A unique telescope, the eROSITA X-ray Telescope, hunts for galaxies and recently completed its half-year mission. Astronomers shared captivating images of supernovas and blackholes; part of an entire map with more than one million cosmic beings.
The eROSITA X-ray Telescope has been gathering data for only about half a year, yet was able to make discoveries twice as much as other X-ray telescopes have gathered in the last 60 years. The spectacular map includes detailed imaging of the Milky Way’s hot gas, nebulas, black holes, binary stars, and other cosmic objects within the universe. It is four times the depth of previous space maps.
German and Russian astronomers worked together to begin the telescope’s mission last year. ‘We built eROSITA to transform the way we see the X-ray sky, and to unravel the mysteries of cosmology and black holes,’ said Peter Predehl, the principal investigator of the X-ray telescope at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany (MPE).
‘This all-sky image completely changes the way we look at the energetic universe,’ Predehl said in a recent press release. The images are unique because eROSITA traced the thermal energy of the sky. Galaxies appear in clusters, looking like bright, vivid halos because of concentrations of dark matter which confine hot gases.
Almost 80% of the image consists of supermassive black holes, our active galactic nuclei, which consume dark space material in the middle of galaxies. As the one million space objects emit X-rays, known as X-ray sources, the team had to sort through about 165 gigabytes of data from the telescope’s seven cameras to put together
Within the Milky Way, eROSITA captured ancient white dwarves, supernova remnants, stars with hot, active coronae, neighboring galaxies like the Magellanic Clouds. Mara Salvato, the lead scientist at MPE said that they all eagerly await eROSITA’S complete, all-sky map. Previously, telescopes have measured the sky at other wavelengths and the new X-ray images can match those discoveries. Predehl describes the stunning images as a ‘wealth of detail.’
More surveys are needed for X-ray sources to be identified so that astronomers can understand their nature better. Rare phenomena were also captured: stars swallowed by black holes, merging neutron stars, and thermal readings from compact objects, which eROSITA picked up as ‘unexpected bursts of X-rays.’ ‘We need to alert ground-based telescopes immediately to understand what’s producing them,’ said Salvato.
Russian Scientist Rashid Sunyaev said that their second survey will soon begin until the end of the year. The team plans to create seven similar maps within the next 3.5 years. ‘Their combined sensitivity will be a factor of five better and will be used by astrophysicists and cosmologists for decades,’ said Sunyaev.
Kirpal Nandra, head of the high-energy astrophysics group at MPE said that the work eROSITA has accomplished just revolutionized X-ray astronomy. The team is anticipating much more in the near future.
‘This combination of sky area and depth is transformational. We are already sampling a cosmological volume of the hot universe much larger than has been possible before. Over the next few years, we’ll be able to probe even further, out to where the first giant cosmic structures and supermassive black holes were forming.’
How sparrows from B.C. spread a new song to the rest of North America – CTV News
A team of biologists spent 14 years tracking how a group of birds from B.C. became song influencers, eventually changing how the white-throated sparrow warbles from the Rocky Mountains all the way to the border of Quebec.
“It hasn’t been reported on this kind of magnitude or scale before, and that’s why it was interesting project to do, to look at how quickly the song is actually spreading,” Ken Otter, a biology professor at the University of Northern B.C., told CTV News.
The original sparrow song included an introductory phrase, and then three notes at the end, something like, “Oh my sweet Canada Canada Canada,” Otter explained.
The new song has just two notes at the end, resulting in something more like, “Oh my sweet Cana Cana Cana.” (Watch the video to see a full interview with Otter, and to hear the two different types of birdsong.)
Otter and other researchers initially noticed the change in birdsong in 2005 in central B.C., and assumed it was contained to just one small population of white-throated sparrow.
“But in about 2010 to 2014, we realized the song seemed to be spreading eastward, so we’ve been enlisting people to help us track this and found that the song has spread right into Ontario and is bordering right around Quebec,” Otter explained.
Birdsong does change over time, Otter said, but typically a new song type doesn’t completely replace an older song. It’s also very unusual for it to happen so quickly.
The researchers tracked the migration patterns of the birds, and the song’s spread, by attaching geolocators to certain birds from Prince George, B.C. and tracking their migration to other parts of Canada and the United States.
“They have to learn their songs from adult tutors, and so what you would expect is that most of the birds would learn the song that’s common to their environment or their neighbourhood,” Otter said.
“And so when the new song type emerges, you’d expect it to peter out, but what’s happening is these birds seem to be adopting the new song type.”
No one knows for sure why the birds changed their tune, but in a paper Otter and the research team published, they hypothesize that it could help the males attract female mates.
“Within white-throated sparrows, females prefer songs that include the terminal phrase over those that simply have the introductory notes, suggesting that females are attentive to the terminal portion of the song,” according to the researchers.
“But if female response to song variants wanes slightly over time… males may integrate novelty to maintain female interest.”
With files from CTV News.
Rocket Lab launch fails during rocket's second stage burn, causing a loss of vehicle and payloads – Yahoo Finance UK
The mission appeared to be progressing as intended, but the launch vehicle appeared to experience unexpected stress during the ‘Max Q’ phase of launch, or the period during which the Electron rocket experiences the most significant atmospheric pressure prior to entering space.
Launch video cut off around six minutes after liftoff during the live stream, and rocket was subsequently shown to be falling from its current altitude before the web stream was cut short. Rocket Lab then revealed via Twitter that the Electron vehicle was lost during the second stage burn, and committed to sharing more information when it becomes available.
This is an unexpected development for Rocket Lab, which has flown 11 uneventful consecutive Electron missions since the beginning of its program.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck posted an apology to Twitter, noting that all satellites were lost, and that he’s "incredibly sorry" to all customer who suffered loss of payload today. That includes Canon, which was flying a new Earth imaging satellite with demonstration imaging tech on board, as well as Planet, which had five satellites for its newest and most advanced Earth imaging constellation on the vehicle.” data-reactid=”23″>Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck posted an apology to Twitter, noting that all satellites were lost, and that he’s “incredibly sorry” to all customer who suffered loss of payload today. That includes Canon, which was flying a new Earth imaging satellite with demonstration imaging tech on board, as well as Planet, which had five satellites for its newest and most advanced Earth imaging constellation on the vehicle.
We’ll update with more info about the cause and next steps from Rocket Lab when available.
Rocket Lab Electron launch fails – SpaceNews
Updated 6:15 p.m. Eastern.
WASHINGTON — A Rocket Lab Electron rocket failed to reach orbit during a July 4 launch after a problem during the rocket’s second-stage burn.
The Electron rocket lifted off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 at Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, at 5:19 p.m. Eastern. The launch was originally scheduled for July 3 but pushed back two days because of poor weather in the forecast, only for the company to move up the launch to July 4 based on a reassessment of the weather.
The initial phases of the launch appeared to go as planned, although the vehicle’s passage through “max-q,” or maximum dynamic pressure, appeared to be rougher than what was seen in previous launches. Onboard video taken shortly before first-stage separation showed material appearing to peel from the rocket, although it was not clear if it simply a decal applied to the rocket or something more substantial.
The onboard video from the rocket froze about five minutes and 45 seconds after liftoff, or three minutes into the seconds stage burn. At six and a half minutes after liftoff, a launch controller on the company’s webcast of the launch said, “Initiating mishap response plan.”
Telemetry from the rocket, displayed on the webcast, showed the rocket’s altitude falling from about 194 kilometers to less than 165 kilometers for about 90 seconds before that information was removed from the screen. The company ended the webcast 11 minutes after liftoff, two minutes after the rocket’s second stage should have shut down and the kick stage, carrying its payload of seven satellites, deployed.
“An issue was experienced today during Rocket Lab’s launch that caused the loss of the vehicle. We are deeply sorry to the customers on board Electron,” the company tweeted about 25 minutes after liftoff. “The issue occurred late in the flight during the 2nd stage burn. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”
“We lost the flight late into the mission. I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, tweeted after the failure. “Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon.”
The launch was the 13th for the Electron rocket. The vehicle had 11 consecutive successful launches after the rocket’s inaugural launch in May 2017 was terminated because of a telemetry issue involving range safety systems, and not a problem with the rocket itself.
The primary payload for the launch was CE-SAT-1B, a 67-kilogram imaging satellite built by Canon Electronics, whose launch was arranged by Spaceflight Inc. The satellite, capable of taking images with a resolution of 90 centimeters, was intended to demonstrate the spacecraft’s technologies as the company prepared mass production of similar satellites.
“This launch is very critical for Canon Electronics as we are launching a satellite where we have remarkably increased the ratio of in-house development of components compared to the previous launch,” said Nobutada Sako, group executive of the Satellite Systems Lab at Canon Electronics said in a pre-launch release. Canon launched a similar satellite, CE-SAT-1, in 2017.
The rocket carried five SuperDove imaging cubesats developed by Planet. These satellites are upgraded versions of its original Dove line of cubesats, with additional spectral bands to support geospatial applications in fields like architecture.
The seventh satellite on the Electron was Faraday-1, a six-unit cubesat developed by British startup In-Space Missions. The satellite is the first in a series by the company designed to carry hosted payloads. Faraday-1 included payloads for several customers such Airbus Defence and Space, which flew a payload called Prometheus 1 to test a reprogrammable software-defined radio.
This mission, dubbed “Pics or It Didn’t Happen” by Rocket Lab, featured the shortest turnaround time between Electron missions to date. The previous Electron launch, which carried three National Reconnaissance Office satellites and smallsats for American and Australian universities, launched June 13.
After a halt in launch activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Rocket Lab had planned to ramp up its launch activity in the second half of the year. The next mission after this was to take place with an even shorter turnaround, Beck said in a June 18 interview. The company was also looking ahead to a first Electron launch from Launch Complex 2 in Virginia that, prior to this failure, was expected to take place before the end of the summer.
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