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Where Will Science Take Us? To the Stars - The New York Times
A monthlong visit to observatories in Chile, Hawaii and Los Angeles revealed spellbinding visions of the heavens.
1  astronomy  travel 
4 hours ago by noiseguy
“Wolf’s jaw” star cluster may have inspired parts of Ragnarök myth | Ars Technica
Passing comets and eclipses may have stoked fears of pending apocalypse.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is a cataclysmic series of events leading to the death of Odin and his fellow Asgardian gods and, ultimately, to the end of the world. Some iconographic details of this mythical apocalypse that emerged around 1000 AD may have been influenced by astronomical events—notably comets and total eclipses.
This is not to say that the myth of Ragnarök originated with such events; rather, they reinforced mythologies that already existed in the popular imagination. That's the central thesis of Johnni Langer, a historian specializing in Old Norse mythology and literature at the Federal University of Paraíba in Brazil. He has outlined his argument in detail in a recent paper (translated from the original Portuguese) in the journal Archeoastronomy and Ancient Technologies.
Langer's analysis is based on the relatively young field of archeoastronomy: the cultural study of myths, oral narratives, iconographic sources, and other forms of ancient beliefs, with the aim of identifying possible connections with historical observations in astronomy. Both total eclipses and the passage of large comets were theoretically visible in medieval Scandinavia, and there are corresponding direct records of such events in Anglo-Saxon and German chronicles from around the same time period. These could have had a cultural influence on evolving Norse mythology, including the concept of Ragnarök.
It's admittedly a bit speculative. But Langer has identified several comets and eclipses in the eighth and ninth centuries that he believes may have fanned the flames of apocalyptic fears in the populace, culminating in an explosion of literary and visual references to Ragnarök in the 10th century.
astronomy  history  myth  europe  superheroes  avengers 
yesterday by rgl7194
APOD: 2018 November 7 - NGC 6188: The Dragons of Ara
Explanation: Dark shapes with bright edges winging their way through dusty NGC 6188 are tens of light-years long. The emission nebula is found near the edge of an otherwise dark large molecular cloud in the southern constellation Ara, about 4,000 light-years away. Born in that region only a few million years ago, the massive young stars of the embedded Ara OB1 association sculpt the fantastic shapes and power the nebular glow with stellar winds and intense ultraviolet radiation. The recent star formation itself was likely triggered by winds and supernova explosions, from previous generations of massive stars, that swept up and compressed the molecular gas. With image data from the Chilescope Observatory, a false-color Hubble palette was used to create this gorgeous wide-field image and shows emission from sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in red, green, and blue hues. The field of view spans about four full Moons, corresponding to about 150 light years at the estimated distance of NGC 6188.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
3 days ago by rgl7194
NASA's Fermi Mission Shows How Luck Favors the Prepared - YouTube
This video timeline explores the historical progress of research into three cosmic messengers -- gravitational waves, gamma rays and neutrinos -- that Fermi helped bring together.
3 days ago by mcjhn
Astronomers discover super-Earth around Barnard's star •
<p>Astronomers have discovered a planet in orbit around one of the closest stars to the Sun, Barnard's star.

The study was co-led by researchers from Queen Mary University of London, and from the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya and the Institute of Space Sciences/CSIC in Spain.
The potentially rocky planet, known as Barnard's star b, is a 'super-Earth' with a mass of at least 3.2 times that of the Earth, and it orbits around its host star once every 233 days.

The results, published in the journal Nature, show the planet lies at a distant region from the star known as the 'snow line'. This is well beyond the habitable zone in which liquid water, and possibly life, could exist.

The planet's surface temperature is estimated to be around -170 degrees Celsius meaning it is likely to be a frozen world which is uninviting to Earth-like life.

However, if the planet has a substantial atmosphere the temperature could be higher and conditions potentially more hospitable.</p>

It's only six lightyears away. Look, we should go - perhaps they could lend us money. Or we could sell them bitcoin. Same thing.
astronomy  startup 
4 days ago by charlesarthur
The Zooniverse enables everyone to take part in real cutting edge research in many fields across the sciences, humanities, and more. The Zooniverse creates opportunities for you to unlock answers and contribute to real discoveries.
astronomy  biology  science  space  planetary  citizen_science 
4 days ago by soto97

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