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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Science Pictures in the News: Jan.25, 2011

The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) Released a new image today of the
Cat's Eye Nebula

Image Credit: D. L√≥pez and R. Barrena (IAC)

Earth Observatory's Image of the Day:
Landslides in Brazil
After weeks of cloud cover, the ASTER instrument on Terra satellite collected this image of the mudslide-riven Serrana region of Brazil on January 18, 2011

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Mike Carlowicz

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)
The Rippled Red Ribbons of SNR 0509
What is causing the picturesque ripples of supernova remnant SNR 0509-67.5? The ripples, as well as the greater nebula, were imaged in unprecedented detail by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2006 and again late last year. The red color was recoded by a Hubble filter that left only the light emitted by energetic hydrogen.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: J. Hughes (Rutgers U.)

Today's Post over at Discover Blogs: Discoblog:
"It’s the End of the Kilogram as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
The British have a quite arbitrary unit in the Kilogram.  This standard is a piece of metal laying around in a safe:
"a cylinder of platinum-iridium about 39mm high, 39mm in diameter, cast by Johnson Matthey in Hatton Garden in 1879, delivered to the International Committee on Weights and Measures in Sevres shortly afterwards, polished and adjusted to be made equal in mass to the mass of the old French kilogram of the archives which dates from the time of the French Revolution."
Discussions are underway to reevaluate this unit, potentially changing its value to a proportion rooted in physics.  Although worldwide adoption to the changed value would take massive effort, the end result seems to me like OCD tidying up of the metric system.  Don't get me wrong, I do support it fully!

This picture's all over the internet at the moment, and rightly so.  It's absolutely beautiful.  I think Bad Astronomy posted it pretty much before everyone else.  Kudos!  Here's NASA/JPL's Page for the release.
Runaway Star
The blue star near the center of this image is Zeta Ophiuchi. When seen in visible light it appears as a relatively dim red star surrounded by other dim stars and no dust.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

A collage of Mars Posted on Universe Today
The 7 Year Long Journey of Opportunity
"This collage of three maps (left, top) and a new close up panoramic mosaic of Santa Maria crater on Sol 2464, Dec 29, 2010 (bottom right) shows the route traversed by the Opportunity Mars rover during her nearly 7 year long overland expedition across the Meridiani Planum region of Mars to her current location at Santa Maria Crater. Opportunity landed inside Eagle crater on Jan. 24, 2004 and has driven over 26 km (16 mi) since then. Opportunity arrived at the western rim of Santa Maria Crater on Dec. 16, 2010 on Sol 2451. She is driving around the edge of the 90 m wide crater in a counterclockwise direction on her way to the huge 22 km wide Endeavour crater which shows signatures of water bearing minerals. The rover is visible in top map taken from orbit by MRO spacecraft on New Years Eve, Dec 31, 2010, Sol 2466. The Panoramic Mosaic of Santa Maria Crater on Sol 2464 - at bottom right – was stitched together from raw images taken by Opportunity’s navigation camera. The rover was about 5 meters from the rim and nearing water bearing materials located roughly at the right of this photomosaic."

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell Marco Di Lorenzo, Kenneth Kremer

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