Space Events

Solar Storm

A solar storm is incoming after a huge hole opened on the surface of the Sun’s atmosphere, scientists have warned. The storm, which could knock out GPS, mobile phone signal, and digital television, is expected to hit Earth on Friday, March 15, and is the result of a “canyon-shaped” hole in the Sun’s upper atmosphere. The long and narrow slit in the Sun’s atmosphere – known as a coronal hole – is unleashing a barrage of cosmic rays and unfortunately for Earth, it is in the way. Space weather forecasting experts have predicted the solar storm will reach us on March 15.

Space Events

China Makes 1st-Ever Landing on Moon’s Mysterious Far Side

China’s robotic Chang’e 4 mission touched down on the floor of the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán Crater Wednesday night (Jan. 2), pulling off the first-ever soft landing on the mysterious lunar far side.

Chang’e 4 will perform a variety of science work over the coming months, potentially helping scientists better understand the structure, formation and evolution of Earth’s natural satellite.

Space Events

The 2018 Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend

On Sunday morning (Nov. 18), the famous Leonid meteor shower will reach its peak, with lesser numbers expected on the preceding and following mornings. Earth will pass through the thickest part of the Leonid swarm at 7 p.m. EST (2300 GMT) on Nov. 17. But the best time to look will be during the after-midnight hours of Sunday morning, once the source the meteors appear to stream from, called the radiant, comes above the horizon for observers in North America. The meteors appear to fly away from a point located within the Sickle of Leo (hence the name “Leonids”).

Space Events

Asteroids

Three chunky asteroids will zoom by Earth this weekend, and one of them is getting closer to our planet than the moon itself.

On Saturday (Nov. 10), the near-Earth asteroid 2018 VX1 will zip within about 236,100 miles (380,000 kilometers) of Earth. That’s closer than the moon, which orbits at about 238,900 miles (384,400 km) away from the Earth. While this space rock encounter is close, it won’t pose any danger to Earth.

The other two asteroids won’t venture as close to Earth, but have still grabbed the attention of scientists. These include asteroid 2018 VS1, which will pass about 861,700 miles (1.38 million km) away from Earth — almost four times as far away from the Earth as the moon.

Space Events

Total Full Moon Eclipse – Longest in 21st Century

A total full moon eclipse which will be viewable from multiple continents including most of Africa is happening on 27 July. This lunar eclipse will be primarily visible from the world’s Eastern Hemisphere (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand).

The eclipse will take place at or around midnight for Madagascar and the Middle East. Europe and Africa will view it sometime between sunset and midnight on 27 July, whereas most of Asia, Indonesia and Australia will view it in the morning – sometime between midnight and sunrise on 28 July.

The eclipse, which will last for one hour and 43 minutes, will be the longest lunar eclipse of the whole 21st century.

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Space Events

Newborn planet pictured for first time

Astronomers have captured this image of a planet that’s still forming in the disk of gas and dust around its star.

Researchers have long been on the hunt for a baby planet, and this is the first confirmed discovery of its kind. Young dwarf star PDS 70 is less than 10 million years old, and its planetary companion is thought to be between five and six million years old.

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The new planet is the bright spot near the (obscured) sun.

Space Events

Asteroid Close Shave

Earth received a cosmic close shave on Sunday (April 15) when a football field-size boulder passed by at half the moon’s distance from our planet. Named 2018 GE3, the asteroid was detected only a few hours before its flyby, spotted by the automated Catalina Sky Survey.

At its closest approach, at 2:41 a.m. EDT (0641 GMT), 2018 GE whipped by Earth at a distance of only 119,500 miles (192,300 kilometers), according to EarthSky. That’s a close call, given that the asteroid has an estimated diameter of 157 to 361 feet (48 to 110 meters), making it much larger than the cosmic object that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013.

Space Events

Asteroid in Close Approach to Earth

An asteroid that was only spotted on Sunday (Feb. 4) by the Catalina Sky Survey passed close by Earth yesterday. Early estimates of 2018 CB’s size range between 50 and 130 feet (15 and 40 m) in diameter. The object flew by Earth at about 5:30 p.m. EST (2:30 p.m. PST) at less than 20 percent of the distance from the Earth to the moon. That’s about 238,855 miles (384,400 km) from us. The asteroid was larger than the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia on February 15, 2013.

Space Events

Curiosity Rover Spots Weird Tube-Like Structures on Mars

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity captured this image on Jan. 2, 2018.

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Scientists are now trying to determine whether the image shows traces of fossils or the remains of crystal structures.

It has been suggested that the angular structures look remarkably similar to Ordovician trace fossils found on Earth. Alternatively, they could be related to crystals in the rock, perhaps “crystal molds” that are also found here on Earth. Crystals in rock that are dissolved or eroded away leave crystal molds.

Another possibility is bioturbation. A common example of bioturbation is the formation of worm burrows. The burrows, once refilled with sediments, fossilized and then exposed by erosion, can end up looking very similar to structures depicted in the photograph.

Space Events

Halloween Asteroid to Pass Earth in 2018 Again

Astronomers will soon get another look at the big, ghoulishly weird space rock that buzzed Earth on Halloween three years ago.

The roughly 2,100-foot-wide (640 meters) Halloween asteroid 2015 TB145 gave Earth a close shave on Oct. 31, 2015, coming within just 300,000 miles (480,000 kilometers) of our planet. (For perspective, the moon orbits at an average distance of about 239,000 miles, or 384,600 km.)

The asteroid may actually be an extinct comet that has lost its water and other volatile materials after many laps around the sun, researchers have said. Each of those laps takes 3.04 Earth years — which means 2015 TB145 will make another swing by our planet in mid-November 2018.

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Space Events

Radio Shield

Earth appears to be protected from space radiation by a type of radio signal mainly used by the military and government agencies.

Very Low Frequency (VLF) signals have been transmitted since the 1960s, some with the intense power necessary to reach submarines in the oceans.

But they also radiate past Earth’s atmosphere, creating a protective “bubble” that extends to the innermost edges of the Van Allen Radiation Belts, which also shield against harmful radiation.

The VLF bubble seems to add additional protection to Earth’s surface from potentially dangerous space weather, such as bursts of charged particles ejected during solar storms.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Supernova

Life in this universe begins and ends with supernovae. In a spectacular eruption powerful enough to outshine a galaxy, a star is killed — and new elements are forged. The shock wave from the star’s death throes can cause nearby clouds of gas to collapse, triggering the birth of new suns. The ashes of the exploded star spread out into the dark void of space, filling it with ingredients for future stars and planets. Supernovae are creative catastrophes.

This image made by the Hubble Space Telescope shows the tattered remains of a supernova explosion known as Cassiopeia A.

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Space Events

Asteroid – Near Miss

Asteroid 2017 AG13 just missed Earth by 120,000 miles – and we had no idea it was coming.

The huge rock between 25 and 35 metres tall – around 10 storeys high – and was rocketing towards our planet at 16km every second. It was only spotted yesterday.

In 2013 a similarly sized asteroid exploded in the sky just about Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That blast shattered windows and caused minor damage to buildings over a wide area. More than a thousand people were injured by flying glass and debris.

Last month, the White House released a document outlining a Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy. The document highlighted how early warning remains an issue when asteroids are hurtling towards earth.

In the case of 2017 AG13, the asteroid would likely have exploded high in the atmosphere with the force of 700 kilotons.

Around five asteroids are being discovered every day. Asteroids vary in size, brightness and orbit – making many of them difficult to identify and track. They can range from a few metres to several kilometres across.

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Space Events

New Craters Appearing on the Moon

New craters are forming on the surface of the moon more frequently than scientists had predicted, a new study has found. The discovery raises concerns about future moon missions, which may face an increased risk of being hit by falling space rocks.

The moon is dotted with a vast number of craters, some billions of years old. Because the moon has no atmosphere, falling space rocks don’t burn up like they do on Earth, which leaves the moon’s surface vulnerable to a constant stream of cosmic impacts that gradually churn the top layer of material on its surface.

For example, the scientists found an 18-meter (59-foot) impact crater that formed on March 17, 2013, and it produced over 250 secondary impacts, some of which were at least 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) away.

Space Events

Fireball Soars over Cyprus

Early on Friday morning, shortly before 1 a.m. local time, several witnesses reported seeing a strangely glowing object soaring across the skies of the island of Cyprus over the Troodos Mountain range. Residents in the area reported seeing greenish-white lights in the sky, followed by a loud explosion and the shaking of the earth, possibly indicating that the glowing object, a meteor, struck the ground somewhere on Cyprus or off of its coast.

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