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Keyword: astronomy

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  • Facing collapse, the famed Arecibo Observatory will be demolished

    11/19/2020 2:22:50 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 23 replies
    The Verge ^ | Nov 19, 2020, 11:30am EST | Loren Grush
    The world-famous Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, known for helping scientists peer into deep space and listen for distant radio waves, is set to be decommissioned and demolished after engineers concluded that the facility’s structure is at risk of a collapse. While teams will try to salvage some parts of the observatory, the decommission will bring an end to the popular 57-year-old telescope, which has been featured in numerous films and television shows. The decision comes after two major cables failed at the facility within the last few months, causing significant damage to the observatory. The National Science Foundation (NSF),...
  • An Asteroid Made a Record Close Pass of Earth on Friday 13, And We Didn't See It Coming [250 MILES!]

    11/18/2020 8:50:29 AM PST · by Red Badger · 28 replies
    https://www.sciencealert.com ^ | DAVID DICKINSON, UNIVERSE TODAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2020
    Wow. A low-flying space rock set a record last Friday (appropriately, the 13th), when 2020 VT4 passed just under 400 kilometers (250 miles) over the Southern Pacific. The asteroid was spotted by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) survey at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii in the early morning hours of Saturday, November 14, just 15 hours after approach. This is not uncommon for fast-movers, especially asteroids that are coming at the Earth from our sunward blind-spot, like 2020 VT4. Newly-discovered asteroid A10sHcN approached Earth yesterday, passing only a few hundred miles above the South Pacific Ocean. This...
  • Famed Puerto Rico telescope to close in blow to science, search for extraterrestrial life.

    11/20/2020 11:31:37 PM PST · by Oshkalaboomboom · 25 replies
    NY Post ^ | 11/20/2020 | Associated Press
    The National Science Foundation announced Thursday that it will close the huge telescope at the renowned Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico in a blow to scientists worldwide who depend on it to search for planets, asteroids and extraterrestrial life. The independent, federally funded agency said it’s too dangerous to keep operating the single dish radio telescope — one of the world’s largest — given the significant damage it recently sustained. An auxiliary cable broke in August and tore a 100-foot hole in the reflector dish and damaged the dome above it. Then on Nov. 6, one of the telescope’s main...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - A Glowing STEVE and the Milky Way

    11/17/2020 3:17:02 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 24 replies
    APOD.NASA.gov ^ | 17 Nov, 2020 | Image Credit: NASA, Krista Trinder
    Explanation: What's creating these long glowing streaks in the sky? No one is sure. Known as Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancements (STEVEs), these luminous light-purple sky ribbons may resemble regular auroras, but recent research reveals significant differences. A STEVE's great length and unusual colors, when measured precisely, indicate that it may be related to a subauroral ion drift (SAID), a supersonic river of hot atmospheric ions thought previously to be invisible. Some STEVEs are now also thought to be accompanied by green picket fence structures, a series of sky slats that can appear outside of the main auroral oval that...
  • Far-Off Supernovas Caused Climate Change on Earth, According to Tree Rings ... How is that even possible?

    11/16/2020 7:22:17 AM PST · by Red Badger · 61 replies
    www.popularmechanics.com ^ | November 16, 2020 | By Tim Childers
    NASA, ESA, J. Hester, A. Loll (ASU) ===================================================================== Supernovas may have affected the Earth’s climate in the last 40,000 years. Tree-ring data suggests supernovas caused spikes in radiocarbon. Could the next nearby supernova cause a collapse of civilization? ====================================================================== Dendrochronology is a fancy word for tree-ring dating, where the age of a tree can be determined by the number of growth rings across its trunk. But there’s a lot more to learn from looking at a tree’s rings than simply its age. Like fingerprints, tree rings give scientists clues to what the world was like when a tree was alive....
  • Brown Dwarf Discovered by Radio Telescope Observations for the First Time

    11/13/2020 8:57:23 AM PST · by Red Badger · 12 replies
    scitechdaily.com ^ | November 13, 2020 | By Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)
    Artist’s impression of the cold brown dwarf BDR J1750+3809. The blue loops depict the magnetic field lines. Charged particles moving along these lines emit radio waves that LOFAR detected. Some particles eventually reach the poles and generate aurorae similar to the northern lights on Earth. Credit: ASTRON/Danielle Futselaar ========================================================================== Gemini North and IRTF Confirm LOFAR Discovery For the first time, astronomers have used observations from the LOFAR radio telescope, the NASA IRTF, operated by the University of Hawai‘i, and the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, to discover and characterize a cold brown dwarf. The object, designated BDR...
  • The Central Soul Nebula Without Stars

    11/10/2020 3:06:06 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 26 replies
    APOD.NASA.gov ^ | 10 Nov, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Jason Guenzel
    Explanation: This cosmic close-up looks deep inside the Soul Nebula. The dark and brooding dust clouds near the top, outlined by bright ridges of glowing gas, are cataloged as IC 1871. About 25 light-years across, the telescopic field of view spans only a small part of the much larger Heart and Soul nebulae. At an estimated distance of 6,500 light-years the star-forming complex lies within the Perseus spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy, seen in planet Earth's skies toward the constellation Cassiopeia. An example of triggered star formation, the dense star-forming clouds in the Soul Nebula are themselves sculpted...
  • Europa glows: Radiation does a bright number on Jupiter's moon

    11/09/2020 12:58:08 PM PST · by Red Badger · 15 replies
    https://phys.org ^ | November 9, 2020 | by NASA
    This illustration of Jupiter's moon Europa shows how the icy surface may glow on its nightside, the side facing away from the Sun. Variations in the glow and the color of the glow itself could reveal information about the composition of ice on Europa's surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech ======================================================================= As the icy, ocean-filled moon Europa orbits Jupiter, it withstands a relentless pummeling of radiation. Jupiter zaps Europa's surface night and day with electrons and other particles, bathing it in high-energy radiation. But as these particles pound the moon's surface, they may also be doing something otherworldly: making Europa glow in the...
  • Scientists discover bizarre hell planet where it rains rocks and oceans are made of lava

    11/06/2020 5:41:06 PM PST · by nickcarraway · 25 replies
    CBS News ^ | NOVEMBER 5, 2020 | SOPHIE LEWIS
    If you thought living on Earth in 2020 was comparable to hell, planet K2-141b is here to prove you wrong. On the scorching hot planet, hundreds of light-years away, oceans are made of molten lava, winds reach supersonic speeds and rain is made of rocks. Scientists have referred to the bizarre, hellish exoplanet as one of the most "extreme" ever discovered. According to a new study published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, scientists from McGill University, York University and the Indian Institute of Science Education have uncovered details of one of the newest "lava planets" — a...
  • Seeing dark matter in a new light

    11/06/2020 6:35:58 AM PST · by Red Badger · 5 replies
    https://phys.org ^ | November 6, 2020 | by Morgan Hollis, Royal Astronomical Society
    Artist's impression of a galaxy surrounded by gravitational distortions due to dark matter. Galaxies live inside larger concentrations of invisible dark matter (coloured purple in this image), however the dark matter's effects can be seen by looking at the deformations of background galaxies. Credit: Swinburne Astronomy Productions - James Josephides ========================================================================== A small team of astronomers have found a new way to 'see' the elusive dark matter haloes that surround galaxies, with a new technique 10 times more precise than the previous-best method. The work is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Scientists currently estimate that up...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Fifty Gravitational Wave Events Illustrated

    11/04/2020 4:16:36 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 14 replies
    APOD.NASA.gov ^ | 4 Nov, 2020 | Image Credit: LIGO Virgo Collaborations, Frank Elavsky, Aaron Geller, Northwestern U.
    Explanation: Over fifty gravitational wave events have now been detected. These events mark the distant, violent collisions of two black holes, a black hole and a neutron star, or two neutron stars. Most of the 50 events were detected in 2019 by the LIGO gravitational wave detectors in the USA and the VIRGO detector in Europe. In the featured illustration summarizing the masses of the first 50 events, blue dots indicate higher-mass black holes while orange dots denote lower-mass neutron stars. Astrophysicists are currently uncertain, though, about the nature of events marked in white involving masses that appear to be...
  • An Asteroid Trailing After Mars Could Actually Be The Stolen Twin of Our Moon

    11/04/2020 9:13:00 AM PST · by Red Badger · 17 replies
    https://www.sciencealert.com ^ | 4 NOVEMBER 2020 | PETER DOCKRILL
    The South Pole of the Moon. (NASA GSFC Scientific Visualisation Studio) =========================================================================== A distant asteroid trailing in the gravitational wake of Mars has been observed in greater detail than ever before, and the close-up reveals a surprising resemblance – one that raises some interesting questions about the object's ancient origins. The asteroid in question, called (101429) 1998 VF31, is part of a group of trojan asteroids sharing the orbit of Mars. Trojans are celestial bodies that fall into gravitationally balanced regions of space in the vicinity of other planets, located 60 degrees in front of and behind the planet. Most...
  • NASA Voyager 2 is receiving commands from Earth again

    11/03/2020 2:38:42 PM PST · by blueplum · 105 replies
    CNN via MSN ^ | 03 Nov 2020 | Ryan Prior
    Election Day may have us tied up in anxious knots today. But we can also take solace in the fact that nearly 12 billion miles away, one of humanity's greatest achievements is twinkling back at us, and our understanding of the mysteries of the universe continues to unfold.... ...After a seven-month hiatus without being able to command Voyager 2, NASA is now able to communicate new directions and procedures to the craft, the agency announced. The Voyager 2 space probe, launched in August 1977, has been traveling outward for more than 43 years visiting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Tagging Bennu: The Movie

    11/03/2020 2:49:00 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 10 replies
    APOD.NASA.gov ^ | 3 Nov, 2020 | Video Credit: OSIRIS-REx, NASA's GSFC, U. Arizona, Lockheed Martin
    Explanation: This is what it looks like to punch an asteroid. Last month, NASA's robotic spacecraft OSIRIS-REx descended toward, thumped into, and then quickly moved away from the small near-Earth asteroid 101955 Bennu. The featured video depicts the Touch-And-Go (TAG) sampling event over a three-hour period. As the movie begins, the automated probe approaches the 500-meter, diamond-shaped, space rock as it rotates noticeably below. About 20 seconds into the video, Nightingale comes into view -- a touchdown area chosen to be relatively flat and devoid of large boulders that could damage the spaceship. At 34 seconds, the shadow of OSIRIS-REx's...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - Half Sun with Prominence

    11/02/2020 3:53:19 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 11 replies
    APOD.NASA.gov ^ | 2 Nov, 2020 | Image Credit & Copyright: Rainee Colacurcio
    Explanation: What's happening to the Sun? Clearly, the Sun's lower half is hidden behind a thick cloud. Averaging over the entire Earth, clouds block the Sun about 2/3rds of the time, although much less over many land locations. On the Sun's upper right is a prominence of magnetically levitating hot gas. The prominence might seem small but it could easily envelop our Earth and persist for over a month. The featured image is a combination of two exposures, one optimizing the cloud and prominence, and the other optimizing the Sun's texture. Both were taken about an hour apart with the...
  • Did you see the fireball streak Birmingham’s sky on November 1, 2020?

    11/02/2020 4:24:13 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 17 replies
    Bham Now ^ | November 2, 2020 | Patience Itson
    Earth’s atmosphere sees several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude each day, so they are quite common. We are just typically unable to see them due to daylight and because a vast majority occur over oceans and uninhabited regions. However, the brighter the fireball, the more rare it is. Do fireballs make a sound? Sounds like sociology’s favorite question of “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?” But the answer is quite interesting. According to the American Meteor Society, fireballs can make a sound—two in fact. Both generated...
  • Centaurs Keep Their Rings From Greedy Gas Giants

    06/26/2016 10:36:02 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 06/24/2016 | Matt Williams
    Centaurs are a population of objects within our Solar System that behave as both comets and asteroids (hence why they are named after the hybrid beasts of Greek mythology). 10199 Chariklo is the largest known member of the Centaur population, a possible former Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) which currently orbits between Saturn and Uranus. The rings around this asteroid were first noticed in 2013 when the asteroid underwent a stellar occultation. This revealed a system of two rings, with a radius of 391 and 405 km and widths of about 7 km 3 km, respectively. The absorption features of the rings...
  • A Rare Hybrid of a Comet And an Asteroid Is Showing Off Its Cometary Traits

    11/02/2020 11:11:00 AM PST · by Red Badger · 4 replies
    www.sciencealert.com ^ | 1 NOVEMBER 2020 | DAVID NIELD
    This image highlights the bright coma of C/2014 OG392 (PANSTARRS). (Northern Arizona University ======================================================================= Centaurs are rare celestial objects that can combine some of the different features of asteroids and comets. They're basically rocky in nature, like asteroids, but can also throw out clouds of dust and gas as their exteriors vaporize, like comets. When centaurs emit these gases, they're considered active. We've only ever found 18 chemically active centaurs in the last century or so, but now a new one has been added to the list – and it might be able to tell us more about how these...
  • Pilot's Rare Trip Around Area 51 Includes Pics Of Range Targets, Drone Bases, UFO Legends<br> The Nevada Test and Training Range is a huge place filled with oddities, including one impossible to reach dry lake that's a staple of UFO lore.

    04/14/2020 2:56:36 AM PDT · by PIF · 20 replies
    The War Zone ^ | April 13, 2020 | By Tyler Rogoway
    Our account and its accompanying gallery of private pilot Gabriel Zeifman's somewhat astonishing flight through the usually highly restricted Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), which includes shadowy bases like Area 51 and Tonopah Test Range Airport, and the Nevada Test Site, where hundreds of nuclear weapons were tested, drew fascination from readers all over the globe. Now Gabriel has shared additional images of his adventures over the NTTR that are pretty spectacular in their own right and they include the best photos I have seen of a very popular location in UFO lore, Papoose Lake. Located just to the...
  • Harry Reid claims US government is hiding key evidence of UFO encounters

    10/14/2020 2:09:27 PM PDT · by RoosterRedux · 62 replies
    NY Post ^ | Lee Brown
    The truth is out there — it’s just being covered up. The US government has key evidence of possible close encounters with UFOs but has been hiding it for years, according to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The 80-year-old politician claimed in a new documentary, “The Phenomenon,” that “there’s more than one up there” and even believes they may have interfered with American weapons. Asked if he was saying that “there’s some evidence that still hasn’t seen the light of day,” Reid insisted, “I’m saying most of it hasn’t seen the light of day.” “We have it — it’s...