New supermoon – and Black Moon – on February 18, 2015

New Moon

The new moon comes on February 18, 2015, and then reaches perigee less than one-third day later. It’s the closest new moon of the year, which qualifies it as a new moon supermoon. It’s also a seasonal Black Moon; that is, the third of four new moons in the current season (December solstice to March equinox). The moon reaches lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth for the month – some 7.6 hours after the moon turns new at 23:47 UTC (6:47 p.m. CDT) on February 18. Don’t expect to see anything special, not even a little crescent like that in the photo above. A full moon supermoon is out all night – brighter than your average full moon. But a new moon supermoon is only out during the daytime hours, hidden in the sun’s glare.

Continue reading the full article from EarthSky.org here.

What if the universe had no beginning?

Image via mondolithic.com

Are you seeing the stories this week suggesting that the Big Bang didn’t happen? According to astrophysicist Brian Koberlein – a great science communicator at Rochester Institute of Technology with a popular page on G+ – that’s not quite what the new research (published in early February 2015 Physics Letters B, has suggested. The new study isn’t suggesting there was no Big Bang, Koberlein says. It’s suggesting that the Big Bang did not start with a singularity – a point in space-time when matter is infinitely dense, as at the center of a black hole. How can this be? Koberlein explains on his website:

The catch is that by eliminating the singularity, the model predicts that the universe had no beginning. It existed forever as a kind of quantum potential before ‘collapsing’ into the hot dense state we call the Big Bang. Unfortunately many articles confuse ‘no singularity’ with ‘no big bang.’

Continue reading the article here.

The Cosmic Joke: The Hubble Spots Smiley Face in Space

Galaxy Cluster SDSS J1038+4849 - NASA & ESA, acknowledgement to Judy Schmidt

Pictures of space get a lot of smiles around here, but it’s pretty rare for one of them to smile back at us.

This adorable image — in which the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 seems to be smiling at the camera — comes courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope. It was spotted by Judy Schmidt, who submitted a version of the image to the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition, where anyone can sift through the Hubble’s massive data pools to highlight hitherto ignored sights from the stars.

Continue reading the article here.

Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures

Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures from Pier 9 on Vimeo.

Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures

Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures

These are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. The placement of the appendages is determined by the same method nature uses in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotation speed is synchronized to the strobe so that one flash occurs every time the sculpture turns 137.5º—the golden angle. If you count the number of spirals on any of these sculptures you will find that they are always Fibonacci numbers.

For this video, rather than using a strobe, the camera was set to a very short shutter speed (1/4000 sec) in order to freeze the spinning sculpture.

John Edmark is an inventor/designer/artist. He teaches design at Stanford University. You can visit his website here.