Astronomy News

News: Astronomical Observing News (02/01 - 02/06)

This week's AON might be a little short, but finally, the Garradd comet's peak has come! I picked the Garradd comet to follow because it's a bright and easy-to-follow comet. Be sure to observe it! If you need help finding it, you can find more information here.

News: Solar Flare Gives Earth Biggest Radiation Storm in 7 Years; Auroras Likely

NASA reports that the sun erupted late last night with a large solar flare—an M8.7 class flare. The classification is calculated according to the peak flux of 100 to 800 picometer x-rays near Earth measured from the GEOS weather satellite. There are 5 letter classifications for solar flares, each with a linear 1-9 number scale of severity. M is the fourth most powerful class, with X leading the way. But last night's earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME), captured by the Solar Dynamics Ob...

News: Galactic Search Finds Exoplanets Are More Common Than Stars

Recent research published in an issue of Nature suggests that there are actually more planets in our universe than stars. Using the Milky Way as the focus, the researchers found that each star has an average of about 1.6 planets in orbit around it, which suggests that extrasolar planets (exoplanets) outnumber stars, bringing new hope for the search of extraterrestrial life.

News: Quadrantid Meteors and Startrails

I took about 700 pictures over 7 hours late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning of the quandrantid meteor shower. I combined the clearest 300 of them to make the star trails, and then went and found individual pictures with the brightest meteors and overlayed them on top. I also found three planes flying overhead and overlayed those as well. The gaps in those plane streaks heading towards the horizon show how long my camera was taking between frames.

News: Photo Highlights from the Quadrantid Meteor Shower

If you slept in during the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower this morning, don't fret, because plenty of early risers did manage to wake up—with their cameras. Even if you did wake up and managed to withstand the cold morning air, you might not have seen anything. Cloud cover could have made it impossible, as well as bright city lights. But some stargazers made it their mission to photograph the Quadrantids, and lucky for you, they did.

News: NASA Kicks Off 2012 with Ambitious New Moon Mission

More than 100 missions targeted at Earth's moon have been launched by space explorers since the late-1950s. NASA landed a total of 12 men on the lunar surface, collecting more than 800 pounds of moon rocks and lunar soil samples. But still, the moon remains a mystery, especially its formation. NASA's new mission aims to find out exactly how the moon came to be with the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, part of NASA's Discovery Program.

News: Timelapse Footage of a Moonrise

This is a really quick video I took of a moonrise last year. It has been sped up by a factor of 8 and was taken using a 2600 mm equivalent lens (75 times zoom for a 35 mm lens). The mountain it is rising over is about 40 miles away.

News: Milky Way Over Abandoned Kilns

From Astronomy Picture of the Day, Milky Way Over Abandoned Kilns by Tom McEwan. McEwan shot some historic kilns in rural Nevada, stitching together a panoramic "digital conglomerate of five separate images taken in early June from the same location. Visible above the unusual kilns is a colorful star field, highlighted by the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy appearing along a diagonal toward the lower right."

Earth's Shadow: Time-Lapse Video of the Total Lunar Eclipse of 12/10/11

I woke up at 4:00 am this morning in order to take some video of the last total lunar eclipse visible from North America till 2014. The eclipse was beautiful. It was amazing to watch the shadow of our planet creep slowly across our nearest neighbor. Once the shadow was blocking out most of the light from the sun, the moon was significantly dimmer and the color had changed to a reddish orange. This color is caused by the same effect that makes our sunrises and sunsets so colorful. The light fr...

News: Proof of Water on Mars

Since the first time we've been to Mars, the question was 'Did there used to be life here?'. That all changed for the better when NASA told us that the Opportunity rover found signs of water- the essential part to life. NASA officials on Wednesday said the rover discovered a mineral vein of gypsum running along the rim of a crater called Endeavor. The gypsum was deposited by flowing water billions of years ago. The vein is about 20 inches long. They found it while studying a rock called Tisda...

News: Welcome to Astronomy World!

A little about myself and astronomy: I created this world because I love astronomy. I really, really, love astronomy. When I was ten, I went to a restaurant and saw a huge wall mural of the Andromeda Galaxy. At my house, we had a tiny refractor telescope. I knew this wasn't enough, so I bought (with help) an 8 inch Dobsonian reflector. I looked up one time to try to find something to look at and saw something fuzzy- the Orion Nebula. This is when I really got into using my telescope. I still ...

News: DIY Papercraft Models of the Planets

I'll have to post up some pictures of astronomy-related papercraft models that I have made at some point, but for now here is a link to a few different papercraft models of the planets. I need to go back through my resources because I know there are a bunch of sites out there with some easier to make polyhedral models. Also, at some point I'll put up the models of planetary bodies that I have mapped and labeled myself.

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