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July 6, 2016

Final panel added to China\’s FAST radio telescope

Final panel added to China’s FAST radio telescope

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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Photo of the construction of FAST, 2015
Image: Psr1909.

On Sunday, China announced the attachment of the final panel to its telescope named Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). This piece marks the end of a five-year-long US$180 million (CNY¥1.2 billion) construction project.

FAST comprises about 4,500 panels and spans a diameter of 500 meters (about 1640 feet). The telescope is part of a series of ventures into space exploration by China, including planning another robotic Moon mission and creating a Chinese space station, with its core module set to be launched into space in 2018. With the country’s founding centenary coming in 2049, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a Beijing conference, “great scientific and technological capacity is a must for China to be strong”.

In order to achieve optimal electromagnetic performance for FAST with minimal signal interference, it was built in the South China Karst. This ultimately forced the relocation of about 9,100 inhabitants within a 3.1-mile (5km) radius of the telescope. The residents received about US$1,800 (CNY¥12,000) in reimbursement, with those experiencing difficulties with housing receiving about US$1,500 (CNY¥10,000) in extra compensation. The Chinese government supports the resettlement, with senior party official Li Yuecheng saying the relocation would provide a “sound electromagnetic wave environment”.

The telescope is now the largest-diameter single-dish radio telescope. It took the spot from the 305-meter diameter Arecibo Observatory telescope in Puerto Rico. Russia‘s RATAN-600 multi-element radio telescope has a diameter of 576 meters. This adds to China’s record-defying achievements; it contains the world’s largest bridge and the world’s longest wall, the Great Wall of China.

The telescope is set to be ready for use in September. Its possible uses include exploration for pulsars, a special type of neutron stars detected through their emission of radio pulses. Scientists have also described the telescope’s potential to explore alien civilization, with NAO Radio Astronomy Technology Laboratory director Peng Bo saying FAST’s “potential to discover an alien civilization will be 5 to 10 times that of current equipment, as it can see farther and darker planets”.



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Final piece added to China\’s new radio telescope

Final piece added to China’s new radio telescope

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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Photo of the construction of FAST, 2015
Image: Psr1909.

On Sunday China announced the final panel attached to its telescope named Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). This piece marks the end of a five-year-long US$180 million (CNY¥1.2 billion) construction project.

FAST comprises about 4,500 panels and spans a diameter of 500 meters (about 1640 feet). The telescope is part of a series of ventures into space exploration by China, including planning another robotic Moon mission and creating a Chinese space station, with its core module set to be launched into space in 2018. With the country’s founding centenary coming in 2049, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a Beijing conference, “great scientific and technological capacity is a must for China to be strong”.

In order to achieve optimal electromagnetic performance for FAST with minimal signal interference, it was built in the South China Karst. This ultimately forced the relocation of about 9,100 inhabitants within a 3.1-mile (5km) radius of the telescope. The residents received about US$1,800 (CNY¥12,000) in reimbursement, with those experiencing difficulties with housing receiving about US$1,500 (CNY¥10,000) in extra compensation. The Chinese government supports the resettlement, with senior party official Li Yuecheng saying the relocation would provide a “sound electromagnetic wave environment”.

The telescope is now the largest-diameter single-dish radio telescope. It took the spot from the 305-meter diameter Arecibo Observatory telescope in Puerto Rico. Russia‘s RATAN-600 multi-element radio telescope has a diameter of 576 meters. This adds to China’s record-defying achievements; it contains the world’s largest bridge and the world’s longest wall, the Great Wall of China.

The telescope is set to be ready for use in September. Its possible uses include exploration for pulsars, a special type of neutron stars detected through their emission of radio pulses. Scientists have also described the telescope’s potential to explore alien civilization, with NAO Radio Astronomy Technology Laboratory director Peng Bo saying FAST’s “potential to discover an alien civilization will be 5 to 10 times that of current equipment, as it can see farther and darker planets”.



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August 16, 2014

US researchers find a large asteroid held together by forces other than gravity

US researchers find a large asteroid held together by forces other than gravity

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

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Asteroid 1950 DA, Arecibo Observatory radar image

A team of researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has confirmed that near-Earth asteroid (29075) 1950 DA is primarily held together by van der Waals forces rather than gravity. They have shown that the rotation rate of the 1.1 km asteroid is higher than could be possible if only gravity and friction were responsible for holding it together. Cohesive forces prevent large scale shedding of material and breakup of the asteroid. Their study was published Wednesday in Nature.

The researchers found that the bulk density 1.7±0.7 g/cm³ of the asteroid is approximately two times lower than the value required for self-gravity to balance out the centrifugal forces caused by rotation. As Ben Rozitis, a planetary scientist and a co-author of the study, told Space.com: “I was expecting to find a high-density metallic asteroid, as such an asteroid wouldn’t require cohesive forces to hold itself together under its fast rotation. Instead we found the opposite! […] We knew from previous work that this asteroid was rotating faster than it should be, and we wanted to know why”.

Spectral observations of 1950DA indicated that it is either an E- or M-type asteroid in the Tholen classification. However, its low optical albedo and low radar circular polarization ratio (a very smooth surface at centimetre to decimetre scales) showed that it cannot be an E-type asteroid.

Unusually for an M-type asteroid (which are mostly metallic), 1950DA has low radar albedo. It would have been puzzling, if it was not for the Rosetta observations of 21 Lutetia, which is also an M-type asteroid with very similar low radar albedo. Researchers have used for 1950DA the same meteorite analogue which was earlier found to fit best 21 Lutetia: enstatite chondrite with grain density of 3.55 g/cm³. It allowed to calculate macro-porosity of 51±19%, indicating that 1950DA is a rubble-pile asteroid.

Taking into account thermal-infrared measurements of thermal inertia, presence of a fine-grained regolith is implied, primarily around 1950DA’s equator. Negative ambient gravity near the equator of the asteroid (48±24% of its surface) requires existence of cohesive forces to prevent loss of material. This is similar to an effect noticed between the fine grains of regolith on the Moon. Lunar regolith was found to be highly cohesive because of van der Waals forces between grains by the Apollo 17 expedition in 1974.

As Ben Rozitis explained: “We found a low-density rubble pile that traditionally would be unable to hold itself together unless cohesive forces were present. It’s exciting because we’ve provided the first evidence that cohesive forces are important for small asteroids, which had only been predicted up until now.”

The balance between cohesion and negative gravity requires small grain sizes consistent with the grain size distribution on 1950DA, and similar to that of another rubble-pile asteroid, (25143) Itokawa. Unlike Itokawa, 1950DA does not have large boulders on the surface; they may have been lost as 1950DA’s rotation accelerated due to YORP effect. This effect results in a change of the rotation rate of an asteroid (either faster or slower), and is caused when the Sun heats up an object unevenly, due to asymmetric surface topography. As the heat escapes, the rotation rate is slowly changed due to an uneven rate of cooling. The researchers find that a rubble-pile asteroid may have a high rotation rate, if it is held together by cohesive forces between the grains. But as the spin rate increases due to YORP effect, the centrifugal force may cause the rubble pile to eventually separate as it happened with P/2013 R3.

The findings may have implications for asteroid impact avoidance. A very small impulse may break one potentially hazardous object into several pieces. As Ben Rozitis said: “You’d want to avoid interacting with the asteroid directly. An alternative is to use a ‘gravity tractor,’ or a heavy spacecraft placed near the asteroid, which uses the force of gravity to pull the asteroid off course”. Bong Wie, an aerospace engineer at Iowa State University in Ames, noted: “I just hope that an asteroid on a collision course with Earth will not be spinning rapidly and it will not be a rubble-pile asteroid”.

According to Daniel Scheeres, an aerospace engineer at the University of Colorado, Boulder, understanding such cohesive forces may also be important for future asteroid mining. Ben Rozitis clarified: “Mining missions intend to visit small asteroids about 10 meters (33 feet) or less in size, as it is thought that they are predominantly solid bodies. However, cohesive forces enable such small asteroids to be rubble piles instead. A small rubble-pile asteroid would be harder to interact with and collect, as it can easily deform or break up when subject to external forces.”

The study was supported by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and the NASA.



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  • “Main belt asteroid No. 274301 named ‘Wikipedia'” — Wikinews, January 31, 2013

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January 31, 2013

Main belt asteroid No. 274301 named \’Wikipedia\’

Main belt asteroid No. 274301 named ‘Wikipedia’

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The “space Wikipedia” was discovered by the team of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory, Ukraine

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A main belt asteroid, No. 274301, has been named after Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia. The information became available on the Minor Planet Center‘s website yesterday.

The decision of the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature to assign the name “Wikipedia” to the asteroid was published in the Minor Planet Circular of January 27, published online yesterday, page 82403. Wikimedia Ukraine board member Andriy Makukha proposed the name. It was submitted to the Committee by the head of the Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory in Ukraine, Yuri Ivashchenko.

The official dedication of the name says:

Cquote1.svg Wikipedia is a free, copyleft, collaboratively edited online encyclopedia launched in 2001. In 11 years of its compilation it became one of the largest reference works and one of the most visited web-sites on the Internet. It is developed in more than 270 languages by enthusiasts from all over the world. Cquote2.svg

The asteroid 274301 Wikipedia was discovered by the team of astronomers of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory. At first it was observed by that team on August 25, 2008 at 22:47 (UTC). It was also observed on the next night and two weeks later on September 6. It received provisional designation 2008 QH24. Accurate calculation of its orbit showed asteroid 2008 QH24 is the same as 1997 RO4 and 2007 FK34. The asteroid had been previously spotted by observatories including Caussols-ODAS in France, and Mt. Lemmon Survey and Steward Observatory in Arizona, US.

On April 18, 2011 the minor planet received the number 274301.



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Main belt asteroid No. 274301 named Wikipedia

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The “space Wikipedia” was discovered by the team of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory, Ukraine

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A main belt asteroid, No. 274301, has been named after Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia. The information became available on the Minor Planet Center‘s website yesterday.

The decision of the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature to assign the name “Wikipedia” to the asteroid was published in the Minor Planet Circular of January 27, published online yesterday, page 82403. Wikimedia Ukraine board member Andriy Makukha proposed the name. It was submitted to the Committee by the head of the Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory in Ukraine, Yuri Ivashchenko.

The official dedication of the name says:

Cquote1.svg Wikipedia is a free, copyleft, collaboratively edited online encyclopedia launched in 2001. In 11 years of its compilation it became one of the largest reference works and one of the most visited web-sites on the Internet. It is developed in more than 270 languages by enthusiasts from all over the world. Cquote2.svg

The asteroid 274301 Wikipedia was discovered by the team of astronomers of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory. At first it was observed by that team on August 25, 2008 at 22:47 (UTC). It was also observed on the next night and two weeks later on September 6. It received provisional designation 2008 QH24. Accurate calculation of its orbit showed asteroid 2008 QH24 is the same as 1997 RO4 and 2007 FK34. The asteroid had been previously spotted by observatories including Caussols-ODAS in France, and Mt. Lemmon Survey and Steward Observatory in Arizona, US.

On April 18, 2011 the minor planet received the number 274301.



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March 30, 2011

First images received from orbit around Mercury

First images received from orbit around Mercury

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has sent the first images of Mercury taken from orbit back to Earth. (First image shown)
Image: NASA.

The first images of Mercury taken from orbit around the planet have been received from NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) probe. The images come after the spacecraft entered an orbit around the closest planet to the sun on March 17.

After various system examinations, the first images from the spacecraft were sent at 0520 EDT (0920 UTC).

Before arriving in orbit around Mercury, the MESSENGER spacecraft was launched in 2004, passed by Mercury twice in 2008 and once more in 2009. MESSENGER is the first artificial satellite to be placed in orbit around Mercury. Because Mercury is the innermost planet in the Solar System, the sun’s gravitational attraction altered the spacecraft’s approach to the planet. Because of this, a series of several maneuvers over three years was required to put the probe in orbit.

Although MESSENGER is the first probe to enter orbit around Mercury, it is not the first to fly by. Mariner 10 was the first to do this when it made three passes during the 1970s.

NASA is continuing to release images taken by the spacecraft as they arrive at Earth. MESSENGER is scheduled to begin it’s primary mission on April 4, consisting of various scientific and visual observations of the planet. Some of the scientific goals the probe is to accomplish are: determination of the geologic composition of Mercury, study of the planet’s magnetic field and internal composition, and transmission of more than 75,000 images back to Earth.



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  • “NASA spacecraft to begin collecting data on Mercury” — Wikinews, January 14, 2008

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January 11, 2011

Moon water possibly originated from comets, data shows

Moon water possibly originated from comets, data shows

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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Water on the moon may have originated from comets, a new study shows.
Image: Luc Viatour.

Data from recent detailed analyses of samples collected on NASA Apollo moon missions, released Sunday, show that Lunar water may originate from comets that collided with the moon early in its geologic history.

A team of astrophysicists led by James Greenwood of Wesleyan University in Connecticut analyzed samples collected on the Apollo 11, 12, 14, and 17 missions and found that the chemical properties of traces of lunar water in these samples differ from water typical of Earth.

“The values of deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) that we measure in apatite in the Apollo rock samples”, Greenwood told Space.com, “is clearly distinguishable from water from the Earth, mitigating against this being some sort of contamination on Earth.” Greenwood and his team of researchers studied in particular the variations of hydrogen in the mineral apatite.

The newfound data show that the chemical properties of water in the apatite samples resemble data from the comets Hale-Bopp, Halley, and Hyakutake, suggesting that the water present on the moon could have originated from these comets or others.

According to Greenwood, the results of this study could also provide evidence as to the origin of water on Earth.



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October 15, 2010

Brazilian astronomers propose new model of our galaxy

Brazilian astronomers propose new model of our galaxy

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Correction — Oct 19, 2010
 
A version of this article previously available at this page incorrectly attributed a quotation to the research team. The two sentences in question have been deleted.
 

Friday, October 15, 2010

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Image of Messier 101, or the Pinwheel Galaxy, showing ‘straight’ arms, slightly squarish in appearance. A team of astronomers theorize that our galaxy may resemble M101.
Image: NASA/ESA.

Brazilian astronomers have proposed a new model to explain the structure of our galaxy, the Milky Way. The new model suggests that our galaxy may have one more arm than previously thought and that these arms are more straight than curved.

The astronomers, led by Jacques Lepine at the University of Sao Paulo, used data from clouds of gas to develop their new proposed model.

In order to study the structure of the Milky Way, the astronomers studied spectra created by Carbon monosulphide clouds, contrary to the common method of analyzing spectra from clouds of ionized hydrogen. This method was used in hopes of producing an accurate ‘face-on’ map of our galaxy.

The postulated extra arm, if indeed actual, will increase the number of known arms from two to three. Previously, in 2008, the number was changed from four to two. This new arm is estimated to be about 30,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way and is thought to have a “strong inward curvature”.

The new model also suggests that our Solar System is in one of the straightest parts of an outer arm of our galaxy.



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October 1, 2010

New planet found in \’Habitable Zone\’

New planet found in ‘Habitable Zone’ – Wikinews, the free news source

New planet found in ‘Habitable Zone’

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Astronomers at the University of California at Santa Cruz have discovered a new planet which is considered to be in the middle of the Habitable Zone of its parent star, a discovery which has raised the possibility of finding life on another planet. Researchers found the planet while conducting the Lick-Carnegie exoplanet survey of Gliese 581, a red dwarf. The planet, named ‘Gliese 581 g‘, is approximately 20 light years away from Earth and is hypothesised to have a generally rocky landscape with enough gravitational pull to accumulate an atmosphere.

The orbits of planets in the Gliese 581 system compared to those of our own solar system
Image: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation.

Steven Vogt of the University of California stated that Gliese 581g potentially has a gravitational pull similar to that of Earth, which would allow humans to walk around upright on its surface although human inhabitation of the planet is in no foreseeable future. Vogt observed that there is a significant possibility that life exists on Gliese 581 g.

“Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 per cent,” Vogt said. Only lichen, bacteria and other micro-organisms are expected to exist on the planet.

Gliese 581 g is thought to have a temperature range from extremely hot to freezing cold depending on the side with respect to its star. The average temperature is expected to range from −31 to −12 degrees Celsius.

Prior to this discovery, two other planets were discovered in the low or “cold” end and the high or “hot” end of the ‘Habitable Zone’, respectively, orbiting the same star.



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  • “Newly discovered extra-solar planet may be Earth-like” — Wikinews, April 24, 2007

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September 19, 2010

Jupiter at its brightest in 47 years

Jupiter at its brightest in 47 years – Wikinews, the free news source

Jupiter at its brightest in 47 years

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

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Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth in 47 years this week.
Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

The planet Jupiter will be at its closest to the Earth since 1963 tomorrow and Tuesday, scientists say. This will cause the planet’s appearance to peak at a brightness and size not seen since then. The planet Uranus will also make a close approach, but will be more difficult to spot, as it is much farther away.

Scientists say that Jupiter will rise at about the time of sunset and will be nearly directly overhead at midnight. The only brighter object that will be in the sky at that time will be the moon. NASA scientist Tony Phillips said “Jupiter is so bright right now, you don’t need a sky map to find it.” It will not appear this bright again until 2022.

Jupiter will pass within 368 million miles of Earth at the time of closest approach. Although this will occur on Monday and Tuesday, it will remain large and bright for approximately another month.

During this event, the planet will be located in the sky not far from the moon. Some of the planet’s own moons will be visible with the aid of a telescope or binoculars.

According to NASA scientists, Earth-Jupiter encounters occur about every 13 months. Since both planets’ orbits are slightly elliptical, meaning they are not perfect circles around the Sun, the distance varies in each encounter.

Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, is the fifth planet from the Sun and is more massive than all of the other planets combined, about 318 times as massive as the Earth.



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