Notable Scientist – Dr. Vera Rubin

Dr. Vera Rubin

July 1928 – December 2016

A visionary astronomer who played an instrumental role in confirming the existence of dark matter, Dr. Vera Rubin’s contributions to science will not be forgotten. A trailblazer with a passion for uncovering the unknown, she advocated for the role of women in science while expanding our understanding of the galaxy.




Blue Alien Planet Explained: Inside Hubble’s Exoplanet Color Discovery (Infographic)

Blue Alien Planet Explained: Inside Hubble’s Exoplanet Color Discovery (Infographic)

by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist
Date: 11 July 2013 Time: 09:00 AM ET
Infographic: Facts about the hot blue gas giant planet HD 189733b.

Light from the planet HD 189733b was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and analyzed. Astronomers say that the giant planet has a deep-blue atmosphere, but conditions are in no way Earth-like.


Full Story: Strange Blue World: Alien Planet’s True Color Revealed, a First


Huge Dinosaur Tail Discovered in Mexico

Huge Dinosaur Tail Discovered in Mexico

By Laura Poppick, Staff Writer   |   July 23, 2013 12:06pm ET  via
tail of dinosaur

This is the first intact dinosaur tail to be discovered in Mexico. Fifty vertebrate of have been uncovered so far. Credit: Mauricio Marat / INAH

A giant dinosaur tail has been uncovered in northern Mexico, paleontologists announced this week.

The well-preserved tail measures about 16 feet (5 meters) long, contains 50 vertebrae, and seems to have belonged to a hadrosaur — a duck-billed dino that lived about 72 million years ago. Hadrosaurs grew to be about 40 feet (12 m) long, so the tail would have taken up just under half the length of its body.

Buried within sedimentary rock in the desert region of Coahulia, this is the first intact dinosaur tail of this size to be discovered in Mexico, and only one of a handful that has been discovered around the world, according to a statement from the Mexican National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH). Back in 2008, archaeologists reported the discovery of another hadrosaur, dubbed Velafrons coahuilensis,found in Coahulia. That specimen likely belonged to a juvenile dinosaur; even so it the youngster would have been 25 feet (7.5 m) in length, suggesting V. coahuilensis adults grew to a whopping 30 to 35 feet (9 to 10.5 m) long. [Gallery: Gorgeous Dinosaur Fossils]

For the rest of the article go to:

Canadian Space Agency

Take a tour of the CSA (Canadian Space Agency) courtesy of

Google’s Interactive Starmap Will Eat Your Day Whole

Google’s Interactive Starmap Will Eat Your Day Whole




Want to wave goodbye to any chance of productivity for the rest of the day? Then step right up to 100,000 Stars, an interactive starmap from those mad geniuses at Google’s Creative Lab team. The map allows you to click, scroll, and otherwise explore a (mostly) accurate representation of our cosmic “neck of the woods.” It’s gorgeous, it’s fascinating, and it will absolutely force you to cancel any meetings you had planned for the rest of the day.

Here’s Google’s official description of the map:

Visualizing the exact location of every star in the galaxy is a problem of, well, galactic proportions. With over 200 billion stars, capturing every detail of the Milky Way currently defies scientists and laptops alike. However, using imagery and data from a range of sources, including NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), we were recently able to take one small step in that direction by plotting the location of the stars closest to our sun . . . The experiment makes use of Google Chrome’s support for WebGL, CSS3D, and Web Audio. Music was generously provided by Sam Hulick, who video game fans may recognize as a composer for the popular space adventure series, Mass Effect.

Oh Google, you already would have won my heart with the starmap alone. But then you have to take things a step further and hire the brilliant Sam Hulick to write an accompanying score? That’s just dirty pool, sir, but I love you for it.

Aside from giving you a jaw-dropping sense of scale by allowing you to zoom from an overall galactic view all the way down to our own little blue marble, 100,000 stars also provides detailed information about our interstellar neighbors. Going back to the Mass Effect tie-in again, it’s basically a way, way more detailed — and accurate — version of that game’s beautiful starmap. Just keep an eye out for Reapers while you’re seeing what’s out there.

Really, there’s nothing else I can tell you about 100,000 Stars that the map itself can’t do much more elegantly, so click on over there already. One proviso, though: you’ll need to have the Chrome browser to use the map, so click over and grab it if you haven’t already.


Ancient Temple Discovered in Peru

by LiveScience Staff
Date: 14 February 2013 Time: 02:58 PM ET

Archaeologists in Peru have uncovered what they believe is a temple, estimated to be up to 5,000 years old, at the site of El Paraíso, north of Lima.

Inside the ruins of the ancient room, which measures about 23 feet by 26 feet (7 meters by 8 meters), there’s evidence of a ceremonial hearth, where offerings may have been burned, archaeologists say. The temple also had a narrow entrance and stone walls covered with yellow clay, on which traces of red paint were found, according to a statement from Peru’s Ministry of Culture.

El Paraíso, located on the central coast of Peru, just north of Lima, is a site made up of 10 buildings stretching over 123 acres (50 hectares). It’s one of the earliest known examples of monumental stone architecture in the Americas, dating back to the Late Preceramic period (3500-1800 B.C.). The newly found building is thought to date back to 3000 B.C., which should be confirmed with a radiocarbon analysis.



The ruins of El Paraíso in Peru
CREDIT: Peru Ministry of Culture

Rafael Varón, Peru’s deputy minister for culture, said in a statement that the discovery of the temple “has particular importance because it is the first structure of this type found on the central coast.” It suggests that the Lima region had more religious, economic and political importance during this early period than previously thought, Varón added.

Previously, man-made mounds shaped like orcas, condors and even a duck were discovered in Peru’s coastal valleys, including at El Paraíso, by anthropologist Robert Benfer, professor emeritus of the University of Missouri, who spotted the mounds in satellite photos. One curious mound found in El Paraíso in the Chillón Valley was of a condor head whose burned-charcoal eye was likely the place where offerings were once burned. The condor was also positioned to line up with the most extreme orientation of the Milky Way as seen from the Chillón Valley. [See Photos of the Animal Mounds]

A second mound, right next to the condor, looked like a combination of a puma and alligatorlike cayman, Benfer said. That one was oriented toward the spot where the sun rises on the day of the June solstice, the start of summer.

Dating to more than 4,000 years ago, the structures may be the oldest evidence of animal mounds outside of North America, Benfer said last year. The previous oldest animal structures date to about 2,000 years ago, part of the Nazca Lines. These lines are simple stone outlines of animals decorating the Nazca Desert in Peru.

Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience . We’re also on Facebook & Google+.

Monster Black Holes Grow Surprisingly Fast

Monster Black Holes Grow Surprisingly Fast

by Mike Wall, Senior Writer
Date: 12 February 2013 Time: 07:01 PM ET
Supermassive black hole
This image depicts three hot blobs of matter orbiting a black hole. If placed in our Solar System, this black hole would appear like a dark abyss spread out nearly as wide as Mercury’s orbit. And the three blobs (each as large as the Sun) would be as far out as Jupiter. They orbit the black hole in a lightning-quick 20,000 miles per second, over a tenth of the speed of light.
CREDIT: NASA/Dana Berry, SkyWorks Digital

Giant black holes are famous for their appetites, but these matter-munching monsters are even greedier than scientists once thought, a new study suggests.

The supermassive black holes that lurk at the center of most (if not all) galaxies are growing surprisingly quickly, the study found. The result implies that these cosmic behemoths are sustained primarily by frequent small meals rather than rare and dramatic galactic mergers, as was previously believed.

Supermassive black holes are almost incomprehensibly huge, with some containing 10 billion or more times the mass of our own sun. The research team used computer simulations to investigate how such black holes grow, especially in spiral galaxies like the Earth’s Milky Way.

The astronomers found that, contrary to prevailing theory, central black holes can grow quite rapidly in quiet, merger-free spirals simply by sucking up galactic gas and other matter.

“These simulations show that it is no longer possible to argue that black holes in spiral galaxies do not grow efficiently,” study lead author Victor Debattista, of the University of Central Lancashire in England, said in a statement. “Our simulations will allow us to refine our understanding of how black holes grew in different types of galaxies.”


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The new study further bolsters the emerging view that gigantic galactic smashups are responsible for just a small portion of supermassive black holes’ growth, researchers said.

And such growth can be prodigious. The black hole at the heart of the famous Sombrero Galaxy, also known as M104 or NGC 4594, has swallowed the equivalent of one sun every 20 years and now contains at least 500 million solar masses, researchers said.

The supermassive black hole at the core of the Milky Way Galaxy appears far less greedy, growing at a rate of one solar mass every 3,000 years, researchers said. Scientists estimate that this black hole, also known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A-star”), has the mass of about 4 million suns.

The new study was published today (Feb. 12) by The Astrophysical Journal.

Follow senior writer Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall  or @Spacedotcom . We’re also on Facebook and Google+

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