May 26, 2008
This handout image obtained in 2007 and taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows the colorful "last hurrah" of a star like our Sun. Space shuttle Atlantis will embark on the final repair and maintenance mission to the Hubble Space Telescope on October 8, instead of the end of August as planned, NASA announced Thursday.
This NASA amazing picture shows a polygonal pattern in the ground near NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, similar in appearance to icy ground in the arctic regions of Earth. A NASA probe has sent back never-seen pictures of Mars' north pole after a near perfect landing in the most ambitious mission to date to find life-sustaining minerals on the Red Planet
This artist's concept depicts NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander a moment before its planned touchdown on the arctic plains of Mars.
source: REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Calech/University of Arizona/Handou
amazing picture Artist's illustration obtained from NASA shows the Phoenix Mars Lander. A NASA probe has sent back never-seen pictures of Mars' north pole after a near perfect landing in the most ambitious mission to date to find life-sustaining minerals on the Red Planet.
May 15, 2008
kimberley big hole - south africa
In 1866, Erasmus Jacobs found a small white pebble on the banks of the Orange River, on the farm De Kalk leased from local Griquas, near Hopetown. The pebble turned out to be a 21.25 carat (4.25 g) diamond. In 1871, an even larger 83.50 carat (16.7 g) diamond was found on the slopes of Colesberg Kopje by Esau Damoense, the cook for prospector Fleetwood Rawstone's "Red Cap Party," who was sent to dig on the hill as a punishment for being drunk. This find led to the first diamond rush into the area. As miners arrived in their thousands, the hill disappeared, and became known as the Big Hole. A town, New Rush, was formed in the area, and was renamed to Kimberley on 5 June 1873, after the British Secretary of State for the Colonies at the time, John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley. The British, who had control of much of South Africa, were quick to annex the area of the diamond mine, which became the British colony of Griqualand West. The Boers were upset by this, because they wanted it to be a part of the Orange Free State as it lay inside the natural borders created by Orange and Vaal Rivers.
Monticello Dam was constructed between 1953 and 1957. The dam is a medium concrete-arch dam with a structural height of 304 ft (93 m) and a crest length of 1023 ft (312 m). It contains 326,000 cubic yards (249,000 m³) of concrete.
The dam is notable for its classic, uncontrolled spillway with a rate of 48,400 cubic feet per second (1370 m³/s) and a diameter at the lip of 72 feet (22 m). The eerie appearance of the spillway in operation attracts visitors.
bingham canyon mine, utah
This is supposedly the largest man-made excavation on earth. extraction began in 1863 and still continues today, the pit increasing in size constantly. in its current state the hole is 3/4 mile deep and 2.5 miles wide.
The Great Blue Hole is a large underwater sinkhole off of the coast of Belize. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 60 miles from the mainland and Belize City. The hole is circular in shape, over 1,000 feet across and 400 feet deep. It was formed as a limestone cave system during the last ice age when sea levels were much lower. As the ocean began to rise again the caves flooded, and the roof collapsed.
On-shore caves of similar formation, as large collapsed sinkholes, are well known in Belize.
This site was made famous by Jacques-Yves Cousteau who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. In 1971, he brought his ship, the Calypso to the hole to chart its depths.  Investigations by this expedition confirmed the hole's origin as typical Karst limestone formations, formed before rises in sea level in at least four stages, leaving ledges at depths of 70, 160 and 300 feet. Stalactites were retrieved from submerged caves, confirming their previous formation above sea level. Some of these stalactites were also off-vertical by 10° - 13° in a consistent orientation, thus indicating that there had also been some past geological shift and tilting of the underlying plateau, followed by a long period in the current plane.
Cousteau also investigated Andros island and described similar Karst cave features, although less spectacular than a collapsed blue hole. Finding Karst topography in this location supports the possible explanation of the nearby Bimini Road as a natural limestone pavement.
at surface level the near perfectly circular hole is 1/4 mile wide, the depth in the middle reaching 145 metres. obviously the hole is a huge hit with divers.
May 14, 2008
By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer Wed May 14, 7:59 PM ET
amazing picture CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Astronomers have discovered the youngest known supernova in the Milky Way galaxy, still just a baby at 140 years old. The scientists, who announced their findings Wednesday, used a radio observatory in and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in space to identify when the supernova, or stellar, explosion occurred. They put the star-dying event at sometime around 1868.
Before this, the youngest supernova in the Milky Way was thought to have occurred around 1680.
A supernova is the catastrophic explosion of a star that releases an extraordinary amount of energy, enough to outshine an entire galaxy.
This new baby supernova is located near the center of the galaxy and obscured by dense gas and dust, making it virtually impossible to see in optical light.
Two to three supernovae are thought to occur every century in the Milky Way. As a result, there are probably even younger ones out there waiting to be identified, said David Green of the University of Cambridge in England, who led the radio observatory study.
Green and others have been tracking the remnant of this supernova since 1985 via the radio astronomy observatory. But it wasn't until last year that a team led by Stephen Reynolds found with help from Chandra how much the remnant had expanded. That indicated the supernova was much younger than initial estimates ranging from 400 to 1,000 years old.'s , a
The Very Large Array made new observations in March and helped pinpoint the age at 140 years, possibly less if the expansion has been slowing.
"It's the combination of the radio and the X-ray, the older technique and the new one, that tells us what this object really is. So you get a lot more when you put all of these clues together," said Robert Kirshner, aastronomer who is not affiliated with the study.
"It's a little like one of those shows on TV where they investigate a death. This is a stellar death, all right, and the corpse is still warm," Kirshner said during a teleconference with reporters.
Astronomers typically observe supernovae explode in the Milky Way.that are 10,000 or so years old, not relative infants like this one. Getting the total picture, from the start, is important in figuring out how often
In this case, "you're actually getting to see the rock that made the splash, not the wave that's going out into the pond," Kirshner said.
By GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press Writer Tue May 13, 7:58 PM ET
LONDON - The men were air traffic controllers. Experienced, calm professionals. Nobody was drinking. But they were so worried about losing their jobs that they demanded their names be kept off the official report.
No one, they knew, would believe their claim an unidentified flying object landed at the airport they were overseeing in the east of England, touched down briefly, then took off again at tremendous speed. Yet that's what they reported happened at 4 p.m. on April 19, 1984.( see amazing picture )
The incident is one of hundreds of reported sightings contained in more than 1,000 pages of formerly secret UFO documents being released Wednesday by Britain's National Archives. It is one of the few that was never explained.
The air traffic controllers' "Report of Unusual Aerial Phenomenon" was filed from an unspecified small airport near the eastern coast of England.
The men, each with more than eight years on the job, described how they were helping guide a small plane to a landing on runway 22 when they were distracted by a brightly lit object approaching a different runway without clearance.
"Everyone became aware that the object was unidentified," their report said. "SATCO (code name for a controller with 14 years experience) reports that the object came in 'at speed,' made a touch and go on runway 27, then departed at 'terrific speed' in a 'near vertical' climb."
The incident is one of the more credible in the newly public files because it was reported by air traffic controllers, said David Clarke, a UFO expert who worked with the National Archives on the document release.
"They were absolutely astonished," he said. "It was a bright, circular object, flashing different colors, and after it touched down it disappeared at fantastic speed. The report comes from very qualified people, and it's one of the few that remained unexplained."
But while there are some unexplained cases in the papers, there is no reported instance in which the Ministry of Defense found any evidence of alien activity or alien spacecraft, said Clarke, who nonetheless expects conspiracy theories about a UFO cover-up by the British defense establishment to persist.
"The Ministry of Defense doesn't have any evidence that our defenses were breached by alien craft," Clarke said. "They never found one, no bits of one. That's all we can say."
Clarke said the released documents, dealing with the late 1970s and early 1980s, are the first batch in a series that will be made public in the next few years.
The National Archives is releasing the files because of numerous freedom of information requests seeking information about the government's UFO reports. Officials said that names of many individuals had been blacked out to protect their privacy and that the entire files had been reviewed to make sure their release did not compromise national security.
Ministry of Defense officials indicate in the files that UFO reports were only investigated to make sure no enemy aircraft had illegally entered British airspace. This was crucial during the Cold War when Russian planes posed a threat.
Officials said they did not try to solve UFO riddles once an enemy attack had been ruled out.
The vast majority of UFO reports come from members of the public who see strange things in the sky and jump to the conclusion that a UFO is involved even though there are logical explanations for what they observe, experts said.
"The most common things are aircraft lights, bright stars and planets, satellites, meteors, airships and things like that," said Nick Pope, another UFO expert who helped the Ministry of Defense investigate the phenomenon.
That was the case when a number of people leaving a Tunbridge Wells pub one night reported seeing a strange craft "with red and green" lights, according to the released documents.
Asked by police where the object seemed to be traveling, the pub crawlers said it appeared to be heading for London's Gatwick Airport. It didn't take a scientist to figure out it was a commercial plane making a routine approach.