13 Spectacular Photos of The Partial Solar Eclipse



The moon passed in front of the sun on Thursday, causing a partial solar eclipse visible across North America

For Stargazers lucky enough to experience clear weather during the eclipse, the sun appeared to take on a crescent shape, as the moon partially obstructed it from our view. This is 2014′s first partial solar eclipse. A full solar eclipse took place in April.

Although staring directly at a partial solar eclipse can cause permanent eye damage, photographers risked their vision to capture awe-inspiring images of the sun for those unable to see the event live. Check out a few of our favorites, below: Read more…

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Researchers Want To Send Us To The Moon Using Robots And Oculus Rift

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 9.51.56 PM A researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, Daniel Shafrir, and his team want to do something incredible: they want to send a rover to the moon and then let us, the Earthlings, control it and look out of its stereoscopic cameras as it tumbles around that barren alien rock. The researchers are working to win a $30 million prize from Google to beam video back from the moon.
The team, called… Read More

Watch Today’s Solar Eclipse Live



A partial solar eclipse will darken North American skies Thursday afternoon, and you can watch the dramatic celestial event online if clouds hinder your view.

The online Slooh Community Observatory will air a special three-hour webcast for the partial solar eclipse today starting at 5 p.m. EDT. You can watch the show — which will feature live views from Arizona’s Prescott Solar Observatory and other telescopes around the world — at

You can also watch the solar eclipse webcast at Other webcast feeds are expected by the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California, and the University of Arizona’s SkyCenter at Mount Lemmon Read more…

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NASA Releases Historical Space Jams on SoundCloud



Houston, we have new space jams

Everybody get up, it’s time to slam now — we got a real jam going down now that NASA released a collection of audio clips, ranging from shuttle mission sounds to famous speeches from John F. Kennedy

“Here’s a collection of NASA sounds from historic spaceflights and current missions,” the agency writes on their SoundCloud page. “You can hear the roar of a space shuttle launch or Neil Armstrong’s ‘One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind’ every time you get a phone call if you make our sounds your ringtone.” Read more…

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China Launches First Privately Funded Moon Mission Today



The first privately funded mission to the moon is scheduled to blast off Thursday, Oct. 23, hitching a ride on a Chinese Long March rocket.

The 4M mission, a project developed by Luxembourg-based company LuxSpace, will piggyback on a Chinese moon flyby unofficially dubbed Chang’e 5-T1, which aims to test out technology for a future lunar sample-return mission. Liftoff is set for 1:59 p.m. EDT from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

If all goes according to plan, the Chang’e 5-T1 spacecraft will zoom around the moon and back toward Earth, ultimately sending a test capsule barreling into our planet’s atmosphere on Oct. 31. The main purpose is to try out tech that could get moon dirt and rocks to Earth — the goal of China’s Chang’e 5 mission, currently slated to blast off in 2017. Read more…

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Two Exocomet Families Found Around Baby Star System

astroengine writes Scientists have found two families of comets in the developing Beta Pictoris star system, located about 64 million light-years from Earth, including one group that appears to be remnants of a smashed-up protoplanet. The discovery bolsters our theoretical understanding of the violent processes that led to the formation of Earth and the other terrestrial planets in the solar system. “If you look back at the solar system when it was only 22 million years old, you might have seen phenomena that’s a like more like what’s happening in Beta Pic,” astrophysicist Aki Roberge, with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., told Discovery News.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Monster Solar Flare Erupts From Jupiter-Sized Sunspot



A monster solar flare erupted early on Oct. 19 from a huge sunspot that may just be getting warmed up.

The sun fired off an X-class solar flare — the most powerful type — that peaked at 1:01 a.m. EDT (5:01 GMT). NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured photos and video of the intense sun storm, which researchers classified as an X1.1 flare.

The flare erupted from a sunspot called AR (Active Region) 2192, which has since grown to become 78,000 miles (125,000 kilometers) wide, according to — almost as big as the planet Jupiter.

Read more…

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Astronomers Find Brightest Pulsar Ever Observed

An anonymous reader writes: Astronomers using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the NuSTAR satellite have discovered a pulsar so bright that it challenges how scientists think pulsars work. While observing galaxy M82 in hopes of spotting supernovae, the researchers found an unexpected source of X-rays very close to the galaxy’s core. It was near another source, thought to be a black hole. But the new one was pulsing, which black holes don’t do. The trouble is that according to known pulsar models, it’s about 100 times brighter than the calculated limits to its luminosity (abstract). Researchers used a different method to figure out its mass, and the gap shrank, but it’s still too bright to fit their theories.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

What It Took For SpaceX To Become a Serious Space Company

An anonymous reader writes: The Atlantic has a nice profile of SpaceX’s rise to prominence — how a private startup managed to successfully compete with industry giants like Boeing in just a decade of existence. “Regardless of its inspirations, the company was forced to adopt a prosaic initial goal: Make a rocket at least 10 times cheaper than is possible today. Until it can do that, neither flowers nor people can go to Mars with any economy. With rocket technology, Musk has said, “you’re really left with one key parameter against which technology improvements must be judged, and that’s cost.” SpaceX currently charges $61.2 million per launch. Its cost-per-kilogram of cargo to low-earth orbit, $4,653, is far less than the $14,000 to $39,000 offered by its chief American competitor, the United Launch Alliance. Other providers often charge $250 to $400 million per launch; NASA pays Russia $70 million per astronaut to hitch a ride on its three-person Soyuz spacecraft. SpaceX’s costs are still nowhere near low enough to change the economics of space as Musk and his investors envision, but they have a plan to do so (of which more later).”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Astronauts Are Using Oculus Rift to Put Their Minds at Ease



You might occasionally fantasize about floating through space, gazing on Earth from above or suiting up for a spacewalk. But astronauts’ daydreams might include just the opposite

Spending extended periods of time on space flights can be mentally taxing, studies show, and confinement on a spacecraft can result in feelings of depression or isolation, not to mention conflict between crew members

To help, scientists are working with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to offer astronauts a simulated trip back to Earth — whether that be strolling along the beach, sitting at the peak of a mountain or resting at home with family. It’s not the same as the real deal, of course, but researchers at Dartmouth’s Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation lab (DALI) believe virtual reality could help astronauts feel more at ease in unnatural surroundings Read more…

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