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Keyword: astronomy

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  • SpaceX Crew Dragon: Elon Musk decries 'stranger than fiction' problem

    10/30/2020 12:45:32 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    Inverse ^ | 10/30/2020 | Mike Brown
    The capsule is scheduled to send up four astronauts no earlier than 7:49 p.m. Eastern time on November — a mission dubbed "Crew-1." It will be the first non-test, crewed mission since the successful crewed test flight in May 2020. But ahead of the big launch, SpaceX vice president Hans Koenigsmann explained in a NASA briefing this week that a problem with a "nail polish"-like substance discovered during a previous launch threatened to derail the grand plans. The problem already caused NASA to delay the Crew-1 flight earlier this month. The problem dramatically came to light during the GPS-III SV04...
  • Bizarre new planet is largest known rocky world, 40 times as massive as Earth

    10/31/2020 12:01:44 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 35 replies
    National Geographic ^ | 7/1/2020 | Nadia Drake
    The bulky object—possibly the core of a failed gas giant—challenges what astronomers think about how planets form. About 730 light-years away, not far on the scale of our galaxy, an utterly bizarre planet orbits a sun-like star. Big, dense, and tightly tethered to its home star, the planet is unlike anything astronomers have yet seen—either in our own solar system or afar. The roasted world known as TOI-849b is the most massive rocky planet ever observed, with as much as 40 Earths’ worth of material crammed inside. Perplexingly, TOI-849b’s tremendous bulk suggests that it should be a giant, gassy world...
  • Asteroid size of 747 set to fly past Earth on Halloween

    10/30/2020 8:30:17 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 29 replies
    Fox News ^ | 10/29/2020 | By Chris Ciaccia |
    The massive space rock, known as 2020 UX3, is estimated to have a diameter between 88 and 196 feet, according to NASA's Center for Near Earth Studies (CNEOS). For comparison purposes, the wingspan of a 747 is 225 feet long. It will come within 3.2 million miles of Earth, traveling at roughly 36,000 miles per hour. Its size and its proximity to Earth make it a near-Earth object (NEO). NASA unveiled a 20-page plan in 2018 that details the steps the U.S. should take to be better prepared for NEOs, such as asteroids and comets that come within 30 million...
  • The Most Famous Paradox in Physics Nears Its End

    10/30/2020 3:38:08 AM PDT · by Candor7 · 35 replies
    Quanta Magazine ^ | 29 October 2020 | George Musser
    ......................................And that led to a remarkable twist in the story. Because the radiation is highly entangled with the black hole it came from, the quantum computer, too, becomes highly entangled with the hole. Within the simulation, the entanglement translates into a geometric link between the simulated black hole and the original. Put simply, the two are connected by a wormhole. “There’s the physical black hole and then there’s the simulated one in the quantum computer, and there can be a replica wormhole connecting those,” said Douglas Stanford, a theoretical physicist at Stanford and a member of the West Coast team....
  • Cometary Activity Spotted on Distant Centaur

    10/29/2020 5:34:55 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 23 replies
    Sci-News ^ | 10/29/2020
    Centaurs are minor planets thought to have originated in the outer region of our Solar System known as the Kuiper Belt. Active centaurs enigmatically display prominent comet-like features such as comae or tails even though they orbit in the gas giant region where it is too cold for water to readily sublimate. Only 18 active centaurs have been identified since 1927 and, consequently, the underlying activity mechanisms are still poorly understood. 2014 OG392 orbits between 10 and 15 AU (astronomical units) where its equilibrium temperature would be around minus 213 degrees Celsius (minus 351 degrees Fahrenheit). Chandler and colleagues initially...
  • Rogue Planet About the Size of Earth Discovered in the Milky Way

    10/29/2020 11:07:11 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 35 replies ^ | By University of Warsaw October 29, 2020
    An artist’s impression of a gravitational microlensing event by a free-floating planet. Credit: Jan Skowron / Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw ============================================================================= Our Galaxy may be teeming with rogue planets, gravitationally unbound to any star. An international team of scientists, led by Polish astronomers, has announced the discovery of the smallest Earth-sized free-floating planet found to date. Over four thousand extrasolar planets have been discovered to date. Although many of the known exoplanets do not resemble those in our solar system, they have one thing in common — they all orbit a star. However, theories of planet formation and evolution...
  • Asteroid Apophis Could Still Hit Earth in 2068, New Measurements Suggest

    10/28/2020 6:09:01 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 50 replies
    Gizmodo ^ | 27 Oct, 2020 | George Dvorsky
    Only a small handful of objects are known to pose a serious threat to Earth, and the gigantic asteroid Apophis is one of them. Scientists are now re-evaluating its potential to strike our planet in 48 years, owing to improved observations of the problematic asteroid. Observations made earlier this year from the Subaru Telescope in Hawai’i are providing astronomers with a better sense of how the Yarkovsky effect is influencing the orbital path of asteroid 99942 Apophis. This effect is like a built-in propulsion system for asteroids, in which trace amounts of leaking radiation can alter an object’s momentum in...
  • New nuclear engine concept could help realize 3-month trips to Mars

    10/27/2020 5:25:11 PM PDT · by Roman_War_Criminal · 27 replies
    new atlas ^ | 10/25/20 | David Szondy
    Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has developed a concept for a new Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) engine and delivered it to NASA. Claimed to be safer and more reliable than previous NTP designs and with far greater efficiency than a chemical rocket, the concept could help realize the goal of using nuclear propulsion to revolutionize deep space travel, reducing Earth-Mars travel time to just three months. Because chemical rockets are already near their theoretical limits and electric space propulsion systems have such low thrust, rocket engineers continue to seek ways to build more efficient, more powerful engines using some...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Venusian Volcano Imagined

    10/27/2020 3:35:08 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 21 replies ^ | 27 Oct, 2020 | Illustration Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Peter Rubin
    Explanation: What would an erupting volcano on Venus look like? Evidence of currently active volcanoes on Venus was announced earlier this year with the unexplained warmth of regions thought to contain only ancient volcanoes. Although large scale images of Venus have been taken with radar, thick sulfuric acid clouds would inhibit the taking of optical light vistas. Nevertheless, an artist's reconstruction of a Venusian volcano erupting is featured. Volcanoes could play an important role in a life cycle on Venus as they could push chemical foods into the cooler upper atmosphere where hungry microbes might float. Pictured, the plume from...
  • Extreme 'Black Widow' Star Identified as Source of Mystery Gamma Radiation

    10/27/2020 2:11:13 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 16 replies
    Science Alert ^ | 27 Oct, 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    For more than two decades, astronomers have been systematically tracing mystery sources of high-energy gamma rays to their sources. One, however, remained stubborn - the brightest unidentified source of gamma rays in the Milky Way. It seemed to be coming from a binary system 2,740 light-years away, but only one of the stars could be found. Now, astronomers have solved the mystery and pinned down that second star by searching gamma-ray data obtained between 2008 and 2018. Together, the two stars constitute one of the weirdest binary systems we've ever seen. "The binary star system and the neutron star at...
  • Study offers more complete view of massive asteroid Psyche

    10/26/2020 8:20:19 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 18 replies ^ | October 26, 2020 | Southwest Research Institute
    The study, which was published today in The Planetary Science Journal and presented at the virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences, paints a clearer view of the asteroid than was previously available. At about 140 miles in diameter, Psyche is one of the most massive objects in the main asteroid belt orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Previous observations indicate that Psyche is a dense, largely metallic object thought to be the leftover core of a planet that failed in formation. Becker observed the asteroid at two specific points in its rotation to view both sides...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Dat - Reflections of the Ghost Nebula

    10/26/2020 4:05:56 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 18 replies ^ | 26 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Bogdan Jarzyna
    Explanation: Do any shapes seem to jump out at you from this interstellar field of stars and dust? The jeweled expanse, filled with faint, starlight-reflecting clouds, drifts through the night in the royal constellation of Cepheus. Far from your own neighborhood on planet Earth, these ghostly apparitions lurk along the plane of the Milky Way at the edge of the Cepheus Flare molecular cloud complex some 1,200 light-years away. Over two light-years across and brighter than the other spooky chimeras, VdB 141 or Sh2-136 is also known as the Ghost Nebula, seen at toward the bottom of the featured image....
  • Scientists Just Reported The First Unambiguous Detection of Water on The Moon

    10/26/2020 11:32:18 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 42 replies ^ | 26 OCTOBER 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    It's official. There's water on the Moon. We've thought that there was for over a decade, based on detections described back in 2009, but there was room for interpretation in the wavelengths used. Now, using a different wavelength unique to water, scientists report the first unambiguous detection. Those 2009 conclusions were apparently on the money. The ambiguity arose because the 2009 detections were made in the 3-micrometre infrared band. At this wavelength, there were two possibilities - water, or another hydroxyl compound comprising hydrogen and oxygen. Led by astronomer Casey Honniball of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, a team...
  • NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collects significant amount of asteroid

    10/24/2020 2:32:37 AM PDT · by zeestephen · 29 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 23 October 2020
    Two days after touching down on asteroid Bennu, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission team received on Thursday, Oct. 22, images that confirm the spacecraft has collected more than enough material to meet one of its main mission requirements -- acquiring at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of the asteroid's surface material.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Dark Matter in a Simulated Universe

    10/25/2020 2:32:54 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 10 replies ^ | 25 Oct, 2020 | Illustration Credit & Copyright: Tom Abel & Ralf Kaehler (KIPAC, SLAC), AMNH
    Explanation: Is our universe haunted? It might look that way on this dark matter map. The gravity of unseen dark matter is the leading explanation for why galaxies rotate so fast, why galaxies orbit clusters so fast, why gravitational lenses so strongly deflect light, and why visible matter is distributed as it is both in the local universe and on the cosmic microwave background. The featured image from the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium previous Space Show Dark Universe highlights one example of how pervasive dark matter might haunt our universe. In this frame from a detailed computer...
  • NASA to Announce New Science Results About Moon

    10/23/2020 9:53:01 PM PDT · by Berlin_Freeper · 37 replies ^ | Oct. 21, 2020 | NASA
    NASA will announce an exciting new discovery about the Moon from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) at a media teleconference at 12 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 26.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Tagging Bennu

    10/22/2020 3:54:10 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 12 replies ^ | 22 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit: OSIRIS-REx, University of Arizona, NASA, Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio
    Make sure to go to the link and click on the hotlink highlighted as "Touch-And-Go (TAG) sampling event" for a video of the touchdown. A photo sequence is also shown in the last hotlink in the Explanation or by clicking on the image at the link. Explanation: On October 20, after a careful approach to the boulder-strewn surface, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft's arm reached out and touched asteroid Bennu. Dubbed a Touch-And-Go (TAG) sampling event, the 30 centimeter wide sampling head (TAGSAM) appears to crush some of the rocks in this snapshot. The close-up scene was recorded by the spacecraft's SamCam...
  • Here It Is: The Spectacular Footage of NASA Touching Down on an Asteroid

    10/22/2020 8:35:11 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 26 replies ^ | 22 OCTOBER 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    Want a little reminder of how amazingly clever we humans can be? Yesterday, from a distance of more than 320 million kilometres (200 million miles) away, NASA scientists piloted a spacecraft to gently touch down on a spinning asteroid, collecting a sample of surface rubble to bring back home to Earth. At 6:08 PM EDT, the signal from spacecraft OSIRIS-REx reached Earth to let us know that it had successfully touched down at the Nightingale collection site on asteroid Bennu, within a metre (three feet) of its target, and safely bounced back up again after just 6 seconds of contact....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Saturn and Jupiter over Italian Peaks

    10/20/2020 4:23:37 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 26 replies ^ | 20 Oct, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Giorgia Hofer
    Explanation: Saturn and Jupiter are getting closer. Every night that you go out and check for the next two months, these two bright planets will be even closer together on the sky. Finally, in mid-December, a Great Conjunction will occur -- when the two planets will appear only 0.1 degrees apart -- just one fifth the angular diameter of the full Moon. And this isn't just any Great Conjunction -- Saturn (left) and Jupiter (right) haven't been this close since 1623, and won't be nearly this close again until 2080. This celestial event is quite easy to see -- already...
  • The First Space Force Recruits Are Headed to Basic Military Training

    10/20/2020 1:17:15 PM PDT · by RomanSoldier19 · 59 replies ^ | 16 Oct 2020 | Military News
    U.S. Space Force may not yet have its own boot camp, but the service's very first direct enlistees are about to head to entry-level training nonetheless. Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, senior enlisted leader of the Space Force, said seven new recruits will head to basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where they'll train alongside Air Force recruits -- albeit with a few distinctions. "They needed to know they were different; that's important to us," Towberman told in an interview Thursday. In addition to their Occupational Camouflage Pattern uniforms with service-specific blue-stitched name tapes, the recruits...