Watch Where You Point That ‘Scope: Police Mistake Telescope for a Gun

Levi Joraanstad, a student at North Dakota State University displays his telescope, which police mistook for a rifle. Image via WDAY TV, Fargo, North Dakota.

Levi Joraanstad, a student at North Dakota State University displays his telescope, which police mistook for a rifle. Image via WDAY TV, Fargo, North Dakota.

One more thing amateur astronomers might need to worry about besides clouds, bugs, and trying to fix equipment malfunctions in the dark – and this one’s a little more serious.
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Neil deGrasse Tyson Describes The ‘Morbidly Funny’ Death You’d Experience In A Black Hole

As an astrophysicist, cosmologist and celebrated science icon, Neil deGrasse Tyson knows a thing or two about the universe. He also happens to think that the universe is hilarious.

When Tyson appeared on HuffPost Live on Thursday, host Josh Zepps asked him what he thinks is the funniest thing about the universe. It turns out that Tyson is particularly tickled by the grotesque way in which falling into a black hole would literally rip you apart. Just check out Tyson describe the “morbidly funny” phenomenon in the video above, and catch his full HuffPost Live conversation here.

Previously: Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Warning For Politicians Who ‘Cherry-Pick’ Science

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CALET docks on the International Space Station

Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Aug 29, 2015

Five days after it launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on board the HTV-5 Transport Module, operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) docked at the International Space Station (ISS).

CALET is the space mission lead by JAXA with the participation of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA. It is a CERN recognized experiment —> Read More

South Dakota’s Underground Lakes May Hold Purest Water On Earth

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. (AP) — Hundreds of feet beneath the Black Hills, a team of scientists and researchers snake through dark, narrow and silent corridors of ancient rock to reach their goal: what is thought to be some of the purest water on Earth.

The crew of National Park Service scientists that’s anchored by microbiologist Hazel Barton travels sporadically to the lowest reaches of South Dakota’s Wind Cave National Park to study a series of underground lakes, which were discovered in the 1960s and aren’t home to any animal life or even easily detectable microscopic organisms.

But Barton, from the University of Akron, has discovered there is bacteria — albeit scant — in the lakes. She’s beginning to analyze about six years of data and hopes to decipher how the bacteria survives, answer questions about how it interacted before multicellular organisms came along and perhaps find new sources of antibiotics.

“It has the potential to answer a lot of questions that we have in biology that you can’t answer anywhere else because you have levels of complexity,” she said.

To gather the necessary samples, caving experience is crucial: It takes more than two hours for even the most adept cavers to reach Calcite Lake, the nearest body of water. “It’s certainly not a route for the inexperienced,” according to park service scientist Marc Ohms, who often joins Barton and, by his count, has made over 50 trips.

It’s a quiet affair. Cavers typically hear only their voices, the scraping of feet and some grunting as they squeeze through crevasses — the narrowest is about 7 inches wide — with equipment that’s light enough to carry and durable enough to survive the journey.

Barton, a 44-year-old British transplant, began caving here when she was a graduate student in Colorado, making weekend trips —> Read More

Russia launches Proton rocket with British satellite

Moscow (AFP) Aug 28, 2015

Russia on Friday successfully launched a Proton rocket with a British satellite in the first such launch since an engine failure in May resulted in a Mexican satellite being destroyed.

A Proton-M rocket carrying an Inmarsat-5 F3 communications satellite launched from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1144 GMT as scheduled, Russia’s space agency said.

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ESA Chief Warns Not to Politicize Partnership With Russian Space Program

Moscow (Sputnik) Aug 29, 2015

The ongoing crisis in ties between Russia and the West should not tarnish their cooperation when it comes to space exploration, according to Johann-Dietrich” class=”highlight”>Worner, head of the European Space Agency (ESA).

In an interview with Sputnik, ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Worner said that the ongoing political deadlock between Russia and the West should not hinder their —> Read More

China rocket parts hit villager’s home: police, media

Beijing (AFP) Aug 28, 2015

Debris from a rocket carrying a Chinese satellite into orbit crashed into a villager’s home minutes after the launch, local police and media reports said.

The parts plummeted to earth with a huge roar Thursday morning in Xunyang county in the northern province of Shaanxi, news portal Sina said on a social media account, citing local sources. No casualties were reported, it added.

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