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Awesomeness Round-up – 9/6/10

You might remember when Stephen Colbert “interviewed” to become an astronaut – we linked to the segments in one of our older link roundups. NASA Johnson just released a whole bunch of images of Colbert’s visit.

Here he is on the C.O.L.B.E.R.T:


(Speaking of things named for Colbert, we named a 2009 podcast episode after him!)

There was a recent release on this lovely image, which is a combination from the Chandra satellite and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India. The X-ray data (blue) shows the hot gas, and the radio data (pink) shows huge so-called “halos” that are caused by ultra-relativistic particles (particles whose speeds are extremely close to the speed of light) and magnetic fields over vast scales. There is also optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey here too – in gold. So what does this mean? Current theory is that these huge radio halos are caused when galaxy clusters collide. The implication is that a galaxy cluster with a radio halo is still forming.

Abell 1758

Are you a Top Chef fan? I am – and I was very disappointed to learn that they shot part of a Top Chef episode here and I MISSED it! The big episode aired this past Wednesday. If you missed it, don’t worry, Bravo tends to rerun episodes lots of times, so you should be able to catch it!

You can read Sara’s post about the episode (which includes the whole episode embedded for your viewing pleasure – as long as that lasts), or watch this preview that shows Goddard!

Speaking of Goddard, according to new rankings, NASA is the #5 best place to work in the federal government – and Goddard is the top rated NASA Center! We’ve given you a little bit of a backstage look at life here at Goddard – from our first building, to the Spacecraft “chamber of horrors”, to a walk through our cleanroom complex. And let’s not forget when Sara and I disappeared in Building 2 last October and were never heard from again. Oh, wait…

New Hubble Observations of Supernova 1987A Trace Shock Wave

Supernova 1987A was an incredibly exciting event for astronomers – it was relatively close and astronomers were able to observe it from start to finish. And they’ve kept studying it! This new Hubble image studies the supernova’s shock wave, using optical, ultraviolet, and near-infrared light, to see the effect on the surrounding area of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Did you ever wonder what modern science would look like as a subway map? Well, wonder no more! Check out this map made by Crispian Jago. It shows modern science starting with the 16th century scientific revolution. To steal from one of the commenters, be sure to note how alchemy becomes chemistry and biochemistry branches off. Physics also splits and rejoins and diverges with math. Very clever idea.

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