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Astronomy

The Event Horizon Telescope – a Planet-Size Instrument Designed to Study Supermassive Black Holes

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South Pole Telescope

When we think about the instruments astronomers use to study celestial objects, we usually imagine the classical telescope, or perhaps the radio antenna – a single, large, very sensitive instrument, like the Keck Observatory near the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, or the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, with its 1,000-foot (300-meter) dish.

But there are other ways to make very precise measurements, and in recent times, the lonely observatory atop a mountain is being replaced with large arrays of instruments scattered across deserts and other flat, remote areas around the world. This is what’s called an interferometer. A virtually unlimited number of telescopes can be thus synched up, providing some of the sharpest images of objects in space that can be taken. The technique used is called Very Large Baseline Baseline Interferometry (the baseline being the distance between the various instruments), and the resolution angular thus achieved is basically equivalent to that of a single instrument of that size.

One of the most ambitious current projects is the so-called Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). As its name suggests, it will looking for black holes and is set to make the most detailed observations of these mysterious objects ever. Most importantly, the EHT will be pointed at an object called Sgr A* (Sagittarius A-star), located in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, between the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpio. Though astronomers aren’t completely certain yet, they believe Sgr A* is a supermassive black hole, about 4 million times the mass of our Sun. For now, all that is known is that this huge object is a source of radio, submillimeter, near infrared, and X-rays, and the EHT will get scientists closer to the object than ever before.

The EHT array includes instruments from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Chile, and Spain, usually located in high, remote areas like mountain tops and plateaus. Recently, however, this project has gone truly global, with the addition of the South Pole Telescope, located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. This brings the EHT closer to its ultimate objective, which is to get a direct look at a black hole with the angular resolution close to the scale of the event horizon.

Now, you might be wondering: how can a black hole, especially a supermassive one, emit waves of any kind? After all, if there’s one thing everybody knows about black holes is that nothing, not even light, can escape their gravity – that’s how they got their name! But in fact, it’s not the black hole itself that radiates anything. Huge amounts of matter are drawn towards it by its immense gravitational pull, but before all this stuff goes beyond the event horizon, it creates an accretion disk around it which gets really hot and so it glows. This is exactly what our instruments have found thus far – and it’s the job of the Event Horizon Telescope to shed a bit of light onto this process, and others related to these monstrous denizens of the Universe.

Who doesn’t enjoy listening to a good story. Personally I love reading about the people who inspire me and what it took for them to achieve their success. As I am a bit of a self confessed tech geek I think there is no better way to discover these stories than by reading every day some articles or the newspaper . My bookcases are filled with good tech biographies, they remind me that anyone can be a success. So even if you come from an underprivileged part of society or you aren’t the smartest person in the room we all have a chance to reach the top. The same message shines in my beliefs. All it takes to succeed is a good idea, a little risk and a lot of hard work and any geek can become a success. VENI VIDI VICI .

Astronomy

NASA Will Make a Big Announcement About Unidentified Anomalies

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NASA will release a major report on UFOs, or “unidentified anomalous phenomena” (UAP).

The briefing will be held at the agency’s Washington DC headquarters at 10:00 EDT (14:00 UTC) on Thursday, September 14. The video player below streams the discussion live.

NASA commissioned an independent study group of 16 scientific, aeronautical, and data experts led by astrophysicist David Spergel in 2022 to produce the findings.

NASA says the study group will “examine UAP from a scientific perspective and create a roadmap for how to use data and the tools of science to move our understanding of UAP forward.”

The team’s full report will be posted online by NASA 30 minutes before the briefing.

This report will be released in accordance with NASA’s openness, transparency, and scientific integrity. When the study was announced last year, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate assistant deputy associate administrator for research, Daniel Evans, said, “We take that obligation seriously and make it easily accessible for anyone to see or study.”

UAP sightings were once the domain of conspiracy theorists and sci-fi, but recent high-profile US military sightings have legitimized them.

US authorities are taking UAPs seriously because they may be Russian or Chinese experimental aircraft being tested for national security.

Also possible is extraterrestrial life. NASA is open to all possibilities, but this week’s announcement won’t reveal alien lifeforms visiting Earth.

Instead, the report may outline new protocols to help the agency collect UAP data in the future.

“The report informs NASA of future data collection opportunities to shed light on UAP’s nature and origin. The announcement’s brief NASA statement said the report is not a review or assessment of previous unidentifiable observations.

“There are currently a limited number of high-quality observations of UAP, which make it impossible to draw firm scientific conclusions about their nature,” the agency said.

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Astronomy

NASA’s DART probe successfully collided with an asteroid.

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At the time of impact, the impactor vehicle, about the size of a vending machine, was moving at about 14,000 mph.

After traveling for over a year, NASA‘s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which attempted to provide answers, “Could a specially crafted satellite be used to divert an asteroid from its planet-destroying course? How about a number? “has effectively impacted the Dimorphos asteroid. However, NASA ground control has confirmed that the DART impact vehicle has intercepted the target asteroid. The results and data from the collision are still being received. Yes, Dimorphos is about the size of a football stadium, but space is very big, extremely dark, and both the asteroid and the spaceship were traveling rather quickly at the time.

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“It’s been a successful completion of the first part of the world’s first planetary defense test,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said after the impact. “I believe it’s going to teach us how one day to protect our own planet from an incoming asteroid. We are showing that planetary defense is a global endeavor and it is very possible to save our planet.”

In an effort to investigate the employment of defensive satellites as a method of planetary defense against Near Earth Objects, NASA launched the DART mission in November 2021. Nearly 68 million miles from Earth, the DART impactor vehicle, about the size of a vending machine, tragically crossed Dimorphos’ path while traveling at about 14,000 MPH.

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It remains to be seen if future generations of a planetary defense system will be packed with satellites ready to go full June Bug vs. Chrysler Windshield against real planet-killer asteroids. Dimorphos is one of two asteroids that are gravitationally entangled; its parent rock is more than five times larger than Dimorphos itself, but both are dwarfed by the space rock that struck Earth 66 million years ago and destroyed 75% of the planet’s multicellular life while gouging out the Gulf of Mexico.

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Astronomy

Various Companies Partner Up to Put a Mobile Phone Network on the Moon

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Network

The world of science and technology brings us yet another crazy possibility that’s going to be explored quite soon. Fourth Generation Cellular Networks are seeing implementations on various places. One of them could be the natural satellite orbiting the earth: The Moon.

A partnership between Nokia, Vodafone and Audi is looking to implement cellular networks on the moon sometime next year. Even if the proposition sounds crazy, it seems like they have a lot of plans to make this dream a reality.

Vodafone will be designing the lunar network and will make use of equipment designed by Nokia Bell Labs. This connectivity will allow two Audi Lunar Quattro rovers to communicate wirelessly with a base station at the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module.

Using existing satellites, mission organizer Part Time Scientists will also be able to live stream scientific data and HD video content from the Moon to viewers on Earth. In other words, we will be getting some very detailed views of Earth for public viewing.

The networking equipment will be launched into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. If you think it’s going to be very heavy and sloppy to handle. Nokia’s engineers have worked really hard to make it weigh less than one kilogram.

We’re seeing the vestiges of life in the moon very frequently now. All thanks to the options becoming more and more accessible with the fast advancements in technology. Of course, this rapid growth is far from reaching its peak potential.

Who knows? Maybe we will be able to look at interplanetary travels and living. The sky is the limit when it comes to the amount of creations. Nowadays bizarre ideas like mobile networks in different planets aren’t that far fetched eiher.

It’s going to be an interesting ride, for sure. However, we must be also conscious about the planet we’re currently living in. Even though there are efforts to make this planet greener, there is a lot left to do.

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