Clusters of stars can be near or far, young or old, diffuse or compact. The featured image shows two quite contrasting open star clusters in the same field. M35, on the lower left, is relatively nearby at 2800 light years distant, relatively young at 150 million years old, and relatively diffuse, with about 2500 stars spread out over a volume 30 light years across. Bright blue stars frequently distinguish younger open clusters like M35. Contrastingly, NGC 2158, on the upper right, is four times more distant than M35, over 10 times older, and much more compact. NGC 2158’s bright blue stars have self-destructed, leaving cluster light to be dominated by older and yellower stars. In general, open star clusters are found in the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, and contain anywhere from 100 to 10,000 stars – all of which formed at nearly the same time. Both open clusters M35 and NGC 2158 can be found together with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Twins (Gemini).

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In this evocative night scene a dusty central Milky Way rises over the ancient Andean archaeological site of Yacoraite in northwestern Argentina. The denizens of planet Earth reaching skyward are the large Argentine saguaro cactus currently native to the arid region. The unusual yellow-hued reflection nebula above is created by dust scattering starlight around red giant star Antares. Alpha star of the constellation Scorpius, Antares is over 500 light-years distant. Next to it bright blue Rho Ophiuchi is embedded in more typical dusty bluish reflection nebulae though. The deep night skyscape was created from a series of background exposures of the rising stars made while tracking the sky, and a foreground exposure of the landscape made with the camera and lens fixed on the tripod. In combination they produce the single stunning image and reveal a range of brightness and color that your eye can’t quite perceive on its own.

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The latest prototype of SpaceX’s Starship rocket, Serial Number 15 (SN15), has completed a successful high-altitude ascent and landing.

The four previous test artefacts all ran into trouble as they went through their touchdown manoeuvres, ultimately destroying themselves in the process.

But SN15 had no such difficulty, making a tidy, controlled return to the ground at SpaceX’s R&D facility in Texas.

Julia Galef, host of the Rationally Speaking podcast and co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, is not impressed with the hyper-rational Vulcans on Star Trek.

“Spock is held up as this exemplar of logic and reason and rationality, but he’s set up, in my opinion, as almost a weak caricature—a straw man—of reason and rationality, because he keeps making all these dumb mistakes,” Galef says in Episode 462 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “That’s the show’s way of proving that, ‘Aha! Logic and reason and rationality aren’t actually all that great.‘”

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A man sits next to you on an airplane. He looks familiar—is he an amnesiac who’s wandered miles from home?

A woman in line at the grocery store seems to be stealing furtive glances. Could she be the missing heir to a fortune … or a murderer?

Some people would call these paranoid thoughts. But this behavior probably seems pretty normal if you grew up watching Unsolved Mysteries. The primetime show used creepy music, spooky lightning, and sometimes-questionable acting in an effort to crack vexing cases, both legal and metaphysical. Join us. Perhaps you can help solve a mystery—or at least dive into the mysteries behind Unsolved Mysteries, a show about true crime before true crime was a mass media obsession, and reality television before reality television was everywhere.

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Oct 9, 2020
Created on Jun 17, 2020
By @gurlic