William Robinson writes: A relatively large, 650m, near-Earth asteroid discovered nearly three years ago will fly safely past Earth on April 19 at a distance of about 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers), or about 4.6 times the distance from Earth to the moon. The asteroid will approach Earth from the direction of the sun and will become visible in the night sky after April 19. It is predicted to brighten to about magnitude 11, when it could be visible in small optical telescopes for one or two nights. For comparison, Chelyabinsk meteor was 20m.
William Robinson writes: Scientists at the Swedish Museum of Natural History have found fossils of 1.6 billion year old probable red algae. The scientists found two kinds of fossils resembling red algae in uniquely well-preserved sedimentary rocks at Chitrakoot in central India. One type is thread-like, the other one consists of fleshy colonies. The scientists were able to see distinct inner cell structures and so-called cell fountains, the bundles of packed and splaying filaments that form the body of the fleshy forms and are characteristic of red algae. The Indian fossils, 400 million years older and by far the oldest plant-like fossils ever found, suggest that the early branches of the tree of life need to be recalibrated. The finding could push the beginning of complex life 400 million earlier than thought, scientists believe.
William Robinson writes: NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. The latest Fermi data shows the gamma rays in Andromeda are confined to the galaxy’s center instead of spread throughout. To explain this unusual distribution, scientists are proposing that the emission may come from several undetermined sources. One of them could be dark matter and another possible source for this emission could be a rich concentration of pulsars in Andromeda’s center. Scientists are excited that Fermi has detected a similar gamma-ray signature in both Andromeda and the Milky Way, scientists can use this information to solve mysteries within both galaxies.
William Robinson writes: India's ISRO successfully launched 104 satellites in a single mission, setting what its space agency says is a world record of launching the most satellites at one go. ISRO used its workhorse, PSLV, for this launch. The vehicle carried India's Cartosat-2 series and 103 nano satellites. Out of 103 nano satellites, 2 were from India, 96 were from the United States and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. The global space industry is US$ 300 billion and ISRO's low prices attracted international customers to launch 75 satellites last year from Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh,
William Robinson writes: Using "light echoes" technique, researchers at NASA and University of Science and Technology of China have tried to understand what happens to a star after it is swallowed by a black hole. The "light echo" relies on time difference between flares from black holes eating stars, which contains high-energy radiation including ultraviolet and X-ray light, and infrared radiation from surviving dust around black hole. The surviving dust is heated by a flare and gives off infrared radiation, which gives clues about tidal disruption flares and the nature of the dust itself. A video presentation of the same. Link to Original Source
William Robinson writes: According to somereports, China has tested its first single photon detection technology quantum radar which could detect objects, including stealth aircraft, within the range of 100 kilometres, somewhere is mid August. The radar uses quantum entanglement photons, which means it has better detection capabilities than conventional systems. This means it can more easily track modern aircraft that use stealth technology or baffle enemy radar. The report also suggests that "The system was able to detect a target at a range of 100 kms in a real-world environment".
William Robinson writes: India test fired Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), a research rocket with a solid booster carrying advanced scramjet engines, which is Air Breathing Propulsion System that uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen from the atmosphere air as the oxidiser. Since 70 per cent of the propellant mass is oxidiser, using oxidiser directly from air makes flights significantly cheaper. Also air breathing technique makes is less prone to failure because it uses less moving parts. India is fourth country to test this technology after US, Russia and EU.
William Robinson writes: According to recentreports, a visit a torrent website from within India , you might be committing a crime, one that earns a Rs 3 lakh fine (approx US$ 4400 ) and 3 years in prison. The ban extends to looking at "a torrent file, or downloading a file from a host that may have been banned in India, or even for viewing an image on a file host like Imagebam". Earlier, the Government of India had blocked many torrent sites, and there used to be simple message implying the URL is blocked. But legal warning is a recent development, which says, "This URL has been blocked under the instructions of the Competent Government Authority or in compliance with the orders of a Court of competent jurisdiction. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of upto Rs. 3,00,000/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at email@example.com who will, within 48 hours, provide you the details of relevant proceedings under which you can approach the relevant High Court or Authority for redressal of your grievance"
William Robinson writes: NASA Television will be bringing to viewers around the world live coverage Friday, Aug. 19, as two NASA astronauts install a new gateway for American commercial crew spacecraft at the International Space Station. Walking in space alone poses a threat to the astronauts performing their duty, but the new mission of installing a dock into the ISS adds to the level of difficulties that astronauts will need to survive in order to perform their duty. Coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT Aug. 19, on NASA TV and the agency’s website, with the spacewalk scheduled to begin at 8:05 a.m. Leading up to the spacewalk, NASA TV will air a briefing from the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, during which station and commercial crew experts will discuss the process and significance of installing and connecting the first of two international docking adapters (IDAs) that will be used for the future arrivals of Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew spacecraft. Not an event to miss.
William Robinson writes: NASA has released another breathtaking video of plasma rain on the solar surface. The mid-level solar flare was captured using Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS. As the video continues, solar material cascades down to the solar surface in great loops, a flare-driven event called post-flare loops or coronal rain. This material is plasma, a gas in which positively and negatively charged particles have separated, forming a superhot mix that follows paths guided by complex magnetic forces in the sun’s atmosphere. Link to Original Source
William Robinson writes: Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy. This artificial leaf delivers syngas, or synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide. Syngas can be burned directly, or converted into diesel or other hydrocarbon fuels. The discovery opens up possibilities of clean reusable energy.
William Robinson writes: Scientists from Harvard University have discovered how to create flow batteries using organic molecules inspired by vitamin B2, which helps store energy from food in the body. With a few tweaks to the original B2 molecule, the scientists discovered a new group of organic molecules that make good candidates for alkaline flow batteries. The result of the discovery was a redox flow battery that demonstrates an open-circuit voltage approaching 1.2V, with a current efficiency of 99.7 percent and a capacity retention over 99.98 percent per cycle.
William Robinson writes: The UDS Project (Ultra Deep Survey), part of UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey, have recently released the final data providing spectacular infrared images of the distant Universe have provided astronomers with the deepest view ever obtained. The UDS mapped a total area four times the size of full moon and detected over 250,000 galaxies, including several hundred observed within the first billion year after Big Bang. This was done since 2005 by observing the same patch of sky repeatedly, obtaining more than 1,000 hours of exposure time and utilizing the power of infrared to provide the deepest view ever obtained over a large area in the sky,
William Robinson writes: Antikythera mechanism, the 2,100-year-old mechanism recovered from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, was used track the phases of the moon, the position of the sun and moon through the zodiac, the position of the planets, and to predict eclipses. Many of the recovered fragments of the device contain ancient Greek text, mostly unreadable due to corrosion. Over the past decade, new imaging techniques like 3D X-ray scans have provided clearer images of these inscriptions, revealing new details about the device’s function. "It's like a textbook of astronomy as it was understood then, which connected the movements of the sky and the planets with the lives of the ancient Greeks and their environment." said Alexander Jones from New York University. This high-tech relic, which looks like an old clock with bronze gears, was discovered to have been used thousands of years ago to calculate astronomical events and other happenings in space.
William Robinson writes: India's ISRO used its workhorse PSLV-C34 to inject 20 satellites, which includes 17 satellites from various countries like US, Canada, Germany and Indonesia. In the final stages of the mission, ISRO also demonstrated the vehicle's capability to place satellites in different orbits. In the demonstration, the vehicle reignited twice after its fourth and final stage and moved further a few kilometres into another orbit. Also included are couple of satellites from academic institutes, Sathyabamasat from Sathyabhama University, Chennai and Swayam from College of Engineering, Pune.