kara victorsen

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ESA Delays Launch Of Galaxy-Mapping Spacecraft Gaia

The craft has been undergoing tests before its original planned launch date of November 20.<p>The European Space Agency's galaxy-mapping spacecraft, Gaia, was originally scheduled to launch in less than a month. It looks like that date will be pushed back, however. The agency posted on the Gaia Blog …

APOD: North Celestial Tree (2013 Oct 23) Image Credit & Copyright: Jerónimo Losada http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131023.html Explanation: If you climbed this magnificent tree, it looks like you could reach out and touch the North Celestial Pole at the center of all the star trail arcs. The well-composed image was recorded over a period of nearly 2 hours as a series of 30 second long, consecutive exposures on the night of October 5. The exposures were made with a digital camera fixed to a tripod near Almaden de la Plata, province of Seville, in southern Spain, planet Earth. Of course, the graceful star trails reflect the Earth's daily rotation around its axis. By extension, the axis of rotation leads to the center of the concentric arcs in the night sky. Convenient for northern hemisphere night sky photographers and celestial navigators alike, the bright star Polaris is very close to the North Celestial Pole and so makes the short bright trail in the central gap between the leafy branches. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131023 #APOD

Find constellations of the zodiac

Tonight’s sky chart (top of post) shows the constellations of the zodiac that are up after nightfall on these October evenings. In a separate chart …

Big Pic: Pillownauts Rest For Science

ESA volunteers in France spent the last 21 days lying in bed with their feet up.<p>Ah, the things we do for the sake of scientific inquiry. These volunteers for the European Space Agency just got out of bed for the first time in 21 days. To examine the effects of spaceflight on astronauts' bodies, the …

How Feng Zhang Modified A Cell's Genome On The Fly

His techniques could be used to study the genetics of autism and schizophrenia.<p><i>Each year,</i> Popular Science_ seeks out the brightest young scientists and engineers and names them the Brilliant Ten. Like the 110 honorees before them, the members of this year's class are dramatically reshaping their …

Astronaut Educates Home-State Students from Space

The Moon And NASA Now Communicate Via Lasers

Our favorite space agency has just set a new communication speed record. With lasers!<p>In January, we wrote about an impressive feat—when NASA sent the Mona Lisa to the moon using lasers. In the accompanying video, NASA noted that they've been using lasers to track satellites, and in the future, …

Astronomers discover most distant galaxy yet

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Astronomers have found the most distant galaxy yet, a discovery that pushes back scientists’ view of the universe to about 700 million years after it is thought to have come into existence.<p>An artist's rendering of the galaxy, known by its catalog name …

Universe

Oldest and most distant galaxy ever discovered was a prolific star factory

Astronomers have spotted the most distant galaxy ever seen after a faint ray of light struck a telescope on a volcano in the middle of the Pacific.<p>The ancient group of stars lies 30bn light years from Earth, far beyond the handle of the Big Dipper that traces a celestial saucepan in the …

This Water Droplet Maze Is Mesmerizing

Watch it in action. Plus: learn something about the Leidenfrost effect.<p>Have you heard of the Leidenfrost effect? If not, it's about to be your favorite effect. If yes, same.<p>The basic idea is, when a liquid comes in contact with something really hot--about twice as hot as the liquid's boiling point, …

Humberto Expected To Become First Hurricane Of Atlantic Season

Tropical Storm Humberto is poised to get a promotion, becoming the first hurricane of an otherwise lackluster Atlantic season to date.<p>Humberto and Tropical Storm Gabrielle are both active in the Atlantic right now. Brian McNoldy, of the University of Miami's Rosenthiel School of Marine and …

Last leg of the Journey

How NASA Is Developing Fresh Space Salad

Plus cameos from former International Space Station crewmembers Zucchini, Broccoli and Sunflower<p>Early in the history of the U.S. space program, space ice cream caught the imagination of American youngsters. Now, NASA and other researchers are developing a different kind of space food—space-grown …

FYI: Can Anything Move Faster Than Light?

Yes, the universe itself will eventually outpace the speed of light. Just how this will happen is a bit complicated, so let's begin at the very beginning: the big bang. Around 14 billion years ago, all matter in the universe was thrown in every direction. That first explosion is still pushing …

This Is What An Urban Heat Island Looks Like

Summertime in the city. Ugh, New York City, you sweaty mess.<p>Summer in New York City, bless its big, appley urban heart, can be miserable. The city is basically a floating oven. Urban heat islands, New York among them, are metropolitan areas that--due to fewer trees and more dark, heat-holding …

This Weird Tiny Frog Hears With Its Mouth

"Talk directly into my mouth, please."<p>The Gardiner's Seychelles frog is one of the smallest amphibians in the world, measuring less than half an inch long. But their extreme tininess isn't the only curious thing about them. As a new study shows, this species of frog has no eardrum and no middle …

Science, Religion, and the Big Bang: An Animated Clarifier

The friction between science and religion stretches back millennia and has been addressed by some of humanity’s greatest minds. <b>Galileo</b> paid a high price for his dissenting opinions. <b>Richard Feynman</b> channeled his views in an ode to the universe, while <b>Albert Einstein</b> articulated his beautifully in a …

The Week In Numbers: Scientists Grow A Brain, Element 115 Exists, And More

<b>4 millimeters</b>: the size of a three-dimensional, self-organizing model of a developing human brain grown in a lab using stem cells<p><b>10 octillion</b>: the number of two-megaton nuclear bombs that would need to explode simultaneously to match the sound of a supernova<p><b>225 million years</b>: the time it would take …

Easy Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers! With Avocado.

Crave a veggie burger. One with Panko-crusted edges - infused with tender sweet potato and creamy, rustic white beans. Tall stacked on a toasted …

Let's be clear about science education and engagement

In last week's blog piece "The public don't want to be involved in science policy" Hannah Baker used the recent Wellcome Trust Monitor Survey to argue that rather than involving the public in decisions around science, we need to be focusing on educating them.<p>"Although this simple knowledge deficit …

Brian Cox on Why Science Is Essential to Modern Democracy

In the fall of 2012, <b>Brian Cox</b> — quantum physics wunderkind, whimsical explainer of science, champion of the wonders of life — was awarded the prestigious President’s Medal in London. His acceptance speech addressed the epidemic of promoting bad science in popular culture and the desperate …

Marshmallow Masher - Sick Science! #141

Popsicle Stick Chain Reaction - Sick Science! #144

Ping Pong Pressure - Sick Science! #151

How We Remember To Remember

The way our brain handles remembering to remember something, called prospective memory, has been somewhat of a mystery to scientists, until now.<p>"Remind me not to forget…" I often say to my roommate. My phone charger. The sandwich I made to take to work. The bill I need to put in the mail.<p>The way …

5 Body Parts Scientists Can 3-D Print

Hawaiian volcano serves as make-believe red planet for Mars researchers

Six astronauts emerged this week from four months spent living on Hawaii's isolated Mauna Loa volcano to simulate life on Mars, the latest elaborate make-believe staged in the name of science.<p>The astronauts wrapped up the Hi-Seas mission on Tuesday, leaving behind the vegetation-free lava fields …

Sailing stones

Mysterious sailing stones of Racetrack Playa, a dry lake bed in California’s Death Valley.<p>This cool picture was taken by EarthSky Facebook friend …