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Posts tagged universe

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MERCURY - Facts and Information
Histroy and Naming
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. As such, it circles the sun faster than all the other planets, which is why Romans named it after the swift-footed messenger god Mercury.
Mercury was also given separate names for its appearance as both a morning star and as an evening star. Greek astronomers knew, however, that the two names referred to the same body. Heraclitus believed that both Mercury and Venus orbited the Sun, not the Earth. 
Physical Characteristics
The surface of Mercury can reach a scorching 840 degrees F (450 degrees C). However, since this world doesn’t have a real atmosphere to entrap any heat, at night temperatures can plummet to minus 275 degrees F (minus 170 degrees C), a more than 1,100 degrees F (600 degree C) temperature swing that is the greatest in the solar system.
 Since it has no significant atmosphere to stop impacts, the planet is pockmarked with craters. 
Amazing, as close to the sun as Mercury is, ice may exist in its craters. 
Mercury is the second densest planet after Earth, with a huge metallic core roughly 2,200 to 2,400 miles (3,600 to 3,800 kilometers) wide, or about 75 percent of the planet’s diameter. In comparison, Mercury’s outer shell is only 300 to 400 miles (500 to 600 kilometers) thick. 
Mercury possessed a magnetic field. 
Composition & Structure
Atmospheric composition (by volume). No atmosphere: Mercury possesses an exosphere containing 42 percent oxygen, 29 percent sodium, 22 percent hydrogen, 6 percent helium, 0.5 percent potassium, with possible trace amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, water, nitrogen, xenon, krypton, neon. 
Magnetic Field. Roughly 1 percent the strength of Earth’s.
Internal structure. Iron core roughly 2,200 to 2,400 miles (3,600 to 3,800 kilometers) wide. Outer silicate shell about 300 to 400 miles (500 to 600 kilometers) thick.

the-star-stuff:

MERCURY - Facts and Information

Histroy and Naming

  • Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. As such, it circles the sun faster than all the other planets, which is why Romans named it after the swift-footed messenger god Mercury.
  • Mercury was also given separate names for its appearance as both a morning star and as an evening star. Greek astronomers knew, however, that the two names referred to the same body. Heraclitus believed that both Mercury and Venus orbited the Sun, not the Earth. 

Physical Characteristics

  • The surface of Mercury can reach a scorching 840 degrees F (450 degrees C). However, since this world doesn’t have a real atmosphere to entrap any heat, at night temperatures can plummet to minus 275 degrees F (minus 170 degrees C), a more than 1,100 degrees F (600 degree C) temperature swing that is the greatest in the solar system.
  •  Since it has no significant atmosphere to stop impacts, the planet is pockmarked with craters.
  • Amazing, as close to the sun as Mercury is, ice may exist in its craters.
  • Mercury is the second densest planet after Earth, with a huge metallic core roughly 2,200 to 2,400 miles (3,600 to 3,800 kilometers) wide, or about 75 percent of the planet’s diameter. In comparison, Mercury’s outer shell is only 300 to 400 miles (500 to 600 kilometers) thick.
  • Mercury possessed a magnetic field.

Composition & Structure

  • Atmospheric composition (by volume). No atmosphere: Mercury possesses an exosphere containing 42 percent oxygen, 29 percent sodium, 22 percent hydrogen, 6 percent helium, 0.5 percent potassium, with possible trace amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, water, nitrogen, xenon, krypton, neon. 
  • Internal structure. Iron core roughly 2,200 to 2,400 miles (3,600 to 3,800 kilometers) wide. Outer silicate shell about 300 to 400 miles (500 to 600 kilometers) thick.

Filed under science space astronomy universe cosmos mercury planet education

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Haunting Photos of Saturn Moons Snapped by Cassini Spacecraft

NASA’s workhorse Saturn orbiter Cassini has just beamed back stunning new views of the ringed planet’s dazzling moons, including the probe’s closest-ever pass over the ice geysers of Enceladus.

The new photos reveal the plume of water ice and vapor that springs from the south pole of Enceladus — Saturn’s sixth largest moon — as well as the pockmarked surface of Dione and the tiny oblong shape of Janus.

Cassini made a close flyby of Enceladus on Tuesday (March 27), swooping within about 46 miles (74 kilometers) of the moon’s surface. This moon is one of the few known geologically active places outside Earth in the solar system.

CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Filed under Science cassini tech space astronomy universe cosmos saturn moon dione enceladus

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Kepler’s Transiting Multiple-Planet Systems

This video provides an overhead view of the multi-planet star systems discovered by the Kepler mission. According to NASA, all the planets — with the exception of the ones labeled in grey — have been officially confirmed.

This video also serves as an good introduction to an exoplanet-hunting technique you may not be familiar with. First, check out the incredible variation in the planets’ orbital periods (how long it takes each planet to make one complete trip around its sun). Since Kepler detects candidate planets by measuring dips in detectable light as one passes in front of — or “transits” — a distant star, having more than one planet in any given star system can give rise to some pretty crazy measurements. 

Planetary Systems video by Dan Fabrycky via NASA

Filed under science space exoplanets kepler nasa astronomy astrophysics universe cosmos GIF planets

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All These Stars Will Explode Together Like a String of Firecrackers

This is one of the most impressive Hubble Space Telescope’s images. It shows a massive group of young stars called R136, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. But that’s not what makes them so special:

Many of the diamond-like icy blue stars are among the most massive stars known. Several of them are 100 times more massive than our sun. These hefty stars are destined to pop off, like a string of firecrackers, as supernovas in a few million years.

In a few million years, someone—perhaps a bunch of space cats—will witness what will become of the most amazing firework shows in the history of the Universe. [NASA]

the-star-stuff:

All These Stars Will Explode Together Like a String of Firecrackers

This is one of the most impressive Hubble Space Telescope’s images. It shows a massive group of young stars called R136, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. But that’s not what makes them so special:

Many of the diamond-like icy blue stars are among the most massive stars known. Several of them are 100 times more massive than our sun. These hefty stars are destined to pop off, like a string of firecrackers, as supernovas in a few million years.

In a few million years, someone—perhaps a bunch of space cats—will witness what will become of the most amazing firework shows in the history of the Universe. [NASA]

Filed under science space astronomy stars universe cosmos star formation NASA

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“Most Amazing Earth Image” From the Other Side
NASA said that their Blue Marble 2012 was “the most amazing image of Earth ever.” Now they have released the other half, answering to popular demand.
This look at the East hemisphere “is a composite of six separate orbits taken on January 23, 2012 by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite. Both of these new ‘Blue Marble’ images are images taken by a new instrument flying aboard Suomi NPP, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite.”
[NASA Goddard Flickr]

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“Most Amazing Earth Image” From the Other Side

NASA said that their Blue Marble 2012 was “the most amazing image of Earth ever.” Now they have released the other half, answering to popular demand.

This look at the East hemisphere “is a composite of six separate orbits taken on January 23, 2012 by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite. Both of these new ‘Blue Marble’ images are images taken by a new instrument flying aboard Suomi NPP, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite.”

[NASA Goddard Flickr]

Filed under science space astronomy universe earth blue marble pale blue dot sexyness news eudcation portrait portrait of earth

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Giant Veil of “Cold Plasma” Discovered High Above Earth
Clouds of charged particles stretch a quarter the way to the moon, experts say.
Clouds of “cold plasma” reach from the top of Earth’s atmosphere to at least a quarter the distance to the moon, according to new data from a cluster of European satellites.
Earth generates cold plasma—slow-moving charged particles—at the edge of space, where sunlight strips electrons from gas atoms, leaving only their positively charged cores, or nuclei.
Researchers had suspected these hard-to-detect particles might influence incoming space weather, such as this week’s solar flare and resulting geomagnetic storm. That’s because solar storms barrage Earth with similar but high-speed charged particles.
Still, no one could be certain what the effects of cold plasma might be without a handle on its true abundance around our planet.
“It’s like the weather forecast on TV. It’s very complicated to make a reasonable forecast without the basic variables,” said space scientist Mats André, of theSwedish Institute of Space Physics.
“Discovering this cold plasma is like saying, Oh gosh, there are oceans here that affect our weather,” he said.
Illustration courtesy J. Huart, ESA

the-star-stuff:

Giant Veil of “Cold Plasma” Discovered High Above Earth

Clouds of charged particles stretch a quarter the way to the moon, experts say.

Clouds of “cold plasma” reach from the top of Earth’s atmosphere to at least a quarter the distance to the moon, according to new data from a cluster of European satellites.

Earth generates cold plasma—slow-moving charged particles—at the edge of space, where sunlight strips electrons from gas atoms, leaving only their positively charged cores, or nuclei.

Researchers had suspected these hard-to-detect particles might influence incoming space weather, such as this week’s solar flare and resulting geomagnetic storm. That’s because solar storms barrage Earth with similar but high-speed charged particles.

Still, no one could be certain what the effects of cold plasma might be without a handle on its true abundance around our planet.

“It’s like the weather forecast on TV. It’s very complicated to make a reasonable forecast without the basic variables,” said space scientist Mats André, of theSwedish Institute of Space Physics.

“Discovering this cold plasma is like saying, Oh gosh, there are oceans here that affect our weather,” he said.

Illustration courtesy J. Huart, ESA

Filed under science space astronomy universe cosmos cold plasma earth

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Meet Iapetus, Saturn’s mysterious “yin-yang” moon
More than 60 moons are known to orbit Saturn, but few of them are as visually striking as Iapetus. Named formally after the Greek mythological Titan, Iapetus is sometimes referred to as the “painted,” or “yin-yang” moon, due to puzzling variations in its surface composition.
Photo by The Cassini Imaging Team, via NASA

That’s no- oh, wait, yeah it is.

the-star-stuff:

Meet Iapetus, Saturn’s mysterious “yin-yang” moon

More than 60 moons are known to orbit Saturn, but few of them are as visually striking as Iapetus. Named formally after the Greek mythological Titan, Iapetus is sometimes referred to as the “painted,” or “yin-yang” moon, due to puzzling variations in its surface composition.

Photo by The Cassini Imaging Team, via NASA

That’s no- oh, wait, yeah it is.

Filed under science space astronomy universe cosmos NASA cassini saturn