A Stellar Merger’s Snapshot in Time – SOFIA: Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

Everything we see in the universe is a snapshot of the past: As light takes its time to reach our telescopes, the system we’re observing continues to evolve, and what we end up seeing is a moment in its history. By revisiting an object over the course of decades, we can look not only into its past, but can watch its history unfold.

Eleven years after it was last observed and 17 years after a stellar merger occurred, SOFIA looked at V838 Monocerotis, or V838 Mon, a binary star system about 19 thousand light-years away from Earth, capturing a snapshot in time of its makeup. This confirmed that the dust chemistry of the system has changed significantly over the course of nearly two decades following the merger, particularly over the past decade. This provided a history we otherwise cannot look at and offered an archaeological view of its evolution.
— Read on blogs.nasa.gov/sofia/2021/12/17/a-stellar-mergers-snapshot-in-time/

Visualizations show the extensive cloud of debris Russia’s anti-satellite test created – The Verge

“This is not going to be a short-lived problem,” says Lewis. “It’s going to be affecting space operations for at least this decade and the next one.”
— Read on www.theverge.com/2021/11/19/22791176/russia-asat-satellite-test-space-debris-visualizations

Are there consequences for being a rogue state?

Scientists confirm barrier between inner and outer regions of the young solar system | NSF – National Science Foundation

By analyzing the composition of ancient meteorites, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, identified evidence of a barrier between the inner and outer regions of the solar system as planets emerged from the dust and gas orbiting the sun. The team published its research in Science Advances.

Analysis suggests that billions of years ago there was a chasm, or gap, in the solar system, near the asteroid belt. The chasm could have been caused by Jupiter’s formation or by cosmic winds generated by the magnetic fields of a growing solar system.

The chasm acted as a barrier that influenced the formation of an emerging planetary system and impacted the composition of asteroids, meteorites and planets. This discovery could explain the isotopic dichotomy — why most asteroids have singular and not shared isotopic structures.

“Over the last decade, observations have shown that cavities, gaps, and rings are common in disks around other young stars,” said MIT scientist Benjamin Weiss. “These are important but poorly understood signatures of the physical processes by which gas and dust transform into the young sun and planets.”

Added lead author Cauê Borlina, “Gaps are common in protoplanetary systems, and we now show that we had one in our own solar system. That provides an answer to the weird dichotomy we see in meteorites, and provides evidence that gaps affect the composition of planets.”

— Read on www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp

Tactile Universe

The Universe is yours to discover.

The following materials are accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired using a combination of Braille, tactile techniques, and descriptions in both large format text and audio formats, as well as a collection of 3D prints of cosmic objects.

— Read on chandra.si.edu/tactile/

NASA Turns to the Cloud for Help With Next-Generation Earth Missions | NASA

As satellites collect larger and larger amounts of data, engineers and researchers are implementing solutions to manage these huge increases.
— Read on www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nasa-turns-to-the-cloud-for-help-with-next-generation-earth-missions

Mars’s core has been measured — and it’s surprisingly large

Mars becomes the first inner planet after Earth to have the size of its core estimated with seismology.
— Read on www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00696-7

Space tourism: How the collapse of the Soviet Union aided the birth of paid space travel – The Washington Post

Western billionaires may be taking the lead now, but it was a cash-strapped Russian space agency that opened the door.
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/07/20/space-tourists-russia-soviet/

50 Years Later, the Soviet Union’s Luna Program Gets a Reboot

Luna 25, Russia’s latest lunar mission, hopes to revive one of the greatest space programs in human history.
— Read on www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/a36984208/soviet-luna-program-history/

Machine-learning methods lead to discovery of rare ‘quadruply imaged quasars’

Machine-learning methods lead to discovery of rare ‘quadruply imaged quasars’
— Read on phys.org/news/2021-04-machine-learning-methods-discovery-rare-quadruply.amp

Very nice work! Congrats!

NASA Mars Helicopter Achieves First Flight on Red Planet – The New York Times

The brief test of the experimental vehicle called Ingenuity shows how explorers can study the red planet from the sky as well as the ground.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/science/nasa-mars-helicopter.html