I admit, there are some things that annoy me about our solar system because of a theatrical “cool” factor. The sun won’t go supernova, which would be awesome, we don’t have a Tatooine-style sunrise, which would also be awesome, we also don’t have homo-reptilia living under Earth’s surface, which would, again, be awesome. A bow shock would also be cool, because bow shocks are neat things, but a data collected by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) seemed to throw a cold bucket of reality on something else that would have been cool.
Fortunately, science is to the rescue and the sun may yet produce a bow shock. It won’t be as cool, defined, and dynamic as the bow shock seen in the pictured star from the Orion nebula, but hey, we must compromise. A bow shock is best visualized as a sonic boom from a jet, but more accurately thought of as the bow wave created by boats as they pass through water. Due to pressures caused by the interstellar medium against the outer layers of the heliosphere, you get this shockwave to form.
To learn more about our Sun’s possible shockwave, see: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/does-the-sun-have-a-bow-shock-maybe/
Located approximately 4,300 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius, RCW120 (also known as Sh 2-3 or Gun 58) is an emission nebula that, to some, heavily resembles a glowing emerald in the sky.
As you can see, this is a region full of hot gas and dust, which are illuminated by the light of “O” type stars (the most massive stars currently known to exist). The ring of dust shown in this picture would not be visible like this to human eyes, but it can be seen here because it was taken in infrared by Spitzer’s infrared detectors. In the center of the ring lies several more massive “O” type stars. The stars in question tirelessly work to bombard the surrounding gas with ultraviolet radiation, thus causing the material to become ionized.
The “galactic bubble” is thought to contain the mass of at least 8 suns. Astronomers think that embedded inside of it, there lies an embryonic star currently in the process of growing. Depending on how it evolves in the coming years, it might grow to become one of the biggest and brightest stars in the galaxy. (It shouldn’t be too hard, as there is an additional 2,000 solar masses worth of gas and dust for the baby star to feed on to grow!)
This image is a three-color composite showing images of the nebula taken in infrared by two instruments on-board the Spitzer Space Telescope. RCW 120 can be found ever so slightly above the flat plane of the Milky Way.
Sources & Further Reading: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/astronomy-picture-of-the-day-120413-rcw120/
Image Credit: ESA/PACS/SPIRE/HOBYS Consortia
Science allows us to do many amazing things. It enables us to analyze the bones of the ancients in order to better understand where we came from; it allows us to glimpse the microscopic organisms that currently share our planet, and it even lets us peek into the future — foreseeing events like the Sun’s expansion and the death of Earth. Of course, we can never say what will happen with 100% certainty, but we can use our data to make solid predictions about the future.
So join us on a journey to the furthest reaches of time, and see what the future has in store. Here is Part I of the Timeline of the Future.
Up until now, the prospect of anti-gravity technology has been strictly confined to science fiction stories and films alike. However, CERN physicists are set to begin an experiment that may well revolutionise our understanding of how the universe works (CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research - the acronym comes from the original French spelling). They will be investigating the idea that antimatter may generate a gravitational field that repels that produced by ordinary matter.
Learn about the amazing anti-gravity technology at:
The question runs a little something like this: Assuming that we were able to get mirrors to the edge of the observable universe instantly, and position them in such a way so that light from the other side was reflected back towards Earth, would this allow us to see objects in the unobservable universe? Since we could see the mirror, couldn’t we see light from the unobservable universe in the mirror?
For example, if the mirrors were placed there 3 years ago, would they reflect 3 light-years passed the edge of the observable universe? If they were placed there 13 billion years ago, could we see twice as far?
Andrew Z Colvin at wiki commons
Thanks to Raphaël Laflamme for sending us this question.
In this lovely image, captured by the Caelum Observatory, one can see the colorful portrait of a swirling spiral galaxy as it dances about the abyss of interstellar space.
Messier 96, as its called (also known as NGC 3368), is a primary member of the Leo I galaxy group, a collection of 8 to 24 galaxies (at least 3 of which are Messier objects) located more than 38 million light-years away (in the direction of the constellation of Leo).
The galaxy in question is quite large, spanning some 100,000 light-years across (making it equivalent in size to our own galaxy, the Milky Way). The spiral arms are particularly lovely; appearing dominant as they branch away from the central nucleus of Messier 96, before decreasing in brightness to a faint glow once reaching the outer cusp of the galaxy.
Sources & Further Reading: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/astronomy-picture-of-the-day-120313-m96/
Image Credit: Adam Block (Caelum Observatory), Acknowledgement: R. Jay GaBany
Let’s say that you are traveling along at about 300 km/h. For some reason, you decide to do some target shooting in order to pass the time. So you take out your trusty gun, or cannon, or what-have-you, and you point it backwards. In this case, you are firing in the opposite direction that you are traveling (after all, you don’t want to shoot the pilot). As luck would have it, your weapon fires at the exact same speed that you are traveling. So, you are flying along at 300 km/h and you are about to shoot a bullet/cannon/whatever in the opposite direction at 300 km/h.
What happens to the projectile? Does it go shooting off in the opposite direction? Does it go anywhere? It may seem like a silly question, but it is important to any aft firing aircrafts.
Will it shoot backwards at 300 km/h relative to the ground? Will it travel back slowly and then fall down? Find out at:
Niels Noordhoek / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA.
Astronomers recently discovered a group of active galactic cores that stretch more than 4 billion light-years end to end. The structure is a large quasar group (LQG). And it is simply massive.
For comparison, the Milky Way is about 100,000 light-years across. Our closest neighboring galaxy (Andromeda) is some 2.5 million light-years distant, and it is more than twice the size of the Milky Way (about 260,000 light-years). Which means that this LQG could easily swallow Andromeda, the Milky Way, and all the space in between.
Learn more about this amazing structure and how is impacts the cosmological principle at:
This amazing image comes from Hashem AL-ghaili. It provides an overview of all the amazing advancements in science this week. You can see all of his previous weeks here. Also, be sure to check out his facebook page for more amazing images (address listed below). And if you want to get more information on all of these amazing discoveries, check out the following links:
➤ New Cat Species: http://is.gd/Hf03Ur
➤ CERN Antigravity: http://is.gd/HJaiUj
➤ Shiny Black Hole: http://is.gd/IxdKVS
➤ Dead Heart Back to Life: http://is.gd/evQNl8
➤ Artificial Skin: http://is.gd/y0wSmv
➤ Bacteria-Killing Surface: http://is.gd/mzyZ3I
➤ New Strain of HIV: http://is.gd/xgNEs1
➤ HIV Replication Blocked: http://is.gd/oWvJH8
Our planet is able to sustain warmth because of its atmosphere and its proximity to the Sun. However, as you may know, most of the other planets aren’t so lucky; nearly all of them have rather frigid temperatures.
For example, take a look at moons like Enceladus or Europa. These moons (of Saturn and Jupiter, respectively) are known as “icy moons.” As a result of the extreme temperatures, which are hundreds of degrees below zero, both moons have a thick layer of ice many kilometers deep; however, we know that liquid water still exists on them. How can this be?
Image source before editing: