Category Archives: Understand Science

Five Years of Curiosity on Mars

Nearly five years after its celebrated arrival at Mars, the Curiosity rover continues to reveal Mars as a once-habitable planet. Early in the planet’s history, generations of streams and lakes created the landforms that Curiosity explores today. The rover currently is climbing through the foothills of Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high mountain formed from sediment brought in by water and wind. This talk will cover the latest findings from the mission, the challenges of exploration with an aging robot, and what lies ahead.

James K. Erickson, Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager, JPL
Ashwin R. Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist, JPL

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Streamed live on 13 Jul 2017

The Making of a Satellite : Inside ISRO

Expedition 47 48 Crew Docks to the Space Station

After launching earlier in their Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 47-48 Soyuz Commander Alexey Ovchinin and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos and Jeff Williams of NASA arrived at the International Space Station on Mar. 19. The new crewmembers will join station Commander Tim Kopra of NASA and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos and Tim Peake of the European Space Agency, already onboard the station.

Gravitational Waves detected by LIGO

Start the video at 27:14 mins to see the actual announcement and explanation from LIGO.
Historic announcement from LIGO. Gravitational waves detected by LIGO. Einstein was right!!

LIGO detects gravitational waves **Begin viewing at 27:14**

What is Dark Matter?

What is Dark Matter?  – Space Documentary
By fitting a theoretical model of the composition of the Universe to the combined set of cosmological observations, scientists have come up with the composition that we described above, ~68% dark energy, ~27% dark matter, ~5% normal matter. What is dark matter?
We are much more certain what dark matter is not than we are what it is. First, it is dark, meaning that it is not in the form of stars and planets that we see. Observations show that there is far too little visible matter in the Universe to make up the 27% required by the observations. Second, it is not in the form of dark clouds of normal matter, matter made up of particles called baryons. We know this because we would be able to detect baryonic clouds by their absorption of radiation passing through them. Third, dark matter is not antimatter, because we do not see the unique gamma rays that are produced when antimatter annihilates with matter. Finally, we can rule out large galaxy-sized black holes on the basis of how many gravitational lenses we see. High concentrations of matter bend light passing near them from objects further away, but we do not see enough lensing events to suggest that such objects to make up the required 25% dark matter contribution.

What is Space Made of?

What is space? What is Space Made of ? If you ignore the galaxies, stars & atoms, then the rest of empty space is mysterious. It is really not nothing. See this documentary to know more.

Day On Earth

It seems very simple but actually there is more to this.

What’s Up for January 2016

What’s Up for January? A meteor shower, a binocular comet, and the winter circle of stars!

How the Moon was Formed

Most scientists believe the Moon’s formation resulted from a giant impact between the Earth and a mysterious object called Theia.

Quasars: the Brightest Black Holes

Quasars: the Brightest Black Holes – Lecture by Professor Carolin Crawford

Quasars are among the most dramatic objects anywhere in the cosmos. They emit prodigious amounts of energy, all due to a supermassive black hole at the heart of a galaxy. Visible far across the Universe, quasars can be used to trace both the early life of galaxies, and the properties of the intervening space.

The Birth of Planets

Thousands of planets are now known outside our solar system, from rocky worlds to “hot Jupiters” to planets orbiting not one, but two stars. So where did all this diversity come from? In this lecture by Dr. Neil Turner of NASA JPL we find out about how planets form, complete with data from the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, as well as ground-based scopes. See new images and 3-D computer models astronomers are using to try to learn how planets are born into such diversity.

The human eye – a user guide for astronomers

Flying Over Charon

Images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft were used to create this flyover video of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. The “flight” starts with the informally named Mordor (dark) region near Charon’s north pole. The camera then moves south to a vast chasm, descending from 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) to just 40 miles (60 kilometers) above the surface to fly through the canyon system. From there it’s a turn to the south to view the plains and “moat mountain,” informally named Kubrick Mons, a prominent peak surrounded by a topographic depression.

New Horizons Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) photographs showing details at up to 400 meters per pixel were used to create the basemap for this animation. Those images, along with pictures taken from a slightly different vantage point by the spacecraft’s Ralph/ Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), were used to create a preliminary digital terrain (elevation) model. The images and model were combined and super-sampled to create this animation.

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse on Sunday the 27th of September 2015

On September 27th, 2015 there will be a very rare event in the night sky – a Supermoon Lunar Eclipse. Watch this animated feature from NASA to learn more.

How to Explore the Surface of a Comet or Asteroid

A robot concept called Hedgehog could explore the microgravity environment of comets and asteroids by hopping and rolling around on them. See Hedgehog in action in the microgravity environment of a “vomit comet” parabolic flight.

The Black Hole Wars: My Battle with Stephen Hawking by Dr. Leonard Susskind (Stanford University)

Black holes, the collapsed remnants of the largest stars, provide a remarkable laboratory where the frontier concepts of our understanding of nature are tested at their extreme limits. For more than two decades, Professor Susskind and a Dutch colleague have had a running battle with Stephen Hawking about the implications of black hole theory for our understanding of reality — a battle that he has described in his well-reviewed book The Black Hole Wars. In this talk Dr. Susskind tells the story of these wars and explains the ideas that underlie the conflict. What’s at stake is nothing less than our understanding of space, time, matter and information!

The Pluto Files – Documentary with Neil Degrasse Tyson

Asteroids and Meteors – Documentary

Watch NASA TV Live

Inside the Milky Way

Shadow of the Moon | NASA

On March 20th, 2015, the Moon’s shadow will create a total solar eclipse. This video presents several visualizations of what this shadow would look like from space, and highlights the areas of the world in the path of the umbra and penumbra. The visualizations were created by calculating the position of the Earth, Moon, and Sun on this date, and by using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter global photo mosaics and elevation maps.

Super Moon Solar Eclipse on March 20,2015

Latest News from NASA about progress of James Webb Space Telescope

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland participated in a news conference Feb. 3 at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to discuss the status of the agency’s flagship science project, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Bolden and Mikulski congratulated the JWST team for the integration at Goddard of all the telescope’s flight instruments and primary mirrors.
The most powerful space telescope ever built, Webb will be the premiere observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our universe, including the first luminous glows after the big bang, the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets similar to Earth, and the evolution of our own solar system.

Hubble eXtreme Deep Field – Farthest Ever View of the Universe

Hubble goes to the eXtreme to assemble farthest ever view of the Universe. Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) pushes back the frontiers of time and space.This video explains how astronomers meticulously assembled mankind’s deepest view of the universe from combining Hubble Space Telescope exposures taken over the past decade. Guest scientists are Dr. Garth Illingworth and Dr. Marc Postman.

The Andromeda Galaxy (M-31) image: The largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled.

The largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled, this sweeping view of a portion of M31 (Andromeda galaxy) is the sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic neighbour. Though the galaxy is over 2 million light-years away, the Hubble telescope is powerful enough to resolve individual stars in a 61,000-light-year-long section of the galaxy’s pancake-shaped disk. It’s like photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand. And, there are lots of stars in this sweeping view — over 100 million, with some of them in thousands of star clusters seen embedded in the disk. This ambitious photographic cartography of the Andromeda galaxy represents a new benchmark for precision studies of large spiral galaxies which dominate the universe’s population of over 100 billion galaxies. Never before have astronomers been able to see individual stars over a major portion of an external spiral galaxy. Most of the stars in the universe live inside such majestic star cities, and this is the first data that reveal populations of stars in context to their home galaxy. The panorama is the product of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) program. Images were obtained from viewing the galaxy in near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths, using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard Hubble. This view shows the galaxy in its natural visible-light color, as photographed with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys in red and blue filters July 2010 through October 2013.

An Introduction to Pulsars

A pulsar (portmanteau of pulsating star) is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. This radiation can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing toward the Earth, much the way a lighthouse can only be seen when the light is pointed in the direction of an observer, and is responsible for the pulsed appearance of emission. Neutron stars are very dense, and have short, regular rotational periods. This produces a very precise interval between pulses that range from roughly milliseconds to seconds for an individual pulsar.

The events leading to the formation of a pulsar begin when the core of a massive star is compressed during a supernova, which collapses into a neutron star. The neutron star retains most of its angular momentum, and since it has only a tiny fraction of its progenitor’s radius (and therefore its moment of inertia is sharply reduced), it is formed with very high rotation speed. A beam of radiation is emitted along the magnetic axis of the pulsar, which spins along with the rotation of the neutron star. The magnetic axis of the pulsar determines the direction of the electromagnetic beam, with the magnetic axis not necessarily being the same as its rotational axis. This misalignment causes the beam to be seen once for every rotation of the neutron star, which leads to the “pulsed” nature of its appearance. The beam originates from the rotational energy of the neutron star, which generates an electrical field from the movement of the very strong magnetic field, resulting in the acceleration of protons and electrons on the star surface and the creation of an electromagnetic beam emanating from the poles of the magnetic field. This rotation slows down over time as electromagnetic power is emitted. When a pulsar’s spin period slows down sufficiently, the radio pulsar mechanism is believed to turn off (the so-called “death line”). This turn-off seems to take place after about 10–100 million years, which means of all the neutron stars in the 13.6 billion year age of the universe, around 99% no longer pulsate. The longest known pulsar period is 8.51 seconds.

The precise periods of pulsars make them useful tools. Observations of a pulsar in a binary neutron star system were used to indirectly confirm the existence of gravitational radiation. The first extrasolar planets were discovered around a pulsar, PSR B1257+12. Certain types of pulsars rival atomic clocks in their accuracy in keeping time. .

Gamma Ray Bursts and Black holes

During the Astro Camp some of you had queries regarding Gamma Ray Bursts and also about hyper novae and black holes. Watch this documentary to give you more info on this.

It was one of the greatest mysteries in modern science: a series of brief but extremely bright flashes of ultra-high energy light coming from somewhere out in space. These gamma ray bursts were first spotted by spy satellites in the 1960s. It took three decades and a revolution in high-energy astronomy for scientists to figure out what they were.

Basics of Astronomy: What are Binary Stars?

All those who have attended the Astronomy Camp at DPS Tapi have seen many stars and constellations. If you remember I had shown you one star in the Constellation Perseus called Algol. Algol is a binary star. Learn more about Binary stars in this video from Kurdistan Planetarium.


Landing On A Comet – Rosetta Mission 2014 New Details