Cool astronomy photos

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Bruce
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

Post by Bruce »

Bruce wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:04 am
Starting to wonder if I should change my entry in the Deadpool to Betelgeuse.

https://astronomy.com/news/2020/02/dimm ... mages-show

This has been in NASA news for the past year. Betelgeuse has been dimming, which is normal for a variable star, but it's been dimmer for a longer period since its variable phenomenon was first recorded. As of a few days ago, it started changing shape. :POMG: :POMG: :POMG:

I would honestly like to see it go supernova. That would be super cool. It would almost be worth the Second Coming and other woo nonsense that would surely follow.
Nope. False alarm. :(

https://www.universetoday.com/145114/be ... ing-again/
The latest observations of Betelgeuse show that the star is now beginning to slowly brighten. No supernova today! Nothing to see, better luck next time.

Despite some of the hype, this behavior is exactly what astronomers expected.
Such potential!

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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A 2.5 Hour Exposure of the Rho Ophiuchi Region From a Dark Sky Site

Image
https://old.reddit.com/r/space/comments ... hi_region/ for technical details.

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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China’s Rover Finds Layers of Surprise Under Moon’s Far Side

The Chang’e-4 mission, the first to land on the lunar far side, is demonstrating the promise and peril of using ground-penetrating radar in planetary science. ["peril"?]

Image
China’s Yutu-2 rover on the moon’s surface. Ground-penetrating radar on the rover examined soil on the moon at depths of more than 100 feet.
China’s robotic Chang’e-4 spacecraft did something last year that had never been done before: It landed on the moon’s far side, and Yutu-2, a small rover it was carrying, began trundling through a crater there. One of the rover’s instruments, a ground-penetrating radar, is now revealing what lies beneath.

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, a team of Chinese and Italian researchers showed that the top layer of the lunar soil on that part of the moon is considerably thicker than some expected — about 130 feet of what scientists call regolith.

“It’s a fine, dusty, sandy environment,” said Elena Pettinelli, a professor of mathematics and physics at Rome Tre University who was one of the authors of the paper.

Based on what NASA astronauts observed during the Apollo moon landings, other scientists said they would have expected one-quarter as much soil.

Image
Arrows at lower right show the Chang’e 4 landing site in Von Karman crater on the moon.
Although Von Karman crater lies within what is known as the South Pole-Aitken basin, an ancient 1,100-mile-wide impact crater, it is too far north for there to be ice in the soil.

The radar waves passed through the top 40 feet or so almost effortlessly, indicating a porous granular material. Below that, there were boulders, perhaps a couple of feet to a couple of yards in size. A third slice of soil, even lower, appeared to consist of alternating layers of fine and coarse particles but without boulders.

One surprise was that the researchers saw no signs of the radar bouncing off basalt — solidified lava — that would have pooled at the bottom of a crater as the rocks melted by a meteor impact cooled. Yutu-2’s radar signals would have bounced off that rock if the rover had visited Von Karman crater soon after it formed.

But several billion years later, the basalt surface has been buried by regolith that was subsequently tossed up by later impacts. The top layer of fine particles may have also once contained boulders, but those may have been broken apart in eons of subsequent cosmic pummeling.

Image
The Chang’e-4 lander, photographed by the Yutu-2 rover.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/scie ... -side.html

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Image
Saturn: Shadows of a Seasonal Sundial

Saturn's rings form one of the larger sundials known. This sundial, however, determines only the season of Saturn, not the time of day. In 2009, during Saturn's last equinox, Saturn's thin rings threw almost no shadows onto Saturn, since the ring plane pointed directly toward the Sun. As Saturn continued in its orbit around the Sun, however, the ring shadows become increasingly wider and cast further south. These shadows are not easily visible from the Earth because from our vantage point near the Sun, the rings always block the shadows. The above image was taken in August by the robotic Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn. The rings themselves appear as a vertical bar on the image right. The Sun, far to the upper right, shines through the rings and casts captivatingly complex shadows on south Saturn, on the image left. Cassini has been exploring Saturn, its rings, and its moons since 2004, and is expected to continue until at least the maximum elongation of Saturn's shadows occurs in 2017. [2011 October 12]
http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlnasa/re ... 11012.html

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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No picture, but an interesting result:
Hunting aurorae: Astronomers find an exoplanet using a new approach

If confirmed, the discovery points to how radio telescopes could help astronomers discover and study exoplanets by searching for their aurorae.

Astronomers have discovered a terrestrial-mass exoplanet orbiting a tiny red dwarf star less than 30 light-years from Earth. And although finding yet another exoplanet is nothing new, what’s unique is exactly how the researchers discovered the exotic world: They hunted for radio waves emitted by glowing aurorae.

The new observations — made with the Low Frequency Array radio telescope (LOFAR) in the Netherlands — indicate a planet less than about five times the mass of the Earth is in a quick orbit around a petite red dwarf named GJ 1151. And thanks to the stars’ magnetic field interacting with the close-in planet’s atmosphere, the researchers were able to detect the telltale radio signatures of aurorae.

...

In the case of the newfound world around GJ 1151, the researchers paint a picture of a planet magnetically connected to its star, producing aurorae as the two interact. According to Joseph Callingham, a Veni Fellow at Leiden Observatory at Leiden University, these exoplanetary aurorae are expected to look brighter and more intense than anything seen on Earth, sporting purple and yellow hues that only appear in Earth’s strongest light shows.

This sort of magnetic activity produces radio emissions, which radio astronomers have long hoped to use to find and study exoplanets. In 2018, for instance, astronomers discovered the impressive auroral activity of a rogue exoplanet called SIMP J01365663+0933473 (or simply SIMP). This marked the first detection of aurorae on a planet-sized object outside our own solar system. If confirmed, the recent observations of GJ 1151 will go on to serve as the first detection of star-exoplanet interaction at radio frequencies.

“All previous methods of detecting exoplanets around main-sequence stars use optical telescopes,” says Benjamin Pope, a NASA Sagan Fellow at New York University who was involved with the research. “By opening the radio window, we don’t necessarily know what we will find!”

And because most red dwarf stars — which are thought to account for roughly 75 percent of the stars in the universe — have exceptionally strong magnetic fields, this new method of detecting exoplanets based on their auroral activity could be particularly revealing.
https://astronomy.com/news/2020/03/hunt ... w-approach

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Anaxagoras
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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We're sending another rover to Mars soon:

America's next Mars rover will be called Perseverance

Image

More about the mission:

Nasa 2020 robot rover to target Jezero 'lake' crater

Basically it's like the Curiosity Rover, but with some upgraded kit. The platform is the same, so they didn't try to reinvent the wheel by designing a whole new rover from scratch.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Image

Technical details: ISS Transit of the Sun in Hα.

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Jupiter's moon Io in true colors:

Image

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Lunar south pole:

Image

Source & details: https://prabhuastrophotography.com/upda ... south-pole

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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LUVOIR Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor


Mission

LUVOIR (Large UV Optical Infrared telescope) is a concept for a large multi-wavelength, serviceable observatory following the heritage of the Hubble Space Telescope. In scope with its ambitious planned design, its science goals would enable transformative advances across a broad range of astrophysics. With a proposed launch date in mid 2030s, this observatory includes upgradeable state-of-the-art instruments and would reside at Earth-Sun L2 point. LUVOIR's broad range of capabilities, including its wide UV-NIR wavelength range, will allow it to study yet-to-be-discovered phenomena and answer yet-to-be dreamed of questions we do not yet know to ask. A large fraction of LUVOIR's schedule would be open to the community through a general observing program. The LUVOIR study team is considering two architectures, one with a 15-m mirror (Architecture A), and another with an 8-m mirror (Architecture B). Architecture A is designed for launch on NASA's planned Space Launch System (SLS), while Architecture B is being designed to launch on a heavy-lift vehicle with a 5-m diameter fairing, similar to those in use today.

Telescope

LUVOIR Architecture A (LUVOIR-A) features a 15-m diameter primary telescope aperture and four serviceable instruments, while Architecture B (LUVOIR-B) has an 8-m telescope aperture and 3 instruments. The primary mirror for LUVOIR-A is an on-axis three-mirror anastigmat system (TMA). The advantages of this system include high optical quality across a wide field-of-view. LUVOIR-B is an off-axis TMA, chosen to improve perfomance for high-contrast observations of exoplanets. Both designs include a fine steering mirror located at the real exit pupil of the optical telescope element, to achieve ultra-fine pointing stability for all of the instruments.

Just a concept. Even LUVOIR-B would be too expensive for NASA. Details: https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/luvoir/

But holy crap, the things we could see with a 15 m telescope in orbit. Tax the cockroaches! :x

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sparks
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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If it will elevate our knowledge of the Cosmos in which we find ourselves, then count on it: It won't get funded.

Sky Daddy and all that shit you see.
You can lead them to knowledge, but you can't make them think.

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Anaxagoras
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Maybe if the James Webb telescope actually works, but it's been so plagued with delays and cost overruns, that I think they might be shy about starting to build another space telescope in the near future.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Anaxagoras wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:52 am
Maybe if the James Webb telescope actually works, but it's been so plagued with delays and cost overruns, that I think they might be shy about starting to build another space telescope in the near future.
Indeed. And it's a pity.
“Now estimated to cost $9.7 billion, the project’s costs have increased by 95 percent and its launch date has been delayed by over 6.5 years since its cost and schedule baselines were established in 2009.”
– GAO Report: James Webb Space Telescope
From this article on the subject: https://www.universetoday.com/144804/it ... july-2021/

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Signals that baffled astronomers for 17 years traced to observatory's microwave oven

For 17 years, astronomers at a well-known Australian radio telescope known as "The Dish" had not been able to figure out the source of a strange, vexing interference.

Simon Johnston, head of astrophysics at the CSIRO, the national science agency, told the Guardian that a couple of times a year signals known as perytons were detected "within five kilometers" of the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales. The first theory was that the perytons were caused by local lightning strikes.

On New Year's Day, the observatory installed a new receiver to monitor the interference, and it detected strong signals at 2.4 GHz.

Two point four gigahertz is the signature of a microwave oven.

When scientists tested the facility's lunchroom microwave, no perytons were found — at least not at first.

But when the door of the microwave was opened while food was heating — as one might do to check on a reheated dish — bingo! Perytons spilled out like microwaved popcorn.

Complicating matters was that the Dish only registered the perytons when it was pointed at the microwave.

Astronomers generally operate the telescope remotely, but several maintenance workers are on the site during daytime hours. Little did they know that reheating their coffee created an enigma that would remain unsolved for almost two decades.
https://www.sfgate.com/science/article/ ... 249454.php


Sorry, no picture of the offending kitchen appliance. :mrgreen:

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sparks
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Fucking idiots.
You can lead them to knowledge, but you can't make them think.

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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sparks wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:58 am
Fucking idiots.
I heard of a similar case where strange bands appeared on the observatory's spectrograms… every time the astronomer lit his pipe.

Perhaps apocryphal, perhaps it was Hubble:

Image

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sparks
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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It was the cat. You can see the mischief in its eyes.
You can lead them to knowledge, but you can't make them think.

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Image
M77: Spiral Galaxy with an Active Center

What's happening in the center of nearby spiral galaxy M77? The face-on galaxy lies a mere 47 million light-years away toward the constellation of the Sea Monster (Cetus). At that estimated distance, this gorgeous island universe is about 100 thousand light-years across. Also known as NGC 1068, its compact and very bright core is well studied by astronomers exploring the mysteries of supermassive black holes in active Seyfert galaxies. M77 and its active core glows bright at x-ray, ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and radio wavelengths. The featured sharp image of M77 was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and is dominated by the (visible) red light emitted by hydrogen. The image shows details of the spiral's winding spiral arms as traced by obscuring dust clouds, and red-tinted star forming regions close in to the galaxy's luminous core.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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Apollo 13 Views of the Moon

What if the only way to get back to Earth was to go around the far side of the Moon? Such was the dilemma of the Apollo 13 Crew in 1970 as they tried to return home in their unexpectedly damaged spacecraft. With the Moon in the middle, their perilous journey substituted spectacular views of the lunar farside for radio contact with NASA's Mission Control. These views have now been digitally recreated from detailed images of the Moon taken by the robotic Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The featured video starts by showing Earth disappear behind a dark lunar limb, while eight minutes later the Sun rises around the opposite side of the Moon and begins to illuminate the Moon's unusual and spectacularly cratered surface. Radio contact was only re-established several minutes after that, as a crescent Earth rose into view. With the gravity of the Moon and the advice of many industrious NASA engineers and scientists, a few days later Apollo 13 opened its parachutes over the Pacific Ocean and landed safely back on Earth.
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200303.html


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Witness
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Re: Cool astronomy photos

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NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Snaps Its Highest-Resolution Panorama Yet

NASA's Curiosity rover has captured its highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface. Composed of more than 1,000 images taken during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the composite contains 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape. The rover's Mast Camera, or Mastcam, used its telephoto lens to produce the panorama; meanwhile, it relied on its medium-angle lens to produce a lower-resolution, nearly 650-million-pixel panorama that includes the rover's deck and robotic arm.

Both panoramas showcase "Glen Torridon," a region on the side of Mount Sharp that Curiosity is exploring. They were taken between Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, when the mission team was out for the Thanksgiving holiday. Sitting still with few tasks to do while awaiting the team to return and provide its next commands, the rover had a rare chance to image its surroundings from the same vantage point several days in a row. (Look closer: A special tool allows viewers to zoom into this panorama.)

It required more than 6 1/2 hours over the four days for Curiosity to capture the individual shots. Mastcam operators programmed the complex task list, which included pointing the rover's mast and making sure the images were in focus. To ensure consistent lighting, they confined imaging to between noon and 2 p.m. local Mars time each day.


Interactive panoramas at the link: https://mars.nasa.gov/news/8621/nasas-c ... orama-yet/