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Astronomy

New Evidence from NuSTAR Indicates Supernova Explosions Are Lopsided

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The remnant of the famous 1987A supernova. New evidence from NuSTAR indicates that these cosmic explosions are actually lopsided, shooting the stellar core in one direction, and the rest of the material in another.

New data from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) indicates that a massive star exploded in a lopsided way, the most convincing evidence yet put forward for this phenomenon.

Most stars aren’t massive enough to fuse heavier elements and eventually fizzle out into white dwarfs. Some, however, have a much more spectacular ultimate fate. The biggest stars in the Universe quickly go through the Periodic Table (in just about 10 million years) up until iron, at which point fusion stops, their core collapses under the effect of gravity, followed by the outer layers which crash into it and rebound with enormous energy, shooting out space and leaving behind an extremely dense stellar remnant (either a neutron star or a black hole). This is what’s called a Type II (or core collapse) supernova and is the final stage in the lifetime of stars which have at least eight times the mass of our Sun.

Stars are of course spherical objects, so you’d expect these explosions would scatter debris about equally in all directions. It seems, however, that the stellar core is extremely unstable just before going supernova, so it isn’t exactly in the center when that happens. This explains why the core blasts off in one direction, while the ejected material mostly goes the other way.

NuSTAR has found evidence of this by studying the remnant of the famous 1987A supernova. Observed by astronomers in 1987, it occurred relatively nearby, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, some 166,000 light-years away (well, nearby in astronomical terms at least). The probe’s instruments have picked up high-energy X-rays emitted by the radioactive isotope titanium-44, most of which were redshifted – a change in the wavelength which indicates something is moving away from the observer. Since titanium-44 is only produced by the supernova, it is clear that the ejecta from the event flying through space away from us. The stellar remnant, on the other hand, which in this case is a neutron star, is thought to have been sent hurdling in the opposite direction. Scientists have suspected Type II supernova explosions are lopsided, but this latest data from NuSTAR seems to finally confirm the hypothesis.

Diagram showing the redshifted glow of titanium-44, which indicates that the material ejected by the supernova is moving away from us.

Diagram showing the redshifted glow of titanium-44, which indicates that the material ejected by the supernova is moving away from us. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UC Berkeley

 

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

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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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