juliedillon:

New Illustration: Space Sirens
The last remaining astronaut watched helplessly as his comrades left the ship one by one and were carried away deeper into the nebula. He told himself that he would not succumb the way his shipmates had; he knew he would struggle. But the creatures, if they could even be called that, somehow seemed to know him, and when his turn came and the singing of the cosmos reached a crescendo in his ears, his mind emptied of all but the desire to join them in the void. Gazing into the creature’s face, he mused on how tender, how gentle its embrace seemed to be, and even as his oxygen supply dwindled he did not resist. 

juliedillon:

New Illustration: Space Sirens

The last remaining astronaut watched helplessly as his comrades left the ship one by one and were carried away deeper into the nebula. He told himself that he would not succumb the way his shipmates had; he knew he would struggle. But the creatures, if they could even be called that, somehow seemed to know him, and when his turn came and the singing of the cosmos reached a crescendo in his ears, his mind emptied of all but the desire to join them in the void. Gazing into the creature’s face, he mused on how tender, how gentle its embrace seemed to be, and even as his oxygen supply dwindled he did not resist. 

mothernaturenetwork:

 Largest structure in universe discovered



Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe, a clump of active galactic cores that stretches 4 billion light-years from end to end.
The structure is a large quasar group (LQG), a collection of extremely luminous galactic nuclei powered by supermassive central black holes. This particular group is so large that it challenges modern cosmological theory, researchers said.
“While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this LQG, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe,” lead author Roger Clowes, of the University of Central Lancashire in England, said in a statement. “This is hugely exciting, not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe.”
Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe. For decades, astronomers have known that they tend to assemble in huge groups, some of which are more than 600 million light-years wide.
But the record-breaking quasar group, which Clowes and his team spotted in data gathered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, is on another scale altogether. The newfound LQC is composed of 73 quasars and spans about 1.6 billion light-years in most directions, though it is 4 billion light-years across at its widest point.
To put that mind-boggling size into perspective, the disk of the Milky Way galaxy — home of Earth’s solar system — is about 100,000 light-years wide. And the Milky Way is separated from its nearest galactic neighbor, Andromeda, by about 2.5 million light-years.
The newly discovered LQC is so enormous, in fact, that theory predicts it shouldn’t exist, researchers said. The quasar group appears to violate a widely accepted assumption known as the cosmological principle, which holds that the universe is essentially homogeneous when viewed at a sufficiently large scale.  
Calculations suggest that structures larger than about 1.2 billion light-years should not exist, researchers said.
“Our team has been looking at similar cases which add further weight to this challenge, and we will be continuing to investigate these fascinating phenomena,” Clowes said.
The new study was published on Jan. 11 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

mothernaturenetwork:

Largest structure in universe discovered

Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe, a clump of active galactic cores that stretches 4 billion light-years from end to end.

The structure is a large quasar group (LQG), a collection of extremely luminous galactic nuclei powered by supermassive central black holes. This particular group is so large that it challenges modern cosmological theory, researchers said.

“While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this LQG, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe,” lead author Roger Clowes, of the University of Central Lancashire in England, said in a statement. “This is hugely exciting, not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe.”

Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe. For decades, astronomers have known that they tend to assemble in huge groups, some of which are more than 600 million light-years wide.

But the record-breaking quasar group, which Clowes and his team spotted in data gathered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, is on another scale altogether. The newfound LQC is composed of 73 quasars and spans about 1.6 billion light-years in most directions, though it is 4 billion light-years across at its widest point.

To put that mind-boggling size into perspective, the disk of the Milky Way galaxy — home of Earth’s solar system — is about 100,000 light-years wide. And the Milky Way is separated from its nearest galactic neighbor, Andromeda, by about 2.5 million light-years.

The newly discovered LQC is so enormous, in fact, that theory predicts it shouldn’t exist, researchers said. The quasar group appears to violate a widely accepted assumption known as the cosmological principle, which holds that the universe is essentially homogeneous when viewed at a sufficiently large scale.  

Calculations suggest that structures larger than about 1.2 billion light-years should not exist, researchers said.

“Our team has been looking at similar cases which add further weight to this challenge, and we will be continuing to investigate these fascinating phenomena,” Clowes said.

The new study was published on Jan. 11 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

biomedicalephemera:

A Candle in the Dark

Much more recent a figure than my other Important People, I feel Carl Sagan deserves a mention today. His birthday was November 9, 1934.

I am not nearly eloquent or knowledgeable enough compared to others I know to comment on his amazing works and his pioneering the concept of making science accessible (and cool!) to the public, but I appreciate them and love the works all the same.

He was not just a television figure, a host of a TV show, as captivating and renowned as Cosmos was. He was a real astronomer, an astrophysicist, a man who worked on real satellites, and looked through telescopes in laboratories, and realized things like the fact that Venus is, in reality, a hot and dry hellscape, and not a balmy paradise as once imagined.

From the beginning of his career, Sagan was the advocate that science needed. In a time that scientists and officials scoffed at the notion of bringing science to the masses, Sagan realized how important it was for the general population to, at the very least, be interested in and value science, even if they didn’t understand the deeper concepts involved. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see the value of learning about our planet from a perspective we’ve never seen before.

Before his death in 1996, Carl Sagan designed the plaque and record that traveled on the Voyager satellites, that represented all of humankind to any civilization or species that might intercept them, millions or billions of years in the future. He was also involved in establishing SETI -the institute for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. He also authored Contact, which would later be made into an award-winning movie starring Jodie Foster, and many books regarding humanity’s presence in the universe and the possibility for extraterrestrial life. He was a pioneer in promoting skepticism and scientific thinking in day-to-day life, and showed people how amazing and fantastical their own world was, their own planet was, how much more wonderful reality was than anything we could ever dream up.

Images:
Quote from Cosmos, “Pale Blue Dot” - The Earth, as it appears from Pluto, photographed by Voyager 1
Allen Radio Telescope Array at SETI

Carl Sagan portrait by Pat Linse - “An Awful Hole, A Wonderful Life” by Michael Shermer via Skeptic
“Sounds of Earth” - the golden record carried on Voyager 1 and 2

positive-press-daily:

Seen in high-definition for the first time, the REALLY grand canyon—on Mars that is

The Grand Canyon may be an awe inspiring sight for us here on Earth, but a new image of the Martian landscape puts it into perspective - with a canyon over 4000m long and 10km deep.

The astonishing new images, released today by the European Space Agency, show the Valles Marineris, believed to be the largest canyon in the Solar System. Stretching over 4000 km long and 200 km wide, and with a dizzying depth of 10 km, it is some ten times longer and five times deeper than Earth’s Grand Canyon, a size that earns it the status of the largest canyon in the Solar System.

The bird’s-eye view of Valles Marineris was created from data captured during 20 individual orbits of ESA’s Mars Express. ESA says a wide variety of geological features can be seen, reflecting the complex geological history of the region.

‘The canyon’s formation is likely intimately linked with the formation of the neighbouring Tharsis bulge, which is out of shot and to the left of this image and home to the largest volcano in the Solar System, Olympus Mons,’ it said. ‘The volcanic activity is revealed by the nature of the rocks in the walls of the canyon and the surrounding plains, which were built by successive lava flows.

‘As the Tharsis bulge swelled with magma during the planet’s first billion years, the surrounding crust was stretched, ripping apart and eventually collapsing into the gigantic troughs of Valles Marineris..

The images also show intricate fault patterns believed to have developed due to the imposing extensional forces; the most recent are particularly evident in the middle portion of the image and along the lower boundary of the frame. Landslides have also played a role in shaping the scene, ESA officials said, especially in the northern-most troughs, where material has recently slumped down the steep walls. 

Mass wasting has also created delicate erosion of the highest part of the walls. Strong water flows may have reshaped Valles Marineris after it was formed, deepening the canyon. Mineralogical information collected by orbiting spacecraft, including Mars Express, shows that the terrain here was altered by water hundreds of millions of years ago.

fuckyeahdementia:

spaaaaaaaaaaceeeee
[Space Core’s Dream via lucascarlisle]

saveroomminibar:

Mass Effect. The Salrian Race design and concept evolution.

mothernaturenetwork:

 Dark galaxies of early universe confirmed Some scientists theorize that the primitive dark galaxies are the building blocks of the bright, star-filled galaxies we see today.

mothernaturenetwork:

Dark galaxies of early universe confirmed

Some scientists theorize that the primitive dark galaxies are the building blocks of the bright, star-filled galaxies we see today.

saveroomminibar:

Mass Effect. The Citadel.