Launched in 2009, Planck has been gathering data on the cosmic background radiation, an extremely cold glow leftover from the Big Bang. This radiation corresponds to particles of light that were emitted just 380,000 years after the universe was born, when the first atoms were formed. At that time, the entire cosmos was filled with white-hot radiation of 2,700 degrees Celsius. Over the age of the universe, the radiation has cooled to just 2.7 degrees above absolute zero. It now comes almost uniformly from every area of the sky at once.
These color maps of Jupiter were constructed from images taken by the narrow-angle camera onboard NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Dec. 11 and 12, 2000, as the spacecraft neared Jupiter during its flyby of the giant planet. Cassini was on its way to Saturn. They are the most detailed global color maps of Jupiter ever produced. The smallest visible features are about 120 kilometers (75 miles) across.
The maps are composed of 36 images: a pair of images covering Jupiter’s northern and southern hemispheres was acquired in two colors every hour for nine hours as Jupiter rotated beneath the spacecraft. Although the raw images are in just two colors, 750 nanometers (near-infrared) and 451 nanometers (blue), the map’s colors are close to those the human eye would see when gazing at Jupiter.
Twenty-seven or younger? Then you’ve never experienced a month in which the global temperature has been colder than average, according to the latest data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Kickstarter has been growing — OK, skyrocketing — since its start in 2009, raising nearly $300 million and launching 70,000 projects. With so many campaigns and so much money comes a lot of data, leading to new ways to explore, categorize, and display Kickstarter’s output. Launching into that niche today is Things We Start, a real-time, interactive, searchable data visualization map of live Kickstarters, and it brings some interesting potential for prospective campaigners and backers alike.
As we become more and more concerned with what we’re putting into our bodies, the ritual of standing in the grocery store aisle, staring at the ingredients list of a packaged food item, has become all too familiar. But it doesn’t help when the ingredients are printed in a teeny-tiny, nearly illegible typeface.
To help combat eye-fatigue, IBM is developing an augmented reality shopping app that speeds up the process of determining whether a product meets a shopper’s ingredients criteria. And this unnamed app extends well beyond food.
After a six-year effort, researchers have released the first geologic map of the solar system’s most volcanically active object, Jupiter’s moon Io.
The colorful and highly detailed map, published Monday by the U.S. Geological Survey, shows off Io’s hellish features. It identifies 425 volcanoes as well as lava flow fields, squat mountains, deposits left by volcanic plumes, and plains rich with sulfur dioxide.
A team of British researchers are preparing to dig down through three-kilometer-thick ice to sample a lake under the Antarctic in the hope of finding new species and clues about the future impact of climate change.
A team of engineers with 70 tons of gear are to head for Lake Ellsworth in West Antarctica. The lake has been isolated from the outside world for at least 125,000 years — but it could be as many as a million. It’s about 10km long and two to three kilometers wide.
The team’s mission is to prepare the way for the “deep-field” research mission that will take place in October 2012. They will then use hot water to melt through 3,000 meters of ice in order to reach the lake, which remains liquid due to geothermal heat coming from inside the Earth. This technique has been used before in Antarctic experiments, but never this deep. The hot-water drill will need to operate continuously for three days to create a 36cm wide borehole through the ice.
Engineer Andy Tait, from British Antarctic Survey, explains: “The design of the hot water drill is very straightforward — very similar to the hot water you might use on a jet spray to clean a car. The nozzle delivers water at 2,000 psi and 90C, which is needed to melt the ice to create the hole.”
As the US economy slowly rebuilds and the smoke from four years of charred capital starts to dissipate, we can discern the shape of the next 20 years of job growth. What we see is an economy unlike any we’ve ever known.
You have a blog. You compose a new post. You click Publish and lean back to admire your work. Imperceptibly and all but instantaneously, your post slips into a vast and recursive network of software agents, where it is crawled, indexed, mined, scraped, republished, and propagated throughout the Web. Within minutes, if you’ve written about a timely and noteworthy topic, a small army of bots will get the word out to anyone remotely interested, from fellow bloggers to corporate marketers.