Science Channel - InSCIder

Space

14 Oct

Sun Looks Like A Jack-O'-Lantern In New NASA Photo

Just in time for Halloween, a new photo from NASA reveals a spooky sight in the sky: a jack-o'-lantern face on the sun.

NASA explains:

"The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy — markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona."

NASAHalloweenSun

Tonight on 'The Unexplained Files,' learn about an unexplained solar phenomenon spotted in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some say it's a religious miracle, others believe it has a supernatural element. What do you think?

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

13 Oct

Here's What Last Week's Lunar Eclipse Looked Like From Mercury (VIDEO)

The October 8 total lunar eclipse and "blood moon" were stunning from Earth but if you're curious what the event looked like from space, wonder no more.

Composed of 31 images taken two minutes apart between 5:18 a.m. to 6:18 a.m. by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, this animation shows the view from Mercury as the moon slowly faded from view.

"From Mercury, the Earth and Moon normally appear as if they were two very bright stars," planetary scientist Hari Nair said. "During a lunar eclipse, the Moon seems to disappear during its passage through the Earth's shadow, as shown in the movie."

Learn more about Mercury, the smallest planet in our solar system:

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

24 Sep

Should Pluto Be A Planet Again?

Pluto was downgraded to a 'dwarf planet' in 2006 but a recent debate hosted by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics stirred up old passions and led to a vote that overwhelmingly favored reinstating Pluto as a planet.

As Astrobiology Magazine reports:

"[Science historian Dr. Owen] Gingerich argued that “a planet is a culturally defined word that changes over time,” and that Pluto is a planet. [Dr. Gareth] Williams defended the IAU definition, which declares that Pluto is not a planet. And [Dr. Dimitar] Sasselov defined a planet as “the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars or stellar remnants,” which means Pluto is a planet.

After these experts made their best case, the audience got to vote on what a planet is or isn’t and whether Pluto is in or out. The results are in, with no hanging chads in sight. 

According to the audience, Sasselov’s definition won the day, and Pluto IS a planet."

Back in 2006, Bill Nye supported changing Pluto's name to a dwarf planet; after this week's debate and vote, he told The Huffington Post that "I love Pluto as much as the next guy, but it has a different origin from the traditional planets and orbits in a different plane. It might be exciting to have names for hundreds of new (very old) planets, but I would be fine with 8 'traditionals' and hundreds of 'Plutoids.'"

You can watch the debate and come to your own conclusions on YouTube.

Poor pitiful Pluto...

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

18 Sep

NASA Finds 'Big Surprise In Teeny Tiny Galaxy' (PHOTO)

The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a supermassive black hole inside a "teeny tiny" galaxy, which "crams 140 million stars within a diameter of about 300 light-years, which is only 1/500th of our galaxy’s diameter."

"It’s very much like a pinprick in the sky," astronomer Anil Seth said, while NASA's press release revealed that this ultra-compact galaxy has an incredibly dense and dazzling night sky:

"If you lived inside this dwarf galaxy, the night sky would dazzle with at least 1 million stars visible to the naked eye. Our nighttime sky as seen from Earth’s surface shows 4,000 stars."

An artist's rendering of the M60-UCD1 Black Hole -- captioned "Our Hubble Space Telescope finds big surprise in teeny tiny galaxy" -- shows the astounding scale:

Did A Black Hole Create The Milky Way?

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

10 Sep

Jupiter Moon Europa Could Have Plate Tectonics Like Earth

New research reveals Jupiter moon Europa may have plate tectonics similar to those on Earth, giving new hope to the search for extraterrestrial life.

Our friends at DNews report:

"During studies of photographs taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft that orbited the gas giant from 1995 to 2003, planetary geologists have found it hard to explain why most of the crust was relatively new ice (on average, the icy surface is 40-90 million years old) and yet there was little evidence of old ice that had been crushed up on the surface to make way for the new material.

...

Their conclusion is that, like Earth’s rocky crust, there must be subduction zones where old material is pushed against plate boundaries, making the ice sink into the subsurface ocean, where it melts and gets cycled."

"Europa may be more Earth-like than we imagined, if it has a global plate tectonic system," planetary geologists Simon Kattenhorn said in a statement. "Not only does this discovery make it one of the most geologically interesting bodies in the solar system, it also implies two-way communication between the exterior and interior -- a way to move material from the surface into the ocean -- a process which has significant implications for Europa's potential as a habitable world."

Earlier in 2014, NASA put out a call for proposals to hunt for alien life on Europa, which is believed to have a deep underground ocean that could be capable of sustaining life.

Want to learn more? Get to know Europa:

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

5 Sep

Our Planet Is Beautiful From Space

Because it's Friday, sit back and enjoy an out-of-this-world view of Earth, courtesy of the International Space Station:

Looking for more stunning space videos?

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

3 Sep

Late Summer Solar Flares Erupt In Stunning New NASA Video

New video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows an M5 solar flare bursting from the sun in stunning color:

NASA notes that "radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground," but flares could disrupt communications systems.

Tonight on "How the Universe Works," learn how Earth's magnetic field protects us from the sun's deadly radiation:

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

20 Aug

Cosmonauts Complete Spacewalk But Most Dangerous EVA Ever Could Lie Ahead

Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev completed a 5-hour, 11-minute spacewalk Monday, launching a Peruvian nanosatellite and installing and retrieving various science experiments from the International Space Station's exterior.

Artemyev shared photos from his second spacewalk on Twitter, including a stunning shot of sunset from outside the ISS:

The tiny Chasqui-1 satellite measures just 4 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches and weighs only 2.2 pounds. According to NASA,

"Shortly after the spacewalk began at 10:02 a.m., Artemyev manually deployed Chasqui 1, a Peruvian nanosatellite designed to take pictures of the Earth with a pair of cameras and transmit the images to a ground station. The project is part of an effort by the National University of Engineering in Peru to gain experience in satellite technology and emerging information and communication technologies."

While spacewalks may seem routine these days, an extra-vehicular activity is still the most dangerous activity an astronaut can do in space... and spacewalks of the future could get even more menacing. Tonight on "Man vs. the Universe" (10/9c), learn about scientists' efforts to stop an asteroid from crashing into Earth. One method calls for catching an impending asteroid in a giant bag, then sending astronauts on the most dangerous spacewalk ever.

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

19 Aug

America, The Beautiful Revealed In Breathtaking Timelapse of Milky Way, Northern Lights

When you live in a city, it can be hard to remember that the brightest lights aren't downtown -- they're right above you.

Photographer Randy Halverson breathtaking timelapse video, shot in some of the most remote parts of America, reveal the incredible astral show happening in the sky, from the glorious Milky Way to the rumbling of thunderstorms.

Wednesday night on How the Universe Works, dive deep inside the Milky Way for a closer look at the galaxy we call home. Here's a sneak peek at tomorrow night's episode: "Did a black hole create the Milky Way?"

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

18 Aug

This Is For Everyone Who Asks, "Why Aren't There Stars When Astronauts Take Photos From Space?"

We get this question a lot when we share astronauts' pictures on social media: "Why can't you see any stars in the photos astronauts take from space?"

The fact that there are no visible stars in photos and videos from the moon landing has also fueled some conspiracy theorists' suspicions, though NASA scientists explain that "the camera was unable to capture the light emitted from the stars because the bright sunlight hitting the moon's surface washes out the light from the stars."

That same bright light is the reason many astronauts' photos from the International Space Station appear to show space as pitch black and void of stars, write experts at PhysLink.com:

"The reason why no or very little stars can be seen is because of the Earth. The Earth, when lit by the Sun, is many thousands times brighter than the stars around it. As a result the Earth is so bright that it swamps out most if not all of the stars."

"The reason that the stars do not show up on the film is that the stars are so dim that the camera cannot gather enough of their light in a short exposure. Our eyes are a lot more sensitive to light than photographic film."

So American astronaut Reid Wiseman's latest space snapshot, taken with a longer exposure, shows that, yes, of course there are stars in space:

Question: Why aren't stars extinct?

Answer:

Stay connected with Science Channel on Twitter and Facebook

about the blog

Welcome to the inSCIder, where you can connect with the people who bring Science Channel to life. Find out what's in the works here at SCIENCE, share your feedback with the team and see what's getting our attention online and in the news.

Advertisement
archives
Advertisement

shows

 

video

stay connected

our sites

shop

corporate