Astrophysics on Twitter
10 views | +0 today
Follow
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

Introduction

My content curation format

Rachel Chia's insight:

My curations start of with a summary of the article, followed by my contextualisation of the piece.

 

I have also arranged my curation such that it starts off with the broader topics in the solar system such as our Sun's sustainability, moving on to articles on the individual planets based on its distance from the Sun and then ending off with the "smaller" parts of our universe such as nebulas, comets and asteroids. 

 

This arrangement also demonstrates the juxtaposition of nebulas, comets and asteroids, for those who are new to these terms.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

The uninhabitable planet: debunking the ESI - physicsfocus.org

The uninhabitable planet: debunking the ESI - physicsfocus.org | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
It was the news for which everyone had been waiting. At the end of last month, the popular press went wild. A planet had been discovered that was so much like Earth it was heralded as our best bet for supporting life. Positioned 16 light years away, Gliese (or GJ) 832c was a mere hop …
Rachel Chia's insight:

Recently, researchers revealed that a planet, Gliese (aka GJ), received a score of 0.81 on the Earth Similarity Index (E.S.I.) scale (anything above a 0.8 on this scale is considered a "near-Earth match"). The press around the world immediately went crazy over this scientific "breakthrough". However, the author of this article, Elizabeth Tasker, is setting things straight and discrediting what the press are saying - that GJ could possibly be the next planet that humans could inhabit. The E.S.I., although based on scientific research and algorithms, does not work for various reasons, as she has cited in her article. 

 

I found this piece particularly interesting and educational as I, first of all, had no idea what the E.S.I. was, much less its shortcomings. I also learnt in depth about what makes Earth so uniquely sustainable that up till now, we can't even find a similar planet in our vast solar system. While there had been a glimmer of hope for our future generations, the search for the next Earth, unfortunately, continues. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

A Beautifully Detailed New Geologic Map of Mars | Science | WIRED

A Beautifully Detailed New Geologic Map of Mars | Science | WIRED | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
It took 16 years and data from four orbiting spacecraft to assemble, but the U.S. Geological Survey’s new map of Mars is awesome. In beautiful color and excellent detail, the map shows the geology of the Red Planet’s surface today, and reveals a new understanding of its past.
Rachel Chia's insight:

Mars, Earth’s most similar neighbor and the only other planet in our sun’s habitable zone, is the focus of this article. Recent research found that much of the planet’s surface is older than scientists thought. The area formed more than 4 billion years ago is three times as large as what they had thought before. "The new map also backs up the idea that Mars was geologically active until recently, and that liquid water once was present on the surface."


It fascinates me that after 400 years of studying Mars, humans are still continually finding out new things about this planet. Before this article, I did not know that scientists gave names to each area, which can be seen on the detailed map, much like the names of countries on Earth, making it even more similar-looking to Earth. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

Get Ready to Learn a Bunch of Awesome New Science About Pluto | Science | WIRED

Get Ready to Learn a Bunch of Awesome New Science About Pluto | Science | WIRED | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
One year from today, everybody’s favorite dwarf planet will receive its first man-made visitor. The New Horizons mission, which launched in 2006, will make its closest flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015. Right now, Pluto is mainly known as that object in the solar system that used to be a planet (some would argue…
Rachel Chia's insight:

Pluto, the famously defunct planet of our solar system. Although it has been sadly demoted, it will be receiving its first man-made visitor next year. This may be a significant moment in history as it has never been studied up-close. “Everything we know about Pluto comes from studying it from billions of miles away,” said planetary scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute. “But the lesson of planetary science is that when we see things up close, our ideas from afar are often overturned.”


The article was particularly insightful, with many facts about Pluto that I had never learnt in school or have ever been made known to me. I also understood the importance of space explorations for scientific and research purposes. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

Ten Things You Don't Know About Comets

Ten Things You Don't Know About Comets | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
I love me some comets. I've seen quite a few in my time. Some were faint smudges in a big telescope's eyepiece, some seen only in distant spacecraft images, and some so bright they were obvious and awesome to my naked eye. They used to be considered harbingers, omens up...
Rachel Chia's insight:

Particularly educational and engaging piece that was also very easy to understand. For example, I learnt that comets are "in general, ...mountain-size dirty snowballs: rock, dust, gravel and other bits of stuff all mixed up with what I like to call "frozen gases"."


Comets are also much more dangerous that asteroids, even though Hollywood as made it seem like the latter is more powerful and damaging. The reason for this is because "potentially impacting comets can be much bigger than known potentially impacting asteroids" and "Comet orbits are hard to predict."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

Arecibo detects mystery radio burst from beyond our galaxy | KurzweilAI

Arecibo detects mystery radio burst from beyond our galaxy | KurzweilAI | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
Optical sky image of the area in the constellation Auriga where the fast radio burst FRB 121102 has been detected. The position of the burst, between the old
Rachel Chia's insight:

"POSSIBILITY OF ALIENS EXISTING?!", is what first came to mind when I started reading the article. Fast radio bursts coming from an unknown source has been the talk of the (astrophysicists') town lately. "The radio waves show every sign of having come from far outside our galaxy — a really exciting prospect.” However, more rational scientists have argued that possibilities for this include "a range of exotic astrophysical objects, such as evaporating black holes, mergers of neutron stars, or flares from magnetars." This is definitely an interesting piece of knowledge to have so that not only can we understand our solar system better, but it also helps us to be able to call BS on unreliable sources who claim such things are from "extra-terrestrial" beings.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

The Solar Weight Loss Plan

The Solar Weight Loss Plan | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
I know this may seem obvious, but … the Sun is big. Really, really big. It’s more than 100 times wider than the Earth, and more than a million Earths would fit inside it. If you could weigh them on a cosmic scale, you’d find the Sun is more than...
Rachel Chia's insight:

It has been a well-known and long-standing fact that the Sun is slowly but surely losing mass, which is a grim thought for humanity on Earth as the planet will no longer by able to sustain life (IF we can sustain our mother Earth for that long in the first place). However, the author of this article, Phil Plait, is not focusing on that aspect today but instead trying to figure out which method is the Sun losing mass from more quickly - through solar wind or nuclear fusion? He also goes into details about the Sun's mass loss (5 or 6 million tons of material lost every second) and the consequences of its "diet". 

 

This article is particularly interesting to me as it is revealed in the end that although the rate at which the Sun is loosing mass is minute when put into perspective because of how simply humongous this fire ball is, the fact that should make us worried is that "conditions in the Sun’s core will change. It will run out of hydrogen to use for nuclear fuel, swell up into a red giant, consume Mercury and Venus (gaining some mass back), fry the Earth, then blow off a far more intense solar wind."  

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

Planet Mercury a result of early hit-and-run collisions

Planet Mercury a result of early hit-and-run collisions | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
Tempe AZ (SPX) Jul 09, 2014 -
Planet Mercury's unusual metal-rich composition has been a longstanding puzzle in planetary science. According to a study published online in Nature Geoscience July 6, Mercury and other unusually me
Rachel Chia's insight:

Mercury, the second planet we learnt about in school, right after our Earth. The planet closest to the sun and also by far the smallest. This article sets out to explore why Mercury is such an "anomaly" as compared to its neighbouring planets, Venus, Earth and Mars which are "mostly "chondritic" (having a more-or-less Earth-like bulk composition)." The piece cites some failed hypotheses on why Mercury is the way it is and dabbles in a new hypothesis created by ASU's Asphaug and Andreas Reufer of the University of Bern. However, their theory has also met with many questions and challenges along the way.


I find it so interesting that even with the amount of science and advanced technology, we are still not able to put a finger on the origins of Mercury, which just shows us how vast, complicated and unique our solar system is.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

20 Years Ago Today, Jupiter Got Hit by a Huge Comet. A Lot.

20 Years Ago Today, Jupiter Got Hit by a Huge Comet. A Lot. | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
Twenty years ago on this day—July 16, 1994—Jupiter got slammed, hard, by a comet. It was the first time we had ever witnessed such a collision on a planetary body other than the Earth. I’ll note I’m very glad it wasn’t Earth; we wouldn’t be here talking about it if...
Rachel Chia's insight:

While many may brush this article aside since, well, Jupiter probably does not even cross most of our minds, this event was one of the most studied events in the history of astronomy. The size of the comet and subsequently the impact that it made on the planet was so huge that it was "the energy equivalent of over a million one-megaton nuclear bombs exploding at the same time."


Most of us reading this article is probably breathing a sigh of relief that Earth was not the target of this collision but we must remember to keep in mind that "Impacts still happen across the whole solar system, even after 4.56 billion years. We need to keep watching the planets and look for such rare events. And, of course, the Earth is no exception as a target."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

How Did the Bald Eagle Nebula Hatch?

How Did the Bald Eagle Nebula Hatch? | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
You’d think that by now—with dozens of telescopes on, above, and below the ground, observing the skies from all latitudes and longitudes, and having centuries of time in which to work—every object in the sky would be cataloged and understood. But that’s not the case. Not at all. There are...
Rachel Chia's insight:

What attracted me to this article was the stunning image of this nebula that looked exactly like a bald eagle in flight. The Bald Eagle Nebula (aka G 70.5+1.9) is unique not only because of its striking beauty, but also because while most old supernovae remnants give off radio waves and X-rays, the Bald Eagle Nebula shows no real signs of either. While learning about this remarkable Nebula, I also learnt more about what nebulas are made out of and how they are formed. 

 

Phil Plait ended his piece with this sentence which I whole-heartedly agree with: "If we solve all the mysteries of the Universe, what fun will there be left for us to discover?"

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

I've been asteroided! (274860) Emilylakdawalla | The Planetary Society

I've been asteroided! (274860) Emilylakdawalla | The Planetary Society | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
What a great piece of news to receive upon returning home from vacation! There is now a small piece of the solar system named for me: asteroid 274860 has been formally named
Rachel Chia's insight:

The author of this article, Emily Lakdawalla, proudly reveals that an asteroid which she had discovered has been named after her. "There is now a small piece of the solar system named for me: asteroid 274860 has been formally named "Emilylakdawalla" by the International Astronomical Union." 


I found this piece interesting because I never knew the process of naming an asteroid and mostly thought that their "names" consisted of just numbers. She also included that asteroids can not only be named after the scientists that discover them, but "asteroid namers can (also) choose to honor nearly anyone, with a few restrictions."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rachel Chia
Scoop.it!

Holidays in orbit? Lift-off for space tourism

Holidays in orbit?  Lift-off for space tourism | Astrophysics on Twitter | Scoop.it
Forty-five years after Neil Armstrong's moon landing, there are slew of companies wanting to make space travel as regular as airplane trips.
Rachel Chia's insight:

A fun, but informative piece on eight ways that normal civilians can get into space, although at a pretty exorbitant price, ranging from US$75k to US$150m. 

more...
No comment yet.