A Powerful Eye into Deep Space
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) —which has been spearheaded by UC and the California Institute of Technology since 2003— will be built and run by a consortium of universities and scientific organizations from around the world.
Special adaptive optics will correct for the blurring of Earth’s atmosphere, enabling the TMT to study the universe as clearly as if the telescope were in space (In fact, it has 12 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope).
It will be able to focus on and identify extremely distant structures that currently appear as blurry smudges in the Hubble Deep Field. As yet, no one knows what these objects are.
This new resolution will provide insights into the both dark matter and dark energy. And it will widen the search for planets orbiting stars outside our solar system. For the first time, we will be able to routinely image direct light from these exoplanets, garnering information on their atmospheric chemistry and dynamics.
The new TMT will also be able to see further back in time than any previous telescope, all the way back to the formation of the first stars and galaxies that followed the universe’s “Dark Ages.”
Most certainly one of the most major astronomical observatories in production I’m extremely amped about…more on the Thirty Meter Telescope HERE!
Astronomer Johannes Kepler proved that planetary orbits are elliptical and that the Sun is not the center of the orbit.
From the TED-Ed Lesson Reasons for the seasons - Rebecca Kaplan
Animation by Marc Christoforidis
Space Shuttle Discovery
#WhatIsNASAFor? continuing the human tradition of exploration.
Yellow Boxfish (Ostracion cubicus)
…a species of boxfish that is found in reefs throughout the Pacific, Indian and south eastern Atlantic Oceans. Yellow boxfish are reef dwellers and will feed mostly on algae. However, they are also known to eat sponges, crustaceans, molluscs and other small invertebrates as well.
Juvenile yellow boxfish have a bright yellow coloration with black spots. As they age they will lose this and older adults will have a blue-grey coloration with a hint of faded yellow.
*Fun Fact: this fish’s boxy shape inspired Mercedes-Benz to make its Bionic Car.
That’s what I call a weather map!
Remember that animated wind map of the United States from a while back? Well, now there’s one of the whole earth! You’ve got to check out the interactive site (which is updated with near current weather) because these images don’t do it justice. YOU CAN ORBIT THE EARTH! YOU CAN ZOOM! YOU CAN SEE WIND SUPERIMPOSED ON TEMPERATURE, PRESSURE AND CLOUDS. Standing ovation to developer Cameron Beccario! (and thanks to my friend Alice Anderson for giving me the heads up)
An ancient forest has thawed from under a melting glacier in Alaska and is now exposed to the world for the first time in more than 1,000 years.
Stumps and logs have been popping out from under southern Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier — a 36.8-square-mile (95.3 square kilometers) river of ice flowing into a lake near Juneau — for nearly the past 50 years. However, just within the past year or so, researchers based at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau have noticed considerably more trees popping up, many in their original upright position and some still bearing roots and even a bit of bark, the Juneau Empire first reported last week.
"There are a lot of them, and being in a growth position is exciting because we can see the outermost part of the tree and count back to see how old the tree was," Cathy Connor, a geology professor at the University of Alaska Southeast who was involved in the investigation, told LiveScience’s OurAmazingPlanet. "Mostly, people find chunks of wood helter-skelter, but to see these intact upright is kind of cool."
The team has tentatively identified the trees as either spruce or hemlock, based on the diameter of the trunks and because these are the types of trees growing in the region today, Connor said, but the researchers still need to further assess the samples to verify the tree type.
A protective tomb of gravel likely encased the trees more than 1,000 years ago, when the glacier was advancing, Connor said, basing the date on radiocarbon ages of the newly revealed wood. As glaciers advance, Connor explained, they often emit summer meltwater streams that spew aprons of gravel beyond the glacier’s edge.
Slimy brown algae not only survived a wild ride into the stratosphere via a volcanic ash cloud, they landed on distant islands looking flawless, a new study finds.
"There’s a crazy contrast between these delicate, glass-shelled organisms and one of the most powerful eruptions in Earth’s history," said lead study author Alexa Van Eaton, a postdoctoral scholar at both the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington and Arizona State University.
The diatoms were launched by the Taupo super-eruption on New Zealand’s North Island 25,000 years ago. More than 600 million cubic meters (20 billion cubic feet) of diatoms from a lake flew into the air, Van Eaton reported Sept. 6 in the journal Geology. Lumped together, the microscopic cells speckled throughout Taupo’s ash layers would make a pile as big as Hawaii’s famed Diamond Head volcanic cone.
Dark Sky Island
The gorgeous Isle of Sark, the smallest self-governing island in Europe, is located in the English channel 130 miles off the southern English coast. In January 2011 it became the world’s first “Dark Sky island” by controlling light pollution. The island’s single electricity source is an oil-fired power station, and there are no cars, streetlights or even paved roads: you can only get around by bike, horse, carriage or tractor-drawn bus. Due to the lack of light pollution, the Milky Way stretches gloriously overhead—from horizon to horizon across the pristine black sky.