Breaking science news and multimedia, heavy on astronomy and physics (and heavy on citing) New vids, pics, articles, and the occasional research post for ResearchBlogging.org.

Monday, April 30, 2012

NEW PROMETHEUS VIDEO Mentions Saturn

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It seems that everyone is super excited about the new movie coming out: Prometheus.
A new Prometheus video just popped up on YouTube, and gives some tantalizing new information of the connection between Prometheus and Saturn.




Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / QMUL

















gotcha.






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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Huge List Of Debates And Lectures On Theology And Science

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This floated my way somehow, supposedly originating from Reddit.  Almost all of these are religious debates/lectures, but a few are simply science.  This list will last me a hell of a long time.  My late nights are now pretty much now taken care of!  I can only imagine how many hours are in here.

Listed fifth from the bottom happens to be my favorite lecture of all time:
Lawrence Krauss - A Universe From Nothing. (on cosmology)

**DISCLAIMER**  I have NOT watched them all; so I cannot outright endorse them as a lot.  Furthermore, I have not tested each link.


However, what's important to note is that these people are well known to be highly educated, have phenomenal credentials, and are supremely eloquent.


Pick and choose AND ENJOY!




Christopher Hitchens:
Richard Dawkins:
Sam Harris:
Richard Carrier:
Michael Shermer:
Neil deGrasse Tyson:
Daniel Dennett:
PZ Myers:
Other debates and lectures:





Credit:  NO CLUE who compiled this list, I'm very sorry to say.  It was not me.


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Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Bearded Brothers, Be Proud!

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The title on Boing Boing caught my eye OF COURSE!
"All you ever wanted to know about beards"

As a quick reminder/explanation for my excitement:

<---This is me.

Read the beard's glorious history and learn exactly how women feel about them.
A PhD in Facial Hair
Created by: Online PhD

As a side note:

Ethan Siegel, theoretical astrophysicist and fellow bearded blogger (Starts With A Bang) posts yearly on a beard-off he takes part in called The West Coast Beard and Mustache Championships.  Here's a snippet of his excitement about the Jan 2012 event: "...I've had a whole extra year to prepare for this, both in terms of facial hair and in terms of style; you don't want to miss the spectacle I've created for this competition!"

Extremely entertaining!  Read on HERE.




Found via Boing Boing who found via geekosystem



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Nerd Humor In New Animated Short - AHH! Stuck In The LHC!

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This brightened up my whole day!  A full 2 minute smile on your face tends to do that.
See for yourself!

"A quick look around the LHC"


Video Credit: OxfordSparks (YouTube) www.oxfordsparks.net (Main)
Found via SymmetryMag's Twitter



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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

13000mph - DARPAs Mach 20 Hypersonic Plane

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DARPA keeps on blowing my mind.  (and sometimes scares the hell out of me.)

The HTV-2 (Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2) 
DARPA's hypersonic, unmanned deliverer of destruction 

It is "...part of the advanced Conventional Prompt Global Strike weapons program, which is aimed at developing a bomber capable of reaching any target on Earth within an hour."

Mach 20 has been achieved, but that's where the HTV-2 runs into a problem.  During test runs, (starting in 2010) hitting mach 20 throws the vehicle into barrel rolls, completely out of control. 
SO!  All the kinks haven't been ironed out, but it has shown its frightening potential.


An artist's illustration of (HTV-2)
Credit: DARPA


It stays in orbit, then can be deployed and cruise at 13,000 mph to whatever destination the government fancies. 



Here's a picture of the HTV-2 in orbit, sheaths detached, 
the arrowhead of a vehicle shown in the center.
Credit: DARPA



 Oh, DARPA!  
You and your silly killing machines never fail to entertain!



 Tip of the hat to Space.com


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Monday, April 23, 2012

A Real Life Ultra Perverted Deep Sea Monster

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From the movie "Aliens"
Newt: "My mommy always said there were no monsters - no real ones - but there are."
Ripley: "Yes, there are, aren't there?"
Newt: "Why do they tell little kids that?"
Ripley: "Most of the time it's true."

The Anglerfish:


You thought spiders killing and eating their mates were horrific?  HA!  This aquatic monstrosity has the most disturbing reproduction method I've ever heard of:

"When he finds a female, he bites into her skin, and releases an enzyme that digests the skin of his mouth and her body, fusing the pair down to the blood-vessel level.  The male then slowly atrophies, first losing his digestive organs, then his brain, heart, and eyes, and ends as nothing more than a pair of gonads, which release sperm in response to hormones in the female's bloodstream indicating egg release. This extreme sexual dimorphism ensures that, when the female is ready to spawn, she has a mate immediately available."

Some monsters are real.
Credit: Bruce Robison/Corbis via NatGeo


The anglerfish almost looks fake to me.  Their appearance is so unique, it has an immediate impact.  It's bizarre and horrifying.  Living in the lightless depths, there are over 200 variations, which doesn't make me feel any better. 

Sculpture by Jud Turner
 Credit: Jud Turner  This artist is incredible, check him out.


Look closely.  One feature of the anglerfish 
is that its teeth are translucent.
 Credit: tek bull


This angler fish was constructed out of 
recycled materials welded together.  
I don't know if it bites...
Credit: Justin La Doux



I doubt I'll be able to sleep well tonight.



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If The Elements Were Students

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What is MY favorite element?  After much internal debate, I'd say Iron.


!!WARNING!! EXTREMELY CORNY!!



If the elements were all students:
  


Arsenic has a Napoleon complex.  [NYT]
 (Credit: concept-cars.org)


Carbon and Oxygen were caught in the greenhouse [wiki] "bonding."  ...it was hot. 

 (Thanks Camilla)

Hydrogen and Oxygen go to the club and make it rain [urban dict.]
(Image Credit:Corrie White Igor Kliakhandler)
 
Gold pretty much took over the orchestra class because he's so good at conducting. [Monster Cables]
(I think this scene was in The Hobbit...)
 (Credit: God)


Platinum wants to be a rapper [ThugFashion] 
(insert in mouth... no, seriously.)
(Credit: ThugFashion)

Lithium [.gov Fact Sheet] has some serious problems. 
 (Credit: Newsweek)

Barium is goth. He sticks out in stark contrast [wiki] to everyone else.
 (Credit: Wiki - Creative Commons)


Chlorine, captain of the swim team just CANNOT convince Sodium [YouTube] to try out for the team. 
(Credit: )

But really... everyone wants to be Iron [NASA]


"Fusion continues in red supergiants until iron is formed. Unlike the elements before it, iron releases no energy when fused. This is because iron has the most stable nucleus of all the elements. Elements lighter than iron generally emit energy if fused, since they move from a less stable nuclear structure to a more stable one. By contrast, elements heavier than iron emit energy if they undergo fission, that is, by losing nucleons (i.e. protons and/or neutrons). Again, they go from a less stable to a more stable nuclear structure... ...The stability of the iron nucleus is represented by the fact that it requires the most energy to break apart."

Yeah, everyone wants to be Iron.



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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Retain Your Wonder

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If you know me, you know that things like this get me all emotional.

There are things I can't "get used to."  Even today, when I see an airplane, I'm taken aback.  While I look up at the stars, I disappear. 

"Welcome to Science"



Video Credit:


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Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Sun and 2012 / SDO Turns 2

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This crazy, violent thing we call the Sun fuels (almost) all life on Earth.  Every measurement I've heard regarding the sun is mind-boggling.  Now is the age where we can learn its secrets.  We watch its awesome power through proxy eyes that see invisible light.

"Here Comes Solar Maximum"
One of the ideas behind the supposed impending destruction of Earth on 12-21-2012 involves the Sun throwing the deadliest of tantrums.  Alas, this is ridiculous.  Watch NASA explain why:



Video Credit: NASA Science



"SDO: Year 2"
Happy anniversary! 



Video Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio / Moby Gratis




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Friday, April 20, 2012

SCIBINGE: Martian Falcon / Eye from ALMA / Space Unicorn

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Two of each.  Let's roll!


It's glaringly obvious.  Falcons have inhabited Mars.
"Late Springtime Defrosting of Northern Dunes"
"The dark, splotchy tones on the dunes may be deposits of particulates deposited from carbon dioxide "geysers" or relatively thick deposits of carbon dioxide ice. The more brownish colors represent defrosted areas. Polygonal patterns on the surface of the dunes are probably cracks in overlying carbon dioxide ice." -Nathan Bridges

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona



HiRISE started releasing short vignettes on YouTube about 4 months ago.  Slideshows with narration, follow them here: HiRISE on YouTube.  Not a lot of people seem to know about the channel.  Let's give them some traffic!
Notice the same title as the newly released picture above...
"Late Springtime Defrosting of Northern Dunes"


Video Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Robert Rappaport/Arizona Public Media





 A few days ago, ALMA [The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array] released a stunning new photo of Fomalhaut.
"ALMA Reveals Workings of Nearby Planetary System"
"...a disc, or ring, of dust orbiting Fomalhaut, which lies about 25 light-years from Earth."
Click to embiggen.

Image Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO). Visible light image: the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope
Acknowledgement: A.C. Boley (University of Florida, Sagan Fellow), M.J. Payne, E.B. Ford, M. Shabran (University of Florida), S. Corder (North American ALMA Science Center, National Radio Astronomy Observatory), and W. Dent (ALMA, Chile), P. Kalas, J. Graham, E. Chiang, E. Kite (University of California, Berkeley), M. Clampin (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), M. Fitzgerald (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), and K. Stapelfeldt and J. Krist (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)





Below is a 56 sec. visualization zooming in closer and closer, finally arriving at the scene photographed above.
"Zooming in on Fomalhaut and its dusty disc"


Loading player...

Video Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO). Visible light image: the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope A. Fujii/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin (ESA/Hubble). Music: John Dyson (from the album Moonwind)




A week and a half ago, NASA featured a photograph of  NGC 2264.  I've been keeping it in my back pocket.
"A Fox Fur, a Unicorn, and a Christmas Tree"
"What do the following things have in common: a cone, the fur of a fox, and a Christmas tree? Answer: they all occur in the constellation of the unicorn (Monoceros)"

Image Credit: Rolf Geissinger



Another, older image this one:  Here's NGC 2264 again, this time a different frequency band/amalgamation from Spitzer.

Image Credit: SIRTF/NASA/ESA




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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Science Pics 4/19/12

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These first three were posted recently over at Atmospheric Optics.  I'm cycling these three as my computer wallpapers and loving it.  Even stretched to "fit," they look beautiful.


"Ground Halos"
"A frozen Finland lake glitters as if gemstone strewn. More at home in the skies, a 22° and rare 46° halo are formed from the glints of ice crystal gems on the lake surface."

Image Credit: Jari Luomanen


"Iridescent clouds Salta Province, Western Argentina"
"...captured near sunset by Dallas Rhodes of Georgia USA. Iridescence in clouds most often occurs close to the sun. It is best seen when the sun is hidden."

Image Credit: Dallas D. Rhodes


"Aconcagua Iridescence"
"At 6960m high, Aconcagua is the highest peak of the Andes. Radek Grochowski shot these images on 18th February ‘12 from Plaza de Mulas at 4400m looking towards the summit region."

Image Credit: Radek Grochowski



And finally, new from The Joint Astronomy Centre via PhysOrg:
"Dusty stellar nurseries from the dark side of a galaxy"
"Left-hand panel: The red colors in this image show the galaxy M66 as it appears at the sub-mm wavelength of 850 microns, while the white background shows the galaxy as it appears in visible light. Regions of cold dust that appear as dark streaks in the white image glow brightly in the red image. Right-hand panel: The SCUBA-2 image at 850 microns seen on its own."

Image Credit:VLT/ESO, JAC, G. Bendo



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Mysteries of the Sun: 20pg Color pdf/jpg Companion to the Video Series

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As if the SUPERB 5 part video series "Mysteries of the Sun" wasn't good enough!




With pdf's such as this, a popular complaint is the inability to turn them into jpg's.  Extracting/converting a pdf's internal pages can get a little complicated, so I went ahead and did it for you (and me.)
Click any below to get full size, then right click > save as.  Image viewing zoom function may still be necessary.

(In the reader, the actual pdf is mis-numbered as 18 pages instead of 20)

01

02

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20


Credit: Conveniently, all the credits are listed directly above.




NASA's Page for Mysteries of the Sun.




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NASA Video Series: Mysteries of the Sun pt 1-5

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In my opinion, this is the best space science multimedia to come out since ALMA started to release photos.  Each of the 5 episodes last about 5 minutes apiece.

It's slickly produced, with top notch narration alongside stunning visuals (both NASA animations and spacecraft photographs/videos.)  They delve into topics unknown by most, and explain them in a way that can be understood by astronomy fans slightly above layman.

Quickly access all 5 via YouTube Playlist, or watch each at whim, embedded below.




Mysteries of the Sun pt. 1/5 - Space Weather
In This Episode:
This video describes the direct and dramatic effects that eruptions on the sun can cause at Earth. Earth's magnetic fields change shape and strength in response to an eruption on the sun, and these changes in turn can damage space born technology and disrupt communications traveling through space. They also cause aurora.





Mysteries of the Sun pt. 2/5 - Solar Variability
In This Episode:
Rotations of the material deep inside the sun cause constantly shifting magnetic field lines. This variability drives the solar cycle, during which the north and south magnetic poles reverse position approximately every 11 years.





Mysteries of the Sun pt. 3/5 - The Heliosphere
In This Episode:
The solar wind streams out from the sun until it collides with material from the rest of space. This entire bubble defined by the solar wind is called the heliosphere and scientists study the very boundaries to better understand our place in space.





Mysteries of the Sun pt. 4/5 - Earth's Magnetosphere
In This Episode:
Earth is enveloped in a protective magnetic envelope called the magnetosphere. This can change shape in response to the sun's effects, causing various types of space weather at Earth.





Mysteries of the Sun pt. 5/5 - Earth's Upper Atmosphere
In This Episode:
Certain layers, high up in the atmosphere also respond to incoming energy from the sun. These layers contain charged particles and so naturally respond to an influx of magnetic energy. Understanding such variability is crucial since it can, in turn, degrade radio communication as well as satellite orbits.





Main Credit: NASA SCIENCE "for the benefit of all"
Sub credits:
Parts 1-4:
http://imgur.com/nFgcL
http://imgur.com/3xWid
http://imgur.com/0x0DT
Part 5:
http://imgur.com/nFgcL
http://imgur.com/zDFGQ
http://imgur.com/0x0DT

NASA's Page for Mysteries of the Sun


The icing on the cake:


NASA has a free (full color) book companion to the video series.
 The award winning 18 page, hi-res picture pdf  is free on their site.

Separating/extracting/converting a pdf's internal pages can get a little complicated, so for your convenience I turned them into jpgs.  
 


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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Brian Cox on iPad

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I don't even have an iPad!  Furthermore, I HATE virtually every type of commercial!

...But Brian Cox is one of my heroes.



Brian Cox, physicist at CERN, and dubbed "The New Carl Sagan," is famous mostly from the popularity of his work for BBC.  In my opinion, it's the highest quality pop science in many years.  First was the series Wonders of the Solar System [wiki], which was successful enough for the sequel series, Wonders of the Universe [wiki.]
The latter has been made into an iPad app (5 pounds/7dollars.)  On the coattails of its release, a cheaper iPhone version will be coming.
 
Take a look.





 
Tip of the hat to Lights in the Dark


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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New From the Center for Astrophysics: Top 10 Infrared Photos

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There's a brand new press release from CfA (Center for Astrophysics) titled
"1000 Days of Infrared Wonders"
This are all pictures taken by the Infrared Array Camera, or IRAC.

"IRAC [Infrared Array Camera] continues to be an amazing camera, still producing important discoveries and spectacular new images of the infrared universe." -CfA

These embedded photos are the Hi-Res versions.  Click any to enlarge.  
To save, then right click > save as.

01
Tornado Nebula

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / J. Bally (University of Colorado)


02
Orion, located about 1,340 light-years from Earth

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Univ. of Toledo


03
IRAC [Infrared Array Camera] image of the Helix Nebula

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / J. Hora (CfA) & W. Latter (NASA/Herschel)
 


04
The Trifid Nebula hosts stars at all stages of life.

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech


05
The eastern edge of a region known as W5, near the Perseus constellation 
7,000 light-years away

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / CfA


06
The cluster, known as DR22, is in the constellation Cygnus the Swan.

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech


07
The image here shows five end-to-end strips spanning the center of our galaxy. 
This image covers only one-third of the whole galactic plane. 

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / E. Churchwell (Univ. of Wisconsin)


08
These two galaxies - the Whirlpool and its companion - are relatively nearby 
at a distance of just 23 million light-years from Earth.

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / R. Kennicutt (Univ. of Arizona)


09 
In this image of the nearby Sombrero Galaxy, IRAC clearly sees a dramatic disk of warm dust (red) caused by star formation around the central bulge (blue).

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / R. Kennicutt (Univ. of Arizona)


10
The many points of light in this field aren't stars but entire galaxies.

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SWIRE Team




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