Space Thread

spaminator

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Alien 'super-Jupiter' breaks the mold on where planets can exist
Author of the article:
Reuters
Reuters
Will Dunham
Publishing date:
Dec 08, 2021 • 18 hours ago • 3 minute read •
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This handout photo released on Dec. 8, 2021 by the European Southern Observatory shows the most massive planet-hosting star pair to date, b Centauri, and its giant planet b Centauri b.
This handout photo released on Dec. 8, 2021 by the European Southern Observatory shows the most massive planet-hosting star pair to date, b Centauri, and its giant planet b Centauri b. Photo by European Southern Observatory /AFP via Getty Images
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WASHINGTON — One of the largest planets ever detected orbits at an enormous distance around two stars with a combined mass up to 10 times greater than our sun, an extreme celestial family that shatters assumptions about the type of places where planets can exist.
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The planet, located about 325 light years from Earth, is a gas giant apparently similar in composition to Jupiter but about 11 times more massive, researchers said on Wednesday. It belongs to a planetary class called “super-Jupiters” exceeding the mass of our solar system’s largest planet.

It orbits a pair of stars gravitationally bound to one another, called a binary system. It has what might be the widest orbit of any known planet – about 100 times wider than Jupiter’s orbit around our sun and about 560 times wider than Earth’s.

Until now, no planet had been found orbiting a star more than three times the sun’s mass. Stars larger than that emit so much radiation that they were thought to torch the planetary formation process. This discovery dashes that view.
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“Planet formation appears to be an incredibly diverse process. It has surpassed our imagination many times in the past, and will probably keep doing so in the future,” said astronomer Markus Janson of Stockholm University in Sweden, lead author of the research published in the journal Nature.

Since the discovery in the 1990s of the first planets beyond our solar system – so-called exoplanets – scientists have sought to learn whether or not our solar system represents standard “architecture.”

“From the trend seen so far, our solar system is not the most common type of planetary system architecture that exists,” said study co-author Gayathri Viswanath, a Stockholm University astronomy doctoral student.

“For instance, there are planetary systems with so-called ‘hot Jupiters’ where massive Jupiter-size planets orbit their host stars at a very close distance. A vast majority of the discovered planets also seem to have a size between that of Earth and Neptune, a size range in which our solar system has no planets,” Viswanath said.
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The larger of the tandem stars in the b Centauri system in which the newly discovered planet resides has a mass around five to six times that of the sun and is more than three times hotter, unleashing large amounts of ultraviolet and X-ray radiation.

It is a so-called B-type star, a category of extremely luminous blue stars. It is quite young in cosmic terms, at around 15 million years old. In comparison, the sun is roughly 4.5 billion years old.

Less is known about the smaller of the tandem. It is estimated at anywhere from one-tenth to four times the sun’s mass. The two stars orbit relatively close to one another, within about the distance of the Earth from the sun. They can be seen with the naked eye from Earth in the constellation Centaurus.
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The European Southern Observatory’s Chile-based Very Large Telescope captured an image of the planet, named b Centauri (AB)b. Like Jupiter, it is believed to be comprised mostly of hydrogen and helium.

Scientists had doubted that stars larger than three times the sun’s mass could host planets because they would present an unfriendly environment for planetary formation.

Planets form from material coming together inside huge disks of swirling gas and dust surrounding newborn stars. Big stars, it was thought, give off so much high-energy radiation that this material might be evaporated. The newly identified planet coalesced so far from its stars that it may have avoided this cauldron.

“The distance from the stars probably matters a lot, at least it did when the planet formed,” Janson said.
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Tecumsehsbones

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Washington DC
It's far past time our society addressed these cruel and arbitrary limits imposed on superJovians.

It's just plain old hateful worldism. . .
 

spaminator

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NASA launches revolutionary space telescope to give glimpse of early universe

Author of the article:
Reuters
Reuters
Steve Gorman
Publishing date:
Dec 25, 2021 • 18 hours ago • 4 minute read •
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Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket, with NASAÕs James Webb Space Telescope onboard, launches from EuropeÕs Spaceport, the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana December 25, 2021 in a still image from video.
Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket, with NASAÕs James Webb Space Telescope onboard, launches from EuropeÕs Spaceport, the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana December 25, 2021 in a still image from video. Photo by NASA TV /via REUTERS
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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, built to give the world a glimpse of the universe as it existed when the first galaxies formed, was launched by rocket early Saturday from South America’s northeastern coast, opening a new era of astronomy.
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The revolutionary $9 billion infrared telescope, described by NASA as the premiere space-science observatory of the next decade, was carried aloft inside the cargo bay of an Ariane 5 rocket that blasted off at about 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT) from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) launch base in French Guiana.
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The flawless Christmas Day launch, with a countdown conducted in French, was carried live on a joint NASA-ESA webcast.

“From a tropical rain forest to the edge of time itself, James Webb begins a voyage back to the birth of the universe,” a NASA commentator said as the two-stage launch vehicle, fitted with double solid-rocket boosters, roared off its launch pad into cloudy skies.
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After a 27-minute, hypersonic ride into space, the 14,000-pound instrument was released from the upper stage of the French-built rocket about 865 miles above the Earth, and should gradually unfurl to nearly the size of a tennis court over the next 13 days as it sails onward on its own.

Live video captured by a camera mounted on the rocket’s upper stage showed the Webb gliding gently away after it was jettisoned, drawing cheers and applause from jubilant flight engineers in the mission control center.

Flight controllers confirmed moments later, as the Webb’s solar-energy array was deployed, that its power supply was working.

Coasting through space for two more weeks, the Webb telescope will reach its destination in solar orbit 1 million miles from Earth – about four times farther away than the moon. And Webb’s special orbital path will keep it in constant alignment with the Earth as the planet and telescope circle the sun in tandem.
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By comparison, Webb’s 30-year-old predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, orbits the Earth from 340 miles away, passing in and out of the planet’s shadow every 90 minutes.

Named after the man who oversaw NASA through most of its formative decade of the 1960s, Webb is about 100 times more sensitive than Hubble and is expected to transform scientists’ understanding of the universe and our place in it.

COSMOLOGICAL HISTORY LESSON

Webb mainly will view the cosmos in the infrared spectrum, allowing it to gaze through clouds of gas and dust where stars are being born, while Hubble has operated primarily at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths.

The new telescope’s primary mirror – consisting of 18 hexagonal segments of gold-coated beryllium metal – also has a much bigger light-collecting area, enabling it to observe objects at greater distances, thus farther back into time, than Hubble or any other telescope.
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That, astronomers say, will bring into view a glimpse of the cosmos never previously seen – dating to just 100 million years after the Big Bang, the theoretical flashpoint that set in motion the expansion of the observable universe an estimated 13.8 billion years ago.

Hubble’s view reached back to roughly 400 million years following the Big Bang, a period just after the very first galaxies – sprawling clusters of stars, gases and other interstellar matter – are believed to have taken shape.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, speaking during the launch webcast by video link, hailed the new telescope as a “time machine” that will “take us back to the very beginnings of the universe.”
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Aside from examining the formation of the earliest stars and galaxies, astronomers are eager to study super-massive black holes believed to occupy the centers of distant galaxies.

Webb’s instruments also make it ideal to search for evidence of potentially life-supporting atmospheres around scores of newly documented exoplanets – celestial bodies orbiting distant stars – and to observe worlds much closer to home, such as Mars and Saturn’s icy moon Titan.

The telescope is an international collaboration led by NASA in partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies. Northrop Grumman Corp was the primary contractor. The Arianespace launch vehicle is part of the European contribution.

Webb was developed at a cost of $8.8 billion, with operational expenses projected to bring its total price tag to about $9.66 billion, far higher than planned when NASA was previously aiming for a 2011 launch.

Astronomical operation of the telescope, to be managed from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, is expected to begin in the summer of 2022, following about six months of alignment and calibration of Webb’s mirrors and instruments.

It is then that NASA expects to release the initial batch of images captured by Webb. Webb is designed to last up to 10 years. (Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman, Barbara Lewis and Hugh Lawson)
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spaminator

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Canadian scientists involved in James Webb space telescope say it's a dream come true

Author of the article:
Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Virginie Ann
Publishing date:
Dec 25, 2021 • 10 hours ago • 4 minute read •
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In this handout image provided by the U.S. National Aeronatics and Space Administration (NASA), Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket launches with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope onboard, from the ELA-3 Launch Zone of Europes Spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre at Europes Spaceport, at the Guiana Space Center on Dec. 25, 2021, in Kourou, French Guiana.
In this handout image provided by the U.S. National Aeronatics and Space Administration (NASA), Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket launches with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope onboard, from the ELA-3 Launch Zone of Europes Spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre at Europes Spaceport, at the Guiana Space Center on Dec. 25, 2021, in Kourou, French Guiana. Photo by Bill Ingalls /NASA via Getty Images
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MONTREAL — As the world tuned in on Christmas morning to see NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope lift off, Canadian scientists who played a crucial part in its creation were emotional.
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The collaboration between European and Canadian space agencies soared from French Guiana on South America’s northeastern coast on Saturday, riding a European Ariane rocket into the Christmas morning skies.

Rene Doyon, principal investigator of the telescope, said seeing the launch in-person was the best Christmas gift he could have ever hoped for. COVID-19 requirements meant most Canadian scientists who worked on the project had to stay home.

“It was an intense moment, absolutely incredible emotions after 20 years of working on the project,” Doyon said in an interview Saturday.

“I could have never imagined that it would have happened on Christmas. It was a good moment for Canada.”

Nathalie Ouellette, outreach scientist for the Webb at the Universite de Montreal, was with her family watching the long-awaited launch in Montreal.
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“To see the telescope leave Earth, what a joy for Christmas,” Ouellette said.

“I cried. We took a video to commemorate the moment. The launch went perfectly.”

The telescope will search for unprecedented details on the first galaxies created after the Big Bang, and on the development of potentially life-friendly planets beyond our solar system.

For Lisa Campbell, president of the Canadian Space Agency, the launch was the culmination of a 30-year-old dream.

“What an exceptional day,” Campbell said.

“It’s the most powerful and complex space observatory ever built.”

Canada has been working on the James Webb Space Telescope almost from the start and will be among the first countries to study its discoveries, she said.
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“It is a new step in astronomy, in understanding the universe, and our place in it,” Campbell said.

“And these scientific discoveries will be possible thanks to Canada’s expertise in astronomy.”

At least half of the 600 scientists in the Canadian Astronomical Society have been involved with the telescope and dozens of engineers are part of its design team.

Ouellette noted that the Webb’s work is only beginning.

Most people are familiar with Hubble Space Telescope — which was launched in 1990 — but the Webb is set to be 100 times more powerful, she said.

“We often talk about Webb as Hubble’s successor,” she explained.

“Webb is much bigger, it will capture more distant objects with low luminosity, look further into the history of the universe.”
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The $10 billion telescope started to hurtle toward its destination 1.6 million kilometres away, or more than four times beyond the moon, on Saturday. It will take a month to get there and another five months before its infrared eyes are ready to start scanning the cosmos.

Key to that work will be the Fine Guidance Sensor, which helps aim the telescope, and the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph, which helps analyze the light it observes.

Both have been designed and built in Canada.

“We are the eyes of the telescope, it’s Canadian eyes that allow all observations,” Ouellette said. “Canada has never been involved at this level in this kind of project.”

Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne issued a statement to congratulate Canadian’s expertise, saying past investments in space technologies made it possible for the country to be “an active partner in this exciting mission.”
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“Once again, Canada’s space sector is pushing the frontier of science and, more so, of astronomy,” Champagne said. “Webb is the largest space science project in the 60-year history of Canada’s space program.”

For Daryl Haggard, a professor of physics at Montreal’s McGill University and James Webb Space Telescope co-investigator, the telescope is an undeniable source of pride.

“We were looking at the launch video, and my husband was pointing out that he could see the logo for NASA, but also the Canadian Space Agency, right there on the rocket,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion.

“It’s pretty awesome.”

Haggard said she hopes the project will put Canada on the map for its astronomical expertise.

People usually refer to Canadarm from the Canadian Space Agency, but this country does much more than that, she said. Canadarm is a robotic arm that supported American space shuttle missions for about 30 years from 1981.

In exchange for Canada’s contribution on the telescope, the country is guaranteed at least five per cent of the telescope’s observation time, once data starts to come in about six months.

Campbell said this will allow Canadian scientists to further their studies on exoplanets and black holes among other things.

“We will be able to see phenomena at the origin of the creation of our universe, its history,” she said.

“We often wonder why we explore space, but it will tell us so much.”

— With files from The Associated Press

— With files from Bob Weber in Edmonton
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spaminator

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Two galaxies hidden by cosmic dust discovered, more to be found with Canada's help

Canada is one of NASA's partners in the just-launched James Webb Space Telescope
Author of the article:
Spiro Papuckoski
Publishing date:
Dec 26, 2021 • 10 hours ago • 2 minute read •
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Two distant galaxies previously hidden by cosmic dust were recently discovered.
Two distant galaxies previously hidden by cosmic dust were recently discovered. Photo by mik38 /iStock / Getty Images
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The size of the universe may be unknown, but astronomers keep discovering galaxies farther and farther away.
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Two previously invisible galaxies 29 billion light-years away were located by researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, according to a recent study published in Nature.

That’s far away — to put it mildly — as one light-year is the equivalent to 9.46 trillion kilometres. Multiply that by 29 billion and see if you can bust your calculator.

The researchers explain that the two galaxies hidden behind a thick layer of cosmic dust that surrounds them were invisible to the optical lens of the Hubble Space Telescope.

But by using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array telescopes in Chile’s Atacama Desert, astronomers were able to capture radio waves from the distant galaxies.

“We were looking at a sample of very distant galaxies, which we already knew existed from the Hubble Space Telescope,” Pascal Oesch, the Cosmic Dawn Center associate professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, told the university’s website .
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“And then we noticed that two of them had a neighbour that we didn’t expect to be there at all. As both galaxies are surrounded by dust, some of their light is blocked, making them invisible to Hubble.”

What this new discovery suggests is that more galaxies formed in the early universe than what was previously estimated.

“Our discovery demonstrates that up to one in five of the earliest galaxies may have been missing from our map of the heavens. Before we can start to understand when and how galaxies formed in the universe, we first need a proper accounting,” said Oesch.

To help locate the missing galaxies, the Canadian Space Agency, NASA and European Space Agency launched a newly-built super telescope — the James Webb Space Telescope — i nto orbit on Christmas Day.

Once in place, the new telescope will help astronomers further map out the universe’s origins.

“The next step is to identify the galaxies we overlooked, because there are far more than we thought,” said Oesch.

“That’s where the James Webb Telescope will be a huge step forward. It will be much more sensitive than Hubble and able to investigate longer wavelengths, which ought to allow us to see these hidden galaxies with ease.”
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