Category Archives: Astronomy

Virtual Moon Tour in 4K Ultra HD

Using data provided by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraftNotes 1 since 2009, NASA has published an amazing virtual Moon tour in 4K Ultra HDNotes 2. As the visualization moves around the near side, far sideNotes 3, north and south poles, interesting features, sites, and information gathered on the lunar terrain get highlighted.
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Exoplanet Travel Bureau by NASA – Interactive 3D Images

Will we ever visit other stars? Maybe, in the distant future, if humans won’t become extinct, our grand grand … (insert a hundred or a thousand grands here) children can stand on an exoplanet’s surface someday. But, we don’t have to wait. NASA has opened a new web page, an “Exoplanet Travel Bureau”, and we can, at least, see the artists’ imaginations of what an exoplanet surface look like, based on available data. NASA warns, there are no actual images of the exoplanets, obviously. With interactive 3D images, it is still an exciting experience.
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Rotating Moon from LRO (video)

NASA APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) published an amazing video showing a rotating Moon. In fact, no one sees the Moon rotate like this. We see only one side of the moon, because the Moon is tidally locked to Earth. But, thanks to modern digital technology combined with many detailed images returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a high-resolution virtual Moon rotation movie has been composed.
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Amateur Astronomer Recorded a Newborn Supernova Accidentally

On September 20, 2016, Argentinian amateur astronomer Victor Buso was testing his camera-telescope setup. He pointed his Newtonian telescope at NGC613, a barred spiral galaxy located some 67 million light years away in the southern constellation of Sculptor. Then he started taking a series of short-exposure photographs. To ensure his new camera was functioning properly, he examined the images right away. While doing that, he noticed something very interesting: a previously invisible point of light near the end of a spiral arm of the galaxy: a newborn supernova – an elusive event that nobody had ever captured before.
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New Horizons beats Voyager 1’s Record for being farthest from Earth while capturing images

It took 27 years, but finally, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft beat Voyager 1’s record for being farthest from Earth while capturing images. Taken on December 5, 2017, New Horizons image of the open star cluster NGC 3532 (also commonly known as the Football Cluster or the Wishing Well Cluster) became the farthest image ever made by any spacecraft, breaking a 27-year record set by Voyager 1. But for a very short time! About 2 hours later, New Horizons broke its own record with images of two Kuiper Belt objects.
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Why meteoroids explode before they reach Earth?

On 15 February 2013, an approximately 20-meter (66 feet) meteoroidNotes 1 entered Earth’s atmosphere over Russia, with a speed of 19.16 ± 0.15 kilometers per second (60,000-69,000 km/h or 40,000-42,900 mph). Its mass is estimated at 7,000 to 10,000 tons, one of the largest meteoroids entered Earth’s atmosphere in the recent history. Then, at 9:20 am local time (03:20 UTC), it exploded some 20 to 30 kilometers above the city of Chelyabinsk and created a gigantic fireball (known as a superbolideNotes 1) brighter than the Sun. An estimated 500 kilotons of energy was released by the explosion. For a comparison, the “Little Boy”, the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 exploded with an energy of approximately 15 kilotons of TNT. So, the Chelyabinsk meteor’s explosion was about 33 times stronger. The shock waves damaged several thousand buildings and injured approximately 1,500 people. No deaths were reported.
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The Earth is 18 Galactic Years Old

How old is the Earth? This question preoccupied first philosophers, then scientists, for many centuries. Today, we know that the age of the Earth is approximately 4.54 billion years, with an error range of about 50 million years (4.54 × 109years ± 1%). This number is based on evidence from radiometric dating of the oldest-known terrestrial rocks as well as lunar rock samplesNotes 1 and meteorites.
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A new star in heavens: how Crab Nebula was born

In 1054 A.D, a new, very bright star has appeared in Earth’s sky, in the constellation Taurus. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arab astronomers observed the event and noted: “a new bright star emerged in the heavens”. The star was so bright: for nearly three weeks, it was visible even during the daytime, under the hot, shiny summer sun, and remained visible for around two years (653 days to be exact). Today, we know that that “heavenly star” was actually a supernova (SN 1054), and its remnant is what we now know as the Crab Nebula today (catalogue designations M1, NGC 1952, Taurus A).
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The hottest place in the Universe exists on Earth

The hottest place in the Universe exists here on Earth, like the coldest place in the Universe. Both these extreme temperatures are not natural, they are human-made. The coldest temperature was achieved in the German physicist and professor of physics Wolfgang Ketterle’s laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The hottest temperature, also recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, was achieved at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
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Watch: An 8th Planet Orbiting a Distant Star was Discovered using Artificial Intelligence and Kepler data

Using data from exoplanet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope and machine learning algorithm from Google, researchers discovered an 8th planet orbiting a distant star. The newly discovered planet is circling Kepler-90, a G-type main sequence star (Sun-like star), 2,545 light years from Earth. It is named Kepler-90i.
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