Category Archives: Astronomy

This is probably the most beautiful Solar Eclipse photo ever

More than a year ago, on Monday, August 21, around 2 million to 7.4 million Americans traveled to see the first total solar eclipse in 99 years to go coast to coast in the United States. Photographer Jon Carmichael chose another way. He got aboard a Southwest Airlines aircraft and captured the Great American Total Solar Eclipse from an unusual vantage point at 39,000 feet (11,890 meters). And the result is probably the most beautiful Solar Eclipse photo ever.

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To find aliens, we must think of life as we don’t know it

From blob-like jellyfish to rock-like lichens, our planet teems with such diversity of life that it is difficult to recognise some organisms as even being alive. That complexity hints at the challenge of searching for life as we don’t know it – the alien biology that might have taken hold on other planets, where conditions could be unlike anything we’ve seen before. ‘The Universe is a really big place. Chances are, if we can imagine it, it’s probably out there on a planet somewhere,’ said Morgan Cable, an astrochemist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. ‘The question is, will we be able to find it?’

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Earth can be a model for detecting vegetation on exoplanets

Back in December 1990, during its flyby of Earth, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which studied the planet Jupiter and its moons, as well as several other Solar System bodies, pointed its instruments towards Earth, at the urging of Carl Sagan. And, it has found evidence of life on our planet. This can be a key to detect vegetation on exoplanets – which is a key to a possible intelligent extraterrestrial life.

In a paper published on Nature, researchers wrote “The Galileo spacecraft found evidence of abundant gaseous oxygen, a widely distributed surface pigment with a sharp absorption edge in the red part of the visible spectrum, and atmospheric methane in extreme thermodynamic disequilibrium. Together, these are strongly suggestive of life on Earth.”

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5 Surprising Facts about Mars

For eons, skywatchers have been fascinated by the pale red dot that not only unpredictably moves backward in the night sky but also shines a compelling blood-red. Its color, indeed, is one of the first features we notice about Mars. It seizes our attention, and its compelling ambiguity has evoked a deep visceral reaction from the nomad in ancient savannas to modern astronomers. The ancient astronomer may be satisfied to know that, in fact, Mars is literally blood-red: the same chemical reaction that occurs in the iron in Mars’ soil is the same is the same chemical reaction that occurs in the hemoglobin molecule. Mars, is, quite literally, blood red. Even with our cutting-edge technology and science, Mars still bewitches and amazes us as seen with these five surprising facts about Mars.

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What causes the phases of the moon?

Despite we always see the same side of the Moon, it still looks a little different every night. Sometimes we see only a thin crescent, sometimes a half-moon, sometimes a full moon, and other times in-between. Sometimes even the Moon seems to disappear entirely. These “shapes” called lunar phases or phases of the Moon. A lunar phase is the shape of the directly sunlit portion of the Moon as viewed from Earth.

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Top 6 Biggest Stars in the Universe

What is the biggest star in the Universe? In fact, it is really hard to give an exact answer to this question since the universe is big, neighboring and the other galaxies are billions of light years away from us. But, we can give it a try. Here are the top 6 biggest stars in the Universe currently known by radius.

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Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will scan the skies for asteroids which threaten Earth

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.

If this Chicxulub impactor happened today, it would wipe out the human civilization. Luckily, events like Chicxulub impact are rare. Asteroids with a 1 km (0.62 mi) diameter strike Earth every 500,000 years on average. But that doesn’t mean we are totally safe. Asteroids with a diameter of at least 140 meters (460 ft) are big enough to cause regional devastation to human settlements unprecedented in human history in the case of a land impact or a major tsunami in the case of an ocean impact.

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Watch: what other stars would look like in the place of the Sun

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.
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Song of Saturn and Its Moon Enceladus

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.
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