Science Monday: Backyard Supernova + Newborn Stars + Lunar Pizza + New Mars Crater + More September 5, 2011by Kayla Iacovino , Filed under: Science/Technology , trackback
Ready for this week’s science fix? Welcome to Science Monday. This week: Spot a supernova from your own backyard (with nothing but a pair of binoculars!), watch a star being born, order pizza — on the moon, and discover Endeavor crater with Mars rover Opportunity! All this and more, plus our picture of the week: a look at Earth from Juno.
How to See a Supernova from Your Backyard (With only Binoculars!)
If you read last week’s Science Saturday you already know about the “supernova of a generation”, a rather close by (21 million light years away) supernova that exploded in the Pinwheel Galaxy. Well, this supernova is so close, that you’ll be able to see the thing from YOUR backyard… with nothing but a pair of binoculars! And, if you’ve got a telescope (even a small one), even better. Here’s a video from a real live astronomer explaining how to locate it in the sky.
By the by, if you’ve got a scope and a camera, send us your supernova pictures to kayla [at] trekmovie [dot] com, and we’ll feature them on the site!
Hubble Captures Time-lapse Videos of Star Births
For decades, astronomers have been pointing the Hubble telescope towards interstellar jets, powerful jets of gas blasted into space where stars are being born, to try and learn more about their evolution and their role in the star formation process. Using a set of these images, they’ve been able to create time-lapse movies of these jets, giving insight into how they move and change throughout their lives. (More @ NASA)
Japanese to Build Domino’s Pizza on the Moon
Yes, you read that right. The Japanese division of Domino’s Pizza has just released their elaborate plans to build a dome-shaped Dominoes on the moon, and one that would apparently support a drive-through suitable for space motorcycles (who knows why?). Of course, this thing isn’t actually going to get made, as the designers estimate it will cost about U+00A51.67 trillion, or about $21.74 billion. So, maybe when we set up the first moon colonies, Domino’s will have the monopoly on pizza joints.
Will the pizzas feature a moon cheese topping?
Mars Rover Opportunity Begins Study of Endeavor Crater After 3 Year Journey
Ever since leaving Victoria crater in August, 2008, NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity has been heading for the 14-mile wide Endeavor Crater. On August 9th of this year, after a three year journey studying interesting martian geology along the way, Opportunity arrived at Spirit Point to study rock outcrops never seen before. “This is different from any rock ever seen on Mars,” said Steve Squyres, principal investigator for Opportunity. “It has a composition similar to some volcanic rocks, but there’s much more zinc and bromine than we’ve typically seen. We are getting confirmation that reaching Endeavour really has given us the equivalent of a second landing site for Opportunity.”
Read more at the Road to Endeavor blog.
Simulated image of Endeavor crater along with Opportunity and her tracks!
First rocks inspected by Opportunity at Endeavor
Pic of the Week: Earth and Moon as seen from Juno
The Juno space craft, currently en route to Jupiter, took a brief pause about 6 million miles from home to look back over its shoulder. Carl Sagan famously spoke about the significance of the “pale blue dot“, a photograph of Earth taken by the Voyager 1 space craft in 1990:
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Juno’s pale blue dot
Video of the Week: Meteorite’s fiery entrance into Peruvian atmosphere caught on video
The bright orange streak shooting across the sky in the following video is of a meteorite that fell to Earth this week, landing somewhere south of the city of Cusco, Peru. Experts think it may have caused some forest fires, and local officials are still trying to track down the rock itself.
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a peek.
- Relive the life of NASA’s Mars rover Spirit in a 3D interactive experience
- A new look at the moon from two vantage points
- Hiding objects with a Terahertz invisibility cloak