NASA Finds a Star that is Colder than the Human Body

Our planet has a huge flaming ball of fire as a neighbor, we call it our Sun, but in reality it is the closest star we have. On a cool day you can probably go outside and get sun burned after 3 hours by the pool. So it goes without saying, the closer you get to the star, the hotter it gets.  But thanks to NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) Satellite, they have actually found a star that is cooler than the human body. Unlike our sun, this star is cold enough to let you stand on it’s surface without getting burned. The star belongs to the brown Y dwarf star family, sometimes referred to it as the “Failed Stars” family, because of their low mass levels that keep them from being able to fuse atoms. This new star is believed to be at a comfortable 80 degrees fahrenheit and it’s located about 40 light years away.

Before this star was discovered, the previous “cool” record wouldn’t instantly burn you to a crisp either, but you would be sweating left and right until you eventually pass the comfort zone and then you passed the living zone. According to NASA, finding the star was not an easy task, because of how little infrared light these dwarfs put out and their lack of actual visible light they blend into their environment. WISE also spotted about 100 other brown Y dwarfs that are closer than NASA had though.

So yesterday we had a planet made out of Diamonds, now we have cold suns… Gotta love our universe.

NASA

A Planet Made Out of Diamonds?

Astronomers in London have found what they believe is a planet made out of diamonds – Not Diamonds, just one planet size Diamond that is spinning around a tiny start that’s in our own backyard, figuratively speaking.

The new planet is believed to be denser than any other planet, and is believed to consist of mostly carbon. Because of it’s density, scientist think that the carbon must be crystalline, and therefore it should be made out of diamond. We’ve heard this line before hundreds of times, our astronomers see one thing, they assume another based on theories.

Matthew Bailes from Swinburne University of Technology in Melburne said “The evolutionary history and amazing density of the planet all suggest it is comprised of carbon — i.e. a massive diamond orbiting a neutron star every two hours in an orbit so tight it would fit inside our own Sun,” the new planet is about 4,000 light years away spinning around a pulsar start; a very tiny dead neutron start that is only about 12 miles in diameter and they spin around hundreds of times a second spewing out beams of radiation in all different directions.

Baile and his team stated that the diamond planet which spins around every two hours and 10 minutes has more mass than Jupiter, but is about 20 times denser than Jupiter. Aside from just having Carbon, the planet might have Oxygen and lacks hydrogen and helium.

“In terms of what it would look like, I don’t know I could even speculate,” said Ben Stappers of the University of Manchester. “I don’t imagine that a picture of a very shiny object is what we’re looking at here.”  if this planet did exist and we actually had technology to go out there and pick some chunks of it off, it would be amazing, until it sends the prices of diamonds down and then my wife’s ring would be worth nothing.

Via: Reuters

The Universe Seems to be Running Out of Gas

According to a new study, the universe is running out of gas. Now, I’m not talking about gasoline, but rather the gases that make up galaxies, nebula, and planets. Apparently galaxies have been dimming down at a slow but steady pace.

We all know, or at least should know, that stars need energy and gas to be created. These new stars need huge amounts of gas in the form of hydrogen to get started; the only problem is that the galaxies destroy 70% of the hydrogen and turn it into something else, like planets.

So where is the gas going to? Well, there is a fixed amount of hydrogen in the universe. Even though we have a lot of hydrogen floating around the universe, the universe is expanding; and as the universe expands, the density of hydrogen drops. Scientist blame this expansion on dark energyeven though we still have no idea how or why dark energy affects our universe. Eventually, in a very long time from now, the last star in the universe will finally be created, and at that point, the universe will have nowhere to go but downhill.

CSIRO, via Physorg

Has Our Space Exploration Drive Died?

For decades, humans have had a drive to fly, and even more, fly out to outer space. During the ’60s and ’70s, we expanded our flying technology in ways that were unimaginable at the time. In less than 10 years, we were able to land a man on the moon. I would have thought that by now, we would have been on Mars, or at the least, have a base on the moon.

But instead of having a continuous expansion to land a man on Mars, we slowed down. Our efforts dwindled and they slowly began to die out. More than 40 years have gone by, and we still have difficulty landing humans on the moon. Perhaps we got scared of what was out there, or maybe we finally reached a limit to our scientific advancements of the time, or it could be that even though we sent about a dozen humans to space, we never really gained any money from the exploration. While we did learn hundreds of thousands of new things about outer space, we really didn’t bring anything home that had any real monetary value.

For decades now, we’ve been stranded here on our planet not knowing what is going to happen next. Sure, we send out rovers to Mars, or we send out probes to other planets and moons, but never an actual human being. It wasn’t until our private business owners decided that it was time to keep the drive of exploration going that we decided it was time for us to pick up the pace once more. But how much of our technology and knowledge did we sacrifice by not doing anything for years? I’m sure you will argue against that and say “well, we actually did something, we came up with theories” and you’re right. We really did come up with hundreds of theories about what was going on in our universe. We came up with theories about light, black holes, white holes, and the list goes on and on. We have hundreds of different theories that have found life on other planets – on paper – but not in real, known, 100%-solid facts.

Some may argue that the reason we had such an amazing expansion in the beginning was because we had a space race with Russia and now that we won the race, there is no reason to keep on going. If that is the case, then who are going to race against next? If those people are correct, then that might explain why private companies are wanting to get to Mars. Those companies have created a new space race among themselves. But what’s going to happen when that race is also finished?

Have we become the type of humans that while we are dying to know what is out there and how it works, instead of actually taking to the skies and space to learn how it’s done, we’d rather sit and try to make sense of it on paper? Sure, we’ll know exactly how the universe works, but then when we go out to the cosmos we realize our formula was off, or our math was incorrect. I understand we need planning, we need to know “if this, then that”, but we need to have some sort of hands-on experimentation going on at the same time to rule out accidents and fix the problems as they come up.

We need to be out there, doing something. Now that the US shuttle program is finished, what is going to happen to all the children or the dreamers who want to become an astronaut to visit other planets? Who is going to become the next Neil Armstrong of Mars, and beyond? We need to find a way to encourage young children to learn more about the cosmos and what is going on.

Just because we’ve reached the end of an era doesn’t mean that the astronaut dream needs to die out as well.

SETI Telescope Finally Brought Back Online!

SETI was has finally made it back online after several months of down time. The last time we heard anything about the project going down, they were asking for funding from regular citizens.

Well, good news! almost 2,300 people stepped up and gave SETI more than enough money to keep the project going. Thanks to the success, SETIs co-founder Tom Pierson thinks operations could start back up as early as this September. So I guess we can finally keep the operation going! Very soon, we’ll be able to listen to all those calls that we may have “missed.” Via PhysOrg

Our Universe may Have Crashed Agaisnt Other Universes

According to a couple of researchers, our universe has crashed against four other universes in the past.  The theory states that just outside our very universe, other universes are constantly appearing and disappearing. Each one of them have their own bubble of space and time. For the most part, these universes are so far away from our own universe, that they don’t crash against us or even bother our existence, but sometimes, one of them springs up right next to ours and it crashes onto our universe. Another good thing that we have going for us, is our size, from the looks of it, our universe is bigger than the other universes.

According to a group of cosmologist from the University College London, when our universe get’s smacked by another universe, the crash tends to leave a mark. The mark resembles a disk like pattern made out of microwave radiation, these marks stay with the universe for billions of years, and the Scientists have found a total of 4 marks in our universe. Meaning it’s crashed “at minimum” four times.

Even though they found what they believe is a multi-universe collision, they said that they still need a whole bunch of data to really conclude the existence of other universes. Thanks to our microwave satellites, sometime in 2013 we’ll be able to know if there are other universes out there. And if there are… well… I think it’s just going to be sad and depressing. Knowing that there are other universes out there… even half the size of our universe is just to much to comprehend, what’s the point of travel at that time? we can’t even land a human on Mars yet, and were supposed to go outside of our universe and onto another one? bummer… at least this is good news for the possible existence of other life forms.

Via Science Blog

Largest Piece of Columbia Shuttle is Found in Nacagdoches Lake

It has been 8 years since Columbia suffered the re-entry accident and pieces were scattered all over East Texas. But pieces are still being found across the East Texas lakes and woods to this day. CNN reported that the image above is a part of the Shuttles oxygen and water container that supplied air and fluids to the crew when they departed the ISS and re-entered earth.

According to the official record, there have been over 40,000 pieces of the shuttle recovered from the accident. This orb fell into Lake Nacogdoches, and it laid undiscovered under the surface of the water for 8 years. It wasn’t until the drought that lowered the lake’s water level revealing the Orb. This is claimed to be the largest piece of Columbia ever discovered, followed by the wheel compartment.

I lived in East TX during the time of the accident, and I still remember the police telling people not to touch the pieces since they contained poison, radiation, alien microbes, and a bunch of other things. Which makes me wonder if they were all true? what happened to all the fish?

NASA says they plan to retrieve the orb so it can join the other recovered pieces of Columbia at the Kennedy Space Center.

Via: Dvice

WISE Finds the Very First Earth Trojan

There is an old saying that says “Everything has it’s shadows,” and planet Earth has a “shadow” per-say. In reality it’s an asteroid that more or less shares an orbit with the Earth.  The asteroid is about 300 meters wide, and it’s the very first Earth Trojan Asteroid. Up till now, these little boogers were only a theory, but thanks to NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer or (WISE) that theory has become a reality.

The asteroid is called the Tk7 and is trailing behind the  Earth about 50 million miles away, it’s actually pretty surprising we see it at all from that distance! because of the location of the asteroid, we can only see it during the day light. But thanks to WISE, we are able to see the asteroid in Infrared.

Okay, so I’m guessing the Asteroid would be inside the Habitable zone right?since it’s on the same orbit as the Earth, but still, scientist think that the rock is around the freezing point of water. Which makes me wonder… what really is the habitable zone?

According to the scientist, if you have a large body like the Sun, and then you have a small “good size” object like the Earth, then there are some points in the orbit where if you place something, it’ll stay there without any problem. ONLY if it is placed on one of the 5 Lagrangian Points. Two of the 5 points have a pretty good stable field, meaning that if you put up a small object it’ll sit there even when you have something pushing it around a little. The way Discovery described it like a small dip in flat table. Put a marble there and it’ll stay put, even if you push it a little. It’ll fall back into place in the center of the dip. But, pushing stronger than the dip, will make it roll out of control. That dip is located at the L4 and the L5 points.

The other three points are stable as long as nothing perturbs it, using the same example as before, it would be like placing a marble on a flat surface, if you barely touch it, it will roll off the table.

So this Trojan asteroid is always at about the same distance, as the earth, and I thought “why not send humans to explore that rock and learn about it since it’s always there” but the only problem is that the asteroid is moving in a sideways “S” pattern, so every time they check the orbit, the asteroid is way to high above the Earth’s orbit, or way to low the earth’s orbit. This pattern makes putting a satellite on the asteroid extremely difficult. Landing a human, is even harder.