumps from semiconductor. Yes, it’s a big deal!

In semiconductors like silicon, electrons attached to atoms in the crystal lattice can be mobilized into the conduction band by light or voltage. Berkeley scientists have taken snapshots of this very brief band-gap jump and timed it at 450 attoseconds. Stephen Leone image.

All our modern electronics are based on a class of wonder materials called semiconductors. What makes these so valuable is their ability to free electrons when subjected to an electrical current or when hit by light, becoming mobile and eventually routed and switch through a transistor. It’s the very basis of our digital age, be it solar cells or computers….

Astronomy, News, Space

Water didn’t come from comets, Rosetta analysis shows

Rosetta's extremely interesting analysis raises even more questions than it answers. Image via ESA.

As you might remember, a few days ago we were telling you about the fantastic success of the Rosetta mission – a spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency which orbited a comet and sent landed a probe on it. Now, we already have the first result: Earth’s water probably didn’t come from comets. Did you ever ask yourself where…

News, Physics

Record breaking energies achieved in a compact particle accelerator 3 million times smaller than the LHC

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With the help of the most powerful laser in the world, scientists have achieved the highest energies yet in a compact particle accelerator. The tabletop-sized device accelerates electrons to high speeds by firing high power laser pulses in a controlled manner through a plasma tube only 9 centimeters in size. The accelerator ring at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN is…

Biology, Chemistry, News

Scientists create ‘artificial evolution’ for the first time

Photograph showing the pumps: cleaning and oil phases, the mixing array, the syringe array held in the X–Y stage, the evolutionary arena, the optical imaging system held below the evolution arena, the motors controlling the X–Y carriage and the computer interface.

Scientists have made a significant step towards developing fully artificial life – for the first time, they demonstrated evolution in a simple chemistry set without DNA. In a way, the researchers showed that the principle of natural selection doesn’t only apply to the biological world. Using a simple a robotic ‘aid’, a team from the University of Glasgow managed to create an evolving…