Connect with us

Science

Scientists Snap Closest-Ever View of the Sun

Published

 on

Researchers have snapped the best-resolution view of the sun ever, courtesy of the Daniel K. Inouye 4-meter solar telescope. The image, which resolves features as small as 18 miles wide (30km), is an unprecedented glimpse of what the surface of the sun really looks like.

Typical images of the sun look like this, as captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), in geosynchronous orbit above Earth.

NASA-Sun

Image by NASA, via Wikipedia

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

This sort of image shows us a certain amount of detail, but it’s missing a lot — partly as a consequence of being shot from 93 million miles away. Then again, the SDO is also in orbit, which we know typically allows for much better viewing conditions than any ground-based telescope.

What allows the Inouye Solar Telescope to see in such detail compared with the SDO? Adaptive optics, location, and sheer size. At four meters (technically 4.24), the Inouye is the largest solar telescope on Earth and its location at Hawaii is one of the best-known locations for clear-sky viewing during the day. The situation appears to be analogous to the relationship between Hubble and some of our largest ground-based telescopes. Hubble has a 2.4-meter lens, while the European Extremely Large Telescope currently under construction in Chile will have a 39.3-meter lens upon completion. Hubble isn’t important because it presents us with the largest window on the heavens, but because the specific characteristics of space-based observation give us an additional level of bit-depth in areas other than the additional light-gathering capability from scaling up a lens. The Inouye Solar Telescope is expected to cooperate on observations with the already in-orbit NASA Parker Solar Probe and the joint ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter (currently prepping for launch).

In this case, the 4-meter telescope was able to make out what looks a lot like peanut brittle.

Super-Close-up-Sun

Image by AURA/NASA/NSO

Here’s how NASA/AURA/NSO describe the image:

The cell-like structures – each about the size of Texas – are the signature of violent motions that transport heat from the inside of the sun to its surface. Hot solar material (plasma) rises in the bright centers of “cells,” cools off and then sinks below the surface in dark lanes in a process known as convection. In these dark lanes we can also see the tiny, bright markers of magnetic fields. Never before seen to this clarity, these bright specks are thought to channel energy up into the outer layers of the solar atmosphere called the corona. These bright spots may be at the core of why the solar corona is more than a million degrees!

These images have been lightly processed to remove noise and enhance the shape of the structures; the full data set is still undergoing scientific analysis. Still, seeing the fine-scale structure of the sun is a reminder that it isn’t actually “just” a ball of burning gas. The science of how heat is theorized to move through a star and the large-scale structures we observe has implications for stellar theory. It could tell us something about how our own sun is evolving over its own lifespan, and might even have implications for our attempts to create sustainable fusion power generation on Earth. A better understanding of solar dynamics might also enable us to predict coronal mass ejections in the future — and that could be critically important, given the risk they pose.

I’m downright curious to see what kind of new data we’ll learn once the Parker Solar Probe, Solar Orbiter, and the Inouye Solar Telescope are online simultaneously.

Source link

Continue Reading

Science

NASA’s Orion spacecraft breaks Apollo 13 flight record

Published

 on

 

The Artemis 1 Orion crew vehicle has set a new record for a NASA flight. At approximately 8:40AM ET on Saturday, Orion flew farther than any spacecraft designed to carry human astronauts had ever before, surpassing the previous record set by Apollo 13 back in 1970. As of 10:17AM ET, Orion was approximately 249,666 miles ( from 401,798 kilometers) from Earth.

“Artemis I was designed to stress the systems of Orion and we settled on the distant retrograde orbit as a really good way to do that,” said Jim Geffre, Orion spacecraft integration manager. “It just so happened that with that really large orbit, high altitude above the moon, we were able to pass the Apollo 13 record. But what was more important though, was pushing the boundaries of exploration and sending spacecraft farther than we had ever done before.”

Of all the missions that could have broken the record, it’s fitting that Artemis 1 was the one to do it. As Space.com points out, Apollo 13’s original flight plan didn’t call for a record-setting flight. It was only after a mid-mission explosion forced NASA to plot a new return course that Apollo 13’s Odyssey command module set the previous record at 248,655 miles (400,171 kilometers) from Earth.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

With a limited oxygen supply on the Aquarius Lunar Module, NASA needed to get Apollo 13 back to Earth as quickly as possible. The agency eventually settled on a flight path that used the Moon’s gravity to slingshot Apollo 13 back to Earth. One of the NASA personnel who was critical to the safe return of astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise was Arturo Campos. He wrote the emergency plan that gave the Command and Service Module enough power to make it back to Earth. Artemis 1 is carrying a “Moonikin” test dummy named after the late Arturo.

Earlier this week, Orion completed a flyby of the Moon. After the spacecraft completes half an orbit around the satellite, it will slingshot itself toward the Earth. NASA expects Orion to splash down off the coast of San Diego on December 11th.

Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Shocking! This asteroid CRASHED into Earth, says NASA; Check asteroid impact site – HT Tech

Published

 on


NASA has revealed that an asteroid crashed into the Earth on Saturday, November 19. Here’s where this asteroid hit Earth.

In the midst of all the terrifyingly close asteroid flybys, NASA has now revealed that an asteroid actually crashed into the Earth just days ago! NASA keeps a watch on these asteroids by studying data collected by various space and ground-based telescopes and observatories such as the Pan-STARRS, the Catalina Sky Survey and the NEOWISE telescope. However, this asteroid was seemingly missed by all of them and was discovered just hours before impact!

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

NASA has revealed that the asteroid lit up the sky as it flew over Southern Ontario, Canada on Saturday, November 19. What’s shocking is that this 3-foot asteroid was detected just 3.5 hours before impact! However, such small-sized asteroids do not pose a risk to the planet.

The tech that tracked the asteroid

The asteroid was first spotted by NASA’s Catalina Sky Survey and the observations were then reported to the Minor Planet Center. NASA’s Scout impact hazard assessment system calculated the asteroid’s trajectory and possible impact sites by analyzing the data. Just minutes after getting the data, a 25 percent probability of hitting Earth’s atmosphere was calculated.

Shantanu Naidu, navigation engineer and Scout operator at JPL said in a NASA JPL blog, “Small objects such as this one can only be detected when they are very close to Earth, so if they are headed for an impact, time is of the essence to collect as many observations as possible.”

“This object was discovered early enough that the planetary defense community could provide more observations, which Scout then used to confirm the impact and predict where and when the asteroid was going to hit,” he added further.

Asteroid impact site

The possible impact sites ranged from the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast of North America to Mexico. According to NASA, the asteroid is likely to have burned up upon entering the planet’s atmosphere and scattered small meteorites over the southern coastline of Lake Ontario.

Calculating the asteroid’s trajectory and impact site was a community effort with added inputs from amateur astronomers from the Farpoint Observatory in Eskridge, Kansas, who tracked the asteroid for more than an hour and provided the critical data required to accurately calculate the asteroid’s path and impact site.


Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

China plans to build nuclear-powered moon base within six years – The Province

Published

 on


Article content

China plans to build its first base on the moon by 2028, ahead of landing astronauts there in subsequent years as the country steps up its challenge to NASA’s dominance in space exploration.

Article content

The lunar base will likely be powered by nuclear energy, Caixin reported. Its basic configuration will consist of a lander, hopper, orbiter and rover, all of which would be constructed by the Chang’e 6, 7 and 8 missions.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Article content

“Our astronauts will likely be able to go to the moon within 10 years,” Wu Weiran, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program, said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV earlier this week. Nuclear energy can address the lunar station’s long-term, high-power energy needs, he said.

China has ramped up its ambitions in space in recent years, sending probes to the moon, building its own space station and setting its sights on Mars. The plans have put it in direct competition with the U.S. NASA has a rover on the Red Planet and is seeking to return astronauts to the moon this decade for the first time since the Apollo program ended in the 1970s.

RECOMMENDED VIDEO

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Both China and the U.S. are spending billions of dollars to not just put humans on the moon, but also to access resources that could foster life on the lunar surface or send spacecraft to Mars.

In 2019, China became the first country to land a rover on the far side of the moon, and later brought back its first lunar samples. The base is intended to be the first outpost on the moon’s South Pole, an area scientists think is the best place to find water. NASA is also targeting that part of the moon. China aims to eventually expand the base into an international research station.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending