Learning more about Neutron Stars

#NASA #SpaceX #star #Sun #NeutronStar #Xrays #space #NICER

The Space X Dragon cargo capsule will reach the International Space Station by Saturday, which is carrying an unusual telescope designed to look at neutron stars. A neutron star has a diameter of 15-16 kms, and has a mass of more than twice the mass of the Sun. It has such high density that, one teaspoon of the star will weigh 10 million tons.

NICER, a Neutron Star Composition Explorer, is not an optical telescope. Rather it is a one meter cube made with solid aluminum. The face has 56 holes drilled, and the instrument has its own array of special lenses that deflect x-rays and focus them towards sensors fixed on the inner wall.

The lenses are 24 concentric aluminum cylinders, coated with a thin layer of gold, and bent very slightly. X-rays are used to study the neutron star because the neutron star is glowing in x-ray light, and in order to look at the surface of the star for interior make up.

Read the full article here

Having twice the mass of Sun within a ball of diameter 16 kilometers. That is incredible, and very dense. It will be interesting to know more about neutron stars for sure. Does it happen to every star when it cools off and compresses?

NASA will soon announce details regarding the mission near Sun

#NASA #space #Sun #solarsystem #SolarProbePlus #TouchtheSun #spacecraft #Corona

NASA will share the details regarding it’s mission “to touch the Sun” on May 31st. The details will be announced by the agency through a live-streamed event from the University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium.

The Solar Probe Plus (SPP), the aircraft being used in this mission, will be launched in Summer 2018, and will be placed in orbit within 4 million miles of the Sun’s surface.

The spacecraft is to make critical observations regarding the outer atmosphere of the Sun, and why it’s temperature is several degrees higher than the surface of the Sun itself. The Sun’s outer atmosphere Corona can have temperature of 500,000 degrees celsius or higher.

NASA is planning to use a 11.5 cm thick carbon-composite heat shield to make the spacecraft orbit the sun at 4 million miles, where the temperature will be around 1,500 degrees celsius.

Read the full article here

It’s amazing that space agencies are looking to study the main object in our solar system. Our energy source. It might also help us gain more insight on nuclear fusion, and how to better harness Sun’s almost infinite energy.

Watch Jupiter in the sky!

#planet #space #Jupiter #Earth #Sun #opposition

It is a known fact all planets revolve around the Sun. During the course of journey around the Sun, the position of Earth & Jupiter is that they will have face off which is known as Opposition. That is to say, an observer can easily located Jupiter by looking opposite direction to the sunset in the evening or sunrise in the morning. Jupiter will be at its closest approach and would appear more big and brighter than usual.

The opposition will be for only one day, April 9 (Mark your calendars!). The opposition occurs every 13 months, i.e. the previous one occurred on March 8, 2016 and the next one will occur on May 9, 2018. But really, why wait another year?

Read the full article here

Go watch some planets! 😀

A robotic spacecraft to Sun next year!?

#NASA #USA #space #Technology #sun #science

NASA, the American space agency, is planning to send its first robotic spacecraft to the Sun next year. The spacecraft us supposed to get within six million kilometers of the sun to probe its atmosphere. (The distance between the Sun and the Earth is 149 million kilometers)

The mission is supposed to answer three major questions that still baffle the scientists:

  • Why is the surface of the Sun (Photosphere) not as hot as its atmosphere. (The temperature of the Photosphere is a mere 5,550 degree Celsius, however, the temperature of the Atmosphere is 2 million degree Celsius!)
  • How do the Solar wind gets its speed. (The Sun blows charged particles in all directions at a million miles an hour, but somehow the particles get accelerated)
  • Why Sun emits dangerous high-energy particles that are a danger to unprotected astronauts and spacecraft.

Read the full article here.

A solar system, similar but much older than ours

L2 Puppis, a solar system about 208 light-years away from Earth. An international team of astronomers is using the ALMA radio telescope to study this solar system.

The L2 Puppis is about 10 billion years old, about twice the age of our Sun. Five billion years ago, the star was an almost perfect twin of our Sun as it is today, with the same mass. One third of this mass was lost during the evolution of the star.

Professor Leen Decin of KY Leuven Institute of Astronomy said that our Sun will become a giant red star and will be 100 times bigger than its current size, in a few billion years. This will probably lead to the destruction of closer planets like Mercury and Venus, though what will happen to the Earth is not yet known.

After that the sun will also experience an intense mass loss, which will reduce it to the size of the Earth but will be much heavier. This will probably happen about 7 billion years from now. Read the full article here!

The time with no one around

He looked through the window while in the car. Having a chauffeur had its perks, especially that he didn’t had to focus on the road and can think about anything. He looked outside the window, saw the passing trees shaking slowly in the wind, the other people in bikes and cars making their way back home, wearing a mask of comfort. His eyes stopped on the sun. It was almost the time for sunset, and the sun in its round pink-orange form was spreading the pinkish hue. Something in this scene made him feel lonely. The sun with the pink hue. Why did it feel so lonely.Suddenly all the people outside seemed to fade away. He closed his eyes, then opened it after a second. He still had the feeling of loneliness and he wasn’t seeing any people outside. He repeated the process five times, then took a deep breath and looked outside.

It was still the same. He was overwhelmed and nervous. What in the world was happening with him. He looked towards the chauffeur. At least the chauffeur was still there. Hayden, that was the name. He asked the Hayden to park the car at a side as he was feeling suffocated and lightheaded. The chauffeur didn’t move a muscle and just kept on driving as if nothing had happened, not a word heard, not an eyelid blinked.

This time he shouted the same words but the chauffeur didn’t respond again. He was terrified now. What is going on, why isn’t he responding. He is acting like I don’t even exist here. He moved to the side of the seat behind the chauffeur, reached over to the front door handle and pressed the button to unlock all the doors. Okay, what he had thought, he had been able to accomplish. Well partially. But now what. Should he actually do what he had thought in the first place. He gulped.

He could see that the car was moving at around 80 kmph and if he did jump then he might get badly injured. He closed the chain of his fluffy down jacket, took both the pillows near the back window of the car, unzipped them and put a hand in each. I am ready, Yes.

He pulled the door handle with his teeth and closed his eyes. The wind gushed at his face. Scared, he opened his eyes to take a look, and was astonished. He couldn’t see the road. All he could watch were the car tyres driving on a light blue ground with blurry white spots on it. Where was he, what in the world was happening.