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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Astronomers Detect Unexpected Class of Mysterious Circular Objects in Space

    07/13/2020 5:53:24 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 27 replies
    www.sciencealert.com ^ | 9 JULY 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    Although we usually have a pretty good handle on all the different kinds of blips and blobs detected by our telescopes, it would be unwise to assume we've seen everything there is to see out there in the big, wide Universe. Case in point: a new kind of signal spotted by radio telescopes, which has astronomers scratching their heads. Four of these strange objects have been detected. All of them are circular in shape, and three are particularly bright around the edges - like a ring, or a bubble that is more opaque around the edges. An international team of...
  • Comet CG Creates Its Dust Tail *Astronomy Picture of the Day)

    07/12/2020 7:52:49 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 8 replies
    APOD.NASA ^ | 12 Jul. 2020 | License: ESA, Rosetta, NAVCAM
    (it seems like comet week). Explanation: Where do comet tails come from? There are no obvious places on the nuclei of comets from which the jets that create comet tails emanate. One of the best images of emerging jets is shown in the featured picture, taken in 2015 by ESA's robotic Rosetta spacecraft that orbited Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Comet CG) from 2014 to 2016. The picture shows plumes of gas and dust escaping numerous places from Comet CG's nucleus as it neared the Sun and heated up. The comet has two prominent lobes, the larger one spanning about 4 kilometers, and...
  • Is 'Planet Nine' actually a grapefruit-sized black hole? Big new telescope could find out

    07/12/2020 9:46:33 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 36 replies
    space,com ^ | 07/11/2020
    Over the past few years, researchers have noticed an odd clustering in the orbits of multiple trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), which dwell in the dark depths of the far outer solar system. Some scientists have hypothesized that the TNOs' paths have been sculpted by the gravitational pull of a big object way out there, something five to 10 times more massive than Earth (though others think the TNOs may just be tugging on each other). This big "perturber," if it exists, may be a planet — the so-called "Planet Nine," or "Planet X" or "Planet Next" for those who will always...
  • WMO certifies Megaflash lightning extremes

    07/11/2020 11:24:51 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    World Meteorological Organization (WMO) ^ | 24 June 2020 | Press Release Number: 26062020
    The new records for “megaflashes”, verified with new satellite lightning imagery technology, more than double the previous values measured in the United States of America and France. The findings were published by the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters ahead of International Lightning Safety Day on 28 June. WMO’s Committee on Weather and Climate Extremes, which maintains official records of global, hemispheric and regional extremes found that: The world’s greatest extent for a single lightning flash is a single flash that covered a horizontal distance of 709 ± 8 km (440.6 ± 5 mi) across parts of southern Brazil on...
  • The Tails of Comet NEOWISE (Astronomy Picture of the Day)

    07/11/2020 3:49:37 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 7 replies
    APOD.NASA ^ | 11 Jul, 2020 | Miloslav Druckmuller (Brno University of Technology)
    Explanation: Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) is now sweeping through northern skies. Its developing tails stretch some six degrees across this telescopic field of view, recorded from Brno, Czech Republic before daybreak on July 10. Pushed out by the pressure of sunlight itself, the comet's broad, yellowish dust tail is easiest to see. But the image also captures a fainter, more bluish tail too, separate from the reflective comet dust. The fainter tail is an ion tail, formed as ions from the cometary coma are dragged outward by magnetic fields in the solar wind and fluoresce in the sunlight. In this...
  • Comet Neowise can be seen early evening starting tomorrow 7/12/2020. Directions included.

    07/11/2020 1:05:49 PM PDT · by dragnet2 · 21 replies
    http://www.freerepublic.com ^ | 7/11/2020 | dragnet2
    Up until now, you had to get up at about 4:00 a.m. to view Comet Neowise. Weather permitting, now starting Sunday, July 12, 2020 it can been seen on the lower northwestern horizon during/after evening twilight. Where to look? It's going to be about 5 degrees above the north/northwestern horizon starting Sunday evening at about twilight. To determine what 5 degrees are, keep reading. Hold your hand at arm’s length and close one eye, make a fist, with the back of your hand facing you. The width of your fist will approximately be 10 degrees. 5 degrees are about three...
  • Comet NEOWISE from the ISS (Astronomy Picture of the Day)

    07/10/2020 7:54:27 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 14 replies
    APOD.NASA ^ | 10 Jul, 2020 | NASA, ISS
    Explanation: Rounding the Sun on July 3rd and currently headed for the outer Solar System, Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) has been growing brighter in the predawn skies of planet Earth. From low Earth orbit it also rises before the Sun, captured above the approaching glow along the eastern horizon in this snapshot from the International Space Station on July 5. Venus, now Earth's morning star is the brilliant celestial beacon on the right in the field of view. Above Venus you can spot the sister stars of the more compact Pleiades cluster. Earthbound skygazers can spot this comet with the...
  • 35 Years Ago, a U.S. F-15 Blasted an Orbiting Satellite to Smithereens

    07/10/2020 12:39:00 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies
    www.popularmechanics.com ^ | Jul 8, 2020 | By Kyle Mizokami
    The amazing feat only happened once. In 1985, a F-15A Eagle fitted with a classified missile shot down an aging weather satellite. The test of the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) was considered a huge success. Task & Purpose has published a rare interview with the pilot who flew the mission 35 years ago. ============================================================================================== One of the most remarkable feats of military engineering during the Cold War was the shootdown of an actual satellite by a fighter jet. The incident was the first and only use of the AGM-135 anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon. Although anti-satellite weapon development slowed after the end of the...
  • Neptune's Moons Are Caught in One of The Strangest Orbits Ever Seen

    07/10/2020 12:17:20 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 17 replies
    www.sciencealert.com ^ | 10 JULY 2020 | DAVID NIELD
    (NASA/JPL-Caltech) ================================================================================= Life isn't always easy for astrophysicists: just when they've figured out another aspect of the patterns of movement in our Solar System, along come two of the moons of Neptune to mess everything up. The two moons in question are Naiad and Thalassa, both around 100 kilometres or 62 miles wide, which race around their planet in what NASA researchers are calling a "dance of avoidance". Their strange orbit was first detected by NASA researchers in November 2019. Compared with Thalassa, Naiad's orbit is tilted by about five degrees – it spends half of its time above Thalassa...
  • The Most Powerful Gamma Ray Burst Just Corroborated General Relativity Once Again

    07/10/2020 12:12:41 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 8 replies
    www.sciencealert.com ^ | 10 JULY 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    Last year, scientists detected the most energetic gamma ray burst we've ever seen. A distant galaxy spat out a colossal flare in the range of a trillion electron volts (TeV), providing invaluable new insight into the physics of these incredibly energetic events. That was pretty amazing on its own - but now astrophysicists have used the burst to perform a new, precise test of the theory of general relativity. And - quelle surprise! - this test found that the speed of light is constant in a vacuum. Relativity, once again, has passed with flying colours. The test hinges on a...
  • A supermassive black hole lit up a collision of two smaller black holes

    07/10/2020 11:54:37 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 17 replies
    www.technologyreview.com ^ | Jun 26, 2020 | Neel V. Patel
    Artist's conception. Image: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC) Astronomers from Caltech have reported that they’ve observed a collision between two black holes. Normally such an event is invisible, but this time a more massive black hole sitting nearby helped illuminate the other two as they collided. If confirmed, the findings, published in Physical Review Letters, would be the first optical observations ever made of a black hole merger. What happened: First detected in May 2019 and dubbed S190521g, the merger happened about 4 billion light-years away, within the vicinity of a supermassive black hole called J1249+3449. This object is 100 million times...
  • Scientists Have Developed a Way to Make Human Skin More Protected from Space Radiation

    07/09/2020 7:07:14 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    NASA says that astronauts can be exposed to doses of radiation ranging from 50 to 2,000 Milli-Sieverts (mSv). Researchers already know that melanin has potential to protect astronauts from radiation. But there are different types of melanins. The one being tested on the ISS is actually a composite of fungal melanin and polymers. The lead researcher on that work is Radamés J.B. Cordero from Johns Hopkins. But this new research is going in a slightly different direction, by looking at melanin enriched with selenium. Selenium has an interesting relationship with light, and is used as a pigment, in glassmaking, in...
  • Best evidence yet for existence of anyons

    07/10/2020 7:45:20 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 47 replies
    phys.org ^ | July 10, 2020 | by Bob Yirka
    A small team of researchers at Purdue University has found the strongest evidence yet of the existence of abelian anyons. They have written a paper describing experiments they conducted designed to reveal the existence of the quasiparticles and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server while they await peer review. Anyons are neither bosons nor fermions—in fact, they are not elementary particles at all. Instead, they are classified as quasiparticles that exist in two dimensions. They can be observed, theoretically speaking, when they appear as disturbances in two-dimensional sheets of materials. Theoretical physicists have suggested their existence since the...
  • NASA's Perseverance Rover Attached to Atlas V Rocket

    07/09/2020 6:48:02 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | July 9, 2020
    NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has been attached to the top of the rocket that will send it toward the Red Planet this summer. Encased in the nose cone that will protect it during launch, the rover and the rest of the Mars 2020 spacecraft – the aeroshell, cruise stage, and descent stage – were affixed to a United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster on Tuesday, July 7, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Central Florida. The process began when a 60-ton hoist on the roof of the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 lifted the nose cone,...
  • Noctilucent Clouds and Comet NEOWISE (Astronomy Picture of the Day)

    07/09/2020 8:25:29 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 11 replies
    APOD.NASA ^ | 9 Jul, 2020 | Emmanuel Paoly/NASA
    Explanation: These silvery blue waves washing over a tree-lined horizon in the eastern French Alps are noctilucent clouds. From high in planet Earth's mesosphere, they reflect sunlight in this predawn skyscape taken on July 8. This summer, the night-shining clouds are not new to the northern high-latitudes. Comet NEOWISE is though. Also known as C/2020 F3, the comet was discovered in March by the Earth-orbiting Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) satellite. It's now emerging in morning twilight only just visible to the unaided eye from a clear location above the northeastern horizon.
  • Could the Big Bang have created a hidden 'twin' Universe?

    07/08/2020 4:13:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 78 replies
    BBC ^ | February 20, 2020 | Video by Howard Timberlake
    Could the Big Bang have created a hidden 'twin' Universe?
  • Dark Understanding of Matter

    03/25/2008 4:53:00 AM PDT · by Renfield · 4 replies · 189+ views
    Thunderbolts.info ^ | 3-25-08 | Stephen Smith
    Images from the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed a so-called "ring of dark matter" circling a galaxy cluster. Does dark matter exist? Or is electricity a better explanation for the structure of the universe? {Galaxy Cluster CL0024+17 with an overlay showing a supposed dark matter ring. Credit: NASA, ESA, M. J. Jee and H. Ford et al. (Johns Hopkins University)} In a recent announcement, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) reported the discovery of something in deep space that seems to confirm previously inferred observations of "dark matter." Although "dark matter" cannot be seen or detected by instruments, its...
  • 4 mysterious objects spotted in deep space are unlike anything ever seen

    07/08/2020 3:37:51 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 45 replies
    LiveScience ^ | 08 July 2020 | Mara Johnson-Groh
    There's something unusual lurking out in the depths of space: Astronomers have discovered four faint objects that at radio wavelengths are highly circular and brighter along their edges. And they're unlike any class of astronomical object ever seen before. The objects, which look like distant ring-shaped islands, have been dubbed odd radio circles, or ORCs, for their shape and overall peculiarity. Astronomers don't yet know exactly how far away these ORCs are, but they could be linked to distant galaxies. All objects were found away from the Milky Way's galactic plane and are around 1 arcminute across (for comparison, the...
  • Glistening 'Gel-Like' Substance on Far Side of The Moon Finally Identified

    07/08/2020 11:44:38 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 48 replies
    www.sciencealert.com ^ | 8 JULY 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    A peculiar "gel-like" substance the Chinese Yutu-2 rover discovered in a small impact crater on the far side of the Moon last year has now been identified. According to analysis of the images, and comparison with Apollo samples here on Earth, it's exactly what you'd expect to find on the Moon: rock. More specifically, it's rock that was melted together - likely in the heat of a meteorite impact - to form a dark green, glossy, glassy mass. "Chang'e-4 rover discovered a dark greenish and glistening impact melt breccia in a crater during its traverse on the floor of Von...
  • M43: Dust, Gas, and Stars in the Orion Nebula (Astronomy Picture of the Day)

    07/06/2020 10:49:09 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 19 replies
    APOD.NASA ^ | 6 Jul, 2020 | NASA, Bryan Goff
    Explanation: Unspeakable beauty and unimaginable bedlam can be found together in the Orion Nebula Arguably the most famous of all astronomy nebulas, the Great Nebula in Orion is an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away. In the featured deep image shown in assigned colors, the part of the nebula's center known as M43 is shown as taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Great Nebula in Orion can be found with the unaided eye near the easily identifiable belt of three stars in the popular constellation Orion. The entire Orion Nebula, including both M42 and M43 spans about...