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Jostate

CPTNQUIRK called me a greenhorn
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Jun 24, 2005
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I posted this somewhere else in this site but I think you guys can appreciate better than most. I know you've seen similar gifs but it is imperative to stick it out to the end of this one:

 
Mar 23, 2013
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Nasa waits on Cassini radio contact from Saturn
By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent, Vienna

Controllers and scientists must wait until Thursday to hear from Cassini.

The probe was due early on Wednesday to make the first of 22 dives in between Saturn's cloudtops and the inner edge of its spectacular rings.

The daredevil flights are designed to gather pictures and other science data of unprecedented resolution.

But Cassini was out of radio contact for the duration of the plunge and is not scheduled to re-establish communications for another day.

Because the probe was moving so fast - at over 110,000km/h (70,000mph) - there was some risk attached to flying through the ring plane.

An impact with even a tiny ice or rock particle at that velocity could do a lot of damage, and so the decision was made to point Cassini's big antenna in the direction of travel, to act as a shield.

But, of course, that meant it could not also then talk to Earth at the same time.

Assuming all goes well, 21 similar dives will be made over the course of the next five months before the probe dumps itself in the atmosphere of Saturn. With so little fuel left in its tanks, Cassini cannot continue its mission for much longer.

The US space agency (Nasa) is calling the gap-runs the "grand finale", in part because of their ambition. They promise pictures of unparalleled resolution and science data that finally unlocks key puzzles about the make-up and history of this huge world.

"We're going to top off this mission with a lot of new measurements - some amazing new data," said Athena Coustenis from the Paris Observatory in Meudon, France.

"We're expecting to get the composition, structure and dynamics of the atmosphere, and fantastic information about the rings," she told the BBC.

A key objective is to determine the mass and therefore the age of the rings. The more massive they are, the older they are likely to be - perhaps as old as Saturn itself.

Scientists will do this by studying how the velocity of the probe is altered as it flies through the gravity field generated by the planet and the great encircling bands of ice.

"In the past, we were not able to determine the mass of the rings because Cassini was flying outside them," explained Luciano Iess of the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

"Essentially, the contribution of the rings to the gravity field was mixed up with the oblateness of Saturn. It was impossible. But by flying between the rings and the planet, Cassini will be able to disentangle the two effects.

"We're able to tell the velocity of Cassini to an accuracy of a few microns per second. This is indeed fantastic when you think Cassini is more than one billion kilometres away from the Earth."

Having the mass number might not straightforwardly resolve the age issue, however, cautioned Nicolas Altobelli, who is project scientist for Nasa's Cassini mission partner, the European Space Agency.

"We still need to understand the rings' composition. They are made of very nearly pure water-ice. If they're very old, formed at the same time as Saturn, how come they still look so fresh when they're constantly bombarded with meteorite material?" he pondered.

One possibility is that the rings are actually very young, perhaps the remains of a giant comet that got too close to Saturn and broke apart into innumerable fragments.

Coustenis, Iess and Altobelli discussed the end phases of the Cassini mission here in Vienna at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union.

The earliest that Cassini is expected to radio home is 07:00 GMT (08:00 BST) on Thursday. Contact should come through Nasa's 70m-wide Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California.

If a stable communications link is established, pictures and other data ought to start coming down about half an hour later.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39701671
 
Jul 7, 2004
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What’s Up with Tabby’s Star?
Donate to SETI Institute

Post Date:
May 23, 2017
by Gerald Harp

By now you have surely heard that Boyajian’s star, aka Tabby’s star, aka KIC8462852, is going through another weird dimming phase. We do not have a satisfactory explanation for why Boyajian’s star sometimes dims by 20%, and many astronomers are monitoring the star with optical and infrared telescopes, hoping to learn more about this strange behavior. Likewise, the SETI Institute has shifted into gear using our own radio telescope, the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) to monitor Boyajian’s star for the presence of artificial radio transmissions that could reveal a civilization like ours in that system.



Backing up a bit, remember that Boyajian’s star was discovered in data from the Kepler space telescope and shows the most unusual “dimming” of a star ever observed. From time to time, the light from this star is blocked by some enormous quantity of material moving between the star and our telescopes. But this material is unexpectedly cold and does not give off the infrared radiation expected if it were orbiting the star in a relatively close orbit. This mysterious material is too big and too cold to be explained by a typical orbiting planet, and some scientists have wondered if we could instead be observing a giant structure built by an advanced civilization. For example, a huge megastructure is just what you would need to capture an enormous quantity of stellar energy to power massive engineering projects. Even more interesting, the timing of the present dip suggests that whatever this material is, it is situated at just the right distance from the star to be in the “habitable zone,” where we believe that life like ours could develop as it has on Earth.

So, last Thursday, as soon as we heard Boyajian’s star began another dimming phase, the SETI Institute reacted quickly and pointed our ATA toward that star with hopes of catching a tell-tale signal that might reveal a technological civilization. Using the same methods as in our previous study of the star (http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/0004-637X/825/2/155), we are making very deep and careful observations for signals that appear to be artificial – signals that could be generated by no known natural process.

This story is still unfolding, and it may be weeks before we can definitively state the results of our observations, so stay tuned. I promise that if we find something interesting, we won’t keep it to ourselves.

In the meantime, follow along with the search at our real-time observation site setiquest.info.
 

sc5mu93

WeaselMonkey
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Oct 18, 2006
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Fairfield, CT
Anyone going to drive for the totality of the 2017 eclipse?

I'm debating taking the day off from work and enjoying the 69% we are getting in CT with the kids?
 
Apr 14, 2008
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Texas
What’s Up with Tabby’s Star?
Donate to SETI Institute

Post Date:
May 23, 2017
by Gerald Harp

By now you have surely heard that Boyajian’s star, aka Tabby’s star, aka KIC8462852, is going through another weird dimming phase. We do not have a satisfactory explanation for why Boyajian’s star sometimes dims by 20%, and many astronomers are monitoring the star with optical and infrared telescopes, hoping to learn more about this strange behavior. Likewise, the SETI Institute has shifted into gear using our own radio telescope, the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) to monitor Boyajian’s star for the presence of artificial radio transmissions that could reveal a civilization like ours in that system.



Backing up a bit, remember that Boyajian’s star was discovered in data from the Kepler space telescope and shows the most unusual “dimming” of a star ever observed. From time to time, the light from this star is blocked by some enormous quantity of material moving between the star and our telescopes. But this material is unexpectedly cold and does not give off the infrared radiation expected if it were orbiting the star in a relatively close orbit. This mysterious material is too big and too cold to be explained by a typical orbiting planet, and some scientists have wondered if we could instead be observing a giant structure built by an advanced civilization. For example, a huge megastructure is just what you would need to capture an enormous quantity of stellar energy to power massive engineering projects. Even more interesting, the timing of the present dip suggests that whatever this material is, it is situated at just the right distance from the star to be in the “habitable zone,” where we believe that life like ours could develop as it has on Earth.

So, last Thursday, as soon as we heard Boyajian’s star began another dimming phase, the SETI Institute reacted quickly and pointed our ATA toward that star with hopes of catching a tell-tale signal that might reveal a technological civilization. Using the same methods as in our previous study of the star (http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/0004-637X/825/2/155), we are making very deep and careful observations for signals that appear to be artificial – signals that could be generated by no known natural process.

This story is still unfolding, and it may be weeks before we can definitively state the results of our observations, so stay tuned. I promise that if we find something interesting, we won’t keep it to ourselves.

In the meantime, follow along with the search at our real-time observation site setiquest.info.

Some scientists watch too much Star Wars
 
Mar 23, 2013
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As Cassini's mission comes to a close tomorrow morning, here is a history of the mission.


'Our Saturn years'
Cassini's epic journey to the ringed planet, told by the people who helped make it happen

The Cassini satellite has almost run out of fuel.


Its final mission, on 15 September, is to dive into the planet's thick atmosphere, where it will meet a fiery end.

An encounter with the moon Titan has nudged Cassini's trajectory on to a collision course with Saturn. Nasa has called this manoeuvre a “goodbye kiss”.

For 13 years, the orbiter has been sending back to Earth images of its extraordinary discoveries at Saturn.

It has documented the possible birth of a moon, tasted an extra-terrestrial ocean and watched as a giant storm encircled the entire planet.

More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/cassini_huygens_saturn
 
Mar 23, 2013
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Astronomers Strike Gravitational Gold In Colliding Neutron Stars
Nell Greenfieldboyce

upload_2017-10-17_8-51-3.jpeg

The collision of two neutron stars, seen in an artist's rendering, created both gravitational waves and gamma rays. Researchers used those signals to locate the event with optical telescopes.

Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science

For the first time, scientists have caught two neutron stars in the act of colliding, revealing that these strange smashups are the source of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.


The discovery, announced Monday at a news conference and in scientific reports written by some 3,500 researchers, solves a long-standing mystery about the origin of these heavy elements — which are found in everything from wedding rings to cellphones to nuclear weapons.


It's also a dramatic demonstration of how astrophysics is being transformed by humanity's newfound ability to detect gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space-time that are created when massive objects spin around each other and finally collide.


"It's so beautiful. It's so beautiful it makes me want to cry. It's the fulfillment of dozens, hundreds, thousands of people's efforts, but it's also the fulfillment of an idea suddenly becoming real," says Peter Saulson of Syracuse University, who has spent more than three decades working on the detection of gravitational waves.


Albert Einstein predicted the existence of these ripples more than a century ago, but scientists didn't manage to detect them until 2015. Until now, they'd made only four such detections, and each time the distortions in space-time were caused by the collision of two black holes.


That bizarre phenomenon, however, can't normally be seen by telescopes that look for light. Neutron stars, by contrast, spew out visible cosmic fireworks when they come together. These incredibly dense stars are as small as cities like New York and yet have more mass than our sun.


In this case, what scientists managed to spot was a pair of neutron stars that likely spent more than 11 billion years circling each other more and more closely before finally slamming together about 130 million years ago.

More: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-...gravitational-gold-in-colliding-neutron-stars

 

OSU79

Federal Marshal
A/V Subscriber
Oct 22, 2009
10,238
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Back home in God's (Green) Country
Astronomers Strike Gravitational Gold In Colliding Neutron Stars
Nell Greenfieldboyce

View attachment 56837
The collision of two neutron stars, seen in an artist's rendering, created both gravitational waves and gamma rays. Researchers used those signals to locate the event with optical telescopes.

Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science

For the first time, scientists have caught two neutron stars in the act of colliding, revealing that these strange smashups are the source of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.



The discovery, announced Monday at a news conference and in scientific reports written by some 3,500 researchers, solves a long-standing mystery about the origin of these heavy elements — which are found in everything from wedding rings to cellphones to nuclear weapons.


It's also a dramatic demonstration of how astrophysics is being transformed by humanity's newfound ability to detect gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space-time that are created when massive objects spin around each other and finally collide.


"It's so beautiful. It's so beautiful it makes me want to cry. It's the fulfillment of dozens, hundreds, thousands of people's efforts, but it's also the fulfillment of an idea suddenly becoming real," says Peter Saulson of Syracuse University, who has spent more than three decades working on the detection of gravitational waves.


Albert Einstein predicted the existence of these ripples more than a century ago, but scientists didn't manage to detect them until 2015. Until now, they'd made only four such detections, and each time the distortions in space-time were caused by the collision of two black holes.


That bizarre phenomenon, however, can't normally be seen by telescopes that look for light. Neutron stars, by contrast, spew out visible cosmic fireworks when they come together. These incredibly dense stars are as small as cities like New York and yet have more mass than our sun.


In this case, what scientists managed to spot was a pair of neutron stars that likely spent more than 11 billion years circling each other more and more closely before finally slamming together about 130 million years ago.

More: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-...gravitational-gold-in-colliding-neutron-stars
Two thoughts:

1) whoa

2) that Einstein feller was pretty smart