четверг, 15 ноября 2018 г.

ISRO – GSLV Mk III-D2/GSAT-29 Mission Success

ISRO – Indian Space Research Organisation logo.

Nov. 15, 2018

GSLV Mk III-D2/GSAT-29 Mission lift off

GSLV Mk III-D2/GSAT-29 Mission: The first orbit raising operation of GSAT-29 satellite has been successfully carried out today (15th November) by firing the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) engine of the satellite at 0834 Hrs IST for a duration of 4875 seconds.

Orbit Determination results from this LAM firing are:

– Apogee X perigee height was changed from 35897 km X 189 km  to 35745 km X 7642 km.

– Inclination was changed from 21.46 deg to 8.9 deg.

– Orbital period is 13 hours.

Lift-off and Onboard Camera View – ISRO

Video above: Onboard camera view of the GSLV Mk III-D2 rocket launching the GSAT-29 communication satellite from the Second Launch Pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, on 14 November 2018, at 11:38 UTC (14:50 IST).

GSAT-29 satellite with a lift-off mass of 3423 kg, is a multi-beam, multiband communication satellite of India, configured around the ISRO’s enhanced I-3K bus. This is the heaviest satellite launched from India.

GSAT-29 satellite

GSAT-29 carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders which will bridge the digital divide of users including those in Jammu & Kashmir and North Eastern regions of India. It also carries Q/V-band payload, configured for technology demonstration at higher frequency bands and Geo-stationary High Resolution Camera. carried onboard GSAT-29 spacecraft. An optical communication payload, for the first time, will be utilized for data transmission.

For more information about Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), visit: https://www.isro.gov.in/

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)/Günter Space Page/SciNews.

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NASA Learns More About Interstellar Visitor ‘Oumuamua

NASA – Spitzer Space Telescope patch.

November 15, 2018

In November 2017, scientists pointed NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope toward the object known as ‘Oumuamua – the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system. The infrared Spitzer was one of many telescopes pointed at ‘Oumuamua in the weeks after its discovery that October.

Image above: An artist’s concept of interstellar asteroid 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua) as it passed through the solar system after its discovery in October 2017. Observations of ‘Oumuamua indicate that it must be very elongated because of its dramatic variations in brightness as it tumbled through space. Image Credits: European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser.

‘Oumuamua was too faint for Spitzer to detect when it looked more than two months after the object’s closest aproach to Earth in early September. However, the “non-detection” puts a new limit on how large the strange object can be. The results are reported in a new study published today in the Astronomical Journal and coauthored by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Animation above: Scientists have concluded that vents on the surface of ‘Oumuamua must have emitted jets of gases, giving the object a slight boost in speed, which researchers detected by measuring the position of the object as it passed by Earth in 2017. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

The new size limit is consistent with the findings of a research paper published earlier this year, which suggested that outgassing was responsible for the slight changes in ‘Oumuamua’s speed and direction as it was tracked last year: The authors of that paper conclude the expelled gas acted like a small thruster gently pushing the object. That determination was dependent on ‘Oumuamua being relatively smaller than typical solar system comets. (The conclusion that ‘Oumuamua experienced outgassing suggested that it was composed of frozen gases, similar to a comet.)

“‘Oumuamua has been full of surprises from day one, so we were eager to see what Spitzer might show,” said David Trilling, lead author on the new study and a professor of astronomy at Northern Arizona University. “The fact that ‘Oumuamua was too small for Spitzer to detect is actually a very valuable result.”

‘Oumuamua was first detected by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii (the object’s name is a Hawaiian word meaning “visitor from afar arriving first”), in October 2017 while the telescope was surveying for near-Earth asteroids.

Subsequent detailed observations conducted by multiple ground-based telescopes and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope detected the sunlight reflected off ‘Oumuamua’s surface. Large variations in the object’s brightness suggested that ‘Oumuamua is highly elongated and probably less than half a mile (2,600 feet, or 800 meters) in its longest dimension.

But Spitzer tracks asteroids and comets using the infrared energy, or heat, that they radiate, which can provide more specific information about an object’s size than optical observations of reflected sunlight alone would.

Spitzer Space Telescope

The fact that ‘Oumuamua was too faint for Spitzer to detect sets a limit on the object’s total surface area. However, since the non-detection can’t be used to infer shape, the size limits are presented as what ‘Oumuamua’s diameter would be if it were spherical. Using three separate models that make slightly different assumptions about the object’s composition, Spitzer’s non-detection limited ‘Oumuamua’s “spherical diameter” to 1,440 feet (440 meters), 460 feet (140 meters) or perhaps as little as 320 feet (100 meters). The wide range of results stems from the assumptions about ‘Oumuamua’s composition, which influences how visible (or faint) it would appear to Spitzer were it a particular size.

Small but Reflective

The new study also suggests that ‘Oumuamua may be up to 10 times more reflective than the comets that reside in our solar system – a surprising result, according to the paper’s authors. Because infrared light is largely heat radiation produced by “warm” objects, it can be used to determine the temperature of a comet or asteroid; in turn, this can be used to determine the reflectivity of the object’s surface – what scientists call albedo. Just as a dark T-shirt in sunlight heats up more quickly than a light one, an object with low reflectivity retains more heat than an object with high reflectivity. So a lower temperature means a higher albedo.

A comet’s albedo can change throughout its lifetime. When it passes close to the Sun, a comet’s ice warms and turns directly into a gas, sweeping dust and dirt off the comet’s surface and revealing more reflective ice.

‘Oumuamua had been traveling through interstellar space for millions of years, far from any star that could refresh its surface. But it may have had its surface refreshed through such “outgassing” when it made an extremely close approach to our Sun, a little more than five weeks before it was discovered. In addition to sweeping away dust and dirt, some of the released gas may have covered the surface of ‘Oumuamua with a reflective coat of ice and snow – a phenomenon that’s also been observed in comets in our solar system.

‘Oumuamua is on its way out of our solar system – almost as far from the Sun as Saturn’s orbit – and is well beyond the reach of any existing telescopes.

“Usually, if we get a measurement from a comet that’s kind of weird, we go back and measure it again until we understand what we’re seeing,” said Davide Farnocchia, of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at JPL and a coauthor on both papers. “But this one is gone forever; we probably know as much about it as we’re ever going to know.”

JPL manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena, California. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at IPAC at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Astronomical Journal: https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-3881/aae88f

For more information about Spitzer, visit:



Image (mentioned), Animations (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Calla Cofield.

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HiPOD (14 November 2018): Let the Light In   – These gorgeous…

HiPOD (14 November 2018): Let the Light In

   – These gorgeous dunes and their active gullies (that we monitor for changes) are within a large impact crater. (Alt: 254 km. Black and white is less than 5 km across; enhanced color is less than 1 km.)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

“The Exploration of Mars” by Chesley Bonestell, 1956.  Weren’t…

“The Exploration of Mars” by Chesley Bonestell, 1956.

  Weren’t you supposed to be here by now?

2018 November 15 Comet 46P/Wirtanen Image Credit &…

2018 November 15

Comet 46P/Wirtanen
Image Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN)

Explanation: Periodic Comet 46P/Wirtanen is now the brightest comet in the night sky, but too faint to be seen by eye. From dark sky sites it could just become naked-eye visible though, as it’s 5.4 year long looping orbit takes it closest to Earth and the Sun in mid December. Fluorescing in sunlight, its spherical coma is about half the angular size of a full moon in this southern hemisphere telescopic view from November 7. Then the comet was about 2 light-minutes away or 35 million kilometers from Earth-bound telescopes, so the pretty greenish coma seen here is around 150,000 kilometers across. That makes it about the size of Jupiter. The stack of digital images also reveals a very faint tail extending toward 4 o’clock with a distant background galaxy notable at the upper left. As a regular visitor to the inner Solar System, comet 46P/Wirtanen was once the favored rendezvous target for ESA’s comet exploring Rosetta mission.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181115.html

Roman Helmet Decorated Cheek Plates and Additional Decorations Photoset 1, ‘Saving...

Roman Helmet Decorated Cheek Plates and Additional Decorations Photoset 1, ‘Saving Face’ Exhibition, Segedunum, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Roman Helmets and Decorated Cheek Plates Photoset 3, ‘Saving Face’...

Roman Helmets and Decorated Cheek Plates Photoset 3, ‘Saving Face’ Exhibition, Segedunum, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Roman Helmet Decorated Cheek Plates and Additional Decorations Photoset 2, ‘Saving...

Roman Helmet Decorated Cheek Plates and Additional Decorations Photoset 2, ‘Saving Face’ Exhibition, Segedunum, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Dual Cargo Missions Set for Friday Launch and Sunday Delivery

ISS – Expedition 57 Mission patch.

November 14, 2018

Dismal weather on Virginia’s Atlantic coast has pushed back the launch of a U.S. cargo craft to the International Space Station one day to Friday. Russia’s resupply ship is still on track for its launch to the orbital lab from Kazakhstan less than nine hours later on the same day.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Mission managers from NASA and Northrop Grumman are now targeting the Cygnus space freighter’s launch on Friday at 4:23 a.m. EST from Pad-0A at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Cygnus sits atop an Antares rocket packed with approximately 7,400 pounds of crew supplies, science experiments, spacesuit gear, station hardware and computer resources.

Cygnus will separate from the Antares rocket when it reaches orbit nine minutes after launch and begin a two-day journey to the station’s Unity module. Its cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays will then unfurl to power the vehicle during its flight. Expedition 57 astronauts Alexander Gerst and Serena Auñón-Chancellor will be in the cupola to greet Cygnus Sunday and capture the private cargo carrier with the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 4:35 a.m.

Image above: Two rockets stand at their launch pads on opposite sides of the world. Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket (left) with its Cygnus cargo craft on top stands at its launch pad in Virginia. Russia’s Progress 71 rocket is pictured at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Image Credit: NASA.

Russia rolled out its Progress 71 (71P) resupply ship today at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan where it stands at the launch pad for final processing. The 71st flight of a Progress cargo craft to the orbital laboratory is scheduled for launch Friday at 1:14 p.m. Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev will be monitoring the arrival of 71P when it automatically docks to the rear port of the Zvezda service module Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Image above: Northop Grumman’s Antares Rocket on the Pad. Awash in floodlights, the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus spacecraft onboard, is seen on Pad-0A, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This will be Northrop Grumman’s 10th contracted cargo resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station. Cygnus will deliver about 7,500 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Photo Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky.

Gerst and Prokopyev started Wednesday morning training for the arrival of 71P. The pair practiced commanding and manually docking the vehicle on a computer in the unlikely event the Russian cargo craft is unable to dock on its own. Gerst then moved on to Cygnus capture training after lunchtime with Auñón-Chancellor following up before the end of the day. NASA TV will cover live the launch, capture and docking of both Cygnus and Progress on Friday and Sunday.

Related links:

Expedition 57: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition57/index.html

Cygnus: https://cms.nasa.gov/feature/northrop-grumman-cygnus-launches-arrivals-and-departures/

Progress 71 (71P): https://cms.nasa.gov/feature/progress-launches-arrivals-and-departures/

NASA TV: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Animation (mentioned), Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/Yvette Smith.

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Super-Earth Orbiting Barnard’s Star

ESO – European Southern Observatory logo.

14 November 2018

Red Dots campaign uncovers compelling evidence of exoplanet around closest single star to Sun

Artist’s impression of the surface of a super-Earth orbiting Barnard’s Star

The nearest single star to the Sun hosts an exoplanet at least 3.2 times as massive as Earth — a so-called super-Earth. One of the largest observing campaigns to date using data from a world-wide array of telescopes, including ESO’s planet-hunting HARPS instrument, have revealed this frozen, dimly lit world. The newly discovered planet is the second-closest known exoplanet to the Earth. Barnard’s star is the fastest moving star in the night sky.

Artist’s impression of super-Earth orbiting Barnard’s Star

A planet has been detected orbiting Barnard’s Star, a mere 6 light-years away. This breakthrough — announced in a paper published today in the journal Nature — is a result of the Red Dots and CARMENES projects, whose search for local rocky planets has already uncovered a new world orbiting our nearest neighbour, Proxima Centauri.

Barnard’s Star in the constellation Ophiuchus

The planet, designated Barnard’s Star b, now steps in as the second-closest known exoplanet to Earth [1]. The gathered data indicate that the planet could be a super-Earth, having a mass at least 3.2 times that of the Earth, which orbits its host star in roughly 233 days. Barnard’s Star, the planet’s host star, is a red dwarf, a cool, low-mass star, which only dimly illuminates this newly-discovered world. Light from Barnard’s Star provides its planet with only 2% of the energy the Earth receives from the Sun.

Widefield image of the sky around Barnard’s Star showing its motion

Despite being relatively close to its parent star — at a distance only 0.4 times that between Earth and the Sun — the exoplanet lies close to the snow line, the region where volatile compounds such as water can condense into solid ice. This freezing, shadowy world could have a temperature of –170 ℃, making it inhospitable for life as we know it.

Named for astronomer E. E. Barnard, Barnard’s Star is the closest single star to the Sun. While the star itself is ancient — probably twice the age of our Sun — and relatively inactive, it also has the fastest apparent motion of any star in the night sky [2]. Super-Earths are the most common type of planet to form around low-mass stars such as Barnard’s Star, lending credibility to this newly discovered planetary candidate. Furthermore, current theories of planetary formation predict that the snow line is the ideal location for such planets to form.

Artist’s impression of Barnard’s Star and its super-Earth

Previous searches for a planet around Barnard’s Star have had disappointing results — this recent breakthrough was possible only by combining measurements from several high-precision instruments mounted on telescopes all over the world [3].

“After a very careful analysis, we are 99% confident that the planet is there,” stated the team’s lead scientist, Ignasi Ribas (Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia and the Institute of Space Sciences, CSIC in Spain). “However, we’ll continue to observe this fast-moving star to exclude possible, but improbable, natural variations of the stellar brightness which could masquerade as a planet.”

Exploring the surface of a super-Earth orbiting Barnard’s Star (Artist’s impression)

Among the instruments used were ESO’s famous planet-hunting HARPS and UVES spectrographs. “HARPS played a vital part in this project. We combined archival data from other teams with new, overlapping, measurements of Barnard’s star from different facilities,” commented Guillem Anglada Escudé (Queen Mary University of London), co-lead scientist of the team behind this result [4]. “The combination of instruments was key to allowing us to cross-check our result.”

The astronomers used the Doppler effect to find the exoplanet candidate. While the planet orbits the star, its gravitational pull causes the star to wobble. When the star moves away from the Earth, its spectrum redshifts; that is, it moves towards longer wavelengths. Similarly, starlight is shifted towards shorter, bluer, wavelengths when the star moves towards Earth.

Barnard’s Star in the Solar neighborhood

Astronomers take advantage of this effect to measure the changes in a star’s velocity due to an orbiting exoplanet — with astounding accuracy. HARPS can detect changes in the star’s velocity as small as 3.5 km/h — about walking pace. This approach to exoplanet hunting is known as the radial velocity method, and has never before been used to detect a similar super-Earth type exoplanet in such a large orbit around its star.

“We used observations from seven different instruments, spanning 20 years of measurements, making this one of the largest and most extensive datasets ever used for precise radial velocity studies.” explained Ribas. ”The combination of all data led to a total of 771 measurements — a huge amount of information!”

“We have all worked very hard on this breakthrough,” concluded Anglada-Escudé. “This discovery is the result of a large collaboration organised in the context of the Red Dots project, that included contributions from teams all over the world. Follow-up observations are already underway at different observatories worldwide.”


[1] The only stars closer to the Sun make up the triple star system Alpha Centauri. In 2016, astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth in this system, Proxima Centauri. That planet lies just over 4 light-years from Earth, and was discovered by a team led by Guillem Anglada Escudé.

[2] The total velocity of Barnard’s Star with respect to the Sun is about 500 000 km/h. Despite this blistering pace, it is not the fastest known star. What makes the star’s motion noteworthy is how fast it appears to move across the night sky as seen from the Earth, known as its apparent motion. Barnard’s Star travels a distance equivalent to the Moon’s diameter across the sky every 180 years — while this may not seem like much, it is by far the fastest apparent motion of any star.

[3] The facilities used in this research were: HARPS at the ESO 3.6-metre telescope; UVES at the ESO VLT; HARPS-N at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo; HIRES at the Keck 10-metre telescope; PFS at the Carnegie’s Magellan 6.5-m telescope; APF at the 2.4-m telescope at Lick Observatory; and CARMENES at the Calar Alto Observatory. Additionally, observations were made with the 90-cm telescope at the Sierra Nevada Observatory, the 40-cm robotic telescope at the SPACEOBS observatory, and the 80-cm Joan Oró Telescope of the Montsec Astronomical Observatory (OAdM).

[4] The story behind this discovery will be explored in more detail in this week’s ESOBlog: https://www.eso.org/public/blog/

More information:

This research was presented in the paper A super-Earth planet candidate orbiting at the snow-line of Barnard’s star published in the journal Nature on 15 November.

The team was composed of I. Ribas (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), M. Tuomi (Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom), A. Reiners (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany), R. P. Butler (Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), J. C. Morales (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), M. Perger (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), S. Dreizler (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany), C. Rodríguez-López (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), J. I. González Hernández (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), A. Rosich (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), F. Feng (Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom), T. Trifonov (Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Germany), S. S. Vogt (Lick Observatory, University of California, USA), J. A. Caballero (Centro de Astrobiología, CSIC-INTA, Spain), A. Hatzes (Thüringer Landessternwarte, Germany), E. Herrero (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), S. V. Jeffers (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany), M. Lafarga (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), F. Murgas (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), R. P. Nelson (School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom), E. Rodríguez (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), J. B. P. Strachan (School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom), L. Tal-Or (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany & School of Geosciences, Tel-Aviv University, Israel), J. Teske (Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA & Hubble Fellow), B. Toledo-Padrón (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), M. Zechmeister (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany), A. Quirrenbach (Landessternwarte, Universität Heidelberg, Germany), P. J. Amado (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), M. Azzaro (Centro Astronómico Hispano-Alemán, Spain), V. J. S. Béjar (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), J. R. Barnes (School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, United Kingdom), Z. M. Berdiñas (Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Chile), J. Burt (Kavli Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), G. Coleman (Physikalisches Institut, Universität Bern, Switzerland), M. Cortés-Contreras (Centro de Astrobiología, CSIC-INTA, Spain), J. Crane (The Observatories, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), S. G. Engle (Department of Astrophysics & Planetary Science, Villanova University, USA), E. F. Guinan (Department of Astrophysics & Planetary Science, Villanova University, USA), C. A. Haswell (School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, United Kingdom), Th. Henning (Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Germany), B. Holden (Lick Observatory, University of California, USA), J. Jenkins (Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Chile), H. R. A. Jones (Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom), A. Kaminski (Landessternwarte, Universität Heidelberg, Germany), M. Kiraga (Warsaw University Observatory, Poland), M. Kürster (Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Germany), M. H. Lee (Department of Earth Sciences and Department of Physics, The University of Hong Kong), M. J. López-González (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), D. Montes (Dep. de Física de la Tierra Astronomía y Astrofísica & Unidad de Física de Partículas y del Cosmos de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain), J. Morin (Laboratoire Univers et Particules de Montpellier, Université de Montpellier, France), A. Ofir (Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science. Israel), E. Pallé (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), R. Rebolo (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain, & Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), S. Reffert (Landessternwarte, Universität Heidelberg, Germany), A. Schweitzer (Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg, Germany), W. Seifert (Landessternwarte, Universität Heidelberg, Germany), S. A. Shectman (The Observatories, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), D. Staab (School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, United Kingdom), R. A. Street (Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, USA), A. Suárez Mascareño (Observatoire Astronomique de l’Université de Genève, Switzerland & Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias Spain), Y. Tsapras (Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Germany), S. X. Wang (Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), and G. Anglada-Escudé (School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom & Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain).

ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It has 16 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile and with Australia as a Strategic Partner. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope and its world-leading Very Large Telescope Interferometer as well as two survey telescopes, VISTA working in the infrared and the visible-light VLT Survey Telescope. ESO is also a major partner in two facilities on Chajnantor, APEX and ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope, the ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.


ESOcast 184 Light: Super-Earth Orbiting Barnard’s Star: https://www.eso.org/public/videos/eso1837a/

Research paper: https://www.eso.org/public/archives/releases/sciencepapers/eso1837/eso1837a.pdf

Red Dots project: https://reddots.space/

Pale Red Dot campaign discovers Proxima Centauri b: https://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1629/

Red Dots: https://reddots.space/

CARMENES: https://carmenes.caha.es/

HARPS: https://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/lasilla/36/harps/

ESO 3.6-metre telescope: https://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/lasilla/36/

ESO VLT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Large_Telescope

UVES: https://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/paranal-observatory/vlt/vlt-instr/uves/

Telescopio Nazionale Galileo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_National_Telescope

2.4-m telescope at Lick Observatory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lick_Observatory

Calar Alto Observatory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calar_Alto_Observatory

Sierra Nevada Observatory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Nevada_Observatory

Joan Oró Telescope of the Montsec Astronomical Observatory (OAdM): http://oadm.ieec.cat/en/inici.htm

Images, Text, Credits: ESO/Calum Turner/Queen Mary University of London/Guillem Anglada-Escudé/Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya and the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC)/Ignasi Ribas/M. Kornmesser/IAU and Sky & Telescope/Digitized Sky Survey 2 Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin/E — Red Dots/Videos: ESO/M. Kornmesser/L. Calçada/Vladimir Romanyuk (spaceengine.org). Music: Astral Electronics.

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Frozen Geyser, USA | #Geology #GeologyPage #Geyser #NewYork The…

Frozen Geyser, USA | #Geology #GeologyPage #Geyser #NewYork

The arctic conditions have turned a geyser at a state park in upstate New York into a five-story-tall “ice volcano.”

The geyser is in a pond near the Glen Iris Inn at Letchworth State Park, which straddles the Wyoming-Livingston county line 40 miles south of Rochester. Days of subzero temperatures have formed a solid cone of ice several feet thick with water still spouting out of the top.

Geology Page



Diabetes Device Many people suffering from diabetes need to…

Diabetes Device

Many people suffering from diabetes need to check their blood glucose levels frequently to avoid the risk of dangerous complications such as a coma or heart attack. This means they need to prick their fingers and produce small drips of blood often multiple times a day. To make this daily chore more pleasant, and possibly eliminate it completely, researchers have developed a wearable device (shown) that uses a special laser technology called Raman spectroscopy to monitor glucose levels in the skin. In a study of healthy people whose glucose levels were tested before and at regular intervals after a glucose drink, measurements with the spectroscopy device were equally as accurate as finger prick tests. If the device can be confirmed as accurate in patients, and can be miniaturised into a continuously wearable form, it may be possible to replace finger prick tests altogether.

Today is World Diabetes Day

Written by Ruth Williams

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NASA’s Webb Telescope Will Investigate Cosmic Jets From Young Stars

A pair of jets protrude outwards in this infrared image of Herbig-Haro 212 (HH 212), taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope. Webb’s high resolution and sensitivity will allow astronomers to examine objects like this in greater detail than ever before. Credits: ESO/M. McCaughrean

The formation of a star sounds like a simple process: a cloud of gas collapses in on itself, growing denser and hotter until nuclear fusion ignites and a star begins to shine. The reality is more complex and dramatic.

Swirling gas spins faster and faster, threatening to rip the still-forming star into pieces. Clumps of matter are captured within a tangle of magnetic fields and squirt outward at supersonic speeds. All of it happens within a dusty shroud that blocks visible light. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will penetrate that dusty veil and reveal new secrets of star birth.

As an interstellar gas cloud contracts, it spins more rapidly, just as a twirling ice skater does when she draws in her arms. The only way for the gas to continue moving inward is for some of the spin (known as angular momentum) to be removed.

In a process that’s still not fully understood, magnetic fields funnel some of the swirling material into twin jets that shoot outward in opposite directions. These jets travel at speeds of hundreds of miles per second and spread across light-years of space.

“Jets are signposts of star formation,” said Tom Ray, an astronomer at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Ray and many other scientists are planning to use Webb to study these jets and stellar outflows. Their goals include learning more about how stars form, and how their jets interact with the surrounding interstellar medium of gas and dust.

Over the span of 14 years, the Hubble Space Telescope looked at a bright, clumpy jet known as HH 34 ejected from a young star. Several bright regions in the clumps signify where material is slamming into each other, heating up, and glowing. Credits: NASA, ESA, P. Hartigan (Rice University), and G. Bacon (STScI)

Shock Waves in Space

They will study objects like Herbig-Haro (HH) 212, located about 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Orion. At the center of HH 212 resides a still-forming star or protostar that will eventually grow to become about the mass of our Sun. Jets from the protostar extend across about 5 light-years of space.

The material in those jets is traveling at supersonic speeds. When it slams into surrounding material, it creates a shock wave, much like the “sonic boom” of a supersonic aircraft. The shock heats the interstellar gas, causing it to glow at specific wavelengths of light that depend on the conditions within the shock wave itself.

“With Webb, we’ll be able to dissect the interactions of the protostar with its surroundings that were previously blurred into a single blob,” said Ewine van Dishoeck of Leiden University.

Webb’s exquisite angular resolution will allow it to pick up the tiniest details. This will allow it to see solar-system-scale features at the distance of objects like HH 212. And since the farther along a jet you go from the protostar, the longer the time since the material was ejected, astronomers can probe the history of the star’s matter-gathering or accretion process.

“Webb has higher sensitivity and higher angular resolution at long infrared wavelengths than anything we could do previously. Webb will answer questions we can’t answer from the ground,” said Alberto Noriega-Crespo of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Webb also will precisely discern different wavelengths of infrared light. This will allow it to detect infrared light from a variety of chemical elements associated with the shock wave, including iron, neon and sulfur.

When a jet of material traveling at supersonic speeds slam into interstellar gas and dust, it creates a shock wave that compresses and heats matter.  Credits: NASA and J. Olmsted (STScI). Hi-res image

A New Star Emerges

HH 212 is about 100,000 years old. Over the course of the next million years, its protostar will gather a sun’s worth of gas. The remainder of the surrounding material will either condense into planets or get swept away by outflows and other processes. Eventually, a fully formed star will emerge.

“By studying HH 212, and objects like it, we want to learn how jets and outflows help the star escape from its cocoon,” said Mark McCaughrean of the European Space Agency.

The observations described here will be taken as part of Webb’s Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) program. The GTO program provides dedicated time to the scientists who have worked with NASA to craft the science and instrument capabilities of Webb throughout its development.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world’s premier space science observatory when it launches in 2021. Webb will solve mysteries of our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.

For more information about Webb, visit www.nasa.gov/webb

By Christine Pulliam
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.

Editor: Lynn Jenner

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