Nicole Scott

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The TSA Is No Match For This Mad Scientist And His Gun Made With Junk From Airport Stores

The deadly weapons these ingredients become arise from a combination of “MacGyver-esque” creative thinking and good old-fashioned research. To figure …

APOD: Creature Aurora Over Norway 2013 Nov 06) Image Credit & Copyright: Ole C. Salomonsen (Arctic Light Photo) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131106.html Explanation: It was Halloween and the sky looked like a creature. Exactly which creature, the astrophotographer was unsure (but possibly you can suggest one). Exactly what caused the eerie apparition was sure: one of the best auroral displays in recent memory. This spectacular aurora had an unusually high degree of detail. Pictured above, the vivid green and purple auroral colors are caused by high atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen reacting to a burst of incoming electrons. Birch trees in Tromsø, Norway formed an also eerie foreground. Many other photogenic auroras have been triggered by recent energetic flares on the Sun. http://www.arcticlightphoto.no/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131106 #APOD

APOD: The Unexpected Tails of Asteroid P5 (2013 Nov 12) Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA) et al. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131112.html Explanation: What is happening to asteroid P/2013 P5? No one is sure. For reasons unknown, the asteroid is now sporting not one but six discernible tails. The above images were taken two months ago by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and show the rapidly changing dust streams. It is not even known when P5 began displaying such unusual tails. Were the main belt asteroid struck by a large meteor, it would be expected to sport a single dust tail. Possible explanations include that light pressure from the Sun is causing the asteroid to rotate increasingly rapidly, which in turn causes pools of previously gravity-bound dust to spin off. Future observations should better indicate how P5 and its dust plumes are evolving and so provide more clues to its nature -- and to how many similar asteroids might exist. http://hubblesite.org/news/2013/52 http://spacetelescope.org/news/heic1320/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/778/1/L21 http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.1483 Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131112 #APOD

Comet ISON Outburst: Taken on Friday Nov. 15 Copyright: Damian Peach http://www.damianpeach.com/ison.htm

APOD: Globular Cluster M15 from Hubble (2013 Nov 19) Image Credit: ESA, Hubble, NASA http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131119.html Explanation: Stars, like bees, swarm around the center of bright globular cluster M15. This ball of over 100,000 stars is a relic from the early years of our Galaxy, and continues to orbit the Milky Way's center. M15, one of about 170 globular clusters remaining, is noted for being easily visible with only binoculars, having at its center one of the densest concentrations of stars known, and containing a high abundance of variable stars and pulsars. Released only recently, this sharp image taken by the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope spans about 120 light years. It shows the dramatic increase in density of stars toward the cluster's center. M15 lies about 35,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Winged Horse (Pegasus). http://spacetelescope.org/news/heic1321/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131119 #APOD

APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 17) Image Credit & Copyright: Robert H. McNaught http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131117.html Explanation: Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, grew a spectacularly long and filamentary tail. The magnificent tail spread across the sky and was visible for several days to Southern Hemisphere observers just after sunset. The amazing tail showed its greatest extent on long-duration, wide-angle camera exposures. During some times, just the tail itself estimated to attain a peak brightness of magnitude -5 (minus five), was caught by the comet's discoverer in the above image just after sunset in January 2007 from Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Comet McNaught, the brightest comet in decades, then faded as it moved further into southern skies and away from the Sun and Earth. Within the next two weeks of 2013, rapidly brightening Comet ISON might sprout a tail that rivals even Comet McNaught. http://www.iau.org/administration/membership/individual/7913/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131117 #APOD

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APOD: The Trail of a Minotaur (2013 Nov 21) Image Credit & Copyright: Chris Cook http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131121.html Star trails arc above a moonlit beach and jetty in this serene sea and night skyscape. Captured on November 19, the single time exposure looks south down the Atlantic coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. But the longest and brightest trail is a Minotaur 1 rocket, a stage separation and exhaust plume visible along the rocket's fiery path toward low Earth orbit. The multi-stage Minotaur was launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility at 8:15 p.m Eastern Time in Virginia, about 400 miles away. On board were a remarkable 29 satellites destined for low Earth orbit, including a small cubesat built by high school students, and Firefly. http://www.cookphoto.com/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131121 #APOD

Comet ISON over the Canary Islands (Taken Thursday, 2013 November 21) Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (IAC)

APOD: Heavy Black Hole Jets in 4U1630-47 (2013 Nov 20) Illustration Credit: NASA, CXC, M. Weiss http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131120.html What are black hole jets made of? Many black holes in stellar systems are surely surrounded by disks of gas and plasma gravitationally pulled from a close binary star companion. Some of this material, after approaching the black hole, ends up being expelled from the star system in powerful jets emanating from the poles of the spinning black hole. Recent evidence indicates that these jets are composed not only electrons and protons, but also the nuclei of heavy elements such as iron and nickel. The discovery was made in system 4U1630-47 using CSIRO’s Compact Array of radio telescopes in eastern Australia, and the European Space Agency's Earth-orbiting XMM-Newton satellite. The 4U1630-47 star system is depicted above in an artist's illustration, with a large blue star on the right and jets emanating from a black hole in the center of the accretion disc on the left. Although the 4U1630-47 star system is thought to contain only a small black hole -- a few times the mass of our Sun -- the implications of the results may be larger: that black holes of larger sizes might also be emitting jets of massive nuclei into the cosmos. http://www.nasa.gov/chandra http://chandra.harvard.edu/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131120 #APOD

'Monster' gamma ray burst in space sets record for death of star

Astronomers call it the monster. It was the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed. Had it been closer, Earth would have been toast.<p>Because the blast was 3.7bn light years away, mankind was spared. But orbiting telescopes got the fireworks show of a lifetime in April.<p>The only bigger …