Space Calendar April 4 – April 10 2012

Space related activities and anniversaries for April 4 – April 10 2012. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

When Dark Energy Turned On

When Dark Energy Turned On

Astronomers announced today that they have made the most accurate measurement yet of galaxy distances in the faraway universe, giving an unprecedented look at the time when dark energy turned on. Some five to seven billion years ago, the expansion of the universe stopped slowing due to gravity and started to accelerate due to dark energy. Yet the nature of dark energy remains a puzzle that astronomers are seeking to solve.

The new measurement came from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), which is part of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III).

[SOURCE: www.cfa.harward.edu]

Space Calendar March 28 – April 3 2012

Space related activities and anniversaries for March 28 – April 3 2012. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

Big Bang on Earth: Blasting a Mountaintop to Mine the Sky

Big Bang on Earth: Blasting a Mountaintop to Mine the Sky

Astronomers have begun to blast 3 million cubic feet of rock from a mountaintop in the Chilean Andes to make room for what will be the world’s largest telescope when completed near the end of the decade. The telescope will be located at the Carnegie Institution’s Las Campanas Observatory – one of the world’s premier astronomical sites, known for its pristine conditions and clear, dark skies. Over the next few months, more than 70 controlled blasts will break up the rock while leaving a solid bedrock foundation for the telescope and its precision scientific instruments.

[SOURCE: www.cfa.harward.edu]

Planet Starship: Runaway Planets Zoom at a Fraction of Light-Speed

Planet Starship: Runaway Planets Zoom at a Fraction of Light-Speed

Seven years ago, astronomers boggled when they found the first runaway star flying out of our Galaxy at a speed of 1.5 million miles per hour. The discovery intrigued theorists, who wondered: If a star can get tossed outward at such an extreme velocity, could the same thing happen to planets?

New research shows that the answer is yes. Not only do runaway planets exist, but some of them zoom through space at a few percent of the speed of light – up to 30 million miles per hour.

“These warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in our Galaxy. If you lived on one of them, you’d be in for a wild ride from the center of the galaxy to the Universe at large,” said astrophysicist Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

[SOURCE: www.cfa.harward.edu]

Explosive Stars with Good Table Manners

Explosive Stars with Good Table Manners

An exploding star known as a Type Ia supernova plays a key role in our understanding of the universe. Studies of Type Ia supernovae led to the discovery of dark energy, which garnered the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. Yet the cause of this variety of exploding star remains elusive.

All evidence points to a white dwarf that feeds off its companions star, gaining mass, growing unstable, and ultimately detonating. But does that white dwarf draw material from a Sun-like star, an evolved red giant star, or from a second white dwarf? Or is something more exotic going on? Clues can be collected by searching for “cosmic crumbs” left over from the white dwarf’s last meal.

[SOURCE: www.cfa.harward.edu]

Space Calendar March 21 – March 27 2012

Space related activities and anniversaries for March 21 – March 27 2012. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

Space Calendar March 14 – March 20 2012

Space related activities and anniversaries for March 14 – March 20 2012. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

Space Calendar March 7 – March 13 2012

Space related activities and anniversaries for March 7 – March 13 2012. Fetched live every week from NASA JPL

If you want the complete list going more than a year ahead then see the Space Calendar at NASA JPL.

Dark Matter Core Defies Explanation in Hubble Image

Dark Matter Core Defies Explanation in Hubble Image

It was the result no one wanted to believe. Astronomers observed what appeared to be a clump of dark matter left behind during a bizarre wreck between massive clusters of galaxies.

The dark matter collected into a “dark core” containing far fewer galaxies than would be expected if the dark matter and galaxies hung together. Most of the galaxies apparently have sailed far away from the collision. This result could present a challenge to basic theories of dark matter, which predict that galaxies should be anchored to the invisible substance, even during the shock of a collision.

The initial observations, made in 2007, were so unusual that astronomers shrugged them off as unreal, due to poor data. However, new results from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope confirm that dark matter and galaxies parted ways in the gigantic merging galaxy cluster called Abell 520, located 2.4 billion light-years away.

[SOURCE: hubblesite.org]