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Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner captures video of “space guests” – SlashGear

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One of the crew members currently aboard the International Space Station is Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner. Recently he was capturing video of the Earth from the International Space Station. What he intended to capture in his timelapse video was the beautiful auroras that you can see from the station.

However, he also captured something else on the video that he called “space guests.” In the early section of the video, you can briefly see five very bright lights on the horizon that appeared to show up and disappear quickly. Most likely, the lights, arrayed in nearly a straight line, are a few of the Starlink satellites that SpaceX launched on August 18.

While the lights certainly look like other images we’ve seen of Starlink satellites, at this time, they haven’t been identified. Vagner wondered if they were meteors or satellites, we certainly think it’s the latter. The cosmonaut did tell Roscosmos about the objects with officials from the space agency retweeting the video, calling it an interesting and mysterious.

Roscosmos Spokesperson Vladimir Ustimenko issued a statement saying that it was too early to make conclusions until researchers and scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences tells says what they think. We will certainly wait for the official answer, but SpaceX has been heavily criticized because of the brightness of its satellites fouling images taken from Earth-based telescopes.

We’d wager the company will end up taking criticism for its extremely bright satellites causing problems with videos and images taken from the ISS. SpaceX has been testing various methods to reduce the brightness of its satellites, but it’s unclear if its attempts are working.

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Celebrate Virtual International Observe the Moon Night with NASA Goddard – Stockhouse

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PR Newswire

WASHINGTON , Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The public is invited to virtually attend NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s International Observe the Moon Night on Saturday, September 26 from 7-8 p.m. EDT . The event will feature engaging pre-recorded content – presentations, demonstrations, video clips – and a question-and-answer session with NASA scientists and engineers.

Presentation content will be streamed via NASA TV, the Goddard Visitor Center Facebook page and on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel . NASA experts will be online throughout the event to answer questions. There will be about 40 minutes of pre-recorded content and then 20 minutes of dedicated Q&A with NASA scientists/engineers.

The agenda includes:

  • Lunar videos
  • Demonstration on volcanoes and how to build your own volcano at home
  • Discussion on geology and the elements of art
  • Presentation on SOFIA and its connection to Artemis and lunar water

International Observe the Moon Night is a global celebration of lunar and planetary science and exploration, celestial observation, and personal and cultural connections to the Moon. It occurs annually in September or October, when the Moon is around first quarter ― a great phase for evening observing.

International Observe the Moon Night is sponsored by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission and the Solar System Exploration Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, with many contributors. LRO is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland , for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

No registration is needed.

For more information about International Observe the Moon Night, visit: https://moon.nasa.gov/observe

For more information about LRO, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/lro

For more information on the Moon, visit: https://moon.nasa.gov

Cision View original content to download multimedia: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/celebrate-virtual-international-observe-the-moon-night-with-nasa-goddard-301135661.html

SOURCE NASA

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‘Mini-moon’ set to join Earth might be a rock — or something more – Global News

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Earth and the moon have had a pretty steady relationship over the last 4.53 billion years, but our planet is about to have a close encounter with another body in space, according to astronomers’ projections.

A small object is expected to fall into Earth’s orbit in October, when it will potentially become a so-called “mini-moon” for the next several months. The new object, dubbed 2020 SO, will loop around the Earth in a figure-eight before spinning back into space in May 2021, according to NASA tracking data. The space agency has dubbed it an Apollo object, meaning it’s expected to cross Earth’s orbit.

Read more:
They shall call it ‘mini-moon’ — car-sized object found orbiting Earth

Most space objects are asteroids, but astronomers say there’s something unusual about this one. They say it’s no mini-moon — it’s a piece of space trash. More specifically, it might be a discarded Centaur rocket booster from the Surveyor 2 robot that crash-landed on the moon in September 1966.

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Whatever it is, it could become the second mini-moon in Earth’s orbit this year after 2020 CD3, a car-sized bit of space rock, left us in February. That mini-moon quietly circled Earth for about two years, though astronomers didn’t spot it until shortly before it left.

This one is on course to become a mini-moon but it has a “highly chaotic path,” according to Tony Dunn, who runs the website Orbit Simulator.

Mini-moons are extremely rare despite our luck with them this year. Earth’s gravity will typically pull a space rock down as a meteor or bend its trajectory before releasing it into space. However, space objects can do a few loops around our planet if they approach it just right.

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That’s what happened with 2020 CD3 earlier this year. Earth also hooked up with another asteroid, dubbed 2006 RH120, for a brief mini-moon fling through space 14 years ago.

There’s still no guarantee that the object will become a mini-moon, as Lisa Harvey-Smith, an astrophysicist with the Australian government, pointed out on Twitter.






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India loses contact with space craft heading for moon


India loses contact with space craft heading for moon

The object is expected to come within 50,000 kilometres of Earth on its first pass, and within 220,000 kilometres for its second close encounter. Both passes will bring it closer to Earth than the moon.

This object would become our third mini-moon in recent memory — and perhaps the first one made by humans.

The strongest indicator that it’s not an asteroid is the low velocity, according to Alice Gorman, a space archaeologist at Flinders University in Australia.

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“What I’m seeing is that it’s just moving too slowly, which reflects its initial velocity,” she told ScienceAlert. “That’s essentially a big giveaway.”

Read more:
Aliens over Venus? Astronomers catch a whiff of life in planet’s clouds

The object is between 6.4 and 14 metres long, according to NASA.

The Centaur rocket booster was 12.68 metres long, and it helped propel the Surveyor 2 lander to the moon exactly 54 years ago. The lander jettisoned the booster into space during the mission.

This 1963 photograph shows vent flowing cryogenic fuel and T/C Rake mounted on a 1/10 scale model Centaur rocket in the Supersonic Wind Tunnel at the Glenn Research Center.


This 1963 photograph shows vent flowing cryogenic fuel and T/C Rake mounted on a 1/10 scale model Centaur rocket in the Supersonic Wind Tunnel at the Glenn Research Center.


NASA

Gorman says that if it is an old piece of human technology, she’d like to scan it to see how much damage it’s sustained after half a century in space.

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“It’s human material that’s been out in a different part of space,” she said.

“It would be interesting to compare that to the results you get from stuff in low Earth orbit, which is much, much denser material.”

The object is expected to approach Earth on Oct. 1.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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'Minimoon' approaching Earth may be 'space junk' from 1966 rocket launch – CTV News

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TORONTO —
A small asteroid that scientists project could orbit Earth until next spring might actually just be “space junk” more than half a century old.

The new object spotted by astronomers last week and dubbed 2020 SO, a provisional designation based on the discovery date, is expected to fall into our orbit, where it will spin from mid-October to May 2021.

If it doesn’t change course, it could be the third object — sometimes referred to as “minimoons” — confirmed by scientists to be captured in Earth’s celestial path, according to news site ScienceAlert. In 2006, asteroid 2006 RH120 orbited with Earth for about nine months, and in 2020, scientists realized that a rock called 2020 CD3 had been orbiting for three years already.

Though it is still unclear whether 2020 SO is a small asteroid or a man-made object, one NASA scientist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California has “tentatively identified” it as a piece from the failed Surveyor 2 moon lander program in 1966. At the time, NASA used “multi-stage” rockets, some parts of which would fall back to the ground for reuse while others would be discarded in space. 

According to a member of the The Minor Planet Mailing List, an online group of space enthusiasts and lunar researchers, the velocity projections of the object suggest “it is unlikely it is a natural body” and that is is “more likely space junk.”

Current estimates put the size of the object between roughly six and 14 metres in length, which is consistent with the size of the 1966 rocket piece NASA identified, according to ScienceAlert. 

It won’t get very close and is on a “highly-chaotic path,” wrote orbit simulator Tony Dunn on Twitter. In fact, projections suggest it will pass by Earth on Dec. 1 at a distance of about 50,000 kilometres, and later in February at about 220,000 kilometres.

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