Thursday, January 31, 2013

Google Science Fair (Picture of the Day: 1/31/13)

2012 winners of the Google Science Fair. Source

I wish that I had heard about this sooner. Google has just announced the beginning of their 2013 science fair. Young people from the ages of 13 to 18 all over the world will be competing against each other for a chance to win one of several prizes, and their weapon of choice will be their brains. These students will upload their science projects for judging, and the ones with the best ideas will make it into semifinals and finally into finals where they will actually present in person. I am 18, so this will be my last year to compete, and I think I'm going to give it a try. I don't expect to win, but I want to have the experience. If only I'd known that this existed years ago.
To read the article that I read, click here.
To visit the competition website, click here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Double Arm Transplant

Brendan Marrocco after his transplant. Source

This may be old news for some of you, but I just realized that we had the technology to perform arm transplants. I was reading an article about a war veteran, Brendan Marrocco, who suffered from a blast in Iraq in 2009, losing all of his limbs. Back in December he had transplant surgery that gave him two new arms. It may be a few years from now, but reportedly nerve growth will give him control over the new arms, and even some feeling. I think having real limbs could be much better than prosthetics.
I recommend reading the article that I read, it is interesting.

As a follow up, I found this article very enlightening.

Andromeda in Infrared (Picture of the Day: 1/30/13)

An infrared image of the Andromeda galaxy. Blue denotes higher temperature. Source

Another false color of Andromeda's infrared light. Source

These two, striking images come from the European Space Agency's Herschel mission, a mission that NASA is strongly involved in. These pictures were taken in the far infrared spectrum and then colored for our benefit. In the first picture, bluish color actually means higher temperature. The benefit of taking images in the infrared spectrum is that it allows scientists to image cold dust, getting a clear picture of particles that are only a few degrees above absolute zero.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lake Whillans Reached (Picture of the Day: 1/29/13)

A wonderful image in Antarctica before the Wissard team reached the lake. Source

Good news, everybody! The American Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (wissard) team has reached their destination, lake Whillans beneath the Antarctica ice sheet. This subglacial lake was about 801 meters below the surface of the ice, far closer to the surface than lake Vostok, previously accessed by a Russian team, or lake Ellsworth, abandoned by a British team. The two other subglacial lakes that humans have tried to reach are isolated from the rest of the world by ice and rock, but lake Whillans isn't so isolated. This lake appears to be in contact with other bodies of water because the surface ice has been observed rising and falling as water pressure changes. This is another exciting step towards understanding our world, now we just have to wait for the data to start rolling in.
To read more, check out this article.

Image taken on-site by the Wissard bore hole camera. Source

A map of subglacial lakes. Source

Monday, January 28, 2013

Giant Squid Footage (Videos of the Day: 1/28/13)

From Discovery

From ABC

These two videos are a first. This footage, taken some months ago, is the first ever footage taken of the illusive giant squid. This deep sea cephalopod is renown for snacking on sperm whales and for their appearance in the classic book Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. As a young child, they were my favorite animal, so I'm very excited to finally see footage of them. They are truly remarkable, awe inspiring, and a little terrifying.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Decline in Chimp Research (Picture of the Day: 1/27/13)

A group of chimpanzees socializing. Source

After a new study showed that chimpanzees have a sense of fairness, it has been recommended to the  National Institutes of Health that chimpanzee research be stopped. The general consensus is that chimpanzees are self aware beings with inherent rights, and thus cannot be the subjects of invasive and non-concentual research. If these recommendations are followed, all but 50 of the current 451 chimpanzees owned for research purposes in the United States would be taken to sanctuaries and allowed to live "normal" lives, free from the possibly dangerous experiments that prompted the recommendations in the first place. All in all, these recommendations are praised as being a good thing. Supposedly we are not getting good results from the research that we are doing in the first place, so losing all of these research chimps will not harm our scientific progress. I have always believed that other animals besides humans are self aware and have inherent rights, so seeing this new found awareness is encouraging. I, like many other people, have some concerns that scientific progress might be slowed or halted, but we should be fine.
To learn more, read this article.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Coins shown in false color. Source

We are all used to the rich yellow of gold and the cool shine of silver, but new research says that we can change the colors of metals like this without staining them with dye or covering them with a pigment. How? The answer is nanotechnology. The colors that we perceive are just different wavelengths of light, so it is possible to create structures on a small scale to interfere with these wavelengths. The idea is that we could create certain patterns on the nanometer scale to alter which wavelengths are absorbed and which wavelengths are reflected.
To read more, check out this article.

The Shape of a Black Hole (Picture of the Day: 1/26/13)

The best fit shape for Sagittarius A*.Source

Black holes have never been directly seen. In fact, they are technically invisible because the gravity near them is so strong that not even light can escape. A new project called the Event Horizon Telescope is putting together a worldwide network of radio telescopes to try to view the event horizon, the area where light is emitted by matter falling into the gravity well, of the black hole. They have focused their efforts on Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. This picture here is the best fit for the observations we've made already, indicating that the shape of the event horizons of black holes is actually a crescent. Hopefully we'll see some more of these pictures and we'll be able to draw some better conclusions.
For more information, read this article.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

DNA Data Storage

A graphical representation of DNA. Source

I just read a rather interesting article concerning the use of DNA as data storage. Deoxyribonucleic acid, the molecular double helix that stores all of the information needed to create all life on Earth, is a very robust form of data storage that requires very little information. Indeed, centuries old DNA is still readable today, which makes it ideal as a solution for long term storage. A team of researchers has devised a way to store information in DNA using a system of backups and indexes within the DNA itself to account for the numerous errors that appear with our current, imprecise DNA synthesis techniques. The were able to read several stored files without any errors, a good indication that this technology has a future.
For more indication, follow this link.

Deep Space Industries (Video of the Day: 1/24/13)

Deep Space Industries

Like something straight out of a science fiction story, Deep Space Industries (DSI) has released this promotional video toting their business plan. The cool thing about this video is that it is entirely serious. As soon as 2015 this company plans to send out a fleet of FireFly probes to land on and analyze potential asteroids for mining. The space industry is really taking off. If companies like these succeed, we will soon be able to spread out through our solar system. I hope to live long enough to see it.
To learn more, read this article.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Would We See During Hyperspace Travel?

What one would see during light speed travel. Source

It has become iconic in science fiction, the image of stars streaming past, becoming extended lines of light as a traveller approaches, or even exceeds, light speed. A group of students from the University of Leicester has shattered this common place image, however. By applying the laws of relativity, they have shown that an observer on a craft approaching the speed of light would not see stars streaming by, instead they would see a dull glow as the doppler effect shifted the universe's Cosmic Background into visible light. The light from stars would be streaming in so fast that it would become X-ray radiation from the travelers perspective, and therefore you wouldn't even see the stars.
To read more, check out this article.

Resurrecting Satellites (Picture of the Day: 1/23/13)

Japanese H-2 Transfer Vehicle. Source

DARPA, the Pentagon's military research team, has come up with yet another brilliant plan. They are currently researching technology that could allow us to one day scavenge parts from retired satellites to build new ones while in space. If this works, it could allow us to drastically lower the cost of new satellites and take one step closer to a true Space Age for humanity. The general idea is that a robotic mechanic would scavenge working parts from a dead satellite and then attach these parts to other mini-satellites that it brought along. The initial tests will cost a lot of money, but eventually all of this could become very cheap.
I recommend reading this article.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Neanderthal Clones (Picture of the Day: 1/22/13)

An exhibit displaying what neanderthals are supposed to have looked like. Source

A geneticist from Harvard has claimed that we could theoretically clone a neanderthal. The pre-human race has been dead for 30,000 years, but we reportedly have enough genetic information about them to eventually clone them. Many experts say that this will never happen, however, not because we don't have the technology to do it, but because the ethical concerns are too great. There would likely be many still births or horrible mutations in the early stages of testing, and there are other ethical and moral implications to bringing a human-like life into the world for the purpose of research. I think it would be really cool to bring an extinct race back to life, but I do agree that the ethical concerns are crippling.
ABC news has an article that is very informative, I suggest reading it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Antikythera Mechanism (Picture of the Day: 1/20/13)

The Antikythera Mechanism. Source

This old, decayed machine is perhaps the most amazing relic of history. Discovered over 100 years ago aboard the Antikythera wreck, this device is an extremely accurate astronomical position calculator. It was designed to locate the position of stars and planets in the night sky given a date and time. Of course, we have things like this everywhere now, but what is fascinating about this specific machine is that the technology is thought to be over 1,000 years ahead of its time. The complexity and craftsmanship that went into this book-sized computer is astounding. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stickney Crater and Barnard's Loop (Pictures of the Day: 1/19/13)

Stickney Crater on Phobos. Source

This strange looking crater is a prominent feature of the moon Phobos orbiting Mars. It was named after Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall, herself a mathematician and wife of the astronomer who discovered both Mars moons. This crater measures more than 9 kilometers across, nearly half the diameter of the entire moon. 

Barnard's Loop and NGC 2170. Source

I thought that both of these pictures were cool enough to be pictures of the day, so I decided to display both. This beautiful mosaic spans 6 degrees in the night sky and highlights Barnard's Loop on the left, and NGC 2170 on the right. Barnard's Loop was shaped by a super nova long ago, but it is still a beautiful sight to behold. In the background we can see the star scape of the Milky Way galaxy.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Breath Test Diagnosis (Picture of the Day: 1/18/13)

A patient being tested for bacterial infection. Source

One problem with identifying bacterial infections is that samples must be taken, grown in a culture, and finally exposed to various antibiotics in order to identify which bug has gotten into a person. New research, however, is working on identifying these bacterial infections by their "smell" in a person's breath. Bacteria in lung infections produce certain chemicals that are present in breath and even get exhaled themselves, this new research is using complex and sensitive machines to identify these footprints. There are still some challenges to overcome, but if all goes well we could be diagnosing ailments much, much faster.
For more information, read this article.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hubble's eXtreme Deep Field (Picture of the Day: 1/17/13)

eXtreme Deep Field. Source

On September 25, 2012, this photo was released. Called the eXtreme Deep Field, this photo is the culmination of 10 years of observation of one small, empty-looking patch of sky. These Deep Field photos have become iconic, and now scientists are planning to make more of them. A new project is in the works to take 6 more of these photos from other unexplored regions of sky that look empty. Hopefully we will discover that these blank patches of sky aren't actually blank after all.
I recommend reading this article to learn more.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Curiosity's First Drilling Attempt

Interesting rock where Curiosity will drill on Mars. Source

After Curiosity's exciting arrival on Mars, it has made a few discoveries that indicate past life on Mars. But now, Curiosity is set to make even more discoveries. The rover has fallen behind schedule because the team controlling it have been intrigued by sedimentary rock found near the landing site, and it has been decided that Curiosity should delay a little longer to drill into some interesting rock, shown above.
Curiosity's drill is different from previous rovers. Before, all our robotic friends could do was scrape up some dust and study it, but Curiosity is capable of actually drilling down into solid stone. Hopefully some deeper rock samples will provide new information.
The drilling is scheduled to take place in about two weeks. For more information, I suggest reading this article.

China's Pollution

Satellite image of Beijing and surrounding area. Source

It has long been known that China has a pollution problem, but the severity of that problem may be greater than most people ever realized. Take this picture, for example. Taken on Monday, China's capital is obscured from sight by a heavy fog of pollution.
This new wave of pollution has sparked news stories everywhere. The pollution levels spiked on Saturday, but the wave is expected to last through today. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Beijing when this picture was taken was 341, and the peak AQI was 775. For reference, an AQI of 300 is considered dangerous for all humans. In comparison, the worst city in the United States only suffers from an AQI of 112. 
NPR has a few pictures that really highlight this problem.

Here is a picture of Beijing before this wave of pollution:

And again, here is the picture from Monday:

Here is a before and after picture of the skyline in Beijing:

If this problem weren't so awful, I'd say it was almost comical. Even though Beijing is the worst example of this air pollution, it is not an isolated problem. Air quality around the world is progressively getting worse due to industry and transportation. Steps have been and are being taken across the world to fix our climate problem, but these steps are slow and the problem is still getting worse.
I still have hope that we'll find some way "save the world".

Hoag's Object (Picture of the Day: 1/16/13)

Hoag's Object. Source

This strange galaxy was the first ever ring galaxy to be identified. The outer ring is composed of bluish stars, and the center glow is a "dense" ball of bright, yellow-red stars. The dark area between the ring and the center appears to be almost entirely empty. It is still not known how these objects form, but they are not overly rare. One thing is for certain, they look cool.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Solar Eruption (Video of the Day: 1/15/13)

This solar eruption is both terrifying and beautiful at the same time. The sheer size and power of these solar events is truly awe inspiring. On New Years eve, this particular eruption took place. This video is a time lapse taken over four hours.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Celestial Painting (Picture of the Day: 1/14/13)

NGC 2170. Source

This beautiful picture of NGC 2170 took my breath away when I first saw it. The nebula to the left reflects light from nearby stars to make this amazing picture. 
Pictures like this are the reason I love astronomy. Nebulae are some of the most beautiful things out there. In reality they are just huge blobs of dirty dust, but this dust reflects and emits light when heated in a myriad of staggering ways. The universe is so full of beauty.

Super Massive Quasar Group

Huge Large Quasar Group. Source

Scientists have found something quite staggering. They believe that they have found a group of quasars that spans 4 billion light years and has the mass of 3,000 trillion suns which is about the mass of 1.3 million galaxies. That mass is mind boggling. Like, seriously. It's huge.
Because of its size it has been unofficially dubbed the Huge-Large Quasar Group. The picture shown here gives you some idea of scale. This large group of quasars is millions upon millions of light years away, but it still manages to span 15 - 20 whole degrees in the night sky (for reference, the celestial sphere is 360 degrees). That's amazing.
This discovery challenges the assumption that the universe is more or less uniform from all vantage points. If such a large structure actually exists, it is likely that the cosmic microwave background would be measured differently from different locations, that mass is not evenly distributed, and that the universe isn't evenly expanding in all directions.
I recommend reading more about this. There are several informative articles, I will provide links below.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Beautiful Sky Image (Picture of the Day: 1/13/13)

NGC 602. Source

The bright conglomeration of stars near the center of this image is the young star cluster known as NGC 602. This star cluster is only about 5 million years old, a surprisingly young age for such an astronomical entity. The illuminated gas on the outskirts of the cluster is the natal gas and dust of its birth, being pushed away and irradiated by the heavy solar winds from the young stars.
What is even more striking about this image are the numerous galaxies seen in the background. The clarity of this photo is striking. It really gives us a tantalizing impression of just how big the universe really is.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

GRAIL's Last Moments

A picture taken by Ebb and Flow during their final moments. Source

Ebb and Flow, the two space probes that were sent out as a part of NASA's GRAIL mission, went out with a bang one month ago. Their mission was to map out the Moon's gravitational field so that scientists could better understand it's interior. When their mission was complete it was decided that the probes should crash into the moon to free up space in orbit. During their last moments, the two probes filmed their descent. 

Here is the stunning video.

The Biggest Galaxy (Picture of the Day: 1/12/13)

NGC 6872. Source

This galaxy, NGC 6872, is the largest galaxy found thus far. It is a behemoth of a formation, spanning 522,000 light-years, more than five times the Milky Way's impressive 100,000 light-years.
This galaxy was big to begin with, but some time in the far past it collided with another, smaller galaxy and absorbed it, increasing NGC 6872's size. Not only that, the tidal forces from said collision pulled on the galaxy, forming two long arms that add greatly to the galaxy's length.
This galaxy may not necessarily be the most massive, but from end to end, it is, by far, the longest.

Tinto River and Mars

Some recent findings from the Tinto River in Huelva, Spain indicate that life on Mars might be even more likely than we thought. At least on a bacterial scale.
Researchers from the Centre of Astrobiology discovered microorganisms living in salt deposits in Spain's Tinto River, which is an environment closely related to that of Mars. The idea is that these salt deposits, even though they are an extreme environment to live in, provide protection from radiation and hold in water, thus supplying microorganisms with a habitable sanctuary. Such deposits likely exist on Mars as well as other planets. They are a prime place to look for extraterrestrial organisms.
If you'd like to read more, check out this article.

Mars. Source

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mars500 and Sleep (Picture of the Day: 1/10/13)

Mars500 crew. Source

This picture here is of the Mars500 crew. These training astronauts were put in a 17 month long test to see how they would cope with extended space travel, living cut off from their fellow man. The study revealed that sleep could be a major problem for a crew like this. Most of the men tested here began to sleep more and become less active while one of them suffered from chronic sleep deprivation. Another crew member also had an inverted sleep cycle to the rest of his comrades. These could all be problems for future astronauts who have to work together and be constantly alert in a hostile environment. One of the biggest factors leading to the sleep problem is thought to be the lighting. Since no natural light gets in, a person's day/night cycle is easily thrown off balance.
I recommend reading more about this here.

The Kilogram is Putting on Weight

The kilogram. Source

The kilogram is the metric unit of weight that is approximately equal to 2.2 pounds. It is the accepted standard in science, and is used across the world. The metric system is by far the most popular measurement system, but there is a problem with it. Because this system is so popular, everyone uses it for science, international trade, and just about everything else, which creates the need to have a reference point to accurately measure weight against. This comparison weight is the "international prototype of the kilogram" which is basically a cylinder of 90% titanium and 10% iridium. But the mass of these weights is changing.

Canada's kilogram. Source

Each of these kilogram prototype copies are kept under extremely controlled conditions. They are each in a temperature and pressure controlled room with filtered air. But it appears as if some contaminants do manage to get in. On these cylinders there can be found extremely thin layers of carbon compounds and mercury, contributing tens of micrograms to the weight of the kilogram. This effect is very little, and the impact is hard to measure because things are weighed in comparison to other things. Even though there is surface contamination that adds weight, it could still be true that these prototypes are losing weight.
The kilogram weights are cleaned periodically, but not always at the same time in all nations. This leads to very slight comparison differences and makes it hard to know exactly what a kilogram weighs. There is some concern that this change in weight could cause a problem for science and the trade of highly restricted materials, like radioactive compounds, but the International Bureau of Weights and Measures insists that the effect is so slight that it is negligible.

In the future it is likely that we will rely on fundamental forces of nature to compare weights with, something that will be more accurate than physical items. For now, however, we will use these standardized kilogram weights that are prone to slight fluctuations.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

iShack (Picture of the Day: 1/9/13)

iShack. Source. Credit: Homeless and Poor People's Initiative

This small shack may look like any other building in the shanty town in which it is located, but there is something different about it. This is the iShack (improved shack). The difference here is that this shack has a solar panel capable of supplying power to three lights, a phone charger, and a motion activated outdoor light. This shack has been developed so that poor people living in shanty towns around the world might have access to electricity, something they usually live without. Currently the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has taken an interest in the iShack and has granted money to pay for the building of 100 of these improved homes. If these new iShacks are successful the project could receive more funding to build even more. The iShack is only a small improvement, but it is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

More Exoplanets (Picture of the Day: 1/8/13)

An artist's representation of a habitable moon around a gas giant in a binary star system.
Source. Credit: Pixabay

This picture comes from a news article that I was recently reading. This article reported the discovery of several new exoplanets - 15 of which were in the habitable zone - by everyday people as a part of Planet Hunters, a website where data from Kepler is crowd sourced. The idea is that a bunch of people working together to analyze data and look for interesting inconsistencies are better able to identify anomalies, in this case exoplanets, than a computer. The idea is a good one, it is fun for those involved and it really does help progress scientific knowledge. I would recommend checking it out.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lego Mindstorms EV3 (Picture of the Day: 1/7/13)

Track3r. Source. Credit: Lego

Lego is set to come out with a new robotics kit sometime soon, and I for one am excited. Maybe it's because I'm a part of a Lego robotics club and I like to tinker with toys, but I find Lego Mindstorms to be one of the, if not the, most fun thing produced by Lego.
Mindstorms are more than just fun, they are also used for educational purposes all over America, maybe even the world. Mindstorms offer people the ability to program a machine in an easy and readily applicable way, which makes them the perfect learning tool. With this new generation of Mindstorms, their educational value will only increase.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Below Absolute Zero (Picture of the Day: 1/6/13)

Scientists claim to have gotten below absolute zero. Source

I'm a little late in posting about this, but some scientists have claimed that they managed to get a quantum gas below absolute zero, the theoretical lowest temperature. Understanding exactly what they mean by this is difficult, and a lot of that is because the reporting of the phenomenon has been misleading. The "negative Kelvin" temperature that these scientists observed was an inversion in the energy distribution of the particles they were studying, which would indicate a negative Kelvin temperature. Now, it is important to note that zero Kelvin corresponds to a particle having absolutely no energy at all. Given that, it seems like the scientists are indicating that they have somehow achieved negative energy, which is not the case.
I would recommend reading this article from, it's very informative. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Eating Bugs

Eating insects seems like a disgusting prospect for many Americans, but why? In over 80% of the world's nations eating bugs is common, so why is it so taboo in so many developed countries?

Do these look appetizing? Source. Credit: Ed Oudenaarden/AFP/Getty Images

Entomophagy, or the act of eating insects, is quite common for both humans and other animals alike. It is also quite efficient. There are over 1,000 known edible insects and 1,417 known edible arthropods (including arachnids), which are often included under entomophagy. And all of these bugs are loaded with protein and other nutrients.

Okay, that grosses me out too. Source

There are many advantages to eating bugs. One advantage is that they can be cultivated. Like cows or chickens, most insects and arthropods can be farmed, grown in large quantities fast enough to make them a viable food source. With some minor plant matter food source, a "pen" to hold them, and some close watching, edible bugs can be domesticated and then harvested.
Another advantage is that cultivating bugs takes up a lot less space than raising other animals like cows. The raising of conventional livestock takes up 25% of the Earth's landmass, whereas raising insects would take up significantly less. For example, one calculation indicates that growing meal worms could take up to two-thirds less land than cows. 
The cultivation of insects would also be very eco-friendly. The livestock industry is one of the largest contributor of greenhouse gas, accounting for 18% of all greenhouse emissions, 4% higher than the entire transportation industry. Cultivating bugs as livestock could reduce these emissions by one-half or even more. 
Insects are also highly nutritious. Some studies have indicated that bugs could be kept around as treatments for malnutrition. And not only that, they could be an efficient form of food that could replace other meats in everyday diets.
Bugs are also resilient creatures. Anywhere that has bugs can cultivate them as a food source, meaning that every country could harvest them. All current livestock animals have very specific environmental requirements. Large tracts of land are required for bovines to graze, moderate temperatures are required for chickens to live comfortably, etc. But bugs can be raised in almost every environment.
The benefits of insects just keep going. I've even heard that they taste good, if you can get past the texture and the appearance.

Common pests can be used as food. Source

I suppose we should all switch over to bug diets. It would be healthier for us and for the environment. But then again, I really do like beef, and bugs look weird...
It doesn't seem likely that most first world countries will adopt insect diets anytime soon, but for developing countries, they are a legitimate option.

Einstein Cross (Picture of the Day: 1/5/13)

Einstein cross gravitational lens. Source

It is common knowledge (to use the term loosely) that spiral galaxies like the one shown here have one nucleus, but this one appears to have four. Astronomers think that this galaxy isn't actually that strange, but that a quasar behind the galaxy is emitting light that is being bent into the cloverleaf pattern shown here by the gravity of the galaxy. This effect is known as gravitational lensing. Einstein thought of it a long time ago, but it just seems to strange to be true. But observations continually prove him right.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

OSIRIS-REx (Picture of the Day: 1/3/13)

OSIRIS-REx. Source

NASA is planning on reaching a nearby asteroid by 2020. The spacecraft for this mission, deemed OSIRIS-REx (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer), will travel to RQ36 and do several tests before taking back a 2 ounce sample of the object. The project is expensive, but there is a lot to learn from it.
If you want to know more, consider going to the mission's website here, or read a cool article here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fermi Bubbles of the Milky Way (Picture of the Day: 1/2/13)

Fermi bubbles. Source

Recently, enormous radiation emitting bubbles have been discovered jutting out from the center of the Milky Way like two door knobs on either side of a door. These radiation bubbles appear to be powered by star formation regions in the center of the galaxy that are emitting energy on the order of one million super novae. That's a lot of power.
If you want to read more, click here or here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Comet ISON (Picture of the Day: 1/1/13)

Comet ISON. Credit: E. Guido, G. Sostero and N. Howes. Source

On September 21, 2012, a comet dubbed "comet ISON" was discovered by two Russian amateur astronomers. What's unique about this comet is that it will pass close to the sun before passing by Earth, which could mean that this comet will have a spectacular tail and could even outshine the full moon from around October 2013 to January 2014. This comet promises to put on an amazing display, if it survives. There is a problem, we don't know if the comet will survive its pass with the sun. I guess we can hope it makes its way to us, and we can all have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
If you want to read more, click here.