It’s All Within Orion

A detailed list of the contents within Orion.

Orion is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognizable constellations in the night sky. It was named after Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology. Its brightest stars are Rigel (Beta Orionis) and Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis), a blue-white and a red supergiant respectively. Many of the other brighter stars in the constellation are hot, blue supergiant stars. The three stars in the middle of the constellation form an asterism known as Orion’s belt. The Orion Nebula is located south of Orion’s belt.


  • Betelgeuse, known alternatively by its Bayer designation Alpha Orionis, is a massive M-type red supergiant star nearing the end of its life. When it explodes it will even be visible during the day. It is the second brightest star in Orion, and is a semiregular variable star. It serves as the “right shoulder” of the hunter it represents (assuming that he is facing the observer), and is the eighth brightest star in the night sky.
  • Rigel, which is also known as Beta Orionis, is a B-type blue supergiant that is the sixth brightest star in the night sky. Similar to Betelgeuse, Rigel is fusingheavy elements in its core and will pass its supergiant stage soon (on an astronomical timescale), either collapsing in the case of a supernova or shedding its outer layers and turning into a white dwarf. It serves as the left foot of Orion, the hunter.
  • Bellatrix was designated Gamma Orionis by Johann Bayer, but is known colloquially as the “Amazon Star”. It is the twenty-seventh brightest star in the night sky. Bellatrix is considered a B-type blue giant, though it is too small to explode in a supernova. Bellatrix’s luminosity is derived from its high temperature rather than its radius, a factor that defines Betelgeuse. Bellatrix serves as Orion’s left shoulder.
  • Mintaka garnered the name Delta Orionis from Bayer, even though it is the faintest of the three stars in Orion’s Belt. Its name means “the Giant’s belt”. It is a multiple star system, composed of a large B-type blue giant and a more massive O-type white star. The Mintaka system constitutes an eclipsing binary variable star, where the eclipse of one star over the other creates a dip in brightness. Mintaka is the westernmost of the three stars of Orion’s Belt, as well as the northernmost.
  • Alnilam is designated Epsilon Orionis, a consequence of Bayer’s wish to name the three stars in Orion’s Belt (from north to south) in alphabetical order. Also called Al Nathin, Alnilam is named for the Arabic phrase meaning “string of pearls”. Alnilam is a B-type blue supergiant; despite being nearly twice as far from the Sun as Mintaka and Alnitak, the other two belt stars, its luminosity makes it nearly equal in magnitude. Alnilam is losing mass quickly, a consequence of its size; it is approximately four million years old.
  • Alnitak, meaning “the girdle”,was designated Zeta Orionis by Bayer, and is the easternmost star in Orion’s Belt. It is a triple star some 800 light years distant, with the primary star being a hot blue supergiant and the brightest class Ostar in the night sky.
  • Saiph was designated Kappa Orionis by Bayer, and serves as Orion’s right foot. It is of a similar distance and size to Rigel, but appears much fainter, as its hot surface temperature (46,000°F or 26,000°C) causes it to emit most of its light in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum.

Of the lesser stars, Hatsya (or Iota Orionis) forms the tip of Orion’s sword, whilst Meissa (or Lambda Orionis) forms Orion’s head. Iota Orionis is also called Nair al-Saif, Arabic for “the brightest in the sword”.

Orion’s Belt

Hanging from Orion’s belt is his sword, consisting of the multiple stars θ1 and θ2 Orionis, called the Trapezium and the Orion Nebula (M42). This is a spectacular object that can be clearly identified with the naked eye as something other than a star. Using binoculars, its clouds of nascent stars, luminous gas, and dust can be observed. The Trapezium cluster has many newborn stars, including several brown dwarfs, all of which are at an approximate distance of 1,500 light-years. Named for the four bright stars that form a trapezoid, it is largely illuminated by the brightest stars, which are only a few hundred thousand years old. Observations by the Chandra X-ray Observatory show both the extreme temperatures of the main stars—up to 60,000 Kelvin—and the star forming regions still extant in the surrounding nebula.

M78 (NGC 2068) is a nebula in Orion. With an overall magnitude of 8.0, it is significantly dimmer than the Great Orion Nebula that lies to its south; however, it is at approximately the same distance, at 1600 light-years from Earth. It can easily be mistaken for a comet in the eyepiece of a telescope. M78 is associated with the variable starV351 Orionis, whose magnitude changes are visible in very short periods of time. Another fairly bright nebula in Orion is NGC 1999, also close to the Great Orion Nebula. It has an integrated magnitude of 10.5 and is 1500 light-years from Earth. The variable star V380 Orionis is embedded in NGC 1999.


Orion Constellation


Another famous nebula is IC 434, the Horsehead Nebula, near ζ Orionis. It contains a dark dust cloud whose shape gives the nebula its name.

Besides these nebulae, surveying Orion with a small telescope will reveal a wealth of interesting deep-sky objects, including M43, M78, as well as multiple stars including Iota Orionis and Sigma Orionis. A larger telescope may reveal objects such as Barnard’s Loop and the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024), as well as fainter and tighter multiple stars and nebulae.

All of these nebulae are part of the larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, which is located approximately 1,500 light-years away and is hundreds of light-years across. It is one of the most intense regions of stellar formation visible in our galaxy.

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Infrared In Astronomy

Infrared astronomy is the branch of astronomy and astrophysics that studies astronomical objects visible in infrared (IR) radiation. The wavelength of infrared light ranges from 0.75 to 300 micrometers. Infrared falls in between visible radiation, which ranges from 380 to 750 nanometers, and submillimeter waves.


Emission Neb Head

Infrared astronomy began in the 1830s, a few decades after the discovery of infrared light by William Herschel in 1800. Early progress was limited, and it was not until the early 20th century that conclusive detections of astronomical objects other than the Sun and Moon were detected in infrared light. After a number of discoveries were made in the 1950s and 1960s in radio astronomyastronomers realized the information available outside of the visible wavelength range, and modern infrared astronomy was established.

Infrared and optical astronomy are often practiced using the same telescopes, as the same mirrors or lenses are usually effective over a wavelength range that includes both visible and infrared light. Both fields also use solid state detectors, though the specific type of solid state detectors used are different. Infrared light is absorbed at many wavelengths by water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere, so most infrared telescopes are at high elevations in dry places, above as much of the atmosphere as possible. There are also infrared observatories in space, including the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory.


The discovery of infrared radiation is attributed to William Herschel, who performed an experiment where he placed a thermometer in sunlight of different colors after it passed through a prism. He noticed that the temperature increase induced by sunlight was highest outside the visible spectrum, just beyond the red color. That the temperature increase was highest at infrared wavelengths was due to the spectral index of the prism rather than properties of the Sun, but the fact that there was any temperature increase at all prompted Herschel to deduce that there was invisible radiation from the Sun. He dubbed this radiation “calorific rays”, and went on to show that it could be reflected, transmitted, and absorbed just like visible light.

Efforts were made starting in the 1830s and continuing through the 19th century to detect infrared radiation from other astronomical sources. Radiation from the Moon was first detected in 1873 by William Parsons, 3rd Earl of RosseErnest Fox Nichols used a modified Crookes radiometer in an attempt to detect infrared radiation from Arcturus and Vega, but Nichols deemed the results inconclusive. Even so, the ratio of flux he reported for the two stars is consistent with the modern value, so George Rieke gives Nichols credit for the first detection of a star other than our own in the infrared.

The field of infrared astronomy continued to develop slowly in the early 20th century, as Seth Barnes Nicholson and Edison Pettit developed thermopile detectors capable of accurate infrared photometry and sensitive to a few hundreds of stars. The field was mostly neglected by traditional astronomers though until the 1960s, with most scientists who practiced infrared astronomy having actually been trained physicists. The success of radio astronomy during the 1950s and 1960s, combined with the improvement of infrared detector technology, prompted more astronomers to take notice, and infrared astronomy became well established as a subfield of astronomy.


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Use Command Prompt To Check Windows System Files

Run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe)

You can use the program by just right-clicking the hard drive icon (usually the C:Drive) and looking under “tools”. For a more thorough check though, try using the Command Prompt option.

Windows 7 or Windows Vista To do this, click Start, type Command Prompt or cmd in the Search box, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.


Run as Admin


If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow.

At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

sfc /scannow


The sfc /scannow command will scan all protected system files, and replace corrupted files with a cached copy that is located in a compressed folder at %WinDir%\System32\dllcache. The %WinDir% placeholder represents the Windows operating system folder. For example, C:\Windows.

Note Do not close this Command Prompt window until the verification is 100% complete. The scan results will be shown after this process is finished.

After the process is finished, you may receive one of the following messages:

* Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.

This means that you do not have any missing or corrupted system files.

 * Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation.

 To resolve this problem, perform the System File Checker scan in safe mode, and make sure that the PendingDeletes and PendingRenames folders exist under %WinDir%\WinSxS\Temp.

 * Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them. Details are included in the CBS.Log %WinDir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log.

 To view the detail information about the system file scan and restoration, go to How to view details of the System File Checker process.

 * Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them. Details are included in the CBS.Log %WinDir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log.


To repair the corrupted files manually, view details of the System File Checker process to find the corrupted file, and then manually replace the corrupted file with a known good copy of the file.





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Could It Be A Crunch of An Ending?

The Big Crunch

In physical cosmology, the Big Crunch is one possible scenario for the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the metric expansion of space eventually reverses and the universe collapses, ultimately ending as a black hole singularity or causing a reformation of the universe starting with another big bang. Sudden singularities and crunch or rip singularities at late times occur only for hypothetical matter with implausible physical properties.

If the universe is finite in extent and the cosmological principle (not to be confused with the cosmological constant) does not apply, and the expansion speed does not exceed the escape velocity, then the mutual gravitational attraction of all its matter will eventually cause it to contract. If entropy continues to increase in the contracting phase (see Ergodic hypothesis), the contraction would appear very different from the time reversal of the expansion. While the early universe was highly uniform, a contracting universe would become increasingly clumped. Eventually all matter would collapse into black holes, which would then coalesce producing a unified black hole or Big Crunch singularity.

The Hubble Constant measures the current state of expansion in the universe, and the strength of the gravitational force depends on the density and pressure of the matter and in the universe, or in other words, the critical density of the universe. If the density of the universe is greater than the critical density, then the strength of the gravitational force will stop the universe from expanding and the universe will collapse back on itself—assuming that there is no repulsive force such as a cosmological constant.

Conversely, if the density of the universe is less than the critical density, the universe will continue to expand and the gravitational pull will not be enough to stop the universe from expanding. This scenario would result in the ‘Big Freeze’, where the universe cools as it expands and reaches a state of entropy. One theory proposes that the universe could collapse to the state where it began and then initiate another Big Bang, so in this way the universe would last forever, but would pass through phases of expansion (Big Bang) and contraction (Big Crunch).

Short Anim-gif

We all crunch together.

Recent experimental evidence (namely the observation of distant supernovae as standard candles, and the well-resolved mapping of the cosmic microwave background) has led to speculation that the expansion of the universe is not being slowed down by gravity but rather accelerating.




However, since the nature of the dark energy that is postulated to drive the acceleration is unknown, it is still possible (though not observationally supported as of today) that it might eventually reverse sign and cause a collapse.




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The universe is much bigger than the observable universe post I did yesterday

Some parts of the universe may simply be too far away – an under-statement maybe too…

Some parts of the universe may simply be too far away for the light emitted from there at any moment since the Big Bang to have had enough time to reach Earth at present, so these portions of the universe would currently lie outside the observable universe.

In the future, light from distant galaxies will have had more time to travel, so some regions not currently observable will become observable. However, due to Hubble’s law regions sufficiently distant from us are expanding away from us much faster than the speed of light (special relativity prevents nearby objects in the same local region from moving faster than the speed of light with respect to each other, but there is no such constraint for distant objects when the space between them is expanding; see uses of the proper distance for a discussion), and the expansion rate appears to be accelerating due to dark energy.

Assuming dark energy remains constant (an unchanging cosmological constant), so that the expansion rate of the universe continues to accelerate, there is a “future visibility limit” beyond which objects will never enter our observable universe at any time in the infinite future, because light emitted by objects outside that limit would never reach us. (A subtlety is that, because the Hubble parameter is decreasing with time, there can be cases where a galaxy that is receding from us just a bit faster than light does emit a signal that reaches us eventually).

This future visibility limit is calculated at a comoving distance of 19 billion parsecs (62 billion light years) assuming the universe will keep expanding forever, which implies the number of galaxies that we can ever theoretically observe in the infinite future (leaving aside the issue that some may be impossible to observe in practice due to redshift, as discussed in the following paragraph) is only larger than the number currently observable by a factor of 2.36.

Some parts of the universe may simply be too far away for the light emitted from there at any moment since the Big Bang to have had enough time to reach Earth at present, so these portions of the universe would currently lie outside the observable universe. In the future, light from distant galaxies will have had more time to travel, so some regions not currently observable will become observable. However, due to Hubble’s law regions sufficiently distant from us are expanding away from us much faster than the speed of light (special relativity prevents nearby objects in the same local region from moving faster than the speed of light with respect to each other, but there is no such constraint for distant objects when the space between them is expanding; see uses of the proper distance for a discussion), and the expansion rate appears to be accelerating due to dark energy.

Assuming dark energy remains constant (an unchanging cosmological constant), so that the expansion rate of the universe continues to accelerate, there is a “future visibility limit” beyond which objects will never enter our observable universe at any time in the infinite future, because light emitted by objects outside that limit would never reach us. (A subtlety is that, because the Hubble parameter is decreasing with time, there can be cases where a galaxy that is receding from us just a bit faster than light does emit a signal that reaches us eventually).

This future visibility limit is calculated at a comoving distance of 19 billion parsecs (62 billion light years) assuming the universe will keep expanding forever, which implies the number of galaxies that we can ever theoretically observe in the infinite future (leaving aside the issue that some may be impossible to observe in practice due to redshift, as discussed in the following paragraph) is only larger than the number currently observable by a factor of 2.36.

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The Observable Universe – From Earth


The observable universe consists of the galaxies and other matter that can, in principle, be observed from Earth in the present day because light (or other signals) from those objects has had time to reach the Earth since the beginning of the cosmological expansion. Assuming the universe is isotropic, the distance to the edge of the observable universe is roughly the same in every direction. That is, the observable universe is a spherical volume (a ball) centered on the observer, regardless of the shape of the universe as a whole. Every location in the universe has its own observable universe, which may or may not overlap with the one centered on Earth.

The diameter of the observable universe is estimated at about 28 billion parsecs (93 billion light-years), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46–47 billion light-years away.

The word observable used in this sense does not depend on whether modern technology actually permits detection of radiation from an object in this region (or indeed on whether there is any radiation to detect). It simply indicates that it is possible in principle for light or other signals from the object to reach an observer on Earth. In practice, we can see light only from as far back as the time of photon decoupling in the recombination epoch. That is when particles were first able to emit photons that were not quickly re-absorbed by other particles. Before then, the universe was filled with a plasma that was opaque to photons.

The surface of last scattering is the collection of points in space at the exact distance that photons from the time of photon decoupling just reach us today. These are the photons we detect today as cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). However, with future technology, it may be possible to observe the still older neutrino background, or even more distant events via gravitational waves (which also should move at the speed of light). Sometimes astrophysicists distinguish between the visible universe, which includes only signals emitted since recombination—and the observable universe, which includes signals since the beginning of the cosmological expansion (the Big Bang in traditional cosmology, the end of the inflationary epoch in modern cosmology). According to calculations, the comoving distance (current proper distance) to particles from the CMBR, which represent the radius of the visible universe, is about 14.0 billion parsecs (about 45.7 billion light years), while the comoving distance to the edge of the observable universe is about 14.3 billion parsecs (about 46.6 billion light years), about 2% larger.


The best estimate of the age of the universe as of 2013 is 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years but due to the expansion of space humans are observing objects that were originally much closer but are now considerably farther away (as defined in terms of cosmological proper distance, which is equal to the comoving distance at the present time) than a static 13.8 billion light-years distance. The diameter of the observable universe is estimated at about 28 billion parsecs (93 billion light-years), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46–47 billion light-years away.





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Stars in Aries

Constellation Star Features

Aries has three prominent stars forming an asterism, designated Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Arietis by Johann Bayer. All three are commonly used for navigation. There is also one other star above the fourth magnitude, 41 Arietis. α Arietis, called Hamal, is the brightest star in Aries. Its traditional name is derived from the Arabic word for “lamb” or “head of the ram” (ras al-hamal), which references Aries’s mythological background. With a spectral class of K2 and a luminosity class of III, it is an orange giant with an apparent visual magnitude of 2.00, which lies 66 light-years from Earth. Hamal has a luminosity of 96 L and its absolute magnitude is −0.1.

β Arietis, also known as Sheratan, is a blue-white star with an apparent visual magnitude of 2.64. Its traditional name is derived from “sharatayn“, the Arabic word for “the two signs”, referring to both Beta and Gamma Arietis in their position as heralds of the vernal equinox. The two stars were known to the Bedouin as “qarna al-hamal“, “horns of the ram”. It is 59 light-years from Earth. It has a luminosity of 11 L and its absolute magnitude is 2.1. It is a spectroscopic binary star, one in which the companion star is only known through analysis of the spectra. The spectral class of the primary is A5. Hermann Carl Vogel determined that Sheratan was a spectroscopic binary in 1903; its orbit was determined by Hans Ludendorff in 1907. It has since been studied for its eccentric orbit.

γ Arietis, with a common name of Mesarthim, is a binary star with two white-hued components, located in a rich field of magnitude 8–12 stars. Its traditional name has conflicting derivations. It may be derived from a corruption of “al-sharatan”, the Arabic word meaning “pair” or a word for “fat ram”.However, it may also come from the Sanskrit for “first star of Aries” or the Hebrew for “ministerial servants”, both of which are unusual languages of origin for star names. Along with Beta Arietis, it was known to the Bedouin as “qarna al-hamal“. The primary is of magnitude 4.59 and the secondary is of magnitude 4.68. The system is 164 light-years from Earth. The two components are separated by 7.8 arcseconds. The whole system as a whole has an apparent magnitude of 3.9. The primary has a luminosity of 60 L and the secondary has a luminosity of 56 L; the primary is an A-type star with an absolute magnitude of 0.2 and the secondary is a B9-type star with an absolute magnitude of 0.4. The angle between the two components is 1°. Mesarthim was discovered to be a double star by Robert Hooke in 1664, one of the earliest such telescopic discoveries. The primary, γ1 Arietis, is an Alpha² Canum Venaticorum variable star that has a range of 0.02 magnitudes and a period of 2.607 days. It is unusual because of its strong silicon emission lines.

The constellation is home to several double stars, including Epsilon, Lambda, and Pi Arietis. ε Arietis is a binary star with two white components. The primary is of magnitude 5.2 and the secondary is of magnitude 5.5. The system is 290 light-years from Earth. Its overall magnitude is 4.63, and the primary has an absolute magnitude of 1.4. Its spectral class is A2. The two components are separated by 1.5 arcseconds. λ Arietis is a wide double star with a white-hued primary and a yellow-hued secondary. The primary is of magnitude 4.8 and the secondary is of magnitude 7.3. The primary is 129 light-years from Earth. It has an absolute magnitude of 1.7 and a spectral class of F0. The two components are separated by 36 arcseconds at an angle of 50°; the two stars are located 0.5° east of 7 Arietis. π Arietis is a close binary star with a blue-white primary and a white secondary. The primary is of magnitude 5.3 and the secondary is of magnitude 8.5. The primary is 776 light-years from Earth. The primary itself is a wide double star with a separation of 25.2 arcseconds; the tertiary has a magnitude of 10.8. The primary and secondary are separated by 3.2 arcseconds.

Most of the other stars in Aries visible to the naked eye have magnitudes between 3 and 5. δ Ari, called Boteïn, is a star of magnitude 4.35, 170 light-years away. It has an absolute magnitude of −0.1 and a spectral class of K2. ζ Arietis is a star of magnitude 4.89, 263 light-years away. Its spectral class is A0 and its absolute magnitude is 0.0. 14 Arietis is a star of magnitude 4.98, 288 light-years away. Its spectral class is F2 and its absolute magnitude is 0.6. 39 Arietis is a similar star of magnitude 4.51, 172 light-years away. Its spectral class is K1 and its absolute magnitude is 0.0. 35 Arietis is a dim star of magnitude 4.55, 343 light-years away. Its spectral class is B3 and its absolute magnitude is −1.7. 41 Arietis, known both as c Arietis and Nair al Butain, is a brighter star of magnitude 3.63, 165 light-years away. Its spectral class is B8 and it has a luminosity of 105 L. Its absolute magnitude is −0.2. 53 Arietis is arunaway star of magnitude 6.09, 815 light-years away. Its spectral class is B2. It was likely ejected from the Orion Nebula approximately five million years ago, possibly due tosupernovae. Finally, Teegarden’s Star is the closest star to Earth in Aries. It is a brown dwarf of magnitude 15.14 and spectral class M6.5V. With a proper motion of 5.1 arcseconds per year, it is the 24th closest star to Earth overall.

Aries has its share of variable stars, including R and U Arietis, Mira-type variable stars, and T Arietis, a semi-regular variable star. R Arietis is a Mira variable star that ranges in magnitude from a minimum of 13.7 to a maximum of 7.4 with a period of 186.8 days. It is 4,080 light-years away. U Arietis is another Mira variable star that ranges in magnitude from a minimum of 15.2 to a maximum of 7.2 with a period of 371.1 days. T Arietis is a semiregular variable star that ranges in magnitude from a minimum of 11.3 to a maximum of 7.5 with a period of 317 days. It is 1,630 light-years away. One particularly interesting variable in Aries is SX Arietis, a rotating variable star considered to be the prototype of its class, helium variable stars. SX Arietis stars have very prominent emission lines of Helium I and Silicon III. They are normally main-sequence B0p—B9p stars, and their variations are not usually visible to the naked eye. Therefore, they are observed photometrically, usually having periods that fit in the course of one night. Similar to Alpha² Canum Venaticorum variables, SX Arietis stars have periodic changes in their light and magnetic field, which correspond to the periodic rotation; they differ from the Alpha² Canum Venaticorum variables in their higher temperature. There are between 39 and 49 SX Arietis variable stars currently known; ten are noted as being “uncertain” in the General Catalog of Variable Stars

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Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status.

Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.

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The Aries Constellation

Aries is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It is located in the northern celestial hemisphere between Pisces to the west and Taurus to the east. The name Aries is Latin for ram, and its symbol is  (Unicode ♈), representing a ram’s horns.

It is one of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations. It is a mid-sized constellation, ranking 39th overall size, with an area of 441 square degrees (1.1% of the celestial sphere).

Although Aries came to represent specifically the ram whose fleece became the Golden Fleece of Ancient Greek mythology, it has represented a ram since late Babylonian times. Before that, the stars of Aries formed a farmhand. Different cultures have incorporated the stars of Aries into different constellations including twin inspectors in China and a porpoise in the Marshall Islands. Aries is a relatively dim constellation, possessing only four bright stars: Hamal (Alpha Arietis, second magnitude), Sheratan (Beta Arietis, third magnitude), Mesarthim (Gamma Arietis, fourth magnitude), and 41 Arietis (also fourth magnitude). The few deep-sky objects within the constellation are quite faint and include several pairs of interacting galaxies. Several meteor showers appear to radiate from Aries, including the Daytime Arietids and the Epsilon Arietids.

Img-Aries-naked eye view

Aries – In Naked Naked Eye View

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Exoplanets are Extra Solar

Extra Solar Outside Solar System

An exoplanet, or extrasolar planet, is a planet outside the Solar System. More than a thousand such planets have been discovered (1048 planets in 794 planetary systems including 175 multiple planetary systems as of 25 November 2013). As of 4 November 2013, the Kepler mission space telescope has detected 3,568 more candidate planets, of which about 11% may be false positives.


It is expected that there are many billions of planets in the Milky Way Galaxy (at least one planet, on average, orbiting around each star, resulting in 100–400 billion exoplanets), with many more free-floating planetary-mass bodies orbiting within the galaxy.

Continue reading

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Constellation of Lyra


Lyra is a small constellation – with a big star


It is one of 48 listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and is one of the 88 constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union. Its principal star, Vega (Abhijit in Sanskrit), a corner of the Summer Triangle, is one of the brightest stars in the sky. Beginning at the north, Lyra is bordered by Draco, Hercules, Vulpecula, and Cygnus.

Cygnus, Lyra

Lyra naked eye.

Lyra is visible from the northern hemisphere from spring through autumn, and nearly overhead, in temperate latitudes, during the summer months. From the southern hemisphere, it is visible low in the northern sky during the winter months.


In Greek mythology, Lyra was associated with the myth of Orpheus, the musician who was killed by the Bacchantes. After his death, his lyre was thrown into the river; Zeus sent an eagle to retrieve the lyre, and ordered both of them to be placed in the sky. In Wales, Lyra is known as King Arthur’s Harp (Talyn Arthur), and King David’s harp. The Persian Hafiz called it the Lyre of Zurah. It has been called the Manger of the Infant Saviour, Praesepe Salvatoris. In Japan, Vega is sometimes called Tanabata (or Orihime), a celestial princess or goddess. She falls in love with a mortal, Kengyu (or Hikoboshi), represented by the star Altair. But when Tanabata’s father finds out, he is enraged and forbids her to see this mere mortal. Thus the two lovers are placed in the sky, where they are separated by the Celestial River, known to us as Milky Way. Yet the sky gods are kind. Each year, on the 7th night of the 7th moon, a bridge of magpies forms across the Celestial River, and the two lovers are reunited. Sometimes Kengyu’s annual trip across the Celestial River is treacherous, though, and he doesn’t make it. In that case, Tanabata’s tears form raindrops that fall over Japan.


Big Vega Star – in small constellation of Lyra.

It’s the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, the fifth brightest star in the night sky and the second brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere, after Arcturus. It is a relatively close star at only 25 light-years from Earth, and, together with Arcturus and Sirius, one of the most luminous stars in the Sun‘s neighborhood.

Vega has been extensively studied by astronomers, leading it to be termed “arguably the next most important star in the sky after the Sun.”


Vega was the northern pole star around 12,000 BCE and will be so again around the year 13,727 when the declination will be +86°14′. Vega was the first star other than the Sun to be photographed and the first to have its spectrum recorded. It was one of the first stars whose distance was estimated through parallax measurements. Vega has served as the baseline for calibrating the photometric brightness scale, and was one of the stars used to define the mean values for the UBV photometric system.

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the sun – our solar system

Our Star – The Sun

The Sun formed about 4.6 billion years ago..

It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields.

It has a diameter of about 1,392,684 km (865,374 mi), around 109 times that of Earth, and its mass (1.989×1030 kilograms, approximately 330,000 times the mass of Earth) accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System.

Chemically, about three quarters of the Sun’s mass consists of hydrogen, while the rest is mostly helium. The remainder (1.69%, which nonetheless equals 5,600 times the mass of Earth) consists of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon and iron, among others.

The Sun formed about 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a region within a large molecular cloud. Most of the matter gathered in the center, while the rest flattened into an orbiting disk that would become the Solar System.

The central mass became increasingly hot and dense, eventually initiating thermonuclear fusion in its core. It is thought that almost all stars form by this process. The Sun is classified as a G-type main-sequence star (G2V) based on spectral class and it is informally designated as a yellow dwarf because its visible radiation is most intense in the yellow-green portion of the spectrum, and although it is actually white in color, from the surface of the Earth it may appear yellow because of atmospheric scattering of blue light.


Eye Coleyartastro and the Sun

In the spectral class label, G2 indicates its surface temperature, of approximately 5778 K (5505 °C), and V indicates that the Sun, like most stars, is a main-sequence star, and thus generates its energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium.


solar sun eclip

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Andromeda Near Milky Way

Future collision with the Milky Way

The Andromeda Galaxy is approaching the Milky Way at about 300 kilometres per second (190 mi/s), making it one of the few blueshifted galaxies. The Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way are thus expected to collide in about 3.75 or 4.5 billion years, although the details are uncertain since Andromeda’s tangential velocity with respect to the Milky Way is known to only within about a factor of two.


A likely outcome of the collision is that the galaxies will merge to form a giant elliptical galaxy. Such events are frequent among the galaxies in galaxy groups. The fate of the Earth and the Solar System in the event of a collision is currently unknown. If the galaxies do not merge, there is a small chance that the Solar System could be ejected from the Milky Way or join M31.

The spiral arms of M31 are outlined by a series of H II regions that Baade described as resembling “beads on a string”. They appear to be tightly wound, although they are more widely spaced than in our galaxy. Since the Andromeda Galaxy is seen close to edge-on, however, the studies of its spiral structure are difficult.

While rectified images of the galaxy seem to show a fairly normal spiral galaxy with the arms wound up in a clockwise direction, existing two continuous trailing arms that are separated from each other by a minimum of about 13,000 light-years (820,000,000 AU) and that can be followed outward from a distance of roughly 1,600 light-years (100,000,000 AU) from the core, other alternative spiral structures have been proposed such as a single spiral arm or a flocculent pattern of long, filamentary, and thick spiral arms.

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Lepus (Is under Orion)

Lepus (constellation)

Lepus could remain anonymous unless posted about. It happens to be “under” the glorious Orion and may become ignored if not for constellation lovers like me! So please give Lepus credit somewhere.

Lepus constellation image-skymap

Lepus constellation image

This constellation should not be confused with Lupus, the wolf.

Lepus is a constellation lying just south of the celestial equator, immediately south of Orion. Its name is Latin for hare. Although the hare does not represent any particular figure in Greek mythology, Lepus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations. It is located below the constellation Orion (the hunter), and is sometimes represented as a hare being chased by Orion or, alternatively, by Orion’s hunting dogs.

The Moon rabbit in folklore is a rabbit that lives on the moon, based on pareidolia that identifies the markings of the moon as a rabbit. The story exists in many cultures, particularly in Aztec mythology and East Asian folklore, where it is seen pounding in a mortar and pestle. In Chinese folklore, it is often portrayed as a companion of the moon goddess Chang’e, constantly pounding the elixir of life for her; but in Japanese and Korean versions, it is just pounding the ingredients for rice cake.

The List of Stars in Lepus

There are a fair number of bright stars, both single and double, in Lepus. Alpha Leporis, the brightest star of Lepus, is a white supergiant of magnitude 2.6, 1300 light-years from Earth. Its traditional name, Arneb, means “hare”. Beta Leporis, called Nihal, is a yellow giant of magnitude 2.8, 159 light-years from Earth. Gamma Leporis is a double star divisible in binoculars. The primary is a yellow star of magnitude 3.6, 29 light-years from Earth. The secondary is an orange star of magnitude 6.2. Delta Leporis is a yellow giant of magnitude 3.8, 112 light-years from Earth. Epsilon Leporis is an orange giant of magnitude 2.2, 227 light-years from Earth. Kappa Leporis is a double star divisible in medium aperture amateur telescopes, 560 light-years from Earth. The primary is a blue-white star of magnitude 4.4 and the secondary is a star of magnitude 7.4.


There are several variable stars in Lepus. R Leporis is a Mira variable star also called “Hind’s Crimson Star” for its striking red color. It varies in magnitude from a minimum of 9.8 to a maximum of 7.3, with a period of 420 days. R Leporis is at a distance of 1500 light-years. The color intensifies as the star brightens. It can be as dim as magnitude 12 and as bright as magnitude 5.5. It was named for John Russell Hind. T Leporis is also a Mira variable observed in detail by ESO‘s Very Large TelescopeInterferometer. RX Leporis is a semi-regularred giant that has a period of 2 months. It has a minimum magnitude of 7.4 and a maximum magnitude of 5.0.

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The Hercules Constellation

Hercules is a constellation named after Hercules, the Roman mythological hero adapted from the Greek hero Heracles. Hercules was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations today. It is the fifth largest of the modern constellations.


Hercules Constellation

Hercules has no first or second magnitude
stars. However, it does have several stars above magnitude 4. Alpha Herculis, traditionally called
Rasalgethi, is a binary star resolvable in small
amateur telescopes, 400 light-years from Earth. The primary is an irregular variable star; it is a red giant with a minimum magnitude
of 4 and a maximum magnitude of 3.

It has a diameter of 400 solar diameters. The secondary, which orbits every 3600 years, is a blue-green hued star of magnitude 5.4. Its common name means “the kneeler’s head”. Beta Herculis, also called Kornephoros, is the brightest star in Hercules. It is a yellow giant of magnitude 2.8, 148 light-years from Earth. Its traditional name means “club-bearer”. Delta Herculis is a double star divisible in small amateur telescopes. The primary is a blue-white star of magnitude 3.1, 78 light-years from Earth.

The optical companion is of magnitude 8.2. Gamma Herculis is also a double star divisible in small amateur telescopes. The primary is a white giant of magnitude 3.8, 195 light-years from Earth. The optical companion, widely separated, is 10th magnitude. Zeta Herculis is a binary star that is becoming divisible in medium-aperture amateur telescopes, as the components widen to their peak in 2025. The system, 35 light-years from Earth, has a period of 34.5 years. The primary is a yellow-tinged star of magnitude 2.9 and the secondary is an orange star of magnitude 5.7.

There are several dimmer variable stars in Hercules. 30 Herculis, also called g Herculis, is a semi-regularred giant with a period of 3 months. 361 light-years from Earth, it has a minimum magnitude of 6.3 and a maximum magnitude of 4.3. 68 Herculis, also called u Herculis, is a Beta Lyrae-typeeclipsing binary star. 865 light-years from Earth, it has a period of 2 days; its minimum magnitude is 5.4 and its maximum magnitude is 4.7.

hercules mythology image

Hercules is also home to many double stars and binary stars. Kappa Herculis is a double star divisible in small amateur telescopes. The primary is a yellow giant of magnitude 5.0, 388 light-years from Earth; the secondary is an orange giant of magnitude 6.3, 470 light-years from Earth. Rho Herculis is a binary star 402 light-years from Earth, divisible in small amateur telescopes. Both components are blue-green giant stars; the primary is magnitude 4.5 and the secondary is magnitude 5.5. 95 Herculis is a binary star divisible in small telescopes, 470 light-years from Earth. The primary is a silvery giant star of magnitude 4.9 and the secondary is an old giant star of magnitude 5.2. 100 Herculis is a double star easily divisible in small amateur telescopes. Both components are magnitude 5.8 blue-white stars; they are 165 and 230 light-years from Earth.

Mu Herculis is 27.4 light years from Earth. The solar apex, i.e., the point on the sky which marks the direction that the Sun is moving in its orbit around the center of the Milky Way, is located within Hercules, close to Vega in neighboring Lyra.

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The constellation Corona Borealis

Mythology of the constellation Corona Borealis

Corona Borealis-sky

Corona Borealis

CORONA BOREALIS represents the crown or wreath worn by Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete.

Her story is connected to that of the Minotaur – a creature half-man, half-bull, who dwelt on the island at the centre of a labyrinth with no known escape route.

Periodically, seven young men and seven girls were sent from Athens to be offered up to the Minotaur. One year, Theseus, heir to the throne of Athens, who had already proved himself a hero, volunteered to be one of the seven men in order that he might kill the Minotaur and thus prevent any further sacrifices.

Continue reading

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The Milky Way and 30 Constellations

The Milky Way passes through parts of roughly 30 constellations.

The centre of the Galaxy lies in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius; it is here that the Milky Way is brightest. From Sagittarius, the hazy band of white light appears to pass westward to the Galactic anticenter in Auriga. The band then continues westward the rest of the way around the sky back to Sagittarius. The band divides the night sky into two roughly equal hemispheres.

The Galactic plane is inclined by about 60 degrees to the ecliptic (the plane of the Earth’s orbit). Relative to the celestial equator, it passes as far north as the constellation of Cassiopeia and as far south as the constellation of Crux, indicating the high inclination of Earth’s equatorial plane and the plane of the ecliptic relative to the Galactic plane.




The north Galactic pole is situated at right ascension 12h 49m, declination +27.4° (B1950) near beta Comae Berenices, and the south Galactic pole is near alpha Sculptoris. Because of this high inclination, depending on the time of night and the year, the arc of Milky Way can appear relatively low or relatively high in the sky. For observers from about 65 degrees north to 65 degrees south on the Earth’s surface the Milky Way passes directly overhead twice a day.

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Size and Composition of the Milky Way Galaxy

A Panorama of the  Milky Way

360-degree panorama view of the Milky Way Galaxy (an assembled mosaic of photographs)

The Milky Way Size & Composition

The stellar disk of the Milky Way Galaxy is approximately 100,000 ly (30 kpc) in diameter, and is, on average, about 1,000 ly (0.3 kpc) thick. As a guide to the relative physical scale of the Milky Way, if it were reduced to 100 m (110 yd) in diameter, the Solar System, including the hypothesized Oort cloud, would be no more than 1 mm (0.04 in) in width, about the size of a grain of sand. The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, would be 4.2 mm (0.2 in) distant. Alternatively visualized, if the Solar System out to Pluto were the size of a US quarter (25 mm or 1.0 in in diameter), the Milky Way would have a diameter of 2,000 kilometers, an area approximately one-third the size of the United States.


ColeyArtAstro-The Milky Way

The Milky Way contains at least 100 billion stars and may have up to 400 billion stars. The exact figure depends on the number of very low-mass, or dwarf stars, which are hard to detect, especially at distances of more than 300 ly (90 pc) from the Sun. As a comparison, the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy contains an estimated one trillion (1012) stars. Filling the space between the stars is a disk of gas and dust called the interstellar medium. This disk has at least a comparable extent in radius to the stars, while the thickness of the gas layer ranges from hundreds of light years for the colder gas to thousands of light years for warmer gas. Both gravitational microlensing and planetary transit observations indicate that there may be at least as many planets bound to stars as there are stars in the Milky Way, while microlensing measurements indicate that there are more rogue planets not bound to host stars than there are stars. The Milky Way Galaxy contains at least one planet per star, resulting in 100–400 billion planets, according to a January 2013 study of the five-planet star system Kepler-32 with the Kepler space observatory. A different January 2013 analysis of Kepler data estimated that at least 17 billion Earth-sized exoplanets reside in the Milky Way Galaxy. Such Earth-sized planets may be more numerous than gas giants. Besides exoplanets, “exocomets“, comets beyond the Solar System, have also been detected and may be common in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The disk of stars in the Milky Way does not have a sharp edge beyond which there are no stars. Rather, the concentration of stars drops smoothly with distance from the center of the Galaxy. Beyond a radius of roughly 40,000 ly (12 kpc), the number of stars per cubic parsec drops much faster with radius, for reasons that are not understood. Surrounding the Galactic disk is a spherical Galactic Halo of stars and globular clusters that extends further outward, but is limited in size by the orbits of two Milky Way satellites, the Large and the Small Magellanic Clouds, whose closest approach to the Galactic center is about 180,000 ly (55 kpc). At this distance or beyond, the orbits of most halo objects would be disrupted by the Magellanic Clouds. Hence, such objects would probably be ejected from the vicinity of the Milky Way. The integrated absolute visual magnitude of the Milky Way is estimated to be −20.9.

Estimates for the mass of the Milky Way vary, depending upon the method and data used. At the low end of the estimate range, the mass of the Milky Way is 5.8×1011 solar masses (M), somewhat smaller than the Andromeda Galaxy. Measurements using the Very Long Baseline Array in 2009 found velocities as large as 254 km/s for stars at the outer edge of the Milky Way. As the orbital velocity depends on the total mass inside the orbital radius, this suggests that the Milky Way is more massive, roughly equaling the mass of Andromeda Galaxy at 7×1011 M within 160,000 ly (49 kpc) of its center. A 2010 measurement of the radial velocity of halo stars finds the mass enclosed within 80 kiloparsecs is 7×1011 M☉. Most of the mass of the Galaxy appears to be matter of unknown form which interacts with other matter through gravitational but not electromagnetic forces; this is dubbed dark matter. A dark matter halo is spread out relatively uniformly to a distance beyond one hundred kiloparsecs from the Galactic Center. Mathematical models of the Milky Way suggest that the total mass of the entire Galaxy lies in the range 1–1.5×1012 M.

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Aquila Constellation in Early September

The Aquila Constellation –  Seen with my Naked Eye

Aquila Image

Kite-Like Aquila – Naked eye view.

This Constellation is a bit like the shape of a kite. In early September, with a clear sky, even I have been able to see it through my window, in the early hours.

Once you locate Altair, brightest Star in this region, you will know you have found it.


Aquila is a constellation in the northern sky. Its name is Latin for ‘eagle’ and it represents the bird who carried Zeus’s/Jupiter’s thunderbolts in Greco-Roman mythology.

In classical Greek mythology, Aquila was identified as the eagle that carried the thunderbolts of Zeus. It was sent by him to carry the shepherd boy Ganymede, whom he desired, to Mount Olympus; the constellation of Aquarius is sometimes identified with Ganymede.

Aquila, with the now-obsolete figure of Antinous, as depicted by Sidney Hall in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. At left is Delphinus. According to Gavin White, the Babylonian Eagle carried the constellation called the Dead Man in its talons. The author also draws a comparison to the Classical stories of Antinous and Ganymede.


Aquila lies just a few degrees North of the celestial equator. The alpha star, Altair, is a vertex of the Summer Triangle asterism. The constellation is best seen in the summer as it is located along the Milky Way. Because of this location along the line of our galaxy, many clusters and nebulae are found within its borders, but they are dim and there are few galaxies.


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Registry Cleaners Are Just Dangerous

Registry cleaners have been used as a vehicle by a number of trojan applications to install malware, typically through social engineering attacks that use website popups or free downloads that falsely report problems that can be “rectified” by purchasing or downloading a registry cleaner.

The worst of the breed are products that advertise and encourage a “free” registry scan; however, the user typically finds the product has to be purchased for a substantial sum, before it will effect any of the anticipated “repairs”. Rogue registry cleaners “WinFixer” have been ranked as one of the most prevalent pieces of malware currently in circulation.

Scanners as Scareware

Rogue registry cleaners are often marketed with alarmist advertisements that falsely claim to have pre-analysed your PC, displaying bogus warnings to take “corrective” action; hence the descriptive label “Scareware”.

In October 2008, Microsoft and the Washington attorney general filed a lawsuit against two Texas firms, Branch Software and Alpha Red, producers of the “Registry Cleaner XP” scareware.

  The lawsuit alleges that the company sent incessant pop-ups resembling system warnings to consumers’ personal computers stating “CRITICAL ERROR MESSAGE! – REGISTRY DAMAGED AND CORRUPTED”, before instructing users to visit a web site to download Registry Cleaner XP at a cost of $39.99.

Undeletable registry keys

Most registry cleaners cannot repair scenarios such as undeletable registry keys caused by embedded null characters in their names; only specialized tools such as the RegDelNull utility (part of the free Sysinternals software) are able to do this.imagesCAKWY9S5

 Recovery capability limitations

A registry cleaner cannot repair a registry hive that cannot be mounted by the system, making the repair via “slave mounting” of a system disk impossible. A corrupt registry can be recovered in a number of ways that are supported by Microsoft (e.g. Automated System Recovery, from a “last known good” boot menu, by re-running setup or by using System Restore). “Last known good” restores the last system registry hive (containing driver and service configuration) that successfully booted the system.

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Salute the Kernel




In computing, the kernel is a computer program that manages input/output requests from software and translates them into data processing instructions for the central processing unit and other electronic components of a computer. The kernel is a fundamental part of a modern computer’s operating system.


When a computer program (in this case called a process) makes requests of the kernel, the request is called a system call. Various kernel designs differ in how they manage system calls (time-sharing) and resources. For example, a monolithic kernel executes all the operating system instructions in the same address space to improve the performance of the system.

A microkernel runs most of the operating system’s background process in user space, to make the operating system more modular and, therefore, easier to maintain.

For computer programmers, the kernel’s interface is a low-level abstraction layer.

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Edmond Halley, FRS , 8 November 1656 – 14 January 1742) was an English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist who is best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley’s Comet. He was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, succeeding John Flamsteed.

Halley was born in Haggerston, Shoreditch, England. His father, Edmond Halley Sr., came from a Derbyshire family and was a wealthy soap-maker in London. As a child, Halley was very interested in mathematics. He studied at St Paul’s School, and from 1673 at The Queen’s College, Oxford. While an undergraduate, Halley published papers on the Solar System and sunspots.

On leaving Oxford, in 1676, Halley visited the south Atlantic island of Saint Helena and set up an observatory with a large sextant with telescopic sights to catalogue the stars of the southern hemisphere. While there he observed a transit of Mercury, and realised that a similar transit of Venus could be used to determine the absolute size of the Solar System. He returned to England in May 1678. In the following year he went to Danzig (Gdańsk) on behalf of the Royal Society to help resolve a dispute. Because astronomer Johannes  Hevelius did not use a telescope, his observations had been questioned by Robert Hooke. Halley stayed with Hevelius and he observed and verified the quality of Hevelius’ observations. The same year, Halley published the results from his observations on St. Helena as Catalogus Stellarum Australium which included details of 341 southern stars. These additions to present-day star maps earned him comparison with Tycho Brahe. Halley was awarded his M.A. degree at Oxford and elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1686, Halley published the second part of the results from his Helenian expedition, being a paper and chart on trade winds and monsoons. In this he identified solar heating as the cause of atmospheric motions. He also established the relationship between barometric pressure and height above sea level. His charts were an important contribution to the emerging field of information visualization.

Halley married Mary Tooke in 1682 and settled in Islington. The couple had three children. He spent most of his time on lunar observations, but was also interested in the problems of gravity. One problem that attracted his attention was the proof of Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. In August 1684, he went to Cambridge to discuss this with Sir Isaac Newton, only to find that Newton had solved the problem, but published nothing. Halley convinced him to write the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687), which was published at Halley’s expense.

In 1691, Halley built a diving bell, a device in which the atmosphere was replenished by way of weighted barrels of air sent down from the surface. In a demonstration, Halley and five companions dived to 60 feet (18 m) in the River Thames, and remained there for over an hour and a half. Halley’s bell was of little use for practical salvage work, as it was very heavy, but he made improvements to it over time, later extending his underwater exposure time to over 4 hours. Halley suffered one of the earliest recorded cases of middle ear barotrauma. That same year, at a meeting of the Royal Society, Halley introduced a rudimentary working model of a magnetic compass using a liquid-filled housing to damp the swing and wobble of the magnetized needle.

In 1691 Halley sought the post of Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, but, due to his well-known atheism, was opposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Tillotson and Bishop Stillingfleet. The post went instead to David Gregory, who had the support of Isaac Newton

In 1692, Halley put forth the idea of a hollow Earth consisting of a shell about 500 miles (800 km) thick, two inner concentric shells and an innermost core, about the diameters of the planets Venus, Mars, and Mercury. He suggested that atmospheres separated these shells, and that each shell had its own magnetic poles, with each sphere rotating at a different speed. Halley proposed this scheme in order to explain anomalous compass readings. He envisaged each inner region as having an atmosphere and being luminous (and possibly inhabited), and speculated that escaping gas caused the Aurora Borealis.

In 1693 Halley published an article on life annuities, which featured an analysis of age-at-death on the basis of the Breslau statistics Caspar Neumann had been able to provide. This article allowed the British government to sell life annuities at an appropriate price based on the age of the purchaser. Halley’s work strongly influenced the development of actuarial science. The construction of the life-table for Breslau, which followed more primitive work by John Graunt, is now seen as a major event in the history of demography.

By 1706 Halley had learned Arabic and completed the translation started by Edward Bernard of Books V-VII of Apollonius‘s Conics from copies found at Leiden and the Bodleian Library at Oxford. He also completed a new translation of the first four books from the original Greek that had been started by the late David Gregory. He published these along with his own reconstruction of Book VIII  in the first complete Latin edition in 1710.


In 1698, Halley was given the command of the Paramour, a 52 feet (16 m) pink, so that he could carry out investigations in the South Atlantic into the laws governing the variation of the compass. On 19 August 1698, he took command of the ship and, in November 1698, sailed on what was the first purely scientific voyage by an English naval vessel. Unfortunately problems of insubordination arose over questions of Halley’s competence to command a vessel. Halley returned the ship to England to proceed against officers in July 1699. The result was a mild rebuke for his men, and dissatisfaction for Halley, who felt the court had been too lenient. Halley thereafter received a temporary commission as a Captain in the Royal Navy, recommissioned the Paramour on 24 August 1699 and sailed again in September 1699 to make extensive observations on the conditions of terrestrial magnetism. This task he accomplished in a second Atlantic voyage which lasted until 6 September 1700, and extended from 52 degrees north to 52 degrees south. The results were published in General Chart of the Variation of the Compass (1701). This was the first such chart to be published and the first on which isogonic, or Halleyan, lines appeared.

In November 1703, Halley was appointed Savilian Professor of Geometry at the University of Oxford, his theological enemies, John Tillotson and Bishop Stillingfleet having died, and received an honorary degree of doctor of laws in 1710. In 1705, applying historical astronomy methods, he published Synopsis Astronomia Cometicae, which stated his belief that the comet sightings of 1456, 1531, 1607, and 1682 related to the same comet, which he predicted would return in 1758. Halley did not live to witness the comet’s return, but when it did, the comet became generally known as Halley’s Comet.

In 1716, Halley suggested a high-precision measurement of the distance between the Earth and the Sun by timing the transit of Venus. In doing so, he was following the method described by James Gregory in Optica Promota (in which the design of the Gregorian telescope is also described). It is reasonable to assume Halley possessed and had read this book given that the Gregorian design was the principal telescope design used in astronomy in Halley’s day. It is not to Halley’s credit that he failed to acknowledge Gregory’s priority in this matter. In 1718 he discovered the proper motion of the “fixed” stars by comparing his astrometric measurements with those given in Ptolemy’s Almagest. Arcturus and Sirius were two noted to have moved significantly, the latter having progressed 30 arc minutes (about the diameter of the moon) southwards in 1800 years.

In 1720, together with his friend the antiquarianWilliam Stukeley, Halley participated in the first attempt to scientifically date Stonehenge. Assuming that the monument had been laid out using a magnetic compass, Stukeley and Halley attempted to calculate the perceived deviation introducing corrections from existing magnetic records, and suggested three dates (AD 920, AD 220 and 460 BC), the earliest being the one accepted. These dates were wrong by thousands of years, but the idea that scientific methods could be used to date ancient monuments was revolutionary in its day.

Halley succeeded John Flamsteed in 1720 as Astronomer Royal, a position Halley held until his death in 1742 at the age of 85. Halley was buried in the graveyard of the old church of St. Margaret (since rebuilt), at Lee, South London. He was interred in the same vault as Astronomer Royal John Pond; the unmarked grave of Astronomer Royal Nathaniel Bliss is nearby.



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The new language for all is HTML5

HTML5 Is Now Gaining Ground in 2013



This Is Coley-Art-Astro – Icon Head

HTML5 is a mark-up language used for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web and a core technology of the Internet. It is the fifth revision of the HTML standard (created in 1990 and standardized as HTML 4 as of 1997) and, as of December 2012, is a candidate recommendation of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Its core aims have been to improve the language with support for the latest multimedia while keeping it easily readable by humans and consistently understood by computers and devices (web browsers, parsers, etc.). HTML5 is intended to subsume not only HTML 4, but also XHTML 1 and DOM Level 2 HTML.

Following its immediate predecessors HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.1, HTML5 is a response to the fact that the HTML and XHTML in common use on the World Wide Web are a mixture of features introduced by various specifications, along with those introduced by software products such as web browsers, those established by common practice, and the many syntax errors in existing web documents.


It is also an attempt to define a single markup language that can be written in either HTML or XHTML syntax. It includes detailed processing models to encourage more interoperable implementations; it extends, improves and rationalises the markup available for documents, and introduces mark-up and application programming interfaces (APIs) for complex web applications. For the same reasons, HTML5 is also a potential candidate for cross-platform mobile applications. Many features of HTML5 have been built with the consideration of being able to run on low-powered devices such as smartphones and tablets. In December 2011, research firm Strategy Analytics forecast sales of HTML5 compatible phones will top 1 billion in 2013.

In particular, HTML5 adds many new syntactic features. These include the new <video>, <audio> and <canvas>elements, as well as the integration of scalable vector graphics (SVG) content (that replaces the uses of generic <object> tags) and MathML for mathematical formulas. These features are designed to make it easy to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to resort to proprietary plugins and APIs. Other new elements, such as <section>, <article>, <header> and <nav>, are designed to enrich the semantic content of documents.


New attributes have been introduced for the same purpose, while some elements and attributes have been removed. Some elements, such as <a>, <cite> and <menu> have been changed, redefined or standardized. The APIs and Document Object Model (DOM) are no longer afterthoughts, but are fundamental parts of the HTML5 specification. HTML5 also defines in some detail the required processing for invalid documents so that syntax errors will be treated uniformly by all conforming browsers and other user agents.

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Keep the Internet Free for All

How to help keep the Net Free

Net neutrality (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.

“….IP address blocking prevents the connection between a server or website and certain IP addresses or ranges of addresses. IP address blocking effectively bans undesired connections from hosts using affected addresses to a website, mail server, or other Internet server….”

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No Snoopers Charter Campaign

There has been extensive debate about whether net neutrality should be required by law. Since the early 2000s, advocates of net neutrality and associated rules have raised concerns about the ability of broadband providers to use their last mile infrastructure to block Internet applications and content (e.g. websites, services, and protocols), and even block out competitors.

(The term “net neutrality” didn’t come into popular use until several years later, however.) The possibility of regulations designed to mandate the neutrality of the Internet has been subject to fierce debate, especially in the United States.

Port Blocking

Port blocking includes the deliberate decision by ISPs to deny onward transmission of traffic, or delivery of traffic, to an intended recipient. ISPs do not have a legitimate reason to deny onward packet transmission to specific customers of other ISPs. The ISPs have contractually committed to carry any and all packets from the former ISP without regard for the identity and marketplace success of that ISP’s customers (on a first-come, first-served basis).

Blog for Amnesty - Protect the Human

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Meteor Shower- It was God that Started It

God, The Religious Lot try to Claim Everything.

The Meteor Showers – were not sacred in His eyes. It was an Act of God. Any Doomsday bad news is How Human Beings deal with the situation. Anything like the Shooting Stars is not nature, its the work of God. I’m not saying we make things up to suit ourselves or anything…of course.

Many bloggers claimed God was responsible for the Firework Show that is the Periseids.


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What is the Matter with Matter

Matter – The term has often been used in reference to a substance (often a particle) that has rest mass. Matter is also used loosely as a general term for the substance that makes up all observable physical objects.

Matter should not be confused with mass, as the two are not quite the same in modern physics. For example, mass is a conserved quantity, which means that its value is unchanging through time, within closed systems. However, matter is not conserved in such systems, although this is not obvious in ordinary conditions on Earth, where matter is approximately conserved.

Still, special relativity shows that matter may disappear by conversion into energy, even inside closed systems, and it can also be created from energy, within such systems.

However, because mass (like energy) can neither be created nor destroyed, the quantity of mass and the quantity of energy remain the same during a transformation of matter (which represents a certain amount of energy) into non-material (i.e., non-matter) energy. This is also true in the reverse transformation of energy into matter.

All objects we see with the naked eye are composed of atoms. This atomic matter is in turn made up of interacting subatomic particles—usually a nucleus of protons and neutrons, and a cloud of orbiting electrons. Typically, science considers these composite particles matter because they have both rest mass and volume. By contrast, massless particles, such as photons, are not considered matter, because they have neither rest mass nor volume.

However, not all particles with rest mass have a classical volume, since fundamental particles such as quarks and leptons (sometimes equated with matter) are considered “point particles” with no effective size or volume. Nevertheless, quarks and leptons together make up “ordinary matter,” and their interactions contribute to the effective volume of the composite particles that make up ordinary matter.

Matter commonly exists in four states (or phases): solid, liquid and gas, and plasma. . However, advances in experimental techniques have revealed other previously theoretical phases, such as Bose–Einstein condensates and fermionic condensates.

A focus on an elementary-particle view of matter also leads to new phases of matter, such as the quark–gluon plasma. For much of the history of the natural sciences people have contemplated the exact nature of matter. The idea that matter was built of discrete building blocks, the so-called particulate theory of matter, was first put forward by the Greek philosophers Leucippus (~490 BC) and Democritus (~470–380 BC).

Albert Einstein showed that ultimately all matter is capable of being converted to energy (known as mass-energy equivalence) by the famous formula E = mc2, where E is the energy of a piece of matter of mass m, times c2 the speed of light squared. As the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second (186,282 mi/s), a relatively small amount of matter may be converted to a large amount of energy. An example is that positrons and electrons (matter) may transform into photons (non-matter). However, although matter may be created or destroyed in such processes, neither the quantity of mass or energy change during the process.



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How To Measure The Age Of The Milky Way

The ages of individual stars in the Milky Way can be estimated by measuring the abundance of long-lived radioactive elements such as thorium-232 and uranium-238, then comparing the results to estimates of their original abundance, a technique called nucleocosmochronology. These yield values of about 12.5 ± 3 billion years (Ga) for CS 31082- 001and 13.8 ± 4 billion years for BD+17° 3248.

Once a white dwarf star is formed, it begins to undergo radiative cooling and the surface temperature steadily drops. By measuring the temperatures of the coolest of these white dwarfs and comparing them to their expected initial temperature, an age estimate can be made. With this technique, the age of the globular cluster M4 was estimated as12.7 ± 0.7 billion years.

Hubble : Beyond the Milky Way

Beyond the Milky Way

Globular clusters are among the oldest objects in the Milky Way Galaxy, which thus set a lower limit on the age of the galaxy. Age estimates of the oldest of these clusters gives a best fit estimate of 12.6 billion years, and a 95% confidence upper limit of 16 billion years. In 2007, a star in the galactic halo, HE 1523-0901, was estimated to be about 13.2 billion years old, ?0.5 billion years less than the age of the universe.

As the oldest known object in the Milky Way at that time, this measurement placed a lower limit on the age of the Milky Way. This estimate was determined using the UV-Visual Echelle Spectrograph of the Very Large Telescope to measure the relative strengths of spectral lines caused by the presence of thorium and other elements created by the R-process.

The line strengths yield abundances of different elemental isotopes, from which an estimate of the age of the star can be derived using nucleocosmochronology.

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Spiral Arms – Milky Way

Two Spiral Arms

The Scutum–Centaurus arm and the Carina–Sagittarius arm, have tangent points inside the Sun’s orbit about the centre of the Milky Way. If these arms contain an over density of stars compared to the average density of stars in the Galactic disk, it would be detectable by counting the stars near the tangent point.

Spiral Arms - Arch - Milky way

Arch – Milky way


Outside the gravitational influence of the Galactic bars, astronomers generally organize the interstellar medium and stars in the disk of the Milky Way into four spiral arms.

All of these arms contain more interstellar gas and dust than the Galactic average as well as a high concentration of star formation, traced by H II regions and molecular clouds. Counts of stars in near infrared light indicate that two arms contain approximately 30% more red giant stars than would be expected in the absence of a spiral arm, while two contain no more red giant stars than regions outside of arms.

Long image - Milky Way center

We Are Here – Milky Way

Maps of the Milky Way’s spiral structure are notoriously uncertain and exhibit striking differences. Some 150 years after Alexander (1852) first suggested that the Milky Way was a spiral, there is currently no consensus on the nature of the Galaxy’s spiral arms.

Perfect logarithmic spiral patterns ineptly describe features near the Sun, namely since galaxies commonly exhibit arms that branch, merge, twist unexpectedly, and feature a degree of irregularity. The possible scenario of the Sun within a spur / Local arm emphasizes that point and indicates that such features are probably not unique, and exist elsewhere in the Galaxy.


Amazing Milky Way

As in most spiral galaxies, each spiral arm can be described as a logarithmic spiral. Estimates of the pitch angle of the arms range from ?7° to ?25°. Until recently, there were thought to be four major spiral arms which all start near the Galaxy’s centre.

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A short explanation of the Atom

The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons (except in the case of hydrogen-1, which is the only stable nuclide with no neutrons).


Atoms in Coleyartastro

The electrons of an atom are bound to the nucleus by the electromagnetic force. Likewise, a group of atoms can remain bound to each other by chemical bonds based on the same force, forming a molecule. An atom containing an equal number of protons and electrons is electrically neutral, otherwise it is positively or negatively charged and is known as an ion. An atom is classified according to the number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus: the number of protons determines the chemical element, and the number of neutrons determines the isotope of the element.

Chemical atoms, which in science now carry the simple name of “atom,” are minuscule objects with diameters of a few tenths of a nanometer and tiny masses proportional to the volume implied by these dimensions. Atoms can only be observed individually using special instruments such as the scanning tunneling microscope. Over 99.94% of an atom’s mass is concentrated in the nucleus, with protons and neutrons having roughly equal mass.

Each element has at least one isotope with an unstable nucleus that can undergo radioactive decay. This can result in a transmutation that changes the number of protons or neutrons in a nucleus. Electrons that are bound to atoms possess a set of stable energy levels, or orbitals, and can undergo transitions between them by absorbing or emitting photons that match the energy differences between the levels. The electrons determine the chemical properties of an element, and strongly influence an atom’s magnetic properties. The principles of quantum mechanics have been successfully used to model the observed properties of the atom.

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How Easy Is It – To Create A Blog

Create a Blog – about Whatever

troubled - coleyartastro

Easy blogger ColeyArtAstro

You can save and share all your links – and know no one is going to bother looking. Send them useful information knowing they will never take a look – but you keep the faith on the off chance.

Yes, it’s blogging 2013 style. Give it a try. Via Coleyartastro!

Do some video editing using this video editor.


A sound from my Sound Cloud

I-never-dress-up-as-a-Seventh Sister - Coleyartastro

Seventh Sister – Coleyartastro





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Colour shows the ancient time

According to recent studies, the Milky Way as well as


Meine Moon

Andromeda lie in what in the galaxy colour-magnitude diagram is known as the green valley, a region populated by galaxies in transition from the blue cloud (galaxies actively forming new stars) to the red sequence (galaxies that lack star formation).

Star formation activity in green valley galaxies is slowing as they run out of star-forming gas in the interstellar medium.

In simulated galaxies with similar properties, star formation will typically have been extinguished within about five billion years from now, even accounting for the expected, short-term increase in the rate of star formation due to the collision between both our galaxy and M31.


In fact, measurements of other galaxies similar to our own suggest it’s among the reddest and brightest spiral galaxies that are still forming new stars and it’s just slightly bluer than the bluest red sequence galaxies.

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Sun’s location and neighbourhood in the Milky Way

The Sun is near the inner rim of the Galaxy’s Orion Arm, within the Local Fluff of the Local Bubble, and in the Gould Belt, at a distance of 8.33 ± 0.35 kiloparsecs (27,200 ± 1,100 ly) from the Galactic Center. The Sun is currently 5–30 parsecs (16–98 ly) from the central plane of the Galactic disk. The distance between the local arm and the next arm out, the Perseus Arm, is about 6,500 light-years (2,000 pc). The Sun, and thus the Solar System, is found in the Galactic habitable zone.

There are about 208 stars brighter than absolute magnitude 8.5 within a sphere with a radius of 15 parsecs (49 ly) from the Sun, giving a density of one star per 69 cubic parsec, or one star per 2,360 cubic light-year (from List of nearest bright stars). On the other hand, there are 64 known stars (of any magnitude, not counting 4 brown dwarfs) within 5 parsecs (16 ly) of the Sun, giving a density of about one star per 8.2 cubic parsec, or one per 284 cubic light-year (from List of nearest stars), illustrating the fact that most stars are less bright than absolute magnitude 8.5.

The Apex of the Sun’s Way, or the solar apex, is the direction that the Sun travels through space in the Milky Way. The general direction of the Sun’s Galactic motion is towards the star Vega near the constellation of Hercules, at an angle of roughly 60 sky degrees to the direction of the Galactic Center.


In the Sun in the Milky Way


The Sun’s orbit about the Galaxy is expected to be roughly elliptical with the addition of perturbations due to the Galactic spiral arms and non-uniform mass distributions. In addition, the Sun oscillates up and down relative to the Galactic plane approximately 2.7 times per orbit. This is very similar to how a simple harmonic oscillator works with no drag force (damping) term. These oscillations were until recently thought to coincide with mass life form extinction periods on Earth. However, a reanalysis of the effects of the Sun’s transit through the spiral structure based on CO data has failed to find a correlation.


It takes the Solar System about 225–250 million years to complete one orbit of the Galaxy (a Galactic year), so the Sun is thought to have completed 18–20 orbits during its lifetime and 1/1250 of a revolution since the origin of humans.

The orbital speed of the Solar System about the center of the Galaxy is approximately 220 km/s or 0.073% of the speed of light. At this speed, it takes around 1,400 years for the Solar System to travel a distance of 1 light-year, or 8 days to travel 1 AU (astronomical unit).

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Only a Milky Way Away

All of the visible stars… are within the Milky Way.

Coley-mwayThe Hubble Telescope and other space-based and surface-based telescopes have imaged objects as far away 780 million light years (some quasars), and the Hubble Ultra Deep Field survey images galaxies 13 billion light years away.

The stars you see at night are stars in our own galaxy.

Sart of GIF files Coleyartastro

Coley Art Gallery

Other closer galaxies and clusters (like the Virgo Cluster) have been imaged by Hubble and the Keck I and Keck II telescopes in Hawaii.

There are also 3 galaxies visible to the naked eye on Earth.

The Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away, but is visible in the night sky in the Andromeda constellation as a hazy patch of light about the size of the full moon.

The Large Magellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud are 2 smaller satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way, and are visible in the southern hemisphere (they are named such because they were first seen and reported by the explorer Magellan on his circumnavigation of the earth).




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Sky Mapped for All


Software for Astronomy is hit and miss. If you want software for just viewing the sky with the naked eye, the list gets small.

Sky Map Chart’s

List of Constellation’s

Moon Hair Map

Moon Hair Map


The Hubble Extreme Deep Field (XDF) was completed in September 2012 and shows the farthest galaxies ever photographed by humans.

Except for the few stars in the foreground (which are bright and easily recognizable because only they have diffraction spikes), every speck of light in the photo is an individual galaxy, some of them as old as 13.2 billion years; the observable universe is estimated to contain more than 200 billion galaxies



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The Importance of Being Nitrogen

Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen cycle is the process by which nitrogen is converted between its various chemical forms. This transformation can be carried out through both biological and physical processes.
Important processes in the nitrogen cycle include fixation, ammonification, nitrification, and denitrification. The majority of Earth’s atmosphere (78%) is nitrogen, making it the largest pool of nitrogen.

However, atmospheric nitrogen has limited availability for biological use, leading to a scarcity of usable nitrogen in many types of ecosystems. The nitrogen cycle is of particular interest to ecologists because nitrogen availability can affect the rate of key ecosystem processes, including primary production and decomposition.

Nitrogen cycle in effect

Nitrogen is a common element in the universe, estimated at about seventh in total abundance in our galaxy and the Solar System. It is synthesised by fusion of carbon and hydrogen in supernovas.

Due to the volatility of elemental nitrogen and its common compounds with hydrogen and oxygen, nitrogen is far less common on the rocky planets of the inner Solar System, and it is a relatively rare element on Earth as a whole. However, as on Earth, nitrogen and its compounds occur commonly as gases in the atmospheres of planets and moons that have atmospheres.Many industrially important compounds, such as ammonia, nitric acid, organic nitrates (propellants and explosives), and cyanides, contain nitrogen. The extremely strong bond in elemental nitrogen dominates nitrogen chemistry, causing difficulty for both organisms and industry in converting the N2 into useful compounds, but at the same time causing release of large amounts of often useful energy when the compounds burn, explode, or decay back into nitrogen gas. Synthetically-produced ammonia and nitrates are key industrial fertilizers and fertilizer nitrates are key pollutants in causing the eutrophication of water systems.


Nitro swift

Nitrogen is a constituent of molecules in every major pharmacological drug class, including the antibiotics.

Many drugs are mimics or prodrugs of natural nitrogen-containing signal molecules: for example, the organic nitrates nitroglycerin and nitroprusside control blood pressure by being metabolized to natural nitric oxide. Plant alkaloids (often defence chemicals) contain nitrogen by definition, and thus many notable nitrogen-containing drugs, such as caffeine and morphine are either alkaloids or synthetic mimics that act (as many plant alkaloids do) upon receptors of animal neurotransmitters (for example, synthetic amphetamines).

Nitrogen occurs in all organisms, primarily in amino acids (and thus proteins) and also in the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). The human body contains about 3% by weight of nitrogen, the fourth most abundant element in the body after oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. The nitrogen cycle describes movement of the element from the air, into the biosphere and organic compounds, then back into the atmosphere.

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Hypergiant Stars


The word “hypergiant” is commonly used as a loose term for the most luminous stars found, even though there are more precise definitions.

A hypergiant (luminosity class 0) is a star with an enormous mass and luminosity, showing signs of a very high rate of mass loss. 

In 1956, the astronomers Feast and Thackeray used the term super-supergiant (later changed into hypergiant) for stars with an absolute magnitude brighter than MV = -7 (MBol will be larger for very cool and very hot stars, for example at least -9.7 for
a B0 hypergiant).

Continue reading

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The Diffraction Spike

It’s Good For Coley Starlight Picture

Diffraction Star Background

Spiked background

Diffraction spikes are lines radiating from bright light sources in reflecting telescope images. They are artifacts caused by light diffracting around the support vanes of the secondary mirror. Refracting telescopes and their photographic images do not have the same problem.

In the vast majority of reflecting telescope designs, the secondary mirror has to be positioned at the central axis of the telescope and so has to be held by struts within the telescopes tube. No matter how fine these support rods are they diffract the incoming light from a subject star and this appears as diffraction spikes which are the Fourier transform of the support struts. The spikes represent a loss of light that could have been used to image the star.


Spiked appearance


Although diffraction spikes can obscure parts of a photograph and are undesired in professional contexts, some amateur astronomers like the visual effect they give to bright stars – the “Star of Bethlehem” appearance – and even modify their refractors to exhibit the same effect or to assist with focusing when using a CCD.

A small number of reflecting telescopes designs avoid diffraction spikes by placing the secondary mirror off-axis. Early off-axis designs such as the Herschelian and the Schiefspiegler telescopes have serious limitations such as astigmatism and long focal ratios, which make them useless for research. The brachymedial design by Ludwig Schupmann, which uses a combination of mirrors and lenses is able to correct chromatic aberration perfectly over a small area and designs based on the Schupmann brachymedial are currently used for research of double stars.

There are also a small number of off-axis unobstructed all-reflecting Anastigmats which give optically perfect images.



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Amateur Astronomer and Scientific Research

Amateur astronomers contributions

Scientific research is most often not the main goal for many amateur astronomers, unlike professional astronomy. Work of scientific merit is possible, however, and many amateurs successfully contribute to the knowledge base of professional astronomers.

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Cepheus Constellation

The Latest I Have Spotted

The last constellation for my naked eye to see is Cepheus. This has been quite a productive few weeks, I have added a handful of naked-eye view’s to my constellation list. I have also seen Saturn. Very pleased at that – just a shame you can’t see the rings without a telescope!


Cepheus is a constellation in the northern sky. It is named after Cepheus, King of Aethiopia in Greek mythology. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations.

Cepheus was the King of Aethiopia. He was married to Cassiopeia and was the father of Andromeda, both of whom are immortalized as modern day constellations along with Cepheus.



Cepheus son of Agenor is the more well-known Cepheus and the grandson of the other Cepheus. He is featured in the Perseus legend as the husband of lovely Cassiopeia and father of Princess Andromeda, and whose brother Phineus expected to marry Andromeda.

When Poseidon sent the sea monster Cetus to attack Aethiopia after his wife boasted that Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids, Cepheus and Cassiopeia consulted with a wise oracle who told them to sacrifice Andromeda to Cetus. Cepheus and Cassiopeia had Andromeda chained to a rock near the ocean so that Cetus could devour her.

Andromeda was saved from this fate when Perseus arrived and killed Cetus. Cepheus and Cassiopeia allowed Perseus to become Andromeda’s husband after he used Medusa‘s head to turn Phineus and his men to stone.



Cepheus was later made into the constellation Cepheus.

More Astro Info:

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The Eagle Nebula

The Eagle Nebula (catalogued as Messier 16 or M16, and as NGC 6611, and also known as the Star Queen Nebula) is a young open cluster of stars in the constellation Serpens, discovered by Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux in 1745-46. Its name derives from its shape that is thought to resemble an eagle. It is the subject of the famous “Pillars of Creation” photograph by the Hubble Space Telescope that shows pillars of star-forming gas and dust within the nebula.


The Eagle Nebula is part of a diffuse emission nebula, or H II region, which is catalogued as IC 4703. This region of active current star formation is about 7000 light-years distant. The tower of gas that can be seen coming off the nebula is approximately 9.5 light-years or about 90 trillion kilometers high.

The brightest star in the nebula (HD 168076) has an apparent magnitude of +8.24, easily visible with good binoculars. It’s actually a binary star formed of an O3.5V star plus an O7.5V companion.

The cluster associated with the nebula has approximately 460 stars, the brightest of spectral class O, a mass of roughly 80 solar masses, and a luminosity up to 1 million times that of the Sun. Its age has been estimated to be 1–2 million years.

The descriptive names reflect impressions of the shape of the central pillar rising from the southeast into the central luminous area. The name “Star Queen Nebula” was introduced by Robert Burnham, Jr., reflecting his characterization of the central pillar as the Star Queen shown in silhouette.

“Pillars of Creation” region

Stellar_spire_eagle_nebula.Images made by Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen using the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 greatly improved scientific understanding of processes inside the nebula. One of these photographs became famous as the “Pillars of Creation“, depicting a large region of star formation. The small dark areas in the photograph are believed to be protostars. The pillar structure of the region resembles that of a much larger star formation region in the Soul Nebula of Cassiopeia, imaged with the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2005 and characterized as “Pillars of Star Creation” or , “Pillars of Star Formation”. These columns – which resemble stalagmites protruding from the floor of a cavern – are composed of interstellar hydrogen gas and dust, which act as incubators for new stars. Inside the columns and on their surface astronomers have found knots or globules of denser gas, called EGGs (“Evaporating Gaseous Globules”). Stars are being formed inside some of these EGGs.

X-ray images from the Chandra observatory compared with Hubble’s “Pillars” image have shown that X-ray sources (from young stars) do not coincide with the pillars, but instead randomly dot the area. Any protostars in the pillars’ EGGs are not yet hot enough to emit X-rays. Evidence from the Spitzer Telescope suggests that the pillars in M16 may already have been destroyed by a supernova explosion. Hot gas observed by Spitzer in 2007 suggests that the area was disturbed by a supernova that exploded some 8000 to 9000 years ago. Due to the distance of the nebula, the light from the supernova would have reached Earth between 1000 and 2000 years ago. The more slowly moving shock wave from the supernova would have taken a few thousand years to move through the nebula, and would blow away the delicate pillars – but the light showing us the destruction will not reach the Earth for another millennium.


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Greenwich Observatory

The Greenwich Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich (formerly the Royal Greenwich Observatory or RGO), in London played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and is best known as the location of the prime meridian. It is situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames.


Greenwich Chronometer

The observatory was commissioned in 1675 by King Charles II, with the foundation stone being laid on 10 August. At that time the king also created the position of Astronomer Royal, to serve as the director of the observatory and to “apply himself with the most exact care and diligence to the rectifying of the tables of the motions of the heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so much desired longitude of places for the perfecting of the art of navigation.” He appointed John Flamsteed as the first AR. The building was completed in the summer of 1676. The building was often given the title “Flamsteed House”, in reference to its first occupant. The scientific work of the observatory was relocated elsewhere in stages in the first half of the 20th century, and the Greenwich site is now maintained as a tourist attraction.


There had been significant buildings on this land since the reign of William I. Greenwich Palace, near the site of the present-day Maritime Museum, was the birthplace of Henry VIII; the Tudors used Greenwich Castle, which was built on the land that the Observatory now stands on. Greenwich Castle was apparently a favourite place for Henry VIII to house his mistresses, so that he could easily travel from the Palace to see them.

The establishment of a Royal Observatory was proposed in 1674 by Sir Jonas Moore who, in his role as Surveyor General at the Ordnance Office, persuaded King Charles II to the creation of the observatory, with John Flamsteed being installed as its director. The Ordnance Office was given responsibility for building the Observatory, with Moore providing the key instruments and equipment for the observatory at his own personal cost. Flamsteed House, the original part of the Observatory, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, probably with the assistance of Robert Hooke, and was the first purpose-built scientific research facility in Britain. It was built for a cost of £520 (£20 over budget) out of largely recycled materials on the foundations of Duke Humphrey’s Tower, which resulted in the alignment being 13 degrees away from true North, somewhat to Flamsteed’s chagrin.

The original observatory at first housed the scientific instruments to be used by Flamsteed in his work on stellar tables, and over time also incorporated a number of additional responsibilities such marking the official time of day, and housing Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office.

Moore donated two clocks, built by Thomas Tompion, which were installed in the 20 foot high Octagon Room, the principal room of the building. They were of unusual design, each with a pendulum 13 feet (3.96 metres) in length mounted above the clock face, giving a period of four seconds and an accuracy, then unparalleled, of seven seconds per day.

Greenwich Meridian

British astronomers have long used the Royal Observatory as a basis for measurement: four separate meridians have been drawn through the building. The basis of longitude, the Prime Meridian, established in 1851 and adopted at an international conference in 1884, passes through the Airy transit circle of the observatory. It was long marked by a brass strip in the courtyard, now upgraded to stainless steel, and, since 16 December 1999, has been marked by a powerful green laser shining north across the London night sky.


GMT Observatory

This old astronomical prime meridian has been replaced by a more modern prime meridian. When Greenwich was an active observatory, geographical coordinates were referred to a local oblate spheroid called a datum, whose surface closely matched local mean sea level, called the geoid. Several datums were in use around the world, all using different spheroids, because mean sea level undulates by as much as 100 metres worldwide. Modern geodetic reference systems, such as the World Geodetic System and the International Terrestrial Reference Frame, use a single oblate spheroid, fixed to the Earth’s gravitational centre. The shift from several spheroids to one worldwide spheroid caused all geographical coordinates to shift by many metres, sometimes as much as several hundred metres. The Prime Meridian of these modern reference systems is 102.5 metres east of the Greenwich astronomical meridian represented by the stainless steel strip. Thus the strip is now 5.31 arcseconds West.

Greenwich Mean Time

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was until 1954 based on celestial observations made at Greenwich. Thereafter, GMT was calculated from observations made at other observatories. GMT is more properly called Universal Time at present, and is calculated from observations of extra-galactic radio sources, and then converted into several forms, including UT0 (UT at the remote observatory), UT1 (UT corrected for polar motion), and UTC (UT in discrete SI seconds within 0.9 s of UT1).

To help others synchronise their clocks to GMT, AR John Pond had a time ball installed atop the observatory in 1833. It still drops daily to mark the exact moment of 1 pm (13:00) year-round (GMT during winter and BST during summer).


Observatory today

Today the buildings include a museum of astronomical and navigational tools, which is part of the National Maritime Museum notably including John Harrison‘s prize-winning longitude marine chronometer, H4, and its three predecessors, although all four are the property of the Ministry of Defence. Several additional horological artefacts are displayed, documenting the history of precision timekeeping for navigational and astronomical purposes, including the mid-20th-century Russian-made F.M. Fedchenko clock (the most accurate pendulum clock ever built in multiple copies). It also houses the 28-inch Grubb refracting telescope of 1893, the largest of its kind in the UK. The Shepherd Clock outside the observatory gate is an early example of an electric slave clock. In February 2005 construction began on a £15 million redevelopment project to provide a new planetarium and additional display galleries and educational facilities. The 120-seat Peter Harrison Planetarium opened on 25 May 2007.

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Beginners Astronomy

Stare At The Sky

Just look above every clear night. Finding the sky-map with your naked eye is the key to Astronomy (for beginners) I still think. I have tried a telescope, looking for sky-maps online, the books with astronomy charts etc,etc.

If you want to discover the sky you must keep using the basic’s. Too much information early on in Astronomy discovery is definitely not a good idea – I discovered that alright. I hope I keep discovering new obscure constellations with my naked eye – that will keep my interest going long after seeing the latest great Hubble image.

Did you know you can see a galaxy 2½ million light-years away with your unaided eyes? Craters on the Moon with binoculars? Countless wonders await you any clear night. The first step is simply to look up and ask, “What’s that?” When you do, you’re taking the first step toward a lifetime of cosmic exploration and enjoyment.

Even if you go no further, the ability to look up and say, “There’s Polaris” or “That’s Saturn” will provide pleasure, and perhaps a sense of place in the cosmos, for the rest of your life.

header-Babylonian Star Index

Babylonian Star Index

History of Astronomy

Babylonian astronomy – the fascination started long ago.


Fave Star Betel

Astronomy is an outdoor nature hobby. Go out into the night and learn the starry names and patterns overhead. Use naked-eye star charts . Even if you live in a densely populated, light-polluted area, there’s more to see up there than you might imagine.

Learn the sky with the unaided eye.

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What is the higgs boson

Not the God particle

t-shirt of higgs coleyartastro

Found Higgs

Higgs boson – The short version

The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is an elementary particle initially theorised in 1964, and tentatively confirmed to exist on 14 March 2013. The discovery has been called “monumental” because it appears to confirm the existence of the Higgs field, which is pivotal to the Standard Model and other theories within particle physics. In this discipline, it explains why some fundamental particles have mass when the symmetries controlling their interactions should require them to be massless, and—linked to this—why the weak force has a much shorter range than the electromagnetic force. Its existence and knowledge of its exact properties are expected to impact scientific knowledge across a range of fields, and should eventually allow physicists to determine whether the final unproven piece of the Standard Model or a competing theory is more likely to be correct, guide other theories and discoveries in particle physics, and—as with other fundamental discoveries of the past—potentially over time lead to developments in “new” physics, and new technologies.

This unanswered question in fundamental physics is of such importance that it led to a search of over 40 years for the Higgs boson and finally the construction of one of the most expensive and complex experimental facilities to date, the Large Hadron Collider, able to create and study Higgs bosons and related questions. On 4 July 2012, a previously unknown particle with a mass between 125 and 127 GeV/c2 was announced as being detected, which physicists suspected at the time to be the Higgs boson. By March 2013, the particle had been proven to behave, interact and decay in many of the expected ways predicted by the Standard Model, and was also tentatively confirmed to have + parity and zero spin, two fundamental criteria of a Higgs boson, making it also the first known scalar particle to be discovered in nature, although a number of other properties were not fully proven and some partial results do not yet precisely match those expected; in some cases data is also still awaited or being analysed. As of March 2013 it is still uncertain whether its properties (when eventually known) will exactly match the predictions of the Standard Model, or whether additional Higgs bosons exist as predicted by some theories.

Higgs Dance

The Higgs boson is named after Peter Higgs, one of six physicists who, in 1964, proposed the mechanism that suggested the existence of such particle. Although Higgs’ name has become ubiquitous in this theory, the resulting electroweak model (the final outcome) involved several researchers between about 1960 and 1972, who each independently developed different parts. In mainstream media the Higgs boson is often referred to as the “God particle,” from a 1993 book on the topic; the sobriquet is strongly disliked by many physicists, who regard it as inappropriate sensationalism.

In the Standard Model, the Higgs particle is a boson with no spinelectric charge, or color charge. It is also very unstable, decaying into other particles almost immediately. It is a quantum excitation of one of the four components of the Higgs field, constituting a scalar field, with two neutral and two electrically charged components, and forms a complex doublet of the weak isospin SU(2) symmetry. The field has a “Mexican hat” shaped potential with nonzero strength everywhere (including otherwise empty space) which in its vacuum state breaks the weak isospin symmetry of the electroweak interaction. When this happens, three components of the Higgs field are “absorbed” by the SU(2) and U(1)gauge bosons (the “Higgs mechanism“) to become the longitudinal components of the now-massive W and Z bosons of the weak force. The remaining electrically neutral component separately couples to other particles known as fermions (via Yukawa couplings), causing these to acquire mass as well. Some versions of the theory predict more than one kind of Higgs fields and bosons. Alternative “Higgsless” models would have been considered if the Higgs boson were not discovered.

Kibble, Guralnik, Hagen,Englert, Brout.

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The Endeavour Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle Endeavour

Image of Badge - Endeavour

Badge – Endeavour

Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle DesignationOV-105) is one of the retired orbiters of the Space Shuttle program of NASA, the space agency of the United States  Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, and first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and its last mission STS-134 was in May 2011. The STS-134 mission was originally planned as the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, but with authorization of the STS-135 mission, Atlantis became the last Space Shuttle to fly.

The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in the STS-51-L launch accident in 1986. Structural spares built during the construction of Discovery and Atlantis, two of the previous shuttles, were used in its assembly. NASA chose to build Endeavour from spares rather than refitting Enterprise or accepting a Rockwell International proposal to build two shuttles for the price of one of the original shuttles, on cost grounds.

View from I.S.S.


The orbiter is named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery (1768–1771). This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, rather than the American English (“Endeavor”). This has caused confusion, most notably when NASA itself misspelled a sign on the launch pad in 2007. The name also honored Endeavour, the Command Module of Apollo 15, itself also named after Cook’s ship.

Endeavour – Transit

Endeavour was named through a national competition involving students in elementary and secondary schools. Entries included an essay about the name, the story behind it and why it was appropriate for a NASA shuttle, and the project that supported the name. Endeavour was the most popular entry, accounting for almost one-third of the state-level winners. The national winners were Senatobia Middle School in Senatobia, Mississippi, in the elementary division and Tallulah Falls School in Tallulah Falls, Georgia, in the upper school division. They were honoured at several ceremonies in Washington, D.C., including a White House ceremony where then-President George H. W. Bush presented awards to each school.

Docked to I.S.S


Endeavour was delivered by Rockwell International Space Transportation Systems Division in May 1991 and first launched a year later, in May 1992, on STS-49. Rockwell International claimed that it had made no profit on Space Shuttle Endeavour, despite construction costing US$2.2 billion. On its first mission, it captured and redeployed the stranded INTELSAT VI communications satellite. The first African-American woman astronaut, Mae Jemison, was brought into space on the mission STS-47 on September 12, 1992.

In 1993, it made the first service mission to the Hubble Space TelescopeEndeavour was withdrawn from service for eight months in 1997 for a retrofit, including installation of a new airlock. In December 1998, it delivered the Unity Module to the Zarya module of the International Space Station.

Endeavour’s last Orbiter Major Modification period began in December 2003 and ended on October 6, 2005. During this time, the Orbiter Vehicle-105 received major hardware upgrades, including a new, multi-functional, electronic display system, often referred to as a glass cockpit, and an advancedGPS receiver, along with safety upgrades recommended by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) for the shuttle to return to flight after the disintegration of sister-ship Columbia during re-entry on February 1, 2003.

The STS-118 mission, the first for Endeavour following a lengthy refit, included astronaut Barbara Morgan, formerly assigned to the Educator Astronaut program, but now a full member of the Astronaut Corps, as part of the crew. Morgan was the backup for Christa McAuliffe on the ill-fated STS-51-L mission.


After more than twenty organizations submitted proposals to NASA for the display of an orbiter, NASA announced that Endeavour will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

After low level flyovers above NASA and civic landmarks across the country and in California, it was delivered to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)on September 21, 2012. The orbiter was slowly and carefully transported through the streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood three weeks later, from October 11-14 along La Tijera, Manchester, Crenshaw, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevards to her final destination at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

Endeavour encountered a few obstacles while transiting the streets narrowly missing telephone poles, apartment buildings and other structures. The power had to be turned off and power carrying poles had to be removed temporarily as the orbiter crept along Manchester to Prairie Avenue then Crenshaw Boulevard. News crews lined the streets along the path with visible news personalities in the news trucks. There were several police escorts as well as considerable security helping to control the large crowds gathered. Endeavour was parked for a few hours at the Great Western Forum where it was available for viewing. Taking longer than expected, Endeavour finally reached the Science Center on October 14.

The exhibit was opened to the public on October 30, 2012 at the temporary Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion of the museum. A new addition to the Science Center, called the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, is under construction as Endeavour’s permanent home. Planned for a 2017 opening, the Endeavour will be mounted vertically with an external tank and a pair of solid rocket boosters in the shuttle stack configuration. One payload door will be open to reveal a demonstration payload inside.

After its decommissioning, Endeavour’s Canadarm (formally the ‘Shuttle Remote Manipulator System’) was removed in order to be sent to the Canadian Space Agency’s John H. Chapman Space Centre in LongueuilQuebec, a suburb of Montreal, where it will be placed on display. The Space Agency’s Longueuil headquarters was an unlikely choice for the display of the Canadian-built robotic device. In a Canadian poll on which science or aerospace museum should be selected to display the Canadarm, originally built by SPAR Aerospace, the Canadian Space Agency’s headquarters placed third to last with only 35 out of 638 votes.

Video of the Last Days of Endeavour

Nasa Image Gallery of Endeavour


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The Kepler Supernova

Kepler’s Supernova

Supernova 1604, also known as Kepler’s SupernovaKepler’s Nova or Kepler’s Star, was a supernova that occurred in the Milky Way, in the constellation Ophiuchus. It is the most recent supernova to have been unquestionably observed by the naked eye in our own galaxy, occurring no farther than 6 kiloparsecs or about 20,000 light-years from Earth.


Visible to the naked eye, Kepler’s Star was brighter at its peak than any other star in the night sky, and all the planets other than Venus, with apparent magnitude −2.5. It was visible during the day for over three weeks.


The first recorded observation was in northern Italy on October 9, 1604. Johannes Kepler began observing it in Prague on October 17. It was subsequently named after him because his observations tracked the object for an entire year and because of his book on the subject, entitled De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii (“On the new star in Ophiuchus’s foot”, Prague 1606).


It was the second supernova to be observed in a generation (after SN 1572 seen by Tycho Brahe in Cassiopeia). No further supernovae have since been observed with certainty in the Milky Way, though many others outside our galaxy have been seen since S Andromedae.

header-coleyweds-thursda-34ayPresent day astronomical evidence exists for a Milky Way supernova whose signal would have reached earth ca 1680 (Cassiopeia A), and another object whose light should have arrived ca 1870. However there is no historical record of either having been detected at the time, by the unaided human eye.

The supernova remnant resulting from this supernova is considered to be one of the prototypical objects of its kind, and is still an object of much study in astronomy.

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The I.S.S. – Station Structure – Post 4

Station structure

The ISS follows Salyut and Almaz series, Cosmos 557Skylab, and Mir as the 11th space station launched, as the Genesis prototypes were never intended to be manned. The ISS is a third generation modular space station.


ColeyArtAstro – ISS

Other examples of modular station projects include the Soviet/Russian Mir, Russian OPSEK, and Chinese space station. The first space station, Salyut 1, and other one-piece or ‘monolithic’ first generation space stations, such as Salyut 2,3,4,5, DOS 2, Kosmos 557, Almaz and NASA’s Skylab stations were not designed for re-supply. Generally, each crew had to depart the station to free the only docking port for the next crew to arrive, Skylab had more than one docking port but was not designed for resupply. Salyut 6 and 7 had more than one docking port and were designed to be resupplied routinely during crewed operation. Modular stations can allow the mission to be changed over time and new modules can be added or removed from the existing structure, allowing greater flexibility.


The assembly of the International Space Station, a major endeavour in space architecture, began in November 1998. Russian modules launched and docked robotically, with the exception of Rassvet.

All other modules were delivered by the Space Shuttle, which required installation by ISS and shuttle crewmembers using the SSRMS and EVAs; as of 5 June 2011, they had added 159 components during more than 1,000 hours of EVA activity. 127 of these spacewalks originated from the station, while the remaining 32 were launched from the airlocks of docked Space Shuttles.



The beta angle of the station had to be considered at all times during construction, as the station’s beta angle is directly related to the percentage of its orbit that the station (as well as any docked or docking spacecraft) is exposed to the sun; the Space Shuttle would not perform optimally above a limit called the “beta cutoff”. Rassvet was delivered by NASA’s Atlantis Space Shuttle in 2010 in exchange for the Russian Proton delivery of the United States-funded Russian-built Zarya Module in 1998. Robot arms rather than EVAs were utilised in its installation (docking).

End of mission

According to a 2009 report, Space Corporation Energia is considering methods to remove from the station some modules of the Russian Orbital Segment when the end of mission is reached and use them as a basis for a new station, known as the Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex (OPSEK). The modules under consideration for removal from the current ISS include the Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), currently scheduled to be launched in 2014, with other Russian modules which are currently planned to be attached to the MLM until 2015. Neither the MLM nor any additional modules attached to it would have reached the end of their useful lives in 2016 or 2020. The report presents a statement from an unnamed Russian engineer who believes that, based on the experience from Mir, a thirty-year life should be possible, except for micrometeorite damage, because the Russian modules have been built with on-orbit refurbishment in mind.

According to the Outer Space Treaty the United States and Russia are legally responsible for all modules they have launched. In ISS planning, NASA examined options including returning the station to Earth via shuttle missions (deemed too expensive, as the station (USOS) is not designed for disassembly and this would require at least 27 shuttle missions), natural orbital decay with random reentry similar to Skylab, boosting the station to a higher altitude (which would simply delay reentry) and a controlled targeted de-orbit to a remote ocean area.

The technical feasibility of a controlled targeted deorbit into a remote ocean was found to be possible only with Russia’s assistance. The Russian Space Agency has experience from de-orbiting the Salyut 4567 and Mir space stations, while NASA’s first intentional controlled de-orbit of a satellite (the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory) occurred in 2000. As of late 2010, the preferred plan is to use a slightly modified Progress spacecraft to de-orbit the ISS. This plan was seen as the simplest, most cost efficient one with the highest margin.Skylab, the only space station built and launched entirely by the US, decayed from orbit slowly over 5 years, and no attempt was made to de-orbit the station using adeorbital burn. Remains of Skylab hit populated areas of Esperance, Western Australia without injuries or loss of life.


The Exploration Gateway Platform, a discussion by NASA and Boeing at the end of 2011, suggested using leftover USOS hardware and ‘Zvezda 2′ [sic] as a refueling depot and servicing station located at one of the Earth Moon Lagrange points, L1 or L2. While the entire USOS cannot be reused and will be discarded, some other Russian modules are planned to be reused. Nauka, the Node module, two science power platforms and Rassvet, launched between 2010 and 2015 and joined to the ROS may be separated to form OPSEK. The Nauka module of the ISS will be used in the station, whose main goal is supporting manned deep space exploration. OPSEK will orbit at a higher inclination of 71 degrees, allowing observation to and from all of the Russian Federation.

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The International Space Station – Exploration – Post3

ISS Exploration

The ISS provides a location in the relative safety of Low Earth Orbit to test spacecraft systems that will be required for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars.

This provides experience in operations, maintenance as well as repair and replacement activities on-orbit, which will be essential skills in operating spacecraft farther from Earth, mission risks can be reduced and the capabilities of interplanetary spacecraft advanced.

Continue reading

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The International Space Station Post 2

Scientific Research

The ISS provides a platform to conduct scientific research that cannot be performed in any other way. While small unmanned spacecraft can provide platforms for zero gravity and exposure to space, space stations offer a long term environment where studies can be performed potentially for decades, combined with ready access by human researchers over periods that exceed the capabilities of manned spacecraft.


According to the original Memorandum of Understanding between NASA and RSA, the International Space Station was intended to be a laboratory, observatory and factory in space. It was also planned to provide transportation, maintenance, and act as a staging base for possible future missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroids. In the 2010 United States National Space Policy, the ISS was given additional roles of serving commercial, diplomatic and educational purposes.

The Station simplifies individual experiments by eliminating the need for separate rocket launches and research staff. The primary fields of research include Astrobiologyastronomyhuman research including space medicine and life sciencesphysical sciencesmaterials scienceSpace weather and weather on Earth (meteorology). Scientists on Earth have access to the crew’s data and can modify experiments or launch new ones, benefits generally unavailable on unmanned spacecraft. Crews fly expeditions of several months duration, providing approximately 160 man-hours a week of labour with a crew of 6.

Kibō is intended to accelerate Japan’s progress in science and technology, gain new knowledge and apply it to such fields as industry and medicine.

In order to detect dark matter and answer other fundamental questions about our universe, engineers and scientists from all over the world built the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which NASA compares to the Hubble telescope, and says could not be accommodated on a free flying satellite platform due in part to its power requirements and data bandwidth needs.

The space environment is hostile to life. Unprotected presence in space is characterised by an intense radiation field (consisting primarily of protons and other subatomic charged particles from the solar wind, in addition to cosmic rays), high vacuum, extreme temperatures, and microgravity. Some simple forms of life called extremophiles, including small invertebrates called tardigrades can survive in this environment in an extremely dry state called desiccation.

iss open shutters view

I.S.S. – Open Shutters

Medical research improves knowledge about the effects of long-term space exposure on the human body, including muscle atrophybone loss, and fluid shift. This data will be used to determine whether lengthy human spaceflight and space colonisation are feasible. As of 2006, data on bone loss and muscular atrophy suggest that there would be a significant risk of fractures and movement problems if astronauts landed on a planet after a lengthy interplanetary cruise, such as the six-month interval required to travel to Mars. Medical studies are conducted aboard the ISS on behalf of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). Prominent among these is the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity study in which astronauts perform ultrasound scans under the guidance of remote experts. The study considers the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions in space. Usually, there is no physician on board the ISS and diagnosis of medical conditions is a challenge. It is anticipated that remotely guided ultrasound scans will have application on Earth in emergency and rural care situations where access to a trained physician is difficult.

Contrary to popular belief, the earth’s gravity is only slightly less at the altitude of the ISS as at the surface. According to the equivalence principle, gravity only seems absent because, like any orbiting object, it is in continuous freefall. This state of perceived weightlessness is not perfect however, being disturbed by five separate effects:

  • Drag from the residual atmosphere; when the ISS enters the Earth’s shadow, the main solar panels are rotated to minimise this aerodynamic drag, helping reduce orbital decay.
  • Vibration from movements of mechanical systems and the crew.
  • Actuation of the on-board attitude control moment gyroscopes.
  • Thruster firings for altitude or orbital changes.
  • Gravity-gradient effects, also known as tidal effects. Items at different locations within the ISS would, if not attached to the station, follow slightly different orbits. Being mechanically interconnected, however, these items experience small forces that keep the station moving as a rigid body.

Researchers are investigating the effect of the station’s near-weightless environment on the evolution, development, growth and internal processes of plants and animals. In response to some of this data, NASA wants to investigate microgravity‘s effects on the growth of three-dimensional, human-like tissues, and the unusual protein crystals that can be formed in space.

The investigation of the physics of fluids in microgravity will allow researchers to model the behaviour of fluids better. Because fluids can be almost completely combined in microgravity, physicists investigate fluids that do not mix well on Earth. In addition, an examination of reactions that are slowed by low gravity and temperatures will give scientists a deeper understanding of superconductivity.

The study of materials science is an important ISS research activity, with the objective of reaping economic benefits through the improvement of techniques used on the ground. Other areas of interest include the effect of the low gravity environment on combustion, through the study of the efficiency of burning and control of emissions and pollutants. These findings may improve current knowledge about energy production, and lead to economic and environmental benefits. Future plans are for the researchers aboard the ISS to examine aerosolsozonewater vapour, and oxidesin Earth’s atmosphere, as well as cosmic rayscosmic dustantimatter, and dark matter in the universe.

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About: The International Space Station

Badge ISS

Badge ISS

The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. It follows the SalyutAlmazSkylab and Mir stations as the ninth space station to be inhabited. The ISS is a modular structure whose first component was launched in 1998. Now the largest artificial body in orbit, it can often be seen at the appropriate time with the naked eye from Earth. The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components. ISS components have been launched by American Space Shuttles as well as Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets. Budget constraints led to the merger of three space station projects with the Japanese Kibō module and Canadian robotics. In 1993 the partially built components for a Soviet/Russian space station Mir-2, the proposed American Freedom, and the proposed European Columbus merged into a single multinational programme.

The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology,human biologyphysicsastronomymeteorology and other fields. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars.

The station has been continuously occupied for 12 years and 147 days, having exceeded the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir, in 2010. The station is serviced by Soyuz spacecraft, Progress spacecraft, the Automated Transfer Vehicle, the H-II Transfer Vehicle, and the Dragon spacecraft. It has been visited by astronauts and cosmonauts from 15 different nations.

The ISS programme is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA, the Russian Federal Space AgencyJAXAESA, and CSA. The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The station is divided into two sections, the Russian orbital segment (ROS) and the United States orbital segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations. The ISS is maintained at an orbital altitude of between 330 km (205 mi) and 410 km (255 mi). It completes 15.7 orbits per day. The ISS is funded until 2020, and may operate until 2028. The Russian Federal Space Agency (RSA/RKA) has proposed using ISS to commission modules for a new space station, called OPSEK, before the remainder of the ISS is de-orbited.

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Leo the Lion Constellation


Latest Constellation Naked-Eye Discovery.


Leo, easier to find late evening, Easter Sunday

 “Most people find Leo by looking first for a distinctive pattern on the sky’s dome: the pattern of a backwards question mark.

It’s great when you realise you have just seen/worked out a new constellation. Tonight was Leo the lion.

That star pattern – or asterism – is called the Sickle in Leo. Leo’s brightest star, Regulus, marks the bottom of the backwards question mark pattern. Regulus is a sparkling blue-white beauty of a star, and it depicts the Lion’s heart. Meanwhile, the curve of the Sickle outlines the Lion’s mane. The triangle of stars in eastern Leo represents the Lion’s hindquarters and tail. The brightest star of the triangle is named Denebola, which stems from an Arabic term meaning the Lion’s Tail.”

Leo contains many bright stars. Regulus, designated Alpha Leonis, is a blue-white main-sequence star of magnitude 1.4, 77.5 light-years from Earth. It is a double star divisible in binoculars, with a secondary of magnitude 7.7. Its traditional name (Regulus) means “the little king”. Beta Leonis, called Denebola, is at the opposite end of the constellation to Regulus. It is a blue-white star of magnitude 2.1, 36 light-years from Earth. The name Denebola means “the lion’s tail”.

Leo contains many bright galaxiesMessier 65Messier 66Messier 95Messier 96Messier 105, and NGC 3628 are the most famous, the first two being part of the Leo Triplet.

The Leo Ring, a cloud of hydrogen and helium gas, is found in orbit of two galaxies found within this constellation.

M66 is a spiral galaxy that is part of the Leo Triplet, whose other two members are M65 and NGC 3628. It is at a distance of 37 million light-years and has a somewhat distorted shape due to gravitational interactions with the other members of the Triplet, which are pulling stars away from M66. Eventually, the outermost stars may form a dwarf galaxy orbiting M66. Both M65 and M66 are visible in large binoculars or small telescopes, but their concentrated nuclei and elongation are only visible in large amateur instruments.




M95 and M96 are both spiral galaxies 20 million light-years from Earth. Though they are visible as fuzzy objects in small telescopes, their structure is only visible in larger instruments. M95 is a barred spiral galaxy. M105 is about a degree away from the M95/M96 pair; it is an elliptical galaxy of the 9th magnitude, also about 20 million light-years from Earth.

NGC 2903 is a barred spiral galaxy discovered by William Herschel in 1784. It is very similar in size and shape to the Milky Way and is located 25 million light-years from Earth. In its core, NGC 2903 has many “hotspots”, which have been found to be near regions of star formation.

The star formation in this region is thought to be due to the presence of the dusty bar, which sends shock waves through its rotation to an area with a diameter of 2,000 light-years. The outskirts of the galaxy have many young open clusters. The Huge-LQG, the largest known structure in the universe is found in Leo.

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Legalised Spamming with Google

Google has changed it’s Terms and Conditions – Again

Google has clarified its email scanning practices in a terms of service update, informing users that incoming and outgoing emails are analysed by automated software.

The revisions explicitly state that Google’s system scans the content of emails stored on Google’s servers as well as those being sent and received by any Google email account, a

practice that has seen the search company face criticism from privacy action groups and lawsuits from the education sector.

“We want our policies to be simple and easy for users to understand. These changes will give people even greater clarity and are based on feedback we’ve received over the last

few months,” said a Google spokeswoman.



Google wants world domination

Google scans your e-mails for advertising profit…Latest Google Terms & Conditions.




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Try some small basic programming – it will be easy

Basic or Advanced – Programming is always linked back to ms

I thought it would be easier to try small basic first – before downloading Visual Basic, the more “advanced” software. Neither have proved “easy” to run, or use so far!

Small Basic U.I.

Microsoft Small Basic

Microsoft Small Basic is a simplified variant of the BASIC programming language, developed by Microsoft. With a bare minimum of concepts, Microsoft accredits this as an easy programming language for beginners to grasp. The language itself has only 14 keywords and the environment is beginner-friendly, with a straightforward interface.



Small Basic was first introduced by Microsoft in October 2008 and was released on 13 June 2011 on an updated MSDN website that included a full teacher curriculum, a Getting Started guide, and several Small Basic e-books for beginners through a partnership with The published Small Basic guides include a complete developer’s reference guide, a Beginning Small Basic tutorial, and a republished classic programming book by David H. Ahl.

Microsoft Small Basic was designed by Microsoft DevLabs and released as a Technology Preview in October 2008. Its intended audience is anyone looking to begin programming, including children and beginner adults as well. Small Basic exists to help students as young as age eight learn the foundations of computer programming and then graduate to Visual Basic using Visual Studio Express, where they can continue to build on the foundation by learning Visual C#VB.NET, and Visual C++.

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venus – early morning brightness

February Is Venus Month

Venus is visible with the naked eye in February 2014. I saw it myself on the morning of 22nd, around The sight of Venus with a light blue sky background was well worth staying up for. In fact, I saw four planets in one night/morning!


Venus Sky

Venus Observation

Venus is always brighter than any star (apart from the Sun). The greatest luminosity, apparent magnitude -4.9, occurs during crescent phase when it is near the Earth. Venus fades to about magnitude -3 when it is backlit by the Sun. The planet is bright enough to be seen in a mid-day clear sky, and the planet can be easy to see when the Sun is low on the horizon. As an inferior planet, it always lies within about 47° of the Sun.


Venus “overtakes” the Earth every 584 days as it orbits the Sun. As it does so, it changes from the “Evening Star”, visible after sunset, to the “Morning Star”, visible before sunrise. While Mercury, the other inferior planet, reaches a maximum elongation of only 28° and is often difficult to discern in twilight, Venus is hard to miss when it is at its brightest.


Its greater maximum elongation means it is visible in dark skies long after sunset. As the brightest point-like object in the sky, Venus is a commonly misreported “unidentified flying object”. U.S. President Jimmy Carter reported having seen a UFO in 1969, which later analysis suggested was probably the planet. Countless other people have mistaken Venus for something more exotic.

As it moves around its orbit, Venus displays phases like those of the Moon in a telescopic view. The planet presents a small “full” image when it is on the opposite side of the Sun. It shows a larger “quarter phase” when it is at its maximum elongations from the Sun, and is at its brightest in the night sky, and presents a much larger “thin crescent” in telescopic views as it comes around to the near side between the Earth and the Sun. Venus is at its largest and presents its “new phase” when it is between the Earth and the Sun. Its atmosphere can be seen in a telescope by the halo of light refracted around the planet.

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Using Command Prompt to Flush DNS

Network Trouble-Shooting 

IP/DNS Tweak:

 Ever been in windows and you tried to browse to a network share or load a web site and it stops working? This can happen a lot with windows as its dns cache can become corrupted. Open a command prompt window or open the run command. Then simply put in “ipconfig /flushdns”. (Without the ” of course.) This will tell windows to flush its dns cache.

You will notice network shares, web sites, and other things network related will start working again. Your computer has retrieved its ip address from a DHCP, say a router or such, but when you change your connection windows can no longer get an ip address unless you reboot. This is because windows is trying to get its ip from the last ip of the dhcp it retrieved it from before.



In order to have windows get a new ip from a available DHCP server you have to clear out the one you currently have. Open a command prompt window or the run command and type “ipconfig /release & ipconfig /renew” on one line in the command window without the ” to do both release and renew in one hit. Windows will release and forget the last ip info you had including the DHCP server and the look for a new one. No more having to reboot.


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