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Green Comet Approaching the Earth

Comet Lulin will streak by the earth within 38 million miles 160 times farther than the moon and is expected to be visible to the naked eye. Discovered only a year ago, the comet gains its green colour from poisonous cyanogen and diatomic carbon gases in its atmosphere.This will be the comet’s first visit to the Earth’s inner solar system- and will enable the team from the University of Leicester to gain valuable insights into the comet.

They are using NASA’s Swift satellite to monitor Comet Lulin as it closes on Earth. The spacecraft has recorded simultaneous ultraviolet and X-ray images of a comet.

A comet is a clump of frozen gases mixed with dust. These “dirty snowballs” cast off gas and dust whenever they venture near the sun. Comet Lulin, which is formally known as C/2007 N3, was discovered last year by astronomers at Taiwan’s Lulin Observatory.

Swift can’t see water directly. But ultraviolet light from the sun quickly breaks apart water molecules into hydrogen atoms and hydroxyl molecules. Swift’s UVOT detects the hydroxyl molecules, and its images of Lulin reveal a hydroxyl cloud spanning nearly 250,000 miles, or slightly greater than the distance between Earth and the moon.

The UVOT includes a prism-like device called a grism, which separates incoming light by wavelength. The grism’s range includes wavelengths where the hydroxyl molecule is most active.In the Swift images, the comet’s tail extends off to the right. Solar radiation pushes icy grains away from the comet. As the grains gradually evaporate, they create a thin tail of hydroxyl molecules.

Farther from the comet, even the hydroxyl molecule succumbs to solar ultraviolet radiation. It breaks into its constituent oxygen and hydrogen atoms.The solar wind, a fast-moving stream of particles from the sun interacts with the comet’s broader cloud of atoms. This causes the solar wind to light up with X-rays.

This interaction, called charge exchange, results in X-rays from most comets when they pass within about three times Earth’s distance from the sun. Because Lulin is so active and is losing a lot of gas, its X-ray emitting region extends in a large cloud far sunward of the comet.

February 21, 2009 Posted by | Fact, Personal, science | , , , | 6 Comments

Great Red Spot on JUPITER!!!

Fifth Planet from the sun???

Closest to Mars???

Largest planet within the Solar System???

Fourth Largest Object in the Sky???

jupiter

Of course it’s JUPITER… Great Red Spot.. What is it??? Exploration Starts…

Scientists recently noticed a GREAT RED SPOT on JUPITER which is a persistent anticyclonic storm on the planet that lasted atleast 300 years.

The Red Spot is huge as the storm is large enough to be visible through earth based telescopes. The red spot is large enough to contain TWO or THREE PLANETS of EARTH’s SIZE.

Jupiter also has white ovals and brown ovals, which are lesser unnamed storms. White ovals tend to consist of relatively cool clouds within the upper atmosphere. Brown ovals are warmer and located within the “normal cloud layer“. Such storms can last hours or centuries.. Thus storm created big spot on the largest planet of our solar system.

February 1, 2009 Posted by | Fact, Personal, science | , , | 27 Comments

Life on MARS???

Scientists have convinced that Water existed on Mars, atleast in it’s history. So considering the fact that water acts as the only source for many lives, provokes us with a thought..

Whether life existed on Mars???

Or

Can life exist on Mars???

Mars

Lets move deep into this topic and explore

What is less known is how much water occupied the red planet and what happened to it during its geological march to the present. Mostly, evidence has pointed to a period when clay-rich minerals were formed by water, followed by a drier time, when salt-rich, acidic water affected much of the planet. Assuming that happened, the thinking goes, it would have been difficult for life, if it did exist, to have survived and for scientists to find traces of it.

Now a research team has provided a evidence for the presence of carbonates on Mars that shows that Mars could have been the home for watery environments in the past. The red planet close to the earth is neither too hot nor too cold. At the same time it is not too acidic. So it’s just the right place.

Finding carbonates indicates that Mars had neutral to alkaline waters when the minerals formed in the mid-latitude region more than 3.6 billion years ago. Carbonates dissolve quickly in acid, therefore their survival challenges suggest that an exclusively acidic environment later cloaked the planet.This could open up a range of environment on Mars.

So the researchers say that the presence of carbonate mineral bolsters chances of environment on Mars.

January 31, 2009 Posted by | Personal, science | , , , | 12 Comments

Is Dwarf Planet ERIS larger than Pluto???

Eris larger than pluto

The detection of ERIS provoked debate about Pluto’s classification as a planet. Eris is slightly larger than Pluto.

So if Pluto qualified as a full-fledged planet, then Eris certainly should too. Astronomers attending the International Astronomical Union meeting in 2006 worked to settle this dilemma. In the end, we lost a planet rather than gaining one. Pluto was demoted and reclassified as a dwarf planet along with Eris and the asteroid Ceres, the most massive member of the asteroid belt.

Adding insult to injury for the former ninth planet, Brown has now determined that Eris is also more massive than Pluto. This new detail was determined by observations of Eris’ tiny moon Dysnomia. The Hubble Space Telescope and Keck Observatory took images of the moon’s movement, from which Brown precisely calculated Eris to be 27 percent more massive than Pluto. In fact, if you scooped up all the asteroids in the asteroid belt they would fit inside Eris, with a lot of room to spare.

Currently, Eris is more than three times farther from the Sun than Pluto. It is so cold out there that the dwarf planet’s atmosphere has frozen onto the surface as a frosty glaze. The coating gleams brightly, reflecting as much sunlight as fresh fallen snow. The path Eris takes around the Sun is shaped like an oval rather than a circle. In about 290 years, Eris will move close enough to the Sun to partially thaw. Its icy veneer will melt away revealing a rocky, speckled landscape similar to Pluto’s.

January 25, 2009 Posted by | Fact, Personal | , , | 16 Comments

Twin planets?

VENUS is the second-closest planet to the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love. It is the brightest natural object in the night sky, except for the Moon, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6.

Because Venus is an inferior planet from Earth, it never appears to venture far from the Sun: its elongation reaches a maximum of 47.8°. Venus reaches its maximum brightness shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, for which reason it is often called the Morning Star or the Evening Star.


It is a terrestrial planet, it is sometimes called Earth’s “sister planet,” because they are similar in size, gravity, and bulk composition. Venus is covered with an opaque layer of highly reflective clouds of sulfuric acid, preventing its surface from being seen from space in visible light; this was a subject of great speculation until some of its secrets were revealed by planetary science in the twentieth century.

Venus has the densest atmosphere of all the terrestrial planets, consisting mostly of carbon dioxide, as it has no carbon cycle to lock carbon back into rocks and surface features, nor organic life to absorb it in biomass.

December 4, 2008 Posted by | Nature, Personal | , , | Leave a comment