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  1. #1061
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Hyper-runaway star fled Milky Way disk
    Deborah Byrd in SPACE | March 14, 2019

    University of Michigan astronomers say a hyper-runaway star didn’t originate from the galaxy’s center, as previously believed. Instead, they say, a cluster of young stars booted it from the galaxy’s disk.

    Trajectory of a massive hyper-runaway star. The trajectory shows the star was ejected from the Milky Way disk, not the Galactic center as previously believed. Image via Kohei Hattori/University of Michigan.
    University of Michigan astronomers used data from the Magellan Telescopes in Chile and ESA’s Gaia space mission to determine that a fast-moving star – previously thought to have been ejected from the center of our Milky Way – was instead ejected from the galaxy’s flattened disk. This massive, fast-moving star – or hypervelocity star – is called LAMOST-HVS1. It’s closer to our sun than any of the other 30 or so known hypervelocity stars.

    Previously, astronomers had assumed that the energy needed to eject a star from our galaxy must come from the extreme environment around our Milky Way galaxy’s central, supermassive black hole. This black hole has a mass some four million times that of our sun. It has the potential to act as a powerful gravitational slingshot.

    But the new work suggests a more ordinary means of ejection for LAMOST-HVS1. The Michigan astronomers think the star might have experienced a close encounter with a star cluster – possibly consisting of multiple massive stars, or containing an intermediate-mass black hole – in the disk of the Milky Way. The work is published in the peer-reviewed Astrophysical Journal.

    Astronomer Monica Valluri at University of Michigan said:

    This discovery dramatically changes our view on the origin of fast-moving stars.

    The fact that the trajectory of this massive fast-moving star originates in the disk rather that at the galactic center indicates that the very extreme environments needed to eject fast-moving stars can arise in places other than around supermassive black holes.

    Astronomers have known of extremely fast-moving stars, or hypervelocity stars, since 2005. These stars move more than twice as fast as most other stars in our galaxy — more than one million miles per hour, or 500 kilometers per second (310 miles/second). By contrast, stars in the rest of the galaxy average a bit more than 200 km/sec (124 miles/second). A statement from University of Michigan explained:

    When binary stars – a pair of stars that orbit around each other while moving through a galaxy – pass too close to a black hole, it captures one of the binary stars, and the other one is flung out in a gravitational slingshot. In order to produce the kinds of velocities astronomers measure for hypervelocity stars, the black hole has to be very massive.

    Because there’s evidence that there is a supermassive hole at the center of the Milky Way, many astronomers believe that the majority of hypervelocity stars were ejected by this supermassive black hole.

    LAMOST-HVS1 might be an exception, however.

    Valluri and Kohei Hattori, also of University of Michigan, decided to try to trace the trajectory of LAMOST-HVS1. They used one of the Magellan telescopes in Chile to determine the distance and velocity of the star, and then used data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia space mission, which is engaged in making a precise three-dimensional map of the Milky Way.

    By combining these two data sets, the astronomers were able to trace the path of LAMOST-HVS1 backwards. To their surprise, it appears the star was ejected from the galaxy’s disk, and not from the center of the Milky Way. Hattori said:

    We thought this star came from the galactic center. But if you look at its trajectory, it is clear that is not related to the galactic center. We have to consider other possibilities for the origin of the star.

    For a long time, stars have been known to be ejected from star clusters. But the speeds involved are much slower than that known for LAMOST-HVS1. They are typically around 40-100 km/s (25-62 miles/second).

    And here’s another stumbling block to the idea that LAMOST-HVS1 was kicked from the galaxy by a star cluster. The computed path of LAMOST-HVS1 has it originating at a location within the Norma spiral arm. That location isn’t associated with previously known massive star clusters. The astronomers’ statement said:

    However, if this hypothetical star cluster exists, it may be hidden behind the dust in the stellar disk. If it is found, it would provide the first opportunity to directly discover an intermediate-mass black hole in the stellar disk of the Milky Way.

    As always, more work is needed.

    Bottom line: University of Michigan astronomers say a hyper-runaway star – or hypervelocity star – called LAMOST-HVS1 didn’t originate from our galaxy’s center. Instead its path shows it came from the galaxy’s disk.
    Last edited by ilan; 03-15-2019 at 12:52 PM.
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  2. #1062
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    'The story is very true. That's what has bothered me for 45 years.' UFO witnesses speak.
    Brian Broom, Mississippi Clarion Ledger | Published 3:07 p.m. CT March 14, 2019 | Updated 6:19 p.m. CT March 14, 2019


    "It was Oct. 11, 1973," Parker said. "We'd gotten off work that day, and a friend of mine, he and I went fishing.

    "The old abandoned shipyard; they had a little pier out front and we were on that pier. I'm going to guess it was about six o'clock in the evening. It had just started getting dark, but it was kind of a bright moon."

    Parker said he saw blue light reflecting off the water and thought law enforcement officers had arrived to tell them to leave the property. However, when Parker looked up, he realized the light was coming from a craft like nothing he'd ever seen.

    "A big light came out of the clouds," Parker said. "It was a blinding light.

    "It was hard to tell with the lights so bright, but it looked like it was shaped like a football. I would say, just estimating, (it was) about 80-foot. (It made) very little sound. It was just a hissing noise."

    Parker said three legless creatures floated from the craft. One had no neck with gray wrinkled skin. Another had a neck and appeared more feminine. Parker described their hands as being shaped like mittens or crab claws.

    When one of the creatures put one of its claws around his arm, Parker said he was terrified, but then another feeling came over his body.

    "I think they injected us with something to calm us down," Parker said. "I was kind of numb and went along with the program."

    Parker said the creatures floated him and Hickson into the craft and performed physical examinations on the two. Then they were taken back to the bank of the river.

    Hickson, who died in 2011, was very public about his experience. Parker, who now lives in Moss Point, was not and spent much of his life distancing himself from the event. However, he published a book about his experience in 2018 and since, people who had been largely quiet about their experiences that night are now speaking out.

    Maria and Jerry Blair of Theodore, Alabama are among them.

    Couple across the river saw same blue light and a flying object

    Maria and Jerry were sitting in their 1969 Pontiac GTO in the parking lot of Graham's Seafood on the opposite side of the river. Jerry worked for the business and was waiting on a boat captain to take him offshore. The captain was late and the Blairs waited for hours. Just after dark Maria saw something strange.

    "I was looking at the sky and I noticed a blue light in the sky over where they were fishing," Maria said. "It started moving and it seemed like it was following along the Pascagoula River.

    "I just seen the lights on it. It was just going back and forth. Sometimes it would just sit there. It went on for 20 to 25 minutes."

    Maria said she initially thought it was a plane, but realized the flight pattern and hovering were not indicative of a plane. Jerry watched it also but didn't think much of it.

    "I thought it was a helicopter initially and just blew it off," Jerry said. "It landed about 150 to 200 yards from us.

    "I was just north of the bridge and it was just south of the bridge. I was there, but stupid me didn't pay much attention to it. I was just going offshore and thinking about other things."

    Woman believes she saw one of the aliens in the water

    After they lost sight of the craft, the two went to put Jerry's clothing and other items on the boat. While walking down the lighted pier, something else caught their attention.

    "We heard this loud, thumping splash in the river," Maria said. "I looked over the side of the pier, and that's when I thought I saw a person in the river.

    "I was looking right down on it. It looked like a person, but there was something different about it. It only came to the surface of the water. As soon as I saw it, it just went back down in the water."

    Whatever Maria had seen, which she thought was a person in some sort of diving gear, did not resurface. Jerry, who was walking ahead of her and didn't see it, said it must have been a dolphin. She said she is positive it wasn't a dolphin.

    Jerry went to work that evening and Maria returned home. In following days she heard reports of Parker and Hickson's experience. The descriptions of the aliens matched what she had seen in the water.

    "I thought it was a person, but now I think it was an alien," Maria said. "What Parker described was exactly it."

    Another woman said UFO made her radio go crazy, car to die

    Later that evening, Judy Branning was sitting in a car a few miles away at a traffic signal with her roommate and their dates.

    "We were on a double date that night," Branning said. "We were at a red light at Chicot and Highway 90, and we were basically sitting on the railroad track. I saw some lights, and I wasn't sure what I was looking at because it was so far away."

    Like the Blairs, Branning thought it was an airplane at first, but as it came closer and flew over the car she was in, the four realized it wasn't.

    "It didn't make noise," Branning said. "It had bright, bright lights.

    "It got closer and it was hovering. It was kind of a saucer shape or disc shape with a rounded top. The radio started sounding like it was running through all the stations and the car went dead. We were freaking out."

    Branning said after it passed over the car, the craft shot straight up at a rate of speed she'd never seen and disappeared. It left her shaken.

    "I didn't sleep that night thinking about it," Branning said.

    'When I saw what Calvin and Charles went through, I kind of backed down'

    Branning said the four agreed not to say anything about what they saw. She said over the years she told a few people but not many because she was scared of people's reactions. Now 74 years old, she said she does not care if people believe her or not.

    Maria said she told people what she'd seen but largely stopped talking about it in the weeks following that evening.

    "When you talked about it back then, people thought you were crazy," Maria said. "Back then, when I saw what Calvin and Charles went through, I kind of backed down talking about it.

    "The story is very true. That's what has bothered me for 45 years. It's been on my mind for 45 years."

    Parker has met with the Blairs and Branning and said he's happy they are now telling their stories publicly.

    "I checked the people out as best I could, and they seem credible," Parker said. "It means a lot to me that that they came forward."

    Parker feels there are more witnesses out there.

    "I definitely do," Parker said. "There's been two or three people that have contacted me privately that didn't want their names used.

    "I believe there are more people that haven't come forward. Back in the 70s you just didn't talk about it."

    Parker's book, "Pascagoula — The Closest Encounter, My Story," is available on Amazon.com.
    Last edited by ilan; 03-16-2019 at 01:13 PM.
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  3. #1063
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Full supermoon at March 2019 equinox
    Bruce McClure in TONIGHT | March 20, 2019


    Bruce Tennant captured full moon rising over Santiago Peak, California.

    The March 20-21, 2019, full moon ushers in the first full moon of spring for the Northern Hemisphere, and the first full moon of autumn for the Southern Hemisphere. This full moon is also a supermoon, particularly close to Earth. It comes less than four hours after the arrival of the March 20 equinox.

    This is the closest coincidence of a full moon with the March equinox since March 2000 – 19 years ago. The full moon and March equinox won’t happen less than one day apart again for another 11 years, or until March 2030.

    March 2000 full Moon: March 20 at 4:44 UTC
    March 2000 equinox: March 20 at 7:35 UTC

    March 2030 full moon: March 19 at 17:56 UTC
    March 2030 equinox: March 20 at 13:51 UTC

    This month’s full moon also presents the third and final supermoon of 2019. Will it appear bigger in your sky? No, not unless you happen to catch the moon just after it has risen in the east, around sunset. Then its larger-than-usual size has less to do with the supermoon, but more from a psychological effect known as the moon illusion.

    Supermoons don’t look bigger to the eye to most people, but they do look significantly brighter. If you’re in the suburbs or a rural area, notice the bright moonlight cast on the landscape at this full moon.

    Also, supermoons have a stronger-than-usual effect on Earth’s oceans. Watch for higher-than-usual tides to follow the supermoon by a day or so, especially if a coastal storm is happening in your part of the world.

    This March supermoon isn’t 2019’s closest supermoon, by the way. That happened last month.
    ____________________________________

    I'm not sure why the byline carries a March 20 date. Maybe this was released early or I dipped into a time warp. - ilan
    Last edited by ilan; 03-17-2019 at 12:28 PM.
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  4. #1064
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    It turns out this Turkish meteorite is a free sample from asteroid Vesta
    Korey Haynes, Astronomy | Monday, March 18, 2019

    Debris from a massive impact on Vesta made its way to Earth, where scientists recovered more than 300 fragments of the main belt asteroid.


    Asteroid Vesta is covered in craters.
    One, Antonia, is origin of meteorites that fell in 2015.

    Twenty-two million years ago, something crashed into the asteroid Vesta, carving out a large crater and throwing the debris high into space. In 2015, a three-foot meteor streaked through the sky above Turkey before fragmenting into pieces and falling near a village called Sariçiçek. Scientists who studied a whopping 343 pieces of the recovered meteorite now think it originated in that long-ago collision on Vesta.

    Connecting the Pieces

    Vesta is the second-largest object in the asteroid belt, second only to the dwarf planet Ceres. Back in 2011 and 2012, asteroid researchers became very familiar with Vesta, when NASA’s Dawn spacecraft visited and collected extensive images and data about the object, including its many craters from where smaller asteroids crashed into it over the eons. Researchers use the layering of craters and the spray of material around them to judge the ages of craters. This is how they were able to date the Antonia impact crater to 22 million years.

    When the meteorite arrived in Turkey, researchers discovered the pieces were of a type called Howardite, one of a more general group called Howardite-Eucrite-Diogenites, or HED. Scientists have suspected for a while that HED meteorites might come from Vesta, since they have similar spectra. And about a third of HED meteorites appear to be about 22 million years old, including the Sariçiçek meteorites. This points to one large collision event responsible for this subset. Counting all those HED meteorites together, researchers expected them to come from a crater at least 6 miles across. But they were missing a smoking gun tying the HED meteorites to Vesta – until now.

    Thanks to security cameras near the impact area, scientists could trace the meteor’s incoming path back to an origin in Vesta’s region of the solar system. This is the first time they’ve been able to do so for this particular type of meteorite. Researchers published their results online March 17 in Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

    The Sariçiçek meteorites came from Vesta’s region of the sky. And they match the age, size, and composition of Vesta’s Antonia crater. This means scientists have just gotten a sample return mission from an asteroid for free. Combining this hands-on data with the Dawn mission’s pile of data from orbit, this should allow scientists to understand Vesta’s history extremely well.
    Last edited by ilan; 03-19-2019 at 05:42 PM.
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  5. #1065
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    What are tholins? The mysterious substance that turned Ultima Thule red
    Korey Haynes | Published: Monday, March 18, 2019

    The most distant solar system object we've ever explored is covered in this reddish, tarry substance.


    NASA scientists say that if you were on board the New Horizons spacecraft during its New Year’s flyby of Ultima Thule, the world would look visibly red to the human eye. That’s likely caused by compounds called tholins.
    NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
    On New Year’s Day, NASA’s New Horizons probe streaked by a tiny world dubbed MU69, or Ultima Thule, the farthest object humankind has studied up close. With most of the data still on the spacecraft waiting to be transmitted, scientists are still getting to know this distant body. We know that it’s composed of two chunks of rock loosely stuck together. We know that it doesn’t have moons or rings that New Horizons might have careened into on its close pass. And we know Ultima Thule is red.

    Carly Howett, a member of the New Horizons team, said that if you were standing on New Horizons as it sped past, Ultima Thule would appear red to the human eye and very dark. But with the aid of enhanced imagery, it’s also clear that some patches are redder than others, like the rim of the large crater known as Maryland.

    That redness is likely caused by a mysterious class of compounds called tholins, the New Horizons team said Monday during a mission update at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston.

    So what are tholins?


    Broadly speaking, tholins are complex carbon chains made when ultraviolet light strikes carbon-rich molecules like methane or ethane. The result is a reddish, tarry substance. That may not sound exciting, but it was astronomer and science communication all-star Carl Sagan who named the material after creating it in his lab (along with fellow researcher Bishun Khare). They were performing variations on the famous Miller-Urey experiment, trying to recreate the chemical conditions on early Earth to see how life might have started.

    The idea is that nature can, in the total absence of biology, produce more and more complicated carbon chains, until the leap to a biological protein, and presumably, life, is in fact just a single step. Tholins are complex, organic (meaning it contains carbon) molecules that could be a key step in this process. So scientists are very interested in where it’s occurring in the universe.

    In the Lab and in the Wild

    Early Earth was likely a tholins-rich place. But in our current, oxygen-rich world, it exists only in labs (oxygen destroys tholins). Farther afield, researchers have found similar materials on Saturn’s moon Titan and Neptune’s moon Triton, as well as on lots of smaller icy bodies. But here is where the disagreement starts — it’s difficult to be sure how close the substances scientists create in labs are to the ones observed in space. They appear to be similar, but since we haven’t yet been able to bring back a sample from the outer solar system, appearances are all we have at the moment.

    A reddish tint in certain environments is a pretty good hint that scientists might be looking at compounds that are at least similar to tholins, but there is far more than just one kind of potential tholin out there. Many different compounds can create various types of tholins, and picking out which might be present based just on their spectra, or the type of light they reflect, is nigh impossible. Mixed together and seen from afar, it’s not so easy to figure out one complex carbon chain from another.

    Some researchers, such as planetary scientist Sarah Hörst of Johns Hopkins University, don’t like calling the outer-space versions tholins at all, since it’s hard to be sure what we’re looking at from so far away truly matches the substances created here on Earth. They are analogs, to be sure — but perhaps not the exact same thing.

    Space Missions on the Tholin Hunt

    But that’s all the more reason to study them as up-close as we can. The last decade has been filled with missions getting better looks at these far-off maybe-tholins. When the Cassini mission dropped the Huygens probe onto Titan, it revealed an entire world full of carbon-rich materials: on the ground, in the moon’s seas and lakes, and scattered throughout the atmosphere.

    In 2015, the New Horizons probe flew by Pluto, painting a breathtakingly detailed view of the former planet — which was distinctly red in places, as is its sidekick moon Charon. Tholins (or something tholins-like) are the most likely culprit.

    And now, as the new year dawned, New Horizons got an in-person glimpse at out an even more distant object, Ultima Thule, which is “very red,” according to New Horizons scientist Carly Howett. This puts it on par with other objects near it in the Kuiper Belt. “It’s a lot more red than things like comets,” Howett added.

    Comets, in contrast to other Kuiper Belt objects, occasionally plunge into the inner solar system where they heat up and undergo chemical changes that never occur in the cold Kuiper Belt. This means that looking at Ultima Thule is a clean picture of primordial material from early in the solar system’s history.

    The beautiful thing about tholins is that while they’re precious as a clue to our history as living organisms, they’re also pretty common. Carbon compounds like methane exist all over in the universe. Stars emit ultraviolet radiation every second, bathing the cosmos in it. The ingredients are easy to find. So if tholins are key to sparking life, we can look around and feel reassured that the makings for them are everywhere we look.
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  6. #1066
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Watch spacewalk March 22
    Eleanor Imster in HUMAN WORLD | SPACE | March 21, 2019

    NASA TV will air 3 upcoming spacewalks by ISS astronauts, the first of which happens tomorrow, March 22. Coverage begins at 10:30 UTC (6:30 a.m. EDT). The spacewalk is scheduled to start at 12:05 UTC (8:05 a.m. EDT) and last 6.5 hours.


    NASA astronaut Drew Feustel seemingly hangs off the International Space Station during a spacewalk

    Four astronauts are preparing for their first spacewalks outside the International Space Station (ISS), scheduled for March 22, March 29 and April 8. NASA TV will air live coverage of all spacewalks. Coverage for all three will begin on NASA TV at 10:30 UTC (6:30 a.m. EDT) on the respective day of the spacewalk. Each is expected to last about 6 1/2 hours.

    On Friday (March 22) the spacewalk itself will begin at 8:05 a.m. EDT. Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Anne McClain of NASA will venture outside the station’s Quest airlock to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays. This continues the ongoing work to upgrade the station’s power storage capacity.

    The March 29 spacewalk – set to start at 12:20 UTC (8:20 a.m. EDT) – will be the first-ever spacewalk with all-female spacewalkers. McClain and flight engineer Christina Koch will venture outside the ISS to work on a second set of battery replacements on a different power channel in the same area of the station.

    On the April 8 spacewalk, Hague and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will lay out jumper cables between the Unity module and the S0 truss, at the midpoint of the station’s backbone. This work will establish a redundant path of power to the Canadian-built robotic arm, known as Canadarm2. They also will install cables to provide for more expansive wireless communications coverage outside the orbital complex, as well as for enhanced hardwired computer network capability. A targeted start time for the April 8 spacewalk will be set closer to the activity date.

    Bottom line: Watch live spacewalks by International Space Station (ISS) astronauts on March 22, March 29, and April 8, 2019, on NASA TV.
    __________________________________________

    You can watch Nasa TV through the service here or through Nasa TV's official streaming service on Youtube. - ilan
    Last edited by ilan; 03-21-2019 at 12:48 PM.
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    This ‘cannonball’ pulsar is racing at escape speed across the Milky Way
    Korey Haynes, Astronomy | Published: Thursday, March 21, 2019

    The newly discovered neutron star is flying across the galaxy so quickly that it could get from Earth to the Moon in six minutes flat.

    PSR J0002 is clearly visible with its bright radio tail pointing back toward the explosion that created it, the supernova remnant CTB 1.
    Composite by Jayanne English, University of Manitoba, using data from NRAO/F. Schinzel et al., DRAO/Canadian Galactic Plane Survey and NASA/IRAS
    Astronomers discovered a pulsar, a kind of zombie star, racing across the galaxy so quickly that it could get from Earth to the Moon in six minutes flat. The dead star has a tail pointing back toward the remnant of a supernova that exploded 10,000 years ago. Astronomers suspected this might have provided the kick that sent the pulsar speeding off, but had to wait for 10 years of telescope data to make their case convincing.

    A pulsar is the rapidly spinning neutron star left over after a supernova explosion ends the star’s normal life, leaving behind a dense core. They send off bursts of radiation, which their spinning turns into a lighthouse signal, alerting astronomers to their whereabouts and motion. This particular pulsar, PSR J0002+6216, spins 8.7 times a second and sports a tail of radio emission pointing directly at the expanding shell of debris from a supernova called CTB 1.

    Pulsar Timing

    The tail gives a good visual clue as to what sent the pulsar skidding across the sky, but scientists also had to see if the timing worked out. PSR J0002 is now over 6,000 light-years from the center of that supernova explosion, which happened only 10,000 years ago. So scientists had to figure out if it could have traveled so far so fast.

    Luckily, PSR J0002 isn’t coming toward us, and is instead speeding mostly across our line of sight. This is good news, because even the leftover core of a massive star still weighs more than our sun, and would wreak gravitational havoc as it passed by any other object. “If it were really between the Moon and Earth, that would be the end of it,” says Frank Schinzel, lead author on the research. “If it were more than a few light-years away, we might see a nice show from neighboring solar systems’ disruption.”

    The pulsar is going so quickly it will eventually leave the Milky Way entirely. Usually spotting pulsars outside the Milky Way is extremely difficult. But knowing that pulsars can be ejected from the galaxy by the explosions that create them gives astronomers a new population of objects to study and understand.
    Last edited by ilan; Yesterday at 12:50 PM.
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