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Tony Darnell
Better Living Through Astronomy
Better Living Through Astronomy


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Here is this week's TWiST!  Let me know what you think!

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Konstantin Batygin & Mike Brown have recently uncovered evidence that a giant planet in the outer reaches of our solar system is pushing around the orbits of the most distant objects known beyond Neptune.

The orbits of these distant objects, in what is called the Kuiper belt, contain the gravitational clues which reveal how big the planet -- which they call Planet Nine -- is and where it is hiding.

They have embarked on a search for Planet Nine and hope that within a few years astronomers will be studying the new planet for clues to its origin and what information it holds about the formation of the solar system.

Please join Tony Darnell, Alberto Conti and Harley Thronson as they discuss the possibility of a ninth planet in our solar system. Please bring your questions and comments as well!

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Hi All,

We're starting a new hangout series this month: "Footsteps to Mars".  The first Friday of each month will host a different topic with discussion from top scientists and engineers working on getting humans to Mars!

I hope you can make it, if not, you can always watch the archive but it's always better when you can interact!  I'll have the live chat turned on and ready to take your questions and comments.

Join us on YouTube:

Wow, Google+ has completely changed how you moderate communities! I can't even figure out how to get rid of posts and I'm the owner!

I'm so sorry about the spam, folks, but I'm having trouble finding time to moderate the community. If you'd like to volunteer, please let me know if you're interested and have time.

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Thanks Everyone!

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How Will the Hubble Space Telescope Die?

Every once in a while this question emerges and I point people to this video I made in 2011.  If we do nothing, it'll be gone in 2024.

I haven't heard much more about the Hubble Deorbiting mission I discuss in the video, I wonder if that's still gonna happen?

How the Hubble Space Telescope Will Die

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This will be a good one, hope you can make it!
Ever since the Hubble Ultra Deep Field was first taken in 2006, it has challenged our notions of our place in the universe.  It was a somewhat risky observation to take  because it required so much Hubble time and it was pointed at a rather unremarkable section of sky, it wasn't clear whether the time would be well spent.

Turns out it was.  And then some.

Over the years, astronomers using #Hubble  have continued adding observations at varying wavelengths, from Optical to Infrared. As they did this, the number of galaxies seen in that tiny patch of sky grew.

And now, astronomers have added the Ultraviolet to the HUDF.  Last week, astronomers using the WFC3/UVIS instrument have released another look at this famous area of sky.  Please join +Tony Darnell Dr. +Carol Christian and +Scott Lewis as they discuss how this image was enhanced in the UV with the member of the science team that took it.

We look forward to seeing you there and as always, we encourage your comments and questions.

Here is a link to the Press Release of the updated HUDF along with links to download it yourself:

For a complete schedule of upcoming hangouts, visit this page often:

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On March 29, 2014, an X-class flare burst off the right side of the sun . . . and NASA was watching.

Coordinating their observations, five NASA observatories and one ground-based telescope were able to see things in the flare they'd never seen before.  Numerous other NASA spacecraft provided additional data about what was happening on the sun during the event and what the effects were at Earth. 

Join us at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 8, 2014, as researchers describe how multiple missions worked together to explore the sun's surface and atmosphere, layer by layer, providing unprecedented images of the onset of a solar flare.  

In addition to the colorful pictures of the sun that NASA will share, participants will explain how such research can help scientists better understand what sets off these large explosions on the sun. Perhaps, someday scientists may be able to predict their onset, forewarning of the radio blackouts they can cause near Earth – blackouts that can interfere with military, airplane and ship communications.

Participants include: 
Adrian Daw: IRIS project scientist at NASA Goddard
Albert Shih: RHESSI scientist at NASA Goddard
Sabrina Savage: Hinode deputy project scientist at NASA Marshall
Lucia Kleint: Bay Area Environmental Research Institute 
Jeffrey Newmark: NASA Headquarters

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