This is what happens when Two Black Holes Collide.

This is the animation of the final stages of a merger between two black holes. What is particularly interesting about this animation is that it highlights a phenomenon known as Gravitational Lensing.

What is Gravitational Lensing?

Mass bends Light. What? 

Yeah, mass can bend Light. The gravitational field of a really massive object is super strong. And this causes light rays passing close to that object to be bent and refocused somewhere else.

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The more massive the object, the stronger its gravitational field and hence the greater the bending of light rays – just like using denser materials to make optical lenses results in a greater amount of refraction.

Here’s an animation showing a black hole going past a background galaxy.

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This effect is one of the predictions of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity 

PC: cfhtlensUrbane Legend

Normal Things…Done in a Not So Normal Way

nasa:

Floating around in zero gravity may sound like a blast, but it can actually present a lot of challenges to things we do everyday here on Earth with little to no thought. Here are a few ways that astronauts on the International Space Station complete normal tasks in orbit:

1) Washing Hair

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You can’t just have a shower on the space station because the water would come out of the faucet and float all over the place. In this video, NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg demonstrates how she uses a bag of water, no rinse shampoo, a towel and her comb to wash her hair.

2) Drinking Coffee

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Believe it or not, there are special cups used on the space station to drink coffee from the new ISSpresso machine. I mean, you wouldn’t want hot coffee floating around in the air…would you? Previously, astronauts drank coffee from plastic bags, but let’s face it, that sounds pretty unenjoyable. Now, there are zero Gravity coffee cups, and an Italian espresso machine aboard the International Space Station! These cups were created with the help of capillary flow experiments conducted in space.

3) Sleeping

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There’s nothing like crawling into bed after a long day, but astronauts can’t exactly do that while they’re in microgravity. Instead of beds, crew members use sleeping bags attached to the walls of their small crew cabins. They are able to zipper themselves in so that they don’t float around while they’re asleep. This may sound uncomfortable, but some astronauts, like Scott Kelly, say that they sleep better in space than they do on Earth!

4) Exercising 

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Exercising in general is an important part of a daily routine. In space, it even helps prevent the effects of bone and muscle loss associated with microgravity. Typically, astronauts exercise two hours per day, but the equipment they use is different than here on Earth. For example, if an astronaut wants to run on the treadmill, they have to wear a harness and bungee cords so that they don’t float away.

Taming the sound from a Shuttle using water.

What purpose would a water tank have in the proximity of a space shuttle launch? 

Well, believe it or not, it is used to suppress the acoustical energy (sound and rocket exhaust reflected from the flame trench and Mobile Launcher Platform during launch.

Underlying Principle.

NASA came up with an ingenious way to suppress the sound- Bubbles!

Bubbles are excellent at absorbing the sound. They absorb the sound energy and as a consequence of which get heated up. NASA exploited this and sprayed water molecules in the air surrounding the Mobile Launcher Platform. This reduced the sound from the firing of the rockets by almost a half!

The Sound Suppression System.

The Sound Suppression System includes an elevated water tank with a capacity of 300,000 gallons (1,135,620 liters). The tank is 290 feet (88 meters) high and is located adjacent to each pad. 

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The water releases just prior to the ignition of the Shuttle engines, and flows through 7-foot-diameter (2.1-meter) pipes for about 20 seconds. Water pours from 16 nozzles atop the flame deflectors and from outlets in the main engines exhaust hole in the Mobile Launcher Platform, starting at T minus 6.6 seconds. 

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A rainbird nozzle in action

By the time the solid rocket boosters ignite, a torrent of water will be flowing onto the Mobile Launcher Platform from six large quench nozzles, or “rainbirds,” mounted on its surface. 

The peak rate of flow from all sources is 900,000 gallons (3,406,860 liters) of water per minute at 9 seconds after liftoff.

Exquisite, isn’t it? 

PC: NASA.

Adios Pluto!

The New horizons is now 15 million km away from Pluto whizzing away from the solar system with a heliocentric velocity( speed wrt sun ) of 14.51 km/s.

This photograph was taken just seven hours after the New Horizons closest approach on July 14. It unveils layers of haze in Pluto’s atmosphere which are backlit by the sun. 

“The hazes detected in this image are a key element in creating the complex hydrocarbon compounds that give Pluto’s surface its reddish hue,” 

What is a Haze?

Haze is traditionally an atmospheric phenomenon where dust, smoke and other dry particles obscure the clarity of the sky. 

Why do hazes form on Pluto?

Models suggest the hazes form when ultraviolet sunlight breaks up methane gas particles — a simple hydrocarbon in Pluto’s atmosphere.

The breakdown of methane triggers the buildup of more complex hydrocarbon gases, such as ethylene and acetylene, which also were discovered in Pluto’s atmosphere by New Horizons. 

As these hydrocarbons fall to the lower, colder parts of the atmosphere, they condense into ice particles that create the hazes

The New Horizon spacecraft is at Pluto!

New Horizons is an Interplanetary space probe launched by NASA on January 19, 2006. The primary goal of this space mission is to study the Kuiper belt and gather deeper insights about Pluto and it’s moons. 

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After travelling for 3463 days and 3 Billion miles, it is finally in at Pluto.It is the First ever spacecraft to visit Pluto and for the first time, we would be able to see the remarkable High-Resolution photographs Pluto by Wednesday afternoon. 

Why Wednesday? It is because the probe is busy collecting data and not transmitting any of it and since it take around 4.5 hours for the data to reach the earth from the probe, the wait for the images is inevitable.

Here is a photo of Pluto taken by the New Horizon on July 12 as it approaches Pluto.

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Setting the debate: How big is Pluto?

Although the seminal data from the data is yet to be received, scientists have already started to crunch on the available data.

The size of the previously known dwarf planet was always debated upon and now the New Horizon has sealed it. The mission scientists have found out that Pluto is 1,473 miles (2,370 kilometers) in diameter. 

This was determined from the images obtained from LORRI ( Long Range Reconnaissance Imager).

Pluto is Red!

In addition to determining the size of Pluto Images taken by the New Horizon also reveal that Pluto is Red is color. ( Is that a heart ? )

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Things would get really captivating once the core data starts pouring in. But till then hang on to your seats as one of the most remarkable events in the history of space exploration is about to transpire.

PC: NASA.

The Blue- Glowing Astronaut.

This photo was taken during the Apollo-12 mission way back in 1969. But the reason for the blue glow is still not conclusive. 

Orgonelab’s article – Astronaut Blues takes you on a journey. A journey alongside with physicists and their theories as they try to produce a rationale for this bizarre behavior. It is highly recommended that you read it.