April 18, 2014
Want to Spot Earth’s First Cousin? Look for the Swan in the Sky

From here on Earth, the planet Kepler-186f is a faint spot in the chaotic and twinkling universe. Its star is dim and far, far away.
But Kepler-186f is making headlines on Earth because, despite its distance, it looks a lot like our own planet.
The Kepler-186 system is in the constellation Cygnus, which stargazers will know as the easy-to-spot swan in the northern hemisphere’s summertime sky. 
From a human perspective, that makes it unusual. Kepler-186f is the first Earth-like planet in the habitable zone around its star that scientists have ever found. (!)
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

Want to Spot Earth’s First Cousin? Look for the Swan in the Sky

From here on Earth, the planet Kepler-186f is a faint spot in the chaotic and twinkling universe. Its star is dim and far, far away.

But Kepler-186f is making headlines on Earth because, despite its distance, it looks a lot like our own planet.

The Kepler-186 system is in the constellation Cygnus, which stargazers will know as the easy-to-spot swan in the northern hemisphere’s summertime sky. 

From a human perspective, that makes it unusual. Kepler-186f is the first Earth-like planet in the habitable zone around its star that scientists have ever found. (!)

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

November 6, 2013
How Astronomers Came to Think We are Probably Not Alone

To the average American, the news about NASA’s Kepler spacecraft discovering evidence of potentially “billions” of Earth-like planets in “habitable” solar orbits in the universe might feel like a paradigm-shifting moment. If there are billions of Earth-like planets out there, the possibility of life existing somewhere other than Earth suddenly goes from seeming like an odds-against to an odds-on notion. 
But to NASA’s scientists, that paradigm had shifted long before the headlines hit—indeed, before Kepler even launched.
Read more. [Image: NASA]

How Astronomers Came to Think We are Probably Not Alone

To the average American, the news about NASA’s Kepler spacecraft discovering evidence of potentially “billions” of Earth-like planets in “habitable” solar orbits in the universe might feel like a paradigm-shifting moment. If there are billions of Earth-like planets out there, the possibility of life existing somewhere other than Earth suddenly goes from seeming like an odds-against to an odds-on notion.

But to NASA’s scientists, that paradigm had shifted long before the headlines hitindeed, before Kepler even launched.

Read more. [Image: NASA]

August 16, 2013
Here's What the Two Moons of Mars Look Like From the Planet's Surface

July 19, 2013
A Planetary Nebula That Looks Like the Firefox Logo

The ancients read their stories into the skies; we read corporate logos. 
Read more. [Image: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF)]

A Planetary Nebula That Looks Like the Firefox Logo

The ancients read their stories into the skies; we read corporate logos.

Read more. [Image: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF)]

July 16, 2013
An Astronomer Followed a Whim -- and Discovered a New Moon for Neptune

July 11, 2013
For the First Time, Astronomers Have Determined the Color of an Exoplanet

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Filed under: Science Space Astronomy Exoplanet 
January 24, 2013

theatlanticvideo:

A Mesmerizing Time-Lapse of Stars Over the Eureka Valley Sand Dunes

“Armed only with boxed wine, firewood, and our DSLRs,” the filmmakers at Sunchaser Pictures trekked through Death Valley National Park to observe the Geminid meteor shower on December 13.

January 23, 2013

When We Blew Up Arizona to Simulate the Moon

Thanks to a well-timed tip from landscape blogger Alex Trevi of PrunedVenue made a detour on our exit out of Flagstaff, Arizona, to visit the old black cinder fields of an extinct volcano—where, incredibly, NASA and its Apollo astronauts once practiced their, at the time, forthcoming landing on the moon.

Read more. [Image: Venue]

3:58pm
  
Filed under: Moon Astronomy Science technology 
January 14, 2013
Why You Can’t Cry in Space

Astronauts can, certainly, tear up — they’re human, after all. But in zero gravity, the tears themselves can’t flow downward in the way they do on Earth. The moisture generated has nowhere to go. Tears, Feustel put it, “don’t fall off of your eye … they kind of stay there.” NASA spacewalk officer Allison Bollinger, who oversaw Feustel’s EVA, confirmed this assessment. “They actually kind of conglomerate around your eyeball,” she said. 
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Why You Can’t Cry in Space

Astronauts can, certainly, tear up — they’re human, after all. But in zero gravity, the tears themselves can’t flow downward in the way they do on Earth. The moisture generated has nowhere to go. Tears, Feustel put it, “don’t fall off of your eye … they kind of stay there.” NASA spacewalk officer Allison Bollinger, who oversaw Feustel’s EVA, confirmed this assessment. “They actually kind of conglomerate around your eyeball,” she said

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

2:35pm
  
Filed under: Space Astronomy Science Health 
January 3, 2013

A Martian Dream: Here’s What the Red Planet Would Look Like With Earth-Like Oceans and Life

[Images: Kevin Gill]

12:30pm
  
Filed under: Space Science Mars Astronomy 
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