Mysterious waves have been pulsing across Oklahoma
A buzz that rocked the state all summer sent geologists on a labyrinthine chase—and unearthed new mysteries about how energy moves through land and air.
© SARAO The Milky Way curves over the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa.
Astronomers have found radio-emitting structures jutting out from our galaxy’s black hole.
A pair of enormous " bubbles " have been discovered at the center of the Milky Way . The mysterious structures, joined together in an hourglass-like shape and spewing radio waves, are thought to be the remnants of a vast cosmic explosion that occurred in our galaxy some 7 million years ago.
Farhad Yusef-Zadeh was observing the center of the Milky Way galaxy in radio waves, looking for the presence of faint stars, when he saw it: a spindly structure giving off its own radio emissions. The filament-like feature was probably a glitch in the telescope, or something clouding the field of view, he decided. It shouldn’t be here, he thought, and stripped it out of his data.
But the mystery filament kept showing up, and soon Yusef-Zadeh found others. What the astronomer had mistaken for an imperfection turned out to be an entire population of cosmic structures at the heart of the galaxy.
Massive neutron star is at the limit of collapsing into a black hole
A newly detected neutron star is the biggest ever discovered, and astronomers say it is right at the limit of collapsing itself into a black hole. Neutron stars are relatively small, usually measuring about 15 miles across, but they can be incredibly dense. They are created when giant stars die in supernovas and their cores collapse, leaving the remaining protons and electrons to melt into each other and form neutrons.
“ The Milky Way ’s central black hole can — from time to time — become uncharacteristically active, flaring up as it periodically For more on this discovery, read Staggeringly Powerful Event Occurred Near Center of the Milky Way . Reference: “Inflation of 430-parsec bipolar radio bubbles in the
A radio image of the center of the Milky Way with a portion of the MeerKAT telescope array in the foreground. We’ve been staring, cosmically speaking, at these all along – without really “seeing” them. But now, an international team of astronomers has identified a pair of bubbles , hundreds of
More than 100 filaments have been detected since Yusef-Zadeh’s first encounter in the early 1980s. Astronomers can’t completely explain them, but they have given them familiar labels, naming them after the earthly things they resemble: the pelican, the mouse, the snake. The menagerie of filaments is clustered around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. “They haven’t been found elsewhere,” says Yusef-Zadeh, a physics and astronomy professor at Northwestern University.
Their origins remained a mystery, too, until now.
Related: 30 photos prove how beautiful the Milky Way is (Photos)
Home to our own solar system, the Milky Way galaxy has captivated the imagination since the dawn of cosmology. Named after the dim ‘milky’ glow generated by the indistinguishable mass of stars that it’s made from, when the Milky Way is observed from Earth, it appears like a band, due to its disc shape, but is actually a barred spiral galaxy.
What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?
What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?
Why is the Milky Way blowing bubbles ? Portrait of strange structures revealed - but scientists still can't explain their source. Some scientists believe they could have been created by huge jets of accelerated matter blasting out from the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy.
The source of the bubbles is a mystery . A year ago he was part of a group led by Gregory Dobler of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, Calif., that said it had discerned the existence of a mysterious fog of high-energy particles buzzing around the center of the Milky Way .
Facts and figures around the Milky Way’s size and constituents vary, with the galaxy’s diameter believed to be between 120,000 and 150,000 light-years. Within the Milky Way there could be as many as a trillion stars and 100 billion planets. With such incredible numbers, it’s easy to understand why until 1920 it was believed that the Milky Way contained all the stars in the universe, but we now know it to be just one of around 200 billion galaxies that we can observe.
(Pictured) The Milky Way over Porth Loe, Cornwall, England.
Giraffes are seen at Masai Mara in Kenya as the Milky Way looms in the background.
This composite image of 14 (seven foreground and seven background) pictures called "The crown of the Dolomites" shows the galaxy over the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy.
Why two million people signed up to storm Area 51
The secret military base's history reveals its enduring appeal and what might be lurking inside. Spoiler: It’s not aliens.More than two million people have signed up during the past two months to converge on Area 51, the air base near Rachel, Nevada, with hopes of seeing aliens. Although the organizer has called the “Storm Area 51" event a hoax, city officials estimate that 30,000 to 40,000 people could show up this weekend.
The Milky Way Project is a Zooniverse project whose main goal is to identify stellar-wind bubbles in the Milky Way Galaxy. Users classify sets of infrared images from the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).
The supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way triggered a “cataclysmic” explosion recently enough to occur as our earliest ancestors Bubbles want to optimise space and minimise their surface area for a given volume of air. This unique phenomenon makes them a reliable, useful
The night sky at Nambung National Park in Australia.
Seen from the Atacama Desert in Chile.
A tree is silhouetted against the galaxy in Masai Mara.
Seen at Nambung National Park in Nambung, Australia.
The galaxy is seen over Durdle Door near Lulworth in Dorset, England.
The galaxy's arch is seen at Nambung National Park in Australia.
The band of the Milky Way is seen over rocks at the White Desert in Al Farafrah, Egypt.
Seen above the Isle Of Wight, England.
The galaxy brightens up the sky at Nambung National Park.
Ancient kingdom presumed to be Bible story 'could be real'
Scientists have discovered evidence of an ancient kingdom previously thought to have been a mythical creation in the Bible. The Old Testament described Edom as a neighbouring enemy state of Judan, located southeast of the Dead Sea where explorers would now find parts of Jordan and Israel.It was spoken of extremely harshly, with some biblical texts indicating that it was complicit in the destruction of Judan and the holy city of Jerusalem.Edom has been described as a place "where kings reigned before any Israelite king reigned", but is later said to have been defeated and plundered by King David of Israel.
The Milky Way is captured over the Pentre Ifan, a burial chamber, in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
The Northern lights and Milky Way are seen with the Bamburgh lighthouse in Northumberland, England, in the foreground.
Brightens the sky over Navarre, Spain.
Seen over Mount Sinabung as it erupts in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia.
A star-struck deer gazing at the galaxy in South Dakota, U.S.
Seen from the Australian Camp at Dhampus village in Kaski District, Nepal.
The Milky Way rises above the famous Landscape Arch in the Arches National Park, Utah.
Seen in the clear night sky at Ngwe Saung beach, west of Pathein, Ayeyarwady region in Myanmar.
The galactic center region is seen over the upper field of the Texas Star Party, near Fort Davis, Texas.
Seen over Kalavryta, Achaea, Greece.
The galaxy brightens the sky at Mount Olympus in Greece.
The Milky Way in Sagittarius (toward the galactic center) going down behind the badland hills along the Red Deer River in Canada.
The light band stretches across the evening sky near Petersdorf, Bavaria, Germany.
Seen over the famous rocky peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo in Italy.
How much is a whale worth?
The remains of a 1,400-year-old skeleton were found not long ago in the Scottish Highlands.
Brightens the sky over Pantani di Accumoli park in Italy.
Seen at the Pordenack Point in Cornwall, England.
The image shows the Cat's Paw Nebula, a star-forming region in the Milky Way galaxy.
Seen over Hamworthy Park beach huts in Poole, England.
New observations of the galactic center have revealed a pair of giant bubbles at the center of the Milky Way that give off radio emissions, according to recent research published in Nature
. The bubbles stretch outward from the black hole and extend into space in opposite directions. The billowy lobes resemble the two halves of an hourglass, with the black hole nestled at its waist. And the filaments that Yusef-Zadeh discovered all those years ago are encased within.
These bubbles are big. Top to bottom, the cosmic hourglass measures 1,400 light-years, a distance that, if converted into miles, comprises of a dizzying number of zeros; one light-year—the distance that light covers in an Earth year—is about 6 trillion miles. The black hole, by comparison, is a pinprick of light. © Provided by Atlantic Media, Inc. SARAO / Oxford
The discovery suggests that the sinuous filaments arose as part of a larger structure. “We’ve long thought that this was the case, but we haven’t been able to image the proof,” says Cornelia Lang, an astronomer at the University of Iowa who studies these filaments, and who was not involved in the bubble research.
8 Takeaways From the Whistle-Blower Complaint
Correction: September 26, 2019 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the title of Joseph Maguire. He is the acting director of national intelligence, not the director of national intelligence. An earlier version also misspelled the surname of the White House counsel. He is Pat A. Cipollone, not Cippolone. WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released a declassified version of a whistle-blower complaint about President Trump’s effort to press the leader of Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The new observations come from the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa, an array of dozens of dishes that work together to generate a large field of view. The facility, which began operations last year, is located in one of the best places on the planet to study the heart of the Milky Way; the galactic center passes right overhead and remains observable for hours.
But it’s not a straight shot. Our solar system resides near one of the Milky Way’s shimmery spirals, and there’s about 25,000 light-years of gas, dust, and other cosmic matter sitting between us and the galactic center. To observe that faraway place, astronomers must observe in forms of electromagnetic radiation other than visible light, like radio. “We have to piece together a picture of the center of the galaxy using wavelengths that are not the kind that our eye sees,” Lang says.
Related: Spectacular photos from space (Photos)
Milky Way panorama taken in the Armazones crater site in Chile by the Extremely Large Telescope site.
Close Encounter With Saturn
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed Saturn on June 20, 2019 as the planet made its closest approach to Earth this year, approximately 845 million miles away.
At the remote Concordia research station in Antarctica, a beautiful and harmless display of Aurora Australis or Southern Lights caught ESA-sponsored medical doctor Nadja Albertsen by surprise.
This illustration depicts Comet C/2019 Q4's trajectory. Deemed a possible interstellar object, it will approach no closer to Earth than about 190 million miles (300 million kilometers). The newly discovered comet has excited the astronomical community this week because it appears to have originated from outside the solar system.
British OAPs cruising their way to jail: How retired chef and his secretary wife will swap golf courses and yoga classes on the Algarve for a Lisbon prison after pure greed led them to smuggle £1m of cocaine across the Atlantic
Judges convicted retired chef Roger Clarke, 72, and his ex-secretary wife Sue, 71, of drugs trafficking at Lisbon's main criminal court and on Thursday sentenced them to 8 years in prison.The officers headed straight for cabin 469, waking its occupants, pensioners Roger and Sue Clarke.
Part of the southern Milky Way is seen here, around the constellations of Centaurus, Crux and Carina.
Mars' Icy Dunes
This image was taken in the north polar region of Mars by the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter’s CaSSIS camera. Dunes come in various characteristic shapes on Mars just as on Earth, providing clues about the prevailing wind direction.
CubeSat Mission to Lunar Orbit
The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) is expected to be the first spacecraft to operate in a near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon. In this unique orbit, the CubeSat will rotate together with the Moon as it orbits Earth and will pass as close as 1,000 miles and as far as 43,500 miles from the lunar surface.
Milky Way panorama taken in Chile at the Extremely Large Telescope site. The white band of light is a swirling galaxy of dust, stars and 30 constellations.
Preparing for Mission
NASA continued its preparation for the Artemis I mission with a successful water flow test on the mobile launcher at Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39B on Friday, Sept. 13.
Dark Matter in Whale's Belly
This image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, focuses on an object named UGC 695, which is located 30 million light-years away within the constellation Cetus (The Sea Monster), also known as The Whale. UGC 695 is a low-surface-brightness (LSB) galaxy. These galaxies are so faint that their brightness is less than the background brightness of Earth’s atmosphere, which makes them tricky to observe. This low brightness is the result of the relatively small number of stars within them.
Asteroids Fly by Earth
Two medium-sized asteroids flew safely past Earth overnight Sept. 13-14 (Eastern U.S. time). “These asteroids have been well observed—once since 2000 and the other since 2010—and their orbits are very well known,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer and program executive for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
ESO’s VISTA telescope reveals a remarkable image of the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of our nearest galactic neighbours. VISTA has been surveying this galaxy and its sibling the Small Magellanic Cloud, as well as their surroundings, in unprecedented detail. This survey allows astronomers to observe a large number of stars, opening up new opportunities to study stellar evolution, galactic dynamics, and variable stars.
This artist’s impression shows the planet K2-18b, its host star and an accompanying planet in this system. K2-18b is now the only super-Earth exoplanet known to host both water and temperatures that could support life.
With data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, water vapour has been detected in the atmosphere of a super-Earth within the habitable zone by University College London (UCL) researchers in a world first. K2-18b, which is eight times the mass of Earth, is now the only planet orbiting a star outside the Solar System, or exoplanet, known to have both water and temperatures that could support life.
Titan's Rimmed Lakes
This artist's concept of a lake at the north pole of Saturn's moon Titan illustrates raised rims and rampartlike features such as those seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft around the moon's Winnipeg Lacus.
This picture shows a dwarf galaxy named UGC 685. Such galaxies are small and contain just a tiny fraction of the number of stars in a galaxy like the Milky Way. Dwarf galaxies often show a hazy structure, an ill-defined shape, and an appearance somewhat akin to a swarm or cloud of stars — and UGC 685 is no exception to this. Classified as an SAm galaxy — a type of unbarred spiral galaxy — it is located about 15 million light-years from Earth.
Remembering September 11
This 2019 photo of Manhattan, taken by astronaut Nick Hague from aboard the International Space Station, shows Manhattan as it looks today, 18 years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Banishing Light Pollution
This image features the Milky Way rising over the Residencia at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, which can be seen atop a mountain in the distance. This photograph was taken by ESO Photo Ambassador Petr Horálek, and is a great demonstration of just how artificial light can pollute its environment — the brightness of the Residencia lights seems almost blinding compared to the stars. Artificial light scatters off the particles in our atmosphere and can drown out the night sky.
Cyclones from Space
On Sept. 4, 2019, a loose chain of tropical cyclones lined up across the Western Hemisphere. At the time of this image (1:10 p.m. EDT) Hurricane Juliette in the East Pacific and Hurricane Dorian in the Atlantic were both category 2 storms. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Fernand packed sustained winds of 45 mph and had just recently made landfall over northeastern Mexico. Gabrielle strengthened into a tropical storm on September 4 over the eastern Atlantic, and had sustained winds of 50 mph around the time of this image.
Mystery in Fireworks Galaxy
This visible-light image of the Fireworks galaxy (NGC 6946) comes from the Digital Sky Survey and is overlaid with data from NASA's NuSTAR observatory (shown in blue and green). Blue light indicates X-rays captured during the first of two observations by NuSTAR, in May 2017. Green light indicates X-rays seen less than two weeks later in the second observation. This means that the source of the green spot to the lower left of the galactic center began radiating in the time between those two observations. Two bright sources near the top of the image show a combination of blue and green, indicating those sources were visible during both observations. The X-ray data don't have the same spatial resolution as the visible-light image, so the X-ray sources appear larger.
Avalanche Season on Mars
Every spring the sun shines on the side of the stack of layers at the North Pole of Mars known as the north polar layered deposits. The warmth destabilizes the ice and blocks break loose. When they reach the bottom of the more than 500 meter tall cliff face, the blocks kick up a cloud of dust. The layers beneath are different colors and textures depending on the amount of dust mixed with ice.
Black Hole Has Three Hot Meals a Day
A team of astronomers found X-ray bursts repeating about every nine hours originating from the center of a galaxy called GSN 069. Obtained with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton, these data indicate that the supermassive black hole located there is consuming large amounts of material on a regular schedule.
During the outbursts the X-ray emission becomes about 20 times brighter than during the quiet times. The temperature of gas falling towards the black hole also climbs, from about one million degrees Fahrenheit during the quiet periods to about 2.5 million degrees Fahrenheit during the outbursts. The temperature of the latter is similar to that of gas found around most actively growing supermassive black holes.
Australia is tackling multiple bushfires that have broken out across New South Wales and Queensland over the past few days. In this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission on 8 September, fires burning in the Yuraygir National Park and Shark Creek area are visible. Fires are also burning to the north and south of the villages of Angourie and Wooloweyah.
Rustaveli crater on Mercury
By studying the rocks inside impact craters like this one, ESA research fellow Joana S. Oliveira has found that the location of Mercury’s magnetic field has changed over time in surprising ways. Just like Earth, Mercury has a liquid metallic core, the motions within generating the magnetic field. On Earth, our magnetic north and south poles drift between about 10 and 60 km per year, with our planet’s magnetic field orientation flipping more than 100 times in the course of its 4.5 billion years.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch snapped this image of Hurricane Dorian from the International Space Station during a flyover on Monday, September 2, 2019. The station orbits more than 200 miles above the Earth.
Celebrating Spitzer's Sweet Sixteen
Sixteen years ago, NASA launched its Spitzer Space Telescope into orbit around the Sun. Since the observatory launched on Aug. 25, 2003, it has been lifting the veil on the wonders of the cosmos, from our own solar system to faraway galaxies, using infrared light.This Spitzer image shows the giant star Zeta Ophiuchi and the bow shock, or shock wave, in front of it. Visible only in infrared light, the bow shock is created by winds that flow from the star, making ripples in the surrounding dust. Located roughly 370 light-years from Earth, Zeta Ophiuchi dwarfs our Sun: It is about six times hotter, eight times wider, 20 times more massive and about 80,000 times as bright. Even at its great distance, it would be one of the brightest stars in the sky were it not largely obscured by dust clouds.
Full Infrared View of the M81 Galaxy
The magnificent spiral arms of the nearby galaxy Messier 81 are highlighted in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Located in the northern constellation of Ursa Major (which also includes the Big Dipper), this galaxy is easily visible through binoculars or a small telescope. M81 is located at a distance of 12 million light-years. M81 was one of the first publicly-released datasets soon after Spitzers launch in August of 2003. On the occasion of Spitzers 16th anniversary this new image revisits this iconic object with extended observations and improved processing.
Hurricane Dorian's Eye
Astronaut Nick Hague, aboard the International Space Station, posted this photograph of Hurricane Dorian to Twitter on Sept. 2, 2019.
What Are We Looking At?
Deep Space Antenna 1 is ESA’s first 35-m deep dish, staring out to space to communicate with missions far from home. Located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, close to the village of New Norcia, this giant antenna is in the perfect spot to scan the skies. “The Wadjarri people from the Murchison region refer to much of the milky way as the emu, as it resembles an emu stretched across the sky,” says Suzy Jackson, Maintenance & Operations Manager for the ground station. “I’m told that when the emu's nose reaches the horizon, that’s the best time to collect emu eggs. Having our antenna in the foreground just makes it all the better. I am amazed at how beautiful our workplace here is.”
A Passing Fancy
This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows NGC 5307, a planetary nebula which lies about 10000 light years from Earth. It can be seen in the constellation Centaurus (The Centaur), which can be seen primarily in the southern hemisphere. A planetary nebula is the final stage of a Sun-like star. As such, planetary nebulae allow us a glimpse into the future of our own Solar System. A star like our Sun will, at the end of its life, transform into a red giant. Stars are sustained by the nuclear fusion that occurs in their core, which creates energy. The nuclear fusion processes constantly try to rip the star apart.
Caught in the Act
NGC 3351, also known as Messier 95, was first discovered in 1781 by Pierre Méchain, a French astronomer and surveyor who worked alongside Charles Messier. NGC 3351 is a type of galaxy known as a barred spiral galaxy and it is located in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). New observations of this object have shown stellar feedback in action. Stellar feedback is the process of redistributing energy into the interstellar medium (the space in between the stars) within star-forming galaxies. In this particular galaxy, star formation is occurring in the ring surrounding the galaxy nucleus at such a violent rate that massive bubbles of hot gas can actually be seen being ejected.
Technicians at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans moved the engine section for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to another part of the facility on Sept. 3 to prepare it for joining to the rest of the rocket’s core stage. The engine section, which comprises the lowest portion of the 212-foot-tall stage, is the last major component to be horizontally integrated to the core stage. The flight hardware will be used for Artemis I, the first lunar mission of SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Crews completed assembly on the engine section on Aug. 29.
'First Light' From Chandra
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has captured many spectacular images of cosmic phenomena over its two decades of operations, but perhaps its most iconic is the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. Located about 11,000 light-years from Earth, Cas A (as it’s nicknamed) is the glowing debris field left behind after a massive star exploded. When the star ran out of fuel, it collapsed onto itself and blew up as a supernova, possibly briefly becoming one of the brightest objects in the sky. (Although astronomers think that this happened around the year 1680, there are no verifiable historical records to confirm this.) The shock waves generated by this blast supercharged the stellar wreckage and its environment, making the debris glow brightly in many types of light, particularly X-rays. Shortly after Chandra was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, astronomers directed the observatory to point toward Cas A.
It was featured in Chandra's official “First Light” image, released Aug. 26, 1999, and marked a seminal moment not just for the observatory, but for the field of X-ray astronomy.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/RIKEN/T. Sato et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI
Blazing a Safe Trail
The Northrop Grumman built attitude control motor (ACM) on Orion's launch abort system was successfully tested on August 22, at their facility in Elkton, Maryland. The 30-second trial by fire was the second to last test before it’s qualified for human spaceflight on Artemis 2 -- the first mission with astronauts. During the static test, the ACM produced more than 7,000 pounds of thrust from eight valves, providing enough force to steer Orion and its crew to a safe distance.
The launch abort system is designed to transport Orion and its crew to safety in the event of an emergency during launch or ascent. It consists of three solid rocket motors: the abort motor pulls the crew module away from the launch vehicle; the ACM steers and orients the capsule; then the jettison motor ignites to separate the launch abort system from Orion for parachute deployment and a safe crew landing. All three motors will be certified for future crewed flights after qualification tests are completed later this year. The launch abort system was stress tested earlier this year during the successful Ascent Abort-2 test. These achievements brings Orion closer to safe flights with astronauts, paving the way for the first woman and the next man to land on the Moon by 2024.
Comet 46P/Wirtanen and a commercial plane over Paranal Observatory.
Rolling Stones Rock
This animation illustrates NASA's InSight lander touching down on Mars, causing a rock to roll 3 feet (1 meter) as the lander touched down on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018. A little bigger than a golf ball, the rock was later nicknamed "Rolling Stones Rock" by the InSight team in honor of The Rolling Stones. A series of 10 or so divots marked the rock's course after being set in motion by the landing. It's the farthest NASA has seen a rock roll after landing a spacecraft on another planet.
Though fitting, "Rolling Stones Rock" is not an official designation by the International Astronomical Union, which is responsible to approving the names given to geographical and geological features on other planets.
The rock was imaged by the Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) on InSight's robotic arm, which is not visible here.
The image show the central part of the Milky Way.
Connecting the Webb
Reaching a major milestone, engineers have successfully connected the two halves of the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope for the first time at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, California. Once it reaches space, Webb will explore the cosmos using infrared light, from planets and moons within our Solar System to the most ancient and distant galaxies. To combine both halves of Webb, engineers carefully lifted the telescope (which includes the mirrors and science instruments) above the already-combined sunshield and spacecraft using a crane.
Team members slowly guided the telescope into place, ensuring that all primary points of contact were perfectly aligned and seated properly. The observatory has been mechanically connected; next steps will be to electrically connect the halves, and then test the electrical connections. Later, engineers will fully deploy the intricate five-layer sunshield, which is designed to keep Webb's mirrors and scientific instruments cold by blocking infrared light from the Earth, Moon and Sun. The ability of the sunshield to deploy to its correct shape is critical to mission success. Webb is scheduled for launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in March 2021.
Capturing a Dying Star
This atmospheric image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a dark, gloomy scene in the constellation of Gemini (the Twins). The subject of this image confused astronomers when it was first studied — rather than being classified as a single object, it was instead recorded as two objects, owing to its symmetrical lobed structure (known as NGC 2371 and NGC 2372, though sometimes referred to together as NGC 2371/2). These two lobes are visible to the lower left and upper right of the frame, and together form something known as a planetary nebula. Despite the name, such nebulas have nothing to do with planets; NGC 2371/2 formed when a Sun-like star reached the end of its life and blasted off its outer layers, shedding the constituent material and pushing it out into space to leave just a superheated stellar remnant behind.
This remnant is visible as the bright star at the center of the frame, sitting neatly between the two lobes. The structure of this region is complex. It is filled with dense knots of gas, fast-moving jets that appear to be changing direction over time, and expanding clouds of material streaming outwards on diametrically opposite sides of the remnant star. Patches of this scene glow brightly as the remnant star emits energetic radiation that excites the gas within these regions, causing it to light up. This scene will continue to change over the next few thousand years. Eventually the knotty lobes will dissipate completely, and the remnant star will cool and dim to form a white dwarf.
Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano captured this image of the Bahamas from the International Space Station and shared it on his social media channels saying: "Bahamas: the colours of a Corto Maltese adventure, the blue of a Hugo Pratt watercolour.
X-raying Stellar Remnants
This colorful spread of light specks is in fact a record of extremely powerful phenomena taking place in a galaxy known as Messier 83, or M83. Located some 15 million light-years away, M83 is a barred spiral galaxy, not dissimilar in shape from our own Milky Way, and currently undergoing a spur of star formation, with a handful of new stars being born every year. While the starry pattern of spiral arms is barely visible in this X-ray view obtained by ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory, this kaleidoscopic image tells a different story about the stellar remnants in this galaxy.
Most of the dots in this view represent the end points of the life cycle of stars, including remnants of supernova explosions and binary systems featuring compact stellar remnants like neutron stars or black holes that are feeding on matter from a companion star. In particular, the large speck to the lower left of the galaxy’s central region is what astronomers call an ultra-luminous X-ray source, or ULX, a binary system where the compact remnant is accreting mass from its companion at a much higher rate than an ordinary X-ray binary.
The sources located in the reddish area at the center of the image correspond to objects located in the inner portions of M83. The majority of sources scattered across the image are located in the outskirts of the galaxy, but a few of those are foreground stars in our own galaxy, and others correspond to more distant galaxies in the background.
This RGB image combines nine XMM-Newton observations performed between 2003 and 2016 at energies of 0.2–2 keV (shown in red), 2–4.5 keV (shown in green), and 4.5–12 keV (shown in blue).
This image shows a view of stellar ‘families’ – clusters and co-moving groups of stars in the Milky Way – identified using data from the second data release of ESA’s Gaia mission. Families younger than 30 million years are highlighted in orange, on top of an all-sky view based on Gaia observations. A recent study using data from Gaia’s second data release uncovered nearly 2000 previously unidentified clusters and co-moving groups of stars and determined the ages for hundreds of thousands of stars, making it possible to track stellar ‘siblings’ and uncover their surprising arrangements. The study revealed that the most massive among these familial groups of stars may keep moving together through the galaxy in long, string-like configurations for billions of years after their birth.
Wildfires in Brazil
An unprecedented amount of fires have broken out in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. In this image, captured on Aug. 21, the fires and plumes of smoke can clearly be seen.
Cache and Carry
The bit carousel, which lies at the heart of Sample Caching System of NASA's Mars 2020 mission, is attached to the front end of the rover in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility's High Bay 1 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The carousel contains all of the tools the coring drill uses to sample the Martian surface and is the gateway for the samples to move into the rover for assessment and processing. The image was taken on Aug. 5, 2019.
JPL is building and will manage operations of the Mars 2020 rover for the NASA Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington.
Deployment test of Webb’s secondary mirror
The secondary mirror – visible in the top right corner of the image – is among the most important pieces of equipment on the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and is essential to the success of the mission.
Folded together with the other observatory components during launch, the secondary mirror will be deployed as part of an intricate choreography that will bring the observatory to life once in space. When deployed, like in this view, it faces Webb’s iconic honeycomb-like pattern of 18 hexagonal, gold-coated primary mirror segments. This primary mirror structure is seen in the lower left of the image in its folded configuration, showing only 12 segments.
Once the observatory is in space, light from distant stars and galaxies will first reach its primary mirror, which reflect it into a focused beam towards the secondary mirror. From there, the beam is then sent through the ‘hole’ in the primary mirror structure into the tertiary and fine steering mirrors, and eventually to the four scientific instruments, which sit behind the primary mirror in this view.
Technicians and engineers recently tested a key part of the telescope unfolding choreography by successfully commanding Webb to deploy the support structure that holds its secondary mirror in place. This is a critical milestone in preparing the observatory for its journey to orbit, as the proper deployment and positioning of the telescope’s secondary mirror is critical to perform the mission’s revolutionary science.
New Portrait of Jupiter
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals the intricate, detailed beauty of Jupiter’s clouds in this new image taken on June 27, 2019 by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. The image features the planet’s trademark Great Red Spot and a more intense color palette in the clouds swirling in the planet’s turbulent atmosphere than seen in previous years.
Galaxy’s Outer Reaches
Believe it or not, this long, luminous streak, speckled with bright blisters and pockets of material, is a spiral galaxy like our Milky Way. But how could that be?
It turns out that we see this galaxy, named NGC 3432, oriented directly edge-on to us from our vantage point here on Earth. The galaxy’s spiral arms and bright core are hidden, and we instead see the thin strip of its very outer reaches. Dark bands of cosmic dust, patches of varying brightness and pink regions of star formation help with making out the true shape of NGC 3432 — but it’s still somewhat of a challenge! Because observatories such as the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have seen spiral galaxies at every kind of orientation, astronomers can tell when we happen to have caught one from the side.
The galaxy is located in the constellation of Leo Minor (the Lesser Lion). Other telescopes that have had NGC 3432 in their sights include those of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS).
Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Our Sun Today
NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory was the first mission to be launched for NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) Program, and is designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. SDO launched on February 11, 2010, on its journey to help us understand the Sun's influence on Earth and Near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.
SDO's goal is to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity's technological systems by determining how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured, and how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance. Each day, SDO images the sun in a variety of wavelengths.
Image released on Aug. 6.
Ready to Launch
An Ariane 5 carrying two telecommunications satellites lifts off from its launchpad at the European Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana on Aug. 6.
The astronomers behind the bubble discovery looked for a specific kind of radio emission generated in turbulent regions of space, where electrons move at close to the speed of light and bounce around magnetic fields. As the charged particles zoom, they give off radio waves that can illuminate cosmic structures in the vicinity. By capturing this radiation, astronomers have illuminated the contours of the bulbs and the structures they contain.
The bubbles look like a carefully spun, delicate work of interstellar art. But they are the aftermath of a violent, cosmic cataclysm that unfolded millions of years ago.
“Something happened, in a very short period of time, a few million years ago at the center of the galaxy,” says Fernando Camilo, the chief scientist at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory and one of the members of the international team responsible for the discovery.
Camilo and other astronomers are considering a couple of explanations. A flurry of dying stars at the center of the galaxy might have infused the medium with enormous amounts of energy as they exploded. Or it could be that the black hole experienced a flare-up, as black holes around the universe have been known to do. Sometimes, black holes consume nearby stellar material so quickly that they end up regurgitating some of it. The result is two luminous jets of radiation that can outshine entire galaxies. Our supermassive black hole is in a quiet chapter of its life, but astronomers suspect that it has previously experienced this active phase.
Related: 33 of the most amazing scientific breakthroughs in history (Photos)
Marie Curie and Radioactivity - early 1900s
Key People: Marie Curie
Marie Curie is known for her discoveries around radiation and radioactivity, a word which she coined. She discovered two new elements, polonium and radium, and helped with the development of X-rays. She became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and eventually won two Nobels – one for chemistry and one for physics.
Polio vaccine - 1953
Key people: Jonas Salk
While there is still no known cure for polio, researcher Dr. Jonas Salk discovered a vaccine for the disease in 1953. Today, cases of the crippling disease are extremely rare.
Radio – 1895
Key people: Gugliemo Marconi (Italy) (pictured), Nikola Tesla (Serbia)
While there has been a lot of debate about who is the real inventor of radio, the importance of the invention is absolutely unquestionable. Marconi, a physicist and electric engineer, invented a device that transmits Morse code using radio waves. Tesla, on the other hand, is said to have created a basic design for the radio in the late 19th century and also patented a robot boat controlled by radio waves. The impact of the device has been unparalleled in bringing music, sports, news and drama to people’s lives.
Steam turbine – 1884
Key people: Sir Charles Parsons (United Kingdom)
The modern steam turbine has been the backbone of the energy sector and has helped in generating a large part of the world’s power.
Theory of relativity - 1905
Key People: Albert Einstein (Germany)
Einstein’s theory of relativity said that physics' laws “are the same for all non-accelerating observers” and light’s speed, inside a vacuum, did not depend on the motion of those observing. This theory, widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, has been the foundation for things like global positioning systems, electromagnets and supernovas.
X-Rays – 1895
Key people: Wilhelm Roentgen (Germany)
In one of the most important breakthroughs in medical history, Roengten discovered high-frequency radiations that possessed the capability of penetrating human flesh in a noninvasive manner. This discovery has made it easier for doctors to understand what is going on in a patient and prescribe treatment.
Radio waves – 19th century
Key people: Heinrich Hertz (Germany) and James Clerk Maxwell (Scotland)
The genesis for Marconi’s invention of the radio and several others after that was laid by Hertz and Maxwell, who theorized and proved the similarities between the properties of light, electricity and magnetism. Maxwell showed that all these three were same and forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is widely regarded as the greatest discovery in the field of physics in the 19th century.
Nitrogen fixation – 1918
Key people: Fritz Haber (Germany)
Haber’s work in developing this process based on ammonia-synthesis was critical and central in facilitating the green revolution. The process was used to create a new line of fertilizers.
Penicillin – 1928
Key people: Alexander Fleming (Scotland)
Simply put, penicillin is the reason behind the saving of millions of lives over the years and it holds the distinction of the maiden antibiotic drug which was made available commercially. Fleming stumbled upon this discovery when he returned from a holiday and found out that one of his lab’s petri dishes, which contained mold, prevented the growth of bacteria and killed them as well.
Black holes – 1916
Key people: Karl Schwarzschild (Germany)
Black holes, one of the most mysterious phenomena of the celestial world, are collapsed stars with extremely high gravity levels. While some people consider that black holes could facilitate traveling faster than the speed of light, others believe that they will be energy sources in the future.
Airplane – 1903
Key people: Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright (USA)
The invention of the first “sustainable and controlled” flight by Wright brothers transformed the world of transportation completely. Their invention has facilitated transportation of people and things from one place to another in an unprecedented manner.
Nuclear Fission – 1939
Key people: Lise Meitner (Austria) (pictured)
Meitner, along with Otto Hahn, developed what can be called the “gateway to the atomic age” by discovering how uranium atoms can be split apart to produce energy in colossal amounts.
Semiconductor transistor – 1947
Key people: John Bardeen (USA)
Though semiconductors had been identified in the 19th century, the transistor effect in them was unknown till John Bardeen’s discovery. The transistor effect has been the backbone of every electrical hardware device that has been created since.
Electricity – 18th-19th century
Key people: Michael Faraday (England), Nikola Tesla (Serbia) (pictured) and Benjamin Franklin (USA)
Franklin, Faraday and Tesla, in their own rights, created history by discovering, studying and analyzing electricity. While Franklin is credited with determining that “all forms of electricity are same,” Faraday and Tesla provided the basis for the development of the electric motor and alternating current electricity supply system, respectively.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) - 1953
Key people: James Watson (USA) and Francis Crick (England)
Regarded by many as the “greatest discovery in history,” James Watson and Francis Crick’s combined work facilitated the study of the molecular structure of all living organisms. Scientists and medical experts have used DNA to understand what causes deadly diseases and it has been critical in laying the foundations of molecular biology. DNA is widely used in courts as evidence.
Key people: Isaac Newton (England)
Gravity is all-pervasive concept that helped in simplifying and unifying several other phenomena, such as the falling down of objects, orbiting of planets and people having weight.
Computer – 19th century-20th century
Key people: Many
No other device in history has augmented and elevated human ability than the computer. Right from Charles Babbage's concept design to IBM's personal computer, all have come together to make the world a global village.
Blood types - 1897
Key people: Karl Landsteiner (Austria)
Before the discovery made by the Austrian physician, it was believed that all blood was same and there was no classification. Landsteiner's discovery helped differentiate between blood types.
Internet – 1960s
Key people: Many
Arguable the most significant development in history of modern day communication, the Internet has transformed the lives of people in a way nothing else has. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), regarded as the foundation technology for the Internet, was the first ever to use TCP/IP protocol suite.
Atmospheric layers - 1902
Key people - Léon Teisserenc de Bort (France) and Richard Assmann (Germany)
Up until the start of the 20th century, there was no credible theory or understanding of the Earth’s relationship with its center or outer space. Studies by Bort and Assmann helped in determining the existence of different layers and consequently, the understanding of clouds, wind, storms and other meteorological phenomena.
Quantum Theory – 1925
Key people: Max Born (Germany)
Born designed a system that was capable of analyzing and describing the world of subatomic particles, such as alpha, beta, electron and proton particles. This theory has become the basis for study of all solid state mechanics, nuclear and atomic physics.
Large Hadron Collider – 2008
Key people: Many
The largest particle accelerator in the world, featuring a ring that is 27 kilometers in length and is made of superconducting magnets, is regarded as the gateway to finding new information about the travelling of light along with the genesis of cosmos.
Doppler Effect – 1848
Key people: Christian Doppler (Austria)
The Doppler Effect describes how the alteration in the frequency of a wave (sound or light) is dependent on the direction in which the observer is moving from the source (away or towards). This concept has proved to be critical for the world of astronomy, enabling scientists to decipher the properties of galaxies and stars, which are located at distances of millions of light years, along with the discovery of dark matter.
Periodic table – 1880
Key people: Dmitri Mendeleev (Russia)
The classification of all the elements on the face of this earth into a proper system has become a mandatory part of science education across the world. Apart from helping in understanding the properties of elements, it has also assisted in discovering new ones.
Heliocentric view of the solar system - early 1500s
Key People: Nicolaus Copernicus
Prior to Nicolaus Copernicus, the world thought the sun and the planets revolved around Earth. In the early 1500s, Copernicus stated that the Earth and all the planets revolved around the Sun – a radical concept at the time that changed our understanding of the solar system.
Oxygen – 1774
Key people: Joseph Priestley (England)
Oxygen is the first gas that was identified and separated as a unique element. Priestley’s discovery led to a revolution in the chemical world. This discovery helped in finding out that air was composed of various things and was not just one single element.
Earth's core and mantle - 1914
Key people: Beno Gutenberg (Germany, USA)
The earth is not one solid homogeneous object but a complex structure comprising layers that differ in composition, density and temperature. Gutenberg was the first person to determine the radius of the earth’s core and to provide accurate accounting of its interiors. This has helped scientists study the earth and its Geo-physical properties in a better manner despite not having the luxury of sending probes more than a few miles deep.
Vaccination – 1798
Key people: Edward Jenner (England)
English doctor Edward Jenner worked on an experiment in which he injected pus from a cowpox pustule into the arm of a little boy, thus showing that inoculation made children immune to smallpox. The discovery of vaccination has saved millions of lives and prevented people from getting deadly diseases like small pox or measles.
Pasteurization – 1863
Key people: Louis Pasteur (French)
The process of destroying pathogens by simple heating has helped in the preservation of perishable food items, such as milk and juice. Pasteur’s theory and discovery has been a big influence on the food preservation industry, proving to be one of the foundations on which public health is based.
Internal combustion engine - 19th century
Key people: Étienne Lenoir (Belgium) and Siegfried Marcus (Austria)
The internal combustion engine, which eventually replaced the steam engine, utilized the property of a fuel to combust when in contact with an oxidizer. This concept helped in development of engines on which modern day vehicles run.
Television - 20th century
Key people: Many
While many people have contributed in discovering/inventing various components of a television, John Logie Baird is regarded as the man behind making the mechanical television. Baird was able to "transmit a flickering image across a distance of 10 feet," which led to him achieving TV pictures a year later.
Anesthesia – 1801
Key people: Humphry Davy (England)
Giving people relief from the trauma and pain of medical procedures has proved to be one of the biggest achievements in medical history. Not only has it helped eliminate fear among patients, it has facilitated the carrying out of extremely complicated surgeries.
Animal cloning - 1996
Researchers at the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland successfully cloned a sheep in 1996. Many animals have since been cloned since her death in 2003 though it still remains a controversial subject.
Whatever happened, it was powerful enough to create a burst of energy that, as the researchers put it, literally punched through the interstellar medium. “As it punches through the medium, it’s sweeping the material of the medium with it,” says Yusef-Zadeh, one of the members of the team. “Eventually, it reaches a point where it stalls.”
The ancient explosion inflated the bubbles and, as they expanded, excited the electrons that, together with nearby magnetic fields, produce radio emissions we can detect all the way from here. “This is the most exquisite radio map of the galactic center that has ever been published,” says Grant Tremblay, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who was not involved in the work.
The heart of the galaxy is home to other bubbles, recorded in other wavelengths. The Fermi bubbles, named for the 20th-century scientist who studied high-energy physics, are even larger, stretching about 25,000 light-years above and below the galactic center. Astronomers discovered them nearly a decade ago with a space telescope designed to detect gamma rays. And they’re still trying to understand them. Camilo speculates that perhaps the Fermi bubbles might be the dumping grounds of eons of many cosmic explosions—a larger, older version of the radio-emitting bubbles his team found.
There may be more bubbles, more pelican-shaped mysteries, lurking in this panoramic view of the center of the galaxy. As telescopes collect more data—if new, more advanced facilities come online—the portrait will become sharper. And astronomers should be prepared to find something so strange that they’re tempted to chuck them out of the data. “I remember vividly that I spent quite a bit of time to get rid of things that I would not have really done if I knew these structures existed,” Yusef-Zadeh says. “It was just so weird.”
Gallery: This week in history [Mirrorpix]
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British OAPs cruising their way to jail: How retired chef and his secretary wife will swap golf courses and yoga classes on the Algarve for a Lisbon prison after pure greed led them to smuggle £1m of cocaine across the Atlantic .
Judges convicted retired chef Roger Clarke, 72, and his ex-secretary wife Sue, 71, of drugs trafficking at Lisbon's main criminal court and on Thursday sentenced them to 8 years in prison.The officers headed straight for cabin 469, waking its occupants, pensioners Roger and Sue Clarke.