astronomy Archive

astronomyCarnival of Space 545

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1. Universe Today – James Webb Wraps up 3 Months in the Freezer. It’s Ready for Space The sunshield test unit on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is unfurled for the first time. Credit: NASA 2. Universe Today – Lava …

astronomyCarnival of Space 544

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The Carnival of Space 544 is up at Cosmoquest. Universe Today – In mid-March, the Chinese Tiangong-1 Space Station is Going to Come Crashing Back Down to Earth… Somewhere The station’s mission was originally meant to end in 2013, the …

astronomy100 meter thick ice is under only 1-2 meters of dirt in some parts of Mars

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Researchers using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars’ surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes. Above – A cross-section of underground ice is exposed at the steep slope that …

astronomyTabby Star dimming is likely in solar system dust or exocomets

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Tabby’s star exhibits two unique and very difficult to understand behaviors: the short-term”dips” in brightness (of up to 22%) and long-term brightness variations on years-to-centuries timescales. Since the Kepler mission stopped observing it, it seems to have continued its slow …

astronomyCarnival of Space 542

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1. Universe Today – Mysterious Filament is Stretching Down Towards the Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole Using a pioneering technique, a team of astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) recently produced the highest-quality images of the Milky Way’s …

astronomyPlasma Magnet Sails to get manned missions to Mars in 1 week

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The plasma magnet sail engine is little more than 2 pairs of charged rotating coils and is therefore extremely simple and inexpensive. A fully powered plasma magnet sail using a small nuclear power source could accelerate at 0.5G and reach …

astronomyData on one billion star positions will be available in April 2018 which is a 10,000 fold increase

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The second release of Gaia galactic mapping data is planned for April 2018. It will contain measurements of their parallax, which quantifies a star’s distance from us, and of their motion across the sky. Astronomers are eagerly awaiting this unprecedented …

astronomyNASA JPL trying to develop 2069 mission to Alpha Centauri

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NASA JPL is targeting an interstellar mission to launch by 2069 to Alpha Centauri. A 2016 funding bill called upon NASA to investigate methods of interstellar travel that could reach at least 10 percent of the speed of light by …

astronomyJupiter’s Red Dot is 100 times deeper than Earth’s Oceans

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Data collected by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its first pass over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in July 2017 indicate that this iconic feature penetrates well below the clouds. Other revelations from the mission include that Jupiter has two previously uncharted …

astronomyStar Orbiting black hole will reach 2.5% of the speed of light next year

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The Very Large Telescope’s GRAVITY instrument is online and already gathering data from the extreme environment surrounding our galaxy’s supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A S2’s orbit is the epitome of extreme. In 2018, the star will reach the closest part …