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kassy

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #250 on: December 24, 2019, 02:24:33 PM »
Nice that they are doing that.

I think the whole idea of Dyson spheres is an idea which appeals to us (yet we have so little solar...) but it would be overkill for a really advanced civilization. And also it makes you really visible.



Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #251 on: December 25, 2019, 11:17:46 AM »
Maybe brown dwarfs are the best places to look for extraterrestrial life:
Brown Dwarf Atmospheres as the Potentially Most Detectable and Abundant Sites for Life
https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019ApJ...883..143L/abstract
Quote
We show that the total habitable volume in the atmospheres of cool brown dwarfs with effective temperatures of ̃250-350 K is possibly larger by 2 orders of magnitude than that of Earth-like planets. We also study the role of aerosols, nutrients, and photosynthesis in facilitating life in brown dwarf atmospheres. Our predictions might be testable through searches for spectral edges in the near-infrared and chemical disequilibrium in the atmospheres of nearby brown dwarfs that are either free-floating or within several au of stars. For the latter category, we find that the James Webb Space Telescope may be able to achieve a signal-to-noise ratio of ̃5 after a few hours of integration time per source for the detection of biogenic spectral features in ̃103 cool brown dwarfs.
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Pmt111500

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #252 on: December 28, 2019, 08:01:25 AM »
Betelgeuze has been dimming recently, researchers somewhat puzzled over this, proposing it's shedding clouds that capture some of the light. http://www.astronomy.com/news/2019/12/betelgueses-bizarre-dimming-has-astronomers-scratching-their-heads
Cooling the outside by heat pump.

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #253 on: December 29, 2019, 06:41:15 PM »
Are Dark Matter objects orbiting inside the Earth?
Gravimeter search for compact dark matter objects moving in the Earth
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1912.00940.pdf
Quote
Dark matter could be composed of compact dark objects (CDOs). These objects may interact
very weakly with normal matter and could move freely inside the Earth. A CDO moving in the inner
core of the Earth will have an orbital period near 55 min and produce a time dependent signal in a
gravimeter. Data from superconducting gravimeters rule out such objects moving inside the Earth
unless their mass mD and or orbital radius a are very small so that mD a < 1.2 × 10−13M⊕R⊕.
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gerontocrat

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #254 on: December 29, 2019, 07:18:26 PM »
Musk et al and their myriads of satellites, a warning from the Astronomer Royal

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/29/be-wary-of-elon-musk-despoiling-the-vault-of-heaven
Be wary of Elon Musk despoiling the ‘vault of heaven’
Martin Rees - Astronomer Royal
Quote
It’s feasible to flood space with flotillas of small satellites – but do we really want to?[/b]
Changing economics and advancing miniaturisation now enable flotillas of small satellites to be launched into space – up to a hundred on a single rocket. These microsatellites are already being deployed, by companies such as Planet Lab in California, to survey every point on the Earth every day, with sharp enough images to study building sites, road traffic, land use and so forth.

But a bigger leap is now in the offing. Elon Musk’s company SpaceX envisages the “Starlink” project. This entails launching up to 40,000 spacecraft into orbit in order to create a network that will enhance global broadband communication. Other companies, such as Amazon, say they have similar plans.

In principle, these are exciting and welcome developments, especially if they bring broadband internet to the whole of Africa and other parts of the developing world. But there is a downside. Starlink would involve launching more objects into space, in this single constellation, than all the satellites launched in the 60 years since the birth of the space age. There would be roughly one in every square degree over the sky (the area on the sky covered by a small coin held at arm’s length).

Skywatchers could find that their familiar starry sky was augmented by huge numbers of bright spots moving across it, especially soon after sunset and just before sunrise (the periods in the day when the sun is below our horizon but shining on to satellites hundreds of kilometres above us.) For professional astronomers looking steadily at a single celestial body, these rogue lights would only be a minor irritant. However, they would cause more confusion to projects that monitor or search large areas of sky to seek transient objects – exploding stars or even more exotic cosmic explosions. Especially confusing will be the cases when part of the satellite acts like a mirror, creating a specially bright and brief flash when it’s oriented so that it reflects the sun.

One particularly important project that could be impeded by these swarms of satellites is the search for asteroids. There are 2m asteroids, which are more than 50 metres across, whose orbits cross that of the Earth. Any of these could potentially hit Earth and would be big enough for its impact to destroy a large city. Even though most of the giant (dinosaur-killing) asteroids more than 1km across have been discovered, only 2% of these still dangerous smaller ones are known and there’s a strong motive to search for all the others, so that those with trajectories that could bring them dangerously close to our world can be deflected well in advance. In such searches, the “foreground” of unpredictably moving satellites would be a complication.

There are also concerns among astronomers making measurements in the microwave bands – trying to discover and understand young stars, protoplanets and such like, as well as their constituent gases and molecules. Such observations will be impeded if Starlink satellites’ uplinks or downlinks “pollute” observationally interesting wavebands.

Radio telescopes are constructed in “radio quiet” places to minimise artificial background, but there would be no hiding from the beams sent from these satellites.

In mitigation, this particular enterprise is motivated by a goal that we should acclaim: spreading the genuine benefit of broadband worldwide, especially to the developing world. And it’s a plus that the mega companies involved are genuinely aware of the downsides and will be doing all they can to minimise it by blackening the surfaces and choosing wavelengths carefully. These ventures are not as irresponsible as earlier (and fortunately quashed) proposals to build large advertising hoardings in space.

But we shouldn’t forget that it’s not just astronomers – a minority – who care about this issue. The night sky, the “vault of heaven”, is the one feature of our environment that has been shared, and wondered at, by all humanity through the ages. We should deplore anything that needlessly degrades its beauty and serenity, just as, more parochially, we don’t want tinsel or phone masts in our national parks.

• Martin Rees is the astronomer royal. His latest book is On the Future: Prospects for Humanity
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vox_mundi

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #255 on: December 29, 2019, 07:53:48 PM »
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

vox_mundi

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #256 on: January 03, 2020, 11:28:38 PM »
Scientists Find Evidence that Venus Has Active Volcanoes
https://phys.org/news/2020-01-scientists-evidence-venus-volcanoes.html

New research led by Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and published today in Science Advances shows that lava flows on Venus may be only a few years old, suggesting that Venus could be volcanically active today—making it the only planet in our solar system, other than Earth, with recent eruptions.


This figure shows the volcanic peak Idunn Mons (at 46 degrees south latitude, 214.5 degrees east longitude) in the Imdr Regio area of Venus. The colored overlay shows the heat patterns derived from surface brightness data collected by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS), aboard the European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft.

"Present-day volcanism on Venus as evidenced from weathering rates of olivine" Science Advances (2020)
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/1/eaax7445
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #257 on: January 03, 2020, 11:54:20 PM »
Of course the moon Io has erupting volcanoes up the wazoo.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #258 on: January 04, 2020, 12:10:37 AM »
Sulfur melts at 115 °C, ​239 °F and volatizes at 160 °C, ​320 °F.

It's not in the same league.

Neither is water.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #259 on: January 04, 2020, 01:21:20 AM »
Sulfur melts at 115 °C, ​239 °F and volatizes at 160 °C, ​320 °F.

It's not in the same league.

Neither is water.

Temperatures of Io's volcanoes reach 3,000˚ F or 1,649˚ C:
https://www.space.com/16419-io-facts-about-jupiters-volcanic-moon.html
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vox_mundi

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #260 on: January 04, 2020, 01:46:42 AM »
... Venus could be volcanically active today—making it the only planet in our solar system, other than Earth, with recent eruptions.

Not moon.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #261 on: January 04, 2020, 10:28:42 AM »
Yes, vox_mundi, that is why I bolded “moon” in my post above.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #262 on: January 06, 2020, 04:52:02 PM »
New Evidence Shows Key Assumption Made in Discovery of Dark Energy is in Error
https://phys.org/news/2020-01-evidence-key-assumption-discovery-dark.html

The most direct and strongest evidence for the accelerating universe with dark energy is provided by the distance measurements using type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) for the galaxies at high redshift. This result is based on the assumption that the corrected luminosity of SN Ia through the empirical standardization would not evolve with redshift.

New observations and analysis made by a team of astronomers at Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea), together with their collaborators at Lyon University and KASI, show, however, that this key assumption is most likely in error.

The team has performed very high-quality (signal-to-noise ratio ~175) spectroscopic observations to cover most of the reported nearby early-type host galaxies of SN Ia, from which they obtained the most direct and reliable measurements of population ages for these host galaxies. They find a significant correlation between SN luminosity and stellar population age at a 99.5 percent confidence level. As such, this is the most direct and stringent test ever made for the luminosity evolution of SN Ia. Since SN progenitors in host galaxies are getting younger with redshift (look-back time), this result inevitably indicates a serious systematic bias with redshift in SN cosmology.

Taken at face values, the luminosity evolution of SN is significant enough to question the very existence of dark energy. When the luminosity evolution of SN is properly taken into account, the team found that the evidence for the existence of dark energy simply goes away.


Luminosity evolution mimicking dark energy in supernova (SN) cosmology. The Hubble residual is the difference in SN luminosity with respect to the cosmological model without dark energy (the black dotted line). The cyan circles are the binned SN data from Betoule et al. (2014). The red line is the evolution curve based on our age dating of early-type host galaxies. The comparison of our evolution curve with SN data shows that the luminosity evolution can mimic Hubble residuals used in the discovery and inference of the dark energy (the black solid line)

... Our result illustrates that dark energy from SN cosmology, which led to the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, might be an artifact of a fragile and false assumption."

Open Access: Yijung Kang, et.al. Early-Type Host Galaxies of Type Ia Supernovae. II. Evidence for Luminosity Evolution in Supernova Cosmology, Astrophysical Journal 2020
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vox_mundi

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #263 on: January 07, 2020, 05:07:16 PM »
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #264 on: January 12, 2020, 09:08:33 PM »
Amazing photos of the International Space Station (ISS).

Quote
ESA (@esa) 1/12/20, 3:00 AM
Just. Wow.
Photo taken by @astro_luca outside the @Space_Station on his first #SpacewalkForAMS on 15 November 2019. It shows the Japanese #Kibo module (left) and the Station's solar arrays with Earth behind
https://twitter.com/esa/status/1216268627365810177
Photo at the link is not attached below, but read on…

Quote
Space Shuttle Almanac (@ShuttleAlmanac) 1/12/20, 3:06 AM
Looks better right side up. This image shows a rare view of the join between Unity and Destiny, which is rarely seen so clearly. View orientation is station forward to the right and along the central truss toward the port side. The JEM on the right with Leonardo in the middle.
https://twitter.com/shuttlealmanac/status/1216270117996118017
[First image below!]

< Haha define "right side up"
Space Shuttle Almanac (@ShuttleAlmanac) 1/12/20, 3:48 AM
Easy. The ISS flies with the forward end facing direction of travel. Also the station has an up and down orientation. Internally there is a floor and a ceiling. The station flies with the floor facing the Earth as if flying over the Earth like a plane. So in my view this is up.

Quote
Space Shuttle Almanac (@ShuttleAlmanac) 1/12/20, 3:39 AM
Also two photos cross and you can throw in the Columbus module as well.
https://twitter.com/shuttlealmanac/status/1216278491911446528
Second image below.
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blumenkraft

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #265 on: January 14, 2020, 08:59:13 PM »
Quote
In case your local astronomer seems agitated, the big dog gravitational wave detector
@LIGO just detected an ‘unknown or unanticipated’ burst of gravitational waves somewhere deep in space. 👀

Link >> https://twitter.com/aussiastronomer/status/1216939049006428160
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #266 on: January 15, 2020, 02:26:50 PM »
Lots planned for space in 2020.  Here’s a review by Eric Berger.

This year may finally fulfill the promise of private human spaceflight
Big and small rockets. The Moon and Mars. Lots of asteroid stuff, too.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/01/this-year-may-finally-fulfill-the-promise-of-private-human-spaceflight/
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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #267 on: January 16, 2020, 10:57:45 PM »
Quote
In case your local astronomer seems agitated, the big dog gravitational wave detector
@LIGO just detected an ‘unknown or unanticipated’ burst of gravitational waves somewhere deep in space. 👀

Link >> https://twitter.com/aussiastronomer/status/1216939049006428160

Here is the report:
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1901.03190.pdf
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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #268 on: January 19, 2020, 04:09:32 PM »
How to form planets around supermassive black holes: Graze a star nearby it.

Ionization and dissociation induced fragmentation of a tidally disrupted star into
planets around a supermassive black hole
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2001.04172.pdf
Quote
We show results from the radiation hydrodynamics (RHD) simulations of tidal disruption of a star on a parabolic orbit by a supermassive black hole (SMBH) based on a
three-dimensional smoothed particle hydrodynamics code with radiative transfer. We
find that such a tidally disrupted star fragment and form clumps soon after its tidal
disruption. The fragmentation results from the endothermic processes of ionization and
dissociation that reduce the gas pressure, leading to local gravitational collapse. Radiative cooling is less effective because the stellar debris is still highly optically thick in
such an early time. Our simulations reveal that a solar-type star with a stellar density
profile of n = 3 disrupted by a 106
solar mass black hole produces ∼ 20 clumps of
masses in the range of 0.1 to 12 Jupiter masses. The mass fallback rate decays with
time, with pronounced spikes from early to late time. The spikes provide evidence for
the clumps of the returning debris, while the clumps on the unbound debris can be
potentially freely-floating planets and brown dwarfs. This ionization and dissociation
induced fragmentation on a tidally disrupted star are a promising candidate mechanism
to form low-mass stars to planets around an SMBH.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #269 on: January 26, 2020, 02:27:45 PM »
The AMS experiment on the ISS was only supposed to last for three years.  It lasted six — and was then deemed so important that new tools and multiple spacewalks were designed to repair this space machine that was not designed to be repairable.
Recent spacewalk updates are at the top of the article; historical information is at the bottom.

NASA/ESA complete challenging Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer repair
Quote
NASA and ESA have concluded a series of four spacewalks to repair the Station’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment.  NASA astronaut Drew Morgan and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano completed the series with the AMS deemed to be in good health.

Never designed to be serviceable after it was installed outside the Station in May 2011, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) required some unique thinking in order to bring it back to full operational capacity. ...
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/01/nasa-esa-challenging-ams-repair-spacewalks/
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #270 on: January 26, 2020, 10:38:54 PM »
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #271 on: January 27, 2020, 01:20:32 PM »
Curiosity after more than 7 years on Mars

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gerontocrat

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #272 on: January 29, 2020, 01:15:12 PM »
A bit of light relief (emoji required showing groan at appalling joke)

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/29/amateur-stargazers-capture-new-form-of-northern-lights
Aurora enthusiasts discover new phenomenon in Finland



Quote
A new form of the northern lights has been captured by amateur enthusiasts, researchers have revealed.

The phenomenon of glowing green lights rippling across the night sky, also known as the aurora borealis, have long captivated the public and experts alike.

Some have suggested the lights are depicted in prehistoric cave paintings, while the Latin term is said to have been coined by the astronomer Galileo Galilei.

Auroras are produced when charged particles, such as electrons, are ejected by the sun and funnelled towards the Earth’s poles by our planet’s magnetic field. There they interact with gases in the atmosphere, including oxygen and nitrogen, increasing the energy of these gases – energy which is subsequently released as light.

“This is the same as neon lamps,” said Minna Palmroth, a professor of computational space physics at the University of Helsinki. “Basically we can say the auroras are celestial neon lamps.”

The northern lights have been seen in many forms, including “quiet arcs”, spirals and corona.

But now, thanks to the work of amateur enthusiasts, Palmroth and colleagues say they have discovered a previously unknown form, a pattern they claim resembles sand dunes.
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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #273 on: January 29, 2020, 06:21:36 PM »
Likelihood of Space Super-Storms Estimated from Longest Period of Magnetic Field Observations
https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/likelihood_of_space

... By analysing magnetic field records at opposite ends of the Earth (UK and Australia), scientists have been able to detect super-storms going back over the last 150 years.

This result was made possible by a new way of analysing historical data, pioneered by the University of Warwick, from the last 14 solar cycles, way before the space age began in 1957, instead of the last five solar cycles currently used.

The analysis shows that 'severe' magnetic storms occurred in 42 out of the last 150 years, and 'great' super-storms, like the 'Carrington Event', occurred in 6 years out of 150. Typically, a storm may only last a few days but can be hugely disruptive to modern technology. Super-storms can cause power blackouts, take out satellites, disrupt aviation and cause temporary loss of GPS signals and radio communications.

In 2012 the Earth narrowly avoided trouble when a coronal mass ejection from the Sun missed the Earth and went off in another direction. According to satellite measurements if it had hit the Earth it would have caused a super-storm.

S.C. Chapman et al. Using the aa index over the last 14 solar cycles to characterize extreme geomagnetic activity, Geophysical Research Letters (2020)

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Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #274 on: January 30, 2020, 02:19:21 PM »
Two old, defunct satellites, IRAS and GGSE 4, had a near miss in space.  Live satellites can adjust their orbit to avoid mishaps — and do so, every day.  Space salvage operations are in development.
Quote
LeoLabs, Inc. (@LeoLabs_Space) 1/29/20, 9:04 PM
Thankfully our latest data following the event shows no evidence of new debris. To be sure, we will perform a further assessment upon the next pass of both objects over Kiwi Space Radar occurring later tonight.
https://twitter.com/leolabs_space/status/1222702184711757825

LeoLabs, Inc. (@LeoLabs_Space) 1/30/20, 12:04 AM
We are pleased to report that in the first several radar passes of the two objects after the close approach, we see no evidence of new debris. This event has served to highlight the collision risks caused by derelict satellites in LEO.

LeoLabs, Inc. (@LeoLabs_Space) 1/30/20, 12:04 AM
We will continue to monitor the space environment for these types of close approaches and provide updates when we see high risk scenarios.


‘Dangerously Close’ - Two Satellites At Risk Of Collision Tomorrow Could Create Thousands Of New Pieces Of Space Debris
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanocallaghan/2020/01/28/two-satellites-at-risk-of-collision-tomorrow-could-create-thousands-of-new-pieces-of-space-debris/
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gerontocrat

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #275 on: January 30, 2020, 03:08:49 PM »
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51305216

No comment required - just click the link below and to my surprise it plays

Sun's surface seen in remarkable new detail

<iframe width="400" height="500" frameborder="0" src="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/embed/p081rjvq/51305216"></iframe>

Behold the Sun's convulsing surface at a level of detail never seen before.

The Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope on Hawaii has released pictures that show features as small as 30km across.

This is remarkable when set against the scale of our star, which has a diameter of about 1.4 million km (870,000 miles) and is 149 million km from Earth.

The cell-like structures are roughly the size of the US state of Texas. They are convecting masses of hot, excited gas, or plasma.

The bright centres are where this solar material is rising; the surrounding dark lanes are where plasma is cooling and sinking.
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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #276 on: January 31, 2020, 07:19:52 AM »
Space-time is swirling around a dead star, proving Einstein right again
https://www.space.com/einstein-general-relativity-frame-dragging.html
Quote
The researchers noted that they used frame dragging to yield insight into the rotating star that caused it. In the future, they said, they can use a similar method to analyze binary neutron stars to learn more about their internal composition, "which, even after more than 50 years of observing them, we do not yet have a handle on," Venkatraman Krishnan said. "The density of matter inside a neutron star far exceeds what can be achieved in a lab, so there is a wealth of new physics to be learnt by using this technique to double neutron-star systems."
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

johnm33

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #277 on: January 31, 2020, 11:17:16 AM »

from https://spaceweatherarchive.com/2020/01/29/a-new-form-of-auroras-the-dunes/
I'm struck by the similarity between wave behaviour in the ocean and em generally, here the dunes look like overturning waves orthogonal to the incoming Birkland(?) current.
^275^sun the safire project has recently been working on a lab simulation of these forms, an experiment not a modelled simulation.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 11:26:12 AM by johnm33 »

Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #278 on: February 06, 2020, 12:28:15 AM »
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are still alive and talking to the Deep Space Network.
Quote
Shannon Stirone (@shannonmstirone)m2/4/20, 11:07 PM
I know everything is crazy but BOTH Voyager 1 AND Voyager 2 are talking to the DSN right now. This is very rare and not going to happen again for a very long time.
eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html pic.twitter.com/Orsnx3qBOQ
https://twitter.com/shannonmstirone/status/1224907489226788864
< Wow! They're both so far out into space, yet still operating and communicating with Earth.
- Yep! Almost every day too

- Oo! India's Chandrayaan-2 just showed up on DSS 26!   Fun night on the DSN
- Also something fun, the dishes don't just talk to spacecraft, they do science on their own. The dish 36 @CanberraDSN labeled GBRA is ground based radio astronomy.
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Pmt111500

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #279 on: February 08, 2020, 08:55:25 AM »
American association of variable star observers selects α Orionis aka Betelgeuze as the star of the month and makes a summary article of the recent changes in various bands of EM radiation.

https://www.aavso.org/star-month-february-2020-alpha-ori
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #280 on: February 24, 2020, 03:12:18 AM »
Phobos sample return mission enters development for 2024 launch
February 20, 2020
Quote
Japan’s space agency has approved a robotic mission to retrieve a sample from the Martian moon Phobos for return to Earth to begin full development for a planned launch in 2024, officials said Thursday.

The Martian Moon eXploration, or MMX, spacecraft will attempt to return the first specimens from Phobos for analysis in laboratories on Earth, where scientists hope to trace the origins of the Martian moons to determine whether they were asteroids captured by Mars, or if they formed out of rocky debris generated from an ancient impact on Mars.

MMX builds upon JAXA’s two previous asteroid sample return missions.

The Hayabusa spacecraft launched in 2003 and collected microscopic samples from asteroid Itokawa in 2005. The probe returned the material to Earth in 2010, overcoming multiple technical malfunctions that threatened to prematurely end the mission.

Hayabusa 2 launched in 2014 and collected samples from Ryugu — a carbon-rich asteroid — during two touch-and-go landings last year. The spacecraft has departed Ryugu and is on track to return the samples to Earth late this year.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/02/20/phobos-sample-return-mission-enters-development-for-2024-launch/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #281 on: February 26, 2020, 09:45:33 PM »
Quote
New Scientist (@newscientist) 2/26/20, 11:29 AM
Earth has acquired a brand new moon that's about the size of a car
https://twitter.com/newscientist/status/1232704211646844937

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/26/20, 2:25 PM
@newscientist It’s not mine

Earth has acquired a brand new moon that's about the size of a car
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2235427-earth-has-acquired-a-brand-new-moon-thats-about-the-size-of-a-car/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #282 on: February 27, 2020, 02:50:59 PM »
Mission Extension Vehicle success signals future space-debris cleanup.
Quote
Intelsat (@INTELSAT) 2/26/20, 4:09 PM
The successful docking of #MEV1 will help us extend the life of Intelsat 901, a satellite that provides service to our enterprise networks and mobility services customers in the Americas, Europe and Africa....
https://twitter.com/intelsat/status/1232774822058496007
Gif of the docking at the link.

Northrop Grumman makes history, Mission Extension Vehicle docks to target satellite
Quote
The successful maneuver marked a groundbreaking change in how satellites are operated in orbit, with the Mission Extension Vehicle capable of not just extending a satellite’s life but also moving defunct satellites to safer orbits.

Under the terms of the contract with Intelsat, MEV-1 will provide five years of life extension services to the Intelsat 901 satellite before returning the spacecraft to a final decommissioning orbit in the GEO graveyard.

MEV-1 will then move on to provide mission extension services to a new client spacecraft.
The Mission Extension Vehicle was designed and built at the Northrop Grumman’s Dulles, Virginia, facility and utilizes a “low-risk” mechanical docking system that attaches to existing features on the client satellite.

Once docked, MEV takes over the attitude and orbit maintenance of the combined vehicle stack to meet the pointing and station keeping requirements of the customer.

The MEVs are designed for multiple dockings and undockings and can deliver over 15 years of life extension services. 

A second MEV (MEV-2) is in final build and checkouts ahead of its planned launch later this year. ...
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/02/northrop-grumman-history-mission-extension-vehicle-docks-satellite/
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kassy

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #283 on: March 01, 2020, 11:22:47 PM »
The force is strong in neutron stars

...

Now physicists at MIT and elsewhere have for the first time characterized the strong nuclear force, and the interactions between protons and neutrons, at extremely short distances.

They performed an extensive data analysis on previous particle accelerator experiments, and found that as the distance between protons and neutrons becomes shorter, a surprising transition occurs in their interactions. Where at large distances, the strong nuclear force acts primarily to attract a proton to a neutron, at very short distances, the force becomes essentially indiscriminate: Interactions can occur not just to attract a proton to a neutron, but also to repel, or push apart pairs of neutrons.

...

Less than a bag of quarks

The team made two additional discoveries. For one, their observations match the predictions of a surprisingly simple model describing the formation of short-ranged correlations due to the strong nuclear force. For another, against expectations, the core of a neutron star can be described strictly by the interactions between protons and neutrons, without needing to explicitly account for more complex interactions between the quarks and gluons that make up individual nucleons.

When the researchers compared their observations with several existing models of the strong nuclear force, they found a remarkable match with predictions from Argonne V18, a model developed by a research group at Argonne National Laboratory, that considered 18 different ways nucleons may interact, as they are separated by shorter and shorter distances.

This means that if scientists want to calculate properties of a neutron star, Hen says they can use this particular Argonne V18 model to accurately estimate the strong nuclear force interactions between pairs of nucleons in the core. The new data can also be used to benchmark alternate approaches to modeling the cores of neutron stars.

...

"People assumed that the system is so dense that it should be considered as a soup of quarks and gluons," Hen explains. "But we find even at the highest densities, we can describe these interactions using protons and neutrons; they seem to keep their identities and don't turn into this bag of quarks. So the cores of neutron stars could be much simpler than people thought. That's a huge surprise."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200226131310.htm
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vox_mundi

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #284 on: March 05, 2020, 12:01:36 PM »
Organic Molecules Discovered By Curiosity Rover Consistent With Early Life On Mars
https://phys.org/news/2020-03-molecules-curiosity-rover-early-life.html

Organic compounds called thiophenes are found on Earth in coal, crude oil and oddly enough, in white truffles, the mushroom beloved by epicureans and wild pigs.

Thiophenes were also recently discovered on Mars, and Washington State University astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch thinks their presence would be consistent with the presence of early life on Mars.

Schulze-Makuch and Jacob Heinz with the Technische Universität in Berlin explore some of the possible pathways for thiophenes' origins on the red planet in a new paper published in the journal Astrobiology. Their work suggests that a biological process, most likely involving bacteria may have played a role in the organic compound's existence in the Martian soil.

"We identified several biological pathways for thiophenes that seem more likely than chemical ones, but we still need proof," Dirk Schulze-Makuch said. "If you find thiophenes on Earth, then you would think they are biological, but on Mars, of course, the bar to prove that has to be quite a bit higher."

... Schulze-Makuch and Heinz recommend using the data collected by the next rover, the Rosalind Franklin, which is expected to launch in July 2020, to look at carbon and sulfur isotopes.

Organisms alter the ratios of heavy and light isotopes in the compounds they produce that are substantially different from the ratios found in their building blocks, which Schulze-Makuch calls "a telltale signal for life."



Jacob Heinz et al, Thiophenes on Mars: Biotic or Abiotic Origin?, Astrobiology (2020)
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

kassy

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #285 on: March 11, 2020, 03:11:06 PM »
Scientists find Earth and moon not identical oxygen twins

...

“Our findings suggest that the deep lunar mantle may have experienced the least mixing and is most representative of the impactor Theia,” said Erick Cano. “The data imply the distinct oxygen isotope compositions of Theia and Earth were not completely homogenized by the Moon-forming impact and provides quantitative evidence that Theia could have formed farther from the Sun than did Earth.”

To arrive at their findings, Cano, a research scientist, and along with colleagues Zach Sharp and Charles Shearer from UNM’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, conducted high-precision measurements of the oxygen isotopic composition on a range of lunar samples at UNM’s Center for Stable Isotopes (CSI). The samples included basalts, highland anorthosites, norites and volcanic glass, a product of uncrystallized rapidly cooled magma.

They found that the oxygen isotopic composition varied depending on the type of rock tested. This may be due to the degree of mixing between the molten Moon and vapor atmosphere following the impact. Oxygen isotopes from samples taken from the deep lunar mantle were the most different to oxygen isotopes from Earth.

https://www.heritagedaily.com/2020/03/scientists-find-earth-and-moon-not-identical-oxygen-twins/126281
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #286 on: March 29, 2020, 06:52:46 PM »
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #287 on: March 31, 2020, 03:23:23 PM »
ESA Will Break COVID-19 Restrictions To Nudge BepiColombo Towards Mercury
Mar 30, 2020,
Quote
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, gravity and velocity wait for no man. Spacecraft en route to far-flung destinations within our solar system demand course corrections. That’s why the European Space Agency (ESA) is temporarily disregarding COVID-19 protocol to provide the European-Japanese BepiColombo spacecraft with one of the nudges it needs to reach Mercury orbit by late 2025.

Engineers will have to control the spacecraft maneuver at the agency’s European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany while complying with social distancing. 

Meanwhile, the BepiColombo spacecraft, launched in October 2018, will be doing some incredible social distancing of its own.

Although BepiColombo is currently orbiting the Sun at a similar distance as Earth, on April 10th at 6.25 A.M. (CEST), the spacecraft will approach Earth at the distance of only 12,700 km, says ESA. That’s less than half the altitude of Europe’s Galileo navigational satellites, says the agency. This maneuver will both slow the spacecraft down while bending and tightening its solar orbit, ESA says.

“This is the last time we will see BepiColombo from Earth,” Joe Zender, BepiColombo Deputy Project Scientist at ESA, said in a statement. “After that it will head deeper into the inner Solar System.” ... 
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucedorminey/2020/03/30/esa-will-break-covid-19-restrictions-to-nudge-bepicolombo-towards-mercury/#428a057e6426
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Astronomical news
« Reply #288 on: April 01, 2020, 09:23:47 PM »
Apparently this is not an April Fool’s joke.
”The U. S. Space Force declared the system operational on March 28, 2020.”
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Fence


Space Force says its new 'Space Fence' will protect us in space
Quote
It wasn't so long ago that there were running jokes about the idea of the Trump administration creating something it called the "Space Force," but since its founding in December, we haven't heard too much about the military branch. Well, we now have an update for you, as the Space Force has announced something it calls the "Space Fence" is now operational. And no, it's not a space wall.

The Space Force announced at the end of last week that the Space Fence radar system, which is a new radar system that can track objects smaller than 10 centimeters in space, is now fully operational. The radar system is located on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and it is meant to improve the military's ability to track objects in space like depleted rocket boosters, military satellites and general space debris to protect U.S. assets.

Gen. Jay Raymond, chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force and commander of U.S. Space Command, said in a statement that this is about protecting America's national security and financial interests.

"Space Fence is revolutionizing the way we view space by providing timely, precise orbital data on objects that threaten both manned and unmanned military and commercial space assets," Raymond said. "Our space capabilities are critical to our national defense and way of life, which is why Space Fence is so important to enhance our ability to identify, characterize and track threats to those systems."

The radar system will track 26,000 orbital objects that we're already aware of and monitor any new objects that are discovered. Considering it can track much smaller objects than we've previously been able to track, that database should grow pretty quickly. We'll soon have a map of just about every object that is orbiting our planet.

The Space Fence was developed by Lockheed Martin, and it's actually been in the works since its nearly $1 billion contract was awarded in 2014. The Pentagon indicated in a report that was released in January that it would finally be ready to go online by the end of February, so the program isn't far off schedule. ...
https://www.inverse.com/innovation/space-fence-is-now-operational
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