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Hubble Captures The Remains Of A Dead Star, A Gorgeous Orange Space Ribbon

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Space is pretty.

As the Hubble Space Telescope nears the end of its long-running mission, photo releases like this one are a constant reminder of how much we benefit from having an up-close view of deep space. The beautiful orange ribbon you see above is the remnant of a dead star that exploded in a supernova some 10,000 to 20,000 years ago.

From our perspective here on Earth, the exploded star once resided in the northern constellation of Cygnus, aka The Swan. The photo captures just a piece of the ribbon-like blast wave, situated around 2,400 light-years away.

NASA’s post notes that the full wave “covers an area 36 times larger than the full moon.” For context, Earth is about four times larger than the moon. So it’s a pretty big blast wave!

The star that exploded was much larger than our own sun, about 20 times the size. That’s one of the ways a supernova occurs: When a massive star expires – which is to say, at least five times larger than our sun – it triggers an explosion that sends stellar material hurtling outwards.

In the thousands of years since this particular star said goodbye, the blast wave it emitted has expanded out 60 light-years. The ribbon-like appearance, NASA’s post notes, is the result of “the interaction of the ejected material and the low-density interstellar material swept up by the shockwave.”

In simpler terms: The stuff released by the exploding star mixed with gases and dust that float through space to give us a gigantic, utterly gorgeous space ribbon.

Source: – Mashable India

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The Latest Flyby of Jupiter Has Offered Some of The Most Marvellous Views Yet – ScienceAlert

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Jupiter.

Most massive planet in the solar system – twice that of all the other planets combined. This giant world formed from the same cloud of dust and gas that became our Sun and the rest of the planets.

But Jupiter was the first-born of our planetary family. As the first planet, Jupiter’s massive gravitational field likely shaped the rest of the entire solar system.

Jupiter could’ve played a role in where all the planets aligned in their orbits around the Sun…or didn’t, as the asteroid belt is a vast region which could’ve been occupied by another planet were it not for Jupiter’s gravity.

Gas giants like Jupiter can also hurl entire planets out of their solar systems, or themselves spiral into their stars.

Saturn’s formation several million years later probably spared Jupiter this fate.

Jupiter may also act as a “comet catcher.” Comets and asteroids which could otherwise fall toward the inner solar system and strike the rocky worlds like Earth are captured by Jupiter’s gravitational field instead and ultimately plunge into Jupiter’s clouds.

But at other times in Earth’s history, Jupiter may have had the opposite effect, hurling asteroids in our direction – typically a bad thing but may have also resulted in water-rich rocks coming to Earth that led to the blue planet we know of today.

Jupiter is a window into our own solar system’s past – a past literally enshrouded beneath Jupiter’s clouds which is why Juno, the probe currently orbiting Jupiter, is so named. Juno, Jupiter’s wife in mythology, was able to peer through a cloak of clouds Jupiter used to hide himself and his wrongful deeds.

In this case, however, we are looking through Jupiter’s clouds into our own history. Juno entered orbit of Jupiter 5 July 2016 after travelling for nearly five years to reach the gas giant.

Falling into Jupiter’s gravity well, Juno arrived at a speed of 210,000 km/h, one of the fastest speed records set by any human-made object.

Juno is in a highly eccentric 53 day orbit. During Perijove, or the closest orbital approach, Juno skims Jupiter at an altitude of 4,200 km and then sweeps outward to 8.1 million km. Juno’s orbit is designed to navigate through weaker areas of Jupiter’s incredibly powerful magnetic field.

Second in power only to the Sun itself, Jupiter’s magnetic field accelerates high energy particles from the Sun creating powerful bands of radiation that encircle the planet – electronics-frying radiation.

In addition to its nimble navigation, Juno’s electronics are hardened against radiation with its “radiation vault” – a 1 cm thick titanium shell that houses its sensitive scientific equipment.

One piece of equipment which dazzles all of us back on Earth is JunoCam – an RGB colour camera taking visual images of Jupiter’s clouds as the probe buzzes the planet in just two hours each orbit spending as little time as possible in Jupiter’s radiation.

Most recently, Juno completed Perijove 29 and some of the photos were posted by “Software Engineer, planetary and climate data wrangler, and science data visualization artist” Kevin Gill.

Kevin has an absolutely astonishing Flickr page where he posts images he’s processed from Juno as well as other missions like Saturn’s Cassini and the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Okay. And finally, why you came here: Behold Juno’s Perijove 29 processed by Kevin Gill (You can click each image to see their full size).

50354102817 4f6d166d42Jupiter from Juno PJ29 – c. (NASA/JPL/Kevin Gill)

50353627451 a9fa985b6eJupiter from Juno PJ29 – c. (NASA/JPL/Kevin Gill)

50353886952 bf2d3931bcJupiter from Juno PJ29 – c. (NASA/JPL/Kevin Gill)

50354101847 08071ae129Jupiter from Juno PJ29 – c. (NASA/JPL/Kevin Gill)

50354243256 a7e10b77c1Jupiter from Juno PJ29 – c. (NASA/JPL/Kevin Gill)

50357320841 d7b91c2e95Jupiter from Juno PJ29 – c. (NASA/JPL/Kevin Gill)

50360879938 78cd2d56deJupiter from Juno PJ29 – c. (NASA/JPL/Kevin Gill)

You can also follow Kevin’s work on Twitter (@kevinmgill) and Instagram (@apoapsys).

JunoCam isn’t really part of Juno’s primary scientific mission. But the camera does provide a key function – allowing Juno to bring us along for the journey.

Which I think is truly spectacular. Sometimes astrophotography is thought more of as art than science.

But as an astrophotographer myself, I believe these images inspire future scientists, general awareness of ongoing scientific missions, and hopefully public support for the funding of science. Speaking of which, what has our science discovered about our giantest of giant worlds?

One of the greatest mysteries of Jupiter is what lies at its heart. Juno helped settle an ongoing debate in the planetary science community about how Jupiter formed.

There were two possibilities: The first is that Jupiter began as a rocky world – a core about 10 times the mass of Earth. The gravity of this core drew in surrounding hydrogen and helium until the Jupiter we know of was formed – that original rocky world buried beneath the churning maelstrom.

The second possibility is that eddies in the rotating protoplanetary disk of our early solar system collapsed on themselves and Jupiter formed from them directly with no rocky core. Both theories describe different conditions at the start of our solar system. Juno revealed something stranger, not a solid core, but a “fuzzy” or “diluted” core.

It appears that Jupiter did form from a rocky body, but rather than that core being situated at the centre of the planet, its is spread throughout the interior of Jupiter. 

The core’s dilution is likely the result of a massive planet-sized impact with Jupiter that shattered the initial core and spread it through half of Jupiter’s diameter.

Imagine being present for an event like that – Jupiter swallowing a would-be planet in our solar system we’ve never known. History of our place in space revealed.

We’ve also learned that Jupiter’s winds dive deep below the outer clouds, that the Great Red Spot is hundreds of kilometers deep, and we’ve seen giant cyclones at Jupiter’s North and South Poles that could swallow a country.  

Cyclones Size comparison JPL Caltech NASAJupiter South Polar Cyclones in Infrared with Size Comparison to US and Texas. (JPL/NASA/Caltech)

Jupiter is presently the brightest object in the night sky after sunset. If you have clear skies and can see it, look South!

Remember, that bright point is a giant world hundreds the times the size of Earth, millions of kilometers away, and yet potentially one of the key factors in your existence. By Jove, that’s amazing.

This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.

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NASA Astronaut Will Vote From Space – KCCU

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On Election Day, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will be more than 200 miles above her nearest polling place. But she’s still planning to vote — from space.

“It’s critical to participate in our democracy,” Rubins told the Associated Press. “We consider it an honor to be able to vote from space.”

Rubins, who has a Ph.D. in cancer biology from Stanford and was the first person to sequence DNA in space, is currently training for her upcoming six-month mission on the International Space Station.

Voting from the space station is similar to voting absentee from anyplace on the planet — except instead of relying on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the ballot, Rubins will get hers forwarded electronically from Mission Control in Houston.

“Using a set of unique credentials sent to each of them by e-mail, astronauts can access their ballots, cast their votes, and downlink them back down to Earth,” the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum explained in 2018.

The ballot is then sent to the county clerk for tabulation.

American astronauts have been able to cast ballots from above for over two decades now, ever since a Texas lawmaker learned that astronaut John Blaha couldn’t vote in the 1996 presidential race between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. At the time, Blaha was serving on Russia’s Mir Space Station, a predecessor to the ISS.

“He expressed a little bit disappointment in not being able to do that,” Republican State Senator Mike Jackson told NPR’s Nell Greenfieldboyce in 2008.

Voting from space had never really been an issue before then, because NASA astronauts typically spent no more than about two weeks on shuttle missions. But with the advent of the space station, Americans were sometimes on missions for months at a time.

So a new law was born. “I can attest to how important one person’s vote is because my first election I won by seven votes out of over 26,000,” Jackson said.

Texas lawmakers approved the measure in 1997, and then-Gov. George W. Bush signed it into law. That same year, astronaut David Wolf became the first American to “vote while you float,” as NASA cheekily put it.

“I voted alone up in space, very alone, the only English speaker up there, and it was nice to have an English ballot, something from America,” Wolf told The Atlantic in 2016. “It made me feel closer to the Earth and like the people of Earth actually cared about me up there.”

Most NASA astronauts live in Houston, so since that Texas law was passed, several astronauts have been able to cast ballots from above. This isn’t even the first time Rubins has exercised her orbital privilege; she also voted in the 2016 presidential election from the space station — listing her address as “low-Earth orbit.”

“I think it’s really important for everybody to vote,” Rubins said. “If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too.”

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Estee Lauder Pays NASA $128000 for Photo Shoot in Space – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Estee Lauder Cos. is sending its newest skincare formula into space, and it’ll cost only about as much as paying a big influencer for a few Instagram posts.

The U.S. cosmetics giant is spending $128,000 for NASA to fly 10 bottles of its skin serum to the International Space Station. Once there, astronauts will take pictures of Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair in the cupola control tower, which has panoramic views of the cosmos. The images will be used on social media, with the company planning to auction one bottle off for charity when the items return to Earth this spring.

The global recession, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, has pushed brands to get more creative with their advertising because consumers are cutting back. Within beauty, several companies are spending less on traditional ads, while looking for new ways to break through the glut of content out there. In a press release, Estee Lauder highlighted it being the “first beauty brand to go into space” as a means to tout its “skincare innovation.”

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket that will transport the skin serum as part of a supply run is scheduled to launch on Tuesday night from Wallops Island, Virginia. The Cygnus cargo craft will then dock on the space station early Saturday.

Estee Lauder’s push into micro-gravity is part of NASA’s effort to commercialize low-earth orbit and make it a domain where private enterprise eventually does business as routinely as the government conducts spacewalks. Companies from Goodyear Tire & Rubber to Merck & Co have used space for research, and NASA is hoping to expand its use, including private citizens visiting the space station.

“We need to expand people’s perspective on what we can accomplish in space,” said Phil McAlister, NASA’s director of commercial spaceflight development.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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