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coreyspowell

@coreyspowell@mastodon.social

Writer, editor, magazine maker, podcaster, procrastinator.

Former editor of Discover and American Scientist magazines. Co-host of #ScienceRules podcast. Invisible Universe on Substack: https://invisibleuniverse.substack.com/

Co-founder of OpenMind magazine.

#science #nature #space #scicomm

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coreyspowell, to space
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China's Tiandu-2 spacecraft captured this ethereal new infrared image of the Moon.

See that other little world floating in the background? That's Earth.

https://spacenews.com/chinas-queqiao-2-relay-satellite-ready-to-support-lunar-far-side-sample-mission/

coreyspowell,
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Tiandu-2 is part of a lunar communications network being set up to support China's upcoming Chang’e-6 lander. It will attempt to collect the first samples from the lunar farside, launching as soon as next month.

https://www.planetary.org/space-images/change-6-landing-site

coreyspowell, to space
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Jupiter's moon Io is the most hellish spot in the solar system -- a place of nonstop, sulfur-laced volcanic eruptions.

This new NASA visualization shows a strangely calm-looking lake of magma on Io. The video is directly based on imagery from the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter.

https://www.nasa.gov/missions/juno/nasas-juno-gives-aerial-views-of-mountain-lava-lake-on-io/

This animation is an artist’s concept of Loki Patera, a lava lake on Jupiter’s moon Io, made using data from the JunoCam imager aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft. With multiple islands in its interior, Loki is a depression filled with magma and rimmed with molten lava. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

coreyspowell, to science
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coreyspowell, to space
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coreyspowell, to space
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Can you handle one more eclipse photo? Because this one is quite amazing. It shows the April 8 solar eclipse...as seen from the Moon!

Taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, gazing back at the Moon's shadow as it swept across the Earth.

https://www.lroc.asu.edu/images/1368

coreyspowell, to science
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Two space questions I hear a lot:

  • Is Betelgeuse about to explode?
  • When we see things happening "now" in deep space, didn't they really happen a long time ago?

I decided to answer them both together (and threw in a bonus discussion about false precision).

https://quanta.quora.com/Betelgeuse-is-642-5-light-years-away-the-light-we-see-from-it-is-642-5-years-old-How-do-Scientists-know-it-is-going-to-6?ch=10&oid=1477743753967765&share=6c715101&srid=u5Hxq&target_type=answer

coreyspowell, to space
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coreyspowell,
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@AustinB Oh yes! I have that video clip, it is very charming. Will post it shortly.

coreyspowell,
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For added fun, here is actual video from aboard the International Space Station while the astronauts watched the April 8 solar eclipse.

Listen to their excited voices! So cool that seasoned astronauts still feel that pure sense of wonder.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_8UAZqeY6k

Footage from aboard the ISS when astronauts were watching the April 8 solar eclipse. Credit: NASA

coreyspowell,
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@mtwl If only it were all sarcasm...

coreyspowell,
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@martinlorcher Probably from the wide-angle lens needed to take in that much of the Earth at once.

coreyspowell,
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@nicod

Goes through my head all the time!

Solar eclipse does it. So do all the black-hole astronomy stories.

coreyspowell, to space
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We can now DIRECTLY OBSERVE planets being born!

Each of the arrow-marked blobs is a likely planet-in-the-making around the infant star FU Orionis (great name), located 1,350 light years away in the constellation Orion.

https://arxiv.org/abs/2404.05797 #space #science #astronomy #astrodon

coreyspowell,
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The idea that planets were born from giant clouds in space is called the "nebular hypothesis."

It originated with Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, way back in 1734. But only now can astronomers directly observe that, yes, planets really do form in clouds around newborn stars. Science takes time.

https://blogs.futura-sciences.com/e-luminet/2016/09/28/cosmogenesis-8-the-nebular-hypothesis/ #science #space #astronomy #nature

coreyspowell, (edited ) to space
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Today's dose of cosmic beauty: Comet Pons-Brooks, photographed from southern Spain by Fritz Helmut Hemmerich.

The eerie green glow is from diatomic carbon. The ripples show the flow of the solar wind.

https://www.facebook.com/fritzhelmut.hemmerich/ #space #science #astronomy #nature

coreyspowell, to nature
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Even with all the eclipse photos circulating right now, this one made my eyes pop. Great shot of jet contrails breaking up the edge of the eclipsed Sun. Quick calculation: The Sun is about 30,000,000 times wider than the jet.

(Photo by Bobby Goddin, Bloomington, IN)

coreyspowell, to science
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My solar eclipse experience was completely clouded out...yet the moment of totality was dramatic all the same.

I could see the shadow sweeping over the clouds, turning day to night, hearing the winds go still and the animals silent. I could feel the geometry of the solar system in motion.

Eclipse 2024 under cloudy skies, on the shore of Lake Ontario
Eclipse 2024 under cloudy skies, on the shore of Lake Ontario

coreyspowell, to science
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Johannes de Sacrobosco ("John of Hollywood") published detailed geometric descriptions of a solar eclipse in the year 1230. People in the "dark ages" were not so dumb!

I dig through 5000 years of eclipse investigations in my latest Invisible Universe column:

https://invisibleuniverse.substack.com/p/how-we-learned-to-love-the-invisible

coreyspowell,
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In 1715, Edmund Halley (of comet fame) was able to predict the timing of the next solar eclipse with an accuracy of 4 minutes! He also produced the first illustrated eclipse forecast.

That's what is possible once you understand the nature of orbits and have a working theory of gravity...

https://invisibleuniverse.substack.com/p/how-we-learned-to-love-the-invisible

coreyspowell,
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@cynblogger

that got a full laugh

coreyspowell,
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@Lizette603_23

Being pure of heart, Edmund Halley was able to see the true face of the Sun.

coreyspowell, to space
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Eclipse news from 3,246 years ago:

The earliest well-established observation a solar eclipse was recorded on March 5, 1222 BCE. It was inscribed in a clay tablet from Ugarit, a city in modern-day Syria.

https://theconversation.com/archeoastronomy-uses-the-rare-times-and-places-of-previous-total-solar-eclipses-to-help-us-measure-history-222709

coreyspowell, (edited )
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But wait! There might be an even earlier description of a solar eclipse from as long ago as 2137 BCE in the Chinese book "Shujing."

The text references a startling event when "the Sun and Moon did not meet harmoniously."

https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.04674

coreyspowell, to science
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Amazing research out today:

The DESI survey has created the largest-ever 3D map of the structure of the universe.

It has also found intriguing (though tentative) evidence that cosmic "dark energy" is not what we thought -- a hint of new, unknown physics.

https://newscenter.lbl.gov/2024/04/04/desi-first-results-make-most-precise-measurement-of-expanding-universe/

coreyspowell,
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Seriously, how cool is this?

Cosmologists have now measured how the expansion of the universe changes over time, to an accuracy of 1%.

They did it by finding frozen sound waves from the Big Bang, and then tracking them across 11 billion years. People can do these things!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoOyOAAj4iY

This animation shows how baryon acoustic oscillations act as a cosmic ruler for measuring the expansion of the universe. (Credit: Claire Lamman/DESI collaboration and Jenny Nuss/Berkeley Lab)

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