Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stephen Colbert awaits NASA decision

Stephen Colbert awaits NASA decision: "NASA has clamped a tight lid on its choice of a name for the international space station's new wing, but it's sending an astronaut to break the news to comedian Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night.


(Via CNN.com.)

Pentagon looks to move pirate battle to shore

Pentagon looks to move pirate battle to shore: "As the Defense Department weighs options to prevent a repeat of the drama that unfolded on the seas this weekend, those who patrol the waters say pirates must be rooted out before they leave land.


(Via CNN.com.)

Virginia Class Sub, Stealthly Hunter

Virginia Class Sub, Stealthly Hunter: "The U.S. Navy's 7 nuclear-powered Virginia Class hunter submarines are large - 377 feet long -- fast, stealthy and armed with MK-48 torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles. Congress wants another."

(Via Aviationweek: Defense.)

Hand of God?

CNN) -- New photographs released by NASA have captured images of a vast stellar formation resembling a human hand reaching across space.
NASA's Chandra Observatory captured this hand-shaped image of an X-ray nebula.

The image, taken by NASA's space-based Chandra Observatory telescope, shows an X-ray nebula 150 light years across.

It shows what appear to be ghostly blue fingers -- thumb and pinky clearly discernible from index, ring and middle digits -- reaching into a sparkling cloud of fiery red.

NASA says the display is caused by a young and powerful pulsar, known by the rather prosaic name of PSR B1509-58.

"The pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star which is spewing energy out into the space around it to create complex and intriguing structures, including one that resembles a large cosmic hand," NASA says.

The space agency says B1509 -- created by a collapsed star -- is one of the most powerful electromagnetic generators in the Galaxy. The nebula is formed by a torrent of electrons and ions emitted by the 1,700-year-old phenomenon.

The finger-like structures are apparently caused by "energizing knots of material in a neighboring gas cloud," NASA says.


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