Sunday, August 20, 2017

Two Newly Discovered Asteroids to Whiz by Earth on Tuesday

Two space rocks detected this week are slated to pass by our planet on Tuesday, Aug. 22. The newly found asteroids, designated 2017 PV25 and 2017 QT1, are expected to miss the Earth at a distance of 5.5 lunar distances (LD) and 2.6 LD respectively (or 2.1 and 1 million kilometers).

NICER and LISA to Confirm or Disprove Predictions of General Relativity

An artist's rendering of the NICER experiment on the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

Two astrophysical missions, NICER and LISA, could soon change our understanding of the universe. Scientists hope that both instruments would help them answer fundamental questions about the universe, testing many aspects of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

H-IIA Rocket Launches Third Japanese Navigation Satellite

An H-IIA 204 rocket launches the Michibiki-3 satellite into space. Photo Credit: JAXA

Lifting off from the sea-side Tanegashima Space Center, Japan’s H-IIA rocket launched the Asian country’s latest GPS augmentation satellite for the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS). The launch took place at 1:29 a.m. EDT (5:29 GMT) Aug 19, 2017.

Atlas V Successfully Launches NASA’s TDRS-M Satellite

An Atlas V rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41 with NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M). Credit: ULA

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the NASA’s Tracking Data and Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 Aug. 18 at 8:29 a.m. EDT. The TDRS-M is the third and final mission in the series of these third-generation space communication satellites to orbit, as part of the follow-on fleet being developed to replenish NASA’s space Network.

Astrophysicist Predicts Detached Eclipsing White Dwarfs to Merge Into an Exotic Star

Mukremin Kilic, OU astrophysicist, and team have discovered two detached, eclipsing double white dwarf binaries with orbital periods of 40 and 46 minutes, respectively. Only a handful of white dwarf binaries are know with orbital periods less than one hour in our galaxy and most were discovered by Kilic and colleagues. Credit: University of Oklahoma

A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist, Mukremin Kilic, and his team have discovered two detached, eclipsing double white dwarf binaries with orbital periods of 40 and 46 minutes, respectively. White dwarfs are the remnants of Sun-like stars, many of which are found in pairs, or binaries. However, only a handful of white dwarf binaries are known with orbital periods less than one hour in the Milky Way—a galaxy made up of two hundred billion stars—and most have been discovered by Kilic and his colleagues.

Spacewalk Goes into Overtime as Cosmonauts Deploy Satellites, Collect Science

Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy gather around Pirs near the end of their spacewalk. Photo Credit: NASA

The two cosmonauts on board the International Space Station donned spacesuits and stepped outside the outpost for the 43rd Russian segment-based extravehicular activity (EVA). The Aug. 17, 2017, spacewalk lasted more than an hour longer than planned for a total duration of 7 hours, 34 minutes.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Astrophysicists Explain the Mysterious Behavior of Cosmic Rays

X-ray and gamma-ray emission bubbles in the Milky Way. Credit: NASA

A team of scientists from Russia and China has developed a model which explains the nature of high-energy cosmic rays (CRs) in our Galaxy. These CRs have energies exceeding those produced by supernova explosions by one or two orders of magnitude. The model focuses mainly on the recent discovery of giant structures called Fermi bubbles. The paper was published in EPJ Web of Conferences.