Amateur astronomer take photographs of Supernova

On Sept. 20, 2016, Victor Buso, an amateur astronomer in Rosario, Argentina, was checking out the new camera on his telescope by taking pictures of a nearby spiral galaxy when a star within it went off in a supernova explosion.

Within hours, and prompted by Mr. Buso’s good fortune, professional astronomers around the world trained their big telescopes on the galaxy, known as NGC 613, about 80 million light-years from here in the constellation Sculptor. It was a rare instance in which astronomers were able to see the beginning of a supernova, when one of the most massive stars in the universe ends its life in one of the most violent events nature can cook up.

Most supernovas are far away and don’t call attention to themselves until their funeral pyre explosions are well underway. In this case, astronomers were able to record what they call the “breakout,” when a shock wave radiating from a star’s core, which has probably collapsed into a black hole, reaches the surface of the poor star and brightens it catastrophically.

“It’s like winning the cosmic lottery,” said Alex Filippenko, in a news release from the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, where Dr. Filippenko, of the University of California, Berkeley, has been tracking the supernova.

The astronomers, who reported their findings on Wednesday in Nature, said the original star had probably been about 20 times as massive as the sun, but had blown most of that mass off into space before the decisive explosion began.

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Asteroid 2002 AJ129

JAKARTA, NNC – NASA is tracking a large asteroid that will pass through Earth at 10.9 Lunar Distance on February 4, 2018.

  • The asteroid, named 2002 AJ129 has an estimated diameter of 760.
  • The asteroid will travel at 76,000 mph (122,541 km/h), which makes it nearly 15 times faster than the world’s fastest manned aircraft, the hypersonic North American X-15.
  • Despite having a ‘dangerous’ classification, NASA says there is no possibility of colliding with Earth next week.
  • The asteroid is about 1.1 miles (1.1 km) wide and makes it longer than Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at a height of 0.5 miles (0.8 km).
  • The asteroid is set to pass through our planet at a distance of about 2,615,128 miles (4,208,641km) that is relatively close in space. As a reference, the distance between Earth and the moon is 238,855 miles (384,400 km).
  • NASA described asteroids as ‘dangerous’ if they are within 4,600,000 miles (7,480.00km) of our planet.

“We have been tracking this asteroid for more than 14 years, and we know its orbit very accurately.Our calculations show that the 2002 AJ129 asteroid has no chance of colliding with Earth on February 4, or within the next 100 years,” says Paul Chodas, manager of the NASA Center for Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, as quoted by Daily Mail, Sunday (28/1/2018).

This asteroid was discovered on January 15, 2002 by the NEAT (Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking) project. This is the largest space rock that can sweep our planet.

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Space Events in 2018

7 of The Most Epic Space Events You Should Get Ready For in 2018

Obviously there will be exciting occurrences we can’t predict in the year ahead (hello colliding neutron stars), but to the best of our knowledge, here are seven of the most exciting things to keep your eyes on the sky for in 2018.
1. Eclipses

We won’t have a total solar eclipse again this year, but there are a three partial solar eclipses and two total lunar eclipses that will be viewable in various places from around the world.

  • 31 January – total lunar eclipse visible from Australia, North America, eastern Asia and the Pacific Ocean
  • 15 February – partial solar eclipse visible from part of Antarctica, Chile and Argentina
  • 13 July – partial solar eclipse visible from Antarctica and the southernmost tip of Australia
  • 27 July – total lunar eclipse visible from most of Europe, Africa, western and central Asia, and western Australia
  • 11 August – partial solar eclipse visible in northeast Canada, Greenland, northern Europe and northeast Asia

That’s pretty much everyone, so mark the date of your eclipse in the calendar and get ready.

2. Meteor showers

Every year, there are a number of meteor showers, and if you get out there with a camera, you can grab some spectacular photos.

Two of the best ones to look out for are the Perseids, which will be peaking 12-13 of August with up to 60 meteors per hour, and the Geminids, which will be peaking 13-14 December with up to 120 meteors per hour.

luminet black hole

The first image of a black hole, created in 1979. (Jean-Pierre Luminet)

3. We may finally see a black hole’s event horizon

In April this year, a multi-telescope project called the Event Horizon Telescope made a no-holds-barred attempt to photograph the event horizon of a black hole – not the black hole itself, but the point of no return, where the pull of the object is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape.

We’re still waiting to see what they photographed over five nights of observation time of Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the centre of our galaxy, and hopefully that image will drop sometime in early 2018. We’re so excited, for real.

4. Moon exploration forays

It is (maybe not quite) official: Earthlings are going back to the Moon. The last person to set foot on its surface was NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan in 1972, and next year, well, we may not get back there personally, but there’s a whole bunch of nifty Moon stuff percolating.

For starters, India is putting a rover on the Moon for the first time in the country’s history in 2018, and that’s rad.

SpaceX also said it’s planning a trip to lunar orbit – with two private citizens on board (although it’s been pretty quiet about it for a while). China’s Chang’e 4 and Chang’e 5 are going to be conducting a dark side exploration and sample return mission respectively.

There have also been rumblings of the US sending humans back to the Moon, and don’t forget Google’s Lunar XPrize – a competition for private entities to put a robotic rover on the Moon.

5. Asteroid science

Were you excited about Rosetta and Philae and their rendezvous with and subsequent research on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?

We have not one, but two asteroid landers due to meet their targets this year.

In June, JAXA’s Hayabusa 2, which launched in 2014, is going to meet up with asteroid Ryugu, a near-Earth asteroid with a rare combination of both C-type and G-type qualities.

And in August, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is going to meet up with near-Earth asteroid Bennu.

6. Pulsar fireworks
Sometime early next year – it’s hard to say exactly when – a pulsar is going to fly really, really closely past one of the brightest stars in our galaxy, through the disc of gas and dust surrounding an extremely luminous blue star 15 times the mass of the sun and 10,000 times brighter.

When that happens, there’s going to be an explosion of astrophysical fireworks that will help researchers measure the mass, gravity, magnetic field, stellar wind and disc properties.

7. There’s going to be a Mercury probe

This year we saw the end of Cassini’s mission. Juno is out there studying Jupiter, but we definitely need more planetary probes. Luckily we’re going to get ’em.

In 2018, the ESA and JAXA are launching their joint mission – BepiColombo, which is going to probe Mercury, our Solar System’s closest planet to the Sun.

OK, granted it’s not actually going to reach Mercury until 2025, but still, it gives us a lot to look forward to – and reminds us that, when it comes to space, there is always something out there to look forward to seeing.

Original article here

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon and Geminids meteor shower

SPACE is pulling out all the showstoppers ahead of Christmas, with a meteor shower and a vast asteroid rock in store for lucky stargazers.

Wondering where the Geminids come from? Introducing their spacey mother, a vast asteroid belt that last visited earth in 1974, but is flying by later this week.

When will Asteroid 3200 Phaethon fly past Earth?

After tonight’s Geminids meteor shower, the enormous space rock Asteroid 3200 will sweep by earth on Saturday, December 16.

The three-mile wide rock won’t be back for another 76 years when it returns in 2093, so don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

How close will it come?

Phaethon will come pretty close to earth in space terms – according to NASA a “safe” 6.4million miles.

You won’t be able to see it with your bare eyes, but anyone with a four or five inch diameter, or bigger, telescope, should be able to find it.

When you do locate the asteroid, it will deceptively look like a very slow-moving star.

What’s its link to the Geminids meteor shower?

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon is the “mother of all Geminids”, according to space.com. The stream of debris running from the asteroid is what causes meteors to fly from the constellation Gemini, hence their name.

These magical Geminids appear as a streak against the sky, with around 60 to 120 to be viewed in recent years.

It’s normally comets that produce meteor showers, not asteroids – and so the vast rock is still causing bafflement among astronomers.

Original article here