Space


- The destination of ESA’s Hera mission for planetary defense – a tiny asteroid moonlet – has finally received its official name. After years of informal nicknames and temporary designations, the smaller of the Didymos asteroid pair has been formally christened ‘Dimorphos’ by the International Astronomical Union. A near-Earth binary asteroid system, named after the Greek word for ‘twin’, Didymos’s main body measures about 780 m across, with its previously nameless moonlet about 160 m in diameter, approximately the size of Egypt’s Great Pyramid. In 2022, this moonlet will be ... [Read More]


- Scientists have developed a new method to find black holes in the outer solar system, and along with it, determine once-and-for-all the true nature of the hypothesized Planet Nine. Scientists at Harvard University and the Black Hole Initiative (BHI) have developed a new method to find black holes in the outer solar system, and along with it, determine once-and-for-all the true nature of the hypothesized Planet Nine. The paper, accepted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters , highlights the ability of the future Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) mission to observe accretion flares, the ... [Read More]


- NASA ’s next rover to the Red Planet is slated to launch no earlier than July 30. These highlights will get you up to speed on the ambitious mission. In less than a month, NASA expects to launch the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Loaded with scientific instruments, advanced computational capabilities for landing, and other new systems, the Perseverance rover is the largest, heaviest, most sophisticated vehicle NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet. "Perseverance sets a new bar for our ambitions at Mars," said Lori Glaze, planetary science director at NASA ... [Read More]


- "There’s so much of the Solar System that we have not explored." At the beginning of this year, a group of NASA scientists agonized over which robotic missions they should choose to explore our Solar System. Researchers from around the United States had submitted more than 20 intriguing ideas, such as whizzing by asteroids, diving into lava tubes on the Moon, and hovering in the Venusian atmosphere. Ultimately, NASA selected four of these Discovery-class missions for further study. In several months, the space agency will pick two of the four missions to fully fund, each with a cost cap of ... [Read More]


- The mission to explore a metal-rich asteroid is pivoting from planning the details to building real pieces of the spacecraft puzzle. Psyche, the NASA mission to explore a metal-rock asteroid of the same name, recently passed a crucial milestone that brings it closer to its August 2022 launch date. Now the mission is moving from planning and designing to high-gear manufacturing of the spacecraft hardware that will fly to its target in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter . Like all NASA missions, early work on Psyche started with drawing up digital blueprints. Then came the building ... [Read More]


- Stellar evolution is a circle of life — dying stars spew their contents into the galaxy, paving the way for the next generation. We live in a relatively quiet district of a galaxy 100,000 light-years across that contains around 200 billion stars arranged in a disk beset with spiral arms. As galaxies go, it’s pretty big, though the supermassive black hole at the center is relatively small, just 4 million solar masses. There is ample evidence from the Milky Way’s rotation that our galaxy, like all others, contains considerable dark matter, whose role in star formation eludes us. But many ... [Read More]


- Data from NASA With the help of citizen scientists, astronomers have discovered two highly unusual brown dwarfs, balls of gas that are not massive enough to power themselves the way stars do. Participants in the NASA-funded Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project helped lead scientists to these bizarre objects, using data from NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) satellite along with all-sky observations collected between 2009 and 2011 under its previous moniker, WISE. Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 is an example of "citizen science," a collaboration between ... [Read More]


- Until mid-August, the comet will be bright enough to spot with the naked eye A giant icy snowball is currently hurtling past Earth and putting on a spectacular light show—but only for a limited time. Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, the interstellar object responsible for this "natural fireworks display," will peter out in mid-August, as it speeds away from our sun and back into the outer reaches of our solar system, according to a NASA statement . The comet is easy to spot with the naked eye if you avoid city lights, reports Matthew Cappucci for the Washington Post . On July 11, viewers across the ... [Read More]


- Stargazers have the opportunity to spot a rare object in the sky this month as a newly discovered comet flies through the inner solar system for the first time in 6,800 years. Comet NEOWISE has been getting brighter and brighter in the early morning sky, and in the coming days, it will make an appearance in the evening after sunset. "Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) -- discovered back in March by NASA's NEOWISE mission -- is getting the attention of sky watchers across the Northern Hemisphere this month," NASA said. Earlier in 2020, two other newly discovered comets, Comet SWAN and Comet ATLAS, were ... [Read More]

Source: upi.com

- Nasa's Perseverance Mars rover has been attached to the top of the rocket that will send it toward the Red Planet. The nosecone containing the rover and other spacecraft elements have been fixed to an Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The robot rover will search for signs of past life on the Red Planet. Perseverance is scheduled to launch on 30 July at the earliest and will land in Jezero Crater near the Martian equator in February 2021. In addition to scouting for signs of past biology, the mission also carries a drone-like helicopter that will demonstrate ... [Read More]

Source: bbc.com

- CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A newly discovered comet is streaking past Earth, providing a stunning nighttime show after buzzing the sun and expanding its tail. Comet Neowise — the brightest comet visible from the Northern Hemisphere in a quarter-century — swept within Mercury’s orbit a week ago. Its close proximity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn off its surface and create an even bigger debris tail. Now the comet is headed our way, with closest approach in two weeks. NASA’s Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March. Scientists involved in the mission ... [Read More]

Source: apnews.com

- Astronomers succeeded in detecting 12 stellar flare phenomena on AD Leonis. One of these flares was 20 times larger than those emitted by our own sun, categorizing it a 'superflare'. Subsequent data analysis presents new insight into these explosive phenomena. The cold, dark chaos of space is filled with mystery. Fortunately, the ways in which we can peer into the mists of the void are increasing, and now include Kyoto University's 3.8 meter Seimei telescope. Using this new instrument -- located on a hilltop in Okayama to the west of Kyoto -- astronomers from Kyoto University's Graduate ... [Read More]


- ESA's Euclid mission has reached another milestone on its journey towards launch. Its two instruments are now built and fully tested. These have been delivered to Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, where they are now being integrated with the telescope to form the mission's payload module. Euclid consists of a 1.2-meter mirror telescope that is designed to work at both visible and near-infrared wavelengths—the latter being just longer than the red light humans can see. The telescope will collect light from distant cosmic objects and feed it into two instruments. The Visible ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- Astronauts Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, and ISS commander Chris Cassidy speak with Bill Hemmer. Astronomers are baffled about four objects that were spotted in deep space by  massive radio telescopes, reports said. LiveScience.com reported on Thursday that the highly circular objects that appear bright along the edges were discovered when astronomers reviewed archival data from radio telescopes in Australia and India. LOOK UP IN THE SKY: COMET IS VISIBLE  Kristine Spekkens, an astronomer from the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen’s University, told the science website that the ... [Read More]

Source: foxnews.com

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- How was the Moon formed? The most-widely-accepted theory suggests that billions of years ago, our young planet was struck by a body as large as Mars, forming the Moon. However, new observations of the levels of metals on our companion world suggest this origin story may need updating. Roughly 4.5 billion years ago, Theia — a Mars-sized world — is thought to have collided with the upper crust of the Earth, a region of our planet relatively poor in metals. This impact kicked large quantities of material into orbit around the Earth, which coalesced into the Moon. This idea would suggest that ... [Read More]