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  1. #1231
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    Juno prepares to jump Jupiter’s shadow
    Deborah Byrd in SPACE | October 3, 2019

    NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter has now successfully executed a 10.5-hour propulsive maneuver. It’ll keep Juno – a solar-powered spacecraft – out of a mission-ending shadow due to have been cast by Jupiter onto the craft in November.


    In this animated gif, you’re riding on the Juno spacecraft – now in orbit around Jupiter – as it approaches Jupiter. An orbit adjustment this week has ensured the solar-powered spacecraft won’t end its mission in Jupiter’s shadow on November 3. Here, you can see Jupiter’s rings and auroras. The distant sun is depicted as the yellow dot rising up just to the left of the planet. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI.
    Since its launch in 2011, the Juno mission to Jupiter has been the little spacecraft that could, thanks to the persistence of its controllers. The craft – first to orbit Jupiter since the Galileo mission (1995-2003) – traveled nearly 2 billion miles to Jupiter and entered a highly elliptical, 53-day polar orbit around the planet on July 5, 2016. The craft was expected to enter a 14-day science orbit a few months later, but a suspected problem in Juno’s main engine nixed that idea. So Juno has remained in its 53-day orbit. It flies out a million miles from the giant planet on each circuit, then sweeps in to within 3,000 miles (5,000 km) from Jupiter’s cloudtops, all the while doing science and advancing our knowledge about our solar system’s largest planet. Then, more recently, space engineers realized that – during the solar-powered spacecraft’s next close flyby of the planet on November 3, 2019 – Juno would be flying through Jupiter’s shadow for some 12 hours. That would have been long enough to drain the spacecraft’s batteries and end the mission! But now a successful propulsive maneuver has saved the day. Its controllers confirm it will now stay out of the shadow … and survive to continue doing science.

    Space engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, began executing the maneuver on September 30, 2019, at 7:46 p.m. EDT (23:46 UTC) and completed it early on October 1. In all, the maneuver lasted 10.5 hours, an extraordinarily long time by Juno mission standards. NASA said in a statement:

    Using the spacecraft’s reaction-control thrusters, the propulsive maneuver lasted five times longer than any previous use of that system. It changed Juno’s orbital velocity by 126 mph (203 kph) and consumed about 160 pounds (73 kilograms) of fuel. Without this maneuver, Juno would have spent 12 hours in transit across Jupiter’s shadow – more than enough time to drain the spacecraft’s batteries. Without power, and with spacecraft temperatures plummeting, Juno would likely succumb to the cold and be unable to awaken upon exit.


    Speaking of shadows, here’s the shadow of Jupiter’s moon Io, falling on Jupiter’s cloudtops, as captured by the Juno spacecraft on September 11, 2019. Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill created this enhanced-color image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager. Image via Juno Image Gallery.
    Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio is Juno’s principal investigator. He said:

    With the success of this burn, we are on track to jump the shadow on November 3.

    Jumping over the shadow was an amazingly creative solution to what seemed like a fatal geometry. Eclipses are generally not friends of solar-powered spacecraft. Now instead of worrying about freezing to death, I am looking forward to the next science discovery that Jupiter has in store for Juno.

    Ed Hirst, Juno project manager at JPL, said:

    Pre-launch mission planning did not anticipate a lengthy eclipse that would plunge our solar-powered spacecraft into darkness. That we could plan and execute the necessary maneuver while operating in Jupiter’s orbit is a testament to the ingenuity and skill of our team, along with the extraordinary capability and versatility of our spacecraft.

    Thus – despite its initial difficulties and this most recent potential heart-stopper – Juno will survive to continue its mission and its contributions to science.
    Last edited by ilan; 10-05-2019 at 01:11 PM.
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  2. #1232
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    The violent history of Andromeda, the big galaxy next door
    Deborah Byrd in SPACE | October 6, 2019

    “The Milky Way is on a collision course with Andromeda in about 4 billion years. So knowing what kind of a monster our galaxy is up against is useful in finding out the Milky Way’s ultimate fate.”


    Navaneeth Unnikrishnan of Kerala, India, created this wonderful stacked image of the Andromeda galaxy with images taken in 2014.
    Standing outside on a clear night, in a dark country location, you can look across vast space to see the Andromeda galaxy, aka M31 – the large spiral galaxy next door to our Milky Way – the most distant thing we humans can see with the eye alone. This huge galaxy is twice the diameter of our Milky Way at about 200,000 light-years. It contains about a trillion stars, in contrast to the Milky Way’s 250-400 billion. To the eye, it looks peaceful, but, as astronomers have studied it, they’ve uncovered a violent past and future. For example, on October 1, 2019, astronomers announced evidence for two major “migration events” in the history of the Andromeda galaxy, that is, events where smaller dwarf galaxies merged with the larger galaxy. The more recent one happened a few billion years ago and the older event many billions of years before that.

    The evidence for the two events comes from the relatively new field of galactic archaeology, that is, the use of the motions and properties of stars and star clusters – in this case, globular star clusters – to reconstruct a galaxy’s history. A statement from Gemini Observatory explained:

    Gas and dwarf galaxies in the vast cosmic web follow the gravitational paths laid out by dark matter – traversing filaments, they migrate slowly toward collections of dark matter and assemble into large galaxies. As dwarf galaxies are pulled in by gravity, they are also pulled apart, leaving behind long trailing streams of stars and compact star clusters.

    Astronomers study the leftover streams of stars – still visible in modern galaxies – to unearth a galaxy’s history. In this case, the astronomers analyzed data from the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey, known as PAndAS. Their study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature on October 2. Australian National University researcher Dougal Mackey co-led the study with Geraint Lewis from the University of Sydney. Lewis commented:

    We are cosmic archaeologists, except we are digging through the fossils of long-dead galaxies rather than human history.

    Dougal Mackey said:

    By tracing the faint remains of these smaller galaxies with embedded star clusters, we’ve been able to recreate the way Andromeda drew them in and ultimately enveloped them at the different times.

    The discovery presents several new mysteries, with the two bouts of galactic feeding coming from completely different directions. Lewis said:

    This is very weird and suggests that the extragalactic meals are fed from what’s known as the ‘cosmic web’ of matter that threads the universe.
    More surprising is the discovery that the direction of the ancient feeding is the same as the bizarre ‘plane of satellites,’ an unexpected alignment of dwarf galaxies orbiting Andromeda.

    Mackey and Lewis were part of a team that previously discovered such planes were fragile and rapidly destroyed by Andromeda’s gravity within a few billion years. Lewis said:

    This deepens the mystery as the plane must be young, but it appears to be aligned with ancient feeding of dwarf galaxies. Maybe this is because of the cosmic web, but really, this is only speculation.
    We’re going to have to think quite hard to unravel what this is telling us.

    These astronomers also spoke of the future of the Andromeda galaxy and our Milky Way. The two large galaxies are currently approaching each other, and they are expected to collide several billion years from now. Mackey said:

    The Milky Way is on a collision course with Andromeda in about four billion years. So knowing what kind of a monster our galaxy is up against is useful in finding out the Milky Way’s ultimate fate.


    Artist’s concept of Earth’s night sky in 3.75 billion years. The Andromeda galaxy (left) will fill our field of view then, astronomers say, as it heads toward a collision, or merger, with our Milky way galaxy. Image via NASA/ESA/Z. Levay and R. van der Marel, STScI/T. Hallas; and A. Mellinger.
    Bottom line: Astronomers used galactic archaeology – the study of star motions in a modern galaxy – to uncover past mergings of small galaxies with the Andromeda galaxy. They say this work will help them understand a collision due to occur between the Andromeda galaxy and our Milky Way billions of years from now.
    Last edited by ilan; 10-06-2019 at 01:14 PM.
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  3. #1233
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    The Crab Nebula was an exploding star
    Larry Sessions in ASTRONOMY ESSENTIALS | CLUSTERS NEBULAE GALAXIES | October 5, 2019

    The Crab Nebula, about 6,500 light-years from Earth, is the scattered fragments of a supernova, or exploding star, observed by earthly skywatchers in the year 1054.


    The Crab Nebula is a cloud of gas and debris rushing outward from a great stellar explosion seen a thousand years ago by earthly skywatchers. The Hubble image above shows intricate filimentary structure in the expanding debris cloud. Color and contrast are enhanced to show detail. Image via NASA/ESA/J. Hester and A. Loll (Arizona State University).
    The Crab Nebula is so named because, as seen through a telescope with the human eye, it appears vaguely like a crab. In reality, it’s a vast, outwardly rushing cloud of gas and debris: the scattered fragments of a supernova, or exploding star. Earthly skywatchers saw a “guest” star in the constellation Taurus in July of 1054 A.D. Today, we know this was the supernova. The estimated distance to what’s left of this star – the Crab Nebula – is about 6,500 light-years. So the progenitor star must have blown up some 7,500 years ago.

    History of the Crab Nebula. On July 4, in the year 1054 A.D., Chinese astronomers noticed a bright “guest” star near Tianguan, a star we now call Zeta Tauri in the constellation of the Taurus the Bull. Although the historical records are not precise, the bright new star likely outshone Venus, and for a while was the third-brightest object in the sky, after the sun and moon.

    It shone in the daylight sky for several weeks, and was visible at night for nearly two years before fading from view.

    It is likely that skywatchers of the Anasazi People in the American Southwest also viewed the bright new star in 1054. Historic research shows that a crescent moon was visible in the sky very near the new star on the morning of July 5, the day following the observations by the Chinese. The pictograph above, from Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, is believed to depict the event. The multi-spiked star to the left represents the supernova near the crescent moon. The handprint above may signify the importance of the event, or may be the artist’s “signature.”

    From June or July 1056, the object was not seen again until 1731, when an observation of the now quite faint nebulosity was recorded by English amateur astronomer John Bevis. However, the object was rediscovered by French comet-hunter Charles Messier in 1758, and it soon became the first object in his catalog of objects not to be confused with comets, now known as the Messier Catalog. Thus, the Crab Nebula is often referred to as M1.
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    The UFO seekers flocking to a remote Thai hilltop in search of Buddhist aliens
    Richard S. Ehrlich, CNN | 5 October 2019


    The Buddha statue portrays a mythical seven-headed "naga" snake.
    Richard S. Ehrlich
    Nakhon Sawan (CNN) — A hilltop in central Thailand is attracting UFO seekers who believe extraterrestrials hover above a huge Buddha statue, send telepathic communiques, walk across nearby sugarcane fields and use a crocodile-infested lake as a portal from their planets -- Pluto and Loku.

    Though it may sound like science fiction, a small group of individuals claims messages from aliens arriving in spaceships include plenty of traditional religious teachings too -- leading them to believe they are actually Buddhist.

    It's all happening three hours by road or rail north from Bangkok in Nakhon Sawan -- which translates to "City of Heaven."

    Without all the UFO hype, it's just a laid-back small town. But followers believe that if you meditate on Khao Kala hill, outside of Nakhon Sawan, you could hear the talkative silver creatures as voices in your head, speaking whatever language your thoughts usually chatter.

    They do offer a disclaimer, saying there is no guarantee you will see UFOs or aliens, which are described as unpredictable, speaking or appearing spontaneously and disappearing after a few hours.


    Government attempts to ban gatherings


    The group's activities have gotten them into trouble with Thai authorities in recent weeks.

    Government officials reportedly grew alarmed when UFO seekers began crowding onto Khao Kala hill to see and talk with aliens, possibly endangering the area's official "protected forest area" status.

    Visitors are allowed to climb to the top of the hill and view the large Buddha statue and nearby "Buddha footprint," which are places of public worship. But the law forbids anyone from living or staying overnight in such zones, including previous UFO seekers who pitched tents at the site.

    In August, about 40 officials, including members of the Forestry Department, disbanded a group of Thai enthusiasts at the top of Khao Kala, and petitioned a court to ban mass gatherings there.

    On September 20, about 30 police and forestry officials confronted Wassana Chuensamnaun, lead campaigner for the extraterrestrials, and about 60 other UFO enthusiasts.

    The group, wearing white clothing, planned to have a video made while members "meditated" atop the hill after sunset in hopes of mind-melding with aliens, Wassana tells CNN Travel.

    Not wanting to be arrested, the UFO followers regrouped at the bottom of the hill on private property, meditated for a few hours and departed, she says.


    "When the UFO spun me, I didn't feel dizzy at all"

    As for the origins of the hill's supposed attractiveness to extraterrestrials, believers say it all began in 1997, when retired Sergeant-Major Cherd Chuensamnaun, deep in Buddhist meditation at home, received mental messages from what he insisted were aliens.

    He told his family. They scoffed.

    "I asked my father to tell the aliens to show themselves," says Wassana, his daughter.

    "The next day, the aliens sent energy to spin my brother and brother-in-law."

    She says the two men were yanked up from the living room sofa and spun simultaneously, like whirling dervishes, out of the house and into the yard.

    "I felt like my legs and my arms had to spin," adds Wassana's brother-in-law Jaroen Raepeth.

    "I could not control myself for four or five minutes. I didn't feel afraid. We both spun outside."

    Through an upstairs window, Wassana's sister-in-law says she saw a UFO.

    "It was about 10 or 15 meters long, at treetop level," adds Wassana.

    Asked to re-enact his spinning, Jaroen twirls slowly around the living room with his arms out, but soon falls down and stays on the floor, looking dazed.

    "I feel dizzy. But when the UFO spun me, I didn't feel dizzy at all."

    Wassana, who quit her job as a nurse to champion the extraterrestrial, says her father continued to receive telepathic messages over the years.

    "Before my father died [in 2000], he taught us how to communicate with the aliens," she adds.

    Today, she says more than 100 other Thais have this ability after practicing with her. Followers post updates and photos at the family's-linked UFOKaoKala Facebook group and elsewhere, some insisting they too have seen aliens and spaceships in the area.
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    Cosmic web fuels stars and supermassive black holes
    Deborah Byrd in SPACE | October 6, 2019

    Astronomers probed the cosmic web, a large-scale structure composed of massive filaments of galaxies separated by giant voids. They found the filaments also contained significant amounts of gas, believed to help fuel the galaxies’ growth.


    Astronomers now think of our universe as a cosmic web, composed of massive filaments of galaxies separated by giant voids. We don’t know in detail what this cosmic web is like. Most of our exploration of it has come via computer models, in particular the cold dark matter model for galaxy formation, the model currently favored by most cosmologists. The model shows that filaments in the cosmic web – essentially long threads of gas – provide the fuel for the intense formation of stars and supermassive black holes. On October 4, 2019, astronomers said they’ve now obtained images of a particularly bright portion of the cosmic web, including threads of gas extending over 3 million light-years. They say it’s the first time the cosmic web has been imaged in such detail on that large a scale. And behold, the observations agree with what has been theorized. The region where these enormous filaments meet is home to an “exceptional number,” they said, of supermassive black holes and starbursting galaxies with very active star formation.

    According to current theories of galaxy formation, such intense activity can only be triggered and sustained over time if large amounts of gas are funneled into the assembling cluster from the surrounding regions.

    The group found that the detected filaments in the cosmic web contained a significant reservoir of gas. This gas, they expect, is what helps fuel the continued growth of galaxies in this region.

    These astronomers are from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research in Japan and Durham University in the U.K. They have a new paper out, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science. An introduction to their paper explains:

    Most gas in the universe lies in the intergalactic medium [between the galaxies], where it forms into sheets and filaments of the cosmic web. Clusters of galaxies form at the intersection of these filaments, fed by gas pulled along them by gravity. Although this picture is well established by cosmological simulations, it has been difficult to demonstrate observationally.
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    Best view yet of flickering jets in black hole feeding frenzy
    Astronomy Now Staff | 13 October 2019

    Astronomers have captured high-speed camera views of crackling millisecond flashes of light generated by debris being pulled into a relatively nearby black hole, violent flicker-like bursts of radiation equivalent to the energy of a hundred suns released “in the blink of an eye.”

    The HiPERCAM instrument on the Gran Telescopio Canarias at La Palma in the Canary Islands and the X-ray-sensitive NICER instrument aboard the International Space Station gave an international team of astronomers led by the University of Southhampton a bird’s eye view of a black hole system known as MAXI J1820+070.

    Located about 10,000 light years away, the black hole is believed to have a mass of about seven Suns crammed into a region smaller than the City of London. Gas from a nearby star, pulled into a rapidly spinning accretion disc, radiates visible light and X-rays as the material is heated to extreme temperatures.

    Data HiPERCAM and NICER instruments were used to create a high frame-rate movie showing those high-speed changes in exquisite detail.

    “The movie was made using real data, but slowed down to 1/10th of actual speed to allow the most rapid flares to be discerned by the human eye,” said John Paice, a graduate student at Southampton and lead author of the study. He also was the artist who created the dramatic movie.”


    The above video is a visualization based on the observed visible and X-ray light emitted by the system, captured at more than 300 frames per second.

    “We can see how the material around the black hole is so bright, it’s outshining the star that it is consuming, and the fastest flickers last only a few milliseconds,” Paice said. “That’s the output of a hundred Suns and more being emitted in the blink of an eye.”

    The HiPERCAM and NICER data confirm earlier observations that drops in X-ray output are accompanied by increases in visible radiation, and vice versa, with the fastest visible flashes occurring a fraction of a second after X-rays. This behaviour has been seen in two other systems, but not at this level of detail.

    “The fact that we now see this in three systems strengthens the idea that it is a unifying characteristic of such growing black holes,” said Poshak Gandhi of Southhampton, who found the other two examples. “If true, this must be telling us something fundamental about how plasma flows around black holes operate.

    “Our best ideas invoke a deep connection between in-spiralling and out-flowing bits of the plasma,” he added. “But these are extreme physical conditions that we cannot replicate in Earth laboratories, and we don’t understand how nature manages this. Such data will be crucial for homing in on the correct theory.”
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    Former NASA scientist says they found life on Mars in the 1970s
    Jessie Yeung, CNN | October 15, 2019

    This is a mosaic comprising 102 Viking Orbiter images.
    (CNN) We may have already discovered the essence of life on Mars 40 years ago, according to a former NASA scientist.

    Gilbert V. Levin, who was principal investigator on a NASA experiment that sent Viking landers to Mars in 1976, published an article in the Scientific American journal last Thursday, arguing the experiment's positive results were proof of life on the red planet.

    The experiment, called Labeled Release (LR), was designed to test Martian soil for organic matter. "It seemed we had answered that ultimate question," Levin wrote in the article.
    In the experiment, the Viking probes placed nutrients in Mars soil samples -- if life were present, it would consume the food and leave gaseous traces of its metabolism, which radioactive monitors would then detect.

    To make sure it was a biological reaction, the test was repeated after cooking the soil, which would prove lethal to known life. If there was a measurable reaction in the first and not the second sample, that would suggest biological forces at work -- and that's exactly what happened, according to Levin.

    However, other experiments failed to find any organic material and NASA couldn't duplicate the results in their laboratory -- so they dismissed the positive result as false positives, some unknown chemical reaction rather than proof of extraterrestrial life.

    "NASA concluded that the LR had found a substance mimicking life, but not life," said Levin in his article. "Inexplicably, over the 43 years since Viking, none of NASA's subsequent Mars landers has carried a life detection instrument to follow up on these exciting results."

    But now, decades later, there are more and more promising signs. NASA's Curiosity rover found organic matter on Mars in 2018, and just last week it found sediments that suggest there were once ancient salty lakes on the surface of Mars.

    "What is the evidence against the possibility of life on Mars?" Levin wrote. "The astonishing fact is that there is none."

    Levin, a maverick researcher who has often run afoul of the NASA bureaucracy, has insisted for decades that "it is more likely than not that we detected life." Now, he and LR co-experimenter Patricia Ann Straat are calling for further investigation.

    "NASA has already announced that its 2020 Mars lander will not contain a life-detection test," Levin wrote in the Scientific American article. "In keeping with well-established scientific protocol, I believe an effort should be made to put life detection experiments on the next Mars mission possible."

    He proposed that the LR experiment be repeated on Mars, with certain amendments, and then have its data studied by a panel of experts.

    "Such an objective jury might conclude, as I did, that the Viking LR did find life," he wrote.

    NASA's Mars 2020 rover is set to launch next summer and land in February 2021. It carries an instrument that will help it search for past signs of life on Mars -- the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals instrument, dubbed SHERLOC.

    The rover will look for past habitable environments, find biosignatures in rock and will test those samples back on Earth.

    But if scientists fail to find evidence of life, that won't end the hope for human exploration. Mars 2020 will also test oxygen production on the planet and monitor Martian weather to evaluate how potential human colonies could fare on Mars.
    Last edited by ilan; 10-15-2019 at 02:50 PM.
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    New telescope to ‘see inside’ hot Jupiter exoplanets
    Paul Scott Anderson in SPACE | October 16, 2019

    Exoplanets – worlds orbiting distant suns – are very, very far away. Astronomers are learning what some might look like, and what’s in their atmospheres. Soon – for the first time – a new telescope will be able to “see inside” some exoplanets.


    So far, just over 4,000 exoplanets have been confirmed orbiting other stars, with many more waiting to be verified and discovered. Even though they are so far away, scientists have been able to start to obtain clues as to what some of them look like, whether they are large gas giants like Jupiter or smaller rocky worlds like Earth, and what is in their atmospheres. But now a new radio telescope in France will be able to “see inside” some of these exotic worlds by studying their magnetic fields. An active magnetic field would point to a planet having a magnetic dynamo deep inside it, a churning, liquid metallic core.

    The telescope will be part of the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), a European radio telescope array centered in the Netherlands. The new instrument itself, the New Extension in Nançay Upgrading LOFAR (NenuFAR), is located at the Nançay Radioastronomy Station in France. One of LOFAR’s main tasks is to locate radio signals from the earliest stars in the universe. But it will also look for evidence of magnetic fields around exoplanets. According to astrophysicist Evgenya Shkolnik of Arizona State University in Tempe:

    It’s a probe into internal structure that there is no other way to get at right now.

    It is expected that LOFAR should be able to make its first detection fairly soon, as Shkolnik noted:

    It’s only a matter of time [before a detection], probably months.

    Being able to detect and study the magnetic fields of exoplanets is important because those magnetic fields can provide clues to both how the planet formed and what its potential habitability is. Earth’s magnetic field, for example, protects the surface from deadly cosmic rays and charged particles from the sun. It also helps protect the atmosphere from being stripped away into space, as happened with Mars, which now only has a very weak magnetic field. As Jean-Mathias Griessmeier of the University of Orléans in France said:

    This opens up an extra door to study exoplanets at a distance.

    Scientists will also be able to compare the magnetic fields of exoplanets with ones in our solar system, to see how alike or different they are. Are the ones around planets in our solar system typical?

    There are limits to what LOFAR and NenuFAR can do, however. The magnetic fields of most exoplanets would be too faint to detect, due to the immense distances. Even Jupiter’s would be difficult to find, if it were light-years away from us. But for one kind of exoplanet in particular – hot Jupiters – it would be an easier task. Hot Jupiters, gas giants that orbit very close to their stars, should have stronger magnetic fields, due to being buffeted by a stronger stellar wind. This would allow more electrons to be whipped up by the planet’s magnetosphere into a signal potentially a million times stronger than Jupiter’s.

    NenuFAR will significantly increase LOFAR’s ability to detect these alien magnetic fields from hot Jupiters, as it is much more sensitive to lower frequencies, from below 85 megahertz (MHz) – the bottom of the FM radio band – down to 10 MHz, below which the ionosphere blocks any signals from space. Eventually, there will be nearly 2,000 of the pyramidal wire-frame antennas involved in the search, most contained within a 400-meter (1,300 feet) core. Magnetic fields from rocky planets like Earth will probably be too weak to be found with the current NenuFAR array however, as they would be below the 10 MHz limit.

    It shouldn’t be too long before the first detections are made, perhaps just a matter of months as Shkolnik said, since NenuFAR has already been active since July. Currently, 60% of the array’s antennas are operational, and 80% of the hardware is expected to be in place by the end of the year, pending further funding. Right now, 80% of the €15 million needed to build and operate the array, from government funders, universities, and local authorities, has been secured.

    NenuFAR will focus on a dozen or so known hot Jupiters, in days-long observing runs. It will be joined by other observatories, such as the Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array (OVRO-LWA) in California, which will have 352 antennas when it is completed next year. This array isn’t as sensitive as NenuFAR, however, and it will scan the entire sky instead of just looking at selected known hot Jupiters, in the hope that it will detect rare large bursts of signals generated by coronal mass ejections hitting a planet’s magnetic field. Detecting and analyzing the magnetic fields of rocky exoplanets like Earth will have to wait for similar telescopes based in space or on the far side of the moon in order to escape Earth’s ionosphere, which blocks radio emissions lower than 10 MHz.

    NenuFAR, and similar future telescopic arrays that follow it, will provide another significant step in understanding how exoplanets form and evolve, and how similar – and different – they are to planets in our own solar system.

    Bottom line: A new radio telescope will soon let scientists “see inside” hot Jupiter exoplanets and measure their magnetic fields for the first time.
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  9. #1239
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    Watch 1st all-female spacewalk
    Eleanor Imster in HUMAN WORLD | SPACE | October 16, 2019

    Watch 2 NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) make history by performing the 1st ever all-female spacewalk on Friday.


    NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir. Image via NASA.

    Two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will make history this week by performing the first ever all-female spacewalk, currently scheduled for Friday, October 18, 2019. Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture outside the station to replace a power controller that failed over the weekend. This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first.

    NASA TV’s live coverage of the spacewalk will begin on Friday at 10:30 UTC (6:30 a.m. EDT), and the spacewalk itself is scheduled to start at 11:50 UTC (7:50 a.m. EDT).

    The spacewalk had been scheduled for October 21. But NASA announced on Tuesday that it would be pushed forward to late this week, and as of this writing, the agency has the spacewalk scheduled for Friday morning.

    What would have been the first all-woman spacewalk was controversially postponed in March 2019 because there were not enough medium-sized space suits on the ISS to fit both women.
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    This can be watched through the service or from the following NASA link:
    Code:
    https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public
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  10. #1240
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Astronomy Picture of the Day
    2019 October 19


    Image Credit: NASA TV, Expedition 61

    The failed unit was beyond the reach of the robotic Canadarm2. Therefore, this repair of the International Space Station would require humans. The humans on duty were NASA's Jessica Meir and Christina Koch. This was the fourth spacewalk for Koch, the first for Meir, and the first all-female spacewalk in human history. The first woman to walk in space was Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984. Koch (red stripe) and Meir are pictured hard at work on the P6 Truss, with solar panels and the darkness of space in the background. Working over seven hours, the newly installed Battery Charge / Discharge Unit (BCDU) was successfully replaced and, when powered up, operated normally.
    _____________________________________

    Thought I'd include this here, since it follows from the former piece. - ilan
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