Using the CRIRES instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, a team of astronomers have confirmed that summer is in full swing in the southern hemisphere of Neptune's largest moon Triton.

"We have found real evidence that the Sun still makes its presence felt on Triton, even from so far away. This icy moon actually has seasons just as we do on Earth, but they change far more slowly," says Emmanuel Lellouch, the lead author of the paper reporting these results in Astronomy&Astrophysics.
Astronomers have directly observed the mysterious dark companion in the Epsilon Aurigae star system that has puzzled skywatchers since the 19th century.

Scientists captured close-up pictures of Epsilon Aurigae during its eclipse, which happens every 27 years. "Close up" in this case is a relative term, but the images zoom in enough to show the shape of the dark object's shadow. A new paper in Nature describes the images in detail.
In the midst of ordering PCB boards for my satellite, I read about a neat UK "CubeSail" satellite.  It's a sweeper for space, to clear out all the space junk that we're cluttering low earth orbit with.  It's basically a solar sail in reverse-- instead of propulsion, you use it to capture junk.

Now, this isn't needed for Project Calliope.  We will responsibly biodegrade in the most natural way possible-- flaming burn-up as our orbit decays into the atmosphere.  So we're tidy (and firey!)
Our universe could be located within the interior of a wormhole which itself is part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe, according to a new paper published in Physics Letters B.

In the paper, Indiana University theoretical physicist Nikodem Poplawski used the Euclidean-based coordinate system called isotropic coordinates to describe the gravitational field of a black hole and to model the radial geodesic motion of a massive particle into a black hole.
If our eyes could see radio waves, the nearby galaxy Centaurus A (Cen A) would be one of the biggest and brightest objects in the sky, nearly 20 times the apparent size of a full moon.

What we can't see when looking at the galaxy in visible light is that it lies nestled between a pair of giant radio-emitting gas plumes ejected by its supersized black hole. Each plume is nearly a million light-years long.

NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope maps gamma rays, radiation that typically packs 100 billion times the energy of radio waves. Nevertheless, and to the surprise of many astrophysicists, Cen A's plumes show up clearly in the satellite's first 10 months of data. The study appears today in Science Express.
Our telescopes show the Milky Way galaxy only as it appears from one vantage point: our solar system. B using a simple but powerful technique, astronomers have seen an exploding star or supernova from new several angles.

The supernova left behind the gaseous remnant Cassiopeia A. The supernova's light washed over the Earth about 330 years ago. But light that took a longer path, reflecting off clouds of interstellar dust, is just now reaching us. This faint, reflected light is what the astronomers have detected.
A new high resolution temperature map and images of Saturn's moon Mimas have revealed surprising patterns on the surface of the small moon, including unexpected hot regions that resemble "Pac-Man" eating a dot, and striking bands of light and dark in crater walls.

The new images were collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Feb. 13, during its closest flyby of the moon, which is marked by an enormous scar called Herschel Crater and resembles the Death Star from "Star Wars."
Labor Pains

Labor Pains

Mar 30 2010 | comment(s)

How much is my labor on the Project Calliope satellite costing me? Accounts range from 'zero' to $14,400, to $65,000. That's the difference between what I'm being paid to do it for, what I'm losing, and what I could potentially be making for the time I'm putting into this project.

The valuation of volunteer labor is currently $20 per hour. Opportunity cost is defined as the 'cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a different action'. So if it takes me 4 hours to read a novel, is that an $80 book?
Marco Silva (right) is an amateur astronomer since the 1997 Hale-Bopp comet passage. He is also an amateur scientist. His studies can be found in his web site. When I knew of his interesting measurements of cataclysmic variable stars, I invited him to write about the matter for us here....

Cataclysmic Variables
I received news on a brand new discovery by the MAGIC collaboration today, and I wish to inform you about it. Here follows the communication from Mose' Mariotti on behalf of the MAGIC team:

The MAGIC Collaboration reports the discovery of VHE (E >100 GeV) emission from the new source MAGIC J0317+413. The source was in the field of view of the MAGIC telescopes between October 2009 and February 2010. The emission position is consistent with the head-tail radio galaxy IC310 (z=0.0189, RA: 03 16 43.0 Dec: +41 19 29, J2000) located in the outer region of the Perseus cluster of galaxies (Abell 426). A gamma-ray signal with a significance corresponding to >6 standard deviations was obtained from 20 hours taken in stereoscopic observation