Monday, 26 June 2017

2-D material's traits could send electronics R&D spinning in new directions

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Researchers created an atomically thin material and used X-rays to measure its exotic and durable properties that make it a promising candidate for a budding branch of electronics known as 'spintronics.'
via Science Daily

Topsy-turvy motion creates light switch effect at Uranus

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Uranus' magnetosphere, the region defined by the planet's magnetic field and the material trapped inside it, gets flipped on and off like a light switch every day as it rotates along with the planet, scientists have discovered. It's 'open' in one orientation, allowing solar wind to flow into the magnetosphere; it later closes, forming a shield against the solar wind and deflecting it away from the planet.
via Science Daily
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Cool power: Breakthroughs in solar panel cooling technology

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Breakthroughs in solar panel cooling tech will help keep NASA’s Parker Solar Probe operating at peak performance — even while flying through the sun’s corona
via Science Daily
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Q&A: A Matter of Considerable Gravity

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All the planets in the solar system interact gravitationally with the sun, but Jupiter’s great mass makes this interaction visible.
via New York Times

Artistic Impression: The Surface of TRAPPIST-1f

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If you could stand on the surface of the newly discovered Earth-sized exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f, what would you see? Presently, no Earthling knows for sure, but the featured illustration depicts a reasoned guess based on observational data taken by NASA's Sun-orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope. In 2017, four more Earth-sized planets were found by Spitzer, including TRAPPIST-1f, in addition to three discovered in 2015 from the ground. From the planet's surface, near the mild terminator between night and day, you might see water, ice, and rock on the ground, while water-based clouds might hover above. Past the clouds, the small central star TRAPPIST-1 would appear more red than our Sun, but angularly larger due to the close orbit. With seven known Earth-sized planets -- many of which pass near each other -- the TRAPPIST-1 system is not only a candidate to have life, but intercommunicating life -- although a preliminary search has found no obvious transmissions.

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Artificial brain helps Gaia catch speeding stars

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With the help of software that mimics a human brain, ESA’s Gaia satellite spotted six stars zipping at high speed from the centre of our Galaxy to its outskirts. This could provide key information about some of the most obscure regions of the Milky Way. 


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Gaia/Artificial_brain_helps_Gaia_catch_speeding_stars

Summer solstice Sun

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Space Science Image of the Week: A multi-hued view of the Sun seen from space on 21 June
via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2017/06/SOHO_s_summer_solstice_Sun

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The N44 Superbubble

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What created this gigantic hole? The vast emission nebula N44 in our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud has a large, 250 light-year hole and astronomers are trying to figure out why. One possibility is particle winds expelled by massive stars in the bubble's interior that are pushing out the glowing gas. This answer was found to be inconsistent with measured wind velocities, however. Another possibility is that the expanding shells of old supernovas have sculpted the unusual space cavern. An unexpected clue of hot X-ray emitting gas was recently been detected escaping the N44 superbubble. The featured image was taken in three very specific colors by the huge 8-meter Gemini South Telescope on Cerro Pachon in Chile.

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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Spiral Galaxy - NGC 253 Business Card

Spiral Galaxy - NGC 253 Business Card
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series: …


Magnetic memories of a metal world

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Research deciphering the hidden magnetic messages encoded in a rare group of meteorites has helped secure nearly half a billion dollars of NASA funding for a journey to their parent asteroid -- the only known place in the solar system where scientists can examine directly what is probably a metallic core.
via Science Daily
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Markarian's Chain to Messier 64

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Top to bottom, this colorful and broad telescopic mosaic links Markarian's Chain of galaxies across the core of the Virgo Cluster to dusty spiral galaxy Messier 64. Galaxies are scattered through the field of view that spans some 20 full moons across a gorgeous night sky. The cosmic frame is also filled with foreground stars from constellations Virgo and the well-groomed Coma Berenices, and faint, dusty nebulae drifting above the plane of the Milky Way. Look carefully for Markarian's eyes. The famous pair of interacting galaxies is near the top, not far from M87, the Virgo cluster's giant elliptical galaxy. At the bottom, you can stare down Messier 64, also known as the Black Eye Galaxy. The Virgo Cluster is the closest large galaxy cluster to our own local galaxy group. Virgo Cluster galaxies are about 50 million light-years distant, but M64 lies a mere 17 million light-years away.

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Space Tourism Advert - Solar System Grand Tour Poster

Space Tourism Advert - Solar System Grand Tour Poster
A wonderful, retro-style vacation advert. It urges you to take the same grand tour of the solar system taken by NASA's Voyager mission. Visit Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and…


Trilobites: Waves Above the Earth May Have Once Caused a ‘Nocturnal Sun’

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Historical observations of bright nights that were almost like daytime have a new explanation in forces of the upper atmosphere.
via New York Times

Friday, 23 June 2017

Trilobites: Solving the Scorching Mystery of the Sun’s Erupting Plasma Jets

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After decades of study, scientists have developed a model to explain how violent solar spicules form.
via New York Times

The future of the LHC takes shape

Does dark matter annihilate quicker in the Milky Way?

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A new theory predicts how dark matter may be annihilating much more rapidly in the Milky Way, than in smaller or larger galaxies and the early Universe.
via Science Daily
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Meteorite mystery solved with research on high pressure

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A research group has found a long-sought explanation for the apparent contradictions implicit in the composition of lunar and Martian meteorites. They were able to demonstrate how meteorites could contain within narrow spaces minerals whose formation conditions are quite different. These findings provide new impetus for meteorite research.
via Science Daily
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Solstice Conjunction over Budapest

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Before a solstice Sun rose on June 21, brilliant Venus and an old crescent Moon posed together over Budapest, Hungary for this predawn skyscape. In the foreground the view looks across the Danube river from Buda to Pest toward the dome and peaks of the Hungarian Parliament building. Low clouds are in silhouette against a twilight sky. But far enough above the eastern horizon to catch the sunlight shines another seasonal apparition on that solstice morning, noctilucent clouds. Seen near sunrise and sunset in summer months at high latitudes, the night-shining clouds are formed as water vapor in the cold upper atmosphere condenses on meteoric dust or volcanic ash near the edge of space.

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Musician Howie Day records love song to physics

Singer Howie Day recorded a parody version of his song ‘Collide’ at CERN (Image: Noemi Caraban Gonzalez/CERN)


via CERN: Updates for the general public
http://home.cern/about/updates/2017/06/musician-howie-day-records-love-song-physics

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Origins of Sun's swirling spicules discovered

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For the first time, a computer simulation -- so detailed it took a full year to run -- shows how spicules form, helping scientists understand how spicules can break free of the sun's surface and surge upward so quickly.
via Science Daily
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High Above Mars, a NASA Orbiter Spies the Curiosity Rover

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The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been taking images of the rover about every three months to monitor the surrounding area for changes.
via New York Times

The curious case of the warped Kuiper Belt

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The plane of the solar system is warped in the belt's outer reaches, signaling the presence of an unknown Mars-to-Earth-mass planetary object far beyond Pluto, according to new research. 
via Science Daily
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New virtual approach to science in space

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A new approach to scientific exploration has been revealed by researchers, which they call exploration telepresence.
via Science Daily
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Northern Summer on Titan

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While yesterday's solstice brought summer to planet Earth's northern hemisphere, a northern summer solstice arrived for ringed planet Saturn nearly a month ago on May 24. Following the Saturnian seasons, its large moon Titan was captured in this Cassini spacecraft image from June 9. The near-infrared view finds bright methane clouds drifting through Titan's northern summer skies as seen from a distance of about 507,000 kilometers. Below Titan's clouds, dark hydrocarbon lakes sprawl near the large moon's now illuminated north pole.

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Making waves with the hot electrons within Earth's radiation belts

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An international team of scientists recently discovered the role that hot electrons may play in the waves and fluctuations detected by satellites. The results are based on data collected by the Van Allen Probes, twin robotic spacecraft launched by NASA in 2012 to help scientists better understand these belt regions.
via Science Daily
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Scientist warns of asteroid danger

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An astrophysicists has warned that an asteroid strike is just a matter of time.
via Science Daily
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Jerry Nelson, Designer of the Segmented Telescope, Dies at 73

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Mr. Nelson’s design, made decades after the size limit was thought to have been reached, allowed scientists to peer farther into the universe than ever before.
via New York Times

Chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam

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Nanotechnologists have used 3-D laser printing to create centimeter-sized objects of graphene foam, a 3-D version of atomically thin graphene. The research could yield industrially useful quantities of bulk graphene.
via Science Daily

Massive dead disk galaxy challenges theories of galaxy evolution

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By combining the power of a 'natural lens' in space with the capability of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers made a surprising discovery -- the first example of a compact yet massive, fast-spinning, disk-shaped galaxy that stopped making stars only a few billion years after the big bang.
via Science Daily
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Hubble Captures Massive Dead Disk Galaxy that Challenges Theories of Galaxy Evolution


Young, Dead, Compact, Disk Galaxy Surprises Astronomers, Offers New Clues to How Modern-Day Elliptical Galaxies Formed

Astronomers combined the power of a “natural lens” in space with the capability of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to make a surprising discovery—the first example of a compact yet massive, fast-spinning, disk-shaped galaxy that stopped making stars only a few billion years after the big bang. Researchers say that finding such a galaxy so early in the history of the universe challenges the current understanding of how massive galaxies form and evolve. Astronomers expected to see a chaotic ball of stars formed through galaxies merging together. Instead, they saw evidence that the stars were born in a pancake-shaped disk. The galaxy, called MACS 2129-1, is considered “dead” because it is no longer making stars. This new insight is forcing astronomers to rethink their theories of how galaxies burn out early on and evolve into local elliptical-shaped galaxies. “Perhaps we have been blind to the fact that early ‘dead’ galaxies could in fact be disks, simply because we haven’t been able to resolve them,” said study leader Sune Toft of the Dark Cosmology Center at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.


via Hubble - News feed
http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2017-26

The astronaut's extra nose

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How do we prevent astronauts in space from inhaling hazardous gases? A hi-tech optical gas sensor provides a solution.
via Science Daily
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Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

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Versatile, light-weight materials that are both strong and resilient are crucial for the development of flexible electronics, such as bendable tablets and wearable sensors. Aerogels are good candidates for such applications, but until now, it's been difficult to make them with both properties. Now, researchers report that mimicking the structure of the 'powdery alligator-flag' plant has enabled them to make a graphene-based aerogel that meets these needs.
via Science Daily

A unique data center for cosmological simulations

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Scientists have established 'Cosmowebportal', a unique data center for cosmological simulations. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
via Science Daily
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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Trilobites: Summer Solstice: A Great Moment to Ponder the Sun

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The scientific start to summer in the Northern Hemisphere this week comes ahead of a total solar eclipse in August, when the moon will engulf the sun.
via New York Times

Ten near-Earth size planets in habitable zone of their star

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NASA's Kepler space telescope team has released a mission catalog of planet candidates that introduces 219 new planet candidates, 10 of which are near-Earth size and orbiting in their star's habitable zone, which is the range of distance from a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of a rocky planet.
via Science Daily
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Gravitational wave mission selected, planet-hunting mission moves forward

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The LISA trio of satellites to detect gravitational waves from space has been selected as the third large-class mission in ESA’s Science programme, while the Plato exoplanet hunter moves into development.


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Gravitational_wave_mission_selected_planet-hunting_mission_moves_forward

Eagle Nebula, M16 - Hubble Astronomy Neck Tie

Eagle Nebula, M16 - Hubble Astronomy Neck Tie
Astronomy series: A great picture from deep space featuring the beautiful Eagle Nebula, M16, taken in November 2004 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble…


The Massive Stars in Westerlund 1

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Star cluster Westerlund 1 is home to some of the largest and most massive stars known. It is headlined by the star Westerlund 1-26, a red supergiant star so big that if placed in the center of our Solar System, it would extend out past the orbit of Jupiter. Additionally, the young star cluster is home to 3 other red supergiants, 6 yellow hypergiant stars, 24 Wolf-Rayet stars, and several even-more unusual stars that continue to be studied. Westerlund 1 is relatively close-by for a star cluster at a distance of 15,000 light years, giving astronomers a good laboratory to study the development of massive stars. The featured image of Westerlund 1 was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope toward the southern constellation of the Altar (Ara). Although presently classified as a "super" open cluster, Westerlund 1 may evolve into a low mass globular cluster over the next billion years.

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Graphene field effect transistor biosensors

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Graphene and other 2D materials are excellent candidates for use in biosensing, due to a multitude of favorable properties. The 2D nature of the materials in itself provides intrinsic advantages, because the entire material volume acts as a sensing surface. Furthermore, graphene provides excellent mechanical strength, biocompatibility, thermal and electrical conductivity, compactness, and potentially low cost.

Two types of biosensors that utilize graphene are emerging as the most promising technologies: surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and graphene field effect transistors (GFET). Although SPR methods have potentially faster readout, the technique is still experimental. GFETs rely on well-established technology of charge carrier density changes in the presence of an analyte. In a broad and intense research spur of recent, GFETs have been used as immunosensors, enzyme, DNA, protein, glucose and bacteria sensors, among other applications.

Image: Scheme of a biosensor (reproduced from Materials Today 14, 308 (2011), creative commons).

GFET is a modification of the classic silicon field-effect transistor, ubiquitous in modern electronics. In traditional transistors, silicon acts as a thin conducting channel, the conductivity of which can be tuned with applied voltage. GFETs perform in a similar manner, except that the silicon is replaced with graphene, which yields a much thinner and hence more sensitive channel region. In sensing mode, channel conductivity is perturbed in the presence of an analyte. Due to the broad electrochemical potential and ability to be functionalized, GFETs present an attractive device for biomolecules to attach to, and because of graphene's ultimate thinness and extreme surface-to-volume ratio, electrical properties are sensitive to even the smallest concentration of attached molecules. Using GFET, biosensors with a detection limit of 10 pg/mL were produced for opioid molecules.

GFETs for biosensing can be reproducibly mass-made with established fabrication technologies. Si/SiO2 wafers that are standard in electronics are used as the substrate. Graphene can be grown with chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and transferred with dry or wet methods. Electrical contacts are deposited by thermal evaporation of metals in a lithographically pre-defined configuration.

The potential of graphene in healthcare is exemplified by the project 2D-Health, funded by the UK agency EPSRC and worth £5.2m over the next five years. Graphene and other 2D materials are set to be used in innovative solutions for specific unmet clinical needs in wound care and management (relevant to diabetes), tissue rehabilitation by electrical stimulation (relevant to dementia), cell therapeutics (relevant to cardiovascular disease), and immunotherapeutics (relevant to cancer). Please fill the quick survey below!


via Graphenea

Monogram Spiral Galaxy: Deep space astronomy image Table Lamp

Monogram Spiral Galaxy: Deep space astronomy image Table Lamp
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series: A fantastic image that reveals a little of the wonder that is our universe. …


Monday, 19 June 2017

Out There: Is Earth All by Its Lonesome? Kepler Finds 4,034 Possible Companions

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Setting the stage for the next chapter in the quest to end cosmic loneliness, astronomers released a list of objects they are 90 percent sure are planets orbiting other stars.
via New York Times

Eclipse Across America: Path Prediction Video

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Where will you be during the Eclipse across America? On August 21, the shadow of the Moon will cross the continental USA for the first time since 1979. The predicted path -- a certainty given modern astronomical knowledge -- is shown in the featured NASA video. Most people in the USA will be within a day's drive to the path of the total solar eclipse, while the rest of North America will see a partial solar eclipse. In the path of totality, given clear-enough skies, the Moon will block out the Sun making it eerily dark for as long as 2 minutes and 40 seconds. If interested in attending an eclipse party, please contact your local amateur astronomical society, science center, park, or university to see if one is already being planning. Some eclipse chasers have traveled to the end of the world to see a total eclipse of the Sun, and along the way have recorded many entertaining adventure stories.

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Into the storm

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Space Science Image of the Week: A maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust in one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies
via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2017/06/A_stormy_stellar_nursery

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Views from Cassini at Saturn

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What has the Cassini orbiter seen at Saturn? The featured music video shows some of the early highlights. In the first time-lapse sequence (00:07), a vertical line appears that is really Saturn's thin rings seen nearly edge-on. Soon some of Saturn's moon shoot past. The next sequence (00:11) features Saturn's unusually wavy F-ring that is constrained by the two shepherd moons that are also continually perturbing it. Soon much of Saturn's extensive ring system flashes by, sometimes juxtaposed to the grandeur of the immense planet itself. Cloud patterns on Titan (00:39) and Saturn (00:41) are highlighted. Clips from flybys of several of Saturn's moon are then shown, including Phoebe, Mimas, Epimetheus, and Iapetus. In other sequences, moons of Saturn appear to pass each other as they orbit Saturn. Background star fields seen by Cassini are sometimes intruded upon by bright passing moons. The robotic Cassini spacecraft has been revolutionizing humanity's knowledge of Saturn and its moons since 2004. In September, Cassini's mission will be brought to a dramatic conclusion as the spacecraft will be directed to dive into ringed giant.

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MAVEN's top 10 discoveries at Mars

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Since its launch in November 2013 and its orbit insertion in September 2014, MAVEN has been exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars. MAVEN is bringing insight to how the sun stripped Mars of most of its atmosphere, turning a planet once possibly habitable to microbial life into a barren desert world.
via Science Daily
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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Stellar Group, Tarantula Nebula outer space image Card

Stellar Group, Tarantula Nebula outer space image Card
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series Hundreds of brilliant blue stars wreathed by warm, glowing clouds in appear in this the most detailed view of the largest stellar nursery in our…


Saturn near Opposition

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Saturn reached its 2017 opposition on June 16. Of course, opposition means opposite the Sun in Earth's sky and near opposition Saturn is up all night, at its closest and brightest for the year. This remarkably sharp image of the ringed planet was taken only days before, on June 11, with a 1-meter telescope from the mountain top Pic du Midi observatory. North is at the top with the giant planet's north polar storm and curious hexagon clearly seen bathed in sunlight. But Saturn's spectacular ring system is also shown in stunning detail. The narrow Encke division is visible around the entire outer A ring, small ringlets can be traced within the fainter inner C ring, and Saturn's southern hemisphere can be glimpsed through the wider Cassini division. Near opposition Saturn's rings also appear exceptionally bright, known as the opposition surge or Seeliger Effect. Directly illuminated from Earth's perspective, the ring's icy particles cast no shadows and strongly backscatter sunlight creating the dramatic increase in brightness. Still, the best views of the ringed planet are currently from the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft. Diving close, Cassini's Grand Finale orbit number 9 is in progress.

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Monogram Carina Nebula, deep space astronomy Desk Lamp

Monogram Carina Nebula, deep space astronomy Desk Lamp
Galaxies, Stars and Nebulae series: A fantastic astronomy photograph showing a panoramic view of the WR 22 and Eta Carinae regions of the Carina Nebula. …


Friday, 16 June 2017

On the road to creating an electrodeless spacecraft propulsion engine

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Researchers have been trying to find out how the plasma flow is influenced by its environment via laboratory experiments. And in doing so, have made headway on research towards creating an electrodeless plasma thruster used to propel spacecraft.
via Science Daily
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Manhattan Moonrise

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A Full Moon rose as the Sun set on June 9, known to some as a Strawberry Moon. Close to the horizon and taking on the warm color of reflected sunlight filtered through a dense and dusty atmosphere, the fully illuminated lunar disk poses with the skyscrapers along the southern Manhattan skyline in this telephoto snapshot. The picture was taken from Eagle Rock Reservation, a park in West Orange, New Jersey, planet Earth. That's about 13 miles from southern Manhattan and some 240,000 miles from the Moon. Foreground faces of the modern towers of steel and glass share the Moon's warm color by reflecting the last rays of the setting Sun. The tallest, with the shining triangular facet, is New York City's One World Trade center.

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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Icy Moons, Galaxy Clusters, and Distant Worlds Among Selected Targets for James Webb Space Telescope



via Hubble - News feed
http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2017-28

*Ring, Ring* 'Earth? It's space calling, on the quantum line'

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Scientists report the successful transmission of entangled photons between suborbital space and Earth.
via Science Daily
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Shortcut to satellite-based quantum encryption network

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Researchers demonstrate ground-based measurements of quantum states sent by a laser aboard a satellite 38,000 kilometers above Earth.
via Science Daily
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Orion blazing bright in radio light

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Astronomers have created the largest image ever of the dense band of star-forming gas that weaves its way through the northern portion of the Orion Nebula.
via Science Daily
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New chemical method could revolutionize graphene

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Scientists have discovered a new chemical method that enables graphene to be incorporated into a wide range of applications while maintaining its ultra-fast electronics.
via Science Daily

Red Sprites over the Channel

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Mysterious and incredibly brief, red sprites are seen to occur high above large thunderstorms on planet Earth. While they have been recorded from low Earth orbit or high flying airplanes, these dancing, lightning-like events were captured in video frames from a mountain top perch in northern France. Taken during the night of May 28, the remarkably clear, unobstructed view looks toward a multicell storm system raging over the English Channel about 600 kilometers away. Lasting only a few milliseconds, the red sprite association with thunderstorms is known. Still, much remains a mystery about the fleeting apparitions including the nature of their relation to other upper atmospheric lightning phenomena such as blue jets or satellite detected terrestrial gamma flashes.

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CERN’s American sibling Fermilab turns 50

Call for media: Last chance to view ESA’s Mercury Explorer BepiColombo

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Media representatives are invited to a briefing on BepiColombo, ESA and JAXA’s joint mission to Mercury, and to view the spacecraft before it leaves for Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, for launch next year.  


via ESA Space Science
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/BepiColombo/Call_for_media_Last_chance_to_view_ESA_s_Mercury_Explorer_BepiColombo

Graphene encapsulation provides unprecedented view of diffusion and rotation of fullerene molecule

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Scientists have created a new structure by encapsulating a single layer of fullerene molecules between two graphene sheets. Buckyball sandwiches combine fullerenes and graphene. This structure allows to study the dynamics of the trapped molecules down to atomic resolution using scanning transmission electron microscopy. They report observing diffusion of individual molecules confined in the two-dimensional space and even find evidence for the rotation of isolated fullerenes within the structure.
via Science Daily