Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive

Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive. Thanks NASA!

Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive

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‘Super Jupiter’ Dwarfs Solar System’s Largest Planet

‘Super Jupiter’ Dwarfs Solar System’s Largest Planet.

I love this article especially because it features a real photo of a planet 170 light years from Earth.  Computer images of distant planets are abundant but to see a photo that actually represents the planet (bright blurb at ~ 10 o’ clock, next to black circle with plus sign which is the star of this system) is a real treat.  When I try to contemplate planets orbiting other stars my first thought is ‘I wanna see it!’  My second thought now is ‘I wanna show my students!’

bright blob at roughly 10 o’clock is an actual photo of a planet orbiting a star 2.5 times the mass of our Sun located approx 170 light years from earth!

Seaweed-threatened corals send chemical SOS to fish | Life | Science News

Seaweed-threatened corals send chemical SOS to fish | Life | Science News.

This is a cool article that would be excellent when discussing intraspecies interactions in biology.  I  really like this article because it shows how complicated even seemingly ‘simple’ organisms can behave.  The story could also lend itself to informing students about climate change and the effects of oceanic acidification as the result of global warming, you know, how its all connected!  How our american lifestyle effects the entire globe!

Living among coral branches, the broad-barred goby (Gobiodon histrio) will react to a chemical cue from its sheltering coral releases if touched by a brilliant green, toxic seaweed (right) and nip back the encroaching foliage. Credit: Danielle Dixson

Star Formation is Coming to a Close | Discover Magazine

Star Formation is Coming to a Close | 80beats | Discover Magazine.

The universe is running out of star-making materials.  To think that I am alive to witness the universe running out of anything in my lifetime is pretty neato.  This article would fit in with learning about the chemistry of life.  It could work in a lesson about the life cycle of stars, but also shows students that our universe is moving through it’s own life cycle as well.

A composite image of a molecular cloud used as a model to determine how stars are formed

The Known Universe | with Hans Zimmer score

The Known Universe | Music by Hans Zimmer 

Why doesn’t this have more views on youtube?!  I love to get  people to look past what they see and take for granted in the everyday world around them.  This short video takes you from the earth to the edge of the known universe and back again, plus its paired with thought provoking music by Hans Zimmer.  I think its important to show students just how much there is besides  us and our daily trials and tribulations within this universe.  It gets people to think beyond what they see in front of them and likely helps them gain a better understanding of the abstract nature of space and time, which are apart of us and all around us everyday of our life, yet we give little (if any) attention or thought to.

Rare star explosion reveals hidden black hole

Rare star explosion reveals hidden black hole – Technology & science – Space – Space.com | NBC News.

Space exploration! Black holes! Exploding stars! What’s not to love?  This article discusses a new discovery within our own galaxy.  I bet many people don’t even consider our galaxy to be home to  black holes but in fact it is.  Embedded in the article is a short video link with an excellent visual representation of what has been newly discovered just a few light-years shy of the center of our galaxy.  The video shows a star being swallowed by a black hole.  I think this article could be used for a current events project in which students are encouraged to find a new discovery in the field of science.  It, again, shows how science is an accumulated body of ever-changing knowledge.  When new information comes to light, theories are adjusted, facts become malleable, and our knowledge is advanced yet another step.

Gas builds up in a storage disk around a black hole, eventually leading to a bright X-ray nova. image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Early arthropod had a fancy brain | Science News

Early arthropod had a fancy brain  <———click to link to article on Science News website.

I would use this current science discovery  during a unit on speciation and/or genetics.  I would love to hear students’ ideas as to what factors they think caused or resulted in the Cambrian Explosion.  To my knowledge, much of the explanation for the appearance of so many new body forms in such a small period of time is not yet understood. Thus, students could apply their new knowledge of speciation and/or genetics to “unknown” areas of science in the search of greater understanding.