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Archive for the ‘space’ category: Page 8

Dec 14, 2019

Astrophysicists Discover a Neutron Star With a Bizarre Magnetic Field

Posted by in category: space

Scientists from Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology, Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI), and Pulkovo Observatory discovered a unique neutron star, the magnetic field of which is apparent only when the star is seen under a certain angle relative to the observer. Previously, all neutron stars could be grouped into two big families: the first one included objects where the magnetic field manifests itself during the whole spin cycle, and the other one included objects where the magnetic field is not measured at all. The neutron star GRO J2058+42 studied by the researchers offers an insight into the internal structure of neutron star’s magnetic field only at a certain phase of its rotational period. The work was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and supported by the Russian Science Foundation.

The neutron star in the GRO J2058+42 system was discovered almost quarter of a century ago with the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO), USA. It belongs to the class of so-called transient X-ray pulsars. This object was studied using different instruments and nothing set it apart from other objects of its class. Only recent observations with the NuSTAR space observatory that has an outstanding combination of the high energy resolution (400 eV) and extremely wide energy range (3–79 keV), enabled the scientists to detect a peculiar feature in the pulsars emission, potentially making it the first object of its own family.

A cyclotron absorption line[1] was registered in the source energy spectrum[2] that allows estimating the magnetic field strength of the neutron star. Such an observational phenomenon (cyclotron line) is not new and is currently observed in approximately 30 X-ray pulsars. The uniqueness of the Russian scientists’ discovery is that this line manifests itself only when the neutron star is seen under a certain angle to the observer. This discovery became possible due to a detailed “tomographic” analysis of the system. X-ray spectra of the neutron star GROJ2058+42 were measured from ten different directions and only in one of them a significant depression in the emission intensity around 10 keV was found. This energy corresponds approximately to the magnetic field strength of 1012 G at the surface of the neutron star.

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Dec 14, 2019

Focus: New Spaceship Sail Self-Centers

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A technology for propelling spacecraft using a “sail” pushed by light has passed an initial test, with the prototype device staying centered in a laser beam.

To snap close-up photos of planets outside our Solar System (exoplanets), some researchers are proposing the use of a fleet of “light sails” propelled by powerful Earth-bound lasers. A new experiment has demonstrated a possible sail design that uses diffraction gratings, rather than the reflective mirrors that have been used in previous sail designs. The gratings deflect an incoming laser beam at an angle, creating a sideways force that keeps the sail aligned with the beam’s center. Further testing is needed, but the team developing the sail is hopeful that their “beam-rider” technology could guide probes to faraway stars or to closer targets in our own Solar System.

Dec 14, 2019

Camera aboard NASA spacecraft confirms asteroid phenomenon

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WASHINGTON – A U.S. Naval Research Laboratory-built camera mounted on the NASA Parker Solar Probe revealed an asteroid dust trail that has eluded astronomers for decades.

Karl Battams, a computational scientist in NRL’s Space Science Division, discussed the results from the camera called Wide-Field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) on Dec. 11 during a NASA press conference.

WISPR enabled researchers to identify the dust cloud trailing the orbit of the asteroid 3200 Phaethon.

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Dec 13, 2019

It’s Official: NASA Is Considering an Interstellar Mission

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It could represent “humanity’s first explicit step into interstellar space,” as team member at the Applied Physics Laboratory Pontus Brandt told Wired, years after Voyager 1 became the first-ever human-built spacecraft to reach interstellar space.

Rocket Plan

The basic outline of their proposal, which arose out of a NASA supported interstellar probe study last year, is to launch a spacecraft that weighs less than 1,700 pounds on NASA’s upcoming — but much delayed and over budget — Space Launch System rocket.

Dec 13, 2019

Scientists Spot One of the Most Distant Galaxies Ever: MAMBO-9

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Dec 13, 2019

NASA finds ‘water ice’ just below the surface of Mars

Posted by in categories: space, sustainability

Locating ice means future astronauts have a source of drinking water and rocket fuel.

Dec 13, 2019

The ‘Impossible’ Molecules That Only Appear In Space

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Compounds with noble gases don’t form naturally on Earth. But in the interstellar medium, they are helping scientists probe the history of the universe.

Dec 13, 2019

This Quantum Lab Makes Exotic States of Matter in Space

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, space

Atomic physicists at NASA are working to create an exotic state of matter in space 🤯

Via Seeker

Dec 12, 2019

First-of-Its-Kind Neutron Star Flashes Bizarre ‘Cyclotron Line’ at Earth

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A twisted little neutron star devoured chunks of its stellar twin, revealing a never-before-seen phenomenon to scientists watching on Earth.

Unlike most objects in space (including other neutron stars and planet Earth), neutron star GRO J2058+42 doesn’t have two simple magnetic poles at its north and south ends. Instead, it has a distorted magnetic field, with warped regions of intense magnetism sprinkled across the object’s surface.

Dec 12, 2019

The Outer Worlds Review — To Infinity And Beyond

Posted by in category: space

Classic RPG sensibilities enhance wonderful characters, punchy combat, and consistently excellent writing in this sharp space Western.

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