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Space | The seven new exoplanets

Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the USA's most popular astronomers and scientists, suggests tongue-in-cheek names for the newly discovered seven exoplanets.


Via +Neil deGrasse Tyson Fan Club

#space #exoplanets

Neil deGrasse Tyson ‏@neiltyson
The 7 newly discovered Earth-sized planets orbit a “Red Dwarf” star, so perhaps they should each be named after the 7-dwarfs.


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Space | A distant galaxy

This galaxy is very very very far away. Some galaxies are present in what is called the Local Cluster. They are far enough already. This one is even further.

Read +Astronomy Picture of the Day (APoD)'s post to see what science became possible by observing this beautiful collection of stars.

#space #NGC3621 #SpiralGalaxy
NGC 3621: Far Beyond the Local Group
Image Credit & Copyright: Processing - Robert Gendler, Roberto Colombari; Data - Hubble Legacy Archive, European Southern Observatory, et al.

Far beyond the local group of galaxies lies NGC 3621, some 22 million light-years away. Found in the multi-headed southern constellation Hydra, the winding spiral arms of this gorgeous island universe are loaded with luminous blue star clusters, pinkish starforming regions, and dark dust lanes. Still, for astronomers NGC 3621 has not been just another pretty face-on spiral galaxy. Some of its brighter stars have been used as standard candles to establish important estimates of extragalactic distances and the scale of the Universe. This beautiful image of NGC 3621, is a composite of space- and ground-based telescope data. It traces the loose spiral arms far from the galaxy's brighter central regions for some 100,000 light-years. Spiky foreground stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy and even more distant background galaxies are scattered across the colorful skyscape.

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Space | Comet Encke

Each comet has two tails, even though only one may be visible from Earth.

One is formed by ionised particles and driven outward by the solar wind. This always points away from the Sun.

The other is formed of particles shed by the comet, due to outgassing (which increases as the comet approaches the Sun). These orbit (around the Sun) just behind the comet itself, and so usually point in the direction of the orbit, and need not point away from the Sun always, but at an angle.

Here, you can see three tails, because sometimes the ion stream gets into turbulence due to changes in the solar wind, and this causes the stream to split.

Via +Astronomy Picture of the Day (APoD)

#space #comet
Almost Three Tails for Comet Encke
Image Credit & Copyright: Fritz Helmut Hemmerich

How can a comet have three tails? Normally, a comet has two tails: an ion tail of charged particles emitted by the comet and pushed out by the wind from the Sun, and a dust tail of small debris that orbits behind the comet but is also pushed out, to some degree, by the solar wind. Frequently a comet will appear to have only one tail because the other tail is not easily visible from the Earth. In the featured unusual image, Comet 2P/Encke appears to have three tails because the ion tail split just near to the time when the image was taken. The complex solar wind is occasionally turbulent and sometimes creates unusual structure in an ion tail. On rare occasions even ion-tail disconnection events have been recorded. An image of the Comet Encke taken two days later gives a perhaps less perplexing perspective.

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Space | Polar ring galaxy

NGC 660 is a polar ring galaxy, with a ring that is not aligned with its main plane.

Much will be learned about its dark matter halo in time. In the meanwhile, enjoy the sheer beauty of the image.

Via +Astronomy Picture of the Day (APoD)

#space #PolarRingGalaxy #NGC660
Polar Ring Galaxy NGC 660
Image Credit & Copyright: CHART32 Team, Processing - Johannes Schedler

NGC 660 is featured in this cosmic snapshot. Over 40 million light-years away and swimming within the boundaries of the constellation Pisces, NGC 660's peculiar appearance marks it as a polar ring galaxy. A rare galaxy type, polar ring galaxies have a substantial population of stars, gas, and dust orbiting in rings strongly tilted from the plane of the galactic disk. The bizarre-looking configuration could have been caused by the chance capture of material from a passing galaxy by a disk galaxy, with the captured debris eventually strung out in a rotating ring. The violent gravitational interaction would account for the myriad pinkish star forming regions scattered along NGC 660's ring. The polar ring component can also be used to explore the shape of the galaxy's otherwise unseen dark matter halo by calculating the dark matter's gravitational influence on the rotation of the ring and disk. Broader than the disk, NGC 660's ring spans over 50,000 light-years.

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Space | The roots of PSLVC37

India's first rockets travelled on ... bicycle?

*space #ISRO #Thumba

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Space | Life in space

Algae that can withstand really cold temperatures (one set from Norway, one from Antarctica) were the only ones to survive (quite happily) a 450 day stay in space, being bombarded with radiation and cold and heat and other exciting stuff that every alga dreams of.

This means, we really may be able to grow food on Mars some day.

Via +Eric Schmidt

#space #algae #mars
Growing food on Mars would be a big challenge. The International Space Station finds algae could be solution:

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Space | Earth

From instruments on satellites, we can find out that the Earth is heating very fast in the polar regions, which means a lot of melting ice in our future.

Yes, this Jan was the third hottest in 137 years (that's a LOT of years).

More melted ice and permafrost means:
1. More carbon that was sequestered in the cold is outgassing.
2. More viruses and bacteria that were frozen solid may wake up and decide to take a taste out of modern organisms that have no immunity to the ancient horrors. (Do Not Awaken The Demons types).

Hmm. Not much good in global warming, is there?

#space #Earth #GlobalWarming
The monthly temperature update from our Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) shows that January 2017 was the third warmest January in the 137 years of modern record-keeping. Get the details here:

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Space | Beating Rayleigh's Curse

Rayleigh's limit is the limit below which two close objects (like a distant pair of binary stars) cannot be resolved into two objects, and look like one.

However, new research shows that the phase between the two sets of light waves can be separated and used to determine if there is one object out there or two. It's early days yet; they've only been able to look at cases where they have objects of equal intensity, but excited researchers are looking at cracking other combinations as well.

Exciting days in astronomy!

Via +rasha kamel

#space #phase #RayleighLimit
"University of Toronto (U of T) researchers have demonstrated a way to increase the resolution of microscopes and telescopes beyond long-accepted limitations by tapping into previously neglected properties of light. The method allows observers to distinguish very small or distant objects that are so close together they normally meld into a single blur.
Telescopes and microscopes are great for observing lone subjects. Scientists can precisely detect and measure a single distant star. The longer they observe, the more refined their data becomes.
But objects like binary stars don't work the same way.
That's because even the best telescopes are subject to laws of physics that cause light to spread out or "diffract." A sharp pinpoint becomes an ever-so-slightly blurry dot. If two stars are so close together that their blurs overlap, no amount of observation can separate them out. Their individual information is irrevocably lost.
More than 100 years ago, British physicist John William Strutt - better known as Lord Rayleigh - established the minimum distance between objects necessary for a telescope to pick out each individually. The "Rayleigh Criterion" has stood as an inherent limitation of the field of optics ever since.
Telescopes, though, only register light's "intensity" or brightness. Light has other properties that now appear to allow one to circumvent the Rayleigh Criterion".

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Space | Upcoming telescopes

A 13 minute video about the new space telescopes coming up in the next few years:

Yes, you need to see the video to know what those stand for.

Via +Arturo Gutierrez

#space #JamesWebTelescope #GiantMagellanTelescope #LSST
A video about astronomy's next batch of big guns. So amazing :D

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Space | 104 satellites go high

The Earth-facing camera on the PSLVC37 launch captured some lovely footage. ISRO has released this condensed version that shows the launch, separation of stages, and the very very cool sight of the satellites being launched -- 104 of them, tumbling out neatly in line, some backlit by the Earth, some by utter night.

Five and a half minutes of happy watching for space enthusiasts.

#space #ISRO #PSLVC37 #104satellites
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