Celestron NexStar Evolution

Available in 6, 8 and 9.25-inch models, Celestron's NexStar Evolution
Available in 6, 8 and 9.25-inch models, Celestron’s NexStar Evolution

Earth’s most popular spaceship-to-the-stars has evolved

NexStar Evolution includes everything you love about Celestron telescopes, plus a few upgrades to enhance the view

Quickly and efficiently find the most popular stellar objects in the sky by touching your smartphone or tablet. Just connect to NexStar Evolution’s wireless network to manipulate your new NexStar Evolution using the included Celestron SkyPortal planetarium app for iOS and Android.

  • Available in 6 in, 8 in, and 9.25 in models

  • State-of-the-art lithium battery allows for up to ten hours of continuous sky watching

  • Includes a Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube, with StarBright XLT optical coatings, and is Fastar compatible

  • A USB charging port, adjustable tray light, and improved tripod add new convenience features that make using your new NexStar Evolution a lot more fun and safe

  • Download free SkyPortal app

You can find the new NexStar Evolution at Celestron.

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NASA’s Cassini Orbiter Captures Images of Methane Clouds Moving Over Northern Seas of Saturn’s Moon Titan

NASA's Cassini Orbiter tracks methane clouds moving over Titan's northern seas Ligeia Mare
NASA’s Cassini Orbiter tracks methane clouds moving over Titan’s northern seas Ligeia Mare

Methane clouds over northern seas could signal arrival of summer storms

Space news (the solar system: Saturn; Titan) – looking for evidence of clouds moving over surface of Saturn’s moon Titan –

Planetary space scientists have been looking for evidence of clouds moving over the northern hydrocarbon seas of Saturn’s moon Titan for awhile. Their planetary models of Titan predicted the movement of clouds over the northern seas, which should signal the arrival of summer storms. Near the end of July, they were provided with the proof they require in the form of images of methane clouds moving at 7 to 10 mph across the sky above the hydrocarbon seas of Titan’s northern sea Ligeia Mare. You can watch a movie showing the movement of clouds over the northern seas of Titan here.

NASA's Cassini Orbiter captured images of clouds active over the northern seas of Titan
NASA’s Cassini Orbiter captured images of clouds active over the northern seas of Titan

“We’re eager to find out if the clouds’ appearance signals the beginning of summer weather patterns, or if it is an isolated occurrence,” said Elizabeth Turtle, a Cassini imaging team associate at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland. “Also, how are the clouds related to the seas? Did Cassini just happen to catch them over the seas, or do they form preferentially?”

Work continues for the team

Planetary scientists will continue to watch and study seasonal changes on Saturn’s moon Titan in order to learn more about the weather systems on other worlds and our own. This will be a job requiring patience, because a year on Titan is equivalent to 30 years on Earth, and each season lasts around seven years.

You can find additional information on NASA’s Cassini Solstice Space Mission here.

You can find more information on the Cassini Orbiter Space here.

 

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Identifies 101 Icy Geysers on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus

This graphic shows a 3-D model of 98 geysers whose source locations and tilts were found in a Cassini imaging survey of Enceladus' south polar terrain by the method of triangulation.
This graphic shows a 3-D model of 98 geysers whose source locations and tilts were found in a Cassini imaging survey of Enceladus’ south polar terrain by the method of triangulation.

Analysis of Cassini data identifies 101 distinct icy geysers erupting on surface of Enceladus

Space news – Enceladus, Saturn (Sept 22, 2014) –

Planetary space scientists looking at information obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft of the south polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus over a seven-year study have viewed 101 watery-geysers on the surface. This suggests to scientists it’s possible for liquid from the underground sea believed to be under the moon’s icy exterior to reach the surface and erupt as a spray of small, icy particles.

Dramatic plumes, both large and small, spray water ice and vapor from many locations along the famed
Dramatic plumes, both large and small, spray water ice and vapor from many locations along the famed “tiger stripes” near the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft first saw possible geysers of water vapor erupting from the icy surface of Enceladus almost a decade ago. At this time, tiger stripe fractures could be seen on the surface, and scientists suspected they might have something to do with the geysers they could see. It took until now to confirm, through the seven-year study just completed, the 101 geysers are in fact erupting from the tiger stripe fractures. They also discovered individual geysers originate from small hot spots seen in images collected using Cassini’s temperature-sensing instruments in 2010.

This Cassini narrow-angle camera image -- one of those acquired in the survey conducted by the Cassini imaging science team of the geyser basin at the south pole of Enceladus -- was taken as Cassini was looking across the moon's south pole.
This Cassini narrow-angle camera image — one of those acquired in the survey conducted by the Cassini imaging science team of the geyser basin at the south pole of Enceladus — was taken as Cassini was looking across the moon’s south pole.

“Once we had these results in hand we knew right away heat was not causing the geysers, but vice versa,” said Carolyn Porco, leader of the Cassini imaging team from the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and lead author of the first paper. “It also told us the geysers are not a near-surface phenomenon but have much deeper roots.”

Next for scientists

Taking a closer look at data concerning the gravity field around Enceladus, planetary space scientists concluded the only plausible source of the liquid erupting from the geysers is the sea beneath the icy exterior of the moon. Computer simulations also show narrow passages to the inner sea could stay open completely to the surface if filled with liquid water.

Additional information on NASA’s Cassini space mission can be found here.

Links to additional information, images and animations can be found here.

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Celeston Ultima Duo Eyepieces

Celestron's new Ultima Duo  eyepieces
Celestron’s new Ultima Duo eyepieces

Get a new perspective on the universe by looking through Ultima Duo high-performance photo-visual eyepieces offering stunning views of the solar system and crystal clear images of the Moon and planets. Versatile enough to go from viewing to imaging in the blink of an eye, Celestron’s new Ultima Duo eyepieces combine fully multi-coated, state-of-the-art optics and a built-in T-adapter for reliable Astro imaging 

A complete line of quality eyepieces
A complete line of quality eyepieces

Celestron’s Ultima Duo eyepieces have a 68-degree field of view perfect for visual observing and industry standard 42mm T-adapter threads. Just remove the rubber eye guard and then easily attach a DSL camera for unforgettable images of the planets and Moon.

Canadians can find Ultima Duo here or at Celestron.

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Europa Shows Signs of Plate Tectonics

12,000 square miles of thick icy material forced under another ice shell

Space news – (Europa) – Planetary space geologists have looked for years for telltale signs of plate tectonics occurring elsewhere in the solar system, other than Earth. Indications of this geological process taking place on other planetary bodies could mean the processes geologists observe here are possibly common in the solar system.

Recently, space scientists looking at images taken of Europa by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft during a flyby in the early 2000s, discovered unusual geological features they believe indicates the process of plate tectonics is taking place on the surface. You can learn more about Europa and view the images here

This conceptual illustration of the subduction process on Europa show how cold, brittle surface material roughly 10-12 miles thick moved into the moved into the warmer interior
This conceptual illustration of the subduction process on Europa shows how cold, brittle surface material roughly 10-12 miles thick moved into the moved into the warmer interior.

Image Credit: Noah Kroese, I.NK

Planetary space geologist Simon Kattenhorn, working at the University of Idaho, and Louise Prockter, of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, discovered geological boundaries indicating the surface of Europa had recently shifted significantly in the northern latitudes.

Planetary space geologists see areas in the northern latitudes of Europa where the new ice crust has thrust up from below and then spread into bands miles wide. This planetary space geologists believe occurs in a process possibly similar to seafloor spreading on Earth, which is part of the theory of plate tectonics. Plate tectonics, or continental drift, is the theory the Earth’s crust and upper mantle, or lithosphere, is composed of slowly drifting tectonic plates of various sizes.

On our home planet, while new sea floor is forming at mid-ocean ridges, old surface is annihilated at subduction zones. Subduction zones are surface areas where two tectonic plates meet and then overlap as one is pushed beneath the other. Despite the mile wide bands of the new surface on Europa, however, planetary space geologists couldn’t understand how the top layer was able to accommodate the volume of new crust being formed.

“We have been puzzled for years as to how all this new terrain could be formed, but we couldn’t figure out how it was accommodated,” said Prockter. “We finally think we’ve found the answer.”

Planetary space geologists rearranged the Galileo images they were looking at into their original positions to get a view of these new surface regions before they moved. They found 12,000 square miles (almost 20,000 square kilometers) of the old surface area in the northern latitudes was gone.

Planetary geologists also saw ice volcanoes erupting on the surface in the regions in question in the images, which they think could be formed due to the melting and absorption of one icy plate as it’s pushed beneath another at a subduction zone.

“Europa may be more Earth-like than we imagined if it has a global plate tectonic system,” Kattenhorn says. “Not only does this discovery make it one of the most geologically interesting bodies in the solar system, it also implies two-way communication between the exterior and interior — a way to move material from the surface into the ocean — a process which has significant implications for Europa’s potential as a habitable world.”

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