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  1. #81
    Did you guys read that the new classification of Pluto and similar smaller planetoids is called a "plutoid" now? Oh, dear maker... what is WRONG with these people anymore???!!
    OK... I BLOG. YOU READ. at
    **Steven Sterlekar (1969-2001)**

  2. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by TeeEye7 View Post
    Well.....even though they're really bad, here's some shaky, blurry clicks of the International Space Station and Space Shuttle (the thin little squiggly line) with the moon (the fat blob) as a bonus as it went by last night over my little town.

    It's a hand-held effort, and a tripod would have done little, too. Anyway, it's always cool to see my tax dollar whizzing overhead at 17,500 miles per hour!
    Great picture!!!
    OK... I BLOG. YOU READ. at
    **Steven Sterlekar (1969-2001)**

  3. #83
    I'm just glad to see in that same article that the ridiculous decision to downgrade Pluto from a planet is still rather controversial among astronomers.

    I still say it was never anything more than a publicity stunt, and a stupid one at that.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  4. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by Bel-Cam Jos View Post
    Thanks for feeding me false science/technology information, TI....
    I give everyone a "heads-up" on the two nights the ISS/STS will orbit over our area, and that's bad info.....? HUH?!
    ¡Que la fuerza te acompañe!

  5. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by TeeEye7 View Post
    For my fellow SoCal-ers:

    The Space Shuttle will be visible tonight, traveling from the north to the southeast around 8:20pm to 8:25pm, plus or minus. It will be about 36 degrees above the horizon. I would recommend going out about 10 minutes earlier than that to get your eyeballs acclimated to the dusk. You will definitely see it, even if you go out too early or too late or miss my information and just "guess" at where and when to look. It will be the greatest time of your life, even better than that time in Jamaica on the sailboat with that one person (you know what I'm talking about). View this scientific wonder and you will gain 12 pounds of lean muscle, become a better dancer, and recall every hockey statistic from 1954-1987. This, I command!

    I live about 100 miles north of from JT to Tycho....the rest of SoCal should be able to see it, too. Just look for the bright, fast-moving "star" in the sky!
    Uh, I copied this word-for-word from your post on May 32, 2008, TI. So if it's listed this way above, as they say on the Intraweb, it must be true. I can't dance good, am flabby 'round the middle/edges/top/bottom, and don't know much aboot hockey from those years.
    Last edited by Bel-Cam Jos; 06-14-2008 at 09:44 AM.
    "I went to Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim, and I didn't get even a lousy t-shirt."

  6. #86
    Geez, I writes sweller than I thought!
    ¡Que la fuerza te acompañe!

  7. #87
    So there is an Earth 2 and 3 and 4.... Astronomers find batch of "super-Earths"

    WASHINGTON — European researchers said on Monday they discovered a batch of three "super-Earths" orbiting a nearby star, and two other solar systems with small planets as well.

    They said their findings, presented at a conference in France, suggest that Earth-like planets may be very common.

    "Does every single star harbor planets and, if yes, how many?" asked Michel Mayor of Switzerland's Geneva Observatory. "We may not yet know the answer but we are making huge progress towards it," Mayor said in a statement.

    The trio of planets orbit a star slightly less massive than our Sun, 42 light-years away towards the southern Doradus and Pictor constellations. A light-year is the distance light can travel in one year at a speed of 186,000 miles a second, or about 6 trillion miles.

    The planets are bigger than Earth -- one is 4.2 times the mass, one is 6.7 times and the third is 9.4 times.

    They orbit their star at extremely rapid speeds -- one whizzing around in just four days, compared with Earth's 365 days, one taking 10 days and the slowest taking 20 days.

    Mayor and colleagues used the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher or HARPS, a telescope at La Silla observatory in Chile, to find the planets.

    More than 270 so-called exoplanets have been found. Most are giants, resembling Jupiter or Saturn. Smaller planets closer to the size of Earth are far more difficult to spot.

    None can be imaged directly at such distances but can be spotted indirectly using radio waves or, in the case of HARPS, spectrographic measurements. As a planet orbits, it makes the star wobble very slightly and this can be measured.

    "With the advent of much more precise instruments such as the HARPS spectrograph ... we can now discover smaller planets, with masses between 2 and 10 times the Earth's mass," said Stephane Udry, who also worked on the study.

    The team also said they found a planet 7.5 times the mass of Earth orbiting the star HD 181433 in 9.5 days. This star also has a Jupiter-like planet that orbits every three years.

    Another solar system has a planet 22 times the mass of Earth, orbiting every four days, and a Saturn-like planet with a 3-year period.

    "Clearly these planets are only the tip of the iceberg," said Mayor.

    "The analysis of all the stars studied with HARPS shows that about one third of all solar-like stars have either super-Earth or Neptune-like planets with orbital periods shorter than 50 days."
    "Ohh, maxi big da fish! Well dat smells stinkowiff"

    "No time to discuss this as a supercommittee.... I am not a supercommittee!"

  8. #88
    Double post (so sue me)
    So this is why the Martians had to leave:
    Scientists think big impact caused two-faced Mars

    This artists rendition released by Jeffery Andrews-Hanna of Massachusetts In...
    1 hour ago
    29 Recommendations
    LOS ANGELES — Why is Mars two-faced? Scientists say fresh evidence supports the theory that a monster impact punched the red planet, leaving behind perhaps the largest gash on any heavenly body in the solar system.

    Today, the Martian surface has a split personality. The southern hemisphere of Mars is pockmarked and filled with ancient rugged highlands. By contrast, the northern hemisphere is smoother and covered by low-lying plains.

    Three papers in Thursday's journal Nature provide the most convincing evidence yet that an outside force was responsible.

    According to the researchers, an asteroid or comet whacked a young Mars some 4 billion years ago, blasting away much of its northern crust and creating a giant hole over 40 percent of the surface.

    New calculations reveal the crater known as the Borealis basin measures 5,300 miles across and 6,600 miles long — the size of Asia, Europe and Australia combined. It's believed to be four times bigger than the current titleholder, the South Pole-Aitken basin on Earth's moon.

    Astronomers have long puzzled over Mars' landscape ever since images beamed back in the 1970s showed different-looking halves. An orbiting spacecraft later observed the northern lowlands were on average 2 miles lower than the southern highlands and had a thinner crust.

    Scientists who had no role in the studies said the latest research strengthens the case for a colossal Martian impact, but it does not rule out the other theory that hot rock from inside the planet could have welled up and formed the different crusts.

    "The betting odds have gone up a lot in favor of the impact model," said Walter Kiefer, a staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston.

    The idea of an ancient impact was first advanced by Steve Squyres of Cornell University and Don Wilhelms of the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1980s. Squyres, currently the lead scientist for the twin Mars rovers, had always hoped other scientists would "pick that ball up and run with it."

    "It wasn't a totally nutty idea that there could have been an impact," Squyres said.

    But finding evidence of one proved difficult because part of the basin rim is now covered by a bulging volcanic range.

    For one study, a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory recreated what the Martian surface would have looked like before the volcanoes formed using gravity and surface measurements from spacecraft. They determined the impact basin is oval-shaped, similar to what would be expected if a space object had hit at an angle.

    "The shape is really one of the key pieces of evidence that it was probably formed in a giant impact," said MIT postdoctoral researcher Jeffrey Andrews-Hanna, whose original "gut feeling" favored the other theory.

    A separate group led by the California Institute of Technology developed 3-D simulations to determine the "sweet spot" of conditions that would form the basin.

    According to their calculations, a 1,000-mile-wide object traveling at more than 13,000 miles per hour — or 24 times faster than a jetliner — would hit Mars at an angle between 30 and 60 degrees. The collision would be equal to an explosion of 75 trillion to 150 trillion megatons of TNT.

    In the third study, a team of researchers led by the University of California, Santa Cruz, found that shock waves from such an impact would disrupt the southern crust.

    All three teams believe there was a single giant blow and not several small hits because there's no evidence of other basins.

    "Ohh, maxi big da fish! Well dat smells stinkowiff"

    "No time to discuss this as a supercommittee.... I am not a supercommittee!"

  9. #89
    Has anyone been watching the When We Left Earth, The NASA Missions series on Discovery Channel? This thing is several notches past awesome! I've already dropped not very subtle hints about the DVD for Christmas already.

    If you haven't tuned in, I'd highly recommend it!
    ¡Que la fuerza te acompañe!

  10. #90
    Total Eclipse this morning!
    Move along, move along


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