All posts tagged: astronomy

A black hole awakens and why some people avoid Covid: the week in science – podcast | Science

A black hole awakens and why some people avoid Covid: the week in science – podcast | Science

[ad_1] Ian Sample and science correspondent Hannah Devlin discuss some of the science stories that have made headlines this week, from a glimpse of a black hole awakening, to a new blood test that can detect Parkinson’s seven years before symptoms appear, and a study exploring how some people manage to avoid Covid infection How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know [ad_2] Source link

The Northern Lights Could Be Visible Across the US Thanks to a Rare Solar Storm

The Northern Lights Could Be Visible Across the US Thanks to a Rare Solar Storm

[ad_1] Three rapid bursts of charged particles that erupted toward Earth from the Sun’s burning hot outer atmosphere on Wednesday could lead to stunning auroras across a wide swath of the US and a colorful hue as far south as Florida to start the weekend. Traveling at more than one-and-a-half million miles per hour, the trio of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) have merged into one pulse of plasma and magnetic field during the 60-hour trip from the Sun’s atmosphere toward our own. Tracking these developments, experts at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) issued a “severe geomagnetic storm watch” in advance of its arrival. This was the first such alert issued by the agency in nearly 20 years. Visible auroras are possible across much of the United States as a result of this expected storm. An event of this magnitude is also likely to cause disruptions to radios, satellites, and possibly even some power grids, though nothing most people should be concerned about. This weekend’s aurora potential started with a sunspot more than 10 times …

Detecting the first stars in the Universe

Detecting the first stars in the Universe

[ad_1] Studying the first stars in the Universe will be vital in understanding the development of existence as we know it. Stars play a fundamental role in the creation of life in the Universe, generating elements essential for life, such as carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen, through processes like nuclear fusion. When massive stars reach the end of their life cycle and explode in supernovae, they release these elements into space, enriching interstellar clouds with the building blocks of life. These enriched clouds can then give rise to new stars and planetary systems, where planets like Earth may form. However, despite our deep understanding of the pivotal role of stars in the cosmos, our knowledge of the oldest stars in the Universe is sparse. NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope aims to fill in this gap in our stellar knowledge. Set to launch in May 2027, the Roman Space Telescope will analyse the Universe’s first stars. The telescope will provide a panoramic field view 200 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope’s infrared view of the …

The ancient Egyptian goddess of the sky and how I used modern astronomy to explore her link with the Milky Way

The ancient Egyptian goddess of the sky and how I used modern astronomy to explore her link with the Milky Way

[ad_1] What did our ancestors think when they looked up at the night sky? All cultures ascribed special meaning to the Sun and the Moon, but what about the pearly band of light and shadow we call the Milky Way? My recent study showed an intriguing link between an Egyptian goddess and the Milky Way. Southern half of astronomical ceiling from the tomb of Senenmut (ca. 1479-1458 BCE), showing planets, constellations, and star lists. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Rogers Fund, 1948. Slowly, scholars are putting together a picture of Egyptian astronomy. The god Sah has been linked to stars in the Orion constellation, while the goddess Sopdet has been linked to the star Sirius. Where we see a plough (or the big dipper), the Egyptians saw the foreleg of a bull. But the Milky Way’s Egyptian name and its relation to Egyptian culture have long been a mystery. Several scholars have suggested that the Milky Way was linked to Nut, the Egyptian goddess of the sky who swallowed the Sun as it …

Mysterious space signals may come from a dead star with a planet

Mysterious space signals may come from a dead star with a planet

[ad_1] Artist’s impression showing a fast radio burst travelling from a distant host galaxy to reach Earth ESO/M. Kornmesser One of the most puzzling phenomena in space may finally have an explanation. It might be caused by the interactions between a “dead” neutron star and a planet in tight orbit around it. The strange phenomenon in question is a repeating fast radio burst (FRB). These are series of powerful radio waves blasting at us from distant galaxies. FRB 121102, spotted in 2012, was the first one ever found to repeatedly send out radio… [ad_2] Source link

The shift to LED lighting is stopping us from seeing our night skies

The shift to LED lighting is stopping us from seeing our night skies

[ad_1] Los Angeles at night Eloi_Omella/Getty Images A story I like to tell from my childhood, to help people understand the importance of dark night skies, is about growing up in Los Angeles next to a freeway. I am a child of the smoggy 1980s and 1990s in LA, when the air quality was infamously bad. The city was also incredibly lit-up at night. The smog and light pollution created a situation where we could see almost no celestial features except for the moon and sometimes Venus. I didn’t see a dark night sky until I was a teenager, when I learned for the first time that, given the right conditions, we can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. I had no idea. Almost two decades later, while I was in Chile on my first and only professional telescope observing run, I stood under a clear southern sky and realised that my ancestors had seen skies like this all the time. They didn’t have to travel for 24 hours across thousands of miles. …

Gemini South reveals unexpected differences in binary stars

Gemini South reveals unexpected differences in binary stars

[ad_1] With the new, precise Gemini High Resolution Optical SpecTrograph (GHOST), researchers studied different wavelengths of light given off by a pair of giant binary stars, revealing significant differences in their chemical make-up. It is estimated that up to 85% of stars exist in giant binary star systems, some even in systems with three or more stars. These stellar pairs are born together out of the same molecular cloud from a shared abundance of chemical building blocks, so astronomers would expect to find that they have nearly identical compositions and planetary systems. While some proposed explanations attribute these dissimilarities to events occurring after the stars evolved, the researchers confirmed that differences in the chemical composition of giant stars can be traced back to the earliest stages of their formation. “GHOST’s extremely high-quality spectra allowed us to measure the stars’ stellar parameters and chemical abundances with the highest possible precision,” said Carlos Saffe of the Institute of Astronomical, Earth and Space Sciences in Argentina. Explanations for differences in binary stars Previous studies have proposed three possible …

Lyrid meteor shower 2024: How to see the Lyrids this April and when do they peak?

Lyrid meteor shower 2024: How to see the Lyrids this April and when do they peak?

[ad_1] Shutterstock/Ingo Bartussek One of the meteor showers I look forward to every year is the Lyrids, which peaks this year on 22 April. Its display will be dampened this time round by the bright light of the waxing moon, but it is still worth finding a clear night to spot its shooting stars. The best time to watch the Lyrids — or any meteor shower — is after midnight local time. The shower is expected to be active from 15 to 29 April, peaking between the evening of the 21st and the morning of the 22nd. So, look at the weather forecast… [ad_2] Source link

In the Path of Totality | Andrew Katzenstein, Willa Glickman, Daniel Drake, Lucy Jakub

In the Path of Totality | Andrew Katzenstein, Willa Glickman, Daniel Drake, Lucy Jakub

[ad_1] I. Andrew Katzenstein in Mason, TexasII. Willa Glickman in Rochester, New YorkIII. Daniel Drake in Warren, VermontIV. Lucy Jakub in the Rangeley Lakes, Maine  ????              ????              ????              ????  Riders in the Sky Andrew Katzenstein in Mason, Texas I learned about this year’s eclipse in late 2016, when I read an article in The New York Review by James Gleick, who mentioned it in a discussion of scientific determinism: There is a strain of physicist that likes to think of the world as settled, inevitable, its path fully determined by the grinding of the gears of natural law…. If scientists say the moon will totally eclipse the sun in New York on April 8, 2024, beginning at 12:38 PM, you can bank on it. If they can’t tell you whether the sun will be obscured by a rainstorm, a strict Newtonian would say that’s only because they don’t yet have enough data or enough computing power. And if they can’t tell you whether you’ll be alive to see the eclipse, well, maybe they haven’t discovered all the laws …

Stellar winds of three Sun-like stars detected for the first time

Stellar winds of three Sun-like stars detected for the first time

[ad_1] An international research team led by the University of Vienna has directly detected stellar winds from three Sun-like stars by recording the X-ray emissions from their astrospheres. The study also placed constraints on the mass loss rate of the Sun-like stars via their stellar winds. The study, ‘X-ray detection of astrospheres around three main-sequence stars and their mass-loss rates’, is published in Nature Astronomy. What can stellar winds tell us about planetary evolution? Astrospheres, stellar analogues of the heliosphere that surrounds our Solar System, are very hot plasma bubbles blown by stellar winds into the interstellar medium, a space filled with gas and dust. The study of the stellar winds of low-mass stars similar to the Sun allows us to understand stellar and planetary evolution and, ultimately, the history and future of our own Sun and Solar System. They drive many processes that evaporate planetary atmospheres into space and, therefore, lead to atmospheric mass loss. Although planets’ escape rates over an hour or even a year are tiny, they operate over long geological periods. …