Largest digital survey of the sky mapped billions of stars

Engadget reports:

An international team of astronomers have released two petabytes of data from the Pan-STARRS project that’s also known as the “world’s largest digital sky survey.” Two petabytes of data, according to the team, is equivalent to any of the following: a billion selfies, one hundred Wikipedias or 40 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with single-spaced text. The scientists spent four years observing three-fourths of the night sky through their 1.8 meter telescope at Haleakala Observatories on Maui, Hawaii, scanning three billion objects in the Milky Way 12 times in five different filters. Those objects included stars, galaxies, asteroids and other celestial bodies.

Wow … this is mind blowing at the very least …

See the image above? That’s the result of half a million 45-second exposures taken over four years. They’re releasing even more detailed images and data in 2017 — for now, you can check out what the team released to the public on the official Pan-STARRS website.


How often do asteroids hit Earth?

How often do asteroids hit Earth?

Between 2000 and 2013, a network of sensors that monitors Earth around the clock listening for the infrasound signature of nuclear detonations detected 26 explosions on Earth ranging in energy from 1-600 kilotons – all caused not by nuclear explosions, but rather by asteroid impacts.

There is also a list of all impacts and a video with locations.

two to the power of one hundred

Here is an excellent visualization of 2 to the power of 100.  If you take a piece of paper which is 0.1 mm thick, cut it in half and place one half on top of the other, then cut the stack in half and place half over the other half, and then repeat it 98 more times … how high is your stack of paper going to be? Think.  BOOM!  13.7 billion light years.  Here is a breakdown of how fast it gets there.

Just beautiful.

International Space Station Assembly

Absolutely amazing!  Humans have created this complex structure, bit by bit, while it flies 370 kilometers high and covers over 7 kilometers per second!  And while there are actual humans inside it too.

What’s more amazing is that having proof of the fact that we can work all together, we still kill each other over sill things like religion, skin color, and money.  I wonder when we’ll get over it finally and start working together more.  Maybe never …

Coldest Spot On Planet Earth

Slashdot lets us know that we finally know where’s the most freezing place on Earth:

What is the coldest place on Earth? It is a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night. Scientists made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date, developed with data from remote sensing satellites including the new Landsat 8, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., joined a team of researchers reporting the findings Monday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Researchers analyzed 32 years’ worth of data from several satellite instruments. They found temperatures plummeted to record lows dozens of times in clusters of pockets near a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji, two summits on the ice sheet known as the East Antarctic Plateau. The new record of minus 93.2 C was set Aug. 10, 2010.

The linked article from NASA has a nice visualization in the form of the YouTube video:

One thing that is not so obvious about this research is the problem with tools – most thermometers that we are using elsewhere will simply stop working at these temperatures.

And just in case you were wondering how cold is it in space, here is a very nice explanation:

Space technologies on Earth

A few days ago I had one of those drunk conversations on the importance of space exploration.  A chunk of it was spent on trying to remember and figure out which technologies do we enjoy now that were initially develop for or during space missions.  Today, on this slow Saturday afternoon, I remembered the conversation and had a brief look around.  There are plenty of websites that show the top 10 or just a random collection of technologies that improved live on Earth, after being used in space.  But I think the better, all around, one is the Wikipedia page on NASA spin-off technologies.

There are quite a few things listed there, grouped and categorized under health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer, home, and recreation, environment and agriculture, computer technology, and industrial productivity.