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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • NASA accepts delivery of European powerhouse for moonship

    11/16/2018 3:11:33 PM PST · by Olog-hai · 20 replies
    Associated Press ^ | November 16, 2018 | Marcia Dunn
    NASA has accepted delivery of a key European part needed to power the world’s next-generation moonship. U.S. and European leaders gathered at Kennedy Space Center on Friday to mark the occasion. The newly arrived powerhouse, or service module, will propel NASA’s Orion capsule to the moon during a test flight without passengers planned for 2020. A mega rocket under development by NASA, known as SLS for Space Launch System, will launch the combo. […] Orion and the attached service module are meant to fly near the moon, but not land. Future missions will carry astronauts, with the goal of building...
  • Interstellar Comet Oumuamua is Smaller than Previously Thought, Has Highly Reflective Surface

    11/16/2018 8:43:45 AM PST · by ETL · 37 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Nov 16, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    ‘Oumuamua was first detected by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii, in October 2017 while the telescope was surveying for near-Earth asteroids.Subsequent detailed observations conducted by multiple ground-based telescopes and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope detected the sunlight reflected off ‘Oumuamua’s surface.Large variations in the object’s brightness suggested that ‘Oumuamua is highly elongated and probably less than 2,600 feet (800 m) in its longest dimension.But NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope tracks asteroids and comets using the infrared energy, or heat, that they radiate, which can provide more specific information about an object’s size than optical observations of...
  • Fireball lights up Central Texas sky

    11/16/2018 7:32:35 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    KXAN ^ | 11/15/2018 | Jime Spencer
    A meteor so bright it stunned Central Texans who witnessed it at 9:22 p.m. Thursday. The streaking space debris was spotted across Texas and in adjacent states. A number of witnesses from western Travis County to Kyle in Hays County also reported a sonic boom, with some saying it rattled their windows. Meteors that are brighter than planets in the night sky are called fireballs. This one clearly was, as some reported the entire sky lighting up as the green, light yellow and white object streaked across the Texas sky. It may have been a piece of rock from an...
  • Rising sea levels may build, rather than destroy, coral reef islands

    11/15/2018 10:18:29 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    EurekAlert! ^ | November 13, 2018 | Northumbria University
    Rising global sea levels may actually be beneficial to the long-term future of coral reef islands, such as the Maldives, according to new research published in Geophysical Research Letters. Low-lying coral reef islands are typically less than three metres above sea level, making them highly vulnerable to rising sea levels associated with climate change. However, research has found new evidence that the Maldives - the world's lowest country - formed when sea levels were higher than they are today... They found that large waves caused by distant storms off the coast of South Africa led to the formation of the...
  • Geoscientists Find Large Impact Crater in Greenland

    11/15/2018 7:47:28 AM PST · by ETL · 17 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Nov 15, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    An international team of geoscientists from the United States, Canada and Europe has discovered a large impact crater beneath the Hiawatha Glacier in remote northwest Greenland. A paper on the discovery was published in the journal Science Advances. The Hiawatha impact crater is approximately 19.2 miles (31 km) wide and lies under an ice sheet that is 0.6 miles (1 km) thick.The scientists believe this crater was formed by a 0.6-mile wide iron asteroid that slammed into the Earth at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, perhaps as recently as 12,000 years ago. ..." “Researchers were looking at the map...
  • Are the Laws of the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life?

    11/15/2018 5:19:25 AM PST · by Heartlander · 53 replies
    Discover ^ | November 12, 2018 | Korey Haynes
    Are the Laws of the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life? By Korey Haynes | November 12, 2018 Humans have often looked at the night sky and wondered if there’s anyone else out there. But stare into that darkness long enough, and many wonder instead: how did we get here? What were the odds, in a universe so enormous and chaotic, that humans should have come to exist at all? Is life, let alone intelligent life, such a wildly improbable occurrence that we’re the only ones here? Or are we an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics?Life exists on Earth (assuming...
  • Frozen super-Earth discovered six light-years away

    11/14/2018 10:38:38 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    CNN ^ | November 14, 2018 | Ashley Strickland,
    The red dwarf star itself emits only about 0.4% of our sun's radiance, so the planet receives about 2% of the intensity that Earth receives from its sun. This is because Barnard's star is in the class of M dwarf stars, cooler and less massive than our sun. It's also an old star that predates our own solar system. The planet is about the same orbital distance from its star as Mercury is from our sun, making a full pass around the star every 233 days. This places it in the "snow line" of the star, where it's cold enough...
  • Large, strangely dim galaxy found lurking on far side of Milky Way

    11/13/2018 10:17:10 AM PST · by ETL · 15 replies
    ScienceMag.com ^ | Nov 13, 201 | Adam Mann
    Circling our galaxy is a stealthy giant. Astronomers have discovered a dwarf galaxy, called Antlia 2, that is one-third the size of the Milky Way itself. As big as the Large Magellanic Cloud, the galaxy’s largest companion, Antlia 2 eluded detection until now because it is 10,000 times fainter. Such a strange beast challenges models of galaxy formation and dark matter, the unseen stuff that helps pull galaxies together. “It’s a very odd object and kind of exciting because we don’t know yet how to interpret all of its properties,” says Andrey Kravtsov of The University of Chicago in Illinois,...
  • NASA Chief Sees Bold Future on Mars and the Moon

    11/12/2018 11:28:24 AM PST · by ETL · 33 replies
    Space.com ^ | Nov 11, 2018 | Chelsea Gohd, Space.com Staff Writer
    WASHINGTON — The moon may be the next space destination for American astronauts, but the frontier of Mars still beckons, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine says. Monday evening (Nov. 8), a crowd of reporters, scientists, politicians and space enthusiasts gathered here at National Geographic headquarters to celebrate and discuss Season 2 of the National Geographic series "Mars" and the Project Mars competition's film and poster winners. Bridenstine addressed the crowd, saying he was excited about the return of "Mars," the competition, and the steps the U.S. is taking to get back to the moon and then the Red Planet.  "We're going...
  • Powerful Solar Storm Likely Detonated Sea Mines During Vietnam War

    11/11/2018 10:55:54 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 7 replies
    Discovery Magazine ^ | 11/9/18 | Brett Carter
    Powerful Solar Storm Likely Detonated Sea Mines During Vietnam War By Brett Carter | November 9, 2018 3:46 pm Solar flares captured on sun. (Credit: NASA/SDO)On Aug. 4, 1972, the crew of a U.S. Task Force 77 aircraft flying near a naval minefield in the waters off Hon La observed 20 to 25 explosions over about 30 seconds. They also witnessed an additional 25 to 30 mud spots in the waters nearby.Destructor sea mines had been deployed here during Operation Pocket Money, a mining campaign launched in 1972 against principal North Vietnamese ports.There was no obvious reason why the mines...
  • Black Holes Can Raise the Cosmic Dead

    11/11/2018 1:29:21 PM PST · by ETL · 19 replies
    LiveScience.com ^ | Nov 1, 2018 | Kimberly Hickok, Reference Editor
    Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California suspect that midsize black holes might be just the right size to provide enough gravitational force to reignite a dead white dwarf star — the stellar corpse of a star that's about the mass of the sun and that's used up its nuclear fuel. To test their idea, the team members ran supercomputer simulations of dozens of different close-encounter scenarios between these dead stars and midsize black holes. Every time a white dwarf got close to the Goldilocks black hole, the star reignited. The gravitational force from the black hole would cause the...
  • Rocket launch from Wallops Flight Facility to be visible up and down the East Coast

    11/10/2018 9:43:08 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    On Thursday, November 15, ...NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport will support the launch of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft, which will bring crew supplies and hardware including science and research materials, to the International Space Station. The rocket is set to launch at 4:49 a.m. The area directly around Wallops Island will have the best visibility — Wallops and Chincoteague will be able to see the rocket in the sky within 10 seconds of launch. 30 seconds after launch, Maryland and Virginia’s eastern shores will be able to see it, and within one...
  • Not all the Earth’s Water Came From Comets

    11/10/2018 10:32:24 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 47 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 11/9/18 | Evan Gough
    Posted on November 9, 2018November 9, 2018 by Evan Gough Not all the Earth’s Water Came From Comets We have comets and asteroids to thank for Earth’s water, according to the most widely-held theory among scientists. But it’s not that cut-and-dried. It’s still a bit of a mystery, and a new study suggests that not all of Earth’s water was delivered to our planet that way.Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and it’s at the center of the question surrounding Earth’s water. This new study was co-led by Peter Buseck, Regents’ Professor in the School of...
  • How to Watch a Near-Earth Asteroid Zoom Closer to Earth than the Moon

    11/09/2018 6:56:14 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 31 replies
    Live Science ^ | November 9, 2018 06:14pm ET | Laura Geggel
    Three chunky asteroids will zoom by Earth this weekend, and one of them is getting closer to our planet than the moon itself. On Saturday (Nov. 10), the near-Earth asteroid 2018 VX1 will zip within about 236,100 miles (380,000 kilometers) of Earth. That's closer than the moon, which hangs out about 238,900 miles (384,400 km) away as it orbits Earth. Gianluca Masi, founder and director of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, which is live-streaming the celestial show online here starting at 1 p.m. EST (18:00 UTC) on Saturday. … People here on Earth will be able to see the...
  • Future Spacesuits Should Be Beautiful — and Not Just for Space. Here's Why

    11/09/2018 9:43:03 AM PST · by ETL · 44 replies
    Space.com ^ | Nov 8, 2018 | Meghan Bartels, Space.com Senior Writer
    The stereotypical image of an astronaut is shaped by their spacesuit, with its puffy, white body and boxy backpack holding the life-support system. Dava Newman, an aerospace engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wants to change that. She is designing what she hopes will be the next generation of spacesuits — which will give the life-saving devices the bulk and style of something more like athletic or camping equipment. "We're going to Mars not to sit in the habitat — we're going there to explore," Newman said. "We don't want you to fight the suit. We want you to...
  • Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair sells for $393,000 at auction

    11/08/2018 11:22:35 AM PST · by Olog-hai · 21 replies
    Associated Press ^ | November 8, 2018
    A wheelchair used by physicist Stephen Hawking has sold at auction for almost £300,000 ($393,000), while a copy of his doctoral thesis fetched almost £585,000 ($767,000), auctioneer Christie’s said Thursday. The motorized chair, used by Hawking after he was paralyzed with motor neuron disease, raised £296,750 in a Christie’s online auction. It had been expected to fetch up to £15,000. Proceeds from the chair’s sale will go to two charities, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Hawking’s 1965 Cambridge University thesis, “Properties of Expanding Universes,” sold for £584,750, more than three times its pre-sale estimate, in...
  • [NASA orbiter] Juno Spots 'Wave Trains' in Jovian [Jupiter] Atmosphere

    11/08/2018 8:18:23 AM PST · by ETL · 12 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Nov 6, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    NASA’s Juno orbiter has detected ‘wave trains’ — massive structures of moving air that appear like waves — in the atmosphere of Jupiter Wave trains are towering atmospheric structures that trail one after the other as they roam Jupiter.They were first detected by NASA’s Voyager missions during their flybys of the giant planet in 1979.“Juno’s imager called the JunoCam has counted more distinct wave trains than any other spacecraft mission since Voyager,” said Juno team member Dr. Glenn Orton, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.“The trains, which consist of as few as two waves and as many as several dozen, can...
  • Creepy orange 'airglow' surrounds the Earth

    11/08/2018 7:03:49 AM PST · by ETL · 17 replies
    FoxNews.com/Science ^ | Nov 7, 2018 | Chris Ciaccia | Fox News
    No, you're not looking at a strange alien planet or the Earth through an Instagram filter – this orange glow is known as an airglow, courtesy of NASA. According to the space agency, the airglow is "diffuse bands of light that stretch 50 to 400 miles into our atmosphere."  It typically occurs when  molecules, largely nitrogen and oxygen, are  "energized by ultraviolet radiation from sunlight." From there, the atoms "in the lower atmosphere bump into each other and lose energy in the collision. The result is colorful airglow," NASA wrote on its website. The image was taken by an astronaut onboard the...
  • Scientists Now Say Interstellar Object May Have Been Alien Probe

    11/07/2018 2:49:51 PM PST · by Candor7 · 59 replies
    Gaia ^ | Nov. 7th, 2018 | Gaia Staff
    Harvard scientists reexamined the bizarre, interstellar space object known as “Oumuamua,” which rocketed through our solar system late last year, resurrecting the possibility that it may be an alien probe. Academics and scientists were quick to write off the cigar-shaped object as a previously unknown type of bolide – a comet or asteroid – propelled in a highly unusual manner, but their observations are once again, being challenged. Oumuamua, which means “a messenger sent to reach out in advance,” was first observed by Robert Weryk at the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. He measured the object to be several hundred...
  • Scientists push back against Harvard 'alien spacecraft' theory [Oumuamua]

    11/07/2018 10:22:54 AM PST · by Olog-hai · 34 replies
    A scientific paper led by two researchers at Harvard University made a splash this week by claiming that a cigar-shaped rock zooming through our solar system may have been sent by aliens. The researchers noted in a pre-print of the article that it was an “exotic scenario,” but that “Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.” Oumuamua, the first interstellar object known to enter our solar system, accelerated faster away from the Sun than expected, hence the notion that some kind of artificial sail that runs on sunlight — known as...