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Video Shows How Long It Would Take A Ball To Drop On Different Planets – IFLScience

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Astronaut Alan Shepard famously hit his golf ball a lousy 36 meters (118 feet) on the surface of the moon, and scientists on the International Space Station have even taken to playing baseball while in orbit, although if you’re going to play sports in space then you really should familiarize yourself with the behavior of balls across the solar system. To help us with this, planetary scientist Dr James O’Donoghue has created an animation demonstrating how long it takes a ball to freefall from a height of one kilometer (0.6 miles) on a selection of celestial bodies.

To create the video, O’Donoghue and fellow astronomer Rami Mandow referred to data published by NASA regarding the force of gravity at the equator of each planet in the solar system. This allowed them to calculate the time it would take for an object to fall to the surface of each of these worlds, assuming an absence of any wind resistance.

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For example, the force of gravity on Earth causes items to fall at a rate of 9.8 meters (0.0061 miles) per second, which means a one-kilometer (0.6 mile) drop would take 14.3 seconds. Despite being much larger than our home planet, Saturn’s gravitational pull is only slightly stronger, and produces a fall speed of 10.4 meters (0.0065 miles) per second. As such, a ball would take 13.8 seconds to drop to the surface of the ringed gas giant.

“It might be surprising to see large planets have a pull comparable to smaller ones at the surface,” said O’Donoghue on Twitter. “For example Uranus pulls the ball down slower than at Earth! Why? The low average density of Uranus puts the surface far away from the majority of the mass.”

Ultimately it is the density of an object, rather than its mass, that determines the speed at which a ball falls to its surface. This results in some surprising observations across the solar system. For instance, as O’Donoghue explains, “Mars is nearly twice the mass of Mercury, but you can see the surface gravity is actually the same, this indicates that Mercury is much denser than Mars.”

As the animation indicates, ball games are likely to be particularly challenging on the sun, as items in free-fall travel at a staggering 274 meters (0.17 miles) per second on our star, taking just 2.7 seconds to drop to the surface from a height of one kilometer (0.6 miles) (assuming they don’t become vaporized). At the other end of the spectrum is the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. A game of volleyball here would likely put most spectators to sleep, given that it takes 84.3 seconds for a ball to gently make its way to the surface.

It’s worth pointing out that the size and mass of the ball is irrelevant, as in the absence of any air resistance all objects fall at the same speed. This was famously demonstrated by Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott, who dropped a hammer and a feather from an equal height on the moon in 1971, confirming that they both reached the ground at the same time.


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Boeing's Starliner ready for crucial do-over launch to space station – CBC.ca

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Boeing Co’s CST-100 Starliner capsule is poised to blast off on Tuesday from Florida’s Cape Canaveral bound for the International Space Station in a crucial do-over test flight following a near-catastrophic failure during its 2019 debut.

Tuesday’s planned uncrewed mission is a precursor to a closely watched crewed flight potentially to be conducted before the end of the year. It also marks a key trial for the U.S. aerospace giant after back-to-back crises — a pandemic that crushed demand for new planes and a safety scandal caused by two fatal 737 MAX crashes — that have damaged Boeing’s finances and engineering reputation.

If all goes according to plan, the Starliner capsule loaded with supplies will blast off atop an Atlas V rocket flown by the United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp, at 1:20 p.m. ET from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Live coverage will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The launch had been planned for last Friday, but was postponed by NASA after the space station was briefly thrown out of control with seven crew members aboard, a mishap caused by the inadvertent reignition of jet thrusters on a newly docked Russian service module. Russia’s space agency blamed a software glitch.

The test flight is a do-over after a series of software glitches during the December 2019 debut launch resulted in its failure to dock at the orbital laboratory outpost. (Steve Nesius/Reuters)

Atlas V’s dual Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10A-4-2 engines are poised to shoot Starliner on a 181 kilometre suborbital trajectory before the capsule separates and flies under its own power to the space station in a roughly 24-hour overall journey.

The Starliner capsule headlined Boeing’s efforts against billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX to be the first to return NASA astronauts to the space station from U.S. soil in nearly a decade.

But a series of software glitches during the December 2019 debut launch resulted in its failure to dock at the orbital laboratory outpost. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has gone on to launch three crewed space station missions since 2020, with a fourth slated as early as Oct. 31, according to NASA.

Boeing has spent a year and a half correcting issues flagged during NASA reviews, part of the U.S. space agency’s strategy to ensure access to the sprawling international research satellite some 400 kilometres above Earth.

NASA in 2014 awarded contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to build their own capsules that could fly American astronauts to the space station in an effort to wean the United States off its dependence on Russia’s Soyuz vehicles for rides to space following the end of NASA’s space shuttle program in 2011.

If all goes well, Boeing will bring the capsule home on Aug. 9, and then attempt the follow-on crewed mission that the company has said will take place no earlier than December.

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One of the brightest meteor showers of the year is set to dazzle Vancouver skies – Vancouver Is Awesome

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If you live for awe-inspiring celestial spectacles, you won’t want to miss this month’s meteor shower extraordinaire. 

The Perseid meteor shower never fails to offer numerous, bright shooting stars for a breathtaking summer display. Best of all, the Perseid shower is one of the easiest to view from the Northern Hemisphere.  

Each year, the Perseids are viewable as Earth passes through “the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle from July 17 to Aug. 24,” explains Space.com

The shower will peak on Aug.12 and Aug. 13. When the sky is darkest — in the darkest hours after midnight — up to “50 to 80 meteors per hour can streak across the sky,” according to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). And in the nights leading up to the peak, an increasing number of shooting stars will become visible, too. 

Where the shower got its name 

The Perseid meteors “appear to fall” from the constellation Perseus, notes the CSA. Additionally, the constellation is at its highest point in the sky right before dawn when the most shooting stars are visible. 

Greek mythological hero Perseus defeated Medusa by using a reflective shield to “turn her powers against her.”

Photo via Canadian Space Agency

Meteor hunting tips in Metro Vancouver 

To fully enjoy the spectacle, here are a few tips for meteor hunting:

  • If possible, head away from city lights, which make it hard to see fainter meteors. To increase your chances of seeing shooting stars, set out in search of dark skies in the countryside.
  • If you need to use a flashlight, place a red filter over the bulb (a red balloon will do in a bind). White light is very blinding and may affect your night vision.
  • Dress warmly. Even though the Perseids occur in the summertime, it is still a good idea to bring warm (even winter) clothes. August nights can be very chilly.
  • Sit back and relax on a reclining chair or lie down on a blanket. Not only is it much more comfortable to observe the stars lying down, but you’ll also see more that way.
  • Pack a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee—it will come in handy if you start to drift off or get a little chilly!
  • Be patient. It might take a while before you see your first shooting star. Don’t be quick to give up… It’s worth the wait!

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A Grand Meteor Shower – Wawa-news.com – Wawa-news.com

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photo courtesy – Pierre Martin

Over the past few weeks, you have probably noticed a few meteors or “shoot stars” at night. You are witnessing one of the best meteor showers of the year. The Perseid Meteor Shower is now underway from July 14 to August 14. The best time to see the most meteors will be on the night of August 12 and into the morning hours of the 13. This year the crescent moon sets around 10:30 p.m. local time leaving us with a dark sky. By contrast, next year’s Perseids takes place under a full moon, drastically reducing the hourly rate.

If you have the chance to observe from dark skies absent of any stray lights, enjoy the band of our Milky Way Galaxy as this collective glow of billions of distant stars stretches from Sagittarius in the south to Cassiopeia in the northeast. Also, brilliant planets Jupiter and Saturn to Jupiter’s right will be out all night long to keep you company. There are unmistakable and located to the left of Sagittarius.

The peak of the Perseids produces about 90 meteors per hour but occurs late afternoon in daylight on the 12th. Towards the end of the night when the constellation Perseus is high in the sky around 3 a.m. we should still see from 50 to 60 meteors striking the atmosphere at 59 km/sec or 36 mi/sec. A higher number of bright fireballs may be seen on nights before the peak rather than nights after. The friction of comet debris causes the “flash” or “streak” which safely vaporize about 80 km high in the atmosphere with no chance of meteorites hitting the ground.

The parent comet is named Swift-Tuttle, a 26 km or 16 mi wide mountain of ice, dust and gravel that last appeared in 1992 in its 133-year orbit around the sun. It will return in the year 2125, replenishing a fresh path of comet debris ejected from the comet’s surface as it gets close to the sun. Here is where the solar radiation interacts with the comet, causing volatile material to vaporize and create the comet’s coma or cometary fog measuring close to 100,000 kilometres wide around the smaller nucleus. A dust tail forms as debris is blown off the comet’s surface much like confetti blowing off the back of a truck on the highway. As Swift-Tuttle retreated from the sun’s warming effects and back to the outer solar system, it faded away becoming a dark mountain once again only to be awakened by the sun upon its return.

The new comet dust lingers in space until Earth plows through the debris field in its yearly orbit around the sun, much like crossing the finish line of a race. This is why the Perseids and other known meteor showers occur at the same time each year. So gather a few friends and/or family members, set up chairs, bring snacks and take advantage of warm moonless conditions to view this epic display. Look up at the stars, listen to the crickets and frogs and let nature bring a sense of calm over you.

Known as “The Backyard Astronomer”, Gary Boyle is an astronomy educator, guest speaker and monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He has been interviewed on more than 50 Canadian radio stations and local Ottawa TV. In recognition of his public outreach in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union has honoured him with the naming of Asteroid (22406) Garyboyle. Follow him on Twitter: @astroeducator or his website: www.wondersofastronomy.com

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