The clock is ticking and NASA's Curiosity rover with its burden of the Mars Science Laboratory is heading for a potentially historic landing on Mars.
Prime real estate. The landing zone for Curiosity (NASA/JPL) As the world waits with bated breath for NASA's Curiosity rover to attempt a safe landing on Mars on August 6th (EDT), it's interesting to recall the rovers of times past...
This post is the third in a series that accompanies the upcoming publication of my book ‘Gravity’s Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos’ (Scientific American/FSG)...
It's a rubber chicken, in space, really (Credit: Earth-to-Sky, Bishop Union High School, CA) What is life?Simple question, thousands of years of human intellectual torture trying to answer it...
Galileo spacecraft images us (NASA/JPL) You may notice that today is the one year anniversary of the Scientific American blog network. You may also notice that across the blogs this morning is a shared theme; time for the readers to speak up...
Watch out! There's a lot of stuff up there... This has been an extraordinary week for planets (moons), exoplanets, and astrobiology. I'm hard pushed to write properly about all these things but sometimes the sheer tidal mass of discoveries tells its own story. And tidal masses is the first one up...
Every so often in the summer months I allow myself a bit of leeway with posts, because as fun as it is to write about real science, it’s also a lot of fun to write pure speculation.
Holes are everywhere, if you look... This post is the second in a series that accompanies the upcoming publication of my book 'Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos' (Scientific American/FSG)...
As a final hurrah for the 2012 Venus transit of the Sun, here are some beautiful time-lapse movies from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory; an orbiting telescope that can image the Sun in a variety of narrow wavebands, from visible light to ultraviolet and extreme-ultraviolet, probing the different temperature structures at the solar surface.First up, the ingress of Venus in the 30.4 nanometer waveband - viewing the solar chromosphere and transition region at temperatures of around 50,000 Kelvin: Next, the full transit in the 17.1 nanometer band - viewing the 'quiet' corona and upper transition region at temperatures of around 630,000 Kelvin: Here we have ingress again, in the 19.3 nanometer band, probing the corona and hot flare structure at about 1.2 to 20 million Kelvin: And finally, the last view of Venus in transit for more than the next 100 years, egress at 17.1 nanometers, probing the 630,000 Kelvin temperature structures:...
Are you sick of reading about the transit of Venus this year? Yes? Me too. But the fact is that when astrophysical objects move between us and something else, like the convenient blaze of a star, there is an extraordinary amount that can be learned...
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