Category Archives: Astronomy

Philae (Rosetta’s Lander) Wakes Up From Hibernation

Good news! ESA’s (European Space Agency) robotic lander Philae finally received enough solar radiation and now is out of hibernation. On the Rosetta blog, the ESA announced that “The signals were received at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt at 22:28 CEST on 13 June. More than 300 data packets have been analyzed by the teams at the Lander Control Center at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).” It is the first contact with the spacecraft since going into hibernation in November.

According to the agency, “Philae ‘spoke’ with its team on the ground for 85 seconds, via Rosetta.”

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The World Is Going To End, Again, In September 2015? Of Course Not

There’s a super crappy 1982 science-fiction movie named “The man who saves the world”. The story is absurd – in the opening, a narrator speaks a lot. He tells about somebody attacking on Earth, but a layer made by human brains (?) is protecting our planet. Then the battle begins: two space cadets of the world get shot in the space, crash-land on a desert planet, where an evil wizard seeks the ultimate power to take over the world. Although the movie borrows some background footage from Star Wars, the plot is mostly unrelated.

If a movie is bad then you should not watch it at all. But if a movie is really, really bad then it makes more fun than a good movie. This is one of those movies, called B-movies. Perhaps this is a C-movie.

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If Earth Had Rings Like Saturn, What it Would Look Like

What if Earth had rings like Saturn? What it would look like? Probably, our sky would look amazing. The rings would look quite different from the cities and latitudes across the world. It’s interesting to imagine how it would affect the culture throughout time. It would have influenced religion, mythology, navigation, etc.

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Earth: a fast-moving Spacecraft

In fact, we’re all living in a fast-moving spacecraft named Earth. Our planet is moving around our sun in an elliptical (an ellipse which is very close to a circle) orbit. The Sun is (our solar system, the Sun, Earth and all the other planets and objects) whirls around the center of our galaxy. And, our galaxy and the other galaxies in our neighborhood are also rushing towards a structure called the Great Attractor, a region of space roughly 150 million light-years (one light year is about six trillion miles) away from us. This Great Attractor, having a mass 100 quadrillion times greater than our sun and span of 500 million light-years, is made of both the visible matter that we can see along with the so-called dark matter that we cannot see.

So, even when you’re resting on your armchair, you’re flying through space faster than the fastest human-made object. But how fast actually?

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Will We Ever Visit Other Stars?

The Earth is our one and only home. As Carl Sagan said (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space), “On Earth, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”.

But will we ever leave our home and visit other stars in the future?

Our galaxy, “The Milky Way” is a barred spiral galaxy (a spiral galaxy with a central bar-shaped structure composed of stars) some 100,000-120,000 light-years in diameter, which contains 100-400 billion stars. It may contain at least as many planets as well. Our Sun (the Solar System) is located within the disk, about 27,000 light-years away from the Galactic Center, on the inner edge of one of the spiral-shaped concentrations of gas and dust called the Orion Arm.

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Pale Blue Dot

The farthest spacecraft from Earth, NASA’s Voyager 1 Notes 1 probe took a photo of planet Earth in 1990, from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40 AU) from Earth. The photo is known as the Pale Blue Dot. In the photograph, Earth is shown as a fraction of a pixel (0.12 pixel in size) against the vastness of space. It was a part of the solar system Family Portrait series of images.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of Carl Sagan Notes 2.

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