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If this doesn't fascinate you,  I don't know what will.
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No, I am sitting still.  ;)  Everything else is moving away!!  ;)  http://www.exploratorium.edu/hubble/tools/center.html
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The Great Attractor

What is the Great Attractor?

A busy patch of space has been captured in the image below from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Scattered with many nearby stars, the field also has numerous galaxies in the background. Located on the border of Triangulum Australe (The Southern Triangle) and Norma (The Carpenter’s Square), this field covers part of the Norma Cluster (Abell 3627) as well as a dense area of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

The Norma Cluster is the closest massive galaxy cluster to the Milky Way, and lies about 220 million light-years away. The enormous mass concentrated here, and the consequent gravitational attraction, mean that this region of space is known to astronomers as the Great Attractor, and it dominates our region of the Universe.

Observing the Great Attractor is difficult at optical wavelengths. The plane of the Milky Way — responsible for the numerous bright stars in this image — both outshines (with stars) and obscures (with dust) many of the objects behind it. There are some tricks for seeing through this — infrared or radio observations, for instance — but the region behind the center of the Milky Way, where the dust is thickest, remains an almost complete mystery to astronomers.

More about the Great Attractor here: http://bit.ly/Ziv4OV and here: http://bit.ly/1smIJ4n

What NASA says: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/great-attractor.html

Great post by Brian Koberlain on Great Attractor: http://bit.ly/1yWvvyO
A busy patch of space has been captured in the image below from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Scattered with many nearby stars, the field also has numerous galaxies in the background. Located on the border of Triangulum Australe (The...
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+Race Vanderdecken
"An ocean" is probably a very good analogy. From what little I understand, everything is, in a sense, "waves", and when we detect a particle what we are 'seeing' is actually a point in that wave in space/time. Our existence may be owed to the intersection of waves, and that 'vacuum' is filled with star light (photons & more waves passing through it) as well as x-ray, gamma, infrared, and every other spectra.  Therefore every point of space is filled with "energy" - the waves of light passing through it.
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Dark matter found with X-ray?

Two teams working on the search for dark matter have independently suggested the search could concentrate at a specific X-ray wavelength, following study of data collected by the XMM-Newton space observatory.

While it's not a proof of anything just yet, the two groups – one from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, the other from the Netherlands' Leiden Observatory – have spotted a spectrographic line in X-rays at 3.5 kiloelectron volts, and this line is observed across 73 galaxy clusters.

Readers familiar with particle physics discoveries such as the search for the Higgs boson will be aware that identifying possible energies is a big thing to particle hunters. It's an interface between the theoretician and the experimentalist: “If particle W exists, its decay should emit Particles X and Y, carrying energy Z”.

What's intriguing the scientists is this: that particular energy doesn't match anything we already know about what generates galactic X-rays. Science quotes one of the scientists, Maxim Markevitch of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, as putting it this way: “We could not match it with anything that would come from a thermal plasma”.

You can read more here: http://bit.ly/Nqdt2f
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Both, dark matter and dark energy are comprised of "All" known and unknown "Atomic" elements (in gigantic clusters) floating, randomly around looking for trouble and are the microscopic building blocks of our universe.
Think of them as our, "Universal" ocean (which is constantly moving) and think of the GAS and STARS, ETC, as the occupants that were created by these building blocks in that watery universe. Works for me,, (noreply wanted)  
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Really amazing Supernovae
 
We present you 29 gorgeous images of supernovae. Which is your favorite? http://oak.ctx.ly/r/m9tp
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Super-Earth

The alien worlds known as "super-Earths" may be more like our own planet than previously thought, a new study suggests.
It suggests that these planets can have oceans and continents just like we have on Earth!

#superearth   #space  
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And this is a real pic..lol
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Space weather

What is space weather?
Many of us watch the weather forecasts on Earth and make certain decisions about things to take with them, time to go out for a drive, etc. Like weather on Earth, we also have space weather, the space weather originates because of the Sun. Solar phenomena (like coronal mass ejection[CME], solar flares, coronal holes, and solar prominence's) which releases matter from Sun into space is the starting point of the processes that develop the space weather.

Coronal mass ejection(CME)
Coronal mass ejections consist of matter thrown out from the corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere. The corona’s reach, its density, and most other characteristics are structured by strong magnetic fields that are generated by conditions beneath the sun’s visible surface. When the magnetic fields loop back on themselves, great masses of the electrically-charged solar atmosphere become confined within their lines of force. At some point the highly charged gas or plasma—which may amount to as much as a billion tons of matter—can suddenly and violently explode, blowing out huge plumes of solar atmosphere at speeds of several million miles an hour.
More here: http://1.usa.gov/1esBm0E

Solar flares
Solar flares are intense releases of energy that originate in the sun’s chromosphere, a thin layer of mostly hydrogen that lies between the sun’s visible surface and the corona. Solar flares can last for minutes or hours, and are the largest explosive events in the solar system. The energy released in a single flare can be the equivalent of 40 billion Hiroshima-size atomic bombs.

Coronal holes
Coronal holes, viewed in the x-ray waveband, show as exactly what their name states: holes in the corona. The holes can last for months to years, and are rooted in large cells of unipolar magnetic fields that emanate from the sun’s surface. The field lines of the cells extend far away from the sun, allowing a continuous outflow of high-velocity solar material to travel along them into open space.

Solar prominence
Solar prominences originate as clouds of solar material held above the sun’s surface by fields of magnetic force. The clouds remain suspended, relatively quiescent—until they erupt, releasing large amounts of solar matter into space.

How are we protected from all this?
Magnetosphere to the rescue!
A magnetosphere is the region surrounding a planet where the planet's magnetic field dominates. Because the ions in the solar plasma are charged, they interact with these magnetic fields, and solar wind particles are swept around planetary magnetospheres.The shape of the Earth's magnetosphere is the direct result of being blasted by solar wind. Solar wind compresses its sunward side to a distance of only 6 to 10 times the radius of the Earth.
More here: http://1.usa.gov/1lCqpvH and here http://1.usa.gov/1a3HxZI 

Why is space weather so important?
Why are people interested in space weather? Why should you care about space weather? The Sun is the main source of energy for our planet. It makes plants grow and makes our weather go. Changes in the Sun could make a big change in our weather and climate on Earth. Radiation from space weather storms can damage satellites, like the ones used for cell phone communications. That radiation can also harm astronauts, or even people on some kinds of jet airplane flights. Really powerful space weather storms can even knock out the electricity over large areas.

Has all this phenomena caused any harm to us? Not yet, but.....
On a cool September night in 1859, campers out in Colorado were roused from sleep by a “light so bright that one could easily read common print,” as one newspaper described it. Some of them, confused, got up and began making breakfast.
Farther east, thousands of New Yorkers ran out onto their sidewalks to watch the sky glow, ribboned in yellow, white and crimson. Few people had ever seen an aurora that far south — and this one lit up the whole city.
At the time, it was a dazzling display of nature. Yet if the same thing happened today, it would be an utter catastrophe.
More here: http://wapo.st/1aqF1ZQ

Also see:  http://bit.ly/19LAFfM

Want to know current space weather? Head here: http://bit.ly/spcweat
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+Valdis Kletnieks
 THANKS FOR THAT INFO LUV...XXX
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Astronomy and astrophysics related news
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Strange Signal From Galactic Center Is Looking More and More Like Dark Matter

The more that scientists stare at it, the more a strange signal from the center of the Milky Way galaxy appears to be the result of dark matter annihilation. If confirmed, it would be the first direct evidence for dark matter ever seen.

Dark matter is a mysterious, invisible substance making up roughly 85 percent of all matter in the universe. It floats throughout our galaxy, but is more concentrated at its center. There, a dark matter particle can meet another dark matter particle flying through space. If they crash into one another, they will annihilate each other (dark matter is its own antiparticle) and give off gamma rays.

To search for a dark matter signal, astronomers use NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope to map the gamma radiation throughout the galaxy. Then, they try to account for all known sources of light within this map. They plot the location of gas and dust that could be emitting radiation and subtract that signal from their gamma-ray map. Then they determine where all the stars are and subtract out that light, and so on for every object that might be emitting radiation. Once all those sources are gone, there remains a tiny excess of gamma radiation in the data that no known process can account for.

“The more we scrutinize it, the more it looks like dark matter,” said astrophysicist Dan Hooper of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, co-author of a paper that appeared Feb. 26 on arXiv, a website that hosts scientific papers that have yet to go through peer-review.


Since 2009, Hooper has been claiming that this bright signal is evidence of dark matter. According to his team’s latest data, the gamma radiation could be produced by dark matter particles with a mass of 30 to 40 gigaelectronvolts (GeV) crashing into one another. A proton is roughly 1 GeV for comparison.

But the galactic center is a tricky place. There are many other gamma ray sources that could be mimicking a dark matter signal as well as yet undiscovered phenomena that might account for the radiation. For the most part, few other researchers have been convinced of Hooper’s data. One oft-used counterargument is that the excess gamma ray signal could come from millisecond pulsars — dead star cores that spin extremely fast and beam out a huge amount of energy. Astronomers don’t yet have a good understanding of how these objects work.

“If you need to explain something weird in the galactic center, you wave your hands and say, ‘Millisecond pulsars,’” said astronomer Doug Finkbeiner of Harvard, another co-author of the new work.

Finkbeiner has long been a skeptic that the excess Fermi telescope signal represents dark matter annihilation. He knows that the galactic center is a strange place full of unexpected phenomena, having discovered in 2010 two gigantic structures spanning 50,000 light-years emanating from the Milky Way, which had gone unnoticed until then. But a more careful look at Hooper’s data has started to convince Finkbeiner that there might be something there.

When a galaxy forms, gravitational attraction brings together a huge mass that begins spinning. As they spin, large galaxies cool down and flatten out like a pizza, forming the familiar spiral shape seen in many telescope images. Dark matter, which actually makes up the bulk of a galaxy’s mass, can’t flatten out because it doesn’t interact with the electromagnetic force, which would allow it to radiate away thermal energy. It stays in a spherical halo circling the galaxy. So any dark matter signal should come not just from within the galactic plane, but also from above and below it, where stars are few and far between but dark matter is abundant.

More here: http://bit.ly/drkmatt
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wow interesting
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Spaceship: Earth
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When Chuang-Tze woke up after having dreamed he was a butterfly, he wondered whether he was Chuang-Tze having dreamed he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang-Tze.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chuang-Tze, Chuang-Tze

An unknown bed. For a moment Xeno Phobia, known to most people as John Average, was disoriented.
He looked around. A large mirror caught his attention; the frame somehow reminded him of his grandmother's mirror, although it had been smaller. The same dark oak, skilfully carved into pointed leaves. 
As associations deep and almost forgotten tried to creep to the foreground of his consciousness, he felt a woman go lie against his back. Oh yeah... that's right... All the Scotch last night had made him a little less cautious than he should have been. Beautiful woman, though, name of... ... ... Angelique.
Still... She might be set upon him by Imruslav Custom or another terrorist organization... Maybe the IRA... 
She looked a bit Irish, come to think of it. He had to fight the images of them making love last night. First he had to assess the situation. 
She shouldn't look into his coat, so he should somehow take it with him when going to the shower, or skip the shower and go to his hotel room unbathed.
He moved onto his back, which awoke her. She started kissing his chest. ‘I love you, I love you,’ she purred.
At this moment I suggest you turn back to the previous pages and check if the same is still being written there as when you read it before. If so, what a blessed incoherent coherence...
Although you may be writing this book by reading it, some bleed-throughs from me may occur, since I originated the project. 
Now, what has happened? I suggest your imagination got a bit carried away by the introductory part; if you expect that anything can happen, anything can happen. 
Now, with some care, we might steer away from all the technical specifications of all the weapons Xeno Phobia, alias John Average, is carrying, not to mention all his gadgets (A smart-phone with a 520-times-zoom 10 Megapix camera, a 2 GHz processor, 20 GB memory, hotlines to 5 different Caucasian intelligence services, a self-destruct mechanism and a parachute, just to mention one), or indeed, we might not.
What to do now? How about letting Angelique save the day...
She sensed that he didn't feel like having sex at the moment and got out of the bed to make some coffee.
Weird guy, in a way, amiable, but somehow keeping a distance she could not exactly define. Probably hiding something. 
Let's hope it's not something really bad. 
When she brought in the coffee he was already dressed. 
‘I took the opportunity to take a shower,’ he said. He seemed to be somehow afraid of her. It began to dawn upon her that this might have been their only night together. 
Yesterday he had seemed so intimate, not only in the sexual sense of the word, now he was galaxies away, by the look of it.
She looked him into the eyes and managed to ask: ‘Is this it, you mean?’ 
He looked away. ‘I told you I was only going to stay a few days around here.’ 
They drank their coffee in silence. It was as if there was nothing left to say. When he finished his coffee he said, ‘I'll be going then.’ 
‘You've got my telephone-number,’ she said. 
‘And I don't have yours,’ she thought. 
She didn't say so. The nobody home-look in his eyes prevented her from doing so. 
He left her apartment. She didn't feel sad, or angry. He had not pretended he wanted a love-affair with her, or anything. Still, yesterday he had seemed to be a warm person, today she only found black holes where his eyes should have been. 
So he pretended to be someone else than he was to have sex. Or his love washed away with his meagre libido. 
Suddenly she felt a bit dirty, and a little angry with herself. She went to take a shower. While washing herself extra thoroughly she saw his eyes again. Black holes... 
To imagine we're living on one. To imagine all those scientists looking for them, and overlooking the planets. It's almost like looking for your glasses while you're wearing them.
According to the astrophysical genius Stephen Hawkin matter cannot enter a black hole. His theory includes a perceptual time curve when approaching one, which is only relevant from the point of view of the mass in question. (Zeno's paradox having become real). 
This matter will not disappear, but will eventually become ‘spaghetti’, in Hawkin's terms. Although as a result of this time-curve the spaghetti may perceive itself as almost stationary, as relative to the rest this will be very fast spaghetti, forced into one general direction as ruled by the magnetic field of the cosmos. The heat of the impact of the matter will initially generate magma, the residues energy (motion) will continue as rotation, until so much mass has encapsulated the black hole, as relative to the cold of space will make the magma become solid; planets as we know them.
It even explains the mystery of gravity.
So, the musings of Angelique have, if not saved the day, at least saved the chapter.
God save us from pulp from now on.



She’ll be coming ‘round the mountains when she comes
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It's nice that Sun does not have a binary companion!
 
Double Star with a planet equals chaos

A planet in a double star system can switch suns.

It can also crash into a sun, or be ejected completely from the system.

#Gravity gets complicated when three bodies are involved, and millions of calculations are required to compute paths like these. I created the animation using a gravity simulation package written by Eugene Butikov of St. Petersburg State University.
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but the moon is orbitting about the earth + gravitationally influenced by sun.....so perhaps if the binary stars is disproportionately balanced in mass, then things will be more stable?
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Help needed!

Many people at one point of their life want to be a astronaut, well, here's your chance to help! You can't be an astronaut, but you can help astronomers by analyzing some images to find super massive black holes in the center of galaxies.

All you have to do is match images taken both in infrared and radio wavelengths – and this will give information on whether or not the galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center. The infrared data comes from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite, while the radio data is from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico – astronomers plan to include even more data.

“It takes about a minute to learn what to do,” said Julie Banfield, an Australian coordinator of the international project from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). “Then to actually work with the images takes only a few seconds each—perhaps a couple of minutes for the really tough ones. You just need to match up a couple of pictures and look for what you think is the galaxy at their center.”

Where can you sign up you ask?

It's here: http://bit.ly/19fVD6l

Happy hunting!
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Albedo: Fraction of Sun’s radiation reflected from a surface.

Earlier the measurements of distance of the planets were done by measuring the amount of light they reflected. SInce all the planets in the solar system in reflect light form the Sun, albedo is defined as fraction of Sun’s radiation reflected from a surface. The term has its origins from the Latin word albus, meaning “white”. It is quantified as the proportion, or percentage of solar radiation of all wavelengths reflected by a body or surface to the amount incident upon it. An ideal white body has an albedo of 100% and an ideal black body, 0%.

But this technique is also used to determine distance to other stars, in the late 1600s Isaac Newton measured the distance to the star Sirius using the albedo and the inverse square law for light. Newton calculated the distance to Sirius as 12.6 light years where as the actual distance is about 8.6 light years. It's good, considering that he did not have the technology we have now. Distance measurement using this technique is done even now, but along with other techniques.

Here's more: http://bit.ly/1l9BjZB and more http://bit.ly/1gRXZAl and more http://bit.ly/1cNc5Mj
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Astrophysics! You will know everything about the cosmos right here!! Read introduction for more info.
Introduction
Do you want to know why planets move in elliptical orbits and not in a square or rectangle path?? Or how Sun gives us heat?? What a black hole is?? Why Einstein is famous and what he did?? Or what is LHC? Or maybe you just want to know why do we stick to earth and don't fly off!! If you want to know this then you are in luck! We will provide you with answers, you just have to ask.

If you have any questions about the Universe, you can ask them here by tagging* +Astrophysics *in the question. I'll share it so that anyone who knows the answer to it can help you solve your doubts. :)

For example:

Who proposed that Sun is in middle of the Solar System? +Astrophysics

Majority of the stuff I post here is not written by me.