Today CNN received two amazing new videos of the Northern Lights. One is a view from space, and one is a little closer to home. If you’ve never seen the lights in person then this is the next-best thing. In case you didn’t know, the Aurora Borealis is caused when a solar wind (electrically charged particles emitted by the sun) interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field. These videos make it look more like a work of art than a reaction caused by a solar wind. Have you seen the Northern Lights? Send us your stories in the comments below.
Stars from space – NASA has released an awe-inspiring time-lapse video of Earth taken from the international space station. The Expedition 30 crew captured everything from haunting Northern Lights to stunning thunderstorms over Africa. This will give you a whole new perspective on Earth. Be sure to watch those thunderstorms at :33, and see the Comet Lovejoy around 1:30.
"Bright stars, shining through what looks like a haze in the night sky, are part of a young stellar grouping in one of the largest known star formation regions of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The image was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.
The stellar grouping, known to stargazers as NGC 2040 or LH 88, is a loose star cluster whose stars have a common origin and are drifting together through space. There are three different types of stellar associations defined by their stellar properties. NGC 2040 is an OB association, a grouping that usually contains 10–100 stars of type O and B–these are high-mass stars that have short but brilliant lives. It is thought that most of the stars in the Milky Way were born in OB associations.
A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Image Processing Competition by contestant Eedresha Sturdivant. Hidden Treasures is an initiative to invite astronomy enthusiasts to search the Hubble archive for stunning images that have never been seen by the general public."Source: NASA
The launch of SpaceX's Dragon capsule to the International Space Station is eagerly anticipated. A successful mission will mark the first time a commercial spacecraft berths to ISS.
It was supposed to launch April 30, but we're going to have to wait a little longer. May 7 is the new target date, a SpaceX spokesperson said Tuesday.
SpaceX and NASA completed a Flight Readiness Review on April 16, giving the commercial company the green light to launch its Dragon capsule, carrying some 1200 pounds of cargo, atop a Falcon 9 rocket. A successful berthing to ISS would set SpaceX and Dragon on the path to becoming regular visitors to Station.
[Updated at 5:26 p.m. ET] Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis pioneered the business of sending millionaire tourists to space. Now they want to mine asteroids for what they say will be tens of billions of dollars worth of resources annually for use on Earth and beyond.
Seattle-area's Planetary Resources, backed by big-money investors including filmmaker James Cameron and Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, said Tuesday it plans to develop and launch a series of robotic systems and unmanned spacecraft, starting with its Arkyd-100 Earth-orbiting space telescopes that it hopes to launch by the end of 2013 to identify candidate near-Earth asteroids.
The company hopes to dispatch swarms of Arkyd-300 prospecting spacecraft, which would orbit candidate asteroids and finish the process of determining what they hold, within 10 years.
The Bellevue, Washington, company would then unveil a new system of spacecraft for the payoff: mining precious metal, such as platinum, for use on Earth; and extracting water, whose elements the company says can be used for fuel and life-support systems in space.
In short, Planetary Resources hopes it will be in a crucial and lucrative position of not only boosting terrestrial industry, but also setting up a network of fuel depots that humanity will need to better explore the solar system and beyond.
"The Earth is feeling a resource pinch, and ultimately we will have the ability to turn that which is scarce into abundant," Diamandis, who co-founded Planetary Resources with Anderson in 2009 but generally kept mum about the project until this month, said at a press event in Seattle on Tuesday.
Editor's note: Robert Zubrin, an astronautical engineer, is president of The Mars Society and author of “The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must,” recently updated and republished by Simon & Schuster.
In the opinion piece “Mars can wait. Oceans can’t,” published recently on CNN.com, Amitai Etzioni says that we should defer Mars exploration because the seas have a higher priority. While I have the highest regard for ocean exploration, the fact of the matter is that there are numerous agencies – including the U.S. Navy, the navies of other countries, academic institutions, research organizations, corporations and James Cameron personally – that are more than adequately financed and equipped to carry it out.
The idea that we need to suspend space exploration in order to provide the necessary resources to probe the oceans is categorically absurd. So let’s call it like it is: The argument that we should explore the oceans instead of space is not a call to search the seas, but simply a disingenuous way to give up our effort to reach the Red Planet.
(CNN) - As an estimated one billion people around the globe take part in events to mark the 42nd Earth Day, Paolo Nespoli's images provide a striking reminder of our planet's awe-inspiring beauty and fragility as an eco-system.
During a six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS) last year, the Italian astronaut snapped around 26,000 images, posting daily updates on Twitter.
"I really tried to capture what I was seeing. I was amazed by the response from people. It was very fulfilling for me. I was doing something which was very interesting for me, but it made me more happy that I could share the images," Nespoli said.
Nespoli explained to CNN what it's like to see the world "turning around your feet" and the unique perspective space travel provides on our planet and humans' collective impact on it.
Describe the view of Earth from space?
Paolo Nespoli: "It's a most unreal view you have from up there. It's look as though it's painted. One of the things you gain up there is an appreciation of planet Earth as a kind of ship. It looks like a ship flying in space.
"A lot of the time you're up there you are working so you don't have a lot of time to look out of the window. When you do, most of the time you see oceans and clouds - which is really nice.
"But it really takes a little bit of time before you acquire a perception of where you are and what you are looking at and how to look at it in the best way.
"After a month, a month and a half, something strange happens - you look out of the window and you know where you are. You might be over Australia, Africa, you just know. It's amazing how you just develop this."FULL STORY
"To celebrate its 22nd anniversary in orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope released a dramatic new image of the star-forming region 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula because its glowing filaments resemble spider legs. A new image from all three of NASA's Great Observatories–Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer–has also been created to mark the event.
The nebula is located in the neighboring galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud, and is one of the largest star-forming regions located close to the Milky Way. At the center of 30 Doradus, thousands of massive stars are blowing off material and producing intense radiation along with powerful winds. The Chandra X-ray Observatory detects gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by these stellar winds and also by supernova explosions. These X-rays, colored blue in this composite image, come from shock fronts–similar to sonic booms–formed by this high-energy stellar activity.
The Hubble data in the composite image, colored green, reveals the light from these massive stars along with different stages of star birth, including embryonic stars a few thousand years old still wrapped in cocoons of dark gas. Infrared emission data from Spitzer, seen in red, shows cooler gas and dust that have giant bubbles carved into them. These bubbles are sculpted by the same searing radiation and strong winds that comes from the massive stars at the center of 30 Doradus."Source: NASA
Almost 50 years ago, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act. It prohibits employers from paying men or women different wages based on gender.
At the time, women earned almost 59 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity.
Earlier this week, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research released a fact sheet finding men make more money than women in almost every occupation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
So how is it that after 50 years, women have only increased their relative pay by 18 cents?
Editor's note: David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has been an adviser to four presidents. He is a professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Follow him onTwitter. Michael Zuckerman is his research assistant.
(CNN) - Space Shuttle Discovery started out as a way to discover what lies beyond us. Its last flight, taken earlier this week, helped to discover what now lies within us.
Piggybacked atop a specially outfitted 747, Discovery made its flyover Tuesday above Washington - soaring over the White House and the Capitol, the Washington Monument and Arlington National Cemetery - en route to Dulles Airport and its new (and final) home, the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center.
All around Washington, people climbed up on rooftops, pulled off to the side of the road or gathered anywhere with a clear view to watch the shuttle's parting journey. The Washington Post reported tens of thousands on the Mall alone.
Editor's Note: Matthew Lane is a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at UCLA and is the founder of Math Goes Pop!, a blog focused on the surprisingly rich intersection between mathematics and popular culture. You can follow him on Twitter at @mmmaaatttttt.
Whether you are trying to make the best decisions for your fantasy baseball league, looking to capitalize on an opportunity in a fluctuating stock market or simply filtering through the results of a Google search, it is hard to deny that we are surrounded by more data now than ever before. As such, the task of organizing and drawing conclusions from data can be a challenge, but thankfully mathematics can, in many cases, rise to the occasion.
The application of mathematics to such a rapidly increasing pool of data, however, is not without controversy. For example, in February The New York Times published an investigation written by Charles Duhigg about the value of consumer data to major corporations, and how those corporations can use your data in an instinctively creepy way.