Astronomical News

maximus otter

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NASA Stumped by Weird Green Blobs


While studying a supernova in the distant Fireworks galaxy (NGC 6946), a NASA space observatory has observed extremely bright sources of X-ray light that resulted in dazzling flashes of blue and green. The appearance surprised scientists, who called the lights a "mystery."



When the NuSTAR began monitoring the supernova, the green blob near the bottom of the galaxy wasn't visible. It only emerged on the 10th day of study. Another NASA telescope was able to confirm that the green blob had dissolved as soon as it appeared.

Scientists have seen this type of phenomena before, but they're extremely rare. They're called ultra-luminous X-ray sources, or ULXs. This one is named ULX-4, because it's only the fourth one ever observed in the Milky Way galaxy.

So what caused the colors? Nobody is sure, but scientists posit in their latest study that it could be light generated from the accretion disk of a black hole. Accretion disks are a traffic jams built into black holes. They pull in matter so quickly that there's not enough space for it all, so the waiting matter spins around the black hole at such speeds that it illuminates a bright whiteness.

Most ULXs are long-lived, but this one was quick. So it's possible that it was triggered by a quick event—something like a black hole destroying a nearby small star.

But that's just one idea. Another, according to the paper's authors, it that the source of ULX-4 could be a neutron star. As some of the densest objects in the universe, neutron stars are formed when a star's explosion doesn't generate enough energy for a black hole. But, like black holes, they can create accretion disks.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/article/nasa-stumped-by-weird-green-blobs/ar-AAGUsuh

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It's long been known that a radio telescope located on the far side of the moon would have unparalleled advantages. NASA has committed the funding for a feasibility study to examine the prospects for robotically constructing a radio telescope array spanning a lunar crater.
NASA funds proposal to build a telescope on the far side of the moon

NASA is funding an early-stage proposal to build a meshed telescope inside a crater on the far side of the moon ...

This "dark side" is the face of the moon that is permanently positioned away from Earth, and as such it offers a rare view of the dark cosmos, unhindered by radio interference from humans and our by our planet's thick atmosphere.

The ultra-long-wavelength radio telescope, would be called the "Lunar Crater Radio Telescope" and would have "tremendous" advantages compared to telescopes on our planet, the idea's founder Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, a robotics technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote in a proposal. ...

NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts Program is awarding $125,000 for a Phase 1 study to understand the feasibility of such a telescope, Bandyopadhyay told Vice.
FULL STORY (With Graphics):
https://www.livescience.com/nasa-telescope-far-side-of-moon.html
 

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Remotely operated robots are probably going to be used a lot in the foreseeable future on the Moon, to build infrastructure, explore, prospect and mine. It might be decades before humans go there in any numbers, but when they do, there will already be a load of stuff there ready for them.
 

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The recent visit by 'Oumuamua raised the question of how many other interstellar visitors were hanging out in our solar system, having been captured by our star's gravity. Astronomers have now assembled a list of 19 asteroids they suspect are "foreign."
Astronomers Just Identified 19 More Asteroids They Think Are Interstellar

The Solar System has been here for a long time. So, when 'Oumuamua was spotted in 2017, it was almost a dead cert it wasn't the only object from interstellar space to visit us over that 4.57 billion-year history. Then comet 2I/Borisov showed up last year. That basically clinched it.

But where are the rest of our interstellar visitors? We'll probably find a few more flying in from the wilds in the coming years. And, according to new research, a whole bunch of interstellar asteroids have been hanging out right here in the Solar System for a very long time.

Based on how they move around the Sun, a team of researchers has identified 19 asteroids they think were captured from another star, way back when the Solar System was just a few million years old. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/astron...19-more-asteroids-they-think-are-interstellar
 

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THE LAWS OF PHYSICS MAY BREAK DOWN AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE

A controversial new study suggests that it may be possible to bend the laws of the universe — but just a little bit.

Source: futurism.com
Date: 27 April, 2020

Scientists at the University of New South Wales found what seem to be discrepancies in what’s called the fine structure constant, a number that’s thought to remain perfectly unchanging and describes how subatomic particles interact with each other. It’s a bold claim, but if it holds up it would fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe.

The fine structure constant describes the force that influences subatomic particles with electrical charge, like how protons and electrons within an atom are drawn to one another. The study, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, found that the number seemed to change when they analyzed extremely distant quasars — but only when they looked in certain directions, meaning that the laws of physics may break down at the edges of the universe.

“And it seems to be supporting this idea that there could be a directionality in the universe,” University of New South Wales physicist John Webb said in a press release, “which is very weird indeed.”

https://futurism.com/the-byte/laws-physics-break-down-edge-universe
 

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The weight of the Universe

Bochum cosmologists headed by Professor Hendrik Hildebrandt have gained new insights into the density and structure of matter in the Universe.

Source: heritagedaily.com
Date: 28 April, 2020

Several years ago, Hildebrandt had already been involved in a research consortium that had pointed out discrepancies in the data between different groups. The values determined for matter density and structure differed depending on the measurement method. A new analysis, which included additional infrared data, made the differences stand out even more. They could indicate that this is the flaw in the Standard Model of Cosmology.

Rubin, the science magazine of Ruhr-Universität Bochum, has published a report on Hendrik Hildebrandt’s research. The latest analysis of the research consortium, called Kilo-Degree Survey, was published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics in January 2020.

https://www.heritagedaily.com/2020/04/the-weight-of-the-universe/128041
 

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‘Elegant’ solution reveals how the universe got its structure

Source: heritagedaily.com
Date: 27 April, 2020

The universe is full of billions of galaxies–but their distribution across space is far from uniform. Why do we see so much structure in the universe today and how did it all form and grow?

A 10-year survey of tens of thousands of galaxies made using the Magellan Baade Telescope at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile provided a new approach to answering this fundamental mystery. The results, led by Carnegie’s Daniel Kelson, are published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“How do you describe the indescribable?” asks Kelson. “By taking an entirely new approach to the problem.”

“Our tactic provides new–and intuitive–insights into how gravity drove the growth of structure from the universe’s earliest times,” said co-author Andrew Benson. “This is a direct, observation-based test of one of the pillars of cosmology.”

https://www.heritagedaily.com/2020/...als-how-the-universe-got-its-structure/128013
 

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Longstanding mystery of matter and antimatter may be solved

Source: phys.org
Date: 19 May, 2020

An element which could hold the key to the long-standing mystery around why there is much more matter than antimatter in our Universe has been discovered by a University of the West of Scotland (UWS)-led team of physicists.

The UWS and University of Strathclyde academics have discovered, in research published in the journal Nature Physics, that one of the isotopes of the element thorium possesses the most pear-shaped nucleus yet to be discovered. Nuclei similar to thorium-228 may now be able to be used to perform new tests to try find the answer to the mystery surrounding matter and antimatter.

UWS's Dr. David O'Donnell, who led the project, said: "Our research shows that, with good ideas, world-leading nuclear physics experiments can be performed in university laboratories.

"This work augments the experiments which nuclear physicists at UWS are leading at large experimental facilities around the world. Being able to perform experiments like this one provides excellent training for our students."

https://www.phys.org/news/2020-05-longstanding-mystery-antimatter.amp
 

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Massive disk galaxy could change our understanding of how galaxies are born

Source: livescience.com
Date: 21 May, 2020

A massive, rotating disk galaxy that first formed just 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang, could upend our understanding of galaxy formation, scientists suggest in a new study.

In traditional galaxy formation models and according to modern cosmology, galaxies are built beginning with dark-matter halos. Over time, those halos pull in gases and material, eventually building up full-fledged galaxies. Disk galaxies, like our own Milky Way, form with prominent disks of stars and gas and are thought to be created in a method known as "hot mode" galaxy formation, where gas falls inward toward the galaxy's central region where it then cools and condenses.

This process is thought to be fairly gradual, taking a long time. But the newly discovered galaxy DLA0817g, nicknamed the "Wolfe Disk," which scientists believe formed in the early universe, suggests that disk galaxies could actually form quite quickly.

In a new study led by Marcel Neeleman of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, researchers spotted the Wolfe Disk using ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile. They found out that the object was a large, stable rotating disk, clocking in at a whopping 70 billion times the mass of our sun.

[...]

https://www.livescience.com/wolfe-disk-massive-galaxy-discovery.html


"...70 billion times the mass of our sun".

Contemplated cross-posting to, 'Things That Make You Go...WTF?'.
 

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SpaceX first attempt at launching astronauts to International Space Station is expected to happen at 20:33 UTC.
The instantaneous launch window opens at 4:33 p.m. EDT, or 20:33 UTC, with backup instantaneous launch opportunities available on Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, or 19:22 UTC, and on Sunday, May 31 at 3:00 p.m. EDT, or 19:00 UTC. Tune in here to watch the launch webcast. Coverage will begin about 4 hours before liftoff.
Live video:

More info from NASA here.
 
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New countdown for new launch of SpaceX rocket to ISS. The last one was cancelled because of weather.


After standing down from launch on Wednesday May 27, SpaceX is now targeting Saturday, May 30 for Falcon 9’s launch of Crew Dragon’s second demonstration (Demo-2) mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This test flight with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board the Dragon spacecraft will return human spaceflight to the United States.

The instantaneous launch window opens at 3:22 p.m. EDT, or 19:22 UTC, with a backup instantaneous launch opportunity available on Sunday, May 31 at 3:00 p.m. EDT, or 19:00 UTC. Tune in here to watch the launch webcast. Coverage will begin about 4 hours before liftoff.

Demo-2 is the final major test for SpaceX’s human spaceflight system to be certified by NASA for operational crew missions to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX is returning human spaceflight to the United States with one of the safest, most advanced systems ever built, and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is a turning point for America’s future in space exploration that lays the groundwork for future missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
 

EnolaGaia

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The gravitational center (barycentre) of our solar system has now been pinpointed, and it's not located at the center of the sun. It's not even within the sun.
Astronomers Have Located The Centre of The Solar System to Within 100 Metres

When you picture the Solar System in your head, most people would think of the Sun, stolid and stationary in the centre, with everything else whizzing about around it. But every body in the Solar System also exerts its own gravitational tug on the star, causing it to move around just a tiny bit.

Therefore, the precise gravitational centre (or barycentre) of the Solar System is not smack-bang in the middle of the Sun, but somewhere closer to its surface, just outside it. But it hasn't been easy for us to figure out exactly where this barycentre is, due to the myriad gravitational influences at play. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/astron...ntre-of-the-solar-system-to-within-100-metres
 
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