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Posts Tagged ‘Space Telescope Science Institute’

NASA Envisions Alien Worlds

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/nasa-envisions-alien-worlds.html

NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)
Out of the Dust, a Planet is Born
In this artist’s conception, a possible newfound planet spins through a clearing, detected around the star CoKu Tau 4 by the Spitzer Space Telescope, in a nearby star’s dusty, planet-forming disc. The possible planet is theorized to be at least as massive as Jupiter, and may have a similar appearance to what the giant planets in our own solar system looked like billions of years ago.


NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)
Hubble Spots Possible New Moons Around Pluto
The artist’s concept above shows the Pluto system from the surface of one of the candidate moons. The other members of the Pluto system are just above the moon’s surface. Pluto is the large disk at center, right. Charon, the system’s only confirmed moon, is the smaller disk to the right of Pluto. The other candidate moon is the bright dot on Pluto’s far left. Click image for full resolution.


ESA/C.CarreauESA/C.Carreau
Steaming Hot Planet
This artist’s impression shows a gas-giant exoplanet transiting across the face of its star. Infrared analysis by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope of this type of system provided the breakthrough.The planet, HD 189733b, lies 63 light-years away in the constellation Vulpecula. It was discovered in 2005 as it transited its parent star, dimming the star’s light by some three percent.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA
Fantastic Four Galaxies with Planet
This artist’s concept shows what the night sky might look like from a hypothetical planet around a star tossed out of an ongoing four-way collision between big galaxies (yellow blobs). NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope spotted this “quadruple merger” of galaxies within a larger cluster of galaxies located nearly 5 billion light-years away.Though the galaxies appear intact, gravitational disturbances have caused them to stretch and twist, flinging billions of stars into space, nearly three times as many stars as are in our Milky Way galaxy. The tossed stars are visible in the large plume emanating from the central, largest galaxy. If any of these stars have planets, their night skies would be filled with the monstrous merger, along with other galaxies in the cluster (smaller, bluish blobs).This cosmic smash-up is the largest known merger between galaxies of a similar size. While three of the galaxies are about the size of our Milky Way galaxy, the fourth (center of image) is three times as big. All four of the galaxies, as well as most other galaxies in the huge cluster, are blob-shaped ellipticals instead of spirals like the Milky Way.Ultimately, in about one hundred million years or so, the four galaxies will unite into one. About half of the stars kicked out during the merger will fall back and join the new galaxy, making it one of the biggest galaxies in the universe.


NASA/ESA/G. Bacon(STScI)NASA/ESA/G.Bacon(STScI)
Exoplanet HR 8799b
This is an artistic illustration of the giant planet HR 8799b.The planet was first discovered in 2007 at the Gemini North observatory. It was identified in the NICMOS archival data in a follow-up search of NICMOS archival data to see if Hubble had also serendipitously imaged it.The planet is young and hot, at a temperature of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. It is slightly larger than Jupiter and may be at least seven times more massive. Analysis of the NICMOS data suggests the planet has water vapor in its atmosphere and is only partially cloud covered. It is not known if the planet has rings or moons, but circumplanetary debris is common among the outer planets of our solar system.


NASA/JPLNASA/JPL
Chemical Soups Around Cool Stars
This artist’s conception shows a young, hypothetical planet around a cool star. A soupy mix of potentially life-forming chemicals can be seen pooling around the base of the jagged rocks. Observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope hint that planets around cool stars – the so-called M-dwarfs and brown dwarfs that are widespread throughout our galaxy – might possess a different mix of life-forming, or prebiotic, chemicals than our young Earth.


ESAESA
Huygens on Titan
In 2005 the robotic Huygens probe landed on Titan, Saturn’s enigmatic moon, and sent back the first ever images from beneath Titan’s thick cloud layers. This artist’s impression is based on those images. In the foreground, sits the car-sized lander that sent back images for more than 90 minutes before running out of battery power. The parachute that slowed Huygen’s re-entry is seen in the background, still attached to the lander. Smooth stones, possibly containing water-ice, are strewn about the landscape. Analyses of Huygen’s images and data show that Titan’s surface today has intriguing similarities to the surface of the early Earth.


NASA/ESA/G. Bacon(STScI)NASA/ESA/G. Bacon(STScI)
Flaring Red Dwarf Star
This is an artist’s concept of a red dwarf star undergoing a powerful eruption, called a stellar flare. A hypothetical planet is in the foreground. Flares are sudden eruptions of heated plasma that occur when the field lines of powerful magnetic fields in a star’s atmosphere “reconnect,” snapping like a rubber band and releasing vast amounts of energy equivalent to the power of 100 million atomic bombs exploding simultaneously.Studying the light from 215,000 older red dwarfs collected in observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers found 100 stellar flares popping off over the course of a week.


NASA/ESA/G. Bacon(STScI)NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)
Super-Hot Planet with Unique Comet-Like Tail
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the existence of a baked object that could be called a “cometary planet.” The gas giant planet, named HD 209458b, is orbiting so close to its star that its heated atmosphere is escaping into space.Observations taken with Hubble’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) suggest powerful stellar winds are sweeping the cast-off atmospheric material behind the scorched planet and shaping it into a comet-like tail.


NASA/JPL-CaltechNASA/JPL-Caltech
This Planet Smells Funny
Giant planet GJ 436b in the constellation Leo is missing something–and that something is swamp gas. To the surprise of astronomers who have been studying the Neptune-sized planet using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, GJ 436b has very little methane–an ingredient common to many planets in our own solar system. This artist’s concept shows the unusual, methane-free world partially eclipsed by its star.Models of planetary atmospheres indicate that any world with the common mix of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, and a temperature up to 1,000 Kelvin (1,340 degrees Fahrenheit) should have a large amount of methane and a small amount of carbon monoxide. But at about 800 Kelvin (or 980 degrees Fahrenheit), GJ 436b it does not. The finding demonstrates the diversity of exoplanets and the need for further study.


NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana BerryNASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry
An Imagined Canyon on Planet Kepler 10-B
The daytime temperature is expected to be more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than lava flows here on Earth, hot enough to melt iron! Many years ago, before Kepler launched, members of what became the Kepler team built a robotic telescope at Lick Observatory to learn to do transit photometry– detecting drops in brightness of stars when planets pass in front of them. We called it the Vulcan Telescope, named after the hypothetical planet that scientists in the 1800’s thought might exist between the Sun and Mercury. A planet that might explain the small deviations in Mercury’s orbit that were later explained with Einsteins theory of general relativity.Vulcan is the god of fire in Roman mythology, a name befitting of a world so close to the Sun. The artists rendering of Kepler-10b is reminiscent of that hypothetical planet Vulcan. The Kepler team came full circle in its quest. We know that we’ve only begun to imagine the possibilities.


NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana BerryNASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry
Imagined View from Planet Kepler 10-B
Kepler-10b orbits one of the 150,000 stars that the Kepler spacecraft is monitoring, a star that is very similar to our own Sun in temperature, mass and size, but older with an age of over 8 billion years, compared to the 4-and-1/2 billion years of our own Sun. It is one of the brighter stars that Kepler is monitoring and about 560 light years from our solar system, which means when the light from this star began its journey toward Earth, European navigators were crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in search of new horizons. Today, we are still exploring and our crow’s nest is a space telescope called Kepler. One day, the oceans we cross will be the galaxy itself, but for now, we imagine the worlds we discover by putting all that we have learned from our observations and analyses into the fingers of artists.Kepler-10b must be a scorched world, orbiting at a distance that is more than 20 times closer to its star than Mercury is to our own Sun, with a daytime temperature expected to be more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.The Kepler team has determined that Kepler-10b is a rocky planet, with a surface you could stand on, a mass 4.6 times that of Earth, anda diameter 1.4 times that of Earth.


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Top 10 Mysteries of Outer Space

Posted by Admin on May 15, 2011

http://listverse.com/2009/12/31/top-10-mysteries-of-outer-space/#3

Top 10 Mysteries of Outer Space

Since the beginning of life, man has looked to the stars with a sense of wonder. Between then and now, many advances have been made in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, and physics in an attempt to explain the things we see above, yet the more we believe we understand, the less we really seem to know. In something as big as the universe, there are bound to be unexplainable phenomena, and things we truly can’t grasp. The universe shows us how small we really are, and in a place so big, is it really plausible to believe that we are alone? And is there any reason someone might not want us to know? This is a list of what I believe to be some of the best mysteries and conspiracy theories of outer space.

10

Simulacrum in Eagle Nebula

Hubble J

One of the strangest photos that has ever been taken of space is that of the Eagle Nebula. The photo itself is supposed to show the birth of a star from the gaseous clouds. However, when the photo was shown on CNN, hundreds of calls came in from people reporting they could see a face in the cloud. When the color of the photo was adjusted, a large human form seemed to appear within the cloud. Scientist have not been able to explain this phenomena (though listverse very possible has on this list – see item 1). You can read more about it here.

9

Where did galaxies come from?

Galaxy-1

Science has only recently been able to explain where the stars and planets came from. Now, scientists have turned their attention to a much bigger mystery, where did galaxies come from? What is known is that galaxies are not scattered randomly throughout space, rather they are found in clusters, known as “super clusters”. Scientists have two main theories to attempt to explain galaxy formation. First, the gas left over from the big bang clustered together to form galaxies, in which stars and planets were born. Second is that gas from the big bang created stars and planets all over the universe, and they migrated through gravity into galaxies. Neither theory has been universally accepted yet.

090421-Most-Earthlike-Planet Big

Our star, the sun, is just one of trillions in the universe. When you look at the fact that our star has eight planets, and do the math, it tells you that it is possible for there to be eight times as many planets in the universe than stars; an astounding figure. Is it not possible that just one of those planets might have life on it? It is a fact that, since the year 2000, hundreds of extra solar planets have been discovered orbiting distant stars. Some of these have found to be earth- like, such as the planet Gliese 581d, a planet believed to have liquid water on its surface. Could it possibly contain life? Hopefully with advances in technology in the next decade, we will soon know the answer. Till then, it remains one of space’s greatest mysteries.

7

Are there Other Universes?

Space Fiction Close Comet 1 - 1024X768

This is one of the more controversial arguments out there. The theory is that there are an infinite number of universes, each which is governed by its own set of laws and physics. Many scientists dismiss this argument as nothing more than speculation, as there is no evidence or mathematical law that allows for the existence of other universes. However, believers in this theory have argued that there are none that disprove it either. This is one mystery which can only be solved if we were able to travel there, however, with the expansion of the universe, it is unlikely humanity will ever find the answer.

Darkmattermap

Albert Einstein’s equation E = MC^2 is perhaps the best known equation of the century. However when applied to space, an anomaly occurs. When we use it to determine how much matter the universe should have, we realize that we have only found four percent of the matter in the universe! Where is the rest of it? Many believe it is in the form of dark matter. Where is this dark matter? It’s everywhere,  wherever there is no visible matter. Scientists have yet to show any conclusive proof that dark matter does in fact exist. The fact that you can’t see it, touch it, and light and radio waves pass right through it undeterred makes it extremely hard to detect.

5

Mars/Earth Connection

Face-On-Mars-1976

When talking about life on other planets, some say we need go no further than our own solar system. Mars has always been thought to harbor life by many conspiracy theorists, saying that NASA is covering it up. Many photos have also called into question civilization on Mars, such as the face on Mars, Pyramids on Mars, and photo of what appears to be an ape like figure sitting on a rock on Mars. While scientists have come out to debunk these photos, they have also admitted that they believe liquid oceans once covered the surface of Mars before its magnetic field disappeared. Is it possible that life did indeed once exist? The current missions to Mars hopes to answer this question.

4

UFO sightings by NASA Astronauts

Ufo

NASA Astronauts are some of the most highly trained and specialized people in the world. Often they are expert scientists that can explain almost anything. So when they see something they can’t explain, you can bet it is going to raise eyebrows. One of the most famous incidents occurred on a live broadcast on NBC in 1963. Major Gordon Cooper was at the end of his 22 orbit solo journey around the earth when he said that out of one of his windows he could see a glowing green object fast approaching. The object then made a sharp turn and shot away. He was sure he was not seeing things, as the radar in his spacecraft picked up the object as well. Upon his return to earth interviewers wanted to ask him about the object, however NASA officials would not allow it. You can read about this and other Astronaut sightings at this web site.

3

“White” Holes

251

One of Albert Einstein’s greatest accomplishments was the proving, though mathematics, the existence of black holes. From the advances in technology, we now have been able to find several black holes, and believe one to be at the center of our very own Milky Way galaxy. What is astonishing, however, is what Einstein also proved through his equations;  white holes also exist. The exact opposite of black holes, white holes are believed to “spit out” an incredible amount of matter from seemingly nothing. Such an object should  be easy to find, yet none have been. If one was found, it may help us explain other unknown mysteries, such as where the material that made the galaxies came from.

2

Ruins on Moon

Moon-Ruins1

In this list we have discussed the possibility of life on distant planets, and in near planets. But could it possibly at one time have been as close as the moon? This conspiracy theory states that there are indeed ancient ruins and buildings on the moon, but the government has been censoring them from the public. This theory had no backing until two recent breakthroughs. A man who claims to have worked for the government censoring moon photos came forward with several, explaining how the censorship was done and that indeed there were structures on the moon. More recently, scientist announced they believe they have discovered water, possibly in ice or liquid form, under the surface of the moon. For conspiracy theorists, this was all the proof they needed, while critics dismiss it as “ridiculous speculation”. You can read more about this, and watch a fascinating video, here.

1

Dark Energy

Darkmatterpie

Dark energy is the greatest mystery in the universe today, because of the fact that it is believed to be all around us, and it explains why there seems to be anomalies within the law of gravity. By the law of gravity, large objects, like galaxy clusters, should attract each other, and their gravitational pull should pull in other objects. This however, is not the case, and the fact is most galaxy clusters are moving farther apart. This is due to the fact that the universe is expanding at an incredible rate. To answer the question of why this is, scientists developed the theory of Dark Energy, which has the opposite effect as gravity, pushing things apart. Mathematical calculations have shown that if it exists, it makes up 74% of our universe, outweighing gravity, and this is why the universe is stretching out. However we still have no conclusive proof, so it remains a mystery to us.

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