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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:34 pm
 


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:24 am
 


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LightSail 2 Spacecraft Successfully Demonstrates Flight by Light

Years of computer simulations. Countless ground tests. They've all led up to now. The Planetary Society's crowdfunded LightSail 2 spacecraft is successfully raising its orbit solely on the power of sunlight.

Since unfurling the spacecraft's silver solar sail last week, mission managers have been optimizing the way the spacecraft orients itself during solar sailing. After a few tweaks, LightSail 2 began raising its orbit around the Earth. In the past 4 days, the spacecraft has raised its orbital high point, or apogee, by about 2 kilometers. The perigee, or low point of its orbit, has dropped by a similar amount, which is consistent with pre-flight expectations for the effects of atmospheric drag on the spacecraft. The mission team has confirmed the apogee increase can only be attributed to solar sailing, meaning LightSail 2 has successfully completed its primary goal of demonstrating flight by light for CubeSats.

"We're thrilled to announce mission success for LightSail 2," said LightSail program manager and Planetary Society chief scientist Bruce Betts. "Our criteria was to demonstrate controlled solar sailing in a CubeSat by changing the spacecraft’s orbit using only the light pressure of the Sun, something that’s never been done before. I'm enormously proud of this team. It's been a long road and we did it."

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LightSail 2 During Sail Deployment Sequence (Camera 1)
This image was taken during the LightSail 2 sail deployment sequence on 23 July 2019 at 11:49 PDT (18:49 UTC). The sail is almost fully deployed here and appears warped near the edges due to the spacecraft's 185-degree fisheye camera lens. The image has been color corrected and some of the distortion has been removed. The Sun is visible at center, and pieces of spectraline, which were used to hold LightSail 2's solar panels closed, can be seen at 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock.


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LightSail 2 Sail Deployment Thumbnails (Camera 1)
These images show the progression of LightSail 2’s solar sail deployment sequence, which began on 23 July 2019 at 18:47 UTC. They are all thumbnail images from Camera 1 with an original resolution of 120 by 90 pixels and have been de-distorted and color-corrected. The first 13 frames were taken at intervals of 10 seconds; the remaining ones at intervals of 30 seconds.


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LightSail 2 Sail Deployment Thumbnails (Camera 2)
These images show the progression of LightSail 2’s solar sail deployment sequence, which began on 23 July 2019 at 18:47 UTC. They are all thumbnail images from Camera 2 with an original resolution of 120 by 90 pixels and have been de-distorted and color-corrected. The first 13 frames were taken at intervals of 10 seconds; the remaining ones at intervals of 30 seconds.




http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-da ... light.html


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:57 am
 


raydan wrote:
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This is a stunning photograph


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:24 am
 


DrCaleb wrote:
Quote:
LightSail 2 Spacecraft Successfully Demonstrates Flight by Light

Years of computer simulations. Countless ground tests. They've all led up to now. The Planetary Society's crowdfunded LightSail 2 spacecraft is successfully raising its orbit solely on the power of sunlight.

Since unfurling the spacecraft's silver solar sail last week, mission managers have been optimizing the way the spacecraft orients itself during solar sailing. After a few tweaks, LightSail 2 began raising its orbit around the Earth. In the past 4 days, the spacecraft has raised its orbital high point, or apogee, by about 2 kilometers. The perigee, or low point of its orbit, has dropped by a similar amount, which is consistent with pre-flight expectations for the effects of atmospheric drag on the spacecraft. The mission team has confirmed the apogee increase can only be attributed to solar sailing, meaning LightSail 2 has successfully completed its primary goal of demonstrating flight by light for CubeSats.

"We're thrilled to announce mission success for LightSail 2," said LightSail program manager and Planetary Society chief scientist Bruce Betts. "Our criteria was to demonstrate controlled solar sailing in a CubeSat by changing the spacecraft’s orbit using only the light pressure of the Sun, something that’s never been done before. I'm enormously proud of this team. It's been a long road and we did it."

Image
Quote:
LightSail 2 During Sail Deployment Sequence (Camera 1)
This image was taken during the LightSail 2 sail deployment sequence on 23 July 2019 at 11:49 PDT (18:49 UTC). The sail is almost fully deployed here and appears warped near the edges due to the spacecraft's 185-degree fisheye camera lens. The image has been color corrected and some of the distortion has been removed. The Sun is visible at center, and pieces of spectraline, which were used to hold LightSail 2's solar panels closed, can be seen at 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock.


Image
Quote:
LightSail 2 Sail Deployment Thumbnails (Camera 1)
These images show the progression of LightSail 2’s solar sail deployment sequence, which began on 23 July 2019 at 18:47 UTC. They are all thumbnail images from Camera 1 with an original resolution of 120 by 90 pixels and have been de-distorted and color-corrected. The first 13 frames were taken at intervals of 10 seconds; the remaining ones at intervals of 30 seconds.


Image
Quote:
LightSail 2 Sail Deployment Thumbnails (Camera 2)
These images show the progression of LightSail 2’s solar sail deployment sequence, which began on 23 July 2019 at 18:47 UTC. They are all thumbnail images from Camera 2 with an original resolution of 120 by 90 pixels and have been de-distorted and color-corrected. The first 13 frames were taken at intervals of 10 seconds; the remaining ones at intervals of 30 seconds.




http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-da ... light.html


When this was first explained, years ago. It sounded like a great idea. Glad to see that it can actually work. Love what man kind is doing to continue our thirst for knowing what's over the next hill.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:45 am
 


stratos wrote:
When this was first explained, years ago. It sounded like a great idea. Glad to see that it can actually work. Love what man kind is doing to continue our thirst for knowing what's over the next hill.


And to give credit where credit is due - the idea was brought into being by Carl Sagan, and this craft was heavily influenced by Bill Nye, as he took over head of the Planetary Institute from its creator, Carl Sagan.

Just the idea that light alone could power a craft . . .


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:30 am
 


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One Search to (Almost) Rule Them All: Hundreds of Hidden Planets Found in Kepler Data

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Most of the more than 4,000 exoplanets astronomers have found across the past few decades come from NASA’s pioneering Kepler mission, which launched in 2009 and ended in late October 2018. But among Kepler’s cavalcade of data, more planets are still waiting to be found—and a new method just turned up the biggest haul yet from the mission’s second, concluding phase, called K2.

The K2 run from 2014 to 2018 was notable for its unique use of the functionality, or lack thereof, of the Kepler space telescope. Essentially a large tube with a single camera, Kepler relied on four reaction wheels (spinning wheels to orient the spacecraft) to point at specific patches of the sky for days or even weeks on end. Such long stares were beneficial for its primary planet-finding technique, known as the transit method, which detects worlds by watching for dips in a star’s light caused by an orbiting planet’s passage in front of it. But when two of Kepler’s reaction wheels failed, one in 2012 and another in 2013, mission planners came up with an ingenious method of using the pressure of the solar wind to act as a makeshift third wheel, allowing observations to continue, albeit with some limitations.

“We had this issue because the K2 mission was working off of two reaction wheels; it rolled a little bit every six hours,” says Susan Mullally of the Space Telescope Science Institute. “And as a result, the light curves have these little arcs that run through them that you have to first remove.”

Various efforts were subsequently made to extract planets from the K2 data. But none have been more successful than one reported in a new paper by Ethan Kruse of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and his colleagues, which was posted on the preprint server arXiv.org last week and accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. Kruse employed an algorithm known as as QATS (for Quasiperiodic Automated Transit Search) and a light-curve-analysis program called EVEREST (for EPIC Variability Extraction and Removal for Exoplanet Science Targets) to better account for the spacecraft’s rolling and other sources of instrumental and astrophysical “noise” in the K2 data. The result was a whopping total of 818 planet candidates—374 of which had never been spotted before—from the first nine of K2’s 20 observation campaigns.



https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... pler-data/


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:34 am
 


Jupiter just got slammed by something so big we saw it from Earth
An amateur astronomer caught something spectacular with a backyard telescope Wednesday when he recorded a bright flash on the surface of Jupiter. The biggest planet in the solar system routinely delivers stunning pictures, like those snapped by NASA's Juno spacecraft, but the unexpected flash has astronomers excited at the possibility of a meteor impact.
https://www.cnet.com/news/jupiter-just- ... rom-earth/
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:48 am
 


Jupiter is the meteor magnet of the solar system.

If it weren't, something like that would fulfill Thanos' dreams and hit us. 8O


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:03 am
 


At least Uranus wasn't slammed by something big.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:22 am
 


raydan wrote:
At least Uranus wasn't slammed by something big.


If it was NO ONE will talk about it.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:29 am
 


raydan wrote:
At least Uranus wasn't slammed by something big.

Well at least not recently...


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:15 pm
 


SCIENTISTS FIND HUGE WORLD OF HIDDEN GALAXIES, CHANGING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE

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Scientists have found a vast array of hidden galaxies, which together could change our understanding of how the universe works.

The mysterious galaxies, which were previously unknown to researchers, were discovered by a breakthrough new approach that allowed astronomers to look more deeply than ever before into the universe.

The astronomers describe the new find as a treasure trove, representing a huge set of galaxies. It could help solve some of the most deep and fundamental questions about the universe, including the mysteries of supermassive black holes and dark matter.

Some researchers had long thought that such hidden galaxies might be out in the universe, waiting to be found. But now they have finally been discovered and cosmologists will have to rethink their understanding of how the universe works.


https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/universe-galaxies-milky-way-hubble-nasa-discovery-breakthrough-latest-a9045951.html?utm_source=reddit.com


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:29 am
 


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Glitch in neutron star reveals its hidden secrets

Neutron stars are not only the most dense objects in the Universe, but they rotate very fast and regularly. Until they don't.

Occasionally these neutron stars start to spin faster, caused by portions of the inside of the star moving outwards. It's called a "glitch" and it provides astronomers a brief insight into what lies within these mysterious objects.

In a paper published today in the journal, Nature Astronomy, a team from Monash University, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), McGill University in Canada, and the University of Tasmania, studied the Vela Pulsar, a neutron star in the southern sky, that is 1,000 light years away.

According to the paper's first author, Dr. Greg Ashton, from the Monash School of Physics and Astronomy, and a member of OzGrav, Vela is famous—not only because only 5% of pulsars are known to glitch but also because Vela "glitches" about once every three years, making it a favourite of "glitch hunters" like Dr. Ashton and his colleague, Dr. Paul Lasky, also from Monash and OzGrav.

. . .

Another observation, according to Dr. Ashton, defies explanation.

"Immediately before the glitch, we noticed that the star seems to slow down its rotation rate before spinning back up," Dr. Ashton said.

"We actually have no idea why this is, and it's the first time it's ever been seen.



https://phys.org/news/2019-08-glitch-ne ... idden.html


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:17 am
 


xerxes wrote:
SCIENTISTS FIND HUGE WORLD OF HIDDEN GALAXIES, CHANGING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE

Quote:
Scientists have found a vast array of hidden galaxies, which together could change our understanding of how the universe works.

The mysterious galaxies, which were previously unknown to researchers, were discovered by a breakthrough new approach that allowed astronomers to look more deeply than ever before into the universe.

The astronomers describe the new find as a treasure trove, representing a huge set of galaxies. It could help solve some of the most deep and fundamental questions about the universe, including the mysteries of supermassive black holes and dark matter.

Some researchers had long thought that such hidden galaxies might be out in the universe, waiting to be found. But now they have finally been discovered and cosmologists will have to rethink their understanding of how the universe works.


https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/universe-galaxies-milky-way-hubble-nasa-discovery-breakthrough-latest-a9045951.html?utm_source=reddit.com



The Universe just got bigger or a lot more crowded. Either way [drool]


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:47 am
 


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Milky Way's black hole just flared, growing 75 times as bright for a few hours

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Four images from the paper. Over about a 2 hour period, Sgr A* flared to 75 times normal, and twice as bright as any other observed peak. At first, astronomers thought they were looking at the S star SO-2. Credit: Do et al; 2019.


Even though the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is a monster, it's still rather quiet. Called Sagittarius A*, it's about 4.6 million times more massive than the sun. Usually, it's a brooding behemoth. But scientists observing Sgr. A* with the Keck Telescope just observed its brightness blooming to over 75 times normal for a few hours.

The flaring is not visible in optical light. It's all happening in the near-infrared, the portion of the infrared spectrum closest to optical light. Astronomers have been watching Sgr. A* for 20 years, and though the black hole does have some variability in its output, this flaring event is like nothing astronomers have observed before. This peak was over twice as bright as the previous peak flux level.

These results are being reported in the Astrophysical Journal Letters in a paper titled "Unprecedented variability of Sgr A* in NIR," and is available at the prepress site arXiv.org. The lead author is Tuan Do, an astronomer at UCLA.

The team saw Sgr. A* flaring at 75 times normal for a two-hour period on May 13th. At first, astronomer Tuan Do thought that they were seeing a star called SO-2 rather than Sgr. A*. SO-2 is one of a group of stars called S-stars that orbits the black hole closely. Astronomers have been keeping an eye on it as it orbits the black hole.

Here's a timelapse of images over 2.5 hr from May from @keckobservatory of the supermassive black hole Sgr A*. The black hole is always variable, but this was the brightest we've seen in the infrared so far. It was probably even brighter before we started observing that night! pic.twitter.com/MwXioZ7twV
— Tuan Do (@quantumpenguin) August 11, 2019



https://phys.org/news/2019-08-milky-bla ... right.html


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