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New Exciting NASA Telescope TESS Looks for Planets Closer to Home

By on Jul 31, 2016 in Exoplanets, NASA Missions | 0 comments

Is there life beyond Earth? A question so imperative that it has powered numerous sci-fi genres as well as historic missions like NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft. The implications of that question being answered will change the course of humanity forever. Currently, we have 2,237 confirmed planets. Meaning we have identified that many planets exist with actual observations that lie beyond our solar system. Of course, we estimate there to be at least 100 billion in our own galaxy, but observing them with our own eyes is a different story. Enter the new age of hunting for exoplanets. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or (TESS) will usher in a new set of fresh eyes for us. Let’s take a look at what TESS is, how it’ll find these planets, and why it’s an incredibly exciting mission that will launch in 2017-2018. How does TESS work? Exoplanet hunters, like...

Carnival of Space 462: This Week’s Top Space Stories

By on Jun 19, 2016 in Carnival of Space | 2 comments

Welcome to another edition of Carnival of Space! For those of you who are new to this it’s a collection of the best space stories from around the community. Today BrownSpaceman is hosting Carnival of Space 462. Let’s take a look at some of our awesome space stories today! First 3D Tools Printed Aboard Space Station An article by Universe Today about the first 3D tools printed in space! How cool is that? Read on to find out what tools they printed and how it’ll help our astronauts on those long missions. Read more... 470 Million Year Old Meteorite Discovered In Swedish Quarry A 470 million year old meteorite was found in Sweden that was believed to have originated from an asteroid calledOsterplana 65. However, what can we learn from this? Well this meteorite comes from a time where the solar system was a different place and it can help us uncover what that landscape...

Why I’m Excited for NASA’s Juno Mission

By on Jun 5, 2016 in NASA Missions | 0 comments

On July 4th, 2016 the Juno spacecraft will arrive to the largest gas planet in the solar system, Jupiter. This is particular mission is very exciting and I’m going to tell you why. For those of you who don’t know, Jupiter is vital to life on Earth. How so? Well what makes our solar system unique isn’t just the fact that Earth has water and it’s in the goldilocks zone, but the fact that Jupiter paved the way for our rocky planets to form effectively. Without Jupiter Earth may have been bombarded by more asteroids or comets. This leaves us with the palpable curiosity of understanding this gas giant that also harbors moon’s that are straight out of sci-fi novels. One famous example you may have heard about is the moon Europa. A moon that has more water than Earth itself. Furthermore, the best part about Juno studying Jupiter is the fact that it will help...

The Coldest Region in the Universe: The Boomerang Nebula (Bow Tie Nebula)

By on May 15, 2016 in Nebula | 0 comments

If we take a trip 5,000 light-years away from Earth and towards the constellation Centaurus we will find one of the coldest regions in the universe. Say hello to the beautiful Boomerang Nebula. The Boomerang Nebula or what is also known as the “Bow Tie Nebula” is a protoplanetary nebula. What is fascinating about this nebula is that it’s only 1 degree above absolute zero! Meaning it’s 1 degrees Kelvin or -271 degrees Celsius. The bow shape you see here is due to the outflow of gas originating from the core of the star. The gas itself is traveling at 164 km/s which this rapid expansion is the cause of the unusually low temperatures. To paint a clearer picture of why this nebula is essentially a cosmic freezer and the fact that we don’t see these low temperatures elsewhere is the magnitude of which the gas is escaping from the star. The star’s core is...

Everything You Need to Know About the 2016 Transit of Mercury

By on May 8, 2016 in Events | 0 comments

Mercury, the small rocky planet in our Solar System closest to the Sun, will be making a rare transit across the Sun on Monday May 9th, 2016. The transit itself will last from 7 a.m to 4 p.m EDT. However, why is it such a big deal to see a planet move across the Sun from Earth’s perspective? What does this mean for humans and science? Why the big fuss? Well I’m here to help break it down as it’s filled with a rich history that’s been on-going for hundreds of years and has progressed humankind as a result. So here’s why the 2016 Transit of Mercury is incredibly cool. A word to the wise: DO NOT view the transit without proper solar viewing equipment. You will do irreversible damage to your eyes if you look at the Sun directly. Please contact your closest science centre or observatory for viewing opportunities. It’s an incredibly rare event, but why?...

HCG 91: Furious Gravity Tug of War Between Galaxies

By on May 7, 2016 in Galaxies | 0 comments

Here’s a fantastic photo of a group of galaxies playing gravitational tug of war located a staggering 320 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. These group of galaxies are what as known as Hickson Compact Group 91 or HCG 91. They are named so because a Canadian astronomer named Paul Hickson discovered 100 compact groups of galaxies. The tails of these galaxies are actually 100,000 light-years long! Because of their “close” interaction the galaxies are triggering furious star formations. On a cosmic timescale these galaxies will merge together to form one larger galaxy which is how our very own Milky Way Galaxy formed. What is also impressive about this image is that it captures fainter galaxy interactions that are 2 billion light years away from Earth! Further Reading or Sources:...

Carnival of Space 456: Best Space Stories of the Week!

By on May 6, 2016 in Carnival of Space | 0 comments

Here is another issue of Carnival of Space! We are on the 456th issue and counting. If this is your first time hearing about this community driven feature then let me give you a quick intro. Carnival of Space was started by our friends over at Universe Today and a community of astronomy bloggers gathered together to help showcase some of the best space stories. Each community member hosts the Carnival of Space and spreads the love to the interwebs. So please, sit back, relax, and let these stories take you away on the cosmic beaches of the universe. Evidence from Curiosity rover shows Mars once had oxygen-rich atmosphere Here’s an article by Planetaria.ca on how the Curiosity rover discovered that Mars once had oxygen-rich atmosphere. Read on to find out what this means for understanding Mars and its history. Read more... Don’t Blink or You’ll Miss it Have you ever looked upon...

The Destruction of Supernova Remnant Simeis 147: The Spaghetti Nebula

By on May 5, 2016 in Nebula, Supernova | 0 comments

Located right in our own Milky Way is a story of a star that ended in utter destruction. Say hello to Supernova Remnant Simeis 147 or the Spaghetti Nebula. Discovered in 1952 this supernova remnant is located 3,000 (+/- 300) light years away from Earth on the border of constellations Auriga and Taurus. The Spaghetti nebula is about 40,000 years old or the first photon or light particle reached Earth 40,000 years ago. In its wake it left a neutron star known as pulsar PSR J0538+2817. What this means is that there is a star that is highly magnetized and shooting out electromagnetic beams as if it was a light house. The expanding remnants is expanding at an incredible rate of 950 kilometers per second! The entire nebula you see here is about 150 light years across. Further Reading or Sources: +Anne’s astronomy news +Emil Ivanov Astronomy +Wikipedia...