This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Brian Wang at his Next Big Future blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space #570 And if you’re interested in looking back, here’s an archive to all the past Carnivals of Space
The James Webb Space Telescope is like the party of the century that keeps getting postponed. Due to its sheer complexity and some anomalous readings that were detected during vibration testing, the launch date of this telescope has been pushed back many times – it is currently expected to launch sometime in 2021 . But for obvious reasons, NASA remains committed to seeing this mission through.
A dusty view of Mars from July 11th as Mars opposition 2018 nears. Image credit and copyright: Waskogm .
When the Juno spacecraft arrived in orbit around Jupiter in 2016, it became the second spacecraft in history to study Jupiter directly – the first being the Galileo probe , which orbited Jupiter between 1995 and 2003.
How Fast is the Universe Expanding? Hubble and Gaia Team Up to Conduct the Most Accurate Measurements to Date
In the 1920s, Edwin Hubble made the groundbreaking discovery that the Universe was in a state of expansion. Originally predicted as a consequence of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity , measurements of this expansion came to be known as Hubble’s Constant .
In the 1970s, the Jupiter system was explored by a succession of robotic missions, beginning with the Pioneer 10 and 11 missions in 1972/73 and the Voyager 1 and 2 missions in 1979. In addition to other scientific objectives, these missions also captured images of Europa’s icy surface features, which gave rise to the theory that the moon had an interior ocean that could possibly harbor life. Since then, astronomers have also found indications that there are regular exchanges between this interior ocean and the surface, which includes evidence of plume activity captured by the Hubble Space Telescope
Since it arrived in orbit around Jupiter in July of 2016, the Juno mission has been sending back vital information about the gas giant’s atmosphere, magnetic field and weather patterns. With every passing orbit – known as perijoves, which take place every 53 days – the probe has revealed things about Jupiter that scientists will rely on to learn more about its formation and evolution. Interestingly, some of the most recent information to come from the mission involves how two of its moons affect one of Jupiter’s most interesting atmospheric phenomenon
In 1997, the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission launched from Earth and began its long journey towards the Saturn system. In 2004, the Cassini orbiter arrived around Saturn and would spend the next thirteen years studying the gas giant, its rings, and its system of Moons. On September 15th, 2017 , the mission ended when the probe entered Saturn’s upper atmosphere and burned up
Since the 1970s, when the Voyager probes captured images of Europa’s icy surface, scientists have suspected that life could exist in interior oceans of moons in the outer Solar System. Since then, other evidence has emerged that has bolstered this theory, ranging from icy plumes on Europa and Enceladus, interior models of hydrothermal activity, and even the groundbreaking discovery of complex organic molecules in Enceladus’ plumes.
The Kepler space telescope has had a relatively brief but distinguished career of service with NASA. Having launched in 2009, the space telescope has spent the past nine years observing distant stars for signs of planetary transits (i.e. the Transit Method ).
This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Allen Versfeld at his Urban Astronomer blog. Click here to read Carnival of Space #569 . And if you’re interested in looking back, here’s an archive to all the past Carnivals of Space .
A partial solar eclipse as seen from New York City on November 3rd, 2013. Image credit and copyright: Valentin Lyakhovich Eclipse season in nigh… though most of us won’t notice the start this week. The second eclipse season for 2018 commences with the arrival of New Moon and Brown Lunation number 1182 at 3:01 Universal Time on (triskaidekaphobics take note) Friday July 13 th , 2018
Life aboard the International Space Station is characterized by careful work and efficiency measures. Not only do astronauts rely on an average of 12 metric tons of supplies a year – which is shipped to the station from Earth – they also produce a few metric tons of garbage. This garbage must be carefully stored so that it doesn’t accumulate, and is then sent back to the surface on commercial supply vehicles
The gas/ice giant Uranus has long been a source of mystery to astronomers. In addition to presenting some thermal anomalies and a magnetic field that is off-center, the planet is also unique in that it is the only one in the Solar System to rotate on its side. With an axial tilt of 98°, the planet experiences radical seasons and a day-night cycle at the poles where a single day and night last 42 years each
Instead of Building Single Monster Scopes like James Webb, What About Swarms of Space Telescopes Working Together?
In the coming decade, a number of next-generation instruments will take to space and begin observing the Universe. These will include the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is likely to be followed by concepts like the Large Ultraviolet/Optical/Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR), the Origins Space Telescope (OST), the Habitable Exoplanet Imager (HabEx) and the Lynx X-ray Surveyor . These missions will look farther into the cosmos than ever before and help astronomers address questions like how the Universe evolved and if there is life in other star systems.
In April of 2016, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced the creation of Breakthrough Starshot . As part of his non-profit scientific organization (known as Breakthrough Initiatives), the purpose of Starshot was to design a lightsail nanocraft that would be capable of achieving speeds of up to 20% the speed of light and reaching the nearest star system – Alpha Centauri (aka. Rigel Kentaurus) – within our lifetimes.
Aldebaran versus the crescent Moon from April 2017, post grazing occultation.
In the coming decades, NASA and other space agencies hope to mount some ambitious missions to other planets in our Solar System. In addition to studying Mars and the outer Solar System in greater detail, NASA intends to send a mission to Venus to learn more about the planet’s past. This will include studying Venus’ upper atmosphere to determine if the planet once had liquid water (and maybe even life) on its surface
For decades, the most widely-accepted view of how our Solar System formed has been the Nebular Hypothesis . According to this theory, the Sun, the planets, and all other objects in the Solar System formed from nebulous material billions of years ago.
Over the course of many centuries, scientists learned a great deal about the types of conditions and elements that make life possible here on Earth. Thanks to the advent of modern astronomy, scientists have since learned that these elements are not only abundant in other star systems and parts of the galaxy, but also in the medium known as interstellar space. Consider carbon, the element that is essential to all organic matter and life as we know it