If you're fascinated by all things space and physics related, this page is for you.

The Universe on Facebook

christinetheastrophysicist:

A few days ago, we found out that comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is a contact binary. Now we have a rotating view of it. This gif uses 36 images each separated by 20 minutes to show a 360° view of the comet. It takes the comet 12.4 hours to complete one rotation.
Read more about the comet on the Rosetta Blog.

christinetheastrophysicist:

A few days ago, we found out that comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is a contact binary. Now we have a rotating view of it. This gif uses 36 images each separated by 20 minutes to show a 360° view of the comet. It takes the comet 12.4 hours to complete one rotation.

Read more about the comet on the Rosetta Blog.

(via bobak)

projecthabu:

     Here, we have the Saturn V rocket, housed inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center near Titusville, Florida, just a few miles from Launch complex 39, where these beasts once roared into the sky.

     When we look at the enormous first stage of the Saturn V rocket, called an S-IC, we think “spaceship”. Truthfully, the Saturn V first stage never actually made it into space. The stage only burned for the first 150 seconds of flight, then dropped away from the rest of the rocket, all while remaining totally inside Earth’s atmosphere. The S-IC stage is merely an aircraft.

     Even more truthfully, the S-IC stage displayed here at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, never flew at all. It is a static test article, fired while firmly attached to the ground, to make sure the rocket would actually hold together in flight. Obviously, these tests were successful, (e.g. she didn’t blow up), and she sits on our Apollo museum today. I wrote more about this particular stage in a previous post, (click here to view.)

     The rest of the rocket, the second and third stages, called the S-II and S-IVB stages, did fly into space. The S-II put the manned payload into orbit, and the S-IVB was responsible for initially propelling that payload from earth orbit to the moon, an act called “trans-lunar injection” (TLI).

     The particular rocket in this display, except for the first stage, is called SA-514. 514 was going to launch the cancelled Apollo 18 and 19 moon missions.

     The command/service module (CSM) in the photos is called CSM-119. This particular capsule is unique to the Apollo program, because it has five seats. All the others had three. 119 could launch with a crew of three, and land with five, because it was designed it for a possible Skylab rescue mission. It was later used it as a backup capsule for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

(via bobak)

colchrishadfield:

Today there are 6 astronauts living and working in space and 4 under the sea, training: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NEEMO/index.html
View high resolution

colchrishadfield:

Today there are 6 astronauts living and working in space and 4 under the sea, training: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NEEMO/index.html

Cosmic bacon? 
Perhaps I just have a huge passion for breakfast meat, but the stripes in this new Europa image seem to resemble a popular breakfast food. The colored image we see here is the end result of clear-filter grayscale data collected from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft added to low-resolution color data taken from a separate orbit of Galileo’s. The blue-white areas indicate terrain that is almost pure water ice, while the reddish regions contain water mixed with hydrated salts such as magnesium sulfate or possibly sulfuric acid. The reddish sections are connected with the “bacon” stripe, indicating the possibility that these surface features could have been in contact with a global subsurface oceanic layer during and/or after their formation. The area shown in the image spans approximately 101 x 103 miles (163 x 167 km). The original grayscale data was collected by Galileo on November 6, 1997 while performing the vehicle’s 11th orbit of Jupiter. At the time the data was collected, Galileo was roughly 13,237 miles (21,700 km) from Europa. This data was combined with the lower-res data in 1998 during the 14th orbit of Jupiter and at a distance of 89,000 miles (143,000 km) from Europa. 
Source & Image Credit: NASA View high resolution

Cosmic bacon? 

Perhaps I just have a huge passion for breakfast meat, but the stripes in this new Europa image seem to resemble a popular breakfast food. The colored image we see here is the end result of clear-filter grayscale data collected from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft added to low-resolution color data taken from a separate orbit of Galileo’s. 

The blue-white areas indicate terrain that is almost pure water ice, while the reddish regions contain water mixed with hydrated salts such as magnesium sulfate or possibly sulfuric acid. The reddish sections are connected with the “bacon” stripe, indicating the possibility that these surface features could have been in contact with a global subsurface oceanic layer during and/or after their formation. 

The area shown in the image spans approximately 101 x 103 miles (163 x 167 km). The original grayscale data was collected by Galileo on November 6, 1997 while performing the vehicle’s 11th orbit of Jupiter. At the time the data was collected, Galileo was roughly 13,237 miles (21,700 km) from Europa. This data was combined with the lower-res data in 1998 during the 14th orbit of Jupiter and at a distance of 89,000 miles (143,000 km) from Europa. 

Source & Image Credit: NASA


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.
(link)
View high resolution

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.

(link)

(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

View high resolution
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