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Showing posts from March, 2017

Split the Universe

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Just now, before you hit the button, two future universes are possible. After pressing the button, though, you will live in only one. A real-web version of the famous Schrödinger's cat experiment, clicking the red button in the featured astronaut image should transform that image into a picture of the same astronaut holding one of two cats -- one living, or one dead. The timing of your click, combined with the wiring of your brain and the millisecond timing of your device, will all conspire together to create a result dominated, potentially, by the randomness of quantum mechanics. Some believe that your personally-initiated quantum decision will split the universe in two, and that both the live-cat and dead-cat universes exist in separate parts of a larger multiverse. Others believe that the result of your click will collapse the two possible universes into one -- in a way that could not have been predicted beforehand. Yet others believe that the universe is classically determinis…

3D 67P

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Get out your red/cyan glasses and gaze across the surface of Churyumov-Gerasimenko, aka Comet 67P. The stereo anaglyph was created by combining two images from the Rosetta spacecraft's narrow angle OSIRIS camera taken on September 22, 2014. Stark and jagged, the 3D landscape is found along the Seth region of the comet's double-lobed nucleus. It spans about 985 x 820 meters, pocked by circular ridges, depressions, and flattened areas strewn with boulders and debris. The large steep-walled circular pit in the foreground is 180 meters in diameter. Rosetta's mission to the comet ended in September 2016 when the spacecraft was commanded to a controlled impact with the comet's surface. via NASA http://ift.tt/2nnbvSz

Amateur Radio Backpacking Checklist

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Amateur Radio and backpacking are made for each other.  What could be better than enjoying two great hobbies at the same time in the great outdoors?  Amateur radio also adds an element of safety to backcountry adventure by providing a method of communication in the event of an emergency.

Here is a checklist to help you plan your next backpacking trip:

Pack weight - keep it light as possible.  40 lbs or less for adult males in good shape.  Weigh your pack before you depart and adjust accordingly.10 essentials - these are non-negotiable items every backpacker needs.  Check to make sure all 10 essentials are in your pack before you leave.Extra water carrying capacity - Water is key to survival when backpacking.  There are times when extra water is helpful.  Pack a spare lightweight 1 or 2 liter collapsible water container.  Being able to fill up with extra water will come in handy when trekking over dry areas or when preparing a meal.Program your radios - We enjoy backpacking with our ama…

Young Stars and Dusty Nebulae in Taurus

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This complex of dusty nebulae lingers along the edge of the Taurus molecular cloud, a mere 450 light-years distant. Stars are forming on the cosmic scene. Composed from almost 40 hours of image data, the 2 degree wide telescopic field of view includes some youthful T-Tauri class stars embedded in the remnants of their natal clouds at the right. Millions of years old and still going through stellar adolescence, the stars are variable in brightness and in the late phases of their gravitational collapse. Their core temperatures will rise to sustain nuclear fusion as they grow into stable, low mass, main sequence stars, a stage of stellar evolution achieved by our middle-aged Sun about 4.5 billion years ago. Another youthful variable star, V1023 Tauri, can be spotted on the left. Within its yellowish dust cloud, it lies next to the striking blue reflection nebula Cederblad 30, also known as LBN 782. Just above the bright bluish reflection nebula is dusty dark nebula Barnard 7. via NASA ht…

King of Wings Hoodoo under the Milky Way

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This rock structure is not only surreal -- it's real. The reason it's not more famous is that it is, perhaps, smaller than one might guess: the capstone rock overhangs only a few meters. Even so, the King of Wings outcrop, located in New Mexico, USA, is a fascinating example of an unusual type of rock structure called a hoodoo. Hoodoos may form when a layer of hard rock overlays a layer of eroding softer rock. Figuring out the details of incorporating this hoodoo into a night-sky photoshoot took over a year. Besides waiting for a suitably picturesque night behind a sky with few clouds, the foreground had to be artificially lit just right relative to the natural glow of the background. After much planning and waiting, the final shot, featured here, was taken in May 2016. Mimicking the horizontal bar, the background sky features the band of our Milky Way Galaxy stretching overhead. via NASA http://ift.tt/2mI4Fel

Black Hole Accreting with Jet

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What happens when a black hole devours a star? Many details remain unknown, but recent observations are providing new clues. In 2014, a powerful explosion was recorded by the ground-based robotic telescopes of the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) project, and followed up by instruments including NASA's Earth-orbiting Swift satellite. Computer modeling of these emissions fit a star being ripped apart by a distant supermassive black hole. The results of such a collision are portrayed in the featured artistic illustration. The black hole itself is a depicted as a tiny black dot in the center. As matter falls toward the hole, it collides with other matter and heats up. Surrounding the black hole is an accretion disk of hot matter that used to be the star, with a jet emanating from the black hole's spin axis. via NASA http://ift.tt/2opv6BN

JWST: Ghosts and Mirrors

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Ghosts aren't actually hovering over the James Webb Space Telescope. But the lights are out as it stands with gold tinted mirror segments and support structures folded in Goddard Space Flight Center's Spacecraft Systems Development and Integration Facility clean room. Following vibration and acoustic testing, bright flashlights and ultraviolet lights are played over the stationary telescope looking for contamination, easier to spot in a darkened room. In the dimness the camera's long exposure creates the ghostly apparitions, blurring the moving lights and engineers. A scientific successor to Hubble, the James Webb Space Telescope is optimized for the infrared exploration of the early Universe. Its planned launch is in 2018 from French Guiana on a European Space Agency Ariane 5 rocket. via NASA http://ift.tt/2mGq8A0

The Cone Nebula from Hubble

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Stars are forming in the gigantic dust pillar called the Cone Nebula. Cones, pillars, and majestic flowing shapes abound in stellar nurseries where natal clouds of gas and dust are buffeted by energetic winds from newborn stars. The Cone Nebula, a well-known example, lies within the bright galactic star-forming region NGC 2264. The Cone was captured in unprecedented detail in this close-up composite of several observations from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. While the Cone Nebula, about 2,500 light-years away in Monoceros, is around 7 light-years long, the region pictured here surrounding the cone's blunted head is a mere 2.5 light-years across. In our neck of the galaxy that distance is just over half way from our Sun to its nearest stellar neighbors in the Alpha Centauri star system. The massive star NGC 2264 IRS, seen by Hubble's infrared camera in 1997, is the likely source of the wind sculpting the Cone Nebula and lies off the top of the image. The Cone Nebula…

Dust, Gas, and Stars in the Orion Nebula

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The Great Nebula in Orion, an immense, nearby starbirth region, is probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. Here, filaments of dark dust and glowing gas surround hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away. In the featured deep image shown in assigned colors, part of the nebula's center is shown as taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Great Nebula in Orion can be found with the unaided eye near the easily identifiable belt of three stars in the popular constellation Orion. In addition to housing a bright open cluster of stars known as the Trapezium, the Orion Nebula contains many stellar nurseries. These nurseries contain much hydrogen gas, hot young stars, proplyds, and stellar jets spewing material at high speeds. Also known as M42 and M43, the Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun. via NASA http://ift.tt/2mBcTDL

Annular Eclipse After Sunrise

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From northern Patagonia, morning skies were clear and blue on Sunday, February 26. This sweeping composite scene, overlooking Hermoso Valle, Facundo, Chubut, Argentina, follows the Sun after sunrise, capturing an annular solar eclipse. Created from a series of exposures at three minute intervals, it shows the year's first solar eclipse beginning well above the distant eastern horizon. An exposure close to mid-eclipse recorded the expected ring of fire, the silhouette of the New Moon only slightly too small to cover the bright Sun. At that location on planet Earth, the annular phase of the eclipse lasted a brief 45 seconds. via NASA http://ift.tt/2lwEkdM

A Solar Eclipse with a Beaded Ring of Fire

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What kind of eclipse is this? On Sunday, visible in parts of Earth's southern hemisphere, the Moon blocked part of the Sun during a partial solar eclipse. In some locations, though, the effect was a rare type of partial eclipse called an annular eclipse. There, since the Moon is too far from the Earth to block the entire Sun, sunlight streamed around the edges of the Moon creating a "ring of fire". At some times, though, the effect was a rare type of annular eclipse. Then, an edge of the Moon nearly aligned with an edge of the Sun, allowing sunlight to stream through only low areas on the Moon. Called a "Baily's bead" or a "diamond ring", this doubly rare effect was captured Sunday in the feature photograph from Chubut, Argentina, in South America. This summer a total solar eclipse will swoop across North America. via NASA http://ift.tt/2m80EhH