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Archive for the ‘Astronomy’ Category

Time-Lapse Auroras and Flyovers

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Sometimes capturing things on video is the only way to truly express their beauty and magnificence.

And sometimes, its the only way to express the extent of their AWESOME!

This time-lapse video shows how circling the planet looks from the International Space Station:

The next one is a time-lapse of an aurora (my fav, as you all know) over Finland:

Aurora Borealis in Finnish Lapland 2011 from Flatlight Films on Vimeo.

The awesome is just…too much sometimes :)

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Awe Arousing Appearance of Aurora

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I love aurorae. Possibly one of the most beautiful and spectacular natural phenomena to grace this planet.

Astronaut Ron Garan recently posted a fantastic photo of an aurora from Earth’s orbit on his Twitter feed:

One of the last pictures I took #FromSpace #Aurora - southern lights - dancing with #Orion 9/14/11 18:48 GMT

Makes me feel like a 9 year old kid again, wishing he could be an astronaut when he grows up.

______________________________________________________________________

REMINDER: This blog is moving! The new location is http://www.aquantumofknowledge.com/ 

Remember to update your subscriptions! This site will no longer be supported after September 30, 2011. 

Thanks! 

Ryan

Realistic Simulation of the Formation of a Milky Way-Like Galaxy

August 31, 2011 1 comment

The first realistic simulation of a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way has been generated by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Zurich.

The simulation, called ERIS, took 1.4 million processor hours to complete. And that was on the 7th most powerful supercomputer in the world, NASA’s Pleiades supercomputer, which runs at 1.09 petaflops per second.

The simulation follows the formation of a galaxy equivalent to 7.9 × 1011 solar masses (1 solar mass is equal to the mass of our Sun) and has a total of 18.6 million particles.

The resulting galaxy has a radius of 2.5 kilo-parsecs (about 7.7 × 1016 kilometers). Previous attempts at simulating a realistic galaxy have failed, resulting in simulated galaxies which have too large of a central bulge. The finding of this study, which has been accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal, found that,

A high star formation threshold appears therefore key in obtaining realistic late-type galaxies, as it enables the development of an inhomogeneous interstellar medium where star formation and heating by supernovae occur in a clustered fashion. The resulting outflows at high redshifts reduce the baryonic content of galaxies and preferentially remove low angular momentum gas, decreasing the mass of the bulge component.

Another important result of this work is that it supports the idea that cold dark matter constitutes a large portion of the mass in the universe.

Last Shuttle Launch and A Comet Across the Sun’s Bow

July 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Some cool stuff happening in and around space these last couple days.

This video from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a comet streaking across the face of the Sun!!

And of course, the final shuttle launch EVER happened earlier today.

Screen grab of video from NASA website.

Moon Motion Movie Madness!

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Alliteration is fun.

Anywhooo…a lot of people know that only one side of the moon faces the Earth. That is because the moon rotates on its axis at roughly the same rate that it orbits the Earth.

The side of the moon which faces away from the Earth is commonly referred to as the Dark Side of the Moon (also one of the best album’s of all time).

In actuality, through the course of a year we see about 59% of the Moon’s surface. That is because the moon tilts and wobbles a bit, so sometimes we get a little more moon for our buck.

This video by the Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio shows one whole year of moon motion in a 2.5 minute time lapse video.

Pretty cool stuff!

Also, don’t forget to check out today’s Google Doodle, which is a nifty little animation showing today’s total lunar eclipse.

 

Astronomy Headline #Fail!

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

The story fails to mention that ALL total lunar eclipses occur during a full moon.

Thanks to Phil Plait for pointing this out, further proving the usefulness of Twitter.

Categories: Astronomy, News Tags: , , , , ,

Big-Ass Explosion on the Sun

June 8, 2011 Leave a comment

A magnificent solar flare erupted from the Sun yesterday.

Here’s a really cool video put together at Helioviewer.org in the UV range. (Watch it in HD for the full ‘KABOOM!’ effect)