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NGC 4651: The Umbrella Galaxy ! 
Spiral galaxy NGC 4651 is a mere 62 million light-years distant, toward the well-groomed northern constellation Coma Berenices. About the size of our Milky Way, this island universe is seen to have a faint umbrella-shaped structure that seems to extend (left) some 100 thousand light-years beyond the bright galactic disk. The giant cosmic umbrella is now known to be composed of tidal star streams - extensive trails of stars gravitationally stripped from a smaller satellite galaxy. The small galaxy was eventually torn apart in repeated encounters as it swept back and forth on eccentric orbits through NGC 4651. In fact, the picture insert zooms in on the smaller galaxy's remnant core, identified in an extensive exploration of the system, using data from the large Subaru and Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea. Work begun by a remarkable collaboration of amateur and professional astronomers to image faint structures around bright galaxies suggests that even in nearby galaxies, tidal star streams are common markers of such galactic mergers. The result is explained by models of galaxy formation that also apply to our own Milky Way.

Image Credit & Copyright: R Jay Gabany (Blackbird Observatories)
#space   #nebula  
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I ponder on Einstein's writing about relatively and I think that as all frames of reference are equally valid, each and every thing is the 'center'. When I add Hawkings' Quantum Electro Dynamics, I sort of melt down a bit. The possibility of infinite universes all of which exist in all time and all combinations of possible occurrences is awesome and daunting. 
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JUICE-y Mission to Jupiter One Step Closer to Reality ... by Kasandra Brabaw -- " This month the European Space Agency (ESA) took a major step closer to an ambitious exploration of Jupiter and its icy moons.

On July 16, the agency awarded a 350.8 million euros (about $385 million) contract to Airbus Defence & Space in France, whose engineers will design, develop, integrate and test the mission's JUICE spacecraft.

The JUICE mission (the name is short for JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) was selected in May 2012 as the first mission in the ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. The proposed mission will launch a solar-powered spacecraft to the Jovian system in 2022, where the probe will spend three and a half years exploring Jupiter's atmosphere, magnetosphere and set of dark rings. But the spacecraft won't focus solely on the giant planet. It will also study three of Jupiter's planet-size, icy moons: Callisto, Europa and Ganymede

JUICE's planned eight-month exploration of Ganymede, the spacecraft's last task, will be the first time any spacecraft has orbited an icy moon. Ganymede is the only moon in the solar system to possess a magnetic field; the spacecraft will focus particularly on that field as well as the moon's crust. Scientists believe Ganymede hides a liquid ocean underneath its surface, and finding evidence of that ocean could provide clues to how planets form and the possibilities of life beyond Earth.

In order to explore Jupiter and its moons, the JUICE spacecraft will be equipped with 10 state-of-the-art instruments, including cameras, spectrometers, an ice-penetrating radar, an altimeter, radio-science experiments, and sensors to monitor the Jovian system's magnetic fields and charged particles, ESA officials said in a statement.
Scientists said they expect JUICE to begin examining Jupiter's system in 2030, after an eight-year trip through space. ..."
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Probably someone other than me is interested in this :)
Meet astronauts and mission experts, and inspect actual space hardware – you can register from today for the Open Day on 4 October at ESTEC, ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands. #OpenESTEC
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#TBT My mission director @Buzzs_xtina's favorite piece of my memorabilia. My travel voucher to the moon. #Apollo11
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He used is POV (Personal Owned Vehicle) to get to the airport.  The hand writing on the bottom looks like some per diem numbers.  Wonder what the per diem was in 1969?

Having worked for the North Alabama Space Agency (aka NASA) for 30 years I'm surprised they paid him without the receipts.  lol  :-) Now that I look at it there's no mention that he ever got paid.   $33 were big bucks back in those days.  I was going to school and making a buck sixty an hour.

If I was Buzz I'd make em pony up the $33 + interest for the last 46 years.
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Is the planet Earth a living sentient being?
(Please vote and feel free to comment and help promote discussion.)
680 votes  -  votes visible to Public
Yes! I have always felt that to be true.
No! It's just a rock we live on.
I don't know but I would like to.
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First of all, thank you for so many in depth responses, and i should thank you for the not so in depth ones as well. For these emotional reactions, belittling remarks, statements, assertions, thoughtful ideas, historical reflections, and passing remarks all serve to speak volumes about people, and can help to give us a cross section of where we are as a civilization.  

I am reminded by the judgments, assumptions, and shortsightedness  displayed in the comments, that we are still as a people quite adolescent at times, and we can see this reflected on the global stage today. I am also reminded by the tolerance, curiosity, and compelling questions displayed here that pockets of individuals do exist on this world with integrity, intelligence, and bravery enough to ask difficult questions, that can shake up stale systems of thought and challenge the status quo. I especially enjoyed reflecting on the insights that were shared above into the confident self imposed boundaries of past paradigms of science being shattered by the arrival of new understandings which came to light unforeseen on the horizon.

Thank you again everyone for taking the time to vote and share your thoughts.
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Earth - This Monday

#space   #earth  
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Jeff L.
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Rare Blue Moon comes on Friday !!!!

'Family Trees' acrylic on 8x10 in. canvas.
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Aidan Doran

General  - 
New propulsion Drive,  actually works 
Day trips to the moon could soon be a reality after scientists confirmed a new propulsion drive, once thought “impossible” to build, actually works and could take punters to the lunar world in just four hours.
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“I noted in [the study’s] conclusion paragraphs that [Tajmar’s] apparatus was producing hundreds of micro-Newtons of thrust when it got very hot and that his measuring instrumentation is not very accurate when the apparatus becomes hot,” Davis told io9. “He also stated that he was still recording thrust signals even after the electrical power was turned off which is a huge key clue that his thrust measurements are all systematic artifact false positive thrust signals.”
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Bindu Reddy

General  - 
This seemed like an appropriate first post for me in this community
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Love this book
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One light year equals about 6 TRILLION miles!

Light is the fastest-moving stuff in the universe. It travels at an incredible 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second. So, in a year, light travels far.
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Ok, I got a question. ...
The observations in this planet were made 18 light years away, that is about 108 TRILLION miles away .. . ... ... why is it that we could not even see exactly what Pluto looked like when is only 3 billion miles away but we assume this about another planet so much farther? 
An aurora has been spotted for the first time outside our solar system, about 18 light years away on a brown dwarf. What is truly special is that it is about a million times brighter than anything we’ve seen from the Northern Lights.
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This is a Brown Dwarf(a star) not a dwarf planet. Perhaps that's where your confusion lies.
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If earth gone to be destroyed.
Which topic or theory or thesis you would pass to our future surviver?
acc. to me algebra.
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How PCs are better for gaming then consoles..!!!
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Earth has a LOT of cousins and siblings.And we have set foot on none.
Using the HARPS-N spectrograph, astronomers have discovered three super-Earths and a gas giant orbiting a nearby star called HD 219134.
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The odds we will set for on one anytime soon anyway are slim to none. Of course, we have to define 'soom', but so long as it is cheaper to send machines out, that endure the Physics of space exploration better than human flesh, we won't be setting foot anywhere again. There are so many things wrong with people going out to do any real space travel that overcoming the problems are hundreds of times more expensive than building the already expensive probes.
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Video of Comet C/2015 F4 (Jacques)

Just off the tip of the nose of the constellation Cygnus lies a recently discovered-- if quite dim-- comet. It's hard to see in a telescope, but here's a short video from the "Leisurely Scientist", aka +Thomas Wildoner showing you the faint Comet C/2015 F4 (Jacques) .
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Simply amazing. You realize how far pluto is out there because it takes so much time to scroll there... 
Look at it. You won't regret it.
It would take about seven months to travel this distance in a spaceship. Better be some good in-flight entertainment. In case you're wondering, you'd need about 2000 feature-length movies to occupy that many waking hours. Sit back and relax. Jupiter is more than 3 times as far as we just ...
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You would need 1064 of these screens lined up side-by-side to show this whole map at once.

That is at 11.9 AU out. The number adjusts based on your screen's resolution.
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Tonight's the night! Last Blue Moon until 2018 occurs early Friday morning at 6:42a EDT/5:42a CDT. This is the second full moon in the month of July.

Source: The Weather Channel
Photo credit: NASA.
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Lucy Ingham

General  - 
Some thoughts on Kepler-452b's habitability
Last week NASA announced the discovery of a planet that, according to associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld, is “a pretty good close cousin to Earth”. Based 1,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus, Kepler-452b is the closest match yet to our own planet, in part because of its location …
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600 pound people would weigh in at 1,200 pounds: a whole new series for TLC. Just think of the possibilities.
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Liza Flores

General  - 
Majestic moon!
Be on the lookout for a blue moon this Friday evening — just don’t expect the moon itself to actually appear blue.
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+Luis Feliciano I believe you're right
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Close Encounter by Michael Shainblum: #photography
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View of planet earth from the moon...
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+Jeffrey Mortberg
I'm grateful, but didn't you sacrifice a goat for me too?
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