Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Satellite Flare Photobombs a Lunar Eclipse Under the Milky Way (Photo)

    09/23/2018 9:11:52 AM PDT · by ETL · 25 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 23, 2018 | Miguel Claro, Space.com Contributor
    Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory photo ambassador, a member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical skyscapes that connect Earth and the night sky. Join him here as he takes us through his photograph "An Eclipsed Moon with Mars, Milky Way with Saturn, and a Satellite near Jupiter." Captured 15 minutes after the end of totality during the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, this...
  • They Made It! Japan's Two Hopping Rovers Successfully Land on Asteroid Ryugu

    09/22/2018 11:59:23 AM PDT · by ETL · 14 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 22, 2018 | Meghan Bartels, Space.com Senior Writer
    The suspense is over: Two tiny hopping robots have successfully landed on an asteroid called Ryugu — and they've even sent back some wild postcards from their new home. The tiny rovers are part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Hayabusa2 asteroid sample-return mission. Engineers with the agency deployed the robots early Friday (Sept. 21), but JAXA waited until today (Sept. 22) to confirm the operation was successful and both rovers made the landing safely. The rovers are part of the MINERVA-II1 program, and are designed to hop along the asteroid's surface, taking photographs and gathering data. In fact, one of the...
  • New York City’s Subways Are Slow, Crowded and Smelly—Officials Say Part of the Problem Is You

    09/21/2018 6:38:52 PM PDT · by firebrand · 35 replies
    Wall Street Journal ^ | Sept. 21, 2018 | Paul Berger
    More than five million riders crowd into New York City’s subway on an average workday, and officials say some of them are making everybody late. At the 34th Street-Penn Station stop, Frank Gallagher thrust his foot between the closing doors of an uptown 2 train on a recent morning and wedged his way inside. “I made up my mind I was going to catch that train,” said the 57-year-old entertainment industry union rep. “I’m five minutes late as it is.” But nothing enrages commuters more than train delays. Except, maybe, blaming commuters for train delays.
  • Catalogue of planetary maps, past and present, highlights our evolving view of our Solar System

    09/21/2018 11:27:36 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 7 replies
    Catalogue of planetary maps, past and present, highlights our evolving view of our Solar System September 21, 2018 Catalogue of planetary maps, past and present, highlights our evolving view of our Solar System A catalogue that provides an overview of over 2,200 planetary maps produced worldwide between 1600 and 2018 was presented today at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 in Berlin. The catalogue has been produced by Henrik Hargitai, from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (Hungary), and Mateusz Pitura, from the University of Wroclaw (Poland).“Production of planetary maps started in Europe in the 1600s. It expanded to the...
  • Japanese Probe Deploys Tiny Hopping Robots Toward Big Asteroid Ryugu

    09/21/2018 6:22:21 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 16 replies
    Space.com ^ | September 21, 2018 01:30am ET | Mike Wall,
    Japan's Hayabusa2 probe, which has been circling the 3,000-foot-wide (900 meters) asteroid Ryugu since late June, deployed two little "rovers" called MINERVA-II1A and MINERVA-II1B at 12:05 a.m. EDT (0405 GMT) today (Sept. 21). The event occurred when the mother ship was about 180 feet (55 meters) above Ryugu's pockmarked, boulder-strewn surface, mission team members said. "The separation of MINERVA-II1 has been confirmed! The state of the spacecraft is normal," JAXA officials announced via Twitter just after the rovers deployed. That confirmation came after an apparently tense descent for Hayabusa2 flight controllers. "In the control room, you can hear the sound...
  • Greetings From Vulcan? Planet Discovered Orbiting the Star of Spock's Homeworld in "Star Trek"

    09/19/2018 10:57:05 AM PDT · by C19fan · 25 replies
    Popular Mechanics ^ | September 19, 2018 | Avery Thompson
    Star Trek’s Spock comes from the planet Vulcan, which of course doesn’t exist. But new research might give us the next best thing—an exoplanet orbiting the real-life star that Vulcan is said to be orbiting in the Star Trek universe. In 1991, Gene Roddenberry wrote a letter to Sky & Telescope about what kind of star the planet Vulcan was likely to orbit. In that letter, he specifically picks out one such star, 40 Eridani. Later, 40 Eridani became the canon Vulcan star system featured in a handful of episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Hubble Detects Unusual Infrared Emission from Nearby Neutron Star

    09/19/2018 9:08:27 AM PDT · by ETL · 14 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Sep 18, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    “We observed an extended area of infrared emissions around RX J0806.4-4123, the total size of which translates into about 200 AU (astronomical units [~92.5 million miles-etl]) at the assumed distance of the pulsar.” This is the first neutron star in which an extended emission has been seen only in the infrared.Dr. Posselt and colleagues suggest two possibilities that could explain this extended infrared emission.The first is that there is a disk of material (possibly mostly dust) surrounding RX J0806.4-4123. The second is a so-called ‘pulsar wind nebula.’ “One theory is that there could be what is known as a ‘fallback...
  • AURA Statement about the Status of the Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico

    09/17/2018 6:46:50 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 22 replies
    aura-astronomy.org ^ | September 16, 2018 | Shari Lifson
    Sunspot Solar Observatory is transitioning back to regular operations as of September 17th On September 6th, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) made the decision to temporarily vacate the Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico as a precautionary measure while addressing a security issue. The facility closed down in an orderly fashion and is now re-opening. The residents that vacated their homes will be returning to the site, and all employees will return to work this week. AURA has been cooperating with an on-going law enforcement investigation of criminal...
  • Scientists receive $1.3 million to study new propulsion idea for spacecraft

    09/17/2018 4:44:12 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 28 replies
    Univ. of Plymouth ^ | 9/17/18 | Alan Williams
    Spacecraft and satellites could in future be launched into space without the need for fuel, thanks to a revolutionary new theory. Dr Mike McCulloch, from the University of Plymouth, first put forward the idea of quantised inertia (QI) – through which he believes light can be converted into thrust – in 2007. He has now received $1.3million from the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a four-year study which aims to make the concept a reality. The QI theory predicts that objects can be pushed by differences in the intensity of so-called Unruh radiation in space, similar...
  • Gaia 2.0

    09/17/2018 1:25:21 PM PDT · by ETL · 17 replies
    Science.org ^ | Sept 14, 2018 | Timothy M. Lenton: 1, Bruno Latour: 2
    According to Lovelock and Margulis's Gaia hypothesis, living things are part of a planetary-scale self-regulating system that has maintained habitable conditions for the past 3.5 billion years (1, 2). Gaia has operated without foresight or planning on the part of organisms, but the evolution of humans and their technology are changing that. Earth has now entered a new epoch called the Anthropocene (3), and humans are beginning to become aware of the global consequences of their actions. As a result, deliberate self-regulation—from personal action to global geoengineering schemes—is either happening or imminently possible. Making such conscious choices to operate within...
  • Landfall of Hurricane Florence From Space (International Space Station)

    09/17/2018 12:26:18 PM PDT · by ETL · 9 replies
    YouTube ^ | Sept 14, 2018 | NASA
    Cameras outside the International Space Station captured views of Hurricane Florence on Sept. 14 at 7:41 a.m. EDT minutes after the storm made landfall. NASA satellites track the storm: https://go.nasa.gov/2CEmDGQ Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina packing winds of 90 miles an hour. The National Hurricane Center said Florence is moving very slowly to the west at only 6 miles an hour, then is expected to turn to the southwest, increasing the threat for historic storm surge and catastrophic flooding to coastline areas and inland cities in North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • Hubble Space Telescope Focuses on Coma Cluster

    09/17/2018 10:47:54 AM PDT · by ETL · 42 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Sep 17, 2018 | News Staff / SourcE
    The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken a detailed image of a spectacular part of the Coma cluster, a structure of over a thousand galaxies bound together by gravity. The Coma Cluster, also known as Abell 1656, lies in the northern constellation of Coma Berenices, about 300 million light-years away from Earth.Many of the galaxies in the cluster are ellipticals, as is NGC 4860, the brighter of the two galaxies dominating this Hubble image.However, the outskirts of the cluster also host younger spiral galaxies that proudly display their swirling arms.Again, this image shows a wonderful example of such a galaxy...
  • SpaceX to Unveil 1st Passenger for Private BFR Rocket Moon Trip Tonight! How to Watch

    09/17/2018 6:47:27 AM PDT · by ETL · 44 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 17, 2018 | Tariq Malik, Space.com Managing Editor
    It's going to be a big night for space tourism. The private spaceflight company SpaceX will reveal its first passenger for a trip around the moon on the company's massive BFR rocket and you can watch it all live online. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has even dropped tantalizing previews of the BFR's new rocket design on Twitter. SpaceX will unveil its BFR rocket passenger (the name stands for Big Falcon Rocket) in a webcast tonight (Sept. 17) at its Hawthorne, California headquarters. You can watch it live here, courtesy of SpaceX, beginning at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 Sept. 18 GMT)....
  • The Closest Exoplanet to Earth Could Be 'Highly Habitable'

    09/16/2018 8:23:03 AM PDT · by ETL · 29 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 13, 2018 | Adam Mann, Live Science Contributor
    Just a cosmic hop, skip and jump away, an Earth-size planet orbits the closest star to our sun, Proxima Centauri. Ever since the discovery of the exoplanet — known as Proxima Centauri b— in 2016, people have wondered whether it could be capable of sustaining life. Now, using computer models similar to those used to study climate change on Earth, researchers have found that, under a wide range of conditions, Proxima Centauri b can sustain enormous areas of liquid water on its surface, potentially raising its prospects for harboring living organisms. "The major message from our simulations is that there's...
  • Researchers track 72 unusual radio bursts from outer space

    09/15/2018 4:49:53 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 37 replies
    NwesRep ^ | 09/14/2018 | Alex Hollings
    As recently as two years ago, SETI began picking up a different kind of signal — one that scientists can’t explain but believe that it isn’t born out of an attempt to communicate: fast radio bursts (FRBs). These FRBs are massively powerful; so powerful, in fact, that the leading natural explanation scientists can come up with is that they’re from “highly magnetized neutron stars, blasted by gas streams near to a supermassive black hole.” The problem with that explanation is that the bursts aren’t all coming from one specific place, but they are all coming from one specific region of...
  • Gravitational waves provide dose of reality about extra dimensions (there aren't any)

    09/15/2018 2:10:37 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 34 replies
    Phys.org ^ | 9/14/18 | Louise Lerner
    In new study, UChicago astronomers find no evidence for extra spatial dimensions to the universe based on gravitational wave data. Credit: Courtesy of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center CI Lab While last year's discovery of gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars was earth-shaking, it won't add extra dimensions to our understanding of the universe—not literal ones, at least. University of Chicago astronomers found no evidence for extra spatial dimensions to the universe based on the gravitational wave data. Their research, published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, is one of many papers in the wake of the extraordinary...
  • Wimberley ISD debuts 'dark sky-friendly' lights at football stadium

    09/14/2018 10:13:46 AM PDT · by bgill · 23 replies
    kxan ^ | Sept. 14, 2018 | Chris Davis
    Wimberley ISD will debut new stadium lights Friday night that emit less ambient light as part of the city's commitment to keeping the skies dark at night. Wimberley was designated as an International Dark Sky Community earlier this summer, meaning light pollution doesn't obscure views of the night sky. As part of that ongoing commitment, voters in May approved a bond package for the school district that included money for the new lights... The district finished installing them before the school year, and Friday marks the first varsity home game in which they'll be used. Funds to replace them, totaling...
  • Jet from Neutron-Star Merger GW170817 Appeared to Move Four Times Faster than Light

    09/13/2018 12:13:34 PM PDT · by ETL · 41 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Sep 12, 2018 | News Staff / Source
    Radio observations using a combination of NSF’s Very Long Baseline Array, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array and the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope have revealed that a fast-moving jet of particles broke out into interstellar space after a pair of neutron stars merged in NGC 4993, a lenticular galaxy approximately 130 million light-years from Earth.-snip- Called GW170817, the merger of two neutron stars sent gravitational waves rippling through space. It was the first event ever to be detected both by gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves, including gamma rays, X-rays, visible light, and radio waves.The aftermath of the...
  • Mysterious Light Flashes Are Coming from Deep Space, and AI Just Found More of Them

    09/13/2018 8:19:41 AM PDT · by ETL · 28 replies
    Space.com ^ | Sept 11, 2018 | Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer
    Last year's mysterious outburst of deep-space light flashes was even more frenzied than previously thought, a new study reports. On Aug. 26, 2017, astronomers with the Breakthrough Listen project — a $100 million effort to hunt for signs of intelligent alien life — spotted 21 repeating light pulses called fast radio bursts (FRBs) emanating from the dwarf galaxy FRB 121102 within the span of 1 hour. Some scientists think FRBs come from fast-rotating neutron stars, but their source has not been nailed down. And that explains Breakthrough Listen's interest: It's possible that the bursts are produced by intelligent extraterrestrials, perhaps...
  • How Fast Is Earth Moving?

    09/11/2018 11:27:07 AM PDT · by ETL · 90 replies
    Space.com ^ | June 22, 2018 | Elizabeth Howell, Space.com Contributor
    How Fast Is Earth Moving? As an Earthling, it's easy to believe that we're standing still. After all, we don't feel any movement in our surroundings. But when you look at the sky, you can see evidence that we are moving. Some of the earliest astronomers proposed that we live in a geocentric universe, which means that Earth is at the center of everything. They said the sun rotated around us, which caused sunrises and sunsets — same for the movements of the moon and the planets. But there were certain things that didn't work with this vision. Sometimes, a...