- Does the Theory of Evolution Really Matter? Video Presentation
- The greatest machine that never was
- Ballistic Capture Can Send Spacecraft to Mars at Cheaper Cost
- Ursid Meteor Shower Peaks: Here's How to See It
- Meet the Milky Way's New Neighbor KKs3
- How to spot a liar ~ A lecture by Pamela Meyer
- The Universe is an Illusion, But Consciousness Isn't.
- What happens when you point a telescope for black holes at the sun?
- The Fifth Dimension Isn't Magic ~ Amazing Insights Into Our Quantum Universe
- Stephen Hawking ~ How Did Life Begin?
Posted: 23 Dec 2014 04:34 PM PST
Students who may be disinterested or uncomfortable with the science of evolution often wonder why it is worth their time and effort to understand. Stated Clearly and Emory University's Center for Science Education have joined forces to create this animation addressing these concerns.
The discovery of biological evolution is among the most significant scientific findings of the last 200 years. It has lead us to thousands of new discoveries and is greatly expanding our understanding of the natural world.
Here we look at 3 mysteries which were solved by using Darwin's theory of evolution. The understanding we have gained is having a dramatic impact on food security, disease control, and environmental conservation.
This material is based upon work supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Program award to Emory University, award#52006923. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute or Emory University.
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Posted: 23 Dec 2014 04:29 PM PST
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Posted: 23 Dec 2014 04:26 PM PST
Excerpt from techtimes.com
Ballistic capture is a navigational technique utilized by spacecraft, and has been successfully utilized to coast into orbit around the Moon. Now, new research shows the same process may be used in flights to Mars, making trips to the Red Planet easier and less expensive.
Costs to fly to Mars can exceed hundreds of millions of dollars, and a large portion of that cost is directly related to arrival procedures once the vehicle reaches its destination. Spacecraft are usually traveling tens of thousands of miles per hour when they encounter the Martian system. Entering orbit around Mars means firing retro-rockets, powered by fuel carried from Earth, in a process called a Hohmann transfer. Any extra weight aboard rockets means additional fuel must be expended, adding to mission costs. Risks are also present in this type of operation, as spacecraft could veer off-course, or go racing straight past its target.
Ballistic capture involves placing a spacecraft into the same orbit as the target, a little ahead of the body, traveling slower than its destination. As the Moon or Mars "catches up" to the vehicle, the spacecraft is captured by the body, entering orbit around its target. Reaching Mars or the Moon still requires as much fuel as normal, but the need for braking is greatly reduced.
Ballistic capture and its possible utilization in future Mars missions was detailed in the journal Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy
Posted: 23 Dec 2014 04:19 PM PST
Excerpt from space.com
The Ursid meteor shower peaks tonight, and it should be a great show.
When skywatchers think of meteor showers during the month of December, the Geminid shower (which peaked earlier this month) usually comes to mind. But the Ursid meteor shower — peaking tonight and into the wee hours of Tuesday (Dec. 23) morning — should also offer skywatchers a good view this year.
Even if you can't see tonight's meteor shower due to light pollution or bad weather, you can still catch the Ursids online thanks to the Slooh Community Observatory. Tune in for Slooh's Ursid meteor shower webcast tonight starting at 8 p.m. EST (0100 Dec. 23 GMT) live on Space.com. You can also watch the webcast directly through Slooh.
The Ursids are so named because they appear to fan out from the vicinity of the bright orange star Kochab, in the constellation of Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. Kochab is the brighter of the two outer stars in the bowl of the Little Dipper (the other being Pherkad), that seem to march in a circle like sentries around the North Star, Polaris. These meteors are sometimes called the Umids, in a rather unsuccessful attempt to make clear that their radiant is in Ursa Minor, not Ursa Major.
The fact that Kochab is positioned so near to the north pole of the sky means that this star almost never sets for most viewers in the Northern Hemisphere. And since the Ursids seem to fan out from this particular region of the sky, you have a reference point to look for these faint, medium-speed meteors all through the night if you care to.
The fact that the shower peaks tonight is good news for observers braving the cold to see the display. The moon is just one day past its new phase, meaning that light reflected from Earth's natural satellite won't wash out the shower.
Posted: 23 Dec 2014 04:07 PM PST
Excerpt from natureworldnews.com
Meet the Milky Way's new neighbor, KKs3, a dwarf galaxy located almost seven million light-years away, describes.
Kks3 is a "dwarf spheroidal" - or dSph galaxy - unlike our own Milky Way, and despite its isolated existence, astronomers hope this discovery can shed some light on the history of galaxy formation.
The Milky Way is part of a cluster of more than 50 galaxies that make up the "Local Group," a collection that includes the famous Andromeda galaxy and many other far smaller objects. KKs3 is just one of these many galaxies, located in the southern sky in the direction of the constellation of Hydrus. It lacks features found in our own galaxy, like the Milky Way's characteristic spiral arms, as well as gas and dust needed for new stars to form. Its stars also have only one ten-thousandth of the mass of the Milky Way.
The team, led by Igor Karachentsev of the Special Astrophysical Observatory in Karachai-Cherkessia, Russia, which found KKs3 in August 2014, suspect that isolated objects like this orphan dwarf galaxy formed differently in comparison to other galaxies, For example, they may have had an early burst of star formation that used up all the available gas , which is why KKs3 doesn't contain any gas or dust.
For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).
Posted: 23 Dec 2014 03:56 PM PST
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Posted: 23 Dec 2014 03:45 PM PST
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Posted: 23 Dec 2014 03:33 PM PST
A NASA space telescope designed to peer at faraway black holes has snapped a stunning image of the sun, showing that its sensitive X-ray eyes can investigate mysteries in Earth's own neighborhood.
The new image, which was taken by NASA's NuSTAR spacecraft (short for Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array), is the best-ever view of the sun in high-energy X-ray light, space agency officials said. The photo, and others taken by NuSTAR in the future, should help researchers learn more about our star, they added.
"NuSTAR will give us a unique look at the sun, from the deepest to the highest parts of its atmosphere," NuSTAR team member David Smith, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, said in a statement.
The new image, which was released Monday (Dec. 22), overlays NuSTAR observations (seen in blue and green) onto an image of the sun captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft.
NuSTAR solar observations might also reveal more about the nature of dark matter, the mysterious stuff thought to make up most of the material universe.
Dark matter apparently does not emit or absorb light — hence its name — and nobody knows for sure what it's made of. A number of exotic particles have been proposed as dark matter constituents, including weakly interacting massive particles, sterile neutrinos and axions.
If axions exist, NuSTAR may see signs of them — patches of X-rays in the center of the sun — NASA officials said.
Posted: 23 Dec 2014 03:26 PM PST
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Posted: 23 Dec 2014 03:08 PM PST
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