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Hubble telescope discovers Galaxy-ripping quasar tsunamis in space – The Next Web

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Quasar tsunamis discovered by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope erupt in the most energetic outflows of material ever seen. This outpouring of energy wrecks havoc with galaxies in which these enigmatic objects reside, altering the evolution of these families of stars.

Quasars are energetic cores of galaxies, composed of supermassive black holes fed by vast quantities of gas, stars, and planets. These bodies are capable of emitting a thousand times as much energy as the entire galaxies which host the bodies.

Quasar winds push vast amounts of material away from the core of an energetic supermassive black hole at the core of a distant galaxy, in this artist’s conception. Image credit: NASA

These quasar winds push material away from the center of the galaxy, accelerating gas and dust at speeds approaching a few percent of the speed of light. The pressure pushes aside material which could otherwise collapse to form new stars, making stellar formation more difficult, reducing the number of new stars formed. This new study shows this process is more widespread than previously believed, altering star formation throughout entire galaxies.

“These outflows are crucial for the understanding of galaxies’ formation. They are pushing hundreds of solar masses of material each year. The amount of mechanical energy that these outflows carry is up to several hundreds of times higher than the luminosity of the entire Milky Way galaxy,” Nahum Arav of Virginia Tech stated.

An image of the quasar RX J1131, taken in X-ray and optical wavelengths. Image credit: X-Ray: NASA/CXC/University of Michigan/R.C. Reis et. al. Optical: NASA/STScI

As the outflow blasts into interstellar material, it heats the medium to millions of degrees, setting the galaxy alight in X-rays. Energy pours out through the galaxy, producing a fireworks show for anyone capable of seeing it.

“You’ll get lots of radiation first in X-rays and gamma rays, and afterwards it will percolate to visible and infrared light. You’d get a huge light show, like Christmas trees all over the galaxy,” Arav explained.

Galaxies get blown away

I saw the whole universe laid out before me, a vast shining machine of indescribable beauty and complexity. Its design was too intricate for me to understand, and I knew I could never begin to grasp more than the smallest idea of its purpose. But I sensed that every part of it, from quark to quasar, was unique and — in some mysterious way — significant. — R. J. Anderson

This study could explain several mysteries in astronomy and cosmology, including why the size of galaxies is related to the mass of the supermassive black holes at their centers. It may also explain why so few massive galaxies are seen throughout the Cosmos.

“Both theoreticians and observers have known for decades that there is some physical process that shuts off star formation in massive galaxies, but the nature of that process has been a mystery. Putting the observed outflows into our simulations solves these outstanding problems in galactic evolution,” said Jeremiah Ostriker, a cosmologist at Columbia and Princeton universities not involved with this current study. Below is a 3D animation video of a quasar by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

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Outflows from quasars were studied by astronomers using the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) attached to the Hubble Space Telescope, the only instrument capable of carrying out the needed observations in ultraviolet wavelengths.

A second outflow measured by researchers on this study increased its speed from 69 million kilometers (43 million miles) per hour to 74 million KPH (46 million MPH) over a period of three years. Models suggest that such outflows should have been common in the early Universe. Researchers on this study believe this material will continue to accelerate for the foreseeable future.

Analysis of the data was published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Supplements.

This article was originally published on The Cosmic Companion by James Maynard, an astronomy journalist, fan of coffee, sci-fi, movies, and creativity. Maynard has been writing about space since he was 10, but he’s “still not Carl Sagan.” The Cosmic Companion’s mailing list/podcast. You can read this original piece here.

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NASA Invites Media to Launch of Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover – Stockhouse

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WASHINGTON, June 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Media accreditation is open for the launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life on the Red Planet.

The mission will use the robotic scientist, which weighs just under 2,300 pounds and is the size of a small car, to collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth by future Mars Sample Return missions. It also will test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars.

Perseverance will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch of Perseverance is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. EDTJuly 17 and is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program. Live coverage of the launch will air on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NASA will be credentialing a limited number of media to cover the Mars 2020 launch from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions at Kennedy and quarantine requirements, international media who would be coming from overseas will not be able to register for this launch. International media already based in the U.S. may apply.

Media accreditation deadlines are as follows:

  • U.S. media must apply by 4 p.m. EDT Sunday, June 28
  • International media already in the U.S. must apply by 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 9

All media accreditation requests should be submitted online at:

https://media.ksc.nasa.gov

NASA is proactively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it evolves. The agency will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency’s chief health and medical officer and communicate any updates that may impact mission planning or media access, as they become available.

For questions about accreditation, please email ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov. For other questions, contact Kennedy’s newsroom at 321-867-2468.

Reporters with special logistics requests for Kennedy, such as space for satellite trucks, trailers, tents, electrical connections, or work spaces, must contact Tiffany Fairley at tiffany.l.fairley@nasa.gov by Sunday, June 28.

The Perseverance rover was built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

The Mars 2020 mission is part of NASA’s larger Moon to Mars exploration approach that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. Charged with landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA’s Artemis program. Learn more at:

https://www.nasa.gov/moon2mars

Cision View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nasa-invites-media-to-launch-of-mars-2020-perseverance-rover-301070287.html

SOURCE NASA

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Watch SpaceX launch its latest batch of Starlink satellites, including one with a sun visor – TechCrunch

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SpaceX just launched its most important and historic launch ever this past weekend, flying NASA astronauts for the first time – on Wednesday, it’s set to follow that up with a less significant Falcon 9 rocket launch, but one that’s still vital to the company’s future. This mission is the latest of SpaceX’s Starlink launches, which the company is using to put up a vast network of small satellites to provide low-cost, high-bandwidth internet access to customers globally.

SpaceX’s Starlink mission today has a launch window of 9:25 PM EDT (6:25 PM PDT) and includes a payload of 60 more satellites for the constellation, which already has 420 operating in low Earth orbit. The goal is ultimately to launch as many as 40,000 or of these small satellites in order to blanket the globe with connectivity that’s broadly available, and that provides rock solid network consistency by handing off connections among the satellites as they make their way around the Earth.

This launch was originally scheduled to fly the week prior to SpaceX’s Demo-2 crewed mission, which carried NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on Saturday and Sunday, but was bumped due to a scheduling conflict with a ULA launch, and then further postponed until after the astronaut flight. It’s still already the fifth batch of 60 Starlink satellites that SpaceX has flown in 2020. In total, SpaceX is hoping for up to two dozen Starlink launches in total before year’s end, which will help it meet its goal of launching an initial beta service in Canada and the U.S. later this year, with a more global rollout following in 2021 or 2022.

This launch will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and will use a Falcon 9 first stage that flew previously on four previous missions. SpaceX will attempt to recover the booster again through a controlled landing, and will also try to catch the fairing halves used to protect the satellite cargo using its ‘Ms. Tree’ and ‘Ms. Chief’ ships.

One key novel element for this flight is the test of a new technology SpaceX is hoping will help mitigate the impact of the Starlink constellation on night sky observation from Earth. Scientists have complained that Starlink is bright enough to interfere with sensitive optical instrumentation used to gather data deep space bodies and phenomena. To address that, SpaceX has designed a deployable ‘visor’ system which extends from Starlink satellites post-launch and attempts to block sunlight reflecting off of their communications arrays.

SpaceX has equipped one of the 60 satellites on this launch with that system, as way of testing its efficacy before making it a standard part of the Starlink satellite build going forward. Depending on results, it could become a permanent fixture on all SpaceX’s Starlink spacecraft for future missions.

Should today’s launch be delayed (weather is currently looking around 60% favorable for the mission), there’s a backup opportunity tomorrow, June 4 at 9:03 PM EDT (6:03 PM PDT).

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Why a rocket launch can’t unite us right now – The Verge

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At 9:30AM ET on Tuesday, three American astronauts symbolically rang the Nasdaq opening bell from space — a celebration of SpaceX’s historic launch that sent astronauts into orbit three days prior. The short ceremony played out live on the Nasdaq’s giant screen in Times Square, with various NASA personnel clapping as one astronaut clanged a bell on the International Space Station.

The video glowed over the same streets where, in the days and nights before, thousands of demonstrators had gathered nearby to protest systemic racism and police brutality against black Americans.

This kind of cognitive dissonance has permeated SpaceX’s first passenger flight — the first time that NASA astronauts have launched from the US in nearly a decade. NASA has been waiting for this moment since the last Space Shuttle landed in 2011, and now the agency wants to celebrate. It wants the United States and the world to celebrate, too. But if the space community expects the world to care about the things we do in space, there must be an acknowledgment of how broken things are on the ground and the injustices that still exist in the United States.

That might mean passing up the chance to ring the bell on Wall Street while the economy remains in tatters. It might mean a compassionate statement from the crew addressing the people on the Earth below, instead of answering rote questions from dignitaries and press.

There are eerie echoes between this SpaceX launch and Apollo 8, as others have pointed out. That mission, the first to reach the vicinity of the Moon, launched in 1968, a year that mirrors 2020 in its apocalyptic bleakness. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. had sparked protests throughout the country. Space enthusiasts like to look back on that mission with rose-colored glasses, as something that served as a shining beacon of hope during a tough time for the country.

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But as others have pointed out, Apollo 8 didn’t fix the turmoil of the time. Just look at where we stand today. Likewise, SpaceX’s launch did not unite the country or the world, though NASA certainly tried to make that claim. “This was an amazing moment of unity for the nation,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a call with the astronauts after the launch. “It was an amazing moment for the whole world to look out in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges. We’re able to have very, very special moments where we can all look at the future and say that things are going to be brighter tomorrow than they are today.”

If only it were that simple. The problem that NASA and the space community doesn’t often understand is that spaceflight still isn’t inclusive. These launches may be fun and emotional to watch, but they don’t always feel like they’re for everyone. Space is still an exclusive and expensive domain, and the people who are in charge of this industry are still predominately male and white. The idea that a launch could bring the public together during a time when widespread racism and injustice are at the forefront of people’s minds is naive at best.

To be fair to NASA, Bridenstine acknowledged that an important space launch couldn’t “fix” the world. “Look, I think what NASA does is astonishing. It’s impressive, and it does bring people together,” he said. “If the expectation was that things on the ground were going to change because we launched a rocket, I think maybe the expectation might have been a little high.” He then proceeded to talk about just how many people tuned into NASA and SpaceX’s launch coverage over the weekend.

Those numbers are just not important right now. Yes, the launch must have been a small bright moment for people who turned their attention to a rocket soaring into space for one brief moment this weekend. But if the space community wants to really have a uniting effect on the world, it must be deeply rooted in the happenings of Earth. And the space world seems to exist in a bubble where these things just don’t have an effect.

While NASA acknowledged the problems going on down on the surface throughout the SpaceX launch, the statements didn’t stray much from touting the idea that this launch was a beacon of hope for the world during a difficult time. Meanwhile, the industry has mostly sheltered in its celebratory bubble. While many other major industries have issued a flurry of statements addressing the protests, the giants of the spaceflight industry remained silent.

Instead, compassionate demands for change have been left to individuals in the spaceflight world, including former astronauts.

“It is not this mission that will bring us together but the individual people following it who step forward to lock arms with people we don’t know but must learn to trust,” former astronaut and former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said on Twitter.

“Today demands we take pride not only in reaching the sky, but also sustained heights of decency, truth, compassion and justice for all, now!” former astronaut Mae Jemison said on Twitter.

“America let’s get our crap together,” former astronaut Leland Melvin said during a Facebook video. “This is unsatisfactory. We’ve got to stop this. And it’s going to be the good people that do nothing now that start doing something to stamp this hatred, evil, and racism out.”

Even if the space industry were to come out with a unified statement, from the outside, it feels like it’s more or less business as usual within the space world. NASA and space companies continue to move forward with many of the same things they had planned, such as handing out contracts for major programs, making major announcements, and launching vehicles. But the times are anything but business as usual. If the space community wants to unite people, then it must make people feel like they are part of space, and that means being conscious of where people’s lives are on the ground. It means committing to fix the wrongs in our society while also building vehicles to break the bonds of gravity.

Only then will people feel like they can come together to wonder in our journey toward the stars.

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