Friday, December 7, 2018

🚀 SpaceX Reuses a Booster for the Third Time, Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Found on the Station, OSIRIS-REx Reaches Bennu and More...


OSIRIS-REx has Finally Caught up with Asteroid Bennu. Let the Analysis and Sample Collection Commence!

Last week it was all about InSight. This week, all eyes are on OSIRIS-REx and its arrival at asteroid Bennu. It'll now begin a year of orbiting the asteroid, observing the spacerock from various altitudes. It will take high resolution images of the surface of Bennu, and scientists back on Earth will choose the perfect target for it to try and grab a sample.

If all goes well, OSIRIS-REx will eventually land gently on Bennu. It'll then reach out with its grabber arm and puff out nitrogen dioxide gas and then it'll capture the particles sprayed out. With the sample in hand, it'll make its way back to Earth, delivering up to 2000 grams of fresh asteroid sample into the hands of waiting scientists.

Fraser Cain
Universe Today

As always, if you have comments or questions, or suggestions on how I can improve this newsletter, please don't hesitate to reply this email or email me at info@universetoday.com.

Join our Patreon campaign

Patrons, don't forget to login to Universe Today. That'll remove all the ads for you. Join the 826 Patrons who get our videos early, see behind the scenes, and get no ads on Universe Today.

Nature Photography Show

Astrophotography Interview with Fraser

In this podcast with the Nature Photography Show I go into detail about what it takes to get into the hobby of astrophotography. What gear should you start with, how are the techniques different? 

Subscribe to our podcasts:
Universe Today Guide to Space Video: iTunes - RSS
Universe Today Guide to Space Audio: iTunes - RSS
Astronomy Cast: iTunes - RSS
Weekly Space Hangout: iTunes - RSS

Space station

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria has been Found on the Space Station's Toilet

Um, yuck? The space station is home to all kinds of Earthly bacteria and molds, but NASA has discovered that particularly troublesome antibiotic resistant bacteria has taken residence on the station. They found examples of several bacteria which are resistant to even the most potent antibiotics like floroquinolone and ciprofloxin. Nothing serious yet, but something to study further.


Nailing Down the Nature of 'Oumuamua—it's Probably a Comet, but...

Okay, I suspect you're probably getting a little sick of the whole Oumuamua speculation. Is it a comet? Is it an asteroid? Is it a comet with asteroid tendencies or vice versa? Rob Reid talks with Dr. Avi Loeb and gets to the bottom of the speculation and where he stands on the matter. Spoiler alert, it's probably not aliens.

Big Bang

A New Atomic Clock has been Built that Would be off by Less than a Second Since the Big Bang

You think digital clocks are accurate, just check out the new clock developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Their new clock is based on the oscillation of ytterbium atoms, and would be off by less than a second over the entire 14.8 billion years since the Big Bang. This is about 100 times more accurate than the caeseum clocks physicists have been using.


One of Kepler's Final Duties was to Observe an Unusual Supernova

I already miss the Kepler Space Telescope. :-(  But one of the final acts of this prolific planet hunter was to watch the detonation of supernova SN 2018oh, which exploded in February, 2018. It's an example of a Type 1a supernova, where a white dwarf feeds on material from a stellar companion, but it surprised astronomers by brightening three times faster than others of its type.

Globular cluster

Astronomers Count all the Photons in the Universe. Spoiler Alert: 4,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Photons

Thinking of counting all the photons in the Universe? Don't worry, astronomers have already done the math and come up with 4x10^84 photons. That's a 4 followed by 84 zeroes. How did they come up with this number? You'll have to read the article from Dr. Paul Sutter.


The Large Hadron Collider has been Shut Down, and Will Stay Down for Two Years While they Perform Major Upgrades

The Large Hadron Collider has completed another round of searching for the fundamental particles that make up the Universe. And now the enormous particle accelerator has been shut down to begin two years of upgrades. Once these have been completed, it'll be powered up again in 2021, beginning its third major run of science operations. 

Sun's northern pole

This is What the Sun's Northern Pole Looks Like

Nobody has actually sent a mission up to look at the Sun's northern pole, but astronomers have done the next best thing. They extrapolated data from ESA's Proba-2 satellite to figure out what the region probably looks like. But in 2020, their Solar Orbiter mission will launch and observe these regions directly.


A Meteor may have Exploded in the Air 3,700 Years Ago, Obliterating Communities Near the Dead Sea

We know that asteroids have impacted the Earth in the past, but now geologists think they've found evidence of a deadly airburst that might have happened more than 3,700 years ago above the Dead Sea. Researchers found evidence of pottery shards and rocks that were heated to immense temperatures, supporting the idea that a meteor detonated in the air like a nuclear bomb.

SpaceX launch

A Single SpaceX Booster has now Made its Third Flight

SpaceX made a fairly routine flight on Monday, lofting a collection of 64 satellites into orbit. What was historic, however, was the fact that this was the third flight for the first stage booster. And after its successful landing, it won't be its last. They tried to capture the fairings again, with Mr. Steven, but failed to get to them before they hit the ocean. Elon Musk said they can still be used for a future flight, though.


Ground and space-based telescopes find 100 more exoplanets. 100 MORE!

You know you're living in the future when the announcement of 100 new exoplanets barely makes headlines. Well, I'm excited, and you should be too. The announcement was made by an international team of astronomers who had confirmed planets first found by NASA's Kepler telescope. In one batch they confirmed 60 planets and then confirmed an additional 44 from another of Kepler's observing runs. That brings the total number of planets to something like a gazillion. I lost count.


Micrometeorite damage

Micrometeorite Damage Under the Microscope

When a tiny fleck of paint or piece of space dust slams into a spacecraft at huge velocities, it can create a surprising amount of damage. This is a photograph taken with a microscope that shows just what kind of a crater these impacts can cause. Researchers simulated micrometeorite impacts, firing debris at high velocity to learn what kinds of materials might make the best protection.

Soyuz launch

New Soyuz Launch Means the Space Station is Back in Business

A Soyuz rocket blasted off from Kazakhstan earlier this week, like so many have gone before. But this was the first launch after October's launch abort that put the station itself in jeopardy. If the Russians couldn't get astronauts to the station by January they might have needed to abandon it entirely. But now, astronauts Anne McClain, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and cosmonaut Oleg Konenenko are safely on the station and we're back in business.


Cave painting

Prehistoric Cave Paintings Show That Ancient People Had Pretty Advanced Knowledge of Astronomy

Humans have been fascinated by the sky for as long as recorded history. And one of the oldest pieces of recorded histories we have are the cave paintings of Europe that date back tens of thousands of years. And it appears that even these ancient people had advanced knowledge of the skies, tracking the equinoxes and major events in the sky in their cave paintings.

Other Interesting Space Stuff

Amazing Astrophotography on @universetoday

The Moon

This week we've got a beautiful photo of the Moon taken by @astronewton. The best time to photograph the Moon isn't when it's full, but when it's partly illuminated like this. That's when you get longer shadows that show off all the Moon's structures. Beautiful.

We have featured nearly 1,000 astrophotographers on our Instagram page, which has more than 145,000 followers. Want to do a takeover? Use the hashtag #universetoday and I'll check out your photos.


Our book!

Find your way across the night sky. Choose a variety of astronomy gear. Follow the Moon and the planets. Find deep sky objects across the seasons in both hemispheres. Observe comets, asteroids, satellites and space stations. Learn to do astrophotography.

Get it on Amazon for only $18.89. Here are some other options.


This email was sent to znamenski.generalastronomy@blogger.com
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Universe Today · 1505 Osprey Place · Courtenay, BC V9N 7Y1 · Canada