Astronomers have discovered the smallest but largestThe stars I’ve seen so far.
According to a new study published in Nature on Thursday, “very special” stars are heavier than our Sun and are all packed into a relatively small body the same size as our Moon. .. It was formed when two not-so-large white dwarfs, who spent their lives as a pair orbiting each other, collided and merged together.
At the end of their lives, the majority of stars become white dwarfs. And, in addition to being essentially a smoldering corpse, it is one of the densest objects in the universe... In about 5 billion years, our Sun will eventually become a red giant before suffering the same fate.
“It may seem counterintuitive, but the little white dwarf happens to be heavier,” lead author Ilaria Caiazzo said in a statement. “This is due to the fact that white dwarfs lack nuclear fusion, which keeps normal stars against their own gravity, and instead their size is regulated by quantum mechanics.”
A highly magnetized dead star named ZTF J1901 + 1458 is relatively close to Earth, only about 130 million light-years away. It was discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) at the Palomar Observatory at the California Institute of Technology.
When the two white dwarfs merged, they combined to form a new star. It weighs about 1.35 times the mass of our Sun and is the heaviest we have ever found. If either star had a slightly higher mass, the merger would have caused the following violent explosion:..
The ZTF J1901 + 1458 also has an “extreme” magnetic field that is about one billion times stronger than the Sun, spinning rapidly and completing one revolution in just seven minutes. It takes about 27 days for the sun to rotate.
With a diameter of 2,670 miles, it is known as the smallest white dwarf in the universe, over 400 miles. By comparison, the diameter of the moon is 2,174 miles.
“I caught this very interesting object that wasn’t big enough to explode,” says Caiazzo. “We are truly investigating how huge a white dwarf can be.”
So what’s next to the rare star?
Researchers believe that stars probably have a mass large enough to evolve., This is usually formed when a star with a much larger mass than the Sun explodes in a supernova. If their hypothesis is correct, it means that many of the neutron stars in the universe may have been formed in this previously unknown way.
“It’s so heavy and dense that in its nucleus electrons are captured by protons in the nucleus to form neutrons,” Caiazzo said. “The pressure from the electrons pushes against gravity, leaving the star intact, so the core collapses when enough electrons are removed.”
The fact that the stars are close to Earth and young (only about 100 million years or younger) means that similar stellar phenomena can occur more commonly in our own galaxies.
“Until now, we have not been able to systematically explore short-scale astronomical phenomena on this kind of scale. The results of these efforts are amazing,” said the first star found in all-sky images. Kevin Barge said.
But researchers say they are just getting started.
“There are many questions to address, such as the rate of white dwarf mergers in the galaxy. Is it enough to explain the number of Type Ia supernovae?” Caiazzo said. “How are the magnetic fields generated by these powerful events, and why are there such variations in magnetic field strength among the white dwarfs? The greatness of the white dwarfs born from the merger. Finding a group will help you answer all these questions and more. ”
Astronomers discover record-breaking stars as small as the Moon but heavier than the Sun
Source link Astronomers discover record-breaking stars as small as the Moon but heavier than the Sun
NASA discovers double crater on the moon – CTV News
The moon has a new double crater after a rocket body collided with its surface on March 4.
New images shared by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the moon since 2009, have revealed the location of the unusual crater.
The impact created two craters that overlap, an eastern crater measuring 59 feet (18 metres) across and a western crater spanning 52.5 feet (16 metres). Together, they create a depression that is roughly 91.8 feet (28 metres) wide in the longest dimension.
Although astronomers expected the impact after discovering that the rocket part was on track to collide with the moon, the double crater it created was a surprise.
Typically, spent rockets have the most mass at the motor end because the rest of the rocket is largely just an empty fuel tank. But the double crater suggests that this object had large masses at both ends when it hit the moon.
The exact origin of the rocket body, a piece of space junk that had been careening around for years, is unclear, so the double crater could help astronomers determine what it was.
The moon lacks a protective atmosphere, so it’s littered with craters created when objects like asteroids regularly slam into the surface.
This was the first time a piece of space junk unintentionally hit the lunar surface that experts know of. But craters have resulted from spacecraft being deliberately crashed into the moon.
For example, four large moon craters attributed to the Apollo 13, 14, 15 and 17 missions are all much larger than each of the overlapping craters created during the March 4 impact. However, the maximum width of the new double crater is similar to the Apollo craters.
Bill Gray, an independent researcher focused on orbital dynamics and the developer of astronomical software, was first to spot the trajectory of the rocket booster.
Gray had initially identified it as the SpaceX Falcon rocket stage that launched the US Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, in 2015 but later said he’d gotten that wrong and it was likely from a 2014 Chinese lunar mission — an assessment NASA agreed with.
However, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the booster was from its Chang’e-5 moon mission, saying that the rocket in question burned up on reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.
No agencies systematically track space debris so far away from Earth, and the confusion over the origin of the rocket stage has underscored the need for official agencies to monitor deep-space junk more closely, rather than relying on the limited resources of private individuals and academics.
However, experts say that the bigger challenge is the space debris in low-Earth orbit, an area where it can collide with functioning satellites, create more junk and threaten human life on crewed spacecraft.
There are at least 26,000 pieces of space junk orbiting Earth that are the size of a softball or larger and could destroy a satellite on impact; over 500,000 objects the size of a marble — big enough to cause damage to spacecraft or satellites; and over 100 million pieces the size of a grain of salt, tiny debris that could nonetheless puncture a spacesuit, according to a NASA report issued last year.
7 Amazing Dark Sky National Parks – AARP
Can’t afford to join a commercial space mission offered by Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson? Consider the next best thing: seeing a starry, starry night in a sea of darkness, unimpeded by artificial light, at one of the International Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. It’s a rare treat, since light pollution prevents nearly 80 percent of Americans from seeing the Milky Way from their homes.
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDSA) has certified 14 of the nation’s 63 national parks as dark sky destinations. So visitors can take full advantage of such visibility, many of them offer specialized after-dark programs, from astronomy festivals and ranger-led full-moon walks to star parties and astrophotography workshops. If you prefer to stargaze on your own at a park, the National Park Service recommends bringing a pair of 7-by-50 binoculars, a red flashlight, which enhances night vision, and a star chart, which shows the arrangement of stars in the sky.
Here are seven of the IDSA-certified parks where you can appreciate how the heavens looked from the Earth before the dawn of electric light.
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Award-winning travel writer Veronica Stoddart is the former travel editor of USA Today. She has written for dozens of travel publications and websites.
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A Mystery Rocket Left A Crater On The Moon – Forbes
While we think of the moon as a static place, sometimes an event happens that reminds us that things can change quickly.
On March 4, a human-made object (a rocket stage) slammed into the moon and left behind a double crater, as seen by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission.
Officials announced June 23 that they spotted a double crater associated with the event. But what’s really interesting is there’s no consensus about what kind of rocket caused it.
China has denied claims that the rocket was part of a Long March 3 rocket that launched the country’s Chang’e-5 T1 mission in October 2014, although the orbit appeared to match. Previous speculation suggested it might be from a SpaceX rocket launching the DISCOVR mission, but newer analysis has mostly discredited that.
On a broader scale, the value of LRO observations like this is showing how the moon can change even over a small span of time. The spacecraft has been in orbit there since 2009 and has spotted numerous new craters since its arrival.
It’s also a great spacecraft scout, having hunted down the Apollo landing sites from orbit and also having tracked down a few craters from other missions that slammed into the moon since the dawn of space exploration.
It may be that humans return to the moon for a closer-up look in the coming decade, as NASA is developing an Artemis program to send people to the surface no earlier than 2025.
LRO will also be a valuable scout for that set of missions, as the spacecraft’s maps will be used to develop plans for lunar bases or to help scout safe landing sites for astronauts.
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