NASA Space Station Blog 12 Dec 2017, 23:09 UTC The Expedition 53 crew is getting ready to split up Thursday morning before another crew begins its mission next week. Soyuz Commander Sergey Ryazanskiy will pilot his crew mates Randy Bresnik of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency in the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft back to Earth after 139 days in space. The trio is scheduled to undock from the Rassvet module at 12:14 a.m. Thursday and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 3:38 a.m.
Universe Today 12 Dec 2017, 20:24 UTC For almost a century, astronomers have understood that the Universe is in a state of expansion. This is a consequence of General Relativity, and the rate at which it is expanding is known as the Hubble Constant – named after the man who first noticed the phenomena. However, astronomers have also learned that withing the large-scale structures of the Universe, galaxies and clusters have also been moving closer and relative to one other. For decades, astronomers have sought to track how these movements have taken place over the course of cosmic history. And thanks to the efforts of international team of astronomers, the most detailed map to date of the orbits of galaxies that lie within the Virgo Supercluster has been created. This map encompasses the past motions of almost 1,400 galaxies within 100 million light years of space, showing how our cosmic neighborhood has changed.
Sky and Telescope 12 Dec 2017, 20:03 UTC The habitability of distant exoplanets is dependent upon many factors — one of which is the activity of their host stars. To learn about which stars are most likely to flare, a recent study examines tens of thousands of stellar flares observed by Kepler.
Centauri Dreams 12 Dec 2017, 17:25 UTC We’re getting interesting results from analysis of Juno’s close flybys of Jupiter. The spacecraft has detected hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur ions moving at relativistic speeds in a new radiation zone just outside the atmosphere. We have its JEDI (Jupiter Energetic Particle Detector Instrument) to thank for the detection, which was made during approaches as close as 3400 kilometers from the cloud tops. Fast moving atoms without an electric charge — energetic neutral atoms — are thought to be the source of the new radiation zone as they move from gas around Io and Europa and become ionized in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.
io9 Space 12 Dec 2017, 15:32 UTC Tomorrow night (weather permitting), you might be able to peer up to the sky and see some of the year’s brightest meteors, the Geminids. And now, thanks to new research, you may have a better understanding of why they sometimes blow up and make those spectacular flashes.
io9 Space 12 Dec 2017, 14:10 UTC Last night was supposed to mark a historic mission for SpaceX: the first re-launch of a reusable rocket to the International Space Station. That launch has now been delayed to tomorrow at 11:24 EST at the earliest, according to a NASA blog.
Scientific American 12 Dec 2017, 14:00 UTC Most of the alien worlds closest to our own are found around the smallest, dimmest nearby stars
All About Space 12 Dec 2017, 13:55 UTC Juno’s MWR instrument can split up the different layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere to see how far down the GRS exists. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI The weird and wonderful nature of Jupiter keeps bringing us new surprises, as the NASA spacecraft, Juno, continues on it’s journey over the gas giant’s cloud tops. This time, the spacecraft has revealed that the famous cloud-top feature, the Great Red Spot (GRS), on Jupiter penetrates far below the cloud tops. Not only that, but there are two new radiation zones that had been unexplored prior to the mission. This news was announced recently at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans. Juno has many science instruments onboard, but the one responsible for uncovering the true depth of the GRS is the Microwave Radiometer (MWR). “Juno’s Microwave Radiometer has the unique capability to peer deep below Jupiter’s clouds,” says Michael Janssen, Juno co-investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “It is proving to be an excellent instrument to help us get to the bottom of what makes the Great Red Spot so great.” “One of the most basic questions about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is: how deep are the roots?” says Scott ...
SPACE.com 12 Dec 2017, 12:23 UTC The region around a black hole is a playground of immense forces and energies. Now, astronomers have measured the magnetic field surrounding a black hole located roughly 8,000 light-years away, and found it was thousands of times weaker than they had thought it would be. The results confirmed decades-old models of black holes and revealed new puzzles in need of explanation.