Astronomy, News

Stargazers delight: Jupiter and Venus get up close and personal

View of Jupiter and Venus in the evening sky after sunset at around 11pm on 20 June 2015. On this night the crescent Moon lies just below Jupiter. To the right of Venus, using binoculars, may just be seen Praesepe, the famous "Beehive" star cluster, though this will be a difficult object in the twilight and at such a low altitude. The bright star to the left of Jupiter is known as Regulus, the principal star of the constellation Leo, though it is actually a multiple stellar system.

  Last night, Jupiter and Venus nearly converged on the night sky, being so close that you actually don’t need a telescope to see their celestial dance. “Throughout the month of June 2015, the two brightest planets in the night sky, Venus and Jupiter, are going to converge for a close jaw-dropping encounter,”said NASA in a news release. #perth if

Astronomy, News

Tomorrow, the world is getting one extra second – what are you gonna do with yours?

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Tomorrow, something extraordinary will happen, even though you might not notice it: right before 8 p.m. Eastern time, we will be adding an extra second – a leap second. Aside for being an interesting quirk, this is another reminder that our time isn’t exactly synced with solar time, and every once in a while, we need to make some adjustments. Why

Astronomy, News

Alien pyramid on Ceres? More like bad media on Earth

Ceres-pyramid

The whole media is abuzz after NASA released some pictures of the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But while it’s somewhat expected for pseudoscientists and alien fanatics went crazy after they spotted what appears to be a huge pyramid-shaped mountain, I was expecting more from the mainstream media. I know, right?

Astronomy, News, Space

Strange “X-Ray Rainbow” could be used to calculate stellar distances

A light echo in X-rays detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has provided a rare opportunity to precisely measure the distance to an object on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy. The rings exceed the field-of-view of Chandra’s detectors, resulting in a partial image of X-ray data.
Credits: NASA/CXC/U. Wisconsin/S. Heinz

NASA released the breathtaking image you see below, announcing that it is basically X-ray light echoes reflecting off clouds of dust. But this image does more than thrill us amateur stargazers – it helps astronomers figure out how far away the double star system Circinus X-1 is from Earth. “It’s really hard to get accurate distance measurements in astronomy and we only

Astronomy, Geology, News

Lakes on Titan might have formed like sinkholes on Earth

Artist impression of Saturn seen from Titan. Image: NASA JPL

Researchers from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have been trying to figure out how Titan’s seas formed – more exactly, how the depressions in which the seas are formed.

Astronomy, Astrophysics, News

Astronomers discover massive ultra-dark galaxies – might be filled with dark matter

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Astronomers have discovered a whopping 854 new ultra-dark galaxies which might have large quantities of the elusive dark matter, which makes out most of our universe.

Astronomy, Observations, Space

World’s largest telescope to begin construction soon following $500 million funding

giant telescopes

High up in Chile’s Las Campanas Observatory, right in the middle of the desert, work will soon start to build the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) – the biggest telescope in the world once finished. The site was cleared before, but actual deployment just recently commenced following a $500 million pledge from 11 international partners. The total cost of the project is $1 billion. Once the giant telescope will be open, sometime around 2021, it will be used to peer the sky for neighboring potentially habitable planets, dark matter and dark energy, supermassive black holes and detect some of the first light emitted in the Universe.

Astronomy, News, Space

Pluto’s moons resonate in chaos

Image via The Planets.

With NASA’s New Horizons shuttle basically knocking on Pluto’s door, Mark Showalter and Douglas Hamilton present new theories on Pluto’s moons and make predictions about what New Horizons will observe. They propose complex interactions and an intricate “dance” of Pluto’s moons – a miniature version of our solar system.

Alien life, Astronomy, News

NASA presents toolkit to search for life on Jupiter’s Moon Europa

Realistic-color Galileo mosaic of Europa, highlighting the mysterious lines. Image via Wikipedia.

Sending a probe to look for alien life is just half of the work – it’s the tools you send there that will actually do the job, and NASA has decided which tools it wants to send to Jupiter’s moon Europa, a place considered by many the likeliest to hold alien life.

Astronomy, Observations

Scientists discover extremely rare quadruple quasar system

It's like winning the lottery - twice. Astronomers have spotted a rare cluster of four quasars—some of the brightest objects in the universe, formed from active black holes. Photograph by Hennawy and Arrigoni Battaia, MPIA.

A team of astronomers has discovered a unique system of quadruple quasars. The quartet, discovered at the very edge of the universe, is one of the most massive structures in the known universe.