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A new Milky Way neighbor

Posted by baffa on Jan 13, 2006 - 02:00 PM
The SDSS reveals a new Milky Way neighbor: a galaxy so big we couldn't see it before. A huge but very faint structure, containing hundreds of thousands of stars spread over an area nearly 1000 square degrees, has been discovered and mapped by means of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

Is Kerala red rain of extraterrestrial origin?

Posted by baffa on Jan 06, 2006 - 12:15 PM
A controversial paper will appare in Astrophysics and Space Science, describing a strange red rain that fell in India in 2001, shortly after a meteor airburst event in the area. The authors posit that the red particles found in the raindrops may be extraterrestrial microbes.

Pluto's 3 Moons

Posted by baffa on Nov 08, 2005 - 11:10 AM
Pluto now officially has three moons, with more possibly to follow. The newfound moons orbit about 44,000 kilometers from Pluto, more than twice as far as Charon, Pluto's other satellite. They are 9 magnitudes dimmer than Charon and were found using the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Kuiper Object Discoveries Formally Announced

Posted by baffa on Sep 10, 2005 - 05:16 PM
Some news sources are reporting that the 3 new Trans-Neptunian objects mentioned in the press earlier this year are being formally announced at the upcoming planetary conference in Cambridge, England.

A new planet?

Posted by baffa on Aug 01, 2005 - 12:30 PM
The Minor Planet mailing list reported the discovery by an amateur astronomer of a 17th magnitude object 51 astronomical units from the Sun, tentatively designated 2003 EL61 (also in The Minor Planet Electronic Circulars. That magnitude means this is an object several times brighter than Pluto even though it is 25% farther out from the Sun.

Google Moon Debuts

Posted by baffa on Jul 25, 2005 - 10:08 AM
Google Moon is a (funny) extension of Google Maps and Google Earth that, courtesy of NASA imagery, and enables you to surf the Moon's surface and check out the exact spots that the Apollo astronauts made their landings.

125 Questions on Science

Posted by baffa on Jul 06, 2005 - 10:10 AM
To celebrate their 125th anniversary Science is running a series of articles on 125 open questions on Science, many related to astrophysic or computers. The top 25 have a link to an article exploring the subject of the question in depth.

Rocky Planet Discovered

Posted by baffa on Jun 15, 2005 - 12:25 PM
Astronomer Geoff Marcy have discovered a rocky, terrestrial planet orbiting a nearby star, Gliese 876. The planet has approximately 7.5 times the mass of the Earth, double its radius, and orbits its parent star once every two days.

First Image of Extrasolar Planet Confirmed

Posted by baffa on May 01, 2005 - 07:40 PM
The year-long controversy about whether the European Southern Observatory had indeed captured the first picture of an extrasolar planet has apparently been resolved. ESO confirmed the first image of planet outside of our solar system. The planets orbits a brown dwarf at a distance that is nearly twice as far as Neptune is from the sun.

More Open-Access Academic Journals

Posted by baffa on Apr 19, 2005 - 10:53 AM
According to Wired News, the number of free/open-access academic journals is growing. The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 1527 journals.

A Brown Dwarf or an Exoplanet?

Posted by baffa on Apr 08, 2005 - 03:19 PM
From Eso Press release: Making use of the NACO instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope, a German team of astronomers has taken an image of a companion to the T-Tauri star GQ Lupi. Comparing with archive data obtained with the HST and Subaru, the astronomers could confirm that the two objects move together in the sky. The companion, roughly 250 fainter than GQ Lupi A, is located at 100 AU from it. Additional NACO spectra show the companion to be a cool and small object. It is however still a matter of debate whether the newly found young sub-stellar companion is an exoplanet or a brown dwarf.

Black holes do not exist?

Posted by baffa on Apr 06, 2005 - 04:56 PM
From Nature:
Black holes are staples of science fiction and many think astronomers have observed them indirectly. But according to a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, these awesome breaches in space-time do not and indeed cannot exist.

Open problems

Posted by baffa on Mar 18, 2005 - 10:10 AM
New Scientist carries an interesting article about 13 areas in which observations do not line up with current theory. This can match the 7 open mathematical issues.

Einstein@Home starts

Posted by baffa on Feb 25, 2005 - 12:45 PM
A new distribuited computing project dubbed Einstein@Home, which will let anyone with a personal computer contribute to cutting edge astrophysics research, has ben officially announced at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC on February 19, 2005. More details ca be found here.

A Better Calendar?

Posted by baffa on Dec 02, 2004 - 11:20 AM
Richard Conn Henry (at The Johns Hopkins University) proposed a new simpler calendar on which all days will all fell on the same day of the week.

Glaciers on Mars?

Posted by baffa on Nov 07, 2004 - 05:00 PM
According to Nature: "The Mars Express spacecraft has returned stunning images of mountains and valleys that show signs of past volcanic activity, and suggest that glaciers once shaped the red planet's surface."

The most interesting signal from SETI@home

Posted by baffa on Sep 02, 2004 - 03:58 PM
SETI@home has discovered an interesting signal, still no real evidence of some real odd, but not fully explainable either.

Exoplanet Found by 100mm Telescope

Posted by baffa on Aug 27, 2004 - 12:00 AM
The very first extrasolar planet discovery made by a dedicated survey of many thousands of relatively bright stars in large regions of the sky was announced by CfA and by IAC (in spanish). The survey is named Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) and it is a network of small, relatively inexpensive telescopes designed to look specifically for planets orbiting bright stars.

Gravitation Anomaly?

Posted by baffa on Aug 10, 2004 - 12:00 AM
An interesting article discusses some unexplained gravitational anomay, one of which is related to Pioneer.

Mars Had Surface Water

Posted by baffa on Jul 21, 2004 - 12:58 PM
As reported by New Scientist, new findings made by NASA's Mars rover Opportunity suggest surface water on Mars existed across a significant span of time, not just for years but eons.

Saturn sound

Posted by baffa on Jul 12, 2004 - 12:00 AM
NASA has released a story about the sounds recorded aboard the Cassini spacecraft as it pased through the Rings. The story includes a Quicktime file of the hailstorm-like sounds of Ring particles impacting.

Weighing Ultra-Cool Stars

Posted by baffa on Jun 16, 2004 - 11:27 AM
Using ESO's VLT and a suite of ground- and space-based telescopes, an international team of astronomers has measured for the first time the mass of an ultra-cool star and its companion brown dwarf.

Venus transit Live Webcast

Posted by baffa on Jun 07, 2004 - 11:03 AM
From a CSIRO page we report a list of live webcast for Venus transit of 08 Jun 2004 (some more can be found from ESO):

ESO: First Light for VISIR

Posted by baffa on May 13, 2004 - 08:41 AM
Close to midnight on April 30, 2004, some thermal infrared images mark the successful First Light of the "VLT Imager and Spectrometer in the InfraRed (VISIR)", the latest instrument to be installed on VLT. The event was greeted with satisfaction by the team of astronomers and engineers from the consortium of French and Dutch Institutes and ESO who have worked on the development of VISIR for around 10 years.
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