This animation shows a thermonuclear flame burning its way through a white dwarf star. The flame produces hot ash, which buoyantly rises as the flame burns. The ash breaks out of but remains gravitationally bound to the surface of the star and collides at a point on the opposite side of the star from the breakout location. The blue shows the approximate surface of the star and the orange shows the interface between the star and the hot ash produced by the flame. Credit: DOE NNSA ASC/Alliance Flash Center at the University of Chicago.
W5 is a chaotic region, sculpted by the glare of one generation of massive stars that's giving rise to the next.
In the first of this two-part video Dr Helmut Jerjen tells 'Tales of stars and stellar systems' . The event is part of Mount Stromlo's Centenary Celebrations. Astronomy has arguably had the single largest impact on the development of science, human society and culture over the past 10,000 years. On our journey through space and time we will explore the glorious life of our sun, learn how astrophysical knowledge acquired 100 years ago can help to solve the energy crisis on Earth today, and find out why we should rightfully call ourselves the children of the stars. The discovery of exoplanets is a regular topic in the international news. Dr Jerjen explains how astronomers measure the faint signal from these distant island worlds, show where our place in the Milky Way is, and disclose how the Universe grew a million times bigger on the night of October 6, 1923. Dr Jerjen is a member of academic staff at the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics (RSAA) at ANU. As a genuine multi-wavelength astrophysicist he has published over 100 articles in international journals covering topics in the areas of near-field cosmology, stellar populations, galaxy evolution and dark matter. He is the head of the Stromlo Milky Way Satellite Survey team that will make use of the new ANU SkyMapper Telescope to study dark-matter dominated dwarf galaxies in the halo of our Milky Way. Dr Jerjen is passionate about educating future generations of astrophysicists.
A beauteous rip through the solar sytem, based on NASA's Science on a Sphere program "The Wanderers." In ancient times, humans watched the skies looking for clues to their future and to aid in their very survival. They soon observed that some stars were not fixed, but moved in the sky from night to night. They called these stars the wanderers. At the center of our solar system is the sun, binding the planets with its gravitational pull. From our viewpoint on earth, the sun appears small in the sky, but in reality it dwarfs even Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. The distance from the sun to the small worlds traveling it are vast. Light takes eight minutes to reach earth, and nearly a day to reach the farthest known bodies. Join us now as we tour our solar system, starting with sun-baked mercury and traveling to the remotest outskirts, where small, icy bodies move with only the faintest connection to our sun. Mercury Mercury, the closest planet to Sun is also the smallest terrestrial planet. It orbits so swiftly that its year lasts only 88 Earth days. The airless cratered surface could almost be mistaken for our moon, relentlessly bombarded by meteoroids for four and a half billion years. One of these encounters left a giant scar called the golarus basin, one of the largest impact sights in the solar system. Temperatures on the surface of mercury can reach a blistering 800 degrees Fahrenheit, and can dip to 300 degrees below zero on the night side. Venus Venus, as seen from Earth, is the brightest object in sky after the Sun and Moon. Russian probes were the first to land on Venus in the 1970's and 1980's. Venus's surface is volcanic. Its atmosphere is composed of thick, dense carbon dioxide with sulfuric acid clouds. Both are potent greenhouse gases that trap incoming sunlight. Venus rotates slowly—one Venusian day lasts almost four Earth months. Earth Earth is the only planet with life as we know it. The atmosphere and temperatures are "just right" for life. It is the only known body in our solar system where water can exist as a gas, liquid, and solid. Vast oceans dominate surface of the planet. Seasonal changes occur on the surface. Earth has a solid surface that constantly shifts due to plate tectonics. Mars Once geologically active, Mars has the largest dormant volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons. It also hast the longest valley in the solar system, called Valles Marineris. Mars has a thin, atmosphere primarily composed of carbon dioxide. Surface conditions are dynamic. Mars has seasons as well as massive dust storms that cover the planet. Its surface features include the smooth, low-lying northern hemisphere and the craggy, heavily-cratered southern uplands. Evidence suggests that Mars had water running on its surface at some time in the past. Asteroid belt The asteroid belt is composed of small rocky pieces. The big question is "What happened here?" and "Why no planets?" The asteroid Ceres is large enough to be classified as a dwarf planet. Jupiter Jupiter is the largest and most massive planet in the Solar System. It rotates rapidly, completing one rotation every 10 hours. Long-lasting, high-speed winds and storms dominate Jupiter's atmosphere. Jupiter has a faint planetary ring system and over 63 moons. The largest moons, discovered by Galileo in 1610, vary widely. Io is volcanically active. Europa's cracked surface likely hides an ocean below. Ganymede is the largest moon in the Solar System. Callisto is heavily cratered. Saturn Saturn's seemingly serene atmosphere hides powerful storms and winds on its surface. Saturn is known for its extensive ring system made of chunks of ice, rock, and dust with small moonlets embedded within the rings. Saturn has more than 60 moons. Conditions vary among the moons. Titan, the largest moon, has a thick, smoggy, atmosphere covering its icy surface with lakes of liquid methane or ethane. Small Enceladus has water and ice geysers at its south pole. Its water vapor coat other nearby moons and create a thin Saturn ring. Uranus Uranus receives 400 times less sunlight than Earth. Uranus lies nearly sideways, making its axis nearly parallel to the plane of the Solar System. This extreme tilt give rise to seasons that last nearly 28 Earth years. Uranus as many moons and a faint ring system. It has only been visited by one spacecraft, Voyager 2, in 1986. Like the other giant planets, Uranus's atmosphere is primarily hydrogen and helium with a trace of methane gas over deep clouds, giving it a pale blue-green tint. Neptune Neptune also has many moons and a faint ring system. Its Great Dark Spot, a large storm with extremely strong winds, disappeared in the 1990s. Neptune's vivid blue color is due to its frigid temperature: -371°F (-224 °C).
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Science & Reason on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/ScienceReason Science@ESA (Episode 7): Planetary science - Exploring our backyard, the Solar System (Part 2) In this seventh episode of the Science@ESA vodcast series Rebecca Barnes continues to journey through the wonders of modern astronomy bringing us closer to home as we begin to explore the Solar System. We'll discover the scale and structure of the Solar System, find out why we explore it and introduce the missions launched on a quest to further investigate our local celestial neighbourhood. --- Please subscribe to Science & Reason: • http://www.youtube.com/Best0fScience • http://www.youtube.com/ScienceMagazine • http://www.youtube.com/ScienceTV • http://www.youtube.com/FFreeThinker --- Planetary science is the scientific study of planets (including Earth), moons, and planetary systems, in particular those of the Solar System and the processes that form them. It studies objects ranging in size from micrometeoroids to gas giants, aiming to determine their composition, dynamics, formation, interrelations and history. It is a strongly interdisciplinary field, originally growing from astronomy and earth science, but which now incorporates many disciplines, including planetary astronomy, planetary geology (together with geochemistry and geophysics), physical geography (geomorphology and cartography as applied to planets), atmospheric science, theoretical planetary science, and the study of extrasolar planets. Allied disciplines include space physics, when concerned with the effects of the Sun on the bodies of the Solar System, and astrobiology. There are interrelated observational and theoretical branches of planetary science. Observational research can involve a combination of space exploration, predominantly with robotic spacecraft missions using remote sensing, and comparative, experimental work in Earth-based laboratories. The theoretical component involves considerable computer simulation and mathematical modelling. Planetary scientists are generally located in the astronomy and physics or earth sciences departments of universities or research centres, though there are several purely planetary science institutes worldwide. There are several major conferences each year, and a wide range of peer-reviewed journals. • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_science --- The Solar System is made up of the Sun and all of the smaller objects that move around it. Apart from the Sun, the largest members of the Solar System are the eight major planets. Nearest the Sun are four fairly small, rocky planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Beyond Mars is the asteroid belt - a region populated by millions of rocky objects. These are left-overs from the formation of the planets, 4.5 billion years ago. On the far side of the asteroid belt are the four gas giants - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. These planets are much bigger than Earth, but very lightweight for their size. They are mostly made of hydrogen and helium. Until recently, the furthest known planet was an icy world called Pluto. However, Pluto is dwarfed by Earth's Moon and many astronomers think it is too small to be called a true planet. An object named Eris, which is at least as big as Pluto, was discovered very far from the Sun in 2005. More than 1,000 icy worlds such as Eris have been discovered beyond Pluto in recent years. These are called Kuiper Belt Objects. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union decided that Pluto and Eris must be classed as "dwarf planets". Even further out are the comets of the Oort Cloud. These are so far away that they are invisible in even the largest telescopes. Every so often one of these comets is disturbed and heads towards the Sun. It then becomes visible in the night sky. • http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=7 .
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Beauty, Truth, and Planetary Science: Finding Ourselves in the Solar System, a Loyola Chair Lecture, April 11, 2007, by Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., astronomer, Vatican Observatory, Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Brother guy was the 2006-2007 Loyola Chair (Physics and Astronomy) at Fordham, and is the chair of the Division for Planetary Sciences, American Astronomical Society. He is the author of Brother Astronomer, Adventures of a Vatican Scientist (McGraw Hill, 2000); Intelligent Life in the Universe? Catholic Belief and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life (Catholic Truth Society, 2005); and God's Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion (Jossey-Bass, 2007).
Visit http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/17feb_winterplanets/ for more. The brightest planets in the night sky are aligning for a must-see show in late February and March 2012. Start looking tonight!
Music by Zero Project. The hunt for planets beyond our solar system has reached a fever pitch. With some 500 planets revealed by ground telescopes, now, the ultimate planet finder, the Kepler space telescope, has released a tsunami of data. Among over a thousand new planet prospects are 200 multi-planet solar systems and 58 worlds in life-friendly orbits. They're all within a narrow window on the sky the size of your hand. That's why this may be the tip of the iceberg in a galaxy that's literally crawling with planets. Scientists are now beginning to envision what these worlds are like, with atmospheres, oceans, geological history. In the process, they are redefining what a planet might need to spawn life.
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"Bad Boy" active region 1339 continues to flare. At 20:27 UT a solar flare peaked at X1.9. X-class flares are pretty massive and are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. The location of this sunspot/active region is still not quiet Earth directed. Credit: NASA SDO
Aurora are colorful lights in the night time sky primarily appearing in Earth's polar regions. But what causes them? The culprit behind aurora is our own Sun and the solar plasma that is ejected during a magnetic event like a flare or a coronal mass ejection. This plasma travels outward along with the solar wind and when it encounters Earth's magnetic field, it travels down the field lines that connect at the poles. Atoms in the plasma interacts with atoms in Earth's upper atmosphere.
Our "bad boy" sunspot 1402 continues to unleash flares. At 18:37 UT this active region produced the largest category of flares; an X-class flare. It measured X2 to be exact. Since this active region is rotating over the limb of the Sun the eruption was not Earth directed. But energetic protons accelerated by the blast are now surrounding our planet and a S1-class radiation storm is in progress. S1-class is the lowest of 5 (S1 to S5) and has no biological impact, no satellite operations are impacted but some minor impact on HF radio is experienced. Credit: NASA SDO
An intense solar flare observation by yours truly on October 22, 2011. Especially watch the dark "blobs" falling downward into the flare from above. These are not dense blobs of cool matter - they're actually voids in plasma! Planet-sized bubbles of low density, moving through the 15 million-degree plasma. This warms the cockles of my heart. Credit: NASA SDO
Today we were treated to a very special sight; the Moon came in between the SDO satellite and the Sun. For 1 hour and 41 minutes team SDO observed the Lunar Transit. This event only happens a few times a year but gives the SDO Team an opportunity to better understand the AIA instrument on SDO and give it a fine tune. This video shows today's Lunar Eclipse in a variety of wavelengths the AIA instrument observes. Each wavelength shows us a different temperature and layer of the Sun, allowing us to study the Sun and its activities. Credit: NASA SDO
The Chinese New Year certainly started with a bang this morning. At approx. 04:00 UT a strong and long duration M8.7-class solar flare exploded from Active Region 1402. NASA SDO captured this event and thanks to ESA/NASA SOHO and NASA STEREO Behind spacecrafts, we have also learned of a very quick moving Coronal Mass Ejection. The CME is traveling at approx. 2,200 km per second and the Goddard Space Weather Lab predicts the arrival of this CME on earth to be January 24, 2012 at approx. 14:18 UT (+/- 7 hours). It also shows that Mars will get hit too, several hours after Earth. These kinds of events can cause problems for spacecrafts in geosynchronous, polar and other orbits passing could be affected by the cloud's arrival. In addition, strong geomagnetic storms are possible, so high-latitude sky watchers should be alert for Aurorae. Credit: NASA SDO
The video from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager onboard SDO shows the Active Region 1393 from January 6 through January 8 and demonstrates how sunspots can quickly change shape and size. Sunspots are planet-sized magnets created by the Sun's inner magnetic dynamo. Like all magnets in the Universe, sunspots have north (N) and south (S) magnetic poles Sunspots, temporary disturbances in the Sun's photosphere, are the most visible advertisement of the solar magnetic field. They appear dark because temperatures are considerably lower than in surrounding areas. Sunspots occur where the magnetic field lines emerge from the inside of the Sun to form expanding loops above its surface. Sunspots usually show up as small forms that are irregularly shaped, and grow within days or weeks to their full size. While they can last weeks or months, they do eventually disappear, often by breaking into smaller and smaller sunspots. Credit: NASA SDO
After several days of a quiet Sun, the solar activity is now high again. Big sunspot AR1429, which emerged on March 2nd, is crackling with strong flares. This morning brought the strongest so far--an X1-class eruption on March 5th at 0413 UT. This flare propelled a bright Coronal Mass Ejection into Space, which will probably miss Earth, but hit Mercury and Venus. Even if this CME misses, high-latitude sky watchers should still be alert for auroras in the nights ahead. An M2-class eruption from the same sunspot on March 4th produced another, wider CME that might yet intersect Earth. The cloud is expected to deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field on March 6th at 04:30 UT (+/- 7 hr). Take a look at the forecast from our friends at the NASA Goddard Space Weather Lab: http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/downloads/20120305_085600_anim.tim-den.gif Credit: NASA SDO
The Comet Lovejoy seen through the Solar Dynamics Observatory AIA telescope in the 171 angstrom wavelength. Credit: NASA SDO
An active region just passed the Western limb of the Sun produced a very nice eruption today. Lots of solar material was ejected into Space but it was not Earth directed. Credit: NASA SDO
A beautiful video showing a full side to side passing of an active region and the movement of sunspots as seen by the HMI instrument. The Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager extends the capabilities of the SOHO/MDI instrument with continual full-disk coverage at higher spatial resolution and new vector magnetogram capabilities. Credit: NASA SDO
This is the sunspot region AR 1429 that generated several major solar storms recently. The video covers nine days (March 4 - 12, 2012). Notice how the spot is almost always changing as its magnetic fields realign themselves. The images are white light images called intensity grams. Credit: NASA SDO
Over the past 24 hours we have seen some beautiful solar events. None of them have a direct impact on Earth, but they are astonishing to watch. It just shows how an active Star our Sun really is. Far from boring. On December 8, 2011 a twisting prominence eruption occurred on the lower eastern limb. The view through the AIA 304 angstrom filter shows us this beautiful eruption. In the early hours of December 9, 2011 SDO observed a little bit of a different eclipse. An erupting cloud of plasma was eclipsed by a dark magnetic filament. The eruption is still on the far side of the Sun, behind the eastern limb and is slowly moving forward and over the limb sometime next week. In front you can observe the filament of relatively cool dark material floating across the Sun's surface in the foreground. That filament partially blocks the view of the hot plasma eruption behind it. Credit: NASA SDO
December 7, 2011; Today's Sun in various wavelengths showing various temperatures and layers of the Sun. Not only that, but we also added the Sun's magnetic field lines to the view. These images were taken at approx. the same time We start off looking at the 6,000 degrees C. Photosphere. See the various sunspots on the "surface" of the Sun? Now let's transition into the region between the Chromosphere and the Corona, at about 1 million degrees C. From there we go into a composite of three different wavelengths showing temperatures up to 2 million degrees C. And at the end we add the complex field of Magnetic Field lines to the various active regions. And who says the Sun is boring? Credit: NASA SDO Thanks to Steele Hill