Archive for the ‘space’ Category

From the frontiers of space, an explanation of a sky glow seen 436 years ago

December 5, 2008

Using the distant echoes of light from a thermonuclear flare which an ancient Dutch astronomer witnessed in November 1572, scientists were able to make a composite picture of the event. Astronomer Tycho Brahe described the enigmatic glow in the heavens. He thought it was a new star in the Cassiopeia constellation.

Scientists arrived at an explanation of “SN1572,” the luminescent body which was first seen and documented by Brahe 436 years ago before it faded in the sky. Scientists from Europe and Japan confirmed it was supernova, an old exploding star.

“Supernovae are the explosions of aging stars, that produce enough light to outshine entire galaxies for a few weeks. They are important scientifically because they seed the universe with heavy elements, providing the raw material for successive generations of new stars. The very well defined luminosity of type-Ia supernova also makes them ideal “standard candles”, allowing astronomers, by comparing their observed and actual luminosities, to gauge distances within the universe and thereby chart the cosmic rate of expansion.“ Physicsworld.com (12/03/08, Cartlidge, E)

The interesting findings of the Tycho Brahe’s supernova are important in the understanding of aging stars— the past, present, and future of the universe in general. Photo Credit: Nasa/AP)=0=

A sugary delight in the outer fringes of the Milky Way

November 29, 2008

In the outer reaches of our galaxy where the condition is less hostile and potentially habitable, a basic sugar has been detected by scientists. This makes seekers of extra-terrestial life ecstatic. The monosaccharide sugar called glycoldehyde is a molecule on which ribonucleic acid (RNA,) a biochemical construct of life, can originate.

This is an important discovery as it is the first time glycolaldehyde, a basic sugar, has been detected towards a star-forming region where planets that could potentially harbor life may exist,”—reported Serena Viti of University College London—Wired Science Network (11/26/08, Moskowitz, C)

The discovery of the glycolaldehyde in the outer rim of the Milky Way galaxy, about 26 million light years away from earth, generates more curiosity and effort from researchers to seek life outside our planet. From the gaseous eerie clouds of outerspace, the building elements of life such as carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen are studied in the hope that an incovertible evidence of life outside earth will be discovered. (Photo Credit: TQWestphal;Wired Science Network:=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Mars Exploration: Inching Its Way To Find The Ultimate Proof Of Life” Posted by mesiamd at 7/18/2008.