Science & Technology

Astronomers have spotted some kind of outer space rock that's the first visitor from outside of our solar system that they've ever observed.

The discovery has set off a mad scramble to point telescopes at this fast-moving object to try to learn as much as possible before it zips out of sight.

Some 130 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed Earth, two dead stars in a far-away galaxy collided violently, after spiraling around each other for millions of years.

The dead stars were neutron stars, exotic objects the size of Mount Everest and with the mass of the sun. Being this small and dense, the gravitational force is fierce. Someone once compared the pull of gravity near the surface of a neutron star to having all the population of Paris tied to your feet.

For the first time, scientists have caught two neutron stars in the act of colliding, revealing that these strange smashups are the source of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.

In 1915, Albert Einstein concluded his General Theory of Relativity, a theory that would revise our understanding of gravity in radical ways.

Before Einstein, the dominant description of gravitational phenomena was based on Isaac Newton's theory, proposed in 1687. According to Newton, every two objects with mass attract one another with a force proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of their distance: double the distance, the attraction falls by a factor of four.

If there is one thing science is good for, it's going to extremes.

A lot of science's history is just one story after another of people figuring out how to do something that, just a few years before, was thought to be impossible.

The impossible was heavy on my mind last Wednesday as I found out just how close we were to seeing — as in taking actual pictures — of black holes.

If it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, what NASA's Cassini mission has left for us is indeed a treasure.

Launched in 1997, the mission terminated dramatically last week with the probe's final plunge into Saturn's upper atmosphere.

After 13 years in orbit around Saturn, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is about to plunge itself into the planet's atmosphere and disintegrate. NASA decided to put an end to the mission on Friday because the probe is almost out of fuel.

Cassini has provided exquisite details about the second-largest planet in our solar system.

This has been quite a space week for Americans.

After Monday's stunning solar eclipse, Wednesday night PBS will air its two-hour documentary film about the two Voyager missions, launched 40 years ago. The Farthest: Voyager In Space, celebrates a technological and intellectual achievement rarely matched in history. Two small, nuclear-powered spacecraft have traveled farther than any other man-made machine and have forever changed our views of the solar system — and our place in it.

Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to discuss how spreadsheets can change your life.

Jesse Feiler spends his time writing, consulting, and building apps — sometimes at the same time. With Gail Nayowith, he’s finishing The Nonprofit Risk Book due out in October and The Nonprofit Risk App currently in beta test. (Beta test volunteers are very welcome — register at champlainarts.com.)

Live Blog -- Total Solar Eclipse Crosses The U.S.

Aug 21, 2017
Courtesy of Romeo Durscher/NASA

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Anyone who gets to see the total solar eclipse on August 21 will be lucky — and humanity is lucky to live on a planet that even has this kind of celestial event.

Mercury and Venus, after all, don't even have moons. Mars has a couple, but they're too small to completely blot out the sun. Gas giants like Jupiter do have big moons, but they don't have solid surfaces where you could stand and enjoy an eclipse.

And, even with solid land and a moon, Earth only gets its gorgeous total solar eclipses because of a cosmic coincidence.

On Aug. 21, a narrow, 70-mile wide swath of the United States from Oregon to South Carolina will be the stage for one of the most (if not the most) spectacular celestial events, a total eclipse of the sun.

Space.com has put together a nice informational guide, including a video and a map explaining where to go, what to expect, and how to watch it safely. This is the first total solar eclipse in America in almost 40 years. The next one in the U.S. will be on April 8, 2024.

Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to discuss back-up storage for our devices and how to save everything – and get rid of things.

Jesse Feiler is an app developer and author. His most recent app is Utility Smart (in the App Store); recent books are iPad for Seniors for Dummies, and Exploring Swift Playgrounds.

Scientists are about to get an up-close and personal look at the planet Jupiter's most famous landmark, the Great Red Spot.

NASA's Juno spacecraft will be directly over the spot shortly after 10 p.m. ET Monday, July 10, about 5,600 miles above the gas giant's cloud tops. That's closer than any spacecraft has been before.

The spot is actually a giant storm that has been blowing on Jupiter for centuries. It's huge, larger than Earth in diameter.

Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of American children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated fetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted fetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella. The rubella vaccine and others made with those fetal cells have protected more than 150 million people in the United States, the vast majority of them preschoolers. 

Meredith Wadman covered biomedical research politics from Washington for twenty years. She is a reporter at  Science and has written for NatureFortune, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Stanford and Columbia, she began medical school at the University of British Columbia and completed her medical degree as a Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford.

Her new book is The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease

Scientists have found a shockingly hot, massive, Jupiter-like planet that has a tail like a comet.

"It is so hot that it is hotter than most stars that we know of out there," says Scott Gaudi of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, whose team describes the scorching world called KELT-9b in the journal Nature.

NASA's Juno spacecraft has spotted giant cyclones swirling at Jupiter's north and south poles.

That's just one of the unexpected and puzzling findings being reported by the Juno science team.

Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to discuss what is happening on the front lines of recent developers' conferences.

Microsoft's Annual Build conference was held this month as was Google I/O. Facebook developers met in April, and Apple's turn is June 5. What's in the air? What will products look like in the next year? 

Jesse Feiler is an app developer and author. His most recent app is Utility Smart (in the App Store); recent books are iPad for Seniors for Dummies (Wiley), and Exploring Swift Playgrounds (Apress).  

The global cyberattack known as WannaCry is on the wane Tuesday, having held data hostage on hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 100 countries since Friday.

Cybersecurity experts and intelligence agencies say the attack bears similarities to past attacks carried out by North Korea. Meanwhile, SpaceX launched one of its heaviest payloads yet: a 6-ton satellite from the British company Inmarsat.

The Air Force's experimental X-37B space plane announced the end of its nearly two-year mission by creating a sonic boom on Sunday that surprised residents along Florida's Space Coast. Officials have provided only vague details about the unmanned craft's more than 700-day mission.

"Not much is known about the 30-foot-long robotic spacecraft or what it took to space," as member station WMFE reports.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is giving earthlings their closest-ever views of Saturn's swirled atmosphere and its massive hurricane, beaming a trove of images and data back to Earth after the craft made its first dive between Saturn and its rings Wednesday.

Cassini is "showing us new wonders and demonstrating where our curiosity can take us if we dare," said Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

If all goes to plan, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will beam new images of Saturn and its rings to Earth early Thursday, sharing data collected Wednesday from its first dive through the gap between the planet and its striped belt of ice and rock particles.

Today's dive also marks the start of the final phase in the craft's 13-year visit to Saturn. Days ago, it used the gravity of Saturn's moon Titan to bend its path toward its eventual destruction on the planet.

Nearly 15 years after her first space launch, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has now spent more time off-planet than any other American, at more than 534 days. Whitson, 57, is a biochemist who has twice commanded the International Space Station.

Neil deGrasse Tyson
MILLER MOBLEY / REDUX

  Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is director of the Hayden Planetarium, hosts Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and is the former host of NOVA ScienceNOW on PBS. On April 24 he returns to Proctors with an all-new show: "The Cosmic Perspective."

There is no view of the world as emotionally potent as the one granted by a cosmic perspective. It's one that sees Earth as a planet in a vast empty universe. It profoundly influences what we think and feel about science, culture, politics, and life itself.

corporateinsight.com

Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to discuss the ins and outs of dealing with cyber continuity including cyber security and cyber continuity.

Jesse Feiler is an app developer and author. His most recent app is Utility Smart (in the App Store); recent books are "iPad for Seniors for Dummies" (Wiley), and "Exploring Swift Playgrounds"(Apress).  

Could there be life under the icy surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus?

Scientists have found a promising sign.

NASA announced on Thursday that its Cassini spacecraft mission to Saturn has gathered new evidence that there's a chemical reaction taking place under the moon's icy surface that could provide conditions for life. They described their findings in the journal Science.

Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to discuss the ins and outs of dealing with almighty #hashtag on social media..

Jesse Feiler is an app developer, author, and consultant working mostly with iOS and FileMaker for nonprofits, small businesses, and other organizations. His most recent books are iPad for Seniors for Dummies and Learn Apple HomeKit on iOS.

In 2005, beekeepers in the United States began observing a mysterious and disturbing phenomenon: once-healthy colonies of bees were suddenly collapsing, leaving behind empty hives full of honey and pollen. 

Vanishing Bees takes us inside the debates over widespread honeybee deaths, introducing the various groups with a stake in solving the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), including beekeepers, entomologists, growers, agrichemical companies, and government regulators. Drawing from extensive interviews and first-hand observations, Sainath Suryanarayanan and Daniel Lee Kleinman examine how members of each group have acquired, disseminated, and evaluated knowledge about CCD.

cifotart / 123RF Stock Photo

Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to discuss the ins and outs of dealing with social media – especially for non-profits.

Jesse Feiler helps people and organizations get to know and use new technologies. Projects have included building the page caching module for the Prodigy Web Browser for Mac in the very early days of the Web, location-based apps for iPhone and iOS, as well as books and classes on new technologies. His new book is iPad For Seniors for Dummies

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