All the planets of the Solar System orbit the Sun in an anti-clockwise direction as viewed from above Earth's north pole. Most planets also rotate on their axes in an anti-clockwise direction, but Venus rotates clockwise (called "retrograde" rotation) once every 243 Earth days - the slowest rotation period of any planet. Because its rotation is so slow, it is highly spherical. A Venusian sidereal day thus lasts longer than a Venusian year (243 versus 224.7 Earth days). Click here to view the first image in today's viral picture gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of the world's heaviest fireworks shell being launched in Japan.
Alan Eustace, a 57-year-old senior vice president of Knowledge at Google, was lifted up to the edge of space earlier this morning by a balloon filled with 35,000 cubic feet of helium, from an abandoned runway at an airport in New Mexico. He fell faster than the speed of sound and actually broke Felix Baumgartner's world altitude record set just two years ago by hopping from 135,000-feet. Continue reading for the video and more information.
Despite its invisible interior, the presence of a black hole can be inferred through its interaction with other matter and with electromagnetic radiation such as light. Matter falling onto a black hole can form an accretion disk heated by friction, forming some of the brightest objects in the universe. If there are other stars orbiting a black hole, their orbit can be used to determine its mass and location. Such observations can be used to exclude possible alternatives (such as neutron stars). In this way, astronomers have identified numerous stellar black hole candidates in binary systems, and established that the core of the Milky Way contains a supermassive black hole of about 4.3 million solar masses. Continue reading for more.
Nobody, not even internet users, know what the Air Force's X-37B secret unmanned spacecraft was working on (or watching) for the past two years. It landed at 9:24am local time on October 17, 2014 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, according to the Air Force's 30th Space Wing. What we do know is that its size doesn't allow for much more than avionics equipment, fuel for the thrusters, and a mysterious cavity about the size of a truck bed that could that could possibly contain sensors, experiments, hardware, or even a bomb. Click here to view the first image in today's viral picture gallery. Continue reading for a viral video about the largest collection of James Bond memorabilia.
Rocky Mountain National Park, located in the north-central region of the U.S. state of Colorado, features majestic mountain views, mountain lakes, a variety of wildlife, varied climates and environments - from wooded forests to mountain tundra - and easy access to back-country trails and campsites. Plus, it's a great place for geeks to go stargazing at night, especially during the summer. Simply bring a comfortable chair, along with a telescope if you want an up-close look, and you'll be set to take everything in. Continue reading for more.
At first glance, this may look like a Jack-o'-Lantern, but it's just the sun. NASA astronaut has just released this image in time for Halloween, which blends together two separate wavelengths usually seen in gold and yellow to create the stunning effect. "The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy - markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona," says the government agency. Click here to view the first image in this week's funny demotivational posters gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever.
The Horsehead Nebula (above) is a dark nebula in the constellation Orion, located just to the south of the star Alnitak, which is farthest east on Orion's Belt, and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. It was first recorded in 1888 by Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming on photographic plate B2312 taken at the Harvard College Observatory. The Horsehead Nebula is approximately 1500 light years from Earth. It is one of the most identifiable nebulae because of the shape of its swirling cloud of dark dust and gases, which bears some resemblance to a horse's head when viewed from Earth. Continue reading for more.
NGC 6302, also known as the Bug Nebula or Butterfly Nebula, is a bipolar planetary nebula in the constellation Scorpius. The structure in the nebula is among the most complex ever observed in planetary nebulae. Due to its composition, when observed with a telescope, its shape reminds many of a butterfly. Continue reading for five things you may not have known about this nebula.
At first glance, these may appear to be a blurry image of random lights, but in reality, what you see are co-orbiting supermassive black holes powering the giant radio source 3C 75. They're surrounded by multi-million degree x-ray emitting gas, and blasting out jets of relativistic particles, separated by 25,000 light-years. Continue reading for a video and more information.
Located approximately 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus is the most Earth-like planet yet. Researchers discovered that this newly found world is the first of its size in a Goldilocks zone where water could pool in liquid form. It's officially called Kepler-186f, and it obscures 400 photons of starlight out of every million as it transits its parent star, repeating the cycle every 130 days. Continue reading for a video and more information.