Young astronomers to investigate the outer Solar System Science Nation
MUSIC MILES O'BRIEN When these young astronomers look out at the night sky they look way out to the Kuiper Belt the cloud of icy, rocky debris that litters the solar system out beyond the planets. MARK BUIE One of the tools we use for studying the outer solar system is an occultation. It's a big, fancy word that basically means something gets in front of something else. BACKGROUND VOICE It's a mini recorder MILES O'BRIEN With support from the National Science Foundation, Astronomers Marc Buie and John Keller operate.
RECON the Research and Education Cooperative Occultation Network. JOHN KELLER And, that information includes the latitude and longitude. MILES O'BRIEN They provide equipment and training to 14 small Western communities, where night skies are clear and dark. Teachers and students search for sizable chunks of Kuiper belt rock and ice as they pass in front of distant stars. MARK BUIE And we time or measure when the starlight disappears, and where it reappears. The study of the outer solar system, or any portion of the solar system, tells you a piece of the puzzle about where we came from.
MILES O'BRIEN In Carson City, Nevada, students have access to professional equipment at the Davis Observatory. MARK BUIE They're using a camera that looks through the telescope, which is more sensitive than your eye. JIM BEAN Ok, you guys see the star maybe disappearing MILES O'BRIEN Carson High School teacher Jim Bean is an instructor on the RECON team. JIM BEAN It's just a good opportunity to introduce kids to what real science can be. Here, we don't know what the answer is going to be. And, things don't always run smoothly.
SHELBY BROWN I want to get into the astronomy field. I think this has impacted what i definitely want to do with my career. DAVID HANNA Instead of redoing an experiment, it feels like we are doing something that's contributing to science a little more. MILES O'BRIEN The RECON team plans for the network to eventually stretch from Washington state to Arizona. The aim to bring together students, teachers, and knowledgeable amateur astronomers in each community. JOHN KELLER A project that is collecting data and doing analyses on these objects out past Neptune that we actually.
Don't have answers to yet. And, so RECON is a chance for these students to actually be part of the process of discovering new things about our solar system. MILES O'BRIEN This is not just a classroom exercise. Buie analyses the data gathered by the students to calculate the sizes of the Kuiper belt objects, which helps determine other characteristics like density and composition. JOHN KELLER They're doing authentic science. So, they're part of the process that will be publishable research. MARK BUIE Once you see one of these things, it's like magic!.
The Future of Solar Energy is TINY Technology!
The future is huge for tiny technology. Miniaturization is, perhaps ironically, a huge deal. I mean, without it we wouldn't have had the personal computer revolution and we wouldn't have this world we live in now, where we have smartphones and tablets and other devices just as powerful as a computer, that can fit in the palm of your hand. But even these gadgets are gargantuan compared to nanotechnology! See, a nanometer is just one billionth of a meter. And that's kind of hard to imagine, so let me put it to you this way.
Your typical sheet of paper is about one hundred thousand nanometers thick. And at this scale, individual elements are so small you can't even see them with a light microscope. Now as we learn more about how materials behave on the nanoscale, we have more potential applications to use that knowledge practically. I'm talking about how nanotech could help solar panel technology. And fortunately, at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, they had a panel on just this very subject. Now if you know anything about solar panels you know they have some drawbacks. For example,.
Efficiency they max out at around twenty percent in the field under ideal conditions. They're also rigid, so you can't just put them anywhere you like. And they tend to be expensive because manufacturing them is complicated. But scientists hope that nanotechnology can help address all three of these challenges. Now with efficiency they're looking to nature specifically, moth eyes. You see, moths have these little tiny structures in their eyes that help reflect light back into the eye and it does two things it lets them see better in the dark, and it cuts down.
On reflection so predators can't spot them as easily. With solar panels it could actually make them more efficient by reflecting more of the sun's light into the panel so you lose less in reflection. And when we're talking about flexibility, well nanomaterials are really, really small, and there is the potential to create solar panels that are just a few sheets of molecules thick. They could be as flexible as a sheet of paper, and with that kind of flexibility you could put those pretty much anywhere you wanted to.
And as for price, well, that's the big one. And in the short term I don't think it's going to turn around. But scientists are cautiously optimistic that nanotechnology will let us use new processes, like printing solar panels directly onto a substrate using just a specialized printer. That would actually be less complicated and expensive than traditional manufacturing methods. Now at that meeting of the AAAS, a Dr. Wolfgang Porod gave a talk about Nanoantenna Thermocouples for Energy Harvesting. Which I admit sounds like technobabble straight out of a Star Trek episode.
But it's actually fairly simple once you break it down. A nanoantenna is just an antenna on the nanoscale. These resonate with longwave infrared radiation. And a thermocouple Well that's a component of circuitry that generates a voltage when one part of the thermocouple is a different temperature than other part. So you pair these two together and the antenna generates heat and the thermocouple generates voltage. It could actually help increase the efficiency of solar panels. Now like I said, nanotechnology is a young science and it has lots of different applications.
Across many disciplines. And I'm really excited how such a small technology could have such a huge impact. That leads me to this week's question. When I say the word nanotechnology what do you imagine What does that word mean to you Let us know in the comments below. Then, do me a nanosized favor and share this tutorial with your friends. If you enjoyed it make sure you hit the 'like' button and subscribe to our channel. Then check out these tutorials over here. There's some huge surprises in them.
Interesting Facts About Saturn
The planet Saturn is my favorite object in the night sky, no question. When I bought my first telescope at age thirteen, Saturn was the first planet I looked at. To actually see the planet's rings, right there in the eyepiece, was nothing short of life changing. The planet is stunning to view, and the facts about Saturn are just as amazing. Even if sometimes they are little confusing. Saturn is less dense than water. If you could find a pool big enough, Saturn would float. You might think it's easy to figure out how fast a planet is rotating, but Saturn was.
Tricky because it's a gas giant. They had to measure how fast Saturn's magnetic field was turning to get an answer, at a jaunty ten hours, thirtytwo minutes and thirtyfive seconds. This high speed rotation causes the planet to flatten out into an oblate spheroid, making the distance from the center to the poles only fiftyfourthousand kilometers, while the distance to the equator is sixtythousandthreehundred kilometers. That's a difference of sixthousandthreehundred kilometers. The first person to observe Saturn with a telescope was Galileo. He saw that the planet and described strange ears on either side.
He thought they might be moons stuck to the side of the planet. It wasn't until half a century later, Huygens used a better telescope, and was able to resolve the rings. But you don't need a telescope to see Saturn, it's one of the brighter objects in the night sky, with a bright, yellowish color. You'll need good binoculars, or a telescope to make out the rings, though. We're so familiar with the famous images of Saturn captured by spacecraft, it's hard to believe the are only four who have made the journey Pioneer Two, Voyager One, Voyager.
Two, and now NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Currently, there are no other future missions planned. Saturn goes through seasons, just like Earth. And from our perspective, we see the tilt of the rings changing over its thirtyyear trip around the Sun. Sometimes the rings are wide around the planet, and other times they're a thin line, and almost disappear completely. These rings are very old. or maybe they're young. We actually don't know. It's possible that Saturn's rings were formed recently by a smashed moon, or maybe they formed in place, at the beginning of the Solar System billions of years ago.
Astronomers just don't have enough evidence either way yet. Saturn has at least sixtytwo moons. There's Titan, the second largest moon in the Solar System, with a dense atmosphere, weather systems, and lakes of liquid methane. Mimas, which looks eerily like the Death Star. There are big moons and tiny moons, and more are discovered all the time. Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons might contain life. It's spewing water ice into space from its southern pole, which means that there could be liquid water beneath the surface. As wherever we find water on Earth, we find life.
The Violent End Stage of Star Formation
Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 has captured this image of a giant cloud of hydrogen gas illuminated by a bright young star. The image shows how violent the end stages of the star formation process can be, with the young object shaking up its stellar nursery. A few thousand lightyears away, in the constellation of Cygnus, lies the compact starforming region Sh 2106, or S106 for short. Despite the celestial colors of this picture, there is nothing peaceful about this scene. A young star, named S106 IR, is being born at the heart of the nebula.
In the violent final stages of its formation, the star is ejecting material at high speed, violently disrupting the gas and dust. 3D visualizations show the extent to which the star has carved its surroundings into a complex shape. In particular, the hourglasslike structure of the nebula is a result of jets from the star slamming into the cloud of hydrogen it is forming from. At the outer edges of these cavities, the gas has been compressed into shock fronts by the pressure. The star has a mass about 15 times that of the Sun and is in the final.
Stages of its formation. It will soon quiet down by entering the adult stage of stellar life, known to astronomers as the main sequence. For now, though, S106 IR remains embedded in its parent cloud, but it is rebelling against it. The material spewing off the star not only gives the cloud its hourglass shape but also makes the hydrogen gas turbulent. The resulting intricate patterns are clearly visible here. As well as churning up the gas cloud, the young star is also heating it up to temperatures of 10 000 degrees Celsius. The star's radiation excites the gas, making it glow like a fluorescent.
Bulb. The light from this glowing gas is colored blue in this image, which combines Hubble observations taken in visible and infrared light. Separating these regions of glowing gas is a cooler, thick stream of dust, shown here in red. This dark material almost completely hides the star from view, but the young object can still be seen faintly peeking through the widest part of the dust lane. The cloud itself is relatively small by the standards of star forming regions, around two lightyears in size along its longest axis. This is about half the distance between.
Ask the Expert Do asteroids pose a real threat to us YouTube Space Lab with Liam Brad
LIAM Oh, what up. Got another letter. BRAD Why do you get all the letters Screw this, I'm done with this segment. LIAM This one's from my very good friend, Britney Spears. BRAD No, it's not. LIAM It is. Dear Liam, cat, cats, cats she loves cats, she's just written a lot of cats with little smiley faces and hearts because she loves me so much. Do asteroids pose a real threat to us here on Earth Well, Britney, it's your lucky day, sweetheart. Let's find out. MARIETTE DICHRISTINA So if a 100meter asteroid were to.
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