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ESA Solar Orbiter Mission Successfully Launches to Study the Sun

By on Feb 10, 2020 in Events | 0 comments

European Space Agency (ESA) new Solar Orbiter mission launched successfully from Cape Canaveral at 04:03 GMT (05:03 CET) on 10 February 2020. This mission is exciting and will be off to go study the Sun up-close and personal. The Solar Orbiter mission is led with a strong partnership with NASA and studies the Sun’s poles which have never been seen before! The Solar Orbiter was launched atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket which also launched other famous missions like NASA’s Mars orbiter MAVEN. It even has an almost perfect record of 82 successful launches out of 82, with one partial success. Animation showing the trajectory of Solar Orbiter around the Sun, highlighting the gravity assist manoeuvres that will enable the spacecraft to change inclination to observe the Sun from different perspectives. It’ll take about a year and a half for Solar Orbiter to...

Stunning View of the Famous (M27) Dumbbell Nebula

By on Feb 9, 2020 in Pictures | 0 comments

Located 1,227 light-years from Earth is a beautiful planetary nebula called the Dumbbell Nebula. This nebula was actually the first planetary nebula discovered by Charles Messier in 1764. He is famous for publishing an astronomical catalogue that contained 110 nebulae and faint star clusters, which were known as Messier objects. Dumbbell Nebula Credit: Steve Mazlin The first thing you notice is the gorgeous red which represents hydrogen and blue that represents oxygen gasses. This is also a great example of what the future of our Sun may look like after it runs the course of its life. The Dumbbell Nebula resulted from a star that turned into a red giant star. From here it eventually engulfed any planet or moon in its star system and then went supernova. What’s fascinating is although this was discovered in the 18th century and we’ve learned so much about astronomy since...

Zeta Oph the Runaway Star that Left a Gorgeous Bow Shock

By on Feb 3, 2020 in Pictures | 0 comments

Located 366 light-years away in the constellation of Ophiuchus is a runaway star called Zeta Ophiuchi (ζ Ophiuchi) or Zeta Oph. It’s a runaway star because it was flung out of a star system as a result of a supernova. This enormous star is about 20 times the mass of our own Sun! Not only that but our Sun’s radius is about 696,340 km and Zeta Oph is 8 times that. This star is huge but is rotating extremely fast. It’s rotating about 400 km/s where it can rotate this gargantuan mass once per Earth day! To give you some perspective our Sun rotates at 1.997 km/s or about once every 27 days. Credit: NASA Zeta Oph is relatively young from the perspective of the universe. It’s about three million years old and is an O-type star giving it that blue hue. Scientists say it’s roughly halfway through its stellar life and in the next few million years go supernova. Of...

Carnival of Space 648: Awesome Space Stories of the Week

By on Jan 24, 2020 in Carnival of Space | 0 comments

Hi space fans! Welcome to another edition of Carnival of Space! This is the 648th edition in this great community post. It’s where a group of space bloggers will help curate the best space stories around the web and create a post. I will be your host today and got some great stories from our fellow space bloggers. Let’s jump into it! Betelgeuse is Continuing to Dim! It’s Down to 1.506 Magnitude – Universe Today Betelgeuse Our first story comes from Universe Today with a story around the star called Betelgeuse. This star is well known in the sky and will also go supernova in the next 10,000-100,000 years. However, whenever you look at the Orion constellation and look for Betelgeuse a seasoned astronomer will notice this star has been dimming. Lots of speculation occurred where news reports said this star would go supernova any minute. Well, of course, this star...

5 Things Astronomers Learned About Venus that Surprised Them

By on Jan 16, 2020 in Solar System | 0 comments

It’s been a great start to 2020 as astronomers have already discovered something new about Venus. However, there is so much happening with Venus that it would be sad not to tell the world about it. Let’s jump into 5 things astronomers recently learned about Venus that really surprised them. Upper Clouds on Venus Are Vastly Different Than Originally Thought “Akatsuki’s LIR camera spotted an enormous stationary wave running completely across the globe from north to south on Venus. The camera sees heat emanating from Venus’ uppermost clouds, day or night.” Planetary Society Credit: JAXA The clouds on Venus are fascinating. They float in the troposphere between altitudes of 47 and 70 kilometres (or 29 and 43 miles) and are divided into lower, middle, and upper layers. Upper layers are interesting because when the Sun sends its solar energy these clouds absorb them!...