Astronomical News

Schrodinger's Zebra

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'Mon the wee Voyager 2!!!

I still don't understand if the universe has continually expanded, what it expanded into, given nothing existed to expand into...
I often ponder things like that. It's one of those questions that, as my mother used to say when I was little, "You'll go mad thinking about".

Similarly, what's outside the universe? (Nowadays I tend to think more universes)* but who knows?


*I know, technically that would be a multiverse rather than a universe... :atom:
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo successfully reaches space:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46550862
Well I am sort of moderately impressed and obviously pleased that there is something of a minor space race going on. To put things in perspective though, the altitude achieved by Richard Branson's rocket-plane is still some 20 km less than this bad boy (X-15 experimental spy plane) achieved back in the 60s:

IMG_0526.JPG
 

kamalktk

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That's "Farout".

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/17/world/most-distant-solar-system-object/index.html

For the first time, an object in our solar system has been found more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the sun.
The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center announced the discovery Monday, calling the object 2018 VG18. But the researchers who found it are calling it "Farout."
 

Bigphoot2

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Nasa's New Horizons probe on course for historic flyby
By Jonathan AmosBBC Science Correspondent
  • 18 December 2018
  • 49comments

Image copyrightNASAImage captionArtwork: At this stage, scientists can only speculate what Ultima Thule looks like
The American space agency's New Horizons probe remains on course for its daring flyby of Ultima Thule.
When the mission sweeps past the 30km wide object on New Year's Day, it will be making the most distant ever visit to a Solar System body - at some 6.5 billion km from Earth.
Mission planners decided at the weekend to forego a possible trajectory change.
It means the probe will get to fly 3,500km from icy Ultima's surface to take a series of photos and other data.
There had been some concern that the object might be surrounded by large debris particles which could destroy the probe if it were to run into them. But nothing of the sort has been detected and so a wider, safer pass will not be needed.

etc
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46610812
 

Bigphoot2

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Getting closer
Nasa's New Horizons: Excitement ahead of Ultima Thule flyby
  • 8 hours ago




Media captionAlan Stern: "It's pure science and pure exploration"
History will be made on Tuesday when Nasa's New Horizons probe sweeps past the icy world known as Ultima Thule.
Occurring some 6.5 billion km (4 billion miles) from Earth, the flyby will set a new record for the most distant ever exploration of a Solar System object by a spacecraft.
New Horizons will gather a swathe of images and other data over the course of just a few hours leading up to and beyond the closest approach.
This is timed for 05:33 GMT.
etc
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46699737
 

OneWingedBird

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Phil Plait on point as ever... he's on holiday witn rubbish internet though so we won't be getting any nice pics of the object from him this week,

Sounds weird though. :D

There's been some interesting news that the brightness of MU69 over time (what astronomers call the light curve) is pretty flat, which is weird. If it were elongated (or two objects orbiting each other) then you'd expect it to get brighter and dimmer over time as it rotates. If the surface is patchy you'd expect the brightness to change to as it rotates as well. Yet nothing like that has been seen. Is it featureless? Or do we happen to see it looking straight down on one of its poles, so that as it spins we don't see new features roll into view? That last bit seems unlikely, since we've seen it has two big components, and it's hard to see how we'd be able to separate them yet be looking down the pole. So that's odd.
 

OneWingedBird

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If you don't watch it all at least go in for the space top one of the commentators wears at 18 and 28 minutes.

Notable for at least 3 different attempts at pronouncing the name of the object and a strangely Christmas Top of the Pops vibe.

 

Bigphoot2

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New Horizons has survived its encounter with Ultima Thule (sounds like a villain in a Marvel movie)
New Horizons: Nasa probe survives flyby of Ultima Thule
By Jonathan AmosBBC Science Correspondent
  • 1

Image copyrightNASAImage captionAlice Bowman is congratulated on the confirmation of flyby success
The US space agency's New Horizons probe has made contact with Earth to confirm its successful flyby of the icy world known as Ultima Thule.
The encounter occurred some 6.5bn km (4bn miles) away, making it the most distant ever exploration of an object in our Solar System.
New Horizons acquired gigabytes of photos and other observations during the pass.
It will now send these home over the coming months.
The radio message from the robotic craft was picked up by one of Nasa's big antennas, in Madrid, Spain.
It had taken fully six hours and eight minutes to traverse the great expanse of space between Ultima and Earth.

etc
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46729898
 

kamalktk

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Brian May is involved with the flyby, he's on the team.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/01/world/new-horizons-ultima-thule-flyby-success/index.html

Brian May, the guitarist for the legendary rock band Queen and an astrophysicist, is also a participating scientist in the New Horizons mission. He's particularly interested in stereo imaging for this leg of the mission. He was also inspired to release a new song celebrating New Horizons on New Year's Day.
 

Naughty_Felid

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If you don't watch it all at least go in for the space top one of the commentators wears at 18 and 28 minutes.

Notable for at least 3 different attempts at pronouncing the name of the object and a strangely Christmas Top of the Pops vibe.

She also seems to have borrowed Brian May's hair for the segment.
 

Bigphoot2

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There's a snowman at the edge of the solar system
Nasa's New Horizons: 'Snowman' shape of distant Ultima Thule revealed
By Jonathan AmosBBC Science Correspondent
  • 3 minutes ago

Image copyrightNASAImage captionThe snowman rotates at a rate of about 15 hours
The ice world known as Ultima Thule has finally been revealed.
A new picture returned from Nasa's New Horizons spacecraft shows the diminutive, distant world to be two objects joined together to give it a look just like a snowman.
The US probe's images acquired as it approached Ultima hinted at the possibility of a double object, but the first detailed picture from Tuesday's close flyby confirms it.
New Horizons encountered the Ultima 6.5 billion km from Earth.

etc
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46742298
 

skinny

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Wonder if they'll find the mountain-sized diamonds in the mascons. It was speculated they would be there on the earth side, but the degree intensity and frequency of impacts on the outer side makes it seem more likely to host them.
 

OneWingedBird

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It's a crying shame we haven't seen better resolution pics of Ultima Thule yet.

Guess the govt shutdown has kyboshed those for now?
 

Bigphoot2

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hunck

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New Horizons footage of Pluto. Amazingly sharp images. One discovery - because of the size of largest moon Charon & it's proximity, the two orbit around a centre outside of Pluto.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="
" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

OneWingedBird

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Interesting video, I'd never quite grasped the concept of a naked singularity before, idea seems to be that if a black hole spins above a certain speed the centriputal force counteracts the gravity just enough to make it so the escape velocity is less than the speed of light.


Edit: Gravity not grabity
 
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Life on the Moon!

Seeds taken up to the Moon by China's Chang'e-4 mission have sprouted, says China National Space Administration.

It marks the first time any biological matter has grown on the Moon, and is being seen as a significant step towards long-term space exploration. The Chang'e 4 is the first mission to land on and explore the Moon's far side, facing away from Earth.It touched down on 3 January, carrying instruments to analyse the region's geology.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-46873526?ncid=newsltushpmgnews__TheMorningEmail__011519
 

Mythopoeika

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Life on the Moon!

Seeds taken up to the Moon by China's Chang'e-4 mission have sprouted, says China National Space Administration.

It marks the first time any biological matter has grown on the Moon, and is being seen as a significant step towards long-term space exploration. The Chang'e 4 is the first mission to land on and explore the Moon's far side, facing away from Earth.It touched down on 3 January, carrying instruments to analyse the region's geology.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-46873526?ncid=newsltushpmgnews__TheMorningEmail__011519
It's a test, a proof of concept before they roll out the Chinese farms on the moon.
China is so hungry for food, they'll start growing their beansprouts up there.
 

Comfortably Numb

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Also makes a Moonbase more feasible.
Recently installed the 'ISS HD live' app for seven year old granddaughter. Viewing same with school friends the other night, she asked, "how is that possible?"...

Just that an instantaneous thought occurred, 'Certainty didn't have it in my day...".

This results of this Chinese space mission are absolutely, potentially phenomenal.

So, in one night, I could show granddaughter and pals a live view of earth and noted that, arguably, life now exists on the moon...

Combined with recent scientific papers regarding a new paradigm re dark matter & dark energy, have duly had an epiphany, this said evening...

1547597414616349.jpg
 
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