11
Jan 11

Planck's new view of the cosmic theatre

Source: ESA Press Release N°03-2011


This image shows the location of the first six fields used to detect and study the Cosmic Infrared Background.
Image credits: ESA/Planck Collaboration

The first scientific results from ESA's Planck mission were released at a press briefing today in Paris. The findings focus on the coldest objects in the Universe, from within our Galaxy to the distant reaches of space.

If William Shakespeare were an astronomer living today, he might write that"All the Universe is a stage, and all the galaxies merely players."Planck is bringing us new views of both the stage and players, revealing the drama of the evolution of our Universe.

Following the publication by ESA of the first full-sky Planck image in July last year, today sees the release of the first scientific results from the mission.(read more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon
11
Jan 11

Say Hello to Astronomy evening from Bray Ireland and a Partial Solar Eclipse from Greystones Beach by Deirdre Kelleghan

Tony Jackson and Sean Stanley from St Cronans School show their sketches of Orion and its wonderful nebula M42

January 3rd I held an almost impromptu star party for the new astronomy group attached to St Conan’s National School in Bray Co Wicklow. The group is so new it has not got a name yet so for the moment we will call it St Conan’s Young Astronomers. About 50 children and adults arrived at the green Sans Souci Wood, a very cold evening for stargazing.

On offer the sky had a very close conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus plus the Galilean moons in the same view.   Jupiter and Uranus will not be this close again till 2024 .The magnificent winter constellation Orion the hunter rising over Sans Souci House was impressive even in the slight haze.  The star forming cloud M42 in the sword of the Orion was a prime target.   Several other messier objects and constellations got a run out.

Parents and children lined up to see the largest planet in our solar system shine and show off in the sky over Bray.  As part of the experience I encouraged some of the children to draw Orion and its nebula after they had seen it in the large binoculars. Four of the boys did a great job on the sketches Sean Stanley, Kevin Morley, Sam Ferrie and Tony Jackson. We were joined by several enthusiastic neighbours and friends all braved the cold to learn a little appreciation for the night sky.

Partial Solar Eclipse South Beach Greystones Co Wicklow

January 4th a fantastic sunrise greeted the families and individuals who turned up at the beach at 08:30 hours. The solar disc was already partially eclipsed as it rose over the sea in-between thin gray cloud slivers.  Some of the St Cronan’s boys arrived with their parents to see this phenomenon.

Random dog walkers were delighted to be taken by surprise and handed special eclipse glasses
to view the event.  Smiles all around beamed from the golden sun splashed faces. The attendees sported trendy eclipse glasses provided to me by NASA Goddard. There were hollers and woops!!! of delight from both kids and adults (including me) as the moon appeared to slide over the left hand side of the rising sun.

The colours created by the sun seemed to warm the winter and bring joy with every passing minute to our motley gathering by the sea.

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon
11
Jan 11

NASA's Fermi Catches Thunderstorms Hurling Antimatter into Space

Source: NASA Fermi


When FERMI detected a bem of a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) some
particles reflected off of a magnetic "mirror" point and returned.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Scientists using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have detected beams of antimatter produced above thunderstorms on Earth, a phenomenon never seen before.

Scientists think the antimatter particles were formed in a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF), a brief burst produced inside thunderstorms and shown to be associated with lightning. It is estimated that about 500 TGFs occur daily worldwide, but most go undetected. (read more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon