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EnolaGaia

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There's rumours flying that a planet has been found in the habitable zone of our neighbour star system. Just imagine.
http://www.universetoday.com/130276/earth-like-planet-around-proxima-centauri-discovered/
Further observations of Proxima Centauri suggest the planets may not be habitable at all, owing to massive outbursts of radiation from the star.
The First Weather Report From Our Closest Star Is In, And It's Bad News For Life

We already had a bit of an inkling that our nearest stellar neighbour might be an inhospitable place. In 2017, red dwarf Proxima Centauri was caught belching out a colossal flare 10 times more powerful than the largest eruptions from the Sun, dampening hopes for habitable conditions on the rocky world orbiting it, Proxima Centauri b.

The outlook for life as we know it just got even more grim. A new discovery has given us evidence that Proxima Centauri may be releasing Sun-like coronal mass ejections, in which vast quantities of ionised plasma and electromagnetic radiation are launched into space, and which are much larger than flares.

"Astronomers have recently found there are two 'Earth-like' rocky planets around Proxima Centauri, one within the 'habitable zone' where any water could be in liquid form," said astronomer Andrew Zic of the University of Sydney in Australia.

"But given Proxima Centauri is a cool, small red dwarf star, it means this habitable zone is very close to the star; much closer in than Mercury is to our Sun. What our research shows is that this makes the planets very vulnerable to dangerous ionising radiation that could effectively sterilise the planets." ...

"This is probably bad news on the space weather front. It seems likely that the galaxy's most common stars - red dwarfs - won't be great places to find life as we know it," Zic said.
FULL STORY:
https://www.sciencealert.com/the-fi...m-proxima-centauri-are-not-promising-for-life

PUBLISHED RESEARCH REPORT (Citation & Abstract Only):
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4357/abca90
 

marhawkman

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https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/tech...edicted-planet-nine/ar-BB1bTiMZ?ocid=msedgntp
Here's a potential destination I guess.

Article's a bit hard to read.... the way it's phrased is just... lolwut? Did the people writing this article never hear of Eris(44° inclination) and Pluto(17°)?

At any rate this is apparently a massive extra solar planet in a highly inclined orbit around a binary. Hmmm makes you wonder just how many other things are out there waiting to be found.
 

Bigphoot2

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"Tantalising" signal from Proxima Centauri...

Scientists looking for aliens investigate radio beam 'from nearby star'
Tantalising ‘signal’ appears to have come from Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun


Ian Sample Science editor
@iansample
Fri 18 Dec 2020 06.00 GMT



Astronomers behind the most extensive search yet for alien life are investigating an intriguing radio wave emission that appears to have come from the direction of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun.
The narrow beam of radio waves was picked up during 30 hours of observations by the Parkes telescope in Australia in April and May last year, the Guardian understands. Analysis of the beam has been under way for some time and scientists have yet to identify a terrestrial culprit such as ground-based equipment or a passing satellite.
etc
https://www.theguardian.com/science...liens-investigate-radio-beam-from-nearby-star
 

Comfortably Numb

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Scientists think they've detected radio emissions from an alien world

Source: livescience.com
Date: 18 December, 2020

Scientists may have detected radio emissions from a planet orbiting a star beyond our sun for the first time.

The astronomers behind the new research used a radio telescope in the Netherlands to study three different stars known to host exoplanets. The researchers compared what they saw to observations of Jupiter, diluted as if being seen from a star system dozens of light-years away. And one star system stood out: Tau Boötes, which contains at least one exoplanet. If the detection holds up, it could open the door to better understanding the magnetic fields of exoplanets and therefore the exoplanets themselves, the researchers hope.

"We present one of the first hints of detecting an exoplanet in the radio realm," Jake Turner, an astronomer at Cornell University and lead author of the new research, said in a statement. "We make the case for an emission by the planet itself. From the strength and polarization of the radio signal and the planet's magnetic field, it is compatible with theoretical predictions."

However, Turner and his colleagues aren't yet positive that the signal they detected really is coming from the planet, dubbed Tau Boötes b; the researchers called for additional observations of the system, which is about 51 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Boötes.

The new research actually began at Jupiter; the researchers had previously studied that planet's radio emissions and then tweaked those measurements to reflect the effect they expected closeness to the host star and distance from Earth would have had on their observations of an exoplanet.

[...]

https://www.livescience.com/exoplanet-radio-emissions-tentative-detection.html
 

maximus otter

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Scientists looking for aliens investigate radio beam 'from nearby star'

Tantalising ‘signal’ appears to have come from Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun.



Astronomers behind the most extensive search yet for alien life are investigating an intriguing radio wave emission that appears to have come from the direction of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun.

The narrow beam of radio waves was picked up during 30 hours of observations by the Parkes telescope in Australia in April and May last year, the Guardian understands. Analysis of the beam has been under way for some time and scientists have yet to identify a terrestrial culprit such as ground-based equipment or a passing satellite.

It is usual for astronomers on the $100m (£70m) Breakthrough Listen project to spot strange blasts of radio waves with the Parkes telescope or the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, but all so far have been attributed to human-made interference or natural sources.

The latest “signal” is likely to have a mundane explanation too, but the direction of the narrow beam, around 980MHz, and an apparent shift in its frequency said to be consistent with the movement of a planet have added to the tantalising nature of the finding. Scientists are now preparing a paper on the beam, named BLC1, for Breakthrough Listen, the project to search for evidence of life in space.

The beam that appears to have come from the direction of Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star 4.2 light years from Earth, has not been spotted since the initial observation, according to an individual in the astronomy community who requested anonymity because the work is ongoing. “It is the first serious candidate since the ‘Wow! signal’,” they said.

https://www.theguardian.com/science...liens-investigate-radio-beam-from-nearby-star

maximus otter
 

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Astronomers Spot Elusive 50 Million-Light-Year-Long Thread Tied to Cosmic Web

Source: sciencealert.com
Date: 21 December, 2020

At the very largest scale, the Universe consists of a "cosmic web" made of enormous, tenuous filaments of gas stretching between gigantic clumps of matter.

Or that's what our best models suggest. All we have seen so far with our telescopes are the stars and galaxies in the clumps of matter.

So is the cosmic web real, or a figment of our models? Can we confirm our models by detecting these faint gaseous filaments directly?

Until recently, these filaments have been elusive. But now a collaboration between Australian radio astronomers and German x-ray astronomers has detected one.

CSIRO's newly completed Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope in Western Australia is starting to produce a large-scale picture of the Universe in radio frequencies.

This telescope can see deeper than any other radio telescope, producing new discoveries, such as the unexplained Odd Radio Circles or ORCs.

Seeing with radio waves and x-rays
This year has also seen the publication of the first observations by the German eROSITA Space Telescope, which is giving us our deepest large-scale picture of the Universe in x-ray frequencies.

Both of these next-generation telescopes have an unprecedented ability to scan large areas of sky at once, so they are beautifully matched to study the large-scale features of the Universe.

Together, they can achieve much more than either on its own, so naturally we have joined forces.

The first result from this collaboration is the discovery of a cosmic filament of hot gas.

https://www.sciencealert.com/astron...galactic-filament-connected-to-the-cosmic-web
 

maximus otter

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Schrodinger's Zebra

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Clear skies last night. Tonight? Thick cloud. Great.
Yep, chucking down with rain, can’t even see the moon.
Same here. Last night I only realised too late (when I read it on 'ere) that this event was happening. It was nice and frosty then, with clear views of the moon and stars so would have seen something last night at least, if I'd known/remembered.

Tonight? It had been cloudy all day, and still cloudy when the 'window of opportunity' presented itself (and in fact rained for a bit).

Oh but it cleared up later on, nice and frosty and clear now, of course. Now that the sodding thing is below the ground somewhere (figuratively speaking).

Ain't stargazing fun! :)


Did anyone actually get to see it?
 

charliebrown

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Well, with binoculars I saw Saturn and Jupiter.

My opinion, I think I have seen Venus much brighter.

My opinion again, the world did not end, the aliens did not invade, and most sad I did not win the lottery.

Maybe better luck in another 800 years.
 

GNC

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Good news, the cloud cleared and I was able to see the planets! Middling news, if I hadn't known what they were, I'd have just thought they were another random star in the sky. Maybe it's the light pollution, but as @charliebrown says, I expected them to be brighter. But at least I saw them!
 

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I've spent the best part of £200 on binoculars and tripod and have been enjoying looking at other stuff so am a bit gutted I won't get to see it due it bad weather :(
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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I've spent the best part of £200 on binoculars and tripod and have been enjoying looking at other stuff so am a bit gutted I won't get to see it due it bad weather :(
That is disappointing, but as you say there's still lots of other stuff up there to enjoy looking at so don't be too disheartened :)
 

Peripart

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I've spent the best part of £200 on binoculars and tripod and have been enjoying looking at other stuff so am a bit gutted I won't get to see it due it bad weather :(
I stuck my mobile phone over the eyepiece of a telescope just after sunset on Sunday. The results aren't spectacular, but I'll share when I get a chance!
 

Peripart

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I stuck my mobile phone over the eyepiece of a telescope just after sunset on Sunday. The results aren't spectacular, but I'll share when I get a chance!
Well, as promised, and even less spectacular than you feared, here's the photo I took on my mobile phone by holding it over the eye-piece of my telescope:

IMG_20201220_170917.jpg


Brightest dot is Jupiter, with 2 of its moons visible (1 in the haze just at the top of the planet), and Saturn at bottom right. If you squint, you can see that Saturn isn't round - the rings looked better using my eyes!

Forget the orientation, which isn't what you'd see with the naked eye. I haven't taken the trouble to correct for the inversion caused by looking through a refractor, nor the angle of the eyepiece. If I improve my astrophotography skills, I'll tidy up the presentation!

As I say, this was Sunday, just after sunset, so a day before nearest conjunction.

No proper clear skies since then - this was the cloudy sunset yesterday:

Xmas sunset.jpg
 

GNC

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Appreciate the attempt, @Peripart - maybe there's a professional pic that looks more impressive around? What's the Hubble telescope doing these days, anyway?
 

Peripart

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That's actually a very good shot, Peripart.
Well, you're kind, but it was as much a proof of concept as anything. Holding my phone by hand was always going to result in a bit of blurring at that distance. Once I'm able to hold my mobile still, and block off any extraneous light, I'll try again. I'm not looking to get any special image processing software (yet!), but I'd like to see what the phone/telescope combo is capable of.
 

gordonrutter

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Well, you're kind, but it was as much a proof of concept as anything. Holding my phone by hand was always going to result in a bit of blurring at that distance. Once I'm able to hold my mobile still, and block off any extraneous light, I'll try again. I'm not looking to get any special image processing software (yet!), but I'd like to see what the phone/telescope combo is capable of.
What you’re doing is called digiscoping. The following site has some info and some links, it’s mainly talking about wildlife but the theory is the same

https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/technique/expert_advice/guide-to-digiscoping-100214
 

eburacum

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Yes. The fact that you caught two of the moons is impressive. To get a better shot of the planets you would need to lower the exposure - and that would lose the moons.
 

Trevp666

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I believe that some phones have a feature which allows you to take multiple photos and combine the best bits to produce one pic containing all of them
 

Peripart

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I believe that some phones have a feature which allows you to take multiple photos and combine the best bits to produce one pic containing all of them
To be fair, I think that most of the blurriness in my photo was down to the phone not being kept absolutely still against the 'scope. I have plans in place to remedy this for next time...
 

hunck

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Well, as promised, and even less spectacular than you feared, here's the photo I took on my mobile phone by holding it over the eye-piece of my telescope:

View attachment 33110

Brightest dot is Jupiter, with 2 of its moons visible (1 in the haze just at the top of the planet), and Saturn at bottom right. If you squint, you can see that Saturn isn't round - the rings looked better using my eyes!

Forget the orientation, which isn't what you'd see with the naked eye. I haven't taken the trouble to correct for the inversion caused by looking through a refractor, nor the angle of the eyepiece. If I improve my astrophotography skills, I'll tidy up the presentation!

As I say, this was Sunday, just after sunset, so a day before nearest conjunction.

No proper clear skies since then - this was the cloudy sunset yesterday:

View attachment 33111
I really like the sunset photo. Lovely colours, bare trees etc.
 

EnolaGaia

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The discovery of a presumably uninhabitable exoplanet has something of a silver lining. It's almost 10 billion years old, indicating rocky earth-type planets were being formed far earlier than previously believed. It's suggested planets of such extended age may recommend themselves as places where life had plenty of time to develop.
Astronomers Find an Astonishing 'Super-Earth' That's Nearly as Old as The Universe

It turns out that planets can live a very long time indeed.

Around one of the galaxy's oldest stars, an orange dwarf named TOI-561 just 280 light-years away, astronomers have found three orbiting exoplanets - one of which is a rocky world 1.5 times the size of Earth, whipping around the star on a breakneck 10.5-hour orbit.

Obviously an exoplanet so close to its star isn't likely to be habitable, even if it is rocky like Earth, Venus and Mars. It would have a temperature of 2,480 Kelvin, tidally locked with a magma ocean on the permanent day side.

But the TOI-561 system, planets and all, is one of the oldest ever seen, at an estimated age of around 10 billion years.

That's more than twice as old as the Solar System, nearly as old as the Universe itself, and evidence that rocky exoplanets can remain stable for a very long time.

"TOI-561 b is one of the oldest rocky planets yet discovered," said astronomer Lauren Weiss of the University of Hawai'i.

"Its existence shows that the universe has been forming rocky planets almost since its inception 14 billion years ago." ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/an-astonishing-super-earth-exoplanet-is-nearly-as-old-as-the-universe
 
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