Saturday, November 3, 2012

Finally, the week's space and astronomy news on time!

Unlike the previous two reports, I finally got around to posting this in a timely manner. Without any more ado, here is the space and astronomy news from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Frankenstorm edition) on Daily Kos.

First up, an overview of space news from NASA Television on YouTube.

Ford's Job One on This Week @NASA

NASA Flight Engineer Kevin Ford and his two Russian colleagues have made it to the International Space Station and are working to make themselves comfortable aboard the orbiting complex they'll call home for the next five months. Also, Dragon's ready to return; Curiosity Rover Report; Red Road to Mars; Milk Way's Black Hole; Planetary Exploration at 50; and more!
Also, here is the report for the week I skipped.

NASA Television on YouTube: Endeavour's Parade on This Week @NASA

Space Shuttle Endeavour brings out the crowds in Los Angeles as the orbiter wends its way from LAX to the California Science Center. Also, legacy power; milestone met; water drop tests; Curiosity Rover Report; and more!
For more general space and science news, check out This week in science by DarkSyde on Daily Kos.

Follow over the jump for stories from deep space and time to Earth's surface.

University of Arizona: How Galaxies Grow Up A study of 544 star-forming galaxies shows that disk galaxies like our own Milky Way reached their current state as orderly rotating pinwheels much later than previously thought, long after much of the universe's star formation had ceased.
By Francis Reddy/Goddard Space Flight Center and Daniel Stolte/UANews
October 19, 2012
Galaxies are in no hurry to grow up, a team of astronomers has discovered. A comprehensive study of hundreds of galaxies observed by the Keck telescopes in Hawaii and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has revealed an unexpected pattern of change that extends back 8 billion years, or more than half the age of the universe.

Researchers say the distant blue galaxies they studied are gradually transforming into rotating disk galaxies like our own Milky Way. Until now, it had not been clear how a galaxy’s organization and internal motion change over time, said Benjamin Weiner, assistant astronomer at the UA Steward Observatory and co-author of the paper describing the findings, which are published in The Astrophysical Journal.

“When we look back very far into the distant past of the universe, we find star-forming galaxies, but they don’t look like our Milky Way, with its slowly rotating, orderly spiral disk-shape,” Weiner explained. “Instead, those earlier galaxies appear less organized, and they show more random motion, with stars, dust and gas moving up and down and sideways within the galaxy.”
University of Arizona: New Study Brings Doubted Exoplanet 'Back From the Dead'
By Francis Reddy/NASA and Daniel Stolte/UANews
October 25, 2012
A team of astronomers including UA graduate student Timothy Rodigas has taken a closer look at Fomalhaut, a star that is 25 light years away and has about twice the mass of the sun. The group's data obtained with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reanimate the claim that an elusive object previously observed around Fomalhaut is indeed a massive exoplanet.
Their findings suggest that the planet, named Fomalhaut b, is a rare and possibly unique object that is completely shrouded by dust.
Speaking of dead planets...

NASA Television on YouTube: ScienceCasts: Fried Planets

Astronomers have caught a red giant star in the act of devouring one of its planets. It could be a preview of what will happen to Earth five billion years from now.
That's depressing. How about something more optimistic for the very near future?

University of Arizona: World’s Most Advanced Mirror for Giant Telescope Completed
By Giant Magellan Telescope Organization
October 23, 2012
Scientists at the UA and in California have completed the most challenging large astronomical mirror ever made. The mirror will be part of the 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope, which will explore planets around other stars and the formation of stars, galaxies and black holes in the early universe.
That's it for astronomy news. How about space news in other disciplines?

University of Florida: UF/IFAS researcher helps test new way to probe remote ecosystems with satellite imagery
October 25, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For scientists, making field observations of organisms and ecosystems can be a daunting challenge.

Travel to remote locations is costly and difficult. Observation methods are limited and must be devised so that they only capture accurate, relevant data.

Satellite imagery is one alternative for assessing wild places, and it has some advantages over boots-on-the-ground observations, said Matteo Convertino, a research scientist with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“There’s currently not a lot of satellite imagery used in ecological studies,” said Convertino, with UF’s agricultural and biological engineering department. “Part of the reason is, there’s a strong need to improve mathematical formulas for analyzing the data, and that’s what we’re doing here.”
Finally, a follow-up to Nazi-taken Buddhist statue hails from space, which I first covered two installments ago.

LiveScience: 'Space Buddha' Statue May Be a Fake
Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 24 October 2012 Time: 06:06 PM ET
A supposed Buddhist statue allegedly carved from a meteorite 1,000 years ago may not be as ancient as suspected, according to a Buddhism expert who argues that the statue may be a 20th-century fake.

The criticisms don't target the material the statue is carved from, which is an iron- and nickel-rich meteorite from the Siberia-Mongolia border. But outside experts are questioning the statue's origins.

Achim Bayer, a Buddhism expert at Dongguk University in South Korea, argues in a new report that the Buddha statue has obvious "pseudo-Tibetan features," marking it as a European reproduction likely made between 1910 and 1970.

Looks like the Nazis got punked.

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