NASA Discovers Class of Galaxies Brighter than 300 Trillion Suns

Your mother always told you not to stare into the sun because it would hurt your eyes. She would definitely advise against staring into one of the ultra-luminous galaxies recently discovered by NASA. The light from such a galaxy is brighter than 300 trillion stars the size of our own sun.

NASA deployed a special kind of space telescope in 2010 that was made to explore infrared light in the universe. What they found was a type of galaxy that was much brighter than anything known to date. Extremely luminous infrared galaxies, or ELIRGs for short, have mega black holes at their center that emit huge amounts of infrared light. James Dondero even says so far NASA has discovered 19 ELIRGs and will probably find hundreds, if not thousands more in the future.

The larger the black hole is the more infrared light it will emit. Black holes at the center of ELIRGS tend be very large and very slow moving. They have large discs of matter surrounding them that they chow down on over time as the matter is pulled into the center. The slow speed of the black holes allows them to sustain their massive appetites.

This discovery certainly shows just how diverse our universe really is. There are many galaxies and solar systems completely different than our own.

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Storms Across Texas

There have been several storms that have hit areas of Texas and Oklahoma, leaving at least six people dead. Flooding rains and tornadoes have ravaged the area. This is the worst flooding that Texas has seen since the 1920s. Streets are under water. Businesses have doors that have been broken because of the force of the water flowing. There are over 80,000 people who are without power. This is a devastating situation that shows how unpredictable Mother Nature can be at any time of the year. Some areas haven’t seen enough rain, but this is too much at one time. Many users of the popular app Skout have been alerted that there are more storms on the horizon, and there are a few more inches of rain in the forecast. Shelters need to be opened if they haven’t been established, and there needs to be a way to communicate the weather forecast to those who don’t have power. As summer approaches, this could only be the beginning of a long storm season.

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Filed under Texas flooding and Storms, Water Water everywhere

Swiss Pilots Fly Solar-Powered Plane Around The World

In early March, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, who are both Swiss pilots, engineers and environmentalists, began an epic around-the-world journey in a solar-powered plane called the Solar Impulse 2. They began their journey and Abu Dhabi and they will end it in the Middle East.

The trip is arduous and difficult: Only one pilot can be in the plane at a time, and he can sleep for only 20 minutes at a time. Because the rigors of the journey will be hard on both men and plane, Borschberg and Piccard have broken it up unto 12 legs. That will let the pilots rest and give the plane any needed repairs in between flights.

So far, they have successfully completed six legs. The upcoming seventh leg will be the most challenging and dangerous so far: a five day trip from China to Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean. It will be the first time that anybody has piloted a solar plane across an ocean. Borschberg will be piloting this leg. Piccard will meet him in Hawaii and then take the plane to Phoenix.

Indeed and Madison Street Capital recently noted that if something goes wrong during the ocean crossing, Borschberg has a parachute and an inflatable raft with him. A team of weather experts in Monaco has been trying to prevent the need for either item by trying to predict the weather. They want to make sure Borschberg can make his ocean crossing during five days of sunny weather. So far, the weather has not been cooperating, and Borschberg’s departure has been delayed by three weeks so far.

The Solar Impulse 2 relies completely on solar power. The sun powers the plane and fuels the battery which keeps the plane flying throughout the night. The plane has a wingspan of 236 feet and weighs about as much as a car. It also has only one seat.

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Filed under Solar Flight, Swiss Pilots

Teen Invents A Device To Make Air Travel Cleaner

Traveling is something that people rely on every day, and especially when it comes to airplanes the matter of health comes into mind. As folks at Amen Clinics are aware, a few years ago the tablets “AirBorne” were created to reduce the risk of picking up a cold or illness on a flight since all of the passengers are in such a confined space for sometimes long periods of time. According to an article found on reddit and written by the Washington Post, a young student from Canada named Raymond Wang has invented a device to install in airplanes to make the air much cleaner.

Basically, it is a piece that can be added to the venting system inside each aircraft that will create a invisible air bubble around the passengers so that they are breathing their own air and not spreading it to the people around them. That means that when you end up sitting next to someone on a flight who appears to have a very bad virus, there is a good chance that you will not contract it the same way from sitting next to them. I think this is a brilliant idea, and apparently the kid came up with it after the crazy Ebola virus epidemic that occurred just last year that risked the lives of so many people traveling by air. It wouldn’t cost too much to put these in all planes, and Wang certainly is on to something good.

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Filed under Airplane Health, Airplane seating

Marriot Request App Allows it’s Customers to Text for Anything at Anytime

Staying in a hotel is all about service and comfort. For many people, it’s all about being treated like royalty or like a celebrity without actually having to be one. Room service has been a standard part of the deal ever since hotels were first created. This is especially true at a hotel chain like the Marriot which also operates a number of high-end hotels.

Recently, the chain has rolled out a new concierge app, called the Request App, which allows customers of the hotel access to staff members that allows them to request anything at any time, without having to go downstairs or make a call to the front desk. The hotel already employs concierge services, which will do anything for a customer from run errands to finding them food and beverages. With the app, customers who are used to texting and using apps can simply send a text with the app and get in contact with a member of the hotel staff quickly.

Besides just the terminally lazy, this is useful for people who are too drunk, stoned, or sick to talk on the phone, or people who don’t want to wait on hold while the front desk staff searches for the exact member of the staff who can help them with their problem. Travelers at Boraie Development agree that in an increasingly mobile society that relies on their phones for everything, including checmacheck out, this is a smart move by Marriot.

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New Theories Tested In Dark Matter Shining Around Black Holes

The mysteries of dark matter and black holes have collided on a number of occasions as the way dark matter moves around a black hole has been questioned for many years. A theory from the 1970s known as the Penrose Principle explains that dark matter could survive being dragged towards a black hole when it smashes into another dark matter particle and produces a reflective gamma ray, Space reports. This shining ray is attached to one of the two dark matter particles that then escapes the pull of the black hole.

Jeremy Schnittman has now been charged with the task of looking for evidence of the Penrose Principle using evidence and data from the Fermi Space Telescope operated by NASA. The theoretical theorist has been working on a 3-D computer model that charts the movement of dark matter particles undergoing the Penrose Principle and looks for evidence of where they could move out of the black hole to. NJbiz suggests that a number of options are being researched, including the possibility of the particles passing through the black hole and being emitted from the exhaust area beneath.

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Bill Nye is Raising Money to Send Carl Sagan’s Spacecraft on its First Mission

Space will always be the final frontier, now a spacecraft called The LightSail is joining in on the exploration of space with its first test flight scheduled to take place on May 20th. The solar powered space sail is the first one of its kind, but the project needs a lot of money before it can complete the first mission, which is currently scheduled for 2016.

The LightSail was developed by famous late cosmologist Carl Sagan who envisioned a spacecraft that is solely propelled by radiation from the sun. Bill Nye, along with The Planetary Society, are dedicated to seeing Sagan’s invention come to life, which is why they have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $1.2 million that is needed to send the spacecraft on its first mission. The money raised will go towards the construction, testing, and deployment of LightSail. Those who donate are eligiable for posters and signed paraphernalia.

Nye is the head of The Planetary Society, a non-profit organization who will be building their own version of the SpaceSail. If successful, Beneful says the small craft will be sent into orbit, by a spaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, with its destination being 450 miles above the surface of the earth.

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Filed under Bill Nye, Carl Sagan, Kickstarting Spacecrafts

Delta Seats Father and Four-Year-Old Child 11 Rows Apart on Flight

I should start by saying that I am not a huge fan of Delta Airlines. In fact, I do all I can to avoid flying on Delta due to the many problems I have had every I have flown with them. This story today from Yahoo News reminds me why I avoid Delta like the plague.

Frank Strong and his four-year-old daughter were excited to take a trip together. The two were flying from Raleigh, North Carolina to Montgomery, Alabama to visit Strong’s mother. When Strong purchased the tickets for him and his daughter he listed her age. When it came time to select seats on the flight, there were not two together. Strong decided that once he got to the airport he would see about changing them. After all, an airline wouldn’t separate a child and parent, right?

At the airport, he was unable to change the seating at the kiosk. The ticket agents at the check-in desk told Strong that he could either talk to the agents at the gate and try to make the switch for free or he could pay $88 to switch their seating arrangement. He decided to pay the money so that he knew he would be with his daughter. However, once on the plane, Strong noted that it was not a full flight and there were plenty of open seats leaving him to wonder why Delta charged him to switch.

Dr. Daniel Amen mentioned that Strong has yet to hear back from Delta regarding this policy.

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Filed under Airplane seating, Autistic Daughter

The Fact of the Matter

The new Chandra X-ray has discovered a group of matter munching black holes. Found in the center of galaxies, these massive black holes are millions to billions of times the size of our sun. Known as quasars, these black holes suck matter in at such a high rate that the glow can be seen billions of light years away.

“Even for famously prodigious consumers of material, these huge black holes appear to be dining at enormous rates, at least five to ten times faster than typical quasars,” said Bin Luo of Penn State University. Dr. Daniel Amen, featured on The Daily Beast, is quite impressed with these findings.

51 quasars were studied, each at a distance of at least five billion light years. These particular quasars were picked because of their weak carbon emissions. 65 percent of these quasars were found to be much fainter in X-rays, by about 40 times on average, than typical quasars. These weak ultraviolet emissions give us important insights into how super-massive black holes are formed.

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Filed under Check It Out, Quasars

Life in Space

Russian cosmonauts have found life clinging to the outside of the International Space Station. Discovered during routine maintenance, it is not known how the organism arrived there or if it was multiplying but it certainly is exciting for Jaime Garcia Dias – you can locate him on his personal website. The sea plankton style organisms are not indigenous to Baikanour, Kazakhstan where the vessel took off from. It has been speculated that the organisms floated on air currents out of our atmosphere, but this has yet to be confirmed. Known as tardigrades, these creatures have mouths, arms, legs, nervous systems and digestive tracks. Their ability to survive in such harsh conditions leaves the scientists begging ‘how did they get there’. We may finally have the answer to the question, ‘are we alone’. “Results of the experiment are absolutely unique,” said Russian ISS Orbital Mission Chief Vladimir Solovyev “This should be studied further.” The creatures are on their way back to Earth for just such research.

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Filed under cosmonauts, Spacecraft