Sunday, July 14, 2019

New Developments with Chinese Satellites over the Past Decade

Seventeen Chinese self-developed FengYun (FY) meteorological satellites have been launched, which are widely applied in weather analysis, numerical weather forecasting and climate prediction, as well as environment and disaster monitoring. Currently, 7 satellites are in operation. Credit: National Satellite Meteorological Center of the China Meteorological Administration

To date, 17 Chinese self-developed FengYun (FY) meteorological satellites have been launched, which are widely applied in weather analysis, numerical weather forecasting and climate prediction, as well as environment and disaster monitoring. Currently, seven satellites are in operation.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Astronomers Expand Cosmic 'Cheat Sheet' in Hunt for Life

To understand where exoplanets are in their own evolution, astronomers can use Earth’s biological milestones as a Rosetta stone. Illustration by Wendy Kenigsberg/Cornell Brand Communications

Cornell astronomers have reached into nature’s color palette from early Earth to create a cosmic “cheat sheet” for looking at distant worlds. By correlating tints and hues, researchers aim to understand where discovered exoplanets may reasonably fall along their own evolutionary spectrum.

Holes in the Universe Sharpen Cosmic Measurements

The change in the average shape of voids caused by Doppler distortions and the effects of dark energy and curvature

Regions of the Universe containing very few or no galaxies – known as voids – can help measure cosmic expansion with much greater precision than before, according to new research.

Astronomers Discover a Distant Pair of Titanic Black Holes on a Collision Course

Titanic Twosome: A Princeton-led team of astrophysicists has spotted a pair of supermassive black holes, roughly 2.5 billion light-years away, that are on a collision course (inset). The duo can be used to estimate how many detectable supermassive black hole mergers are in the present-day universe and to predict when the historic first detection of the background “hum” of gravitational waves will be made.  Image courtesy of Andy Goulding et al./Astrophysical Journal Letters 2019

Each black hole’s mass is more than 800 million times that of our sun. As the two gradually draw closer together in a death spiral, they will begin sending gravitational waves rippling through space-time. Those cosmic ripples will join the as-yet-undetected background noise of gravitational waves from other supermassive black holes. Even before the destined collision, the gravitational waves emanating from the supermassive black hole pair will dwarf those previously detected from the mergers of much smaller black holes and neutron stars.

Interstellar Iron Isn't Missing, It's Just Hiding in Plain Sight

Carbon-chain molecules as complex as C60 buckminsterfullerenes — "buckyballs" — may form in space with the help of clustered iron atoms, according to new work by ASU cosmochemists. The work also explains how these iron clusters hide out inside common carbon-chain molecules. Credit by NASA/Jpl-Caltech

Astrophysicists know that iron (chemical symbol: Fe) is one of the most abundant elements in the universe, after lightweight elements such as hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Iron is most commonly found in gaseous form in stars such as the Sun, and in more condensed form in planets such as Earth.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Exactly How Fast Is the Universe Expanding?

The collision of two neutron stars flung out an extraordinary fireball of material and energy that is allowing a Princeton-led team of astrophysicists to calculate the Hubble constant, the speed of the universe’s expansion. They used a super-high-resolution radio “movie” (left) that they compared to a computer model (right). To generate their movie, the science team combined data from enough radio telescopes spread over a large enough region to generate an image with such high resolution that if it were an optical camera, it could see individual hairs on someone’s head 6 miles away. The movie emphasizes observations taken 75 days and 230 days after the merger. The middle panel shows the radio afterglow light curve.  Video by Ore Gottlieb and Ehud Nakar, Tel Aviv University

Scientists are still not completely sure, but a Princeton-led team of astrophysicists has used the neutron star merger detected in 2017 to come up with a new value for this figure, known as the Hubble constant. Their work appears in the current issue of the journal Nature Astronomy.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Japanese Startup Gears Up for Its Fourth Rocket Launch

Artist's rendering of the MOMO-F4 rocket in space. Credit: IST

Japanese startup Interstellar Technologies Inc. (IST) gears up to conduct another rocket launch on Saturday, July 13, just about two months after it successfully sent the MOMO-F3 sounding rocket into space. The upcoming mission, designated MOMO-F4 is slated to take to the skies at 11:05 JPT (2:05 GMT) from a launch pad in Taiki, on the island of Hokkaido.

Tungsten as Interstellar Radiation Shielding?

Tungsten polyoxometalates as life-sustaining inorganic frameworks. Single cells of M. sedula after cultivation with tungsten-bearing W-POM (© Tetyana Milojevic).

A boiling point of 5900 degrees Celsius and diamond-like hardness in combination with carbon: tungsten is the heaviest metal, yet has biological functions - especially in heat-loving microorganisms. A team led by Tetyana Milojevic from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna report for the first time rare microbial-tungsten interactions at the nanometer range. Based on these findings, not only the tungsten biogeochemistry, but also the survivability of microorganisms in outer space conditions can be investigated. The results appeared recently in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.