You might want to head to a library and look to see what's available. (Sounds like you're looking for peer-reviewed reports.)
The "hard core" science is usually in association/organization magazines (probably not ones available to subscribe via PCH). Try national observatories/organizations (US, UK, etc.) as well to see what publications they have.
NASA has a lot of scientific studies published (for free, via pdf) on their website. (I often don't link some except the more interesting ones.)
Thank you for the quick response! I've picked up a science prescription due to my experience with a few of the paper copies I saw at airports in my travels (homo technologicus? thats a grab worthy cover) but I was a bit worried when I saw they have been sold. As much as the human biome peeks my interest my focus is really more on space (its a spare time hobby so time is limited) but I will re-up on your recommendation. Is Discovery really that good? Quite possibly my disdain for the channels movement towards "popular" had turned me off, are they even associated? I should give them a second look.
Believe it or not, NASA's website is not something I've kept up with; reviewing my own question I now reflect on my own thought processes... You are also right that I should begin taking advantage of my own librarial (a word?) resources as I am in one of the meccas of scientific research (thank you MIT, Harvard, BU etc). Many of their libraries (at least Harvard's) are open to the public due to my location. Perhaps my own wish that all of this was at my finger tips was my own problem, instead reaching out to you all I should have checked my own local resources.
I'll take advantage of those public forums you've opened me to and maybe, with research, be able to positively contribute to this forum in the future!
Get a number of links from Discovery News site for this board.
Science (not Science News) is definitely peer-reviewed documents, but not focused on astronomy/cosmology.
My dad subscribed to Astronomy magazine at one point, but that might not be at the level of detail you're interested in. (Used to have a 12" telescope set up in his attic with viewing platform cut through roof.)
I had a bit to drink when I made this post... read it over about 5 times picking out various dumb spelling/word mistakes but never thought to double check the title...
I did pick up a copy of Science for my flight this week and it was a very good read but more general science. I think that may be a solid place to start (with my own research into better documentation on topics that interest me) as I found myself pretty curious about a lot of different topics in various fields.
Imagine a planet in orbit around a dead star. The world would be bathed in a lethal cocktail of X-rays and charged particles, emitted by a star so faint in visible light that it will scarcely cast a shadow on this world’s surface. This may all sound like science fiction, but bizarre worlds like this really do exist.
We’re steadily discovering more and more exoplanets around distant stars and, excitingly, we’re finding planets that are more and more Earth-like. That said, it’s easy to forget that the first exoplanets discovered weren’t actually very Earth-like at all. In fact, the first exoplanet to be discovered was in orbit around a pulsar — a star that is long dead.
Hard to imagine that in the span of a decade or so, we've gone from expecting solar systems like our own being norm to discovering that we're actually the rarity compared to all the "unusual" planetary systems that we're discovering left and right.
If a Star Trek episode came out with a planet like this, we would've viewed it as weak science fiction.
Massive stars are like gargantuan element foundries. For millions of years, they react atomic nuclei together into increasingly heavier chemical elements, before exploding as supernovae and scattering those elements out into the cosmos. Many of the elements created in supernovae are essential to life on Earth, and now for the first time ever, life on Earth has provided some rather unusual evidence for a supernova 2.2 million years ago.
A study carried out by researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), published in Nature, concerns a particular kind of iron loving bacteria known as magnetotactic bacteria. These particular microbes live in ocean sediments, where they metabolise iron to create tiny crystals of iron oxide — a particular type of iron oxide, known as magnetite (Fe3O4).
The magnetite crystals made by these bacteria are quite uniform, each just 80 nanometres (80 billionths of a meter) in size. The iron they use comes from dust in Earth’s atmosphere, which finds its way into the ocean. And every so often, they metabolise iron, which originally came from a supernova.
When a supernova explodes, nuclear fusion goes wild. Elements fuse together haphazardly, creating unusual and unstable radioactive isotopes. This is the only natural way in which certain elements, such as uranium, can be created. One particular isotope formed this way is iron-60.
In fact, iron-60 is created almost exclusively in supernovae. With a half life of 2.6 million years, any iron-60 which was on Earth back when it formed is long gone, so finding any of this form of iron on Earth is excellent evidence for a nearby supernova sometime in the (relatively) recent past.
Saturn's moon Titan might be in for some wild weather as it heads into its spring and summer, if two new models are correct. Scientists think that as the seasons change in Titan's northern hemisphere, waves could ripple across the moon's hydrocarbon seas, and hurricanes could begin to swirl over these areas, too. The model predicting waves tries to explain data from the moon obtained so far by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Both models help mission team members plan when and where to look for unusual atmospheric disturbances as Titan summer approaches.
"If you think being a weather forecaster on Earth is difficult, it can be even more challenging at Titan," said Scott Edgington, Cassini's deputy project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We know there are weather processes similar to Earth's at work on this strange world, but differences arise due to the presence of unfamiliar liquids like methane. We can't wait for Cassini to tell us whether our forecasts are right as it continues its tour through Titan spring into the start of northern summer."
Titan's north polar region, which is bejeweled with sprawling hydrocarbon seas and lakes, was dark when Cassini first arrived at the Saturn system in 2004. But sunlight has been creeping up Titan's northern hemisphere since August 2009, when the sun's light crossed the equatorial plane at equinox. Titan's seasons take about seven Earth years to change. By 2017, the end of Cassini's mission, Titan will be approaching northern solstice, the height of summer
The two planets in our solar system that we probably know the least about are the ice giants, Uranus and Neptune. Distant worlds that we’ve visited only once, courtesy of Voyager 2, what lies beneath their clouds is still very much a mystery. However, they both share one thing in common with Earth — the atmospheres of the two ice giants contain jet streams.
The jet streams on Earth are high in the atmosphere. Powerful streams of wind flowing from East to West, at speeds of over 100 miles per hour (160 km/h). This may sound fast, but Neptune and Uranus aren’t so gentle. Neptune is particularly turbulent, boasting the strongest winds in the entire solar system, reaching speeds of over 1,300 mph (2,100 km/h). But latest results show that those winds are only found in a relatively thin layer of these planets’ atmospheres.
In a recent paper, lead author Yohai Kaspi and a group of researchers based in Israel and the US show that the viciously powerful winds in these worlds are confined to a relatively small region of their atmospheres, no more than 680 miles (1,100 km) deep.
Magnetars are a rare type of neutron star, with powerful magnetic fields making them prone to occasional violent outbursts. Only a small handful of these curious beasts have been found in our galaxy, but new research from the Chandra X-ray Observatory implies that they may be a lot more common than previously expected. They may simply be in hiding.
Magnetars are traditionally thought to show intense magnetic fields on their surfaces, reaching thousands of times the strength of the fields found on regular neutron stars. But 6,500 light years from Earth, one magnetar in particular, SGR 0418+5729, seems to buck the trend. On the surface, it appears to be just an ordinary neutron star.
Five hours and 40 minutes after a successful Soyuz rocket launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan earlier today (May 28), Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, NASA's Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency docked their Soyuz spacecraft at the International Space Station at 10:10 p.m. EDT (0210 May 29 GMT).
The new crew will remain on the space station for the next six months.
Monday's same-day launch and docking was the second express flight to the International Space Station by an astronaut crew.
Unmanned cargo vessels have made this kind of trip many times before, but the one-day missions are a new method of flying for manned Soyuz capsules. Typically, it takes astronauts about two days to reach the space station, but this kind of flying only requires the capsule to orbit the Earth four times, shortening the amount of time the astronauts need to spend in the cramped spaceship.
Comet ISON Is Hurtling Toward Uncertain Destiny With Sun
A new series of images from Gemini Observatory shows Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) racing toward an uncomfortably close rendezvous with the Sun. In late November the comet could present a stunning sight in the twilight sky and remain easily visible, or even brilliant, into early December of this year.
The time-sequence images, spanning early February through May 2013, show the comet's remarkable activity despite its current great distance from the Sun and Earth. The information gleaned from the series provides vital clues as to the comet's overall behavior and potential to present a spectacular show. However, it's anyone's guess if the comet has the "right stuff" to survive its extremely close brush with the Sun at the end of November and become an early morning spectacle from Earth in early December 2013.
Crowd-funded asteroid-hunting telescope gets ~$1m on first day
Washington-based Planetary Resources unveiled its Kickstarter project on Wednesday to gauge the public’s appetite for space exploration.
The telescope, called ARKYD, is the initial component of a wide-ranging plan to mine near-Earth orbiting asteroids for metals, minerals and other materials. It is being designed and built by Planetary Resources, whose investors include Google founders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt.
Planetary Resources president and chief engineer Chris Lewicki tells Discovery News that the idea to launch a Kickstarter campaign was a way to respond to hundreds of emails, offers, ideas, job applications and general interest that had been inundating the company since it outlined its plans last year.
At the highest level of support, participants can gift telescope time to a school so students can make astronomical observations. For a $200 pledge, backers can use the telescope themselves. A $25 commitment buys use of a virtual “space photo booth,” an innovative project to let participants send a picture of themselves or anything else of their choosing that will be displayed on a monitor attached to the outside of the telescope. A remote camera on the spacecraft then will take a picture of the picture, with Earth in the background, and transmit it back.
Scientists looking for planets around the star nearest to the solar system will soon get a helping hand from Mother Nature.
Our neighbor star, Proxima Centauri, will line up very closely with a background star in October 2014 and then again with another star in February 2016, relative to Earth’s line of sight.
The geometry will enable astronomers to take advantage of a fanciful but practical ramification of Einstein’s general relatively theory, which explains how gravity curves space (and time — but that’s another story.)
Sometimes when gravity bends light waves, objects that previously weren’t visible can be seen. When Proxima Centauri aligns with background stars, astronomers want to measure the distorted views of the background stars to get a more precise calculation of our neighbor’s mass. The idea is that if Proxima Centauri has any planets in orbit, they may cause a secondary shift in the background stars’ positions during the alignments.
Because the star is so close to Earth, the patch of sky under its gravitational influence is relatively large, which makes the hunt for orbital plants possible, Kailash Sahu, an astronomer with the Space Science Telescope Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, said at the opening day of the American Astronomical Society meeting in Indianapolis on Monday.
Every second, the sun is emitting a wind of countless billions of charged particles, sending them screaming outwards, traveling at hundreds of kilometers per second. Watching what happens when this solar wind slams into planetary atmospheres is the mission of SPRINT-A, the first space telescope dedicated to observing the planets.
Constructed by JAXA, the Japanese Aerospace eXploration Agency, SPRINT-A (full name, the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere) is due to be launched later this year. From its vantage point in an elliptical orbit around Earth (not unlike the orbit occupied by the Chandra X-ray Observatory), it’ll turn it’s gaze towards our neighboring planets.
Seeing with ultraviolet eyes, SPRINT-A’s main objective will be to watch for high energy interactions in the upper atmospheres of the planets. Taking both images and spectra in the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) wavelength range, it should afford us our best view yet of the solar wind crashing into our neighboring worlds.
Hubble photographed an April 2011 explosion in the double-star system T Pyxidis (T Pyx for short), which goes off every 12 to 50 years. The new images reveal that material ejected by previous T Pyx outbursts did not escape into space, instead sticking around to form a debris disk about 1 light-year wide around the system.
"We fully expected this to be a spherical shell," study co-author Arlin Crotts of Columbia University said in a statement. "This observation shows it is a disk, and it is populated with fast-moving ejecta from previous outbursts."
The erupting T Pyx star is a white dwarf, the burned-out core of a star much like our own sun. White dwarfs are small but incredibly dense, often packing the mass of the sun into a volume the size of Earth.
T Pyx's white dwarf has a companion star, from which it siphons off hydrogen fuel. When enough of this hydrogen builds up on the white dwarf's surface, it detonates like a gigantic hydrogen bomb, increasing the white dwarf's brightness by a factor of 10,000 over a single day or so.
This happens again and again. T Pyx is known to have erupted in 1890, 1902, 1920, 1944, and 1966, in addition to the 2011 event.