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Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:42 am
Posted by Ferocious Aardvark on Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:42 am
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Pluto's icy plains - truly astonishing detail, the resolution is around 80 metres per pixel
This is a screengrab of a partial image, but for the best view go to the page and click on the full length image and scroll. Awesome.

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http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/pluto ... w-horizons
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Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:34 pm
Posted by Ferocious Aardvark on Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:34 pm
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Unveiled today, this is the Crew Module pressure vessel of the Orion spacecraft, a key component now being tested.

Orion is scheduled to be launched in 2018, and will go on an unmanned proving mission that will fly thousands of miles beyond the Moon and back, in a 3 week mission.

Before then, over the next two years there are over 100,000 components to be installed, and that's just in this bit. Over many years, the scientists are of course considering every conceivable issue, testing meticulously and developing/improving as they go along. Like their Apollo predecessors, the spaceflights will only be the final part after many years of exhaustive development and by then the scientists will have considered and planned for a million eventualities, tested them all, and built the final craft and written procedures accordingly.

Orion's first manned flight might be as soon as 2012, though budget cuts are the problem, but sooner or later this is the system that will send men to Mars.

As part of the process, a new launch system is also being developed. Sadly gravity continues to be a pest, but the new SLS (Space Launch System) is also well under development, this will be by some margin the world’s most powerful rocket, and will launch Orion on missions to an asteroid and eventually to Mars, being able to provide enough fuel to allow deep space (well, by solar system standards, that is) travel for bigger craft, and life support for astronauts on long journeys.
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I have been to see Space Shuttle launches, but hope to travel to see SLS go up as it will be just an awesome sight and sound. I'd recommend watching a live launch to anyone.
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Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:17 am
Posted by Dally on Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:17 am
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Seems rumours that Einstein's predicted gravitional waves have been detected are correct and an announcement has now been made.
Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:45 am
Posted by Ferocious Aardvark on Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:45 am
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Dally wrote:
Seems rumours that Einstein's predicted gravitional waves have been detected are correct and an announcement has now been made.



Live video feed of update on the expected announcement 17 15:30 UK time will be here:
http://www.space.com/17933-nasa-televis ... ce-tv.html
Last edited by Ferocious Aardvark on stardate Jun 26, 3013 11:27 am, edited 48,562,867,458,300,023 times in total
Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:09 pm
Posted by Ferocious Aardvark on Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:09 pm
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Truly historic stuff.

A detailed, but not too detailed, report on proceedings:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/20 ... irst-time/

Quoting from that page:

"This historic signal was produced by a pair of black holes roughly 1.3 billion light years away, one 29 times the mass of the sun and the other 36 times, orbiting each other and then merging into a single black hole. “The closer they get, the faster they spin.” Near the end, they were whirling so fast that each orbit lasted just a few milliseconds.

"When they eventually merged, the single black hole that remained was 62 times the mass of the sun – three solar masses lighter than the two original black holes combined. That missing mass all went into creating gravitational waves that fluttered space-time like a sheet.

The total power output of gravitational waves during the brief collision was 50 times greater than all of the power put out by all the of the stars in the universe put together,”

:shock: :shock: :shock:
You can actually hear a recording of the sound of the gravitational waves being produced, made by translating the frequency of the gravitational waves into sound waves, via the link on the page
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Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:27 pm
Posted by TheButcher on Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:27 pm
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Amazing stuff.

It will really open a new window into what astronomers and physicists can do, measure, and test in the universe. Historic.
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Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:50 pm
Posted by The Devil's Advocate on Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:50 pm
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To be honest it’s all above my head.

They’ve picked up this gravitational wave from 1.3 billion light years away. If the Universe is 13.7 billion years old how will they pick up the wave from the Big Bang, won’t it have gone past already?
Or is the centre of the Big Bang shedloads further away than this merged black hole?

Thanks, in advance.
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Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:41 am
Posted by Ferocious Aardvark on Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:41 am
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It's misleading to think of the Big Bang as something that happened far away and the gravitational waves at some later point reach us. All our universe was within the Big Bang singularity and that singularity expanded and continues to expand.

If you think of the expanding universe as the surface of an expanding balloon - which it isn't, but it's not a bad analogy - you can see that radiation doesn't go from the centre "out" and eventually hit a boundary, it travels indefinitely, because the universe is infinite. Think of a wave going round and round a balloon.

We can only see so far back in time using other forms of radiation and our view is obstructed or blocked by intervening matter, but gravitational waves are not affected by matter - they pass straight "through", if you like) so in theory if you can devise good enough detectors, you can see all the way back to the Big Bang itself.
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Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:59 pm
Posted by The Devil's Advocate on Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:59 pm
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Ferocious Aardvark wrote:
It's misleading to think of the Big Bang as something that happened far away and the gravitational waves at some later point reach us. All our universe was within the Big Bang singularity and that singularity expanded and continues to expand.

If you think of the expanding universe as the surface of an expanding balloon - which it isn't, but it's not a bad analogy - you can see that radiation doesn't go from the centre "out" and eventually hit a boundary, it travels indefinitely, because the universe is infinite. Think of a wave going round and round a balloon.

We can only see so far back in time using other forms of radiation and our view is obstructed or blocked by intervening matter, but gravitational waves are not affected by matter - they pass straight "through", if you like) so in theory if you can devise good enough detectors, you can see all the way back to the Big Bang itself.


Thanks for that F.A, I’ll try & divulge it when I’m more lucid.

I’m still struggling with all the Quantum Physics stuff I’ve watched lately, the weirdest one being a parallel universe theory & you're just a figment of my imagination or I am yours.
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Re: The Astronomy Thread
Post Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:29 am
Posted by Ferocious Aardvark on Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:29 am
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Figment of imagination is maybe a bit too far but it's close. The space you occupy is 99.99999whatever% empty. You're basically a loosely assembled energy field which improbably somehow works. Each atom if enlarged would consist very roughly of a tennis ball sized nucleus, and then the nearest orbiting electron would be maybe speck of dust size, 1km away. Sure, there may be a number of other electrons but basically that's it. And no connections between any of these distant specks. And the nucleus, far from being solid, is really an assembly of various exotic particles whizzing around.

How this astonishingly disorganized assemblage of basically empty space with occasional tiny energy quanta operates as a functioning human (or a daffodil, or a rock) is hard to get your head around but certainly nothing is remotely what it seems. It's why astronomy and philosophy have always been very good partners.
Last edited by Ferocious Aardvark on stardate Jun 26, 3013 11:27 am, edited 48,562,867,458,300,023 times in total
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