Friday, January 4, 2019

🚀 First Pictures of MU69 from New Horizons, OSIRIS-REx at Bennu, China Lands on the Far Side of the Moon, and More...


Welcome to a Brand New Year... In Space!

We did it. We made it to an all new year, which I'm hoping will be filled with all kinds of amazing missions and discoveries in space. 

SpaceX will test a prototype "Starship", paving the way for the full future version of this monster reusable rocket. SpaceX and Boeing will help NASA send humans back to the International Space Station, giving the US crewed flight capability again since the space shuttle program wrapped up. 

Pictures of Ultima Thule from New Horizons will continue to trickle back to Earth. OSIRIS-REx will gather a sample from asteroid Bennu and Hayabusa2 will sample Ryugu. 

We'll probably see the first image of a supermassive black hole event horizon from the Event Horizon Telescope, and see more gravitational waves from colliding black holes and neutron stars.

We'll see a lunar eclipse in January, and a solar eclipse in July.

It's going to be an amazing year... stay tuned.

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 808 Patrons who get our videos early, see behind the scenes, and get no ads on Universe Today.


Q&A 73: Is SETI Pointless? And More...

In this week's questions show, I wonder if moons could be geostationary, if we could detect Hawking radiation, if SETI is pointless, and why I'm always talking to people like they're 11.

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


2014 MU69

This is it! Your First Close Up Image of 2014 MU69

All that waiting is over, here's your first image of the bizarre Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69, the most distant object ever visited by humanity. NASA's New Horizons came within 27,000 kilometers of the object and revealed that it's a contact binary, where two separate objects gently crashed into each other. Data will continue to be sent home for another 20 months, so stay tuned.

ISS hole

Russian Cosmonaut says that the Hole in the ISS was Drilled From the Inside

You remember that tiny hole they found in a Soyuz module attached to the International Space Station. It was definitely drilled, and the cosmonaut who analyzed it says it came from the inside. But also, it probably wasn't done in space. So the question still remains: who made this whole and why did they do it?

Illustration of a blazar

How Does A Photon Experience The Universe?

As you travel faster and faster, relativity makes things pretty strange. You experience less time, distances shorten from your perspective. But you can never actually reach the speed of light. But what happens to photons which are traveling at the speed of light. How would they experience the Universe, if they could? Ethan Siegel explains.

Uranus formation

Something Twice the Mass of Earth Slammed into Uranus and Knocked it Over on its Side

Uranus is a strange place, and one of the biggest mysteries is how it got rolled over onto its side. Astronomers recently did some calculations and determined that this kind of cataclysm would have required an object twice the mass of the Earth to crash into Uranus to get the job done. Can you imagine what that must have looked like when it happened?

Balloon on Venus

Scientists want to send earthquake detecting balloons to Venus

Although it's the closest planet to Earth, we actually don't know that much about our evil twin. Researchers at NASA are proposing a balloon-based mission that would fly in the Venusian cloudtops, searching for earthquakes on the surface. Evidence that the planet still has some level of seismic activity going on inside it.

Dyson sphere

NASA's Technosignatures Report is Out. Every Way to Find Evidence of an Intelligent Civilization

To find evidence of intelligent civilizations, we could be looking for technosignatures, evidence that advanced aliens are impacting their surroundings through their technology. NASA recently brought dozens of the worlds experts in this field together to talk about it, and their report has just been released.

Alien planet

Alien Hunters, Stop Using the Drake Equation

The Drake Equation is a formula that could help us calculate how many advanced civilizations there are in the Milky Way. The problem is that the equation has a bunch of variables that are almost impossible to estimate. Dr. Paul Sutter thinks we should just stop using it entirely.

SpaceX Starship

Prototype Version of the SpaceX Starship with a Stainless Steel Skin is Under Construction

Elon Musk estimated that the new SpaceX Starship (formerly BFR) would start doing hop tests in early 2019. And this week he tweeted out tantalizing photographs of the technology coming together. Musk also announced the surprising news that the new Starship would be made out of stainless steel and not carbon composite as originally planned.


Don't Forget About OSIRIS-REx! It Arrived in Orbit Around Bennu too 

This week all eyes were focused on New Horizon's arrival at 2014 MU69. But that wasn't the only mission that arrived at its destination. On December 31st at 19:43 UTC, NASA's OSIRIS-REx slid into orbit around asteroid Bennu, breaking two new records: the tightest orbit ever, and the smallest object ever orbited.

The Moon

See a Simulation of the Moon for Every Day in 2019

Every year NASA releases an animation showing the phases of the Moon for every hour of every day of the year. It even shows the Moon wobbling back and forth as it gets closer and farther. Check it out, it's hypnotic.


China's Chang'e-4 lands on the far side of the Moon

The Chinese Chang'e-4 spacecraft has successfully landed on the Moon and deployed its Yutu-2 rover. The spacecraft is now ready to start exploring the Von Karman crater, located on the far side of the Moon. We don't know much else about the mission yet, but stay tuned for more updates.

Other Interesting Space Stuff

Amazing Astrophotography on @universetoday

I wanted to share a very different picture this week. You're looking at a long exposure image of the Sun taken with a pinhole camera attached to a tree in the UK over the course of two months. The image was taken by @danmonk91 and you'll want to see the full post to explain how he did it.

We have featured nearly 1,000 astrophotographers on our Instagram page, which has more than 149,000 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