Here we see a supermassive black hole “burping” material out into space. Yes, that is the technical turn NASA is using. Black holes are usually dormant until an object gets close. In this case, a galaxy got a bit too cozy with a supermassive black hole named J1354. As the black hole devours its galactic meal, it “burps” out, or ejects, strings of stars and gas. When comets fly in from the depths of outer space, they swing around the sun and begin their journey back out again. But as this happens, their icy bodies and tails begin to melt, slowing them down. Now, astronomers have captured the fastest comet slow down yet. Comet 41p slowed more than 10 times its speed in just 60 days, a first in the comet records. You might need sunglasses to look at this picture. Stars, stars everywhere! This twinkling photo is looking towards the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Older red dwarf stars light up this image in glowing crimsons and pinks while the younger, more … [Read more...] about Space Photos of the Week: Home Is Where the Supermassive Black Hole Is
Say hello to Jupiter’s south pole! The Juno spacecraft snapped this photo during its tenth orbit around the planet, all while speeding at over 100,000 miles per hour. The cyclones and storms in this image are highlighted in false color, and while they might appear lovely and small—they’re not! Some of these storms are bigger than entire continents on Earth. What is this alien landscape? This is Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. A hotbed (coldbed, really) of alien chemistry, this moon is covered with lakes and rivers—but not like we have here on Earth. Titan is covered in lakes mixed with methane, ethane, and nitrogen, which is what we see here in this image of Titan’s second largest lake, Ligeia Mare. Are you gobsmacked? Believe it or not, this is Jupiter, the same planet whose south pole we just flew under. In this mind-blowing photo, Jupiter’s famous bands are on full display. Textures in the cloud tops highlight the depths of the … [Read more...] about Space Photos of the Week: You Just Try to Snap a Pic at 100,000 MPH
This week belongs to darkness, both Mars- and moon-related. Over on Mark Watney’s home away from home, there’s a storm a-coming: The Red Planet is dusty, covered with sandy dunes like many of the deserts on Earth, and its weather system is known to kick up a lot of that fine material. One of those big global dust storms is expected to hit sometime in 2018, potentially lasting through early 2019. And that spells trouble for the actual Martian, the Opportunity Rover, which has been exploring the rusty planet for 14 years. Unlike the Curiosity rover, which gets its power from a plutonium-powered generator, Opportunity is solar powered. If enough sunlight is blocked by the dust, Oppy might have to enter hibernation mode and ride out the storm. While it has managed to survive previous dust storms, the upcoming 2018-2019 storm could be the one that puts the brakes on it for good. The moon itself will go dark this week, at least from our perspective. On January 31, the Earth, the … [Read more...] about Space Photos of the Week: Martian Dust Is Perfect for Smoothing Out Those Wrinkles
In the past 60 years, humans have left a lot of stuff on other worlds or floating in space. We’ve landed (or crashed) spacecraft on Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and Titan. Along with the hundreds of objects in orbit around Earth, the Moon, and Mars, those spacecraft provide a physical record of human activity that could outlast some of the most ancient ruins here on Earth. “There's stuff in orbit, particularly in middle to high orbits, that's up there for thousands or even millions of years,” said Flinders University space archaeologist Alice Gorman. Luckily, just as archaeologists back here on Earth take interest in the remains of decades past beneath us, some in the industry have started pursuing a similar curiosity in what's above our pale blue dot. And, accordingly, a branch of archaeology has emerged that wants to bring the study of humanity’s past into the future. Linking the Stone Age to the Space Age In 1969, … [Read more...] about Is space the next frontier for archaeology?
Silicon chips from STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) have enabled new zForce AIR(TM) touch-sensing modules from Neonode (NASDAQ: NEON), the optical sensor technology company.Neonode’s compact, low-power, and easy-to-use modules add touch interaction to any USB- or I2C-connected object and work with any type of display or surface, including steel, wood, plastic, glass, skin, or even nothing, able to detect touch interactions in mid-air. The innovative approach uses laser-generated infrared light to track touch or gesture control, combining millimeter precision with ultra-fast response. The non-visible-spectrum light doesn’t impact display quality, add glare, or shift colors.The new Neonode family of touch-sensors uses a programmable mixed-signal custom System-on-Chip (SoC) and an STM32 Arm® Cortex® microcontroller from ST for scanning laser diodes and IR beams to determine the exact position and movements of fingers, hands, or other reflective objects in the light … [Read more...] about ST technologies help Neonode add touch interaction to any object, surface, or space