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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:28 am
 


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NASA’s restored Apollo Mission Control is a slice of ’60s life, frozen in amber

HOUSTON—Following the completion of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar restoration, NASA's historic Apollo Mission Operations Control Room 2 ("MOCR 2") is set to reopen to the public next week. The $5 million in funding for the restoration was partially provided by Space Center Houston, but the majority of the money was donated by the city of Webster, the Houston suburb where the Johnson Space Center is located. Another half-million in funding came from the general public via a Kickstarter campaign (disclosure: your humble author was a backer).

For the past two years, historians and engineers from the Kansas Cosmosphere's Spaceworks team have been lovingly restoring and detailing the 1,200-pound (544kg) historic sage green Ford-Philco consoles that populated the control room—repairing damage from decades of casual neglect and also adding in the correct control panels so that each console now correctly mirrors how it would have been configured for an Apollo flight.

Ars was invited to view the restored MOCR 2 last week as the final finishing restoration touches were still being applied. We conducted some interviews and shot some photos while technicians and construction workers bustled around us, hammering and screwing the last bits and bobs into place. The room's lighting system was in the process of being worked on, and the room flickered several times between fully illuminated daytime lighting and dim twilight—providing an even more accurate glimpse of what it might have looked like during an actual mission.

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https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/06 ... n-control/




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Former NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz Restores Mission Control In Houston


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:30 am
 


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On Tuesday, Orion will fly 55 seconds before violently escaping from its rocket

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Nearly five years have passed since NASA first launched its Orion spacecraft to an apogee of 5,800km above the Earth, completing a successful test flight of the capsule intended to carry astronauts to lunar orbit in the 2020s.

Now, NASA is preparing for its second Orion launch, although this flight will be considerably shorter. On Tuesday morning, NASA intends to launch a boilerplate version of Orion—essentially a well instrumented vehicle without any life-support equipment or many other critical systems—on top of a solid rocket booster built by Northrop Grumman.

The rocket is actually an old Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missile, now refurbished for commercial purposes. It will launch the Orion to an altitude of nearly 9.5km above the Florida coast in order to test Orion’s launch abort system at the point of maximum dynamic pressure. This will occur about 55 seconds after launch.

“This will simulate a really bad day for Orion, where there’s a problem with the launch vehicle at the worst possible moment,” said Orion Program Deputy Manager Charlie Lundquist in an interview with Ars.



https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/07 ... ng-rocket/


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:32 am
 


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Hubble captures cosmic fireworks in ultraviolet

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Hubble offers a special view of the double star system Eta Carinae's expanding gases glowing in red, white, and blue. This is the highest resolution image of Eta Carinae taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Imagine slow-motion fireworks that started exploding nearly two centuries ago and haven't stopped since then. This is how you might describe this double star system located 7500 light-years away in the constellation Carina (The Ship's Keel). In 1838 Eta Carinae underwent a cataclysmic outburst called the Great Eruption, quickly escalating to become in 1844 the second brightest star in the sky by April of that year. The star has since faded, but this new view from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows that the spectacular display is still ongoing, and reveals details that have never been seen before.

Violent mass ejections are not uncommon in Eta Carinae's history; the system has been blighted by chaotic eruptions, often blasting parts of itself into space But the Great Eruption was particularly dramatic. The larger of the two stars is a massive, unstable star nearing the end of its life, and what astronomers witnessed over a century and a half ago was, in fact, a stellar near-death experience.





https://phys.org/news/2019-07-hubble-ca ... iolet.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:48 am
 


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Black hole brings down curtain on jellyfish galaxy's star turn

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The role of an excited black hole in the death of an exotic 'jellyfish' galaxy will be presented today (3 July) by Callum Bellhouse of the University of Birmingham at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Lancaster. The supermassive black hole at the centre of jellyfish galaxy JO201 is stripping away gas and throwing it out into space, accelerating suppression of star formation and effectively 'killing' the galaxy.

Jellyfish galaxies are spectacular objects that undergo a dramatic process of transformation as they plunge through the dense core of a galaxy cluster at supersonic speeds. External drag forces tear away the galaxy's gas, in a process known as ram-pressure stripping, leaving extended tentacles of trailing material.

The fate of JO201 has been revealed as part of a study of 114 jellyfish galaxies by the GASP (GAs Stripping Phenomena) collaboration, an international team of researchers led by Dr. Bianca Poggianti.

To explore the structure of the jellyfish galaxies in 3-D and estimate the timescales of their transformation, Bellhouse has created interactive models that can also be experienced in virtual reality.



https://phys.org/news/2019-07-black-hol ... alaxy.html



The 3D simulations at the end of the article are worth the time to explore. You really get a sense of how the black holes are throwing matter out of the galaxies.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:29 am
 




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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:11 am
 


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Space-based gravitational-wave detector may detect strange exoplanets

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The first detection of gravitational waves came via LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory)—an instrument that has to strain to overcome the constant background noise of vibrations and jolts that occur on Earth. Its success has helped push for the pursuit of a project that would rise above all that noise. LISA—the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna—would detect gravitational waves using the same technique as LIGO but place its hardware in space, free of any ground-based vibrations. Preliminary tests of prototype hardware have found that the idea should work.

LISA isn't expected to be put in place until the 2030s, but that hasn't stopped astronomers and physicists from contemplating the things that it might possibly detect. Two of these astronomers, Nicola Tamanini and Camilla Danielski, are now suggesting that LISA could be used to identify a very strange class of planets: heavy planets orbiting binary pairs of white dwarf stars. But because of its exquisite sensitivity, LISA could potentially spot them orbiting outside our own galaxy.

How would this work?

Gravitational waves are produced when any two objects with mass interact but are too tiny to be detected unless the objects in question are both massive and near to each other. The LIGO detector is sensitive enough to pick up things like neutron stars and black holes, all of which are both incredibly dense and have masses on the order of the Sun's and larger. But—due to its enhanced sensitivity and the frequencies of gravitational waves that it will be sensitive to—LISA will be able to pick up objects that are dense but not as massive.

A prime candidate here is a white dwarf star, which is the remains of a sun-like star after it has burned out most of its hydrogen and helium, producing a core that's primarily carbon and oxygen. Without the energy provided by fusion, gravity will crush these objects down to a dense ball of atoms, but they lack sufficient mass to crush the atoms themselves. If there are no other sources of mass, they simply stay as they are and gradually glow as they lose the heat they started with.



https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/07 ... xoplanets/


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:49 am
 


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Hubble discovers mysterious black hole disc

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Artist's impression of the peculiar thin disc of material circling a supermassive black hole at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147, located 130 million light-years away. Credit: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser


Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have observed an unexpected thin disc of material encircling a supermassive black hole at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147, located 130 million light-years away.

The presence of the black hole disc in such a low-luminosity active galaxy has astronomers surprised. Black holes in certain types of galaxies such as NGC 3147 are considered to be starving as there is insufficient gravitationally captured material to feed them regularly. It is therefore puzzling that there is a thin disc encircling a starving black hole that mimics the much larger discs found in extremely active galaxies.

Of particular interest, this disc of material circling the black hole offers a unique opportunity to test Albert Einstein's theories of relativity. The disc is so deeply embedded in the black hole's intense gravitational field that the light from the gas disc is altered, according to these theories, giving astronomers a unique peek at the dynamic processes close to a black hole.

"We've never seen the effects of both general and special relativity in visible light with this much clarity," said team member Marco Chiaberge of AURA for ESA, STScI and Johns Hopkins Univeristy.

The disc's material was measured by Hubble to be whirling around the black hole at more than 10% of the speed of light. At such extreme velocities, the gas appears to brighten as it travels toward Earth on one side, and dims as it speeds away from our planet on the other. This effect is known as relativistic beaming. Hubble's observations also show that the gas is embedded so deep in a gravitational well that light is struggling to escape, and therefore appears stretched to redder wavelengths. The black hole's mass is around 250 million times that of the Sun.

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Quote:
A Hubble Space Telescope image of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147 appears next to an artist's illustration of the supermassive black hole residing at the galaxy’s core. Credit: Hubble Image: NASA, ESA, S. Bianchi (Università degli Studi Roma Tre University), A. Laor (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology), and M. Chiaberge (ESA, STScI, and JHU); Illustration: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild and L. Hustak (STScI)




https://phys.org/news/2019-07-hubble-my ... -disc.html


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:54 am
 


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No exomoons yet, but we may have spotted a disk that will form them

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Up until the last few decades, our picture of what might reside around distant stars was shaped entirely by the planets, moons, asteroids, and other bodies in our own Solar System. But the discovery of thousands of exoplanets has dramatically improved our picture of what's out there in terms of large bodies. Comets and asteroids, by contrast, are well below our ability to image for the indefinite future.

Moons, however, are awkwardly in between. It should be possible to image them indirectly, as their gravitational influence will alter the timing with which their planets orbit the star. And we might get a more direct indication of their presence as they will sometimes add to the shadow cast as transiting planets pass in front of their host star. We've searched for these effects, but they'll be subtle, so it could be that it will take years of observations for them to rise above the noise.

But now scientists are suggesting that we've observed an exomoon in the making. By looking at some planets forming around a young star, they think they've spotted a disk around one of the planets that may ultimately condense into moons. And, as a bonus, they found an odd, diffuse structure around a second planet that they can't explain.



https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/07 ... form-them/


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