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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • NASA’s new spacecraft will travel within 26 MILES of the sun in order to gather data that will help scientist better predict solar storms

    01/28/2020 5:30:57 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 120 replies ^ | 01/28/2020 | Stacy Liberatore
    In collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), the team is launching the Solar Orbiter that will use Venus's and Earth's gravity to swing itself out of the ecliptic plane — the area of space aligned with the sun's equator, where all planets orbit. From this position, the craft will feast its eyes on the first-ever look of the massive yellow dwarf star, which will provide scientists with better data to predict solar storms more accurately. Solar Orbiter is equipped with a custom-designed titanium heat shield coated with a specific phosphate that withstands temperatures over 900 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing it...
  • Two Satellites Could Collide Tomorrow Night

    01/28/2020 10:20:22 AM PST · by Red Badger · 78 replies ^ | Jan 28, 2020 | By Jennifer Leman
    What happens if the retired space telescope and former spy satellite crash into each other? ______________________________________________________________ Leo Labs, a venture-based company that monitors satellites in Low Earth Orbit, tweeted yesterday that it was tracking two satellites that will come within 15 to 30 meters of each other January 29, just before 6:40 p.m. EST. The two satellites are IRAS, a decommissioned NASA space telescope, and GGSE-4, a US Naval Research Lab intelligence satellite. They're set to sweep past each other in the skies above Pittsburgh at an altitude of about 559 miles above Earth's surface. _____________________________________________________________________ LeoLabs, a company that...
  • Has physicist's gravity theory solved 'impossible' dark energy riddle?

    01/27/2020 6:34:00 AM PST · by Red Badger · 71 replies ^ | Sat 25 Jan 2020 06.40 EST | Hannah Devlin Science correspondent
    Prof Claudia de Rham’s ‘massive gravity’ theory could explain why universe expansion is accelerating Cosmologists don’t enter their profession to tackle the easy questions, but there is one paradox that has reached staggering proportions. Since the big bang, the universe has been expanding, but the known laws of physics suggest that the inward tug of gravity should be slowing down this expansion. In reality, though, the universe is ballooning at an accelerating rate. Scientists have come up with a name – dark energy – for the mysterious agent that is allowing the cosmos to expand so rapidly and which is...
  • Fireball ‘as bright as the moon’ lands in Lake Huron

    01/25/2020 7:30:27 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 38 replies
    ML Live ^ | 01/25/2020 | Tanda Gmiter
    Peter Brown, a professor in Western University’s physics and astronomy department, tweeted a series of photos of the spectacle. He dubbed it the Kintail fireball, for the spot near the Canadian shoreline of Lake Huron where it was believed to have crossed over before going into the water. On a map, Kintail is directly across the lake from Michigan’s Thumb. “Kintail fireball orbit from last night place origins firmly from the asteroid belt. The initial mass was somewhere between a few to ten kilograms - softball sized. Not quite as bright as the full moon," Brown posted on Twitter. Fireballs...
  • Astronomers Detect a Burst of Gravitational Waves From The Direction of Betelgeuse

    01/20/2020 11:01:51 AM PST · by Red Badger · 84 replies ^ | 20 JAN 2020 | EVAN GOUGH, UNIVERSE TODAY
    Gravitational waves are caused by calamitous events in the Universe. Neutron stars that finally merge after circling each other for a long time can create them, and so can two black holes that collide with each other. But sometimes there's a burst of gravitational waves that doesn't have a clear cause. One such burst was detected by LIGO/VIRGO on January 14, and it came from the same region of sky that hosts the star Betelgeuse. Yeah, Betelgeuse, aka Alpha Orionis. The star that has been exhibiting some dimming behaviour recently, and is expected to go supernova at some point in...
  • The first Space Force uniforms have reached the Pentagon, and people are making fun of the camouflage print

    01/18/2020 4:20:52 PM PST · by Libloather · 89 replies
    Business Insider via MSN ^ | 1/18/20 | Kat Tenbarge
    The newly created United States Space Force has new uniforms to match. The unit's official Twitter account posted a picture of the new "U.S. Space Force" nameplate and "United States Space Command" patch and said the uniforms had "touched down in the Pentagon." The US Space Force has been in the works of President Donald Trump's administration since March 2018, and it was officially created alongside the US Space Command when the president signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act on December 20. **SNIP** "Space Force" trended on Twitter after the Department of Defense debuted the new uniforms, with many...
  • Meteor Flashes Across Puerto Rico Sky

    01/18/2020 4:04:32 AM PST · by SilvieWaldorfMD · 7 replies ^ | 1/17/20 | Jan Wesner Childs
    Meteor Explosion Near Puerto Rico Captured by a Satellite Meteorologist Danielle Banks says a NOAA satellite captured what appears to be a meteor exploding near Puerto Rico. At a Glance The bright ball of fire was captured in satellite images. Residents posted photos and video to social media. One astronomer guessed it was several feet in length. A bright ball of fire shot across the sky in Puerto Rico Friday afternoon, prompting local residents to speculate on what it was, and to wonder if it was a bad omen for the disaster-stricken island. Images of the fireball were captured by...
  • NASA Detects Five Massive Asteroids Heading For Earth This Weekend

    01/16/2020 9:36:47 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 42 replies
    ibtimes ^ | 01/16/2020 | Inigo Monzon
    The first asteroid that will fly close to Earth on Saturday has been identified by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies as 2020 AH1. This asteroid is currently moving at an average speed of almost 18,000 miles per hour...estimated that this asteroid is about 246 feet wide. Trailing behind 2020 AH1 is an asteroid known as 2009 BH2... this asteroid measures about 656 feet wide, making it the largest space rock in the group. 2009 BH2 is currently flying towards Earth at a velocity of 40,000 miles per hour. The last asteroid that will visit Earth’s vicinity on Saturday is...
  • SpaceX tests dark coating to appease stargazers as 60 more satellites launched

    01/07/2020 2:08:44 AM PST · by Libloather · 8 replies
    AP via Yahoo ^ | 1/07/20 | Marcia Dunn
    SpaceX has launched 60 more mini internet satellites, this time testing a dark coating to appease stargazers. It is a “first step” compromise between SpaceX and astronomers fearful of having dark skies spoiled by hundreds and, eventually, thousands of bright satellites circling overhead. The Falcon 9 rocket blasted into a cold, clear night sky, recycled by SpaceX for its fourth flight. As the first-stage booster flew to a vertical landing on an ocean platform, the Starlink satellites continued hurtling towards orbit to join 120 similar spacecraft launched last year. Flight controllers applauded and the launch commentator described the booster’s fourth...
  • An 'unknown' burst of gravitational waves just lit up Earth's detectors

    01/15/2020 3:52:50 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 126 replies
    CNET ^ | 01/14/2020 | Jackson Ryan
    Earth's gravitational wave observatories -- which hunt for ripples in the fabric of space-time -- just picked up something weird. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo detectors recorded an unknown or unanticipated "burst" of gravitational waves on Jan. 14. The gravitational waves we've detected so far usually relate to extreme cosmic events, like two black holes colliding or neutron stars finally merging after being caught in a death spiral. Burst gravitational waves have not been detected before and scientists hypothesize they may be linked to phenomena such as supernova or gamma ray bursts, producing a tiny "pop" when...
  • GMRT discovers a gigantic ring of hydrogen gas around a distant galaxy

    01/15/2020 2:06:27 PM PST · by Red Badger · 12 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | January 2, 2020 | by Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
    The optical image from the CFHT telescope with the distribution of neutral hydrogen in the form of a large ring shown in red as observed by the GMRT. The other two red blobs show the distribution of neutral hydrogen around two other galaxies which are in the vicinity of the ring. Credit: O. Bait (NCRA-TIFR/GMRT), Duc (ObAS/CFHT) ============================================================= A team of astronomers at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune, India have discovered a mysterious ring of hydrogen gas around a distant galaxy, using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). The ring is much bigger than the galaxy...
  • The Oldest Known Material on Earth Is Officially Older Than The Solar System

    01/14/2020 10:18:32 AM PST · by Red Badger · 82 replies ^ | 13 JAN 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    The oldest solid material on Earth has just been identified, and it predates the Solar System itself by at least a few hundred million years. The teensy tiny microscopic grains of dust were forged in a distant star somewhere between 5 and 7 billion years ago, according to new research. By comparison, our Sun is just 4.6 billion years old. Eventually, these grains were carried to Earth in a meteorite. "This is one of the most exciting studies I've worked on," said cosmochemist Philipp Heck of the Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago. "These are the...
  • Jupiter is flinging asteroids at Earth 'like a sniper', top scientist warns

    01/11/2020 10:42:56 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 81 replies
    Fox News ^ | Thursday, January 9, 2020 | Charlotte Edwards | The Sun
    The popular Jupiter Shield theory proposes that the planet acts like a giant space shield due to its huge mass causing it to suck in or deflect dangerous debris. However, this shield theory is slowly falling out of favor and one of the leading critics is space expert Kevin Grazier. [Kevin R. Grazier, Ph.D.] He's published several papers explaining why he thinks Jupiter is a "sniper rather than a shield". Recently, he's been aiming to prove how this 'sniper-like' process works. Grazier's extensive work could put the Jupiter Shield theory in jeopardy. He told Gizmodo: "Actually, I wouldn't say that...
  • A Huge Wave is Passing Through the Milky Way Unleashing New Stellar Nurseries

    01/09/2020 5:13:31 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    Stars are formed within large clouds of gas and dust known as stellar nurseries. While star formation was once seen as a simple gravitational process, we now know it is a complex dance of interactions. When one star forms it can send shock waves through the interstellar medium that trigger other stars to form. Supernovae and galactic collisions can trigger the creation of stars as well. In the late 1800s, astronomer Benjamin Gould studied OB stars and found that many of them lie within a partial ring within our galaxy, titled about 20 degrees from the plane of the Milky...
  • NASA Satellite Discovers 'Second Earth'

    01/09/2020 10:18:47 AM PST · by Red Badger · 42 replies ^ | Jan 8, 2020 | By Jennifer Leman
    Astronomers unveiled new insights by NASA's TESS this week at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. The satellite spotted a new Earth-like exoplanet within its star's habitable zone, a new Tatooine star system, and a strange eclipse. TESS has been working hard to uncover new corners of the universe since its launch in 2018. Exoplanet enthusiasts, rejoice! This week, scientists revealed a series of new discoveries made by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The telescope has spotted a number of strange new worlds circling star systems near and far, the scientists announced at the 235th meeting of...
  • First New Sunspots in 40 Days Herald Coming Solar Cycle

    01/08/2020 10:16:33 AM PST · by Red Badger · 26 replies ^ | 01/08/2020 | By Tom Metcalfe
    The cycle may result in dramatic space weather that could disrupt communications and power grids here on Earth. Two new sunspots have ended a long period of relative quiet on the surface of our blazing host star, heralding the start of a new 11-year cycle of sunspot activity — resulting in sometimes dramatic space weather that could disrupt communications and power grids here on Earth. The two new sunspots, designated as NOAA 2753 and 2754, were seen on Dec. 24 by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory — a satellite that monitors the exterior and interior of the sun from a geosynchronous...
  • Astronomers Just Detected a Second, Epic Neutron Star Collision

    01/08/2020 10:04:26 AM PST · by C19fan · 23 replies
    Science Alert ^ | January 7, 2020 | Michelle Star
    Our magnificent gravitational wave astronomers have done it again, adding to the detection collection a new collision between two neutron stars. On 25 April 2019, the LIGO interferometer detected two neutron stars around 520 million light-years away coming together and merging into a single object. It's called GW190425, and although it's only the second such collision astronomers have ever seen, it's already broadening our understanding of these colossal cosmic smash-ups.
  • NASA's TESS spots possible 'second Earth' nearby

    01/07/2020 10:58:25 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 48 replies
    BGR ^ | January 7th, 2020 | Mike Wehner
    [R]esearchers using NASA's TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) and the Spitzer Space Telescope have confirmed the presence of a nearby planet called TOI 700 d. The world sits comfortably in the habitable zone of its host star, and from what astronomers can tell, it appears to be a lot like Earth. The best part? It's relatively close. Okay, so as we've all come to learn, "close" is a relative term when we're talking about objects in space. In the case of TOI 700 d, "close" means that the planet is hanging out at a distance of around 100 light-years. That's...
  • Binary star V Sagittae to explode as very bright nova by century's end

    01/07/2020 8:41:17 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 41 replies ^ | 01/07/2020 | Mimi Lavalle, Louisiana State University
    Currently, the faint star V Sagittae, V Sge, in the constellation Sagitta, is barely visible, even in mid-sized telescopes. However, around the year 2083, this innocent star will explode, becoming as bright as Sirius, the brightest star visible in the night sky. During this time of eruption, V Sge will be the most luminous star in the Milky Way galaxy. This prediction is being presented for the first time at the 235th American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu, HI, by astronomers Bradley E. Schaefer, Juhan Frank, and Manos Chatzopoulos, with the Louisiana State University Department of Physics & Astronomy. V...
  • Astronomers Have Tracked a Repeating Radio Signal Across Space to an Unexpected Origin

    01/07/2020 8:25:46 AM PST · by Red Badger · 48 replies ^ | 7 JAN 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    A mysterious repeating radio signal from space revealed last year is now the fifth fast radio burst to be tracked back to its source galaxy. It's a location unlike any of the others, and astronomers are having to rethink their previous assumptions about how these signals are generated. The origin of this repeating signal is a spiral galaxy, located 500 million light-years from Earth, making it the closest known source of what we call fast radio bursts (FRBs) yet. And the FRBs are emanating specifically from a region just seven light-years across - a region that's alive with star formation....