Friday, November 30, 2012

Biggest Black Hole?

Article by Elizabeth Howell for

Via @mashable

Astronomers have discovered what may be the most massive black hole ever known in a small galaxy about 250 million light-years from Earth, scientists say.

The supermassive black hole has a mass equivalent to 17 billion suns and is located inside the galaxy NGC 1277 in the constellation Perseus. It makes up about 14 percent of its host galaxy’s mass, compared with the 0.1 percent a normal black hole would represent, scientists said.

UCLan Discovery Challenges the Cosmological Principle

From The University of Central Lancashire

Via @doccosmos

An international team led by academics from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has found the largest known structure in the universe – a large quasar group that challenges scientific understanding of our universe.

The Cosmological Principle is the assumption that the universe, when viewed at a sufficiently large scale, looks the same no matter where you are observing it from.

Whole clusters of galaxies can be 2-3 Mpc across but LQGs [large quasar groups] can be 200 Mpc or more across. Although, based on the Cosmological Principle and the modern theory of cosmology, calculations suggest that astrophysicists should not be able to find a structure larger than 370 Mpc.

Neil Armstrong

This is one of my favorite pictures of Neil Armstrong standing next to my favorite rocket/plane, the X-15.

Some lawmakers are considering renaming Dryden Flight Research Center after Armstrong.

Via @PTTU.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Can You See A Star Die?

(Image Link (to zoom))

My sister-in-law asked me this excellent question the other night.  I completely forgot about SN 1987A.
SN 1987A was a supernova in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy. It occurred approximately 51.4 kiloparsecs from Earth, approximately 168,000 light-years, close enough that it was visible to the naked eye. It could be seen from the Southern Hemisphere. It was the closest observed supernova since SN 1604, which occurred in the Milky Way itself. The light from the new supernova reached Earth on February 23, 1987.

Of course I didn't see this one because it was only visible in the Southern Hemisphere but I followed it pretty closely.  As noted above, it was the first close supernova since A.D. 1604.

From the light curve you can see it took several months for the phenomenon to brighten and dim.

Solving Design Problems

From Ubuntu Design.

via @HNTweets

Skyfall had some awesome Hollywood Hacking

including a Hex-Dump containing the letter "G".

from @dalmer.

Could you dig a hole all the way to the Earth’s mantle?

From @howstuffworks.

Article by Patrick Kiger.

…An international team of scientists who call themselves the 2012 MoHole To the Mantle project [are] counting upon international support for a $1 billion effort in which a Japanese deep-sea drilling vessel, the Chikyu, would burrow into the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to dig deeper than anyone has ever gone before. The plan is to go right through the Earth's crust, the rocky top layer of the planet, which is 18 to 37 miles (30 to 60 kilometers) thick on land, but as little as 3 miles (5-kilometers) thick at its thinnest spots on the ocean floor [source: Osman]. If the Chikyu's drill rig breaks through a transitional boundary called the Moho, it would reach the Earth's mantle, the mysterious 1,740-mile (2,900-kilometer) thick layer between the crust and the planet's hot, molten core [sources: USGS, ScienceDaily].

Image credit:  Surachit

339 Gbps: High-energy physicists smash records for network data transfer

At by Allison Benter

via @astroengine

Some of the First Apple I Photos

by Harry McCracken from Technologizer

via @newsycombinator

Friday, November 02, 2012

Nine Giga-pixel Image of the Milky Way

From The Verge.

Using images from the ESO's Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), researchers have stitched together a massive nine-gigapixel image of the Milky Way galaxy. The 108,200 x 81,500 image consists of nearly nine billion pixels, and was used to create a catalog of 84 million stars. Researchers claim that this is the largest image of its kind — the first to catalog the entire bulge of the Milky Way galaxy — and contains ten times more stars than any previous study.

My favorite part is where it says “Click to Enlarge.”