Charles Bolden Reveals Vision for NASA at Senate Confirmation Hearing

NASA’s immediate future will likely have an emphasis on Earth science, using the International Space Station for research and development, and making space exploration more of an entrepreneurial venture. Those were the main themes touched on during the Senate confirmation hearing of Charles Bolden, President Obama’s nominee for NASA chief. When discussing space entrepreneurship, Bolden used the example of a

Dramatic fireball flies above Arizona

I’m really sorry I didn’t find out about this earlier, but better late than never. So, on June 23, several observers from Tucson, Arizona reported they noticed a bright fireball on the sky. As it turns out, it was rock from outer space that broke apart and took a dive in our planet’s atmosphere, a ‘shooting star’, and a pretty

The most distant object in the universe found so far

ESO’s Very Large Telescope has shown something that scientists concluded is the signature of the explosion of the object furthest away from Earth we have found so far, a redshift of 8.2; it’s estimated that the explosion took place more than 13 billion years ago (!!), just 600 million years after the Big Bang. They found it using a technology

Zooming in on Mars: 3d pictures of the red planet

Get your 3D pictures on and join the show; hundreds of amazing pictures made by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have been made, and despite the fact that this is not the first mission to take 3D pictures, HiRISE is by far the most powerful camera to do this, due to the significant progress in the

The day our Sun brought darkness

About 20 years ago, on March 13, 1989, the whole province of Quebec, Canada, suffered a blackout that by now has reached legendary proportions among astronomers and electrical engineers. Still, what made it reach this status wasn’t its proportions, but the fact that it was caused by the sun, or a solar storm to be more exact. Three days earlier,

Green visitor to pass through the solar system

Unfortunately for some, the green visitor is not an alien coming to greet us but something else, even though it also comes from far, far away. On the 24th of February the comet Lulin will pass within 61 million kilometers of Earth, thus being able to be seen with the naked eye from some locations. This is the first time

Stellar ‘cannibalism’ is the key to giant stars

You may or may not have heard about blue stragglers; they are blue stars that are hotter and bluer than other stars with the same luminosity. Until now, it seemed that these stars defied most if not all of the standard stellar theories, but scientists now believe they have finally solved this stellar mistery. The research carried out by the

Milky Way spins faster

Well ladies and gentlemen, you’d better fasten your seat belts, because we’re in for quite a spin. The Milky Way is spinning a bit faster than scientists believed; with about 100.000 miles / hour that is. What does that mean, basically?? Well, we’re faster, heavier, and there’s a bigger chance that we’ll collide with… something. It won’t be good, anyway.

Nasa discovers a dozen pulsars that change understanding about dying stars

Recently, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope discovered no more, no less than 12 pulsars, and it also detected gamma ray pulse from 18 others. These findings are forcing scientists to rethink what we know about dying stars, as they totally underestimated the power of these stellar cilinders. “We know of 1,800 pulsars, but until Fermi we saw only little wisps

White dwarf considered the hottest ever discovered

Astronomy & Astrophysics has published spectroscopic observations of one of the hottest stars discovered so far – a white dwarf called KPD 0005+5106. The observations were made using the space-based Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE), showing that the temperature can reach 200 000 K at the surface of the star. Temperatures can get so high that the emission lines are exhibited

Black holes are the heart of galaxies

The supermassive black holes located at the center of galaxies are similar in many ways to hearts, pumping out energy in the similar way our organ pumps blood. They do this at regular intervals of time, to regulate the growth of the black holes themselves, as well as to contribute to the formation of new stars. This new findings baffled

Hubble takes amazing pictures of mammoth stars

Two of the biggest and most impressive stars from our galaxy have been “surprised” in some really amazing poses by the the NASA/ESA Hubble telescope. Until now, a cloud of mystery surrounded them, but these pictures in greater detail than ever before. The pair of colossal stars (named WR 25 and Tr16-244, located within the open cluster Trumpler 16) are

Beta Pictoris planet could finally be imaged

Beta Pictoris (β Pic / β Pictoris) is part of a group of hot young stars that have the same age and motion through stage. It’s best known for the fact that it’s surrounded by a dusty ‘debris’ disc. This disc is a result of collisions between planetary ’embryos’ and asteroids, or other such objects. Recently, a team of French

Ultimate recycling: urine for water

This is not for the average man, but when you’re more than 300 km above the Earth, it’s pretty hard to get a glass of water. The estimated cost to transport a pint would be about 15 000$ which is well, astronomical to say the least. So finding a way to recapture every drop of water was vital for scientists.

Hubble Back In Business: Pair Of Gravitationally Interacting Galaxies

A while ago we were a bit worried about the future of Hubble, but it seems the people at NASA managed to once again do an amazing job, so the most well known telescope is back in business, and up to big things actually. Just a few days after it was brought back online, Hubble provided some amazing images of

Opals on Mars hint at planet’s wet past

As a proud student in geophysics, I can tell you that opal is hydrated silicon dioxide mineral with many astounding properties, but it’s also water hydrated. Since  water hydrated minerals have been found on Mars we are led to the logic conclusion that when these minerals was formed, there was water on Mars. Opals have been long prized for their

Serendipitous events show rare events in distant quasar

According to Murphy’s laws, all great discoveries happen by mistake. This is not the case here, but scientists had the opportunity to observe something they weren’t expecting at all. Astronomers at the University of California-Santa Cruz had the fortune of witnessing the birth of a young galaxy. They were the first to observe the onset of a huge flow of

India launches first mission to the moon

Chandrayaan-1 is the name of the first mission India has ever launched towards the moon, and it was launches succesfully in the morning of October 22, from inside their country. This started the journey which will also imply a major manoeuvre – the lunar orbit insertion – about 2 weeks from the launch date. After it will orbit the moon,

NASA doesn’t see a quick fix for Hubble

Despite the fact that they have worked round the clock for fixing Hubble, it seems NASA engineers have once again hit a snag and they’re currently trying to figure out what is the next step. The telescope stopped sending pictures three weeks ago, and at first it was believed that it wouldn’t take that long to fix it. Due to

First firm prediction of an incoming space rock confirmed

A very small asteroid exploded over the continent of Africa this week, confirming the prediction of astronomers. Despite the fact that nobody has seen and photographed the asteroid due to the fact that it entered in a very remote area, it was detected with an infrasound array in Kenya; it exploded without striking the Earth. Scientists estimate that it was