Star

Ashton Kutcher, friends, key to Twitter’s success

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 21, 2011   View Article

Developers of the next-big social networking application stand a greater chance at skyrocketing success if Hollywood stars and big media go gaga over it, according to an analysis of Twitter’s meteoric rise in popularity.

Data collected on the number of users adopting the microblogging service in its early years (between 2006 and 2009) show that it first spread gradually via traditional social networks — real-world friends, work colleagues, neighbors — then took off when media stars started to gather their flocks.

Brown dwarf as cool as coffee found

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 23, 2011   View Article

Astronomers have found a star that’s only as hot as a cup of coffee, making it a candidate for the coldest star known. That is, assuming it’s a star.

While a cup of coffee may sound hot — the newly discovered object is about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) — our sun is about 10,000 degrees F (5,500 degrees C). So, by comparison, it really is quite cold.

The object is considered a brown dwarf, a cosmic misfit that’s cold enough to blur the lines between small cold stars and big hot planets. Astronomers consider brown dwarfs failed stars because they lack the mass and gravity to trigger the nuclear reactions that make stars shine brightly.

To Find New Planets, Look for the Lithium?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 11, 2009   View Article

Sunlike stars that harbor planets are low on lithium, according to a recent study that may offer a new tool in the hunt for planets beyond our solar system.

Stars are made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. A small percentage of a star’s mass comes from heavier elements, which astronomers refer to as metals.

Reality check for ‘Star Trek’ tech

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: May 6, 2009   View Article

The latest reboot of the “Star Trek” franchise follows the story of a young James Kirk on his way to becoming captain of the Starship Enterprise. The movie gives Trekkies a fresh dose of fictional high-tech wizardry. But is any of this possible in the real world? See how 10 pieces of Trek tech, from teleportation to warp drive, are faring here on Earth.

Top 10 images of the world at night

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: March 2, 2009   View Article

The night sky is the forgotten half of our environment, says Mike Simmons, the president and founder of Astronomers Without Borders. Simmons, along with coordinator Babak Tafreshi, are producing a project called The World at Night, or TWAN, which aims to remind us of our place in the universe through a series of stunning night sky images, made from familiar landmarks around the world.

The year’s biggest (and littlest) meteor showers

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: August 11, 2008   View Article

Spend a night stargazing, and chances are that at least one “star” will appear to suddenly shoot across the sky. Shooting stars occur when tiny flecks of dust and debris – shed by comets during their trips through the inner solar system – burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, causing a streak of light. Learn about the Perseids as well as six other major showers, plus a handful of minor showers.

New Milky Way Map Created; Shows Fewer Main Arms

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 3, 2008   View Article

Astronomers unveiled today what they are calling the best map ever produced of the Milky Way galaxy. The new view shows our spiral galaxy as it would look face-on to a very distant observer.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach