Astronomers have spotted a pair of black holes that are heading for an epic collision. One is a supermassive black hole, the enormous type of black hole which is found at the center of most galaxies, and the other is a smaller companion that is orbiting around its partner and spiraling closer in. Eventually, the two will merge, and studying them now could give clues about how supermassive black holes come to be.
Researchers aren’t sure exactly how supermassive black holes, which are millions or even billions of times the mass of the sun, are created. They think that they might form from the merging of two smaller supermassive black holes, but it’s very rare to spot such a pair, so this new discovery could shine a light on this process.
The pair were spotted by a team of astronomers led by Sandra O’Neill from Caltech. The team observed the pair in a galaxy called PKS 2131-021 using radio telescopes on Earth which can see jets that are ejected from black holes’ event horizons when hot gas hits them. These jets are so powerful they can be detected from Earth, especially if the jets are pointed toward us, forming what is called a blazar.
The team looked at observations of the blazar stretching back over 45 years to identify the pair. They found variations in the brightness of the blazar which fitted a very distinct pattern. “When we realized that the peaks and troughs of the light curve detected from recent times matched the peaks and troughs observed between 1975 and 1983, we knew something very special was going on,” said O’Neill in a statement.
By comparing observations from five different observatories dating back to 1975, the researchers were able to confirm the variations were due to a second black hole tugging on the orbit of the supermassive black hole, as the two orbit each other approximately every two years.
“This work is a testament to the importance of perseverance,” said co-author Joseph Lazio of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a statement. “It took 45 years of radio observations to produce this result. Small teams, at different observatories across the country, took data week in and week out, month in and month out, to make this possible.”
The research is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
See Astronaut's Sublime Shot of Total Lunar Eclipse Snapped From the ISS – CNET
Earthlings on Earth weren’t the only ones whothe lovely blushing of the “flower blood moon” total lunar eclipse on Sunday night and Monday morning. Residents of the International Space Station had a great view of the spectacular celestial event.
European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shared a beautiful series of photos of the eclipse as seen from orbit. “A partially eclipsed moon playing hide-and-seek with our solar panel,” Cristoforetti tweeted on Monday.
The photos show the eclipse in progress, with the moon peeking under the station’s solar panels. One stunning view also shows Earth below, clouds visible against an expanse of blue. The images highlight the subtle shading of the moon as our planet threw its shadow across it.
Cristoforetti shared another look with just the eclipsed moon peeking over the curve of Earth.
Cristoforetti is an accomplished space photographer, having snapped plenty of gorgeous images during her last stay on the ISS in 2014 and 2015. Her most recent stint started in late April as part of launched by SpaceX.
I watched the eclipse last night from New Mexico. As the shadow moved across the moon, the ISS flew over, a bright bead of light crossing against the starry sky. So as I was seeing the ISS, Cristoforetti was likely tracking the eclipse, too. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the ground or up in orbit,.
NASA's InSight still hunting marsquakes as power levels diminish – Phys.org
Dusty solar panels and darker skies are expected to bring the Mars lander mission to a close around the end of this year.
NASA’s InSight Mars lander is gradually losing power and is anticipated to end science operations later this summer. By December, InSight’s team expects the lander to have become inoperative, concluding a mission that has thus far detected more than 1,300 marsquakes—most recently, a magnitude 5 that occurred on May 4—and located quake-prone regions of the Red Planet.
The information gathered from those quakes has allowed scientists to measure the depth and composition of Mars’ crust, mantle, and core. Additionally, InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) has recorded invaluable weather data and studied remnants of Mars’ ancient magnetic field.
“InSight has transformed our understanding of the interiors of rocky planets and set the stage for future missions,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. “We can apply what we’ve learned about Mars’ inner structure to Earth, the Moon, Venus, and even rocky planets in other solar systems.”
InSight landed on Mars Nov. 26, 2018. Equipped with a pair of solar panels that each measures about 7 feet (2.2 meters) wide, it was designed to accomplish the mission’s primary science goals in its first Mars year (nearly two Earth years). Having achieved them, the spacecraft is now into an extended mission, and its solar panels have been producing less power as they continue to accumulate dust.
Because of the reduced power, the team will soon put the lander’s robotic arm in its resting position (called the “retirement pose”) for the last time later this month. Originally intended to deploy the seismometer and the lander’s heat probe, the arm has played an unexpected role in the mission: Along with using it to help bury the heat probe after sticky Martian soil presented the probe with challenges, the team used the arm in an innovative way to remove dust from the solar panels. As a result, the seismometer was able to operate more often than it would have otherwise, leading to new discoveries.
When InSight landed, the solar panels produced around 5,000 watt-hours each Martian day, or sol—enough to power an electric oven for an hour and 40 minutes. Now, they’re producing roughly 500 watt-hours per sol—enough to power the same electric oven for just 10 minutes.
Additionally, seasonal changes are beginning in Elysium Planitia, InSight’s location on Mars. Over the next few months, there will be more dust in the air, reducing sunlight—and the lander’s energy. While past efforts removed some dust, the mission would need a more powerful dust-cleaning event, such as a “dust devil” (a passing whirlwind), to reverse the current trend.
“We’ve been hoping for a dust cleaning like we saw happen several times to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers,” said Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which leads the mission. “That’s still possible, but energy is low enough that our focus is making the most of the science we can still collect.”
If just 25% of InSight’s panels were swept clean by the wind, the lander would gain about 1,000 watt-hours per sol—enough to continue collecting science. However, at the current rate power is declining, InSight’s non-seismic instruments will rarely be turned on after the end of May.
Energy is being prioritized for the lander’s seismometer, which will operate at select times of day, such as at night, when winds are low and marsquakes are easier for the seismometer to “hear.” The seismometer itself is expected to be off by the end of summer, concluding the science phase of the mission.
At that point, the lander will still have enough power to operate, taking the occasional picture and communicating with Earth. But the team expects that around December, power will be low enough that one day InSight will simply stop responding.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA’s InSight still hunting marsquakes as power levels diminish (2022, May 17)
retrieved 18 May 2022
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Peek-a-Boo Moon: Astronaut on Space Station Captures Spectacular Photos of the Lunar Eclipse – SciTechDaily
On the evening of May 15, 2022, Earth passed between the Sun and the Moon blocking sunlight and casting a shadow on the lunar surface. ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti witnessed this lunar eclipse from the International Space Station and captured it in a series of photographs.
During a lunar eclipse, Earth’s atmosphere scatters sunlight. The blue light from the Sun scatters away, and longer-wavelength red, orange, and yellow light pass through, turning our Moon red.
In these images, the Moon appears to play hide and seek with one of the International Space Station’s solar panels:
Samantha is living and working aboard the Space Station for her second mission, ‘Minerva’. Learn more about Samantha and the Minerva mission.
A report on wildfire in Lytton, B.C., says more community fireproofing needed
Liberals move to bar sanctioned Russians from Canada through immigration amendments
Alberta premier to learn fate Wednesday in party review of his job performance
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Global Media Markets, 2015-2020, 2020-2025F, 2030F – TV and Radio Broadcasting, Film and Music, Information Services, Web Content, Search Portals And Social Media, Print Media, & Cable – GlobeNewswire
News13 hours ago
Ghosts of History Arise
Tech17 hours ago
Apple Podcasts Update Enables Annual Subscriptions – PCMag
Science21 hours ago
News24 hours ago
Getting to know Canada’s immigration categories – Canada Immigration News
Economy22 hours ago
Opinion: Tokenization, not crypto, is the future for Canada's digital economy – The Globe and Mail
News12 hours ago
US’ easing of travel and remittances to Cuba met with contention
Tech5 hours ago
Apple iOS 15.5 Release: Should You Upgrade? – Forbes
Science22 hours ago
African scientists and technology could drive future black hole discoveries – The Conversation Africa