CreditCalifornia Institute of Techonology
Pablo Carlos Budassi recently unveiled a new illustration based on almost incomprehensible logarithmic maps created by Princeton University. It shows the entire known visible universe. Though it is not a true map, it should be considered a “visualization showing fields of view” of the entire observable universe.
A massive black hole releases sound waves in a deep bass pitch, astronomers have found. Researchers used NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory to “listen” to wavelengths coming from the heart of the Perseus A Cluster, a giant clump of galaxies 250 million light-years from Earth (A light-year is the distance light travels in a year in a vacuum, about 9.5 trillion kilometers.)
Many stars end their existence by going out in a huge explosion known as a supernova. However, only a few of these stellar explosions have been caught in the act. When they are, spotting them successfully has been down to pure luck—until now. On 11 December 2015 astronomers not only imaged a supernova in action, but saw it when and where they had predicted it would be.
Light travels at a speed of 186,282 miles per second. Jupiter is 483,737,000 miles from the Sun. In an effort to convey the vastness of space, Alphonse Swinehart created an animation to illustrate that even the fastest moving thing still takes over 43 minutes just to reach Jupiter.
In the past two blog postings we uncovered how some characters in the Harry Potter universe are tied to Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology. Not only are certain names shared, but the stories between the character and the myth from which its name is derived are actually intertwined. In the first blog posting we dealt mainly with two of Harry’s classmates: Draco and Luna. In the second blog posting we looked at two members of the family Black: Sirius and Bellatrix. Now it is time we took a closer look at one of Harry Potter’s fiercest enemies and one of his fiercest allies: Fenrir Greyback and Albus Dumbledore.
In the previous blog posting we discussed how many of the characters in the Harry Potter series have connections to ancient mythology and how these myths worked their way into the books’ story-lines. Numerous characters in the series also share their names with moons, asteroids, and stars. For this entry let’s look into two characters and the two stars they are named after: Sirius and Bellatrix.
If you’ve ever read the Harry Potter series of books, or even seen the films, you’ll come across many unusual and colorful character names. Characters such as Millicent Bulstrode, Fleur Delacour, Argus Filch, and Gilderoy Lockhart are a few of the names you’ll come across when working your way through the seven books in the series. These names—the sounds they create and their connection to other words such as the Slither in Slytherin or the Guile in Goyle—can give an indication, a slight inkling, to the reader into what can be expected of such characters. But there are other names—names such as Draco, Sirius, and Luna—which can also tell the reader something about their respective characters, not based on the allusion of their names but based on the astronomical backgrounds their names are derived from.
Skywatchers have a chance to see some “shooting stars” this week with the annual Draconid meteor shower. The meteor display, which peaks overnight on Thursday and Friday (Oct. 8 and 9), is caused by the remains of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner raining down on Earth.
In just a few days we will be able to see a total lunar eclipse before bedding down for the night. On the night of Sept. 27-28, when the moon is full in the sky, most of North America and all of South America will be able to witness this event.