space-facts:


Pluto is the second closest dwarf planet to the Sun and is also the second most massive dwarf planet. It is possible that either Pluto is the largest dwarf planet but Pluto’s atmosphere makes it is difficult to determine a precise size. Pluto was discovered on February 18th, 1930 by Clyde W. Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory.

Image credit: NASA, based on the planet profiles by Space Plasma

space-facts:

Pluto is the second closest dwarf planet to the Sun and is also the second most massive dwarf planet. It is possible that either Pluto is the largest dwarf planet but Pluto’s atmosphere makes it is difficult to determine a precise size. Pluto was discovered on February 18th, 1930 by Clyde W. Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory.

Image credit: NASA, based on the planet profiles by Space Plasma

On August 24th at 12:17 UT, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded this M5.6-category explosion near the eastern limb of the sun.

The source of the blast was sunspot AR2151. As the movie shows, an instability in the suspot’s magnetic canopy hurled a dense plume of plasma into space. If that plasma cloud were to hit Earth, the likely result would be strong geomagnetic storms. However, because of the sunspot’s location near the edge of the solar disk, Earth was not in the line of fire.

Even so, the flare did produce some Earth effects. A pulse of extreme UV radiation from the explosion partially ionized our planet’s upper atmosphere, resulting in a Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance (SID). Waves of ionization altered the normal propagation of VLF (very low frequency) radio transmissions over the the dayside of Earth, an effect recorded at the Polarlightcenter in Lofoten, Norway: data.

Credit: NASA/SDO

s-c-i-guy:

Bill Nye Fights Back
How a mild-mannered children’s celebrity plans to save science in America—or go down swinging.
Read the full article on Popular Science

s-c-i-guy:

Bill Nye Fights Back

How a mild-mannered children’s celebrity plans to save science in America—or go down swinging.

Read the full article on Popular Science

comaniddy:

That creature you see right there is the teeny-tiny Water Bear. They are one of Nature’s toughest creatures.

I found this little tardigrade on tree moss. And in an upcoming SciTune, the folks from the BioBus and I will teach you how to find them!


While sunspots are relatively cool and quiescent regions on the Sun, the photosphere around them sometimes erupts with outflows of high energy particles in active regions. Most often these eruptions are in the form of loops and sheets called prominences which remain under the control of the intense magnetic fields associated with solar storms. There are other events which in a matter of minutes can release enormous amounts of energy and eject material out into space. Such violent events are called solar flares.

Images credit: TRACE/NASA

While sunspots are relatively cool and quiescent regions on the Sun, the photosphere around them sometimes erupts with outflows of high energy particles in active regions. Most often these eruptions are in the form of loops and sheets called prominences which remain under the control of the intense magnetic fields associated with solar storms. There are other events which in a matter of minutes can release enormous amounts of energy and eject material out into space. Such violent events are called solar flares.

Images credit: TRACE/NASA

Coronal loop

The corona is the outer part of the solar atmosphere. Its name derives from the fact that, since it is extremely tenuous with respect to the lower atmosphere, it is visible in the optical band only during the solar eclipses as a faint crown (corona in Latin) around the black moon disk. When inspected through spectroscopy the corona reveals unexpected emission lines, which were first identified as due to a new element (coronium) but which were later ascertained to be due to high excitation states of iron. It became then clear that the corona is made of very high temperature gas, hotter than 1 MK(megakelvin). Almost all the gas is fully ionized there and thus interacts effectively with the ambient magnetic field. It is for this reason that the corona appears so inhomogeneous when observed in the X-ray band, in which plasma at million degrees emits most of its radiation. In particular, the plasma is confined inside magnetic flux tubes which are anchored on both sides to the underlying photosphere. When the confined plasma is heated more than the surroundings, its pressure and density increase. Since the tenuous plasma is optically thin, the intensity of its radiation is proportional to the square of the density, and the tube becomes much brighter than the surrounding ones and looks like a bright closed arch: a coronal loop.

Coronal Loops: Observations and Modeling of Confined Plasma
Credit: Fabio Reale

Coronal loop

The corona is the outer part of the solar atmosphere. Its name derives from the fact that, since it is extremely tenuous with respect to the lower atmosphere, it is visible in the optical band only during the solar eclipses as a faint crown (corona in Latin) around the black moon disk. When inspected through spectroscopy the corona reveals unexpected emission lines, which were first identified as due to a new element (coronium) but which were later ascertained to be due to high excitation states of iron. It became then clear that the corona is made of very high temperature gas, hotter than 1 MK(megakelvin). Almost all the gas is fully ionized there and thus interacts effectively with the ambient magnetic field. It is for this reason that the corona appears so inhomogeneous when observed in the X-ray band, in which plasma at million degrees emits most of its radiation. In particular, the plasma is confined inside magnetic flux tubes which are anchored on both sides to the underlying photosphere. When the confined plasma is heated more than the surroundings, its pressure and density increase. Since the tenuous plasma is optically thin, the intensity of its radiation is proportional to the square of the density, and the tube becomes much brighter than the surrounding ones and looks like a bright closed arch: a coronal loop.

Credit: Fabio Reale

Planets of Our Solar System

Our solar system officially has eight planets and one star: the Sun. The discovery of an object larger than Pluto in 2005 rekindled the debate over whether such objects, belonging to the Kuiper Belt – a collection of icy bodies located beyond Neptune – should be called planets. Pluto and other large members of the Kuiper Belt are now considered “dwarf planets.”

Planet facts: space-facts.com

scinote:

Coming soon: SciNote.org, launched by entrop-e, shychemist, and geogallery, is Tumblr’s project for promoting science education around the world.

At SciNote, we believe that science shouldn’t just be reading about the ideas of people with PhDs and Nobel Prizes. We believe that science is an active process of asking questions and finding answers.
That’s why we, at SciNote, want to hear from you. We want to ponder the interesting questions you pose and get excited with you over the cool science you see in your world.
SciNote will feature the best of the Tumblr science community, and we will compile and publish the top posts from every year in the form of a magazine available both digitally and in print. Think of SciNote magazine as the Tumblr science magazine.
We hope to celebrate our launch by featuring some of the coolest science from around Tumblr. So before we launch SciNote, we would like to collect 25 science posts and/or questions from you, including:
the most interesting science news you have come across
questions you’ve always wanted to ask
fascinating facts that you’ve learned
pictures of nature and/or science that you’ve taken
cool research that you’ve participated in
any other science-related thing you’d like to tell us!

So please:
Submit posts or ask questions to be featured on our blog and for an opportunity to be published in SciNote magazine.
Follow our blog at SciNote.org.
Read more about our project here.
If you’re interested, apply to join our staff here.
Reblog this post so that we can collect 25 posts and launch our project as soon as possible!
Thank you all and happy science!

scinote:

Coming soon: SciNote.org, launched by entrop-e, shychemist, and geogallery, is Tumblr’s project for promoting science education around the world.

At SciNote, we believe that science shouldn’t just be reading about the ideas of people with PhDs and Nobel Prizes. We believe that science is an active process of asking questions and finding answers.

That’s why we, at SciNote, want to hear from you. We want to ponder the interesting questions you pose and get excited with you over the cool science you see in your world.

SciNote will feature the best of the Tumblr science community, and we will compile and publish the top posts from every year in the form of a magazine available both digitally and in print. Think of SciNote magazine as the Tumblr science magazine.

We hope to celebrate our launch by featuring some of the coolest science from around Tumblr. So before we launch SciNote, we would like to collect 25 science posts and/or questions from you, including:

  • the most interesting science news you have come across
  • questions you’ve always wanted to ask
  • fascinating facts that you’ve learned
  • pictures of nature and/or science that you’ve taken
  • cool research that you’ve participated in
  • any other science-related thing you’d like to tell us!

So please:

  1. Submit posts or ask questions to be featured on our blog and for an opportunity to be published in SciNote magazine.
  2. Follow our blog at SciNote.org.
  3. Read more about our project here.
  4. If you’re interested, apply to join our staff here.
  5. Reblog this post so that we can collect 25 posts and launch our project as soon as possible!

Thank you all and happy science!

Our Sun constantly emits plasma which moves out in all directions at very high speeds and fills the entire solar system. The complex interaction between the Sun’s plasma atmosphere and its magnetic field gives rise to a wide range of fascinating and spectacular phenomena. The fluctuation of the sun’s magnetic fields can cause a large portion of the outer atmosphere to expand rapidly, spewing a tremendous amount of particles into space. These large eruptions of magnetized plasma are called coronal mass ejections. CMEs are the most spectacular and potentially harmful manifestations of solar activity. Some of these eruptive events accelerate particles to very high energies, high enough to penetrate a space suit or the hull of a spacecraft and can cause severe disturbances in the geospace environment when they encounter Earth’s magnetic field. However, only about 1% of the CMEs produce strong SEP (solar energetic particles) events. 

Credit: NASA/SDO/Duberstein

txchnologist:

Electric Fields Made Visible

Physics educator James Lincoln helps people understand the natural world. The gifs above are from a Youtube video he made on how to “see” an electric field, the region around a charged object where electric force is experienced. When the object is positively charged, electric field lines extend radially outward from the object. When the object is negatively charged, the lines extend radially inward.  

Click the gifs for more info or see the full video below.

Read More

Propylene on Titan

With a thick atmosphere, clouds, a rain cycle and giant lakes, Saturn’s large moon Titan is a surprisingly Earthlike place. But unlike on Earth, Titan’s surface is far too cold for liquid water - instead, Titan’s clouds, rain, and lakes consist of liquid hydrocarbons like methane and ethane (which exist as gases here on Earth). When these hydrocarbons evaporate and encounter ultraviolet radiation in Titan’s upper atmosphere, some of the molecules are broken apart and reassembled into longer hydrocarbons like ethylene and propane.

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft first revealed the presence of several species of atmospheric hydrocarbons when it flew by Titan in 1980, but one molecule was curiously missing - propylene, the main ingredient in plastic number 5. Now, thanks to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, scientists have detected propylene on Titan for the first time, solving a long-standing mystery about the solar system’s most Earthlike moon.

NASA PlanetaryScientist Conor Nixon explains his discovery of propylene on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Scientists have known about the presence of atmospheric hydrocarbons on Titan since Voyager 1 flew by in 1980, but one molecule, propylene, was curiously missing. Now, thanks to new data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, propylene has been detected for the first time on Titan.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Meet the Very First Mars Rover 

Long before the Sky Crane lowered Curiosity into Gale Crater, before the twin MER rovers Spirit and Opportunity bounced across the Martian surface, even before Sojourner was a glimmer in its designers’ eyes the Soviet Union launched the twin Prop-M rovers. Though neither rover made it to the surface, the technology stands as a brilliant example of the Soviet ingenuity that gave the nation an early lead in space.

Credit: Amy Shira Teitel

Meet the Very First Mars Rover

Long before the Sky Crane lowered Curiosity into Gale Crater, before the twin MER rovers Spirit and Opportunity bounced across the Martian surface, even before Sojourner was a glimmer in its designers’ eyes the Soviet Union launched the twin Prop-M rovers. Though neither rover made it to the surface, the technology stands as a brilliant example of the Soviet ingenuity that gave the nation an early lead in space.

Credit: Amy Shira Teitel

Cepheid Variables are very luminous stars, 500 to 300,000 times greater than the Sun, with short periods of change that range from 1 to 100 days. They are pulsating variables that expand and shrink dramatically within a short period of time, following a specific pattern. Astronomers can make distance measurements to a Cepheid by measuring the variability of its luminosity, which makes them very valuable to the science.
Other pulsating variables include RR Lyrae, short period, older stars that are not as large as Cepheids; and RV Tauri stars, supergiants with greater light variations. Long-period pulsating variables include the Mira, which are cool red supergiants with large pulsations; and Semiregular, which are red giants or supergiants with longer periods that can range from 30 to 1000 days. One of the best-known Semiregular Variables is Betelgeuse. Irregular pulsating variables have also been identified. These are usually red supergiants, but very little study has been done on them.
Sources and More Reading:
Types of Variable Stars
 American Association of Variable Star Observers
Variable Star Charts
Variable Star Astronomy
Credit: NASA/ESA

Cepheid Variables are very luminous stars, 500 to 300,000 times greater than the Sun, with short periods of change that range from 1 to 100 days. They are pulsating variables that expand and shrink dramatically within a short period of time, following a specific pattern. Astronomers can make distance measurements to a Cepheid by measuring the variability of its luminosity, which makes them very valuable to the science.

Other pulsating variables include RR Lyrae, short period, older stars that are not as large as Cepheids; and RV Tauri stars, supergiants with greater light variations. Long-period pulsating variables include the Mira, which are cool red supergiants with large pulsations; and Semiregular, which are red giants or supergiants with longer periods that can range from 30 to 1000 days. One of the best-known Semiregular Variables is Betelgeuse. Irregular pulsating variables have also been identified. These are usually red supergiants, but very little study has been done on them.

Sources and More Reading:

Credit: NASA/ESA

Millisecond Pulsars

As the name suggestions, millisecond pulsars have pulse periods that are in the range from one to ten milliseconds. Most such millisecond pulsars are found in binary systems, typically with white-dwarf companions. These pulsars are highly magnetized, old neutron stars in binary systems which have been spun up to high rotational frequencies by accumulating mass and angular momentum from a companion star. Neutron stars form when a massive star explodes at the end of its life and leaves behind a super-dense, spinning ball of neutrons. A pulsar is the same thing as a neutron star, but with one added feature. Pulsars emit lighthouse-like beams of x-ray and radio waves that rapidly sweep through space as the object spins on its axis. Most pulsars rotate just a few times per second, but some spin hundreds of times faster. These millisecond pulsars are the fastest-rotating stars we know of.

  • To hear the sound of a pulsar, click here

Credit: NASA

Soft X-ray Emissions from Charge Exchange in the Heliosphere

The solar wind originates in the sun’s corona, the hottest part of its atmosphere, so its atoms have been ionized, stripped of many of their electrons. When these particles collide with a neutral atom, one of its electrons often jumps to the solar wind ion. Once captured, the electron briefly remains in an excited state, then emits a soft X-ray and settles down at a lower energy. X-rays with photon energies above 5–10 keV (below 0.2–0.1 nm wavelength) are called hard X-rays, while those with lower energy are called soft X-rays.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center