From BBC News:
A Japanese spacecraft has touched down on an asteroid in an attempt to collect a sample of rock from the surface.
The Hayabusa-2 probe was trying to grab the sample from a pre-chosen site on the asteroid Ryugu just before 23:00 GMT on 21 February.
The spacecraft reached asteroid Ryugu in June 2018 after a three-and-a-half-year journey from Earth.
Hayabusa-2 is expected to return to Earth in 2020 along with its rocky hoard.
During sample collection, the spacecraft approached the 1km-wide asteroid with an instrument called the sampler horn. On touchdown, a 5g “bullet” made of the metal tantalum was fired into the rocky surface at 300m/s.
The particles kicked up by the impact should have been be caught by the sampler horn.
“We made a successful touchdown, including firing a bullet,” said Hayabusa-2 project manager Yuichi Tsuda.
“We made the ideal touchdown in the best conditions,” he said.
From BBC News:
Astronomers have revealed details of mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy, picked up by a telescope in Canada.
The precise nature and origin of the blasts of radio waves is unknown.
Among the 13 fast radio bursts, known as FRBs, was a very unusual repeating signal, coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away.
Such an event has only been reported once before, by a different telescope.
“Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there,” said Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist from the University of British Columbia (UBC).
“And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles – where they’re from and what causes them.”
The CHIME observatory, located in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, consists of four 100-metre-long, semi-cylindrical antennas, which scan the entire northern sky each day.
The telescope only got up and running last year, detecting 13 of the radio bursts almost immediately, including the repeater.
YouTube channel SpaceTime has been running an excellent series on String Theory and explains, in simplistic-yet-detailed language, what it is and how it’s taken the science world by storm over the past thirty years.
Also (for some reason WordPress are not allowing me to embed more than one video) How to Detect Extra Dimensions, Why String Theory is Right and Why String Theory is Wrong.
My favourite YouTube channel just got even better. New series.
Original story via BBC NEWS
US space agency Nasa has launched its mission to send a satellite closer to the Sun than any before.
The Parker Solar Probe rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The probe is set to become the fastest-moving manmade object in history. Its data promises to crack longstanding mysteries about the Sun’s behaviour.
It is the first space craft to be named after a living person – astrophysicist Eugene Parker, 91, who first described solar wind in 1958.
“Wow, here we go! We’re in for some learning over the next several years,” he said after watching the lift-off from the scene. The University of Chicago professor said he had been biting his nails in anticipation.
From Science Alert...
The US National Science Foundation (NSF) is hosting an announcement today to reveal exciting findings from its IceCube observatory at the South Pole. At 11am EDT (3pm GMT) today, they’ll be streaming live from the NSF headquarters in Virginia, as scientists discuss a groundbreaking discovery in astronomy. The NSF said that the announcement concerns “multi-messenger astrophysics findings” from IceCube.
More than 20 observatories took part in the research, and leading astrophysicists from these will be present at the event. Aside from that, no other details have been revealed.
A new report in The Astrophysical Journal claims that two stars may have just collided to create a black hole. If this is true, it may radically alter our understanding of how these super structures are formed. The alternative is potentially just as crazy sounding, that two neutron stars can fuse. Either way, something very […]
via Colliding Stars May Create Black Holes. Something Weird Is Happening In The Cosmos. — Science Can Change Your World
Original story via MOTHERBOARD
Thanks to gravitational lensing, astronomers can observe normal stars across colossal stretches of space and time.
Nine billion light years is a practically unfathomable distance, but astronomers have managed to peer across this vast expanse of spacetime to capture images of a single “normal” star (meaning that it is not currently going through a supernova).
This far-flung star, nicknamed “Icarus” though it is officially called MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1, is the most distant non-exploding star ever observed by humans, according to new research published Monday in Nature Astronomy. The paper’s first author, University of Minnesota astronomer Patrick Kelly, said in a statement the star is “at least 100 times farther away than the next individual star we can study, except for supernova explosions.”
ARTICLE VIA BBC NEWS
World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.
He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said.
The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.
At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease.
The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.
In a statement his children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”
They praised his “courage and persistence” and said his “brilliance and humour” inspired people across the world.
“He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.”
A book of condolence has been opened at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge, where Prof Hawking was a fellow.
Original Post from Inside Science
Signal hints at possible interactions between ordinary hydrogen and dark matter in the early universe, but some scientists remain skeptical.
(Inside Science) — After spending nearly two decades listening to the skies with radio telescopes, astronomers have finally detected a long-sought-after and subtle signal from the early universe. A group of scientists claim to have found a sign of radiation from the very first generation of stars, only about 180 million years after the Big Bang — just a blink of an eye to the cosmos.
“Other than the cosmic microwave background radiation, this is the earliest observation of any kind in the universe. Compare it to Hubble looking at the first galaxies at 400 million years old; we’re looking at a time roughly half that age,” said Judd Bowman, a cosmologist at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona and lead author of the research, published today in the journal Nature.
During an era known as the “cosmic dawn,” the first stars were forged from primordial hydrogen and helium gas. Their ultraviolet light reached free hydrogen gas in the surrounding regions, interacting with the atoms in a way that left a key signature in the radio spectrum from the afterglow of the Big Bang. Looking for signatures like this helps astronomers probe the early moments of the universe when it was first beginning to form its structure.
Artist’s rendering of how the first stars in the universe may have looked.
Image credits: N.R. Fuller, National Science Foundation