Friends of Arlington's David M. Brown Planetarium

Friends of Arlington's David M. Brown Planetarium The Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, incorporated in May 2010, whose purpose is to continue to raise funds to make the Planetarium even better.
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Operating as usual

At least one prebiotic molecule, an ingredient for building life, can form in the harsh environment of interstellar spac...
11/18/2020
Building Blocks of Life Can Be Forged by 'Dark Chemistry' Far From Stars or Planets

At least one prebiotic molecule, an ingredient for building life, can form in the harsh environment of interstellar space, far from stars and planets, new research shows.

The amino acid glycine - the simplest amino acid, without which life can't exist - was thought to require irradiation from stars to form. But new laboratory experiments show that it can form via what is known as "dark chemistry", which takes place without energetic irradiation.

At least one prebiotic molecule, an ingredient for building life, can form in the harsh environment of interstellar space, far from stars and planets, new research shows.

Mysterious cosmic rays traveling at speeds approaching that of light constantly pelt Earth’s upper atmosphere from the d...
11/18/2020
High-energy cosmic rays: Solving a century-old mystery

Mysterious cosmic rays traveling at speeds approaching that of light constantly pelt Earth’s upper atmosphere from the depths of space, creating high-energy collisions that dwarf those produced in even the most powerful particle colliders. The atmospheric crashes rain down gigantic showers of secondary particles to the surface of our planet.

But despite being discovered more than a century ago, physicists still don’t know where cosmic rays come from.

Cosmic rays constantly bombard the upper atmosphere, and they might help astronomers understand the universe’s most powerful events. But, despite a century of investigation, much mystery still surrou

Astronomers have long struggled to understand how supermassive black holes could have formed in the early universe. They...
11/18/2020
Six ancient galaxies found in the web of a supermassive black hole

Astronomers have long struggled to understand how supermassive black holes could have formed in the early universe. They know these cosmic goliaths would have needed to grow extremely fast to achieve their supermassive status so quickly (within about 1 billion years of the Big Bang). But exactly where they found huge amounts of matter to gorge on remains unclear.

Now, new findings from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), published October 1 in Astronomy & Astrophysics, may provide the answer.

Astronomers have discovered a half-dozen galaxies, which formed within the first billion years of the universe, blockading a supermassive black hole.

Explanation: What's creating these long glowing streaks in the sky? No one is sure. Known as Strong Thermal Emission Vel...
11/18/2020

Explanation: What's creating these long glowing streaks in the sky? No one is sure. Known as Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancements (STEVEs), these luminous light-purple sky ribbons may resemble regular auroras, but recent research reveals significant differences. A STEVE's great length and unusual colors, when measured precisely, indicate that it may be related to a subauroral ion drift (SAID), a supersonic river of hot atmospheric ions thought previously to be invisible. Some STEVEs are now also thought to be accompanied by green picket fence structures, a series of sky slats that can appear outside of the main auroral oval that does not involve much glowing nitrogen. The featured wide-angle composite image shows a STEVE in a dark sky above Childs Lake, Manitoba, Canada in 2017, crossing in front of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.

APOD: A Glowing STEVE and the Milky Way (2020 Nov 17)
Image Credit: NASA, Krista Trinder
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap201117.html

Explanation: What's creating these long glowing streaks in the sky? No one is sure. Known as Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancements (STEVEs), these luminous light-purple sky ribbons may resemble regular auroras, but recent research reveals significant differences. A STEVE's great length and unusual colors, when measured precisely, indicate that it may be related to a subauroral ion drift (SAID), a supersonic river of hot atmospheric ions thought previously to be invisible. Some STEVEs are now also thought to be accompanied by green picket fence structures, a series of sky slats that can appear outside of the main auroral oval that does not involve much glowing nitrogen. The featured wide-angle composite image shows a STEVE in a dark sky above Childs Lake, Manitoba, Canada in 2017, crossing in front of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.

https://www.nasa.gov/
https://www.facebook.com/KristaNaturePhotos

Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page
http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=201117

#APOD

That's right, you wouldn't fall straight down. In fact, it'll take you at least 2.5 years before you reach the surface. ...
11/17/2020
What would happen if you jumped off the International Space Station

That's right, you wouldn't fall straight down. In fact, it'll take you at least 2.5 years before you reach the surface. So what's going on?

Jumping off of the International Space Station would be a deadly journey for any astronaut who tries to reach Earth's surface.

Explanation: The month was July, the place was the Greek island of Crete, and the sky was spectacular. Of course there w...
11/17/2020
APOD: 2020 November 16 - Light and Glory over Crete

Explanation: The month was July, the place was the Greek island of Crete, and the sky was spectacular. Of course there were the usual stars like Polaris, Vega, and Antares -- and that common asterism everyone knows: the Big Dipper. But this sky was just getting started. The band of the Milky Way Galaxy stunned as it arched across the night like a bridge made of stars and dust but dotted with red nebula like candy. The planets Saturn and Jupiter were so bright you wanted to stop people on the beach and point them out. The air glowed like a rainbow -- but what really grabbed the glory was a comet. Just above the northern horizon, Comet NEOWISE spread its tails like nothing you had ever seen before or might ever see again. Staring in amazement, there was only one thing to do: take a picture.

A different astronomy and space science related image is featured each day, along with a brief explanation.

The Milky Way has collided and merged with multiple other galaxies over its long lifespan, but piecing together its hist...
11/17/2020
'Family Tree' of The Milky Way Reveals The Fate of The Mysterious Kraken Galaxy

The Milky Way has collided and merged with multiple other galaxies over its long lifespan, but piecing together its history has been a painstaking task.

A new analysis of dense star clusters orbiting the Milky Way has now given us the most complete galactic merger history yet. And in those data is a previously unknown merger event that took place 11 billion years ago, and completely altered our galaxy's shape. Astronomers have named that galaxy - subsumed by the Milky Way - the Kraken.

The Milky Way has collided and merged with multiple other galaxies over its long lifespan, but piecing together its history has been a painstaking task.

There are two main causes for the abundance of signals during the most recent observing run. First, the LIGO/Virgo instr...
11/16/2020
A treasure trove of gravitational wave signals

There are two main causes for the abundance of signals during the most recent observing run. First, the LIGO/Virgo instruments received significant improvements, which the team estimates resulted in a 60 percent improvement in the detectors’ sensitivity. On top of that, the observatories were able to operate longer without interruption, increasing the chances of picking up a signal.

With so many new signals — 50 in total, counting previous detections — astronomers have a multitude of data to tackle when it comes to black holes and neutron stars.

LIGO/Virgo announced 39 new signals, quadrupling the number of known gravitational wave events in just six months.

The Neptune-sized planet, which orbits an Earth-sized star, is being slowly evaporated by the white dwarf, causing the p...
11/16/2020
Giant planet found around tiny white dwarf star, a first

The Neptune-sized planet, which orbits an Earth-sized star, is being slowly evaporated by the white dwarf, causing the planet to lose some 260 million tons of material every day.

"At first, we thought that this was a binary star with an accretion disk formed from mass flowing between the two stars. However, our observations show that it is a single white dwarf with a disk around it roughly 10 times the size of our Sun, made solely of hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. Such a system has never been seen before, and it was immediately clear to me that this was a unique star."

After realizing just how unusual the white dwarf really was, the team shifted their focus to figuring out what the heck could create such a system.

"It took a few weeks of very hard thinking to figure out that the only way to make such a disk is the evaporation of a giant planet."

Astronomers have discovered a giant planet orbiting a dead star that's just one-fourth the size of the planet itself, providing a glimpse into the ultimate fate of the solar system.

Black holes are notable for many things, especially their simplicity. They're just … holes. That are 'black.' This simpl...
11/16/2020
Astronomers Discover Binary Black Holes That Have Their Own 'Electron'

Black holes are notable for many things, especially their simplicity. They're just … holes. That are 'black.' This simplicity allows us to draw surprising parallels between black holes and other branches of physics.

For example, a team of researchers has shown that a special kind of particle can exist around a pair of black holes in a similar way as an electron can exist around a pair of hydrogen atoms – the first example of a "gravitational molecule."

This strange object may give us hints to the identity of dark matter and the ultimate nature of space-time.

Black holes are notable for many things, especially their simplicity. They're just … holes. That are 'black.' This simplicity allows us to draw surprising parallels between black holes and other branches of physics.

SpaceX Launch
11/16/2020

SpaceX Launch

THIS IS WHAT I MEANT WHEN I SAID BEAUTIFUL ✨🚀✨ #Repost @mslucylakestone
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The #SpaceX launch really did have these groovy colors. And I left in the starlike noise in the background because it just seemed to fit this otherworldly scene as the Crew Dragon took its crew to the ISS for #NASA. #space #science

Crew-1, as the flight is called, will be SpaceX's first full-length mission for NASA. It's also the company's second tim...
11/16/2020
Science Insider

Crew-1, as the flight is called, will be SpaceX's first full-length mission for NASA. It's also the company's second time launching people and the longest-duration human space mission ever launched from US soil. The current record, 84 days, has held since the longest Skylab mission more than 45 years ago.

Four NASA astronauts will fly SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship to the International Space Station then stay there for six months.

11/15/2020
Voices from the Sky

Music and stories to help you learn about science and space history - brought to you by Dr. Jim Thorne!

While Osiris-Rex has been orbiting Bennu, the probe has measured how much the asteroid's gravity pulled on it. At the sa...
11/15/2020
The asteroid NASA just landed on turns out to be hollow, with a large 'void' at its center. It may be spinning itself to death.

While Osiris-Rex has been orbiting Bennu, the probe has measured how much the asteroid's gravity pulled on it. At the same time, Bennu was also flinging marble-size bits of rock away from its surface. Those crumbs entered orbit around the asteroid, and then some of them fell back to its surface. By tracking their motions, mission managers were able to make calculations about the strength of Bennu's gravity.

Since gravity comes from mass, these two sets of data allowed Scheeres' team to calculate how material is distributed through the inside of the asteroid.

Their findings, published in the journal Science Advances on October 8 (before Osiris-Rex's brief landing), show that it's far from even. The force of the Bennu's spinning seems to be pushing its material outward toward the surface. Some of the thinnest parts of the asteroid are at its bulging equator.

NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft orbited the asteroid Bennu for two years, monitoring pebbles flying off of it. The data shows a hollow space rock.

Different types of globular clusters inhabiting different zones within our galaxy might be evidence that the Milky Way u...
11/15/2020
Exploring the galaxy’s starry satellites

Different types of globular clusters inhabiting different zones within our galaxy might be evidence that the Milky Way underwent separate phases of assembly. The exact details are under debate, but “there’s a growing sense that the metal-poor globular clusters were acquired through the merger of smaller systems that had already created their globulars.”

By studying globular clusters, astronomers are deciphering the Milky Way’s oldest secrets.

11/14/2020
Voices from the Sky

Music and stories to help you learn about science and space history - brought to you by Dr. Jim Thorne!

11/14/2020
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tune in to the runup to the launch on NASA Live after watching Voices from the Sky with Dr. Jim Thorne here at 3 pm (https://www.facebook.com/events/687437928553170/).

Liftoff is now targeted at 7:27 p.m. EST, Sunday, Nov. 15.

Tune in starting at 3:15 p.m. EST and get ready to #LaunchAmerica! Join us for live coverage of SpaceX Crew-1, the first crew rotation flight to the International Space Station by a U.S. commercial spacecraft. The Crew Dragon 'Resilience' will carry astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) to the station. Liftoff is now targeted at 7:27 p.m. EST, Sunday, Nov. 15 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, the Voyager missions underwent extensive revision and modification. Pioneer 10 and...
11/14/2020
Why did it take us so long to send a mission to Pluto?

Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, the Voyager missions underwent extensive revision and modification. Pioneer 10 and 11 served, to a large extent, as test platforms for outer solar system exploration, visiting Jupiter and Saturn. Pioneer 11’s images of Saturn’s moon Titan piqued the interest of many scientists, given its intriguing atmosphere. By the time the two Voyager missions were launched in 1977, interest in Titan had deeply affected mission planning, and Voyager 1’s mission had been heavily modified to allow a detailed analysis of Titan. This Titan flyby, however, took Voyager 1 below the south pole of Saturn and then north of the ecliptic (the plane of the solar system, which contains the planets — and famously, not Pluto — as they orbit the Sun). This effectively eliminated visits to Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. If Voyager 1 had not targeted Titan, the probe could have reached Pluto in 1986, twenty-nine years before New Horizons accomplished the same feat. Voyager 2 visited Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Explorations of Neptune’s moon Triton required a significant course correction for Voyager 2, and this also resulted in the probe trajectory moving out of (in this case below) the plane of the solar system. While the Triton encounter was highly valuable scientifically, it also eliminated the possibility of a Pluto flyby.

There’s a surprising and interconnected history between the Voyager program and New Horizons.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule were slated to launch the astronauts to the International Space Station...
11/14/2020
SpaceX, NASA delay Crew-1 astronaut launch to Sunday

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule were slated to launch the astronauts to the International Space Station on Saturday (Nov. 14) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That mission, called Crew-1, will no launch no earlier than Sunday at 7:27 p.m. EST due to unacceptable weather for rocket recovery operations.

Unacceptable winds for the rocket booster's recovery are to blame, NASA says.

The universe lived through a prolonged "Dark Ages" until hydrogen reionized. Now, researchers are closer to figuring out...
11/13/2020
When did the lights turn on in the universe?

The universe lived through a prolonged "Dark Ages" until hydrogen reionized. Now, researchers are closer to figuring out when that happened.

The universe lived through a prolonged "Dark Ages" until hydrogen reionized. Now, researchers are closer to figuring out when that happened.

“As the universe evolves, gravity pulls dark matter and gas in space together into galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Th...
11/13/2020
"Violent Drag of Dark Matter"-- Is Turning Up the Thermostat of the Universe | The Daily Galaxy

“As the universe evolves, gravity pulls dark matter and gas in space together into galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The drag is violent—so violent that more and more gas is shocked and heated up.”
A new study that probed the thermal history of the universe over the last 10 billion years, found that the mean temperature of gas across the universe has increased more than 10 times over that time period and reached about 2 million degrees Kelvin today—approximately 4 million degrees Fahrenheit.

  “As the universe evolves, gravity pulls dark matter and gas in space together into galaxies and clusters of galaxies,” said Yi-Kuan Chiang, a research fellow at The Ohio State University Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics. “The drag is violent—so violent that more and more gas...

Scientists may have caught the blinding flash of two dense neutron stars colliding to form a strange magnetic star.The f...
11/12/2020
Scientists spot a 'kilonova' flash so bright they can barely explain it

Scientists may have caught the blinding flash of two dense neutron stars colliding to form a strange magnetic star.

The first sign of the massive event was a gamma-ray beacon that appeared in telescope data on May 22, prompting astronomers to assemble their best instruments. That response was important: Scientists believe gamma-ray bursts usually stem from neutron stars colliding so they are eager to see as many views of such fireworks as possible. But as observations came in, researchers realized there was something strange going on: The flash included far more infrared light than predicted, 10 times more. The scientists behind the new research think that discrepancy may mean the crash produced something unexpected.

It may be from a magnetar born in a neutron star crash.

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FRIENDS OF ARLINGTON’S PLANETARIUM

Founded in 2010 to save the Planetarium from being closed, Friends of Arlington's David M. Brown Planetarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that continues to raise funds to make the Planetarium even better, and to support Arlington Public Schools in providing enhanced science education in Arlington County. The Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium has an all-volunteer Board of Directors and Advisory Council.

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Here's a new video about animal constellations in the night sky. We learn that the robots Piper and Vista can send me "time-texts" from their friends Tommy and Laura, space explorers of the future.
Solar eclipse 2017 Orlando, FL
Solar Eclipse 2017 Orlando, Fl
This proposed designation would cover the Planetarium too.