Recently in Astronomy Category
(click on image for a bigger view)
What's that pale blue dot in this image taken from Saturn? Earth. The robotic Cassini spacecraft looked back toward its old home world earlier this month as it orbited Saturn. Using Saturn itself to block the bright Sun, Cassini imaged a faint dot on the right of the above photograph. That dot is expanded on the image inset, where a slight elongation in the direction of Earth's Moon is visible. Vast water oceans make Earth's reflection of sunlight somewhat blue. Earth is home to over six billion humans …
What a wonderful idea!
REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - Iceland's capital and several towns plunged into darkness on Thursday as street lights were turned off for people to get a better view of the night sky.
"All the streets lights are off, we can see a few stars," said writer Andri Snaer Magnason, speaking by telephone from the darkened streets of downtown Reykjavik, Iceland's capital and home to about 200,000 people.
"I would have liked to have a completely clear sky, but you can't have everything. But it was nice," he added.
Magnason got the idea as a way to launch a film festival on the north Atlantic island, but said he had dreamt for years of doing such a thing.
An astronomer gave a commentary on national radio on what people could see in the half hour the lights were out.
Back in the '70s I made my short-lived stab at going to college and one class that I took and was really interested in was Astronomy, and my interest in the subject and amateur practice of it goes on today. But, one thing that stuck in my craw that I vividly remember from that class was the teacher's unwillingness to entertain a discussion of infinity. To me it was and still is absurd that he thought that it was meaningless speculation to think that given that infinity is, well infinite, that there might be and probably are many instances of universes that exist throughout the cosmos, each expanding, living and dying on their own. (Of course the word "universe" is a misnomer for these conglomeration of space, galaxies, dust. But never mind that. I think that there are some cosmologists who have come up whit the term "multiverse". )
Here is an article that I came across yesterday from the Guardian, One Big Bang, or were there many? that posits that my youthful speculation may not have been so far off.
The universe is at least 986 billion years older than physicists thought and is probably much older still, according to a radical new theory. The revolutionary study suggests that time did not begin with the big bang 14 billion years ago. This mammoth explosion which created all the matter we see around us, was just the most recent of many.
So there, closed-minded-college-teacher-who-tried-to-stifle-my-curiosity!
A fantastic picture. At first you think this must be a illustration or some Photoshop composite, but:
The spacecraft was very nearly in the plane of the rings at this time, thinning them by perspective and masking their awesome scale
Click here to see full size views.
The picture above is just today's Astronomy Picture of the Day. I encourage you to click here for a larger, more detailed image and explanation of this picture of one of Saturn's many moons, Enceladus.
I visit the APOD site every day to behold fantasic images, explanations of them and links to more information about the cosmos.