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45 minutes ago, CaaC - John said:

 

25 minutes ago, nudge said:

Yes, read it earlier today, fascinating stuff :) The most supported theory among the astronomers at the moment is it being a young neutron star with an insanely huge magnetic field. Well either that or aliens :ph34r: Seriously though, it's very fascinating as we haven't got any natural explanation to FBRs at the moment, nevermind repeating ones, so it's definitely huge!

Would be good to think that somewhere out there in the far reaches of space is another habitable planet with intelligent life just sending out signals in the vain hope of finding other life forms..  just like we are doing

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11 hours ago, Bluewolf said:

 

Would be good to think that somewhere out there in the far reaches of space is another habitable planet with intelligent life just sending out signals in the vain hope of finding other life forms..  just like we are doing

This would be more like "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."  though, considering the signals are coming from a galaxy 1,5 billion light years away... :D Imagine if it's some intelligent life form, how more advanced would they be by now after all these years when their signals finally reached us?... Or a bit more depressing thought, what if those signals come from an advanced intelligent life form that doesn't exist anymore...gone extinct due to some catastrophic events, have been exterminated or just simply destroyed itself billions of years ago and we're just getting their desperate calls for help now... This fits better in the sci-fi thread though haha. I'll be posting there shortly with a good book recommendation...

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1 minute ago, nudge said:

This would be more like "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."  though, considering the signals are coming from a galaxy 1,5 billion light years away... :D Imagine if it's some intelligent life form, how more advanced would they be by now after all these years when their signals finally reached us?... Or a bit more depressing thought, what if those signals come from an advanced intelligent life form that doesn't exist anymore...gone extinct due to some catastrophic events, have been exterminated or just simply destroyed itself billions of years ago and we're just getting their desperate calls for help now... This fits better in the sci-fi thread though haha. I'll be posting there shortly with a good book recommendation...

Well that's just a depressing thought... that would be like walking the full length of the globe to surprise a distant relative you have not seen for ages and finding they have passed away before you got there... 

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Signals from space: Five theories on what they are

By Helen Briggs

BBC News

1 hour ago

Mysterious signals have been picked up from distant galaxies.

When fast radio bursts or FRBs, as they are called, reach Earth's telescopes they shine brightly for a few milliseconds, then disappear.

Astronomers have detected dozens over the past decade - and have just announced they've found more of them, including a rare repeating signal.

We don't know exactly what they are or where they're from, but here are five suspects:

A rapidly spinning neutron star

When stars explode and die they can end up as rapidly spinning neutron stars. Astronomers think those found in a region with a high magnetic field might produce the strange signals.

"Something like a neutron star fits the bill reasonably well actually," says Dr Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

"But exactly what physics is going into producing this very energetic burst of radio waves we don't really know yet."

Two stars merging

Two neutron stars colliding with each other is another possibility.

According to Shriharsh Tendulkar, an astronomer at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, this is one of the main theories, but the scenario only works for cosmic signals that are only seen once, as the stars are destroyed in the process.

"It's a cataclysmic event - it doesn't work for fast radio burst repeaters," he says.

Most of the fast radio bursts picked up by telescopes in the last decade or so are seen once then disappear.

Yet, two elusive signals have been found that burst into life again and again - and for these, there must be a different explanation.

Blitzar

A blitzar is a rapidly spinning neutron star which collapses under its own weight and forms a black hole.

Again, this ends in the destruction of the star, so could not produce a repeating signal.

Black hole

Black holes are implicated in many theories - from a neutron star falling into a black hole to a collapsing black hole or dark matter hitting one.

Alien life form

While some believe the signals are entirely natural in origin, others have speculated that they could be evidence of extra-terrestrial activity.

Dr Stairs sees this as highly unlikely.

"They come from all over the sky pretty much and many different distances - they must be associated with many different galaxies," she told Newsday on BBC World Service.

"It just seems completely inconceivable that there could be that many different alien civilisations all deciding to produce the same kind of signal in the same way - that just seems highly improbable."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46825450

 

 

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I love how space is refered to as the final frontier. It's like, yeah we've covered all of this one planet now, we're pretty much done, all that's left is the ENTIRE FUCKING REST OF THE UNIVERSE.

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This is for suborbital VTOL tests. Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won’t wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.

DwmagBZX4AEbUN-.jpg:large

Looks like a typical 50s or 60s scifi rocket :D 

 

That's how the actual Starship should probably look:

4rxtq7l5ne921.jpg

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Finally we get more infos and photos/videos of the Chinese Chang'e-4 lunar lander and rover on the far side of the moon!

Here's the actual landing video from the onboard camera released earlier today: 

 

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1 hour ago, nudge said:

Finally we get more infos and photos/videos of the Chinese Chang'e-4 lunar lander and rover on the far side of the moon!

Here's the actual landing video from the onboard camera released earlier today: 

 

I would have loved to see the reaction at the Chinese launch center whatever, NASA shows videos of the reactions of there landings, I bet the Chinese were celebrating just the same.    :x

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17 minutes ago, CaaC - John said:

I would have loved to see the reaction at the Chinese launch center whatever, NASA shows videos of the reactions of there landings, I bet the Chinese were celebrating just the same.    :x

Ask and you shall receive...

They're not exactly erupting with joy haha... Different culture.

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5 minutes ago, nudge said:

They're not exactly erupting with joy haha... Different culture.

Aye, lol, all I could see was a couple of people clapping in the right-hand corner of the video but as you said, different culture, maybe off camera and at home they were celebrating more without restrictions. 

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Spektr-R: Russia's only space telescope 'not responding'

Russia's only space radio telescope is no longer responding to commands from Earth, officials say.

Astro Space Centre chief Nikolai Kardashev said some of the Spektr-R satellite's communication systems had stopped working.

But it was still transmitting scientific data, RIA Novosti news agency reports.

The telescope has been operational way beyond its expected five-year lifespan, Russia's space agency Roskosmos says.

Specialists had repeatedly tried and failed to fix the lost connection, Mr. Kardashev said.

Yuri Kovalev, head of research for the Spektr-R project, said the link went down on the morning of 11 January but added that "there is still hope".

Spektr-R was launched into space in 2011.

A new Russian-German satellite, Spektr-RG, is scheduled to be launched this year.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46849347

 

 

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Just took this photo of the Moon... preparing for the eclipse! 

MG194915.jpg

 

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Check it out. What does the first plant on the Moon look like?

China's Chang'e-4 probe successfully carried out its first biological experiment on the Moon's far side, as the latest photo released by scientists at the Chongqing University on Tuesday showed that one of the cotton seeds, taken up to the Moon by the lunar exploration probe, has sprouted. 

Aboard the lander of the Chang'e-4 spacecraft is a biological experiment payload, carrying six "passengers." 

Who are they?

According to professor Xie Gengxin, chief designer of the biological experiment payload, the first "visitors" include seeds of potato, cotton, Arabidopsis, rapeseeds, as well as fruit flies pupae, and some yeast.

ad1b80b2db00442e84d1eeed45548a85.jpg

Due to the limited space inside the 2.6-kilogram payload, and the growth characteristics of certain lifeforms, these six subjects were chosen for the creation of a micro-ecosystem on the Moon.

Among them, the plants will produce oxygen and food for everything to "consume." Yeast will play a role in regulating carbon dioxide and oxygen in the micro- biosphere and the fruit flies would be the consumers of the photosynthesis process.

2800.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=forma

An image of the first-ever cotton sprout on the Moon was released by the Chongqing University which led the design team of the biological payload on the Chang'e-4 lunar mission. / Chongqing University Photo  

Now it is night on the Moon and the temperature has dropped to nearly 180-degree centigrade below freezing. All the equipment has powered down, and the remaining seeds and animals will be gradually decomposed down to organic fundamentals. 

The Moon has an environment defined by low gravity, strong sunlight and harsh radiation. To better understand how plants and animals can grow in different environments, scientists have set up two identical payloads which will start simultaneously: One on the moon, and the other on Earth. 

ed783528d8b546e3bba30ed40074974a.jpg

Scientists have set up two identical payloads which start simultaneously with the one on the moon, one on Earth. ‍/CGTN photo

As the pictures from Chongqing University show, two of the plant seeds have sprung up on Earth: One is a cotton seed on the Moon and the other is a rapeseed on Earth. 

Will this pollute the lunar environment?

Many scientists around the world are wondering whether or not these plants and animals will pollute the lunar environment. 

Professor Xie confirmed that's impossible because the payload is sealed and they have taken every measure to prevent such a thing from happening.

Professor Xie told CGTN that, as is known, no air nor oxygen exists on the Moon, and the temperature is always very extreme (over 100 degree Celsius in the daytime and 180 degree Celsius below freezing at night). 

"Even if some of them leaked, they would have no chance of survival, they would be decomposed to harmless organics with no pollution on the Moon," said Xie.

What is the significance of this experiment?

According to Xie, the project will show the growth process of biological plants and animals under the conditions of low gravity, strong radiation and the natural illumination of the lunar surface. 

Researchers from Chongqing University are now monitoring the growth data 24 hours a day, and recording the latest conditions accordingly. 

Based on the data, scientists are able to make preparations for their next biological experiment - on the Moon or beyond.

Source: https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d414f7949444d32457a6333566d54/share_p.html

 

 

 

This is so fascinating... first life form to be grown on another solar body other than Earth!

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Nasa warns of 'near miss' asteroid passing Earth - and another which could destroy it

Fred Nathan

BBSbGpx.img?h=532&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

© Getty Images Nasa say an asteroid is due to pass two million miles away from Earth on Monday

A giant asteroid is due to whizz past the Earth in the early hours of this morning - as Nasa warns another rock could destroy the planet next century.

The asteroid will make an "Earth Close Approach" today, passing around two million miles away from our planet - that is about eight times the distance to the Moon away.

It may seem a lot, but in space terms that is deemed near - all the more alarming given its whopping size, as big as 460 feet in diameter, which is considered 'potentially hazardous'.

Dubbed 'Asteroid AG3', it measures around twice the wingspan of a Boeing 747 aeroplane, reports the Express.

BBSbGpz.img?h=532&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

© Credits: NASA More alarmingly than today's asteroid is the prospect of 'apocalypse' rock Bennu hitting earth

A NASA report on asteroid dangers reads: “Larger Near-Earth Objects greater than 140 meters have the potential to inflict severe damage to entire regions or continents.

“Fortunately, these are far less common and are easier to detect and track than smaller Near-Earth Objects."

But perhaps more alarmingly, the US space agency has warned that an 87million tonne 'apocalypse asteroid' could hit the Earth with such force that it would release 80,000 times more energy that the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

BBSbP5z.img?h=532&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

© Credits: NASA The stunning image captured shows Earth and the moon (bottom left) in the distance, with Bennu (right)

A probe captured the incredible image of the rock named Bennu - taller than the Empire State Building - which shows the Earth as but a dot away from the asteroid which is over 1,500 times heavier than the Titanic, reports the Mail.

Scientists claim that if it hits Earth, it could potentially destroy the entirety of the human race.

But our generation and our children's generation should be safe, as it is not meant to pass close to the earth until next century, between 2175 and 2199.

BBSbK7c.img?h=532&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

© Credits: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra It is thought current defence methods would prove ineffective against Bennu

And even when it does come close, it is still a one in 2,700 chance of it hitting planet Earth.

Should the rock defy the odds at hit us, experts say the present-day spacecrafts designed by NASA to stop asteroids would probably be ineffective against the sheer might of Bennu.

If scientists launched just one deflector craft to Bennu, it could take up to seven and a half years.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/nasa-warns-of-near-miss-asteroid-passing-earth-and-another-which-could-destroy-it/ar-BBSdAq9?ocid=chromentp

 

 

 

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Get in!

Also their future missions will focus on development of technologies required to build an actual Moon base.

 

 

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2 hours ago, CaaC - John said:
Quote

Nasa warns of 'near miss' asteroid passing Earth - and another which could destroy it

Fred Nathan

BBSbGpx.img?h=532&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

© Getty Images Nasa say an asteroid is due to pass two million miles away from Earth on Monday

A giant asteroid is due to whizz past the Earth in the early hours of this morning - as Nasa warns another rock could destroy the planet next century.

The asteroid will make an "Earth Close Approach" today, passing around two million miles away from our planet - that is about eight times the distance to the Moon away.

It may seem a lot, but in space terms that is deemed near - all the more alarming given its whopping size, as big as 460 feet in diameter, which is considered 'potentially hazardous'.

Dubbed 'Asteroid AG3', it measures around twice the wingspan of a Boeing 747 aeroplane, reports the Express.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

BBSbGpz.img?h=532&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

© Credits: NASA More alarmingly than today's asteroid is the prospect of 'apocalypse' rock Bennu hitting earth

A NASA report on asteroid dangers reads: “Larger Near-Earth Objects greater than 140 meters have the potential to inflict severe damage to entire regions or continents.

“Fortunately, these are far less common and are easier to detect and track than smaller Near-Earth Objects."

But perhaps more alarmingly, the US space agency has warned that an 87million tonne 'apocalypse asteroid' could hit the Earth with such force that it would release 80,000 times more energy that the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

BBSbP5z.img?h=532&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

© Credits: NASA The stunning image captured shows Earth and the moon (bottom left) in the distance, with Bennu (right)

A probe captured the incredible image of the rock named Bennu - taller than the Empire State Building - which shows the Earth as but a dot away from the asteroid which is over 1,500 times heavier than the Titanic, reports the Mail.

Scientists claim that if it hits Earth, it could potentially destroy the entirety of the human race.

But our generation and our children's generation should be safe, as it is not meant to pass close to the earth until next century, between 2175 and 2199.

BBSbK7c.img?h=532&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

© Credits: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra It is thought current defence methods would prove ineffective against Bennu

And even when it does come close, it is still a one in 2,700 chance of it hitting planet Earth.

Should the rock defy the odds at hit us, experts say the present-day spacecrafts designed by NASA to stop asteroids would probably be ineffective against the sheer might of Bennu.

If scientists launched just one deflector craft to Bennu, it could take up to seven and a half years.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/nasa-warns-of-near-miss-asteroid-passing-earth-and-another-which-could-destroy-it/ar-BBSdAq9?ocid=chromentp

 

 

 

Bruce Willis is getting ready for it ... :D 

Seriously though, NASA announced a while ago that it will commence testing its planetary defense system in the next couple of years (December 2020- May 2021). It's called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) and it will send the DART spacecraft on a collision course with the non-threatening asteroid Didymos to test the spacecraft's ability to change the direction of the celestial object.

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27 minutes ago, nudge said:

Seriously though, NASA announced a while ago that it will commence testing its planetary defense system in the next couple of years (December 2020- May 2021). It's called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) and it will send the DART spacecraft on a collision course with the non-threatening asteroid Didymos to test the spacecraft's ability to change the direction of the celestial object.

 

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Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is directed by NASA to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) with support from NASA centers:  the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and Johnson Space Center (JSC). 

DART will be the first demonstration of the kinetic impact technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space.  The DART mission is in Phase B, led by JHU/APL and managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at Marshall Space Flight Center for NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. 

pd-dart-spacecraft-bus.png?itok=UfEu1xVv

DART is a planetary defense-driven test of one of the technologies for preventing the Earth impact of a hazardous asteroid: the kinetic impactor.  DART’s primary objective is to demonstrate a kinetic impact on a small asteroid.  The binary near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos is the target for DART.   While Didymos’ primary body is approximately 800 meters across, its secondary body (or “moonlet”) has a 150-meter size, which is more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose a more common hazard to Earth.

pd-dart-spacecraft-with-rosa.png?itok=SX

Overview of the DART spacecraft with the Roll Out Solar Arrays (ROSA) extended. With the ROSA arrays fully deployed, DART measures 12.5 meters (494 inches) by 2.4 meters (98.1 inches).

The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera and sophisticated autonomous navigation software. The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent, enough to be measured using telescopes on Earth.

dart-pic1.png?itok=bW8eytCo

Brought up on Space X’s eleventh Dragon flight (CRS-11) to ISS, the ROSA array was tested on Expedition 52 on board the International Space Station (ISS) in June 2017. This was the first in-space test of ROSA. This image shows ROSA attached to the ISS’ CanadaArm2 initially in the ‘rolled-up’ position.

dart-pic2.png?itok=u0ti5dUN

Brought up on Space X’s eleventh Dragon flight (CRS-11) to ISS, the ROSA array was tested on Expedition 52 on board the International Space Station (ISS) in June 2017. This was the first in-space test of ROSA. This image shows the ROSA fully extended.

.The DART spacecraft will utilize the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster – Commercial (NEXT-C) solar electric propulsion system as its primary in-space propulsion system.  NEXT-C is the next generation system that is based on the Dawn spacecraft propulsion system and was developed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.  By utilizing electric propulsion, DART is able to gain significant flexibility to the mission timeline and widen the launch window, as well as decrease the cost of the of the launch vehicle that gets the mission off Earth and into orbit.

NASA’s DART spacecraft’s launch window range begins in late December 2020 and runs through May 2021.  It will intercept Didymos’ moonlet in early October 2022, when the Didymos system is within 11 million kilometers of Earth, enabling observations by ground-based telescopes and planetary radar to measure the change in momentum imparted to the moonlet.

pd-dart-geosynchronous-orbit.png?itok=xR

DART will be co-manifested on either commercial or military launch to geosynchronous orbit between December 2020 and May 2021 and released. Using the NEXT-C ion thrust engine, DART will spiral out beyond the orbits of the geosynchronous satellites and the Moon to reach an escape point to depart the Earth-Moon system en route to Didymos.

pd-arecibo-radar-images-didymos.png?itok

Fourteen Arecibo radar images of the near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos and its moonlet, taken on 23, 24 and 26 November 2003. NASA’s planetary radar capabilities enable scientists to resolve shape, concavities, and possible large boulders on the surfaces of these small worlds. Photometric lightcurve data indicate that Didymos is a binary system, and radar imagery distinctly shows the secondary body.

screen_shot_2017-06-30_at_12.03.56_pm.pn

Simulated image of the Didymos system, derived from photometric lightcurve and radar data. The primary body is about 800 meters in diameter and the moonlet is approximately 150 meters across. They are separated by just over a kilometer. The primary body rotates once every 2.26 hours while the tidally locked moonlet revolves about the primary once every 11.9 hours. Almost one sixth of the known near-Earth asteroid (NEA) population are binary or multiple-body systems.
Credits: Naidu et al., AIDA Workshop, 2016
 
The near-Earth asteroid (185851) 2000 DP107 in many ways is an analog to Didymos. 2000 DP107 was the first binary asteroid ever imaged by radar. This animation is derived from planetary radar observations. In this example (2000 DP107), the primary and secondary are about 850 meters and 300 meters in diameter. They are separated by about 2.7 km. The primary rotates once every 2.77 hours while the tidally locked secondary orbits the primary about once every 42 hours.
 
 

 pd-didymos-system-at-a-glance.png?itok=j

pd-dart-mission-impact.png?itok=Z4lYt2U6

Schematic of the DART mission shows the impact on the moonlet of asteroid (65803) Didymos. Post-impact observations from Earth-based optical telescopes and planetary radar would, in turn, measure the change in the moonlet’s orbit about the parent body.

https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/dart

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13 hours ago, nudge said:

 

 

This is so fascinating... first life form to be grown on another solar body other than Earth!

I think this is all very cool - but also the first graphic in that quoted article suggests one of the plants they're trying to grow on the moon is "oilseed rape" xD

*edit* upon googling... oilseed rape is also known as rapeseed. And it's not a hilarious typo. Probably the least trustworthy plant on earth if they decided to name it after rape.

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Super Wolf Blood Moon: Why the upcoming lunar eclipse is special

BBSfD4R.img?h=533&w=799&m=6&q=60&o=f&l=f

The New Year may have just started, but it is already bringing with it a rare celestial event nicknamed the “Super Blood Wolf Moon.”

The super blood wolf moon, a total lunar eclipse, will take place on Sunday, January 20 into January 21 and will be visible to people around the world, but especially those in North America.

This is what you need to know:

What is the Super Blood Wolf Moon and when is it?

An eclipse occurs when the moon travels through Earth’s shadow, and the sun, moon and Earth line up perfectly. The super blood wolf moon is a lunar eclipse that will last 62 minutes in totality.

During the eclipse, the full moon will appear to glow red - the result of sunlight scattered and refracted around Earth, according to Space.com.

"Blood Moon 2018: the longest lunar eclipse of the century"

In North America, the eclipse will begin at 9.36pm ET on January 20 but will likely not be visible until 11.41pm ET and will end at 12.43am ET on January 21.

It will be the first total lunar eclipse visible entirely in the US since 2010.

Why is it called that?

The nickname Super Blood Wolf Moon comes from the various identifiers of the upcoming eclipse.

According to Space.com, a supermoon is when a full moon is closest to earth in its orbit. Supermoons, which the January 20 moon is, often appear larger than usual.

The term blood moon, although not an accurate descriptor, comes from the colour of an eclipsed moon.

Although the moon will probably appear red-tinged, the colour more closely resembles copper than blood. It can also appear black, gray, or brown.

According to NASA, the colour depends on the amount of dust and clouds in the atmosphere.

And a wolf moon is the term given to the January full moon each year. The name was traditionally used by Native Americans.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac said: “In Native American and early Colonial times, the full moon for January was called the Full Wolf Moon. It appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages.”

How can you view it?

The brightness of the moon means that it will be visible without the use of binoculars or a telescope, however, they can make it clearer to see.

To view the lunar eclipse, stand outside and look up at the night sky to let your eyes adjust to the darkness, then turn your focus towards the moon.

It is recommended you find an area where there is no direct light such as street lamps.

Although the moment it is entirely eclipsed will be the most interesting to look at, it will also be possible to see the moon partially eclipsed.

The eclipse will be visible in North and South America and parts of Western Europe.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/super-wolf-blood-moon-why-the-upcoming-lunar-eclipse-is-special/ar-BBSfJ7f?ocid=chromentp

 

 

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On 15/01/2019 at 11:56, nudge said:

Check it out. What does the first plant on the Moon look like?

China's Chang'e-4 probe successfully carried out its first biological experiment on the Moon's far side, as the latest photo released by scientists at the Chongqing University on Tuesday showed that one of the cotton seeds, taken up to the Moon by the lunar exploration probe, has sprouted. 

Aboard the lander of the Chang'e-4 spacecraft is a biological experiment payload, carrying six "passengers." 

Sad news @nudge, it has died :(

 

Quote

The appearance of a single green leaf hinted at a future in which astronauts would grow their own food in space, potentially setting up residence at outposts on the Moon or other planets.

Now, barely after it had sprouted, the cotton plant aboard China’s lunar rover has died.

The plant relied on sunlight at the Moon’s surface, but as night arrived at the lunar far side and temperatures plunged as low as -170C, its short life came to an end.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/first-green-leaf-on-moon-dies-as-temperatures-plummet/ar-BBSm9cZ?li=BBoPWjQ&ocid=chromentp

 

 

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1 hour ago, CaaC - John said:

Sad news @nudge, it has died :(

Yes I know... :) A few days ago the Chinese announced that the plants will not survive the lunar night. Apparently they decided to not invest more money into it, as initially there were plans to maintain the required temperature in the container and it was supposed to be potatoes and silkworms instead of the cotton plant and fruit flies, but they substituted those in the last minute because they need shorter time to sprout/develop.

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Scientists Question Popular Planet Formation Theory

By: Monica Young | January 16, 2019

New studies and new worlds are challenging the core accretion theory, the primary model astronomers use to understand how planets form in our solar system and beyond.

For years, planetary scientists thought they had planet formation figured out. But as exoplanet discovery has exploded, we’ve found worlds around other stars that aren’t so easily explained. Now, two new studies presented at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle are challenging the leading theory of planet formation, with varying degrees of success.

Sub-Saturn.jpg

The Sub-Saturn Desert

According to core accretion theory, pebbles and rocks in the debris disk around an infant star will clump together into planet-sized cores. Near the star, there won’t be much material and only small, rocky planets will form. But farther from the star, much larger cores can come together. Once they become large enough (roughly ten times Earth’s mass), those cores quickly build up thick cloaks of gas. This process is what’s thought to have created the gas giants we see in the solar system today.

Runaway core accretion leads to planets of specific sizes: Either the gas dissipates before the runaway process begins at all, resulting in small, rocky worlds, or after the process has already taken off, resulting in gas giants. Either way, planets between the mass of Neptune and Saturn ought to be rare. Moreover, the cores that become big enough to set off runaway accretion mostly form beyond the “snow line,” where gases turn to ice and stick together to help planets grow.

Looking for sub-Saturns beyond the snowline — if they exist — isn’t easy. Most searches focus on planets close to their stars — without close-in orbits, astronomers won’t see enough transits or detect the stellar wobble that would confirm a planet’s existence.

But microlensing can find planets on far-out orbits. Microlensing happens when, from our vantage point, a star suddenly brightens as another star passes in front of it — the foreground star’s gravity bends and magnifies the background star’s light. If the foreground star hosts a planet, the planet will affect the magnification of background starlight too — even if it’s not super close to its star.

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Daisuke Suzuki (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan) and colleagues test the existence of the sub-Saturn desert using a group of 30 planets found by their microlensing effects. Turns out that there are ten times more planets in the Neptune-to-Saturn range than the group’s models of runaway core accretion would predict. In fact, the recent discovery of the microlens planet dubbed OGLE-2012-BLG-0950, also announced at the winter AAS meeting, fits right into the sub-Saturn desert. It has between 31 and 47 Earths’ worth of mass. (Find more details in the Keck Observatory’s press release.)

But core accretion is a complex theory. Suzuki’s group makes its predictions based on simulations of runaway core accretion that have lots of free parameters, like tuneable knobs on a stereo.

“In a year, I predict that the synthesis simulations will perfectly reproduce the observed distribution,” says Greg Laughlin (Yale University), who was not involved in the study. “This isn’t because they are correct, but rather because if you are allowed to vary a large number of parameters, any flexible framework should be capable of fitting any smoothly varying distribution of anything.”

In a nutshell, Suzuki and colleagues have thrown down the gauntlet at the feet of core accretion, but it remains to be seen whether the duel will proceed.

Wherefore Art Thou, Hot Jupiters?

A second study looks at the sub-Saturn desert from a different perspective. To make core accretion work for hot Jupiters — those gas giants that circle their stars on searingly close orbits — theorists must invoke migration. That is, if hot Jupiters first form farther out, then they must interact with the disk or gravitationally pinball off other planets to end up on their final, close-in orbit.

This core accretion-plus-migration scenario appears to jibe with mass-period diagrams that show a “desert” of hot Jupiters at super close-in orbits — presumably any hot Jupiters that move in any closer than that migrate right into their host star.

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Planet mass-period diagrams reveal a "desert" of hot Jupiters on super close-in orbits. The gap could be a sign of Jupiters migrating inward from far-out orbits...
Elizabeth Bailey

But as Elizabeth Bailey (Caltech) pointed out at the AAS meeting, this “desert” has a sharply delineated inner boundary. If hot Jupiters were scattering in close to the star by gravitational interactions, this boundary ought to have a ragged appearance. Instead, Bailey finds that she can predict the exact shape of the boundary if planets come together right where they are, called in situ formation. “If this is correct, hot Jupiters are distinct in their origins from other cold Jupiters,” Bailey says.

In fact, that result may be just fine for core accretion, Laughlin says. Past studies have suggested that core accretion could proceed even in places with low density and high temperature, such as near the host star.

“[The study] shows that the curiously delineated distribution of hot Jupiters in the mass-period diagram is a natural consequence of in situ core accretion,” says Laughlin. “It does this, moreover, with no adjustable parameters.”

Indeed, Bailey and coauthor Konstantin Batygin (also at Caltech) emphasize that their result doesn’t rule out migration — migration might still happen in some systems and in fact probably did happen in the solar system— but it’s the exception rather than the rule.

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Elizabeth Bailey and Konstantin Batygin were able to postdict the sharp inner boundary on the mass-period diagram using in situ formation.
Elizabeth Bailey

 

https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/scientists-question-popular-planet-formation-theory/

 

 

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Special for @Azeem:

Pakistan's Information Ministry has announced that the first Pakistani astronaut(s) will be sent to space in 2022 in cooperation with the People's Republic of China, and that an agreement to this effect has been signed between the Chinese Space Agency and the Pakistani agency SUPARCO(Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission).
 

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Saturn's spectacular rings are 'very young'

By Jonathan Amos

BBC Science Correspondent

17 January 2019

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We're looking at Saturn at a very special time in the history of the Solar System, according to scientists.

They've confirmed the planet's iconic rings are very young - no more than 100 million years old, when dinosaurs still walked the Earth.

The insight comes from the final measurements acquired by the American Cassini probe.

The satellite sent back its last data just before diving to destruction in the giant world's atmosphere in 2017.

"Previous estimates of the age of Saturn's rings required a lot of modelling and were far more uncertain. But we now have direct measurements that allows us to constrain the age very well," Luciano Iess from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, told BBC News.

The professor's team has published an account of its work with Cassini in Science magazine.

Cassini: A mission of 'astonishing discovery'

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Video: See link >>  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46911945

There has long been a debate about the age of Saturn's rings. Some had argued these gorgeous loops of icy particles most likely formed along with the planet itself, some 4.5 billion years ago.

Others had suggested they were a recent phenomenon - perhaps the crushed up remains of a moon or a passing comet that was involved in a collision.

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The US-European Cassini mission promised to resolve the argument in its last months at the gas giant.

The satellite's end days saw it fly repeatedly through the gap between the rings and the planet's cloudtops.

These manoeuvres made possible unprecedented gravity measurements.

Cassini essentially weighed the rings, and found their mass to be 20 times smaller than previous estimates: something on the order of 15,400,000,000,000,000 tonnes, or about two-fifths the mass of Mimas - the Saturn moon that looks like the "Death Star" weapon in the Star Wars movies.

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Knowing the mass was a key piece in the puzzle for researchers.

From Cassini's other instruments, they already knew the proportion of dust in the rings and the rate at which this dust was being added. Having a definitive mass for the rings then made it possible to work out an age.

Prof Iess's team says this could be as young as 10 million years but is no older than 100 million years. In terms of the full age of the Solar System, this is "yesterday".

The calculation agrees with one made by a different group which last month examined how fast the ring particles were falling on to Saturn - a rate that was described as being equivalent to an Olympic-sized swimming pool every half-hour.

This flow, when all factors were considered, would probably see the rings disappear altogether in "at most 100 million years", said Dr Tom Stallard from Leicester University, UK.

"The rings we see today are actually not that impressive compared with how they would have looked 50-100 million years ago," he told BBC News.

"Back then they would have been even bigger and even brighter. So, whatever produced them must have made for an incredible display if you'd been an astronomer 100 million years ago."

Cassini's investigations cannot shed much light on the nature of the event that gave rise to the rings, but it would have been cataclysmic in scale.

It was conceivable, said Dr Stallard, that the geology of the moons around Saturn could hold important clues. Just as rock and ice cores drilled on Earth reveal debris from ancient meteorite and comet impacts, so it's possible the moons of Saturn could record evidence of the ring-forming event in their deeper layers.

Maybe we'll get to drill into the likes of Mimas and Enceladus... one day.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46911945

 

 

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And here's a nice simple visualisation showing how the rings form:

 

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Super blood wolf moon delights skygazers lucky enough to be under clear skies

By Press Association Reporters       5 hrs ago

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© Peter Byrne The super blood wolf moon was seen over Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Skygazers in parts of the UK lucky enough to be under clear skies have been treated to the astronomical spectacle of a “super blood wolf moon”.

The rare phenomenon, caused in part by a lunar eclipse, makes the surface of the moon appear a reddish hue while seeming brighter and closer to earth than normal.

Catching a glimpse of the curiously-titled event will be down to luck for those wrapping up and heading out early, as many parts of the country were covered by cloud on Monday morning.

 

Met Office forecaster Mark Wilson said: “There’s a lot cloud around, but there are some breaks to enjoy the lunar eclipse as well.

“Across lots of central England and northern England there’s quite a lot of lower cloud around, but there are still some breaks in cloud particularly over south-east England and parts of south-west England as well.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techandscience/super-blood-wolf-moon-delights-skygazers-lucky-enough-to-be-under-clear-skies/ar-BBSwdfE?ocid=chromentp#image=1

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It was not visible in my part of the world :( Would have loved to take a few pics...

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21 minutes ago, nudge said:

It was not visible in my part of the world :( Would have loved to take a few pics..

I got up for the loo about 05:00 odds and the bathroom window was aglow, nipped into the back room and looked out the window but there was cloud around but the night sky was glowing, pity as I would have loved to see that and I would have taken a few photos.  

 

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'Super blood wolf moon' in Scotland

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Skygazers across Scotland have caught a glimpse of the astronomical spectacle of a "super blood wolf moon".

The rare phenomenon, caused in part by a lunar eclipse, makes the surface of the moon appear red while seeming brighter and closer to earth than normal.

Enthusiasts wrapped up and went out early on Monday morning to see the moon, with the optimum viewing time at 05:12 when the eclipse was at its peak.

While the supermoon and blood moon titles come from the brightness and reddish hue respectively, a full moon in January is sometimes called a "wolf" moon.

(More Photos >>https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-46944502

 

 

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Planet Nine is not real but there's something else strange on the edge of our solar system, scientists say

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© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Scientists think they have found the cause of mysterious movements at the edge of our solar system – and it is not Planet Nine.

At the very edge of our neighborhood, some objects appear to be orbiting in an unusual way that suggests something entirely unexpected is happening, without our knowledge.

Various scientists have suggested that could be the consequence of a huge hidden planet, ten times the size of Earth, hiding in the darkness in the distant reaches of the solar system. No such object has ever been discovered, but it has been hypothesized because of the unusual way objects we can see are moving around.

But now a new paper suggests an entirely different explanation: there is a disc made up of small icy bodies that put together is as much as ten times as massive as the Earth.

That explanation appears to account for the unusual orbits that can be seen in some objects in the distant solar system, the researchers claim.

The study would also help explain why we are yet to see Planet Nine, despite intensive searches for it.

"The Planet Nine hypothesis is a fascinating one, but if the hypothesised ninth planet exists, it has so far avoided detection," said co-author Antranik Sefilian, a PhD student in Cambridge's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. "We wanted to see whether there could be another, less dramatic and perhaps more natural, cause for the unusual orbits we see in some [of the distant objects].

"We thought, rather than allowing for a ninth planet, and then worry about its formation and unusual orbit, why not simply account for the gravity of small objects constituting a disc beyond the orbit of Neptune and see what it does for us?"

Scientists plugged that possibility into a model of our solar system and found that it appeared to explain the unusual movement of those distant objects.

The researchers admit that they have no more direct evidence of the disc than of Planet Nine. But the search is complicated by the fact that it is harder to see the properties of our own solar system, compared with those that we are looking at from the outside.

"When observing other systems, we often study the disc surrounding the host star to infer the properties of any planets in orbit around it," said Sefilian.

"The problem is when you're observing the disc from inside the system, it's almost impossible to see the whole thing at once. While we don't have direct observational evidence for the disc, neither do we have it for Planet Nine, which is why we're investigating other possibilities. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that observations of Kuiper belt analogues around other stars, as well as planet formation models, reveal massive remnant populations of debris.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/science/planet-nine-is-not-real-but-theres-something-else-strange-on-the-edge-of-our-solar-system-scientists-say/ar-BBSy0fg

 

 

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