Space

New Thermal images of Jupiter's Great Red Spot show swirls of warmer air and cooler regions never seen before, enabling scientists to make the first detailed interior weather map of the giant storm system linking its temperature, winds, pressure and composition with its color.

“This is the first time we can say that there’s an intimate link between environmental conditions — temperature, winds, pressure and composition — and the actual color of the Great Red Spot,” says Leigh Fletcher, lead author of the study in Icarus that documents the research results.
Until recently, it was thought that white dwarfs could not exceed what is known as the Chandrasekhar limit, a critical mass equaling about 1.4 times that of the Sun, before exploding in a supernova.

Since 2003, four supernovae have been discovered that were so bright, cosmologists wondered whether their white dwarfs had surpassed the Chandrasekhar limit, dubbed the "super-Chandrasekhar" supernovae.
An international team of space physicists reports that Mars is constantly losing part of its atmosphere to space as a result of pressure from solar wind pulses. Their new study in Geophysical Research Letters should help scientists better understand the evolution of Mars's atmosphere.

The researchers analyzed solar wind data and satellite observations that track the flux of heavy ions leaving Mars's atmosphere. Results of the analysis showed that Mars's atmosphere does not drift away at a steady pace; instead, atmospheric escape occurs in bursts.
The asteroid 1999 RQ36 may be able to tell scientists how the solar system was born, and perhaps, shed light on how life began. The chunk of rock and dust, about 1,900 feet in diameter, also might hit us someday, according to NASA researchers studying the asteroid.

Asteroids are leftovers from the cloud of gas and dust – the solar nebula -- that collapsed to form our sun and the planets about 4.5 billion years ago. As such, they contain the original material from the solar nebula, which can tell us about the conditions of our solar system's birth.

In some asteroids, this material was altered by heat and chemical reactions, either because they collided with other asteroids, or because they grew so large that their interiors became molten.
Scientists writing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society say they have found evidence of a catastrophic event they believe was responsible for halting the birth of stars in SMM J1237+6203, a galaxy in the early Universe.

The researchers observed the massive galaxy as it would have appeared just three billion years after the Big Bang when the Universe was a quarter of its present age.

According to their findings, the galaxy exploded in a series of blasts trillions of times more powerful than any caused by an atomic bomb. The blasts happened every second for millions of years, the scientists said.


An analysis in Nature of more than 70,000 galaxies by a team of physicists suggests that the universe – at least up to a distance of 3.5 billion light years from Earth – plays by the rules set out 95 years ago by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity. But that's not all. They also conclude that the existence of ill-defined 'dark matter' is the most likely explanation for the observation that galaxies and galaxy clusters move as if under the influence of some unseen mass, in addition to the stars astronomers observe.
A reader was aghast-- outraged, I say-- at my suggestion that this precious music satellite, Project Calliope, might launch a few months late.

Now, the rocket people at InterOrbital Systems are rock-solid and haven't had any reason to announce a delay. Their testing is on track. Certainly (as this blog shows) my satellite construction in proceeding in a timely fashion. So why do I think we won't launch until 2011?

The answer is just about everything launches late. Late is the new early. The launch industry is predicated on being absolutely perfect with engineering details, and wildly inaccurate about when you actually launch.
A team of astronomers writing in Astrophysical Journal Letters has shown that the two stars in the binary HM Cancri revolve around each other in a mere 5.4 minutes, making HM Cancri the binary star with by far the shortest known orbital period. It is also the smallest known binary; The system is no larger than 8 times the diameter of the Earth.

The team was able to prove the short binary period of the system by detecting the velocity variations in the spectral lines in the light of HM Cancri. These velocity variations are induced by the Doppler effect, caused by the orbital motion of the two stars revolving around each other. The Doppler effect causes the lines to periodically shift from blue to red and back.
ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory has revealed the chemical fingerprints of potential life-enabling organic molecules in the Orion Nebula, a nearby stellar nursery in our Milky Way galaxy. This detailed spectrum, obtained with the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI) - one of Herschel's three innovative instruments - demonstrates the gold mine of information that Herschel-HIFI will provide on how organic molecules form in space. Several German Institutes contributed essential parts to the HIFI instrument: the Universität zu Köln and two Max Planck Institutes: Radioastronmie (Bonn) and Sonnensystemforschung (Lindau).

The recent earthquake in Chile was so big, it altered the earths rotation.  So if you notice the days getting shorter, blame the quake.  According to NASA scientist Richard Gross, the earth has been knocked about 3 inches off of its axis!  This resulted in a 1.26 microsecond shortening of the day.