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Astronomy (General/Chat)

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  • Giant Waves Nearly Half a Million Miles Across Seen on the Sun for the First Time

    05/21/2018 9:44:47 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 18 replies
    space.com ^ | May 21, 2018 06:24pm ET | Stephanie Pappas,
    "Solar Rossby waves are gigantic in size, with wavelengths comparable to the solar radius," study co-author Laurent Gizon, of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, said in a statement. (The average radius of the sun is a whopping 432,450 miles, or 696,000 kilometers.) Even so, these waves move very slowly, with shallow troughs and peaks, so they aren't always easy to detect, especially amid the other swirls and disturbances on a body as lively as the sun. … Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the University of Göttingen (both in Germany), New York University...
  • The Pressure Inside Every Proton is 10x That Inside Neutron Stars

    05/21/2018 5:54:58 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 41 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 5/20/18 | Matt Williams
    The Pressure Inside Every Proton is 10x That Inside Neutron Stars Article written: 20 May , 2018 by Matt Williams Neutron stars are famous for combining a very high-density with a very small radius. As the remnants of massive stars that have undergone gravitational collapse, the interior of a neutron star is compressed to the point where they have similar pressure conditions to atomic nuclei. Basically, they become so dense that they experience the same amount of internal pressure as the equivalent of 2.6 to 4.1 quadrillion Suns!In spite of that, neutron stars have nothing on protons, according to a...
  • China launch will prep for Moon landing

    05/21/2018 12:51:32 PM PDT · by Simon Green · 28 replies
    BBC ^ | 05/21/18
    China has launched a relay satellite to prepare for a lunar rover mission planned for later in the year. The Queqiao spacecraft will establish a communications link between Earth and the landing mission, which looks set to launch in the next six months. The satellite was launched at 22:28 BST on Sunday (05:28 local time) from Xichang launch centre in the country's south-west. It will settle in an orbit about 455,000 km (282,555 miles) from Earth. This orbit will also take it more than 60,000 km from the lunar farside, where China will aim to put down with a lander...
  • Tiny, Mars-bound satellite snaps its first image of Earth and the Moon

    05/20/2018 7:13:18 PM PDT · by ETL · 19 replies
    FoxNews.com/Science ^ | May 17, 2018 | Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer
    A tiny satellite on its way to Mars has opened its eyes and captured a view of home. One of NASA's two Mars Cube One (MarCO) cubesats, which launched toward the Red Planet along with the agency's InSight lander on May 5, took a photo on May 9 to help confirm that its high-gain antenna had deployed properly. The antenna is in the photo. And so are the moon and Earth, the latter of which appears as a pale blue dot, just as it did in a famous photo taken by NASA's Voyager 1 probe in 1990. ..." (snip) Despite...
  • Mathematicians Disprove Conjecture Made to Save Black Holes

    05/19/2018 7:14:18 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 36 replies
    Quanta Magazine ^ | 5/17/18 | Kevin Hartnett
    Nearly 40 years after it was proposed, mathematicians have settled one of the most profound questions in the study of general relativity. In a paper posted online last fall, mathematicians Mihalis Dafermos and Jonathan Luk have proven that the strong cosmic censorship conjecture, which concerns the strange inner workings of black holes, is false.“I personally view this work as a tremendous achievement — a qualitative jump in our understanding of general relativity,” emailed Igor Rodnianski, a mathematician at Princeton University.The strong cosmic censorship conjecture was proposed in 1979 by the influential physicist Roger Penrose. It was meant as a...
  • The Story of 'Manhattanhenge': An NYC Phenomenon Explained

    05/19/2018 6:44:25 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    Space.com ^ | May 16, 2018 07:18am ET | Joe Rao,
    The phenomenon is based on a design for Manhattan outlined in "The Commissioners' Plan of 1811" for a rectilinear grid, or "gridiron" of straight streets and avenues that intersect one another at right angles. This design runs from north of Houston Street in Lower Manhattan to just south of 155th Street in Upper Manhattan. Most cross streets in between were arranged in a regular right-angled grid that was tilted 29 degrees east of true north to roughly replicate the angle of the island of Manhattan. And because of this 29-degree tilt in the grid, the magic moment of the setting...
  • It’s full of stars! NASA’s planet-hunting TESS probe sends back its first test image

    05/18/2018 8:01:22 PM PDT · by Simon Green · 21 replies
    Geekwire ^ | 05/18/18 | Alan Boyle
    One month after its launch, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has sent back an initial test image that shows more than 200,000 stars in the southern sky. TESS’ image was taken by one of its cameras with a two-second exposure. The picture is centered on the constellation Centaurus, with the edge of the dark Coalsack Nebula at upper right and the star Beta Centauri prominent along the lower edge. The picture provides only a hint of what TESS will be seeing once it starts delivering science-quality images next month. When all four wide-field cameras are in operation, TESS’ images...
  • Here's the Weird Science Launching to the Space Station on Monday

    05/18/2018 6:37:52 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    Space.com ^ | May 18, 2018 11:12am ET | Chelsea Gohd, Staff Writer |
    On Monday, a cargo delivery to the International Space Station will carry old-fashioned sextants, E. colibacteria and lasers that will create a temperature 10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space. … CAL is sending the space station an experimental physics package that holds an "ice chest"-like compartment filled with lasers and electronics; the interior will be able to reach a temperature10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space, according to a NASA statement. Within this instrument, the researchers will use laser cooling techniques and magnets to slow down atoms until they are almost entirely motionless. By studying...
  • How NASA’s Mission to Pluto Was Nearly LostThe inside story of the New Horizons probe.

    05/18/2018 6:47:08 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 19 replies
    On the Saturday afternoon of July 4, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons Pluto mission leader Alan Stern was in his office near the project Mission Control Center, working, when his cell phone rang. He was aware of the Independence Day holiday but was much more focused on the fact that the date was “Pluto flyby minus 10 days.”... Glancing at his ringing phone, Alan was surprised to see the caller was Glen Fountain, the longtime project manager of New Horizons. He felt a chill because he knew that Glen was taking time off for the holiday, at his nearby home, before...
  • Astronomers find fastest-growing black hole known in space

    05/15/2018 1:58:52 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 28 replies
    phys.org ^ | May 15, 2018 | Australian National University
    A bright, supermassive black hole. Credit: NASA ______________________________________________________________________________ Astronomers at ANU have found the fastest-growing black hole known in the Universe, describing it as a monster that devours a mass equivalent to our sun every two days. The astronomers have looked back more than 12 billion years to the early dark ages of the Universe, when this supermassive black hole was estimated to be the size of about 20 billion suns with a one per cent growth rate every one million years. "This black hole is growing so rapidly that it's shining thousands of times more brightly than an...
  • This May Be the Best Evidence Yet of a Water Plume on Jupiter's Moon Europa

    05/14/2018 10:23:16 AM PDT · by Simon Green · 16 replies
    Space.com ^ | 05/14/18 | Mike Wall,
    The case for a giant plume of water vapor wafting from Jupiter's potentially life-supporting moon Europa just got a lot stronger. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted tantalizing signs of such a plume multiple times over the past half decade, but those measurements were near the limits of the powerful instrument's sensitivity. Now, researchers report in a new study that NASA's Galileo Jupiter probe, which orbited the planet from 1995 to 2003, also detected a likely Europa plume, during a close flyby of the icy moon in 1997. The newly analyzed Galileo data provides "compelling independent evidence that there seems...
  • ‘Lost’ asteroid to pass closely May 15

    05/12/2018 8:06:33 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 21 replies
    earthsky.org ^ | May 12, 2018 | Eddie Irizarry
    Asteroid 2010 WC9 will safely pass at about half’s the moon’s distance on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Estimates of its size range from 197 to 427 feet (60-130 meters), making the May 15 pass one of the closest approaches ever observed of an asteroid of this size. This asteroid was “lost” and then found again. The Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona first detected it on November 30, 2010, and astronomers watched it until December 1, when it became too faint to see. They didn’t have enough observations to track its orbit fully and so predict its return. On May 8,...
  • Jupiter and Venus Change Earth’s Orbit Every 405,000 Years

    05/10/2018 7:28:52 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 61 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 05/10/2018 | Matt Williams
    Over the course of the past 200 million years, our planet has experienced four major geological periods (the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous and Cenozoic) and one major ice age (the Pliocene-Quaternary glaciation), all of which had a drastic impact on plant and animal life, as well as effecting the course of species evolution. For decades, geologists have also understood that these changes are due in part to gradual shifts in the Earth’s orbit, which are caused by Venus and Jupiter, and repeat regularly every 405,000 years. But it was not until recently that a team of geologists and Earth scientists...
  • The Search for Dark Matter Continues, More Than a Mile Underground

    05/10/2018 7:40:41 AM PDT · by C19fan · 60 replies
    Popular Mechanics ^ | May 9, 2018 | Jay Bennett
    For decades, astrophysicists have pondered the odd movements of galaxies across the cosmos. The visible matter of the universe appears to be tugged around by an invisible counterpart, material that does not interact with surrounding matter in any observable way save gravity: dark matter. Refined measurements have since led scientists to hypothesize that 85 percent of all the matter in the universe is dark matter, while only 15 percent accounts for you, me, the planet, the stars, and everything else we can see. It's a satisfactory explanation for our observations that has one major problem: a dark matter particle has...
  • Did the dying Stephen Hawking really mean to strengthen the case for God?

    05/08/2018 5:25:02 PM PDT · by Leaning Right · 16 replies
    The Guardian ^ | May 7, 2018 | Philip Goff
    Scientists have discovered a surprising fact about our universe in the past 40 years: against incredible odds, the numbers in basic physics are exactly as they need to be to accommodate the possibility of life. If gravity had been slightly weaker, stars would not have exploded into supernovae, a crucial source of many of the heavier elements involved in life. Conversely, if gravity had been slightly stronger, stars would have lived for thousands rather than billions of years, not leaving enough time for biological evolution to take place.
  • Grab Your Telescope: Jupiter Will Shine Its Brightest Tonight

    05/08/2018 12:44:46 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 29 replies
    gizmodo ^ | May 8, 2018 | Ryan F. Mandelbaum
    Jupiter is in opposition today, meaning it’s exactly opposite the sun in the sky, like the Moon when it’s full. The gas giant will be brighter than any star in the sky. I was able to see the bands of gas and dust and the four brightest moons, Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, and Io, with a small telescope. Two of the moons were even visible from my Brooklyn apartment with my budget binoculars (these guys). You should look at it. The planet will actually be closest to Earth on May 10, according to EarthSky.com. The opposition doesn’t line up with the...
  • Judge rejects Mueller's request for delay in Russian troll farm case

    05/05/2018 8:38:18 PM PDT · by Mariner · 26 replies
    Politico ^ | May 5th, 2018 | By JOSH GERSTEIN
    A federal judge has rejected special counsel Robert Mueller’s request to delay the first court hearing in a criminal case charging three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with using social media and other means to foment strife among Americans in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In a brief order Saturday evening, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich offered no explanation for her decision to deny a request prosecutors made Friday to put off the scheduled Wednesday arraignment for Concord Management and Consulting, one of the three firms charged in the case. The 13 people charged in the...
  • Distorted neutron stars give up secrets of dense nuclear matter

    05/04/2018 6:28:20 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 22 replies
    New insights into the properties of neutron stars have come from two independent analyses of gravitational waves from the GW170817 neutron-star merger. The work was done by teams led by Farrukh Fattoyev at Indiana University Bloomington and Eemeli Annala at the University of Helsinki. The teams used different methods to calculate the relationship between the radius and mass of neutron stars and came up with the same result. In October 2017 the LIGO and Virgo detectors made the first-ever observation of gravitational waves from two neutron stars as they spiralled into each other and then merged to form a black...
  • Flat-Earthers Explain Why We Don't Fall Off the Edge of Our Planet, and It Involves Pac-Man

    05/04/2018 4:41:24 PM PDT · by Simon Green · 50 replies
    Space.com ^ | 05/02/18 | Jeanna Bryner,
    More than 200 flat-Earth enthusiasts descended on West Midlands, England, this past weekend to "engage freely in deep and meaningful discussions," according to the Flat Earth Convention UK. The Earth's glorious globular-ness was proved more than 2,000 years ago by the ancient Greeks, but there's a small subset of people who think the planet is a disk despite enjoying the downward pull of gravity that could only result from living on a sphere. At this conference, they were presenting their scientific evidence for such a disk. One of the more interesting pieces of evidence came from speaker Darren Nesbit, who...
  • Screws and Washers Are Falling Off NASA's Multi-Billion Dollar Space [WEBB] Telescope

    05/04/2018 1:46:23 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 90 replies
    www.popularmechanics.com ^ | 05/03/2018 | By Jay Bennett
    The James Webb Space Telescope hits another snag. On anything that moves, from vehicles to rolling office chairs, you need to be wary of bolts rattling loose over time. Thread-locking fluids and tapes are a great way to make sure your suspect bolts stay where they should, and nyloc nuts can also keep components snug and secure. Northrop Grumman might need to look into something along these lines, because apparently "screws and washers" are falling off the spacecraft and sunshield it is building to carry NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. Space News reports that NASA's JWST program director, Greg Robinson,...