Thursday, February 21, 2019

SIRIUS Experiment to Help Create Simulators for Future Lunar Missions

Members of the experiment to simulate the SIRIUS-17 lunar expedition in Moscow © Maksim Blinov © Sputnik

The isolation experiment SIRIUS can help create a fleet of simulators for training crews for future lunar missions, the commander of a SIRIUS crew, cosmonaut Yevgeny Tarelkin, told TASS in an interview on Tuesday.

NASA Set to Demonstrate X-ray Communications in Space

This image shows the Modulated X-ray Source, a key component in NASA’s first-ever demonstration of X-ray communication in space. Credits: NASA/W. Hrybyk

A new experimental type of deep space communications technology is scheduled to be demonstrated on the International Space Station this spring. Currently, NASA relies on radio waves to send information between spacecraft and Earth. Emerging laser communications technology offers higher data rates that let spacecraft transmit more data at a time. This demonstration involves X-ray communications, or XCOM, which offers even more advantages.

Astronomers Publish New Sky Map Detecting a Vast Number of Previously Unknown Galaxies

Galaxy cluster Abell 1314 in the constellation „Ursa Major“ in a distance of approximately 460 million light years. The LOFAR observations reveal radio emission from high-speed cosmic electrons (marked in red) resulting from collisions with other galaxy clusters. The overlay onto an optical image also shows hot X-ray gas (marked in grey) from observations with the Chandra satellite. © Amanda Wilber/LOFAR Surveys Team

An international team of more than 200 astronomers from 18 countries including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has published the first phase of a major new radio sky survey at unprecedented sensitivity using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope. The survey reveals hundreds of thousands of previously undetected galaxies, shedding new light on many research areas including the physics of black holes and how clusters of galaxies evolve.

Confirming a Little-Understood Source of the Process Behind Northern Lights and the Formation of Stars

Physicists Jonathan Jara-Almonte, right, and Hantao Ji, coauthor and adviser. Credit: Elle Starkman/Office of Communications

Fast magnetic reconnection, the rapid convergence, separation and explosive snapping together of magnetic field lines, gives rise to northern lights, solar flares and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell phone service and electric power grids. The phenomenon takes place in plasma, the state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei, or ions, that makes up 99 percent of the visible universe. But whether fast reconnection can occur in partially ionized plasma — plasma that includes atoms as well as free electrons and ions — is not well understood.

ISRO to Pick Crew for Gaganyaan Soon

An announcement will be made soon on the process for selection of Indian crew members for ‘Gaganyaan’ mission, the country’s first attempt to send a couple of Indians on a voyage in outer space by 2022, ISRO’s chairman Dr K Sivan announced on Monday.

NIST ‘Astrocomb’ Opens New Horizons for Planet-Hunting Telescope

NIST Physicist Scott Diddams views the NIST frequency comb designed to ensure the precision of starlight analysis at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope in Texas. Credit: NIST

The hunt for Earth-like planets, and perhaps extraterrestrial life, just got more precise, thanks to record-setting starlight measurements made possible by a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) “astrocomb.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Citizen Scientist Finds Ancient White Dwarf Star with Enigmatic Dust Rings

In this illustration, an asteroid (bottom left) breaks apart under the powerful gravity of LSPM J0207+3331, the oldest, coldest white dwarf known to be surrounded by a ring of dusty debris. Scientists think the system’s infrared signal is best explained by two distinct rings composed of dust supplied by crumbling asteroids. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Scott Wiessinger

A volunteer working with the NASA-led Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project has found the oldest and coldest known white dwarf — an Earth-sized remnant of a Sun-like star that has died — ringed by dust and debris. Astronomers suspect this could be the first known white dwarf with multiple dust rings.

Sun-THz to Measure Solar Flares from ISS

Presented by Guillermo Giménez de Castro, a professor at the Mackenzie Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics Center (CRAAM) during FAPESP Week London, instrument created in São Paulo will be improved in collaboration with Russia and will measure solar flares; launch is scheduled for 2022. Credit: André Julião

A new version of equipment developed in Brazil – the Solar-T – will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) to measure solar flares. It is estimated that the Sun-THz, the name given to the new photometric telescope, will be launched in 2022 on one of the missions to the ISS and will remain there to take consistent measurements.