Astronomy Jokes of the week! Part 2.

Where do astronauts keep their sandwiches?

In a launch box!

How does the main on the moon cut his hair?

Eclipse it!

Remember, Monday will be over soon. Stay positive!!

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Rosetta’s Big Discovery

Rosetta’s spacecraft, created by Europe, recently discovered molecular nitrogen while in orbit around a comet. This discovery is a great achievement because molecular nitrogen existing on comets can answer the question of what the conditions were like when the solar system was born and points to the comet forming in a cooler area of our universe. This discovery also implies that comets, planets, and moons all formed in the same general area because analysis show that nitrogen also exist on planets and moons.

Rosetta Spacecraft. Image Obtained from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rosetta_spacecraft_(black_bg).png

Rosetta Spacecraft. Image Obtained from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: Rosetta_spacecraft_(black_bg).png

The discovery of nitrogen on a comet has been discovered before, but never in the form of molecular nitrogen and in the manner of presenting itself. However, the ratio between nitrogen and carbon monoxide was not what to be expected and leaves scientist figuring it couldn’t have formed in the early stages of the solar system. Scientist say what could address the low ratio is that the molecular nitrogen could have had the possibility of being trapped in ice, thus pointing to the comet to be around the same area in our solar system as Neptune and Pluto.

Comet Lovejoy spotted!


Comet Lovejoy was recently spotted by an astrophotographer named Miguel claro and he obtained some beautiful pictures and even caught a time-lapse of it. The comet was first spotted last August and has an ion blue tail created by ionized gas and it gets its tail from solar wind pushing gases outwards. The apparent color of the comet is green and this comes from a poisonous gas, cyanogen, which glows green when in contact with sunlight. Comet Lovejoy is a prime example of the wonders of our universe and gives reason to why we should continue to explore the cosmos.

Curiosity’s Unexpected Leak

Nasa’s rover, Curiosity, has been roaming around the surface of Mars for a while now and has been sending back amazing pictures, while also testing soil and rock for organic materials. A chemical designed to tag organic molecules leaked unexpectedly but suffered no consequences. It actually had performed its job superbly and came back with positive results that help back the theory of life and water existing on the martian surface. It was not fluid that directly leaked on the instruments but was the vapor of a liquid. The gas leaked is a mouthful and goes by the name of N-methyl-N-tert-butyldimethylsilyl-trifluoroacetamide, or for short terms, MTBSTFA.

The fulfillment of the mission ended rather quick with this discovery, since the primary goal of the mission was to find sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and carbon in a powder it had drilled up. The scientist turned bad news into something more then good news and are thankful for it. They now also know how to go about troubleshooting or making it around leaks like this in the future.

It may take a couple years for scientist to fully understand the story of Mars but they are one step closer now. “This is really exciting stuff. We’ve got a mudstone on Mars in a habitable environment. There was a lake there at one point. We’ve got organic molecules, possibly some interesting ones, of astrobiological interest. Bottom line, this sample has an even more diverse set of organic compounds than we previously thought,” said Curiosity’s scientist Danny Glaven (“Leak in Mars Rover Curiosity’s Wet Chemistry Test Finds Organics”, 2015).  More work and further analysis are going to be needed to further our understanding of the red planet.

Mysteries of Mecury

NASA’s messenger spacecraft has been orbiting Mercury and running extensive missions to fully give us an understanding about the planet. As Messengers work comes to an end, due to the gravitational perturbations of the sun and that it is losing its ability to stay in the spacecraft’s highly elliptical orbit and will crash into Mercury soon, scientist are taking advantage of its low orbit to run some more missions. The low orbit of Messenger has been giving scientist new data to work with and allows us to have new understandings about the surface and geochemistry makeup of the planet.

Scientist hope to answer the fundamental question of how Mercury obtained the composition it has with the “low-altitude campaign” in place. New pictures emerge about the surface and show the distribution of magnesium across the surface and how it varies in given spots. In some areas the magnesium is as common as the silicon on the surface, but in other areas where new craters formed, the traces of magnesium nearly vanishes. The “low-altitude campaign” has not produced all the answers scientist were looking for and leave some scratching there heads.

As Messenger sends back its final pictures it can take, the low orbit has been producing some high resolution images. The hollows located on Mercury are now analyzed with 50 times the resolution and allow us to see the floors of craters and can better help explain the theories scientist hypothesize that these faults and hollows are young and can even be created still to this day due to the cooling and heating of the planet and the evaporation of certain elements due to sunlight. For further reading, check out the sources page which has a link to the article.