Pipes Feed Preview: space & space

  1. Why Betelgeuse Dimmed

    2022-08-12 21:27:51 UTC

    <p>Betelgeuse, the big reddish star that is the second brightest point in the constellation Orion (after Rigel), has been puzzling astronomers for years. Starting in October 2019, Belegeuse began to dim considerably, eventually reaching 1/3rd of its normal brightness a few months later. And then, just as mysteriously, it began to brighten again and (as of February 2022) has remained in a <a href="https://www.universetoday.com/145723/betelgeuse-is-bright-again/">normal brightness range</a>. The most likely reason appeared to be a <a href="https://www.universetoday.com/151612/betelgeuses-mysterious-dimming-solved-it-was-dust/">circumstellar dust cloud</a> rather than any changes in the star&#8217;s intrinsic brightness. </p> <p>Using data from NASA&#8217;s <a href="https://hubblesite.org/">Hubble Space Telescope</a> (HST) and several other observatories, astronomers have concluded that a Surface Mass Ejection (SME) was the culprit. This event occurred in 2019 when Betelgeuse released a substantial mass of material that cooled to form a circumsolar dust ring, obscuring the star. In contrast to what regularly happens with our Sun during a <a href="https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/phenomena/coronal-mass-ejections">Coronal Mass Ejections</a> (CME), Betelgeuse ejected roughly 400 billion times as much mass as a typical CME. This is the first time something of this nature has been seen in a normal star&#8217;s behavior. </p> <!--more--> <p>One of the largest and brightest stars in the sky, Betelgeuse is easily found in the night sky by looking to Orion&#8217;s right &#8220;shoulder.&#8221; This Red Supergiant is what happens when stars are no longer in their main sequence phase and expand to become significantly larger. If it were located in our Solar System, Betelgeuse would swallow up Mercury to Mars, and its outer surface would extend past the orbit of Jupiter. The star is also known as a semiregular variable star, meaning that it varies in brightness over time but in a way that is subject to cycles and predictable.</p> <div class="wp-block-image"> <img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="682" src="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/original-1024x682.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-146856" srcset="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/original-1024x682.jpg 1024w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/original-580x387.jpg 580w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/original-250x167.jpg 250w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/original-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/original.jpg 1400w" sizes="(max-width: 767px) 89vw, (max-width: 1000px) 54vw, (max-width: 1071px) 543px, 580px" /><figcaption><em>An artist&#8217;s impression of Betelgeuse. Its surface is covered by large star spots, which reduce its brightness. During their pulsations, such stars regularly release gas into their surroundings that condenses into dust. Credit: MPIA graphics department</em></figcaption></div> <p>Because of its prominence in the night sky, Betelgeuse&#8217;s dimming was easily noticeable by backyard observers using small telescopes, binoculars, and even the naked eye. To determine the exact cause, <a href="https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/people/andrea-dupree">Andrea Dupree</a> &#8211; an astronomer at the <a href="https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/">Harvard &amp; Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics</a> (CfA) &#8211; and her colleagues relied on the observations from the venerable <em>Hubble.</em> In 1996, Dupree and <a href="https://physics.ku.edu/people/gilliland-ronald">Ronald L. Gilliland</a> of the <a href="https://www.stsci.edu/">Space Telescope Science Institute</a> (STScI) used Hubble to observe <a href="https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1086/310043" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">hot spots on the surface of Betelgeuse</a>, which constituted the first direct image of a star other than the Sun.</p> <p>This time, Dupree and her colleagues combined <em>Hubble</em> observations with imaging and spectroscopic data from other instruments to fully understand Betelgeuse&#8217;s behavior before, during, and after the event. This included data from the <a href="https://stella.aip.de/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">STELLA robotic observatory</a>, the <a href="https://pweb.cfa.harvard.edu/facilities-technology/telescopes-instruments/15-meter-tillinghast-60-inch-telescope" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Fred L. Whipple Observatory&#8217;s Tillinghast Reflector Echelle Spectrograph</a> (TRES), <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stereo/main/index.html">NASA&#8217;s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory spacecraft</a> (STEREO-A), and the <a href="https://www.aavso.org/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">American Association of Variable Star Observers</a> (AAVSO). These observations revealed that in 2019, Beteleguese &#8220;blew its stack&#8221; and released a tremendous amount of material into space. </p> <p>Like a CME, this massive ejection was likely caused by a buoyant jet of superheated material bubbling up from deep inside the star (aka. a convective plume). This plume is estimated to have been measured more than a million kilometers across and several times as mass as our Moon. So great were the shocks and pulsations that it was enough to blast off a sizeable patch of material from Betelgeuse&#8217;s outer shell (photosphere). Once released, this material would have created a large cool patch on Betelgeuse&#8217;s surface beneath it and cooled to form a large cloud of obscuring dust. </p> <p>What&#8217;s more, the shock caused by this event is something Betelgeuse still hasn&#8217;t fully recovered from. The supergiant&#8217;s 400-day pulsation rate is now gone (perhaps temporarily), something astronomers have not seen in almost 200 years of observations. The sudden disappearance of this variability in brightness and surface motions is further evidence of how disruptive this blowout was. As Dupree explained in a recent NASA <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2022/hubble-sees-red-supergiant-star-betelgeuse-slowly-recovering-after-blowing-its-top">press release</a>:</p> <blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p><em>&#8220;Betelgeuse continues doing some very unusual things right now; the interior is sort of bouncing. We&#8217;ve never before seen a huge mass ejection of the surface of a star. We are left with something going on that we don&#8217;t completely understand. It&#8217;s a totally new phenomenon that we can observe directly and resolve surface details with Hubble. We&#8217;re watching stellar evolution in real-time.&#8221;</em></p></blockquote> <div class="wp-block-image"> <img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="576" src="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hubble_betelgeuseoutburst-1024x576.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-157127" srcset="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hubble_betelgeuseoutburst-1024x576.jpg 1024w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hubble_betelgeuseoutburst-580x326.jpg 580w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hubble_betelgeuseoutburst-250x141.jpg 250w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hubble_betelgeuseoutburst-768x432.jpg 768w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hubble_betelgeuseoutburst-1536x864.jpg 1536w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hubble_betelgeuseoutburst-2048x1152.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 767px) 89vw, (max-width: 1000px) 54vw, (max-width: 1071px) 543px, 580px" /><figcaption><em>This illustration plots changes in the brightness of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse, following the titanic mass ejection of a large piece of its visible surface. Credits: NASA/ESA/Elizabeth Wheatley (STScI)</em></figcaption></div> <p>These observations could yield fresh clues about how red stars lose mass late in their lives as their nuclear fuel is slowly exhausted, eventually culminating in a supernova. How much mass they shed as they near the end of their Red Giant phase would have a significant effect on their fate. In addition, the way this event completely dwarfs ejections from the Sun&#8217;s corona could suggest that SMEs and CMEs are separate classes of stellar events. The good news is that despite Betelgeuse&#8217;s recent behavior, there&#8217;s no reason to suspect it may go <a href="https://www.universetoday.com/150400/a-new-study-says-that-betelgeuse-wont-be-exploding-any-time-soon/">supernova anytime soon</a>.</p> <p>According to spectra obtained by TRES and <em>Hubble</em>, Betelgeuse&#8217;s outer layers have returned to normal, even though the surface still shows signs of buoyant activity as the photosphere rebuilds itself. Dupree and her colleagues suggest that the star&#8217;s interior convection cells (beneath the photosphere) may be sloshing around like an unbalanced washing machine. Future observations could also be conducted using the <a href="https://webb.nasa.gov/"><em>James Webb Space Telescope</em></a> (JWST), which will be able to detect the ejected material using its advanced infrared optics.</p> <p>These observations could reveal more about the ejected material as it continues to move away from Betelgeuse and provide additional clues as to why the event happened. Who knows? Knowing what differentiates SMEs from CMEs and the damage they can inflict could go a long way towards ensuring &#8220;planetary defense.&#8221;</p> <p><em>Further Reading: </em><a href="https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2022/hubble-sees-red-supergiant-star-betelgeuse-slowly-recovering-after-blowing-its-top"><em>NASA</em></a></p>
  2. Thanks to Gaia we Know Exactly how and When the Sun Will die

    2022-08-12 19:27:29 UTC

    <p>Our Sun is doomed. Billions of years from now, the Sun will deplete its hydrogen fuel and swell to a red giant before becoming a white dwarf. It&#8217;s a well-known story, and one astronomers have understood for decades. Now, thanks to the latest data from Gaia, we know the Sun&#8217;s future in much greater detail.</p> <!--more--> <p>The timeline of human civilization is a mere blip in the lifetime of a star. We haven&#8217;t been around long enough to watch a star&#8217;s birth, life, and death. But we can understand stellar evolution by observing other stars that may be older or younger than the Sun. It&#8217;s similar to the way you might understand how humans live and die by looking at a <a href="https://briankoberlein.com/post/snapshot/">collection of photographs all taken at the same time on a single day</a>. One of the first snapshots of stellar evolution was done in the early 1900s. First as a data table by Ejnar Hertzsprung in 1905, but more famously done as a diagram by Henry Norris Russell in 1914. Now known as Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams, or HR diagrams, they plot the color or spectral class of a star versus its absolute magnitude. Color is a measure of a star&#8217;s temperature, and absolute magnitude is a gauge of its size.</p> <div class="wp-block-image"> <img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="768" src="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hr-1024x768.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-157123" srcset="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hr-1024x768.jpg 1024w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hr-580x435.jpg 580w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hr-250x188.jpg 250w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hr-768x576.jpg 768w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/hr.jpg 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 767px) 89vw, (max-width: 1000px) 54vw, (max-width: 1071px) 543px, 580px" /><figcaption>The first HR diagram vs Gaia&#8217;s modern diagram. Credit: Left, Russell. Right, ESA/Gaia</figcaption></div> <p>The early HR diagrams only had data for about 300 stars, but even then it was clear most stars lay along a linear path known as the main sequence. Since most stars are within the main sequence, it stands to reason that stars spend most of their lives as main sequence stars. Small stars shine at cool temperatures, while larger more massive stars burn hotter. The HR diagrams showed that some stars such as red giants were large but cool, and others known as white dwarfs were small and hot, but those were the exceptions. As astronomers gathered more data, they could see how larger main sequence stars entered a giant stage before becoming white dwarfs or neutron stars. By and large, the mass of a star determines its lifetime and fate.</p> <p>We now know that while the mass of a star is an important aspect of stellar evolution, its chemical composition also plays an important role. Two stars similar in mass but different in composition can have very different lifetimes. This is where the Gaia survey comes in. Whereas early stellar surveys had hundreds or thousands of stars, Gaia has more than a billion. In the latest data release, the Gaia team created an HR diagram of more than 4 million stars within 5,000 light-years of Earth. For these stars, we know not only their size and spectral temperature but also know their chemical composition. This means the Gaia team could create an HR diagram of stars with a similar mass and composition to the Sun. The result traces the evolutionary path of Sun-like stars from the main sequence to the red giants. Based on the data, the Sun will reach its maximum temperature at an age of 8 billion years, then shift toward the red giant phase before finally dying at around 11 billion years old.</p> <div class="wp-block-image"> <img loading="lazy" width="800" height="450" src="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/sun.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-157124" srcset="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/sun.jpg 800w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/sun-580x326.jpg 580w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/sun-250x141.jpg 250w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/sun-768x432.jpg 768w" sizes="(max-width: 767px) 89vw, (max-width: 1000px) 54vw, (max-width: 1071px) 543px, 580px" /><figcaption>The path of similar stars shows the Sun&#8217;s fate. Credit: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO</figcaption></div> <p>The Gaia team also found nearly 6,000 stars that are near twins of the Sun, having similar mass, temperature, composition, and age. By observing these stars, astronomers will get a better understanding of whether our Sun is typical. For example, do these other stars have solar cycles similar to the Sun? Do some have periods of intense solar flares or are they fairly stable like the Sun?</p> <p>With so much gathered data, Gaia is revealing new details about our own star, how it may behave in the near future, and how it will die in the far future. We&#8217;ve long known the end is nigh for the Sun, but we&#8217;re beginning to learn just how and when the end will come.</p> <p><strong>Reference:</strong> Creevey, O. L., et al. &#8220;<a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2206.05864">Gaia Data Release 3: Astrophysical parameters inference system (Apsis) I&#8211;methods and content overview</a>.&#8221; <em>arXiv preprint</em> arXiv:2206.05864 (2022).</p>
  3. Starlink Satellites Are Still Bright

    2022-08-12 14:42:04 UTC

    <p><em>The new generation of Starlink satellites remain above the accepted brightness threshold.</em></p> <p>It’s one of the stranger sights of the modern Space Age. Recently, we found ourselves under the relatively dark skies of southern Spain. Sure enough, within a few minutes, we caught sight of a chain of flashing ‘stars’ winking in and out of view in quick succession.</p> <!--more--> <p>Starlink trains are now a familiar sight, the boon and bane of the modern era. While SpaceX’s mega-satellite promises to become a true disruptor in the worldwide internet game, it also has the potential to add to the burden of light pollution in the night sky. Will there soon come a time in the not too distant future when moving artificial ‘stars’ outnumber real ones?</p> <p><iframe loading="lazy" width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PNa_MgCHjiE" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>The Rise of Starlink</strong></p> <p>The problem for astronomers didn’t really become apparent until the first launch of 60 Starlink satellites in May 2019. To date, SpaceX has launched Starlink batches at a breakneck pace, with over 2,900 total deployed and 2,286 still in orbit and in service as of early August 2022. SpaceX ultimately wants to put 12,000 Starlinks in low Earth orbit (as currently approved by the FCC) with provisions for a possible 30,000 more. The Starlink internet service went live in late 2020. Unlike the nascent Iridium constellation—which really only found niche applications—Starlink is already proving its worth. For example, Starlink is currently keeping the internet on in Ukraine during the ongoing <a href="https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-blogs/astronomy-space-david-dickinson/russia-ukraine-war-impacts-on-space/">Russian invasion</a>.</p> <img loading="lazy" width="960" height="540" src="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Starlink_Mission_47926144123.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-157119" srcset="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Starlink_Mission_47926144123.jpg 960w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Starlink_Mission_47926144123-580x326.jpg 580w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Starlink_Mission_47926144123-250x141.jpg 250w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Starlink_Mission_47926144123-768x432.jpg 768w" sizes="(max-width: 767px) 89vw, (max-width: 1000px) 54vw, (max-width: 1071px) 543px, 580px" /><figcaption>Starlink satellites awaiting deployment shortly after launch. Credit: SpaceX</figcaption> <p>The main concern in professional astronomy is the impact on current and upcoming all-sky surveys, such as the Vera C. Rubin telescope. This survey will scour the sky nightly down to a faint +22nd magnitude. A <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01420-9">recent article</a> in <em>Nature</em> notes that the 1.5-meter Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) telescope at Palomar sees Starlink streaks on 18% of its deep-sky images. A recent <a href="https://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann19035/">International Astronomical Union</a> statement called for operational Starlinks to fall below +7th magnitude.</p> <img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="777" src="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/ann19035a-1024x777.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-157118" srcset="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/ann19035a-1024x777.jpg 1024w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/ann19035a-580x440.jpg 580w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/ann19035a-250x190.jpg 250w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/ann19035a-768x583.jpg 768w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/ann19035a.jpg 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 767px) 89vw, (max-width: 1000px) 54vw, (max-width: 1071px) 543px, 580px" /><figcaption>An image of the NGC 5353/4 galaxy group made with a telescope at Lowell Observatory, showing Starlink streaks through the image. Credit: Victoria Gurgis/Lowell Observatory</figcaption> <p>SpaceX has attempted to address the issue, with varying degrees of success. This has included painting the coffee table-sized satellites black, adding visors, stickers, and angling them edge-on to the Sun during twilight passes. ‘VisorSat’ helped to lower Starlinks down by about a magnitude… but the newer generation of Starlinks do not incorporate this feature, as a visor would interfere with the new line-of-sight laser communications between satellites.</p> <img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="683" src="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47940799117_742d2e25e1_k-1024x683.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-157120" srcset="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47940799117_742d2e25e1_k-1024x683.jpg 1024w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47940799117_742d2e25e1_k-580x387.jpg 580w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47940799117_742d2e25e1_k-250x167.jpg 250w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47940799117_742d2e25e1_k-768x512.jpg 768w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47940799117_742d2e25e1_k-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47940799117_742d2e25e1_k.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 767px) 89vw, (max-width: 1000px) 54vw, (max-width: 1071px) 543px, 580px" /><figcaption>A Starlink train over Arizona. Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/halfastro/47940799117/in/photolist-2g3n8m2-2iUC34x-2jwTESh-2mY4gHf-2iQZVT7-2kYNYxs-2n9ziXH-2niQudv-2mNiZW9-2nmgzha-2niYj6t-2mNj11c-2kKSnzq-2n1KjhM-2nAbtMB-2kKSV3G-2j8CX9N-2kVJfor-2iSZz4j-2kajVPV-2mXXMCX-2kXwTua-2kKNBmP-2niX48Z-2kNLA3N-2kuqupL-2kXwTm4-2npToSg-2kCoviV-2mVNPyL-2jbtkZJ-2kCjTFa-2n1Nf1X-2n1NeYn-2kNQFjF-2kuqtqS-2mVUiRU-2n1NeHT-2kXsgLD-2nAa2fx-2n1LANX-2hJMAHQ-2iJfftn-2i663ge-2nAa2Nm-2kuqu5x-2icdgGo-2iaN5AU-2jtWqtP-2nA4Zq1">Rob Sparks</a></figcaption> <p>Of course, light pollution isn’t really anything new, and the problem predates Starlink. The current problem many a stargazer has noticed is that despite mitigation efforts, the Starlink trains are still bright, especially on initial orbital deployment before they’re placed in higher operational altitudes.</p> <p>Also, the attrition rate for Starlink seems pretty high: already, 218 satellites have reentered, including most of the <a href="https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/space-storm-knocks-out-latest-batch-of-starlink-satellites/">Group 4-7 batch</a> that fell prey to space weather shortly after launch in February 2022. SpaceX has carried a breakneck <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Starlink_launches">launch cadence in 2022</a>, launching an amazing 21 batches thus far this year alone.</p> <p>And there’s more to come. OneWeb has already deployed 218 satellites for its own constellation, though the Ukraine War has also stalled the worldwide launch campaign to get it operational by the end of 2022. Amazon’s Kuiper constellation will also begin deployment in late 2022/early 2023. Also, SpaceX has <a href="https://spaceexplored.com/2022/07/27/starlink-mobile-users/">recently acquired</a> Swarm’s Internet-of-Things satellites and filed to use 2Ghz band technology in the near future… expect to see future Starlink terminals to shrink and become more mobile, and possibly even become a built-in feature on future smartphones.</p> <img loading="lazy" width="1021" height="679" src="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47966084968_b922e1fc7d_o.jpg" alt="Starlinks" class="wp-image-157121" srcset="https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47966084968_b922e1fc7d_o.jpg 1021w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47966084968_b922e1fc7d_o-580x386.jpg 580w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47966084968_b922e1fc7d_o-250x166.jpg 250w, https://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/47966084968_b922e1fc7d_o-768x511.jpg 768w" sizes="(max-width: 767px) 89vw, (max-width: 1000px) 54vw, (max-width: 1071px) 543px, 580px" /><figcaption>A Starlink satellite train crossing the sky. Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/spicey_spiney/47966084968/in/photolist-2kYNYxs-2nmgzha-2iSZz4j-2iJfftn-2g5AHWY-2g3LeVV">Mary McIntyre</a> </figcaption> <p>A recent report out of a Black Hat Security conference in Las Vegas also alerted users and SpaceX in to the possibility of <a href="https://www.wired.co.uk/article/starlink-internet-dish-hack?utm_medium=Social&amp;utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_campaign=SocialFlow">hacking Starlink</a>, though the company is already hard at work on patching this vulnerability.</p> <p>Hopefully, Starlink won’t give any companies that have long wanted to place ‘ads in space’ any ideas. We’ve already seen attempts to put artwork in space, courtesy of <a href="https://www.universetoday.com/140246/astronomers-get-ready-another-artificial-star-to-ruin-your-data-is-coming-artist-is-planning-to-launch-a-giant-unfolding-structure-thatll-be-bright-in-the-sky-for-a-few-months/">Orbital Reflector</a>. Perhaps, the U.S. Department of Defense could lend a hand, and reveal how the classified Lacrosse-5 satellite pulls a ‘vanishing act’ on occasion. Or perhaps, AI (Artificial Intelligence) will simply find a way to identify and erase Starlink streaks in images (astrophotographers have already pioneered a similar technique to erase satellite streaks).</p> <p>To be sure, our personal opinion on the rise of the Starlink satellite constellation is nuanced. As an avid stargazer, I’ve seen the troubling trend of a brighter night sky lengthen drives to find dark sites long before the advent of mega-satellite constellations… but if I can live and work in remote rural Spain thanks to a mobile Starlink hookup, I see a definite advantage to those strange-moving satellite trains overhead.</p>
  4. Power Anomaly Forces End of Mission for Copernicus Sentinel-1B Satellite

    2022-08-12 20:45:50 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194512" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194512" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Copernicus-Sentinel-1-777x549.jpg" alt="Copernicus Sentinel-1" width="777" height="549" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Copernicus-Sentinel-1-777x549.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Copernicus-Sentinel-1-400x283.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Copernicus-Sentinel-1-768x543.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Copernicus-Sentinel-1-1536x1086.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Copernicus-Sentinel-1-2048x1448.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194512" class="wp-caption-text">Copernicus Sentinel-1 is used to monitor many aspects of our environment, from detecting and tracking oil spills and mapping sea ice to monitoring movement in land surfaces and mapping changes in the way land is used. It also plays a crucial role in providing timely information to help respond to natural disasters and assist humanitarian relief efforts. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab</p> <p><em>On December 23, 2021, Copernicus Sentinel-1B experienced an anomaly related to the instrument electronics power supply provided by the satellite platform, leaving it unable to deliver radar data. Spacecraft operators and engineers have been working tirelessly since then to rectify the issue. Unfortunately, despite all concerted efforts, ESA (European Space Agency) and the European Commission announce that it is the end of the mission for Sentinel-1B. Copernicus Sentinel-1A remains fully operational and plans are in force to launch Sentinel-1C as soon as possible.</em></p> <p>ESA&#x2019;s Director of Earth Observation Programs, Simonetta Cheli, stated, &#x201C;Unfortunately, we have to announce the end of the mission for the Copernicus Sentinel-1B satellite. The conclusion drawn by the Anomaly Review Board is that it is impossible to recover the 28V regulated bus of the satellite&#x2019;s C-band synthetic aperture radar antenna power supply unit, which is needed to provide power to the radar electronics.</p> <p>&#x201C;Sentinel-1A remains very healthy in orbit, continuing to deliver high-quality radar images for a multitude of applications. Our focus is on fast-tracking the launch of Sentinel-1C. Now, thanks to the successful inaugural flight of the Vega-C rocket on July 13, we, with Arianespace, are targeting the launch in the second quarter of 2023.&#x201D;</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194514" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194514" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Vega-C-VV21-Liftoff-777x549.jpg" alt="Vega C VV21 Liftoff" width="777" height="549" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Vega-C-VV21-Liftoff-777x549.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Vega-C-VV21-Liftoff-400x283.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Vega-C-VV21-Liftoff-768x543.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Vega-C-VV21-Liftoff.jpg 850w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194514" class="wp-caption-text">Vega C VV21 liftoff on July 13, 2022. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG/S Martin</p> <p>European Commission&#x2019;s Acting Director for Space (Directorate General for Defense Industry and Space), Paraskevi Papantoniou, stated, &#x201C;The permanent unavailability of Sentinel-1B satellite represents an important loss for the European Union&#x2019;s space program and the European Commission is engaged to mitigate its impact. We notably managed to move forward the launch of Sentinel-1C satellite.</p> <p>&#x201C;Meanwhile, Copernicus Contributing Mission data, including from European New Space companies, will continue to be used to support the most critical Copernicus Services products that are affected. The preparations for the de-orbiting of Sentinel-1B satellite are an example of our joint commitment, for the European Union and ESA, to clean and responsible space, using the EU&#8217;s Space Surveillance and Tracking capabilities.&#x201D;</p> <p>In April 2014, Sentinel-1A was the first satellite to be launched for Copernicus, the Earth observation component of the European Union&#x2019;s space program. Although the European Union is at the helm of Copernicus, ESA develops, builds, and launches the dedicated Sentinel satellites. It also operates some of the missions.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194513" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194513" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-777x436.jpg" alt="Sentinel-1 Radar Vision" width="777" height="436" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-777x437.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-400x224.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-768x431.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-1536x861.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-2048x1148.jpg 2048w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-180x101.jpg 180w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-260x146.jpg 260w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-373x210.jpg 373w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Sentinel-1-Radar-Vision-120x67.jpg 120w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194513" class="wp-caption-text">Copernicus Sentinel-1 carries an advanced synthetic aperture radar that works in several specialized modes to provide detailed imagery for Europe&#x2019;s Copernicus program. These data will be used for applications such as monitoring the oceans, including shipping lanes, sea ice, and oil spills. It also provides data to map changing land cover, ground deformation, ice shelves, and glaciers, and can be used to help emergency response when disasters such as floods strike and to support humanitarian relief efforts at times of crisis. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab</p> <p>After the Sentinel-1B launch in April 2016, with the mission comprising two identical satellites orbiting 180&#xB0; apart, the mission was able to image the planet with a maximum repeat frequency of six days, down to daily coverage at high latitudes.</p> <p>Carrying advanced synthetic aperture radar technology to provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth&#x2019;s surface, the ambitious Sentinel-1 mission raised the bar for spaceborne radar.</p> <p>The mission benefits numerous Copernicus services and applications, such as those that relate to Arctic sea-ice monitoring, iceberg tracking, glacier-velocity monitoring, routine sea-ice mapping, surveillance of the marine environment including oil-spill monitoring and ship detection for maritime security, as well as illegal fisheries monitoring. It is also used for monitoring ground deformation resulting from subsidence, earthquakes, and volcanoes, mapping for forest, water, and soil management, and mapping to support humanitarian aid and crisis situations.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194515" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194515" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Main-Control-Room-at-ESAs-Space-Operations-Center-777x518.jpg" alt="Main Control Room at ESA's Space Operations Center" width="777" height="518" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Main-Control-Room-at-ESAs-Space-Operations-Center-777x518.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Main-Control-Room-at-ESAs-Space-Operations-Center-400x267.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Main-Control-Room-at-ESAs-Space-Operations-Center-768x512.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Main-Control-Room-at-ESAs-Space-Operations-Center-1536x1025.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Main-Control-Room-at-ESAs-Space-Operations-Center-2048x1366.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194515" class="wp-caption-text">As Europe&#x2019;s center of excellence for mission operations, the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) is home to the engineers who control spacecraft in orbit, manage our global tracking station network, and design and build the systems on ground that support missions in space. Since 1967, over 60 satellites belonging to ESA and its partners have been flown from Darmstadt, Germany. Credit: ESA/J.Mai &#8211; CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO</p> <p>With such a significant role to play and users relying on timely data, ESA acted as soon as it was clear that Sentinel-1B&#x2019;s power issue could take some weeks to resolve, which was the hope at the end of December.</p> <p>ESA&#x2019;s Sentinel-1 Mission Manager, Pierre Potin, said, &#x201C;Together with the European Commission we are making sure to bridge some of the data gaps by adjusting the Sentinel-1A observation plan and through radar data from other satellite missions that contribute to the Copernicus program. For example, we are able to use data from Canada&#x2019;s Radarsat-2 and Radarsat Constellation Mission, Germany&#x2019;s TerraSAR-X, Italy&#x2019;s COSMO-SkyMed, and Spain&#x2019;s PAZ to support operational sea-ice monitoring for the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service.</p> <p>&#x201C;While we continue to try to minimize inconvenience to users and push to get Sentinel-1C into orbit as soon as we can, we are also preparing for the responsible disposal of Sentinel-1B.&#x201D;</p> <p>The Sentinel-1 Spacecraft Operations Manager, Alistair O&#x2019;Connell, added, &#x201C;We have Sentinel-1B under control, all other systems except the power affected unit, which prevents the radar from being switched on, continue to function nominally and we perform regular monitoring of the spacecraft health and routine orbit control maneuvers. We will keep Sentinel-1B under control until we can begin the disposal process, which we will start after Sentinel-1C is safely in orbit.</p> <p>&#x201C;Deorbiting Sentinel-1B will be carried out according to space debris mitigation requirements that were in place for ESA projects at the time of design of Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-1B, meaning that re-entry in the atmosphere will take place within 25 years. In practice, the re-entry duration is expected to be much shorter.&#x201D;</p> <p>Copernicus Sentinel-1C features a world premiere of a new separation mechanism that will help avoid space debris.</p> <p>A summary of the description of the anomaly, of the investigations, and the recovery attempts, as well as the parallel Sentinel-1 mission level actions and way forward is available on the Sentinel Online website.<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>
  5. Surprise, Surprise: Subsurface Water On Mars Defies Expectations

    2022-08-12 12:50:31 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-144361" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-144361" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-777x437.jpg" alt="InSight Lander on Mars" width="777" height="437" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-777x437.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-400x225.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-768x432.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-1536x864.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-2048x1152.jpg 2048w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-180x101.jpg 180w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-260x146.jpg 260w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-373x210.jpg 373w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/InSight-Lander-on-Mars-1-120x67.jpg 120w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-144361" class="wp-caption-text">An artist illustration of the InSight lander on Mars. InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is designed to give the Red Planet its first thorough check-up since it formed 4.5 billion years ago. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech</p> <h3>Physics connects seismic data to properties of rocks and sediments.</h3> <p>A new analysis of seismic data from NASA&#x2019;s Mars InSight mission has uncovered a couple of big surprises.</p> <p>The first surprise: the top 300 meters (1000 feet) of the subsurface beneath the landing site near the Martian equator contains little or no ice.</p> <p>&#x201C;We find that Mars&#x2019; crust is weak and porous. The sediments are not well-cemented. And there&#x2019;s no ice or not much ice filling the pore spaces,&#x201D; said geophysicist Vashan Wright of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Wright and three co-authors published their analysis on August 9, 2022, in the journal <em>Geophysical Research Letters</em>.</p> <p>&#x201C;These findings don&#x2019;t preclude that there could be grains of ice or small balls of ice that are not cementing other minerals together,&#x201D; said Wright. &#x201C;The question is how likely is ice to be present in that form?&#x201D;</p> <p>The second surprise contradicts a leading theory about what happened to the water on Mars. It is believed the red planet may have harbored oceans of water early in its history. Many experts suspected that much of that water became part of the minerals that make up underground cement.</p> <p>&#x201C;If you put water in contact with rocks, you produce a brand-new set of minerals, like clay, so the water&#x2019;s not a liquid. It&#x2019;s part of the mineral structure,&#x201D; said study co-author Michael Manga of the University of California Berkeley. &#x201C;There is some cement, but the rocks are not full of cement.&#x201D;</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194451" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194451" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-InSight-Mars-Lander-Sol-1199-777x759.jpg" alt="NASA InSight Mars Lander Sol 1199" width="777" height="759" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-InSight-Mars-Lander-Sol-1199-777x759.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-InSight-Mars-Lander-Sol-1199-400x391.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-InSight-Mars-Lander-Sol-1199-768x750.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-InSight-Mars-Lander-Sol-1199.jpg 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194451" class="wp-caption-text">NASA&#8217;s InSight Mars lander acquired this image of the area in front of the lander using its lander-mounted, Instrument Context Camera (ICC) on April 11, 2022, Sol 1199 of the InSight mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech</p> <p>Water may also go into minerals that do not act as cement. However, the uncemented subsurface removes one way to preserve a record of life or biological activity, Wright said. Cements by their very nature hold rocks and sediments together, protecting them from destructive erosion.</p> <p>The lack of cemented sediments suggests a water scarcity in the 300 meters (1000 feet) below InSight&#x2019;s landing site near the equator. The below-freezing average temperature at the Mars equator means that conditions would be cold enough to freeze water if it were there.</p> <p>Many planetary scientists, including Manga, have long suspected that the Martian subsurface would be full of ice. Their suspicions have melted away. Still, big ice sheets and frozen ground ice remain at the Martian poles.</p> <p>&#x201C;As scientists, we&#x2019;re now confronted with the best data, the best observations. And our models predicted that there should still be frozen ground at that latitude with aquifers underneath,&#x201D; said Manga, professor and chair of Earth and planetary science at UC Berkeley.</p> <p>In 2018, the InSight spacecraft landed on Elysium Planitia, a flat, smooth, plain near the Martian equator. Its instruments included a seismometer that measures vibrations caused by marsquakes and crashing meteorites.</p> <p>Researchers can tie this information to a huge mass of knowledge about the surface, including images of Martian landforms and temperature data. The surface data indicated that the subsurface might consist of sedimentary rock and lava flows. However, the team still had to account for uncertainties about subsurface properties such as porosity and mineral content.</p> <p>Seismic waves from marsquakes furnish clues to the nature of the materials they travel through. Possible cementing minerals&#x2014;such as calcite, kaolinite, clay, and gypsum&#x2014;affect seismic velocities. Wright&#x2019;s team at Scripps Oceanography applied rock physics computer modeling to interpret the velocities derived from the InSight data.</p> <p>&#x201C;We ran our models 10,000 times each to get the uncertainties incorporated into our answers,&#x201D; said co-author Richard Kilburn, a graduate student working in the Scripps Tectonorockphysics Lab led by Wright. Simulations showing a subsurface consisting mostly of uncemented material best fit the data.</p> <p>Scientists want to probe the subsurface because if life exists on Mars, that is where it would be. There is no liquid water on the surface, and subsurface life would be protected from radiation. Following a sample-return mission, a NASA priority for the next decade is the Mars Life Explorer mission concept. The goal is to drill two meters (6 feet) into the Martian crust at high latitude to search for life where ice, rock, and the atmosphere come together.</p> <p>Already under consideration is the proposed international robotic Mars Ice Mapper Mission to help NASA identify potential science goals for the first human missions to Mars. Scripps Oceanography helps prepare young scientists to contribute to such missions.</p> <p>&#x201C;All my life growing up, I&#x2019;ve heard the Earth may become uninhabitable,&#x201D; said study co-author Jhardel Dasent, another graduate student in the lab Wright leads. &#x201C;I&#x2019;m at the age now where I can contribute to producing the knowledge of another planet that may get us there.&#x201D;</p> <p>Reference: &#8220;A minimally cemented shallow crust beneath InSight&#8221; by Vashan Wright, Jhardel Dasent, Richard Kilburn and Michael Manga, 9 August 2022, <em>Geophysical Research Letters</em>.<br /> DOI: 10.1029/2022GL099250</p> <p>This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the CIFAR Earth 4D program.<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>
  6. Home Stretch: NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Mission Nears Completion of Crew Training

    2022-08-12 10:03:01 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194440" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194440" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-Astronaut-Josh-Cassada-Water-Survival-Training-777x518.jpg" alt="NASA Astronaut Josh Cassada Water Survival Training" width="777" height="518" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-Astronaut-Josh-Cassada-Water-Survival-Training-777x518.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-Astronaut-Josh-Cassada-Water-Survival-Training-400x267.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-Astronaut-Josh-Cassada-Water-Survival-Training-768x512.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-Astronaut-Josh-Cassada-Water-Survival-Training-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-Astronaut-Josh-Cassada-Water-Survival-Training-2048x1365.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194440" class="wp-caption-text">NASA astronaut Josh Cassada works on water survival training at NASA&#x2019;s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Cassada, along with NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, will fly to the International Space Station aboard NASA&#x2019;s SpaceX Crew-5 mission. Credit: Johnson Space Center</p> <p>The crew members who will fly aboard NASA&#x2019;s SpaceX Crew-5 mission are nearing the end of a unique 18-month training program to prepare them for their science expedition mission to the International Space Station.</p> <p>NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, commander; Josh Cassada, pilot; and mission specialists Koichi Wakata, of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina comprise the NASA SpaceX Crew-5 crew. They will lift off aboard SpaceX&#x2019;s Dragon spacecraft &#x2013; on the company&#x2019;s Falcon 9 rocket &#x2013; from Launch Complex 39A at NASA&#x2019;s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Currently, liftoff is targeted for no earlier than September 29. This marks the fifth crew rotation mission of SpaceX&#x2019;s human space transportation system, and its sixth flight with astronauts, to the space station for NASA&#x2019;s Commercial Crew Program.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194439" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194439" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Crew-5-Chief-Training-Officer-Poses-With-Crew-777x562.jpg" alt="Crew-5 Chief Training Officer Poses With Crew" width="777" height="562" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Crew-5-Chief-Training-Officer-Poses-With-Crew-777x562.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Crew-5-Chief-Training-Officer-Poses-With-Crew-400x290.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Crew-5-Chief-Training-Officer-Poses-With-Crew-768x556.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Crew-5-Chief-Training-Officer-Poses-With-Crew-1536x1112.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Crew-5-Chief-Training-Officer-Poses-With-Crew-2048x1482.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194439" class="wp-caption-text">Cassie Rodriquez, center, Crew-5 chief training officer at Johnson Space Center, poses with mission crew, from left to right, Josh Cassada, Anna Kikina, Nicole Mann, and Koichi Wakata. Credit: Johnson Space Center</p> <p>The crew has undergone mission-specific training at NASA&#x2019;s Johnson Space Center in Houston. They&#8217;ve also traveled to SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, for spacecraft training, and to international partner agencies for system and payload training.</p> <p>&#x201C;We really focus on what they&#x2019;re going to need to perform the space station mission,&#x201D; said Cassie Rodriquez, Crew-5 chief training officer at Johnson. &#x201C;So that&#x2019;s specific to the systems they&#x2019;ll be working with and tasks they will be performing.&#x201D;</p> <p>In addition to space station systems, the crew has studied and participated in extravehicular activities; Russian language; robotics; T-38 jet flying; spacesuit training; spacecraft training; and physical, tool, and science training. The astronauts also are given opportunities to exercise crew resource management, where they are exposed to contingency situations, learning how to respond and take specific roles in case of an emergency.</p> <p>&#x201C;We put them through scenarios to help develop that teamwork and expeditionary skills; how to live and work with other people in very high-stress and dangerous situations,&#x201D; Rodriquez said. &#x201C;They have shown leadership, toughness, and focus in everything that they do. The dedication to human spaceflight, to making the mission a success &#x2013; it&#x2019;s very inspiring.&#x201D;</p> <p>Crew-5 will fly to the space station in Dragon Endurance, which previously flew the agency&#x2019;s Crew-3 mission to and from the orbiting laboratory. NASA and its partners will host a media event in the coming weeks to discuss more about Crew-5 progress.<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>
  7. Hubble Sees Red Supergiant Star Betelgeuse Recovering After Never-Seen-Before Titanic Eruption

    2022-08-12 08:47:26 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-92609" loading="lazy" class="size-full wp-image-92609" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Betelgeuse-Southern-Region-Evolving.gif" alt="Betelgeuse Southern Region Evolving" width="777" height="437"><p id="caption-attachment-92609" class="wp-caption-text">This graphic illustrates how the southern region of the rapidly evolving, bright, red supergiant star Betelgeuse may have suddenly become fainter for several months during late 2019 and early 2020. Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Wheatley (STScI)</p> <h3>Monster Star Had Never-Seen-Before Titanic Eruption</h3> <p>Betelgeuse, a red supergiant star, appears as a brilliant, ruby-red, twinkling spot of light in the upper right shoulder of the winter constellation Orion the Hunter. However, when viewed close up, astronomers know that it is a seething monster with a 400-day-long heartbeat of regular pulsations. This aging star is classified as a supergiant because it has swelled up to an astonishing diameter of approximately 1 billion miles. If placed at the center of our solar system it would reach out to the orbit of Jupiter.</p> <p>The star&#8217;s ultimate fate is to explode as a supernova. When that eventually happens it will be briefly visible in the daytime sky from Earth. But there are a lot of fireworks going on now before the final detonation. Astronomers using Hubble and other telescopes have deduced that the star blew off a huge piece of its visible surface in 2019. This has never before been seen on a star. Our petulant Sun routinely goes through mass ejections of its outer atmosphere, the corona. But those events are orders of magnitude weaker than what was seen on Betelgeuse.</p> <p>The first clue came when the star mysteriously darkened in late 2019. An immense cloud of obscuring dust formed from the ejected surface as it cooled. Astronomers have now pieced together a scenario for the upheaval. And the star is still slowly recovering; the photosphere is rebuilding itself. And the interior is reverberating like a bell that has been hit with a sledgehammer, disrupting the star&#x2019;s normal cycle. This doesn&#8217;t mean the monster star is going to explode any time soon, but the late-life convulsions may continue to amaze astronomers.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194405" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194405" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-777x437.jpg" alt=" Disruption of the Red Supergiant Star Betelgeuse " width="777" height="437" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-777x437.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-400x225.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-768x432.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-1536x864.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-2048x1152.jpg 2048w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-180x101.jpg 180w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-260x146.jpg 260w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-373x210.jpg 373w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Disruption-of-Red-Supergiant-Star-Betelgeuse-120x67.jpg 120w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194405" class="wp-caption-text">This illustration plots changes in the brightness of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse, following the titanic mass ejection of a large piece of its visible surface. The escaping material cooled to form a cloud of dust that temporarily made the star look dimmer, as seen from Earth. This unprecedented stellar convulsion disrupted the monster star&#x2019;s 400-day-long oscillation period that astronomers had measured for more than 200 years. The interior may now be jiggling like a plate of gelatin dessert. Credit: NASA, ESA, Elizabeth Wheatley (STScI)</p> <h3>Hubble Sees Red Supergiant Star Betelgeuse Slowly Recovering After Blowing Its Top</h3> <p>After analyzing data from NASA&#8217;s Hubble Space Telescope and several other observatories, astronomers have concluded that the bright red supergiant star Betelgeuse quite literally blew its top in 2019, losing a substantial part of its visible surface and producing a gigantic Surface Mass Ejection (SME). This is something never before seen in a normal star&#8217;s behavior.</p> <p>Our Sun routinely blows off parts of its tenuous outer atmosphere, the corona, in an event known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). However, the Betelgeuse SME blasted off 400 billion times as much mass as a typical CME!</p> <p>The monster star is still slowly recovering from this catastrophic upheaval. &#8220;Betelgeuse continues doing some very unusual things right now; the interior is sort of bouncing,&#8221; said Andrea Dupree of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard &amp; Smithsonian in Cambridge, Massachusetts.</p> <p>These new observations yield clues as to how red stars lose mass late in their lives as their nuclear fusion furnaces burn out, before exploding as supernovae. The amount of mass loss significantly affects their fate. However, Betelgeuse&#8217;s surprisingly petulant behavior is not evidence the star is about to blow up anytime soon. So the mass-loss event is not necessarily the signal of an imminent explosion.</p> <p>Dupree is now pulling together all the puzzle pieces of the star&#8217;s petulant behavior before, after, and during the eruption into a coherent story of a never-before-seen titanic convulsion in an aging star.</p> <p>This includes new spectroscopic and imaging data from the STELLA robotic observatory, the Fred L. Whipple Observatory&#8217;s Tillinghast Reflector Echelle Spectrograph (TRES), NASA&#8217;s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory spacecraft (STEREO-A), NASA&#8217;s Hubble Space Telescope, and the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). Dupree emphasizes that the Hubble data was pivotal to helping sort out the mystery.</p> <p>&#8220;We&#8217;ve never before seen a huge mass ejection of the surface of a star. We are left with something going on that we don&#8217;t completely understand. It&#8217;s a totally new phenomenon that we can observe directly and resolve surface details with Hubble. We&#8217;re watching stellar evolution in real-time.&#8221;</p> <p>The titanic outburst in 2019 was possibly caused by a convective plume, more than a million miles across, bubbling up from deep inside the star. It produced shocks and pulsations that blasted off the chunk of the photosphere leaving the star with a large cool surface area under the dust cloud that was produced by the cooling piece of photosphere. Betelgeuse is now struggling to recover from this injury.</p> <p>Weighing roughly several times as much as our Moon, the fractured piece of photosphere sped off into space and cooled to form a dust cloud that blocked light from the star as seen by Earth observers. The dimming, which began in late 2019 and lasted for a few months, was easily noticeable even by backyard observers watching the star change brightness. One of the brightest stars in the sky, Betelgeuse is easily found in the right shoulder of the constellation Orion.</p> <p>Even more incredible, the supergiant&#8217;s 400-day pulsation rate is now gone, perhaps at least temporarily. For almost 200 years astronomers have measured this rhythm as evident in changes in Betelgeuse&#8217;s brightness variations and surface motions. Its disruption attests to the ferocity of the blowout.</p> <p>The star&#8217;s interior convection cells, which drive the regular pulsation may be sloshing around like an imbalanced washing machine tub, Dupree suggests. TRES and Hubble spectra imply that the outer layers may be back to normal, but the surface is still bouncing like a plate of gelatin dessert as the photosphere rebuilds itself.</p> <p>Though our Sun has coronal mass ejections that blow off small pieces of the outer atmosphere, astronomers have never witnessed such a large amount of a star&#8217;s visible surface get blasted into space. Therefore, surface mass ejections and coronal mass ejections may be different events.</p> <p>Betelgeuse is now so huge now that if it replaced the Sun at the center of our solar system, its outer surface would extend past the orbit of Jupiter. Dupree used Hubble to resolve hot spots on the star&#8217;s surface in 1996. This was the first direct image of a star other than the Sun.</p> <p>NASA&#8217;s Webb Space Telescope may be able to detect the ejected material in infrared light as it continues moving away from the star.</p> <p>The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA&#8217;s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>
  8. An Ocean of Galaxies Awaits: Looking Back in Time To Unveil a Hidden Era of Star Formation

    2022-08-11 23:37:28 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194379" loading="lazy" class="wp-image-194379 size-large" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Distant-Galaxy-Nebula-777x518.jpg" alt="Distant Galaxy Nebula" width="777" height="518" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Distant-Galaxy-Nebula-777x518.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Distant-Galaxy-Nebula-400x267.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Distant-Galaxy-Nebula-768x512.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Distant-Galaxy-Nebula-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Distant-Galaxy-Nebula.jpg 2000w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194379" class="wp-caption-text">A new Caltech project, called COMAP, will offer us a new glimpse into the early epoch of galaxy assembly.</p> <p><strong>New COMAP radio survey will peer beneath the &#8220;tip of the iceberg&#8221; of galaxies to unveil a hidden era of star formation.</strong></p> <p>Sometime around 400 million years after the birth of our universe, the first stars began to form. This marked the end of the universe&#8217;s so-called dark ages, and a new light-filled era began. Over time, more and more galaxies began to take shape and served as factories for churning out new stars. This process reached a peak approximately 4 billion years after the Big Bang.</p> <p>Luckily for astronomers, this bygone era can still be observed. Distant light takes time to reach us, and powerful telescopes can pick up light emitted by galaxies and stars billions of years ago (our universe is 13.8 billion years old). However, the details of this chapter in our universe&#8217;s history are fuzzy because most of the stars being formed at the time are faint and hidden by dust.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194373" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194373" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/COMAP-Leighton-Radio-Dish-777x583.jpg" alt="COMAP Leighton Radio Dish" width="777" height="583" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/COMAP-Leighton-Radio-Dish-777x583.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/COMAP-Leighton-Radio-Dish-400x300.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/COMAP-Leighton-Radio-Dish-768x576.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/COMAP-Leighton-Radio-Dish.jpg 1400w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194373" class="wp-caption-text">COMAP&#8217;s 10.4-meter &#8220;Leighton&#8221; radio dish at Owens Valley Radio Observatory. Credit: OVRO/Caltech</p> <p>A new Caltech project, called COMAP (CO Mapping Array Project), will present us with a new glimpse into this epoch of galaxy assembly. It will help answer questions about what really caused the universe&#8217;s rapid increase in the production of stars.</p> <p>&#8220;Most instruments might see the tip of an iceberg when looking at galaxies from this period,&#8221; says Kieran Cleary, the project&#8217;s principal investigator and the associate director of Caltech&#8217;s Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO). &#8220;But COMAP will see what lies underneath, hidden from view.&#8221;</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194374" loading="lazy" class="wp-image-194374 size-medium" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Kieran-Cleary-400x379.jpg" alt="Kieran Cleary" width="400" height="379" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Kieran-Cleary-400x379.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Kieran-Cleary.jpg 507w" sizes="(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194374" class="wp-caption-text">Kieran Cleary. Credit: Kieran Cleary/Caltech</p> <p>In the current phase of the project, the 10.4-meter &#8220;Leighton&#8221; radio dish at OVRO is being used to study the most common kinds of star-forming galaxies spread across space and time. This includes those that are too difficult to view in other ways because they are too faint or hidden by dust. The radio observations trace cold hydrogen gas, the raw material from which stars are made. This gas is not easy to pinpoint directly, so instead COMAP measures bright radio signals from carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which is always present along with the hydrogen. COMAP&#8217;s radio camera is the most powerful ever built to detect these radio signals.</p> <p>The first science results from the project have just been published in seven papers in <i>The Astrophysical Journal</i>. Based on observations taken one year into a planned five-year survey, COMAP set upper limits on how much cold gas must be present in galaxies at the epoch being studied, including the ones that are normally too faint and dusty to see. While the project has not yet made a direct detection of the CO signal, these early results demonstrate that it is on track to do so by the end of the initial five-year survey and ultimately will paint the most comprehensive picture yet of the universe&#8217;s history of star formation.</p> <p>&#8220;Looking to the future of the project, we aim to use this technique to successively look further and further back in time,&#8221; Cleary says. &#8220;Starting 4 billion years after the Big Bang, we will keep pushing back in time until we reach the epoch of the first stars and galaxies, a couple of billion years earlier.&#8221;</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194375" loading="lazy" class="wp-image-194375 size-medium" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Tony-Readhead-Caltech-400x328.jpg" alt="Tony Readhead Caltech" width="400" height="328" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Tony-Readhead-Caltech-400x328.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Tony-Readhead-Caltech.jpg 500w" sizes="(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194375" class="wp-caption-text">Tony Readhead. Credit: Caltech</p> <p>Anthony Readhead, the co-principal investigator and the Robinson Professor of Astronomy, Emeritus, says that COMAP will see not only the first epoch of stars and galaxies, but also their epic decline. &#8220;We will observe star formation rising and falling like an ocean tide,&#8221; he says.</p> <p>COMAP works by capturing blurry radio images of clusters of galaxies over cosmic time rather than sharp images of individual galaxies. This blurriness enables the astronomers to efficiently catch all the radio light coming from a larger pool of galaxies, even the faintest and dustiest ones that have never been seen.</p> <p>&#8220;In this way, we can find the average properties of typical, faint galaxies without needing to know very precisely where any individual galaxy is located,&#8221; explains Cleary. &#8220;This is like finding the temperature of a large volume of water using a thermometer rather than analyzing the motions of the individual water molecules.&#8221;</p> <p>These findings are the subject of a Focus Issue in the <em>Astrophysical Journal</em>, which contains links to the published papers.</p> <p>The project has received funding from the Keck Institute for Space Studies (for critical early technology development) and from the National Science Foundation (NSF), for building the &#8220;Pathfinder&#8221; early phase of the project and performing the survey. The project is a collaboration between Caltech; the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is managed by Caltech for NASA; New York University; Princeton University; Stanford University; Universit&#xE9; de Gen&#xE8;ve; University of Oslo; The University of Manchester; University of Maryland; University of Miami; and the University of Toronto (including the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics).<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>
  9. Astronomers May Have Discovered the Youngest Planet Ever Detected in Our Galaxy

    2022-08-11 11:06:42 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194270" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194270" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-Star-AS-209-777x386.jpg" alt="Circumplanetary Disk Star AS 209" width="777" height="386" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-Star-AS-209-777x386.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-Star-AS-209-400x198.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-Star-AS-209-768x381.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-Star-AS-209-1536x762.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-Star-AS-209-2048x1016.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194270" class="wp-caption-text">Scientists studying the young star AS 209 have detected gas in a circumplanetary disk for the first time, which suggests the star system may be harboring a very young Jupiter-mass planet. Science images from the research show (right) blob-like emissions of light coming from otherwise empty gaps in the highly-structured, seven-ring disk (left). Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Bae (University of Florida)</p> <h4>ALMA Makes First-Ever Detection of Gas in a Circumplanetary Disk</h4> <p>Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to study planet formation have made the first-ever detection of gas in a circumplanetary disk. What&#x2019;s more, the detection also suggests the presence of a very young exoplanet. The results of the research were published on July 27 in <em>The Astrophysical Journal Letters</em>.</p> <p>Circumplanetary disks are an accumulation of gas, dust, and debris around young planets. These disks contain the material that may form moons and other small, rocky objects, and control the growth of young, giant planets. Analyzing these disks in their earliest stages may help shed light on the formation of our own Solar System, including that of Jupiter&#x2019;s Galilean moons, which scientists believe formed in a circumplanetary disk of Jupiter around 4.5 billion years ago.</p> <p>While studying AS 209 &#x2014; a young star located approximately 395 light-years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus &#x2014; astronomers observed a blob of emitted light in the middle of an otherwise empty gap in the gas surrounding the star. That led to the detection of the circumplanetary disk surrounding a potential Jupiter-mass planet.</p> <p>Researchers are closely watching the system, both because of the planet&#x2019;s distance from its star and the star&#x2019;s age. The exoplanet is located more than 200 astronomical units (an astronomical unit is the distance between the Earth and the Sun), or 18.59 billion miles, away from the host star. This vast distance challenges currently accepted theories of planet formation. And if the host star&#x2019;s estimated age of just 1.6 million years holds true, this exoplanet could be one of the youngest ever detected. Further research is needed, and astrophysicists hope that upcoming observations with the James Webb Space Telescope will confirm the planet&#x2019;s presence.</p> <p>&#x201C;The best way to study planet formation is to observe planets while they&#x2019;re forming. We are living in a very exciting time when this happens thanks to powerful telescopes, such as ALMA and JWST,&#x201D; said Jaehan Bae, a professor of astronomy at the University of Florida and the lead author of the paper.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194271" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194271" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Star-AS-209-777x787.jpg" alt="Star AS 209" width="777" height="787" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Star-AS-209-777x787.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Star-AS-209-395x400.jpg 395w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Star-AS-209-768x778.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Star-AS-209-100x100.jpg 100w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Star-AS-209.jpg 788w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194271" class="wp-caption-text">AS 209 is a young star in the Ophiuchus constellation that scientists have now determined is host to what may be one of the youngest exoplanets ever. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), A. Sierra (U. Chile)</p> <h4>What is AS 209?</h4> <p>AS 209 is a young star located around 395 light-years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus. The star system has been of interest to scientists working in the ALMA MAPS &#x2014; Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales&nbsp;&#x2014; collaboration for more than five years due to the presence of seven nested rings, which researchers believed to be associated with ongoing planet formation. The new results provide additional evidence of planet formation around the young star.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194269" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194269" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-777x437.jpg" alt="Circumplanetary Disk PDS 70" width="777" height="437" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-777x437.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-400x225.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-768x432.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-1536x864.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-2048x1152.jpg 2048w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-180x101.jpg 180w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-260x146.jpg 260w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-373x210.jpg 373w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Circumplanetary-Disk-PDS-70-120x67.jpg 120w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194269" class="wp-caption-text">Artist impression of the circumplanetary disk discovered in 2021 around a young planet in the PDS 70 star system. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), S. Dagnello (NRAO/AUI/NSF)</p> <h4>The Discovery at AS 209 is Only the Third Confirmed Detection Ever of a Circumplanetary Disk</h4> <p>Astronomers have long suspected the presence of circumplanetary disks around exoplanets, but until recently were unable to prove it. In 2019, ALMA scientists made the first-ever detection of a circumplanetary, moon-forming disk while observing the young exoplanet PDS 70c, and confirmed the find in 2021. The new observations of gas in a circumplanetary disk at AS 209 may reveal additional details about the development of planetary atmospheres and the processes by which moons are formed.</p> <p>Reference: &#8220;Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales (MAPS): A Circumplanetary Disk Candidate in Molecular-line Emission in the AS 209 Disk&#8221; by Jaehan Bae, Richard Teague, Sean M. Andrews, Myriam Benisty, Stefano Facchini, Maria Galloway-Sprietsma, Ryan A. Loomis, Yuri Aikawa, Felipe Alarc&#xF3;n, Edwin Bergin, Jennifer B. Bergner, Alice S. Booth, Gianni Cataldi, L. Ilsedore Cleeves, Ian Czekala, Viviana V. Guzm&#xE1;n, Jane Huang, John D. Ilee, Nicolas T. Kurtovic, Charles J. Law, Romane Le Gal, Yao Liu, Feng Long, Fran&#xE7;ois M&#xE9;nard, Karin I. &#xD6;berg, Laura M. P&#xE9;rez, Chunhua Qi, Kamber R. Schwarz, Anibal Sierra, Catherine Walsh, David J. Wilner and Ke Zhang, 27 July 2022, <em>The Astrophysical Journal Letters</em>.<br /> DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ac7fa3<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>
  10. First of NASA’s SunRISE Satellites Complete – Will Track Hazardous Explosive Space Weather Events

    2022-08-11 04:56:07 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194225" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194225" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/First-SunRISE-SmallSat-777x530.jpg" alt="First SunRISE SmallSat" width="777" height="530" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/First-SunRISE-SmallSat-777x530.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/First-SunRISE-SmallSat-400x273.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/First-SunRISE-SmallSat-768x524.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/First-SunRISE-SmallSat.jpg 1041w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194225" class="wp-caption-text">The first of six SunRISE SmallSats is shown here at a Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory clean room being worked on by engineers. Pointed toward the camera is the SmallSat&#x2019;s Sun-facing side, including its fully deployed solar arrays. Credit: SDL/Allison Bills</p> <p><strong>Six of these tiny satellites will work together, creating the largest radio telescope ever launched to detect and track hazardous explosive space weather events.</strong></p> <p>Constructing a 6-mile-wide (10-kilometer-wide) telescope in space may sound like science fiction. However, through the combined power of six toaster-size satellites, that&#x2019;s what NASA&#x2019;s SunRISE will be: a gigantic radio telescope in orbit that will help deepen scientists&#x2019; understanding of explosive space weather events. These phenomena generate hazardous particle radiation that can endanger astronauts and technology in space while also threatening communications and power grids on Earth.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194224" loading="lazy" class="wp-image-194224" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-SunRISE-Poster-692x1024.jpg" alt="NASA SunRISE Poster" width="360" height="533" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-SunRISE-Poster-692x1024.jpg 692w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-SunRISE-Poster-270x400.jpg 270w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-SunRISE-Poster-768x1137.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-SunRISE-Poster-1038x1536.jpg 1038w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-SunRISE-Poster-1383x2048.jpg 1383w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-SunRISE-Poster.jpg 1459w" sizes="(max-width: 360px) 100vw, 360px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194224" class="wp-caption-text">This illustrated poster shows a flare erupting from the Sun and the six SunRISE SmallSats flying in formation. Radio bursts are generated by these explosive events and, to detect them, the satellites create a vast virtual telescope &#x2013; depicted here by the wireframe dish. Download Poster. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech</p> <p>In anticipation of the planned 2024 launch of SunRISE &#x2013; short for Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment &#x2013; the first of those small satellites has already been completed. It was built at Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) in Logan, which is contracted to build, test, and commission all six satellites for NASA.</p> <p>&#x201C;It&#x2019;s really exciting to see the space vehicles coming together,&#x201D; said Jim Lux, SunRISE project manager at NASA&#x2019;s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. &#x201C;In a couple of years, these satellites will form a vast space telescope observing the Sun in a way that is impossible from Earth&#x2019;s surface.&#x201D;</p> <p>Each small satellite, or SmallSat, will act as a single antenna to detect bursts of radio waves from the Sun&#x2019;s superheated atmosphere, known as the corona. Each is equipped with four telescoping antenna booms that extend about 10 feet (2.5 meters) to form an &#x201C;X.&#8221; They will orbit Earth from about 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) away, swarming together to trace out one huge virtual radio telescope.</p> <p>After NASA&#x2019;s Deep Space Network receives the signals from all six SmallSats, scientists will use the technique of interferometry to create a large-aperture radio telescope as wide as the distance between the SmallSats that are farthest apart &#x2013; about 6 miles (10 kilometers).</p> <p>Ground-based radio telescopes, such as the iconic Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico, often use interferometry to combine the observing power of many individual antennas. However, SunRISE will have a unique advantage over its ground-based cousins: It will be able to &#x201C;see&#x201D; the long radio wavelengths that are blocked by a layer of our planet&#x2019;s upper atmosphere known as the ionosphere. Because of this, SunRISE will pinpoint where solar radio bursts, or sudden event-type emissions of radio waves, erupt higher up in the Sun&#x2019;s corona. Then the SunRISE team can create detailed maps of their positions in 3D.</p> <p><strong>Hazardous Space Weather</strong></p> <p>The Sun&#x2019;s corona is a hotbed of activity, where superheated solar particles and powerful magnetic fields mix, erupting with solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Flares and CMEs can, in turn, accelerate solar energetic particles, which also originate in the corona, creating a hazard for human activities throughout the solar system. Solar radio bursts have been associated with solar energetic particle events and are known to precede their arrival at Earth by tens of minutes.</p> <p>By pinpointing the locations of solar radio bursts, SunRISE will illustrate how an early warning of incoming solar energetic particle events might be of benefit. And if researchers can locate regions of particle acceleration by tracking solar radio bursts relative to where CMEs occur, they can investigate how CMEs lead to radio bursts. In addition to delivering 3D images, SunRISE will map the pattern of solar magnetic field lines that reach far into interplanetary space as the radio bursts are generated along them. Additionally, the telescope will be constantly watching the Sun for radio bursts popping off randomly throughout the corona.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194227" loading="lazy" class="size-full wp-image-194227" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/NASA-SunRISE-Animation.gif" alt="NASA SunRISE Animation" width="777" height="437"><p id="caption-attachment-194227" class="wp-caption-text">This animation shows the six SunRISE SmallSats tracing out a virtual space telescope as they detect a solar radio burst (shown as blue ripples) and then transmit their data (shown as green wavy lines) to the Deep Space Network on Earth. Credit: NASA</p> <p>&#x201C;The ultimate goal of the mission is to help scientists better understand the mechanisms driving these explosive space weather events,&#x201D; said Justin Kasper, SunRISE principal investigator at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. &#x201C;These high-energy solar particles can jeopardize unprotected astronauts and technology. By tracking the radio bursts associated with these events, we can be better prepared and informed.&#x201D;</p> <p>The mission&#x2019;s observations will be used in conjunction with data from other space missions and ground-based observatories. For instance, SunRISE may image solar radio bursts as NASA&#x2019;s Parker Solar Probe zips through them, providing an opportunity to see how the solar energetic particles are accelerated. And by combining SunRISE data with observations made by the NASA-ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), scientists will be able to determine how and where CMEs can trigger different types of radio bursts as they travel from the Sun, and how many of the accelerated particles arrive in Earth&#x2019;s vicinity.</p> <p><strong>More About the Mission</strong></p> <p>SunRISE is a Mission of Opportunity under the Heliophysics Division of NASA&#x2019;s Explorers Program Office. Missions of Opportunity are part of the Explorers Program, the oldest continuous NASA program designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space using principal investigator-led space science investigations relevant to the Science Mission Directorate&#x2019;s (SMD) astrophysics and heliophysics programs. The program is managed by NASA&#x2019;s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for SMD. SunRISE is led by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and managed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California.<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>
  11. Galactic Archeologists Discover “Fossil” of One of the First Ever Galaxies

    2022-08-10 17:47:53 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-180140" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-180140" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Ultra-Faint-Dwarf-Galaxy-Pegasus-V-777x396.jpg" alt="Ultra-Faint Dwarf Galaxy Pegasus V" width="777" height="396" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Ultra-Faint-Dwarf-Galaxy-Pegasus-V-777x396.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Ultra-Faint-Dwarf-Galaxy-Pegasus-V-400x204.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Ultra-Faint-Dwarf-Galaxy-Pegasus-V-768x391.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Ultra-Faint-Dwarf-Galaxy-Pegasus-V-1536x783.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Ultra-Faint-Dwarf-Galaxy-Pegasus-V.jpg 1992w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-180140" class="wp-caption-text">A unique ultra-faint dwarf galaxy has been discovered in the outer fringes of the Andromeda Galaxy thanks to the sharp eyes of an amateur astronomer examining archival data from the US Department of Energy-fabricated Dark Energy Camera on the V&#xED;ctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) and processed by the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC). Follow-up by professional astronomers using the International Gemini Observatory revealed that the dwarf galaxy &#x2014; Pegasus V &#x2014; contains very few heavier elements and is likely to be a fossil of the first galaxies. Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, Acknowledgment: Image processing: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF&#x2019;s NOIRLab), M. Zamani (NSF&#x2019;s NOIRLab) &amp; D. de Martin (NSF&#x2019;s NOIRLab)</p> <p><strong>New fossil galaxy discovery could answer important questions about the history of the universe.</strong></p> <p>An ultra-faint dwarf galaxy, thought to be a &#x201C;fossil&#x201D; of one of the first ever galaxies, has been discovered by galactic archeologists at the University of Surrey in the UK.</p> <p>The fossil was uncovered via a systematic visual search of legacy survey images using the Mayall 4-meter telescope, led by Dr. David Martinez Delgado. It could teach astrophysicists about how galaxies form and confirm their understanding of cosmology and dark matter.</p> <p>Dr. Michelle Collins, an astronomer at the University of Surrey and lead author of the paper announcing this discovery said:</p> <p>&#x201C;We have found a new, extremely faint galaxy whose stars formed very early in the history of the Universe. This discovery marks the first time a galaxy this faint has been found around Andromeda using an astronomical survey that wasn&#8217;t specifically designed for the task.&#x201D;</p> <p>Named &#x2018;Pegasus V,&#x2019; the dwarf galaxy is located on the outskirts of the Andromeda galaxy and appears as just a few sparse stars hidden in the sky.</p> <p><iframe loading="lazy" title="Ultra-Faint Fossil Galaxy Discovered on Outskirts of Andromeda" width="500" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/v_BfGQGCbnU?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>The discovery was made in collaboration with NSF NOIRLab and the International Gemini Observatory.</p> <p>Emily Charles, a PhD student at the University of Surrey who was also involved in the study said:</p> <p>&#x201C;The trouble with these extremely faint galaxies is that they have very few of the bright stars which we typically use to identify them and measure their distances. Gemini&#x2019;s large 8.1-meter mirror allowed us to find faint, old stars which enabled and allowed us to both to measure the distance to Pegasus V and to determine that its stellar population is extremely old.&#x201D;</p> <p>More astronomical facilities are looking into researching faint galaxies in the near future.</p> <p>For more on this discovery, see Unusual Fossil Galaxy Discovered on Outskirts of Andromeda.</p> <p>Reference: &#x201C;Pegasus V &#x2014; a newly discovered ultra-faint dwarf galaxy on the outskirts of Andromeda&#x201D; by Michelle L. M. Collins, Emily J. E. Charles, David Mart&#xED;nez-Delgado, Matteo Monelli, Noushin Karim, Giuseppe Donatiello, Erik J. Tollerud, Walter Boschin, 27 July 2022, <em>Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society</em>.<br /> DOI: 10.1093/mnrasl/slac063<br /> arXiv:2204.09068<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>
  12. Critical Research Under Way on Space Station Benefiting Humans on and off Earth

    2022-08-09 12:01:07 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-164402" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-164402" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/International-Space-Station-Pictured-From-SpaceX-Crew-Dragon-Endeavour-777x518.jpg" alt="International Space Station Pictured From SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour" width="777" height="518" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/International-Space-Station-Pictured-From-SpaceX-Crew-Dragon-Endeavour-777x518.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/International-Space-Station-Pictured-From-SpaceX-Crew-Dragon-Endeavour-400x267.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/International-Space-Station-Pictured-From-SpaceX-Crew-Dragon-Endeavour-768x512.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/International-Space-Station-Pictured-From-SpaceX-Crew-Dragon-Endeavour-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/International-Space-Station-Pictured-From-SpaceX-Crew-Dragon-Endeavour-2048x1365.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-164402" class="wp-caption-text">The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around of the orbiting lab that took place following its undocking from the Harmony module&#x2019;s space-facing port on November 8, 2021. Credit: NASA</p> <p>A busy week of critical research benefitting humans living on and off the Earth kicked off for the seven Expedition 67 residents of the International Space Station (ISS). The orbital residents also continued supporting the ISS&#x2019;s vast array of flight, research, and life support systems.</p> <p>Astronauts Bob Hines of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) took turns on Monday cleaning hardware and supporting samples for a biology investigation that is exploring skin healing in space. Observations may provide insights into improving wound healing therapies for both astronauts and Earthlings. Hines then spent the afternoon installing seed cartridges and root modules for the XROOTS space agriculture study to begin a 30-day growth period of radishes and mizuna greens. The research uses hydroponics and aeroponics techniques to learn how to produce crops on a larger scale on future manned missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194067" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194067" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Spacewalker-Samantha-Cristoforetti-777x518.jpg" alt="Spacewalker Samantha Cristoforetti" width="777" height="518" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Spacewalker-Samantha-Cristoforetti-777x518.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Spacewalker-Samantha-Cristoforetti-400x267.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Spacewalker-Samantha-Cristoforetti-768x512.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Spacewalker-Samantha-Cristoforetti-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Spacewalker-Samantha-Cristoforetti-2048x1365.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194067" class="wp-caption-text">Spacewalker Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) works outside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module on the International Space Station while wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit. During the spacewalk on July 21, 2022, which lasted seven hours and five minutes, she outfitted the European robotic arm attached to Nauka during. Credit: NASA</p> <p>NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren opened up the Kibo laboratory module&#x2019;s airlock and retrieved an external science platform. He also installed a small satellite deployer on the research gear. The deployer will be placed outside Kibo in the vacuum of space before deploying a set of CubeSats into low-Earth orbit for a variety of research and education programs.</p> <p>NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins started her morning with cable connections inside a refrigerator-sized research rack called the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR). The CIR is located in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module and enables safe examinations into the behavior of fuels, flames, and soot, in weightlessness. Watkins then assisted Lindgren in the afternoon as he installed a barrier on the Quest airlock&#x2019;s vent relief and isolation valve to prevent inadvertent contact with the life support device.</p> <p>Two cosmonauts, station Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev, spent Monday servicing a pair of Russian Orlan spacesuits. The pair inspected the suits&#x2019; communications and life support systems. Sergey Korsakov, Roscosmos Flight Engineer, began his day exploring future spacecraft piloting and robotic control techniques. Later he moved on to inspections in the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module and ventilation maintenance the Zvezda service module.<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>
  13. Don’t Miss: Sturgeon Supermoon + Perseids Meteor Shower, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter & Vega

    2022-08-09 09:50:26 UTC

    <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194037" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194037" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Supermoon-Rises-Behind-Washington-Monument-Crop-777x612.jpg" alt="Supermoon Rises Behind Washington Monument Crop" width="777" height="612" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Supermoon-Rises-Behind-Washington-Monument-Crop-777x612.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Supermoon-Rises-Behind-Washington-Monument-Crop-400x315.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Supermoon-Rises-Behind-Washington-Monument-Crop-768x605.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Supermoon-Rises-Behind-Washington-Monument-Crop-1536x1210.jpg 1536w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Supermoon-Rises-Behind-Washington-Monument-Crop-2048x1614.jpg 2048w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194037" class="wp-caption-text">A supermoon rises behind the Washington Monument, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in Washington. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls</p> <p><strong>The next full moon is a marginal supermoon and is called the Sturgeon Moon. It&#x2019;s also known as the Green Corn Moon, the Raksha Bandhan Festival Moon, Nikini Poya, the end of the Esala Perahera Festival, and the Tu B&#8217;Av Holiday Moon.</strong></p> <p>The next full moon will be Thursday night, August 11, 2022, appearing opposite of the Sun in Earth-based longitude at 9:36 p.m. EDT (6:36 p.m. PDT). This will be on Friday morning for the time zones east of Cape Verde time, which includes Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the time zone used by most commercial calendars. The Moon will appear full for about three days from Wednesday morning through Saturday morning. The planet Saturn will appear near the Moon. Saturn will be near its brightest for the year, which will occur just a few days later.</p> <h3>One Moon, Many Names</h3> <p>Some of the most widely known and used names for full moons come from the Maine Farmer&#8217;s Almanac, which began publishing Native American names for the full moons in the 1930s. According to this almanac, the Algonquin tribes in what is now the northeastern United States called the full moon in August the Sturgeon Moon after the large fish that were more easily caught this time of year in the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water. This Moon was also known as the Green Corn Moon.</p> <p>This full moon corresponds with the Hindu festival Raksha Bandhan, celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters. One of the traditions is for sisters of all ages to tie a rakhi (a cotton bracelet) around their brother&#8217;s wrist, receiving a gift from the brother in return, as a sign of the continuing bond between them. The term &#8220;Raksha Bandhan&#8221; translates as &#8220;the bond of protection, obligation, or care.&#8221;</p> <p>In Sri Lanka, every full moon is a holiday. This full moon is called Nikini Poya, commemorating the first Buddhist council that occurred about 2,400 years ago, sometime around 400 BCE. In Kandy, Sri Lanka, this full moon corresponds with the end of the Esala Perahera festival, also known as the Festival of the Tooth. It is a two-week Buddhist festival held each year.</p> <h3>The Sturgeon Supermoon</h3> <p>Some publications consider this to be a supermoon, as it is the third closest full moon of the year. The term &#8220;supermoon&#8221; was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 as either a new or full moon that occurs when the Moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth. Since we can&#8217;t see new supermoons (except when the Moon passes in front of the Sun and causes an eclipse), what has caught the public&#8217;s attention are full supermoons, as these are the biggest and brightest full moons of the year. Since perigee varies with each orbit, different publications use different standards for deciding which full moons qualify. The full moons in June and July were closer.</p> <h3>The Moon and Calendars</h3> <p>In many traditional lunisolar and lunar calendars, full moons fall in the middle of the lunar months. This full moon is in the middle of the seventh month of the Chinese calendar and Av in the Hebrew calendar, corresponding with Tu B&#8217;Av, a holiday in modern Israel similar to Valentine&#8217;s Day. This full moon falls near the middle of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic year and one of the four sacred months during which warfare is forbidden.</p> <p>For Science Fiction fans, a note on the author Theodore Sturgeon (in honor of the Sturgeon Moon). According to Wikipedia, Theodore Sturgeon wrote over 200 stories, mostly science fiction but some mystery and horror stories. For Star Trek fans, his scripts introduced important concepts into the series, although only two of his scripts were produced. His Star Trek scripts introduced &#8220;pon far,&#8221; the Vulcan hand symbol, the phrase &#8220;live long and prosper,&#8221; and (in a script that was not produced but that influenced later scripts) the &#8220;Prime Directive.&#8221;</p> <p>As usual, the wearing of suitably celebratory celestial attire is encouraged in honor of the full moon. In addition, keep in touch with your siblings, avoid starting any wars, and consider reading some Theodore Sturgeon.</p> <img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-194036" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-194036" src="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Full-Moon-Over-Santa-Clarita-California-777x546.jpg" alt="Full Moon Over Santa Clarita, California" width="777" height="546" srcset="https://scitechdaily.com/images/Full-Moon-Over-Santa-Clarita-California-777x546.jpg 777w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Full-Moon-Over-Santa-Clarita-California-400x281.jpg 400w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Full-Moon-Over-Santa-Clarita-California-768x540.jpg 768w, https://scitechdaily.com/images/Full-Moon-Over-Santa-Clarita-California.jpg 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px" /><p id="caption-attachment-194036" class="wp-caption-text">The full moon over Santa Clarita, California, on July 13, 2022. Credit: NASA/Kevin Gill</p> <p><b>Here is a summary of celestial events between now and the full moon after next (with times and angles based on the location of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.):</b></p> <p>As summer continues the daily periods of sunlight continue to shorten. On Wednesday, August 11, 2022, the day of the full moon, morning twilight will begin at 5:14 a.m. EDT, sunrise will be at 6:18 a.m., solar noon will be at 1:13:20 p.m. when the Sun will reach its maximum altitude of 66.24 degrees, sunset will be at 8:08 p.m., and evening twilight will end at 9:11 p.m. By Saturday, September 10, the day of the full moon after next, morning twilight will begin at 5:46 a.m., sunrise will be at 6:45 AM, solar noon will be at 1:05:11 p.m. when the Sun will reach its maximum altitude of 55.88 degrees, sunset will be at 7:24 p.m., and evening twilight will end at 8:23 p.m.</p> <h3>Perseids vs the Moon</h3> <p>Several meteor showers are expected to peak during this lunar cycle, but moonlight will interfere with the most promising shower. According to the International Meteor Organization, the Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak late Friday night into early Saturday morning, August 12 to 13, 2022. Although the Perseids can be one of the major meteor showers of the year, in 2022 the nearly full moon will make it difficult to see these meteors. Should you look for these meteors, the best time will be after midnight on Saturday morning, you will need to be far from light pollution and other light sources and to find a place that has a clear view of a clear sky with no clouds or haze. You will need to look toward the north away from the light of the Moon. The other three meteor showers peaking during this lunar cycle are expected to peak at 3 to 6 meteors per hour at best (and fewer under urban viewing conditions).</p> <h3>Evening Sky Highlights</h3> <p>On the evening of Thursday, August 11, 2022, the day of the full moon, as evening twilight ends at 9:11 p.m. EDT, the rising Moon will appear 7 degrees above the east-southeastern horizon with the planet Saturn 6 degrees to the upper left of the Moon. The planet Mercury will have set about 4 minutes before but may be visible in the glow of dusk before it sets. The bright star appearing closest to directly overhead will be Vega at 76 degrees above the eastern horizon. Vega is the 5th brightest star in our night sky, about 25 light-years from Earth, twice the mass of, and 40 times brighter than our Sun.</p> <p>As the lunar cycle progresses, Saturn and the background of stars will appear to shift westward each evening as Earth moves around the Sun. Saturn will be at its closest and brightest for the year on August 14, rising around sunset and setting around sunrise. Through much of August the planet Mercury will set just a few minutes before evening twilight ends but will be shifting to the left along the horizon farther from the Sun. This increases the chance Mercury will be visible in the glow of dusk. Toward the end of August Mercury will stop shifting away from the Sun, as it will reach its greatest separation from the Sun for this apparition on August 27, and will begin setting earlier each evening, making it harder to see. The waxing moon will pass near Mercury on August 29, the bright star Spica on August 30, the bright star Antares on September 3, and Saturn on September 7 and 8. Beginning around September 5, the bright planet Jupiter will begin appearing above the eastern horizon as evening twilight ends, joining Saturn in the evening sky.</p> <p>By the evening of Saturday, September 10, the day of the full moon after next, as evening twilight ends at 8:23 p.m. EDT, the rising Moon will appear 4 degrees above the eastern horizon. Jupiter will appear to the left of the Moon less than 3 degrees above the eastern horizon. Saturn will appear 21 degrees above the southeastern horizon. Mercury will no longer be visible in the glow of dusk as it will set 30 minutes after sunset. The bright star Vega will appear almost exactly overhead at 89.5 degrees above the horizon.</p> <h3>Morning Sky Highlights</h3> <p>On the morning of Thursday, August 11, 2022, the day of the full moon, as morning twilight begins at 5:14 a.m. EDT, four of the five visible planets will appear spread across the sky, with Saturn at 14 degrees above the southwestern horizon, Jupiter at 51 degrees above the south-southwestern horizon, Mars at 55 degrees above the east-southeastern horizon, and Venus at 5 degrees above the east-northeastern horizon. The full moon will be setting on the west-southwestern horizon below Saturn. The bright celestial object appearing closest to overhead will be the planet Mars.</p> <p>As the lunar cycle progresses, the background of stars along with Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars will appear to shift westward each morning, although Mars will appear to shift more slowly. Venus will appear to shift the opposite way, closer to the eastern horizon each morning. The Perseid meteor shower will peak on the morning of Aug, 13, but the light of the nearly full moon will interfere with seeing these meteors this year (especially with the added light pollution in more urban environments). Saturn will be at its closest and brightest for the year on August 14, rising around sunset and setting around sunrise. The waning moon will pass near Saturn on August 12, the bright planet Jupiter on August 15, Mars and the Pleiades star cluster on Aug/ 19, the bright star Aldebaran on August 20, the bright star Pollux on August 23 and 24, and the bright planet Venus on August 25 and 26. August 26 will be the last morning that Saturn will be above the west-southwestern horizon (as morning twilight begins) and September 6 will be the last morning that Venus will be above the east-northeastern horizon.</p> <p>By the morning of Saturday, September 10, the day of the full moon after next, as morning twilight begins at 5:46 a.m. EDT, only two of the five visible planets will appear in the sky, with Jupiter at 29 degrees above the west-southwestern horizon and Mars at 70 degrees above the south-southeastern horizon near the bright star Aldebaran. The full moon will be 10 degrees above the west-southwestern horizon below the planet Jupiter. The bright star appearing closest to overhead will be Capella at 73 degrees above the east-northeastern horizon. Although we see Capella as a single star (the 6th brightest in our night sky), it is actually four stars (two pairs of stars orbiting each other). Capella is about 43 lightyears from us.</p> <h2>Detailed Daily Guide</h2> <p>Here is a more detailed, day-by-day listing of celestial events between now and the full Moon after next. The times and angles are based on the location of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., so some of these details may differ for your location.</p> <h3>August 6-7</h3> <p>Saturday morning, August 6, 2022, low on the east-northeastern horizon, the bright star Pollux will appear 6.5 degrees to the upper left of the bright planet, Venus. Venus will rise (at 4:32 a.m. EDT) about a half-hour before morning twilight begins and will be 6 degrees above the east-northeastern horizon as twilight begins at 5:09 a.m. Venus will be shifting closer to the horizon each morning, while Pollux is shifting higher, and this will be the morning when the pair will appear at their closest.</p> <p>Saturday evening into early Sunday morning, August 6 to 7, 2022, the bright star Antares will appear about 6 degrees to the left of the waxing gibbous moon. As evening twilight ends at 9:18 p.m. EDT, the Moon will appear 26 degrees above the south-southwestern horizon. The Moon will set below the west-southwestern horizon about 4 hours later at 1:04 a.m. on Sunday.</p> <h3>August 10</h3> <p>Wednesday afternoon, August 10, 2022, at 1:10 p.m. EDT, the Moon will be at perigee, its closest to Earth for this orbit.</p> <h3>August 11: The Full Sturgeon Supermoon</h3> <p>As mentioned above, the next full moon will be Thursday night, August 11, 2022, at 9:36 p.m. EDT. The Moon will appear full for about three days from Wednesday morning through Saturday morning.</p> <p>The planet Saturn, nearly at its brightest for the year, will appear above the Moon Thursday night into Friday morning, August 11 to 12, 2022, shifting from the upper left to the upper right as the night progresses.</p> <h3>August 12-13: Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks</h3> <p>The Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak late Friday night into early Saturday morning, August 12 to 13, 2022. Moonlight will make it difficult to see these meteors this year. If you do decide to look for these meteors, the best time should be after midnight on Saturday morning. You will need to be far from the city or other light sources in a place with no clouds or haze and have a clear view of a large expanse of sky. You will need to look northward away from the glow of the Moon.</p> <h3>August 14</h3> <p>Midday on Sunday, August 14, 2022, the planet Saturn will be opposite Earth from the Sun (called &#8220;opposition&#8221;), effectively a &#8220;full&#8221; Saturn. Saturn will be at its closest to Earth for the year, appearing at its brightest.</p> <p>On Sunday night into Monday morning, August 14 to 15, 2022, Jupiter will appear to the left of the waning gibbous moon. The pair will rise above the eastern horizon at 9:58 p.m. EDT with Jupiter about 6 degrees to the left of the Moon. The Moon will reach its highest in the sky for the night Monday morning at 4:02 a.m. with Jupiter about 4 degrees above the Moon, and morning twilight will begin a little more than an hour later at 5:19 a.m.</p> <h3>August 17</h3> <p>On Wednesday morning, August 17, 2022, with binoculars or a small telescope. you might be able to see the Beehive star cluster to the left of Venus. Venus will appear about 4 degrees above the east-northeastern horizon as morning twilight begins at 5:21 a.m. EDT.</p> <h3>August 19</h3> <p>Friday morning, August 19, 2022, the half-full waning moon will appear near Mars and the Pleiades star cluster. Mars will be the last to rise above the east-northeastern horizon at 12:02 a.m. EDT, appearing below the Moon, with the Pleiades to the left of the Moon. The Moon will reach its last quarter at 12:36 a.m. By the time morning twilight begins at 5:23 a.m., the Moon will appear nearly between Mars and the Pleiades, with the Pleiades to the upper left and Mars to the lower right. Mars and the Pleiades will appear at their closest the next morning, Saturday, August 20, about 6 degrees apart.</p> <h3>August 20</h3> <p>Saturday morning, August 20, 2022, the bright star Aldebaran will appear about 8 degrees to the lower right of the waning crescent moon. The Moon will rise first, then Aldebaran will rise above the east-northeastern horizon at 12:52 a.m. EDT. Morning twilight will begin about 4.5 hours later at 5:24 a.m.</p> <h3>August 22</h3> <p>Monday, August 22, 2022, at 5:53 p.m. EDT, the Moon will be at apogee, its farthest from Earth for this orbit.</p> <h3>August 23</h3> <p>Tuesday morning, August 23, 2022, the bright star Pollux will appear about 8 degrees to the lower left of the waning crescent moon. The Moon will rise first, then Pollux will rise above the northeastern horizon at 3:03 a.m. EDT, more than two hours before morning twilight begins at 5:28 a.m.</p> <h3>August 24</h3> <p>By Wednesday morning, August 24, 2022, the Moon will appear below the bright star Pollux. When the Moon rises above the east-northeastern horizon at 3:29 a.m. EDT it will join Pollux. Morning twilight will begin about 2 hours later at 5:29 a.m.</p> <h3>August 25</h3> <p>Thursday morning, August 25, 2022, the bright planet Venus will appear about 8 degrees below the thin, waning crescent moon. The Moon will rise first, then Venus will join the Moon when it rises above the east-northeastern horizon at 5:12 a.m. EDT. Morning twilight will begin about 18 minutes later at 5:30 a.m.</p> <h3>August 26</h3> <p>Friday morning, August 26, 2022, you might be able to see the thin, waning crescent moon about 7 degrees to the lower left of Venus. The Moon will rise to join Venus above the east-northeastern horizon right around the time morning twilight begins at 5:31 a.m. EDT.</p> <h3>August 27: New Moon</h3> <p>Saturday morning, August 27, 2022, at 4:17 a.m. EDT, will be the new moon, when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth.</p> <p>Midday on Saturday will be when the planet Mercury reaches its greatest angular separation from the Sun as seen from Earth for this apparition (called greatest elongation), appearing half-lit through a large enough telescope. Because the angle of the line between the Sun and Mercury and the horizon changes with the seasons, when Mercury and the Sun appear farthest apart as seen from Earth is not the same as when Mercury is easiest to spot in the glow of dusk shortly before evening twilight ends.</p> <p>The day of or the day after the new moon marks the start of the new month for most lunar and lunisolar calendars. The eighth month of the Chinese calendar starts on Saturday, August 27, (at midnight in China&#8217;s time zone, which is 12 hours ahead of EDT). Sundown on Saturday, August 27, marks the start of Elul in the Hebrew calendar. Elul is a time of preparation for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Customs include granting and asking others for forgiveness as well as beginning or ending all letters with the wish that the recipient will have a good year. In the Islamic calendar, the months traditionally start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent moon. Many Muslim communities now follow the Umm al-Qura Calendar of Saudi Arabia, which uses astronomical calculations to start months in a more predictable way. Using this calendar, sundown on Saturday, August 27, will probably mark the beginning of Safar.</p> <h3>August 29</h3> <p>For about 20 minutes on Monday evening, August 29, 2022, you might be able to see Mercury below the thin, waxing crescent moon. Try looking on the western horizon more than 30 minutes after sunset after 8:13 p.m. EDT but before Mercury sets at 8:35 p.m. The glow of dusk will make it hard to see the pair without binoculars or a telescope, as Mercury will set about 8 minutes before evening twilight ends at 8:43 p.m.</p> <h3>August 30</h3> <p>On Tuesday evening, August 30, 2022, the bright star Spica will appear about 5 degrees to the left of the thin, waxing crescent moon. The Moon will appear 9 degrees above the west-southwestern horizon as evening twilight ends at 8:41 p.m. EDT, and Spica will set first about 40 minutes later at 9:23 p.m.</p> <h3>September 3</h3> <p>On Saturday afternoon, September 3, 2022, the Moon will appear half-full as it reaches its first quarter at 2:08 p.m. EDT (when we cannot see it from the Washington, D.C. area).</p> <p>On Saturday evening, the bright star Antares will appear about 6 degrees to the lower right of the half moon. The Moon will be 22 degrees above the south-southwestern horizon as evening twilight ends at 8:35 p.m. EDT, and Antares will set first on the southwestern horizon less than 3 hours later at 11:14 p.m.</p> <h3>September 6-8</h3> <p>Late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, September 6 to 7, 2022, will be when Mars and the bright star Aldebaran appear near each other, a little more than 4 degrees apart. Mars will rise first, with Aldebaran rising above the east-northeastern horizon near midnight at 11:45 p.m. EDT. Mars will be 69 degrees above the southeastern horizon as morning twilight begins on Wednesday morning at 5:43 a.m.</p> <p>Wednesday afternoon at 2:19 p.m. EDT, the Moon will be at perigee, its closest to Earth for this orbit.</p> <p>On Wednesday night into Thursday morning, September 7 to 8, 2022, Saturn will appear above the waxing gibbous Moon. Saturn will be about 9 degrees to the upper left of the Moon as evening twilight ends (Wednesday at 8:28 p.m. EDT). The Moon will reach its highest in the sky for the night less than 3 hours later at 11:13 p.m. By the time the Moon sets below the west-southwestern horizon about 5 hours later (Thursday at 4:14 a.m.), Saturn will appear about 6 degrees to the upper right of the Moon.</p> <h3>September 10: The Full Moon After Next</h3> <p>The full moon after next will be on Saturday morning, September 10, 2022, at 5:59 a.m. EDT. The Moon will appear full for about three days from Thursday evening to Sunday morning.<!--TrendMD v2.4.8--></p>