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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Want to Become a Citizen Scientist for NASA?

You can help NASA on some projects: for instance, citizen scientists helped NASA identify an aurora-related celestial phenomenon, now called STEVE. Want to become a citizen scientist? You can find projects on NASA website.
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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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Moon has been formed earlier than Earth? The “Synestia Theory” says so

According to a new study, the Moon might have been formed a thousand years earlier than Earth. The new, “synestia theory” suggests a Mars-sized object smashed into the proto-Earth. The “giant impact” vaporized about 10 percent of the rock and liquefied the rest, and created a rapidly spinning donut-shaped mass of vaporized rock called “synestia”. The synestia eventually shrunk and cooled. Computer models demonstrated that the Earth subsequently emerged about 1,000 years after the moon.
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Huge Proxima Centauri flare blasts nearest exoplanet Proxima b

On March 24, 2017, astronomers led by Carnegie’s Meredith MacGregor and Alycia Weinberger discovered that a giant stellar flare erupted from Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun (Proxima Centauri means ‘nearest [star] of Centaurus’), using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The huge flare was 10 times larger than a major solar flare. And it blasted Proxima Centauri b (also called Proxima b), the exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, with 4,000 times more radiation than Earth gets from solar flares. The event probably wiped out the exoplanet’s atmosphere (if exists any), and dimmed the last hopes of extraterrestrial life on it. This finding is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on February 22, 2018.
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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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OSIRIS-REx Captures New Earth-Moon Image from 39.5 Million Miles

NASA’s asteroid-sampling OSIRIS-REx spacecraft captured a new Earth-Moon image on Jan. 17, 2018, from a distance of 39.5 million miles (63.6 million kilometers). Spacecraft used its NavCam1 imager to take this photo, as part of an engineering test. In the image, The Earth and the moon are just two bright dots against the vastness of black space – which reminds us Carl Sagan’s famous speech“That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.”
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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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Hubble Observes Atmospheres of TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets in the Habitable Zone

Good news for the search for extraterrestrial life: the TRAPPIST-1 System might be rich (very rich!) in water and all of the planets are mostly made of rock. Using data from NASA’s Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes, researchers calculated the densities of TRAPPIST-1 planets more precisely than ever, and they determined that all of the planets are mostly made of rock. Additionally, some have up to 5 percent of their mass in water, which is around 250 times more than the oceans on Earth. Researchers published their findings in a recent study in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics titled “The nature of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets” .
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