NASA Breaking News 4 Apr 2017, 19:03 UTC
MIT 4 Apr 2017, 17:50 UTC A powerful new array of radio telescopes is being deployed for the first time this week, as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile joins a global network of antennas poised to make some of the highest resolution images that astronomers have ever obtained. The improved level of detail is equivalent to being able to count the stitches on a baseball from 8,000 miles away.
New Horizons 4 Apr 2017, 01:00 UTC How time and our spacecraft fly – especially when you're making history at 32,000 miles per hour. Continuing on its path through the outer regions of the solar system, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has now traveled half the distance from Pluto – its storied first target – to 2014 MU69, the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) it will fly past on Jan. 1, 2019. The spacecraft reached that milestone at midnight (UTC) on April 3 – or 8 p.m. ET on April 2 – when it was 486.19 million miles (782.45 million kilometers) beyond Pluto and the same distance from MU69.
SETI Institute 3 Apr 2017, 17:10 UTC On Tuesday, April 4, NASA will hold a press conference to unveil the beginning of Cassini’s last mission segment, called the Grand Finale, a series of 22 orbits plunging between the main rings and the planet’s clouds that will begin in late April. Cassini has been orbiting Saturn since 2004 and sending incredible images of the planet, its rings, and its moons back to earth. On September 15, 2017, Cassini’s mission will end with a dive into Saturn’s upper atmosphere.
Dunlap Institute 3 Apr 2017, 08:19 UTC Using a novel method, a team of astronomers has performed the most comprehensive search yet for a radio signal from the cosmic web, the vast network of filaments connecting clusters of galaxies. The search is an important step forward in mapping the large-scale magnetic field of the Universe because any radio signal from the cosmic web would be generated by the interplay between gas in the filaments and the filaments’ magnetic field. “Radio emission from the cosmic web has yet to be detected,” says Tessa Vernstrom. “It is expected to be very faint, spread over large areas, and mixed with emission from other sources such as our Galaxy or other galaxies."
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center 31 Mar 2017, 20:47 UTC On April 1, 2017, comet 41P will pass closer than it normally does to Earth, giving observers with binoculars or a telescope a special viewing opportunity. Comet hunters in the Northern Hemisphere should look for it near the constellations Draco and Ursa Major, which the Big Dipper is part of. Whether a comet will put on a good show for observers is notoriously difficult to predict, but 41P has a history of outbursts, and put on quite a display in 1973. If the comet experiences similar outbursts this time, there’s a chance it could become bright enough to see with the naked eye. The comet is expected to reach perihelion, or its closest approach to the sun, on April 12.
ALMA NAOJ 31 Mar 2017, 14:01 UTC As part of an ambitious experiment involving telescopes around the world, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is about to attempt to image something never-before-seen: a black hole. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) and its sister project the Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA) are Earth-sized virtual telescopes, made possible by an international collaboration of radio telescopes including ALMA. The goal is to image, for the very first time, the shadow of the event horizon of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our Milky Way.