Around 66 million years ago, an asteroid (or a comet) with a diameter of at least 10 kilometers (6 miles) impacted a few miles from the present-day town of Chicxulub in Mexico at around 64,000 kilometers per hour (40,000 mph). The impact triggered a chain of events what it is known today as the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event, also known as the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinction, and wiped out three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth, including non-avian dinosaurs.
Continue reading Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will scan the skies for asteroids which threaten Earth
The Sun is the primary source of energy for Earth’s climate system, and the life on Earth. With a diameter of about 1.39 million kilometers (864,337 miles, i.e. 109 times that of Earth), and a mass about 1.9885×1030 kg (330,000 times that of Earth, accounting for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System), it may be the biggest thing in this neighborhood, but it is actually just a medium-sized star among the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy. In the video published by the CAMENGAT creative astronomy below, you can see some dwarf stars and other giants compared to the Sun at the edge of its sphere: at 150 million kilometers (1 AUNotes 1) with a 50 mm objective. The stars are the Sun, Alpha Centauri A, Sirius, Vega, Pollux, Arcturus, Aldebaran, Rigel, Antares, and Betelgeuse. The scenario: Astronomical Observatory of Paranal, Chile.
Continue reading Watch: what other stars would look like in the place of the Sun
NASA has published an amazing video titled “Sounds of Saturn: Hear Radio Emissions of the Planet and Its Moon Enceladus”. The analyze of the data from the Cassini Spacecraft’s Grand Finale orbits showed a surprisingly powerful interaction of plasma waves moving from Saturn to its icy moon Enceladus. Researchers converted the recording of plasma waves into a “whooshing” audio file that we can hear, in the same way a radio translates electromagnetic waves into music.
Continue reading Song of Saturn and Its Moon Enceladus
European Space Agency (ESA) has published the complete Rosetta image archive under a Creative Commons license, which means the complete archive is freely available: you can copy, share, and tweak the content.
Continue reading ESA Has Published Complete Rosetta Image Archive
To put things into a perspective, here are the moons of our solar system (including our moon) and their sizes compared to Earth.
Continue reading The Moons of the Solar System in Perspective
On April 24, 1990, Hubble Space Telescope was launched into low Earth orbit from space shuttle Discovery (STS-31). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 350 miles (560 kilometers). For a comparison, the International Space Station (ISS) maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 205 and 270 miles (330 and 435 kilometers). The telescope is 43.5 feet (13.2 meters) long, weighs 24,500 pounds (11,110 kilograms).
Continue reading Hubble Space Telescope Launch
If you go out on a clear night when it’s full moon, you may notice how gigantic the Earth’s satellite looks when it’s near the horizon. But, in fact, that moon is the exact same size as every other time as you’ve ever seen it in the sky. You can test this by holding your thumbnail at arm’s length and comparing it to the size of the Moon when it is near the horizon and high in the sky, and you’ll see it doesn’t change size. Photographs of the Moon at different elevations also show that its size remains the same. In fact, it plays a trick on your brain which called the “Moon Illusion”. This illusion has been known since the ancient times, and an explanation of this optical phenomenon is still debated.
Continue reading Moon Illusion: why the Moon looks larger when it’s near the horizon?
Yesterday, I stumbled upon a YouTube channel named The Science Asylum. In this channel, physicist Nick Lucid covers some popular science subjects. For example, the video below, titled “How Far Away Is The Moon?” explains the distance between the Earth and the moon, and how our brains aren’t good at dealing with the big numbers.
Continue reading How Far Away Is The Moon?
Hint: they are all space rocks. But, there are some differences. The biggest difference between an asteroid and a comet, for example, is what they are made of.
Continue reading What’s the Difference Between a Meteoroid, a Meteor, a Meteorite, an Asteroid, and a Comet?
Where is the coldest known place in the Universe? It may sound strange, but today, it is here on Earth: in 1995, in a laboratory in M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the German physicist Wolfgang Ketterle and his colleagues have cooled a sodium gas to the lowest temperature ever recorded, only half-a-billionth of a degree above absolute zero.
Continue reading Soon, the ISS Will Be the Coldest Known Place in the Universe