Sunset on the Alien Planet Osiris HD209458b

The amazing image in the link above of a sunset on exo-planet HD209458b 150 light years away, was reconstructed by Frederic Pont of the University of Exeter using data from a camera onboard the Hubble Space Telescope. Pont used his knowledge of how the color of light changes based on chemicals it encounters, and computer modeling, to create an actual image of what a sunset on the actual planet would look like. He’s posted it on his blog.

The large exo planet in question, exoplanet HD209458b, nicknamed Osiris, circles its star rather closely. At certain points, when the planet passes between us and its star, the light from that star passes through Osiris’s atmosphere before reaching us, which allowed Pont to determine the chemical composition of the atmosphere and deduce what colors would appear to the naked human eye.

The light from Osiris’s star is white, like our own sun, but when it passes through the sodium in Osirisi’s atmosphere, red light in it is absorbed, leaving the starlight to appear blue. But as the sun sets, the blue light is scattered in the same way as it is here on Earth (Rayleigh scattering) causing a gradual change to green, and then to a dim dark green. And finally, due to diffraction, the bottom of the image becomes slightly flattened.
Voyager 1 is pushing into the bounds of the interstellar medium!  What discoveries will be made?
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7 things that might just surprise you about the universe!  Click here
As reported in the Journal Nature and featured on UW Madison's webpage and UW Madison astronomy department website.  Click here

"The space between the stars in the Milky Way and all other galaxies is full of dust and gas, the raw materials from which stars and planets are made. But the dynamics of these galactic mosh pits, which are perhaps best known through the spectacular images from the Hubble Space Telescope of towering nebulas caught in the act of churning out stars, are still mysterious...."

First, we couldn't tell if they had mass or not...
Then, they decide to change their flavor on us...

Now the neutrinos are at it again!  This time they want to travel faster than light, or so one group at CERN is claiming.

Press Release
Daily Tech

UW Madison scientists are  involved in this research also, and not just at CERN.  The IceCube detector in Antarctica is able to verify the results and to test the dependency on the speed with very high energy neutrinos.  It will be interesting to see results from here hopefully in the near future.

Regardless of whether this is a major shift for physics in the 21st century or just a measurement error, what we are witnessing right now is nothing less then science getting done!  A result that calls into question a major paradigm is a challenge to the scientific community as a whole to either verify it or to show it is incorrect.  If it can not be reproduced, then it will not be considered valid.  If it is verified, then physicists will be very busy in the next decades coming up with new theories to trump Einstein's.     Many people in the Midevil ages were so attached to the idea that the Earth was flat that they would kill those who presented evidence to the contrary.  Even though scientsits are attached to their ideas and theories, they are more attached to science as a process, and are willing to modify or give up their theories when the evidence presents itself contrary to them.  This is how science works and this is why science works.

Nerd joke of the day:
"i'm sorry, we don't serve neutrinos who are faster than light here," says the barkeeper.
A neutrino walks into a bar.

Brand new supernova is peaking in intensity now and is visible with a small telescope or good pair of binoculars. 

Click here for the story!

Welcome back! 
The entire particle physics world seems to be centered in Europe these days with the LHC finally up and running.  However, don't count the USA's Tevatron out of the partical physics world just yet!

The Tevatron seems to have found a mass detection that does not match any models or prediction  of the Standard Particle and Field model of particle physics.  That is to say, this is not a detection of a known particle or an expected one...such as the Higgs boson.  If it is a real detection, it would be the first sign of a particle that is 'beyond the standard model.' 

Onward science

Astronomy is all about beautiful images!  Check this compilation out!