Astronomer Will Gater discusses the possibility of a galaxy eating monster. The story is about a huge galaxy, which Will calls a "cosmic cannibal," that uses its intense gravity to consume other galaxies and cosmic matter. Good thing we don't have any of these monsters around us because I imagine that being crushed by the gravity of a massive cloud of dark matter along with that of a monstrous galaxy is rather uncomfortable.
Over on Next Big Future a feasible magnetic catapult is discussed. The catapult is a highly efficient superconducting system that is on the scale of supercolliders. It looks like it would be from $8 to $20 billion and take 6 years to build. It could launch 4000 kilogram objects at 20 km/second with 2250 gees of acceleration (not people just electronics and supplies) and would be 9 kilometers long. Some supercolliders are bigger that this. It is non-contact so there should not be the problem of major parts frequently wearing out. It is an intriguing article with some nice diagrams and very nerdy looking tables, so everyone should check it out. The idea could be a very efficient and low cost means of getting supplies to outer space.
This week on Astroprof's Page, the Astroprof discusses the Hubble palette and its digital color photos. This post compares some contrasting Hubble photos with different color though it is obviously the same picture. Astroprof explains quite thoroughly why this change in color occurs and proposes some possible fixes for the imaging problem.
Are there any space dramas on TV, I'm talking about mainstream, not only for sci-fi geeks, space themed television series. Are there any? And why not? Well Ralph over on The Discovery Enterprise talks about this subject and how some could get on the air. Check it out, we do need some good Space themed TV and who knows, it might just inspire the next generation.
Next up is Astroblogger wondering, how was you eclipse? Did you watch the eclipse; did you have a good time? Well the Astroblogger didn't, though he did get one good picture of the eclipse off. Check it out and see what not to do when viewing an eclipse. There are also some links to more fortunate astrophotographer’s attempts at capturing the eclipse.
Take a look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), and view a dusty reflection nebula that surrounds the pulsating star RS Pup, which is 10 times more massive than the Sun and on average 15,000 times more luminous. It is a variable star, the type that is used to estimate cosmic distances quite accurately.
A Babe in the Universe moves us from the APOD's location in the outer reaches of space to our own solar system. She discusses a new idea that scientists have about Saturn's moon Enceladushides hiding a subsurface lake. Then the Babe goes on to tell us that the lake beneath Enceladus' South Pole emits geysers of water vapor into space. Astronomers have found that particles from this plume resupply Saturn's E Ring. Without this replenishment, the Rings would decay to nothing within 100 million years. Our own Earth is also known to have subsurface lakes at its poles. Go on, check it out!
Now, inching closer to Earth (in cosmic terms at least) we move on to Stuart who tells us about his New Favorite Crater. He first talks about Google Earth's sister, "Google Mars" though it is put together by some bright people at Arizona State University. Stuart goes in to dramatic depth about his reluctant dumping out his old favorite crater for a new even more beautiful crater. Give it a read; this is a true astronomer (even if a bit eccentric.)
Finally taking a brief rest, back on Earth, we go to the New and Noteworthy blog where they announce a summer internship program at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. They also go over the Map-a-Planet Explorer providing some information on the planetary observation software and even include a list of the heavenly bodies on the program.
Staying on the Earth for a bit we have Nancy from A Mars Odyssey. Nancy first informs the readers that many United States citizens have balancing problems, mainly in their old age and goes on to discuss the solutions developed by NASA's rocket scientists.
Now we lift of from Mother Earth to examine our moons. Yes that was plural a moons. Mang of Boy Scout troop 433 goes over this possibility of other moons on his blog that is focused on generating interest in astronomy and other Scoutcraft for youth.
Exploring some of the near and far galaxies Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, answers the questions of how galaxies are made, why they look like they do, and why there are different types. He does this not only with well informed text but with astounding pictures and some diagrams.
We now explore the strange and extreme organisms that live off near infrared light, and relate to the possibilities for life around M-dwarfs, stars whose output is primarily in the infrared, that live on our own Earth. Centauri Dreams brings us knowledge about some of the more extreme things living on this globe with us and how they could be used to help humans spread though the galaxy.
For the gamers/astronomers/space geeks here we explore how the Wii remote can be used in physics with Dr. Lenore Horner as a guest poster for Star Stryder. Dr. Horner informs us about the DarwiinRemote (on Macs) or WiinRemote (on PCs) that through blue tooth connects the Wii remote to the computer. He then goes into the possibly unexpected teaching applications of this device.
From Clark we have doling out some information on the business side of commercial space exploration where he provides an argument that commercial human spaceflight will follow the usual pattern in which an expensive good or service aimed at the rich eventually falls in price via economies of scale to a level that makes it available to the middle class. Will this prediction come true, only time will tell.
Back to Mars again, with Emily from The Planetary Society, we contemplate on one enigmatic feature on Mars as seen by all its orbiters through the more than thirty years of spacecraft observations. The feature called "White Rock." Emily uses data and pictures from the Viking Missions to explore White Rock and its mysteries.
Now Sean from Visual Astronomy brings us to the Full Lunar Eclipse on Feb. 20, 2008. Sean includes a time table so that you don't miss the only lunar eclipse for two more years.
Exploring the solar system should be an adventure, shouldn't it? The height of human achievement, the furthest we have gone from the cradle that is Earth. Well the FlyingSinger of Music of the Spheres argues this point and talks about plans to return to the moon and how to open up the solar system.
Again back out to the distant galaxies though this time with the Astropixie. I'm talking about redshift and the distance to distant galaxies. This post informs about how astronomers determine far off galaxies distance, which is by looking at their spectra in order to determine their their "redshift." To learn more about this cosmic scale take a look and then you you (with the right equipment) can determine the distance of extremely distant celestial bodies.
With the infamous Phil Plait (the bad astronomer) in his post EPOXI sticks like glue to extrasolar planets, we go over how NASA’s Deep Impact space probe, after slamming into a comet back in July, 2005, is now being used to discover and add to the small amount of data on extrasolar planets, you know how astronomers hate to waste their very expensive toys.
Over on collectSpace.com we hear how Christopher Columbus' compass still guides explorers to this day. The Atlantis shuttle is carrying Columbus' compass along with some crew mementos. This is to keep alive the spirit of early explorers and to show our continued discovery of unknown horizons.
And finally here on New Frontiers I went over the recent attachment of the Columbus module to the ISS and the update on ExoMars where European Space Agency head Jean Jacques Dordain wants to double the budget and improve the future rover's capacity.
I really hope you enjoyed this week's Carnival and don't forget to come back for more next week. If you want more information or if you would like to participate go to the Carnival page on Universe Today. Also if I made any mistakes please let me know right away by email or comments and I will fix it ASAP. Finally, if you have anything to say or any comments about these stories then lets talk, just leave a comment and we can get the whole community in on it!
Thanks for reading,