Space

Have you wondered why we can't see the Apollo landing sites from Earth? Moon is so far away that even the ISS at around 108 meters in length would span just over one pixel if Hubble were to photograph it on the Moon at its highest resolution. From NASA:

Can Hubble see the Apollo landing sites on the Moon?

No, Hubble cannot take photos of the Apollo landing sites.

“An object on the Moon 4 meters (4.37 yards) across, viewed from HST, would be about 0.002 arcsec in size. The highest resolution instrument currently on HST is the Advanced Camera for Surveys at 0.03 arcsec. So anything we left on the Moon cannot be resolved in any HST image. It would just appear as a dot.”

A cold beer on a hot day or a whisky nightcap beside a coal fire. A well earned glass can loosen your thinking until you feel able to pierce the mysteries of life, death, love and identity. In moments like these, alcohol and the cosmic can seem intimately entwined.

So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the universe is awash with alcohol. In the gas that occupies the space between the stars, the hard stuff is almost all-pervasive. What is it doing there? Is it time to send out some big rockets to start collecting it?

At a distance of a mind-blowing 750 million light years from Earth, astronomers using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a system made up of 10 radio telescopes across the U.S., say they've been able to observe and measure the orbital motion between two supermassive black holes.

They did it by observing several frequencies of radio signals emitted by these supermassive black holes. Over time, they have essentially been able to plot their trajectory and confirm them as a visual binary system. In other words, they claim they've observed these black holes in orbit with one another, though it's really inference.
Rather than providing another functional construct to fit observational cosmology, a mechanistic standard model approach seems to predict the same regarding both dark energy and inflation. The open access Journal of Cosmology recently published this theory and so a very brief attempt to review the physics is presented here for your intellectual enjoyment (see http://journalofcosmology.com/JOC26/Hayes.pdf).

Dark Energy

A day or two ago I came across this article

Anonymous now has more credibility than all four big US cable news channels and the big newspapers combined.  This is due to the fact that while they and their sources are …anonymous.. they manage to find verifiable information.  This claim is different.   IF this is true there are only TWO ways NASA could have found proof of extraterrestrial life.  SETI has intercepted a convincingly strong source of intelligently engineered radio from a known habitable zone Kepler planet.

In the evening of May 30 a giant fireball lit up the skies south of Venice, Italy. The object, which was traveling very slowly along a south-north trajectory, was captured by three video stations in the area, plus observed by countless bystanders and recorded in pictures. The video data allowed to precisely measure the trajectory, which made it clear that the rock was headed straight toward the Venice metropolitan area, and that it would have landed there if it had not disintegrated in flight.

JP Aerospace is an interesting company - in the city of Rancho Cordova, CA., California, JP Aerospace, America's OTHER Space Program. Their aim is to develop ways to send airships up into the stratosphere - and more controversially, all the way to orbit with their "Orbital Airships" vision. The airships would accelerate very slowly, at a rate of perhaps a few centimeters per second increase in speed every second, over several days, until they reach orbital velocity. Can they, or can't they, or how far can they go?

Starburst galaxies are where stars are forming at such a breakneck rate that the galaxy is eating up its gas supply faster than it can be replenished. There are several different factors that can lead to such an ideal environment in which stars can form at such a rapid rate. Crucially, there has to be a sufficiently massive supply of gas. This might be acquired in a number of ways -- for example by passing very close to another galaxy, in a full-blown galactic collision, or as a result of some event that forces lots of gas into a relatively small space.
This evening I am blogging from a residence in Sesto val Pusteria, a beautiful mountain village in the Italian Alps. I came here for a few days of rest after a crazy work schedule in the past few days -the reason why my blogging has been intermittent. Sesto is surrounded by glorious mountains, and hiking around here is marvelous. But right now, as I sip a non-alcoholic beer (pretty good), chilling off after a day out, my thoughts are focused 500,000,000 kilometers away.