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  1. #931
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    Waning moon and Venus November 4 to 6
    Bruce McClure in TONIGHT | November 3, 2018

    On the mornings of November 4, 5 and 6, 2018 – perhaps after staying out late or getting up early to look for Taurid meteors – let the waning crescent moon help guide your eye to the planet Venus at morning dawn.



    On the mornings of November 4, 5 and 6, 2018 – perhaps after staying out late or getting up early to look for Taurid meteors – let the waning crescent moon help guide your eye to the planet Venus at morning dawn.

    Venus is the brightest planet, so you can see it very near the sunrise glare. It only entered the morning sky – passing between us and the sun – on October 26, 2018. So in early November, Venus is still extremely low in the eastern sky just before sunrise. It’s very near the sunrise point. We in the Northern Hemisphere have an advantage in viewing Venus before dawn at this time of year. It’s autumn for us, and the autumn angle of the ecliptic – or path of the sun, moon and planets – with respect to the morning horizon is always very steep. This means Venus will be above the sunrise, rather than to one side of it, as seen from this hemisphere. And that fact will make Venus easier to spot.

    Find an unobstructed eastern horizon, and, if you have binoculars, bring them along. Venus will be higher up and easier to view in the morning sky as the month progresses. Each day throughout November 2018, this blazing beauty of a planet will rise sooner before sunrise and will brighten all the while.

    Although Venus will be a fixture of the morning sky until mid-August 2019, it’ll shine at its brightest in late November and early December 2018, as the morning “star.”

    At mid-northern latitudes, Venus rises roughly one hour before sunrise by around November 4. By the month’s end, Venus will rise some three hours before the sun.

    At temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, Venus rises about one hour before sunup on or near November 6. By late November, Venus will rise two hours before the sun.
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  2. #932
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Timelapse shows 25 years of Supernova 1987A
    Deborah Byrd in SPACE | November 4, 2018

    If you were alive and interested in astronomy then, you’ll remember Supernova 1987A, the 1st supernova visible in Earth’s skies since 1604. The new timelapse shows its aftermath over a 25-year period, 1992 to 2017.


    Image via Yvette Cendes/University of Toronto/Leiden Observatory.

    One of the major astronomical events of the last century was Supernova 1987A. It was the closest observed supernova since Kepler’s Supernova, visible in 1604, and the first supernova visible in earthly skies since the invention of the telescope. It first appeared in Earth’s night skies – visible only from the Southern Hemisphere – on February 24, 1987. It stayed bright enough to see with the eye for many months. And then it faded, but astronomers with telescopes continued to follow it. Since then, Supernova 1987A has become one of the most studied objects in the history of astronomy. Last week, astronomers at the Dunlop Institute of the University of Toronto released the new timelapse shown at the top of this post, showing the supernova as it evolved over 25 years.

    The supernova was the cataclysmic death of a blue supergiant star. It was located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, at a distance of 168,000 light-years (and thus, of course, the supernova actually took place that many years ago).
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  3. #933
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    The US and Europe take a next step toward the moon
    Paul Scott Anderson in SPACE | November 5, 2018

    The European Service Module – eventually to be used to power and propel NASA’s Orion spacecraft in the 1st manned moon mission since the 1970s – leaves Europe today and arrives in the U.S. tomorrow.


    Once operational, SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built, and will be able to take a crewed Orion to the moon and beyond.

    NASA’s Orion spacecraft – built to carry humans – is one step closer to its first mission to fly around the moon and back, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on October 30, 2018. It said its European Service Module – which will be used to power and propel the Orion spacecraft – will be shipped this week from Bremen, Germany, to the United States on an Antonov An-124 aircraft. It’ll depart in the early hours of November 5 and arrive at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 6. The ESM, designed in Italy and Germany, is a crucial European component of NASA’s ambitious Space Launch System or SLS; the Orion spacecraft part of SLS is designed to take astronauts back to the moon for the first time since the 1970s.

    The European Service Module will hold fuel in large tanks, as well as water, oxygen and nitrogen for the astronauts, while radiators and heat exchangers will help keep the module at comfortable temperatures.The 2019 lunar calendars are here! Order yours before they’re gone. Makes a great gift.

    The module itself resembles ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle, which has been used to bring supplies to the International Space Station. The structure is the backbone of the entire vehicle, something like a car chassis. Three types of engines will help propel Orion during its excursions, and can turn the spacecraft in all directions. The module will be built by Airbus Defence and Space, and many other companies across Europe will also supply components.

    This is the first time that a European-built system will serve as a critical element to power an American spacecraft; this is thanks largely to ESA’s existing Automated Transfer Vehicle program, mentioned above.

    So what happens next?

    At Kennedy Space Center, the European Service Module will be connected to the Orion crew module and its adapter in preparation for Exploration Mission-1. This mission is planned as an initial test flight without astronauts that will travel farther into space than any human-rated spacecraft has ever ventured before. This mission is expected to launch sometime in 2020.

    A second European Service Module, similar to the first, is also now being developed. This one will be able to take a human crew on a trip around the moon. All of this activity is leading up to launches with components of the Gateway – a planned human-tended outpost in lunar orbit, designed to be used for both human and robotic exploration of the moon.

    ESM also recently completed its final integration and testing at the Airbus integration hall in Bremen.

    Orion is the crewed capsule part of NASA’s Space Launch System, which, when completed, will be the most powerful rocket ever built. It will be able to take astronauts back to the moon, and more advanced versions of SLS will be capable of taking astronauts deeper into space, including to Mars. As outlined on the mission website:

    After the first flight, the next step is to start sending people on bold missions to the moon and beyond. As SLS evolves over future missions to unprecedented accommodation of payload mass and volume and unrivaled performance, the rocket will allow NASA to send missions to deep space and reach distant destinations faster than ever before. On its second mission carrying Orion and astronauts, Exploration Mission-2, SLS will send Orion and its crew farther than people have traveled before around 250,000 miles from Earth, 10,000 miles beyond the moon.

    SLS and Orion are America’s space vehicles and the foundation for missions carrying explorers to deep space. This new era of discovery requires all of humanity, including international and commercial partners, to help make these ventures possible and sustainable. Partners can help provide routine delivery of supplies and equipment needed to live and work on the moon and in deep space. SLS and Orion are planned to fly once or twice a year and will focus on dependable, safe flights for humans and large cargo.
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  4. #934
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Interstellar object may have been alien probe, Harvard paper argues, but experts are skeptical
    Steve George and Ashley Strickland, CNN | Updated 1:43 PM ET, Tue November 6, 2018


    Meet 'Oumuamua, the first observed interstellar visitor to our solar system

    (CNN) - A mysterious cigar-shaped object spotted tumbling through our solar system last year may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth, astronomers from Harvard University have suggested.

    The object, nicknamed 'Oumuamua, meaning "a messenger that reaches out from the distant past" in Hawaiian, was discovered in October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

    Since its discovery, scientists have been at odds to explain its unusual features and precise origins, with researchers first calling it a comet and then an asteroid before finally deeming it the first of its kind: a new class of "interstellar objects."

    A new paper by researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics raises the possibility that the elongated dark-red object, which is 10 times as long as it is wide and traveling at speeds of 196,000 mph, might have an "artificial origin."

    "'Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization," they wrote in the paper, which has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The theory is based on the object's "excess acceleration," or its unexpected boost in speed as it traveled through and ultimately out of our solar system in January.

    "Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that 'Oumuamua is a light sail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment," wrote the paper's authors, suggesting that the object could be propelled by solar radiation.

    The paper was written by Abraham Loeb, professor and chair of astronomy, and Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral scholar, at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Loeb has published four books and more than 700 papers on topics like black holes, the future of the universe, the search for extraterrestrial life and the first stars.

    The paper points out that comparable light-sails exist on Earth.

    "Light-sails with similar dimensions have been designed and constructed by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative. The light-sail technology might be abundantly used for transportation of cargos between planets or between stars.

    "In the paper, the pair theorize that the object's high speed and its unusual trajectory could be the result of it no longer being operational.

    "This would account for the various anomalies of 'Oumuamua, such as the unusual geometry inferred from its light-curve, its low thermal emission, suggesting high reflectivity, and its deviation from a Keplerian orbit without any sign of a cometary tail or spin-up torques."

    'Oumuamua is the first object ever seen in our solar system that is known to have originated elsewhere.

    At first, astronomers thought the rapidly moving faint light was a regular comet or an asteroid that had originated in our solar system.

    Comets, in particular, are known to speed up due to "outgassing," a process in which the sun heats the surface of the icy comet, releasing melted gas. But 'Oumuamua didn't have a "coma," the atmosphere and dust that surrounds comets as they melt.

    Multiple telescopes focused on the object for three nights to determine what it was before it moved out of sight.

    Going forward, the researchers believe we should search for other interstellar objects in our sky.

    "It is exciting to live at a time when we have the scientific technology to search for evidence of alien civilizations," Loeb wrote in an email. "The evidence about `Oumuamua is not conclusive but interesting. I will be truly excited once we have conclusive evidence."

    Is this just fantasy?

    Other mysteries in space have previously been thought of as signs of extraterrestrial life: a mysterious radio signal, repeating fast radio bursts and even a strangely flickering star, known as Tabby's Star.

    The mysterious radio signal was later determined to be coming from Earth, the repeating fast radio bursts are still being investigated, and new research suggests that Tabby's Star is flickering because of dust -- rather than being an alien megastructure.

    So what does that mean for 'Oumuamua?

    "I am distinctly unconvinced and honestly think the study is rather flawed," Alan Jackson, fellow at the Centre for Planetary Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough, wrote in an email. "Carl Sagan once said, 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' and this paper is distinctly lacking in evidence nevermind extraordinary evidence."

    Jackson published a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in March that suggests that 'Oumuamua came from a binary star system, or a system with two stars.

    Jackson said the spectral data from 'Oumuamua looks like an asteroid or a comet, while that of a solar sail would look very different. The new paper proposes that the sail has been coated in interstellar dust, which obscures its true spectral signature.

    "Any functional spacecraft would almost certainly retract its solar sail once in interstellar space to prevent damage," Jackson said. "The sail is useless once away from a star so there would be no reason to leave it deployed. If it was then deployed again on entering the solar system it would be pristine. Even if it was left deployed the dust accumulation would be primarily on the leading side like bugs on a windshield."

    'Oumuamua also travels in a complex tumbling spin, but a functioning solar sail would have a much smoother path and obvious radiation-driven acceleration, Jackson said. Even the spinning motion of a damaged solar sail would be far more strongly influenced by the radiation forces than seen, he explained.

    The solar sail would also be thinner than the authors of the new paper describe, he said.

    "The sail on IKAROS is 7.5 micrometres thick with a mass of only 0.001g/cm^2, 100 times lower than their estimate," Jackson said. "While a combined spacecraft and sail could have a higher net mass the sail itself needs to be extremely light. That would also significantly change their estimate for how far it could travel before falling apart -- though as I said, I doubt any functional craft would leave its sail deployed in interstellar space."

    Solar sails also can't change course after being launched, so if 'Oumuamua was truly a solar sail, it would be traceable back to its origin. So far, there is no obvious origin for 'Oumuamua.

    "Beyond that, it becomes difficult to trace because of the motion of the stars and any hypothetical alien civilisation would face the same issue in charting a course that long in the first place (aside from arguments about whether they would want to launch a craft they knew would not reach its destination for many millions of years)," Jackson said.

    Concerning 'Oumuamua, there is little evidence because astronomers weren't able to observe it for long, which opens it up to speculation in the name of science.

    "The thing you have to understand is: scientists are perfectly happy to publish an outlandish idea if it has even the tiniest 'sliver' of a chance of not being wrong," astrophysicist and cosmologist Katherine Mack tweeted. "But until every other possibility has been exhausted dozen times over, even the authors probably don't believe it."

    But it's important to distinguish that the researchers who wrote the new paper have expertise in solar sails, so they're suggesting that 'Oumuamua could be like a solar sail, said Coryn Bailer-Jones of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. Bailer-Jones' paper on possible origin sites for 'Oumuamua was accepted by the Astrophysical Journal in September.

    "Aliens would only come into all of this if you accept their assumption (and that's what it is; it doesn't come from the data) that 'Oumuamua is sail-like, and also assume nothing like that can be natural," Bailer-Jones wrote in an email. "In fact, they only mention the word 'alien' once, when they mention in passing that 'Oumuamua might have been targeted to intercept the solar system.

    "I have no problem with this kind of speculative study," Bailer-Jones added. "It's fun and thought-provoking, and the issue of whether there is alien life out there is really important. But the paper doesn't give any evidence for aliens (and the authors don't claim that, I should note.)"
    Last edited by ilan; 11-07-2018 at 03:49 PM.
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  5. #935
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    E.T., we’re home!
    Deborah Byrd in SPACE | November 7, 2018

    A new study from MIT suggests that existing laser technology could be used to signal alien astronomers on a distant world. But should it be used?


    Artist’s concept of using laser technology on Earth to emit a beacon strong enough to attract attention
    from as far as 20,000 light years away. Image via MIT.

    There’s a longstanding argument about whether – if alien civilizations do exist beyond our Earth – we should make our presence known to them. That argument has been going on since at least 1974, when the Arecibo Interstellar Message became the first message from Earth intentionally transmitted outward. Whether we should or should not transmit our whereabouts in the galaxy is an interesting question, and a question separate from the issue of how to do it. But the how of it is interesting, too. On November 4, 2018, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that one of its graduate students has figured out a novel approach, using lasers. MIT explained in a statement:

    If extraterrestrial intelligence exists somewhere in our galaxy, a new MIT study proposes that laser technology on Earth could, in principle, be fashioned into something of a planetary porch light — a beacon strong enough to attract attention from as far as 20,000 light years away.

    Graduate student James Clark is the author of what he calls a “feasibility study.” This student-led study, surprisingly, has now been published in the peer-reviewed Astrophysical Journal. The findings suggest that if a high-powered 1- to 2-megawatt laser were focused through a massive 30- to 45-meter telescope and aimed out into space, the combination would produce a beam of infrared radiation strong enough to stand out from the sun’s energy. MIT said:

    Such a signal could be detectable by alien astronomers performing a cursory survey of our section of the Milky Way — especially if those astronomers live in nearby systems, such as around Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to Earth, or TRAPPIST-1, a star about 40 light-years away that hosts seven exoplanets, three of which are potentially habitable.

    If the signal is spotted from either of these nearby systems, the study finds, the same megawatt laser could be used to send a brief message in the form of pulses similar to Morse code.

    Clark began looking into the idea of using lasers to signal extraterrestrials as part of a project for a course at MIT called Spacecraft and Aircraft Sensors and Instrumentation, taught by Clark’s advisor Kerri Cahoy. Clark said:

    I wanted to see if I could take the kinds of telescopes and lasers that we’re building today, and make a detectable beacon out of them.

    MIT explained:

    He started with a simple conceptual design involving a large infrared laser and a telescope through which to further focus the laser’s intensity. His aim was to produce an infrared signal that was at least 10 times greater than the sun’s natural variation of infrared emissions. Such an intense signal, he reasoned, would be enough to stand out against the sun’s own infrared signal, in any ‘cursory survey by an extraterrestrial intelligence.’

    He analyzed combinations of lasers and telescopes of various wattage and size, and found that a 2-megawatt laser, pointed through a 30-meter telescope, could produce a signal strong enough to be easily detectable by astronomers in Proxima Centauri b, a planet that orbits our closest star, 4 light-years away. Similarly, a 1-megawatt laser, directed through a 45-meter telescope, would generate a clear signal in any survey conducted by astronomers within the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, about 40 light-years away. Either setup, he estimated, could produce a generally detectable signal from up to 20,000 light-years away.

    Both scenarios would require laser and telescope technology that has either already been developed, or is within practical reach. For instance, Clark calculated that the required laser power of 1 to 2 megawatts is equivalent to that of the U.S. Air Force’s Airborne Laser, a now-defunct megawatt laser that was meant to fly aboard a military jet for the purpose of shooting ballistic missiles out of the sky. He also found that while a 30-meter telescope considerably dwarfs any existing observatory on Earth today, there are plans to build such massive telescopes in the near future, including the 24-meter Giant Magellan Telescope and the 39-meter European Extremely Large Telescope, both of which are currently under construction in Chile.

    Clark envisions that, like these massive observatories, a laser beacon should be built atop a mountain, to minimize the amount of atmosphere the laser would have to penetrate before beaming out into space.

    For safety’s sake – to prevent any potential for damage to people’s vision, or spacecraft cameras, from wandering into the beam of such a powerful laser – Clark also recommended building his laser on the far side of the moon. He added:

    In general, this was a feasibility study. Whether or not this is a good idea, that’s a discussion for future work.

    What do you think? If the technical and safety problems could be solved – and assuming this idea would work in actuality – should we be signaling our presence to alien civilizations?
    Last edited by ilan; 11-08-2018 at 01:18 PM.
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  6. #936
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    CANADIAN WITNESS SAYS UFO HOVERED AND DISAPPEARED
    Roger Marsh, MUFON | 8 November 2018


    Witness illustration. Credit: MUFON

    A Canadian witness at Joliette reported watching a “non-symmetrical” object that hovered, turned and disappeared, according to testimony in Case 92792 from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.

    The witness was driving to work at 7:10 a.m. on June 19, 2018, when the event occurred.

    “Really blue sky, not a single cloud,” the witness stated. “I checked the sky thinking it was a plane, but it was stationary. It was metallic and very reflective. It had a weird shape, asymmetrical. I thought to myself: '’What is that?’ And then it made a light spin on itself and then it vanished, like when it was turning itself on, the movement was like facing a piece of paper, and then when you turn it, you don’t see it cause it’s so flat. It was a bit like that. It was bigger than a small plane and very stationary, very metallic.

    ”When turning, the object disappeared.

    "I was checking the sky two or three minutes in that area after, and never saw it again. It’s impossible. It really was a solid object in the sky, solid, reflective, a bit like a plane, but planes don’t disappear like that. I made a drawing of the shape and size in the sky. It’s really hard to explain the shape. It was standing straight, right side was flat, and the left side was curvy a bit like the number three in reverse.

    ”​Canadian Field Investigator Allen Des Roches closed this case as an Unknown Aerial Vehicle.

    “The staff of the Joliette Airport (northwest and clear sky) confirms to me that it could have landings or takeoffs at the time of the observation. Is not a plane or a drone. The object looks flat and is silvery and transparent in color, stationary and reflecting, then turns abruptly and disappears.”
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  7. #937
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    great info Ilan. thanks
    All information provided is for informational purposes only. Use at your own risk.

  8. #938
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Moon, Saturn, Taurid meteors this weekend
    Bruce McClure in TONIGHT | November 10, 2018


    This weekend – Saturday, November 10, and Sunday, November 11, 2018 – you’ll find the moon and Saturn at early evening. More about the pair below. Also, the North Taurid meteors at their best at and around the midnight hour. For the fun of it, on our chart at top, we also show you the whereabout of the dwarf planet Pluto. You won’t see Pluto with the eye; it’s about 2,000 times fainter than the dimmest visible star.

    About the North Taurids … A crescent moon in the west in the evening is a setting moon. So moonlight will not obstruct this year’s North Taurid meteor shower. The moon (along with the planet Saturn) will set by early to mid-evening, while the North Taurids will fly most abundantly for several hours, centered around 12:30 a.m. local time (the time on your clock no matter where you are on the globe). This shower offers perhaps five or so meteors per hour, but it’s known for producing fireballs.

    About the moon and Saturn … At nightfall on November 10 and 11, look westward for the waxing moon. The ringed planet Saturn will be the bright “star” nearby. Although you can see Saturn with the eye alone, you need a telescope to view its glorious rings. Even a modest backyard telescope will do the trick.

    November 2018 presents your last full month to observe Saturn in the evening sky. This golden world will become lost in the sun’s glare in December 2018. It’ll move over into the morning sky in early January 2019.

    The moon, our closest celestial neighbor, resides a bit less than 250,000 miles (400,000 km) from Earth at present. Meanwhile, Saturn, the farthest world that we can easily see with the unaided eye, lodges at about four thousand times the moon’s distance from Earth.

    Watch the moon over the next several days as it goes eastward relative to the backdrop stars and planets of the zodiac. Even though the moon and Saturn move westward across the sky throughout the night – because of the Earth’s rotation – the moon continually moves eastward in front of the constellations of the zodiac. So, from one night to the next, you’ll find the moon in a more easterly position. This motion is due to the moon’s eastward orbital motion around Earth.

    As the moon makes its monthly rounds through the zodiac, it’ll meet up with the red planet Mars in mid-November. In fact, if you at the right spot in the far southern part of the globe, you could watch the moon occult (pass in front of) Mars. From most of the globe, however, the moon will pass just south of Mars and no occultation will take place.
    Last edited by ilan; 11-11-2018 at 01:14 PM.
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    Wow! Amazing timelapse of Beta Pictoris b
    Deborah Byrd in SPACE | November 12, 2018

    Not long ago, we couldn’t see planets orbiting distant stars at all. Now astronomers have captured the passage of exoplanet Beta Pictoris b into the glare of its star … then its re-emergence 2 years later.


    Exoplanet Beta Pictoris b moving around its parent star, from
    December 2014 until it disappeared into the star’s glare in late 2016

    The European Southern Observatory (ESO) said on November 12, 2018, that its Very Large Telescope has captured an unprecedented series of images showing the passage of the exoplanet Beta Pictoris b around its parent star. The images are above. They’re amazing on their face, but especially when you notice the location of the exoplanet in the bottom right image – the one from September 2018 – in contrast to all those that came before. In other words, this planet went into the glare of its star for about two years. We couldn’t see it at all then. But now it has re-emerged on the opposite side of its star, as any respectable world moving in orbit would do.

    We know worlds in space do this, but to see it! That’s something new.

    It wasn’t until the early 1990s that astronomers began finding planets orbiting distant suns. Now – despite the conjecture that there might be some billion planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone – we’ve managed to discover only several thousand exoplanets. It’s finding them in the glare of their stars that has been the challenge. By their nature, stars produce light; planets don’t. Planets only shine with the reflected light from their stars. So spotting them in their stars’ glare was a major challenge to astronomers for decades.

    And it’s still a challenge, although – as you can see from this stunning image – the technologies have vastly improved.

    Beta Pictoris b is a young massive exoplanet, initially discovered via direct imaging in 2008 using ESO’s NACO instrument at the Very Large Telescope. Most exoplanets are discovered when they transit, or pass in front of, their stars along our line of sight. But, from our earthly perspective, Beta Pictoris b doesn’t quite transit, so it had to be found via direct imaging. ESO said:

    The same science team [that discovered it] since tracked the exoplanet from late 2014 until late 2016, using the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument (SPHERE) — another instrument on the Very Large Telescope.

    Beta Pictoris b then passed so close to the halo of the star that no instrument could resolve them from one another. Almost two years later, after seeming to merge into the image of the star, Beta Pictoris b has now emerged from the halo. This reappearance was captured again by SPHERE … [which] specializes in direct imaging, hunting for exoplanets by taking their photographs. This extraordinarily challenging endeavor provides us with clear images of distant worlds such as Beta Pictoris b, 63 light-years away.

    Beta Pictoris b orbits its star at a distance similar to that between the sun and Saturn [approximately 800 million miles or 1.3 billion kilometers], meaning it’s the most closely orbiting exoplanet ever to have been directly imaged. The surface of this young planet is still hot, around 1,500 degrees Celsius [2,700 degrees Fahrenheit], and the light it emits enabled SPHERE to discover it and track its orbit, seeing it emerge from its passage in front of its parent star.
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  10. #940
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    Pilots report seeing 'very fast' UFO above Ireland
    Euan McKirdy, CNN • Updated 13th November 2018


    (CNN) — The view from the airplane window just got a little bit weirder -- or at least it did over Ireland.

    Several airborne sightings of at least one "very bright" unidentified flying object were seen last Friday, according to air traffic control audio logs.

    Chatter between airline pilots and Irish air traffic control focused briefly on the sightings, with at least four aviators confirming that they'd seen the phenomenon.

    The exchange began when one pilot asked Shannon air traffic control if there was nearby military activity. When the air traffic controller replied in the negative, the pilot said that she had seen something moving "so fast."

    "It came up on our left hand side (rapidly veered) to the north, we saw a bright light and it just disappeared at a very high speed ... we were just wondering. We didn't think it was a likely collision course .. (just wondering) what it could be," she said.

    A pilot on Virgin Flight 76 added that his flight crew had seen "two bright lights at 11 o'clock (which) seemed to bank over to the right and then climb away at speed."

    Supersonic sighting

    Another pilot chimed in, saying the speed that the object -- or objects -- were traveling was "absolutely astronomical, like Mach 2 or something."

    Commercial jetliners travel at a cruising speed of around 430 knots, or Mach 0.64. The F-18, the mainstay fighter of the US Air Force, can travel at up to Mach 2.5 .

    However, the possibility of little green men visiting the Emerald Isle seemed to be a fanciful explanation.

    One pilot chimed in that it was in all likelihood a "meteor or some kind of object re-entry appears to be multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory... very bright where we were," and an aviation expert told Irish media that he also thought that the sighting was likely to be a meteor.

    "In all probability, they were meteorites," aviation journalist Gerry Byrne told the Irish Examiner.

    "It's not uncommon for meteorites to come in at a low angle, a low trajectory into the Earth's atmosphere."

    A spokesman for the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said: "Following reports from a small number of aircraft on Friday 9th November of unusual air activity the IAA has filed a report. This report will be investigated under the normal confidential occurrence investigation process."
    _________________________

    The allusions to banking, veering and accelerating don't sound much like meteorite behavior, but people could be mistaken. - ilan
    Last edited by ilan; 11-15-2018 at 12:33 AM.
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