Category: Carnival of Space

Carnival of Space #201

Welcome to the 201st gathering of best space news on the web; something we call the Carnival of Space. If you’re new, please take a look at past Carnivals. If you like what you see and want to participate by contributing or hosting, let us know.

Partial Lunar eclipse as seen from Adelaide at 21:30 pm, 26 June 2010. 4" Newtonian Reflector, 20 mm Plossl eyepiece and Canon IXUS 100 IS (400 ASA, 1/15 exposure)

June has been a spectacular month for astronomy and space. Most of the world, except for North America, will witness the best total lunar eclipse since 2007. Vega 0.0 guides beginners (in Spanish) in viewing this astronomical event on the 15th. Unless you’re in Australia, in which case the eclipse occurs on the 16th. Astroblogger Ian Musgrave also gives timings and observing tips. While Urban Astronomer is gazing at the Moon this month, he may be using lunar occultation to turn the Moon into a telescope. You can too. Astroswanny live blogs a transit on KOI 256b. Did you know there were as many as 8 of the Kepler objects of interest transiting every hour!!!


I cannot think of a better time to observe a new supernova that exploded in the Whirlpool Galaxy, M51. This opportunity is not lost on Astroblogger. This is not only a great opportunity for astroimaging, but also a good opportunity to use crowdsourcing to study the evolution of the supernova.


Check out our active Sun. On June 6, a powerful solar explosion kicked up a surprising amount of material, creating a huge veil of dark plasma that spectacularly rained back down on the solar surface.

It’s been a busy wildfire season already and this is even evident from space. TheSpacewriter muses about the vast number of fires burning on Earth’s surface.

Private sector space travel has been heating up this year. Cheap Astronomy reviews some current developments in private sector space travel. In NextBigFuture, Brian Wang explains that by 2016 Bigelow expects to have a fully functioning station in orbit and to begin charging rent for it. Prices start at $28,750,000 per astronaut for a 30-day tour. That’s a lot of money, he admits, but says economies of scale will drive the price down quickly. He also points out it’s still less than the estimated $35 million Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté paid in 2009 for 12 days aboard the International Space Station. Article 16 of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 allows any signatory to withdraw with 12 months notice. If countries like India or China were to withdraw in the 2020s when Bigelow speculates about a lunar land rush.

Brian also presents a discussion of recent and planned experiments of Mach Effect propulsion.

Credit: NASA

It seems strange that more than 30 years since the first shuttle launch, we didn’t have a picture of a space shuttle docked at the International Space Station. We do now. Newly released and unique pictures from astronaut Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 are spectacular; even more so when you zoom into this slideshow of the ISS and Endeavour from StarryCritters.

Centauri Dreams wonders if an organization can be created with the longevity to design a vehicle when the timeframes involved might be a century or more. Marc Millis offers a response to the Request for Information from DARPA/Ames’ 100 Year Starship study.

WeirdWarp explores five new projects announced by the NASA astrobiology science and technology for exploring planets program (ASTEP). ASTEP promotes the search for life on other planets and supports research and exploration of the Earths most remote places.

Vintage Space takes a look at the Rogallo wing’s life after the Gemini program – its proposed inclusion into Apollo and the US Air Force’s planned use of the paraglider to land its Manned Orbiting Laboratory.

"That's one small step for- what the heck is THAT?" (Image credit: scene from Transformers 3)

Unlike previous voyages of exploration, humanitys first steps on the Moon did not inspire great works of art and literature. In fact Project Apollo has rarely even intruded in to popular culture. However in the past forty years there has been a smattering of movies and TV shows featuring Project Apollo. Armagh Planetarium takes a look at some of the most interesting.

Carnival of Space #180

Welcome, welcome to the Web’s 180th spectacular Carnival of Space. You say you don’t know what this carnival is all about? Hosted by our illustrious ring-leader, Fraser Cain, you can head over to the Carnival homepage for the full details and archive.

Artist's impression of the red dwarf star CHRX 73 A and its companion object CHRX 73 B. The companion object is around 12 Jupiter masses, and may either be a planet or a brown dwarf. (Image credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI))

Artist's impression of the red dwarf star CHRX 73 A and its companion object CHRX 73 B. (Image credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI))

My God it’s full of stars! Three times more stars by astronomers’ count according to Brian Wang at Next Big Future. A better count of red dwarf stars finds 20 times more in elliptical galaxies. That boosts the estimates for the number of stars in the universe to 300 sextillion. Astronotes calls red dwarfs the most important stars in the universe.

Last week, the Web was awash in discussions about NASA’s cryptic press release that intimated an “astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.” Many bloggers speculated that perhaps life had been found on one of Saturn’s moons. That was not the case. Next Big Future takes us through the announcement that life can have arsenic instead of phosphate as a basic building block.

Next Big Future also offers speculation that a dark jupiter (or several) might lurk around the edge of the solar system.

Nancy Atkinson, at Universe Today, writes that researchers find that the tracks from the two Mars rovers are being erased by wind within a Martian year.

Paul Schenk offers us the first view of global topographic maps of Saturn’s icy moons.

Allen Versfeld, the Urban Astronomer, takes a look at the history of Neptune’s discovery, the mythology behind its name and a little bit of the science behind the planet.

When I was in grade school, one couldn’t help but notice that the orbital workshop Skylab looked similar to a stage of a Saturn V. David S. F. Portree, of Beyond Apollo, tells us about the non-propulsive roles of the S-IVB rocket stage in NASA’s manned program.

Space shuttle tiles installed on shuttle Atlantis (collectSPACE)

Space shuttle tiles installed on shuttle Atlantis (collectSPACE)

Want a baked piece of history? If you’re a school or university, Robert Pearlman of collectSpace, shares that NASA has started offering schools space shuttle tiles at a whopping $23.40 per tile (that’s just shipping and handling).

Moving a bit closer to home but farther back in time, Bruce Leeeowe, at Weird Sciences writes about a research article by Victor Babbitt in which Babbitt proposed that sulfur dioxide unleashed after a cometary impact may have caused the possible extinction of dinosaurs.

While Leeeowe talks of extinctions, astronomers are searching for life elsewhere in the universe. One new method, explains Weird Warp, is to seek sulfur dioxide signatures, and therefore volcanoes, on exoplanets. This leads us to AARTScope‘s story about ESO’s spectrophotometry announcement of a steamy or hazy “super-Earth” called GJ 1214b.

The dark circles show regions of the universe that are cooler than average. Could each ring provide information about what happened before the Big Bang? (V.G.Gurzadyan and R.Penrose)

The dark circles show regions of the universe that are cooler than average. (V.G.Gurzadyan and R.Penrose)

Last week also saw a fair number of stories about cosmology. Science is stranger than fiction according to Ian O’Neill at Discovery News. Scientists analyzing cosmic microwave background radiation claim they observe a pattern, says O’Neill. Francisco José Sevilla Lobato, in his Spanish-language blog Vega 0.0, writes about the impact of infrared observations in moderm cosmology.

The folks at the blog weareallinthegutter remind us in why supernovae are so important for cosmology in parts one and two at their website.

Need to take a break? Explore a new image of the Flame Nebula in Orion from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer at StarryCritters.

Steve Nerlich, of Cheap Astronomy, with help from some listeners, delivers a 2010 holiday season 365 days of Astronomy podcast on 21st century thinking.

We are lucky enough as Carnival readers to have a couple of bloggers who offer a far view of our exploration of space. Weird Sciences discusses the advantages of probes over conventional SETI beacons. Centauri Dreams explores the transition from interplanetary flight to interstellar journeys. Pulsar navigation is one way to find our way around and an interesting new paper discusses one way it might be done.

Cassini offers a view of Hyperion

By the way, this week is brought to you by the word parallax at AstroWoW. But the holiday season would not be complete without an iPod stocking stuffer idea from Bruce Irving at Music of the Spheres or advent calendars from Zooniverse, Big Picture and Planetary Society‘s Emily Lakdawalla. You won’t want to miss a single day.

Carnival of Space #171

Welcome to the 171st installment of spacey enjoyment; something we like to call the Carnival of Space. Pull back the tent flap and come on in. Theres more goodness on the inside.

Oileán Ruaidh – most beautiful Barsoomian meteorite yet

Oileán Ruaidh

You know its always hard to know where to start when there is so much interesting news. Theres been a lot of talk about meteorites on Earth and near-Earth objects this week. But you may not have heard of Oileán Ruaidh. The Road to Endeavour calls it the most beautiful Barsoomian meteorite ever.

Moving sunward, explore Venus through the travelogue of the Urban Astronomer. Emily Lakdawalla, of the Planetary Society blog, reminds us that Venus is not as neat and tidy as we thought. Swinging yet closer to the Sun, Astroblogger Ian Musgrave makes a contribution to astronomical research by bringing to our attention Mercurys comet-like tail. Not bad for an amateur.

Tips, Tricks and Loonyness
Not only did the equinox and full Moon correspond last week, but also our carnival saw its share of Moon news. Pradeep Mohandas discusses results from the CHACE instrument aboard the Moon impact probe from the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Kentucky Space shares with us their collaboration efforts with Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter engineers. StarStryder provides a brain dump, to avoid loonyness, of new lunar results from the LRO mission.

Closer to home
Here on Earth, Nextbigfuture has an interview with John Hunter of Quicklaunch (along with pictures and videos). Quicklaunch is hoping to create a method for launching unmanned payloads into orbit for $500 per pound. The Quicklaunch approach shoots payloads into orbit using a large hydrogen powered cannon.

Photo credit: collectSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman

Just in time for my visit to KSC later this month, the Rocket Garden is sporting a new, more historically accurate, addition. A “new” old rocket, the second stage of a restored USAF Titan II missile tipped with a mockup of a Gemini spacecraft, has sprouted in the garden.

WeirdWarp shares with us a study from the American Institute of Physics that reveals solar power potentially could be collected using cheap, selenium-based solar cells.

21st Century Waves reminds us of China’s increasing role in space exploration in the coming years

Nextbigfuture also reports that Reaction Engines’ Skylon spaceplane project is reaching its final stages.

To infinity and…
Is astrobiology too specialized of a field to warrant a Master’s of Science? If you’re interested you should check out this post from Alun Salt.

The idea of aliens visiting Earth must be weighing on the mind of the possible UN ambassador of extraterrestrial contact. But maybe this is all unnecessary you say, WeirdSciences helps us with the implications of alien civilizations and the possible fate of our civilization. WeirdSciences also ponders the lack of time travelers. Where are they?

One way we can travel back in time is to study stories from the past. Listen to this 365 Days of Astronomy podcast where Steve Nerlich, of, discusses an indigenous Australian account of Eta Carina’s 1840 outburst with Duane Hamacher.

Credit: ESO/P. Grosbøl

The Edge of Infinity
The European Southern Observatory may arguably be one of the most prolific observatories on the planet. Before you leave, spend a few minutes at StarryCritters exploring the perfect barred-spiral form of NGC 1365, a new image from ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.

Carnival of Space #149

Step right up; no need to crowd. Be one of the first to revel in all the strange and wondrous sights the universe has to offer. For you, my friends, are about to experience the best astro news gathered from Earth’s internet, with a complete archive here.

If this is your first time at StarryCritters, welcome! Stick around for awhile and explore the universe. Share with us what you see in the night sky. If you host a science or astronomy-related blog, you can take the big hat by hosting the Carnival of Space. Just write to our gracious host Fraser Cain of UniverseToday at info [at] universetoday [dot] com. It’s a great way to participate in a growing community, and reach a wider audience with your writing.

Now, right this way into the Carnival of Space #149.

Space Shuttle Discovery and crew of STS-131 lifted off at 6:21 a.m. Monday, April 5th from the Kennedy Space Center, taking a unique plug-and-play space technology developed by Kentucky Space and NanoRacks LLC. With regular access to the station, Kentucky Space says they think the platform will give many more organizations a chance to do low cost, repeatable microgravity research.

Astroengine and Discovery Space producer, Dr. Ian O’Neill, also talks about these unique labs.

Also arriving at the space station with Discovery are Klingon, cookies and class projects. Robert Pearlman of collectSpace gives us the skinny. Qapla’!

For all the Moon-related news this week, we have a nested carnival of the Egg Moon, this week only, over at Out of the Cradle.

Alan Boyle hawks a full cart of astro goodies at CosmicLog with Spaceflight’s past and future: Lookin’ at Yuri’s Night and the expectations for Obama’s space summit, A different breed of planet? It’s small enough to be a planet, but formed like a star, and The shuttle shuffle: What’s going to happen to the shuttles after they’re done flying?

Over at WhyHomeschool, Henry captures the major announcements at Space Access 2010,
a space conference for the entrepreneurs in the space industry.

[UPDATE]Can you imagine a swarm of cheap computer chips working as a huge and powerful telescope array or acting as planetary sensors? Brian Wang at NextBigFuture explores the idea of a spacecraft on a computer chip. The prototype should be launched this year. Brian also delves into the intricacies of wormhole research suggesting that universes are nested like Russian Dolls. Our universe could be a wormhole in a blackhole of another universe.

You won’t believe your eyes with this act. Steve Tilford at Steve’s Astrocorner shares with us the pleasure of the Messier Torture Session, better known as the Messier Marathon.

It amazes me that some news outlets report that only one percent of the population has seen the planet Mercury. Stuart at Cumbrian Sky offers a tantalizing observing report of one of the greatest sunset shows of Venus and Mercury.

While most eyes are watching a bit farther out into the solar system following the amazing science and images from Cassini at Saturn and HiRise at Mars, Venus Express may help scientists rewrite the book on Venusian geology. Both Emily Lakdawalla of Planetary Society Blog and Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy report that Venus may not be the hot, geologically dead world we thought we knew.

It’s avalanche season here in Colorado and on Mars. TheSpaceWriter, Carolyn Petersen, marvels at the regularity HiRISE has been spotting avalanches during Mars’ spring thaw.

Step back a bit and take in the glories of outer planets. WeirdWarp studies the atmospheres of these giants.

Blasting way out there, the ChandraBlog offers a Q&A about supernovae.

Hop right into the captain’s seat at StarryCritters and explore the oddball, asymmetrical spiral galaxy of M66 in the Leo Triplet in this new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Need a stretch? Sit back as Cheap Astronomy completes its epic two-part podcast on the shape of space. No reading required.

James and Gregory Benford look at how an interstellar beacon might be constructed in an article responding to an earlier post on Centauri Dreams. Beacons turn out to be fabulously expensive, under the Benfords’ assumptions, but their analysis also offers up an optimized way to pursue the SETI search.

WeirdSciences helps us understand the ways and reasons of why aliens might contact us. They probably don’t want Earth for the ho-hum views and dwindling resources. Maybe they want to help us survive at the end of the cosmos.

So long. Thanks for all the fish.

Carnival of Space #142

Everyone should wander over to the Carnival of Space #142 this week. Starry Critters dives into the new Hubble, Spitzer, and GALEX image of interacting galaxies that make up Hickson Compact Group 31.


The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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