“Millions may have experienced the Apollo 11 moon landing on TV—and now, 40 years later, online. But a few facts aren't exactly common knowledge, including…” (National Geographic )
The interesting one, from my perspective, is that because well-known atheist Madelyn Murray O’Hair was in the midst of suing the government at the time over the issue of public officials praying, Buzz Aldrin celebrated communion before departing the moon’s surface but kept it a secret.
Atlantis transits the sun
Atlantis captured in solar transit with a solar-filtered Takahashi 5-inch refracting telescope and a Canon 5D Mark II.
via Boing Boing Gadgets.
“It was snap, crackle and pop in the early days of the universe. You would not want to live there. Astronomers said Tuesday that they had smashed the long-distance record in astronomy when they recorded an explosion, probably a massive early star, that lived and died 13 billion years ago, only about 600 million years after the Big Bang. The explosion was detected on April 23 as a burst of gamma-rays by NASA’s Swift satellite, which has been patrolling the skies for these powerful explosions for the last five years.” (New York Times )
...with moon at its closest point to the earth
Update: Hoax. This is a digital creation, not a photo, says Snopes.
(I was troubled by how big that moon was, I can now say in 20/20 hindsight. But it is lovely, nonetheless.)
- Artist’s rendering of the completed ISS, circa 2010.
This is a great graphical representation of the piece-by-piece construction of the ISS, both past and projected. I had had only the vaguest idea of its extent or configuration. (USAToday) via pam
“Considering the possibilities of preserving the Earth during the Sun’s transition into a brighter and much larger object, the authors discuss alternatives like raising the Earth’s orbit to a safer distance or using a parasol to shield the planet from its rays. That might tide us over for a few billion years beyond the point where an unprotected Earth could survive as a habitable place. But the paper only begins here. After the sunshade, the authors go on to discuss their plan to create an artificial sun in the Kuiper Belt, where an Earth slowly moved into an outer orbit by gravitational swing-by techniques can eventually find its new home in a stable orbit around a life-giving source of heat and light. Call it an ArtSun, as they do, and ponder how much science fiction it might inspire.”
via Centauri Dreams.
‘An unexpected, thick layer of solar particles inside Earth’s magnetic field suggests there are huge breaches in our planet’s solar defenses, scientists said.
These breaches indicate that during the next period of high solar activity, due to start in 2012, Earth will experience some of the worst solar storms seen in decades.
Solar winds—charged particles from the sun—help create auroras, the brightly colored lights that sometimes appear above the Earth’s poles.
But the winds also trigger storms that can interfere with satellites’ power sources, endanger spacewalkers, and even knock out power grids on Earth.’
via National Geographic News.
Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, UK
via Bad Astronomy, thanks to kottke.