Tag Archives: astronomy

Party Rock: NASA Discovers Comet Emitting Large Amounts of Alcohol and Sugar

comet lovejoy

If you ask around the cosmos, you’ll quickly learn that Comet Lovejoy is the life of the intergalactic party — how else could you describe a comet that’s giving out free shots to the universe? The comet, first discovered by NASA scientists back in 2011, is currently releasing massive amounts of alcohol into space. “We found that comet Lovejoy was releasing as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity,” said Nicolas Biver, an astronomer from

Stephen Hawking and Russian Billionaire Launch $100 Million Search for Alien Life

Breakthrough Listen

World-renowned astronomer and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has teamed up with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner to launch a massive privately-funded hunt for alien life. The $100 million project, called Breakthrough Listen, was announced during a press conference at the Royal Society in London on Monday. “We believe that life arose spontaneously on Earth, so in an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life,” Hawking said during the press conference. Milner, the Russian investor bankrolling the project, traces his fascination with space all

The Man Who Discovered Pluto Finally Gets to Visit It 19 Years After His Death

new horizon canister

NASA’s New Horizons’ spacecraft whizzed by Pluto earlier this morning, completing a nine-year, 3 billion-mile journey to the dwarf planet. The probe came within 8,000 miles of Pluto during its fly-by, capturing images of the planet’s surface and collecting data about its atmosphere and composition using a multitude of high-tech instruments. But alongside all of those gizmos and gadgets, New Horizons is also carrying a small, inconspicuous canister. The canister contains some of the ashes of Clyde W. Tombaugh, the American astronomer who discovered Pluto

Ever Wondered What A Sunset Would Look If We Had A Different Sun? (Images)

alternate sunset

Slovakian graphic designer Martin Vargic wanted to know what a sunset from Earth would look like if instead of orbiting our Sun, Earth was orbiting a different star. Using his knowledge of astronomy and his graphic design skills, Vargic decided to do just that, creating a series of visuals replacing the Sun with known stars in our galaxy and surrounding galaxies. According to Vargic’s website… “This visualization shows how the sunset could look like to a human observer if our Sun was replaced by some of

Size in Space: Just How Big is the Biggest Star We Know Of? (Video)

canis majoris

With a diameter of approximately 2.8 million kilometers (about 1.75 million miles), VY Canis Majoris, a red hypergiant star located in the constellation Canis Major, is the largest star we have ever come across. To picture its gargantuan size, imagine a passenger jet flying just above the surface of Canis Majoris at 900km/h (560 mph). At this speed, it would take the aircraft roughly 1100 years to make just one full circle around the star! The video below helps put this size

New Photo of Europa Shows the Ice-Covered Moon’s Surface in Stunning Detail (Video)

NASA’s Galileo spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter since the late 1990’s. Since then, NASA has recorded data, producing stellar imaging of one of Jupiter’s largest moons, Europa. Thanks to many years of observation, astronomers have garnered enough data to depict the Jovian moon (Jovian refers to anything related to Jupiter) in its fullest, most breathtaking form yet! NASA added the photo to its extensive Photo Journal on November 21st. Innovations in optical technology have allowed astronomers to observe Europa in much

Moon Mining: NASA’s Plans to Harvest Water from the Moon

There’s a lot of water on the moon, and NASA wants to learn how to get to it. In July 2008, water was found conclusively for the first time inside ancient moon samples brought back by Apollo astronauts. In 2009, observations from three spacecraft showed signals of water across the moon’s surface, bolstering the idea that the moon might actually contain significant amount of water. Then, in October 2010, scientists reported that a frigid crater called Cabeus at the moon’s south pole is

The “BioSuit” – MIT Scientists Making A Skintight Spacesuit For Better Motion

MIT Professor Dava Newman

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) want to replace the bulky spacesuits astronauts currently wear with a pressurized but skintight suit that would give them a better range of motion. According to MIT professor Dava Newman… “With conventional spacesuits, you’re essentially in a balloon of gas that’s providing you with the necessary one-third of an atmosphere [of pressure] to keep you alive in the vacuum of space.”   The solution… “We want to achieve that same pressurization, but through mechanical

This Picture of the Moon Is the First Photo Taken By A New 3-D Printed Telescope

3-D printing technology has been improving in leaps and bounds lately, and now it can add yet another cool accomplishment to its resumé: taking a picture of the moon. It all started with a team of astronomers at the University of Sheffield in England who wanted to see if they could design their own high-powered telescope rather than paying thousands of dollars for one. Using only 3-D printer and a Raspberry Pi camera module, the team was able to create a telescope capable

What Mars Looked Like When It Had Water, Courtesy of NASA (Video)

Today, we think of Mars as having  a cold, dry, and desolate environment (because it does). But that was not always the case. Four billion years ago, while our Sun was still in its infancy, Mars was covered with water. Back then, it had a much thicker atmosphere, which kept the planet warm enough for water to exist in its liquid form. Some estimates say that at one point, up to 1640 ft (about half a kilometer) of water covered the

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