Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

+ - Mysterious 'Cold Spot': Fingerprint of Largest Structure in the Universe?-> 1

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "At the furthest-most reaches of the observable universe lies one of the most enigmatic mysteries of modern cosmology: the cosmic microwave background (CMB) Cold Spot. Discovered in 2004, this strange feature etched into the primordial echo of the Big Bang has been the focus of many hypotheses — could it be the presence of another universe? Or is it just instrumental error? Now, astronomers may have acquired strong evidence as to the Cold Spot’s origin and, perhaps unsurprisingly, no multiverse hypothesis is required. But it’s not instrumental error either. It could be a vast "supervoid" around 1.8 billion light-years wide that is altering the characteristics of the CMB radiation traveling through it."
Link to Original Source

+ - Enceladus Spreads Ghostly Ice Tendrils Around Saturn->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "A ghostly apparition has long been known to follow Saturn moon Enceladus in its orbit around the gas giant. But until now, scientists have had a hard time tracking its source. Using images from NASA’s Cassini mission, the source of these tendrils have been tracked down and they originate from the icy moon’s famous geysers. But even better than that, scientists have been able to track the tendril shapes down to the specific geysers that produce them. “We’ve been able to show that each unique tendril structure can be reproduced by particular sets of geysers on the moon’s surface,” said Colin Mitchell, a Cassini imaging team associate at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., and lead author of a paper published int he Astrophysical Journal. The study of these features are helping scientists understand how much ice is being transported into Saturn's E ring from Enceladus as well as helping us understand the evolution of the moon's sub-surface ocean."
Link to Original Source

+ - NASA's MESSENGER Mission to Crash into Mercury in 2 Weeks->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft is in the final days of an unprecedented and unexpectedly long-lived, close-up study of the innermost planet of the solar system, with a crashing finale expected in two weeks. Out of fuel, the robotic Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging, or MESSENGER, probe on April 30 will succumb to the gravitational pull of this strange world that has been its home since March 2011. The purpose of the mission, originally designed to last one year, is to collect detailed geochemical and other data that will help scientists piece together of how Mercury formed and evolved. Mercury is one of four versions of rocky planets in the solar system, along with cloud-shrouded Venus, life-friendly Earth and dry, cold Mars. "MESSENGER is going to create a new crater on Mercury sometime in the near future ... let's not be sad about that," NASA associate administrator John Grunsfeld said Thursday."
Link to Original Source

+ - Hubble and the VLT Uncover Evidence for Self-Interacting Dark Matter->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "A new study carried out by the ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revealed for the first time that dark matter may well interact with itself — a discovery that, at first glance, seems to contradict what we thought we knew about the nature of this invisible mass."
Link to Original Source

+ - Briny Water May Pool in Mars' Equatorial Soil->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Mars may be a frigid desert, but perchlorate salts in the planet’s soil are lowering the freezing temperature of water, setting up conditions for liquid brines to form at equatorial regions, new research from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows. The discovery of subsurface water, even a trickle, around the planets warmer equatorial belt defies current climate models, though spacecraft orbiting Mars have found geologic evidence for transient liquid water, a phenomenon termed “recurring slope lineae.” The findings, published in this week’s Nature Geoscience, are based on nearly two years worth of atmospheric humidity and temperature measurements collected by the roving science laboratory Curiosity, which is exploring an ancient impact basin called Gale Crater near the planet’s equator. The brines, computer models show, form nightly in the upper 2 inches of the planet’s soil as perchlorates absorb atmospheric water vapor. As temperatures rise in the morning, the liquid evaporates. The levels of liquid, however, are too low to support terrestrial-type organisms, the researchers conclude. “It is not just a problem of water, but also temperature. The water activity and temperatures are so low in Mars that they are beyond the limits of cell reproduction and metabolism,” Javier Martin-Torres, with Lulea University of Technology, in Kiruna, Sweden, wrote in an email to Discovery News."
Link to Original Source

+ - Collision with Earth's 'Little Sister' Created the Moon->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "The primordial planet believed to have smashed into baby Earth, creating a cloud of debris that eventually formed into the moon, was chemically a near-match to Earth, a new study shows. The finding, reported in this week’s Nature, helps resolve a long-standing puzzle about why Earth and the moon are nearly twins in terms of composition. Computer models show that most of the material that formed the moon would have come from the shattered impactor, a planetary body referred to as Theia, which should have a slightly different isotopic makeup than Earth."
Link to Original Source

+ - Chemistry for Life Discovered Around Baby Star-> 1

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Scientists have found complex organic molecules in a planet-forming disk of gas, dust and ice swirling around a very young star, evidence that the building blocks for life may be common in the universe. “We already knew that these disks are rich in water and simple organics. This is the first time we detect more complex organics,” astronomer Karin Oberg, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told Discovery News."
Link to Original Source

+ - Distance of a Microlensing Event Measured for the First Time->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "For the first time, astronomers have combined the observational power of a ground-based survey with a space telescope to measure the distance to a stellar-mass object that was detected through a chance microlensing event. In a new paper published in The Astrophysical Journal, astronomer Jennifer Yee of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), Mass., led the study focusing on the detection of the microlensing event called “OGLE-2014-BLG-0939.” Detected by the 1.3 meter Warsaw Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and alerted through the Optical Gravitational Lens Experiment (OGLE) community on May 28, 2014, Yee’s team seized the opportunity to use NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to focus on the transient brightening. Both telescopes recorded a light curve of the event and was therefore able to derive the distance to the dark lens."
Link to Original Source

+ - We're Planning to Shoot an Asteroid to See What Happens->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "What better way to understand how to deflect an incoming asteroid than to smash into one to see what happens? This may sound like the storyline to a certain science fiction movie involving a team of oil drillers, but this is science fact, and Europe has started planning a mission to map a small target asteroid that NASA will attempt to shoot with a speeding spacecraft, no nukes required. As the first half of the joint Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment mission, the European Space Agency this month has started planning for the launch of its Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) in October 2020. AIM’s target will be the binary asteroid system of Didymos, which is composed of a main 800 meter-wide hunk of space rock circled by a smaller 170 meter-wide asteroid informally known as “Didymoon.” It’s the smaller asteroid that the joint NASA/ESA mission is interested in bullying."
Link to Original Source

+ - Most Powerful Geomagnetic Storm of Solar Cycle 24 is Happening->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "The most powerful solar storm of the current solar cycle is currently reverberating around the globe. Initially triggered by the impact of a coronal mass ejection (CME) hitting our planet’s magnetosphere, a relatively mild geomagnetic storm erupted at around 04:30 UT (12:30 a.m. EDT), but it has since ramped-up to an impressive G4-class geomagnetic storm, priming high latitudes for some bright auroral displays."
Link to Original Source

+ - 'Space Invader' Found on International Space Station->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "A peculiar alien visitor has been found on the International Space Station — but does it come in peace? Inspired by the popular 1970's video game "Space Invaders," a small red mosaic of one of the pixelated aliens has been recovered by European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and was photographed inside the orbiting outpost's Cupola, looking down on Earth. The art was created by French urban artist "Invader," who's true identity is a closely guarded secret. However, his art is very well known. Inspired by 8-bit video games from the 1970's and 80's, Invader's distinctive artwork can be found in over 60 cities in 30 countries around the globe. And now, in an orbital first, Invader's work has been installed on the hatch of ESA's Columbia module."
Link to Original Source

+ - The Milky Way May be 50 Percent Bigger Than Thought-> 1

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "A ring-like filament of stars wrapping around the Milky Way may actually belong to the galaxy itself, rippling above and below the relatively flat galactic plane. If so, that would expand the size of the known galaxy by 50 percent and raise intriguing questions about what caused the waves of stars. Scientists used data collected by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to reanalyze the brightness and distance of stars at the edge of the galaxy. They found that the fringe of the disk is puckered into ridges and grooves of stars, like corrugated cardboard. “It looks to me like maybe these patterns are following the spiral structure of the Milky Way, so they may be related,” astronomer Heidi Newberg, with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, told Discovery News."
Link to Original Source

+ - Computing the Optimal Road Trip Across the U.S.->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Wouldn’t it be nice to have a map that hit landmarks in every state and not only that, wouldn’t it be great if the map represented the optimal, most efficient route across the country? Tracy Staedter at Discovery News pondered this idea and teamed up with computer science graduate student Randy Olson from Michigan State University to solve the ultimate traveling salesman problem. Olson nailed it with his own genetic algorithm to create a US road trip that would cover 13,699 miles and take 2-3 months to complete — probably the ultimate addition to any Bucket List."
Link to Original Source

+ - Hubble Discovers Quadruple Lensed Ancient Supernova->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Astronomer Patrick Kelly, with the University of California Berkeley, and colleagues report this week about four different routes light from an ancient supernova took to reach the Hubble telescope after being deflected around an intervening elliptical galaxy. The phenomenon is known as an Einstein cross. “Basically, we get to see the supernova four times and measure the time delays between its arrival in the different images, hopefully learning something about the supernova and the kind of star it exploded from, as well as about the gravitational lenses,” Kelly said in a statement. The supernova will appear again in the next 10 years, as its light takes different paths around and through the gravitational lens."
Link to Original Source

+ - Fastest Star Ever Seen Will Escape from the Galaxy->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "The compact star US 708 hasn’t had an easy life. Paired with a domineering partner, 708’s mass was siphoned away, reducing it to a dense, helium-filled core. But 708 didn’t go quietly into the night. Instead, scientists believe the feeding frenzy ended in a supernova explosion that catapulted the ravaged remains with such force it’s leaving the galaxy. Fast. A new study shows that the star, classified as a hot subdwarf, is blasting through the Milky Way at about 750 miles per second, faster than any other star in the galaxy."
Link to Original Source

Real programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC after reaching puberty.

Working...