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Pictured from a window on the International Space Station, the aft section of the docked space shuttle Atlantis (STS-132) is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 23 crew member on the station.
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Pictured from a window on the International Space Station, the aft section of the docked space shuttle Atlantis (STS-132) is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 23 crew member on the station.

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(Source: fuckyeahspaceshuttle)



Sextans Constellation Pulsar Puts On A ShowPulsars are a very interesting breed of star. After a supernova explosion, the compact, super dense core that’s left behind is called a neutron star or pulsar that’s usually no bigger in diameter than a large city here on Earth. Beyond that, there are a couple different types of pulsars based on the rotational characteristics they display. Some pulsars rotate at a mild pace, anywhere from ten to a couple hundred times a minute. Another type of pulsar has the ability to rotate many thousands of times faster than that, which means one rotation can happen in milliseconds, thus giving them the name ‘millisecond pulsars’. The first millisecond pulsar was discovered in the late 1970s but wasn’t verified until the early 80s because at the time it wasn’t known that pulsars could spin at as fast as 1 millisecond. Now, after having discovered many other millisecond pulsars, astronomers using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have seen something very interesting indeed.About 4,400 light years away in the Sextans constellation is a binary pair known as AY Sextantis. A star about one fifth the mass of our sun is binary companion to a 1.7-millisecond pulsar named PSR J1023+0038, J1023 for short. Since the first discovery of a millisecond pulsar, astronomers had no clue as to how they got to spinning so fast until they started discovering more and more. It turned out that well over 50% of millisecond pulsars were, in fact, part of a binary system. Since pulsars do lose their momentum and energy over time, astronomers theorized that millisecond pulsars were ‘spun-up’ by their binary companions when they were close enough to each other. The idea is that the companion star would feed its pulsar to the point when the newly absorbed star material would start speeding it up. But since astronomers had never seen this in action, they couldn’t be certain, until April 2013.A pulsar is called as such because, in reference to Earth, the intense radio and gamma-ray beams being expelled from the poles would sweep past Earth in such a fashion that a radio telescope would detect radio pulses. What makes J1023 special is that astronomers caught its radio beams disappearing and intense X-ray beams taking their place."It’s almost as if someone flipped a switch, morphing the system from a lower-energy state to a higher-energy one," said Benjamin Stappers, an astrophysicist at the University of Manchester, England and lead researcher to this project. "The change appears to reflect an erratic interaction between the pulsar and its companion, one that allows us an opportunity to explore a rare transitional phase in the life of this binary."Like a black hole, a pulsar’s gravitational force can pull off so much star material from its companion that most of it will form into an accretion disk and steadily feed the pulsar. Every now and again, some of the material on the inside of the disk will lose orbital energy and start falling towards the surface of the pulsar, at which point the processes that create the radio beams become obscured and intense jets of X-rays take their place. Once the newly fallen material is either absorbed or burned up, the X-rays subside and the radio beams return to their normal state.With this discovery, astronomers believe that they will be able to shed some light in the future on the subject of how millisecond pulsars form and if the ‘spin-up’ theory carries any weight.-TAZIMAGE CREDIT: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Artist Rendition)"These artist’s renderings show one model of pulsar J1023 before (top) and after (bottom) its radio beacon (green) vanished. Normally, the pulsar’s wind staves off the companion’s gas stream. When the stream surges, an accretion disk forms and gamma-ray particle jets (magenta) obscure the radio beam."SOURCE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722120452.htm

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Sextans Constellation Pulsar Puts On A Show

Pulsars are a very interesting breed of star. After a supernova explosion, the compact, super dense core that’s left behind is called a neutron star or pulsar that’s usually no bigger in diameter than a large city here on Earth. Beyond that, there are a couple different types of pulsars based on the rotational characteristics they display. Some pulsars rotate at a mild pace, anywhere from ten to a couple hundred times a minute. Another type of pulsar has the ability to rotate many thousands of times faster than that, which means one rotation can happen in milliseconds, thus giving them the name ‘millisecond pulsars’. The first millisecond pulsar was discovered in the late 1970s but wasn’t verified until the early 80s because at the time it wasn’t known that pulsars could spin at as fast as 1 millisecond. Now, after having discovered many other millisecond pulsars, astronomers using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have seen something very interesting indeed.

About 4,400 light years away in the Sextans constellation is a binary pair known as AY Sextantis. A star about one fifth the mass of our sun is binary companion to a 1.7-millisecond pulsar named PSR J1023+0038, J1023 for short. Since the first discovery of a millisecond pulsar, astronomers had no clue as to how they got to spinning so fast until they started discovering more and more. It turned out that well over 50% of millisecond pulsars were, in fact, part of a binary system. Since pulsars do lose their momentum and energy over time, astronomers theorized that millisecond pulsars were ‘spun-up’ by their binary companions when they were close enough to each other. The idea is that the companion star would feed its pulsar to the point when the newly absorbed star material would start speeding it up. But since astronomers had never seen this in action, they couldn’t be certain, until April 2013.

A pulsar is called as such because, in reference to Earth, the intense radio and gamma-ray beams being expelled from the poles would sweep past Earth in such a fashion that a radio telescope would detect radio pulses. What makes J1023 special is that astronomers caught its radio beams disappearing and intense X-ray beams taking their place.

"It’s almost as if someone flipped a switch, morphing the system from a lower-energy state to a higher-energy one," said Benjamin Stappers, an astrophysicist at the University of Manchester, England and lead researcher to this project. "The change appears to reflect an erratic interaction between the pulsar and its companion, one that allows us an opportunity to explore a rare transitional phase in the life of this binary."

Like a black hole, a pulsar’s gravitational force can pull off so much star material from its companion that most of it will form into an accretion disk and steadily feed the pulsar. Every now and again, some of the material on the inside of the disk will lose orbital energy and start falling towards the surface of the pulsar, at which point the processes that create the radio beams become obscured and intense jets of X-rays take their place. Once the newly fallen material is either absorbed or burned up, the X-rays subside and the radio beams return to their normal state.

With this discovery, astronomers believe that they will be able to shed some light in the future on the subject of how millisecond pulsars form and if the ‘spin-up’ theory carries any weight.

-TAZ

IMAGE CREDIT: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Artist Rendition)

"These artist’s renderings show one model of pulsar J1023 before (top) and after (bottom) its radio beacon (green) vanished. Normally, the pulsar’s wind staves off the companion’s gas stream. When the stream surges, an accretion disk forms and gamma-ray particle jets (magenta) obscure the radio beam."

SOURCE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722120452.htm
ohstarstuff:

The famous theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler coined the term “It from Bit”. He says that ”It” — every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself — derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely — even if in some contexts indirectly — from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, “bits.” This concept symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom — a very deep bottom, in most instances — an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-or-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe.

Wheeler speculated that we are part of a universe that is a work in progress; we are tiny patches of the universe looking at itself — and building itself. It’s not only the future that is still undetermined but the past as well. And by peering back into time, even all the way back to the Big Bang, our present observations select one out of many possible quantum histories for the universe.
At every moment, in Wheeler’s view, the entire universe is filled with events, where the possible outcomes of countless interactions become real, where the infinite variety inherent in quantum mechanics manifests as a physical cosmos. And we see only a tiny portion of that cosmos. Wheeler suspected that most of the universe consists of huge clouds of uncertainty that have not yet interacted either with a conscious observer or even with some lump of inanimate matter. He sees the universe as a vast arena containing realms where the past is not yet fixed.
from Does the Universe Exist if We’re Not Looking?

Also check out fromquarkstoquasars article: John Wheeler’s Participatory Universe
View high resolution

ohstarstuff:

The famous theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler coined the term “It from Bit”. He says that ”It” — every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself — derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely — even if in some contexts indirectly — from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, “bits.” This concept symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom — a very deep bottom, in most instances — an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-or-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe.

Wheeler speculated that we are part of a universe that is a work in progress; we are tiny patches of the universe looking at itself — and building itself. It’s not only the future that is still undetermined but the past as well. And by peering back into time, even all the way back to the Big Bang, our present observations select one out of many possible quantum histories for the universe.

At every moment, in Wheeler’s view, the entire universe is filled with events, where the possible outcomes of countless interactions become real, where the infinite variety inherent in quantum mechanics manifests as a physical cosmos. And we see only a tiny portion of that cosmos. Wheeler suspected that most of the universe consists of huge clouds of uncertainty that have not yet interacted either with a conscious observer or even with some lump of inanimate matter. He sees the universe as a vast arena containing realms where the past is not yet fixed.

from Does the Universe Exist if We’re Not Looking?


Also check out fromquarkstoquasars article: John Wheeler’s Participatory Universe

jtotheizzoe:

Forty-five years ago today, two human beings first set foot on the moon. On July 20, 1969, the lunar module of Apollo 11 touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, and forever changed how we view our place in the universe. When I think about the fact that four and a half decades ago, at the very moment I am writing this, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the freakin’ moon, I am humbled and inspired.

I’ve combined some of my favorite photos from Apollo 11 with some of the actual words spoken by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

If you’d like to relive the historic mission moment by moment, word by word, and photo by photo, head over to SpaceLog

Rubber Duckie in Space? What we are looking at in this photo are multiple shots of the same comet and a picture of a rubber duck. The image is courtesy of the Philae Lander (@Philae2014 on Twitter) and shows us an updated view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. As you can see, it seems to resemble a rubber duckie. Comet 67P is the target comet for ESA’s Rosetta mission, with Rosetta set to rendezvous with 67P on August 6. Recent data from the OSIRIS imaging system reveals that Comet 67P is like no comet we have ever encountered. "This is unlike any other comet we have ever seen before," said OSIRIS project manager Carsten Güttler from the MPS. "The images faintly remind me of a rubber ducky with a body and a head." How 67P received this intriguing shape is still unclear. "At this point we know too little about 67P to allow for more than an educated guess," said Sierks.Like its name, Comet 67P’s nucleus is two-part. Known as a contact binary, the duel nucleus is composed of two components that would have come into contact at speeds of approx. 3 meters per second. The entire nucleus spans 4 by 3.5 kilometers. While the irregular shape is not unheard of, it does present a problem come November when the Philae lander is set to touch down. Philae navigator Eric Jurado as saying that “navigation around such a body should not be much more complex than around a nucleus of irregular spherical type, but landing the Philae probe; however, could be more difficult, as this form restricts potential landing zones.”Can’t wait to see what else Rosetta reveals about her Comet in the upcoming weeks. Very exciting science here. 
Image & Source Credit: NASA/ESA View high resolution

Rubber Duckie in Space? 

What we are looking at in this photo are multiple shots of the same comet and a picture of a rubber duck. The image is courtesy of the Philae Lander (@Philae2014 on Twitter) and shows us an updated view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. As you can see, it seems to resemble a rubber duckie. 

Comet 67P is the target comet for ESA’s Rosetta mission, with Rosetta set to rendezvous with 67P on August 6. Recent data from the OSIRIS imaging system reveals that Comet 67P is like no comet we have ever encountered. 

"This is unlike any other comet we have ever seen before," said OSIRIS project manager Carsten Güttler from the MPS. "The images faintly remind me of a rubber ducky with a body and a head." How 67P received this intriguing shape is still unclear. "At this point we know too little about 67P to allow for more than an educated guess," said Sierks.

Like its name, Comet 67P’s nucleus is two-part. Known as a contact binary, the duel nucleus is composed of two components that would have come into contact at speeds of approx. 3 meters per second. The entire nucleus spans 4 by 3.5 kilometers. 

While the irregular shape is not unheard of, it does present a problem come November when the Philae lander is set to touch down. 

Philae navigator Eric Jurado as saying that “navigation around such a body should not be much more complex than around a nucleus of irregular spherical type, but landing the Philae probe; however, could be more difficult, as this form restricts potential landing zones.”

Can’t wait to see what else Rosetta reveals about her Comet in the upcoming weeks. Very exciting science here. 

Image & Source Credit: NASA/ESA

Happy 15 years Chandra!! Fifteen years ago, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space on board the Space Shuttle Columbia. Deployed on July 23, 1999, Chandra has changed our understanding of the Universe through unprecedented X-ray images. Chandra joins the ranks of NASA’s current “Great Observatories” along side the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Chandra is specifically engineered to collect X-ray emissions from hot, energetic regions of our Universe. Thanks to its high sensitivity and resolution, Chandra is able to observe objects like close planets and comets to the most distant quasars. It has provided us with stunning images of supernova remnants, regions around supermassive black holes (including the one at the heart of our Milky Way) and has led to the discovery of new black holes all across the cosmos. In addition, Chandra has advanced our knowledge of dark matter, by highlighting the separation of dark matter from normal matter in various galaxy clusters. In honor of Chandra’s 15 years of hard work, four new images have been released. These are not new objects but new images showing them in greater detail. Stay tuned for future articles on each of these amazing images. You can see all four represented above. Starting at the top left and going clockwise we can see the Crab Nebula, then G292.0+1.8, then Tycho and at the bottom we have 3C58. These four supernova remnants are examples of what remains when a star dies. The resulting remnants are very hot and energetic, thus they glow very brightly in X-ray light, allowing them to be seen by Chandra."Chandra changed the way we do astronomy. It showed that precision observation of the X-rays from cosmic sources is critical to understanding what is going on," said Paul Hertz, NASA’s Astrophysics Division director in Washington. "We’re fortunate we’ve had 15 years – so far – to use Chandra to advance our understanding of stars, galaxies, black holes, dark energy, and the origin of the elements necessary for life."Chandra’s name was selected as a result of a global contest. Participants submitted names along with an essay explaining why the name should be chosen. The contest winners were determined by the essays as many people submitted the same names. Named for the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the name Chandra means “moon” or “luminous” in sanskrit - quite fitting for the telescope. In order to provide us with the images we see, Chandra orbits the Earth at an altitude of 86,500 mi (139,00 km). This allows for the telescope to make long observations without having to worry about Earth’s shadow. Chandra was the largest satellite ever launched by the shuttle. "We are thrilled at how well Chandra continues to perform," said Belinda Wilkes, director of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The science and operations teams work very hard to ensure that Chandra delivers its astounding results, just as it has for the past decade and a half. We are looking forward to more ground-breaking science over the next decade and beyond."In the beginning stages of development, Chandra was referred to as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) and as the very first telescope proposed to NASA back in 1976. After fifteen years of stunning imagery, what do we have to look forward to? Can Chandra help us discover new objects in the universe? Most likely Chandra will allow us to look deeper into objects, like the Crab Nebula, and discover more about supernova remnants. While Chandra may not necessarily help us discover new objects, it will be able to increase our understanding of current objects by leaps and bounds. We look forward to 15 more years!"Chandra continues to be one of the most successful missions that NASA has ever flown as measured against any metric – cost, schedule, technical success and, most of all, scientific discoveries," said Martin Weisskopf, Chandra Project Scientist at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "It has been a privilege to work on developing and maintaining this scientific powerhouse, and we look forward to many years to come."NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations. 
Image & Source Credit: NASA/Chandra View high resolution

Happy 15 years Chandra!! 

Fifteen years ago, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space on board the Space Shuttle Columbia. Deployed on July 23, 1999, Chandra has changed our understanding of the Universe through unprecedented X-ray images. 

Chandra joins the ranks of NASA’s current “Great Observatories” along side the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Chandra is specifically engineered to collect X-ray emissions from hot, energetic regions of our Universe. Thanks to its high sensitivity and resolution, Chandra is able to observe objects like close planets and comets to the most distant quasars. It has provided us with stunning images of supernova remnants, regions around supermassive black holes (including the one at the heart of our Milky Way) and has led to the discovery of new black holes all across the cosmos. 

In addition, Chandra has advanced our knowledge of dark matter, by highlighting the separation of dark matter from normal matter in various galaxy clusters. 

In honor of Chandra’s 15 years of hard work, four new images have been released. These are not new objects but new images showing them in greater detail. Stay tuned for future articles on each of these amazing images. You can see all four represented above. Starting at the top left and going clockwise we can see the Crab Nebula, then G292.0+1.8, then Tycho and at the bottom we have 3C58. These four supernova remnants are examples of what remains when a star dies. The resulting remnants are very hot and energetic, thus they glow very brightly in X-ray light, allowing them to be seen by Chandra.

"Chandra changed the way we do astronomy. It showed that precision observation of the X-rays from cosmic sources is critical to understanding what is going on," said Paul Hertz, NASA’s Astrophysics Division director in Washington. "We’re fortunate we’ve had 15 years – so far – to use Chandra to advance our understanding of stars, galaxies, black holes, dark energy, and the origin of the elements necessary for life."

Chandra’s name was selected as a result of a global contest. Participants submitted names along with an essay explaining why the name should be chosen. The contest winners were determined by the essays as many people submitted the same names. Named for the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the name Chandra means “moon” or “luminous” in sanskrit - quite fitting for the telescope. 

In order to provide us with the images we see, Chandra orbits the Earth at an altitude of 86,500 mi (139,00 km). This allows for the telescope to make long observations without having to worry about Earth’s shadow. Chandra was the largest satellite ever launched by the shuttle. 

"We are thrilled at how well Chandra continues to perform," said Belinda Wilkes, director of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The science and operations teams work very hard to ensure that Chandra delivers its astounding results, just as it has for the past decade and a half. We are looking forward to more ground-breaking science over the next decade and beyond."

In the beginning stages of development, Chandra was referred to as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) and as the very first telescope proposed to NASA back in 1976. After fifteen years of stunning imagery, what do we have to look forward to? Can Chandra help us discover new objects in the universe? Most likely Chandra will allow us to look deeper into objects, like the Crab Nebula, and discover more about supernova remnants. While Chandra may not necessarily help us discover new objects, it will be able to increase our understanding of current objects by leaps and bounds. We look forward to 15 more years!

"Chandra continues to be one of the most successful missions that NASA has ever flown as measured against any metric – cost, schedule, technical success and, most of all, scientific discoveries," said Martin Weisskopf, Chandra Project Scientist at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "It has been a privilege to work on developing and maintaining this scientific powerhouse, and we look forward to many years to come."

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations. 

Image & Source Credit: NASA/Chandra

jameyerickson:

Surface of the Moon captured by the Chinese Chang’e 3 rover.

Say hi to PlutoNext summer, the New Horizons spacecraft will make a close flyby of Pluto, giving us our first look at an object in the Kuiper Belt.A few days ago, it turned its LORRI camera in the direction of its target and this image is the end result. The spacecraft remains over 400 million kilometers away from its target, but even at that distance this is very likely the highest-resolution image of Pluto (and its moon Charon) ever taken, and of course, things will only get better from here.-JBBImage credit: NASA/New Horizons[x] View high resolution

Say hi to Pluto

Next summer, the New Horizons spacecraft will make a close flyby of Pluto, giving us our first look at an object in the Kuiper Belt.

A few days ago, it turned its LORRI camera in the direction of its target and this image is the end result. The spacecraft remains over 400 million kilometers away from its target, but even at that distance this is very likely the highest-resolution image of Pluto (and its moon Charon) ever taken, and of course, things will only get better from here.

-JBB

Image credit: NASA/New Horizons
[x]

(Source: facebook.com)

thedemon-hauntedworld:

Magellanic gemstone in the southern sky [NGC 290]
Hubble has captured the most detailed image to date of the open star cluster NGC 290 in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
The image taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys onboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show a myriad of stars in crystal clear detail. The brilliant open star cluster, NGC 290, is located about 200,000 light-years away and is roughly 65 light-years across.
Credit: European Space Agency & NASA Acknowledgements: Davide De Martin (ESA/Hubble) and Edward W. Olszewski (University of Arizona, USA)
View high resolution

thedemon-hauntedworld:

Magellanic gemstone in the southern sky [NGC 290]

Hubble has captured the most detailed image to date of the open star cluster NGC 290 in the Small Magellanic Cloud.

The image taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys onboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show a myriad of stars in crystal clear detail. The brilliant open star cluster, NGC 290, is located about 200,000 light-years away and is roughly 65 light-years across.

Credit: European Space Agency & NASA
Acknowledgements: Davide De Martin (ESA/Hubble) and Edward W. Olszewski (University of Arizona, USA)