Starbirth On View

A star-forming region 1000 light-years away in the constellation Aquila

Today the European Space Agency announced what promises to be a spectacular new website for images gleaned from the operations of the Herschel Space Telescope. OSHI – the Online Showcase of Herschel Images — at present offers just three images, but each is absolutely spectacular.

The significance of the image above is explained in the ESA update “Inside the Dark Heart of the Eagle”, which avers that this infrared image depicts a region 65 light-years across, a dark cloud when viewed only in visible light, in which 100 protostars and 600 stellar precursors are forming.

Another similar region of cold gas clouds in the Southern Cross constellation yielded this image:

which is explained in detail in ‘Herschel Views Deep-Space Pearls on a Cosmic String’

Want to learn more about the Herschel mission?

The European space agency website offers a number of Youtube videos on the Herschel telescope and related matters, including this short video on the objectives of the Herschel mission,
this very short video on “Exploring the Universe with Herschel and Planck”, and also ‘Looking Inside Herschel’

You might also wish to see our earlier post Trinity of Triumph in the International Year of Astronomy.

Finally, on the ESA website you’ll also find this view of the hero of the story, the Herschel Space Telescope:

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Nearby Stars Host ‘Super-Earth’ Exoplanets

“These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars.

“The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away.”

See ‘Super-Earths Orbit Nearby Stars’ at BBC News.

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Silent Tongues

More than 95 percent of all the world’s living – and dying – languages are spoken by just 5 percent of the world’s population. UNESCO estimates that roughly half of the world’s 6,500 extant languages are doomed to disappear by the end of the present century.

The Independent’s Paul Bignelli explores The Beckoning Silence: Why Half the World’s Languages are in Serious Danger of Dying Out, and the efforts being made to preserve them.

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

World Population Update

Every minute of every day at present, 250 births and 107 deaths take place around the world, leading to a population increase minute-by-minute of 144 people globally. At 12:10 CST today, world population was estimated to be 6,790,478,311. An hour earlier, at 11:05 CST, total US population was estimated to be 308,165,089. (For an up to the minute number, see the US Census Bureau World and US Population Clocks).

Today, the US Census Bureau announced the release of its newly revised and updated International Data Base, incorporating changes to the data for 21 countries, including China.

It is now projected that India will become the most populous country in the world in 2025, and that China’s population will peak the following year. This is important because, as the Census Bureau explains, “given that China and India together account for 37 percent of the world’s population, their demographic trends have major implications for worldwide population change.”

You will find a plethora of interesting information in the database, including Country Rankings for the years 1950 through 2050, a chart of Historical Estimates of World Population, and historical and projected Total Midyear Population for the World: 1950-2050.

Interesting, vitally significant and easy to use, the Census Bureau’s International Data Base is an excellent resource.

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Haysville Water Rates

New water and wastewater rates have been approved by the Haysville City Council, to take effect on the billing for February 1, 2010. For a summary of the approved new rates, see this document on the website for the City of Haysville.

On a related note, you can also find the most recent annual Water Quality Report for the City of Haysville water supply here.

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Whither E-Books?

Writing last month in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, Tim Barker asks “Will 2010 be the Breakout Year for E-Book Readers?” His answer? A well-hedged “maybe, maybe not.”

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment