Diamond City Out; Diamond Planet In!

If you’re one of those dreaming to have a pair diamond earring or perhaps a a diamond studded necklace well wish more as these things would only be a very small part of the recently discovered diamond planet. You’re reading it right, it’s not a diamond house nor a diamond city but a diamond planet. Imagine that it is five times as big as earth and it is made of diamonds.

Time will come that mankind would be able to step on it. At least for now, it’s existence has been proven. A group of astronomers led by Matthew Bailes of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne discovered a binary pulsar named PSR J1719-1438 at about 4,000 light years away from the constellation Serpens. It is a binary pulsar which means it has companion orbiting in its axis. There were already at least 22 pulsars discovered but it is the first one having companion that has a mass. The actually bigger than the mass of the gaseous Jupiter. It is primarily composed of Carbon in which we can also say Diamond.

It orbits at a distance of 600,000 km, making years on it just two hours long. This recent discovery is just giving our astronomers another reason to explore the outer space even more.

Hoax About Two Moons on August 27: Moon and Mars Close This August 2010?

Hoax About Two Moons on August 27: Moon and Mars Close This August 2010?- The email about the “two moons” or a “double moon” has began circulating once again through the internet. The original email dates back in August 27, 2003 when two moons indeed appeared in the sky. Aside from the actual natural moon that we usually see in the sky at night, the red planet Mars served as the other moon that time as it had its closest encounter with our planet Earth.

Mars appeared to be the second moon in the sky that time as it came within 34,649,589 miles of Earth. There were several versions of the email which circulated during that time. One example can be found here. Accordingly, Mars will have a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. By using a telescope, Mars will look as large as the full moon through the naked eye in its 75 power magnification. Below is a sample of the picture of the two moons which appeared in the sky on August 27, 2003

If you ever received such an email again referring to the occurrence of two moons today, August 27, 2010, just delete it as there will never be a second moon that will appear in the sky tonight. In fact, NASA stated that today, August 27, 2010, Mars will be 314 million kilometers from Earth, about as far away as it can get. That distance was very far compared to that of the distance between Earth and Mars which happened seven years ago. Mars will shine in the western sky after sunset like a tiny red star of ordinary brightness. If you didn’t know it was there, you probably wouldn’t notice.

What is fact is that the possible occurrence of such “two moons” in the sky will be in the year 2287 of which definitely, all of us living today will be dead by that time. If you still persists and want to see Mars today, August 27, 2010, NASA advises to go outside of your home and face west. You will see a bright light shining. That is not yet Mars. That is the planet Venus. Get a telescope and look for nearby celestial bodies around Venus. A few degrees to the right, you will see a little orange star-like object and that is Mars.

Pluto: A Planet Or Not Debate Re-emerges

After years of knowing that our solar system consists of 9 planetary bodies,its been disconcerting that the iciest planet Pluto is no longer deemed as a planet but one of the icy bodies floating around the universe.

The planet Pluto was declassified from full-pledged planet to “dwarf planet,” back in 2006,just as astronomers discovered the existence of another heavenly body Eris, another icy body from Pluto’s neighborhood,a year earlier. Eris was originally thought to be bigger than Pluto until Nov. 6, when astronomers got a chance to recalculate Eris’ size.

The latest Eris findings renewed astronomers’ attention top the forgotten planet.It appears that Pluto is bigger than Eris reigns with slimmest of margins (the numbers are so close as to be nearly indistinguishable, when uncertainties are taken into account).

With this findings prompted the science world to reconsider their controversial decision to strip the frigid world of its planet status.

Should Pluto be a planet? Should Eris, and many other objects circling the sun beyond Neptune’s orbit?

Pluto’s demotion

The International Astronomical Union,in 2006,had came up with the following official definition of “planet:” A body that circles the sun without being some other object’s satellite, is large enough to be rounded by its own gravity (but not so big that it begins to undergo nuclear fusion, like a star) and has “cleared its neighborhood” of most other orbiting bodies.

In Pluto’s case,scientists discovered that the “icy planet” shares orbital space with other objects in the Kuiper Belt.

Kuiper Belt is the icy ring that is found beyond planet Neptune.

With this discovery,Pluto,can not be actually considered as a planetary body thus, the IAU recategorized Pluto, and Eris, as “dwarf planets.”

Dwarf planets are not officially full-fledged planets.

Pluto,since its discovery in 1930 has been branded as the ninth planet was stripped of from planet status after 75 years. Eight planets officially remain: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

The scientist who discovered Eris-which is about 9 billion miles (15 billion kilometers) from the sun at its farthest orbital point, making it about twice as distant as Pluto, Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, thinks Pluto’s re-classification was the right move.

“Pluto, Eris and the many other Kuiper Belt objects are far too different to be lumped in with the eight official planets,” he said.

“For one thing, they’re much smaller. Pluto is about 1,455 miles (2,342 km) wide. The smallest official planet, Mercury, is more than twice as big at 3,032 miles (4,880 km) across.

“The dwarfs’ orbits tend to be very different, too — much more elliptical and more inclined, relative to the plane of the solar system. And they’re made of different stuff, with ices comprising more of their mass.”

“It just makes no sense from a classification standpoint to take these objects that clearly belong together and pick one — or two, or a dozen — and say, ‘Oh, these belong with the very different, large, planet-like things,” Brown said.

Brown reinstated that the only explanation why early astronomers deemed Pluto as planet just because it was “first detected so long ago, before people realized that it was just one of a vast flotilla of objects beyond Neptune’s orbit.”

The Kuiper Belt ,who was seen to embody more than 1,000 icy bodies or more,wasn’t even discovered until 1992.

“It’s just a funny historical accident that we found Pluto so early, and that it was the only thing known out there for so long,” Brown told

SPACE.com. “No one in their right mind would not have called it a planet back then, because we didn’t know any better.”

“We have progressed so much further in our understanding of what the solar system is that it’s pretty obvious,” he said. “We can go back and reassess the mistakes of our ancestors.”

Some astronomers think that Pluto should take its rightful place alongside other Kuiper Belt objects rather than being classified as a planet.

Director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium,Neil deGrasse state,”I group Pluto with the other icy bodies in the Kuiper Belt I think it’s happier there, actually. Pluto has family in the outer solar system.”

However,some unconvinced astronomers are not fully convinced with the re-classification of Pluto and the reorganization of the solar system.
Rather,they say,that the IAU’s planet definition is fundamentally flawed.

“If you take the IAU’s definition strictly, no object in the solar system is a planet,” said Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. “No object in the solar system has entirely cleared its zone.”

“The definition also sets different standards for planethood at different distances from the sun,” according to Stern, who is principal investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission, which is sending a spacecraft to Pluto.

“The farther away a planet is from the sun, the bigger it needs to be in order to clear its zone. If Earth circled the sun in Uranus’ orbit, it wouldn’t be able to clean out its neighborhood and would thus not qualify as a planet, Stern said.

“It’s literally laughable,” he told SPACE.com.

So Pluto should be a planet, as should Eris and the dwarf planet Ceres (the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter), as well as many other objects.

Such a definition would greatly expand the list of planets in the solar system.

“Many people think it’s special to be a planet,” Stern said.

“But adding a bunch of names to the list wouldn’t cheapen the ones that had been there forever,” he added.

“It would simply reflect astronomers’ increasing understanding of the solar system. In that understanding, small, icy planets far outnumber big gassy or rocky ones.”

“There are a large number of planets, and most of them are small,” Stern said. “It’s the Earth-like planets and the giant planets that are freakish.”

Tyson said he tries not to use the word “planet” in its generic sense, since it does not hold very much meaningful information.

“The word ‘planet’ has far outlived its usefulness,” Tyson told SPACE.com. “It doesn’t celebrate the scientific richness of the solar system.”

So Tyson thinks in categories such as gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) and terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) as well as asteroids and Kuiper Belt objects (Pluto, Eris and many others).

For his part, Brown thinks stripping Pluto of its planethood doesn’t make the icy body any less interesting or important.

“I think that Pluto as an example of a large Kuiper Belt object is so much more interesting than Pluto as this very weird planet at the outer edge of the solar system unlike anything else,” Brown said. “We are going to learn so much more about the solar system with our new understanding of what Pluto is.”

Amazing View of the Earth from the International Space Station

Tracy Caldwell may have ended her tour of duty at the International Space Station on September 2010 but she had left amazing shots of the Earth at night. The shots shows the beauty of the night lights as an astronaut sees it from way up there. Caldwell sees the view right through the window of the Cupola window bay aboard International Space Station.

Caldwell began his duty at the Intenational Space Station April 4, 2010 and ended September 25, 2010. During her tenure she has completed three spacewalks for almost three hours of EVA to replace a malfunctioning coolant pump.

One of the amazing Eath photos which Tracy Caldwell has shares is an image which shows the lights of Italy and the island of Sicily. The photo was taken from the window of the Cupola window bay aboard the International Space Station.

Before her International Space Station duty she was also aboard STS-118, Space Shuttle Endeavor. After that she was assigned to the ISS for a total of 176 days duty as part of the Expedition 24 crew. She returned to Earth with the Soyuz TMA-18 landing unit, and together with commander Aleksandr Skvortsov and flight engineer Mikhail Korniyenko, Dyson landed in Kazakhstan on September 25, 2010.

Thanks to people like them who shares us astonishing photos of our planet, Earth. For more photos you can CLICK HERE.

Harvest Moon: Did You Witness the Super Harvest Moon and Jupiter?

Harvest Moon: Did You Wintess the Super Harvest Moon and Jupiter? – Those living in the Northern Hemisphere might have witnessed an autumnal equinox phenomenon known as the Harvest Moon. This year 2010, it was a “Super Harvest Moon” or as what astronomers say “Harvestest Moon” since the sun set as the moon rose.

This was the first time in two decades that a Super Harvest Moon occurred in the sky. The autumnal equinox phenomenon created a strange 360-degree twilight show as the moon rose in one direction while the sun set on the opposite direction.

September 22 was also known as the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. The Harvest Moon appeared as orange moon and its size was gigantic due to a psychological effect known as the “Moon illusion”. The Harvest Moon got its name from agriculture. In the days before electric lights, farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset. It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market. The full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox became “the Harvest Moon,” and it was always a welcome sight.

Aside from the Harvest Moon, there was also a bonus phenomenon as the summer officially when Jupiter appeared right next to the Moon. Were you able to see Jupiter and the Harvest Moon?

Gamma Virginids Meteor Shower 2010

The Gamma Virginids Meteor Shower is at its peak this April 14 to 15 2010. The said type of Meteor Shower was seen in Iowa and Wisconsin last 10:15pm yesterday and more people are expected to see the Meteor Shower in the sky during the peak of its appearance. The Gamma virginids Meteor Shower occurs during the month of April with much exposure from April 5-21. Hourly rates of spotting the meteor shower are weak, with less than 5 per hour. A meteor shower is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to radiate from one point in the night sky. These meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris called meteoroids entering Earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speeds on parallel trajectories. Most meteors are smaller than a grain of sand, so almost all of them disintegrate and never hit the Earth’s surface.

Moon and Mars August 2010: The Truth Behind Mars as Another Moon on August 27

Moon and Mars August 2010: The Truth Behind Mars as Another Moon on August 27– There has been a lot of controversy about two moons occurring in the sky today, August 27, 2010 of which Mars is considered as the “other moon” aside from the natural moon that we usually see here on Earth.

The rumor started through an email circulated way back in 2003 where Mars indeed make an extraordinary approach to our planet Earth to just approximately 56 millions kilometers which prompted the red planet to appear as another moon in the sky as seen in the photo below:

One of the emails that circulated at that time reads as follows:

“The Red Planet Mars is about to be spectacular as it can be seen in the sky. Earth and Mars will be at its closest in 60,000 years. The next time Mars may come this close may be after several years in the year 2287. The encounter between Earth and Mars will culminate on August 27 when the red planet comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be next to the moon the brightest object in the sky at night. It will have a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. In its 75-power magnification, Mars will look as large as the full moon through the naked eye.

By August 27 where both planets will be closest to each other, Mars will rise at nightfall and will reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30 am. As such, we will be able to see two moons in the sky – one is the actual moon and the other is the red planet Mars. Mark your calendars to see Mars as the second moon in the sky. This is a rare opportunity as no one alive today will ever witness the second event when this happens again.”

Apparently, that was an old email back in August 2003. If ever you received it again today with a date of the occurence changed today, August 27, 2010, delete it since it’s just a hoax. In fact, NASA reported that there is no such two moons that will occur in the sky today, August 27, 2010. This rumor, as stated, started in 2003 and has since reoccurred at the end of August every year since. NASA even stated that at the sunset today, go outside and face west. The bright light you see shining through the twilight is lovely Venus. Grab a pair of binoculars and scan the sky around Venus. A few degrees to the right, you’ll come across a little orange star-like object. That is the red planet Mars.

After that phenomenal event last August 2003, Mars had another close encounter with Earth in the year 2005. However, that event took place in October and not in August. It also did a close approach in December 2007 but not as close as what happened way back in August 27, 2003. According to astronomers, not until 2018 will our view of Mars be similar to the one that was available in 2003 and it won’t be until 2287 will Mars come closer to Earth than it did back in 2003.

Two Moons Tonight, August 27, 2010

Two Moons Tonight, August 27, 2010 – The news is spreading that tonight, the moon and mars will be close together and will form into the so called “Two Moons 2010” event.

For those who have waited for this tonight, August 27, 2010, the reality of the matter is that you already missed this event. The real two moons event happened one in 2003 and the other in 2005.

In 2003, Mars had been closest to Earth in 50,000 years and the moon appears to be close to the red planet. The two had been the brightest objects in the sky during August 27, 2003.

A greater publicized close encounter also dubbed as Two Moons happened in October 2005. However during that time Earth and Mars were about 13 million kilometers further than during the two moons event in 2003.

This 2010, the reality is that there is no two moons, moon and mars on August 27, 2010. This news is being triggered by the continuous circulation of an e-mail made in 2003. Below is the content of the original two moons e-mail published in 2003.



** Two moon on 27 August ***

27th Aug the Whole World is waiting for………….

Planet Mars will be the brightest in the night sky Starting August.

It will look as large as the full moon to the naked Eye. This will happen On Aug. 27 when Mars comes within 34.65M miles of earth. Be sure to watch The sky on Aug. 27 12:30 am. It will look like the earth has 2 moons. The Next time Mars may come this close is in 2287.

Share this with your friends as NO ONE ALIVE TODAY Will ever see it again.

The e-mail above is courtesy of Urban Legends at http://urbanlegends.about.com/

Perseid Meteor Shower in August 2010 Can Be Seen in the Sky Until August 24

Perseid Meteor Shower in August 2010 Can Be Seen in the Sky Until August 24: – Perseid meteor shower is expected by millions of star gazers tonight. The well known annual meteor shower which are debris and left overs from the comet Swift-Tuttle is expected to be at its peak past midnight of August 12, 2010 and until the predawn hours of the next August 13, 2010. Even though the peak is already finished, you can still watch it since they will still be visible in the sky up to August 24, 2010.

According to NASA, the “shooting star” show will begin when planets alight at sundown. That is four celestial bodies Venus, Saturn, Mars and the Moon pop out of the western twilight in tight conjunction. All four heavenly objects will fit within a circle about 10 degrees in diameter, beaming together through the dusky colors of sunset. No telescope is required to enjoy as it will be visible through the naked eye.

In addition, NASA said that this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower show is a good year for spectators since the Moon won’t be up during its peak from midnight to dawn. As the night deepens, the constellation Perseus where the Perseids originate rises and the meteor shower rates increase up to 60 meteors or more per hour.

In the US, people gather in several county and national parks just to witness the Perseid Meteor Shower tonight. In St. Louis, residents are advised to go to St. Charles County Parks. In San Diego and Southern Carolina, Joshua Tree National Park, Red Rock Canyon State Park, Mount Pinos, and Anza Borrego Desert State Park are among the parks where people are advised to head into. However, for New York and New Jersey residents, rainy clouds might prevent people from seeing the wonderful Perseid Meteor Shower tonight.

For best results of the Perseid meteor shower show, astronomers advise people to find the best spot where the sky is at its darkest and stay away from city lights. Perhaps this is a good time to have camping together with your family or be with your partner.

The night continues. Have you seen any Perseid Meteor Shower in your area tonight? Let us know by commenting below. It will be best if you can also send us pictures and photos so that other visitors can also witness the actual “shooting stars”.

Meanwhile for those who don’t want to spend the rest of the night just waiting outside of their homes, NASA set up a live video feed of the Perseid Meteor Shower tonight using a camera mounted at its Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. here.

Perseid Meteor Shower August 2010 Tonight: Best Time to View Meteor Shower Until August 24

Perseid Meteor Shower August 2010 Tonight: Best Time to View Meteor Shower Until August 24 – After the beautiful aurora borealis caused by the solar flare which some of us witnessed last week, the sky will once again light up because of a meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle known as Perseid Meteor Shower.

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the earliest information on this meteor shower coming from the Far East. Some Catholics refer to the Perseids as the “tears of St. Lawrence”, since August 10 is the date of that saint’s martyrdom. Originating from the constellation Perseus, Perseid Meteor Showers are active this year 2010 from July 23 to August 24. However, it will peak on the night of August 12, 2010 where 60 or more meteors per hour will be visible in the sky.

According to Space.com, the best window of opportunity to see the shower will be the late-night hours of Wednesday on through the first light of dawn on the morning of Thursday, and then again during the late-night hours of Aug. 12, 2010 into the predawn hours of Aug. 13, 2010. They can be seen all across the sky, but because of the path of Swift-Tuttle’s orbit, Perseid Meteors are primarily visible in the northern hemisphere.

If you want to witness these Perseid meteors tonight, it is best viewed away from city lights and in clear skies. Aside from the given time frame above where these meteor shower can be best viewed, astronomers say that the best time to witness is at 2am after midnight your local time.

Although the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower is already finished, you can still watch them as they will be on the sky up to August 24, 2010. However, don’t expect to see a lot of them as the 60 or more per hour rate of Perseids are already gone.

Set your alarm now and try to wake up at the particular times mentioned above. Try to position yourself in a location where the sky is clear tonight. Watching for the Perseid Meteor Shower tonight consists of lying back, gazing up into the stars, and waiting. It would be best viewed with your loved one as both of you try to make a wish upon witnessing these shooting stars.

For those of you who want to witness the Perseid Meteor Shower online, there is a live cam set up by NASA here.