There was an error in this gadget

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Martian moon slips by Jupiter

Alignments of planets, moons and stars as seen from Earth always get us excited. This close-up view of the Martian moon Phobos lined up with Jupiter ups the ante – it was seen by a spacecraft orbiting Mars.
Phobos is only 23 kilometers wide, whereas Jupiter is 142,000 kilometers across, but at the moment of the alignment on June 1, the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter was only 11,389 kilometers away from the lumpy moon. Jupiter was a further 529 million kilometers away.
The High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express was kept fixed on Jupiter for the conjunction, ensuring that the planet remained static in the frame. The operation returned a total of 104 images over a period of 68 seconds, all of them taken using the camera’s super-resolution channel.

Supernova in M51

Last week I spotted an Astronomer's Telegram about a discovery of a potential supernova in M51 - the Whirlpool Galaxy.

A supernova is what happens when a massive star reaches the end of its life and for a short time that exploding star can appear as bright as an entire galaxy. In a galaxy like ours you might expect as many as two or three supernovae per century but this is the third seen in M51 in the past 17 years.

The discovery was made by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) and the Galaxy Zoo Supernovae project. Since then, many amateur and professional telescopes around the world have been watching supernova SN2011dh fade. In fact several people I know have been observing it: astronomer George Privon has seen it with the LBT and Megan is hoping to catch it at radio wavelengths this week. The 2m diameter Faulkes Telescope North had some bad weather at the end of last week so the first public image from FTN since the supernova was taken this morning. That image can be compared to this image of M51 from April 28th.

Supernovae can be discovered by anybody and you don't need fancy equipment. The main things you need are a familiarity with the night sky and the time to keep looking at the skies. The Galaxy Zoo Supernovae project even makes it really easy to find them from the comfort of indoors.

A martian profile of Gandhi

Ah, Mars. We’ve always enjoyed looking up and imagining what’s there, and thanks to the latest technology, we can see it in pretty surprising detail. Imagine my surprise to find out what’s been staring right back at us the whole time: Gandhi!
Satellite photos reveal something very like the face of Gandhi (or Curly) staring back at us from the surface of Mars.
// Photo by ESA/Google Maps/Matteo Ianneo/Before It's News
Yes, after Googling one of the most improbable phrases of all time (“Gandhi on Mars”), you too can read all about the face of the famed Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi appearing amidst some rocky outcroppings on the martian surface. (Personally, though, I think it looks more like Curly from the Three Stooges.) Let me quickly point out that the find, discovered by Matteo Ianneo of Italy as he perused Google Mars, is not an actual carving of a man’s face. Just like the famed Face on Mars, what we see here is merely a trick of the light — albeit a pretty convincing one. Should you wish to see for yourself, look for the new “face” at 33°12'29.82"N, 12°55'51.21"W (on Mars).
The illusion arises because human beings are just really good at spotting faces, even when they’re not actually visages on purpose. The phenomenon is known as pareidolia, and it’s responsible for some of the other interesting claims out there of seeing faces in inanimate objects.
As it turns out, this latest face on Mars is a mere trick of the light, illuminating a naturally created formation to make it look — quite a bit — like a face. // Photo by ASU Mars Space Flight Facility

Guest blog: Panama inaugurates its first astronomical observatory

We first learned about Panama’s growing astronomy enthusiasm when Astronomy columnist and contributing editor Stephen James O’Meara spent a few days in January there to attend the 1st Congress of Panama Amateur Astronomy 2011. At that time, the Panamanian Amateur Astronomy Association (APAA) had received the gift of an observatory telescope, the facility of which was under construction. Since that time, the observatory has been completed, and Captain Luis A. Velásquez, president of the APAA, was kind enough to send us an update on the project.
The Primer Observatorio de Panamá is (as the name implies) the first astronomical observatory in the Republic of Panama. // All photos by Captain Luis A. Velásquez
The planets, the Moon, meteors, asteroids, and the whole universe are now closer to the Panamanians. On Thursday, April 28, 2011, the Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá (UTP) inaugurated the first astronomical observatory of the Republic of Panama. Several astronomers from France, Mexico, and Chile participated in the inauguration, as well as important authorities in Panama. The observatory is located in the regional center of the UTP at Coclé, near the city of Penonomé (about 90 miles [150 kilometers] southwest of Panama City), in the southern side of the country. The observatory’s first director, R. Delgado-Serrano, holds a Ph.D. from Paris Observatory in France. “Astronomy and astrophysics is closely linked to the development of technology and the development of a country. This is the reason why we are working hard to be the best of the region in this area,” says Delgado-Serrano. Furthermore, the president of the UTP, Marcela Paredes de Vásquez, assures that “the UTP, through the observatory, wants to turn Panama into a reference center for science and research in the field of astronomy and astrophysics and to encourage, in children and young people, the interest for these areas and all areas related to science.”
Members of the Panamanian Amateur Astronomy Association celebrate the observatory’s completion.
The new observatory houses a Meade 14-inch LX200GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, donated by the French government to the public university. The telescope is mounted on an Astro-Physics 1200 mount and installed in a full-fledged observatory featuring an astronomical dome and several rooms, funded by UTP. The observatory is also equipped with other devices, including a CCD detector, an autoguider, adaptive optics, and filters. Moreover, the first floor of the observatory features an astronomical exhibition hall, which displays various astronomical topics and historical samples of people who have excelled in astronomy.
The inauguration of Panama’s new observatory concluded with skygazing followed by a fireworks display.
Congratulations to the APAA, the UTP, and all astronomy enthusiasts in Panama!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


In the very beginning, there was a single particle to whom I regard as 'THE PARENT PARTICLE' which possessed Infinite Density & Infinite Mass. An Explosion took place in that Parent Particle. Its disintegrated parts traveled far from each other in the Empty Space with the Speed of light or more than that. According to Einstein's Mass-Energy Equivalence the disintegrted parts of that particle could have changed into Energy. The whole Space was filled with Energy. Somewhere the Energy Density was more somewhere it was less (Here it's the Violation of Second Law of Therodynamics).

Sunday, May 9, 2010